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South African Forces
South African Forces


1 Special Service Battalion

Eendracht Maakt Mag, later Eendrag maak Mag and Unity is Strength; also: Faithful, True and Steady, Come what May, We are Ready

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1 Special Service Battalion - (47 members)

The Special Service Battalion (SSB) [Afr: Spesiale Diensbataljon] was established on 1 May 1933 in Roberts Heights (now Thaba Tshwane). In April 1942 the SSBs long and illustrious career with the Armoured Corps started when it was converted to an Armoured Car Regiment. In 1946, Special Service Battalion was resuscitated as a Permanent Force unit and reorganised on a two-battalion basis with the 1st Battalion as an armoured unit and the 2nd Battalion infantry. The former became a training regiment in 1953 (as 1 Special Service Battalion) and was responsible for the training of Armour soldiers, and played a major role in the Angolan/SWA conflict. The 2nd Battalion was renamed the 1 South African Infantry Battalion (1SAI) in 1951.


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From 1946

1 Spesiale Diensbattaljon (SDB) - (47 members)

The Special Service Battalion (SSB) [Afr: Spesiale Diensbataljon] was established on 1 May 1933 in Roberts Heights (now Thaba Tshwane). In April 1942 the SSBs long and illustrious career with the Armoured Corps started when it was converted to an Armoured Car Regiment. In 1946, Special Service Battalion was resuscitated as a Permanent Force unit and reorganised on a two-battalion basis with the 1st Battalion as an armoured unit and the 2nd Battalion infantry. The former became a training regiment in 1953 (as 1 Special Service Battalion) and was responsible for the training of Armour soldiers, and played a major role in the Angolan/SWA conflict. The 2nd Battalion was renamed the 1 South African Infantry Battalion (1SAI) in 1951.


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Eendracht Maakt Mag, later Eendrag maak Mag and Unity is Strength; also: Faithful, True and Steady, Come what May, We are Ready

History

RE: 1 Special Service Battalion

The SSB was established on 1 May 1933 in Roberts Heights (Voortrekkerhoogte) to save the youth from physical and moral degeneration caused by massive unemployment due to the Great Depression. The SSB was to teach the young men military discipline, fitness and various trades to enable them to be employed by the Department of Labour and Welfare. The SSB men received a salary of a shilling a day causing the SSB soon to be known as the “Bob a Day Bn”. The first Officer Commanding of the SSB was Lt Col George E. Brink. The boys of the SSB were well known for their excellent drill and PT demonstrations. The SSB also invented the now well-known “Retreat Ceremony” that was later also accepted by the British Army and is still in use today.


With the outbreak of WW II, the SSB was transformed overnight to a fully-fledged fighting unit. In April 1942 the SSBs long and illustrious career with the Armoured Corps started when it was converted to an Armoured Car Regiment. On 18/19 April 1943 the SSB set sail for Egypt as part of the 11th Armour Bde under command of the 6th SA Div, where they prepared and trained for the Italian Campaign with the Scherman Tank as main equipment. On 24 April 1944 the SSB entered Italy. Under the command of the legendary Lt Col Pappa Brits the SSB earned the Battle Honours of Italy 1944 – 1945, Celleno, Florence, The Gothic Line, the Greve and Po Valley. (Pappa Brits was the only SA soldier ever to be the RSM, adjutant and Officer Commanding of the same unit.)


Since WWII the name of the Regiment changed to 1 SSB and the Regiment was responsible for the training of Armour soldiers and played a major role in the Angolan/South West Africa conflict as well as internal operations in the RSA in support of the police. In 1989, 1 SSB received the new Rooikat 8x8 Armoured Fighting Vehicle that now together with the Ratel ZT3 Missile System, serves as the Regiment’s main equipment. In 1995 and 1996 E and D Squadrons were extensively deployed in Kwa Zulu Natal with Eland and Ratel 90 mm Armoured Fighting Vehicles. They were extremely successful in stabilising their respective areas of responsibility.


