History

 

 

The military history of Kimberley is currently under research. The following snippets serve to whet your appetite for what is to come.  The history will be updated as the research results become available. Please feel free to contact us if you have any material available. 

 

All Afrikaans articles are being translated into English and will shortly appear. If the English or Afrikaans sounds strange to you, it is because it was reproduced exactly as it had been written. Some of the documents were written in the 1960’s.  Eventually we hope to produce a document  which includes all the Military history of Kimberley.

 

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Capt Jack Hindon

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Danie Theron Combat School

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Capt Henri Slegtkamp

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11 Commando

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Physical Training Brigade

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SAAF in Kimberley

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The Cape Corps

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1 Maintenance Unit

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Kimberley Commando

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Kimberley Regiment

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Elizabeth Conradie school

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Jack Hindon Officer's Club

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Captain Jack Hindon

 

 

Captain Oliver John (Jack) HINDON, (1874-1919) Boer scout. Born in England, he joined the British Army as a drummer boy and at the age of 14 went to South Africa when his regiment was transferred to Zululand. Because of ill-treatment by his sergeant-major, he and some other boys deserted. In 1888 he moved to the Transvaal and settled at Wakkerstroom as a mason, where he soon became an accomplished builder. He identified himself with the Boers of the Transvaal Republic and served voluntarily in the campaign against Jameson in 1895, after which he obtained full Transvaal citizenship. He joined the Middleburg commando soon after and took service with the Z.A.R.P. (Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek Politie) as a member of the Rijdende Politie.

When the South African War broke out in October 1899, he went to Natal with the Z.A.R.P. Hindon took part in Talana (20 October 1899) and was present at the skirmishes at Bulwana (30 October 1899) and Chieveley (15 November 1899). Two days later, when the war council decided to besiege Weenen, it was Hindon who cut the telegraph line to Estcourt and demanded the surrender of the town from the magistrate. The Boer forces did not follow this up, but at the end of November, Hindon undertook entirely on his own the task of reconnoitering the British forts on Devonshire Hill, situated between Lombardskop and Ladysmith. However, it was on 20 January 1900, shortly before the battle of Spioenkop (24 January 1900) that Hindon distinguished himself, when together with H.F. Slegtkamp, H. de Roos and a handful of men, he occupied a hill in the Tabanyama Mountains. They resisted murderous British artillery and small-arms fire for several hours. Hindon also did valuable reconnaissance work at Pietershoogte, during the night of 25 February 1900, on the day before the final battle and during the Boer retreat to Biggarsberg.

In June 1900 he joined Danie Theron's scout corps and found himself in the Orange Free State, where he was to take part in an attack on a British convoy between Kroonstad and Lindley on 18 June 1900. However, the failure of Gen. P.D. de Wet to arrive at the appointed time ruined this undertaking. On 26 and 27 June Hindon was involved in fighting near Lindley, before moving to the vicinity of Bethlehem. A new phase of Hindon's participation in the war followed, when he was appointed head of a corps intended to disrupt the British lines of communication. He also plundered British trains in the Free State and south-western Transvaal during July and August. In September he again did reconnaissance work and among other things, carried reports from Gen. C.R. de Wet to Gen. Louis Botha. Above all, he devoted himself to derailing trains in this period. In October he was promoted captain with instructions to call up a corps of fifty men, and he soon became a great hindrance to the British along the eastern railway. One of the trains he derailed in January 1901 was carrying Lord Kitchener from Pretoria to Middelburg and on 22 February 1901 he severed Colonel W.P. Campbell's telegraph communication with Middelburg, so as to make possible an attack by Botha the following day. During July and August Hindon was engaged along the northern railway, and on 9 August he was involved in a fierce fight near Naboomspruit station. Eighteen days later he received orders from Gen. C. Muller to plunder a British train in order to obtain ammunition, and he managed to succeed in doing so. On 31 August 1901 he again derailed a train between Waterval and Hammanskraal and looted a large quantity of British provisions. On this occasion Lt-Col C.F.S. Vandeleur was killed after a short skirmish with Boer forces. Lord Kitchener's threat to place Boer women and children at the head of trains and the erection of blockhouses along the railways made Hindon decide that he would devote himself to punitive raids on Africans who allegedly molested [sic] Boer families. Among those he attacked were a number of Africans at Botsabelo Mission.

From the beginning of 1902 until the conclusion of peace, Hindon's corps was involved in a number of skirmishes on the Highveld whilst being mercilessly hunted by the enemy between the lines of blockhouses. Hindon's part in the war came to an end when he contracted fever. On 23 February 1903 he married an Afrikaans woman, Martha Pauline Coetzee. They had no children. After spending several years with his wife in the U.S.A. and Holland Hindon eventually became paralysed; unable to walk during the last five years of his life, he finally died in poverty, in the house and arms of "Gerrie" Wassenaar (the wife of John Wassenaar, with whom Hindon fought during the War).

The original Alexandersfontein Hotel was a simple structure, situated on the old main road to the Cape and occupied by Boer forces during the siege.
At Rhodes's instigation this was replaced in 1902 by a luxury hotel which served also as weekend resort for the wealthier inhabitants of Kimberley and Beaconsfield. Once one of the country's three finest hotels, it is now used by the SA National Defence as the Jack Hindon Officers' Club.

 

 

Captain Henri Slegtkamp       

 

 

Name: Captain Hendrik Frederik Slegtkamp
Born: 19 April 1873 Beverwijk, Netherlands
Died: 2 February 1951 Middelburg, Transvaal

Lifestory:
Captain Hendrik Frederik Slegtkamp had a very restless nature and was always looking for adventure.  As a young man he was already fighting in the ZAR against hostile black tribes.  He also was in the force that stopped the Jameson invasion during 1895/1896.

At the beginning of the war, he joined the Middelburg Commando and went to Natal.  With the Battle of Spioenkop, Slegtkamp and Jack Hindon became heroes to be remembered always.  In the middle of the battle they hoisted the joint war flag of the Republics on the hill and caused the English forces to delay their attack.

After this he fought with the Irish Brigade in the Free State under Colonel Blake. In May 1900 he joined the reconnaissance corps of Danie Theron.  After the death of Danie Theron, he moved to the Eastern Transvaal where he became a lieutenant in Captain Jack Hindon’s reconnaissance corps.

Till the end of the war he specialized in the destruction of trains and railways.  After the surrender of Captain Jack Hindon on 16 Mai 1902, he became captain of the korps.

After the peace accord he left for the Netherlands for a short while, but soon found himself back in the Transvaal. He eventually became a general in the Ossewabrandwag.

He died in Middelburg, Transvaal on 2 February 1951.

Naam: Kaptein Hendrik Frederik Slegtkamp
Gebore: 19 April 1873 Beverwijk, Nederland
Oorlede: 2 Februarie 1951 Middelburg, Transvaal

Lewensverhaal:
Kaptein Hendrik Frederik Slegtkamp se lewe is gekenmerk deur sy rustelose geaardheid en soeke na avontuur.
So vind ons hom dan ook reeds as jongman in die ZAR waar hy in verskeie togte teen vyandige swart stamme deelneem. Hy was ook deel van die mag wat Jameson se inval van 1895/1896 gestuit het.

 

Met die begin van die oorlog sluit hy homself aan by die Middelburgse kommando en vertrek na Natal. Met die Slag van Spioenkop maak hy en Jack Hindon vir hulself naam wat vir ewig onthou so word. Te midde van gevegte het hulle die gesamentlike oorlogsvlag van die Republieke op die kop gehys en vertraag as gevolg hiervan die Engelse magte vir 'n wyle.

 

Hierna veg hy saam met die Ierse Brigade in die Vrystaat onder kol. Blake tot Mei 1900 waar hy aansluit by Danie Theron se verkennerskorps. Na die dood van Danie Theron vertrek hy na die Oos-Transvaal saam met 4 ander mans waar hy luitenant word in Kaptein Jack Hindon se verkennerskorps.

 

Vir die res van die oorlog sou hy 'n meester word in die opblaas van treine en treinspore. Na Kaptein Jack Hindon se oorgawe op 16 Mei 1902 het hy kaptein van die korps geword.

 

Met die sluiting van vrede is hy vir 'n kort tyd terug na Nederland, maar bevind hom spoedig weer in die Transvaal. Later jare was hy 'n generaal in die Ossewabrandwag.

 

Hy is oorlede in Middelburg Transvaal op 2 Februarie 1951.

 

Physical Training Brigade         

The turn of the wheel

1940-1945: 21 Air School. Uniforms, uniforms and more uniforms. Many aircraft droning overhead on overhead on training flights. This was a period of war.

February: 1946—.31st March, 1950: The Physical Training Brigade. Blick-block-Blick-Block ... eyes right ...Mens Sana in Corpore Sano - A sound mind in a sound body. Seven hundred boys and one hundred and eighty-six staff members. There is technical training in a variety of trades; commercial courses and a full academic education from standard six to standard ten. Physical education is of paramount importance.

1st April, 1950 -31st December, 1967: Boys' School for the Physically Handicapped; Girls: School for the Physically Handicapped, and Vocational High School are inaugurated. The first two schools are combined to form the Elizabeth Conradie School. Alexandersfontein School for Epileptics is inaugurated. Technical High School closes and is replaced by the Industrial School for Boys. Diskobolos is now a complex of Special Schools.

1st January 1968:  Blick-block-Blick-block ... eyes left ... The Alexandersfoniein School for Epileptics is transferred to Springs and the Industrial School for Boys is closed. The Commando Training School moves in.

However, the Elizabeth Conradie School remains.

As soon as our new school has been built we shall move, leaving our buildings and grounds to be used for the purpose for which they were originally intended .Blick-block-Blick-block . . . eves front.

Bron: Elizabeth Conradie Jaarboek 19??

Physical Training Battalion

 

On his (Danie Craven, yes, the Springbok)) return to South Africa he was seconded to Defence Headquarters in Pretoria after which he became head of the Physical Training branch of the SA Military College. In 1941 he was appointed Commanding Officer of the Physical Training Battalion with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and when his battalion was demilitarized and transferred to Kimberley in 1946, he was appointed its Director.

 

Boodskap van Prof. Dr. D. H. Craven - Stigter en Oud-Direkteur van die Brigade

 

Graag voldoen ek aan die versoek om 'n woordjie, deur middel van die laaste ,,Diskobolos," aan die L.O.B. te rig. Alhoewel ek nie meer aan die L.O.B. behoort nie, is ek soos al die personeellede en seuns wat die plek al verlaat het, nog uiters lief vir 'n organisasie wat so baie lief en leed geken het, terwille van die talle seuns wat vandag hul plekke reeds volstaan in ons land. Die L.O.B. het gekom waar hy vandag is om twee redes: Ons wat hom help opbou het, het in die L.O.B. geglo en wat ons gedoen het, het ons gedoen bloot terwille van die seuns, met ander woorde ons eie voordeel moes op die agtergrond geskuiwe word. Ek weet hierdie twee pilare waarop die L.O.B. gebou is, sal hom in die toekoms vergesel. Wat ookal die gedaante van die L.O.B. gaan wees, of onder watter naam hy ook al bekend sal staan, sal hierdie twee pilare steeds sy behoud wees. Onthou moet word, dat dit nie die eerste keer in sy geskiedenis is dat die L.O.B. van gedaante of naam verander me. Telkens gaan so 'n verandering met ’n sekere mate van risiko gepaard, maar die L.O.B. bestaan reeds te lank en is te sterk om op hierdie stadium wesenlik affekteer te word.

Toe die ,,K" Peletons losgeruk is van die S.D.B. het dit vir die eerste keer sy eie naam gekry: voorheen was dit die Junior Kompame van die S.D.B. en was dit ook nie eers die hele kompanie nie, maar deel daarvan.   Maar die ..K" Peletons, wat vir 'n honderd seuns voorsiening gemaak het, was spoedig te klein. Dit was sukses wat hom te klein gemaak het. Die gevolg hiervan was dat die ,,K" Peletons ’n tweede keer heeltemal verander is, sy doelstellings en personeel omskep is, en 'n nuwe rigting ingeslaan is onder die naam van die Liggaams-Oefening Bataljon (L.O.B.). Weer was die L.O.B. 'n reuse-sukses.

Met, die vredesverklaring- het ’n hewige stryd oor die L.O.B. plaasgevind. Die gevolg was 'n derde gedaanteverwisseling. Die L.O.B. is verburgerlik en onder Unie-Onderwys geplaas. Die naam is gedeeltelik verander; die Bataljon het plek gemaak vir Brigade, maar die L.O.B. het bly staann. Alhoewel hierdie verandering  van die L.O.B. gepaard gegaan het met 'n verhuising na Kimberley het die L.O.B. tog weer presteer en homself wel deeglik laat geld in die opvoedkundige wêreld.  Maar soos die L.O.B. van die verlede telkens ryp geword liet vir lets anders so het die noodlot hom nou weer in 'n ander rigting gelei.

Die werk van die L.O.B. is so enig van sy soort dat geen binne- of buitelandse opvoedkundige stelsel  geraadpleeg kan word nie.  Die tyd self leer die L.O.B. watter rigting om in te slaan en hy voel sy nuwe rigtings eenvoudig aan wanneer hoogtes bereik is. As hoogtes nie bereik is nie, sou die ou rigting ook nie bekend en afgehandel gewees het nie. En hoogtes is bereik as gevolg- van harde werk van personeel, omdat hulle in die werk glo en alles terwille van die seuns doen. As op hierdie beginsels voortgearbei word, sal nog meer nuwe hoogtes bereik en nuwe rigtings ingeslaan moet word. Die L.O.B. het dus nog nie aan die einde van sy ontwikkeling gekom nie.  Hy sal voortgaan om te ontwikkel en dis ook reg. As hy die dag ophou om te ontwikkel en hoogtes te bereik op die gebied wat binne. sy bestek val, sal daar iets met hom skeel.  Maar die verlede is die waarborg vir die toekoms. Dis hierdie toekoms van die L.O.B., die nuwe hoogtes wat hy sal bereik, die nuwe rigting wat hy sal inslaan wat steeds die brandende belangstelling van alle ,,oud-stryders" op hierdie gebied sal geniet en daarmee ook ons volle ondersteuning.

