TRIP 1975: Three
months prior to Operation Savannah
This can be divided into Ovamboland and
Angola, but there is a grey area where though military action we took Perreira
de Eca and then we pulled out. before Operation Savannah.
view of 25 Pounder.
Santa Clara border;
We killed a goat and had a braai before
going to Etosha here, goat was quite a frequent meal for us.
There were these SWAPO guys were in
prison in Oshikango- by the Santa Clara border we were terrified of them- real SWAPO! The prisoners asked
us to let them out, we were very polite to them and told them we did not have
the key. There were 3 or 4 cops there and - we went to the cops to ask them to
release the prisoners. Not much later we lost that fear of SWAPO
on second trip
Perreira de Eca:
Hats were found here, big felt ones. We
pulled these out of all proportion and changed their shape by wetting them and
putting them on different things to shape them. Then we wore them.
David had to be towed out because his
water pump broke down and we could not wait for help due to the military action
There was a dead donkey and we burnt
this, because it stank so badly. none of us could breath around it. In
fact that was one of our most serious hates, throughout the War in
Angola. Cows got killed by the military action taking place, real war
casualties, but the smell became so bad that we all found a strong reaction to
Papatroop was organized, we
alone built a
toilet which was made out of an asbestos upright bath and made a hole in it so
that you could see who was sitting there- when SF went in we would stone him
though the hole.
The others did not make their camps nice. We had a bath too, it was
an aluminium box used to ship spares in for the cars and the officers wanted to
use it- we did not let them.
The Africans stood by the fence and
watched us like we were in a zoo, they would just stand and stare, it was
A really old and ugly
woman and child approached us at the airport. She offered us sex with
the child for food. Sickened, we refused and started to go, she pulled up her
skirts and offered herself. That is how desperate the locals were, they were
The Church had been
destroyed, but the bell tower still stood. We heard then torturing men there. It
was horrible listening to the sounds.
We were lucky to have
a real mechanic on the road here. We called them Tiffies, normally David and
Eion had to keep the cars going, that is why David got the nickname
"tiffie". It kept them busy, and fortunately for us their
Dad had trained them well with engines. Their skills often saved the day in
We went to Calueque and rescued the
refugees, and protected them and then we pulled back .
Contractors were still there as were
civilians: the town consisted of a petrol station and café. The dam was South African built
It was here we met a
chap we called Tony Banana, he had lost his wife and family in the war and his
banana plantation. He went beserk shooting blacks. He hated them with a passion.
He had nothing left thanks to the war, after being a wealthy family man.
We had to patroll Southern Angola.
There were no civilians after Calueque.
Half the squad was returned to
and the rest went into Perreira de Eca and stayed at the airport patrolling the area.
From here we went back to
Ondangwa doing normal patrols, it was here we learnt of Neville Beechie's death.
He was supposed to have been in Bloemfontein, but was shot down in a
reconnaissance plane in southern Angola. This led us to think we were
involved in the military action Angola. Our reaction to his death was rage and a burning desire to
go and fight the enemy who had killed our friend. After that we went to Rundu and flew to Cela. We had R1 rifles and uzies, which we
had to hide- we left them behind in Ondangwa. When we went into Operation Savanna we
had to use different clothes. Instead of boots we used Tackies and all our food
and clothes had no identifying labels or markings. Our food was colour coded so
we knew what was in each tin. Officially South
Africa did not fight this war.
We signed forms never to tell where we
had been or what we were doing. We wanted to go into Angola and never thought of
the consequences or the future- our blood was up. We were all highly excited and
convinced we were in the right.
feet were too big and he could not get Tackies and had to wear boots
Angola: the war hots up.next