Western Australia News
115 Year Boer War Service held in Kings Park, Perth
Today the Boer War Memorial Society of Western Australia held the Boer War Service in Kings Park, Perth. It signifies 115 years since the signing of the Vereeniging Peace Treaty in 1902. Once again, we were blessed with a beautiful warm and sunny day. It is always a very special Service, not only because it is part of our South African Heritage, but special effort is made by all to dress in period costume.
The Boer War Memorial Association had the guard of Honour dressed in traditional uniforms, and a wreath was laid by a cavalryman with his horse. Our own Ron Fouche was dressed in traditional Boer outfit, along with his Mauser and bandolier.
Dr Charl Crous (APM) gave the Commemorative Address. Veteran Ian Higley laid the wreath on behalf of Samvoa.
Veteran Garth Pienaar gave the Reconciliation Speech, specifically about the efforts of Emily Hobhouse. The singing of Sarie Marais ended what was a moving Service.
A beautiful sunny Autumn day in Perth was welcomed for our inaugural Service.
The Service was held, firstly to remember our fallen soldiers from the many wars that South Africa has been involved in but more specifically from the Border War (1966 to 1989). And secondly, to pay homage to Australia, our new home where we have been accepted with open arms.
Today is the Sunday closest to the ‘old Republic Day’ traditionally celebrated on the 31st May and felt that we needed to balance the spiritual aspects as well. I have vivid memories of my time in the SADF where every day was started with a bible reading and a prayer. I have also been privileged to be invited to the British Airborne Forces Service for the last few years, to commemorate the Battle of Arnhem, and had the opportunity to introduce some aspects of their Service.
We reached out to the Trinity Uniting Church where an Afrikaans service is held on the last Sunday of each month, which some of our members attend. Trinity, built in 1865, is a beautiful traditional brick church right in the heart of the City. Reverend Dr Herman Nienaber is South African and this afforded us the opportunity to build a bridge to his congregation. We are also lucky to have our own Reverend John Maddocks (ex-44 Parachute Brigade), who is a recently ordained priest in the Anglican Church.
We planned the Service to be bilingual and have both of them share, in what turned out to be quite a moving ‘military-themed’ service. We also invited our friends from the Rhodesian Services Association to attend.
Veterans dressed in their Samvoa No 1’s did not disappoint with all of them looking extremely ‘paraat’. Standing outside the church at 10:25, one could hear the strains of the bagpipes being played from inside the church by Captain Doug Gillespie and his son, Cadet L/Corporal Jack Gillespie dressed in their full Scottish regalia. Doug is a Scotsman and did his service in the British Parachute Regiment.
The Samvoa and Rhodesian standard bearers (Ian Higley and Doug Riddle respectively) carried the standards at a slow march while the pipers played Amazing Grace. Rev John Maddocks did the dedication of the Standards.
It turned out to be a moving Service, with a personal story conveyed by Rev Nienaber about the effects of the Second World War on a member of his own family, as well as the impact of Mkonto We Sizwe’s Amanzimtoti bombing in 1985.
The key message is that “one day there will be No More War”, but although the effects of war are terrible, what would the world look like today if there was no resistance, for example the German onslaught in 1939 or the Soviets during the cold war. We needed soldiers that were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice so that people could sleep peacefully at night.
The main reading was from The Gospel of St John, chapter 15:13 – “Greater love has no-one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”.
The readings from the scripture were done by Veterans Garth Pienaar and Ben Opperman.
Veteran Dave Stevenson recited The Ode followed by Cadet L/Corporal Jack Gillespie playing The Last Post on the bugle, and a minute’s silence and then the playing of The Reveille.
The standard bearers then collected the banners from Rev John Maddocks before marching out of the church, again to the strains of the bagpipes.
The formal Service ended with a stirring solo by “Keep the Home Fires Burning”.
The veterans then formed up outside the Church, standing to attention to pay respects to the victims of the recent Manchester Bombing, and the victims of the Coptic Church massacre in Egypt (April 2017) – followed by The Last Post.
