Tributes

Lest we forget......

Vale Major General (Dr.) Johannes van Zyl (Oom Joep) SM MMM

VETERAN (DR) JOHANNES VAN ZYL (OOM JOEP) : 21 NOVEMBER 1930 - 20 MAY 2018

Major General (Dr.) Johannes Jacobus Loubser van Zyl (Oom Joep), a fellow Veteran of our SAMVOA Queensland Region, was laid to rest on 20 May 2018.
SAMVOA Queensland thoroughly enjoyed having him attend our Brisbane meetings and he was like a true grandfather to all and he was sorely missed when he returned to Cape Town shortly before his passing.
When the SAMVOA Queensland Region held a farewell for Oom Joep on his impending return to South Africa, Oom Joep asked Veteran Shaun Winson, Regional Chairman of SAMVOA Queensland, why his fellow members at SAMVOA appear to hold him in high esteem. Shaun responded by saying that South Africans where brought up to respect their elders, that Oom Joep was an absolute gentlemen who deserved respect, and that, as we were never un-soldiered, having served as a Major General, we salute him. This brought tears to his eyes.
Oom Joep joined SAMVOA on the 11th October, 2012, having served his country as a Major General in the SADF Finance section. He originally served in the South African Corps of Signals before moving over to finance. His Force Number was 01146265 PE and he served his country for over 30 years.
Until we meet again Oom Joep - totsiens, oor en uit....
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
Lest We Forget

Vale Veteran Paul van Dyk - Regional Chairman SAMVOA NSW / ACT

VETERAN PAUL VAN DYK : 16 AUGUST 1962 - 12 SEPTEMBER 2016

After a brave battle with a long term illness, our fellow Veteran and brother-in-arms, Paul van Dyk, left us peacefully in the early hours of Monday 12 September 2016.

He will be remembered with great respect and admiration as the founder of SAMVOA South Australia and the National Legal Officer, ensuring that our organisation's governance was always compliant with the legal requirements for running an organisation such as SAMVOA.

Tribute to Paul van Dyk

 Thank you Padre Jimmy. Good afternoon fellow veterans, Ladies and Gentlemen.

 On behalf of Paul’s Veteran Organisation, the South African Military Veterans Organisation of Australasia, may I extend our heartfelt condolences to Paul’s family and to his very close friends? I am sure that Paul would be most grateful for this large turnout as we celebrate his life together.

 Today, we pay tribute to anout standing South African, Australian and SAMVOA veteran.

 After the SAMVOA Business Planning Conference on the 25th October last year, Paul took me aside and asked me if I would make sure that his express wish for a SAMVOA funeral was met. Of course, I gave him my personal assurance and that of our Organisation.

 As a result, I have worked with a couple of amazing Teams and I would like to thank the following SAMVOA members for working so hard to ensure that Paul’s expressed wishes were met:

The Contact Team: (As of 26th February)

Veterans.

·     Carlo Vlok, ACT Chairman.

·     Dion Driman, Regional Chairman of NSW.

·     Pierre van Blommestein, National Welfare Officer.

·     Richard Southey, International Master-at-Arms.

·     Mike Black, National Ambassador at Large.

 The Operational Team (As of 17th August):Veterans:  

·     Jimmy Duguid, Regional Welfare Officer New South Wales & Padre.

·     Heidi Fourie, International Public Relations and Liaison Director.

·     Jonathan Jooste, Regional Master – at Arms and Guard of Honour Commander.

 The Guardian North Ryde Team:

·     Alexa Consandine, Location Manager, and her team have been most cooperative and helpful.

 A good friend of mine said to me recently, “Tony, my bucket list is complete – I have crossed off every single item and created eternal memories from the things I have done and the places I have seen. There is nothing left in my bucket and I do not regret a single moment. My life has been nothing short of exhilarating.” That friend was Paul van Dyk and I wonder how many of us can say what Paul was able to say? I know that my bucket list isnot complete and I am sure that most of us are in the same position.

