The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging

Military History Journal
Vol 8 No 3 - June 1990


by H W Kinsey

The Annual General Meeting was held on 18 April 1990, when the retiring Chairman, Mr Stewart T Stiles, delivered his review of the Society's activities during the two years of his chairmanship, and Mr M J C Marsh, Honorary Secretary/Treasurer, presented the financial statements. Thereafter, Professor Ian B Copley, who has been a member of the Committee for a number of years, was unanimously voted to the Chair for the ensuing year, and the members whose names appear below were elected to the Committee:-

Subsequently, Messrs D C Panagos and P S Rush were co-opted as additional members of the Committee. Mr Gavin Moore was re-elected unanimously as Honorary Auditor.

The Committee suffered a severe loss with the retirement of Major Darrell D Hall and his move to Durban. He became a member of the Committee in 1973, and was Chairman of the Society on two occasions, namely, from July 1977, to April 1979, and from April 1983, to April 1986. His expertise and willing assistance at all times, as well as his delightful slide shows entitled 'Military Magazine' produced by Metro Goldwyn Hall, will be sorely missed. His place on the Committee has been taken by Mr Ian S Uys, who was the Society's Chairman from April 1986, to April 1988. Major Hall has been presented with an engraved silver-plated beer mug as a small token of appreciation.

At the conclusion of the business at the Annual General Meeting there were short World War II reminiscence talks by three members of the Society. Lt-Col J P McDonagh gave an entertaining account of his war experiences in the 7th Queen's Own Hussars in the Middle East and up to his final posting to the Italian base of the Polish Armoured Division. Mr F V Demartinis recounted his fascinating experiences as a crew member of a South African minesweeper, engaged principally in the Mediterranean. The final speaker, Dr Felix Machanik, illustrated his talk with slides made from photographs taken with a camera which he had official permission to use ostensibly for 'clinical' purposes. After serving as a Medical Officer in South Africa for some time, he spent the War variously en route to India and in Italy and Egypt. Each of these talks provided an interesting, individual insight into the Second World War.

The Roderick Murchison Memorial Prize for the best contributor to the Military History Journal in any one year was awarded to Mr S A Watt in respect of 1989 for his article entitled 'Harrismith: A Military Town during the Anglo-Boer War, and After' which appeared in two parts in the June and December 1989, issues of the Journal.

During the week-end of Friday 27 to Sunday, 29 April, 1990, 35 members and friends gathered at the Molopo Sun in Mafikeng for a tour organized by Major Darrell Hall. The Tour Leader was Tony Speir to whom I am indebted for his report of the outing.

The Saturday morning began at the Mafikeng Museum - the former town hall of Mafeking - where the group was addressed by Mr & Mrs S P Minchin of the Mafeking Historical Society and Mr Geoffrey Phillips, the local museum curator. After consolidating into as few vehicles as possible, the group moved off, for a tour which combined not only the military aspects of the whole area, but some fascinating insights into the history and culture of the Barolong people and the many conflicts that had taken place in the area.

Sunday dawned cold and wet, the rain having poured all night, and the group met again at the museum, where Major Darrell Hall spoke on the siege of Mafeking. Thereafter, members drove eastwards out of Mafikeng to wind up with a snack lunch at the Sehuba Protea Hotel - formerly the site of the capital of the old Goshen Republic - where farewell was taken of the hosts Mr & Mrs Minchin and Mr Phillips amidst warm expressions of appreciation for all their efforts.

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