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'Operation Savannah


bullet History
bullet Rowley Medlin
bulletArmy Rotte
bullet 1st Trip
bullet2nd Trip 
bullet3rd Trip
bulletOperation Savanna
bulletInfantry memoirs
bullet Returning Home   
bullet Artwork and poems
bulletToday the men.
bullet Reference works
bulletKilled in action

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1st TRIP 1974:

In this trip we did not go into Angola.

Lt De Kooning was sadistic with straf (punishment) PT. We all hated him because he was so hard.  Before this trip he got married and missed his wife so much; that he cracked and spent his time crying every night. It was something we all feared would happen to us, so we mocked him unmercifully.

Gemis German bolt action rifles that looked straight out of history were carried by the locals. 

Blackie Swart embroidered palm trees on the arms of our T-shirts which we cut off and wore as hats. This made the officers  angry at our esprit de corps. They tried to get us to stand guard-but really what was the point of us being half an hour from our cars? The guys protested and as a result had to stand KB ( ktchen duty) every 4th day.  This was much more to our liking. We hated the officers and would take out a spoonful of mince and an egg for breakfast- place it under the table and serve that to the officers. We also put flies in their food and spat in it. We would only take food when we went on duty. Then we stole enough to last us until we were back on KB.  We had a 75-man cooker which was stolen  and used it to turn 24 tins of condensed milk at a time to caramel.  Zigler and SF got caught by Johan Lars, stealing the food- Zigler managed to get away.

David used to let Pienaar drive his car, because he would then clean it. At Rucana we all used to freewheel down the pass at around 150kms per hour. Ben Oliver had a spare steering wheel in his car and he decided to play a joke on Corporal Muller. Flying down the pass at top speed he pulls out the steering wheel and screams "hey look" waving it in front of Corporal Muller's face. The Corp stuttered for a long while after this.

One of the guys lost his brakes,  he took them out by hitting a milestone and skidded down the pass- we were moving fast. The speedos on the cars only went to 120 kms per hour and the needles were touching the zero. Anyway he saved everyone by going sideways down the final stretch and hitting a wall. It was excellent driving.

This was an area of just sand- we bought our caties (  rubber slings shots)and could not find stones- spent hours searching for them . Once we went over the pass it was just rocks to rip our tyres. No problem with finding stones then!

The first bush trip, two troops of cars, istayed in Ondangwa, the rest of us went to Rucana with Kobus Koen who rolled his car. One and a half months later we returned and the rest went to Ruacana.

The car after it rolled and the guys who came out of that car


When we moved to Ruacana, Porky decided to lose weight. He used to put on his raincoat with the hat and run in the sweltering desert heat. The troop found this very funny. His revenge was well thought out for sheer pain and suffering. First day because we laughed we had to run 5 miles in soft sand. The next day we had to take a tyre from the Panzer cars and roll it- two to a tyre. Day three, three men to a tyre and flip it for the five miles.

Our Srg Major and some of the other Permanent force officers were allowed to bring  families with them. This particular day they had dressed up and gone out on the town. Our Srg Major was spiffy in a three piece suit, but another chap had a four piece suit complete with tie. In the drinking the srg decided to cut this guys tie underneath the collar and was rewarded with q black eye. This gave us some glee and he walked around with his cap low over his forehead for the week and his head held down.

The Panzer cars were often needed to act as runway lights for the Flossies to land. this used to annoy us since we would miss the movie shown. One night after being given the command to return, two drivers took out thier frustrations by racing full speed down the runway. The punishment was for them to roll down the runway.

While here we found an African with a monkey, very badly treated. We bargained and took this wretched annimal home to the barracks with us. It was terrified and on entering the tent it made for the pole in the middle and went to the top of it. Unfortunately the pole was slippery and as soon as the monkey dozed off it would slip down the pole- wake up, reclimb the pole and start the process again.

The headman gave the troop a goat at Rucana and David brought it back to the camp tied up on the front of his car. We called it Rations and  tied it up in the middle of a football pitch. We forgot the thing for three days and when we remembered decided to let it go free. Stupid thing stayed with us, sleeping on Davidís bed. When we left we killed it for a braai. The guys puked when they realized they were eating their pet and some cried. If we had left him there he would have died anyway of starvation.

The Siel Tiffie-( Minister) had a very sinewy goat given to him at Rucana.

Other Animals:

Whiskey was a puppy we had.

Blackie:Had a dog which crapped over the us in the Bedford when we hid it to go over the Red line . No one was impressed.