Battle of Sandfontein commemoration


Sandfontein Artillery Regiment (SAR), formerly the Transvaal Horse Artillery (THA), commemorated the Battle of Sandfontein with a remembrance service at Mount Collins Military Base in Johannesburg.

General Officer Commanding of SA Army Artillery Formation Major General Khaya Makina was chief functionary at the parade dedicated to gunners and drivers of the former THA who died in the battle at Sandfontein in then German South West Africa which became South West Africa and is now Namibia on 26 September 1914 against German colonial troops.

Following the service conducted by Army Training Formation Chaplain Joël Mapheto, two ceremonial gun salutes punctuated the playing of the Last Post and Reveille, concluding with a brief wreath laying ceremony and the playing of the National Anthem.

Though a setback for South African forces during the First World War, the historic occasion of bravery under fire is of major significance to the unit, to the extent it elected to change its name in a phased process from THA to SAR as part of the South African Army Reserves recently announced unit name review and name change process, according to the Gunners Association.

SAR is one of 52 SA Army Reserve Force units renamed in August to reflect “the military traditions and history of indigenous African military formations and the liberation armies involved in the freedom struggle” according to a SA Army Bulletin.

Among the unit names which have disappeared are Cape Town Highlanders now the Solomon Mahlangu Regiment, Witwatersrand Rifles, Regiment de la Rey, Gonnema Regiment; Transvaal Scottish now the Solomon Mahlangu Regiment; Prince Alfred’s Guard now the Chief Maqoma Regiment; Natal Carbineers now the Ingobamakhosi Carbineers and the Cape Field Artillery, now the Nelson Mandela Artillery Regiment.