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The Southern African History Musings of Ross Dix-Peek

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Southern African General-Officers of the British Armed Forces, 1822-2008, (Part Two)
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Major-General M.R.W. Nightingale, 5th Gurkha Rifles, The Indian Army:

Born at Sidmouth in Devon, England, in 1871, he was the son of Percy Nightingale, Inspecting-Commissioner in the Cape Civil Service, the Nightingale family having been resident in South Africa since the 1830s. Nightingale was educated at the Diocesan College (“Bishop’s”) and was nominated in 1888 by the University of the Cape of Good Hope to a cadetship in the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. Passing out of Sandhurst in 1889, Nightingale was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Cheshire Regiment in 1890, but entered the Indian Army the following year, joining the 5th Gurkha Rifles. He served during the campaign in Tirah (1897-1898) and in China (1900). During the First World War, Nightingale served on the Suez Canal, at the Dardanelles, on the North West Frontier, and in Mesopotamia. He commanded the 54th Indian Infantry Brigade (1917-1922), the 5th Indian Infantry Brigade (1923-1924), being promoted Major-General in 1924, whereupon he served as General-Officer-Commanding the Sind Independent Brigade Area before retiring from the Indian Army in 1929.

Brigadier Kit Owen, Royal Green Jackets, British Army:

Christopher Charles Lynwood “Kit” Owen was born in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia, in 1941, and was a third-generation Rhodesian. He was educated at the Christian Brothers College, Bulawayo, before attending the RMA Sandhurst, whereupon he was commissioned in to the Rhodesian African Rifles. He was appointed, rather fatefully, ADC to the Governor of Rhodesia, Sir Humphrey Gibbs, just six-months prior to Ian Smith and Rhodesia declaring UDI. Owen opted to remain loyal to the Governor and was subsequently banished from his homeland. He thereafter acquired a commission in the Royal Green Jackets, later commanding the 1st Royal Green Jackets in Northern Ireland, for which he was mentioned-in-despatches. Promoted Brigadier, Owen headed a group of senior officers and civil servants during the Gulf War of 1990-1991, the group tasked with briefing the chiefs-of-staff on what was transpiring, and any options open to them. Owen succumbed to cancer in 2007, aged just 66.



Major-General P.F. Palmer, Royal Army Medical Corps, British Army:

Philip Francis Palmer was born at Kroonstad, in the Orange Free State, South Africa, in 1903. He later joined the R.A.M.C. and was promoted Lieutenant in 1926, serving on the North West Frontier. During the second world war, Palmer commanded No 71 General hospital and also served as A.D.M.S., Headquarters, 4 Division, from 1943-1945. After the cessation of hostilities, Palmer was to see service in Germany (B.A.O.R.) , Malaya, and the Middle East. Promoted brigadier in 1955 and Major-General a year later, Palmer retired from the R.A.M.C. in 1960, being appointed Colonel-Commandant of the R.A.M.C. in 1963 .

Air Vice-Marshal Thomas Alfred Boyd Parselle, Royal Air Force:

Parselle was a Southern Rhodesian and was born on the 15 July 1911. He entered the RAF College at Cranwell in 1930, where he distinguished himself as a sportsman, and was commissioned a Pilot-Officer on the 19 December 1931. Prior to World war II, Parselle served with No’s 57, 208 and 601 (County of London) Squadrons’, before undergoing a special language study in Japan. He served initially in East Africa during World War II and then on the Air Staff of the RAF Headquarters in Palestine and Transjordan in 1941. He then flew with Bomber Command, having been appointed Officer Commanding No 207 Squadron in December 1942, flying Lancasters. However, while piloting Lancaster W5001 (EM-J) to Dusseldorf on 25/26 May 1943, Parselle was shot down by a night fighter and captured (and incarcerated at satlag Luft III), having been blown out of the aircraft. Following the cessation of hostilities, Parselle opted to remain with the RAF and was promoted an Air-Commodore in January 1956, and served as Commandant of the RAF College. An Air Vice-Marshal by July 1958, he was appointed the Task Force Commander of Operation “Grapple”, and then served as SASO at Headquarters, Bomber Command.Air Vice-Marshal TAB Parselle retired from the RAF on the 6 June 1964, retiring to Spain.

Brigadier George F. A. Pigot-Moodie, Royal Scots Greys, British Army:

George Pigot-Moodie was born in Cape Town on the 3 November 1888, and came of an old and illustrious South African Family. He was educated at Harrow School in England and graduated from the RMC Sandhurst in 1908, receiving a commission in the famous British cavalry regiment, the Royal Scots Greys. He served with the regiment in France from the very early days of World War I, and was one of the first two officers in the Royal Scots Greys to be awarded the newly-instituted Military Cross (MC), the other officer being Captain H. Denison-Pender. He remained with the Royal Scots Greys during the post-war years, eventually commanding the regiment, but chose to retire from the British Army in the mid-1930s, at which time he held the rank of full-Colonel. He rejoined the British Army at the start of World War II and initially served with Southern Command. Promoted Brigadier in 1943, he was appointed Director of Pioneers and Labour in the Middle East (1944 – 1945). He later returned to southern - Africa, passing away at Melsetter, in Southern Rhodesia, on the 5 June 1959.


Brigadier C.J. Pike, 10th Gurkha Regiment, British Army:

“Chris” Pike hailed from South Africa. He served with the 10th Gurkha Regiment and was one of the youngest officers to receive the D.S.O. for operations while commanding “D” Company, the 1st battalion, 10th Gurkhas, in Borneo, during the “Confrontation”. He and his company of Gurkhas had taken part in a very successful ambush in the Bau district of Borneo in March 1966. The 10th Gurkhas suffered no losses and inflicted 37 “kills”. “Chris” Pike was the only company commander to win the D.S.O. during operations in Borneo.

Brigadier Norman Swift Plummer, RAMC, British Army:

Norman Plummer attended Kingswood College, Grahamstown, South Africa, and then qualified as a doctor at the University of London. During the war, Plummer served as consulting physician to the Middle East Forces, rising to the rank of Brigadier (War Substantive). Plummer continued to distinguish himself in the medical field after the war, serving as Senior Physician in charge of the Chest Clinic, Charing Cross Hospital (1935 - 1973), and as physician to the London Chest Hospital (1947 - 1973); Bromley Hospital (1948 - 1972); as well as the Edenbridge Hospital (1946 - 1972).


Major – General A.H.E. Reading, Royal Marines:

Arnold Hughes Eagleton Reading, was born at Heilbron in the Orange Free State (OFS), South Africa, in April 1896, and was educated at Cranleigh School, in the United Kingdom. He was commissioned a second-lieutenant in the Royal Marines, in August, 1914. Reading served during the Second World War and was promoted Major-General in 1946, and was placed on the retired list in 1947. There is a memorial plaque dedicated to him at the Royal Marine Museum at Portsmouth. Awards: C.B.E..


Major-General Cedric Rhys-Price, Royal Engineers, British Army:

The son of Colonel Sir Rhys Howell Price of East London, South Africa, and the grandson of Sir Thomas Price, a member of the first South African Railway Board, he was educated at Selborne College, East London, South Africa and in the United Kingdom. Rhys-Price attended the RMA Woolwich before being commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1925. During World War II, Rhys-Price served with the 1st (London) Division, Territorial Army, and as military assistant secretary at the offices of the War Cabinet, ending the war with the C.B.E. and O.B.E.. Promoted Temporary- Brigadier in 1946, he served as Chief-of-Staff to the Chairman of the Joint British Staff Mission in Washington D.C., from 1952-1954. Upon his promotion to Major-General in 1957, Rhys-Price then served as Director of Military Intelligence at the War Office (1956-1959), and was later appointed Principal Staff Officer to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (1959-1964).

