Fact file: Regiment Botha


Named or the Prime Minister and Boer general, Regiment Botha was formed on April 1 1934 at Ermelo and recruited in the then-northern and eastern Transvaal. By 1939 there were two battalions but only the second was mobilised on June 19, 1940.1

The unit was brigaded with 3 Transvaal Scottish and the SA Irish and served in Ethiopia. It arrived in North Africa as part of 5 SA Brigade in May 1941 and met its nemesis at the hands of the Deutsches Afrika Korps on Totensontag, November 23, 1941 when, as Major G Tylden puts it, it was “badly cut up at Sidi Rezegh and suffered heavily”. The next month, the survivors of 2 Regt Botha and the other units of 5 SA Brigade were reorganised into a composite battalion for further service. The identity of the other units disappeared and after reinforcement by a draft of Witwatersrand Rifles, 2 Regt Botha was back at full strength by April 1942. The regiment fought at first Alamein from July to October 1942, helping to stop Panzerarmee Afrika in its tracks. The unit returned to South Africa in January 1943. In August, 2 Regt Botha and Regiment President Steyn merged “for the duration” to form the Botha-President Steyn Armoured Commando, assigned to 6 SA Armoured Division. Once in Italy, the unit as broken up, with some going to the Pretoria Regiment and other to the Imperial Light Horse (now Light Horse Regiment).

In 1951 2 Regt Botha became the Regiment Christiaan Beyers.

Current role: Motorised infantry.

Current base: Barberton

Battle honours:

Motto: Altyd gereed (Always ready).

1Major G Tylden in The Armed Forces of South Africa, City of Johannesburg Africana Museum Frank Connock Publication No 2, Johannesburg, 1954.