"The Friendly Red Hackle"
A Reasonably Irregular Communication from
The Transvaal Scottish Regiment

No 6/2010 -  28 August 2010

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"Out of every 100 men, ten shouldn't even be there, 
Eighty are just targets, 
Nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. 
Ah, but the one, 
One is a warrior, 
And he will bring the others back." 
- Heraclitus

From the Editor:

In the previous Friendly Red Hackle it was announced that the Transvaal Scottish may now display a further seven  Battle Honours on their Colour. The subject of Battle Honours always raises emotions and hopefully images of valour, brave deeds and of gallant soldiers doing their duty.

An analysis of the words - "Battle" and "Honours" - battle, well we all think we know what that means but referring to the Oxford Dictionary we get the following - battle is both a noun and a verb and is "a prolonged fight between two organized armed forces." Honour gives us several meanings and connotations, but the most fitting for our purpose here would be the following: "a thing conferred as a distinction, esp. an official award for bravery or achievement".

The Origins of Battle Honours: (From Wikipedia)
For the British Army, the need to adopt a system to recognize military units' battlefield accomplishments was apparent since its formation as a standing army in the later part of the 17th century. Although the granting of battle honours had already been in place at the time, it was not until 1784 that infantry units were authorized to bear battle honours on their colours. Before then, a regiment's colours were practical tools for rallying troops in the battle field and not quite something for displaying the unit's past distinctions.

The first Battle Honour to be awarded in the British Army was Emsdorf granted to the 15th Hussars for the Battle of Emsdorf in 1760. Thereafter, other Regiments received battle honours for some of their previous engagements.

The earliest battle honour in the British Army, chronologically, is Tangier 1662-80, granted to the 2nd Regiment of Foot, or The Tangier Regiment, the senior English regiment in the Union (after the Royal Scots, the senior Scottish and British Regiment), for their protracted 23-year defence of the Tangier Garrison. The battle honour is still held by the successor regiment, the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment. During these early years of the British standing army a regiment needed only to engage the enemy with musketry before it was eligible for a battle honour. However, older battle honours are carried on the standards of the Yeomen of the Guard and the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms, neither of which are part of the army, but are instead the Sovereign's Bodyguard, in the personal service of the Sovereign.

The need to develop a centralized system to oversee the selection and granting of battle honours arose in the 19th century following the increase of British military engagements during the expansion of the Empire. Thus in 1882, a committee was formed to adjudicate applications of battle honour claims. This committee, later called the Battles Nomenclature Committee, still maintains its function in the British Army today.

So here we get to the point of this little discussion, which neatly ties together several features in this newsletter. The Transvaal Scottish display as their first Battle Honour - "Natal 1906". The details of the campaign are written towards the end of the publication, but it was by all accounts a rather dismal, shabby and inglorious event that should actually never have happened. This was a "fight" created by politicians, for political and commercial expediency, and in no way reflects on the conduct or bravery of the men involved.

The Transvaal Scottish (Then the Transvaal Scottish Volunteers) formed a company of an ad-hoc unit, The Natal Rangers. The company was commanded by Capt. Arnold Statham Milne, and this company has the distinction of being the first members of The Transvaal Scottish ever to swing into action, and it also resulted in the Regiment being awarded its' first "Battle Honour".

I now get somewhat controversial as that in the British Army tradition, battle honours are not awarded for conflict within the country against their fellow countrymen. Such conflict should not be celebrated: thus Culodden and other English actions against the rebel Highlanders are not commemorated. It is likewise inappropriate to commemorate action against one's own countrymen.  The same reluctance to celebrate internecine warfare applies to the Transvaal Scottish's old sister regiment, The Black Watch, which fought with distinction through the American Revolutionary War of 1776, but carries no honours for this affair between kith and kin.


Capt. A.S. Milne

One could argue that this should be applicable to us as we do follow in general a large proportion of British Army traditions, but on the other hand  - do we have to, or do we modify and adapt traditions as we go along?

Technically speaking South Africa had not yet united as one country as The Union of South Africa after the 1899 - 1902 War. This only happened in 1910, so the Transvaal Scottish Volunteers were in effect legally not in their own country, but in a separate state. Battle Honours in general are also only awarded to infantry/cavalry regiments or battalions, as well as Navy Ships and Air Force squadrons, rarely to sub-units. I did not say “not awarded” - I said rarely!

Read the article and make up your own mind!

As a further complication:

There is some sort of understanding/custom among the old British Commonwealth countries (United Kingdom, Australia, Canada) that when the sub-units are of a certain size, the parent unit can claim honours awarded to the composite unit in which the sub-unit served.


There are 15 "missing" battle honours from World War 1 that are still "under discussion". Maj Hunt (Commanding C Coy, 4th SAI) wrote to Maj Juta (author of The History of the Transvaal Scottish 1902-1932): "We were informed that the Battle Honours of the 4th SAI would be granted to the Transvaal Scottish, because of the connection already mentioned..."  Informed by whom, one wonders?


Again there are interesting technicalities -  

The Pipes and Drums of the South African Scottish (4th SAI) - some of these members were at Delville Wood

Were the members of the South African Scottish (4th SAI) officially still in the Transvaal Scottish? Remembering that at the time of the 1914 - 1918 conflict members of the armed forces in South Africa were forced to resign, and re-enlist for "overseas duty". No-one was compelled to serve in the theatres of war outside of the country, in fact the Union Defence Force under the constitution of the day was not permitted to serve outside of South Africa. Feeling ran so high in South Africa about this issue that there was actually an armed rebellion in 1914. The constitution was amended for "Overseas Volunteer Service".