Air Vice-Marshal Sir E.A.B. Rice, Royal Air Force:

Edward Arthur Beckwith Rice initially served with the South African Forces during World War I, before attending the R.M.C. Sandhurst. He subsequently transferred to the Royal Air Force and during World War II commanded No 1 Bomber Command, R.A.F..

Air Vice-Marshal Alan Patrick Ritchie, Royal Air Force:

Born in 1899, Ritchie was the son of Alan MacGregor Ritchie, of Durban, Natal, South Africa, and he was educated in South Africa and in Edinburgh, Scotland. He joined the Royal Flying Corps (predecessor to the Royal Air Force) in 1917. During World war II, Air Vice-Marshal Ritchie served as A.O.C. 205 Group, in the Middle east and also commanded “A” Group, Bomber Command (1943-1945).


Major-General Harry Rivers, Royal Engineers, British Army:

The son of the Treasurer of the Cape Colony, Harry Rivers, and a nephew of General Sir A.J. Cloete, British Army (qv), he was born in South Africa in 1821, and acquired a commission in the H.E.I.C. or English East Indian Army’s Engineers in 1842. Following the Indian Mutiny, the officers and non commissioned officers (NCOs) of the English East Indian Army’s Engineers were officially absorbed into the Corps of Royal Engineers in 1862. Harry Rivers was promoted Major-General on the 14 April 1865 and retired from the Army shortly thereafter.

Air-Commodore Jack Fendick Roulston, Royal Air Force:

Roulston was born on the 14 January 1913 and was educated at Queen’s College, Queenstown, South Africa and at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He was commissioned in the RAF in 1936 and by 1940 was a squadron-leader commanding No. 223 Squadron. He was subsequently promoted Wing-Commander (commanding No 55 Squadron, 1942) and Group-Captain (commanding 232 Wing, 1943). He finished the war with the C.B.E., D.S.O. and D.F.C.. he attended the RAF Staff College in 1946, and served as Group captain, operations, Far East Air Force (FEAF), in 1952. Air-Commodore Roulston later served as the Air Commander Air Task Group of Task Force Grapple from 1958-1960, and was Commandant of the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, before retiring from the RAF in 1965.

Major - General Albert Sachs, Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), British Army:

Sachs was born in Pretoria in 1904 and educated at Pretoria Boys High School. Sachs entered the R.A.M.C. in 1927, serving in India and on the North West Frontier. During World War II, he served as acting Deputy Physician to the British 10th Army in North - Africa, Italy And Iraq, becoming Acting Deputy Physician, Central Mediterranean Force, in 1945, with the rank of Colonel. After the war, Sachs served in India and was promoted Brigadier in 1949, and Major - General in 1953. Appointed Deputy Director of Medical Services, Eastern Command, Sachs retired from the British army in 1956. During his years in the R.A.M.C. Sachs had conducted studies in meningococcal meningitis, and sandfly fever, and also investigated the prevention of tetanus in the wounded, and researched the antigenic structure of non - mannite - fermenting dysentry organisms. Sachs was awarded the C.B.E. (1952), and C.B. (1955), serving as honorary physician to his majesty, King George V, in 1951, and to Queen Elizabeth II, upon her succession a year later. Sachs also served as Honorary Colonel to No 44 (Home Counties) Infantry Division, Territorial Army Medical Services, and Colonel Commandant of the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1964 - 1969.

Air Chief Marshal Sir H.W.L. “Dingbat” Saunders, Royal Air Force:

Hugh William Lumsden “Dingbat” Saunders was born in Johannesburg in 1894, the son of Frederick William Saunders, and was educated at the Marist Brothers College in Johannesburg. Upon the advent of the first world war, Saunders initially served with the Witwatersrand Rifles and South African Horse, before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. During World War II, Saunders was appointed Commanding Officer of No. 11 Group, Fighter Command from 1942 - 1944, and in 1945 was appointed Air - Marshal Commanding the R.A.F. in Burma. After the war, Saunders went on to become Inspector - General of the R.A.F.(1949 - 1950), being promoted Air Chief Marshal in 1950. In 1951, Saunders assumed the mantle of Commander - In - Chief of the Air Forces in Western Europe .


Rear - Admiral Malcolm Walter St. Leger Searle, Royal Navy:

Born in Cape Town in 1900, Searle was the son of Sir Malcolm William Searle, Judge President of the Supreme Court, who was killed on the 9 June 1926 in a train crash at Salt River, Cape Town, and the grandson of W. Searle whose ships traded commerce with the Far East, his office situated at No. 72 Loop Street, Cape Town. Educated at the Western Province Preparatory School, in Cape Town, M.W. St. L. Searle received the Dominion nomination for the Navy proposed by General Smuts and Vice - Admiral King – Hall. He subsequently entered the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1913, attending the Royal Naval Colleges’ Osborne and Dartmouth. Searle then served as a Midshipman with the Grand Fleet, on board H.M.S. Thunderer, and later in the Baltic. After the war, Searle rose steadily in rank, beginning World War II as a commander. During the war Searle served in home waters, and in the Mediterranean and Arctic waters, as captain of H.M.S. Sheffield (1941 - 1943). After the war Searle served as Director of Plans (Q), (1948 - 1951), and as Commodore, Royal Naval Barracks, Portsmouth (1951). Promoted to Rear-Admiral in 1952, Searle served as Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel (1953 - 1955), before retiring from the Royal Navy in 1956.

Air Vice-Marshal Melvin Clifford Seymour Shepherd, Royal Air Force:
Shephered initially served with the South African Air Force (SAAF), before joining the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1947. He served as Chief Operations Officer, far East Command (1966); Assistant Chief of Staff (Intelligence) 2 Allied Tactical Air Force (ATAF); Commanding Officer, RAF Station, Binbrook; Senior Air Staff Officer, No. 38 Group (1972-1974); Director of Air Operations (Air Defence and Overseas), 1974-1975; and Air Officer in Charge of Administration, Strike Command (1976-1978), retiring from the British Armed Forces in 1978. Awards: C.B., O.B.E..

Air Marshal Sir Leonard Horatio Slatter, Royal Air Force:

Slatter was born in Durban, Natal, South Africa, in December 1894. He was educated at Dale College, in Kingwilliamstown, South Africa, and in England. During World War I, Slatter initially served with the Royal Naval Air Service (R.N.A.S.) and was awarded the Distinguished service Cross (D.S.C.) and Bar, as well as the D.F.C., accounting for six German aircraft . Slatter formed and commanded the RAFs High Speed Flight which won the Schneider Trophy in Venice 1927, the first time the trophy had been won by the RAF, and also undertook a solo flight from England to South Africa. During the Second World War, Slatter Commanded the R.A.F. and the allied air formations During The Eritrean/Abyssinian Campaign (1940 - 1941). He was awarded the C.B. (1941) and later commanded No. 201 (Naval Co - Operation) Group in the Middle East (1942), being Knighted the same year. Slatter then commanded No. 15 (Coastal Command) Group in the U.K. (1943 - 1945), and was appointed Commander-In – Chief, Coastal Command In 1945.


