South African Military History Society


The 27th Annual General Meeting was held on 15th April 1993.
At the beginning Dr. Felix Machanik informed members that Paul Melville, Founder Member of the Society, had passed away after a long illness. He paid moving tribute to Paul as a valued friend and committee member.

The minutes of the 26th A.G.M. were read, approved by the members and signed by the Chairlady. She then continued with her report on the Society's activities over the past year, and the Hon. Treasurer, Mike Marsh, presented his report including the Society's financial position.

In the absence of General Pretorius, Mrs. Jenny Copley took the chair and requested nominations for new Chairman as she had decided to step down due to her pregnancy. Dr. F. Machanik nominated Mr. John Mahncke as Chairman and he was elected unopposed. Mr. Gavin Moore was unanimously re-elected as Hon. Auditor.

Due to the retirement of a number of Committee members, four new members were elected.

The Executive Committee consists of the following members:

New Committee Members:
The new Chairman then thanked all honorary office bearers, Mike Marsh for his continued excellent work as Treasurer, Jenny and Ian Copley for their sterling work during the past three years, General Pretorius for his permission to use the Lemmer Auditorium, as well as for assistance and help received from Capt. Speirs and Hamish Paterson, and John Keene and his staff for the production of our outstanding Journal.

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Our main speaker of the evening was Lt.Col. Terry Leaver (ex 3rd Bn RAR) who presented: The Battle of Imjin River.

The Korean war has also been called "the wrong war", because UN Forces involved, especially the Americans, expressed apprehension at being forced into a war at the wrong time, the wrong place and the wrong enemy.

Nevertheless, high valour and steadfastness by many units under heavy enemy pressure, despite adversity of terrain, bitter cold, an inhospitable country and a brutal enemy who seldom spared his captured soldiers, was displayed.

Using a number of overhead graphics, Terry clearly demonstrated the short, sharp battle of Imjin River in April 1951 where the 1st Bn of Gloucestershire Regiment managed to defend themselves against two Chinese Divisions. Despite shortage of ammunition and the conspicous absence of air support, they battled it out with heavy losses.

When the Glosters found themselves in an increasingly isolated position, as flanking units withdrew, they split up into individual units. Not all were lucky, though, some being captured by the Chinese, among them Capt. Anthony Farrar-Hockley (later General Sir Anthony) who was our guest of honour not so long ago. The remaining Glosters defended the main access route to Seoul.

The Commanding Officer and Lt. Curtis were awarded the VC, and the Glosters were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour.

With considerable insight Terry captured the essence of the battle, and he supplemented his presentation with an excellent Video, involving the members in the heroic deeds of the Glosters in true British Army tradition.

It was a stirring tale, followed by an enthusiastic question and answer session.

Jenny Copley thanked the speaker was his detailed and moving talk.

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Forthcoming events:

13th May Martin Ayres. History of the Royal Horse Arty.
History Quiz. (Please bring pen & paper).

10th June Waterloo Evening. 5 Speakers.

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Cape Town Corner: The Scribe received copy of the Chairman's report which makes interesting reading. The enthusiasm and involvement of all members is marvellous. Details of talks in Cape Town are available from the Scribe.

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Durban Corner: Congratulations to Ken Gillings on becoming Chairman of the Branch in place of the famous "SB".

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Tail Piece: We are, undoubtedly, all familiar with the Coelacanth, its discovery and subsequent flight back to Durban in a Dakota. Mrs. Shirley Bell, at the last meeting related how, on being requested to don his Mae West, Prof. JLB Smith replied: "I have only one Mae West and I have put it on the Coelacanth."

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Major Darryl Hall has kindly consented to make available some of his slide-presentations to our Branch. It will then be possible to show the famous "M.G.H." once again which we sorely missed since Darryl left for Durban.
Details of Durban talks are available from the Scribe.

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FOR SALE: A few copies of fellow member Col. Freddie Hodgson's book "From Hell to the Himalayas" are available at R 25.- each. Kindly contact Tel.: (031) 214896 (ask for Miss Rhoda Lamb).

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IN MEMORIAM: George Ives, last British survivor of the Anglo/Boer War, died in Canada at age 111. He enlisted in the 1st Imperial Yeomanry, following "Black Week" in Dec. 1899, and was one of the original 123 volunteers of which only 17 survived.

He emigrated to Canada, owned various farms and, after his retirement, worked in a shipyard for another 15 years until he called it a day. Right up to his death George liked to go down to the "Legion" (British Legion Club) for a couple of pints.

May George rest in Peace.

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John Mahncke (Scribe)
Tel.: (011) 453 63 53

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