Naval Heritage Trust & Society
The Naval Heritage Trust (NHT) was established by a small group of people in 1994 who believe it is important to ensure that our Naval Heritage was not lost through lack of interest.
The Naval Heritage Society is open to anyone who has a genuine interest is preserving, learning and contributing to South African Naval Heritage.
The Naval Heritage Trust is a registered Public Benefit Organization and was established in July 1994 with the primary objects being to generate an awareness of the South African Navy and to educate the general South African public about our naval heritage, culture and traditions.
In order to assist the trust in the achievement of this, the Naval Heritage Society of South Africa was established, initially as a separate entity, but later incorporated into the Trust. All fund raised by the Society are administered and controlled by the Trust.
The Naval Digest series was initiated in 1998 and the 29th edition was published in 2020. These booklets include biographies of prominent SAN members, histories of the well known South African ships as well as memoirs of men and women who served in both World Wars.
At present membership of the Naval Heritage Society is only R150 per annum. For this each member receives a free copy of any Naval Digest published in the subscription year. In addition members are offered a considerable discount on all the books that we publish.
Chairman Naval Heritage Trust
Born in Johannesburg and schooled there he was faced with compulsory National Service in 1963. He applied to the Naval Gymnasium rather than go to university and was accepted – even though he was only 16 years old at the time.
His year in the Gym was busy: President’s Guard, served on SAS Good Hope, SAS Pietermaritzburg, and SAS Pres Steyn. Trained as a Radar Plotter at SAS Bluff. Were it not for the fact that he was chronically sea-sick he might have made the Navy his career. Whilst studying for a BA at Wits University he did his regular parades and camps at SAS Rand.
As Regional Manager for Syfrets Trust Ltd in Cape Town, he was approached by the Naval Heritage Trust to sponsor a Digest (No 5 in 2001) about South Africans in the Royal Navy – of whom Sir Neville Syfret was one.
Bosazza became involved with the Naval Heritage Trust in 2001 and later was appointed as a Trustee, and now serves as the Chairman of the Trust.
Rear Admiral Christopher Hart Bennett
SM, MMM, SA Navy, Retired
After matriculating from Kingswood College, Grahamstown, Chris Bennett joined the South African Navy and served for over 30 years at sea and ashore. In 1964 he qualified as a Torpedo Anti-Submarine specialist officer on the Royal Navy course at HMS Vernon and in 1978 successfully c in 1974ompleted the SADF Joint Services Staff Course.
In the early 1970s he was Naval Attaché in London for three years and later served in Pretoria at both Naval Headquarters and Defense Headquarters in various staff posts. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1986 when he was appointed as Flag Officer Commanding of the newly established Naval Command West, returning to Pretoria after three successful years for his final appointment as Chief of Naval Staff.
Since his retirement he has written many articles and papers on maritime strategic matters affecting the South African Navy and is the author of a number of Naval Digests published by the Naval Heritage Trust of South Africa. He is the author of ‘Three Frigates – The South African Navy comes of age’, a definitive history of the President Class frigates, ‘South African Naval Events Day-by-Day’ a diary of major naval events in the history of South Africa and co-author of ‘South Africa’s Navy – A Navy of the People and for the People.’
In 2008 he became the honorary editor for the Naval Heritage Trust and since that date has edited and compiled a total of 9 books and 10 Naval Digests for the Trust.
Rear Admiral (JG) A.G. Söderlund
SM, PS, MMM, SA Navy Retired
Arne was born in Kimberley in 1948 and attended Christian Brothers College in Kimberley where he matriculated in 1965. He joined the SA Navy in 1966 as a seaman. During his early officer training he had the opportunity to join the Argentinean sailing vessel ARA Libertad for a training cruise before heading to the Type 12 frigates to complete his Bridge Watch training.
He was commissioned in 1970 and went on to serve in the minesweepers and frigates. On completion of the Combat Officers Qualifying course in 1973, he came joint first and was awarded the ‘Packer Shield’.
His first Command at sea was the SAS Fleur in 1974/5. In late 1975 he attended the overseas Weapons Training course and to stand by the building of the 2nd strike craft in Israel. He served in the Strike Craft Flotilla in Durban from 1978 to 1984. This period included two and a half years in command of SAS Oswald Pirow.