Field Marshal J.C. Smuts, British Army (Honorary):

Jan Christian Smuts was born near Riebeeck West, in the Western Cape, South Africa, in 1870. He was educated at Victoria College, Stellenbosch, Cape Town, and at the University of Cambridge, where he read for the Bar. Smuts served as a Boer General during the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), and initially served with the South African forces during the German South West African campaign (in modern-day Namibia) before he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the British and Allied Troops in German East Africa (1916), with the rank of Acting Lieutenant - General in the British Army Army. He was subsequently appointed a member of the British war cabinet, often visiting the western front, and at one time was offered command of the British forces in Palestine, but declined.Smuts was appointed by the British Prime-Minister, Lloyd George, to form a select committee, with himself as chairman, being tasked to investigate the question of air - defence, the request being made soon after the Zeppelin air - raids of July, 1917. Smuts advocatedthe amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) And Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS), and subsequently drafted the act creating the Royal Air - Force , and thus may rightfully be termed “The Father of the Royal Air - Force”. Smuts attained the apex of his military career when he was promoted an Honorary Field-Marshal in the British Army during the second world war (1941).

Air Vice-Marshal D.C. Stapleton, Royal Air Force:

He was the son of John Rouse Stapleton, of “Sarnia”, Natal, South Africa. Educated in England, he joined the R.A.F. in 1936 and during World War II saw action in the Middle East, North Africa and Italy. Stapleton chose to remain with the R.A.F. following the war and was appointed A.O.C. No 1 Bomber Group, R.A.F. in 1964.

Rear-Admiral J.L.D. Stoll, Royal Navy:

Johannes Lukas Diederich Stoll was born at the Cape of Good Hope in April 1812. he was the son of J.W. Stoll, Treasurer and Accountant-General at the cape of Good Hope. He entered the Royal Navy in January 1824 as a first class volunteer, being appointed to H.M.S. “Andromache”. It was either then or later that he decided to anglicize his name to John Luke Richard Stoll). Stoll subsequently entered the Royal Naval College in May 1826. He later served on the west coast of Africa helping to suppress the slave trade, on one occasion capturing nine-slavers 80 kilometres up the Congo River. He was promoted Commander in 1841 and then served as an Inspecting-Commander in the coast guard, being promoted to captain on the 5 February 1858, whereupon he retired from the Royal Navy. Stoll was, however, later promoted Rear-Admiral on the retired list, dated 11 December 1875, and thus became the first South African to reach flag-rank in the Royal Navy.

Admiral Sir Neville Syfret, Royal Navy:

Edward Neville Syfret was born at Cape Town, and was educated at the Diocesan College, Cape Town. He was the son of Edward Ridge Syfret of Cape Town, and joined the Royal Navy in 1906. During World War I, Syfret served as gunnery officer with H.M.S. Aurora , and aboard Centaur and Curacoa. Syfret Began the Second World War as a captain, commanding H.M.S. Rodne, and was promoted Rear - Admiral in 1940 . He later took part in the epic convoy battles in the Mediterranean, being awarded the C.B.(1941), and commanded “ Force H”. He thereafter commanded the Allied operations against the Vichy French in Madagascar (1942), and also commanded Force H during “Operation Pedestal” in August 1942. Syfret was also involved in the Allied landings in North - Africa ( November, 1942) and in Sicily (July, 1943). Appointed a K.B.E. in 1945, Syfret was promoted to full Admiral in 1946, and subsequently served as Commander - in - Chief of the Home Fleet (1946-1948).

Major-General Sir Christopher Teesdale, V.C., Royal Artillery, British Army:

Born in Grahamstown, in the Eastern Cape, on the 1 June 1833, he attended the RMA Woolwich, and was commissioned in the Royal Artillery on the 18 June 1851. He served in the Crimean War (1854-1856), and it was during the Siege of Kars (18 June-25 Novemeber 1855), in Armenia, on the 29 September 1855, that Teesdale performed the deed that was ultimately to win the 22-year-old the Victoria Cross. Lieutenant Teesdale was personally decorated with the Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria herself, in the quadrangle of Windsor, on the 21 November 1857. Thus it was that Teesdale became the first South African-born soldier to receive the Victoria Cross, and not as is erroneously believed, Lieutenant (later Lieutenant-Colonel) J.P.H. Crowe. Teesdale was later appointed Extra Equerry to the Prince of Wales (1858), and aide-de-camp to H.M. the Queen (1877), and was promoted Major-General in 1887, being created a Knight Commander of St Michael and St George (K.C.M.G.) that same year. Teesdale retired from the British Army on the 22 April 1892, and died on the 1 November 1893 at his home in South Bersted, Sussex.


Vice-Admiral Sir George F.A. Trewby, Royal Navy:

Trewby was born, appropriately enough, at Simonstown, Cape Town, in 1917, the son of Vice- Admiral G Trewby, RN. Simonstown served, of course, as an important base for the Royal Navy, before being transferred to the South African Navy in the mid-1950s. Vice-Admiral Trewby served as the Chief of Fleet Support and a member of the Board of the Admiralty between 1971 and 1974, having been promoted Rear-Admiral in 1968 and Vice-Admiral in 1971. He also served as Naval ADC to HM Queen Elizabeth II (1968).


Major-General Sir Leslie Norman Tyler, R.E.M.E., British Army:

Born in April 1904, Leslie Norman Tyler was the son of Major Norman Tyler, of the Royal Artillery, and was educated at Diocesan College, Rondebosch, Cape Town, in South Africa and at the Royal Naval Colleges, Osborne and Dartmouth. A Lieutenant in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) in 1927, major-general Tyler transferred to REME in 1942, and during World war II, served on the Island of Malta, and in North West Europe, retiring from the British Army in 1960.

Lieutenant-General Sir “Jaap” van Deventer, British Army (Honorary):

Jacob Louis “Jaap” Van Deventer was born at Ficksburg, in the Orange Free State, South Africa, and was appointed successor to Lieutenant - General J.C. Smuts, upon the latter’s appointment to the British War Cabinet, as Commander - in - Chief of the British Forces in East Africa. This is rather ironic considering that this intrepid and fiery old Boer warrior had, together with his fellow South - Africans, Louis Botha, and J.C. Smuts, only a little more than a decade before, wholeheartedly pitted themselves against the British. Van Deventer served as commander - in - chief of the Allied forces in East Africa until the end of the war, being knighted for his military endeavours, and promoted Lieutenant - General in 1917, as well as being awarded the CMG. In addition, Van Deventer was later appointed an Honorary Lieutenant - General in the British Army, and served as an Aide - de - Camp to King George V in 1920.



Brigadier J.W. Van Reenen, Indian Medical Service, Indian Army:

Jacob William Van Reenen hailed from Ladybrand, in the Orange Free Stae (OFS), South Africa, and was educated at Grey College, in Bloemfontein, OFS, South Africa. He joined the Indian Medical Service (IMS) in 1914 and by the start World War II was a Lieutenant-Colonel, having received the O.B.E. in 1935. During World War II, van Reenen served in France, Persia and Waziristan, and was promoted Brigadier in 1943. Van Reenen retired from the Indian Army in 1947 and served thereafter as medical superintendent to the Glasgow Eye Infirmary. He was just one of the Van Renen or Van Reenen Family of South Africa to serve in the Indian Army, the first being Brigadier-General Jacob Van Renen, of the Bengal Army (qv).