With thanks to Jim Mitchell for contributing, commenting and checking the historical accuracy, and Ian Cumming for the photo of the band.

See Tartan on the Veld (By J. Mitchell), pp 631-4, for a discussion of the 15 missing battle honours from World War 1

Just for interests' sake:


Pembroke Yeomanry "Fishguard" Collar Badges for No2 & Mess Dress


The Pembroke Yeomanry carries the battle honour "Fishguard".
This regiment has the unique honour of being the only Regiment in the British Army, regular or territorial, that bears a battle honour for an engagement on the British mainland. It was also the first battle honour awarded to a Volunteer Unit.

Fishguard was the repulse of a French invasion force in 1797. By 1797 only Britain and Portugal stood against the French. When a small French force landed in South Wales, it was rounded up by a local volunteer force, the Pembroke Yeomanry. Bestowed on the Pembroke Yeomanry by Queen Victoria in 1853, the inscription 'Fishguard' was later worn on the collar badges of 'A' (Pembroke Yeomanry) Troop, 224 (West Wales) Squadron, Royal Corps of Transport, the successors of that original Yeomanry. This Battle Honour is now worn by the whole of 224 (Pembroke Yeomanry) Transport Squadron (V).


A bit of appropriate history in honour of Women's Day (9th August)
(Information from Wikipedia)

Jemima Nicholas (often spelt Niclas; baptised 2nd March 1755-- died July 1832), also known as Jemima Fawr, was a Welsh heroine who led the women of Pembrokeshire into battle in what is known as the last invasion of Britain. When the French invading contingent arrived, she reached for a pitchfork and captured 12 French soldiers who were drunk at the time. They surrendered shortly afterwards at the Royal Oak. She died at the age of 77, and a plaque in Fishguard is dedicated to her.


Some thoughts for you:

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
- Napoleon Bonaparte

"When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity."
 - John F. Kennedy

Events in The Regiment

Regimental Council:

Message from the Chairman of the Transvaal Scottish Regimental Council: Lt. Col. A.J. Becker

Greetings to all who have the interests of the Transvaal Scottish at heart.
The Transvaal Scottish Regiment has since its formation in 1902 always acted professionally and served the government of the day with distinction, irrespective of the political convictions of its members. This proud tradition will continue as the Regiment serves in the SANDF.
The SANDF has undergone continuous change since 1994 and will continue to evolve for the foreseeable future. During these changes it is incumbent on us as a Council and the broader Regimental family to protect the traditions and to ensure the future of the Transvaal Scottish, while facilitating transformation.
To achieve this will require a concerted and well co-ordinated effort from all components of the collective TS family. The Transvaal Scottish Regimental Council will provide guidance and direction but we will all need to make a contribution, in whatever way possible, to ensure that we achieve this objective.
I am confident that will again succeed in ensuring that the Transvaal Scottish continues to thrive in the SANDF well into the future.

The Transvaal Scottish Regimental Association:
Objectives: The TSRA endeavours to foster Esprit de Corps among members and is mainly involved in the welfare of its members and encouraging social interaction between the members as well as the other associations in the area. The Association endeavours to uphold the traditions of the Regiment and foster comradeship amongst past and serving members. The TSRA endeavours, by all means in its power, to further the welfare of the Regiment.

Meetings: The TSRA meets on the first Monday of the Month at The View unless the first Monday is a public holiday in which case the meeting is held on the second Monday. The TSRA continues to meet at The View during the renovation period to endeavour to keep continuity during the upheaval of the alterations to The View.
The bowls day was great success:

The bowls Tournament was great day organised by Patrick Clarence and his team of Association Members.

Frank Charnock's team (see photo) won the Jack Garty and were very close to winning the overall day. This team scored the same points as the Winners who had a better shot difference

Both the Regiment and the Association were represented at the Delville Wood Memorial Service at Dickie Fritz Shellhole in Edenvale, Johannesburg.

Lt. Col Don Smythe, OC Transvaal Scottish, laying a wreath at the memorial.

Colin Visser, Chairman of the Transvaal Scottish Regimental Association laying a wreath at the memorial.

With thanks to Ian Cumming for the photos.

Command Communication:
The Command Communication team, supported by members of C-Company, were very much in evidence at two recent events. We were promoting the Regiment at the annual Pipe Band Championships, as well as at the National Museum of Military History, with the aim of reactivating past members, and to promote our Open Day to the general public.

Sgt. Hutchinson at the National Museum of Military History

Our Regimental Tent at the Gathering

Talk by Emile Coetzee: The Battle of El Wak (Tuesday 17th August 2010)
On Tuesday evening after a staff briefing by the OC, Lt. Col Don Smythe, Emile gave a short talk on the battle of El Wak. The lesson given by Emile was an absolute eye-opener as most of us, although the name appears as a Battle Honour on our Regimental Colours, had absolutely no knowledge of this event. It turns out that El Wak was the first action seen by South African troops in East Africa as part of the campaign to take Ethiopia  from the Italians.

Although not a large scale battle - in fact it was more of a skirmish than anything else - the lessons learned from the action did affect strategies and operating procedures for the rest of the war.

The Restoration of "The View"

The View Restoration as at 20 August 2010 - From Lt. Col. Jim Findlay


1. Officer's Mess - Complete. We have a new carpet and looking at a new period display case.

2. Study - Complete. Steps at the entrance are being rebuilt.

3. New Toilets - problems sourcing floor tiles. Have now moved to "Plan B" and these should be finished and operational by the end of next week.

