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May 26th, 2014


ROLL OF HONOR

On Memorial Day in the United States, remembering South African airborne soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

1-Para-Bn_basic-jump-wing

Rank Name Date Unit
Sgt. D.J. Human 26 Nov. 1975 2 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. A.T. Bate 26 Nov. 1975 2 Parachute Battalion
L/Cpl. W.C. Swanepoel 25 March 1976 2 Parachute Battalion
Cpl. A.L. Broderyk 13 April 1976 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. A.J. Blaauw 17 July 1976 2 Parachute Battalion
S/Sgt. Francisco Daniel Roxo 23 Aug. 1976 1 Reconnaissance
Sgt. Ponciano G. Soeiro 23 Aug. 1976 1 Reconnaissance
Sgt. José Correia Pinto Ribeiro 25 Aug. 1976 1 Reconnaissance
Rfn 4 May 1978 3 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. 4 May 1978 2 Parachute Battalion
Rfn 4 May 1978 3 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. 4 May 1978 2 Parachute Battalion
L/Cpl. 12 Aug. 1978 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. 12 Aug. 1978 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. 12 Aug. 1978 1 Parachute Battalion
Cpl. T. Davis 15 Dec. 1978 2 Parachute Battalion
L/Cpl. E.L. Bell 4 June 1979 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. L. Grobler 27 Feb. 1980 2 Parachute Battalion
Sgt. L.T.H. Wessels 15 Jan. 1981 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. L. Truter 15 Jan. 1981 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. G.J. Harvey 1 June 1981 1 Parachute Battalion
L/Cpl. M.S. Hadlow 26 July 1981 44 Pathfinder Company
Rfn. J.C. Cromhout 29 Dec. 1981 2 Parachute Battalion
Capt. L. van Wyk 2 May 1982 1 Parachute Battalion
Cpl. E.P. Lombaard 9 Aug. 1982 1 Parachute Battalion
L/Cpl. S.R. Hoare 9 Aug. 1982 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. R.H. Barrett 9 Aug. 1982 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. A. de Klerk 9 Aug. 1982 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. G.W.E. Krill 9 Aug. 1982 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. A. Kruger 9 Aug. 1982 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. M. le Roux 9 Aug. 1982 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. S.P. Mallon 9 Aug. 1982 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. J.T. Marshall 9 Aug. 1982 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. C.A. Moody 9 Aug. 1982 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. A.H. van Niekerk 9 Aug. 1982 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. A. Wolmarans 9 Aug. 1982 1 Parachute Battalion
Sgt. R.T Beech 18 Aug. 1982 44 Pathfinder Company
Sgt. J.A. Wessels 18 Aug. 1982 44 Pathfinder Company
Cpl. G.L. Steytler 24 June 1983 1 Parachute Battalion
L/Cpl. A. Tucker 7 July 1983 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. G.E. de Lange 22 July 1984 1 Parachute Battalion
Cpl. J.P. Hall 24 Jan. 1985 1 Parachute Battalion
Cpl. B.A. Fidler 15 Sept. 1985 7 Medical Bn Group
Rfn. N.W. Smuts 5 Nov. 1985 1 Parachute Battalion
L/Cpl. M.A. Benecke 6 Sept. 1987 1 Parachute Battalion
Cpl. N.S. Olivier 31 Oct. 1987 1 Parachute Battalion
L/Cpl. R.M. Light 31 Oct. 1987 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. H.N. de Rose 31 Oct. 1987 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. W.C. Ewels 31 Oct. 1987 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. D.W. van Rooyen 31 Oct. 1987 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. J.M. Schuurman 1 Nov. 1987 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. P. Breytenbach 24 Dec. 1987 2 Parachute Battalion
L/Cpl. M. Coetzee 4 March 1988 4 Signal Unit
Cpl. T.M. Stewart 20 March 1988 44 Pathfinder Company
L/Cpl. J.D. van der Merwe 20 July 1988 3 Parachute Battalion
Capt. J. Nel (Dr.) 22 Sept. 1998 7 Medical Bn Group
Cpl. J.A. Sax 22 Sept. 1998 7 Medical Bn Group
L/Cpl. Z.S. Mafuta 22 Sept. 1998 1 Parachute Battalion
L/Cpl. O.A. Mothupi 22 Sept. 1998 1 Parachute Battalion
L/Cpl. S. Mtengwane 22 Sept. 1998 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. L.N. Magwazana 22 Sept. 1998 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. A.T. Mangoegape 22 Sept. 1998 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. P.T. Tshweu 22 Sept. 1998 1 Parachute Battalion
Cpl. N.A. Mogorosi 23 March 2013 1 Parachute Battalion
Cpl. M.D. Seakamela 23 March 2013 1 Parachute Battalion
L/Cpl. S.D. Molara 23 March 2013 1 Parachute Battalion
L/Cpl. L.M. Tsheke 23 March 2013 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. M.W. Bojane 23 March 2013 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. X. Dlamini 23 March 2013 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. L.M. Hertzog Lebatlang 23 March 2013 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. K.E. Matsheka 23 March 2013 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. K.P. Msenga 23 March 2013 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. Z.J. Mxhosana 23 March 2013 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. V.J. Ngaleka 23 March 2013 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. T.A. Phirimana 23 March 2013 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. M.S. Thulo 23 March 2013 1 Parachute Battalion
Sgt. M.O.Mahasa 29 April 2013 1 Parachute Battalion
Rfn. K.L. Moloke 25 May 2013 1 Parachute Battalion

