The fourth oldest Reserve Force regiment in the SA National Defence Force – Cape Field Artillery – late last month marked its 160th anniversary by exercising its Freedom of Entry to the City of Cape Town.
The unit shared the Freedom of Entry parade with AFB Ysterplaat.
Cape Field Artillery (CFA), the oldest active artillery unit in the Commonwealth, is the only unit in South Africa still in existence that acted in defence of a direct attack on South African soil. That was in January 1915 when it defended Upington, in what is today Northern Cape, against a German force that included rebel general Manie Maritz and Boer prophet “Siener” van Rensburg. Cape Field, along with the Transvaal Horse Artillery, have the battle honours “South West Africa 1914-15”.
Major GP Damon, acting Officer Commanding CFA, was parade commander with WO1 MJ Pretorius of AFB Ysterplaat the parade warrant officer.
CFA members on parade were supported by Transvaal Horse Artillery, Vrystaat Artillerie Regiment, Transvaal Staats Artillerie, 18 Light Artillery Regiment and AFB Ysterplaat.
Colours on parade were the 13 pounder colour gun of CFA and the colours of 22 and 35 squadrons as well as that of AFB Ysterplaat.
Mechanised columns were GV5 guns used by CFA and GV1 88mm ceremonial 25 pounder guns, 35mm anti-aircraft guns from Cape Garrison Artillery, two Mambas from Cape Town Rifles and a Withings recovery vehicle from 30 Field Workshop. The mechanised columns were supported by members from 4 Artillery Regiment Potchefstroom. The helicopter fly past was done by Ysterplaat-based 22 Squadron.
The CFA’s Pipes and Drums mini-band boasts a South African first after it piped the Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll to sea following the warship visit to Simon’s town in June 2013. This honour is usually reserved for the SA Navy band but it was done by CFA Pipes and Drums at the request of Argyll’s captain.
The salute was taken by Alderman JP Smith on behalf of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille outside city hall.