The South African Service Cross Medal was posthumously awarded to Airman Trevor Williams in recognition of his services during the South African Border War conflict.
Airman Trevor Williams served in the South African Airforce Specialist Security unit during 1986 - 1987.
"May this medal serve as a token of our gratitude for the services your son rendered to our country, South Africa", Veteran Garth Pienaar said as he presented the award to the parents of Airman Williams during a ceremony held at the SAMVOA WA regional meeting on the 9th of April 2013.
The South African Service Cross was established to recognise those men and women who had given valued service to the Republic of South Africa between 1957 and 1994 during hostilities and in peacetime, and where those services in many cases have gone unrecognised.
The Williams-family had all three of their sons proudly serve in the South African Defence Force during the 1980's.
(L-R) Veteran Garth Pienaar (WA Regional Chairman), Mr. and Mrs. Williams (parents) and Veteran Robert Williams (brother).
Veteran Pete Cilliers of the SAMVOA WA region was proudly awarded his long outstanding Pro Patria campaign medal at a medal ceremony held during the monthly SAMVOA WA regional meeting.
Regional chairman of the WA region and National vice-chairman of SAMVOA, Veteran Garth Pienaar, was at hand to officially award the Pro Patria medal to Veteran Cilliers.
The Pro Patria medal is a campaign medal awarded to members of the SADF (citizen or permanent force) who engaged in preventing or combating terrorism, or members who were involved in a skirmish with the enemy.
It is predominantly recognised as the "Border War" medal for active service in the operational area.
A Medal Ceremony hosted by SAMVOA was held in Brisbane Queensland on the 22 September 2012. Veterans and families attended in the late afternoon and Veterans were invited to submit a short anecdote regarding their service in the SADF. These were each read out prior to each Veteran receiving his awarded medals. These proved to be interesting, moving as well as entertaining with a few tears and much laughter coming from the families and Veterans.
The Medal recipients were:
Veteran Mike Hanslow
Veteran Fred Pretorius
Veteran Gavin Murphy
Veteran Greg Sadler
Veteran David Sheldon
Veteran Justin Lippiatt
Veteran Larry Griffiths
Veteran Stephen Walker
Veteran Tony Le Roux
Veterran Gordon Pugh.
As Queensland is not having a Formal mess Dinner this year, it was decided to award the floating trophies at this event.
The Bugle trophy went to Greg Sadler for his support and dedication in representing SAMVOA without fail.
The Bayonet trophy went to David Sheldon for his uncompromising commitment to the organisation.
Congratulations Gentlemen – wear your medals with Pride.
Image gallery of the presentation...
Thirty-seven years after making the Supreme Sacrifice for their country, the mortal remains of three of the four South African soldiers who died at Ebo have been repatriated. The remains of the fourth soldier, Trooper Niel Lombard, could unfortunately not be located at the Ebo burial site in Angola. The remains of the Ebo Four will be handed over to the Heritage Foundation (Erfenisstigting) at the Voortrekker Monument on Friday, 15 June 2012, by an Angolan delegation. Only the bodies of three, Capt. D.J. Taljaard, 2Lt. K.A. Williamson and 2Lt. E.B. Thompson were found. Trooper Niel Lombard's brother will be bringing home a container with some earth from the Massaba river in his memory.
The news of the repatriation was confirmed by the chairman of the Ebo Trust, Genl. Maj. (Rtd) Gert Opperman, following an extensive operation by a team of forensic anthropologists for the search and exhumation of the remains of the Ebo Four.
“The remains of Capt. Daniël Jacob Taljaard, 2Lt. Keith Arthur Williamson and 2Lt. Eric Bryan Thompson were buried in the same grave.
“It was easy to confirm their remains, as aircraft parts were found buried alongside them in the same grave. The teeth of Capt. Taljaard also assisted in the identification of the remains,” Opperman said.
"We really tried our best to find Niel's grave, but were unfortunately unable to locate it. The local residents also pointed out a number of other graves. Two of these were mass graves which also contained explosives, but it would of been too dangerous for us to dig there.
"We opened an area of 50 m x 50 m, but our search was in vain. It is heartbreaking as we were hoping to bring the remains of all four back to South Africa.
"With the symbolism of "dust-to-dust" in mind we are bringing back a small amount of earth from the banks of the Massaba river to represent Niel," Opperman said.