Recently Paul celebrated his 54th birthday and he was born on the 16thj August, 1962 at Noordheuwel, Antwerp in Belgium. His family immigrated to South Africa when Paul was just 3yrs old.

Paul’s father was a Medical Practitioner, a surgeon, who worked for many years within the Catholic Hospital system and, as a result, he travelled and moved around considerably almost on a continuous basis. When Paul matriculated in 1979, at the age of just over 17, he had attended no less than 17 schools. From school, Paul went straight into the Army and immediately started his studies by correspondence.

Paul had a brilliant and disciplined brain and he went on to hold an unrestricted practicing certificate as a Barrister and Solicitor and he was a registered ASIC agent, including a registered migration agent. His qualifications included a Master of Business Administration (United Kingdom), a Bachelor of Law (Australia), a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (Australia), a Graduate Diploma in Management Studies (United Kingdom), an Advanced Diploma in Company Law and a Diploma in International Financial Management. He also attended many courses, which he passed with distinction.

Paul mentioned that a highlight in his career was when he was selected to attend the prestigious Midland Montagu (now HSBC) International Banking program, which is held in London and Cambridge.

Despite all his talents, with every reason to be proud of his achievements, I saw Paul as a humble, courageous and decent man, blessed with high integrity, vision, wisdom, generosity and humour. He was also blessed with strong leadership skills. This could have come from his military, or legal training, but I believe that Paul had that unique ability, that of a natural leader, and people were simply drawn to him.

Military Service, after so much movement as a youth, introduced a level of stability into Paul’s life when he started his 2-years National Service in January 1980. He commenced his service in the South African Armoured Corps, where he qualified as a Junior Leader at The School of Armour. However, his study direction was Law, which saw him transferred across to the South African Personnel Services Corps where he successfully completed a Transition Course from Armour to Personnel.

He completed a Forming Course at Voortrekker Hoogte and he did his Lt to Captains Course where on many courses, Paul passed “top of the class”. As a Captain, he was Officer Commanding of 14 Personnel Services Unit for three national call ups. These ran to 10s of thousands of young men, direct from school, just as he had reported for duty in1980.

His mustering was Legal Officer and for his non-continuous training, Paul was transferred into 2 Special Services Battalion.

Angola:

At the height of the War for Africa, as a Captain, Paul was one of our younger generations of Leaders, who led an even younger generation of soldier, mostly youngsters doing their two years of National Service - +- 18years of age. These young servicemen were at the sharp end of the War for Africa in supporting Jonas Savimbi of UNITA and they faced off against a large, composite Soviet conventional force, supported by state-of-the–art weaponry.

The South Africans employed a small, rotating force of very determined and courageous servicemen with the strength and determination required, backed by high performance home-grown military hardware, designed for African conditions, and our own unique method of fighting, which employed a high level of mobility. This culminated in peace being restored by the signing of the Tripartite Accord or New York Accords on the 22ndDecember 1988. This saw the Soviet Forces depart from African soil for good, the South Africa Forces depart from SWA – Namibia to enable the implementation of Resolution 435.

During this period, Paul did three border duties –all attached to 61 mech, two as a Legal Officer and one as an Intelligence Officer.

Paul has a proud rack of medals: He earned his, Pro Patria Medal, Southern Africa Medal, General Service Medal and his 10-Year Good Service Medal. Paul also achgived a much coveted – Marksman proficiency badge –Silver. He completed his National Service commitment and then extended his service as a volunteer or Extended Serviceman until he immigrated to Australia in 1992.

 

Paul immigrated to Australia:      2nd September 1992

I first became acquainted with Paul in March 2004 when I put out a message through SAR United, looking for the level of interest in a South African Military Veteran Organisation for the purposes of networking and taking part on the ANZAC Day Marches around the country.

It was then that I got to learn of Paul’s enthusiasm, bubbly personality and vibrant voice. We got to know each other well over the telephone and it was a couple of years later that I met “the man behind the voice”.