1ParaBn_Honor-roll

1ParaBn-jump-course_1978
Click on photo for full-size display

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Related links

Airborne Soldier

Airborne-Soldier_Parabats

Parabat Veterans Organization

2-Parabat-Veterans-Organization

Update: August 25, 2016


August 26, 1966 — 50 years ago today — marks the beginning of the South African Border War, which lasted 23 years, 6 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days. Remember the 2,280 members of the SADF who gave their lives in service to their country during that period. Of those, 776 were killed in action. (Click on image to view Facebook post)

Update: July 25, 2017

Parabat Promo 720P from Efpe Senekal on Vimeo

More » “Parabat” — The Documentary

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Related reports on this site

Memorial Day 2011 (May 30, 2011)

Image: President Barack Obama takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery
President Barack Obama participates in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. (Photo credit: NBC News)

Memorial Day 2010 (May 31, 2010)

Image: Barack Obama lays a wreath as he participates in a Memorial Day Ceremony
President Barack Obama after laying a wreath at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois, on Memorial Day, May 31, 2010. (Photo credit: Jim Watson / AFP — Getty Images)

Memorial Day 2009 (May 25, 2009)

Image: U.S. President Barack Obama takes part in a wreath laying ceremony
U.S. President Barack Obama takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony with Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe at the Tomb of the Unknowns on May 25, 2009, Memorial Day, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo credit: Mandel Ngan / AFP — Getty Images)


 

Operation Meebos

An External Counter-Insurgency Operation by 61 Mechanised Battalion Group into Central Southern Angola from 13 July 1982 until 30 August 1982

Excerpted from the website of the 61 Mechanised Battalion Group Veterans Association, with minor copyediting and added photos.

Objective of the Operation

The aim of Operation Meebos was to prevent FAPLA from re-occupying the towns of Xangongo and Ongiva. The secondary aim was to pinpoint and destroy enemy headquarters and caches and to disrupt its logistical routes. As an added instruction the force had to keep the morale of the local population high and also gain local intelligence sources while trying to turn the local population against SWAPO and FAPLA. Operation Meebos was planned in five stages: (1) Reconnaissance and establishment of a helicopter administration area; (2) Airborne operations by a paratroop company in the area north of the cut line; (3) Assault; (4) Mopping up; (5) Withdrawal of own forces in a general line south of Mupa.

A Tragic 9 August 1982 — We Lose Fifteen Splendid Soldiers in One Swell Swoop

Personal impressions of the commander, Cmdt. Roland de Vries

1ParaBn_shootdown-group-cremains
The remains of the 12 paratroopers were cremated and later interred as a group in the Paratroopers Memorial at Tempe in Bloemfontein.

9 August 1982. A crisp winter’s morning in southern Angola with nothing much really happening …

Sixty-one Mech was still in an ambush position to the east of the Cuvelai-Techamutete road, somewhere close to the Mui River. New intelligence had been received of a small SWAPO logistics base close to Techamutete. An attack was considered by the TAC HQ. It was, however, realized that FAPLA could interfere and the idea was scrapped.

The frustrations relating to the finding of the next viable target was now the thing bedevilling the momentum and continuation of Meebos. Was the search and destroy show petering out already?

Captain Willem Ratte and the scouts of 32 Battalion were eagerly searching for the infamous Bravo Battalion of SWAPO — the main enemy 61 Mech had sought and had a few skirmishes with during Operation Daisy in November 1981. They were still out there, roaming the bush. Lost in the same wilderness were the Central and Eastern Area HQs of SWAPO. Don’t forget about the other loose assortments of SWAPO running around in the bush. Where the hell is the enemy, in six-figure map grid reference’s terms…? Show yourself damn it!

The target search by Ratte had now shifted to an area to the northwest of Cuvelai. It was within two hour’s striking distance from where 61 Mech was influencing the road leading north to Techamutete from Cuvelai.