4. Passage between Officer's Mess and WOs Mess - new timbers have been installed and the door should be functional by the end of next week.

5. Outside walkway to the toilets - should be complete by the end of next week.

6. Courtyard - all paving has been replaced and it is looking good. A screen will be installed on the fenceline and a hedge planted. Outside lights still to be installed.

7. WOs/Sgts Mess - The timber construction for the bay window is ready to be installed next week. Once the windows are in then the bar can be built. The repainting of the embossed wallpaper is almost complete. About another 2-3 weeks to go.

8. Drawing room (front of WOs Mess) - a copy of the original fireplace mantel has been aquired and installed. Wallpaper restoration will be complete within a week. Carpet is currently being made.

9. Entrance Hall - Details of the murals still need to be refurbished but replastering and base painting has been completed.

10. Boardroom - Complete except for carpet that is currently being made.

11. The Kitchen - The entire floor has to be replaced due to very poor workmanship resulting in the floor movement and bubbles forming under the linoleum. Also all equipment must get casters fitted so that it can be moved. I fail to understand why this was not done a year ago when this equipment was installed! Third time lucky!

12. SE Conservatory (Cpls Mess) - The timber construction is ready for installation. Wall and floor finishings are being done before the timber is installed. This should be complete in about 2 weeks.

13. Stairs - floor has been stripped; wall needs to be refurbished. This will take about another 4 weeks. The carpet is being custom made.

14. Sandstone on the 3 towers - this has been refurbished on the 2 front towers and the east side tower is still in progress. Some sandstone has weathered very badly and will need replacing. The sandstone on the chimneys also must be done.

15. Outside Buildings - The roof has been repainted and a wall sealer applied. Burglar bars will be installed inside the doors (not on outside as at present).

16. Garden - almost complete. You will have to pay a R25 entrance fee to have a look at the most magnificent garden in Parktown!

17. Gate, Gun Shelter and front wall - the civil engineers move on site on Monday. Moving the sandstone gate columns will need a huge crane and smart engineers to get it all done correctly. Definitely no tourists or VIP visitors for the next 2 weeks while this is going on!

18. Band Kit - It looks like there is something happening on this front after 5 months of little or no co-operation!

19. NE Conservatory - Still no approval from PHRAG!


In summary - we are getting very close to having the ground floor complete and functional.

The Transvaal Scottish appreciate the support given by the
"National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund".

  • The Refurbishment of "The View"
  • The Transvaal Scottish Open Day promotional material

Mobilizations, Shooting & Parades

Internationally in Africa - Alpha Company
The Company is presently deployed in the Sudan, and by all reports is doing a good job.
Within South Africa - Bravo Company

The Battalion has been tasked with providing personnel to do internal duties as well. The SANDF has taken over the role of Border Security from the South African Police Service, as was reported extensively in the press. The Transvaal Scottish will be deploying for a six-month period from late September 2010 to March 2011 along our Eastern Border.

The members are currently undergoing training at Lens Base a little way south of Johannesburg, as well as in Heidelberg and at an appropriate field training base in Mpumalanga.

Within the Urban Environment - Charlie Company

Now that deployments and training for A and B Coy's have been completed, Employed Reserves are urged to become involved in training for FIBUA (Fighting in Built Up Areas) and to contact the unit with respect to this. The Transvaal Scottish is busy building C-Coy to fill this role.

Please contact the OC, Lt. Col D. Smythe or Major J. Rudolph. Please contact via e-Mail

From Major John Rudolph - Company Commander, C Company:
The Regiment has expanded it’s ORBAT with the staffing of Charlie Company. Charlie Company, under my command, is tasked with becoming the home of the "Employed Reservist". This is for those who still want to serve, but who cannot take the long term time off work for training, deployments and courses.
 If you are interested in being part of the future of the Regiment and feel that you can make a meaningful contribution to Charlie Company and the art of Military Skills Development in a non-continuous manner, then please come and see us on the Regimental Open Day at The View on 2 October 2010.
We WANT You.

12th September 2010 - Evaluation / Practice shoot at Gatsrand Commando Range


Well done to the Pipes and Drums of The Transvaal Scottish
Winners Overall for 2010
Winners Best Drum Corps
Winner Best Drum Major

The Pipes and Drums of the Transvaal Scottish will be performing at the Regimental Open Day on the 2nd October

The Regiment exercised the Right to Freedom of Entry of Barberton on the 21st August 2010.

Remembrance Day Parades
7th November - Parktown Boys High School

14th November - Transvaal Scottish Regimental Remembrance Day Parade

14th November - KES (King Edwards School) Remembrance Day Parade

  • 10H00 Form up, inspection, March on the Colour

  • 11H00 Parade

Sidi Rezegh Parade

21st November - Sidi Rezegh Parade


"The number of medals on an officer's breast varies in inverse proportion to the square of the distance of his duties from the front line."
 -Charles Edward Montague


Continuing the "medals" theme started in February, we now feature a South African Medal that was never awarded!

Some notes and comments from the editor:

  • Look at the dates of this medal - 1952 - 2003

  • This means it ran concurrently with the Honoris Crux Series 1 - 1952 to 1975

  • AND it ran concurrently with the Honorus Crux Series 2 - 1975 - 2003

This does make you wonder what deed was necessary in order to earn this award. The medal one below this in the hierarchy (HC Diamond) was also never awarded! (See Friendly Red Hackle No 4)

The Castle of Good Hope Decoration was South Africa's highest military honour from 1952 to 2003. It was introduced on 6 April 1952, and formally authorised by Queen Elizabeth II on 26 January 1953, as a substitute for the Victoria Cross, for which South African servicemen had previously been eligible.