Bron: Diskobolos 1949

 

Elizabeth Conradie School         

‘n Nederige begin

Dit was 'n unieke onderneming van die Departemente Verdediging, Gesondheid en Arbeid om seuns, wat liggaamlik ongeskik was, maar hulle vir militêre diens by die Spesiale Diensbataljon aangemeld het, in 1939 in spesiale pelotons te groepeer te Voortrekkerhoogte. Die grootste inisiatief in hierdie verband is geneem deur mnr. Kuschke, destydse sekretaris van Volkswelsyn. Ter ere van hom is hierdie die K-pelotons genoem. Vroeg in 1941 het hierdie pelotons reeds tot 'n bataljon aangegroei — die bekende Liggaamsoefeningbataljon wat vanaf 1942 onder aanvoering van majoor Danie Craven groot roem sou verwerf met hulle vertonings van liggaamlike fiksheid.

Die tenteskool

In September 1942 het hierdie bataljon ook 'n skool geword. Veelbewoë was die eerste dae van die Juniorhoërskool by Voortrekkerhoogte. Hierdie seuns wou aanvanklik nie skoolgaan nie. Vindingryk het hulle weerstand gebied deur o.a. kortsluitings in die kragtoevoer te bewerkstellig om aandstudie vry te spring. Die skoolhoof, mnr. M. C. Erasmus, ons huidige Direkteur van Onderwys, en sy personeel van nege, moes aanvanklik skoolhou in tente. Hulle het oor geen of weinig skolastiese inligting aangaande hulle leerlinge beskik. Teen 1945 was daar egter 'n spogskool met 660 seuns en 32 onderwysers.

Die Nuwe L.O.B.

Vredesluiting het groot veranderinge vir die L.O.B teweeggebring. Vroeg in 1946 verhuis die skool sak en pak in vier spesiale treine na 'n ou militêre kamp by die Kimberleyse lughawe. Die poskantoor hier word Diskobolos gedoop en ’n nuwe naam, wat baie mense laat gis, word gebore. Die voormalige Unie- onderwysdepartement neem beheer van die skool oor. Alle militêre verbintenisse word verbreek en die skool word die Liggaamlike Opvoedingsbrigade. Dr. Danie Craven was die Direkteur en mnr. M. C. Erasmus was die Assistent-direkteur van die nuwe L.O.B. Die 166 personeellede het o.a. uit medici, sielkundiges, vise-hoofde, onderwysers, terapeute, 'n statistikus, 'n fotograaf, ’n sosioloog, dieetkundiges, 'n slagter, ‘n ondersoeker (polisieman), 'n plaasvoorman en 'n sportmeester bestaan.

Mens Sana in Corpore Sano

Liggaamlike rehabilitasie van hierdie seuns was nouliks 'n doel op sigself. Die doelstellinge van die L.O.B. is passend uitgedruk in die bekende leuse van Juvenalis: 'n gesonde liggaam herberg ‘n gesonde gees. Opvoedende Onderwys het gepaard gegaan met remediële oefeninge en goeie mediese dienste, voeding en behuising. Die kentekens van die L.O.B. was Myron se standbeeld van die diskusgooier (vandaar die naam Diskobolos) toonbeeld van blakende gesondheid en vitaliteit asook die Parthenon met agt pilare wat die volgende middele versimboliseer het: gesonde vryetydsbesteding, godsdiensbeoefening, formele onderwys, sedelike opvoeding, mediese dienste, heelgimnastiek en liggaamsoefening, sport en ontspanning en dissipline. Die trap voor die tempel het geluk voorgestel.

Die skrif teen die muur

Die L.O.B. het seuns met herstelbare gebreke geskaaf en gepolys lot lewensgereedheid. ’n Groter nood die van die seun en dogter met onherstelbare liggaamlike gebreke vir wie die L.O.B. nie voorsiening gemaak het nie, openbaar hom veral vanaf 1948. Bevindinge in hierdie verband deur die Kreft-kommissie van 1949 was die skrif teen die muur vir die L.O.B. In April 1950 het die L.O.B. opgehou om te bestaan omdat dit moes plek maak vir habilitasie en rehabilitasie van die liggaamlik afwykende. Die opregte nood van hierdie leerlinge moes gelenig word, tog is dit jammer dat hierdie humanitêre oorweginge die einde van een van ons mooiste opvoedkundige instellings moes wees.

'n Veilige Hawe

In die plek van die L.O.B.-seun het gekom die seun en dogter in die rystoel of met 'n kruk. Drie aparte skole is in die lewe geroep: Die Seunskool vir Liggaamlik Afwykendes met mnr. V. H. Vaughan as hoof, die Hoër Beroepskool met mnr L. E. Smith as hoof en die Meisieskool vir Liggaamlik Afwykendes onder leiding van wyle mej. Susan van Heerden.

Op 1 April 1955 word die dogters verskuif vanaf die skilderagtige en geskiedkundige Alexandersfontein, speelplek van Rhodes en sy vriende, om saam met die seuns by Diskobolos een skool, die Elizabeth Conradieskool te vorm. Mnr. Lammie Louw het die hoof geword van hierdie ko-edukatiewe skool wat vernoem is na die eggenote van 'n voormalige Administrateur van Kaapland. Ondertussen was die lot van die Hoër Beroepskool in die weegskaal en na enkele verskuiwings van die seniorseuns, word uiteindelik voor siening gemaak vir al die leerlinge by die Elizabeth Conradieskool. Aan die einde van 1959 sluit die Hoër Beroepskool en bring 'n einde aan 'n eksperiment om aan die liggaamlik afwykende seun 'n ambag te leer. Dit is baie Jammer.

Lux Orta Est — Die lig het opgegaan

Vir die seun en die dogter met 'n liggaamlike afwyking is daar 'n skool enig in sy soort. Dit skep die geleentheid vir 'n volledige opvoedkundige program vanaf die kindertuinstadium tot by matriek, met vakafdeling, en dit tesame met 'n volledige remediële, mediese en operatiewe program. Daar bestaan nou die moontlikheid dat sierlike geboue, beplan vir die liggaamlik af'wykende kan verrys. Hierdie tasbare erkenning van Elcon se belange, sowel as die suksesse wat behaal is, sal dien as 'n lewende monument van die moed en deursettingsvermoë van die kind met 'n gebrek. Dit is tans ons grootste ideaal.

Die sukses van Elcon het gekom deur maturasie. Langs 'n soms moeilike pad het die skool gekom, gegrond op die basiese krag van ons land se onderwysstelsel met al die probleme van die normale onderwys. geaksentueer op elke punt.

Ons kragbron bly nog die moed, volharding en blymoedigheid van die liggaamlik gestremde seun en dogter, en die personeel wat hulle taak met dankbaarheid aanvaar.  CARL THERON

 

The Cape Corps      

 

The Cape Corps - Kimberley's role

Steve's War stories   Steve Lunderstedt

The Cape Corps has a proud history. Originally founded in 1795 the Corps is the oldest military unit in South Africa and outdates by many years and decades such fine Regiments as the Cape Town Highlanders, Prince Alfred's Guards, the 'Dukes", the Kaffrarian Rifles, and is 81 years older than the Kimberley Regiment. In fact, to bring the Regiment into local perspective, the Cape Corps had already celebrated 75 years of existence when the diamonds were discovered in Kimberley.

On September 211997 the gun captured in Palestine during World War I by the Corps, was rededicated at the Cenotaph on Dutoitspan Road after being removed from its original position at what was originally called Victoria Crescent. This move, after being originally dedicated at the site in 1934 and ostensibly because of redevelopment of the area, brought the Cape Corps into the mainstream of military history and helped erase decades of apartheid with separate memorial services and even on different days. As South Africa's senior colonial regiment - and not ignoring the traditional Xhosa and Zulu regiments, the Cape Corps now has pride of place at the Cenotaph.

In both World wars, Kimberley was the depot for the Cape Corps battalions. Official recognition of the so-called coloured soldiers had been subdued for decades during the apartheid era, but it was not always the case. Statesmen such as Cecil Rhodes, JX Merriman, and Jannie Smuts have lauded the Corps and the men themselves. Rhodes himself thought so highly of their fighting skills that in the 1890s he himself raised a corps that fought with distinction in the Matabeleland Uprising of 1896.

The official South African army history of the Corps states that so-called coloured soldiers were already in military service by 1776.  By 1781 the Dutch had raised a corps of “Pandalours” which helped defend the Cape against attack and in 1795 the corps saw action for the first time when they fought against the English at Kalk Bay.  Their pay was two shillings a month at the time.

The Corps was next utilized in 1799 when, with some Dragoons, they were sent to Graaf Reinet to subdue a burgher rebellion and that same year fought against Nkosi N'dhlambi and rebel San people. Many more campaigns throughout the 19th century were their lot, particularly in the Frontier wars.

The Cape Corps history of World War I 1914-1918 is arguably the most famous of all its campaigns as it was during this war that they fought as combatants in East Africa, North Africa and in Palestine, and they fought exceptionally well particularly at the battle of Squarehill Park.

The Depot in Kimberley for the training of the two battalions was at the Bultfontein and Dutoitspan Mine areas adjacent to Beaconsfield, and in fact, on one occasion the local inhabitants of Beaconsfield harassed the camp so much that the military authorities had no choice but to send the entire corps on leave. The discipline and restraint of the Cape Corps under severe provocation from the locals was beyond praise. The soldiers on active service in east Africa arrived back in Kimberley on 29 December 1917 and were sent on leave as well, returning to Kimberley in February 1918. The 1st battalion was sent to Egypt in March 1918 and the reserve half battalion on 22 June. Recruiting and training of men in Kimberley continued unabated as it was expected that large drafts would be required in Egypt. Thus it was that the men left Kimberley for Squarehill Park itself.

The so-called coloured people of Kimberley rose to the occasion with the formation of the Cape Corps Gifts and Comforts Committee, and of all the branches formed around the country the Kimberley branch proved themselves tireless workers, especially Messrs Tobin, Japhta, McLeod and Sass. At a time when there were over 3000 men in the No 3 Compound camp the committee hired St Johns Hall in Clarence Street and gave out free tea daily with cake and fruit twice a week. A dinner was given at Christmas to hospitalized troops and gifts provided for many and later games and writing material were also supplied. This is emphasized as it always presumed that only white controlled committees raised funds and gifts for soldiers. One of the most indefatigable workers was Mr HJ Tobin, the first secretary of the Cape Corps Recruiting Committee and he was also on the Executive of the Governor-Generals fund - a fund for dependants of the soldiers themselves.

Disaster befell the depot, as it did the rest Kimberley, during the Spanish Flu epidemic of October 1918 when 169 men of the Cape Corps died and the Depot was temporarily closed.

The Cape Corps Association was formed shortly after the war, with the strongest association being in Kimberley. Their first objective was to raise funds for their memorial, this being finally unveiled by General Jannie Smuts on 25 February 1934.  Smuts had this to say of the Cape Corps:

“It is a privilege to be here today and to take part in this great ceremony.... I am here, as a representative of the Government of this country to honour the memory of the gallant men to whom this memorial has been erected... the great and gallant services which they rendered to South Africa…I shall never forget the hardships they suffered with me...." said Smuts.

In East Africa the Corps had the distinction of capturing both forces of Germans that broke through the British lines.

In Palestine "they had the privilege to take part in one of the most brilliant feat of arms in the whole of the Great War. The Cape Corps was selected to take one particular section of this apparently impregnable front…they covered themselves in glory...".That was the battle of Squarehill Park of 19 Septemler 1918, a well-recorded action both locally and internationally and available in various forms both book and magazine.

At least 10 000 men had been recruited for the Cape Corps during the war, many from Kimberley, and in fact, at least 25 000 coloured men fought in the South African army during the war.

Smuts continued: "They took their place as brave men by the other brave men in the Great War.  More no man could do. The Cape Corps raised by their sacrifice and service and gallantry the self-respect of the whole coloured community in South Africa. The outstanding fact in those years of suffering was that there was no colour distinction. All in suffering, loss and sorrow were knit closely together and my wish and prayer is what was then won will not be lost.

"This monument established in Kimberley, is a tribute to the part Kimberley played. Many of our best men, not only white but coloured and native as well, came from Kimberley..."

After demobilization in 1919, the Corps was again formed on 8 May 1940 soon after commencement of World War II, despite objection against the formation of the unit. Initially the recruits were trained at the Kimberley depot, and within five months were traveling to East Africa to join other South African troops. The Depot was housed at the Dairy Farm (Wesselton), now the Geology Division of De Beers. Although supposedly not armed, the Cape Corps fought in the line at El Alamein and as Anti-Aircraft gunners, as well as being utilised as POW guards. Many members were awarded medals for gallantry. In Sicily and Italy too, many soldiers were recommended for gallantry medals.

Field Marshal Smuts promise of things changing back home in South Africa came to naught as he was ousted in the 1948 election and matters worsened for not only servicemen but for the entire black people of the country.

During the 1960s and up until democratic elections the so-called coloured community of Kimberley continued to serve their country in many various ways, including being members of an armed infantry company that fought in the Namibian war of Independence.

 

Kimberley Commando         

 

'n Kort samevatting van geskiedenis van Kimberley Kommando

Gedurende 1936 is die West End Rifle Association gestig wat basies ‘n skietklub was vir die bevordering van skietkuns.   Lede moes self wapens en ammunisie verskaf.   Gedurende 1938 is die Defence Rifle Association gestig wat ook basies die vorm van 'n skietklub aangeneem het.   Lede moes op hierdie tydstip ook self wapens en ammunisie verskaf.   Wapens en ammunisie kon deur die destydse Departement van Verdediging aangekoop word en die Lee Enfield geweer is gebruik..  

