The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging



Military History Zoom Library

Lectures on Zoom from May 2020 onwards

Biological terrorism
Zoomlecture by Malcolm Kinghorn on 11 May 2020,hosted by SAMHSEC
Biological terrorism is the deliberate release by non-state entities of biological agents such as viruses, bacteria or toxins to cause illness or deaths in target populations. In spite of international efforts to eliminate such weapons though the Biological Weapons Convention, some states are suspected of being likely to have offensive biological weapons, which could target animals and crops in addition to humans. There is growing international concern that some terrorist groups are recruiting the expertise required to develop biological weapons.
Link to video file:Biologicalterrorism
File size:11.3 MBytes
File type:mp4

Detective constable John Christian Hoehler, KPM, SAP
Zoomlecture by Mac Alexander on 18 May 2020,hosted by SAMHSEC
History of how Christie Hoehler,a policeman on the East Rand for 14 years between the First and the Second World Wars, was awarded the King's Police Medal, highest medal for police bravery, for saving a person from being crushed by a train in April 1927. Later he left the SAP and established with his brother an asbestos mine in what is now Mpumalanga, did very well from it and he was able to retire early. He then devoted himself in his passion, which was breeding racing pigeons and competing with them.
Link to video file:Christie Hoehler KPM
File size:10.3 MBytes
File type:mp4

Visit to Gothenberg Air Force Museum,Sweden
Zoomlecture by Franco Cilliers on 18 May 2020,hosted by SAMHSEC
Visit to the ..... museum which highlighted cold war era Swedish underground air force base. Aircraft included Viggen,
Link to video file:Gothenburg Air Force Museum
File size:19.5 Mbytes
File type:mp4

The Military Service of the Wiggill 1820 Settler Family by direct descendant, Mac Alexander
Zoomlecture by Mac Alexander on 8 June 2020,hosted by SAMHSEC
McGill Alexander is a direct descendant of an 1820 Settler, Isaac Wiggill. The year 2020 marks the Bi-centennial of the arrival of the British 1820 Settlers in South Africa.
The 1820 Settlers arrived almost halfway through the Cape Frontier Wars, which lasted from 1779 to 1878 along the Eastern Frontier of the Cape Colony.
The Wiggill family were involved in the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Frontier Wars between 1834 and 1853 in the Bathurst and Fort Beaufort areas and were besieged in Bathurst in the Sixth and Seventh Wars and Post Retief in the Seventh and Eighth. During each of these wars, their farms were destroyed and they lost all their possessions.
The talk is filled with illustrations showing structures built by the settlers to provide protection and support their farming. Structures such as Bradshaw's Mill (the first wool mill built in South Africa), the Wiggill house in Bathurst and Wiggill's kraal and horizontal windmill, Post Retief fort and barracks in the Winterberg. Includes views of the landscape in the area and views from where Khoi rebels shelled Post Retief with a cannon.
Link to video file:Wiggills in the wars.mp4
File size:29.1 MBytes (26 minutes)
File type:mp4

The Hydrogen Bomb - Peace or Annhilation by Gil Jacobs
Zoomlecture by Gil Jacobs on 11 June 2020,hosted by MHS Jhbg
Gil started by explaining the differences between the Atomic Bomb used in WW2 and the Hydrogen Bomb which increased the yield by 1000 times. The hydrogen or "thermo-nuclear" bomb comes from the fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium nuclei.
Edward Teller, one of the team which developed the first atomic bombs, started agitating for the development of the H-Bomb during the A-Bomb build. The other scientists strongly opposed this emphasizing that a development path should be observed. However, in August 1949 the Soviet Union exploded an atomic bomb causing President Harry S Truman to give the go-ahead for developing the H-Bomb 1n 1950. In November of 1952 the first hydrogen bomb was detonated on Eniwetok Atoll. With a yield of 10 megatons, the island of Elugelab was wiped away. Testing took place at Bikini Atoll, the "Castle Bravo" test being on 1st March 1954. No fewer than 23 Atom and Hydrogen bomb tests were conducted at Bikini Atoll between 1956 and 1958. The H-Bomb is deliverable several ways; by air with Bombers such as the B-52; Submarine launched missiles such as Polaris and by Minuteman missiles, ground-launched from deep silos.
Notable amongst the people who were opposed to thermonuclear weapons were Robert Oppenheimer - "Father of the Atomic Bomb", Joseph Rotblatt - the only scientist who left the A-Bomb project after Germany's surrender, Albert Einstein who deeply regretted the part he played in initiating the bomb's development, and the great controversial philosopher Bertrand Russell who was nuclear's most vociferous opponent.
Gil discussed how when many countries have such technology (currently 9), the possibility of an unplanned war increases.
Link to video file:Hydrogen Bomb - Peace or Annhilation
File size:54 MBytes (21 minutes)
File type:avi

