Purpose: All Branch members are invited to contribute in providing suggestions/feedback, or just listen to the quarterly update. Final event planning will also take place for our upcoming flagship events
Following the committee meeting, our fun quarterly social will commence.
We would like to invite all legionnaires to our next quarterly SA Legion Social to join us!
An opportunity for fellow legionnaires to catch up with old friends, connect & forge bonds with new friends… also a chance to direct any questions or suggestions to Committee Members over a nice relaxing beer!
NOTE: This meeting precedes the Regional Conference at the same venue
In the period of the 20th to the 29th
September 1944 a number of massacres and reprisals (Operation Piave) took place
in the Grappa region of Italy when the Axis forces attempted to quell the
Although the total number has never been ascertained, it is calculated that over 300 people were murdered and an unknown number deported.
In the town of Carpane a court of sorts convened and passed judgement on captured partisans.
On the 21st September an unknown young Italian was shot.
On the 23rd September Giuseppe Mocellin and Luigi Ferraris were shot.
On the 24th Virgilio Versa, Filippo Bianchin, Pietro Boaria, Federico Fiorese, Matteo Gheno, Alfredo Tosin and Antonio Bellò, and two allied prisoners were shot.
On the same day, David Baillie, J.L.S. Fourie and Gear Munsiff Dar are shot in Campo Solagna (Monte Grappa).
On Tuesday 26th September in the (now) Avenue of Martyrs in the town of Bassano del Grappa 31 partisans were hanged from trees and left for the inhabitants to see.
In the afternoon of the same day another group of partisans were shot in Carpane. These men were second-lieutenant Angelo Alberto Bosio, second-lieutenant Angelo Valle and 14 Allied soldiers, one of who remains unidentified.
Roll of Honour – Allied Soldiers
These names are listed on the roadside memorial in Carpane.
CHAMBERS, A. G.
SMITH, A. M.
DUNNE, W. G.
KINNEAR, R S Rank:Gunner Service No:53513 Date of Death:27/09/1944 Age:27 Regiment/Service:South African Artillery Grave Reference I. A. 8. Cemetery PADUA WAR CEMETERY Additional Information: Son of William J. and Susan Kinnear; husband of Adelaide R. H. Kinnear, of Durban, Natal, South Africa.
KINNEAR, W J Rank: Private Service No:27529 Date of Death:27/09/1944 Age:29 Regiment/Service:Transvaal Scottish, S.A. Forces 2nd Bn. Grave Reference I. A. 10. Cemetery PADUA WAR CEMETERY Additional Information: Son of William J. and Francina S. Kinnear; husband of Maria E. Kinnear, of Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa.
BUYS, S Rank:Signaller Service No:117010 Date of Death:Between 26/09/1944 and 27/09/1944 Regiment/Service:South African Corps of Signals Grave Reference I. B. 2. Cemetery PADUA WAR CEMETERY
KING, C N Rank:Lance Corporal Service No:12225 Date of Death:27/09/1944 Regiment/Service:Die Middelandse Regiment, S.A. Forces Grave Reference I. A. 14. Cemetery PADUA WAR CEMETERY
CHAMBERS, F E Rank:Private Service No:93978 Date of Death:27/09/1944 Age:24 Regiment/Service:Natal Mounted Rifles, S.A. Forces Grave Reference Coll. grave I. B. 3-8. Cemetery PADUA WAR CEMETERY Additional Information: Son of Arthur W. and Cornelia M. Chambers, of Durban, Natal, South Africa.
CRONJE, L N Rank:Lance Bombardier Service No:105306 Date of Death:27/09/1944 Age:21 Regiment/Service:South African Artillery Grave Reference Coll. grave I. B. 3-8. Cemetery PADUA WAR CEMETERY Additional Information: Son of Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Cronje, of Ficksburg, Orange Free State. South Africa.
FLACK, B R Rank:Gunner Service No:144020V Date of Death:27/09/1944 Age:32 Regiment/Service:South African Artillery 2 Field Regt. Grave Reference Coll. grave I. B. 3-8. Cemetery PADUA WAR CEMETERY Additional Information: Son of Brian V. H. and Maude E. Flack, of Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa.
HORNE, C. H.
WHEELWRIGHT, D D Rank: Corporal Service No:11607 Date of Death:27/09/1944 Age:41 Regiment/Service:Kaffrarian Rifles, S.A. Forces Grave Reference I. A. 9. Cemetery PADUA WAR CEMETERY Additional Information: Son of Guy and Lilian Wheelwright; husband of Viola Wheelwright, of Lusikisiki, Cape Province, South Africa.
