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Subject Linford, Delville, Commandant:
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host
Posts:4518
Posted:1/23/2017 5:58:01 PM
RIV, Colonel. 23 July 1930 - 31 July 2015


host
Posts:4518
Posted:9/23/2019 6:44:21 AM
A tribute to a truly great man- Col. Delville Linford SM MMM
By Jandré Du Plessis

Early this year during a visit to a SWATF veteran, he invited me to his closet. "I have something very special for you and I want you to be it's new guardian", he said and produced a 91 SWA Brigade cravat, a rare item in itself. With a wide grin he told me that this particular item belonged to the famous, Colonel Delville Linford. He told me that during a formal dinner, he covertly liberated the cravat. At that moment I vowed that I will build a display honouring the legacy of Col. Linford with the cravat at its center.

Delville Linford, born in Potchefstroom on 23 July 1930, matriculated in 1948 and joined the Active Citizen Force. A few years later he enrolled at he Army Gymnasium. In 1953 he attended the Army College as a trainer instructor and gained first place, then converted to the artillery and two years later was one of the first students to attend the Military Academy at Stellenbosch. He graduated B Mil in 1957, became a gunnery instructor at the School of Artillery at Potchefstroom, then became the Officer Commanding 3 Battery. From 1964-65 he attended a gunnery staff course in England, then in 1966 presented the course in South Africa. He became an instructor at the Army Staff College, when the young major's outspokenness soon had him transferred as far from Pretoria as possible, to the castle at Cape Town.

Promoted to Commandant in 1971, he was transferred to Port Elizabeth as a training officer. In 1972 he wrote he army's war manual. In 1973 he was appointed senior South African liaison officer to a Portuguese sector commander at Serpa Pinto, Angola.

He was recalled to Army Headquarters at Pretoria in July 1974. The next month the then Director of Operations, Brigadier Constand Viljoen, approached him to serve in the West Caprivi under Major-General Fritz Loots, where he started training the Bushmen Flechas and grouped them in a battalion-strength unit based at Omega, called Alpha Group in November 1974, which he led through Operation Savannah as part of Battle Group Alpha. This group went on to become 31 Battalion later and eventually 201 Battalion in 1980, as part of the South West African Territory Force (SWATF).

In 1977 he founded 41 Battalion and served as Commanding officer until it was renamed to 911 Battalion and incorporated into the newly formed 91 SWA Brigade as part of the SWATF.

He was promoted to Colonel and served as Officer Commanding 91 Brigade until his retirement. He sadly passed away in July 2015.

This display is thus dedicated to the magnificent legacy of Col. Linford and those that served in the units he helped establish and led. His contributions to the SADF and SWATF will live on through a small display in my collection.

Few notes regarding the display:
1. Only the cravat was the property of the Colonel. The other items I sourced to complete it as accurately as possible.
2. Ribbon bars was never worn on Nutria as far as I could ascertain, in this case it serves illustrative purposes.
3. The ribbon bars show his group as it would have been worn from 1986-1989. The PF long service ribbons were replaced in 1986 and the Chief of SADF Commendation medal(Later renamed MMM) was still worn at the back of the group.
4.Above the shooting bar is the Master Gunner proficiency badge(Crossed barrels) which he qualified for as a member of the SA Artillery.
5. The Colonel's bullion wire beret badge above the Artillery beret badge serves as illustration of his rank. As high ranking member of the SWATF he would've probably not worn this particular badge but the SWATF version.


Source: The JH du Plessis Militaria Collection




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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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