Kitchener's Ladies by Dr Anne Samsom
Zoomlecture by Dr Anne Samsom given from Sussex,UK on 25 June 2020,hosted by MHS Jhbg
Presentation on the women who influenced Lord Kitchener in his later years
Link to video file:Kitchener's Ladies
File size:21 MBytes (18 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to pdf file:Kitchener's Ladies (script)

Military History - one heavy metal song at a time by AL du Pisani
Zoomlecture by AL du Pisani given from Johannesburg on 9 July 2020,hosted by MHS Jhbg
Lecture about the popular Swedish band Sabaton, who sing about war and heroes and other things relating to military history
Link to video file:Sabaton
File size:74 MBytes (35 minutes)
File type:mp4
Additional reading for lecture on Sabaton

Knit your bit: Patriotic Knitting by Barbara Ann Kinghorn
Zoomlecture by Barbara Ann Kinghorn on 11 August 2020 hosted by SAMHSEC.
An illustrated talk by Barbara Ann Kinghorn on how persons of all ages and on all social levels at home in the British Empire and the United States were encouraged to knit garments for the Forces during both World Wars. Barbara Ann covered the history of knitting and showed how knitting had been made socially acceptable by Queen Victoria herself knitting scarves for British soldiers serving in the South African War of 1899 to 1902. She stressed the therapeutic benefits of knitting and the opportunity of knitting for others presented during the COVID 19 pandemic crisis.
Link to video file:Knit your bit
File size:32 MBytes (41 minutes)
File type:mp4

The Royal African Corps at the Cape from 1817 to 1823 by Patrick Irwin
Zoomlecture given from Grahamstown on 11 August 2020 hosted by SAMHSEC
The Royal African Corps (RAC), a disciplinary regiment composed largely of so-called permanent punishment men, who were military misfits with criminal records and who required tough officers to maintain order, was stationed at the Cape from 1817 to 1823 to garrison the Eastern Frontier. Though rated at a low military value due to criminal activities by its soldiers, the RAC gave a good account of itself at the Battle of Graham's Town in April 1819 during the Fifth Frontier War. The unit remained on the Eastern Frontier until 1821. While awaiting transport to West Africa, the RAC assisted the Royal Engineers in building the Franschhoek Mountain Pass, which is still in use today."
(Eastern Cape,Disciplinary Regiment,Fredericksburg Military Village,Military misfits,Condemned units,Fifth Frontier War)
Link to video file:The Royal African Corps at the Cape
File size:40 MBytes (34 minutes)
File type:mp4

'The impact of the 1909/10 Union discussions on South Africa's entry into WW1'. by Martin Plaut
Zoomlecture by Martin Plaut given from the UK on 13 August 2020,hosted by MHS Jhbg
The lecture discussed how the South African franchise was shaped by the imminence of the First World War when the Union of South Africa was formed. The Imperial Defence Conference in 1909 overshadowed the discussions on the Union, when the MP's arrived in London (including Smuts and Botha) to present their case Britain had little option but to accept their demands, and endorse the Union Constitution unamended, since they needed South Africa's support in the coming conflict - thereby removing the black population's right to vote.
Link to video file:The impact of the 1909/10 Union discussions on South Africa's entry into WW1
File size:100 MBytes (22 minutes)
File type:avi
Link to video file:Discussion after presentation session 1
File size:17 MBytes (5 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Discussion after presentation session 2
File size:129 MBytes (36 minutes)
File type:mp4

"Tribute to Sergeant-major Jock Hutton" by Mac Alexander
Zoomlecture given at the SAMSEC RPC meeting on 31 August 2020
Jock Hutton died on 12 August 2020. He served in the British Airborne Forces (1943-56), the Rhodesian SAS (1961-80) and the South African Special Forces (1980-85). He participated in parachute operations Normandy on D-Day (1944), crossing the Rhine (1945), Suez (1956) and Chimoio/Tembué in Mozambique (1977).
Link to video file:Jock Hutton
File size:9 MBytes (7 minutes)
File type:mp4

'Novels, some SA inspiration, and the formation of MI5 and MI6' Dr Anne Samson
Zoomlecture given from the UK on 10 September 2020,hosted by MHS Jhbg
William Le Queux, the author of various spy novels at the turn of the twentieth century is regarded as the inspiration for the formation of MI5 and MI6. However, Roger Pocock, founder of the Legion of Frontiersmen later commanded by Dan Driscoll of Driscoll's Scouts, also had a part to play. In this talk, Anne discusses the links between them all.
Link to video file:Novels and the formation of MI5
File size:29 MBytes (30 minutes)
File type:mp4

'War and Peace in the Anglo Boer War - starting a war is a lot easier than stopping one' by Robin Smith
Zoomlecture given from the Howick,KZN on 8 October 2020,hosted by MHS Jhbg
Starting with the Bloemfontein conference, then the Boer ultimatum and, like all the wars of the first half of the 20th century, the huge enthusiasm of the population on both sides to go to war. Roberts's reaction after the occupation of Pretoria and the advance to Komatipoort was that the war was practically over. He returned to England to become Commander-in Chief in London. Kitchener was left to mop up and, at first, without the vital resources of manpower.