Gedurende 1936 is die Kimberley Rifle Commando gestig met Lt Kol. J.C. O'Ehley wat die bedryf van die eenheid vanuit sy eie huis hanteer het.   Lt Kol. O'Ehley is in Februarie 1942 deur Maj. S.J. Scott opgevolg wat ook die eenheid se aangeleenthede vanuit sy eie huis bedryf het.   Maj. Scott is in Maart 1949 tot Lt Kol. bevorder.   Die Efficiency Decoration is op 23 Februarie 1950 aan hom toegeken.   In hierdie tyd kon lede die destydse .303 "Buldog" aankoop vir £4.10 en ammunisie teen 6 pennies per rondte.   In 1964 het Kimberley Kommando uit hierdie organisasie ontstaan met Lt. Kol. De Jager as Bevelvoerder wie nog steeds die eenheid vanuit sy huis bedryf het. Op 19 Maart 1963 is Kmdt. H.L. Herholdt aangestel as Bevelvoerder van die eenheid met nog steeds die gebruik van sy woning as hoofkwartier van die eenheid.   In 1964 word merk IV. 303 gewere aan die lede van die eenheid uitgereik en word gratis ammunisie beskikbaar gestel vir skietoefeninge. Die eenheid verkry ook 'n kantooor in Sanlam-gebou gedurende 1969 vir gebruik as Kommando Hoofkwartier.   In die begin van 1970 verskuif die kantooor na Markstead-gebou waar 'n kantoor beskikbaar gestel word as Hoofkwartier.  

Gedurende 30 Oktober 1970 word Kmdt. H.L. Herholdt bevorder as groep bevelvoerder met die rang van Kolonel.   Gedurende Desember 1970 word Kmdt. P.G. Slabbert bevelvoerder van die eenheid. In 1971 word drie kantore in die Sanlam gebou vir die gebruik van die eenheid as hoofkwartier beskikbaar gestel.   In 1974 word die merk iv.303 gewere ingetrek en vervang met R1 wapens.   Gedurende hierdie jaar word die eenheid se hoofkwartier verskuif na die ou Elizabeth Conradie terrein te Diskobolos waar vyf lokale beskikbaar gestel word wat gesamentlik benut word deur Groep 22 en Kimberley Kommando Hoofkwartiere.  

In Desember 1974 word Kmdt. M.K. Brits aangestel as bevelvoerder van hierdie eenheid.   Hy word opgevolg deur Kmdt. F.Schreck op 12 Julie 1976 wie tans nog die bevelvoerder van die eenheid is.   Gedurende Junie 1980 word die huidige Hoofkwartier te Scanlanstraat 31 toegeken vir gemeenskaplike gebrulk deur Groep 22 en Kimberley Komrnando.   Die arnptelike inhuldiging van hierdie Hoofkwartier geskied op Vrydag 23 Julie 1982 deur Sy Edele die Eerste minister P.W. Botha.

In 1952 gedurende die destydse onluste is hulp aan die S.A. Polisie deur Kimberley Skietkommando verleen alhoewel elke lid as spesiale konstabel van die S.A. Polisie ingeskryf moes word.

Vanaf 1976 verskaf hierdie eenheid jaarliks troepe vir diens in die Suid-Wes Afrika operasionele gebied.   Alhoewel kontak met die vyand in die operasionele gebied tydens verskeie geleenthede gernaak is, het hierdie eenheid tot datum geen noodlottige ongevalle ondervind nie.

Hierdie eenheid is getaak om 24 uur hulp aan die S.A. Polisie binne Kimberley Kommando se bedieningsgebied d.w.s. die landdrosdistrik van Kimberley, te verleen en is ook verantwoordeltk vir die gebiedsbeskerming van Kimberley Kommando gebied.   Lede van die publiek binne die Kimberley Kommando se bedieningsgebied verkeer soms onder die wanindruk dat omdat daar ander militêre eenhede se hoofkwartiere binne Kimberley is vir die militêre taak binne Kimberley Kommando se gebied. Hierdie burgemag en ander staande mag opleidingseenhede is slegs hier gesetel maar is nie getaak vir die beskerming van die gebied sover dit die S.A. Weermag take betref nie.

 

Danie Theron Combat School        

 

To improve training in the Commandos, a Commando Combat School was established on 1 November 1967 at Kimberley. In 1968 it was renamed the Danie Theron Combat School.

In 1973 two new infantry units were also established: 7 Infantry Battalion (Bourke's Luck) and 8 SA Infantry Battalion (Upington), as well as 11 Commando (Kimberley), which to a great extent took over the functions of the Danie Theron Combat School's training.

The Commando system

The word ‘commando’ indicates a military unit that has come a long way in the history of South Africa. During the eighteenth century Commandos developed spontaneosly in specific areas and districts to defend the eastern border of the Cape against the Bushmen and the Xhosa.  During the Great Trek the Commandos acted as the defence force of the Boer people and during the two Boer Wars the Commandos fought against their archenemy, the British Empire.  The peace treaty at Vereeniging on 31 May 1902, brought a temporary end to the commando system.

 After the establishment of the Union Defence Force in 1912, new organisations in the mold of the previos commandos were formed. These organisations were intended to improve shooting skills, but were often erroneosly called Commandos.

 The Commandos played no part in the two World Wars and by 1949 were almost non-existent. In that year a decision was made to re-establish the Commandos, mainly because of the need for internal security.  Servicable weapons were sold to volunteers at a low cost and shooting ranges were repaired.  The improvement of shooting skills were not deemed as sufficient, with the result that new fascilities were developed from 1953.  Commando officers were trained in military matters at these fascilities.  Due to changes in the Defense Act in 1957, the “Skiet-Kommando's” (Shooting commandos) were integrated with the South African Defense Force, under the name “Commandos”. Courses for officers were presented at the Army College in Pretoria and later on at the Infantry School in Oudtshoorn. From 1960 onwards new recruits were also dedicated to the Commandos.

Die Kommandostelsel

Die woord "Kommando" dui op 'n militere eenheid wat diep in die krygsgeskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse nasie gewortel is. Gedurende die agttiende eeu het wyks- en distriksgebonde Kommando's vanself uit die volk na vore gekom om aan die militêre behoeftes eers teen die Boesmanrowers en later veral teen die Xhosa-stamme aan die Kaapse oosgrens, te voldoen. Tydens die Groot Trek was die Kommando die verdedigingsmag van die volk te velde en tydens die twee Vryheidsoorloë was dit die Kommando's wat heldhaftig weerstand teen die destydse aartsvyand, die Britse Leër.gebied het.  Die Vrede van Vereeniging op 31 Mei 1902 het tydelik 'n einde aan die Kommandostelsel gebring.

Na die oprigting van die Unieverdedigingsmag in 1912 is nuwe verenigings en organisasies wat in die rigting van die ou Kommando's geneig het, weer op die been gebring. Hoewel hierdie verenigings slegs bedoel was om die skietkuns te verbeter. is hulle dikwels verkeerdelik Kommando's genoem.

Die "Kommando's" het geen rol in die Wêreldoorloë gespeel nie en het teen 1949 feitlik nie meer bestaan nie. In daardie jaar is egter weens die behoefte aan binnelandse beveiliging, besluit om die stelsel te laat herleef. Diensbare gewere is goedkoop aan vrywillige landsburgers beskikbaar gestel en skietbane is herstel. Die bevordering van die skietkuns alleen was egter nie as voldoende geag nie, met die gevolg dat daar vanat 1953 fasiliteite geskep is om Kommando- offisiere in militêre sake op te lei. In 1957. met die gewysigde Verdedigingswet, is die Skiet-Kommando's onder die naam "Kommando's" by die Suid-Afrikaanse Weermag ingelyf. Kursusse vir offisiere is by die Leerkollege in Pretoria en later by die Infanterieskool op Oudtshoorn aangebied. Vanaf 1960 is lotelinge ook aan die Kommando's toegewys.

The founding of the Commando Combat School

By 1968 sixty thousand citizens belonged to 206 Commandos.  This increase in numbers, as well as the need for more specialised training aimed at defending rear areas, resulted in the founding of the Combat school in the previous year. In a speech on 30 September 1967 at George, the then Minister of Defence, Mr P.W. Botha, announced that a Combat School would be established.  On 12 October 1967 it was decided that the Combat School would be in Kimberley.  The dedicated terrain was Alexandersfontein, eight kilometres south of Kimberley, next to the B.J. Vorster airport.

 The Combat School was officialy establishment on 1 November 1967.  Commandant J. Fourie, commander of 1 Parachute Batallion in Bloemfontein, was promoted to colonel and appointed as the first commander.  Commandant P.E.K. Bosman was appointed as his second in command.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo21364/real.htm]

 The School for Epileptics at Diskobolos and the Alexandersfontein Industrial School was replaced by the Combat School.  The first elements of the new unit arrived on 25 October.  By the end of the year the Combat School was ready to execute its task, which consisted of the initial training of national servicemen dedicated to the commandos and presenting promotional courses to Commando members.

 The first 1130 Commando servicemen arrived on 9 January 1968.  The workshops and classrooms of the old industrial school was changed into sleeping quarters, but many servicemen had to sleep in tents. Makeshift bathrooms were made using poles, peach trees and sackcloth and was used untill the new bathrooms were completed.  Long wooden shelves with rows of shining steel bowls and mirrors were used to shave.  A number of fieldkitchens were used to provide meals for the recruits.  Officers were accommodated in the old, dilapidated Alexandersfontein hotel.  On 24 January 1968 the Chief of the Army, lieutenant-general W.P, Louw, visited the Combat School to inspect the renovations.  The first of many visits by the Minister of Defence took place in April 1968.  The first course for officers started on 22 April 1968.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo15492/real.htm]

Die stigting van die Kommandokrygskool

Teen 1968 was daar 206 Kommando's met 'n totaal van ongeveer sestigduisend lede. Hierdie toename, asook die noodsaaklikheid om aan die Kommando's ’n meer gespesialiseerde opleiding gemik op die uitvoering van hulle spesifieke taak — die onmiddellike beskerming van die eie tuisoord — te bied. het die vorige jaar reeds tot die stigting van die Kommandokrygskool gelei. Daar is tydens 'n toespraak op 30 September 1967 op George deur die Minister van Verdediging. mnr P.W. Botha, bekendgemaak dat so 'n Kommandokrygskool opgerig sou word. Op 12 Oktober 1967 is besluit dat die Krygskool te Kimberley gevestig sou word. Die terrein wat daarvoor opsy  gesit is, was Alexanderfontein, agt kilometer suid van die stad, langs die B.J. Vorster-lughawe.

Die Krygskool het op 1 November 1967 amptelik tot stand gekom. Kommandant J. Fourie, bevelvoerder van 1 Valskermbataljon in Bloemfontein, is met kolonelsrang aangestel as bevelvoerder met kommandant P.E.K. Bosman as sy tweede-in-bevel.

Die eerste elemente van die nuwe eenheid was reeds op 25 Oktober op die terreine van die Skool vir Epileptici by Diskobolos en die Alexanderfontein Industriële Skool, wat vir die Krygskool moes plek maak, teenwoordig. Teen die einde van die jaar was alles gereed vir die tweeledige doel waarvoor die Krygskool daargestel is, naamlik die aanvanklike opleiding van dienspligtiges wat aan die Kommando's toegewys is en die aanbieding van bevorderings-kursusse vir Kommando-offisiere en manskappe.

Hoewel die eerste offisierskursus by die Kommandokrygskool eers op 22 April 1968 begin het, het die eerste groep Kommandodienspligtiges, wat uit 1130 manskappe bestaan het, reeds op 9 Januarie 1968 gearriveer. Die werkswinkels en klaskamers van die ou nywerheidskool is as slaaplokale ingerig. maar talle dienspligtiges moes in tente slaap. Om 'n paar pale en perskebome is noodgedwonge sak gespan waarbinne die manne kon bad totdat die badkamers in gebruik geneem kon word. Lang houtstellasies met rye blink skotteltjies en spieels was die aanvanklike skeerplek. en 'n paar veldkombuise is ingerig om die dienspligtiges se eetlus te bevredig. Offisiere is aanvanklik in die ou, verwaarloosde Alexanderfontein hotelgebou gehuisves. Die destydse Hoof van die Leer, luitenant-generaal W.P, Louw, het op 24 Januarie 1968 die Krygskool besoek ten einde vordering in die opknapping en uitbreiding van die basis te inspekteer, en in April 1968 het die Minister van Verdediging die eerste van talle besoeke daar afgelê.

The creation of a new commando tradition

During the first ten years of the Combat School, the aim was to establish a true South African tradition.  The decision to name it the Danie Theron Combat School was part of this effort.  On 10 October 1968, in a speech in Kimberley, the Minister of Defence announced the new name.  It would serve as a monument for this brave commander and Boer hero from the Second Boer war.  Two of his officers in the Transvaal Verkennerskorps (Transvaal Reconnaissance Corps), captains Jack Hindon and Henri Slegtkamp, were also honoured.  The officers club was called Jack Hindon and the NCO club Henri Slegtkamp.

The bravery of this trio has been proven many times.  Daniel Johannes Stephanus "Danie" Theron was born on 9 May 1872.  After matric and qualifying as a teacher in Cape Town in 1899, he moved to the then Transvaal.  There he qualified himself as an lawyer.  Just before the outbreak of the Second Boer War, Theron became captein and commander of the “Transvaalse Wielryers Rapportgangerskorps”(Transvaal Wheel Riders Messenger Corps) in September 1889.  In this post he fought the first five months on the Natal frontline.  In February 1900 he moved to the western Orange Freestate.  At Paardeberg, he risked his life to bring an urgent message to the besieged general Piet Cronje, before Cronje, with about four thousand men, surrendered to the British.  During the advance of fieldmarshall Lord Roberts to Pretoria, Theron, as the commander of the Theron Reconnaisance Corps, distinguished himself in rear guard actions.  In the winter of 1900, he played a major role in general De Wet’s guerrilla warfare against the British.  Theron’s fearless actions eventually cost him his life.  During a reconnaisance mission at Gatsrand, on 5 September 1900, he was killed by enemy shrapnel.