The event was concluded by the bagpipes and followed by an informal get together in the Church Hall for refreshments laid on by the team of volunteers from the Church.
Reverend Nienaber has asked us to make this an annual event, and we will take him up on the offer!
Eendracht Maakt Magt (Unity is Strength)
The ANZAC 2017 march was well attended by members of Samvoa-WA, and the weather played along when the march took place in St.Georges Terrace, the mainstreet of Perth. Die 2017 Anzac mars deur St. Georges Terrace, die hoofstraat van Perth, was goed bygewoon deur lede van Samvoa-WA
SMVOA Western Australia’s 5th Annual Mess Dinner
Saturday, 15 October 2016
RSL Club Belmont, Perth
Tickets to this year’s Formal mess Dinner sold out in record time, reflecting the high regard for this years Guests of Honour, former SADF Sergeant Major of the Army,
WO1 Koos Moorcroft and his wife Isobelle, affectionately known as “Issie.”
This was SAMVOA WA’s 5th Formal Mess Dinner and by all accounts, our most successful.
We thank those veterans who travelled from the Eastern States to be with us and the WA Veterans and their wives for attending.
Former S/Major Moorcroft provided us with a most interesting and enlightening speech covering some instances of his illustrious military career and current day anti-poaching efforts in Namibia.
We thank all those involved in making this evening a most memorable occasion and look forward to next year’s Formal Mess Dinner. We wish S/Major Moorcroft and Issie a safe trip back to South Africa and thank them for making the effort to visit us here in Perth.
100 Year Anniversary: Battle of Delville Wood / 100-Jarige Herdenking: Slag van Delville Bos [Longueval]
On Wednesday, 20 July 2016, exactly 100 years to the day that the remnants of the 1st South African Infantry Brigade left the Wood after 6 day and 5 nights of hell, the Veterans of SAMVOA Western Australia held a Battle of Delville Wood Commemorative Service at the Flame of Remembrance in Kings Park, Perth.
Distinguished Guests included Her Excellency, the Governor of Western Australia Kerry Sanderson AC, the Vice President of the RSL WA, Mr Denis Connelly, The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Michael Sutherland MLA, various other Members of Parliament , the Lord Mayor of Perth Lisa-M Scaffidi, the Honorary Consuls of Britain, France and South Africa, representatives of the Australian Army, Navy and Royal Air Force, as well as from the WA Police Service and others.
This was in honour and memory of the men who fought at the Battle of Delville Wood, one of the bloodiest battles of World War One and a battle where the fighting qualities and tenacity of the South African soldier was born.
The battle formed part of the Battle of the Somme, and commenced on 15TH JULY 1916, when the 1st South African Brigade, comprising 4 Regiments,
- 1st South African Infantry (made up of volunteers from the Cape Province),
- 2nd South African Infantry (volunteers from Natal & the Orange Free State provinces)
- 3rd South African Infantry (volunteers from the Transvaal & Rhodesia) and the
- 4th South African Infantry (an amalgamation of the South African Scottish Regiments)
under the command of Brigadier General H.T. Lukin were ordered to: “Attack, Occupy and hold the Wood at all costs.”
The casualties sustained by this Brigade were of catastrophic proportions, yet they managed to hold the Wood as ordered. This feat has been described as "...the bloodiest battle hell of 1916." - [Source: Liddell-Hart, Basil, H. (1970). History of the First World War p. 324
An extract from the official history reads as follows:
'The six days and five nights during which the South African Brigade held the most difficult post on the British front - a corner of death on which the enemy fire was concentrated at all hours from three sides, and into which fresh German troops, vastly superior in number to the defence, made periodic incursions only to be driven back - constitute an epoch of terror and glory scarcely equalled in the campaign. There were positions as difficult, but they were not held so long; there were cases of as protracted a defence; but the assault was not so violent and continuous.. The high value the enemy set upon Delville Wood is proved by the fact that he used his best troops against it ... The South Africans measured their strength against the flower of the German army, and did not draw back from the challenge."