Trooper Niel Lombard was killed in his Eland-90 armoured car (pictured left) on 23 Nov 1975 at the Massaba River Bridge near the Ebo Village. Since the SA forces had to withdraw in a Southerly direction at that stage, his remains could not be evacuated.
The other three soldiers were killed when their Cessna 185 reconnaissance aircraft was shot down by hostile Cuban anti-aircraft fire behind enemy lines.
The remains of the Ebo Four will be handed back to South Africa by an Angolan delegation on Friday 15 June 2012 during a private function to be held at the Voortrekker Monument Wall of Remembrance.
Genl. Maj. (Rtd.) Opperman paid tribute to prof. Maryna Steyn and her team from the University of Pretoria who undertook the task of exhuming and identifying the remains of the fallen soldiers.
SAMVOA would like to congratulate and thank Genl. Maj. (Rtd.) Opperman and his team for the remarkable work they have done to bring our boys back home. We salute you all.
|Trooper Niel Lombard - SA Army.
Lest we forget.
Captain Daniël Jacob Taljaard - SA Army.
|2Lt. Eric Bryan Thompson - SA Air Force.
Lest we forget.
|2Lt. Keith Arthur Williamson - SA Air Force.
Lest we forget.
SAMVOA National Chairman Veteran Tony Maquet MMM
As former South Africans and now in most instances, "Australians of Choice", we are very proud to be parading today with our fellow Australian Reservists and we thank you for allowing us this opportunity.
In 1899 your predecessors came across the seas to Africa as Colonial Regiments in support the British Empire, who along with the Colonies of the Cape and Natal, were in conflict with the Boer Republics of the Free State and The South African Republic, later known as the Transvaal.
So, not only did you have future South Africans facing you in combat in 1899, but you also had future South Africans fighting right alongside you. An interesting situation, which, in the passage of time, had a very positive impact on the future fighting forces in South Africa.
There might have been opposing views at the time and even today as descendants view that war, now 110 years later. Some call it the Boer War, others the Anglo-Boer War and yet others the "Zuid – Afrikaansche Republiek Vryheidsoorlog", which translates into the "South African Republic War for Freedom".
Like Australian Soldiers our South African soldiers only ever considered our role as being in the defence of our country and the protection of all its citizens from external aggression.
The importance of 2012 to South Africans:
Two important milestones in South African history are being commemorated and celebrated this year.
1. One is the 110th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty at Vereeniging, which heralded the end of hostilities between the Boer Republics and the British Empire.
2. The other is the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the statuary Defence Forces of South Africa.
South African (SAMVOA) members on parade today descend from both sides of the Boer War conflict. In 1910, the 4 provinces were unified into the Union of South Africa and in 1912 the Union Defence Force was formed, which served in both World Wars and in Korea, in many instances alongside Australian forces. In 1957 the name changed to the South African Defence Force and more recently in 1994 to the South African National Defence Force.
This was to be a formidable fighting force in that the result was the successfully blending of two totally different military disciplines and cultures into an army trained to fight both conventionally and unconventionally, using the field skills, accurate shooting and mobility of the Boer, alongside the drill, dress and discipline of the British Forces.
At the time of the Boer War there were many Cape and Natal Colonial Regiments, formed from 1854, that fought alongside the British and Colonial Forces which included Australia. When Australia came into existence with Federation in 1901, what was to become South African Forces in 1912 were right alongside these new Australians. As a result, South Africa can claim to be amongst the first of Australia's allies.
13 of these regiments were formed prior to 1899 and a further 8 regiments were formed during or just after the war. There were probably as many as 20 others that were amalgamated into these 21 regiments immediately after peace. These proud, traditional regiments still serve South Africa to this day and will do so into the future.
In addition, the many Commando units that directly descended from the Boer War, also served South Africa with distinction right up to 2009, when the Units were disbanded, some 15 years after the ANC achieved government. This was for no other reason than to fall in line with the diminished external threat to South Africa.
From inception, South African regiments have been restricted by the Defence Act from serving outside of Africa, but they continue to see operational service in trouble spots around Africa. During the 1st and 2nd World Wars, in order to circumvent this restriction, once their objectives were achieved in Africa, the regiments had to receive their South African pay-of-rank, "Fall out", then march across the parade ground and "Fall in" for British registration for pay-of-rank and rations. Hence they fought in the Somme in WW1 as the South African Scottish and won immortal fame at Delvillewood and later in Italy in WW2 as the 6th South African Armoured Division where they wore a distinctive "Orange Flash" on their shoulder straps. South African sailors and airmen were less restricted and were found in large numbers in most arenas of war where battles were fought on sea and in the air.