After numerous courses he was appointed Naval and Military Attaché (later Adviser) to the Court of St James in London, from 1994 to 1997. As Senior Liaison Officer (Visiting Ships), he was involved in the planning and execution of the SAN 75 International Fleet Review. He was appointed Director Fleet Force Preparation in November 1999, based in Simon’s Town. As such he managed the Fleet (ships and submarines) and prepared it for operations. He retired from the Navy in May 2006.
Arne is an amateur historian (military), avid reader and collector of renown, with some 400+ collections ranging from antique maps and flags to naval cap ribbons and airsick bags! His private museum has nine display galleries and raises funds for the Sunflower Fund.
He has authored, co-authored and published a number of books including a comprehensive book on the SA Navy (South Africa’s Navy) in 2008 as well as one on Top Secret clandestine maritime operations during the Border War (Iron Fist from the Sea) in 2014.
Arne has been involved with the Naval Heritage Trust for some years and brings his valuable expertise in historic and preservation matters to the Trust.
Capt Glen C. Knox
MMM, SA Navy, Retired
Glen was born in Pretoria in 1953 and the travelled with his family to live in Salisbury, Ndola, Cape Town, Durban and eventually Johannesburg where he matriculated.
Glen joined the SA Navy in 1973 and obtained his sea going qualifications on Minesweepers and Minehunters.
Glen spent 2 years as the base XO in Walvis Bay before being appointed to Protea as her XO for a year. Glen had Command of the SAS Fleur, SAS Port Elizabeth (Acting for 2 months) SAS Windhoek, SAS Umzimkulu, SAS Umkomaas and SAS Outeniqua.
Glen has completed both the JSWC and the NCSC. His five years in Saldanha saw him run the Naval Integration Basic Training course. Glen later spent 9 very enjoyable years as the Naval Harbour Master and Harbour Pilot before retiring in 2013.
Glen has been involved with the NHT since 2014 and was appointed as a Trustee in 2015 and is now involved with conducting Oral History interviews and the distribution of the Heritage publications.
Cdr Mac Bisset
SA Navy, Retired
Mac was born in Kenilworth in 1942 and enjoy his school days in Cape Town. He attended UCT and finished up with a degree in the History subjects. He joined the SADF in 1975 initially working at the Caste as an historian.
He later transferred across to the SA Navy into the post of OIC the Naval Museum which he held until he retired in 2002.
Whilst at the Museum he became involved in the Naval Heritage Trust and has been a Trustee for 18 years.
Although he does not hold a particular portfolio on the Board he continued to be a wealth of information on matters historical.
Cdr Eddie Wesselo
DTM, MMM, SA Navy, Retired
Eddie was born on 12 November 1940 in Pretoria, South Africa.
His home language was Hollands (Dutch) as his parents had emigrated from Holland in 1936.
He went to both Afrikaans and English schools (7 different schools in all).
After matriculating he worked in his father’s photographic studio for a couple of years and then went to the SAAF Gymnasium in 1961 He was the first to stand guard for a state president as part of the State Presidents Guard.
In 1962 he was one of the first to join the new English-speaking Commando’s – West Park Commando, and ended up there as OC of the unit before moving on to 7 Inf. Div. During his time at WP he served a total of 2 years with 32 Btn on the border as well as 2 X 6-week stints with other units.
He transferred to the Navy in 1988 as SO1 Marines and when they were disbanded, he became OC of SAS Yselstein where he stayed for 5 years before becoming part of DNR’s staff again.
In 1992/3 Eddie was Officer in Charge of the Naval Museum for 2 years.
During the period as OIC of the Museum, Eddie first got involved with the NHT before retiring and then again in 2010 he became fully involved as a Trustee. He now assists with Oral Histories and work in the NHT office.
Warrant Officer Class One Andre Wessels
MMM, SA Navy Retired
After leaving school in the Eastern Cape in 1967, he joined the SA Navy PF in 1968. Spent time onboard SAS Tafelberg (QM) and SAS President Steyn (Radar Operator). He left the SA Navy at the end of 1969 and spent a time in civilian employ before re-joining the SA Navy (SAS President Steyn) at the end of 1972.
