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'Operation Savannah

 

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bullet Rowley Medlin
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bullet3rd Trip
bulletOperation Savanna
bulletInfantry memoirs
bulletMaps
bullet Returning Home   
bullet Artwork and poems
bulletToday the men.
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bulletKilled in action

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Returning home

The trains took us from Grootfontein to Windhoek.  Heavy rain had washed the railway line away to Bloemfontein so the army charted a Jumbo Jet to fly us from Windhoek to Bloemfontein. Our Captain instructed us not to drink on the plane, but once in the air the plane’s captain told us that he was now our captain and we could drink what we wanted. We went berserk, drinking everything on the plane- they had to lock up the air stewardesses for their own safety.

We found out that some of our kit was not unloaded from the plane. This contained our mementos of the war. and included David Gibson's guitar. We were never compensated for the loss of our personal items.

We were not debriefed or counseled just sent home. We got Pro Patria and the Cunene Clasp for our actions sent to us in the mail some years later. They did not  give us a parade to receive them. The 49 men who died received theirs  posthumously on the 9th October 1976.

The R3000.00 payment was paid straight away.

Five years later we were told we were eligible for annual camps according to law. A result of this was companies gave  jobs  to men from other countries, women and to those not eligible for call up.  Companies did not want to pay salary when we were absent, and this  led to financial hardship. Our families had to get used to us being absent once more. We all felt cheated by this ruling, but to refuse meant jail. We could not leave South Africa without valid papers on our call up status.