On 22 September 1998 at 01:45, B Squadron, with Maj Gustav Brink as commander, crossed the Caledon River into Lesotho with 90 mm Ratel for Operation BOLEAS. The squadron played a major role in the initial skirmishes at one of the base’s around the capital, Maseru. The next evening at 23:50 A Squadron, with Rooikat Armoured Fighting Vehicle, strengthened the South African forces in Lesotho. This was the first time that the Rooikat Armoured Fighting Vehicle was deployed outside the borders of the country.


The motto of the Regiment remains: “Faithful, True and Steady, Come what May, We are Ready.”




Source: Customs & Traditions, History and Insignia of the South African Armoured Corps, 2nd Edition...


RE: 1 Special Service Battalion

Officers Commanding 1933-2013


• Lt-Col G. E. Brink, DSO……………………………………………..…01/05/33 - 06/12/33
• Lt-Col P. de Waal…………………………………………………….…07/12/33 - 31/01/34
• Lt-Col W.H.E. Poole………………………………………………...….01/02/34 - 22/05/35
• Lt-Col J. Daniel…………………………………………………………23/05/35 - 23/02/36
• Lt-Col W.H.E. Poole……………………………………………………24/02/36 - 30/09/37
• Lt-Col J.N. Wocke………………………………………………………01/10/37 - 03/01/38
• Lt-Col H.B. Klopper………………………………………………….…04/01/38 - 26/10/39
• Lt-Col H.B. van Noorden………………………………………….....….27/10/39 - 08/01/40
• Lt-Col G.C.A van Dam, DTD………………………………………..….09/01/40 - 19/06/40
• Lt-Col C.E.G. Brits………………………………………………….......20/06/40 - 31/08/46
• Lt-Col G.E. Nauhaus, OBE…………………………………………......01/09/46 - 07/06/49
• Maj E.E Fordred………………………………………………………...08/06/49 - 23/09/49
• Maj P.E. Ferguson, MC,ED…………………………………………..…24/09/49 - 11/02/51
• Cmdt C.S. Leisegang, DSO……………………………………………..12/02/51 - 30/09/53
• Cmdt W.R. van der Riet, MC…………………………………………...01/10/53 - 13/01/61
• Cmdt S. Hugo,SM………………………………………………………14/01/61 - 30/06/63
• Cmdt J.J. Wahl, MC…………………………………………..…………01/07/63 - 08/11/64
• Cmdt J.R. Dutton………………………………………………..……....09/11/64 - 13/12/67
• Cmdt W.J. Matthews, SM……………………………………………....14/12/67 - 16/12/68
• Cmdt M.B. Anderson………………………………………….….….…17/12/68 - 31/03/69
• Cmdt W.C. Meyer…………………………………………….…..….…01/04/69 - 06/10/72
• Cmdt P.J. Schalkwyk……………………............................................…07/10/72 - 23/08/73
• Maj A.J. Snyman(Act)……………………………………………….......24/0873 - 27/11/73
• Cmdt A.P.R. Carstens…………………………………………………...28/11/73 - 31/11/75
• Cmdt R. Otto……………………………………………….….…….......01/12/76 - 10/01/80
• Cmdt F.A Botha.……………………………………………………......11/01/80 - 17/12/81
• Cmdt A.J. van Niekerk………………………………………..……....…18/12/81 - 12/12/83
• Cmdt H.T. Heinze…………………………………………………........13/12/83 - 18/12/86
• Cmdt A.J. Kriel………………………….…………………….……...…19/12/86 - 27/06/89
• Cmdt A.J. van Jaarsveld……………………………………….……...…28/06/89 - 12/12/89
• Cmdt B.C. Gildenhuys………………………………………………..….13/12/89 –31/12/93
• Col G.M. Louw HC, MMM…………………………………………..…01/01/94 - 12/12/96
• Col D.J. Laas.............................................................................................12/12/96 - 11/12/98
• Col. L Ferreira…………………………………………………….…......11/12/98 – 05/12/01
• Lt Col. Spook le Roux…………………………………………….….....05/12/01 – 06/12/06
• Lt Col F. Mbotyi……………………………………….………….….....06/12/06 – 05/12/08
• Lt Col S.J.P. Buys……………………..………………………….….......05/12/08 – Current