The conditions for award were "most conspicuous bravery, or some daring or pre-eminent act of self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty" in the presence of the enemy in wartime. In 1986, the restriction to wartime was removed to make the decoration available in other military operations. The decoration was never awarded, and was superseded by the Nkwe ya Gauta (on the left) with effect from 27 April 2003.

The CGH is a gold pentagon, representing the outline of South Africa's oldest military building, the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town. The obverse displays a scene of three ships sailing into Table Bay in 1652, surrounded by the name of the decoration in English and Afrikaans. The reverse displays the 1910-pattern South African coat of arms, and specimens struck before the country became a republic in 1961 also have Queen Elizabeth's royal cipher (E II R).

The ribbon is plain green. It was designed to be worn around the neck, in the manner of the American Medal of Honor, but it was altered to a chest decoration in the 1990s.



Just for Interest

Here is a picture of the "Defence of Kimberley" or "Kimberley Star" medal. This was the other privately struck medal of the 1899-1902 war - but this one was not officially recognised as a Military Award. (See Friendly Red Hackle No 5)


Upcoming Social Events


Present their third


Date: Sunday 12th September 2010
Venue: The SA National Museum of Military History, Saxonwold, Johannesburg.
Time: 11h00 until 15h00. The Museum will be open from 09h00 to 16h30.
Assumption Convent Malvern, Steel and Marimba Band
Combined SA Irish and Witwatersrand Rifles Pipe Band
The Welsh Male Voice Choir of South Africa
Veterans’ Commemoration.

Entrance charge: R40 adults, R20 senior citizens & scholars. WW2 Veterans free.

Bring your own picnic baskets, chairs and blankets. No fires or gas braais.
The Museum cafe will be open for supplementary cold drinks and light refreshments.
Come early to secure your place on the lawns and to explore the museum grounds.
Secure parking.

Annual Transvaal Scottish Regimental Association Dinner

Date: 25th September 2010
Venue: The Wanderers Club, Illovo, Johannesburg
Time: 19H00 for 19H30
Cost: R200.00 per person

Please contact the Association Chairman - Colin Visser - colinvisser@mweb.co.za
or the Secretary - Dave Gould - daveg@icon.co.za for any information

Where: The View, 18 Ridge Road, Parktown, Johannesburg
Time: Gates open at 10H00

Need a Map? Click Here

The Regimental Open Day is going to coincide with the re-opening of "The View".

Those interested in having some exhibition space or wanting to take a tent please contact yours truly! Some exhibitors from last year have pre-empted the organizer and have already booked space.

Please join us for a day of Lekker Pap and Boerewors, Lekker South African Music and Lekker Fun. For those of you in far-flung parts of the world and don't understand what LEKKER means, or what Boerewors is - click HERE

We have the 1st Honeydew Scouts on board again - they are promising an even bigger, better and more exciting Scouting display than last year.


It's Lekker to Live
in South Africa!
The exhibitors already confirmed are:
  • 1st Honeydew Scouts - Meerkats, Cubs & Scouts
  • Tuli Trails - Serolo Luxury Tented Camp, Tracking Courses, Walking Safaris, Survival Training
  • The War Store - Military Memorabilia
  • Frans and Corne - Military Art
  • SAGA - South African Gunowners Association - answer all your questions about the current legislation
  • 30° South - Military Book Publishers
Raffle Tickets for the Sponsored Prize - see below - available at our Transvaal Scottish Regimental Stand.

Can't make the Open Day? Want to buy a ticket? Please contact the Adjutant 2nd Lt. Terry King - Here

Annual Transvaal Scottish Regimental Ball - Saturday June 11, 2011

We have finalized the date for our annual Regimental Ball. The venue and pricing are still to be fixed, but please enter the date into your calendars. Bookings for The Ball will open at the Regimental Open Day on the 2nd October 2010.

The Draw for our combined Open Day / Regimental Ball sponsored prize will be held at this event.  
Two nights' stay for 8 people at Serolo Luxury Tent Camp in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, Botswana - valued at over R10,000.00. Accommodation, game drives and walks included.
(Prize is on self-catering basis)

Raffle tickets available at the Regimental Stand at the Open Day

Every First Thursday of the month - Eisbein Club

On an informal note - the "Eisbein Club" has has now been in existence for over 20 years! An absolutely informal, unofficial and relaxed get-together every First Thursday of the month. It is for people who enjoy good food, good beer, good Jagermeister and good company, and who somewhere had a military connection (however vague that may be or have been!) The get together happens at:



Douglasdale Village, corner of Leslie Road and Douglas Drive, Douglasdale

From about 12H30. Wear a tie - or you get fined!
Every so often we even get a Piper to play - the expressions on the faces of the other clientele is something to see!

The Club has (eventually) produced a new tie - Jagermeister features on it! - probably because the production needs to increase for every 1st Thursday!

Click Here - to e-mail an order if you are interested.


The Transvaal Horse Artillery

Please remember the Artillery Open Day on the 28th August in Potchefstroom.

08:30 - gates open.
08:30 to 10:30 - Static Display of All SA Army Artillery Equipment in 4 Artillery Regiment Mobilisation Area.
10:30 - 11:00 - all visitors to move to Demonstration Area.
11:00 - Firepower Demonstration to Begin

Last Months' Military Trivia
Ralph Thompson, Peter Marshall and Rhys Fitter correctly identified the badge:

It is an Assault Pioneers Qualification Badge - two crossed felling axes because of the Assault Pioneers' role in clearing the way for an army on the move. It seems to be a universal badge adopted by many armies, as is the tradition of the Assault Pioneers Platoon wearing beards!