The signs and the symptoms of the enemy were there — the signs had been found by Ratte on the ground. The TAC HQ decided to launch an area operation into the suspect area: fly in with Puma helicopters, patrol, and wish for a number of lucky strikes with the enemy, fly out again, tally-ho. The recipe was the same; the Alouette gunships would provide close air support. Hopefully as well, during the flying the gunships would pick up the enemy on the ground. Eight Pumas were poised for the trooping mission of the splendid soldiers of 32 Battalion and 1 Parachute Battalion. Ready to go…

Just after midday the Pumas started flying in the troops to the target zone just north of the Mui River about 15 km to the west of the Cuvelai-Techamutete road. The route chosen took the aircraft flying along the dry river bed of the Mui River. The flying pathway of the Pumas from the HAA almost took them over the deployment position of 61 Mech hidden in the bushes below.

1ParaBn_Puma_troop-transport

With their first flight, the Pumas had unwittingly flown over a deployed SWAPO anti-aircraft position. The enemy was lurking in a bushy patch of the Mui River approximately 15 km west of the Cuvelai-Techamutete road.

The second time around, at about 15h00, four Pumas again came with a flurry… Again along the dry Mui River with their precious cargo on the way to a landing zone. A curtain of enemy anti-aircraft fire suddenly erupted from below and slammed into the second Puma piloted by Captain John Twaddle. The Puma plummeted to the ground, exploded and burst into flames. Three SAAF crew members and twelve paratroopers were killed instantly — no, for a brief moment one of the paratroopers was still alive…

This was an amazing tragedy. 9 August 1982… We had lost fifteen splendid soldiers in one swell swoop.

1ParaBn_Puma-shootdown
“Today 35 years ago, I was 18 years old, sitting in the open door of a Puma helicopter, flying fast, just above the trees in Angola. Suddenly anti-aircraft tracer bullets blasted around us, and the helicopter flying next to me was struck and crashed. Twelve fellow paratroopers (Parabats) and three helicopter crew were killed. I remember that day like it was yesterday! Rest in peace fellow soldiers. Never forgotten.” (Shane Yates, Facebook, Aug. 9, 2017)

Soon after the Alouette gunships went into action. More than thirty SWAPO soldiers running towards the crash site were spotted. A battle ensued and some of the Alouettes took hits from below. One Alouette pilot reported seeing more than one hundred SWAPO insurgents dancing around the stricken Puma. More gunships were scrambled and were on their way to the contact site.

By this time the TAC HQ had informed 61 Mech about the unfolding tragedy in the Mui River. We immediately responded and started moving at best speed towards the position we knew were the fight with SWAPO and the gunships was raging. Sixty-one Mech was approximately 23 km to the east. Time- and distance-wise it would take our vanguard close to one hour of bundu bashing to get there. Move! Move! Move!

The battle was still raging at the downed Puma site. The Alouettes were taking fire from SWAPO’s formidable 14.5s and SAM-7s. The gunships needed to return to the HAA to re-arm and re-fuel. At this stage Captain Willem Ratte was still deployed farther to the north, close to the Calonga River searching for enemy bases.

Sixty-one Mech reached the crash site within little more than an hour. As we deployed in an all-round defensive open leaguer around the crash site we could hear a mini-battle raging just to the north of our position.

My first instruction was for all of 61 Mech to remain extremely alert and to stay mounted on their Ratels until I had assessed the situation. I halted my Ratel next to the Puma helicopter, which was still smouldering. Looking down into the wreck we could see a number of charred remains of the paratroopers. It was obvious that nobody could be alive. However, our biggest fear was that the enemy could have captured someone.

On the command radio-net I then reiterated my command for everyone to remain mounted on their vehicles. As this was as much an army as an air force show, SAAF Major Jaap du Preez and I dismounted to inspect the blazing sight and analyze what had happened — our fear remained the possibility that soldiers had been captured.

About fifty meters to the north we could see where the 14.5s had been positioned — the area was strewn with empty shell casings. The whole area was covered with the chevron boot print of SWAPO. Of the enemy themselves there was no sign at this stage.

Realizing that SWAPO expected us to visit the site, Jaap du Preez and I looked at each other and sort of simultaneously warned: “Watch out for booby-traps and personnel mines.” It was an eerie situation…

The three SAAF crew members had clearly been removed from the wreck by SWAPO soldiers. The three bodies were propped up in their seats as if someone had posed them for a photograph in their scorched flying suits.

Incidentally, in a contact with the enemy a day later a few Polaroid photographs were found on dead SWAPO insurgents, as well as some of the “dog tags” (two metal identification disks worn around the neck) of the paratroopers.

As I stood next to the wreck I momentarily felt an immense sadness, a heavy weight settling on my chest… silently crying. I was thinking of those back home who did not yet know what had happened in the Mui on this fateful 9th of August 1982.

My pondering did not last long as I was interrupted by a Ratel-90 approaching the crash site. Close to me lay one of the doors of the Puma which had been blown to one side.