Regimental Sergeant Majors 1933-2013


• WO 1 J. Whammond,MC,DCM,MM……………………...........……...01/05/33 - 23/03/34
• WO 1 L.J. van der Heever…………………………………........……...24/03/34 - 04/06/34
• WO 1 B.S. Schempers……………………………………........……….05/06/34 - 21/06/35
• WO 1 S.P. Grové …………………………………...........…………….22/06/35 - 31/08/36
• WO 1 C.E.G. Brits………………………………………...........………01/09/36 - 31/03/37
• WO 1 J.D van Blommestein………………………………........……....01/04/37 - 19/06/40
• WO 1 J.W. Hamilton……………………………………………......….20/06/40 - 31/01/43
• WO 1 S. du Plessis………………………………………….........…….01/02/43 - 09/09/46
• WO 1 W.E. Wocke…………………………………………….........….10/09/45 - 31/10/51 ...


RE: 1 Special Service Battalion

1 SSSB has its own Facebook group as well: "1 Special Service Battalion (Armoured Recconnaissance Regiment)"

See https://www.facebook.com/groups/1ssbtempe/
...


RE: 1 Special Service Battalion

I was asked what the Special Services Battalion did and how it differed from the Recce Commandos:

My Reply: The SSB (or SDB, for Spesiale Diensbataljon, as we got to know it) was established as a training battalion specifically for youths in 1933, who could not find employment after the depression, therefore the designation "Special Service", or "out of the ordinary". Members of SSB were transferred to other units and were involved in battles in East Africa, Abyssinia and the Middle East as part of 1st South African Division..In 1941 the youth were transferred to a Youth Training Brigade and the SSB became an infantry battalion, which by the next year converted into an armoured car commando which formed part of the 11th South African Armoured Brigade. In 1946 it became a dedicated Permanent Force Unit comprising of an armoured battalion and an infantry battalion. The second battalion eventually became 1 South African Infantry Battalion (1 SAI) in 1951. 1 SSB had since been a dedicated Armoured unit. The current 2 SSB was initially formed as an armoured car squadron at Zeerust (C Squadron of 1 SSB) and became the second battalion of SSB (2 SSB) in 1973. Both battalions have since been directly involved in the Border War.

So as you can see the "Special" here does not indicate that the unit was Special Forces, but rather retained the origin of the battalion(s) as it had been intended for "Special Duties or Service".

Would there be anyone that disagrees?...


RE: 1 Special Service Battalion

Special Service Battalion Pre-Republic Banner: ...


RE: 1 Special Service Battalion

Special Service Battalion Emblem...


RE: 1 Special Service Battalion

1 Special Service Battalion Flag (as per Art card, dated 1996)...


RE: 1 Special Service Battalion

1 Special Service Battalion Colours (as per Art Card, dated 1964)...


RE: 1 Special Service Battalion

Art Card for the 1 Special Service Battalion Shoulder Flash, approved 1972:...


RE: 1 Special Service Battalion

Art Card for the 1 Special Service Battalion Beret Badge, approval date not given (probably around 1982):...


RE: 1 Special Service Battalion

For a High(er) Quality Image of the 1 Special Service Battalion Shoulder Flash, click here......


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User Posts and Comments
2498Posted by

Vic Sargent
on 10 January
 
15495Posted by

Dudley Wall
on 1 August

RE: 1 Special Service Battalion

1 Special Service Battalion...

YearNumber of members on Roll Of Honour
1964
2
1968
1
1971
2
1972
1
1973
2
1974
1
1975
5
1976
1
1977
2
1978
9
1979
2
1980
2
1981
5
1982
4
1983
1
1984
2
1986
3
1987
1
1988
3
1989
2
1990
1
1993
1
TOTAL:
53

All 1 images below are from the Personal Photo Collections of members of this portal which had been tagged with the 1 Special Service 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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