South Africans have served in the British Armed Forces for close on two-hundred years(1), and Rhodesian-born men and women have followed suit, having served in the British Forces for almost a century! South Africa and Northern and Southern Rhodesia have produced approximately 39 Southern African-born Brigadiers and General-Officers in the British Army and Royal Marines, the Royal Navy and Royal Air-Force, including at least one Field Marshal(2). They comprise seventeen Brigadiers and Generals in the British army; ten Admirals in the Royal Navy; eleven officers of Air-Rank in the Royal air Force, while sixteen have been knighted for service to the British Crown, the British Defence Force and the British people. Southern Africans who have served as General Officers of the British Armed Forces have commanded various British and Commonwealth formations, in various campaigns and wars, in the United Kingdom and abroad. Their record is truly remarkable.
General Abraham Josias Cloete:
"Father of the British Army"
The first Southern African to attain the exalted rank of General-Officer in the British Defence Force was General Sir Abraham Josias Cloete(3), who was commissioned in the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars and was promoted Major-General on the 31 August 1855, and later full General on the 25 October 1871(4), having commanded the Windward and Leeward Islands in the West indies(1856-1861), being placed on the retired list in 1877.
Born at Cape Town on the 7 August 1794, Cloete came of an illustrious Cape Colonial family. He attended the Military college at Great Marlow and was commissioned a cornet in the 15th Hussars in June 1809, aged fourteen-years and ten months! During his military career Cloete was to serve with the 15th Hussars and 21st Light Dragoons(5) in the United Kingdom (Burdett and Luddite riots, 1811), India (Mahratta War, 1817-1819), on the Island of Tristan da Cunha, and at the Cape of Good Hope (at one stage serving as Aide-de-Camp to the Governor, Lord Charles Somerset). He was at the time of his death in 1886 Colonel of the 19th Regiment of Foot (Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment)(6). General Cloete served in the British Army for over sixty-years and was known as "the Father of the British Army".
Major-General Christopher Teesdale, V.C.
The first South African-born recipient of the Victoria Cross
Major-General Christopher Charles Teesdale, Royal Artillery was the next Southern-African born soldier to attain the rank of General officer in the British Army. Born in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, in 1833, he was commissioned in the Royal Artillery and served in the Crimean War. Teesdale was awarded the Victoria Cross for his endeavours during the Crimean War at the Battle of Kars. On the 29 September 1855, Lieutenant Teesdale, commanding a force engaged in the defence of the most advanced section of the works, threw himself into the midst of the enemy and by so doing, encouraged the garrison to implement a vigorous attack on the Russians, driving them out. Teesdale was however captured and remained a prisoner of the Russians until 1856. Apart from the Victoria Cross, Teesdale was also awarded the Legion d' Honeur and an Honorary C.B.. Teesdale officially received the V.C. on the 21 November 1857, receiving this most prestigious award from Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, at Windsor Castle.
Thus, it would seem that Teesdale was the first South African born soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross, whereas it is popularly believed that Lieutenant-Colonel J.P.H. Crowe, 78th Highlanders and 10th North Lincolnshire regiment was the first. Teesdale subsequently served as extra equerry to Queen Victoria(7), and was promoted Major-General in 1887, being made a knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) that same year. Teesdale passed away in 1893 and was buried in Sussex.
General C.W.H. Douglas
The Gordon Highlander from Cape Town
It is interesting to note that one of the British Generals during the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), was himself South African-born. General Sir Charles Whittington Horsley Douglas was born at Cape Town on the 17 July 1850. He was gazetted to a commission in the 92nd Gordon Highlanders, by purchase on the 16 December 1869. Douglas was to serve in the second Afghanistan War (1879-1880)(8).
Douglas then served with the "Gay Gordons" in his native South Africa during the First Anglo-Boer War (1880-1881) and in Egypt (1885), being appointed deputy Assistant Adjutant-General and quartermaster-General. Douglas was appointed Aide-de-Camp to Queen Victoria with the rank of Colonel in 1898, and during the second Anglo-Boer War, he initially served as Assistant Adjutant-General on the Headquarters Staff of General Sir Redvers Buller, before being appointed Commander of the 9th Brigade, South African Field Force. Douglas was to assume the mantle of Chief of the Imperial General Staff during the First World War, and passed away in October 1914, having served as an assistant to Lord Kitchener at the Ministry of War.
Admiral John F.L.P. Maclear:
South African-born officer of Flag Rank in the Royal Navy
The next southern African-born officer to attain the rank of General-officer in any of the three services of the British armed forces was Admiral John F.L.P. Maclear. Born at the Cape of Good Hope on the 27 June 1838, Maclear was the son of Sir Thomas Maclear, the celebrated Astronomer-Royal at the Cape. He entered the Royal Navy in 1851 (serving aboard H.M.S. Castor) and subsequently served in 8th Frontier War in South Africa (1851 - 1853); the Crimean War (1854 - 1856), on board H.M.S. Algiers in the Baltic and Black Sea; at Jeddah (1858); the Second Chinese War (1860 - 1862), aboard H.M.S. Sphinx, and in The Abyssinian Campaign (1868).
Maclear also served as Commander, under Sir George Nares, of the famous scientific exploratory vessel, H.M.S. Challenger. He was promoted Rear-Admiral (1890), Vice-Admiral on the retired list (1897) and Admiral (1903)(9). Admiral Maclear was possibly the first Southern-African born man to reach flag rank in the Royal Navy(10)
World War One (1914-1917)
The British Army and Royal Marines:
During World War One South African-born General officers in any of the three arms of the British Defence Force included General Sir W.H. Douglas (who as mentioned afore served as assistant to Lord Kitchener and passed away only months after the war had commenced), and Generals' Sir George Grey Aston and Jan C. Smuts (all British Army)(11)
Major-General George Grey Aston,
Major-General George Grey Aston was born at the Cape in 1861, and was descended on his mother's side from a celebrated Afrikaans family, namely the Faure's. Aston joined the Royal Marine Artillery in 1879, and later served in the Sudan (1884)(12), and in the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). He served as a Brigadier-General on the General Staff in South-Africa (1908-1912)(13), and was Knighted in 1913. Aston commanded the British Expedition to Dunkirk and Ostend during the last days of 1914 and commanded the Royal Marine Artillery Division (1914-1917). Major-General Aston retired in 1917, having also been appointed Colonel Commandant of the Royal Marine Artillery (1914).