 Oliver John (Jack) Hindon was born in 1874, from Scottish parents, in England.  He moved to South Africa in 1888.  In January 1896 he joined the Boer forces who fought against the Jameson invasion.  One of his comrades was a young Dutchman, Henri Frederik Slegtkamp.  Both joined the Middelburg Commando at the start of the Second Boer War.  In January 1900 they became members of the Edwards Reconnaisance Corps on the Natalse frontline.  Their heroic defence against the British left flank during the attack on Tabanyama Hill on 20 January 1900, was a determining factor in the victory of the Boers on that day.  After the fall of the Republican Capitals, they fought together in numerous sucsesfull attacks against the enemy communication lines. Lord Kitchener, the British commander, later stated that Jack Hindon caused him more problems than anybody else.

 In October 1968, Danie Theron was honored in naming the Combat School after him.  At the same time it was decided to erect a statue of him in front of the School.  The cornerstone was a rock from the nearby battlefield of Magersfontein and was layed by the Minister of Defence on 21 Oktober 1968.  In his speech the Minister said that monuments should be seen as symbols of the dreams of a nation.  This statue became the symbol of the Commando System.  A further boost to the Commando tradition, was the announcement of a Commando Medal, the Danie Theron Medal for officers, awarded for excellent service.  A number of possibilities were taken into consideration in 1969, as to what form and shape the monuent should be.  On 1 May 1969 the task was given to the Pretoria sculptor, Charl Engela.  The bronze statue had to be twice the size of a normal man.  Twenty five small replicas were ordered to serve as honorary awards at the Combat School.  Engela used a photograph taken of Danie Theron, in a typical reconnaissance posture, crouching with his rifle in his hand, as his model.  In July 1969 a miniature of the statue was handed over to the Combat School.  This showed that the brim of Theron’s hat was turned up on the left side and immediately caused an uproar.  The argument was that only traitors turned up their hats on the left side.  Although many old people and historians claimed that the side did not matter, it was decided to change the hat on the big statue to be turned up on the right side.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo3485/real.htm]

The statue was made in Pretoria in the sculptor’s house.  In October 1969, a helicopter took it from the house to the Waterkloof Airport.  It was then taken on board a cargo aeroplane and flown to Kimberley.  A Lorry took it to the Combat School and then a helicopter placed it on its stand.  The flag of the Republic was draped over the statue and the final preparations were done.  On 1 November 1969, the second birthday of the Combat School, the statue was revealed.  The Minister of Defence was the functionary at this event.  He also received the first miniature statue.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo15528/real.htm]

 1 November 1969 was indeed, one of the most prestigious days in the history of the School.  Apart from the statue itself, a series of paintings of Boer Generals were revealed, a new Commando flag was handed over to the School almost a year after the Commandos received their corps colours, the shoulder flashes were worn for the first time, and the School song was sung for the first time.  The song was composed by Dirkie de Villiers, inspector for school music in the Orange Freestate and son of the great composer of the "Stem van Suid-Afrika,"(Voice of South Africa), reverend M.L. de Villiers.  His wife wrote the lyrics of this marching song.  The song told of a warrior, his life and dreams, and what motivated him to give his utmost.  A Men’s Choir sang the song during the revealation of the statue.  Somewhat later, on parade, two thousand soldiers sang the song again. 

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo13040/real.htm]

The shoulder flash, worn for the first time on 1 November 1969, was a silhouette of the Danie Theron statue on the Commando flag.  This flag, received on this day, had its origen almost nine months earlier, when on 24 February 1969, the Chief of the Army, lieutenant-general W.P. Louw, SM, gave permission for the Commandos to have their own flag.  The flag has the Burgundy Cross with the main colours of the Boer Republics in it, orange from the Orange Freestate flag and green from the Transvaal flag.  There are some similarities with the Voortrekker flag or Andries Hendrik Potgieter flag that was used by the Voortrekkers from 1836 to 1840, and with the "Kruisvlag" of "Burgersvlag"(cross flag or Citizens flag) of the old Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. This last flag was taken into used on 24 October 1874, by Government of President T.F. Burgers, but on 10 May 1875, was replaced by the well known Vierkleur flag(Four colour Flag). Both the Voortrekker- and the Kruis flag was mostly blue with a red diagonal cross.

 During this inauguration parade, the Minister of Defence travelled in the coach that originally belonged to Boer General J.H. (Koos) de la Rey.  The general consensus was that the coach had been built England, and that it already was more than a 100 years old.  It is not known how ownership changed after General De La Rey’s death.  Mr Hennie Delport of the farm Migdol in Western Transvaal, bought the very dilapidated wagon from the Dutch Reformed Church Zeerust.  He repaired it and from him the Combat School received the coach.  During the parade inspection the coach was drawn by four horses.  The two thousand soldiers on parade was guided by officers on horseback.  Penkop, the mascot of the Combat School, had a young boy as his rider.  This young man was dressed in the clothes of typical Republican commandant, right down to the bandoleer and poena-rifle.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo18064/real.htm]

 The festivities of 1 November ended with the revealation of the paintings of the Boer Generals from the Second Boer War.  A Cape Town artist, Philip Terblanche, did paintings during 1969 of generals Piet Joubert, Christiaan de Wet, Koos de la Rey, J.B.M. Hertzog, Piet Cronje, Ben Viljoen, Georges de Villebois-Mareuil, Christiaan Beyers, Jan Smuts, Manie Maritz, Jan Kemp, Lucas Meyer and Louis Botha. He used old sketches and pictures as his models.  Although there were many pictures available of the different generals, there were not many depicting them as they were during the Boer War and this was how mr Terblanche wanted to paint them.  These paintings were augmented with paintings of Danie Theron, Jack Hindon and Henri Slegtkamp and were revealed by Nellie du Plooy (mrs Jaap Steenkamp of Kimberley).

 During its existence the Commando School came into possession of a number of artifacts that helped to shape the traditions of the School.  In February 1968, the officers of the Kimberley Commando donated a silwer waterjug to the School.  A few months later ghong for use in the mess during formal dinners was donated by the Northern Cape Technical College.

In February 1969 lieutenant-general W.R. van der Riet visited the unit to donate a replica of the sabre of general Sir George Pomeroy Colley. Die sabre was originally handed over to the general at the premiere of the film “Majuba” – the battle where Colley died. The producers of the film gave it to the general with the intention to give it to the Combat School.  In November 1972 a framed picture, taken during the funeral of Danie Theron, was given to the School by the Johannesburg Commando.  In 1969 a tram, that travelled between Kimberley and the Alexanderfontein Hotel for many years, was donated by De Beers.  The tram currently can be seen in front of the old Alexandersfontein hotel, today the Jack Hindon Officers Club.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo26170/real.htm]

Die skepping van 'n nuwe kommandotradisie

Dwarsdeur die eerste tien be- staansjare van die Krygskool is daar doelbewus gepoog om 'n eg Suid- Afrikaanse tradisie rondom hierdie eenheid op te bou. Daarmee is sonder twyfel sukses behaal. Die naam van die Krygskool — Danie Theron — is reeds 'n voorbeeld daarvan. Op 10 Oktober 1968, tydens 'n toespraak in Kimberley het die Minister van Verdediging aangekondig dat die Krygskool voortaan bekend sou wees as die Danie Theron-krygskool, om te dien as blywende monument vir daardie dapper aanvoerder en Boereheld uit die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog. Daarbenewens is twee van Theron se makkers in die Transvaalse Verkennerskorps, kapteins Jack Hindon en Henri Slegtkamp, ook by die Krygskool vereer — die offisiersklub is na eersgenoemde en die onderoffisiersklub na laasgenoemde vernoem.

Oor hierdie driemanskap se dapperheid bestaan daar geen twyfel nie. Daniel Johannes Stephanus "Danie" Theron is op 9 Mei 1872 gebore. Na matrikulasie en die aflegging van ’n onderwyserseksamen te Kaapstad in 1899, het hy na Transvaal verhuis en homself mettertyd as prokureur gekwalifiseer. Net voor die uitbreek van die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog is Theron in September 1889 as kaptein en bevelvoerder van die Transvaalse Wielryers Rapportgangerskorps aangestel, in welke hoedanigheid hy gedurende die eerste vyf maande van die oorlog aan die Natalse front opgetree het. In Februarie 1900 is hy na die westelike Oranje Vrystaat. By Paardeberg het hy sy lewe gewaag om aan die omsingelde generaal Piet Cronje 'n dringende boodskap te oorhandig voordat laasgenoemde homself met nagenoeg vierduisend man aan die Britte oorgegee het. Tydens veldmarskalk Lord Roberts se opmars na Pretoria het Theron — toe in bevel van die Theron Verkenners Korps—hom onderskei in agterhoedegevegte en in die winter van 1900 'n leeu-aandeel in generaal De Wet se guerrillastryd teen Britse leëreenhede gehad. Theron se onverskrokkenheid het hom uiteindelik sy lewe gekos. Tydens 'n verkenningsmissie by Gatsrand op 5 September 1900 is hy deur 'n vyandelike bomskerf gedood.

Oliver John (Jack) Hindon is in 1874 uit Skotse ouers in Engeland gebore. Hy het in 1888 na Suid-Afrika verhuis en in Januarie 1896 by die Boeremagte aangesluit wat teen die Jameson-inval opgetree het. Een van sy makkers in die stryd was 'n jong Nederlander, Henri Frederik Slegtkamp. Met die uitbreek van die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog het beide by die Middelburg-Kommando aangesluit. In Januarie 1900 word hulle lede van die Edwards-verkenningskorps aan die Natalse front. Hulle heldhaftige verdediging teen die Britse linkerflank tydens die aanval op Tabanyamaheuwel op 20 Januarie 1900 is ’n roemryke daad wat die dag 'n bepalende faktor in die Boere-oorwinning was. Na die besetting van die Republikeinse hoofstede het hulle kragte verenig in talle suksesvolle aanslae op vyandelike verbindingslyne. Van Hindon het Lord Kitchener, die Britse opperbevelhebber, later gesê dat hy hom meer moeilikheid as enigiemand anders besorg het.

Naas die verering van Danie Theron deur die Krygskool in Oktober 1968 na hom te vernoem. is daar terselfdertyd besluit om 'n standbeeld van hierdie Boereheld voor die Krygskool op te rig. Die hoeksteen daarvan 'n klip afkomstig van die slagveld by Magersfontein—is op 21 Oktober 1968 deur die Minister van Verdediging gelê. By die geleentheid het die Minister gesê dat monumente simbole word waaromheen volke ideale bou; in hierdie geval het die standbeeld die simbool van die Kommandostelsel geword. Die Kommandotradisie het daardie dag verder sy beslag gekry met die Minister se aankondiging dat 'n medalje spesiaal vir die Kommando's ingestel is, naamlik die Danie Theron-medalje vir ofiisiere. Dit word toegeken vir die lewering van voortreflike diens. Wat die standbeeld betref is verskillende moontlikhede vroeg in 1969 ondersoek voordat die taak om die beeld te ontwerp op 1 Mei 1969 aan die Pretoria se beeldhouer Charl Engela oorgedra is. Die beeld moes tweekeer lewensgrootte wees en uit brons gegiet word. Terselfdertyd is vyf-en-twintig kleiner replikas van die beeld bestel om as ere-toekennings deur die Krygskool uitgereik te word. Engela het 'n ou foto van Danie Theron wat reg van voor geneem is. as model gebruik en op grond daarvan is die Boereheld uitgebeeld waar hy besig is om te verken — hurkend met 'n geweer in die hand. In Julie 1969 is 'n miniatuur-replika van die standbeeld aan die Krygskool oorhandig. Dit het onmiddellik polemiek ontketen omdat Theron se hoed se rant, daarvolgens na links opgeslaan is. In die pers het polemici beweer dat slegs henshoppers en verraaiers aan Boerekant hul hoede links opgeslaan het. Hoewel geskiedskrywers en baie ou mense beweer het dat links net so goed soos regs was omdat die Boere geen vaste reël daaroor neergelê het nie, is besluit dat die rant op die groot standbeeld eerder na regs opgeslaan moes word. Dit is toe so gedoen.

Die beeld is in Pretoria in die beeldhouer se huis vervaardig. In Oktober 1969 is dit van daar per Lugmaghelikopter na Waterkloof-lughawe geneem en in 'n vragvliegtuig na die lughawe op Kimberley vervoer. Van daar is dit met 'n vragmotor na die Krygskool geneem om ten einde laaste weer deur 'n helikopter opgepik om op sy voetstuk neergelaat te word. Die Republiekvlag is daarna oor die standbeeld gedrapeer en die finale voorhereidings is afgerond om dit op 1 November 1969, die tweede verjaarsdag van die Krygskool, te laat onthul. Die plegtigheid is, soos talle ander in die kort bestaan van die Krygskool, deur die Minister van Verdediging waargeneem. Hy was ook die eerste ontvanger van 'n miniatuur-replika daarvan.

1 November 1969 was inderdaad die kleurvolste dag in die bestaan van die Krygskool tot op hede. Benewens die onthulling van die Danie Theron-standbeeld self, is 'n reeks skilderye van Boeregeneraals ook onthul; 'n nuwe Kommandovlag is aan die Krygskool oorhandig; die skouerflitse die eerste keer vertoon en die Kommandolied die eerste keer in die openbaar gesing. Laasgenoemde is deur Dirkie de Villiers, inspekteur van skoolmusiek in die Oranje-Vrystaat en seun van die gevierde komponis van die "Stem van Suid-Afiika," wyle ds M.L. de Villiers, gekomponeer. Sy vrou het die marsmaatmelodie se liriek geskryf. Daarin word die lewe en strewe van 'n kryger en sy besieling om sy uiterste te lewer. besing. 'n Mannekoor het die lied tydens die onthulling van die standbeeld gesing. Later, op die parade, is dit deur tweeduisend soldate herhaal — voorwaar 'n treffende gebeurtenis.