The approaching Ratel-90 belonged to Second Lieutenant Dewald Weideman, one of the troop commanders of Captain Chris du Toit of Charlie Squadron. Weideman dismounted and started walking in my direction… Why? Chris du Toit shouted at him to get back on his Ratel. As I put up my hand and echoed the warning to halt him, there was a tremendous explosion right in front of me.

Weideman was flung into the air, one foot and the bottom part of his torso blown to bits, but our man was alive… Medics! Doctor! Medics! Quick! Call for a Puma casevac now!

Again I shouted: “No one, but NO ONE get off your Ratels! Repeat my message down the chain of command now, AGAIN!”

There was an eerie respectful silence that enshrouded the death site.

Jaap du Preez and I then found a drag mark from the Puma wreck to a lonely tree approximately thirty yards away. We could see the body of one of the paratroopers propped up against the trunk of a Mopani tree. We walked very carefully towards the site, searching the earth for signs of booby-traps or personnel mines. The paratrooper was dead. He must have been alive for a while, probably thrown from the Puma by the explosion. His skin was blistered and hung in tatters from him. The pain must have been excruciating. He was shot through the center of his forehead — was this a coup de grace by the enemy?

Jaap du Preez and I returned to the wreck and started counting the bodies. We repeated the count six times to make very sure that all had been accounted for. We then confirmed our counts.

I then instructed one of the Ratels to drive towards the Puma wreck and for our soldiers to carefully transfer the remains into body bags. The body-bags were not enough and some of the charred remains had to share bags. A Puma was called in to fly the remains to the HAA and then back to SWA.

Sixty-one Mech then left the Puma site and to leaguer a few kilometers to the north of the Mui River for the night. We would return the next day to evacuate the helicopter wreck; we were definitely not going to leave it for SWAPO to use for propaganda purposes later on.

Sadness permeated the leaguer of 61 Mech as the sun set in the west over the Calonga River. Somewhere out there was Captain Willem Ratte and his scouts and the enemy in the darkness…

That night Major Alex Britz made our command group a “Potjie” (typical African stew prepared in a Falkirk three-legged cast-iron pot). He had made a deep hole in the ground for his fire so that the glow could not be discerned by any watchful enemy. We sat on our camp chairs in the bush in camaraderie, surrounded by darkness and the silence from within.

At midnight I was called to the radio by my signals officer, Captain Sean MacSweeny. It was the TAC HQ. They had sifted trough the remains of our slain soldiers and could only find signs of fourteen. One was missing. I replied: “No ways, check again.” Captain Jaap du Preez and I checked our counting procedure of the day once again. We were very sure of the numbers; we had counted fifteen, over and over.

At 03h00 the next morning I was contacted again by radio. The TAC HQ informed me that the medical staff at the HAA had found fifteen unique bones, which affirmed the count was correct.

Relief washed over me.

In Memoriam — let us be quiet for a moment.

The three crew members of the South African Air Force: Captain John Twaddle; Lieutenant Chris Pietersen; and Flight Engineer Sergeant Grobbies Grobbelaar.

The twelve paratrooper national servicemen of 1 Parachute Battalion: Corporal Esuas Lombaard (20); Lance-Corporal Stephen Hoare (20); Rifleman Andre Wolmerans (21); Rifleman Grant Krull (20); Rifleman Craig Moody (20); Rifleman Andries Hermias van Niekerk (20); Rifleman Anton Kruger (22); Rifleman Martin le Roux (22); Rifleman James Marshall (20); Rifleman Alan de Klerk (19); Rifleman Shane Patrick Mallon (21); and Rifleman Ruffle Hilton-Barret (21).

In later years I came across the following message on an internet site: “3 April 2009. My brother died in Angola together with 12 parabats and 2 more pilots on 9 August 1982. Chris Pietersen I still miss you and love you to bits. Your sis.”

As darkness settled over the leaguer, some of it also settled in the souls of the one thousand soldiers of 61 Mech who became the lone victims of their own apprehensions and thoughts once again.

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29 Responses to “Parachute Battalion”
  1. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    7 July 1983: Lance Corporal Alexander John Tucker, age 19, 1 Parachute Battalion, was killed in action when his patrol was ambushed by a combined FAPLA/Cuban force while operating in an area approximately 42 km from Cahama, Angola. He was killed instantly when struck in the head by a bullet. … https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=864028843747674&set=gm.10155122367053113&type=3&theater