Lieutenant-General (Later Field Marshal) J.C. Smuts
Progenitor of the Royal Air Force
Lieutenant-General J.C. Smuts initially served with the Union's forces during the German South West African Campaign before being pppointed 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. Born near Riebeeck West, in the Western Cape, in 1870, Smuts had served during the Second Anglo-Boer War as a General in the Boer forces.
He was later 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 subsequently 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 advocated the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (R.F.C.) and Royal Naval Air Service (R.N.A.S.), and subsequently drafted the Act creating the Royal Air Force(14), and thus may rightfully be termed "The Father of the Royal Air Force". Smuts attained the zenith of his military career when he was promoted Field Marshal in the British Army during the Second World War (1941).
The Royal Navy:
Vice-Admiral (later Admiral) J.B. Eustace
Admiral John Bridges Eustace was the eldest son of John Thomas Eustace, of Wynberg, South Africa(15), and was born at the Cape of Good Hope in January 1861. Joining the Royal Navy, he was educated at H.M.S. Britannia the Royal Navy, and served in H.M.S. London and Dragon on the East Coast of Africa and in the Persian Gulf (1880-1884) during the suppression of the slave trade on the East Coast of Africa.
Eustace Commanded H.M.S. Hood (1897-1900) and also served as transport officer with the expeditionary force to China (1900)(16) and during the Venezuela Blockade (December 1902-February 1903), and commanded H.M.S. Fox (1904-1907). Eustace was promoted Rear-Admiral in 1913, and served with the Ministry of munitions during the First World War, being promoted Vice-admiral in 1918. Eustace was subsequently promoted Admiral on the retired list(17).
The inter-War Years (1919-1938)
Following the cessation of the First World War, at least two Southern-African born men were to reach the zenith of their careers, attaining senior rank in the Royal Navy and British Army respectively, namely Vice-Admiral Vincent Molteno, Royal Navy and Brigadier Ronald Gervers, Royal Engineers.
Vice Admiral Vincent Barkley Molteno: Royal Navy
A veteran of the Battle of Jutland
Vice Admiral Vincent Barkley Molteno(18) was born in Cape-Town, and was the son of the first Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, Sir John Molteno. He joined the Royal Navy, and in 1893 took part in the landings at Vitu, Zanzibar, serving as a Lieutenant with the Naval Brigade under Commander Linley. He was mentioned in despatches and awarded the General African Medal, Gambia, 1894, with Clasp. Molteno was appointed flag captain of the Third Cruiser Squadron, in December 1913. During the first year of World War l, Molteno served as Flag Captain of H.M.S. Antrim before commanding the Battleship, H.M.S. Redoubtable which carried out the bombardment of the Belgian coast. Molteno was appointed Captain of the Cruiser, H.M.S. Warrior(19), and commanded the Warrior during the Battle of Jutland in May, 1916, where(20):
"The Warrior went through terrible experiences. At one time the concentrated fire of the German Dreadnoughts fell upon her; the Defence and Black Prince were blown up beside her. Captain Molteno's ship suffered about 100 casualties. The wounded and the rest of the crew were all saved when she was in a sinking condition after being in tow for several hours. The gallant captain was cheered by the ship's company when they were all safely landed."
The Warrior was so badly damaged that she was taken in tow by H.M.S. Engadine but foundered and sank on the 1 June 1916. Molteno was promoted Rear-Admiral in 1921, and Vice-Admiral in 1926 while on the retired list, having served as Aide-de-Camp to King George V in 1920.
Brigadier Francis R.S. Gervers, Royal Engineers
Brigadier Francis R.S. Gervers(21), Royal Engineers, born at Kimberley in South Africa, served with distinction during The First World War. He had attended the R.M.A. Woolwich, and served during the Mohmand, Malakand, and Tirah Campaigns (1897-1898). During The First World War, Gervers served in India and Afghanistan. He was promoted Brigadier in 1928(22). He died in 1971, two days after his ninety-eighth birthday! Gervers' brother Ronald Gervers was married to Dorothy Black, the South African actress.
The Second World War (1939-1945)
The British Army and Royal Marines:
It was during the Second World War, however, that Southern African-born senior-ranking officers in the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air-Force were to come to the fore.
Field Marshal J.C. Smuts
South African Prime Minister, and right-hand-man of the British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, General Jan Christian Smuts, played a prominent role in the war, being honoured with promotion to the rank of Field Marshal in the British Army in April, 1941. During the war Smuts helped plan the D-Day landings, attending the final conference on the landings at St. Paul's School, on the 15 May, 1944, when His Majesty the King, Winston Churchill, British Chiefs of Staff, Commanders of the Expedition, and many principal staff officers were present. Smuts subsequently crossed to Normandy with Winston Churchill on the 10 June 1944, only four days after the landings on the 6 June.
Lieutenant General (Later General) Sir E.C. Mansergh
C.O. of the 5th Indian Infantry Division in Burma 1944-1945
Other Southern African-born senior ranking officers of the British Army during the war include Lieutenant-General Eric Carden Robert Mansergh(23). South African-born and educated at Rondebosch High School, Cape Town, Mansergh initially attended the R.M.A. Woolwich and was commissioned in The Royal Field Artillery in 1920. He later served with the British Military mission to Iraq (1931-1935), and was awarded the Military Cross (M.C.) in 1932.
During the Second World War, Mansergh rose from Major to Acting Major-General, being promoted to the rank of substantive Major-General in 1946, and acting Lieutenant-General the same year! Mansergh served in Eritrea, Abyssinia, the Western Desert, Libya, the Middle East, and in Arakan, Assam, and Burma. He was appointed Commander of the 5th Indian Infantry Division in 1945, and under Mansergh's command, the 5th Indian Division was engaged in stiff fighting at Yamethin, Shwemyo Bluff, and Pyinmana(24). He then commanded the 5th Indian Division in Indonesia(25) and was Later appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces in The Netherlands East indies (1946). He commanded the Allied Forces during the fighting at Surabaya, in Java, against nationalistic elements intent on wresting independence from the Dutch. General Mansergh later became Commander-in-Chief, N.A.T.O. Forces (1953-1956).
