Natal Command

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Site contributor Udo Averweg has sent in an interesting article he wrote on Natal Command and the Officer and NCO who were in charge when it closed as a military base. You can download the article (and his others) in PDF format from his page on the site.

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2 Responses

  1. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Udo,
    I found your posting quite interesting. It reminded me that I did my military service a very long time ago seeing that by 1966 I had completed my total obligations towards the SADF. That was 9 months full time Active Citizen Force Training plus 3 years 3 months on Active Reserve. I have never walked through the front doors of Natal Command as there was a side entrance in Argyle Road where we troopies used to enter on Wednesday evenings to attend compulsory parades . I was allocated to the Durban Regiment in 1962 . I had not heard of the regiment before that, the only ones you heard of where the RDLI later DLI and RNC later NC and the NMR. I understand the Durban Regiment had gone into recess if that is the right word and was only revitalised when the 9 months ACF training was introduced. After 3 months basic training at 1 SSB in Bloemfontein I was posted to 5 SAI Ladysmith for the remaining 6 months. If I am not mistaken 5 SAI was the only battalion based in Natal under control of Natal Command. As an Infantry Signaller I was somehow allocated to the Admin office in Ladysmith for a while and acted as switchboard operator for the base. Captain D. Redelinghys was OIC and his Adjutant was Field Cornet J. McAdam. I recall that trunk telecomm links between Ladysmith and Durban were rather few so I had the task of setting up calls between Ladysmith Base with the switchboard at Natal Command and when both parties were available put them through. One must remember that direct trunk call dialling was not possible then. On looking back I cannot ever recall the top brass from Natal Command ever visiting 5 SAI to see how the camp conditions were seeing the ACF training was a new direction the SADF had taken. I must say they were rather primitive and from what I gather Ladysmith Camp had stood stagnant since the end of World War 2. My late father in law recalled that he did basic training there prior to being shipped to North Africa in 1941. My memoirs of Going to the Army are written up here on Facts about Durban.

  2. Pat Sligo
    | Reply

    Hello Gerald, If it is of any interest, I had initially joined the SA Engineers situated at Natal Command, for my ACF training in 1949, but soon transferred to the RDLI, persuaded to move by an old school friend.
    Ladysmith was still open in 1949 when we did our first “rookie” camp with the RDLI, but with the change of Government in 1948, training had been placed under review, and we subsequently went to Tempe in Bloemfontein for the rest of our 4 years obligation. I think they then called it “centralised” training.
    The CO at Natal Command was a Brig. Peter Hingeston in 1949, and he retired to become a sugar cane farmer at Triangle Estates in Rhodesia. I used to visit Triangle regularly in 1955/9 when I worked for Shell.
    My ACF training was not wasted, as I was also called up to serve later in the Rhodesian Army “Bush War”.

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