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201 Battalion

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201 Battalion - (7 members)

31/201 Battalion (201 BN) [Afr: 201 Bataljon] was formed as Combat Group Alpha [Afr: Veggroep Alpha] in 1974, then renamed to 31 Battalion (31 BN) [Afr: 31 Bataljon] after Operation Savannah. In 1980 the unit became 201 Battalion as part of the SWATF. It was finally renamed 31 Battalion again in 1989. It was located at Omega Base in the West Caprivi before being relocated to South Africa after the war.


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History

RE: 201 Battalion

SHORTENED HISTORY OF 31 BN/201 BN

The fall of the Portuguese forces in Angola in April 1974, was the direct cause that Col. Delville Linford was called back to Pretoria in July 1974 from Serpa Pinto where he was working as Senior South African Liaison Officer together with the DGS. Col. Linford was appointed as the Project Leader for Project Alpha. This decision was made by Genl. Viljoen and Genl. Maj Fritz Loots (Godfather).

On Friday 6 September 1974, Wemer Edier reformed the terrain in the Western Caprivi and Col Linford and Maj Jose De Oliveira arrived on Saturday 7 September to pitch their tents in the beautiful bush terrain.

The first Fletschas arrived in Camp Alpha on 1 November 1974 and Maj Coen Upton met some of the other groups at Calai. Two companies (1 Barakwena and 1 Vasekela) was formed with a Portuguese leader group and with Co! Linford as the first commander of Camp Alpha.

On 14 October 1975 Camp Alpha started fighting in Angola and formed Battlegroup Alpha with Col Linford in command. During operation Savannah, only two troops died. On 20 December 1975 both companies returned to Camp Alpha,

During operation Savannah in November 1975, a huge group of bushmen got together with Mutoka Matheus in charge and another group with Tango Naka in charge joined the group at a later stage, In December 1975 Matoka's group formed Group C Company. The remainder of the group at Mpupa joined Omega in February 1976.

In 1976 Alpha was renamed as 31 BN and this was the start of a new base a few km north of CampAlpha, The new base was named Omega and Camp Alpha's existence came to an end.

On 10 July 1976 the crow emblem was officially worn for the first time. The emblem was originally drawn by Private Andrew Miller (medical ordnance). Mamma Grande (Senora MLF Bastos) embroidered he emblem on Col Linford's beret.

In 1977 Maj Coen Upton took over from Col Linford and started the first school and an agriculture project on a small scale at Bagani. On 17 September 1977 Omega base was formally opened by Lt Genl Constant Viljoen (Head of the South African Defence Force).

It was decided in 1978 that the Bushmen would be lifted socio-economically and a butchery, laundry, etc. was started

In 1978 the Chaplains Services also got involved at Omega and Mario Muhango was the first lay preacher.

The Church building was erected in 1979 and in 1980 31 BN was renamed to 201 BN.

The Sick Bay was instituted in 1982 and the Alpha Congregation (Vaskelas) of the Evangelical Reformed Church was formed in East Africa and in 1984 the Omega Congregation was formed for the Barakwenas.

SAWI opens in 1982, as well as a Bank, Laundry and a Tourism Shop. In 1986 the hospital at the base opens with 37 beds together with 9 Clinics, as well as a new school and hostel.

During 1988 201 BN received its Unit banner from Genl. Jannie Geldenhuys.

At the end of 1989, Omega was a Bushman town and not only a military base. They proudly had a residence count of 4 500, a base Church with 320 members, a Junior Secondary School with 130 pupils from Sub A to standard 7 and 100 children in Pre-Primary classes.


Source: Danie van den Berg



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RE: 201 Battalion

The commanders of 31 BN/201 BN were;
Cmdts
D.Linford (1974 to 1977)
Maj C.P. Upton (RIP) (1977 to 1978)
P.W. Hall (1978 to 1980)
F.A. Botes (RIP) (1980 to 1982)
B.M. Adams (1982 to 1986)
J. Jooste (1986 to 1986)
P.D.van der Merwe (1986 to 1987)
C.J. Saunders (1987 to 1989)

And the RSMs were:
WO1
F.P. van der Bergh (RIP) (1977 to 1980)
P.W. van Heerden (1980)
C.S. Schutte (1881 tot 1982)
J.J. Otto (1983 tot 1986)
J.P. James (1887)
F.W. Mostert (RIP) (1987 tot 1989

Source: Danie van den Berg
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RE: 201 Battalion

The 31/201BN Veterans Association Public Facebook Group can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/31.201bn/...


RE: 201 Battalion

201 Battalion Colours (as per Art Card, dated 1986)...


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Only Registered Users may view the Members, History and ROH of this unit
YearNumber of members on Roll Of Honour
1981
5
1982
17
1983
4
1984
7
1985
3
1986
2
1987
2
1988
3
1990
2
1991
4
1992
4
1993
2
TOTAL:
55

All 15 images below are from the Personal Photo Collections of members of this portal which had been tagged with the 201 Battalion Tag. Please note that while some images may be copyrighted by their respective owners, most have been loaded in good faith that you would not reuse them without written consent of the relevant member. PLEASE do contact the member first before you use his photos... its just common courtesy!

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Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET
Images from 'Grensoorlog' series, produced by Linda de Jager, reproduced with kind permission from MNET

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