Various offers and counter-offers for peace were made between February 1901 and 1902 but the final document was only agreed and signed about an hour before the deadline of midnight on 31 May 1902.
Lecture given in two parts, namely Starting the War and Ending the War.
Link to video file:Starting the War
File size:27.2 MBytes (22 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Ending the War
File size:30.4 MBytes (22 minutes)
File type:mp4

'The Great Sea Trek of 1820" by Eric Kelly
Zoomlecture given from Grahamstown on 12 October 2020, hosted by SAMHSEC
As part of SAMHSEC’s commemoration of the Bicentenary of the Arrival of the 1820 Settlers, Eric’s talk focused on the movement of the 1820 Settlers from the United Kingdom to South Africa. The talk was in two parts, namely Putting The Scheme Together and Departure.
In Part 1, Eric described how the Governor of the Cape Colony, Lord Charles Somerset’s scheme for British people to be settled in the Eastern Cape met an almost overwhelming positive response after it was approved by the British Government in July 1819. Eric described the purpose and terms of the scheme and the make-up of the various Settler parties.
Part 2 was to a large extent based on personal reminiscences of the voyages of the 21 ships which transported the approximately 4 000 men, women and children Settlers to South Africa. The ships sailed from various ports, with the first getting underway in early December 1819 and arriving in Algoa Bay to disembark the Settlers from April 1820.
Link to video file:Putting The Scheme Together
File size:132 MBytes (30 minutes)
File type:avi
Link to video file:Departure
File size:118 MBytes (22 minutes)
File type:mp4

'East London Railway Station War Memorial " by Malcolm Kinghorn
Zoomlecture given from Port Elizabeth on 26 October 2020, hosted by SAMHSEC
The War Memorial on the East London Railway Station consists of 2 panels with the Rolls of Honour of the South African Railways and Harbours' officers and men who have given their lives in the Great War 1914-1918 or in the World War 1939-1945. The inscriptions are in English and Dutch on the former and English and Afrikaans on the latter.
One of the soldiers on the Great War Memorial is Private J.J.C. Human. He is in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records as 21357 Private J.J.C. Human, Second Regiment South African Infantry, who died in England on 21 October 1918, after being evacuated wounded from France. He is buried in the Brookwood Military Cemetery. The presentation closed with a photograph of one of his grandsons visiting his grave in the 1960s
Link to video file:East London Railway Station War Memorial
File size:3.3MBytes (3 minutes)
File type:mp4

'The Butcher of the Somme" by John Stevens
Zoomlecture given from Grahamstown on 9 November 2020, hosted by SAMHSEC
An illustrated talk by John Stevens on the reputation of Field Marshal Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, KT, GCB, OM, GCVO, KCIE (19th June 1861 - 29th January 1928). John covered the role of former Prime Minister David Lloyd-George in the decline of Haig's post-war reputation, which was further diminished in the 1960s by Charles Chilton's 1961 radio programme The long, long trail, Joan Littlewood's 1963 stage production Oh, What a Lovely War, Richard Attenborough's 1969 film of the same name and various historians who promoted the concept of the British soldiers of the Great War having been lions led by donkeys. After discussing other historians' more positive view the British Army leadership in the war, John covered the reality of Haig's military career and ended by quoting Churchill as having said of Haig that "He might be, surely he was, unequal to the prodigious scale of events, but no one else was discerned as his equal or his better".
Link to video file:Butcher of the Somme Pt1
File size:46 MBytes (35 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Butcher of the Somme Pt2
File size:55 MBytes (35 minutes)
File type:mp4

'Wireless in the Boer War" by Dr Brian A Austin
Zoomlecture given from Liverpool,UK on 12 November 2020, hosted by Johannesburg branch
The Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902) was the first occasion in which wireless communications were used in military conflict. Both the British and Boer forces had intentions to use this latest invention in the field of battle. Brian explained the state of the art at that time and the issues that were uncovered when technology meets the battlefield. This war further led to advancements in radio technology for the British Navy.
A discussion session was held after the lecture which provided further explanations and this discussion session is included.
Link to video file:Wireless in the Boer War
File size:62 MBytes (35 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Discussion session of Wireless in the Boer War
File size:139 MBytes (35 minutes)
File type:mp4

Air to air operations in the Ogaden War by Franco Cilliers
Zoomlecture given from Port Elizabeth on 30 November 2020, hosted by SAMHSEC
The talk focused on air to air operations during the war between Ethiopia and Somalia between July 1977 and March 1978. The war began with the ultimately unsuccessful Somali invasion of the Ethiopian region of Ogaden to gain control of its predominantly ethnic Somali population. The more effective use of air power by Ethiopia proved decisive in the defeat of the Somali invasion. The conduct of the war was influenced by involvement of both Cold War superpowers.
Link to video file:Air to air operations in the Ogaden War
File size:20 MBytes (12 minutes)
File type:mp4

