Newsletter No. 507
Fellow Members and Friends of the KwaZulu-Natal Branch of the South African Military History Society.
Please note attachments: May Newsletter SAMHS Cape Town, Main Talk on Allenby by Robin Smith and a documentary on the Bridge on the River Kwai.
General Chris le Roux addressed and updated the meeting regarding arrangements for the Ken Gilling`s Memorial Battlefield Tour scheduled for the weekend of 18/19 August 2018.
Due to excessive accommodation costs it has been decided to do the Spionkop visit on the Saturday, leaving the option open for members to return home thereafter.
Those who wish to stay over will visit the site of Churchill`s capture at Chievely the following day.
It was announced that the 50th Anniversary of the SAMHS Kzn will take place on Sunday the 23rd or the 30th September at a venue to be advised with the format being that of a buffet lunch.
Our DDH talk was by fellow committee member Donald Davies titled “Unkomaas Kittyhawk Crash 1944 – Myths and Facts”.
Notes from Donald Davies follow:
UMKOMAAS KITTYHAWK CRASH 1944 – MYTHS AND FACTS
On Thursday 30th March 1944 four Kittyhawk aeroplanes from ‘B’ Flight of 11 Squadron SAAF Operational Training Unit based at Reunion Airport ISIPINGO took off on a routine Fighter training exercise over the Umkomaas Valley.
What transpired was an unfortunate incident when an unplanned attack by one of these Fighter aeroplaneson another resulted in two of the four planes crashing to the earth.
The talk touched on these events, and the subsequent Board of Enquiry, in which a local resident of Umkomaas, Captain Colin Sinclair was a member of the Investigating team.
But the main focus of the talk detailed the subsequent attempts in the 1980’s and the last attempt in 2007 to relocate the crashed plane of Lt FL Smith in a swampnear the banks of the Umkomaas River.
In December 1981 a Sergeant WP Jacob from the South African Military in Pretoria came to Umkomaas to investigate the location of the crashed aeroplane. His Report, written on official Military stationery was dated 12th December. A second report approximately six months later dated 7th July 1982 was written after Sgt Jacob returned to UmKomaas to follow thru with witnesses and to view the site in the dry season.
The Report, which had to rely on local witnesses that could be traced, became quite amusing and anecdotal and hi-lited how quickly the exact spot of a crash site can be lost.
The Report compiled by Sgt Jacob did not result in any physical search for the lost KittyHawk aeroplane in the Umkomaas swamp.
However in late 1983 and early 1984 an attempt was made to locate the lost KittyHawk aeroplane by a search committee which included Cpt Denny de Saxe, Rupert Juta, Reg Bartlett and Peter Griffiths.
They consulted with Colin Sinclair, then a local dentist, but at the time of the Crash was on the Board of Enquiry instituted by the SA AirForce into the Crash. Despite a concerted effort by this Search Committee,the KittyHawk remained hidden beneath the reeds and mud.
Then very quietly in 2007 another attempt was made to find the lost plane. Rod Berry an AirLine pilot organised an expert from England to assist in establishing the location of the aeroplane using ground penetrating radar. Colin Sinclair was consulted and in conjunction with this detection equipment a place in the swamp was determined. After installing a dewatering ring of wellpoints and excavating down some meters the attempt was abandoned.
And so there remains a Curtiss P-40 Mk VI KittyHawk Fighter AeroPlane in the Umkomaas swamp, still waiting to be found.
The Main Talk titled “Allenby`s Campaign in the Holy Land 1917-1918” was given by fellow member Robin Smith.
For details of the talk please see the National / Johannesburg newsletter for May 2018 - this is accessed on the newsletter archive on the website at www.samilitaryhistory.org
The Vote of Thanks to the two speakers was delivered by fellow committee member Dr John Buchan
Our next meeting will be held at The Murray Theatre, Civil Engineering Building, Howard College Campus of UKZN on 14th June 2018.
The speakers will be Committee Member Prof. Philip Everitt who will tell us about "SCIENCE COMES TO THE MILITARY".
The Main Talk will be presented by Richard Brook - Hart and is entitled " ONE MAN'S EXPERIENCE WITH PHANTOM".
Once again a brilliant pair of talks to look forward to.
The Hero Around the Corner
Ladies and Gentlemen Aviators
It has been 75 years since the night of the Dambusters Raid. I doubt that many people here in the Glebe have even heard about the raid let alone the anniversary. Yet, the Dambusters Raid is as much a part of this neighbourhood's history as it is of the Second World War. Follow this link vintagewings.vintagenews.ca to learn more.
Please contact the website - details below - for details of the
BOER WAR DAY - PERTH
Sunday, 27th May 2018
116th Anniversary of the signing of the Vereeniging Peace Accords
Boer War Memorial Society of WA Inc | Reg No 1018354K | PO Box 3599 Success, WA 6964
Web: www.bwm.org.au | Email: David@r2rservices.com.au | Mobile: 0418448933
Photographs could not be included in this newsletter for technical reasons - web-site scribe.
South African Military History Society / firstname.lastname@example.org