BOTES, A Rank: Private Service No:28077 Date of Death:27/09/1944 Regiment/Service: Rand Light Infantry, S.A. Grave Reference I. B. 1. Cemetery PADUA WAR CEMETERY
AN UNIDENTIFIED ALLIED SOLDIER
Gianna Giglioli, the wife of Angelo Vale refused to be
sent to work in Germany and demanded she share her husband’s fate.
The Axis obliged and shot her too.
When her body was examined she was found to be four months pregnant.
Every year the inhabitants of the region hold a memorial
service to commemorate this event.
It was only in 2008 that an Italian researcher, Sonia Residori, managed to uncover the identities of the Allied soldiers.
During research into the Italian Campaign the Regional Chair of the SAL, Cameron Kinnear, noted that two of these soldiers were named Kinnear, and he started corresponding with Sonia Residori.
As a result an invitation was extended to Lgr Kinnear and
his wife to attend the 75th Anniversary of the massacres, to be held
on the 5th October 2019.
It must be noted that the Kinnears were very warmly welcomed and treated exceptionally well during their stay in the region.
After a church service led by a senior church official
from the region, short ceremonies were held at the main memorial and at the spots
were the shootings took place. The entire town and the main road through the
area was stopped, and the attendees progressed to the various spots in a sombre
yet fraternal mood.
At the spot where the Allied soldiers were shot Lgr Kinnear laid not only a wreath from the SAL, but also small crosses were laid for the two Kinnears.
After the wreath laying services were completed, a local
hall was filled to overflowing to hear the speeches presented by Mayor
Ferazzoli, the Researcher Sonia Residori and Cameron Kinnear, Regional Chair of
the SAL England and Europe.
All of the surrounding towns were represented by their
Mayors in support of the Mayor of Valbretta / Carpane, Luca Ferazzoli.
The parade was led by Ottorino Bombieri, Chair of the National Partisans Association (ANPI) with support from the Chair of the National Association of Combatants and Veterans of Valbretta, Ermanno Bombieri and the President of the ANPI of Bassano, Gianandrea Borsato. Representatives of the Services were also present.
Lgr Kinnear was ably assisted by Prof Paola Fachinello who kindly provided translations.
This article includes information obtained from the Research and Articles compiled by Sonia Residori.
She has not only compiled detailed records of these events, pursued and enabled the identification of the South African soldiers, but was also involved in the tracking down of the German Officer in charge of the Bassano del Grappa “Avenue of Martyrs” executions, Karl Franz Tausch.
further served to remember the Battle of Square Hill*, fought in Palestine from
September 19 to 21, 1918, when Cape Corps
troops engaged with Ottoman Turkish forces in what were to be the final months
of the First World War.
The service was conducted by SA Legion Chaplain, Lgr Craig Esterhuizen. He emphasised from the beginning of his address that the Warsaw Airlift was a humanitarian mission, not a strategic one. The pilots knew they were not going to change the course of the war for the Allies, but they were acting to prevent starvation and the annihilation of Warsaw’s population and the Polish Home Army.
these brave pilots were denied flyover rights over Russian-held territory and
were fired upon by their Russian allies if they strayed into their airspace.
The 2,600-km round trip from their Italian bases at Celone and Brindisi was
fraught with danger and at least 360
airmen and 41 British, Polish, South African, and US-crewed aircraft were lost.
As Padre Esterhuizen said, it was indeed an act of love and sacrifice to
participate in such a mission.
After the Padre’s address, a poem which honours the Cape
Coloured soldiers who fought so bravely at Square Hill was read by Anja De
A dark and haunting poem honouring the wartime sacrifices
made by Poland *** was read, followed by the singing of the South African,
British and Polish national anthems. The singing effort was greatly helped by
After the service, the legionnaires and standard bearers, led
by a piper marched to the South African Cenotaph for a wreath-laying ceremony.
As the piper played the poignant Flowers of the Forest lament, wreaths were laid by Col Norbert Czerniak, Polish Deputy Defence, Military, Naval, and Air Attaché to the UK, Arthur Bildziuk, Chairman of the Polish Airmen’s Association UK, and SA Legion Chaplain, Lgr Craig Esterhuizen for the South African Legion UK & EU.
Defence Attaché, Col Czerniak, was then invited to join Lgr Cameron Kinnear to take
the salute as the standards and legionnaires marched past the cenotaph.
formalities ended, a social was held at the Royal British Legion Club in
Teddington, where Lgr Lee Greed ensured no one went thirsty and Lgr Johan De
Vries provided his superb boerewors rolls.
