Extract from the Black Hackle Newsletter – Third Quarter 2011

Posted by webmaster | Uncategorized | Monday 12 September 2011 8:54 pm

To all of our members, friends and families we extend our greetings and best wishes.

A Message from the Chairman 

I write now as Chairman of the Wit Rifles Regimental Association and hope my old pals of the WR/DLR will forgive me if I try to put over a few points on the doings of the Association. Remember the WR/DLR no longer exists but the two Regiments now retain their separate identities. Thus the Wit Rifles Association works for the betterment of the Regiment in so far as the provision of essentials not provided by the Defence Department is concerned and generally for the well being of the Regiment. Many ex WR/DLR (not too many) scattered throughout the republic and SWA are members of this Association, I think by virtue of the fact that their parent

Regiments no longer exist and also that unwittingly they maintain contact with their old comrades of the WR/DLR.

You may wonder what relevance my opening paragraph has to this matter of the Association and the Regiment. Regiments and Armies are built on tradition and the Association through the OC of the Regiment strives to instil into serving members the need to be proud of the Regiment and its traditions. What better ideal can there be for serving members of the Regiment than to uphold the dignity and zeal of a Regiment that was the spearhead of a Brigade, which in turn was the spearhead of a Division under the command of the late Maj Gen Poole. The Regiment’s Battle Honours earned in the Italian Campaign will stress my point.

I urge serving members to become members of the Association with a view to serving on its Executive Committee. If continuity is not maintained the Association will ultimately fade away along with the passing of those members of the WR/DLR who for so many years have been at the helm.

There exists in the Garden of Remembrance at the Regimental HQ, Germiston, a monument (donated some years ago by our friend Freddie Bosazza) to the memory of members of the Regiment and the WR/DLR who fell in various campaigns. The Association’s aim at present is to erect two bronze plaques bearing the name of each and every one of those who did not return. This is an expensive undertaking but nevertheless one which must be completed as soon as possible. I would therefore appeal to you to support the request for funds for this purpose which will be put to you shortly.

Kindest regards to all,

Winkie Reeve.


AN AMBITION REALISED ……………………….By Bernie Cohen

Its good to see an ambition realised, especially if it is one very dear to one’s heart and there was nothing dearer to my heart than to see those bronze plaques, placed in position alongside our WR/DLR Cenotaph at Wit Rifles HQ in Germiston.


It happened like this. It was Saturday Afternoon 19th April at WR HQ, Wits Week 1969. We started off with a parade of approximately 40 WR/DLR chaps under the command of our old RSM Ray Thorpe. Brig Jack and Des Williams amongst other were on parade. Ray did not spare any of us. After a few preliminary barked commands he informed us very seriously that we were now “ON PARADE”, to cut out the “Bull” and “If you can’t stick your chests out, at least pull them up!!” It was good to be on parade again and to be commanded by Ray. Everyone felt 20 years younger and looked it. Dennis Theunisson said he felt like running around with a Vickers again.

After the parade and drum head service we all assembled at the Cenotaph and our dear old friend and Padre “Doempie” Cloete addressed the gathering. He then unveiled the two bronze plaques. It was a wonderful and solemn moment. In his simple and moving address Doempie spoke of the sacrifice made by the men whose names are inscribed for ever in bronze and he said we must never fail them. Doempie always speaks simply and beautifully and I have never seen the chaps looking so quiet and thoughtful. After the last Post, the Lament and Reveille, floral tributes ranging from a single rose laid by an elderly lady to the proud wreath laid by the Regiment were placed at the foot of the Cenotaph.

There were very few dry eyes when the Guard of Honour with the band playing at its head moved off and a gave a smart “Eyes Left” as a final tribute to our Fallen Comrades .

Kevin Townsend (Lt Col ret), Secretary