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Medal/Decoration Awarded To:

Gregory A.T, Rfn
Insele Commando
SA Infantry Corps
SA Army

HONORIS CRUX - Second Type (HC) (1975)

Year Awarded:

Date of Action:

Rifleman Athol Thomas Gregory was awarded the Honoris Crux for his non-combat or non-operational act of bravery on 28 January 1987, while deployed in support of the SA Police of Empangeni as a member of the Insele Commando during the heavy rains and floods in the area. At about 8:30pm Rfn Gregory and Warrant Officer Harris of the SA Police, were summoned to Empangeni, where they were asked to help in the rescue of four people who were trapped in a tree which stood in a flooded river near the Macekane Reserve.Sergeant du Preez, Reservist Constable Kruger, Mr B Gumede and Rfn Gregory in turn tried to swim to the trapped people, but were swept along by the current each time. They tried to cross the raging waters to the tree with a rope. While endangering their lives and not knowing how long the tree would stand against the force of the flood, they made several individual attempts to reach it. It was dark already and visibility was very bad. Major Labuschagne, who was in command of the operation, tied a rope around himself and controlled the rope while the others tried to reach the stranded people. The conditions were extremely dangerous, as the river was swift and turbulent because of the rocky bed. Disregarding his own safety, Gregory tied a rope round his body and tried to swim to the tree. He was swept away at first, but managed to reach the tree on his second attempt. He and the four stranded people were then winched to safety. Reservist Captain D.C. Wittaker and Reservist WO A.R. Harris unhestitatingly used their private vehicles to provide assistance. They remained on the river bank, where they helped by controlling the rope and bringing the members, who were swept along by the current, and the stranded people to safety. For their part in the rescue, three members of the SA Police, Major Casper Jeremia Labuschagne, Sergeant Andre Juan du Preez, and Reserve Constable Andrew Edward Kruger,were awarded the SA Police Cross for Bravery (PCF), and Rifleman Gregory of the SADF was awarded the Honoris Crux.

Here we do not ONLY honour the recipient of the award, but also the circumstances and the other individuals without which the award would simply not have been possible. Even though we honour ONE PERSON's deeds, we must always remember that he did NOT operate alone and in isolation. Many unsung heroes made it possible for him to be there in those exact circumstances. So let us always remember ALL of them, especially those that paid with their lives and received no recognition. Please feel free to mention others that deserve to be remembered with, and as part of the actions of the recipient.

[Source: Enduring Valour: South Africa's Cross Of Honour - Ian Uys]
No Notes available at this time
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