  2. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    17 July 1976: Rifleman Andries Johannes Blaauw, age 21, 2 Parachute Battalion, was killed in action after he and his twin brother Pieter, had a brief contact with a group of SWAPO/PLAN insurgents while on patrol. On approaching a kraal (village) where they believed some of the insurgents may be hiding, the section dumped their excess kit and fanned out to search the kraal, leaving Andries and Pieter Blaauw to guard the kit. Apparently, while so deployed, a group of insurgents who were following the patrol’s tracks to the kraal, came upon the two brothers. Andries and Pieter spotted them when they were quite close and, taking cover as best they could on either side of a tree, they opened fire on the insurgents. The firefight lasted only five minutes before the insurgents once again broke contact and fled but Andries was killed during the exchange of gunfire. … https://www.facebook.com/groups/32476603112/permalink/10155156396608113/

  3. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    24 January 1985: Corporal Jacobus Petrus Hall, age 19, 1 Parachute Battalion, was accidentally shot dead by a fellow soldier who was standing guard duty on patrol north of Okankolo, Namibia. Hall was seen moving around outside the security circle of their temporary base during the night and mistaken for a SWAPO/PLAN insurgent. … https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=771724972978062&set=gm.10154633110208113&type=3&theater

  4. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    20 July 1988: Corporal Johannes David Gerhardus van der Merwe, age 25, 3 Parachute Battalion, was killed when his Buffel troop carrier overturned at Batavia. … https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=871024519714773&set=gm.10155165128258113&type=3&theater » https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=871024626381429&set=p.871024626381429&type=3&theater

  5. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    22 July 1984: Rifleman Gerhard Ernst de Lange, age 20, 1 Parachute Battalion, was killed in action during a contact with SWAPO/PLAN insurgents while on patrol north of Ondangwa, Namibia. The patrol’s temporary base was attacked in the early hours of the morning. De Lange was killed in the ensuing firefight after suffering multiple shrapnel wounds from an enemy hand grenade.

  6. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    26 July 1981: Lance Corporal Michael Steven Hadlow, age 19, 44 Parachute Regiment Pathfinder Company was killed in action during a contact with enemy forces in Southern Angola.

  7. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    29 July 1991: Major Wilfred de Koker, age 32, 1 Reconnaissance Regiment, was accidentally killed while participating in a night parachute training exercise at the Hellsgate Training Area. … https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1428743090551247&set=gm.10155198586233113&type=3&theater

  8. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    3 August 1985: Rifleman Mark John Littrell, age 19, 1 Parachute Battalion, died of wounds accidentally sustained while based in the Northern Operational Area. While C Company, 1 Parachute Battalion, were out on patrol, he remained behind at the base camp. It appears that a lit candle fell over inside a tent causing the tent to catch fire. While trying to extinguish the blaze, a mortar bomb inside the tent exploded, critically wounding Rfn. Littrell in the stomach. He succumbed to his wounds a short time later.

  9. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    9 August 1982: Rifleman Alan de Klerk, age 19, 1 Parachute Battalion, was killed in action together with 11 fellow paratroopers and three helicopter crew members when their Aerospatiale SA330C Puma was shot down by enemy 14.5mm ZPU-1 anti-aircraft guns south-east of Cuvelai in Southern Angola during Operation Meebos. … https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=881310378686187&set=gm.10155225748048113&type=3&theater

  10. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    9 August 1982: Three members from 31 & 19 Squadron and 12 members from 1 Parachute Battalion were killed in action during Operation Meebos when their Aerospatiale SA330C Puma, Serial Number 132 was shot down by enemy 14.5mm ZPU-1 anti-aircraft guns south-east of Cuvelai in Southern Angola.

    The bodies and the wreck of the Puma were recovered from Angola and later returned to South Africa. A touching memorial to the helicopter crew and the paratroopers was fashioned from scrap metal in a field workshop and erected at the site of the original crash. This memorial was later removed by SADF forces to Ongiva before being eventually taken back to AFB Ondangwa. When the war in South West Africa (Namibia) came to an end in 1989 and AFB Ondangwa was eventually closed, the South African Air Force brought the memorial back to South Africa and deposited it in the SAAF Museum where it is currently in safe custody.

    The remains of the 12 Paratroopers were cremated and later interred in the Paratroopers Memorial at Tempe in Bloemfontein. The casualties were:

    Helicopter crew:

    73275349PK Captain John Guy Twaddle (Pilot & Aircraft Commander). He was 25. (31 Sqn)
    7635461PE Lieutenant Christian Wilhelm Pietersen (Co-Pilot). He was 22. (31 Sqn)
    67428813PE Flight Sergeant Coert Nicolaas Grobler (Flight Engineer). He was 31. (19 Sqn)

