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Roll of Honour Member:
Year of DeathForce NumberName and RankDate of DeathUnitServiceViews
198174290719BTCromhout J.C., Rfn1981/12/292 Parachute BattalionSouth African Army1320
Veteran of Cassinga during Ops Reindeer in 1978, seriously wounded in an action during a protracted attack on the town of Evale in Southern Angola that had been reinforced by a large contingent of FAPLA, Russian and East German troops, during Operation Vlinder. He was hit by 82mm mortar bomb shrapnel and was evacuated by an Alouette III Helicopter Gunship flown by Lieutenant Serge Bovey that was unfortunately hit by enemy small-arms fire and forced to crash-land. The helicopter crew was uninjured but they saw that the casualty showed no signs of life and due to heavy concentrated enemy fire, they were forced to abandon the casualty and escape and evade. Rifleman Cromhout's body, still trapped in the wreckage, was later extracted from the wrecked helicopter by Sergeant Martin McPhail from 3 Para with the assistance of members from 2 Para. While waiting for assistance, his position at the crash site was attacked by five FAPLA soldiers but he successfully took out all five. After the body was recovered, Sergeant McPhail removed the working parts from the Allouette Gunship's 20mm Cannon and then burnt out the helicopter wreck with a white phosphorus hand grenade. Cromhout's body was then carried out of the battle area by his comrades. The small group of Paras (5 sticks / 48 men) that attacked Evale suffered 39% casualties with one being killed in action. The Paras were heavily outnumbered and also outgunned by a numerically superior, dug-in enemy force with heavy weapons (82mm mortars, 14.5 heavy machine guns and SZU-23 Anti-Aircraft guns used in the ground role. According to intercepted radio comms, the enemy lost 66 men KIA in the town which did not include PLAN fighters engaged on the way into the town. Both crew members (Lt Serge Bovy and Sgt AJ Janse van Rensburg) of the stricken helicopter survived after they were picked up in the helicopter flown by Capt Arthur Walker who had landed nearby despite enemy fire, and returned to base safely. It was for this action that Capt Walker was subsequently awarded his second Honoris Crux Gold, making him the highest decorated soldier in the SADF. His flight engineer, Sgt "Boats" Botes, was awarded the Honoris Crux Silver, while the pilot of the stricken helicopter, Lt Serge Bovy, was awarded the Honoris Crux. Although Sgt Martin McPhail was cited for bravery his actions were never officially recognised.
 
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