Brigadier-General J. Van Renen, Bengal Native Infantry, English East Indian Army:

Jacob Van Renen was born at the Cape of Good Hope on the 20 February 1762. He entered the English East Indian Company’s Army (the fore-runner of the Indian Army of the British Raj) as a cadet in 1780. He served in the Second Rohilla War of 1794, being present at the Battle of Bitaurah. He later served in the Third Mahratta War (1817-1819), commanding the 4th Infantry Brigade. Brigadier-General Van Renen died aboard a boat in the River Ganges, near Cawnpore, on the 8 February 1828, after 46 years of almost continuous military service. He was the first of the Van Renen clan to serve in the Indian Army, and so began a family tradition that only ceased with the independence of India in 1948, over one-hundred years later.


General Sir Michael Dawson Walker, Royal Anglian Regiment, British Army:

Born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, in 1944, Walker was educated at the Prince Edward School, in Salisbury, Rhodesia and at the R.M.C Sandhurst, and was commissioned in the Royal Anglian Regiment in 1966. Walker was appointed General-Officer commanding the North Eastern District and commander of the 2nd British Infantry Division (1991-1992), whereupon he served as commander of Nato ground forces in Bosnia (1995-1996), and as Chief of the Defence Staff (2003-2006). Knighted in 2006, Walker has also served in the capacity of colonel commandant of the Queen’s Division from 1991-2000 and continues to serve as aide-de-camp to the Queen, a post he has held since 1997.

Rear-Admiral Cecil Ward, Royal Navy:

Cecil Ward was son of the reverend Ward, of Richmond, Natal, South Africa. He joined the Royal Navy in approximately 1900 and served in the paymaster’s service. During World War I, Ward served as secretary to the Vice-Admiral commanding Battle Cruisers, and was present at the Battle of Jutland (31 May-1 June, 1916). His war-time endeavours earned him the C.M.G. (1919). Ward rose to flag-rank after the war, and retired from the Royal Navy in 1936.

Air Marshal Sir Colin Winterbotham Weedon, Royal Air Force:

Weedon was born in Durban, Natal, South Africa, and was the son of H.W. Weedon, of that city. He was educated at the Royal Naval Colleges, Osborne and Dartmouth, and served aboard H.M.S. Royal Sovereign and H.M.S. Walker during World War I. Following hostilities, Weedon transferred to the Royal Air Force and by 1946 was A.O.C. 41 Group, R.A.F.. Air Marshal Weedon retired from the Royal Air Force in 1952.

Air Chief Marshal Sir H.N.G. Wheeler, Royal Air Force:

Henry Neil G. Wheeler was the son of Henry Thomas Wheeler, of the South African Police, and the brother of Major-General T.N.S. Wheeler, British Army. He entered the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell, in 1935 on a Dominion Nomination proposed by General J.C. Smuts and greatly distinguished himself during World War II, serving with Fighter, Bomber and Coastal Commands’. His endeavours during the war-years brought him the D.S.O. (1943), D.F.C. (1941) and Bar (1943), the last of which was for leading Beaufighters in an attack on a German convoy off the coast of Holland. H.N.G. Wheeler was promoted Air-Commodore in 1961 (having in the interim served as Aide-de-Camp to Queen Elizabeth II); Air Marshal in 1968 and Air Chief Marshal in 1972, serving as Controller of Aircraft at the Ministry of Defence, and Controller of Aircraft, on the Ministry of Defence Procurement Executive, 1973-1975.

Major-General T.N.S. Wheeler, Royal Ulster Rifles, British Army:

Thomas Norman Samuel Wheeler was the son of Thomas Henry Wheeler, of the South African Police, and the brother of Air Chief Marshal Sir H.N.G. Wheeler, Royal Air Force. He was educated in South Africa and the United Kingdom and attended the Royal Military College (RMC), Sandhurst, in 1934. He was commissioned in the Royal Ulster Rifles in 1935, and during World War II served in the Middle east and Albania with the British Military Mission. He later commanded the 1st Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles, in Cyprus, from 1958-1959. Promoted Brigadier, he commanded the 39th Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland (1960-1962), and was appointed General–Officer-Commanding the Second British Division in 1964, and also served as Chief of Staff, Contingencies Planning at S.H.A.P.E. from 1966 – 1969, and Chief-of-Staff at the Headquarters of the British Army of the Rhine (B.A.O.R.), before retiring from the British Army in 1971.

Rear-Admiral Charles Bernard Williams, Royal Navy:

Williams hailed from Grahamstown, South Africa, and was educated at Graeme College, Grahamstown. He entered the Royal Naval Engineering College, at Plymouth, and later commanded the Admiralty Experimental Station (1962), having been promoted to the rank of Commander in 1960. He then served as engineer-officer aboard H.M.S. London , and following his promotion to captain, was appointed Deputy-Manager of Portsmouth Dockyard in 1969, and Superintendent of the Clyde Submarine Base in 1972. Williams was then given command of H.M.S. Sultan in 1975, the last named being the Royal Navy’s School of Marine and Air Engineering . Promoted to flag-rank in 1978, he served as Flag Officer at Medway and Port Admiral at Chatham (1978-1980), retiring from the Royal Navy thereafter.

Air Marshal Sir Thomas Melling Williams: Royal Air Force:

He was born in England in September 1899 and was educated in Germiston, South Africa. Williams served initially with the South African Infantry in German East Africa whereupon he transferred to the RFC. During WWII, Williams served in Java in the Far East as S.A.S.O. to Air Marshal Pierce (1942); A.O.C. Bengal Command (1943) and as Deputy Commander, Headquarters, Eastern Air Command (Air Command South East Asia) in 1944, helping among other things to supply Major-General Wingate’s “Chindits” in Burma. Following the war, Williams served as A.O.C.-in-Chief of the British Air Forces Occupation (BAFO) in Germany, from 1948-1951.

Major-General G.D.D. Wolfe, 2nd Foot (Queen’s Royal Regiment), British Army:

George Douglas Dunlevie Wolfe was born at the Cape of Good Hope in 1826 and was the son of Major Richard Thomas Wolfe, one time commandant of Robben Island, being tutored on the Island by the famous South African artist, Thomas Bowler . Wolfe was subsequently gazetted an Ensign in the 39th Regiment of Foot (the Dorsetshire Regiment) on the 27th September 1844, also serving with the 87th Regiment of Foot (the Royal Irish Fusliers) before transferring to the 2nd Regiment of Foot (The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment), on the17 February 1854 . He served in the United Kingdom, India, South Africa, China (being present at the storming of the Taku forts in 1860) and Hong Kong. He was later appointed Staff Officer of pensioners (at Brigade Sub-District 49 and 50, Northern Division, Regent’s Park Barracks, London), and served thus from the 10 July 1865-29 June 1881, retiring on pension the same day, with the honorary rank of Major-General.

Air Vice - Marshal Brian Pashley Young, Royal Air Force:

Born In Zululand, Natal, South Africa, in 1918, Young was educated at Michaelhouse School, Natal, and won a Cadet Scholarship to the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell. Commissioned in the R.A.F. in 1938, he Served in France, Over The Atlantic, and in the Middle East during World War II. Young continued to serve with the RAF after the war and later commanded the Central Reconnaissance Establishment (1964 - 1967), and was also appointed Commandant - General of the R.A.F. Regiment (1968 – 1973), retiring from the R.A.F. in 1973.