Die skouerkenteken, wat vir die eerste keer op 1 November 1969 gedra is. is 'n silhoeët van die Danie Theron-standbeeld op die Kommandovlag. Wat laasgenoemde betref, was dit tydens die parade na afloop van die standbeeldonthulling deur die Minister van Verdediging aan die Krygskool oorhandig. Dit was meer as 'n jaar nadat korpskleure aan Kommando's toegeken is en byna nege maande nadat die Kommandomag op 24 Februarie 1969 van die destydse Hoof van die Leer, luitenant-generaal W.P. Louw, SM, toestemming ontvang het om 'n eie vlag te ontwerp. Die vlag is in die vorm van die Boergondiese kruis met die hoofkleure van beide vlae van die Boererepublieke daarin; oranje uit die Oranje-Vrystaatse vlag en groen uit die Transvaalse vlag. Dit stem tot 'n mate ooreen met die Voortrekkervlag of Andries Hendrik Potgieter-vlag wat vanaf 1836 tot 1840 deur die Voortrekkers gebruik is, en ook met die "Kruisvlag" of "Burgersvlag" van die ou Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. Laasgenoemde vlag is op 24 Oktober 1874 deur die Volksraad van President T.F. Burgers in gebruik geneem, maar het op 10 Mei 1875 piek gemaak vir die bekende Vierkleur-vlag. Beide die Voortrekker- en die Kruisvlag was oorwegend blou met 'n rooi oorhoekse kruis daarop.

Tydens die parade waarop hierdie vlag aan die Krygskool oorhandig is, het die Minister van Verdediging in 'n koets wat oorspronklik aan die Boeregeneraal J.H. (Koos) de la Rey behoort het, gery. Die algemene opvatting was dat die koets in Engeland gemaak is en meer as 'n honderd jaar oud was. Dit is nie bekend op watter wyse die koets na generaal De la Rey se dood van eienaar verwissel het nie. Mnr Hennie Delport van die plaas Migdol in Wes- Transvaal het dit in 'n gehawende toestand van die Nederduits Gereformeerde gemeente van Zeerust gekoop. Hy het dit herstel waarna dit via hom in besit van die Krygskool gekom het. Die koets is tydens die parade-inspeksie deur vier perde getrek. Die sowat tweeduisend manskappe op die parade is deur offisiere te perd gelei. Penkop, die gelukbringer van die Krygskool, is deur 'n jonge heer in die kleredrag van die Republikeinse kommandante, kompleet met bandolier en poena-geweer, gery.

Die feesvierings van 1 November het met die onthulling van skilderye van Boeregeneraals uit die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog ten einde gekom. 'n Kaapstadse kunstenaar, Philip Terblanche, het in die loop van 1969 die afbeeldings van generaals Piet Joubert, Christiaan de Wet, Koos de la Rey, J.B.M. Hertzog, Piet Cronje, Ben Viljoen, Georges de Villebois-Mareuil, Christiaan Beyers, Jan Smuts, Manie Maritz, Jan Kemp, Lucas Meyer en Louis Botha geskilder. Hy het ou tekeninge en foto's as modelle gebruik. Dit was moeilik om van elk van die generaals ’n foto te bekom, want hoewel daar baie foto's van die generaals is wat na die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog geneem is, het mnr Terblanche hulle uitgebeeld soos hulle tydens die oorlog daar uitgesien het. Hierdie skilderye is aangevul met bykomstige skilderye van Danie Theron, Jack Hindon en Henri Slegtkamp wat deur Nellie du Plooy (mevrou Jaap Steenkamp van Kimberley) onthul is.

Naas die standbeeld, die skilderye, die koets en die Kommandovlag het die Krygskool oor die afgelope tien jaar in besit van 'n verskeidenheid ander noemenswaardige voorwerpe, wat elk 'n aandeel in die bou van 'n eie tradisie gelewer het, gekom. Spoedig na die stigting van die Krygskool, in Februarie 1968, het die offisiere van die Kimberley-Kommando ’n silwer waterbeker aan die Krygskool oorhandig. 'n Paar maande later is 'n menasieghong vir formele etes deur die Noordkaaplandse Tegniese Kollege aan die Krygskool geskenk. 

In Februarie 1969 het luitenant-generaal W.R. van der Riet die eenheid besoek om 'n replika van generaal Sir George Pomeroy Colley se sabel aan die Krygskool te oorhandig. Die sabel is oorspronklik by die premier van die film "Majuba" — die slag waartydens Colley gesneuwel het deur die vervaardigers van die film aan luitenant-generaal Van der Riet oorhandig sodat dit in die bewaring van die Krygskool geplaas kon word. In November 1972 is 'n geraamde foto wat tydens die begrafnis van Danie Theron geneem is, deur die Johannesburg-Kommando aan die Krygskool geskenk. In 1969 is 'n trem wat jare lank tussen Kimberley en die Alexanderfontein Hotel beweeg het, deur die De Beers-maatskappy aan die Krygskool geskenk. Die trem pryk tans voor die ou Alexanderfontein hotel, nou die Jack Hindon-offisiersklub.

The Jack Hindon Officers' Club         

The Jack Hindon Officers' Club is situated on a part of the original farm Alexanderfontein, which was granted to one J.C. Coetzee under an Orange River Sovereignty title in 1848. The border disputes which centered round the discovery of diamonds in the early 1870's affected the original farm in the sense that part of it was annexed from the Orange Free State and added to the British colony of Griqualand West. No diamonds worth mentioning were discovered on the farm, but as the main Cape Town — Kimberley road ran through Alexanderfontein, it became well known for its gardens, large springs and licensed premises. The Roadside Hotel was built on the farm in 1872. It was renamed the Thatched House Inn and later the Thatched House Tavern. It was well known as the resort of the pleasure-seekers of the Diamond Fields. Christmas advertisements offered: "Horse racing, pigeon shooting, sack racing, target shooting — civility, attention — the coolest of drinks and the finest of watercress."

By 1882 there was even a swimming-pool. In 1899 the farm was bought by the De Beers Mining Company. The Anglo-Boer War began shortly afterwards and the Boer lines besieging Kimberley cut right through Alexanderfontein. A sharp action was fought there on 14 February 1900, the day before Kimberley was relieved.

Photos courtesy of the Afrikana Library, Kimberley.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo22090/real.htm]

Later in the year De Beers resolved to build a new hotel at Alexanderfontein. The architect was a Mr Greatbatch. Tenders were called for in 1901, and despite floods delaying the work, by October 1902 the post of manager of the new hotel was advertised.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo18279/real.htm]

An electric tram service to Kimberley was opened in 1905; tickets cost one shilling each way. During 1907/1908 a second wing was added to the hotel. Golden days followed shortly: band performances were given on Sundays; dances were held on Saturday nights; tennis, bowls and skittles were played and there were water birds on the duck pond. Amongst important visitors to stay there was Edward, the Prince of Wales.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo11114/real.htm]

In 1911 John Weston, one of South Africa's pioneer aviators, gave a flying display close to the Alex, as the hotel was called. He succeeded in remaining aloft for 8 minutes at an altitude of sixteen meters. A year later Cecil Compton Paterson, Guy Livingston and Evelyn "Bole" Driver established the "African Aviation Syndicate" at Alexanderfontein. It was replaced by the Paterson Aviation Syndicate, which had the blessing of General Smuts, then Minister of Defence, in 1913. A hangar and oval runway was built. Thus the first aviation school in South Africa was created at Alexanderfontein, and the first batch of military pupils arrived in 1913 for training by Paterson and Edward Cheeseman. After Cheeseman's accidental death, the pupil pilots were transferred to Tempe and the syndicate collapsed. In 1919 a new aerodrome site, which forms part of the present airport, was laid out on Alexanderfontein.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo32202/real.htm]

That the Alexanderfontein Hotel never made its owners rich was largely due to its high standards and low prices. An instance of this is the following advert which appeared in the Diamond Fields Advertiser in 1915: "Notice is hereby given that the charge to admission to the swimming-bath at the Alexanderfontein Hotel is reduced as from this date, from sixpence to three pence and includes a bathing costume and towel".

Although the hotel frequently ran at a loss, and was even closed for a short while during the First World War, De Beers tried to keep it open as a service to Kimberley. The Depression saw it close, re-open, close and re-open again only to continue losing money. Bad luck continued to afflict the management; in 1937 the skittle alley was burned down and in 1939 the hotel was closed for good, most of the furniture being sold off by auction.

During the Second World War the buildings and much of the surrounding property was leased to the Government. A Central Flying School for the training of instructors was established and the old hotel served as an Officers' Mess. Other military units also made use of the facilities offered at Alexanderfontein and surrounding areas. After the war 21 Air School Depot maintained a section at the airport until 1950, while the camp section was handed over to Danie Craven for the Physical Training Brigade for boys with slight, curable disabilities. This in 1950 became a boys' school for the physically handicapped. At the same time a girls' school for the physically handicapped was established at the old Alexanderfontein Hotel. A vocational high school, a school for epileptics and an industrial school for boys were also started on the old farm.

When the Combat School was inaugurated in November 1967, the other schools had to move or were closed down. The former hotel building was still standing, although slowly deteriorating. Birds used its roof as a nesting place and many of the wooden pillars and floors had rotted. As it was decided to use the building as an Officers' Mess, it had to be renovated. In attempting this task, the idea was to restore it to its former glory. The original structure was not changed, but new bathrooms and a kitchen had to be added. To restore the original as authentically as possible, bricks of the same size as those in the old hotel were specially baked. The resulting building was a remarkable success; the old dance hall is now the main dining- room; in addition there is a lounge for men, a lounge for women, a suite of rooms for important guests, and rooms upstairs for officers. A magnificent staircase forms the centre-piece of the whole building, with a chandelier, an ornate ceiling and wall-to-wall carpeting it makes an impressive entrance to the mess. Much of the old furniture has been re-installed, while the rest consists of furniture in the style of seventy-five years ago.

The Jack Hindon Officers' Club was officially opened on Saturday, 26  February 1972. The formal dinner on that occasion was attended by amongst others, the Minister of Defence. who unveiled a bust of Jack Hindon made by Charl Engela, the sculptor of the Danie Theron statue. Colonel Piet Bosman. who was then Officer Commanding the Combat School, announced at the same time that it had been decided to name the lounge for women the Elize Botha lounge, in honour of the wife of the Minister. About one hundred and eighty guests attended the ceremony. Since then many an officer and lucky guest have enjoyed the luxurious comforts of the Jack Hindon Officers' Club, surely the most beautiful Officers' Club in South Africa.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo21629/real.htm]

It is not only the Alexanderfontein Hotel which has been restored to its former glory. During 1975 the then Officer Commanding, the Combat School, Colonel Hennie Riekert, planned to restore the old duckpond as well. The scenic pond and three hectares of valuable grazing land was surrounded with a security fence to keep out vermin and vandals. An appeal was made to the public to donate game and a favourable reaction was immediate. By the end of the year there were various kinds of water- and other birds, as well as three springbuck, a duiker, reindeer, tame rabbits and a tame zebra, Garby. The latter was brought in from the northern border in August 1975.

Personalia

The first commander of the Combat School, Colonel Jan Fourie, later became a major-general and secretary to the State President.  He served as Commander from 10 November 1967 to 25 January 1969 and then became commander of the western Province Command.  He was followed by his second in command, Colonel P.E.K. Bosman.  Op 12 February 1973 Colonel Bosman was transferred to Defence HQ in Pretoria to be trained as military attaché.

 Commandant B. Redelinghuys was the acting Commander until 3 August 1973 and thereafter commander with the rank of Colonel till 23 August 1974.  His successor, Colonel H.F.P. Riekert, started as acting OC, but from 1 January 1975 became the commander.  On 8 December 1976 Colonel J.S. van Heerden, succeeded him.

 WO1 G.C. Heyns was the first Regimental Sergeant-major of the Combat School until June 1975. WO2 J. Mathews Acted as RSM until August 1975 when WO1 J.H. Burger was appointed.

Personalia

Die eerste bevelvoerder van die Krygskool. destyds kolonel Jan Fourie, het later as generaal-majoor die sekretaris van die Staatspresident geword. Hy het op 10 November 1967 by die Eenheid gearriveer en as bevelvoerder gedien tot hy op 25 Januarie 1969 as bevelvoerder na die Kommandement Westelike Provinsie verplaas is. Hy is opgevolg deur kolonel P.E.K. Bosman, wat sedert die stigting van die Krygskool die tweede-in-bevel daarvan was. Op 12 Februarie 1973 is kolonel Bosman na Verdedigingshoofkwartier in Pretoria oorgeplaas om opleiding te ontvang as militêre attache.

Kommandant B. Redelinghuvs het tot op 3 Augustus 1973 as waarnemende en daarna as bevelvoerder met kolonelsrang tot 23 Augustus 1974 die teuels in sy hand gehad. Sy opvolger, aanvanklik ook eers waarnemend, maar vanaf 1 January 1975 in ’n substantiewe hoedanigheid — was kolonel H.F.P. Riekert. Twee jaar later is hy weer op sy beurt op 8 Desember 1976 deur die huidige bevelvoerder, kolonel J.S. van Heerden, opgevolg.

AO 1 G.C. Heyns was Regimentsersant-majoor van die Krygskool vanaf die stigting tot Junie 1975. AO 2 J. Mathews het waargeneem tot Augustus 1975 tot AO 1 J.H. Burger in die pos, wat hy steeds beklee, aangestel is.

Spiritual Education

At the Combat School arrangements was made for members of all denominations to attend a church service.  Part time chaplains were mainly responsible for these services.  The Dutch Reformed Church had the most representatives and in 1968 an independent congregation was founded at the Combat School.  The following chaplains served in this congregation:   J.J. ("Joepie")'Marais (1968 — 1972); G.F. Bloem (1970 — 1971); C. Albertyn (1972 — 1976) and D.B. Pienaar (since 1974).

In March 1968 the first church council was founded and two months later the first members were confirmed. In September 1974 a meeting of the “ring” took place in the congregation.  The chaplains, due to the nature of their work, closely related to the joys and sorrows of the congregation.  A number of military weddings took place and many babies were baptized.  Military funerals were also part of the congregation’s activities.  The most tragic funeral was when the thirty six year old Captain J.W. Holm, who died in November 1975 in the operational area.