Battle of Square Hill
This year marks the milestone centenary of a historic battle which is not yet
at the forefront of general consciousness in the United Kingdom. The legion
playing its part to raise general awareness.
the Battle of Square Hill in 1918, Cape Corps soldiers were
able to shine in their first battle with Turkish soldiers in Palestine during
the final months of the First World War.
were a mighty foe…
nightmare that affronted Gen Allenby came in the form of Gen Mustapha Kemal or
Ataturk as he was later known (founder of modern Turkey) and Gen Liman von
Sanders seconded by the German High Command to their Turkish allies. This
Turkish/German Army was the same one that had defeated the Australian, New
Zealand, and Canadian (ANZAC) forces at Gallipoli, and thereafter marched
triumphantly down Asia, conquered Damascus, and overran Syria until they
reached the Holy Land.
Allenby, with his Staff Officers mused over his problem and formulated their
significance of this battle was General Allenby’s military strategy to connect
with Arab allies to the east of the Dead Sea, a mission that was thwarted by
the enemy’s control of the Jordan crossing at Jisr ed Damieh.
Captain Ivor D Difford, quartermaster of the Cape Corps wrote that Gen Allenby
was “determined to strike a blow west of the Jordan, where the whole Turkish
army in that area was enclosed”. To this end, the plan was to “break through
the enemy’s defensive positions and create a gap for the cavalry to pass
the night of 18 September 1918 the 1st Cape Corps themselves had taken 181
prisoners. Having come under “fairly persistent counter-attack” they were said
to have battled with bayonets in the “strictest silence” and that they carried
out orders implicitly.
names mentioned in this battle were Lt. Samuelson, Sgt February and L/Cpl
Thimm. The 1st Cape Corps capturing of the enemy field gun which was noted as
“the first gun captured on the Palestine front during Allenby’s great push” –
resulted in Lance-Corporal Thimm being promoted to Corporal.
the war, a monument was built in Kimberley. The gun captured at Square Hill
stands there still… but of similar monuments in Johannesburg and Cape Town,
nothing but promises materialised. The annual Armistice Day/Remembrance Sunday
parade at the Johannesburg cenotaph drew a large crowd of Cape Corps veterans
and descendants for decades and was widely known as the Square Hill parade, but
even that memory has now faded.
battle on that night claimed the lives of L/Cpl S Visagie and Pte S Gobey.
Further casualties the next day were Pte J Jonkers, Pte G Groep and Pte D
legionnaires we carry the flame of remembrance…
upon a time, a battle was fought in a Biblical land.
cloud of skirmishers in advance,
With now the sound of a single shot snapping like a whip, and now an irregular
The swarming ranks press on and on, the dense brigades press on,
Glittering dimly, toiling under the sun—the dust-cover’d men,
In columns rise and fall to the undulations of the ground,
With artillery interspers’d—the wheels rumble, the horses sweat,
The army corps advances.
victory was won and their general was proud.
the splendid South African victory at “Square Hill”
Corps helped break through to Damascus
*** By Józef
Szczepański – 1944
waiting for you, red plague
be salvation welcomed with revulsion
waiting for you, our eternal enemy
murderer of so many of our brethren
victorious army has been lying at the bright feet
of burning Warsaw and is feeding its soul with
handful of madmen who are dying in the ruins.
the outbreak of the First World War, South Africa, as a British Dominion,
formed and mobilised the South African Overseas Expeditionary Force, as its
contribution to the war effort. This force consisted of: The SA Infantry
Brigade, SA Mounted Brigade, SA heavy Artillery Brigade, SA Field Artillery
Regiment, SA Native Labour Corps, SA Field Ambulance unit, SA Corps of
Engineers, SA Signals Company, and the SA Medical Corps – a total force of
about 232 000, each one of them volunteers.
our grandfathers were among them.
Medical Corps provided the staff for both the South African Military Hospital
in Richmond Park London, and the No 1 South African General Hospital
established in France. Injured or ill soldiers from all theatres of war were
transferred to Richmond for treatment and for recuperation.
39 of the South Africans who died in the SA Richmond Park Hospital were buried
in the Richmond Cemetery. At the end of the First World War, the SA Hospital
and the Comforts Fund Committee decided to erect a memorial to these men and to
all those South Africans who had died in the war.
Lutyens who designed the Whitehall Cenotaph – where thousands of ex-service
personnel, including a substantial contingent of South African Legionnaires,
march on Remembrance Sunday – designed this memorial and it was unveiled by
General Jan Smuts in June 1921. It became a pilgrimage focus in the 1920s and
has Grade II listed status and it is recorded as a building of special
architectural and historic interest.
Report by Lgr Justin Bosanquet / background information SA Legion
Photography: Lgr Victor Ho and Karen Parry
TEDDINGTON – At a superb ‘meet and greet’ between
African Legion UK & Europe Branch and representatives of SAMVOA (Western Australia)
at the The
Royal British Legion Teddington, the Legion was honoured and privileged to
accept a SAMVOA Distinguished Service Award from our Australian visitors on
behalf of Lgr Theo Fernandes in appreciation for his services in
organising delivery of SADF medals to 54 veterans in Australia and New Zealand.