Paul was a SAMVOA Foundation Member when he joined SAMVOA on 17th March 2004. He then became the Foundation Reginal Chairman of SAMVOA, South Australia therefore he went immediately onto the National Executive. He was appointed as the SAMVOA National Legal Officer in 2006 and he served in this capacity for over 10 years. Between the two roles, this made him one of the two longest serving members on our National Executive.

·     He also servedas a member of SAMVOA Victoria.

·     Spell inPapua New Guinea.

·     He returnedto NSW as a member (still National Legal Officer) and later took over as RegionalChairman of SAMVOA New South Wales from Kevin Bowden in 2013.

 

Paul has served his organisationextremely well with loyalty and an abundance of energy and he has been verymuch a part of this organisation and its growth. He has seen it go fromstrength to strength and grow from just on 100 members in 2004 to over 1,500members globally today.

 

He has helped shape thisorganisation to become one dedicated to Remembrance, Equality, Brotherhood andReconciliation.

 

Paul was nothing short of anoutstanding SAMVOA member.

 

In thinking about Paul, one of myfavourite sayings comes to mind:

“Happy the man and happy he alone

He, who can call today his own

He, who secure within can say

Tomorrow do thy worst, for I havelived today.”

 

Paul,

·     You have certainlylived and enjoyed your TODAYS and you left this world with much dignity,courage and grace.

·     We are saddenedthat you leave us and that your last days were so painful.

·     Thank youfor doing so much and meaning so much to so many people,

·     Thank youfor your unwavering friendship.

·     You are lovedand respected by all.

 

Your TOMORROW has arrived and youare now at peace.

·     Rest inthe arms of the Lord.

·     There is nolonger any pain.

·     Look uponus who grieve over your passing and reprimand us for this. We can take it.

·     We willmiss you dearly, Paul and I hope that I can sign off that SAMVOA has done youproud today.

 

Totsiens, Farewell, Hamba Kahle,

 

Rest in Peace

SAMVOA salutes you, Paul.

Lest we Forget

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
Lest We Forget

Joe Tennant was born in Armadale, a small town between Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland in1922. At the age of 4 the Tennant family moved to Cape Town, South Africa where his father was appointed General Manager of CT Tramways.

Schooling for Joe was at one of South Africa’s best – Rondebosch Boys High School – where he obtained his Senior Certificate (Grade 12). After completing School Joe was enrolled on the S.A.T.S General Botha – ex Royal Navy Cruiser used for Merchant Navy Training in SA – for a 2-year Course graduating successfully at the end of1939.

Following the outbreak of WWII Joe was one of the first to volunteer to serve in South Africa’s Seaward Defence Force. Joe’s introduction to Navy life was as an Ordinary Seaman on a converted South Atlantic Whaler – patrolling the rough seas around Cape Town and Simonstown.

Soon after his first sea time Joe successfully completed a Telegraphist/Radio Training Course in East London and that was followed by a most uncomfortable voyage on a Troop ship packed tight with mainly SA Military personnel destined for North Africa.

Disembarking in Alexandria, Egypt, Joe had no idea that he would spend the next 5 years serving aboard various South African Minesweepers and Sub Chasers – all of them either South African or Scandinavian converted Whalers.

Joe’s story is the story of amateur sailors, in a fledgling Navy, forged in the unforgiving crucible of WWII. Pitted against the experienced professionals of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in the harshly contested waters of the Mediterranean these young men progressed from novice to veteran but, on the way, many paid the ultimate price for their patriotism.

Joe’s service included the escort of supply convoys in support of the Australian Divisions besieged in Tobruk, and magnetic minesweeping ahead of supply convoys in support of the advance of the 8th Army along the coast of North Africa to El Alamein. The invasion of Sicily was also made possible by the minesweeping performed by Joe and his fellow South Africans.

Joe was one of only 10 survivors (23 crew) when HMSAS Parktown was sunk in the Mediterranean by Italian Motor Gun Boats. The Wikipedia article on the sinking of HMSAS Parktown – link below – provides a detailed account of this action as well as background to South Africa’s involvement in the Mediterranean.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMSAS_Parktown_(T39);

The excellent painting of the sinking HMSAS Parktown – the original proudly hung in Joe’s unit – provides details of this tragic event.