As a feat of human daring and fortitude the fight is worthy of eternal remembrance by South Africa and Britain.
At midnight on 14 July, when General Lukin received his orders, the Brigade numbered 121 officers and 3 032 men. When Lt Col Thackeray marched out on the 20th, he had a remnant of 143, and the total ultimately assembled was about 750.'
To place their actions in perspective. At the time any brigade that lost 30% of their strength would be considered as unable to continue to fight. The South African brigade lost up to 80 % of their numbers and they continued fighting.
Australians and South Africans have much in common –their ancestors having come from Europe, all having Christian values, all exceptional horsemen, sharp shooters and independently minded. All loved the veld and the outback and had made new life’s in distant lands, with their own unique character, which they called home.
They are all extremely competitive by nature and play to win.
These are probably some of the reasons why South Africans assimilate so easily into the “Australian way of life” and why Australia is now a country that former South African soldiers now also proudly call home.
"Gewond, maar nie oorwonne nie. Wounded, but not conquered."
Honoured and privileged to have taken part in the 114th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging here in Perth, where we honoured the memory of our forefathers who took on the might of the British Empire and remembered the women and children who suffered in the concentration camps.
Anzac 2016. Die parade is baie goed ondersteun deur SAMVOA lede. Dit was egter 'n nat parade. Lede is baie welkom om fotos te stuur vir plasing. This particular parade was well supported by SAMVOA members. It was also a wet parade, as Perth received a good drenching during the parade. Members are most welcome to send photos to be uploaded.
This yearly meeting - the Mess Dinner - has become very popular with SAMVOA members. SAMVOA WA was truly treated with the presence of the founder of SAMVOA, Veteran Tony Macquet MMM attending this very succesful evening. Die jaarlikse funksie - die Menasie Dinee - het baie gewild geword onder SAMVOA lede. Die stigter van SAMVOA - Veteraan Tony SAMVOA WA wat die funksie bygewoon het, het kleur en status verleen aan 'n baie suksesvolle funksie.
Callie Roos, oud-verkennings operateur ["Recce"] en huidige voorsitter, het SAMVOA - Wes-Australie besoek. Die byeenkoms was baie goed bygewoon en Callie het 'n baie insiggewende praatjie en skyfie-vertoning gelewer oor die keuringsproses van hierdie beroemde Suid-Afrikaanse eenheid. Wat ook opvallend was is die nederige en opregte mens wat Callie is, iemand wat die pad gestap het en uit 'n perspektief van jare se ondervinding die SAMVOA lede geinspireer het. Ou vriendskappe is ook weer versterk in die proses.
Callie Roos - old Recce operator and chairperson paid a visit to SAMVOA Western Australia. He also delivered a very informative talk as well as a pictorial into the insights of this famous South African unit. Old friendships where also strengthened in the process. The humbleness and honesty that Callie portrayed, somebody who has “walked the walk” over many years - inspired all those present on the night.
General Roland de Vries presented Ian Higley with his General Service medal, which was long overdue. Congratulations Ian!
SAMVOA WA members and General Roland de Vries spent some time together at this well known Perth restaurant. Thank you to all those members who attended and to you General de Vries for your insight and inspiration. It is great having you as a member of SAMVOA WA.
On Thursday, 18th December 2014, five former soldiers of the SADF were presented their long overdue medals by the legendary former OC of 61 Mechanised Battalion and former Major General, Roland de Vries at a ceremony held by SAMVOA WA at the RSL Club in Belmont, Perth.
The medal recipients were:
- Veteran Braam Coetzee
- Veteran Sean Pumbaa Badrian
- Veteran Timothy Chadwick
- Veteran Johan Jankowitz
- Veteran Jan du Plessis
One of the Veterans drove for over 3 hours to attend the parade and all were extremely honoured by the fact that General de Vries so kindly agree to pin their medals to their chests.