Major-General M.R.W. Nightingale, 5th Gurkha Rifles, The Indian Army:

Born at Sidmouth in Devon, England, in 1871, he was the son of Percy Nightingale, Inspecting-Commissioner in the Cape Civil Service, the Nightingale family having been resident in South Africa since the 1830s. Nightingale was educated at the Diocesan College (“Bishop’s”) and was nominated in 1888 by the University of the Cape of Good Hope to a cadetship in the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. Passing out of Sandhurst in 1889, Nightingale was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Cheshire Regiment in 1890, but entered the Indian Army the following year, joining the 5th Gurkha Rifles. He served during the campaign in Tirah (1897-1898) and in China (1900). During the First World War, Nightingale served on the Suez Canal, at the Dardanelles, on the North West Frontier, and in Mesopotamia. He commanded the 54th Indian Infantry Brigade (1917-1922), the 5th Indian Infantry Brigade (1923-1924), being promoted Major-General in 1924, whereupon he served as General-Officer-Commanding the Sind Independent Brigade Area before retiring from the Indian Army in 1929.

Brigadier Kit Owen, Royal Green Jackets, British Army:

Christopher Charles Lynwood “Kit” Owen was born in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia, in 1941, and was a third-generation Rhodesian. He was educated at the Christian Brothers College, Bulawayo, before attending the RMA Sandhurst, whereupon he was commissioned in to the Rhodesian African Rifles. He was appointed, rather fatefully, ADC to the Governor of Rhodesia, Sir Humphrey Gibbs, just six-months prior to Ian Smith and Rhodesia declaring UDI. Owen opted to remain loyal to the Governor and was subsequently banished from his homeland. He thereafter acquired a commission in the Royal Green Jackets, later commanding the 1st Royal Green Jackets in Northern Ireland, for which he was mentioned-in-despatches. Promoted Brigadier, Owen headed a group of senior officers and civil servants during the Gulf War of 1990-1991, the group tasked with briefing the chiefs-of-staff on what was transpiring, and any options open to them. Owen succumbed to cancer in 2007, aged just 66.



Major-General P.F. Palmer, Royal Army Medical Corps, British Army:

Philip Francis Palmer was born at Kroonstad, in the Orange Free State, South Africa, in 1903. He later joined the R.A.M.C. and was promoted Lieutenant in 1926, serving on the North West Frontier. During the second world war, Palmer commanded No 71 General hospital and also served as A.D.M.S., Headquarters, 4 Division, from 1943-1945. After the cessation of hostilities, Palmer was to see service in Germany (B.A.O.R.) , Malaya, and the Middle East. Promoted brigadier in 1955 and Major-General a year later, Palmer retired from the R.A.M.C. in 1960, being appointed Colonel-Commandant of the R.A.M.C. in 1963 .

Air Vice-Marshal Thomas Alfred Boyd Parselle, Royal Air Force:

Parselle was a Southern Rhodesian and was born on the 15 July 1911. He entered the RAF College at Cranwell in 1930, where he distinguished himself as a sportsman, and was commissioned a Pilot-Officer on the 19 December 1931. Prior to World war II, Parselle served with No’s 57, 208 and 601 (County of London) Squadrons’, before undergoing a special language study in Japan. He served initially in East Africa during World War II and then on the Air Staff of the RAF Headquarters in Palestine and Transjordan in 1941. He then flew with Bomber Command, having been appointed Officer Commanding No 207 Squadron in December 1942, flying Lancasters. However, while piloting Lancaster W5001 (EM-J) to Dusseldorf on 25/26 May 1943, Parselle was shot down by a night fighter and captured (and incarcerated at satlag Luft III), having been blown out of the aircraft. Following the cessation of hostilities, Parselle opted to remain with the RAF and was promoted an Air-Commodore in January 1956, and served as Commandant of the RAF College. An Air Vice-Marshal by July 1958, he was appointed the Task Force Commander of Operation “Grapple”, and then served as SASO at Headquarters, Bomber Command.Air Vice-Marshal TAB Parselle retired from the RAF on the 6 June 1964, retiring to Spain.

Brigadier George F. A. Pigot-Moodie, Royal Scots Greys, British Army:

George Pigot-Moodie was born in Cape Town on the 3 November 1888, and came of an old and illustrious South African Family. He was educated at Harrow School in England and graduated from the RMC Sandhurst in 1908, receiving a commission in the famous British cavalry regiment, the Royal Scots Greys. He served with the regiment in France from the very early days of World War I, and was one of the first two officers in the Royal Scots Greys to be awarded the newly-instituted Military Cross (MC), the other officer being Captain H. Denison-Pender. He remained with the Royal Scots Greys during the post-war years, eventually commanding the regiment, but chose to retire from the British Army in the mid-1930s, at which time he held the rank of full-Colonel. He rejoined the British Army at the start of World War II and initially served with Southern Command. Promoted Brigadier in 1943, he was appointed Director of Pioneers and Labour in the Middle East (1944 – 1945). He later returned to southern - Africa, passing away at Melsetter, in Southern Rhodesia, on the 5 June 1959.


Brigadier C.J. Pike, 10th Gurkha Regiment, British Army:

“Chris” Pike hailed from South Africa. He served with the 10th Gurkha Regiment and was one of the youngest officers to receive the D.S.O. for operations while commanding “D” Company, the 1st battalion, 10th Gurkhas, in Borneo, during the “Confrontation”. He and his company of Gurkhas had taken part in a very successful ambush in the Bau district of Borneo in March 1966. The 10th Gurkhas suffered no losses and inflicted 37 “kills”. “Chris” Pike was the only company commander to win the D.S.O. during operations in Borneo.

Brigadier Norman Swift Plummer, RAMC, British Army:

Norman Plummer attended Kingswood College, Grahamstown, South Africa, and then qualified as a doctor at the University of London. During the war, Plummer served as consulting physician to the Middle East Forces, rising to the rank of Brigadier (War Substantive). Plummer continued to distinguish himself in the medical field after the war, serving as Senior Physician in charge of the Chest Clinic, Charing Cross Hospital (1935 - 1973), and as physician to the London Chest Hospital (1947 - 1973); Bromley Hospital (1948 - 1972); as well as the Edenbridge Hospital (1946 - 1972).


Major – General A.H.E. Reading, Royal Marines:

Arnold Hughes Eagleton Reading, was born at Heilbron in the Orange Free State (OFS), South Africa, in April 1896, and was educated at Cranleigh School, in the United Kingdom. He was commissioned a second-lieutenant in the Royal Marines, in August, 1914. Reading served during the Second World War and was promoted Major-General in 1946, and was placed on the retired list in 1947. There is a memorial plaque dedicated to him at the Royal Marine Museum at Portsmouth. Awards: C.B.E..


Major-General Cedric Rhys-Price, Royal Engineers, British Army:

The son of Colonel Sir Rhys Howell Price of East London, South Africa, and the grandson of Sir Thomas Price, a member of the first South African Railway Board, he was educated at Selborne College, East London, South Africa and in the United Kingdom. Rhys-Price attended the RMA Woolwich before being commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1925. During World War II, Rhys-Price served with the 1st (London) Division, Territorial Army, and as military assistant secretary at the offices of the War Cabinet, ending the war with the C.B.E. and O.B.E.. Promoted Temporary- Brigadier in 1946, he served as Chief-of-Staff to the Chairman of the Joint British Staff Mission in Washington D.C., from 1952-1954. Upon his promotion to Major-General in 1957, Rhys-Price then served as Director of Military Intelligence at the War Office (1956-1959), and was later appointed Principal Staff Officer to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (1959-1964).

Air Vice-Marshal Sir E.A.B. Rice, Royal Air Force:

Edward Arthur Beckwith Rice initially served with the South African Forces during World War I, before attending the R.M.C. Sandhurst. He subsequently transferred to the Royal Air Force and during World War II commanded No 1 Bomber Command, R.A.F..