"The story of the British 1820 Settler Bowker family in the Eastern Cape" by Stephen Bowker
Zoomlecture given from Port Elizabeth on 14 December 2020, hosted by SAMHSEC
Miles and Anna Maria Bowker and their young family from Mitford in Northern England arrived in Algoa Bay on 15 May 1820. They settled on their allotted farm Tharfield, between Port Alfred and the Great Fish River. The family was prominent in the affairs of the 1820 British Settlers in the Eastern Cape. The Bowkers participated in the 6th, 7th and 8th Frontier Wars. Stephen's talk included short descriptions of the respective contributions of each of the Bowker siblings to South Africa in the fields of politics, commerce, medicine, farming and natural history.
Link to video file:Bowker family history
File size:74 MBytes (55 minutes)
File type:mp4

"At their duty's post they stood - Poetry written by South Africans during the Great War." by Kathie Satchwell
Zoomlecture given from Johannesburg on 17 December 2020, hosted by Johannesburg Branch
Based on poetry published in local papers and magazines during and after the Great War, the lecture covers the change in emotions of white and black South African participants affected by the conflict. Together with the poetry, the talk was illustrated by 98 paintings and artworks depicting the actions and consequences of the war.
Not much had been published in South Africa but the sheer number of poems which the speaker had unearthed in newspapers, school and social and soldiers' magazines should not appear surprising. Since most, if not all, of the writers were soldiers rather than poets the emphasis was on cultural history rather than literary form.
The speaker identified several themes and divided the poetry accordingly, i.e. "sites of memory","the south african experience","motherland"; "the colonials";"the inferno";"delville wood"; "comradeship","the enemy";"grousing":"rescue";"german east africa";"imbongi";"s.s.mendi";"duty honour glory";"death"; "golgotha";"memorials";"afterwards".
Link to video file:South African Poetry - Part1
File size:42 MBytes (35 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:South African Poetry - Part2
File size:32 MBytes (16 minutes)
File type:mp4

"Italy 1943 - 1945 War and Civil War" by Alan Mantle
Zoomlecture given from Johannesburg on 11 January 2021, hosted by SAMSEC
The Allied attack in July 1943 and their invasion of Italy forms the backdrop to the talk with the perspective on the lesser known events following Italy’s armistice with the Allies.
The resulting German Invasion and Italy’s formal reaction divided the nation into a state of War and Civil War between the Italian Fascist forces supporting the Germans and the partisan and Italian military forces fighting them and playing an active role in the Allied Campaign.
Link to video file:Italy campaign - Part1
File size:39 MBytes (26 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Italy campaign - Part2
File size:31 MBytes (18 minutes)
File type:mp4

"No grave but the sea" by Capt Charles Ross
Zoomlecture given from Johannesburg on 21 January 2021, hosted by Johannesburg branch
How the Commonwealth War Graves Commission commemorate those that have no grave, but the sea
A talk detailing the various memorials set up by governments and the War Graves Board to commemorate persons that were lost at sea.
Memorials that were detailed were Thiepval, Menin Gate, Chatham Naval, Plymouth Naval, Portsmouth Naval, Bombay (Mumbai), Chitagong, Bombay 1939- 45, Halifax, Victoria, New Zealand Naval, Tower Hill, Liverpool Naval, Lee-on-Solent, Lowestoft, Runnymede Air Force, Malta, Hollybrook, Brookwood, Maseru, Attridgeville, Avalon, El Alamein, and Seaforth.
Link to video file:Buried at Sea - Part1
File size:51 MBytes (31 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Buried at Sea - Part2
File size:26 MBytes (14 minutes)
File type:mp4

"14 Platoon of B Company of Die Middellandse Regiment escape from Tobruk" by Ian Pringle
Zoomlecture given from Port Elizabeth on 25 January 2021, hosted by SAMSEC
The escape from Tobruk of 14 Platoon of B Company of Die Middellandse Regiment led by Lt. Cecil “Quills” Featherstone, MC in June 1942. It is the story of a dash through advancing enemy forces to avoid capture and fight another day. The talk includes a discussion of the history of Die Middelandse Regiment and the close ties maintained by veterans of the unit after WW2.”
Link to video file:Die Middellandse Regiment escape from Tobruk
File size:32 MBytes (19 minutes)
File type:mp4