Church services were held in a hall until January 1977 when a church was build, at state expense.  The church originally only had 600 seats with two open wings with 200 seats each.  Due to the heat, dust and rain, as well as the problem with the open wings being very disturbing in terms of the atmosphere of the church, the open wings were included to be under the roof of the church.  The church, with more than 1000 seats, was dedicated on 6 November 1977.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo10910/real.htm]

Geestelike Opvoeding

Daar word by die Krygskool vir elke kerkgenootskap voorsiening gemaak om eredienste by te woon. Deeltydse kapelane is oor die algemeen hiermee behulpsaam. Verreweg die sterkste kerkgenootskap is die Nederduits Gereformeerde, wat inderdaad so sterk is dat daar in 1968 'n afsonderlike gemeente by die Krygskool gestig kon word. Die volgende kapelane het die gemeente bedien: J.J. ("Joepie")'Marais (1968 — 1972); G.F. Bloem (1970 — 1971); C. Albertyn (1972 — 1976) en D.B. Pienaar (sedert 1974).

In Maart 1968 is die eerste kerkraad van die gemeente bevestig en twee maande later het lidmate vir die eerste keer geloofsbelydenis afgelê. In September 1974 is 'n ringsitting van die Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk by die Krygskool gehou. Die kapelane was vanwee die aard van hulle werk nou gemoeid met die lief en leed van die Krygskool en sy mense. 'n Hele paar militêre huwelike is bevestig en talle babatjies is al gedoop. Militêre begrafnisse het ook nie uitgebly nie. In hierdie verband was die mees tragiese die van die ses-en-dertigjarige kaptein J.W. Holm wat in November 1975 in die operasionele gebied gedood is.

Kerkdienste is tot sover in 'n kerksaal gehou. In Januarie 1977 is egter begin met die bou van 'n eie kerk vir die gemeente op staatskoste. Die kerk is oorspronklik ontwerp vir net 600 sitplekke met twee oop vleuels (oop paviljoene) vir 200 sitplekke elk. Weens die onpersoonlikheid van die oop sitplekke tov die verrigtinge binne in die kerk en die hitte, stof en reën van die gebied is die owerhede oortuig om die oop vleuels in te sluit onderdak. Die gemeente sien daarna uit om die kerk wat meer as 1 000 sitplekke sal hê, op 6 November 1977 in te wy.

Special events at the Combat School

The first great parade that was held at the Combat School, was the farewell parade of Colonel Fourie on 25 January 1969. more than fifteen hundred service man took part in this parade.  Four privates and one officer from each Commando in the Republic were invited to participate.  Indeed a very successful event. 

In 1970 the building of the headquarters of the Combat School in the Cape-Dutch style began.  In November of the same year almost all the senior officers and unit commanders of South Africa gathered at the Combat School for a command conference. Among them was the Commandant-general, General R.C. Hiemstra, the chiefs of the Army, Air Force, Navy as well as three other lieutenant-generals.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo229/real.htm]

In August 1971 members of the Combat School formed the procession for the military funeral at Magersfontein. This was the re-burial of war General Count G.H.A.M.V de Villebois Mareuil, the French colonel who died as a Boer general in the Second Freedom War.  During the same year the Combat School participated for and won the Nongqai target shooting trophy.  This was a floating trophy for which all Permanent Force units competed.  Four years later, in September 1975, the Combat School’s Vooruitsig rifle range was inaugurated by Major-general J. Steenkamp. In March 1977 the military attaches of the USA, Britain, Portugal and France visited the unit.  These are but a few of the many landmark events in the short history of the Combat School.

Besondere Gebeurtenisse by die Krygskool

Die eerste groot parade wat by die Krygskool gehou was, was die afskeidsparade vir kolonel Fourie op 25 Januarie 1969. Meer as vyftienhonderd dienspligtiges het daaraan deelgeneem. Vier manskappe en een offisier van elke Kommando in die Republiek is uitgenooi om aan die parade deel te neem. Voorwaar 'n heel geslaagde byeenkoms.

Wat die gebou aanbetref is daar gedurende 1970 met die oprigting van die Krygskool se hoofkwartier met sy Kaaps-Hollandse gewel begin. In November van dieselfde jaar het feitlik al die senior offisiere en bevelvoerders van eenhede in die Republiek by die Krygskool byeengekom vir 'n opperbevelvoerderskonferensie. Onder hulle geledere was die Kommandant-generaal, generaal R.C. Hiemstra, die hoofde van die Leër, Lugmag en Vloot asook drie ander luitenant-generaals.

In Augustus 1971 het lede van die Krygskool die stoet by die militere herbegrafnis by Magersfontein van veggeneraal Graaf G.H.A.M.V. de Villebois Mareuil, die Franse kolonel wat as Boeregeneraal in die Tweede Vryheidsoorlog gesneuwel het, gevorm. Tydens dieselfde jaar het die Krygskool die Nongqai skyfskiettrofee, 'n wisseltrofee waarom alle Staande Mag- eenhede meeding, verower. Vierjaar later, in September 1975, is die Krygskool se Vooruitsig-skietbaan deur generaal-majoor J. Steenkamp geopen. In Maart 1977 het die militêre attaches van die Verenigde State van Amerika, Brittanje, Portugal en Frankryk die eenheid besoek. Dit is maar enkele van die talle hoogtepunte in die kort geskiedenis van die Krygskool.

The Combat School and the environment

 Throughout the history of the Danie Theron Combat School a close relationship existed between them and the environment.  This close relationship was stimulated through the public activities of the Combat School for example, during the anniversaries of the Republic, Army day, the centenary of Kimberley in 1971, agricultural shows, parent days at the Combat School, school fetes and movie premieres.  During these events the Combat School was responsible for mock attacks, exhibitions by the Combat School band, weapon exhibitions, drill shows, physical training exhibitions, parades with torches, mounted shows, flag hoisting- and flag striking ceremonies, and first aid demonstrations.  Many officers of the Combat School acted as guest speakers at many different institutions.  For the inhabitants of Kimberley the Combat School was a well known place because of many civilians that were treated at regular functions.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo20965/real.htm]

 Other activities apart from functions and festivities also brought the Combat School and the Diamond fields in close contact — natural disasters and other troubles caused them to fight together.  Very seldom a winter passed without the Combat School being called to help with veld fires.  During the floods of March 1974, members of the Combat School were transported with air planes and helicopters to assist.

Die Krygskool in sy omgewing

Dwarsdeur sy bestaan was daar 'n nou verband tussen die Danie Theron Krygskool en sy omgewing. Hierdie noue verband is veral gestimuleer deurdat die Krygskool telkens openbare optredes gelewer het waarby die publiek betrek of teenwoordig was, soos tydens Republiek feesvierings, leërdae, Kimberley se eeufees in 1971, landbouskoue, die hou van ouerdae by die Krygskool, skoolkermisse en filmpremieres. Gedurende hierdie byeenkomste was die Krygskool verantwoordelik vir die uitvoering van skynoorloë, vertonings deur die Krygskoolorkes, wapenvertonings, drilvertonings, liggaamsopvoedingvertonings, fakkelparades, berede vertonings, vlaghysing- en vlagstrykingseremonies en noodhulpvertonings. Talle offisiere van die Krygskool het al as gassprekers vir verskillende instansies opgetree. Vir die inwoners van Kimberley is die Krygskool ook geensins 'n vreemde plek nie, want burgerlike gaste word gereeld tydens funksies daar onthaal.

Dit was egter nie net funksies en feestelike geleenthede wat die Krygskool en die Diamantvelders in noue kontak met mekaar gebring het nie — rampe en teenspoed het hulle ook telkens saam geveg. Selde gaan daar 'n winter verby of die Krygskool se hulp is ingeroep om te help met die bestryding van veldbrande. Tydens die groot oorstromings in Maart 1974 is lede van die Krygskool met behulp van vliegtuie en helikopters vervoer om bystande te lewer.

Training at the Danie Theron Combat School

At the foundation in 1968 the Combat School consisted of a training wing, where recruits were being trained, and a course wing, where advanced training was presented to section leaders up to unit commanders.  The first commander of the training wing was Major J.F. Engelbrecht.  National Servicemen did one month of basic training under his command.  Most of them were students from universities, who were exempted from continuous service after appearing before a special selection board. After a five month break these men were called up for one month to guard ammunition dumps and fuel depots.  Only a few members from each course returned to the Combat School for specialized training.  After the first year, each man had to be trained for nineteen days per annum for a period of fifteen years.

In July 1972 the first phase for Commando members was changed to nine months.  The three months were divided into three phases of three months each.  Phase 1 was basic training to introduce the servicemen to the military life.  A small group of Permanent Force members assisted by selected servicemen acted as the instructors.  The focus during this phase was discipline and fitness.  Field craft, musketry, physical education and parade ground drills were also part of the training.  At the end of phase 1 the men were divided into different groups.  Two thirds of them were sent to other units and key posts to be involved in security activities. Those who were identified as potential leaders, received phase 2 training at the Combat School.  They were trained as instructors, chefs, clerks, store men, operational medics or drivers.

Servicemen selected for the mounted wing, were also given their phase 2 training at the Combat School.  Since 1970, fifteen men from each intake were trained to handle horses, to care for them, to keep the stables in order, and to execute medical treatment on the horses. After this they were trained in tactics in the field. Horses are considered to be very effective in the fight against insurgents, because they can carry soldiers for quite long distances over irregular terrain at relative fast speed.  Horses are especially effective to patrol the borders.  By 1972 the School had well equipped stables with more than thirty horses.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo26848/real.htm]

The horses were also used for sport activities.  In 1973 the mounted wing had a very excellent gymkhana team. In January 1974 the mounted wing was transferred to Potchefstroom.  Only the unit mascot, a pony with the name Penkop, remained.

During phase 3 national servicemen were trained in counter-insurgence warfare.  Attention was focused on teamwork, advanced field craft and musketry and on unconventional warfare in urban and rural areas.

Since July 1972 every three months, an intake of six- to eight hundred Commando Servicemen, were trained for nine month.  This system, however, again changed in 1974, when National Service was changed to twelve months. Only one annual intake would take place in January.  It was then decided to disband the training wing at the Combat School, and the officers and non-commissioned officers of the wing were transferred to a new unit, 11 Commando, on the terrain of Combat School. 11 Commando is an infantry national service unit and servicemen receive the same training as in other infantry units.

The course wing at the Danie Theron Combat School originally functioned under command of Major B. Redelinghuys.  The following courses were presented: Advanced training, promotional courses, specialist courses for clerks,  quartermasters, store men, snipers, internal security, elementary field engineer, refreshment courses for unit commanders, company commanders, company 2IC, platoon commanders, company sergeant-majors, regimental sergeant-majors, platoon sergeants, section commanders,  Commando candidate officers, orientation officers and unit intelligence officers.

The course wing also trains the cadet officers according to the curriculum for Commando members.  This is, however, not the only contact between the Combat School and school cadets: Northwest Command held their cadet competition at the Combat School.  The personnel of the Combat School also helped with the evaluation and commanders from the Combat School acted as functionaries at numerous schools during their yearly cadet parades.

As the standards of the Commandos improved, certain courses were developed for the Civilian Force and Commando members. Since 1977, the Danie Theron Combat School is responsible for promotional courses for the Commandos and the Civilian Force.  Officers and non-commissioned officers were trained in conventional and counter insurgence warfare.

To ensure more practical knowledge of the nature of the battle against insurgents on our borders as well as the terrain, the leaders of the Commandos were trained in the operational area.  This practice started in 1977 and resulted in the leaders being used in actual operations.  Specialists in sniper tactics were also presented at the Danie Theron Combat School. This included members doing National Service, Commando and Civilian Force members. They were trained in camouflage, hiding, stealthy movement and accurate firing to gather information or to dominate a specific area.

[History Compiled by Chaplain (Ds) D J Kritzinger, ASB Kimberley/photogallery/photo31533/real.htm]

Through their dynamic activities during the first ten years of existence, the Danie Theron Combat School developed into a prominent force SADF.  The fact that the Commandos consists of well trained infantry – soldiers in the true sense of the word — can mainly be attributed to the Combat School.  The Commandos is no longer an organisation, as in the past, with so-called "Skietpiete" (Shooting Dicks), "Naweeksoldate" (Weekend Soldiers) of "Kranswagters" (Cliff Guards).  It is now an organisation consisting of soldiers, well trained in the art of modern warfare, with many of them having done operational service. This enables them to follow in the footsteps of their forebears in the defence of every bit of South Africa. The Danie Theron Combat School was founded to prepare these soldiers and keep them prepared.  That vision was fulfilled.

Opleiding aan die Danie Theron Krygskool

Met sy stigting in 1968 het die Kommandokrygskool bestaan uit 'n opleidingsvleuel, waar rekrute opgelei is en 'n kursusvleuel, waar gevorderde opleiding vanafseksiebevelvoerder tot eenheidsbevelvoerders aangebied is. Die eerste bevelvoerder van die opleidingsvleuel was majoor J.F. Engelbrecht. Nasionale dienspligtiges het onder sy bevel een maand basiese opleiding gedoen. Die meeste van hulle was universiteitsstudente wat deur 'n spesiale keurraad van ononderbroke diensplig vrygestel is. Na 'n vyf maande onderbreking is hierdie manne weer vir 'n maand opgeroep om opslagplekke en petroldepots te bewaak. Net 'n klein klompie uit elke kursusgroep is na die Krygskool terug vir gespesialiseerde opleiding. Na die eerste jaar moes elke dienspligtige vir vyftien jaar lank negentien dae per jaar verdere opleiding ontvang.