 

The sinking of the HMSAS Parktown

The South African crew of HMSAS Seksern in Alexandria. Joe is 3rd from the right in the top row.

Although seriously injured from a badly broken leg during a skirmish on the rugby field whilst representing the SA Navy – Joe survived WWII intact and returned to South Africa where he started working at the Standard Bank. Joe then completed his Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Cape Town, topping in several subjects.

Between1946 and 1948 and he married Susanna Schurink in 1949 and they had three children Lynne in 1952 and twins Margot and James in 1955.

Joe had a very interesting civilian career between 1949 and 1983, first in the South African Diplomatic Service, serving in Washington as 3rd Secretary and a highlight of this posting was his introduction to the President of The United States of America. He was later posted to Athens, Pretoria, Elizabethville, Pretoria again, and then Rome.

In 1964 he immigrated with his family to Melbourne, Australia to join the Commonwealth Public Service, serving in the Departments of Labour and National Service and later, Transport.

In spite of his WW II injury, Joe was a highly accomplished Veteran athlete. Between 1972 and 1981 Joe was the Australian Veterans sprint Champion 6 years in a row in the 55 to 60 age group and in 1974 he set a World Record for the Veterans 200 meter sprint – 23.4 seconds.  As far as Joe and his son James are aware this Record still stands. Joe came 2nd in the 100 meters at the first ever World Masters Games in Toronto.

Joe has written 4 Novels, including “The Red Diamond Navy”.  Joe’s first effort at story telling commenced in the 1990’s when he learned of the Department of Veterans Affairs Story writing and Art Competition through the Inverloch Library.  Joe won 1st Prize in SWAC’s True Wartime Experience category and the Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop Memorial Award in2007 for his story “Young Love in War”.

In 1980,Joe married Josephine Peterson and they built their home in Inverlock, where they retired. During this time, Joe wrote twelve semi-autobiographical books and collections of stories.

Josephine passed away in August 2011 and a year later Joe moved to BUPA, Donvale, where he passed away 15 months later.

Obituary to Veteran Cliff Everton

Veteran Clifford Douglas Everton

UDF Force Number 11779;

Veteran Cliff Everton at the SAMVOA 2014 Formal Mess Dinner

It is with deep, deep regret that SAMVOA acknowledges the passing of our dear friend and fellow Veteran, Cliffie Everton. Cliffie passed away quietly on Wednesday, 27th May, 2015 and SAMVOA members were present in large numbers at St Anne’s Catholic Church, Seaford, Victoria to pay our respects and then at the Bunurong Memorial Park to say farewell to our much respected WW2 Veteran who has been a Patriarch in our organisation for over 10 years.

SAMVOA Members pay their last respects during the playing of the Last Post.

SAMVOA extends our heartfelt condolences to Sandra, Pricilla, Lola and their respective families as well as to Cliffie and Josie’s late son, Hilton’s family.

Those of us who were present on the 25th April 2005, when we met Cliffie for the first time, will always remember this as a special day when two South African WW2 veterans honored us by joining us for the march to the Shrine of Remembrance. ANZAC Day is a special day in the Australian and New Zealand calendar and a day when new Australians and New Zealanders, as we are, turn out in both counties to pay our respects to the fallen, as well as to remember our own.

Cliffie and Tom Robinson MC. joined us and travelled in a vintage taxi, which did not thrill either of them very much. In following years we did our best to requisition former military vehicles that were more in keeping with the occasion.  

Cliffie and Tom Robinson on parade on ANZAC 2005

This Austin Champ was more to Cliffie’s expectations. 2006 ANZAC Day March

Cliffie’s last ANZAC Parade was in this beautiful Bentley with daughter, Sandra.

Cliffie was always well supported by his late wife, Josie, who was his dedicated wife for nearly 65 years of their marriage. Both have been an amazing part of our SAMVOA life and SAMVOA honoured Josie before her death at the 2012 Formal Mess Dinner, by making her our only local Honorary Veteran. Josie was extremely proud of this acknowledgement, which recognised her dedication to the ideals of SAMVOA and, more importantly, her dedication to Cliffie and in ensuring that she and Cliffie were present at every possible parade and meeting.