    1 Parachute Battalion troops:

    77419422BG Rifleman Russell Hilton Barrett, 20.
    79232518BG Rifleman Alan de Klerk, 19.
    78366077BG Lance Corporal Stephen Richard Hoare, 19.
    76275536BG Rifleman Anton Kruger, 21.
    78457256BG Rifleman Grant William Krull, 20.
    76336700BG Rifleman Martin le Roux, 21.
    78345949BG Corporal Esuas Philluppus Lombard, 19.
    77255379BG Rifleman Shane Patrick Mallon, 20.
    78456035BG Rifleman James Thomas Marshall, 19.
    78473790BG Rifleman Craig Andrew Moody, 20.
    78412871BG Rifleman Andries Hermias van Niekerk, 19.
    78567005BG Rifleman Andre Wolmarans, 20.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=881311015352790&set=gm.10155225749918113&type=3&theater

  11. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    18 August 1982: Two members from 44 Parachute Pathfinder Company and one member from 5 Reconnaissance Regiment were reported missing approximately 40 miles inside Matabeleland during Operation Drama, a clandestine mission in Zimbabwe. The force of 18 SADF members were ambushed by Zimbabwean forces and conflicting reports indicate that the three soldiers were killed in action while other reports state that they may have been taken prisoner and later murdered by Zimbabwean forces. News reports also later reported that the Zimbabwean government had “disposed of their bodies” because the next-of-kin had failed to claim them. All three men have no known grave and remain unaccounted for.

    The casualties were:

    Staff Sergeant Peter David Berry, age 33, 5 Reconnaissance Regiment.
    Sergeant Robert Trevor Beech, age 27, 44 Pathfinder Company.
    Sergeant John Andrew Wessels, age 24, 44 Pathfinder Company.

  12. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    19 August 1976: Lance Corporal Carlos Alberto Correia Pinto Ribeiro, age 25, 1 Reconnaissance Regiment, was reported missing in southeastern Angola during a contact with enemy forces between Luenge and Coutada de Mucusso. He was driving a Unimog loaded with a ton or more of high explosive. The South African force was ambushed while the company was returning to Buffalo. His vehicle was hit by a Soviet RPG-7 anti-tank rocket causing the explosive cargo to detonate. Ribeiro has no known grave and remains unaccounted for. For administrative purposes, he was officially declared dead in 1983.

  13. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    23 August 1976: Two members from 1 Reconnaissance Regiment were killed in action during a patrol near the Okavango River when the Wolf vehicle in which they were traveling detonated a landmine and overturned, killing Sergeant Soeiro instantly and crushing Staff Sergeant Roxo underneath. The remainder of the crew tried to lift the vehicle to free him but it was too heavy. Danny Roxo, in keeping with his dauntless character, lit a cigarette and smoked it calmly until he died, still pinned beneath the Wolf.

    The casualties were:

    Sergeant Ponciano Gomes Silva Soeiro, age 35.

    Staff Sergeant Francisco Daniel Roxo, HC, age 43.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=888752727941952&set=pcb.10155263404078113&type=3&theater

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=888752771275281&set=pcb.10155263404078113&type=3&theater

  14. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    25 August 1976: Sergeant José Correia Pinto Ribeiro, age 27, 1 Reconnaissance Regiment, was killed in a military vehicle accident while evacuating battle casualties to a hospital in South West Africa.

  15. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    6 September 1987: Lance Corporal Melvin Ashley Benecke, age 19, 1 Parachute Battalion Pathfinders, was killed in action during a contact with enemy forces at the Lomba River in southern Angola during Operation Modular when his patrol walked into an ambush and he sustained a fatal gunshot to the head.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=895162810634277&set=gm.10155083309659624&type=3&theater

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=895161667301058&set=p.895161667301058&type=3&theater

  16. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    7 September 1978: Major Lukas Gerhardus Grundling, age 29, 1 Parachute Battalion, accidentally drowned at Wepener during a parachute jump with full kit in the early hours of the morning at the start of D Company’s conventional training. He landed in the deep end of a farm dam and became entangled with his kit rope. The prevailing wind caused the parachute to drag him under the water. Although he did surface a few times shouting for assistance, by the time help arrived, he had already drowned.

  17. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    12 September 1984: Rifleman Pieter Taljaard, age 19, 1 Parachute Battalion, was killed when his Buffel troop carrier overturned.

  18. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    15 September 1985: Corporal Bruce Andrew Fidler, HC (Posthumous), age 21, was an Ops Medic from 7 Medical Battalion Group operating with Special Forces that were providing operational support to paratroopers and other SADF and UNITA forces in southern Angola during Operation Magneto. He was reported missing in action on 14 September 1985 when two vehicles were ambushed by approximately 40 enemy troops. Most of the UNITA soldiers were killed and the two artillery officers and medical orderly (Cpl. Fidler), who were in the second vehicle, were wounded. The two officers successfully evaded capture but Cpl. Fidler was captured. He was brutally tortured and interrogated by the enemy before being executed but never once revealed the Order of Battle for an upcoming operation in support of UNITA, nor the SADF artillery positions or the location of the SAMS surgical team, thereby enabling them to successfully evade capture and reach South African lines. His remains were repatriated to South Africa in June 1992 and cremated on 15 September 1992. Cpl. Fidler was posthumously awarded the Honoris Crux for bravery and selfless devotion above and beyond the call of duty in the face of brutal torture. His name appears on the Roll of Honour for both 1 Parachute Battalion and 7 Medical Battalion Group, the specialist airborne medical unit of the South African Military Health Service tasked with rendering medical support to South African airborne and special forces.