In Julie 1972 is die aanvanklike dienspligtermyn van Kommandolede na nege maande verleng. Opleiding gedurende hierdie nege maande is in drie fases van drie maande elk verdeel. Fase 1 is aan basiese opleiding gewy om die dienspligtige met die Weermag vertroud te maak. 'n Kernpersoneel van Staandemaglede bygestaan deur gekeurde dienspligtiges het as instrukteurs die opleiding behartig. Daar is veral aandag geskenk aan dissipline en fiksheid. Daarby het veldkuns. skietkuns, liggaamlike opvoeding en paradegrondwerk ook aandag geniet. Aan die einde van fase 1 is die manskappe in verskeie groepe verdeel. Ongeveer twee-derdes is na ander eenhede en sleutelposisies gestuur om sekuriteitswerk te verrig. Diegene wat getoon het dat hulle benut kon word en potensiële leiers is, het intussen fase 2 opleiding aan die Krygskool ontvang. Daar is hulle as instrukteurs, sjefs, klerke, stoormanne, mediese ordonnanse of drywers opgelei.

Dienspligtiges wat vir die berede vleuel by die Krygskool gekeur is, het ook gedurende fase 2 hulle opleiding ontvang. Sowat vyftien manskappe uit elke inname is sedert 1970 by die vleuel geplaas waar hulle geleer is om perde reg te hanteer, hulle behoorlik te versorg, om stalle in stand te hou en om veeartsenykundige behandeling toe te pas. Eers daarna is hulle veld toe om taktiek te beoefen. Perde is van besondere waarde in teeninsurgensie oorlogvoering aangesien berede soldate groot afstande oor 'n onreëlmatige terrein teen redelike hoe snelheid kan aflê. Perde kan dus veral effektief vir patrolliediens aan die grens gebruik word. Teen 1972 was daar 'n goed toegeruste stallekompleks en meer as dertig perde by die Krygskool.

Die perde is ook vir sportaktiwiteite gebruik. In 1973 kon die berede vleuel ’n puik gymkhanaspan in die veld stoot. In Januarie 1974 is die beredevleuel egter na Potchefstroom oorgeplaas. Slegs die eenheid se gelukbringer, die ponie "Penkop" het agtergebly.

Gedurende fase 3 het die dienspligtiges opleiding in teen-insurgensie oorlogvoering ontvang. Aandag was toegespits op spanwerk, gevorderde veld- en skietkuns en op onkonvensionele oorlogvoering in stedelike en plattelandse gebiede. Sedert die winter van 1972 is fase 3 opleiding gedeeltelik by die half-permanente basis op Schmidtsdrift, wat deel van die Krygskool uitmaak, aangebied. Dit Iê aan die Vaalrivier, tagtig kilometer van Kimberley op die Griekwastad-pad. Die totale oppervlakte van die terrein beslaan 34000 hektaar. Die geboue in "Burgerskamp" aldaar is deur die eenheid self opgerig. 'n Deel van die terrein is wildwerend afgekamp met die oog daarop dat die wild nie deur die lawaai van skietoefeninge verdryf sou word nie.

Vanaf Julie 1972 is daar op hierdie wyse elke drie maande 'n inname van tussen ses- en agthonderd Kommandodienspligtiges ontvang en oor die volgende nege maande opgelei. Hierdie stelsel het egter in 1974. weer verander, toe Kommandodienspligtiges en dienspligtermyn na twaalf maande verleng is. Daar sou ook net een inname jaarliks wees, naamlik in Januarie. Daarom is besluit om die opleidingsvleuel by die Krygskool te ontbind, en die offisiere en onderoffisiere wat daaraan verbonde was oor te plaas na 'n nuwe eenheid, 11 Kommando, wat op die terrein van die Krygskool opgerig is. 11 Kommando is 'n infanteriedienspligeenheid en die dienspligtiges ondergaan dieselfde opleiding as die in ander infanteriedienspligeenhede.

Die kursusvleuel van die Danie Theron Krygskool wat sedert 1968 langs die opleidingsvleuel gefunksioneer het, het aanvanklik onder leiding van majoor B. Redelinghuys gefunksioneer. Dit het gevorderde opleiding, bevorderingskursusse, spesialiskursusse vir byvoorbeeld klerke, kwartiermeesters, pakhuismanne, skuilskutters, binnelandse beveiliging en elementëre veldgenie asook opknappingskursusse vir eenheidsbevelvoerders, kompanie-bevelvoerders, kompanie tweedes-in-bevel, pelotonbevelvoerders, kompaniesersant-majoors, regimentsersant-majoors. pelotonsersante. seksiebevelvoerders, Kommando kandidaat- offisiere, orienteringsoffisiere en eenheidsinligtingsoffisiere behartig.

Die kursusvleuel behartig ook kursusse vir kadetoffisiere en wel volgens dieselfde leërplanne as vir die Kommandolede. Dit is nie die enigste kontak tussen die Krygskool en skoolkadette nie: Noordwestelike Kommandement se kadetkompetisie is al by die Krygskool gehou, waar personeel van die Krygskool dan ook met die beoordeling gehelp het, en bevelvoerders van die Krygskool het al by verskillende skole die saluut beantwoord tydens die jaarlikse kadetparades.

Soos die standaard van die Kommando's verhoog is, is sekere kursusse gestandardiseer vir Burgermag en Kommandolede. Sedert begin 1977 is die Danie Theron Krygskool verantwoordelik vir die aanbied van bevorderingskursusse vir lede van die Kommando’s en die Burgermag, beide vir offisiere en onderoffisiere, in die konvensionele of teeninsurgensie tipe oorlogvoering.

Om die leiers van die Kommandomag meer praktiese kennis van die aard van die teeninsurgensiestryd op ons grense en die tipe terrein waarin dit gevoer word, te laat opdoen, word vanaf 1977 ook kursusse in die operasionele gebied aangebied, waarna studente prakties in die stryd aangewend word. Spesialiste in skuilskutterstake word ook by Danie Theron Krygskool opgelei. Dit sluit in lede van NDP-, Kommando- en Burgermageenhede, wat opgelei word om deur gebruik van kamoeflering, dekking, steelse beweging en akkurate vuur inligting in te samel of 'n gebied te domineer.

Deur sy lewenskrag en aktiwiteite gedurende die afgelope eerste tienjaar het die Danie Theron Krygskool vir homself 'n prominente posisie in die Suid-Afrikaanse Weermag verwerf. Die feit dat vandag se Kommandomag uit deeglik opgeleide infanteriste — soldate in die ware sin van die woord — bestaan, kan hoofsaaklik aan die bemoeienis van die Krygskool toegeskryf word. Die Kommando's is nie meer, soos dit in die verlede was, saamgestel uit sogenaamde "Skietpiete", "Naweeksoldate" of "Kranswagters" nie. Dit bestaan nou uit krygers wat deeglik in die kuns van moderne oorlogvoering onderlê is waarvan baie al aktiewe diens in die operasionele gebied gedoen het, sodat hulle in die beste tradisie van hulle voorvaders elke duim van die Suid-Afrikaanse grondgebied sal kan verdedig. Die Danie Theron Krygskool is opgerig om hierdie manne paraat te kry en paraat te hou. Aan daardie opdrag is voldoen.

Hier is die woorde van die Kommandolied aangeheg. By die opening van die Danie Theron Krygskool te Kimberley op 1 Oktober 1969. is die Kommandolied deur die komponis Dirk de Villiers aan die Kommandomag oorhandig. Die komponis se eggenote Dolly, het die woorde geskryf

 

Dierbaar land van ons geboorte,

Land van somerson en veld,

Jy’s ons duurgekoopte erfnis,

Jou beskerm ons teen geweld,

Vryheidsdrang bruis deur ons are,

dwing ons om gereed te staan,

om te antwoord op bedreiging

met die strydkreet;”Ek sal gaan!”

 

Refrein

 

Daarom sê ek : “Ek sal gaan!”

Daarom weet ek : “Ek sal gaan!”

Daarom roem ek : “Ek sal altyd gaan

as die vaderland my roep! Roep!”

 

Steeds vertrouend op die Vader,

bly ons tot die dood getrou,

om ‘n groot en skone toekoms

vir ons kinders op te bou.

Sonder vrees, bewus van roeping,

sal ons vasberade veg.

Om te bou wat ons verkry het

as ‘n Volksbesit en reg

 

 

 

11 Commando          

UNIT HISTORY OF 11 COMMANDO

The establishment of 11 Commando at Kimberley was announced by Gen. M. A. de M. Malan SSA SM on 3 October 1973.  The unit was primarily destined to assume the training function of the Danie Theron Combat School's former training wing, and hence the unit's name reflecting a proud and close association with the commandos.

Cmdt. W. S. van der Waals SM was appointed as the first officer commanding on 14 November 1973.  The first intake of 1 500 National Servicemen reported for service on 6 January 1974 and 11 Commando became a full-fledged unit.  Scarcely two months later the young unit was summoned to lend assistance at the local floods.  Services rendered in this regard resulted in the awarding of the Chief of the SADF's commendation to two unit members.

On 1 April 1974 the unit's area of responsibility was enlarged by the acquisition of an additional company, stationed at Jan Kempdorp. Towards the end of 1974, Cmdt. A. K. de lager assumed command of the unit.  During his period of command, 11 Commando completed two periods in the operational area. During April 1977 the current officer commanding, Cmdt. R. van Rensburg assumed command of the unit.

Despite its relative short existence 11 Commando has already created a proud tradition, both locally and on our borders.  A part of the unit is currently doing border duty to realise its mission of national defence yet again.

EENHEIDSGESKIEDENIS VAN 11 KOMMANDO

Die stigting van 11 Kommando te Kimberley is op 3 Oktober 1973 deur Genl. M. A. de M. Malan SSA SM aangekondig. Die eenheid sou tot 'n groot mate die opleidingsfunksie van die Danie Theronkrygskool se ou opleidingsvleuel oorneem en daarom dan die trotse naamverbintenis met die kommando's.

Op 14 November 1973 word Kmdt. W. S. van der Waals, SM, aangestel as die eerste bevelvoerder van die eenheid. Die eerste inname Nasionale Dienspligtiges, ongeveer 1500 lede, meld op 6 Januarie 1974 aan en 11 Kommando word 'n volwaardige eenheid. Slegs twee maande later is op die jong eenheid se nommer gedruk om bystand te verleen by die vloedrampe in die omgewing. Die dienste gelewer was van so 'n hoogstaande gehalte dat twee lede die Hoof van die SAW se aanprysing ontvang het.

Op 1 April 1974 word die eenheid se verantwoordelikheidsgebied vergroot toe 'n bykomstige kompanie, gestasioneer te Jan Kempdorp, onder bevel geplaas is.

Aan die einde van 1974 neem Kmdt. A. K. de lager bevel van die eenheid oor. Gedurende sy bevelstydperk, verrig 11 Kommando twee keer grensdiens. Gedurende April 1977 neem die huidige bevelvoerder, Kmdt. R. van Rensburg bevel van die eenheid oor. Nieteenstaande die feit dat 11 Kommando 'n betreklike jong eenheid is, het hy al ’n trotse naam, beide op ons landsgrens en plaaslike opgebou. Tans bevind 'n gedeelte van die eenheid hulself in die operasionele gebied in vervulling van sy landverdedigings taak.

 

THE SAAF PRESENCE IN KIMBERLEY            

INTRODUCTION

Kimberley has a rightful claim to being the cradle of aviation in South Africa.  The first public flying performance was qiven in June 1911, by Rear-Admiral Dr John Weston in his Weston-Farman biplane, on the Kimberley Race Course.  The first aviation school was started by C. Compton Paterson in 1912 and was located on a site South East of the present airport.  This site was owned by De Beers up to the end of 1929 but steps were then taken to transfer it to the Kimberley City Council.

The aerodrome was used by Imperial Airways, South West African Airways, and later by South African Airways, the latter being formed on 1 February 1934.

In 1936, a flying training school was established by African Air Transport, a branch of the de Havilland Company.  The training was Government sponsored under the Pupil Pilots Air Training Scheme.  Three Gipsy Moths were used.

On December 1, 1939 the South African Air Force took over the aerodrome for the duration of the war.   All scheduled services were cancelled from January, 1940 and crews and aircraft of S.A.A. were taken over by the South African Defence Force.   Scheduled services were recommenced towards the end of 1944 when South African Airways resumed operation with Lockheed Lodestars.

At the time of the Air Force taking over the aerodrome, two auxiliary landing grounds were constructed - one at Wildebeestkuil, 5 miles to the west of Kimberley and one at Tayfield, about twelve miles to the south of the aerodrome. Three smaller landing fields were also made. Soon after the SAAF took over the aerodrome twelve large hangars were erected.   In addition, a large camp was built adjacent to the airfield including barracks, offices and technical buildings.   This was later called Air Force Station Kimberley.

Another camp was set up a mile north of the Alexanderfontein Hotel and a small airfield was built here.  After the War, these buildings were handed over to the Department of Education and used in the rehabilitation of physically defective children.

The Alexanderfontein Hotel was turned into an Officers' mess, on 11.12.39 and housed all the officers stationed, at aps Kimberley and AFS Alexanderfontein.

The following list indicates the South African Air Force units which were based at Kimberley, at one time or another, during the period of the Second World War:

Central Flying School           (11.12.39 - 27.5.40) at AFS Kimberley.

 

No. 2 Aircraft Repair Depot (1.8.40 - 1.2.46) (2 AFS)  This unit was later re-designated as No. 2 Air Depot at AFS Alexandersfontein (2 AD).

 

No. 3 School of Technical Training (3 STT)           (2.8.40 - 4.9.43)   This unit was later re-designated as 70 Air School at AFS Alexandersfontein.

 

No. 2 Basic Training Centre            This unit was later redesignated as 72 Air School, AFS Alexandersfontein.

 

No. 2 Flying Training School (2 FTS)         (1.6-40 - Feb. 45)  This unit was later re-designated as No. 1 Service Flying Training School (1 SFTS). The unit was, in turn, re-designated as 21 Air School, all at AFS Kimberley.

 

Air Force Station Kimberley            (6.8.40-?)

Air Force Station Alexandersfontein           (9.4.42-13.9.43)

A CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS

11.12.39         Central Flying School moved to Kimberley Airfield from AFS Zwartkop Pretoria under the command of Major S.A. Melville.  The object of the school was the training of flying instructors.  A course was in progress on this date.  The school consisted of one squadron of two Hart A/C flights and one Tutor A/C flight (A/C aircraft).