Cliffie was an Icon within our organisation, a man of few words who carefully weighed up what he was to say. He was a truly decent person who had weathered over nine decades that transformed him from a happy childhood of care-free adventure in South Africa to a wizened patriarch. One would have to go far to find a more honorable man and he was one of the few custodians of dignity, discipline and duty; the qualities that make a real man.

He was also a courageous man with a courage forged and strengthened through armed conflict in the constant presence of real danger and under the constant threat of death. He had been there in the thick of battle and he knew what it was like to walk next to a man one day and before the day was over, to cut the dog tag from around that man’s neck, so that it can be sent home to grieving loved ones.

Although under aged, in 1939 Cliff joined a short queue at Natal Command in Durban and he enquired about joining the army. He received his parent’s permission and he reported at Durban Central Railway Station by 1800H the following day. Within three weeks, South Africa joined Britain in declaring war against Germany.

Signaling was Cliffie’s specialty and he operated in all modes of signaling, except for dispatch riding. When Cliff’s platoon left South Africa they were 50 men strong and, by the time they returned to South Africa a few years later, there were only 9 left of the original 50. During this period he was attached to the Royal Natal Carbineers within the 1st South African Brigade.

In1943, back in South Africa, the 1st Brigade was dismantled and the 6thArmoured Division was formed and Cliffie was assigned to the Natal Mounted Rifles.

The 6th Armoured Division was shipped off to Italy and landed at the toe of Italy. Many battles were fought until the Germans started surrendering in their droves. They were shipped back to Durban through Egypt to a “ticker tape parade” along West Street, which was attended by thousands of South African civilians, welcoming their young men home. They marched up to Albert Park where the mayor of Durban addressed them with a speech of appreciation for their successes and expressed his delight that they had come home safely.

On returning to South Africa, Cliffie met Josie and they were married at the Catholic Church in Mt Edgecombe by Father Daub. Mount Edgecombe became their home for many years, but after being attacked nine times, they decided to follow their eldest son, Hilton who had immigrated to Australia in 1976 and had always encouraged his folks to do the same.

Cliffie and Josie enjoyed an amazing close family life and this came through time and again as family and friends supported Cliffie along the route of the ANZAC march and in the family get-togethers where we were privileged to be present.

Cliffie and Jose are both much loved and respected members of SAMVOA – South African Military Veterans of Australasia.

Farwell dear friend and fellow veteran!

“Success comes down to sacrifice –the willingness to pay the price” - Anonymous.                                                                            

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” - From a headstone in Ireland

Lest we Forget.                                                                                                        

Veteran Tony Macquet MMM.

National Chairman.

Obituary to Veteran Josie Everton

Honourary Veterans Josie Everton and Jan Breytenbach with National Chairman Tony Macquet - 2012.

It is with deep, deep regret that we acknowledge the passing of our dear friend and fellow Honourary Veteran, Josie Everton. Josie died in the early hours of Sunday the 2nd March 2014 and she was buried on Friday 7th, after a Requiem Mass held at St Anne’s in Seaford, Victoria.

Josie has been an amazing part of our SAMVOA life right from our second ANZAC Day March in Melbourne back in 2005, when her husband, Cliff and Tom Robinson joined us as two South African WW2 Veterans. How proud we were to have these two fine gentlemen amongst our numbers!  

Josie was made our very first Honourary Veteran at the SAMVOA Formal Mess in 2012

The award being made to Josie Everton by National Chairman Veteran Tony Macquet

As you might recall, Cliff and Tom were our Guests of Honour at our first Formal Mess Dinner in 2006 at the Toorak Services Club. We subsequently honoured Josie by making her our only local Honourary Veteran at the 2012 Formal Mess Dinner. Josie was extremely proud of this acknowledgement, which recognised her dedication to the ideals of SAMVOA and, very importantly, her dedication to Cliff and in ensuring that she and Cliff were present at every possible parade and meeting. The first question Josie had for me that evening was, “When do I get my SAMVOA tie, SAMVOA medal, beret and beret badge”. She delicately chased me on this matter and she subsequently wore her SAMVOA kit with great pride.