"The Siege of the Alcázar of Toledo" by McGill Alexander
Zoomlecture given from Port Elizabeth on 8 February 2021, hosted by SAMHSEC
The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) is a conflict that is little known in South Africa. This presentation provides background to the war before focusing on the 70-day siege of the Alcázar (Fortress) of Toledo by Republican militia forces. The Alcázar, dominating the ancient city of Toledo, was defended by a disparate Nationalist force and some civilians. It was subjected to aerial and artillery bombardment that reduced it to a pile of rubble before it was relieved by Franco’s Army of Africa, consisting of the Spanish Foreign Legion and Moroccan Regular troops. Though of no strategic value, Toledo held tremendous symbolic significance because of its historic and religious importance. The relief of the Alcázar was a propaganda victory for the Nationalists, sealed Franco’s position as their leader and severely dented the morale of the Republican government forces.
The presentation is amply illustrated and is interspersed with personal observations by Mac Alexander, who studied for two years at the Spanish Army Staff College.
Link to video file:The Siege of the Alcázar of Toledo
File size:58 MBytes (43 minutes)
File type:mp4

"Why is there a statue of Jan Christiaan Smuts in Parliament Square near the Houses of Parliament in Central London?" by John Myburgh
Zoomlecture given from Cape Town on 18 February 2021, hosted by Johannesburg branch
The talk seeks to give a Briton’s view of Smuts, which would have been very different from the view that many fellow Afrikaaners, Africans, and Indians, had of him. The period covered is the first 40 years of the history of South Africa as a country, from Union in 1910 to the death of Smuts in 1950, which coincides with the last 40 years of his life.
Link to video file:Statue of Jan Christiaan Smuts Part 1 (up to WW2)
File size:132 MBytes (30 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Statue of Jan Christiaan Smuts Part 2 (WW2 onwards)
File size:139 MBytes (26 minutes)
File type:mp4

"Facial furniture: beards and moustaches in the early UDF" by Dr Anne Samson
Zoomlecture given from UK on 22 February 2021, hosted by SAMSEC branch
The changing British regulations regarding facial hair and how that links with the Boer Commandos and Union Defence Force till the end of the 1914-1918 war.
Link to video file:Facial hair policies in the UDF
File size:25 MBytes (12 minutes)
File type:mp4

"Japanese submarines" by Errol Back-Cunningham
Zoomlecture given from Johannesburg on 4 March 2021, hosted by Johannesburg branch
Starting with Mitchell's demonstration of how to sink a battleship using bombs that did not need to impact the ship, Errol detailed the developments in the Japanese Navy that led to an impressive range of submarines and torpedos that became a threat to major fleets. The Japanese had been ignored when monitoring navies by the Western alliance, who were caught by surprise when they went into battle by the performance of the submarines. Some of the submarines carried and lauched aircraft from their decks while others carried midget submarines to wreak havoc in enemies harbours. One aircraft launched from a submarine was the only aircraft to successfully bomb mainland USA during the war, setting fire to forests in Oregon. Their torpedoes had a variety of propulsion methods that enabled them to run without leaving rooster tails. Well illustrated talk including references,.
Link to video file:Japanese submarines in WW2 Pt1
File size:29.1 MBytes (30 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Japanese submarines in WW2 Pt2
File size:5.5 MBytes (5 minutes)
File type:mp4

"Minesweeping in the S.A.Navy" by Captain Robert Harm
Zoomlecture given from CapeTown on 8 March 2021, hosted by SAMSEC branch
Captain Robert Harm, South African Navy (Retired)'s service included command of the minesweeper SAS East London and 147 Minesweeping Squadron. His talk focused on Naval Mines, Mine Warfare and Mine Countermeasures with emphasis on the South African Navy and included references to South Africa's Ton-class minesweepers and River-class minehunters
Link to video file:Minesweeping in the S.A.Navy
File size:29.9 MBytes (23 minutes)
File type:mp4

Book review of the autobiography "Jungle Man by Major P.L. Pretorius, CMG, DSO and Bar " by McGill Alexander
Zoomlecture given from Port Elizabeth on 29 March 2021, hosted by SAMSEC branch
An autobiography by one of Africa's greatest big game hunters and a South African soldier of note during the First World War. He carried out pioneering special forces actions, including deep reconnaissance, during the East African Campaign, serving as the Chief Scout to General Jan Smuts. He was also the vital cog in finding the German cruiser SMS Königsberg that had hidden in the Rufiji River Delta, enabling her to be crippled by the Royal Navy and forcing the captain to scuttle her. The exploits by Pretorius against the Germans paralleled those of his contemporary, Lawrence of Arabia and he ended the war highly decorated by the British government.
Link to video file:Book review Jungle Man
File size:29.9 MBytes (23 minutes)
File type:mp4