04.04.40         The Instructors' Course at Central Flying School terminated and twenty two instructors qualified.

 

30.04.40        Major J.D. Pretorius took over command of Central Flying School from Major S.A. Melville.

 

06.05.4           Instructors' Course No. 2/40 commenced at Central Flying School with 37 pupils.

 

27.05.40         Central Flying School moved to Bloemfontein, and was stationed at Air Force Station Tempe.

 

01.06.40         A special train conveyed wives and children of all personnel of 2 FTS (2 Flying Training School) together with those members not proceeding by air, from Pretoria to Kimberley.  2 FTS had previously been based at AFS Zwartkop.  All stores, equipment, tools, aircraft accessories, together with furniture and motor cars belonging to members of the School had already been dispatched.  Major A.D. Irvine was OC of 2 FTS at this time.  2 FTS provided intermediate and advanced training of ab-initio pupil pilots.

03.06.40         The transfer to Kimberley Airfield of Hawker Harts and Tiger Moths attached to 2 FTS was accomplished in flight formations.

 

10.06.40         Flying instruction of course ZAS7 of 2 FTS recommenced.  Forty-seven pupils had already been in training at AFS Zwartkop.

 

11.06.40         13 Bomber Squadron was mobilized, incorporating personnel from 2 FTS.  The squadron, under the command of Major A.D. Irvine, flew to Waterkloof Air Station and then to Pietersburg, returning to Kimberley on 12.06.40.  This was a "Show of Force" exercise.

17.06.40         The designation of 2 FTS was changed to No. 1 Service Flying Training School (1 SFTS).

26.06.40         Lieutenant Young from 1 STT, Pretoria, flew to Kimberley to inspect the site for the proposed 3 STT wing at AFS Alexandersfontein.

 

29.06.40         Flying training of course ZAS 7 of 1 SFTS was concluded.  Wings presented by The Honourable Maj. Piet v.d. Byl.

 

01.07.40         Pupils of Course ZAS 7 were transferred back to Pretoria and qualified for the SAAF badge on this date.  Fifty-two pupils of 1 SFTS Course No 1 reported for instruction from AFS Baragwanath and AFS Randfontein.  Two Hawker Hind A/C arrived, the first to be attached to 1 SFTS.

02.07.40         Lt Col J.E.O. Marais visited 1 SFTS and elucidated a new amended syllabus of advanced training which included syllabi of tactical training and principles of Aerial fighting.

 

15.07.4O        The squadrons and flights of 1 SFTS were reallocated, with flights A to F functioning as training units.  'B' flight was comprised solely of Hawker Hinds.   Later Flts A to H were formed with A to D in the Initial Training Squadron (ITS) and E to H in the Advanced Training Squadron (ATS).  Each course of 50 pupils spent 2 months in each squadron, thus 4 months at the SFTS before being awarded their "Wings" and Commissioned.  Thus there were 4 courses of + 50 pupils at the FTS at any one time i.e. about 200 pupils.  There were 70 to 80 flying instructors alone involved.

16.07.40         Portion of an advance party for 3 STT arrived in Kimberley for AFS Alexandersfontein.

 

29.07.40         The Adjutant of 2 ARD left for Kimberley to arrange accommodation and transport for troops and equipment.

 

01.08.40         Troops together with machinery, equipment, aircraft and engine spares of 2 ARD arrived in Kimberley by train from Voortrekkerhoogte.  1 ARD had been formed in Voortrekkerhoogte on July 8, 1940.  The troops of 2 ARD were encamped at AFS Alexandersfontein.  The OC of 2 ARD at this time was the Lt C.J. Liebenberg.

02.08.40         3 STT was opened at AFS Alexandersfontein with a total strength of four officers and 203 other ranks under the command of Acting Captain A.W. Leitch.

 

05.08.40         Seven officers and one hundred and twenty-four men of the Royal Air Force UK were taken on the strength of 1 SFTS under the SAAF RAF Joint Air Training Scheme.  Forty pupils of 1 SFTS Course No. 2 reported for flying training.

06.08.40         Air Force Station Kimberley was formed for the purpose of carrying out all administrative duties for 21 Air School.  Lieutenant Col. A.D. Irvine was appointed the OC of AFS Kimberley while Major Frank Hofmeyer was posted to station staff as Camp Commandant.  He later was promoted Lieutenant Colonel and became OC AFS Kimberley, while Lt. Col A.D. Irvine reverted to OC 1 SFTS.

07.08.40         Four Hind aircraft in cases were offloaded at the aerodrome, for assembly by 2 ARD.

 

08.08.40         A further six Hind aircraft arrived by rail, for assembly by 2 ARD.

 

17.08. 40        An interchange of aircraft was arranged between Armament Training School, Cape Town, and 1 SFTS.  The Armament School released nine Harts in return for nine solo Hinds.

 

20.08.40         Five Gipsy Moths arrived by air and allocated to 3 STT.

26.08.40         STT was re-arranged to consist of one squadron (engines) and 1½ squadrons (air frames).

 

09.09.40         Forty pupil pilots arrived from No. 1 EFTS and No. 2 EFTS for training by 1 SFTS.  Machinery and stores of 2 ARD were moved from the Kimberley aerodrome to the hangers at AFS Alexandersfontein.

20.09.40         At a formal parade, forty-eight "wings" were presented to pupil pilots of 1 SFTS Course No. 1.  This course was the first to receive "Wings" under the amended system of training.  Under this system, all pupils who graduated to the Advanced Training Squadron of 1 SFTS were awarded "Wings", although appointment to commissioned rank only followed on completion of the course.   It is evident from the War Diaries that not all pupil pilots who received their "Wings" were commissioned but some were appointed to the non-commissioned ranks.  Lieutenant Wells, the Officer Commanding No 2 Basic Training Centre made an inspection of the premises.  The purpose of 2 BTC was to give basic training to volunteer artisans for the South African Air Force.

 

29.09.40         Personnel arrived from CAFTD (Central Air Force Training Depot) for attachment to 2 BTC.  The personnel were housed at A.F.S. Alexandersfontein.

 

30.09.40         Thirty six pupils from 1 SFTS Course No 2 qualified in their ground subjects and flying tests.

 

02.10.40         Major L.A. Wilmott gave an aerobatic display at AFS Kimberley in one of eight Hurricanes which had landed from Cape Town.

17.10.40         The personnel of 2 BTC moved into new quarters at AFS Alexandersfontein.  It appears that some existing buildings had been modified into barracks.

21.10.40         Lieutenant Colonel A.D. Irvine, OC of 1 SFTS, was posted to No 11 Bomber Squadron OC.  The writer of the war diary makes the following comments about Lieutenant Colonel A.D. Irvine:

"During his four and a half months stay in Kimberley as OC of AFS Kimberley and 1 SFTS, he worked unremittingly to obtain from a small and dusty civilian aerodrome, a great Service Flying Station; Hangars and buildings and macadam stretches being produced at record speed.  Despite natural shyness of speech, he attained enormous popularity and loyalty from his officers and men, and largely through this and his charm, keenness and efficiency, helped to produce a Unit which is second to none."

 

Lieutenant-Colonel S.S. (Stan) Halse was posted to 1 SFTS as OC.  At the same time, he assumed command of Air Force Station Kimberley.

 

26.10.40         A parade was held at which the function of "the presenting of wings" was inaugurated.  At such a function, "wings" were actually presented on parade, as opposed to the method of merely granting permission to put them up.  'Wings" were presented to pupils of 1 SFTS Course No. 2.  Hereafter, "wings" parades were held every month.

25.11.40         Units were re-designated as follows:

No 2 Basic Training Centre                 No 72 Air School            (72 AS)

No 2 Aircraft Repair Depot                  No 2 Air Depot               (2 AD)

No 3 School of Technical Training      No 70 Air School            (70 AS)

No 1 Service Flying Training School  No 21 Air School             (21 AS)

 

01.12.40         Lieutenant Colonel Hofmeyer became OC of Air Force Station Kimberley.

 

Early 1941    No specific date can be ascertained on which Oxfords first arrived for 21 AS but it appears that it was around this time.  An attachment of an Oxford for 21 AS dated 27.01.41 has been found.  References are made in the war diary to "101 Squadron".  It appears that this was an operational squadron 'on paper'.

27.02.41         A group of thirty five apprentice trainees were posted from 72 AS to 70 AS.  This was the first group to be posted, but regular postings to various units were made hereafter.  At the end of each course, trade tests were written with posting decisions made on the results.

09.04.41         Lieutenant Colonel R.S. Brophy V.D. took over as OC of 21 AS. 

28.04.41         Major Alister M. Miller D.S.O.; O.B.E. assumed command of 70 AS.

19.05.41         Two Rearwins and one Pussmoth aircraft arrived and were taken on charge by 70 AS for training purposes.

02.05.41         A "maintenance" squadron of 21 AS was formed, responsible for all central maintenance and repairs to all aircraft used in the flying training flights, as opposed to each flight doing its own maintenance.

15.09.41         Lieutenant-Colonel R.S. Brophy V.D. took command of Air Force Station Kimberley.

26.09.41         Lieutenant-Colonel F.J. Dyason assumed duty as duty as OC of 70 AS.

Sept. 1941    It was probably during this month that the first Audaxes were allotted to 21 AS. These aircraft were used mainly for met flights.  The conversion to twin training by 21 AS was well under way.

01.12.41         72 AS was disbanded.

 

18.03.42         21 AS had gone over completely to Group 2 training where twin-engine Oxford aircraft were used exclusively.  There were ninety three Oxfords on strength at this time.

26.03.42         Pupil pilots of 21 AS moved into their own camp adjacent to 21 Air School.

09.04.42         Air Force Station Alexandersfontein was established on this date and Lieutenant-Colonel F.J. Dyason was appointed as O.C.

21.05.42         AFS Alexandersfontein was handed over officially from AFS Kimberley, the appropriate documents being signed by the respective OC's.

01.08.42         Lieutenant-Colonel C.R. Robbins M.C., D.F.C., took over command of 2 AD and Air Force Station Alexandersfontein.

14.01.43         Lieutenant-Colonel J.G. Pargiter M.C. took over command of AFS Alexandersfontein and 2 AD.  Major Woolf assumed command of 70 AS.

 

04.09.43         The personnel of 70 AS departed for Milner Park and Wonderboom. This is probably the date on which the station was disbanded.

 

13.09.43         AFS Alexandersfontein was disbanded. The station personnel were absorbed by 2 AD.

1944-1948     It is difficult to ascertain a detailed account of the operation of the SAAF units at Kimberley during this period.  21 AS continued to provide flying training using Oxford aircraft until it was finally disbanded in February, 1945.  2 AD was disbanded a year later on February 1, 946.  It was probably around this time that a detachment of 15 AD was posted to Kimberley to arrange for the disposal of aircraft.  It is apparent that this detachment was still present in Kimberley in 1948.  A number of different aircraft including Miles Masters, Kittyhawks and Warwicks were sent to Kimberley to be sold as scrap.

 

 

1 MAINTENANCE UNIT           

Before 1 November 1968, the maintenance system of the SA Army was based on an Ordnance Service Unit, Petrol Company and an Ordnance Service Field Unit.

This organisation was cumbersome and inflexible and couldn't fit into the Defence Force operational pattern. 1 Maintenance Unit was then founded to train National Servicemen in the execution of maintenance and transport tasks.

The National flag was hoisted for the first time at Lenz on 13 December 1968. This was the second station that 1 Maintenance Unit had taken and was a fully fledged training Unit by now.

1 Maintenance Unit was moved into their station at Diskobolos on 5 December 1975. This station was the old Elizabeth Conradie School. Since 31 July 1975, 1 Maintenance Unit was an Ordnance Service unit.

- 1975/76 : 1 Maintenance Unit takes part in Operation Savannah.

- The unit takes part in Operation Palmiet that took place between 21 and 25 October 1984. The aim of the operation was to restore law and order in the black living areas in the PWV area.

- 1984 : The unit receives a five star grading for loss control.

 

 

 

KIMBERLEY REGIMENT         

The foundation of Kimberley Regiment was laid in 1876 together with the discovery of diamonds in Griqualand West. This area started attracting large numbers of adventurous people from all over the world and within a few years it was obvious that members with a military background would start a voluntary Corps when danger threatened.

The Kimberley Regiment trails its existence back to the founding of the Du Toitspan Hussars on 23 September 1876 and thereafter through different coalitions with units such as the Kimberley Light Horse, the Kimberley Scots, the Victoria Rifles, the Diamond Fields Horse, the Kimberley Rifles and the Diamond Field Artillery to its current existence as the Kimberley Regiment in 1899.

The Kimberley Regiment holds an awarded battle distinction unique in world military history for the protection of its own City, Kimberley, during October 1899 to February 1900, viz "DEFENCE OF KIMBERLEY". During the First World War, two battalions were supplied by Kimberley Regiment to the South African forces that conquered German South-West Africa in the SWA campaign from 1914-1915. Joint battalions were then used in German East Africa and France but C Company, 1st Regiment of the 1st SA Brigade was known as the Kimberley Regiment Company. Lt W.F. Faulds, from this company, received the only infantry Victoria Cross for Bravery during the First World War for South Africa at Delvillewood.

During the Second World War, Kimberley Regiment together with the Imperial Light Horse Regiment from Johannesburg served in the mighty 6 SA Armour division that did duty in Italy. Historians wrote that the Kimberley Regiment saw more action, more battle distinctions (10) and received more bravery medals (38), but through this, lost more soldiers than any other South African Regiment involved in the Italian campaign.

The Kimberley Regiment has had active service as an independent Battalion in Ovamboland from 1976 until 1978. The Regiment has also taken part in one Operation in Angola. Over the years different Companies have been subdivided for service in the permanent Battalions that have been established in SWA/Namibia.

The Kimberley Regiment had the privilege to operate as an operational Battalion during the Regiment's centenary celebrations on 28 September 1976.


 

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