Major-General Edmund Hakewill-Smith, Royal Scots Fusiliers
C.O. of the 52nd (Lowland) Division at Walcheren, 1944
Major-General Edmund Hakewill-Smith(26), Royal Scots Fusiliers, born in Kimberley, South Africa and educated at "Bishops"(27) had graduated from the R.M.C. Sandhurst before being commissioned into the Royal Scots Fusiliers during the First World War, and was awarded the M.C. (1915). During World War Two, Hakewill-Smith was appointed commanding officer of the 52nd Scottish (Lowland) Division, which he commanded in north west Europe (namely, France, Holland, Belgium, and Germany), and also served as overall commander of the Allied assault, and subsequent capture of Walcheren Island in 1944(28). Hakewill-Smith was awarded the C.B.E. (1944), and C.B.(1945) and commanded the 52nd Division until it's disbandment in 1946(29). He also served as President of the War Crimes Trial of German Field Marshal Albert Von Kesselring in Venice, Italy, during May 1947. His later honours include that of Colonel of the Royal Scots Fusiliers (1946-1957), and Deputy Constable and Lieutenant Governor of Windsor Castle.
Major-General A.H.E. Reading, Royal Marines
Major-General Arnold Hughes Eagleton Reading, Royal Marines, C.B.E., born at Heilbron in the Orange Free State (OFS) on the 3 April 1896, was educated at Cranleigh School, in the United Kingdom, and 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.
Additional Southern-African-born officers who distinguished themselves during the war include Brigadier Eustace Arderne(30) (born in Cape Town), Royal Durham Light infantry, who commanded the 25th Indian Infantry Brigade in Italy; Brigadier Walter Douglas Campbell Greenacre(31), Welsh Guards, who was born in Durban, Natal, and a member of a distinguished Durban family, commanded the 6th Guards Armoured Brigade(32) in North-West Europe(1944-1945), being awarded the D.S.O (1945); and Brigadier Dudley Wrangel Clarke, who founded the famous British Army's Commando Regiment during the second world war.
The Royal Air-Force was also to furnish its share of South African-born officers of Air Rank.
Air-Vice-Marshal Sir Christopher Joseph Quinton Brand, Royal Air Force
Commanded No 10 Group, R.A.F., during the Battle of Britain
Air-Vice-Marshal Sir Christopher Joseph Quinton Brand(33), Kimberley-born, and educated at the Marist Brothers School in Johannesburg, Commanded No. 10 Fighter Group during the Battle of Britain, retiring from the R.A.F. in 1943. He had joined the Royal Flying Corps (R.F.C.) during World War I, and ended up as an air-ace with 13 victories, being awarded the D.S.O., M.C. and D.F.C..
Air-Vice-Marshal (later Air Marshal Sir) Leonard Horatio Slatter, Royal Air Force
Commander-in-Chief of Coastal Command during the last days of World War Two
Air-Vice-Marshal (later Sir) Leonard Horatio Slatter(34), born at Durban, and educated at Dale College, Kingwilliamstown, in the Eastern Cape, served with the R.N.A.S. during the First World War and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (D.S.C.) and Bar, as well as the D.F.C., accounting for six German aircraft. He commanded a Bomber squadron in Russia with the Allied Expeditionary force following world war one, and was awarded the O.B.E.. Slatter formed and commanded the R.A.F.'s 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 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 that 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(35).
Air-Vice-Marshal (later Air Chief Marshal Sir) H.W.L. "Dingbat" Saunders
Johannesburg-born Air-Vice-Marshal (later Sir) Hugh William Lumsden "Dingbat" Saunders(36) 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 the Second World War, Saunders was appointed commanding officer of No. 11 Group, Fighter Command (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.(37)
Air-Vice-Marshal (later Air Vice-Marshal Sir) Leslie Oswald Brown
Commanded No 4 Group, A.E.A.F. over North West Europe
Another Durban-born member of the Royal Air Force, namely Air-Vice-Marshal Sir Leslie Oswald Brown(38), R.A.F., also distinguished himself during World War II. Brown was educated at Hilton College, Natal, and served with the R.N.A.S. and the R.A.F. during World War I(39). He saw service on the Western front, and was awarded the D.S.C. while serving in East Africa, and was also awarded the A.F.C. (1918) for work at the flying training school at Calshot.
Brown was promoted Air-Commodore in 1941, and served as Air-Officer-Commanding the Levant, being awarded the C.B.E. (1941). Promoted Substantive Air-Vice Marshal in 1944, Brown was given command of No. 84 Group, R.A.F., Allied Expeditionary Air Force (A.E.A.F.). while commanding the Group, Brown, although 51 years of age, still flew Spitfires and during one month notched no fewer than 62 hours flying time visiting the various wings under his command(40). Brown subsequently served as Commandant of the R.A.F. School of Land and Air Warfare, at Old Sarum. After retiring from the Royal Air Force, Brown returned to his native Durban.
The Senior Service: The Royal Navy
The Royal Navy was also to produce three Southern African-born officers of flag rank during the war, namely Vice-Admiral (later Admiral) Sir Neville Syfret, Vice-Admiral A. Eagleton Evans and Rear-Admiral Cosmo M. Graham.
Admiral Sir Neville Syfret,
officer commanding the Royal Navy's famous Force H in the Mediterranean
Edward Neville Syfret(41), born at Cape Town, was another of those indomitable "Old Bishop's" boys. He was the son of Edward Ridge Syfret of Cape Town, and joined the Royal Navy in 1906. During World War One, Syfret served as gunnery officer with H.M.S. Aurora(42), and aboard Centaur and Curacoa. Syfret began the second World War as a Captain, Commanding H.M.S. Rodney. Subsequently appointed secretary to the First Lord, he was promoted Rear-Admiral in 1940. He later took part in the epic convoy battles in the Mediterranean, being awarded the C.B.(1941), followed by his promotion to Vice-Admiral, whereupon he took over command of 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. Operation Pedestal was the most important and hardest fought of all the convoy battles. The convoy managed to get much-needed supplies through to Malta which helped sustain the beleagured island until the siege was lifted. Syfret was also involved in the Allied landings in North-Africa (November, 1942) and in Sicily (July, 1943). This amazing Capetonian was appointed a K.B.E. in 1945, and was promoted Full Admiral in 1946, being appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Home Fleet (1946-1948), and was later placed on the retired list.