Air Vice-Marshal Alan Patrick Ritchie, Royal Air Force:

Born in 1899, Ritchie was the son of Alan MacGregor Ritchie, of Durban, Natal, South Africa, and he was educated in South Africa and in Edinburgh, Scotland. He joined the Royal Flying Corps (predecessor to the Royal Air Force) in 1917. During World war II, Air Vice-Marshal Ritchie served as A.O.C. 205 Group, in the Middle east and also commanded “A” Group, Bomber Command (1943-1945).


Major-General Harry Rivers, Royal Engineers, British Army:

The son of the Treasurer of the Cape Colony, Harry Rivers, and a nephew of General Sir A.J. Cloete, British Army (qv), he was born in South Africa in 1821, and acquired a commission in the H.E.I.C. or English East Indian Army’s Engineers in 1842. Following the Indian Mutiny, the officers and non commissioned officers (NCOs) of the English East Indian Army’s Engineers were officially absorbed into the Corps of Royal Engineers in 1862. Harry Rivers was promoted Major-General on the 14 April 1865 and retired from the Army shortly thereafter.

Air-Commodore Jack Fendick Roulston, Royal Air Force:

Roulston was born on the 14 January 1913 and was educated at Queen’s College, Queenstown, South Africa and at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He was commissioned in the RAF in 1936 and by 1940 was a squadron-leader commanding No. 223 Squadron. He was subsequently promoted Wing-Commander (commanding No 55 Squadron, 1942) and Group-Captain (commanding 232 Wing, 1943). He finished the war with the C.B.E., D.S.O. and D.F.C.. he attended the RAF Staff College in 1946, and served as Group captain, operations, Far East Air Force (FEAF), in 1952. Air-Commodore Roulston later served as the Air Commander Air Task Group of Task Force Grapple from 1958-1960, and was Commandant of the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, before retiring from the RAF in 1965.

Major - General Albert Sachs, Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), British Army:

Sachs was born in Pretoria in 1904 and educated at Pretoria Boys High School. Sachs entered the R.A.M.C. in 1927, serving in India and on the North West Frontier. During World War II, he served as acting Deputy Physician to the British 10th Army in North - Africa, Italy And Iraq, becoming Acting Deputy Physician, Central Mediterranean Force, in 1945, with the rank of Colonel. After the war, Sachs served in India and was promoted Brigadier in 1949, and Major - General in 1953. Appointed Deputy Director of Medical Services, Eastern Command, Sachs retired from the British army in 1956. During his years in the R.A.M.C. Sachs had conducted studies in meningococcal meningitis, and sandfly fever, and also investigated the prevention of tetanus in the wounded, and researched the antigenic structure of non - mannite - fermenting dysentry organisms. Sachs was awarded the C.B.E. (1952), and C.B. (1955), serving as honorary physician to his majesty, King George V, in 1951, and to Queen Elizabeth II, upon her succession a year later. Sachs also served as Honorary Colonel to No 44 (Home Counties) Infantry Division, Territorial Army Medical Services, and Colonel Commandant of the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1964 - 1969.

Air Chief Marshal Sir H.W.L. “Dingbat” Saunders, Royal Air Force:

Hugh William Lumsden “Dingbat” Saunders was born in Johannesburg in 1894, the son of Frederick William Saunders, and was educated at the Marist Brothers College in Johannesburg. Upon the advent of the first world war, Saunders initially served with the Witwatersrand Rifles and South African Horse, before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps in 1917. During World War II, Saunders was appointed Commanding Officer of No. 11 Group, Fighter Command from 1942 - 1944, and in 1945 was appointed Air - Marshal Commanding the R.A.F. in Burma. After the war, Saunders went on to become Inspector - General of the R.A.F.(1949 - 1950), being promoted Air Chief Marshal in 1950. In 1951, Saunders assumed the mantle of Commander - In - Chief of the Air Forces in Western Europe .


Rear - Admiral Malcolm Walter St. Leger Searle, Royal Navy:

Born in Cape Town in 1900, Searle was the son of Sir Malcolm William Searle, Judge President of the Supreme Court, who was killed on the 9 June 1926 in a train crash at Salt River, Cape Town, and the grandson of W. Searle whose ships traded commerce with the Far East, his office situated at No. 72 Loop Street, Cape Town. Educated at the Western Province Preparatory School, in Cape Town, M.W. St. L. Searle received the Dominion nomination for the Navy proposed by General Smuts and Vice - Admiral King – Hall. He subsequently entered the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1913, attending the Royal Naval Colleges’ Osborne and Dartmouth. Searle then served as a Midshipman with the Grand Fleet, on board H.M.S. Thunderer, and later in the Baltic. After the war, Searle rose steadily in rank, beginning World War II as a commander. During the war Searle served in home waters, and in the Mediterranean and Arctic waters, as captain of H.M.S. Sheffield (1941 - 1943). After the war Searle served as Director of Plans (Q), (1948 - 1951), and as Commodore, Royal Naval Barracks, Portsmouth (1951). Promoted to Rear-Admiral in 1952, Searle served as Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel (1953 - 1955), before retiring from the Royal Navy in 1956.

Air Vice-Marshal Melvin Clifford Seymour Shepherd, Royal Air Force:
Shephered initially served with the South African Air Force (SAAF), before joining the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1947. He served as Chief Operations Officer, far East Command (1966); Assistant Chief of Staff (Intelligence) 2 Allied Tactical Air Force (ATAF); Commanding Officer, RAF Station, Binbrook; Senior Air Staff Officer, No. 38 Group (1972-1974); Director of Air Operations (Air Defence and Overseas), 1974-1975; and Air Officer in Charge of Administration, Strike Command (1976-1978), retiring from the British Armed Forces in 1978. Awards: C.B., O.B.E..

Air Marshal Sir Leonard Horatio Slatter, Royal Air Force:

Slatter was born in Durban, Natal, South Africa, in December 1894. He was educated at Dale College, in Kingwilliamstown, South Africa, and in England. During World War I, Slatter initially served with the Royal Naval Air Service (R.N.A.S.) and was awarded the Distinguished service Cross (D.S.C.) and Bar, as well as the D.F.C., accounting for six German aircraft . Slatter formed and commanded the RAFs High Speed Flight which won the Schneider Trophy in Venice 1927, the first time the trophy had been won by the RAF, and also undertook a solo flight from England to South Africa. During the Second World War, Slatter Commanded the R.A.F. and the allied air formations During The Eritrean/Abyssinian Campaign (1940 - 1941). He was awarded the C.B. (1941) and later commanded No. 201 (Naval Co - Operation) Group in the Middle East (1942), being Knighted the same year. Slatter then commanded No. 15 (Coastal Command) Group in the U.K. (1943 - 1945), and was appointed Commander-In – Chief, Coastal Command In 1945.


Field Marshal J.C. Smuts, British Army (Honorary):

Jan Christian Smuts was born near Riebeeck West, in the Western Cape, South Africa, in 1870. He was educated at Victoria College, Stellenbosch, Cape Town, and at the University of Cambridge, where he read for the Bar. Smuts served as a Boer General during the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), and initially served with the South African forces during the German South West African campaign (in modern-day Namibia) before he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the British and Allied Troops in German East Africa (1916), with the rank of Acting Lieutenant - General in the British Army Army. He was subsequently appointed a member of the British war cabinet, often visiting the western front, and at one time was offered command of the British forces in Palestine, but declined.Smuts was appointed by the British Prime-Minister, Lloyd George, to form a select committee, with himself as chairman, being tasked to investigate the question of air - defence, the request being made soon after the Zeppelin air - raids of July, 1917. Smuts advocatedthe amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) And Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS), and subsequently drafted the act creating the Royal Air - Force , and thus may rightfully be termed “The Father of the Royal Air - Force”. Smuts attained the apex of his military career when he was promoted an Honorary Field-Marshal in the British Army during the second world war (1941).

