South African Military History Society


To the delight of the audience we, once again, could view one of M.G.H. short masterpieces. The theme was: The Sandhurst Royal Military Academy. With the help of many slides, some in colour, the author sketched the history of the academy from the early days to the present, including the famous equestrian march up the steps of the main building, as well as parades.

We hope that the other two M.G.H. shorts will also be of the same quality and that further curtain raisers will be available to us on loan from Durban.

The main talk of the evening was given by David Panagos. His title was: The Trojan Wars, but instead of a dreary history lesson, we were treated to a vast tapestry of cultures, art, archaeological finds, paintings, mosaics, showing us a time in history violent with conflict.

Troy was believed to be a myth, although Homer referred to it often in his Ilias, and it was left to the German amateur-archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, to discover the city in 1870. Later W. Doerpfeld and C.W. Blegen continued with his work. Even if Schliemann wrongly identified the remains in the second layer as Troia due to his marvellous finds of jewellery, gold and silver ornamants and ceramics, it does not detract from his achievements.

The old city is believed to be in the 6th layer of a total of nine, while the five layers below belong to the bronze age.

The Trojan wars happened during the 12th century B.C. and include mythical kings, warriors, as well as Helena, Paris, Achilles, Odysseus and many others, but it appears that the centuries around these wars were full of fugitive tribes, even nations, a fact which has not been fully appreciated by present generations.

David showed excellent slides, among them one which could have been the well known Trojan horse, or rather a siege machine which assisted in the eventual sacking of the great city.

It was a fascinating lecture mixing fact with fiction and myths and presenting us with a proper detective treatise, even drawing on indo-germanic languages and words and decorative art on ceramic pots.

David told me afterwards that it had taken him many months of investigative work to prepare his talk and it showed.

Prof. Ian Copley, who claimed that he and Jenny tread the very shores close to Troy, thanked David for his presentation.

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Forthcoming talks:

9th Sept.93 Prof. Ian Copley Ambush at Kalkheuvel Pass.

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During our evening, the Roderick Murchison Memorial Award for the best contribution to our Journal in 1992 was presented by Jenny Copley to John Mahncke for his article STALINGRAD 1943.

Readers' Corner:

Paul Roos (Tel.No. 493 50 22 (O.H.) is looking for back numbers of our Journal Vol 1, No. 1, Vol 2. No. 2, 5 and 6, Vol 3 No. 1
Anybody who can help him is asked to kindly contact Paul direct.

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Cape Town member Col. O. Baker has been asked to help with the preparation of a University thesis on South African Military Memorials. He would be delighted to hear from anybody who can offer advice and assistance. His Tel.No. at home is (024) 561 926

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Society Ties are available again at R 35.- from our Treasurer Mike Marsh at (011) 648 16 57 (A.H.)

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Our Society Braai will be held on 29th Oct. 93. Booking form please find below.

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Mark Coghlan, Regimental Historian, Natal Carbineers, is looking for regimental memorabilia for their History Centre in Pietermaritzburg. He is interested particularly in medal groups, insignia, uniforms, photographs, letters, diaries etc., and would also like to contact ex members.

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Members interested in taking part in an Anglo-Boer-War workshop on the Centenary of the War in 1999 are asked to contact the Scribe for further details.

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The Durban Branch has acquired a new venue for their meetings. It is the Lecture Theatre of the Department of Civil Engineers of Natal, Durban Campus. Anyone wishing to visit the Branch can obtain location details from the Scribe.

Durban Branch offer interested parties a Northern Natal Battlefield Tour from 18th to 19th September. Details can be obtained from the Scribe.

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From Cape Town Branch comes the news that Dr. Dan Sleigh, the foremost historian of the VOC period, has published a book: "Die Buiteposte" containing 755 hardbound pages and 46 illustrations at a price of R 200.- each. Anyone interested is asked to contact Cape Town direct.

"Warfair 93", a display of militaria, war gaming and other items of interest, similar to the one held in Cape Town last year, will again be held on 11th and 12th September 93 at the Bayside Shopping Centre, Table View.

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Booking Form for Society Braai. - Please photocopy, don't mutilate your newsletter.

SOCIETY BRAAI. 29.10.1993 18.00 p.m. R 25.- p.p. incl.

NAME: .................................. Tel. No.:

Number of persons: .............

Cheque enclosed for: R .....................

Send to Hon. Treasurer, Mike Marsh, 234 Regent Str. East, Observatory Ext. 2198 Johannesburg

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

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