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)
· 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.
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.”
· 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