Saturday, 25 June 2011

Schoolboy Hero

Derick Hattingh

A 16-year-old schoolboy, Derick Hattingh, drove off a band of terrorists single-handed with a shotgun when they attacked his family's farm, killing his 13-year-old brother, Johan.

Derick severely wounded one terrorist, who later held a grenade to his own head, and pulled the pin.

It is thought there were five terrorists in the gang. They cut through security fencing at the back of the homestead and fired into most of the rooms from less than a metre away, killing Johan.

Derick then shot one of the gang, wounding him seriously in the chest and leg. The terrorist crawled to the back of the homestead where he killed himself.

After the attack, Derick, still in a state of shock, told a reporter: "I got one of them."

Also in the house at the time of the attack was his mother, Mrs. Lalie Hattingh (43) and the youngest brother, Ron. (8), Mrs. Hattingh's 85-year-old father and a friend of the brothers, 13-year-old John Harris.

Mrs. Hattingh's husband, whom neighbours described as a "gentle giant of a man", died of a heart attack during Police Reserve training last year.

The co-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr P. K. van der Byl, later visited the farm. He said: "Of the many tales of heroic acts of this sort in South African history, this compares with the greatest."

End of Article

Extracted and recompiled from the magazine Focus on Rhodesia (Pages 3 of Vol. 3 No 6 dated June 1978.
Original material made available to ORAFs by Mrs. Anne Shaw. Thank you Anne.

No financial gain is intended from reproducing these memories - it is simply to record them on ORAFs Website and not lose our memories and heritage.

I have checked and found that Johan Hattingh was not listed on the Farmers Roll of Honour that ORAFs administers. I have now recorded his death and would appreciate if anyone could please assist with a date and place of death,

Comments are always welcome - please send them to the undersigned at



At 23 April 2020 at 15:15 , Blogger Henty said...


Henty & Simon trying to contact you.

At 9 July 2021 at 12:08 , Blogger Unknown said...

Derick passed away a number of years ago whilst playing golf with his sons at Triangle Golf Club from a heart attack.


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