The bulk of the members on parade today served as conscripts within the SADF, with extended servicemen and volunteers going on to serve in the SANDF from 1994. A dwindling number of our members in Australia served in WW2 as a members of the UDF. Unlike our World War colleagues, most members were conscripted and served for extended periods, usually for 12-years, 10 of which were on a "Part Time" basis. They served to such a positive effect that they were a major factor in the smooth transition to democracy. This was no easy task, and the continued existence of the regiments in a "post-apartheid" South Africa is testimony to the standing of the South African soldier, sailor, airman and medic in the hearts of the greater South African community.
In recent times, before southern Africa's peace, there came the "War for Africa".
The front end of this war was fought in Angola by a small, rotating South African force that fronted up, alongside the Unita forces of Jonas Savimbi, to the numerically superior Communist Forces, which included the FNLA and MPLA between August 1987 and July 1988. This conflict was said to be larger than the battles fought in North Africa during WW2 and this saw the deployment of the most advanced and sophisticated weaponry available at the time.
The South African soldier proved to be too much for the Cubans, Russians, East Germans and Angolans and, when faced with the possibility of full mobilisation of the South African forces (all +- 700,000 of our first-line reserves, fully kitted and in training), this culminated in a peace agreement, the New York Accords, signed on 22nd December 1988, and the departure of the Communists from African soil.
There are those who might try and re-write history, but we will not be amongst them and our record will stand for all time.
Download a PDF version of the message...
The four recipients were:
Veteran Shaun Porter - Pro Patria and Southern Africa Medals
Veteran Ian Higley - Pro Patria and Unitas Medals
Veteran Deon Booysen – General Service and Unitas Medals
Veteran Robert Williams – General Service Medal
The following message from Veteran Paul Roos, SAMVOA Public Relations and Liaison Officer was read out during the ceremony:
"Just a short note of CONGRATULATIONS on the awarding of well deserved, if long overdue, Campaign and Service Medals to Ian, Shaun, Deon and Rob. This is an honoured tradition that has stood the test of time – the recognition of a man's deeds and service to his country, by an appropriate symbol of recognition by
his fellow man, and in this case his brothers in arms.
Ian, a very dear friend and ex-work colleague, I would have loved to be there this
evening to celebrate your awards mate, however these few words will have to suffice
Congratulations – I salute you Sir, as well as the other recipients- you have done your country, your family and your Veterans proud."
Congratulations Gentlemen – wear your medals with Pride.
Image gallery of the presentation...
Veteran Garth Pienaar, regional chairman of SAMVOA WA, has been appointed as the new SAMVOA National Vice-Chairman.
Veteran Pienaar started his military service at the 11th Commandos in Kimberley, after which he successfully completed the Permanent Force Course at the Infantry School in Oudtshoorn. It was here where he met and shared a bungalow with Rifleman Wynand du Toit, who later became a Special Forces Operator with the famed South African Recces. Captain duToit was later captured by the FAPLA forces in Cabinda, Angola in 1985 after their secretive operation deep behind enemy lines went horribly wrong.
Veteran Pienaar served as Platoon Sergeant at 6 SA Infantry Battalion in Grahamstown, where he trained new intakes of National Servicemen in preparation for operational deployment into South West Africa and Angola. Veteran Pienaar made his first tour of duty to the operational area in 1978, and was stationed at Ondangwa. He was later stationed at Eenhana and then Mpacha in 1979.Congratulations Garth!
Veteran Paul Roos, member of the SAMVOA Victoria region, has been appointed as the new SAMVOA National Marketing and Public Relations Officer.
Veteran Roos completed his basic training at 7 SA Infantry Battalion at Phalaborwa in the '80's, after which he joined the Spoor Section of the SADF Dog Centre at Bourkes Luck.
He was later posted to the SWASPES operational base at Otavi in South West Africa. Here he joined forces with other specialist units such as the mounted infantry and Bushman trackers. It was also during this time that Veteran Roos completed the tracking course with his tracker dog named Peanuts. Together they served twenty months in South West Africa, of which thirteen months were spent on deployment in the operational area. Veteran Roos participated in Operation Protea with members of the mechanised infantry.
Join us for the 110th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging at variuos Boer War Memorial Services across Australia.