An Assault Pioneer is an infantry soldier who is responsible for:
  • The construction of tools for infantry soldiers to cross natural and man-made obstacles
  • Breaching of enemy fortifications
  • Supervising the construction of field defensive works such as bunkers, support weapon firing positions, etc
  • The use of demolitions, land mines and booby traps, as well as their clearance
  • Performing of all other normal infantry duties

Assault Pioneers are lineal descendents of the Pioneers who have formed an essential part of armies since at least the time of the Roman legions. These pioneers were normally employed to march in front of the advancing army, clearing the route as necessary. They could also construct defenses and bivouac facilities.

More recently (since the Second World War) assault pioneers have normally formed a Platoon in infantry battalions. Assault Pioneers do not replace Combat Engineers: the latter have a much greater range of skills, capabilities and resources. Instead, Assault Pioneers are intended to provide the infantry battalion with its own light engineering support in the same sense as the Mortar Platoon provides the same battalion with its own indirect fire support. This support permits the infantry battalion to conduct operations effectively without relying on the external support of Combat Engineers who are normally subject to a demanding list of priority tasks across the battlefield. On operations Assault Pioneers often work separately in small detachments providing specialist skills, tools and advice to the infantry companies and platoons with those sub-units providing the bulk of the labour.

The term 'Assault Pioneer' reflects the tradition (arising in the First and Second World Wars) of employing these soldiers in the first wave of assaults on fortified enemy positions, using their skills and equipment to support the attacking force in crossing and breaching the enemy's defenses. While Assault Pioneers normally function in a specialist role, they are infantry soldiers first and are fully capable of engaging in combat as needed.


The British Army Way!

A Pioneer Sergeant is a position in the British Army and several army units of the Commonwealth. Although a Pioneer Sergeant holds the rank of Sergeant in the army, the Pioneer Sergeant title itself is a regimental appointment rather than an official military rank. Pioneer Sergeants are found only in line infantry regiments and regiments of the Foot Guards, and are normally responsible for carpentry, joinery and related work.

The tradition of the pioneer sergeant began in the eighteenth century, when each British infantry company had a pioneer who marched at the head of the regiment. The pioneer wore a “stout” apron and carried an axe, ostensibly to clear a path for all who followed. The apron served to protect the pioneer sergeant's uniform whilst performing his duties, which included being the unit blacksmith. The beard was allowed in order to protect his face from the heat and the slag of the forge. The axe was also used to kill horses that were wounded in battle.

A general order of 1856 allowed for one pioneer per company in each regiment. The tools carried by the pioneers included a sawback sword, pickaxe, billhooks, shovels, and axes. In the modern era, the Pioneer Sergeant carries a tomahawk on parade in lieu of a bayonet and is the only soldier in the army who is allowed to wear a full beard, in deference to the ancient tradition. A Pioneer Sergeant can be identified by an embroidered badge of two crossed axes sewn above the Sergeant's rank chevrons on his sleeve.



Pioneer Lance Sergeant Harry Tesh
of the Coldstream Guards and his wife


The Australian Army Way!

In Australia, the tradition began in 1965 when Governor-General Lord De L’Isle presented the 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (4RAR), with its Colours. On this occasion he suggested that the Battalion’s Pioneer Sergeant should wear a beard and carry an axe, as is the custom in the British Army. From 1973 to 1995 the 4th Battalion was linked with the 2nd Battalion (2RAR), and the tradition continued within the amalgamated Battalion (2/4RAR). In the early years of the twenty-first century 4RAR became a commando unit and removed the position of pioneer sergeant from its establishment, but the relevant standing orders allow for the Battalion to reinstate the position at a later date. In 2007 it was formally established that 2RAR could also have the bearded pioneer sergeant, making both 2 and 4RAR the only units within the Australian Army officially authorised to have bearded troops. On being re-posted the outgoing pioneer sergeant has his beard removed by the unit’s commanding officer in front of the entire battalion.

The above information and photo with acknowledgement to Wikipedia.

This Months' Military Trivia - Just for Fun

This relates to the Assault Pioneers.
What unit flash was this?  
Where were they based?  



A Bit of Interesting History: Natal 1906

The Bambatha Uprising was a Zulu revolt against British rule and taxation in Natal, South Africa, in 1906. The revolt was led by Bambatha kaMancinza (ca. 1860-1906?), leader of the amaZondi clan of the Zulu people, who lived in the Mpanza Valley, a district near Greytown, KwaZulu-Natal.

In the years following the Anglo-Boer War white employers in Natal had difficulty recruiting black farm workers because of increased competition from the gold mines of the Witwatersrand. The colonial authorities introduced a £1 poll tax in addition to the existing hut tax to encourage (force!) black men to enter the labour market. Bambatha, who ruled about 5,500 people living in about 1,100 households, was one of the chiefs who resisted the introduction and collection of the new tax.

The government of Natal sent police officers to collect the tax from recalcitrant districts, and in February 1906 two white officers were killed near Richmond, KwaZulu-Natal. In the resulting introduction of martial law, Bambatha fled north to consult King Dinizulu, who gave tacit support to Bambatha and invited him and his family to stay at the royal homestead.

