South African Military History Society

Durban Branch October 1997 News Sheet No 273


Our September meeting took the form of a video evening with some excellent viewing provided. For our DDH lecture we were priveleged to see our Chairman's, Ken Gillings' excellent video record of the "Royal Regiment of Wales/121 Battalion Affiliation Ceremony" held at the Dukuduku base on the 26th January this year.
For those not in the know, the Royal Regiment of Wales is the present day descendant of the 24th Foot Regiment which fought so valiantly at Isandhlwana and Rorke's Drift during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. 121 Battalion was originally formed as the fighting unit of the Zulu nation and many of the ancestors of the present members must have fought in those same battles. Once again our Chairman has managed to capture a historic moment in the reconciliation of the New South Africa - this time on his video camcorder. It was a brilliant effort and we hope it will inspire other members in our Branch to similar heights.

The main video for the evening was the "The Boer War" produced by Castle Visions which took the place of our advertised programme on the "Buller/Botha Debate" - the video of which was inadvertently erased in an unfortunate accident while in our Chairman's safe-keeping.
"The Boer War" proved to be a worthy substitute and immediately appropriate to our Branch's forthcoming "Battlefield's Tour" to the Kimberley Anglo-Boer War Expo '97. In some eighty minutes of concentrated viewing the producers of the documentary were able to cover the events leading up to the start of the Boer War, the initial phases culminating in Black Week, the subsequent reliefs of the besieged towns of Kimberley, Ladysmith and Mafeking, Robert's victorious march to Pretoria, the last set piece battle of the War and finally, the deadly guerrilla tactics of the "bitter-einders' and the systematic destruction of the Boer Republics to the Peace of Vereeniging. It was a fairly accurate depiction of the events and relatively free of the usual TV artistic licence that seems to pervade most historical documentaries these days. Those members who did not attend are advised to view this video as a build-up to the Anglo-Boer War Centenary which starts in exactly two years time.


Oct 8th-12th
Kimberley 2nd Annual Anglo-Boer War EXPO '97.
Oct 16th
Visit to Umvoti Mounted Rifles Base at 105 Haig Road, Redhill.
(Please note this is the 3rd Thursday in October. Time: 19h30)
Nov 11
Armistice Day Service at the Warriors' Gate on corner Old Fort Road and NMR Avenue. The Remembrance Service will start at 10h40.
Nov 13
DDH Talk - "Hometown V.C." A talk by fellow-member, Bill Brady.
Main Talk - "The Bayeaux Tapestry - A Pictorial History of the Norman Invasion of England in 1066". An illustrated talk by Neil Lee who will be coming down from Johannesburg to give this talk.
Dec 11th
Annual Dinner. This year it will be at the Westville Country Club. The cost will be R60,00 per head.
No money required at this stage.

Preparations for the Centenary are progressing apace and our Chairman, Ken Gillings will be going over the London in November this year to promote Natal's side of the planned activities at the International Travel Fair.

Training of prospective Battlefields' Tour Guides will be undertaken by Mrs. Pam McFadden at the Talana Museum in Dundee at a cost of R400,00 per course.
Interested persons should contact her by telephone at (0341)22654 for further details.

The venue for all meetings will be the 1st Floor lecture theatre, Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of Natal, Durban, which is housed in the building on the right of the Memorial Tower Building (opposite the entrance to the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre), commencing at 19h30 on the second Thursday in the month. Please bring your own refreshments and glass. VISITORS AND INTERESTED PERSONS ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND. Charge R2,00 - Students and Scholars free.
Tania van der Watt (Mrs)
Secretary: Durban Branch
Box 870 Hillcrest 3650
Telephone: (031) 764 2970

South African Military History Society /