New Reserve Force unit names

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The names of 52 SA Army Reserve Force units have been consigned to the history books with new ones to reflect “the military traditions and history of indigenous African military formations and the liberation armies involved in the freedom struggle”.

Among the names set to disappear are Cape Town Highlanders, Transvaal Scottish, Witwatersrand Rifles, Regiment de la Rey, Prince Alfred’s Guard, Regiment de Wet, SA Irish Regiment, Natal Carbineers, Transvaal Horse Artillery and others.

An SA Army Bulletin, dated 7 August, explains South Africa has a rich and diverse military history.

“Currently military traditions in SA Army Reserve units reflect only those from the South African Defence Force (SADF) and its predecessor, the Union Defence Force (UDF). The military traditions and history of indigenous African military formations and liberation armies involved in the freedom struggle have yet to be reflected in SA Army Reserve units.

“It was the aim of the name review process to address this omission in a balanced and innovative way.

“A name review steering committee was established to manage the name change process, on a consultative basis, to ensure buy-in from internal and external stakeholders. Extensive research was conducted into South Africa’s military history. The process accommodated regional uniqueness and allowed for acknowledgement of military heroes and past events as well as creating space to accommodate local military history not reflected in the structure of the SA Army.”

The research, led by SA Army Director: Reserves, Brigadier General Gerhard Kamffer, saw an approved list of prominent chiefs, military leaders, battles and important military events produced.

The Bulletin points out following a consultative approach, consensus and greater synergy between stakeholders was achieved, with the outcome “that unit names adopted are appropriate to the new South Africa and enhance cohesiveness and regimental pride within the Reserves”.

Twenty units in the SA Army Infantry Formation will be renamed. They are Natal Carbineers to Ingobamakhosi Carbineers (IC); Cape Town Rifles to Chief Langalibalele Rifles (CLR); First City to Chief Makhanda Regiment (CMR) Prince Alfred’s Guard to Chief Maqoma Regiment (MR); Cape Town Highlanders to Gonnema Regiment (GR); Transvaal Scottish to Solomon Mahlangu Regiment (SMR); Witwatersrand Rifles to Bambatha Rifles (BR); Regiment Botha to General Botha Regiment (GBR); Regiment de la Rey to General de la Rey Regiment (GDLR); Regiment de Wet to Chief Albert Luthuli Regiment (CALR); Regiment Westelike Provinsie to General Jan Smuts Regiment (GJSR); South African Irish Regiment to Andrew Mlangeni Regiment (AMR); Regiment Christiaan Beyers to Mapungubwe Regiment (MAPR); Regiment Piet Retief to Nelson Mandela Regiment (NMR); Regiment President Kruger to Lenong Regiment (LR); Regiment Oos Rand to OR Tambo Regiment (ORTR); Durban Regiment to King Shaka Regiment (KSR); Regiment Bloemspruit to Mangaung Regiment (MAUR); Regiment Noord-Transvaal to Job Masego Regiment (JMR) and 2 Parachute Battalion to Bagaka Regiment (BAGR).

The six Artillery Formation units in line for new names are Cape Field Artillery to Nelson Mandela Artillery Regiment (NMAR); Natal Field Artillery to King Cetshwayo Artillery Regiment (KCAR); Transvaal Horse Artillery to Sandfontein Artillery Regiment (SAR); Vrystaat Artillerie Regiment to General Dan Pienaar Artillery Regiment (GDPR); Transvaal Staatsartillerie to State Artillery Regiment (SAR) and 18 Light Regiment to Steve Biko Artillery Regiment (SBAR).

In the Air Defence Artillery Formation, five units will have new names. They are Cape Garrison Artillery to Autshumato Anti-Aircraft Regiment (AAAR); Regiment Vaal Rivier to Galeshewe Anti-Aircraft Regiment (GAAR); Regiment Oos Transvaal to iWombe Anti-Aircraft Regiment (IAAR); 6 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment to Sekhukhune Anti-Aircraft Regiment (SAAR) and44 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment to Madzhakandila Anti-Aircraft Regiment (MAAR).

The six SA Army Armour Formation units to receive new names are Natal Mounted Rifles to Queen Nandi Mounted Rifles (QNMR); Light Horse Regiment to Johannesburg Light Horse Regiment (JLHR); Pretoria Regiment to Pretoria Armour Regiment (PAR); Regiment President Steyn to Thaba Bosiu Armour Regiment (TBAR); Regiment Oranjerivier to Blaauwberg Armour Regiment (BAR) and Regiment Mooirivier to Molapo Armour Regiment (MAR).

The SA Army Engineer Formation will see its Reserve Force component with three new names. They are 3 Field Engineer Regiment to Ihawu Field Engineer Regiment (IFER); 9 Field Engineer Regiment to Umkhonto Field Engineer Regiment (UFER) and 44 Parachute Engineer Regiment to Ukhosi Parachute Engineer Regiment (UPER).

Similarly, three Signal Formation units change. They are 71 Signal Unit to Western Cape Signal Unit (WCRSU); 7 Signal Group to Gauteng Reserve Signal Unit (GRSU) and 84 Signal Unit to Kwa-Zulu Natal Signal Unit (KWSU).

Nine name changes are made in the SA Army Support Formation. They are 30 Field Workshop to Doman Field Workshop (DFW); 31 Field Workshop to General Sipho Binda Field Workshop (GSBFW); 32 Field Workshop to Sabelo Phama Field Workshop (SPFW); 71 Field Workshop to Chris Hani Field Workshop (CHFW); 37 Field Workshop to Sekhukhune Field Workshop (SFW); 7 Field Workshop to Ngungunyane Field Workshop (NFW); 4 Maintenance Unit to Logistical Support Unit (LSU); 11 Maintenance Unit to General Andrew Masondo Maintenance Unit (GAMU) and 19 Transit Maintenance Unit to Madiba Bay Maintenance Unit (MBMU).

defenceWeb is reliably informed the affected units have not yet taken decisions on new insignia, including beret/cap badges and flashes as well as colours.

Existing unit colours, along with battle honours will be laid up during parades over a three year phasing-in period.