Bambatha returned to the Mpanza Valley to discover that the Natal government had deposed him as chief. He gathered together a small force of supporters and began launching a series of guerrilla attacks, using the Nkandla forest as a base. Following a series of initial successes, colonial troops under the command of Colonel Duncan McKenzie set out on an expedition in late April 1906.

Once they succeeded in getting face to face with and surrounding the rebels at Mome Gorge, the British victory in the unequal battle was inevitable, given the vast disparity of forces. As the sun rose, colonial soldiers opened fire with machine guns and cannon, on rebels mostly armed only with traditional assegais (spears), knobkerries (fighting sticks) and cowhide shields.

Bambatha was killed and beheaded during the battle; however, many of his supporters believed that he was still alive, and his wife refused to go into mourning. Bambatha's main ally, the 95-year-old Zulu aristocrat Inkosi Sigananda Shezi of the amaCube clan (cousin and near-contemporary of the Zulu king Shaka) was captured by the colonial troops and died a few days later.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 Zulus were killed during the revolt (some of whom died fighting on the side of the Natal government). More than 7,000 were imprisoned, and 4,000 flogged. King Dinizulu was arrested and sentenced to four years imprisonment for treason. Mahatma Gandhi, who was in South Africa at the time, felt that the Indians in South Africa would do best for themselves to serve the British Empire as a reserve force in the Army against the Zulu uprising but condemned the event as "No war but a man hunt" and his ambulance corps was the only one taking care of the wounded Zulus.

The Natal Native Rebellion Medal was a South African campaign medal. It was authorised on 9 May 1907, for service in the Bambatha Rebellion in Natal in 1906.

To qualify for the medal, a soldier or policemen must have served in the field for at least twenty days between 11 February 1906 and 3 August 1906. Those who served for fifty days or longer qualified for a clasp with the medal.

The medal is silver. The obverse depicts the uncrowned head of King Edward VII, surrounded by his name, style, and titles. The reverse displays the figures of Britannia and Natalia, against a background of a landscape with Zulu huts. The word "Natal" appears in the exergue. The ribbon is crimson, with black edges. The clasp displays the date "1906".

A total of 9622 medals was awarded. Most of the recipients were members of the Natal colonial military and police forces, but 546 were issued to volunteers from the Transvaal and 70 to troops from the Cape Colony

ex·ergue (ĕk'sûrg' , ĕk'zûrg')n. A space on the reverse of a coin or medal, usually below the central design and often giving the date and place of engraving.

From The Black Watch Association of Canada

The Cairn at the 42 Highland Regiment Burial Grounds Pleasant Valley, Nashwaak Bridge has been restored and will be Rededicated at a Memorial and Candle Light at the Burial Grounds on September 19th 2010 at 18H30. Taking part in this Service will be Members of the Black Watch Association and the Royal Canadian Legion Beaverbrook Branch #80. Members taking part in the Parade are asked to wear blue blazer, grey slacks, head dress and medals.


There will be a Reception held at Branch 80, Legion after the Service, we hope to have a good turnout of members from our Association, that will attend this service.

For further information if required contact.


Basil McAllister, at ,e-mail betty16@nb.sympatico.ca

From Bill Carlisle (President of the Toronto Black Watch Association)

This was an event to rededicate the "Dinner Bell" of a camp used by the Canadian Black Watch. The property is now in private hands, but the owners are extremely proud of the association with this fine regiment, and have even gone so far as to agree to the renaming of the main road entering the property "Black Watch Way".

The plaque reads:

The Black Watch Camp 1932 - 1974
Let us always remember and be thankful for all the sacrifice made by others for the freedoms that we all enjoy today

If anyone would like to have the full report of the event - please e-mail me - Here


Also from Bill Carlisle: (part of the communication)

Let us know if any of members of your Regiment – active or retired are heading to Toronto or anywhere else in Canada for that matter. There was a member of the New Zealand Scottish in Toronto on course last year and members of the Black Watch RHR have been in the city a number of times but we’ve never had the pleasure of entertaining a member of the Transvaal Scottish. Always a first time.




Bill Carlisle

President – TBWA

And from the Regimental Secretary of The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada
Good Afternoon:

As you will note by the co-ordinates below I am the Regimental Secretary of The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada. I wanted to make contact as I felt that since we are all in the family so to say it might be interesting to be able to exchange information from time to time. We have just completed a Presentation of Colours with HRH this past November, and are now building towards our 150th Anniversary in 2012, although some feel that the Canadian roots can be traced back to the Plains of Abraham in 1759! In any event we do publish, twice yearly, a Canadian Red Hackle magazine with our Issue # 14 due out in the next 10 days. If you would send me your addresses I shall see that we send you a copy and we can go onwards from there.


W. R. Sewell, CD, LCol Retired
Regimental Secretary,
The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada
Phone: (514) 694-5887,
Cel:(514) 862-1075,
E-Mail: regtsecbwatch@sympatico.ca

Have you ever realized how big an aircraft carrier actually is? Compare to the trucks and busses on the quay!

Piper Bill Millin - a report taken from www.telegraph.co.uk

(I really like the bit about the War Office - Ed)

Bill Millin, who died on August 17 aged 88, was personal piper to Lord Lovat on D-Day and piped the invasion forces on to the shores of France; unarmed apart from the ceremonial dagger in his stocking, he played unflinchingly as men fell all around him.

Millin began his apparently suicidal serenade immediately upon jumping from the ramp of the landing craft into the icy water. As the Cameron tartan of his kilt floated to the surface he struck up with Hieland Laddie. He continued even as the man behind him was hit, dropped into the sea and sank.