Vice-Admiral A.E. Evans, Royal Navy
In addition, Vice Admiral Alfred Englefield Evans(43), born in South Africa on the 30 January 1884, served as Head of the Naval Technical Mission in Ottawa, Canada, and member of the Supply Council (North America) during the Second World War. Evans was educated at Horris Hill School and at H.M.S. Britannia. Appointed a midshipman in 1900, Evans served during the First World War, being present at the Battle of Jutland (being mentioned-in-despatches) and finished the war as a Commander. Promoted Captain in 1924, Evans served as Chief of Staff, Africa Station, from 1927-1929. He also served as Commodore, South America Station (1933-1935), and as a Rear-Admiral, at Gibraltar (1937-1939). Promoted Vice-Admiral in June 1939, Evans was placed on the retired list the same year. During the war, Vice-Admiral Evans served as Head of the Naval Technical Mission in Ottawa, Canada, and was a member of the Supply Council (North America), addressing the Empire Club of Canada in November 1941. He died in December, 1944, just prior to the cessation of hostilities. Evans was also an accomplished cricketer and represented the Royal Navy from 1914 until his last match in 1925, and Hampshire county from 1919-1920.(44)
Rear-Admiral Cosmo Moray Graham, Royal Navy
Rear-Admiral Cosmo Moray Graham(45), R.N., was a member of an old and illustrious Capetonian and South-African family, the Grahams of Fintry. Born at the Cape, he entered the Royal Navy before the First World War, and was a Lieutenant-Commander upon the cessation of the war in 1918. Graham was promoted Captain in 1936, and held the appointment of Deputy Director of the Air Divison, the fore-runner of the Royal Navy's F.A.A. During the initial period of the second world war, Graham served as Senior Naval officer, Persian Gulf, and was promoted Rear-Admiral in 1941. He was then appointed Commodore, Burma Coast, in February 1942, and organised the subsequent evacuation from Rangoon before the port fell to the Japanese in early March, 1942. Graham then departed with some small naval craft for Akyab, which was also abandoned, on the 14, May 1942, due to the inexorable advance of the Japanese. Rear-Admiral Graham thereafter served as Flag-Officer-in-Charge on the Humber, and died in 1946.
The Post War Years (1946-2007)
The post-War years have also produced General Officers of the British Defence Force who can claim South Africa or Rhodesia as their place of birth.
During the post-war period, it is of interest to note that the Royal Army Medical Corps produced at least three senior-ranked officers of southern African, and more specifically, South African birth.
Premier among these was Lieutenant-General Sir William Alexander Drummond, R.A.M.C.. Born in Cape Town in 1901, he was brought up and educated in South Africa, before his parents decided later to re-locate the family to the United Kingdom. Drummond attended St. Andrew's University, entering the R.A.M.C. in 1925. During the second world war he served in the Middle East, Iraq, Persia and Italy, and was Mentioned-in-despatches no less than five times! Following the war, Drummond was promoted temporary Major-General in 1953, and later served as Director-General of Army Medical Services (1956-1961), having in the process been promoted Lieutenant-General and knighted in 1957. Lieutenant-General Drummond retired from the R.A.M.C. in 1961, being appointed Colonel-Commandant of the R.A.M.C. (1961-1966). Drummond subsequently served as Deputy Director-General of the St. John's Ambulance association, and honorary medical adviser to the Government of Pakistan.
Major-General Albert Sachs was another South African-born member of the R.A.M.C. to attain senior rank. Born in Pretoria in 1904, and educated at Pretoria Boys High School, Sachs entered the R.A.M.C. in 1927. During World War Two, he served as Acting Deputy Physician to the British 10th Army in North-Africa, Italy and Iraq. 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 the King in 1951, and to Queen Elizabeth II, on her succession a year later. Sachs also served as Colonel Commandant of the Royal Army Medical Corps (1964-1969).
Again, another South African-born soldier who attained senior rank in the Royal Army Medical Corps was Major-general Philip Francis Palmer, born at Kroonstad, in the Orange Free State. Promoted Lieutenant in 1926, Palmer served on the North West Frontier, and during the second world war, commanded No 71 General hospital and serving 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.)(46), 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(47).
Recently, Rhodesian-born General Sir Michael Dawson Walker (1944- ), British Army, served as commander of NATO Ground Forces in Bosnia (1995-1996), and as Chief of the Defence Staff (2003-2006). Born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, he was educated at the Prince Edward School, in Salisbury, Rhodesia and at the R.M.C Sandhurst, being commissioned in the Royal Anglian Regiment in 1966. Walker was appointed General Officer Commanding North Eastern District and Commander of the 2nd British Infantry Division (1991-1992). He has also served as Colonel Commandant of the Queen's Division (1991-2000) and continues to serve as Aide-De-Camp to the Queen, a post he has held since 1997.
In addition Brigadiers Owen Collins, Royal Engineers and Garth Miles Hunt-Davis, Royal Gurkha Regiment, were two other Southern African-born officers who distinguished themselves in the British Army during the post-War period.
Brigadier Owen Collins, Johannesburg-born and partly educated at Parktown Preparatory, Johannesburg, was commissioned in the Royal Engineers in 1925, and served during the second world war. He was promoted brigadier in 1956, retiring the same year, and returned to Southern Africa, settling in Rhodesia.
Brigadier Garth Miles Hunt-Davis(48), also born in Johannesburg, and educated at St. Andrew's College, Grahamstown, was commissioned in the 6th Queen Elizabeth's own Gurkha Rifles in 1962. He was appointed commander of the Brigade of Gurkhas in 1987. Upon his retirement from the British Army, Hunt-Davis served as Colonel of the 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Own Gurkha Rifles (1991-1994), and has also acted in the capacity of Private Secretary to H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh (1991-2007), accompanying the latter on his trip to South Africa in 2000, and surprising the locals by speaking to them in Afrikaans!(49)
The Royal Air Force:
Air-Marshals H.R. Graham, Sir P.D. Holder, Sir P.C. Fletcher, Sir P. Lagesen, Sir H.P. Fraser, B.P. Young, and Air Commodore Ellacombe
South African-born Air Vice-Marshal Henry Rudolph Graham(50), attended the South African training ship General Botha, before serving with Union Castle Line from 1926-1931. He joined the R.A.F. in 1931, and served as a bomber-pilot during the second world war, being awarded the D.S.O. and D.F.C., the latter for his part in the attacks on the German pocket battleships, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, in December 1941. After the war, Graham remained in the R.A.F. and became Senior Air Staff officer of No. 1 (Bomber) Group in 1952. He later returned to South Africa where he died on his farm in 1987(51).