Her dedication to supporting Cliff has been an act of pure love and an example to us all. She has always been very proud of what Cliff has achieved and we are so glad that she was able to witness the moment when a North African medal that Paul Roos had sourced, was presented to him. Those of us who were privileged to be present at the Frankston RSL that evening and witness this event, were touched to the core, and we will never forget Cliff’s “Thank you speech” when he recounted how little acknowledgement they, as soldiers, had received on returning from WW2 – how they had not expected people to fall over themselves, but they had anticipated more than what they had received. That evening, Cliff felt vindicated and was both overwhelmed and emotional on receiving this medal, and he told us in his own special way, just how much this meant to him, to have received this acknowledgement and how much he appreciates the camaraderie he enjoys with his fellow members. This made him feel very proud to be part of SAMVOA and of his WW2 service to South Africa.

And a big part of SAMVOA he really was, with Josie forever by his side, also enjoying and joining in on the camaraderie and good fellowship that is the hallmark of being a member. Today Cliff is 94 and Josie was 87 when she died, and who would have thought that Josie would have preceded Cliff!  Unfortunately Josie was found with cancer two years ago and she has never complained, and she bore the pain with such dignity that there are many of us did not know of her ailment, yet she kept right on coming to all the meetings and parades!  

Marie Theresa Josephine La Marque was born on December15th, 1926 at the quaint sugar-growing town of Mt. Edgecombe, North of Durban, South Africa. “Josie”, as she was more commonly known, was the eldest of 8 children.

Josie attended Mt. Edgecombe Primary School, where she quickly discovered her love of style and fashion – a passion she kept with her, her whole life. Her first post-school job was with the millinery company ‘DuBrey’, where she spent 7 years perfecting her craft.

It wasn’t until a trip to Pietermaritzburg where she would meet her soul mate, Clifford.  Some say it was ‘love at first sight’. On October 29th, 1949, at the tender age of 22, Josie took Cliff’s hand at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Mt Edgecombe and said ‘I do.’

Now, nearly 65 years after their marriage, Josie has fulfilled her vow and promise to Cliff and has been an exemplary and wonderful wife, and an extraordinary and loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Our very sincerest condolences go out to Cliff, Sandra, Lola, Pricilla, and their families. Josie leaves 9 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren and she now rejoins her son Hilton in the arms of the Lord.

Something that I don’t believe any of us at SAMVOA knew about Josie was her love of music and it was this that Josie was best known for in her younger days. Her instrument was her voice, being blessed with an angelic voice; she was a soloist of note, who was very much in demand at church services, weddings and similar functions.

Good-bye and God bless you, Josie - thankyou for being the person and example you were.

This is the last official photo taken of Josie and Cliffie in 2013 with Veteran Roland de Vries, a retired Major General in the SANDF

May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Lest we forget.    

Tony Macquet MMM.

National Chairman.                                                                         

A bit about Stephan:

SAMVOA

Stephanus Johannes Erasmus joined SAMVOA on the 22nd May, 2014.

As a Brigadier General, working out of Defence Head Quarters in Pretoria, he became well know to most of the Regiments he visited during the course of his duties.

Stephan visiting The View, RHQ The Transvaal Scottish in 1991.

Then living in Hamilton, New Zealand, we were delighted to have such a senior officer aboard, and he soon took over the running of SAMVOA New Zealand in a most efficient way and the organisation experienced excellent growth during his leadership.

Stephan, accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth, honoured the organisation by being our Guest of Honour at our National Formal Mess Dinner at the Glen Waverley RSL, In Melbourne, Australia on the 22nd October, 2016. where over 50 Members and Guests enjoyed his accounts, particularly during his period as a Military Attaché'. We had representatives from a number of Australian and Allied organisations, which included the National  Boer War Memorial Association, Royal Air  Forces Association, Royal  Victorian Regimental Association, Waverley RSL, UNTAG, National  Servicemen's Association of Australia NASHOS and the Reserve Forces  Day Council of Victoria.