"9 SAI vs General Smuts - The repercussions of a complaint by 9 SAI in 1916" by Dr Anne Samson
Zoomlecture given from UK on 8 April 2021, hosted by Johannesburg branch
Between March and August 1916, 9 South African Infantry lost 1,200 men to disease and illness on their march from Himo to Kilosa via Kondoa Irangi in German East Africa. Their commanding officer Colonel Kirkpatrick was so shocked at the number lost that he registered an official complaint and called for an enquiry. This was ordered by Jan Smuts before he was replaced as Commander-in-Chief East Africa. The statements from the enquiry are revealing about the conditions the men found themselves having to cope with, rations, hospitalisation, transport etc. Smuts’ successor Reginald Hoskins had to deal with the outcome of the report, a week before being replaced by Jaap van Deventer as Commander-in-Chief East Africa. The political repercussions of the report for van Deventer’s command led Smuts, in London, to recommend the report be suppressed. However, the enquiry was to lead to the sending out of the Army Surgeon General William Pike and ultimately three doctors court martialled. Between them, the enquiries covering the SAMC, EAMC, IMC and RAMC show how important medical arrangements were to the successful outcome of the campaign. In particular, the enquiry into the 9SAI/Kirkpatrick complaint sheds light on a little-documented time and South African military unit.
Link to video file:9 SAI versus Jan Smuts
File size:73.4 MBytes (24 minutes)
File type:mp4

"The Caroline Incident" by Malcolm Kinghorn
Zoomlecture given from Port Elizabeth on 12 April 2021, hosted by SAMHSEC
The early use of force in self defence as embodied in International Law in the Law of Armed Conflict, also known as International Humanitarian Law, could either be preventative or pre-emptive. Preventative self defence is to neutralise a potential threat before attack is imminent or known to be planned and is not considered legitimate in International Law. Pre-emptive self defence is to neutralise a potential threat when attack is imminent and known to be planned and is considered legitimate in International Law if the necessity complies with the Caroline Test. The test states that the necessity for preemptive self-defense must be "instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation". The principle is based on the Caroline Incident on the Canada/USA border in 1837 during the Upper Canada Rebellion.
Link to video file:Caroline Incident
File size:12 MBytes (10 minutes)
File type:mp4

"South Africa’s first operational parachute drop" by McGill Alexander
Zoomlecture given from Port Elizabeth on 26 April 2021, hosted by SAMHSEC
The South African Army’s parachute capability was established in Bloemfontein in April 1961. The first South African parachute operation took place in June 1974, when a company emplaned in Bloemfontein and deployed by parachute into the Caprivi Strip to counter a large infiltration of insurgents into the area. While the operation achieved its mission, it exposed a number of shortcomings. These were addressed and by the time the Bush War ended in 1990, the SADF had developed the most potent airborne force in Africa and one of the most balanced and capable airborne formations of any comparable country in the world.
Link to video file:South Africa’s first operational parachute drop
File size:48 MBytes (22 minutes)
File type:mp4

Book review by Peter Duffel-Canham of "The Battle of Bangui by Warren Thompson, Stephen Hofstatter and James Oatway"
Zoomlecture given from Port Elizabeth on 26 April 2021, hosted by SAMHSEC
Link to video file:The Battle of Bangui
File size:15 MBytes (13 minutes)
File type:mp4

"Commemorating Private Reice Campbell, who died in Italy in 1944" by Alan Mantle
Zoomlecture given from Port Elizabeth on 10 May 2021, hosted by SAMHSEC
Private Reice Campbell was executed by the German forces in Italy and his body displayed in the village square. He had been a South African soldier that was captured in North Africa and taken to a POW camp in Italy. Upon leaving the camp he had joined up with the local partisans fighting the occupying German forces. Recently released archives had allowed his activities in Italy to be uncovered and this was published in an Italian book entitled "Una notte di guerra" by Raoul and Lorenzo Paciaroni. This talk is about the life of Private Campbell up to his death and the path Alan Mantle followed to trace his relatives, some of whom attended the lecture.
Link to video file:Private Reice Campbell
File size:69 MBytes (42 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Discussion post lecture
File size:103 MBytes (22 minutes)
File type:mp4

"The historic context of the War in Horn of Africa" by Martin Plaut
Zoomlecture given from UK on 13 May 2021, hosted by Johannesburg branch
The current war in the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray has involved states from across the Horn of Africa, including Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan.
But how should we understand Ethiopia and its closest neighbour Eritrea? The history of these states can be traced back in written records further than almost any other sub-Saharan African nation, and their soils have been trampled on by every invader from the Egyptians and Romans onwards. This has produced societies that are rich in culture but inherently unstable.
Talk included details of the German campaign to stir up the Arabs on the side Germans by Thesiger and Frobenius in a similar manner to that done by Lawrence of Arabia..
Link to video file:Context of the War in Horn of Africa part 1
File size:32 MBytes (30 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Context of the War in Horn of Africa part 2
File size:3 MBytes (3 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to pdf file:Supporting notes for lecture