  19. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    18 September 1981: Rifleman Petrus Jacobus van Staden, age 18, 1 Parachute Battalion, was killed in a private motorcycle accident on the Bloemfontein to Winburg Road.

  20. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    22 September 1998: Two members from 7 Medical Battalion Group and one member from 1 Parachute Battalion were killed in action in Katse Village during Operation Boleas.

    Corporal Jerome Alexander Sax, age 24, 7 Medical Battalion Group, attached to 44 Parachute Brigade, was mortally wounded by Lesotho Army forces while preparing to clear a bungalow in Katse Village where Lesotho Army troops were suspected to be hiding.

    Captain (Dr.) Johan Nel, age 26, 7 Medical Battalion Group, attached to 44 Parachute Brigade, was shot dead by Lesotho Army forces while going to the aid of Cpl. Jerome Sax who had been fatally wounded. Although he was wearing a bullet-proof vest, a bullet penetrated through the side gap under the armpit, killing him instantly.

    Lance Corporal Sikhum Zett Mafuta, age 31, 1 Parachute Battalion, attached to 44 Parachute Brigade, died of wounds after being shot by Lesotho Army forces at Khatsi Dam.

    22 September 1998: Five members from 1 Parachute Battalion, attached to 44 Parachute Brigade, were killed in action in fierce close-quarter fighting during the Battle for Mokanyane Base in Lesotho during Operation Boleas.

    The casualties were:

    Lance Corporal Lucas Mnikeni Magwazana, age 34.
    Lance Corporal Owageng Abelt Mothupi, age 23.
    Lance Corporal Sambonga Mtengwane, age 28.
    Rifleman Albert Twale Mangoagape, age 23.
    Rifleman Phillip Tunsimang Tshweu, age 29.

  21. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    24 September 1982: Rifleman Don Andries Spence, age 20, Bravo Company, 1 Parachute Battalion, was killed after being struck by a bullet from an accidental discharge of a fellow soldier’s rifle after a contact with SWAPO/PLAN insurgents in southern Angola.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=903080169842541&set=gm.10155127762044624&type=3&theater

  22. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    8 October 1982: Captain William Robert McIntosh, 30, 4 Reconnaissance Regiment, was accidentally killed when his parachute failed to open during a practice jump at Langebaan.

  23. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    15 October 1982: Corporal Servaas de Kock, age 20, 1 Parachute Battalion, was accidentally killed while on weekend pass when his private vehicle was involved in a collision with an extra heavy articulated vehicle. The heavy vehicle, together with the multi-wheel trailers drove over the driver’s position of his car, crushing it completely and killing him instantly.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=912728362211055&set=gm.10155406758343113&type=3&theater

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=912729382210953&set=p.912729382210953&type=3&theater

  24. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    20 October 1989: Lance Corporal Pieter Johannes Klue, age 19, 1 Parachute Battalion, was killed in a private motor vehicle accident on the old Warmbaths Road near the Wonderboom military base.

    20 October 1989: Major John Kendrick Murphy, age 37, 1 Reconnaissance Regiment (former member of the Rhodesian Selous Scouts), was killed when his parachute failed during a practice training jump at Westonaria. He was a U.S. citizen and his remains were repatriated to the United States for burial. He reportedly was a Vietnam veteran who earned a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=915178751966016&set=pcb.10155419240158113&type=3&theater

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=915178821966009&set=pcb.10155419240158113&type=3&theater

  25. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    31 October 1987: A 101 Battalion battle group, supported by members of 5 Reconnaissance Regiment together with D Company, 1 Parachute Battalion, attacked SWAPO/PLAN positions at Nindango in southern Angola. The Operation was known as Ops Firewood and it became clear from the outset that SWAPO/PLAN had been expecting such an attack as they were in well prepared defensive positions and supported by a Cuban tank and artillery element with a FAPLA motorized infantry unit in support.

    During extremely heavy fighting that continued throughout the day, a 101 Battalion Casspir mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle was knocked out by an RPG-7 anti-tank rocket and burnt out. The battle group suffered 15 casualties with approximately 67 wounded before contact was finally broken off at nightfall.

