South African Military History Society


Past meeting - Johannesburg - Annual General Meeting

The 15th Annual General Meeting of the Society was held at the Museum on Thursday 9th April, 1981 and despite a chill in the air, was attended by 48 members and guests. Prof. Barnard opened the meeting, called for apologies and invited Mr Gough-Palmer,the Secretary/Treasurer to read the minutes of the 14th A.G.M. held on April 10th, l980. These having been accepted, Prof. Barnard delivered his second Chairman's Report in which he reviewed the Society's activities during the past year. Highlighted were the lectures, battlefield tours and Journal issue commemorating the First Anglo-Boer War or Transvaal War of 1880/81. He expressed particular appreciation to Col. Duxbury who contributed so much to these centenary celebrations, delivering two lectures, arranging two battlefield tours, leading the night-march up Majuba, co-editing the Journal and still finding time to publish a monograph on the War, entitled "David and Goliath: the First War of Independence 1880-81".

Other publications by members of the Society during the year include Cmdt. C.M. Bakkes's chapter on the battle of Majuba in the University of Pretoria's centenary volume "Die Eerste Vryheidsoorlog Van Verset en Geweld tot Skikking en Onderhandelinq 1877-1884, and on the Second Anglo-Boer War, Mr Ian Uys's book "Heidelbergers of the Boer War".

Lectures in Johannesburg covered subjects from the Great Trek to the Angolan War conflict in 1975 via the Anglo-Boer and World Wars, while speakers from the Society's ranks were supplemented by Mrs Sheila Henderson, a Natal historian, and Mr Peter Tunstall, of Colditz fame.

While Durban and Cape Town continued their lectures and other activities, the Port Elizabeth branch appears to be suffering teething problems and the Western Transvaal branch closed on a high note following Mr Justice M.T. Steyn's address (on his grandfather, President M.T.Steyn of the Orange Free State) as members are relatively few in number and widely scattered.

Total membership stood at 402 at the end of l980, including 50 new members for the year. Five members passed away, seven resigned, forty-one were written off for non-payment of subscriptions and the number of life members increased to 28.

Having thanked the Committee members for their support and Col. Duxbury and his staff for their assistance, Prof. Barnard ended by wishing his successor, the new committee and the Society well in the forthcoming year.

Mr Gough-Palmer read the Treasurer's report and commented that a surplus of R84 had been registered as against R389 in the previous year, which in conjunction with the increased cost of the Journal, necessitated the increase in subscription rates.

Mr H.W. Kinsey was elected unopposed as the new chairman. Prof. Barnard, grinning happily, congratulated Mr Kinsey as he stood down.

Mr Kinsey with a matching smile commenced his term of office by paying tribute to the past chairman's efforts.

Eleven nominations were made,the following eight of whom were elected to the 1981 committee:

M Gough-Palmer M Marsh I Uys
R Murchison D D Hall J Craig
F Machanik F Winder  

Miss Solarsh and Col. Duxbury raised several matters which the new committee will investigate.

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The serious business of the evening in the form of one of Darrell Hall's lively (libelly?) slide shows followed. Not only was his candid camera at work during the Majuba battlefield tour, but he had a concealed weapon in the form of a tape recorder on hand to further delight the audience and discomfort his "victims". (Nobody thanked him but this will no doubt not be a deterrent to future photographic forays. Your scribe is still smarting .......) (J.M.)

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Future meetings:- Johannesburg

14th May - 20h00 - Mr Peter Tunstall - "Colditz"
In a well attended lecture last year Peter Tunstall described in a light-hearted manner some of the incidents in his life as a prisoner-of-war during the Second World War which led to his internment at Colditz along with many other inveterate escape artists. Colditz was the maximum security prison camp to which the Germans sent all the "hard cases". Those members who attended "The Road to Colditz" will no doubt make every effort to attend his presentation, while those who missed out on the first lecture will now be able to share this unusual insight of P.O.W. life.

As this lecture is likely to prove extremely popular, it is advisable to arrive early while seats are still available.

11th June - 20h00 - Mrs Janice Farquharson - "Front-line experiences of Poets on the Western Front,1914/19l8"

Future meetings: Durban (Contact Tania v.d.Walt 74-2970)

14th May - 20h00 - Cmdt S.B.Bourquin - "Andreas Hoffer (A true freedom fighter)"

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Society Tour.

The Museum has called off the proposed tour to Durban at the end of this month due to lack of support.

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That's all ... Mike Marsh

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