(Click on the image to view the gallery)
The SAMVOA WA Bayonet of Excellence 2014 was awarded to Veteran Garth Pienaar, SAMVOA National Vice Chairman and SAMVOA WA Regional Chairman, for his outstanding contributions, excellence and dedication to SAMVOA.
The award was presented to Garth by the legendary Major General (Rtd) Roland de Vries. Roland added that "how I came to know SAMVOA Western Australia - as a dynamic organisation who uses common purpose and their emphasis on remembrance to focus energy, as a kinship where responsibility is shared by all members... where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Well done, Garth!"
Unbeknownst to Garth, the SAMVOA WA Formal Mess Committee had secretly teamed up with Roland de Vries, and in a surprise manoeuvre, presented the award to Garth on the night of Roland's visit to SAMVOA WA.
SAMVOA Veterans from the WA region were back in the dust and the sand this year with a trip to Wilbinga, just north of Perth. Wilbinga is one of the rare locations near metro Perth where you can legally drive amongst the sand dunes and get onto the beach line. The trek is suitable for most levels of experience.
The manne enjoyed reminiscing around the camp fire once again, and it certainly was a most enjoyable weekend away. Many thanks to Veteran Ben Opperman for the planning and arrangements. We'll certainly be back for another weekend away soon!
(Click on the image to view the gallery)
The Bugle for SAMVOA Member of the Year has been awarded to Veteran Donovan Roets.
SAMVOA Vice-Chairman Veteran Garth Pienaar presented the award during the WA regional meeting held on the 13th of November 2012, saying: "This is the result of many hours of hard work, unselfish cost and dedication by Veteran Donovan Roets, and on behalf of SAMVOA nationally and all WA Veterans, I would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to Donovan for his creativity and vision in recognising that our old website needed a serious makeover and then, doing something about it.
We now have a website that we can all be extremely proud of and it will only get better in time.
The Bugle is presented to Veteran Donovan Roets as a token of our esteem, and in recognition of his dedication to duty and undaunting dedication to the ideals of SAMVOA. This presentation recognises his substantial input into establishing the SAMVOA National Website and for maintaining this to the high standard it continues to achieve."
The SAMVOA website was redesigned from the ground up and relaunched on the 1st of May 2012.
"The goal was to create a website that has a contemporary and user friendly design, but one that also has a dignified and respectful presence", Donovan says. "May this website represent everything we so proudly stand for, and may all those who gaze upon her wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, and how fiercely we loved."
A Medal Parade was held at the monthly meeting of the SAMVOA Veterans on
Tuesday, 13 March 2012.
The four recipients were:
- Veteran Shaun Porter - Pro Patria and Southern Africa Medals
- Veteran Ian Higley - Pro Patria and Unitas Medals
- Veteran Deon Booysen – General Service and Unitas Medals
- Veteran Robert Williams – General Service Medal
The following message from Veteran Paul Roos, SAMVOA Public Relations and
Liaison Officer was read out during the ceremony:
"Just a short note of CONGRATULATIONS on the awarding of well deserved, if
long overdue, Campaign and Service Medals to Ian, Shaun, Deon and Rob.
This is an honoured tradition that has stood the test of time – the recognition of a
man's deeds and service to his country, by an appropriate symbol of recognition by
his fellow man, and in this case his brothers in arms.
Ian, a very dear friend and ex-work colleague, I would have loved to be there this
evening to celebrate your awards mate, however these few words will have to suffice
Congratulations – I salute you Sir, as well as the other recipients- you have done your
country, your family and your Veterans proud."
Congratulations Gentlemen – wear your medals with Pride.
(Click on the image to view the presentation gallery)
A large and very interesting collection of Boer War, WWI and WWII, Korean, and Border War memorabilia is on display at the RSL Club in Belmont, WA (click here for address).
The collection includes rare militaria from all the major conflicts that the South African Forces have participated in; many of the items being personal belongings which have all been donated by SAMVOA Veterans who have seen action during the Border War.
If you would like to view the collection, or perhaps have something of interest to donate, then kindly contact Veteran Garth Pienaar for further information (click here for contact details).
(Click on the image to view the gallery)