The Military History Society had another active and successful year under the able leadership of the Chairman, Major Darrell D. Hall, whose ten-minute slide shows entitled ‘Military Magazine and produced by ‘Metro-Goldwyn-Hall’, and given at the start of each evening’s proceedings, were very much enjoyed. The Society was again able to maintain a high standard of lectures, details of which appear elsewhere in this Journal, and grateful thanks are extended to all those lecturers who gave up their time to address the Society. The good attendance at meetings was indicative of the interest shown by members in these lectures. Both the Durban and Cape Town branches continued to flourish with their activities and interesting lecture programmes, and it is a matter of regret that time and distance prevent more personal contact with these two active branches.
At the Annual General Meeting held on 12 April, 1984, Major Hall was re-elected Chairman for the second year of his second term of office (previously Chairman for the years 1977 to 1979), and Mr Ian S. Uys was subsequently elected by the Executive Committee as Vice-Chairman in place of Mr Rod Murchison who, as previously reported, had left South Africa to work in the United States.
The JC. Lemmer Auditorium at the S.A, National Museum of Military History was officially opened by the State President on 23 November, 1983, and this Auditorium was made available to the Society for its meetings with effect from the December 1983 meeting. This was a gala occasion when upwards of 75 people were the guests of Colonel G.R. Duxbury, the Museum’s Director, for drinks before the meeting at which Colonel Duxbury was presented with an inscribed carriage clock as a mark of esteem and in appreciation of his willing assistance to the Society since its formation in October, 1966.
The highlight of the year’s activities was the successful ‘do-it-yourself’ trip to the Eastern Transvaal over the week-end of 5/6 May, 1984, which was attended by about 30 members. In the course of the week-end visits were made to the battlefields of Diamond Hill Bergendal, Helvetia, Badfontein/Rietfontein, and Elandspruit, and to the Concentration Camp Cemetery at Balmoral and the Middelburg Cemetery. The main speaker was Mr Nick Kinsey, assisted by Professor Johan Barnard at Diamond Hill and Major Darrell Hall at Bergendal. Members used their own cars and made their own bookings at the Malaga Hotel and Ye Wayside Inn at Waterval Onder. The trip was enjoyed as much for the pleasant week-end it provided in the country, as for the historical interest of the battlefields.
Mr W.J.P. Carr was the winner of the Roderick G. Murchison Memorial Prize for 1983 for his article ‘Masada’ in the June 1983 issue of the Military History Journal. This prize, donated by Mr Rod Murchison in memory of his late father, who was a member of the Society, was established as an annual award for the best contribution to the Journal in any one year commencing with the year 1982. Mrs Helen Murchison, Rod’s mother, graciously presented the prize to Mr Carr at the Society’s meeting on 10 May, 1984.
The Society regrets to record the death during the year of Dr Ken Gunn, Chairman of the Cape Town Branch.
It might be of interest to record that over the past three or four years the following books have been written by members of the Society:
They Proved to All the Earth: a Source Book of Victoria’s Dead in the S.A. War by John E. Price, 1981.
From Hell to the Himalayas by Col F. Hodgson
Delville Wood by Ian S. Uys, 1983 (Reviewed in the June, 1984, issue of the Military History Journal.)
Green Shadows: a Gurkha story by Maj D. Sheil-Small, MC
H. W. KINSEY