Accepting the award on behalf of Theo, SA Legion UK & EU
spokesperson Lgr Andrew Bergman highlighted that the award is well deserved, as
Theo (aka The Porra’) consistently embodies the motto of the Legion: ‘Not for
Ourselves but for Others’.
The award will be handed-over to Theo (with due ceremony) after
he returns from a tough assignment reconnoitring holiday facilities and
gastronomy in Madeira.
RICHMOND-ON-THAMES – The South African Legion gathered again at the South African Cenotaph in East Sheen cemetery in Richmond, London, to commemorate the Battle of Delville Wood in humble remembrance of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice during this critical part of the battle of the Somme in the summer of 1916.
Our friends from the General Browning and Gazala Shellholes
joined us again this year as well as members of the Countess of Mountbatten’s
Also rendering support were two standard bearers from the
Teddington Branch of the Royal British Legion.
Padre Lgr Chris Esterhuizen welcomed us all to the service and the Standards, including the South African and British flags were piped in by a piper of the London Scottish Regiment.
We were also extremely fortunate to have the help of the choir of the New Apostolic Church of Camberley in attendance and their voices lifted the singing to wonderful heights.
After a very moving service from the Padre, two poems written shortly after the battle were read out and the service was concluded.
The veterans then fell-in and were piped from the chapel to the South African Cenotaph, where there was a wreath laying ceremony. Bugler Robbie Crick, ex of the Royal Artillery played Last Post.
The salute for the march past was taken by SA Legion
Regional Chair Lgr Cameron Kinnear.
We then decamped to the clubhouse of the Teddington branch of the RBL for a well-earned beer or two.
We were as always generously hosted by Lee Greed of the RBL
Teddington. Braai master Johann DeVries ably helped by Legionnaire Theo
Fernandes ensured that none went hungry.
We were also able to raise money for the SA Legion via a
A wonderful and moving parade in all, and we look forward to
welcoming more guests and friends in the years ahead to help raise awareness
and remembrance of the fallen of South Africa.
Text by Lgr Stuart Robertson
Photography by Karen Parry
NOORDWIJK, THE NETHERLANDS – Every year on 4 May, the Kingdom of the Netherlands marks its national Dodenherdenking (remembrance day), to commemorate civilians and soldiers who were executed or fell in WWII and subsequent conflicts.
The date is a moment to pause and reflect on the civil liberties that the Dutch enjoy today – freedom that they realise and respect was hard-won and should never be taken for granted.
Across the country, local school children place flowers on the many war graves scattered far and wide, in local cemeteries as well as those of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. These include many South Africans, especially airmen, as it was necessary for the RAF bombers to overfly the Netherlands on their way to and from raids on Germany. Especially on their return routes, many bombers succumbed to FLAK and fighter damage, and crashed into the Dutch polders.
In addition to a central nationally televised event on Dam Square in Amsterdam, attended by the royal family and heads of government, simultaneous events are held in towns and cities across the country, where two minutes’ silence is observed at 20h00.
Though neutral during the First World War, the Netherlands was not spared from hosting the casualties of a war that was fought within earshot.
Over the past six years, the municipality and Aldermen of Noordwijk have been of constant support to the SA Legion and the South African Embassy in The Hague with regard to our annual SS Mendi remembrance service and parade now held each 21 February at the Noordwijk cemetery. A strong bond has developed between South Africa, and this picturesque town on the Dutch coast that has so loyally nurtured the graves of Private Abraham Leboche, Private Arosi Zendile, Private Sitebe Molide, Private Natal Kazimula, and Private Sikaniso Mtolo, for more than 100 years.
It is therefore only fitting that the South African Legion Europe Branch shows its solidarity with Noordwijk as the town remembers those who fought and died for its freedom.
This year, the South African contingent was significant, first at a remembrance service in the Maria Ter Zee church, followed by a dignified silent march, past the war graves in the general cemetery, to the Noordwijk war memorial nearby.
There, the South African Ambassador to The Netherlands, H. E. Mr. Bruce Koloane, and Lgr. Andrew Bergman, Chairman of the SA Legion Europe Branch, joined local dignitaries and veterans in laying wreaths after two minutes’ silence was observed.
The following day, 5 May, is observed across the Netherlands as Bevrijdingsdag, marking the liberation of the Netherlands from the German occupation as WWII drew to a close.
It’s a day celebrated with much gusto (and Heineken and Grolsch), but not before having first acknowledged and paused to reflect that the freedom the country enjoys was achieved at the cost of many brave lives.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them…
Caption of featured photo above: These are four of the SS Mendi graves in Noordwijk. The town’s school children placed flowers at every one of the WWI and WWII Resistance, Allied and Commonwealth war graves, as they do each year.