South African Military History Society


Past Meeting - Johannesburg - Annual General Meeting

The 16th Annual General Meeting of the Society was held at the Museum on Thursday 15th April, 1982, and was attended by about 60 members and guests who braved the chill of the evening in order to be present. Mr. Kinsey, in the Chair, declared the meeting open and asked for apologies. After these had been offered, Mr. Gough-Palmer, the Secretary/Treasurer, was invited to read the minutes of the 15th A.G.M. held on April 9th, 1981, which he did with his usual panache and style, being a master of the fine art of minute reading. The minutes were accepted by the meeting as a true and accurate account of the last A.G.M. Mr. Kinsey then delivered his Chairman's Report reviewing and highlighting the activities of the Society during the past year. Of particular note were the high standards and variety of subjects reflected in the lecture programme, the day trip to Heidelberg and the very successful and well attended braai held in the Museum grounds.

The Chairman expressed his regret that it had not been possible to arrange any other trips during the year owing to the pressure of other duties upon Colonel G R Duxbury and the staff of the S A National Museum of Military History, who make the arrangements and perform the detailed staff work for us. It was noted that Col. Duxbury and his staff had given a tremendous amount of help with the braai and that special thanks were due to them for their time and effort.

Both the Durban and Cape Town Branches have had very active years and have enjoyed interesting and informative lectures. Durban branch has continued to have their periodical weekend field trips and one-day outings during the year and these were used by Johannesburg as the model for the Heidelberg trip.

During his speech, Mr. Kinsey raised a number of questions which have been of concern to the Committee in the past year. The first of these is the format of our monthly meetings. Should we continue with straight lectures as distinct from other forms of activity, i.e. Education or Entertainment? Another is the desirability of seeking increased membership with its resultant decrease in the cost of the Journal and increase in administrative problems and wastage. At present membership is 480, including 40 life members, and has remained fairly stable at this level over the years. The question of most concern is the lack of high quality contributions to the Military History Journal, which is in some danger of being discontinued through lack of support. The Chairman appealed to members to submit articles and contributions on their research and interests for publication so that the high standard of the Journal can be maintained.

Thanks were given to the Committee for their support, in particular Mike Marsh as scribe and Darrell Hall for his frequent slide shows. Our Honorary Auditor, Mr. Pat Rice, was also thanked for the time and sound advice which he has given to the Society. A special vote of thanks was given to Mr. Maurice Gough-Palmer, Vice-Chairman and Secretary/Treasurer for the enourmous amount of work with which he has coped over the years and his selfless devotion to the Society. Much of this work goes unseen and unrecognised by the membership and Maurice must rank as our greatest unsung hero.

In closing, Mr. Kinsey gave the Society's thanks, which cannot be repeated often enough, to Col. Duxbury and his staff for all of their invaluable support and to Mrs. Duxbury for tea arrangements.

Mr. Gough-Palmer read the Treasurer's Report and commented that although the Society's finances are healthy at present, this is in large part due to the success of the braai and attention must be given to ways of improving the financial base in order to offset steadily increasing costs.

Mr. H W Kinsey was elected unopposed for a second term as Chairman, following an eloquent speech of nomination by Dr. Felix Machanik. Despite the effort of shouldering the burden of another year in office, Mr. Kinsey was seen to smile as he resumed the Chair.

It was announced that all members of the previous Committee were willing to stand for office again with the exception of Messrs. Gough-Palmer and Uys, the first to take a well earned rest and the second to assume the post of Honorary Auditor. Those Committee members who were willing to stand were hastily elected 'en-bloc' before they could have second thoughts. Four nominations were made to fill the two vacancies and Mr. Will Garr and Mr. Bill Carr were elected.

The composition of the 1982 Committee is now as follows:
D.D. Hall (Vice-Chairman)
M. Marsh (Secretary/Treasurer)
R. Murchison (Scribe)
J. Craig
W. Garr
F. Winder
W. Carr
F. Machanik

The business session being concluded, those attending were treated to another stupendous, dazzling and beautifully orchestrated Metro-Goldwyn-Hall presentation on "The Western Front - Then and Now". In glorious living colour the present state of the battlefields and memorials of WWI were contrasted and compared with the sombre sepia tones of the past. Supported by maps and informed commentary with each year introduced by its 'theme' song, Darrell carried us from 1914 to 1918 and achieved the ideal balance between 'education' and 'entertainment'. His presentations go from strength to strength with each better than the last. Those who have seen these extravaganzas need no reminder of their standard and those who have not are missing a real treat. (It has been suggested that Maj. Hall's selection of a historical subject rather than the current affairs of the Society was prompted by careful reading of the laws on libel and crimen injuria.)

Future Meetings: Johannesburg

13th May 20h00 Cmdt. S. Bourquin - 'Colonel A W Durnford'
'SB' is so well known to all of our Society that he needs no great advertisement. He gave a number of excellent talks during the Zulu War Centenary Trip and is an acknowledged expert on South African History with respect to Natal and Zululand. This is a talk not be missed.

10th June 20h00 Mr. D D Forsyth - 'Medals and Decorations'
8th July 20hoo Mr. Johan Bruwer - 'The Battle of Monte Stanco, October 1944'

Future Meetings: Durban

10th June 20h00 Col. C F Hodgson - 'From Hell to the Himalayas'

Future Meetings: Cape Town

10th June 20h00 'South Africa's Frontier (Kaffir) Wars'

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