"The Polish Soviet War 1919-1921" by Stefan Szewczuk
Zoomlecture given from Port Elizabeth on 14 June 2021, hosted by SAMHSEC
The Polish-Soviet War was a military conflict between Poland and Soviet Russia which lasted from 1919 to 1921.
Following World War I, Polish nationalism was sparked by the re-creation of an independent Polish state, which blocked the Bolshevik determination to carry the gains they had achieved during the Russian Civil War to Central Europe. The decisive Polish victory resulted in the establishment of the Russo-Polish border that existed until 1939.
Link to video file:The Polish Soviet War 1919-1921
File size:28 MBytes (30 minutes)
File type:mp4

"Allied Escapers in Italy: An Untold Story of WW2". by Anne Copley
Zoomlecture given from the UK on 28 June 2021, hosted by SAMHSEC
The talk focused on the Monte San Martino Trust, which commemorates the courage and compassion of Italian peasants who sheltered thousands of escaped Allied Prisoners of War (PoWs) after the Italian Armistice of September 1943.
The Trust provides bursaries for English Language study in England to young Italians, particularly those whose families had helped escapers. The Trust also has research and archive functions, ranging from preservation of original objects to research and collaboration, including with the Istituto Parri (IP), which specialises in research into anti-fascism and the Italian Resistance. The Trust has a joint project with IP to create an online portal entitled “Italy and the Allies 1939-1947”, to bring under one roof existing and new research. The first section is about PoWs, which is the Trust’s speciality..
This talk was a sequel to Alan Mantle’s zoomlectures “Italy 1943 to 1945: War and Civil War” and “Commemorating Private Reice Campbell, who died in Italy in 1944” .
Link to video file:Monte San Martino Trust part 1
File size:61 MBytes (33 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Monte San Martino Trust part 2
File size:21 MBytes (11 minutes)
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Link to video file:Discussion post lecture
File size:66 MBytes (16 minutes)
File type:mkv

"The Irredeemables: A brief story of Zonderwater Italian POW Camp and the prisoners of Special Cage (Block 8) " . by Claudia C J Fratini
Zoomlecture given from Pretoria on 8 July 2021 hosted by Johannesburg branch
Zonderwater Italian POW Camp housed approximately 100000 prisoners (of approx 170000 who were housed in South Africa) at its peak and aimed to be a model camp. With the surrender of the Italian Govt to the Allies in July 1943, a political divide occured in the camp among the prisoners, those backing the former government and those accepting the new reality. This event led to an election by the inmates to separate into the two factions with those backing the former government (approx 3000) going into their own special cage. The prisoners in the special cage produced a manuscript comprising a collection of 244 folios of artistic works which was called "In Marche" (On the March). This manuscxript was a work of art itself.
When the camp was closed in 1947 the Manuscript was saved by being smuggled out by the Chaplan, who gave it to a resident of Pretoria when he was repatriated, who looked after it for 18 years until the Chaplain could return to South Africa. The Chaplain then gave the manuscript to the Italian Chaplain of a Catholic Church in Pretoria who transferred it 22 years later to the Zonderwater Museum .
Claudia's talk also detailed some of the folios in the manuscript.
Link to video file:Zonderwater part 1
File size:32 MBytes (28 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Zonderwater part 2
File size:22 MBytes (21 minutes)
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"A Historiography of Warfare with particular reference to the Anglo-Boer War." by Robin Smith
Zoomlecture given from Howick on 12 July 2021 hosted by SAMSEC branch
The lecture covers some of the important literature of the Anglo Boer War 1899-1902. This seminal event in South Africa's history was documented shortly after the war by two multi-volume accounts, The Times History of the War in South Africa 1899-1902 and the (official) History of the War in South Africa 1899-1902. The genesis of these two works is covered in the talk. Both of them took nine years to write and both may be considered to be of historical integrity. The first was under the auspices of The Times, at that time a national institution with a disproportionate influence over British political and cultural life. It is a lively account and formed the basis of author Leo Amery's campaign for revolutionary reform of the British army. The official history contains little that would be controversial but its production was plagued by delays because of wrangles with the Treasury and the forced retirement of its editor, Major-General Sir Frederick Maurice. The two works were both considered to be historical works of great national importance. Only seventy years later was another chronological and comprehensive account written, The Boer War by a controversial Irish author, Thomas Pakenham. This book revived interest in the war and brought forth a flood of new material over the next few years to the centenary of the war and after..'
Link to video file:Historiography of Warfare part 1
File size:52 MBytes (27 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Historiography of Warfare part 2
File size:55 MBytes (23 minutes)
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"The Polish Children's Home in Oudtshoorn 1943 to 1947" by Stefan Szewczuk
Zoomlecture given from Port Elizabeth on 26 July 2021, hosted by SAMHSEC
Following the German invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, Russia invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. Between 10 February 1940 and 20 June 1941, 1.7 million Polish citizens were deported to Siberia. With the outbreak of German-Russian hostilities in June 1941, the surviving deportees were released to make their own way to freedom. The Union of South Africa Government agreed to accept 500 Polish orphans, accompanied by 10 adults, who were accommodated in the Polish Children's Home in Oudtshoorn, where they arrived on 10 April 1943. The Home was closed in 1947.
Link to video file:The Polish Children's Home in Oudtshoorn
File size:26 MBytes (17 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Discussion after lecture
File size:63 MBytes (12 minutes)
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"Kenneth Graham Gillings 1947 - 2016" by Graeme Fuller
Zoomlecture given from Durban on 12 Aug 2021 hosted by Johannesburg branch
A Personal Reminiscence and Tribute from his friend Graeme Fuller
Link to video file:Ken Gillings remembered part 1
File size:49 MBytes (34 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Ken Gillings remembered part 2
File size:29 MBytes (19 minutes)
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"Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in war and peace " by Professor Ian Copley
Zoomlecture given from Port Elizabeth on 30 August 2021 hosted by SAMHSEC
Ian Copley is a neurosurgeon with operational experience as a surgeon in the British, Rhodesian and South African armies.
His talk discusses the differences between acute and chronic stress, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after head injuries, the mechanism, complications and consequences of PTSD, the causes and treatment of shell-shock after the Battle of the Somme and the modern criteria for PTSD.
Link to video file:Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in war and peace
File size:31 MBytes (18 minutes)
File type:mp4