He was selected and sent to France to crew SAS Good Hope. Returned to South Africa and recommissioned SAS President Steyn. Did various Radar courses and qualified as a Plot Radar Instructor (PRI). Was selected as the Military Assistant at the South African Embassy Republic of China (Taiwan) from Dec 84 – Dec 87. Joined Intelligence Branch in the Counter-Intelligence field and was appointed as the UCIO at SAS Hugo Biermann.
On restructuring, was employed at Flag Officer Fleet as SO2 CI Enquiries. Spent the last 3 years before retirement as the Curator at the SA Naval Museum. With volunteers, continued working at the SA Naval Museum and was appointed as a Trustee of the NHT and at present is the Membership Secretary.
Warrant Officer Class One David Robert Harrison
Born in Portsmouth England, David Harrison, joined the South African Navy in April 1984. After qualifying as a submariner in 1985, he decided to make a career in submarining. David Harrison served on all three Daphne submarines, eventually becoming a Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) and performing the role of Control Room Supervisor/Diving Safety Officer, responsible for the safety of the submarine at sea.
Upon the acquisition of the new 209 Class submarines, WO1 Harrison was selected to serve as the Electrical Head of Department and as Control Room Supervisor for the delivery crew of the first SAN submarine, SAS ’MANTHATISI from Germany. WO1 Harrison also served as the Acting Engineering Officer on board SAS ’MANTHATISI until she decommissioned in late 2007.
WO1 Harrison was also selected for the delivery crew of SAS QUEEN MODJAJDI 1, the third 209 Class submarine acquired from Germany and as such has had the honour of serving on all six South African submarines during his time of service.
After serving on board submarines, WO1 Harrison was appointed as the first Submarine Operations Sea Training Electrical Instructor in 2010. During this time, he also served as the Chairman of the Submarine Warrant Officers of South Africa Association and as Chairman of the South African Navy Submariners Association. In 2020, he was reappointed as the Chief Submarine Control Simulator Facilitator at the Submarine Training School.
WO1 Harrison continues to play a vital role with the SA Navy Museum and Naval Heritage Trust and over the last ten years has methodically built a data base of archival material for future generations. He has during this time compiled over 250 000 documents, pictures from negatives. He is the author of the third edition of the South African submarining book “Through the Periscope” from which chapters 2 to 5 were turned into Naval Digest 28 “Allied losses to Axis submarines in the South African Theatre 1939 to 1945”.
WO1 Harrison is married to Charmaine and has two daughters, Kim and Katelyn and lives with his family in Fish Hoek, Cape Town.
Warrant Officer Class One Les Gale
Les Gale started his military Career in 1962 as a nine-month ACF trainee at the Technical Service school (TSC) in Pretoria. After his 9 months service he was allocated to the Transvaal Scottish.
He later joined PF SA Navy in 1964 in the Radar Branch and served at sea in the Type 12 frigates. He transferred over to the SA Marines in 1979 after starting the first H.P.B. unit at Walvisbaai. He completed 3 border stints with the marines.
When the SA Marines closed down, he moved across to 1 Recce Regiment and was with them until that Unit closed down. Les the took early retirement.
He has worked with the NHT as an office volunteer since 2008. He is also a proud member of the Moths at the Snoekie Shellhole.
Warrant Officer Class One Harry Croome
Harry Croome was born in Mowbray in 1959. He completed his National Service in the SA Army in 1979 and joined PF Navy in October of the same year until his retirement in August 2019. Although his field of expertise was in the Personnel branch he has always been interested in historical matters.
His last few year were spent at the SA Naval Museum where he made great inroads in restoring and maintaining the historical buildings and facilities linked to the Museum.
He has been actively involved with the NHT for many years and is one of the voluntary workers through the office. Harry has been the driving force in keeping the 9” gun firing for specific historical events. He is also an active member of the Cannon Association of South Africa, the Simon’s Town Country Club, the False Bay Sport Shooting Club, and the Simon’s Town Neighborhood Watch Sector 2.