The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging

Military History Journal
Vol 12 No 2 - December 2001


Cape Town

The membership of the Cape Town branch of the Military History Society remained constant throughout 2001, but member attendance at meetings increased from an average of 40 to over 50 a month. Equally encouraging was the increase in the number of guests - an average of sixteen per meeting, representing an improvement of almost 10 %. The most popular lecture subjects were those dealing with first-hand war experiences, indicating that the branch's publicity in local no-charge newspapers has been successful. Apart from the monthly meetings ofthe branch, members were active in many other fields, including:

Individual members are also active in fields such as war graves, medals, badges, uniforms, arms and battle sites, collecting, and furthering the aims of other local historical associations. An international event is being planned for 2 February 2002 - organising and publicising the 150th anniversary commemoration of the wreck of the Birkenhead

JOEO Mahncke
Cape Town


As we enter our 33rd year, the KwaZulu-Natal Branch of the Military History Society can look back with confidence, in that we have gone from strength to strength over recent years. Our membership has grown and the average attendance at all our meetings has more than doubled. We have an ever-widening range of military subjects covered at our monthly meetings and such has been the increasing interest in the Society that our program of speakers is already full for the next two years.

Speakers range from senior military officers to professors and from 'amateur' historians with specialised subjects to celebrated authors and more besides. Many of our guest speakers travel great distances to deliver the results of their research to an always appreciative audience.

This surge of interest has come about as a result of the huge publicity generated by the commemoration of the centenary of the Anglo-Boer War. Members of the society chaired both the provincial KwaZulu-Natal committee and the Durban city committee, as well as all the sub-committees which planned and executed the successful range of events in Durban. This gave massive publicity to the Society, but more importantly it raised interest in all aspects of military history, not limited to the Anglo-Boer War. This has been to our long-term benefit.

The Society meets in the Civil Engineering lecture theatre of the University of Natal on the second Thursday of every month except December. The opening talk is given the title of 'DDH' in memory of Major Darrell Hall, who was a founder and most active member of the branch. He died on 11 November 1996 and although sadly missed by all our members, he is remembered as 'DDH' at the start of every meeting.

In addition to the monthly meetings, the Society has four annual events that are highly popular with all members. These are:

Our final involvement is to ensure that the march of progress does not damage the historical and military heritage of KZN. Our most recent achievement in this regard was to assist Heritage KZN to stop Vodacom from building one of their distinctive towers on the important site of Devonshire Post in Ladysmith! This kind of activity on its own justifies our existence

Paul Kilmartin


The Society continues to offer its members excellent access to a wide range of military history topics. The 2001 lecture programme contained such diverse subjects as the 'Last Stand of The White Bread Division', 'The Bayeux Tapestry' and 'Conflict, Weapons and Warfare in the Rock Art of Southern Africa'. One of the main achievements of the year was to provide editorial assistance for the production of the Military History Journal. This is one area where the Society, as the biggest customer and part sponsor of the journal, can support the South African National Museum of Military History. In a combined effort between the Society and the Chief Curator of the Museum, the journal editor was provided with a more powerful computer; lack of computer capacity having been the major obstacle to the production of the journal. The journal is now printed in A4 format which will be a significant factor in keeping down costs. We look forward to adding colour and a more modern format to the journal, cost permitting. The Society looks forward to an exciting year both in lectures and publications. Our web site continues to be vital in promoting our activities and facilitating our members access to fellow enthusiasts. We encourage readers to visit the site at:

Hamish Paterson

Return to Journal Index OR Society's Home page

South African Military History Society /