Air Vice-Marshal D.C. Stapleton, Royal Air Force:

He was the son of John Rouse Stapleton, of “Sarnia”, Natal, South Africa. Educated in England, he joined the R.A.F. in 1936 and during World War II saw action in the Middle East, North Africa and Italy. Stapleton chose to remain with the R.A.F. following the war and was appointed A.O.C. No 1 Bomber Group, R.A.F. in 1964.

Rear-Admiral J.L.D. Stoll, Royal Navy:

Johannes Lukas Diederich Stoll was born at the Cape of Good Hope in April 1812. he was the son of J.W. Stoll, Treasurer and Accountant-General at the cape of Good Hope. He entered the Royal Navy in January 1824 as a first class volunteer, being appointed to H.M.S. “Andromache”. It was either then or later that he decided to anglicize his name to John Luke Richard Stoll). Stoll subsequently entered the Royal Naval College in May 1826. He later served on the west coast of Africa helping to suppress the slave trade, on one occasion capturing nine-slavers 80 kilometres up the Congo River. He was promoted Commander in 1841 and then served as an Inspecting-Commander in the coast guard, being promoted to captain on the 5 February 1858, whereupon he retired from the Royal Navy. Stoll was, however, later promoted Rear-Admiral on the retired list, dated 11 December 1875, and thus became the first South African to reach flag-rank in the Royal Navy.

Admiral Sir Neville Syfret, Royal Navy:

Edward Neville Syfret was born at Cape Town, and was educated at the Diocesan College, Cape Town. He was the son of Edward Ridge Syfret of Cape Town, and joined the Royal Navy in 1906. During World War I, Syfret served as gunnery officer with H.M.S. Aurora , and aboard Centaur and Curacoa. Syfret Began the Second World War as a captain, commanding H.M.S. Rodne, and was promoted Rear - Admiral in 1940 . He later took part in the epic convoy battles in the Mediterranean, being awarded the C.B.(1941), and commanded “ Force H”. He thereafter commanded the Allied operations against the Vichy French in Madagascar (1942), and also commanded Force H during “Operation Pedestal” in August 1942. Syfret was also involved in the Allied landings in North - Africa ( November, 1942) and in Sicily (July, 1943). Appointed a K.B.E. in 1945, Syfret was promoted to full Admiral in 1946, and subsequently served as Commander - in - Chief of the Home Fleet (1946-1948).

Major-General Sir Christopher Teesdale, V.C., Royal Artillery, British Army:

Born in Grahamstown, in the Eastern Cape, on the 1 June 1833, he attended the RMA Woolwich, and was commissioned in the Royal Artillery on the 18 June 1851. He served in the Crimean War (1854-1856), and it was during the Siege of Kars (18 June-25 Novemeber 1855), in Armenia, on the 29 September 1855, that Teesdale performed the deed that was ultimately to win the 22-year-old the Victoria Cross. Lieutenant Teesdale was personally decorated with the Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria herself, in the quadrangle of Windsor, on the 21 November 1857. Thus it was that Teesdale became the first South African-born soldier to receive the Victoria Cross, and not as is erroneously believed, Lieutenant (later Lieutenant-Colonel) J.P.H. Crowe. Teesdale was later appointed Extra Equerry to the Prince of Wales (1858), and aide-de-camp to H.M. the Queen (1877), and was promoted Major-General in 1887, being created a Knight Commander of St Michael and St George (K.C.M.G.) that same year. Teesdale retired from the British Army on the 22 April 1892, and died on the 1 November 1893 at his home in South Bersted, Sussex.


Vice-Admiral Sir George F.A. Trewby, Royal Navy:

Trewby was born, appropriately enough, at Simonstown, Cape Town, in 1917, the son of Vice- Admiral G Trewby, RN. Simonstown served, of course, as an important base for the Royal Navy, before being transferred to the South African Navy in the mid-1950s. Vice-Admiral Trewby served as the Chief of Fleet Support and a member of the Board of the Admiralty between 1971 and 1974, having been promoted Rear-Admiral in 1968 and Vice-Admiral in 1971. He also served as Naval ADC to HM Queen Elizabeth II (1968).


Major-General Sir Leslie Norman Tyler, R.E.M.E., British Army:

Born in April 1904, Leslie Norman Tyler was the son of Major Norman Tyler, of the Royal Artillery, and was educated at Diocesan College, Rondebosch, Cape Town, in South Africa and at the Royal Naval Colleges, Osborne and Dartmouth. A Lieutenant in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) in 1927, major-general Tyler transferred to REME in 1942, and during World war II, served on the Island of Malta, and in North West Europe, retiring from the British Army in 1960.

Lieutenant-General Sir “Jaap” van Deventer, British Army (Honorary):

Jacob Louis “Jaap” Van Deventer was born at Ficksburg, in the Orange Free State, South Africa, and was appointed successor to Lieutenant - General J.C. Smuts, upon the latter’s appointment to the British War Cabinet, as Commander - in - Chief of the British Forces in East Africa. This is rather ironic considering that this intrepid and fiery old Boer warrior had, together with his fellow South - Africans, Louis Botha, and J.C. Smuts, only a little more than a decade before, wholeheartedly pitted themselves against the British. Van Deventer served as commander - in - chief of the Allied forces in East Africa until the end of the war, being knighted for his military endeavours, and promoted Lieutenant - General in 1917, as well as being awarded the CMG. In addition, Van Deventer was later appointed an Honorary Lieutenant - General in the British Army, and served as an Aide - de - Camp to King George V in 1920.



Brigadier J.W. Van Reenen, Indian Medical Service, Indian Army:

Jacob William Van Reenen hailed from Ladybrand, in the Orange Free Stae (OFS), South Africa, and was educated at Grey College, in Bloemfontein, OFS, South Africa. He joined the Indian Medical Service (IMS) in 1914 and by the start World War II was a Lieutenant-Colonel, having received the O.B.E. in 1935. During World War II, van Reenen served in France, Persia and Waziristan, and was promoted Brigadier in 1943. Van Reenen retired from the Indian Army in 1947 and served thereafter as medical superintendent to the Glasgow Eye Infirmary. He was just one of the Van Renen or Van Reenen Family of South Africa to serve in the Indian Army, the first being Brigadier-General Jacob Van Renen, of the Bengal Army (qv).

Brigadier-General J. Van Renen, Bengal Native Infantry, English East Indian Army:

Jacob Van Renen was born at the Cape of Good Hope on the 20 February 1762. He entered the English East Indian Company’s Army (the fore-runner of the Indian Army of the British Raj) as a cadet in 1780. He served in the Second Rohilla War of 1794, being present at the Battle of Bitaurah. He later served in the Third Mahratta War (1817-1819), commanding the 4th Infantry Brigade. Brigadier-General Van Renen died aboard a boat in the River Ganges, near Cawnpore, on the 8 February 1828, after 46 years of almost continuous military service. He was the first of the Van Renen clan to serve in the Indian Army, and so began a family tradition that only ceased with the independence of India in 1948, over one-hundred years later.