Air-Marshal the Reverend Sir Henry Paterson Fraser (later H.P. Fraser), born in Johannesburg, and educated at St. Andrew's College, Grahamstown, and Pembroke College, Cambridge, was given a permanent commission in the R.A.F. in 1929. He first served on the troubled Northwest Frontier, where Fraser produced the R.A.F.'s first Manual of Supply Dropping. During the early days of the War, Fraser served at the Directorate of War Organisation at the Air Ministry. Fraser then again served at R.A.E. Farnborough, and it was during this period that this South African effectively introduced Statistical Control - a system by which an establishment can accurately measure its capacity in meeting the required work load. Fraser was involved in the planning and operational organisation of the 2nd Tactical Air-Force (T.A.F.). He was awarded the C.B.E. in 1945. Promoted Air-Vice-Marshal in 1953, Fraser served as Air-officer-Commanding No. 12 Group, Fighter Command, (1956-1958), and was promoted Air-Marshal in 1959. His subsequent appointments included that of Director of R.A.F. Exercise Planning (1959) and Inspector-General of the Royal Air Force (1962-1964). Air Marshal Henry Paterson Fraser, R.A.F., K.B.E., C.B., A.F.C., retired from the R.A.F. in 1964, having been knighted in the process. Fraser later became interested in theological matters, and was ordained as a minister in 1977, and passed away in August 2001.
Air Marshal Sir Paul Davie Holder(52), was born in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape in 1911, and left with his family for England at the age of two. He joined the R.A.F. as a University entrant in 1935 and following his training at No 3 FTS, Grantham, was posted to No 57 Squadron. During World War II Holder served in Iraq, being awarded the D.F.C. for his courage at Habbaniya, whereupon he commanded No 218 Squadron, based at RAF Marham. Holder subsequently completed 65 operations, flying Stirlings, and was awarded the DSO. Following the war, Holder held various commands in Egypt, Singapore and Hong Kong. Having been promoted Air Commodore in 1957, and Air Vice-Marshal in 1961, he served as AOC, No 25 (Training) Group. Promoted Air Marshal in 1965, and made a KBE the same year, Holder served as AOC in Chief, Coastal Command. Upon his retirement from the RAF, he was appointed Honorary Air Commodore of No 3 (County of Devon) Maritime Headquarters Unit, Royal Auxiliary Air Force. Air Marshal holder passed away in 2001.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Carteret Fletcher(53) was born in Durban, Natal, in 1916 and brought up in Southern Rhodesia. He initially served with the Southern Rhodesian Air Force before transferring to the R.A.F.. During World War II, Fletcher commanded Nos 135 and 258 Squadrons, R.A.F., as well as R.A.F. Station, Belvedere, being awarded the D.F.C. in 1943. During the post-war years Fletcher was appointed A.O.C., No 38 Group, Transport command (1966-1967) and also served as Vice Chief of the Air Staff.
Air Marshal Sir Philip Lagesen, Johannesburg-born and educated at Jeppe High School, initially served in the S.A.A.F. during World War II, and then joined the Royal Air Force in 1951. He later served in Rhodesia, and Kenya (during operations against The Mau Mau). Lagesen set a new world record for speed and distance by piloting a Canberra Bomber on a non-stop flight from Tokyo to London in 1957, for which he was awarded the Air-Force Cross (AFC). Lagesen was later appointed Air officer Commanding No. 1 Group, R.A.F., and thereafter took over command of No. 18 Group, Maritime Command (1978-1980), being knighted in 1979(54).
Born in Zululand, Natal, Air Vice-Marshal Brian Pashley Young was educated at Michaelhouse, Natal, and won a cadet scholarship to 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 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.
Northern Rhodesian-born Air-Commodore Lawrence Wemyss Ellacombe, joined the R.A.F. in 1939, and served with Fighter Command during World War II, taking part in the Battle of Britain. Born in Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Ellacombe was educated at Diocesan College, Cape Town. His wartime exploits earned Ellacombe the D.F.C. (1942) and Bar (1944). After the war Ellacombe commanded R.A.F. Linton-on-Ouse (1960-1962), before commanding the Air Forces in the Gulf Region (1968-1970), his last appointment being that of Director of Operations, Air Defence and Overseas, at the Ministry of Defence, (1970-1973).
The Senior Service - The Royal Navy:
Those South African-born individuals who had made their careers in the Royal Navy were not to be outdone during the post-war period. Rear-Admiral Malcolm Walter St. Leger Searle, born in Cape Town, and educated at the Western Province Preparatory School, 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, and attended the Royal Naval College's 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 first World War Searle steadily rose in rank, beginning the second World War as a Commander. During the war Searle served in home waters, and in 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 flag rank in 1952, Searle served as Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel (1953-1955), before retiring from the Royal Navy in 1956, having been awarded the C.B. and C.B.E., and was also Mentioned-in-Despatches thrice.
Vice-Admiral Sir George F.A. Trewby, who served as the Chief of Fleet Support and a member of the Board of Admiralty between 1971 and 1974, was born (fittingly enough) at Simonstown, South Africa, in 1917. Simonstown served, of course, as an important base for the Royal Navy, before being transferred to the South African Navy in the mid-1950s.
Rear-Admiral Linley Eric Middleton, born in East London in 1928, and educated at Dale College, Kingwilliamstown, commanded H.M.S. Hermes(55) during the Falklands Campaign (1982)(56), having been appointed commander of the British Air-Craft Carrier in 1980. Middleton had enrolled as a pupil pilot in the S.A.A.F., before choosing a career in the Royal Navy. After entering the R.N., he qualified in 1952 as a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm, and served in the Suez Canal Crisis (1956). He later commanded No. 809 Naval Air Squadron, F.A.A., on board H.M.S. Hermes (1966-1967). Following the Falkland's campaign, Middleton then served as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff, Operations, (1983-1984), before being promoted Rear-Admiral in 1984, and appointed Flag officer, Naval Air Command. Rear-Admiral Linley Middleton retired from the Royal Navy in 1987. The author very much doubts whether more than a few people from East London have even heard of this affable man, hailing from the Eastern Cape!
Last, but certainly not least, Admiral Sir Michael Cecil Boyce, Royal Navy, First Sea Lord (1998-2001) and Chief of the Defence Staff (2001-2003), was born at Cape Town, South Africa, and educated at Hurstpier College and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. He joined the Royal Navy in 1961 and during his career commanded H.M. Submarines Oberon, Opossum and Superb. He has also served as Aide-de-Camp to Queen Elizabeth II. He was created Baron Boyce in 2003.