"SA German Internment at Fort Napier during WW1" by Johann Ahlers
Zoomlecture given from Pretoria on 9 September 2021 hosted by Johannesburg Branch
Shortly after the Anglo Boer War ended, South Africa became embroiled in the first World War as part of the British Commonwealth. The population of South Africa was split about becoming involved and a rebellion situation arose. After stamping out the rebellion the South African Government decided to intern all citizens of German origin and sympathies. 4000 civilians were interned in Fort Napier. Johann's grandfather was one of these civilians who objected strongly during the internment and led a local revolt burning down part of the camp and being imprisoned as a result. Johann traced the history of the German influence in South Africa as well as the rebellion and the internment. Included in the talk were photos of reaction of South African public to the sinking of the Lusitania.
Link to video file:Internment at Fort Napier Pt1
File size:96 MBytes (36 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Internment at Fort Napier Pt2
File size:105 MBytes (35 minutes)
File type:mp4

"Wounded Warriors” by McGill Alexander
Zoomlecture given from Port Elizabeth on 13 September 2021 hosted by SAMHSEC
The lecture takes a look at some exceptional maimed men of war who rose to significant heights in their respective armies during the first half of the 20th Century. One was from a cultured Spanish family (Major General Millan Astray) and went on to found a foreign legion. Another was a Belgian aristocrat (Lt Gen Adrian Carton de Wiart) who won the VC and became a British general officer. The third was a British-born part-time South African officer (Brig E.P Hartshorn) who rose to the rank of brigadier and commanded a brigade in the Second World War. All of them fought in several wars, led their soldiers from the front, received multiple wounds, lost a limb and two of them also lost an eye. Yet all continued to serve with distinction in battle and were highly decorated.
Link to video file:Wounded Warriors Pt1
File size:42 MBytes (16 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Wounded Warriors Pt2
File size:26 MBytes (23 minutes)
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“The Elizabeth Salt Saga 1819-2021: Myth and Reality” by Pat Irwin
Zoomlecture given from Grahamstown on 11 October 2021 hosted by SAMHSEC
This talk examines the relationship between what has been claimed for Elizabeth Salt, and what might actually have taken place. The core of the myth is of a woman, the wife of one of the British Soldiers, carrying ammunition through amaXhosa lines during the Battle of Graham’s Town in April 1819. This belief is opened to scrutiny based on verifiable evidence.
Link to video file:The Elizabeth Salt Saga
File size:61 MBytes (39 minutes)
File type:mp4

"Almost entirely a medical war: The South African Medical Corps in East Africa, 1940-1941” by Prof Ian van der Waag
Zoomlecture given from Stellenbosch on 14 October 2021 hosted by Johannesburg Branch
A key part of any military campaign is the support provided by the medical services for the campaign forces. The talk detailed the medical resources that were assembled for the campaign in Abyssinia under the direction of the Director of Medical Services Brig Orenstein. Based on past experience from WW1 campaigns in East Africa, many battle casualties were expected, but that turned out to be the least of the medical issues that the service had to address. Jan Smuts commented in 1941 that "our losses were ridulously small". The talk covered how the medical services had to deal mainly with non-battle casualties. The talk includes detailed graphs showing the different issues that had to be healed, and compared them with issues in other theatres of the war involving the South African forces.
Link to video file:Medical Corps in East Africa Pt1
File size:55 MBytes (32 minutes)
File type:mp4
Link to video file:Medical Corps in East Africa Pt2
File size:13 MBytes (8 minutes)
File type:mp4


South African Military History Society / scribe@samilitaryhistory.org