Tuesday 6 August 2013


By Lewis Walter (Intaf)

The Pretoria Regiment of the South African National Defence Force was formed on 1st July, 1913, and this year marks its Centenary. During World War 2 many Rhodesians of the Southern Rhodesia Armoured Car Regiment served with distinction as members of the Pretoria Regiment.

 They started their training in Umtali in 1942 with the Southern Rhodesia Reconnaissance Regiment, which later became the Southern Rhodesia Armoured Car Regiment. The Regimental badge was the well-known Sable, with the original Sindebele motto ASI SABI LUTO – “We fear nothing”. In November 1942 the Regiment was moved to Pietermaritzburg in South Africa for further training, and on 1st December 1942 its members were attested into the Union Defence Force. In 1943, as members of the Pretoria Regiment – Princess Alice’s Own - they moved on to Egypt undergoing further extensive training in tank warfare. Finally the time for action came, and in April 1944 they found themselves in Italy as part of the 6th South African Armoured Division.

 Most of the Rhodesians were now in “A” Squadron of the Pretoria Regiment. They fought their way relentlessly Northwards, being joined by the British 24th Guards Brigade and earning the right to wear the Guards’ Flash. The war wound on to its inevitable conclusion, and in June 1945 the Pretoria Regiment, with its Rhodesians, proudly took part in the Victory Parade in Monza.

 In this Centenary Year of the Pretoria Regiment, it is fitting that Rhodesians who served with it during World War 2 should be remembered, and that those recorded below who lost their lives should be honoured:

 Cpl. B.Bowley and Tpr. G.F.B.Hamman : 12th June 1944. L/Cpl. W.J. van Rooyen : 15th June 1944. Cpl. P.A.H.Wiley : 26th June 1944. Tpr. J.H.Bodington, Tpr. J.W.Crawford, Tpr. J.I. Harvard and Tpr. S.J.Meyer : 1st July 1944. Lt. J.Walker : 5th July 1944. Tpr. J.P.Davidson : 27th July 1944. L/Cpl G. de W. Kitcat : 2nd August 1944. Sgt. D.Den : 22nd November 1944.

Suggested reading
Umtali to the Alps

The Sable Magazine (July 1942)

Thanks to Lewis for sharing this information with ORAFs.

Ref. Rhodesia

It was necessary to include the following  here as there is no facility to support photographs under the comments.

I never knew my uncle George Hamman but I do remember his war medals and ribbons sitting in a glass covered frame on top of the battery powered long wave radio in the sitting room on my Oupa and Ouma's farm, Mooifontein, about 12 miles west of Umvuma.

 On my mum Helena's last visit from Harare during the summer of 2004 to visit her children and grandchildren in Europe, my brother Shaun and I hit on the idea of taking her to see her brother George's grave in the war graves cemetery at Lago di Bolsena, about 160kms north of Rome.

 I can remember our visit to Uncle George's cemetery as if it were yesterday. The graves in a beautiful setting were immaculately cared for and maintained. All the fallen from the fierce fighting north of Rome were brought to the Lago di Bolsena military cemetery, including aviators, sailors, soldiers and of course some of the tank crews of the 6th South African Armoured Division.

    This was the first time in 60 years that Uncle George had been visited by his family. My mum was most contented to have visited her brother's grave at long last. Completely out of the blue, a month later, my Uncle Pieter, George's brother phoned me from South Africa to thank me for making the visit on behalf of all the family. I have to say it was one of the most moving things my brother, my mum and I could ever have done together.

Thank you very much as always Eddy for all you do for us and also Lewis for supplying the article above and helping us remember our family.

Kind Regards
Mike Drury (UBHS)

A further note (below) was received:-

 Thanks for the article of 6 August 2013 on the Pretoria Regiment.

 My great grandfather's nephew GFR Hamman was one of those12 (?) Rhodesians in the unit killed in WW 2.

 Does Lewis Walter possibly have any details of the names of the servicemen in the photo's, so that I could put a face to this deceased relative's name?

 Many thanks for keeping us all informed,


 Vickie Galanakis (ex-Umtali)


By Graham Patterson

My father Francis Patterson was also in the SR Armoured Car Regiment, joining up in Umtali and then served with the SA Armoured Division in North Arica and then Europe

In my Book One – Rebel Rhodesian I have included part of this story and I copy sections here

Francis Patterson
 December 1940.
 Taken at the Cecil Hotel, Umtali.

Southern Rhodesian Armoured Car Regiment - WWII
Registration Defence Act Southern Rhodesia – 6th March 1933

Italian War Currency some stamped Allied Military Currency

Italy 1945 - FJ Patterson on the left in both photos

 Best regards

Graham Patterson – Perth WA

Thank you to Graham for sharing this information and wonderful memories with ORAFs


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