General Sir Michael Dawson Walker, Royal Anglian Regiment, British Army:

Born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, in 1944, Walker was educated at the Prince Edward School, in Salisbury, Rhodesia and at the R.M.C Sandhurst, and was commissioned in the Royal Anglian Regiment in 1966. Walker was appointed General-Officer commanding the North Eastern District and commander of the 2nd British Infantry Division (1991-1992), whereupon he served as commander of Nato ground forces in Bosnia (1995-1996), and as Chief of the Defence Staff (2003-2006). Knighted in 2006, Walker has also served in the capacity of colonel commandant of the Queen’s Division from 1991-2000 and continues to serve as aide-de-camp to the Queen, a post he has held since 1997.

Rear-Admiral Cecil Ward, Royal Navy:

Cecil Ward was son of the reverend Ward, of Richmond, Natal, South Africa. He joined the Royal Navy in approximately 1900 and served in the paymaster’s service. During World War I, Ward served as secretary to the Vice-Admiral commanding Battle Cruisers, and was present at the Battle of Jutland (31 May-1 June, 1916). His war-time endeavours earned him the C.M.G. (1919). Ward rose to flag-rank after the war, and retired from the Royal Navy in 1936.

General Sir Henry James Warre, British Army:

Henry Warre was born at the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) in 1819, the son of a British Army officer, Lieutenant-General Sir William Warre. Henry Warre joined the 54th Regiment of Foot in 1837 and later served in the Crimea War (1854-1856), where he was present at the Siege and Fall of Sebastopol, as well as the assaults upon the Redan (18 June and 18 September 1855), and also commanded the 57th (Middlesex) Regiment in the Crimea after the death of Colonel Shadforth. He then served with the CentralIndia Field Force from 1857-1858, commanding the 57th on the Taptee River,whereafter he commanded troops in the province of Taranaki,during the campaign in New Zealand from 1863-1866. He then served as Brigadier-General of the Belfast district (1870-1874), and Commander-in-Chief of the Bombay Army (1878-1881), holding the lines-of-communication (from the Indus to Kandahar) during the war in Afghanistan (1878-1880), which in effect enabled Sir Donald Stewart to relieve Kabul in 1879.General Sir Henry Warre died at his home, 35 Cadogan Place, London,on the 3 April 1898.

Air Marshal Sir Colin Winterbotham Weedon, Royal Air Force:

Weedon was born in Durban, Natal, South Africa, and was the son of H.W. Weedon, of that city. He was educated at the Royal Naval Colleges, Osborne and Dartmouth, and served aboard H.M.S. Royal Sovereign and H.M.S. Walker during World War I. Following hostilities, Weedon transferred to the Royal Air Force and by 1946 was A.O.C. 41 Group, R.A.F.. Air Marshal Weedon retired from the Royal Air Force in 1952.

Air Chief Marshal Sir H.N.G. Wheeler, Royal Air Force:

Henry Neil G. Wheeler was the son of Henry Thomas Wheeler, of the South African Police, and the brother of Major-General T.N.S. Wheeler, British Army. He entered the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell, in 1935 on a Dominion Nomination proposed by General J.C. Smuts and greatly distinguished himself during World War II, serving with Fighter, Bomber and Coastal Commands’. His endeavours during the war-years brought him the D.S.O. (1943), D.F.C. (1941) and Bar (1943), the last of which was for leading Beaufighters in an attack on a German convoy off the coast of Holland. H.N.G. Wheeler was promoted Air-Commodore in 1961 (having in the interim served as Aide-de-Camp to Queen Elizabeth II); Air Marshal in 1968 and Air Chief Marshal in 1972, serving as Controller of Aircraft at the Ministry of Defence, and Controller of Aircraft, on the Ministry of Defence Procurement Executive, 1973-1975.

Major-General T.N.S. Wheeler, Royal Ulster Rifles, British Army:

Thomas Norman Samuel Wheeler was the son of Thomas Henry Wheeler, of the South African Police, and the brother of Air Chief Marshal Sir H.N.G. Wheeler, Royal Air Force. He was educated in South Africa and the United Kingdom and attended the Royal Military College (RMC), Sandhurst, in 1934. He was commissioned in the Royal Ulster Rifles in 1935, and during World War II served in the Middle east and Albania with the British Military Mission. He later commanded the 1st Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles, in Cyprus, from 1958-1959. Promoted Brigadier, he commanded the 39th Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland (1960-1962), and was appointed General–Officer-Commanding the Second British Division in 1964, and also served as Chief of Staff, Contingencies Planning at S.H.A.P.E. from 1966 – 1969, and Chief-of-Staff at the Headquarters of the British Army of the Rhine (B.A.O.R.), before retiring from the British Army in 1971.

Rear-Admiral Charles Bernard Williams, Royal Navy:

Williams hailed from Grahamstown, South Africa, and was educated at Graeme College, Grahamstown. He entered the Royal Naval Engineering College, at Plymouth, and later commanded the Admiralty Experimental Station (1962), having been promoted to the rank of Commander in 1960. He then served as engineer-officer aboard H.M.S. London , and following his promotion to captain, was appointed Deputy-Manager of Portsmouth Dockyard in 1969, and Superintendent of the Clyde Submarine Base in 1972. Williams was then given command of H.M.S. Sultan in 1975, the last named being the Royal Navy’s School of Marine and Air Engineering . Promoted to flag-rank in 1978, he served as Flag Officer at Medway and Port Admiral at Chatham (1978-1980), retiring from the Royal Navy thereafter.

Air Marshal Sir Thomas Melling Williams: Royal Air Force:

He was born in England in September 1899 and was educated in Germiston, South Africa. Williams served initially with the South African Infantry in German East Africa whereupon he transferred to the RFC. During WWII, Williams served in Java in the Far East as S.A.S.O. to Air Marshal Pierce (1942); A.O.C. Bengal Command (1943) and as Deputy Commander, Headquarters, Eastern Air Command (Air Command South East Asia) in 1944, helping among other things to supply Major-General Wingate’s “Chindits” in Burma. Following the war, Williams served as A.O.C.-in-Chief of the British Air Forces Occupation (BAFO) in Germany, from 1948-1951.

Major-General G.D.D. Wolfe, 2nd Foot (Queen’s Royal Regiment), British Army:

George Douglas Dunlevie Wolfe was born at the Cape of Good Hope in 1826 and was the son of Major Richard Thomas Wolfe, one time commandant of Robben Island, being tutored on the Island by the famous South African artist, Thomas Bowler . Wolfe was subsequently gazetted an Ensign in the 39th Regiment of Foot (the Dorsetshire Regiment) on the 27th September 1844, also serving with the 87th Regiment of Foot (the Royal Irish Fusliers) before transferring to the 2nd Regiment of Foot (The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment), on the17 February 1854 . He served in the United Kingdom, India, South Africa, China (being present at the storming of the Taku forts in 1860) and Hong Kong. He was later appointed Staff Officer of pensioners (at Brigade Sub-District 49 and 50, Northern Division, Regent’s Park Barracks, London), and served thus from the 10 July 1865-29 June 1881, retiring on pension the same day, with the honorary rank of Major-General.

Air Vice - Marshal Brian Pashley Young, Royal Air Force:

Born In Zululand, Natal, South Africa, in 1918, Young was educated at Michaelhouse School, Natal, and won a Cadet Scholarship to the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell. Commissioned in the R.A.F. in 1938, he Served in France, Over The Atlantic, and in the Middle East during World War II. Young continued to serve with the RAF after the war and later commanded the Central Reconnaissance Establishment (1964 - 1967), and was also appointed Commandant - General of the R.A.F. Regiment (1968 – 1973), retiring from the R.A.F. in 1973.