The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging

Military History Journal
Vol 1 No 6 - June 1970


Notes, Questions and Replies

Owing to repeated requests it has been decided to introduce this section in the journal in order to provide much sought after information either by way of brief notes or questions and answers, and also as a medium through which readers may draw the attention of authors to errors and mis-statements in articles previously published and/or provide additional information thereto which might enhance the value and interest of the articles.


1. SNIDER PATTERN FIREARMS. - See Journal Vol. 1, No. 4, Page 11. In my article on Cape Colony Volunteer Units 1877-1879, I mentioned various patterns of Snider firearms. Certain details were not correct, and the following corrections should be made.

I am indebted to Mr. B. M. Berkowitz of Cape Town for pointing out these facts.
J. J. Hulme.

2. UNIT COLOURS OF THE NATAL MILITIA RESERVES. - Journal Vol. 1, No. 2, Page 32. The terms "colours" and "facing colours" may be misleading. The approvals relate to the colour of the pagri wound round the base of the crown of the slouch hat.
J. J. Hulme.

3. No. 5 (CHAKA) SQUADRON, SAAF. - This Squadron is a Citizen Force unit of SAAF based at Louis Botha Airport, Durban. It was originally formed on 7th May, 1941, and saw service in World War II. The Squadron received its Colour from the hands of Lt.-Gen. H. J. Martin, SM, CBE, DFC, former Chief of the Air Force, at Durban on 8th April, 1967. The following battle honours appear on the Colour:- Western Desert 1942-43, Gazala, El Alamein, French North Africa 1943, El Hamma, Tunis, Mediterranean 1942-43, South East Europe 1943-44, Italy 1943-45, The Sangro, Gustav Line, Gothic Line, Po, Appenines.
The Squadron’s first Honorary Colonel, Colonel Jack Shave, was appointed with effect from 1st May, 1967, and died on 5th December, 1968. He was succeeded in office in December, 1969, by Colonel B. Donnellan.
No. 5 Squadron published an attractive booklet on the occasion of receiving its Colour, which contains a reproduction of the latter and a short unit history.
J. J. Hulme.

4. DEFENCE OF MAFEKING BAR. - A roll of the bar, "Defence of Mafeking" (Queen’s South Africa Medal, 1899-1902) prepared by Dr. Frank Mitchell, JCD, reflects the names of 88 Officers and 1,175 Other Ranks after allowing for duplications and triplications and those names expunged from the rolls. This is an invaluable record for all those interested in the Queen’s South Africa Medal.


1. REXER LIGHT MACHINE GUN. - I have photographs of some of the 8 Rexer (or Madsen) light machine guns which were purchased by a committee of Natalians resident in London in 1906. The weapon was of Danish design and the eight examples were sent out to Natal where they were issued to the mounted units of the Natal Militia for use in the Native Rebellion of that year. It was air-cooled, bipod mounted and magazine fed, and except for its heavier barrel looked not unlike the Vickers-Bethier light machine gun or the Bren light machine gun.
I wonder if readers could tell me what happened to the 8 examples. Details of the weapon and working drawings will be particularly welcome.
J. J. Hulme.

2. EL ALAMEIN ARTILLERY BARRAGE, 23rd OCTOBER, 1942. In Vol. 1, No. 1, of the Journal the following statement was made, "At 21.40 hours on 23rd October, 1942, a quarter of a century ago today, the British Eighth Army launched the greatest artillery barrage the world has ever known." Were there not greater barrages in World War I or on the Russian front in World War II?
Paul Melville

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