Firing of the 9-inch RML Middle North Gun 2018; my apologies in that this is a bit late as the first
Firing has already taken place:
16 June Youth Day
18 July Mandela Day
24 September Heritage Day
11 November Armistice Day
16 December Day of Reconciliation
All firings will be at 12h00 except for the firing on Armistace Day which will be at 11h00.
New book in the process of compilation
Through the Periscope - The first fifty years
Researched and written by WO1 David Harrison. It is the third version of Through the Periscope and effectively covers the first fifty years of our Submarine Service.
All ordinary Members are reminded that membership fees for the 2018/2019 membership year will become due as at 1 July 2018. All new members who joined from 1 February 2018 will be considered to have joined for the 2018/2019 year.
TWENTY FIRST ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING NAVAL HERITAGE SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA
Chairman’s Report 2017/2018
The work of the Naval Heritage Trust has continued unabated over the past year. Every year I am proud to say that our efforts to record and make available the history and heritage of the Navy, have been successful. And I would like to begin this report by thanking the Trustees for their dedicated support of the aims of this society. In this they are assisted by our treasurer Glynnis Helleman, volunteer Les Gale and dedicated cannonier Harry Croome. Let me tell you what they have been doing:
First, the trustees meet at least 9 times a year and this year has been no exception. In addition, there was a meeting over lunch which proved to be not only convivial but also extremely useful in establishing other aspects of our lives that may enhance the work of the Trust.
Chris Bennett has been working on Digests, books and Newsletters as usual as well as maintaining our membership list. Naval Digest no 26, The Wartime Memories of Capt. Mallory, was sent to members in October
Chris is now working on two books and Digest no 27, with the books taking precedence but also a great deal of time and effort. His editing skills are equal only to his amazing ability to format a book or digest into a clear readable and properly indexed presentation that should be emulated by some professional typesetters!
On the subject of the books and digests, I must compliment Glen Knox who has taken the marketing of our books under his wing, and consequently the sales of which have rocketed. Our published material is available all over the Peninsula and the book stores are kept stocked. I suspect that they are also chivvied about our books quite a lot, since the stock is now moving instead of just sitting on shelves. Glen has also grown our Facebook site and there are almost 4 800 members. If you are not already a
member, I suggest that you apply to be one. The daily posts are always informative and interesting. Many of the digests have been drawn from the oral history programme, and that is a project of which I believe the NHT can be inordinately proud. The idea of recording oral histories goes back to the formation of the Trust and we now have over 150 histories that have been recorded, transcribed, typed and catalogued for future reference. Histories like these are an invaluable source of information. There’s nothing quite like the account of someone who was there to tell the tale, to create the atmosphere of history. Eddie Wesselo and Glen have been particularly active in this area which takes time and a great deal of patience. We have upgraded the equipment needed but the exercise is labour intensive.
Eddie also looks after our website – another worthwhile technological journey. This makes us available worldwide.
Our Volunteer band is to be found turning our office into an organised space with reference books, our supply of digests and books, memorabilia – and if you are lucky some coffee and buns. Eddie, Andre Wessels and Les Gale have been doing sterling work there and it is always a stimulating trip to visit them.
Trunell Morom is our secretary and takes care of the Minutes etc and Glynnis has been an incredibly efficient (and sometimes fearsome) treasurer. There is a good deal of governance that goes with that role.
A brief word about Harry Croome who is famous for firing the Middle North gun. Harry has also been involved in photographing all the ships badges in the Dry Dock, tidying up of Just Nuisance’s grave, and ensuring that the Cape of Good Hope World War I memorial was restored to his exacting standards. This was one of the projects we believed was necessary and so paid for.
There are a few projects that we are working on including the histories of the Naval Reserve, the Marines and the Navy Band, but these are on-going undertakings and will probably take some years to complete. In addition to all that, Chris Bennett spotted a common error regarding Joy Packer and Admiralty House which appeared in the Constantiaberg Bulletin and wrote a carefully worded letter to correct the mistake. And Arne Soderlund dealt most precisely with an unjust omission of South African ships from the proposed Battle of the Atlantic Memorial in Liverpool. It is this sort of attention to detail that demonstrates the special value that the NHT adds to our heritage.
I am sorry to tell you that Commander Leon Steyn, the director of the Naval Museum has resigned as a Trustee of the Trust. His resignation was accepted with regret, and we hope that our cordial relationship with the museum will continue unabated.
The trustees are however bolstered by the presence of Nicki Holderness and Mac Bisset both of whom add invaluably to our discussions with their experience and knowledge.
The trust has been the recipient of a fine water colour by Nils Andersen of HMSAS Natal which had come up for auction. This was purchased and presented to us by the Rowland and Leta Hill Will Trust.
And finally, I want to report that the Trust is represented at all the military memorial parades: the Mendi memorial, the Gunners memorial, Delville Wood and Armistice Day. I am pleased to say that this recognition has been noted and is appreciated.
Once again, I thank the Trustees and volunteers for your contribution to a society that makes me extremely proud to be part of. Thank you.