Retiring in New Zealand in 2011, Stephan and Elizabeth enjoy their life in Hamilton, after moving from Auckland 2 years previously. Despite the colder climate, they lived their lives at a slower pace than the hectic city rush of Auckland. Elizabeth is a keen gardener and Stephan kept himself busy with things SAMVOA and his other interests. They have 4 beautiful grandchildren and enjoyed the times when their children came over to visit, from Auckland and as far afield as Mauritius.

A wonderful life and brilliant career indeed. Sadly, Stephan passed away on the 22nd June, 2018. His funeral was well attended by SAMVOA Members.

Stephan's casket

A moving Eulogy, as presented by Veteran Warwick Hojem

Elizabeth, immediate family, other relatives, veterans present and in absentia, ladies and gentlemen...

I was asked by Ashley on Monday to deliver a eulogy and it was an honour and a privilege to accept this duty.

My acquaintance with Stephan goes back to about October 2014 when a friend of mine in Canada put me in touch with SAMVOA and I joined the organisation, warmly welcomed by Tony Macquet in Australia and a few days later by Stephan as the NZ Chairperson for the New Zealand branch of SAMVOA.

On ANZAC Day 2015. some friends of mine and I did the dawn service at Browns Bay and after the proceedings were over, we gravitated to the East Coast Bays RSA and at this venue, Chris Pattison(present here today) approached us and asked us to please proceed to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and join up with a squad of other South Africans who would march and lay a wreath at 11 am.

We were 15 on parade that day and we marched with pride and were seated along with other veterans as well as currently serving members of the NZ Armed Forces and participated in the proceedings of the day.

It was a moving ceremony and Stephan later sent out a newsletter with links to the SAMVOA website as well as informing all members as to who had gathered where and showed their respects to men and woman who had served before us.

Since then, I have met Stephan a number of times in person and he has been the NZ face of SAMVOA, so organised and very easy to approach, always ready with advice, never forceful and a true gentleman.

Knowing Stephan has made me also reassess my attitude towards anybody who served in the Permanent Force, as a National Serviceman and later, part of numerous citizen force units, there was always a measure of distrust for those in the permanent force and sadly, the behavior of some who served did little to change our attitudes toward them. As said, meeting Stephan changed all that for me . He was always soft-spoken yet reassuring, unassuming, yet a man who held a very senior rank and with more than 30 years of SADF experience, including 4 years as a military attaché in Taiwan.

Stephan has also always had a supportive wife and he once told me at one of our gettogethers about one of our SAMVOA veterans who was injured while in SADF service and spent a lengthy time at 1 Military Hospital at Voortrekkerhoogte and one of the nurses who looked after him was Nurse Elizabeth Erasmus. Many years later, Duncan Mattushek and Stephan both found themselves in New Zealand and they have been in regular contact.

I have tracked back to my original application and Tony Macquet stated the following therein when welcoming me as a member to SAMVOA –

“and feel free to participate as much as you would like or as you feel comfortable. We believe that we are all equal and our views are important”.

Stephan has since reiterated this same sentiment more than once and it is part of why there is a contingent of us here today.

In 2016, Stephan gave a talk, using PowerPoint as well as numerous laminated photos pinned to aboard about Delville Wood to an Australian audience and this year I “volunteered” to give an ANZAC Day talk at the Evelyn Page Retirement Village in Orewa and Stephan ensured that he brought up all the material he had used for his talk on one of his visits to family in Auckland and his props were most useful and I hopefully did justice to South Africa’s equivalent of Gallipoli.

I have printed off a few copies of Stephan’s CV as used by him for his talk in Australia in 2016. It is prefaced Vale and vale means farewell or goodbye!

I urge all of you to take a copy home, find a quiet place to read it and to reflect on this man of men!