South Africa, and Northern and Southern Rhodesia(57), can indeed take pride in these their sons, who have served the Crown and the British People valiantly and loyally, and have truly distinguished themselves and their Countries of Birth!
Southern African-born General-officers and Brigadiers of the British Army
Southern African-born Flag officers of the Royal Navy
Southern African-born officers of Air-Rank in the R.A.F.
Southern African-born Colonel-Commandants of Regiments of the British Defence Force
Various Commands held by Southern African-born senior-officers of the British Defence Force
In addition, officers who have attained the Rank of General-officer or Brigadier in any one of the three arms of the British Defence Force, and who may have been, or were probably born in South Africa, or in Northern or Southern Rhodesia include(58):
The British Army
The Royal Navy
The Royal Air Force
While those not born in Southern Africa but who were brought up or educated in Southern Africa include:
1 Cape Colonials, namely Lieutenant-Colonel Olaf Godlieb Fehrzen, 53rd Regiment of Foot; Lieutenant Willem Cornelis Van Ryneveld, 93rd Highlanders; Jacobus Alexander Fehrzen, 21st Light Dragoons and Jacobus Wilhelmus Truter, 91st Regiment of Foot, all served in the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars.
2 Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts
3 General Sir Abraham Josias Cloete, British Army, K.C.B., K.H., C.B., K.H.
4 Book of Dignities, J. Haydn and H. Ockerby; Published Allen & Co., Ltd. London, 1894.
5 "The Death or Glory Boys". The infamous Colonel Banastre Tarleton, having been colonel of the 21st Dragoons a few years before.
6 Cloete was appointed Colonel of the the 19th Regiment of Foot on the 10 March 1861.
7 appointed 9 November 1858 (q.v. London Gazette 23 November 1858)
8 Douglas was present at Charasiah ; operations round Kabul (December 1879); the investment of Sherpur and again at Charasiah (25 April 1880, being mentioned in Despatches); the famous march from Kabul to Kandahar and the Battle of Kandahar (1 September 1880, again being mentioned-in-despatches).
9 who was who, 1897-1916. p 459.
10 Although, Rear-Admiral J.L.R. Stoll may have been the first to usurp the honour. Stoll was baptised at the Cape in 1812, and was thus very likely born at the Cape of Good Hope. He was the son of the treasurer and accountant general at the Cape of Good Hope, J.W. Stoll, who was also a member of the Executive and Legislative Councils of the Cape Colony. Stoll entered the Royal Navy in 1823. Captain John Luke Richard Stoll was promoted to the List of Retired Rear-Admirals on 11 December 1875. q.v. A Naval Biographical Dictionary: The Life and Services of Every Living officer in Her Majesty's Navy. W.R. O'Byrne, Esq. Published London, John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1849.
11 in addition, General Sir Louis Botha and Lieutenant-General Sir J. Van Deventer, Union of South Africa Defence forces, were both accorded the "honorary" ranks of General-officers of the British Army.
12 British Army List, 1897: Present at the Battle of Temai (Medal and Clasp with Khedive's Star).
13 Aston, ironically, became in 1912 the Commanding officer of the South African Military College, which provided the first officers for the fledgling South African permanent force.
14 The Royal Air Force (in which so many Southern Africans have served with distinction) was born on the 1 April 1918.
15 Burke's Irish Family Records, pp 388 and 389.
16 Eustace was mentioned in Sir A,. Gaselee's dispatch of 17 January 1901 for "his great assistance in sea and river transport", and also received the China Medal.
17 His younger brother was Major-general Alexander Henry Eustace, Indian Army, C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O., who was educated at the Diocesan College - "Bishops" - in Cape Town, and also in England.
18 Vice-Admiral Vincent Barkly Molteno, Royal Navy, C.B..
19 Built at Pembroke Dockyard and launched in 1905, being completed the following year.
20 South Africa Journal, 10 June 1916, p 456.
21 Brigadier Francis Richard Southey Gervers, Royal Engineers, CIE, CBE.
22 who was who, 1971-1980.
23 General Sir E.C.R. Mansergh, British Army, G.C.B., K.C.B., C.B., K.B.E., C.B.E., O.B.E., M.C..
24 Cyril Falls, Aftermath of War: Record of the Fifth Indian Division, Illustrated London News, 22 December 1945, p 682.
25 The 5th Indian Infantry Division had been transferred to Java to disarm the Japanese garrison, and help rescue the Allied P.O.W's and Internees.
26 Major-General Sir Edmund Hakewill-Smith, K.C.V.O., C.B., C.B.E., M.C..
27 Diocesan College, Rondebosch, Cape Town.
28 Hakewill-Smith commanded his own Division during the assault, as well as the 4th Commando Brigade, and elements of the 79 th Armoured Division
29 Hakewill-Smith thereafter commanded the Lowland District in Scotland (1946), and was Colonel of the Royal Scots Fusiliers (1946-1957).
30 Brigadier Arderne was another old "Bishop's Boy" and entered the R.M.C. Sandhurst in 1917. He later served in in the Russian campaign (1919) and also served on attachment to the 6th king's African Rifles, in Tanganyika. During the Second World War Arderne served in North - Africa, commanding his Regiment, the Durham Light Infantry, at Tobruk where he won the D.S.O.. After the war, Arderne was appointed commander, North Iraq area.
31 Brigadier Walter Douglas Campbell Greenacre, Royal Welsh Guards C.B.,D.S.O., was commissioned in the Welsh Guards in 1926, and during the Second World War commanded the 2nd Armoured Battalion, Welsh Guards (1941 - 1943). and later assumed command of the 6th Guards Brigade (1945-1946), and the Schleswig-Holstein sub-area (the British Army of Occupation on the Rhine, 1947-1948). Greenacre was promoted substantive Brigadier in 1951, and retired from the British Army in 1952. During his military career Greenacre also served as extra equerry to King George VI (1937-1952), and H.M. Queen Elizabeth II (1952-1978).
32 Which helped spearhead the attack on Munster, the Capital of Westphalia, in early 1945.
33 Air-Vice-Marshal Sir Christopher Joseph Quinton Brand served in the R.F.C. during World War I and subsequently served as Director of Aviation in Egypt (1932-1936).