Once ashore Millin did not run, but walked up and down the beach, blasting out a series of tunes. After Hieland Laddie, Lovat, the commander of 1st Special Service Brigade (1 SSB), raised his voice above the crackle of gunfire and the crump of mortar, and asked for another. Millin strode up and down the water’s edge playing The Road to the Isles.Bodies of the fallen were drifting to and fro in the surf. Soldiers were trying to dig in and, when they heard the pipes, many of them waved and cheered — although one came up to Millin and called him a “mad bastard”.

His worst moments were when he was among the wounded. They wanted medical help and were shocked to see this figure strolling up and down playing the bagpipes. To feel so helpless, Millin said afterwards, was horrifying. For many other soldiers, however, the piper provided a unique boost to morale. “I shall never forget hearing the skirl of Bill Millin’s pipes,” said one, Tom Duncan, many years later. “It is hard to describe the impact it had. It gave us a great lift and increased our determination. As well as the pride we felt, it reminded us of home and why we were there fighting for our lives and those of our loved ones.”

When the brigade moved off, Millin was with the group that attacked the rear of Ouistreham. After the capture of the town, he went with Lovat towards Bénouville, piping along the road. They were very exposed, and were shot at by snipers from across the canal. Millin stopped playing. Everyone threw themselves flat on the ground — apart from Lovat, who went down on one knee. When one of the snipers scrambled down a tree and dived into a cornfield, Lovat stalked him and shot him. He then sent two men into the corn to look for him and they came back with the corpse. “Right, Piper,” said Lovat, “start the pipes again.”

At Bénouville, where they again came under fire, the CO of 6 Commando asked Millin to play them down the main street. He suggested that Millin should run, but the piper insisted on walking and, as he played Blue Bonnets Over the Border, the commandos followed. When they came to the crossing which later became known as Pegasus Bridge, troops on the other side signalled frantically that it was under sniper fire. Lovat ordered Millin to shoulder his bagpipes and play the commandos over. “It seemed like a very long bridge,” Millin said afterwards.

The pipes were damaged by shrapnel later that day, but remained playable. Millin was surprised not to have been shot, and he mentioned this to some Germans who had been taken prisoner. They said that they had not shot at him because they thought he had gone off his head.

William Millin, the son of a policeman, was born in Glasgow on July 14 1922. For a few years the family lived in Canada, but they returned to Scotland and Bill went to school in Glasgow. He joined the TA before the Second World War and played in the pipe band of the 7th Battalion the Highland Light Infantry. He subsequently transferred to the Cameron Highlanders before volunteering to join the commandos in 1941. He met Lord Lovat while he doing his commando training at Achnacarry, north of Fort William. Lovat, the hereditary chief of the Clan Fraser, offered him a job as his batman, but Millin turned this down and Lovat agreed instead to take him on as his personal piper.

The War Office had banned pipers from leading soldiers into battle after losses in the Great War had proved too great. “Ah, but that’s the English War Office,” Lovat told Millin. “You and I are both Scottish and that doesn’t apply.” On D-Day, Millin was the only piper. When Millin boarded the landing craft bound for the Normandy beaches, he took his bagpipes out of their box and, standing in the bow, played Road to the Isles as they went out of The Solent. Someone relayed the music over the loud hailer and troops on other transports heard it and started cheering and throwing their hats in the air.

Like many others, Millin was so seasick on the rough crossing that the coast of France proved a welcome sight, despite the dangers that came with it. “I didn’t care what was going on ashore. I just wanted to get off that bloody landing craft,” he said.

He returned to England with 1 SSB in September 1944, but then accompanied 4 Commando to Holland; he finished the war at Lubeck. After being demobilised the following year he took up the offer of a job on Lord Lovat’s estate. This life proved too quiet for him, however, and he joined a touring theatre company with which he appeared playing his pipes on the stage in London, Stockton-on-Tees and Belfast. In the late 1950s he trained in Glasgow as a registered mental nurse and worked in three hospitals in the city. In 1963 Millin moved to Devon, where he was employed at the Langdon Hospital, Dawlish, until he retired in 1988. In several of the Ten Tors hikes on Dartmoor organised by the Army he took part as the piper, and also visited America, where he lectured about his D-Day experiences.

In 1962 Cornelius Ryan’s book The Longest Day was adapted into a film. The part of the piper who accompanied Lovat’s commandos was played by Pipe Major Leslie de Laspee, the official piper to the Queen Mother. Millin played the lament at Lord Lovat’s funeral in 1995, and he donated his pipes to the National War Museum in Edinburgh. The mayor of Colleville-Montgomery, a town on Sword Beach, has offered a site for a life-size statue of Millin opposite the place where he landed on D-Day. This is due to be unveiled next year. Bill Millin married, in 1954, Margaret Mary Dowdel. She predeceased him and he is survived by their son.

You all remember Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona , who painted the jail cells pink and made the inmates wear pink prison garb. Well..........

Maricopa County was spending approx. $18 million dollars a year on stray animals, like cats and dogs.. Sheriff Joe offered to take the department over, and the County Supervisors said okay. The animal shelters are now all staffed and operated by prisoners. They feed and care for the strays. Every animal in his care is taken out and walked twice daily. He now has prisoners who are experts in animal nutrition and behavior.

They give great classes for anyone who'd like to adopt an animal. He has literally taken stray dogs off the street, given them to the care of prisoners, and had them placed in dog shows. The best part? His budget for the entire department is now under $3 million. The prisoners get the benefit of about $0.28 an hour for working, but most would work for free, just to be out of their cells for the day. Most of his budget is for utilities, building maintenance, etc. He pays the prisoners out of the fees collected for adopted animals.