Driving in to work this morning to put the finishing touches to this eulogy, “Brothers in Arms” was playing on the radio and within a few minutes, “Us and Them”. I get much inspiration from music and powerful lyrics and Googled both songs to see if I could borrow or adapt some of the lyrics, but, nothing quite worked. I also Googled a few military eulogies and same result.

I then thought about two Australian military themed songs, namely “Khe Sahn” and “I was only Nineteen” and the words from Khe Sahn stating “it is only other vets could understand” is what works and is emphasized by the contingent of SAMVOA members present here today and the letters of condolences received from veterans who couldn’t be here today.

Members of SAMVOINT and SAMVOA Australia have been so supportive of the proceedings here today and I have been asked to specifically convey the condolences of the entire formation to you, Elizabeth, and family.

In closing, Stephan, you were an officer and a gentleman and will be sorely missed by all whom you have touched.

 

Rest in peace, brother.

Sunday, 29 June2018, Auckland, NZ

South African Defence Force 1962 – 1992:

Stephan served for 30 years in the SADF, pursuing a varied and highly successful military career. Stephan started off his career in 1962 as a recruit in the SA Army Gymnasium. After completing his training, he further pursued his military studies at the Military Academy in Saldanha Bay. He spent several years at the Armour Training Unit, where he was responsible for training mid- to senior- level officers. His next posting was as an Officer Instructor at the SA Army Staff College and then onward to SA Army Headquarters.

In 1977, Stephan was appointed as the Armed Forces Attaché to Taiwan and spent 4 years in this role, which was one of the highlights of his career. On his return, he built his career based on various communications (IT) roles he was appointed to at Army Headquarters and later at Defence Force Headquarters.

In 1992, he decided to take an early retirement and do something different by joining the Transvaal Provincial Administration (TPA).

Transvaal Provincial Administration 1992 - 1994:

Stephan was appointed as the Provincial Negotiation Co-Ordinator, tasked with facilitating, guiding and advising the local provincial negotiations process in preparation for the transition to the new government. It was an intense period and negotiations were fierce and complex. Later, as the Administrative Secretary to the Provincial Administrator, Stephan was a key role player, responsible for managing all personnel matters, budgeting and expenditure control. One of his core tasks was consolidation of the TPA office in preparation for the transformation to the new Government, which assumed its status after the general election on 27 April 1994.

Ministry of Public Transport & Roads, Gauteng Provincial Government 1994 – 1996:

Stephan had the arduous task, as Office Manager, of establishing this new public service office from scratch. For the first time, public transport had become a provincial responsibility and together with the Minister of Transport, Stephan became heavily involved in the resolution process pertaining to critical operational issues within the minibus taxi industry. His duties included mediation between opposing taxi associations, negotiations with various sectors of the public and continued media liaison.

Royal New Zealand Defence Force 1999 – 2011:

After immigrating to New Zealand with his wife, Elizabeth and 3 children, Stephan was appointed as a civilian consultant to various portfolios within the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) and the Royal New Zealand Defence Force (RNZDF).

1999 – 2003: Manager, Communication and Information Systems Unit (IT Manager), RNZAF Base Auckland

The Whenuapai Air Force Base constituted one of the primary domains of the RNZ Defence Force Wide Area Network (WAN), with Stephan being responsible for managing the critical support functions, including the Local Area Network (LAN) administration, help desk and technical support services, cabling network (including switches and hubs) and telephone PABX system

2003 – 2006: Deputy Director, CIS Services, Communications & Information Systems Branch, RNZDF.

Stephan had the responsibility of ensuring 1st and 2nd line computer support for the entire RNZDF, including help desk support and training. He also managed the decentralised computer support teams across all RNZDF bases and HQs.

2006 – 2011: CIS Relationship Manager (Navy), CIS Branch, RNZDF.

Stephan acted as chief liaison for computer support between the Navy and CIS Branch, reporting to the Chief Information Officer, RNZDF. He was also tasked with ensuring all naval officers were kept updated on CIS developments, including consultation and assistance with problem solving.