34 Air-Marshal Sir Leonard Horatio Slatter, R.A.F., K.B.E., O.B.E., C.B., D.S.C. and BAR, D.F.C.
35 Dale College Magazine, 1946. p 57.
36 Air-Chief-Marshal Lumsden Saunders, G.C.B. , C.B. , K.B.E. , C.B.E. .
37 Kelly's Handbook, 1951, pg 1823.
38 Air Vice-Marshal Sir Leslie Oswald Brown(38), Royal Air Force, K.B.E., C.B., C.B.E., D.S.C., A.F.C.. Brown initially served with the Natal Field Artillery in German South West Africa, before joining the R.N.A.S.. He served with distinction in France and East Africa, and was awarded the D.S.C. (1917), and the A.F.C.(1918). After the war Brown served in India, commanding No. 20 Squadron, R.A.F.. Brown commenced the Second World War as a Group-Captain, and when Italy declared war on the Allies in June, 1940, Brown lead two army co-operation squadrons in the first push to El Agheila. Air-Vice Marshal Sir Leslie Oswald Brown retired in 1949.
39 Seeing service on the Western front and in East Africa.
40 South Africa Journal
41 Admiral Sir E.N. Syfret, Royal Navy, G.C.B., K.B.E., C.B., K.B.E.
42 South Africa Journal: "Old Diocesans at The Front", August 7, 1915, p 220.
43 Vice Admiral Sir Alfred Englefield Evans, Royal Navy, K.B.E., C.B., O.B.E.
44 His brothers, Dudley MacNeil Evans and William Henry Brereton Evans, both also South African-born, also represented Hampshire at cricket.
45 Rear-Admiral Cosmo Moray Graham, Royal Navy, C.B..
46 British Army of Occupation of the Rhine
47 Drummond, Sachs and Palmer, all South African-born, served as Colonel-Commandant of the R.A.M.C. between 1961 and 1969.
48 Brigadier Garth Miles Hunt-Davis, Gurkha Regiment, O.B.E, C.V.O.
49 E.P. Herald and Major (Retd) J.H. Jessop, Curator, The Kohima Museum, Imphal Barracks. Correspondence dated 15 June 2000.
50 Air Vice-Marshal Henry Rudolph Graham, Royal Air Force, C.B.E., C.B., D.S.O., D.F.C..
51 Daily Telegraph: Obituaries, 20 February 1987. p20.
52 Air Marshal Sir Paul Davie Holder, Royal Air Force, K.B.E., C.B., D.S.O., D.F.C..
53 Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Carteret Fletcher, Royal Air Force, K.C.B., C.B., O.B.E., D.F.C., A.F.C..
54 Obituary Notice, The Times, 20 October 1994.
55 H.M.S. Hermes, 23, 900 ft, was commissioned in 1959, and could carry a complement of 12 Sea Harriers and nine Sea Kings
56 His son Ray Middleton also served in the Royal navy and was a Midshipman with Prince Andrew at the Naval College. Article: E.P. Herald, 9 April 1982.
57 Now Zambia and Zimbabwe
58 South African unless otherwise stated
59 Probably born at the Cape of Good Hope. He was educated at the Cape. Wolfe entered the 39th Regiment of Foot, British Army, as an ensign without purchase in September 1844. He subsequently transferred to the 87th Regiment of Foot. Captain Wolfe transferred to the 2nd Regiment of Foot in 1854 and served in the 2nd China War (1860-1861) with the 2nd Regiment of Foot (The Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment), icluding the advance on Peking, receiving the medal with clasp. Wolfe served as Staff officer of Pensioners from 1865 to 188, retiring on Pension on the 29 June 1881, as an Honorary Major-General. qv The History of the Second, Queen's Royal Regiment, Vol. VI., officers' Services, 1661-1904, Colonel John Davis. Published 1906.
60 The son of Harry Rivers, Magistrate at the Cape of Good Hope and Colonial Treasurer. His father settled at the Cape and married Charlotta Johanna Cloete in 1818, who was the sister of General Sir A.J. Cloete. Harry Rivers was born in 1821, and was promoted Major-General on the 14 April 1865. qv The Book of Dignities, p 900.
61 Major-General John Osborne Armstrong, C.M.G., British Army, was The Son of Major Alexander Boswell Armstrong of the Imperial Cape Mounted Rifles. Very likely born and bred in South Africa, he served during the Sixth Frontier War (1834-1835) As a provisional ensign with the Imperial Cape Mounted Rifles, before being appointed to the 72nd Regiment (The Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders). Reunited with the Imperial Cape Mounted Rifles by the advent of the Seventh Frontier War, Armstrong served as Field Adjutant, and then A.D.C. on Major General Henry Somerset's Staff, and was severely wounded at the Battle of Boemplaats. Armstrong was to command "Armstrong's Horse" of Irregulars during the Eighth Frontier War, and by the early 1860s had risen to the rank of Major-General in the British Army, commanding the British troops on the Eastern Frontier. Major-General J.O. Armstrong was a lifelong friend of General John Jarvis Bissett, C.B., and their military careers also coincided for the most part.
62 Tyler was educated at Diocesan College, Cape Town, and at the Royal Naval Colleges, Osborne and Dartmouth. 63 Probably born in the Western Province, South Africa. His mother's maiden surname was Peacock, and she hailed from Natal, South Africa. Brooke was educated at the Diocesan College "Bishops", Cape Town and in England. He was commissioned into the Royal Welch Regiment in 1929 and served on the North West Frontier. During World War II, Brooke commanded the 2nd Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment, and served in France (1944). Brooke would command the Federation Army, Malaya, during the Emergency, from 1956-1959. He served as Colonel of the Welch regiment from 1965-1969.
64 May have been born in East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
65 Born in 1915, he was the son of Thomas Henry Wheeler, of the South African Police, who resided in Pretoria. Major-General Wheeler was the brother of Air Chief-Marshal Sir H.N.G. Wheeler. He was educated in South Africa and in the United Kingdom. He attended the R.M.C. Sandhurst, and was commissioned in the Royal Ulster Rifles in 1935. during the Second World War, Wheeler served in the Middle East and in Albania with the British Military Mission. He commanded the 1st Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles in Cyprus (1958-1959). Wheeler was later appointed General officer Commanding the 2nd British Division in 1964; Chief of Staff, Contingencies Planning at SHAPE from 1966-1969 and Chief of Staff, Headquarters, British Army of the Rhine, before retiring in 1971. Awarded the C.B. and C.B.E..