He has a huge farm, donated to the county years ago, where inmates can work, and they grow most of their own fresh vegetables and food, doing all the work and harvesting by hand.. He has a pretty good sized hog farm, which provides meat, and fertilizer. It fertilizes the Christmas tree nursery, where prisoners work, and you can buy a living Christmas tree for $6 - $8 for the Holidays, and plant it later.

He was reelected last year with 83% of the vote. Now he's in trouble with the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) again. He painted all his buses and vehicles with a mural, that has a special hotline phone number painted on it, where you can call and report suspected illegal aliens. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement wasn't doing enough in his eyes, so he had 40 deputies trained specifically for enforcing immigration laws, started up his hotline, and bought 4 new buses just for hauling folks back to the border.



Sheriff Joe Arpaio (In Arizona ) created the ' Tent City Jail':
He has jail meals down to 40 cents a serving and charges the inmates for them.
He stopped smoking and porno magazines in the jails. Took away their weights, cut off all but 'G' movies.
He started chain gangs so the inmates could do free work on county and city projects.
Then he started chain gangs for women so he wouldn't get sued for discrimination.
He took away cable TV until he found out there was A Federal Court Order that required cable TV for jails so he hooked up the cable TV again . He only let in The Disney Channel and The Weather Channel. When asked why the weather channel he replied, "So they will know how hot it's gonna be while they are working on my chain gangs."

He cut off coffee since it has zero nutritional value.
When the inmates complained, he told them, 'This isn't the Ritz/Carlton...... If you don't like it, don't come back.'

More On The Arizona Sheriff:

With temperatures being even hotter than usual in Phoenix (116 Degrees just set a new record), the Associated Press reports:
About 2,000 inmates living in a barbed-wire-surrounded tent encampment at the Maricopa County Jail have been given permission to strip down to their government-issued Pink Boxer Shorts. On Wednesday, hundreds of men wearing boxers were either curled up on their bunk beds or chatted in the tents, which reached 138 Degrees inside the week before. Many were also swathed in wet, pink towels as sweat collected on their chests and dripped down to their PINK SOCKS.

'It feels like we are in a furnace,' said James Z*****, an inmate who has lived in the tents for 1 year. 'It's Inhumane.'

Joe Arpaio, the tough-guy sheriff who created the tent city and long ago started making his prisoners wear pink, and eat bologna sandwiches, is not one bit sympathetic.. He said Wednesday that he told all of the inmates: 'It's 120 degrees in Iraq and our soldiers are living in tents too, and they have to wear full battle gear, but they didn't commit any crimes, so shut your mouths!'

Way To Go, Sheriff!

Maybe if all prisons were like this one there would be a lot less crime and/or repeat offenders. Criminals should be punished for their crimes - not live in luxury until it's time for their parole, only to go out and commit another crime so they can get back in to live on taxpayers money and enjoy things taxpayers can't afford to have for themselves.

And for fun (and to be completely politically incorrect!)
I am over 60 and the Armed Forces thinks I'm too old to track down terrorists. You can't be older than 42 to join the military. They've got the whole thing ass-backwards. Instead of sending 18-year olds off to fight, they ought to take us old guys. You shouldn't be able to join a military unit until you're at least 35.

For starters: Researchers say 18-year-olds think about sex every 10 seconds. Old guys only think about sex a couple of times a day, leaving us more than 28,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy.

Young guys haven't lived long enough to be cranky, and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier. 'My back hurts! I can't sleep, I'm tired and hungry' We are impatient and maybe letting us kill some asshole that desperately deserves it will make us feel better and shut us up for a while.

An 18-year-old doesn't even like to get up before 10a.m. Old guys always get up early to pee so what the hell. Besides, like I said, 'I'm tired and can't sleep and since I'm already up, I may as well be up killing some fanatical son-of-a-bitch.

If captured we couldn't spill the beans because we'd forget where we put them. In fact, name, rank, and serial number would be a real brainteaser.

Boot camp would be easier for old guys.. We're used to getting screamed and yelled at and we're used to soft food. We've also developed an appreciation for guns. We've been using them for years as an excuse to get out of the house, away from the screaming and yelling.

They could lighten up on the obstacle course however. I've been in combat and and have never  seen a single 20-foot wall with rope hanging over the side during a battle, nor did I ever do any pushups after getting back to base camp.

Actually, the running part is kind of a waste of energy, too. I've never seen anyone outrun a bullet.

An 18-year-old has the whole world ahead of him. He's still learning to shave, to start up a conversation with a pretty girl. He still hasn't figured out that a baseball cap has a brim to shade his eyes, not the back of his head.

These are all great reasons to keep our kids at home to learn a little more about life before sending them off into harm's way......

Let us old guys track down those dirty rotten coward terrorists. The last thing an enemy would want to see is a couple of million pissed off old farts with attitudes and automatic weapons who know that their best years are already behind them.

How about recruiting Women over 50 ....in menopause! You think Men have attitudes!
Ohhhhhh my God! If nothing else, put them on border patrol.... They'll have it secured the first night!

And a last thought:
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
 - Ralph Waldo Emerson


Alba Nam Buadh - And wishing you all the best until next time


Diederik van ‘t Hof





Transvaal Scottish Regiment

Battalion Headquarters


Postal Address


Regimental Headquarters

The Garrison


P. O. Box 66283


The View

128 Langerman Drive




18 Ridge Road











(011) 417-6116




(011) 643-2961


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