The updating of the South African Navy Roll of Honour was initiated by Flag Officer Fleet, Rear Admiral B.K. Mhlana, as part of the Project TSHINTSHA initiative in 2019. The Navy’s Roll of Honour is most prominently displayed on the Wall of Remembrance, where the names of those members who have died on active duty (on service/in the line of duty) are engraved on panels, in front of the Fleet Command Headquarters building in Simon’s Town.
The panels on the Wall of Remembrance contained the names of four groups, namely;
a) members of the Royal Naval Volunteers Reserve (South African Division) who lost their lives during the First World War (1914-1918);
b) members of the South African Naval Forces and South Africans seconded to the Royal Navy, who lost their lives during the Second World War (1939 -1945) – listed per ship/unit;
b) members of the SAS PRESIDENT KRUGER who lost their lives when the frigate sank on 18 February 1982, following a collision at sea;
c) members of the former South African Marines Corps who lost their lives on operational service during the period 1979 – 1990.
Individual deaths on active duty (on service/in the line of duty) outside these four groups have previously not been recognised on the Navy’s Wall of Remembrance.
The former South African Defence Force (SADF) maintained an official Roll of Honour for the period 1966 – 1989, which covered the period of the South West Africa / Angolan conflict or the “Bush War” as it was known. An annual memorial service was held by the former SADF at Fort Klapperkop in Pretoria where the official Wall of Remembrance was maintained. The updating of the official SADF Roll of Honour however ceased after 1993. The activity was however continued on a decentralised basis and many military units (and independent organisations) continued to maintain their own RoH and Walls of Remembrance after 1994, to remember their fallen.
The South African Air Force continues to maintain a Roll of Honour and associated Wall of Remembrance at Bays Hill above Air Force Base Swartkop, where an annual memorial service is held on the first Sunday of February. During this occasion the names of those who have passed away on active duty (on service/in the line of duty) are added to the SAAF Roll of Honour and Wall of Remembrance.
The South African Navy Roll of Honour displayed on the Wall of Remembrance in front of Fleet Command Headquarters, has therefore now been updated through the work of the SA Naval Museum and was unveiled by Chief of the South African Navy, Vice Admiral M.S. Hlongwane on 20 September 2019.
The names of members that have passed away on active duty (on service/in the line of duty) will now be added progressively each year and displayed on three new panels, subdivided into three sections or eras.
Section I: 1946 to 1960 (the post-war South African Naval Service and South African Navy)
Section II: 1961 to 1993 (1961 – the becoming of the Republic – and 27 April 1994 – the birth of the new South African National Defence Force and South African Navy)
Section III: 1994 – (27 April 1994 – The birth of the South African National Defence Force and South African Navy)
It must be emphasised, that this is an ongoing project that will allow for the addition of names on an annual basis, in future. The Curator of the South African Naval Museum Commander Leon Steyn can be contacted in this regard.
THE SOUTH AFRICAN NAVY ROLL OF HONOUR – A SELECTION – FROM SEVEN DECADES – of those who lost their lives on active duty and whose names now appear on the updated Navy Roll of Honour:
(this is not the complete list, but just a selection from each decade)
PO J.G. BOLD 10.4.1956
PO John George Bold drowned at Marion Island when HMSAS TRANSVAAL’s cutter and motor boat collided and capsized in heavy seas off Boulder Beach while leaving the island. He was buried at sea with full honours.
Pte J.A. ARNOLDS 17.12.1965
Pte F. BRAAF 17.12.1965
Pte J.G. FARMER 17.12.1965
Pte H. HARRIS 17.12.1965
Pte M.W. JOUBERT 17.12.1965
Pte J. NEWING 17.12.1965
Pte H.C. PRESENCE 17.12.1965
Pte R. RITTLES 17.12.1965
Eight of the eleven men on board a South African Navy 32-foot cutter were lost when their boat capsized close to Kalk Bay harbour breakwater, during seamanship training. These were among the first men of the newly reformed Cape Coloured Corps who joined the Navy in 1965.
LT C. BOSMAN 9.10.1978
Lt Christo Bosman was reported missing from SAS WALVISBAAI, while on minesweeping operations along the Cape West Coast. His foot became entangled in a cable that was holding a marker buoy and he was dragged overboard. His body was never found.
S LT G.J.S. DOUGLAS 3.10.1987
S Lt Gavin John Sholto Douglas (diver officer – Strike Craft Flotilla) was killed during operations, to rescue civilians along the flooded Umgeni River. A large wave overturned his boat and he subsequently drowned.
Lt Cdr R.D. KOHNE 26.2.1992
Lt Cdr Robert Desmond Kohne was killed when the 2-ton forklift he was driving, fell down the lift shaft of the SAS DRAKENSBERG while the ship was berthed in Cape Town.
PO R.M. MOSES 30.9.2000
AB G.I. PILLAY 30.9.2000
PO Ramamurthie Moonsamy Moses and AB Gerald Ian Pillay from SAS INKONKONI drowned when their canoe capsized during a training exercise.
AB T.E. MBULI 23.5.2012
AB Thulani Emmanuel Mbuli from the Maritime Reaction Squadron (attached to SAS DRAKENSBERG) was reported missing while on Operation COPPER in the Mozambique Channel. He had boarded a suspect freighter and while disembarking from the ship, slipped and fell into the sea. His body was never found.
LS A. RAMDIN 17.2.2017
AB F.W.MUNDELL 17.2.2017
Sea H. TER BORG 17.2.2017
LS Amrithlall Tothara Ramdin, AB Francois William Mundell and Sea Henro Ter Borg died while trying to rescue three members of the Department of Public Works, who were working in a sewage pit at Naval Base Durban.