    The battle group casualties for this engagement were:

    “D” COMPANY, 1 PARACHUTE BATTALION

    Corporal Nico Smith Olivier, age 19.
    Lance Corporal Raymond Mark Light, age 21.
    Rifleman Hughes Norbert De Rose, age 21.
    Rifleman Wayne Valentine Ewels, age 21.
    Rifleman Dirk Willem van Rooyen, age 20.
    Rifleman Jean Marc Schuurman, age 20, was critically wounded and evacuated from the battlefield to AFB Ondangwa where he underwent emergency surgery. He was evacuated back to the RSA the following day on 1 November 1987 but he succumbed to his wounds before the aircraft landed in Pretoria.

    Dignified transfer »
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=920493221434569&set=gm.10155448393133113&type=3&theater

    Corporal Nico Smith Olivier »
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=920491201434771&set=p.920491201434771&type=3&theater

    Rifleman Wayne Valentine Ewels »
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=920491018101456&set=p.920491018101456&type=3&theater

    Rifleman Dirk Willem van Rooyen »
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=920491111434780&set=p.920491111434780&type=3&theater

    Rifleman Jean Marc Schuurman »
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=920972014720023&set=pcb.10155226779334624&type=3&theater
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=920972138053344&set=pcb.10155226779334624&type=3&theater

    5 RECONNAISSANCE REGIMENT

    2nd Lieutenant Dylan Chevalier Cobbold, age 20.
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=920493801434511&set=p.920493801434511&type=3&theater

    101 BATTALION ROMEO MIKE

    Captain Andries Hercules Du Bruyn Rademeyer, age 27.
    2nd Lieutenant Deon Botes, age 20.
    Sapper Erasmus Albertus Steyn, age 19.
    Rifleman W. Abraham
    Rifleman P. Epafu
    Rifleman V. Petrus
    Rifleman T. Sheepo
    Rifleman M. Uusshona

    2nd Lieutenant Deon Botes »
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=920493988101159&set=p.920493988101159&type=3&theater

    Sapper Erasmus Albertus Steyn »
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=920494128101145&set=p.920494128101145&type=3&theater

    The dead and wounded were casevaced to AFB Ondangwa during the night of October 31/November 1, 1987, with the exception of 101 Battalion casualties who were taken directly back to their unit. The last Puma helicopter departed at about 03:30 the following morning ferrying the remaining dead and lightly wounded back to AFB Ondangwa.

    Related report: “Ops Firewood — Truths & Myths” » http://parabat.org.za/ops-firewood-truths-myths/

  26. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    5 November 1985: Rifleman Nicolaas William Smuts, age 20, 1 Parachute Battalion, was killed in action while acting as a MAG machine-gunner when his patrol was ambushed near Alpha Tower by SWAPO/PLAN insurgents who were in the process of kidnapping local Ovambo children from their villages. During the fierce fire-fight that followed, all the insurgents were killed but Rfn. Smuts was found dead behind his machine gun.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=922871254530099&set=gm.10155251003284624&type=3&theater

  27. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    14 November 1980: Rifleman Anthony Keith Palvi, age 18, 1 Parachute Battalion, was killed in a private motor vehicle accident while on weekend pass.

    14 November 1985: 2nd Lieutenant Willem Stephanus van der Merwe, age 20, 1 Parachute Battalion, died of multiple shrapnel wounds in 1 Military Hospital after an accidental mortar bomb explosion during a weapons demonstration on 22 October 1985.

    14 November 1987: Rifleman Andre Taylor Veltman, age 20, 1 Parachute Battalion, was killed in a private motor vehicle accident near Fouriesburg while on a weekend pass.

  28. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    15 November 1986: Corporal Thomas Wilhelm Janse van Rensburg, age 23, 1 Parachute Battalion, was killed when the Casspir mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle in which he was traveling overturned near Tsande while en route from from Ombalantu to Ondangwa in the northern Namibia operational area.

    15 November 1986: Rifleman Christo Badenhorst, age 20, 1 Parachute Battalion, was killed when the Casspir mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle in which he was traveling overturned near Tsande while en route from Ombalantu to Ondangwa in the northern Namibia operational area.

    Two members of 1 Parachute Battalion were killed when the Casspir in which they were travelling, overturned near Tsande while travelling from Ombalantu to Ondangwa. The casualties were:

  29. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    19 November 1987: Major Petrus Abraham van der Merwe, age 27, 1 Parachute Battalion, was serving as the Company Commander for Hotel Company on the Infantry School instructor staff. He was critically wounded on 18 November 1987 when he suffered multiple shrapnel wounds in an M26 hand grenade explosion. During grenade practice, an M26 hand grenade that was thrown, failed to detonate and after the mandatory waiting period had expired, he rose from cover to continue with the exercise. Just as he stood up, the hand grenade exploded. He succumbed to his wounds on 19 November 1987.

    19 November 1999: Rifleman Jeremy Botman, age 20, 1 Parachute Battalion, was killed when his parachute failed to deploy during a practice jump at Tempe Airport.

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