66 Son of the Rev. William Gowans MacFie, of Mowbray, Cape Colony. Born in 1891, he was educated at Rondebosch High School, South African College School (SACS) and in Scotland. Macfie served in the First and Second World Wars, and was promoted Major-general in 1950, serving as D.D.M.S., Western Command.
67 Son of George Alexander Broderick of South Africa.
68 Son of William Wood Inglis, of Germiston, South Africa. Born in 1915, and educated at Rugby school and at the R.M.A. Woolwich. Inglis served as Military attaché to Rome, and after being promoted Brigadier in 1964, he served as commandant of the Royal School of Military Engineering.
69 Apparently a South African, he served with the 10th Gurkha Regiment, and was one of the youngest recipients of the D.S.O., for operations while commanding a company in Borneo during the confrontation. Correspondence: Major J.H. Jessop, Curator, the Kohima Museum, Imphal Barracks, York. 15 June 2000.
70 More than likely born at the Cape of Good Hope.
71 Possibly born at Richmond, Natal Province, South Africa. Rear-Admiral Cecil Arthur Ward, R.N.. joined the Royal Navy at the turn of the century and subsequently served during the First World War as Secretary to the Vice-Admiral commanding Battle Cruisers, being awarded the C.M.G. (1919) for his services. Ward was to rise to Flag rank after the war, retiring from the senior service in 1936.
72 Son of H.L. Currey, of Cape Town, South Africa, he was a cousin of Major-General Sir Edmund Hakewill-Smith. Currey joined the Royal Navy in 1916, and was educated at the Royal Naval Colleges Osborne and Dartmouth. During the Second World War, Currey served in the Western Approaches, Mediterranean, and with the British Pacific Fleet. Currey was appointed Flag officer, Gibraltar, and Admiral Superintendent of H.M. Dockyard, Gibraltar, from 1953-1956. He passed away in 1979.
73 Probably South African-born. Rear-Admiral Charles Bernard Williams, Royal Navy, hails from Grahamstown, and was educated at Graeme College, Grahamstown, he entered the Royal Naval Engineering College, Plymouth. He later commanded the Admiralty Fuel Experimental Station (1960) and was promoted Commander in 1960. Williams served as Engineer officer aboard H.M.S. London (1962), and after promotion to Captain in 1969, was appointed Deputy Manager of the Portsmouth Dockyard (1969), and Superintenedent of the Clyde Submarine Base (1972), whereupon he was appointed Captain of H.M.S. Sultan in 1975, the latter being the Royal Navy's School of Marine and Air Engineering. Williams was promoted to flag rank in 1978, being appointed Flag Officer: Medway and Port Admiral: Chatham (1978-1980). Rear Admiral Williams subsequently retired from the Royal Navy, having been awarded the C.B. (1980), and O.B.E. (1967).
74 Son of V.E. Holley. He was educated in Rondebosch, South Africa and in the United Kingdom. Commanded the RNEC from 1982-1984 and also served as president of the R.N. Fencing Association and the R.N. Volunteer Bands. 75 Like his brother, Major-general T.N.S. Wheeler, possibly also born in Pretoria. He was the son of Henry Thomas Wheeler, of the South African Police, and a resident of Pretoria. Wheeler joined the R.A.F. in 1935 and served with Bomber Command during the second World War. Promoted Air-Commodore in 1961, and Air Chief Marshal in 1972, he held various commands including that of commander, Far East Air Force (1969-1970) and Controller of aircraft, Ministry of defence Procurement executive (1973-1975).
76 Air Marshal Sir Colin Winterbotham Weedon was the son of H.W. Weedon of Durban, Natal, South Africa. He was educated at the Royal Naval Colleges, Osborne and Dartmouth, and served aboard H.M.S. Royal Sovereign and Walker during World War I. He transferred to the R.A.F. and by 1946, was A.O.C. 41 Group, R.A.F., retiring in 1952. 77 Edward Arthur Beckwith Rice initially served with the South African Forces before attending the R.M.C.
Sandhurst during World War I. He transferred to the RFC/RAF and during World War II commanded No 1 B Southern Africa
78 Son of Alan MacGregor Ritchie, of Durban, Natal. Educated in S. Africa and Edinburgh. Born in 1899, he joined the R.F.C. in 1917. Ritchie served as A.O.C. 205 Group, Middle East and 'A' Group, Bomber Command (1943-1945).
79 Possibly born at Sea Point, Cape Town.
80 His father resided in Southern Rhodesia, and Parselle is referred to, at least once, as a Rhodesian.
81 Son of John Rouse Stapleton, of Sarnia, Natal. Educated in England, he joined the R.A.F. in 1936 and during the second World War saw action in the Middle East, North Africa and Italy. Stapleton remained with the R.A.F. after the war and was appointed A.O.C. No. 1 Group, Bomber Command, R.A.F., in 1964.
82 Educated Templeton High School, South Africa and University of Cape Town (U.C.T.). He initially served with the S.A.A.F. in Italy and France, before transferring to the R.A.F.. Colahan was appointed Air Commander of Malta (1971-1973) and also served as Commandant, R.A.F. College Cranwell. He passed away in 1991.
83 Born in 1930, Howe was educated at St. Andrew's College, Grahamstown, before serving with the S.A.A.F., and subsequently transferring to the R.A.F.. Howe served with 74 Squadron, R.A.F. (A famous South African who served with the Squadron was Group Captain A. "Sailor" Malan, one of the R.A.F.'s top-scoring fighter pilots of World War II), and Air Vice-Marshal John Frederick Howe later commanded the Southern Maritime Air Region, having been awarded the C.B.E. and A.F.C..
84 Son of Robert Westly Busk, of Uitenhage, South Africa. He served during World War I with the Suffolk Regiment, transferring to the R.F.C. and R.A.F., being awarded the M.C..
85 Bisset was the son of an 1820 British Settler to South Africa, and was a babe-in-arms when he arrived at the Cape. He subsequently served with Imperial Cape Mounted Rifles before commanding British troops in Gibraltar and Canada. He was promoted major-General in 1867, Lieutenant-General in 1875 and Full General thereafter. Awarded the C.B.. q.v. The Book of Dignities, p 902.
86 Born in Wales to South African parents, he attended St. John's College, Johannesburg, from 1918-1925. During World War II, Morris commanded a Wing of the 2nd Tactical Air Force (TAF) in Normandy, Belgium and Holland. After the war he served as Chief of staff, Allied Air Forces, Central Europe and A.O.C., Fighter Command.
(c) Ross Dix-Peek 2007
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