Pretoria Regiment


Pretoria Regiment

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Nulli Secundus - Second to None


The Pretoria Regiment provides a prepared, credible and professional force, maintaining the reserve force tank capability of the SA Army Armour Formation and serving the RSA with pride.


To provide a combat-ready tank capability to the SA Army Armour Formation by maintaining high levels of:

Competent and professional leadership;
Aggressive, efficient and effective training;
Motivation, esprit de corps and regimental traditions; and
Equipment and asset maintenance.


The Pretoria Regiment is proud of its history and the gloriously emblazoned battle honours earned during campaigns in South West Africa, Madagascar, Italy and Angola.

The Formation of the Pretoria Regiment (1913 - 1914)

The XIIth Infantry Battalion (The Pretoria Regiment) was formed in Pretoria on 01 July 1913 from the Headquarters and Pretoria elements of the Northern Rifles. To these were added the Pretoria based companies of the Central South African Volunteers, the Transvaal Scottish and the Transvaal Cycle and Motor Corps. The first CO was Lt Col Hartley Dales and the first RSM was Sergeant Major WL Penny.

Before the Regiment was a month old, C Company was mobilised for two days to assist the police in dealing with the general strike and rebellion on the goldmines during the first Rand Revolt. In January 1914, when trouble broke out again, the Pretoria Regiment was given the task of guarding the railway yards and operating staff.

World War I and the Intervening Years (1914 - 1939)

When war was declared on Germany on 21 August 1914 the XIIth Infantry Battalion (The Pretoria Regiment) was mobilised and sent into South West Africa under command of Lt Col Hartley Dales and when he moved to a higher formation, command was taken over by Major JC Freeth.

The Regiment arrived at Lüderitzbucht on the 4th of October 1914, and was occupied there for some days on outpost duty, unloading coal from transport steamers and other heavy fatigues. Then followed a very strenuous period of railway construction and block-house building, often in temperatures of 110° F, and on very short food and water rations.

Between Lüderitzbucht and Aus, the German aeroplane bombed the various camps at which the Regiment was stationed on ten occasions. The regimental tents were singled out for attention and although they only had two casualties, there were many narrow escapes. The officers' mess tent alone had eighteen holes in it and many other tents were riddled with pieces of shell.

On 31 March 1915, the Regiment took part in the combined attack on Aus under Generals McKenzie, Beves, and Byron, and the allotted units engaged were greatly disappointed that the enemy preferred retirement to giving battle.

On 19 April the Regiment was specially selected to take part in the northern operations and left Lüderitzbucht for Walvis Bay to join the 1st Brigade under General Beves. On 8 May the late General Botha inspected the newly-formed Brigades and there was a march past at Usakos, the Regiment again coming in for very high praise. The Regiment took part in the active operations against the enemy which culminated in the occupation of Otavifontein and the surrender of Khorab in July 1915.

The distance covered by these particular operations was 270 miles [430 km]. At one stage the Pretoria Regiment covered 230 miles [370 km] on foot in 16 days, of which the last 80 miles [128 km] were covered in 4 days with a final burst of 45 miles [72 km] in the last 36 hours. This was a fine achievement, when all the circumstances are taken into consideration.

On arrival at Otavifontein the Regiment was loudly cheered by the mounted troops who had themselves arrived not so very long before. After the surrender of the enemy forces at Khorab in July, 1915, the German Commander expressed his amazement at this marching feat of our Regiment.

The Regiment was then specially selected to take over the 1,000 German Regular Prisoners and to escort them to Aus on seven troop trains, which took a week.

Welcoming the Pretoria Regiment at the Union Buildings in 1915, the Prime Minister, General Louis Botha, remarked to the Pretoria Regiment Commander: "If your motto is not 'Second to None', it should be". Fifty years later the Regimental Motto "Nulli Secundus" was inscribed on the new Regimental Badge.

Upon conclusion of the South West Africa Campaign in 1915, most of the men joined the Imperial Service Units, especially the 7th South African Infantry Battalion, for the East African Campaign and the 3rd South African Infantry Battalion for the war in Europe. At the battle of Delville Wood in July 1916, Capt LW Tomlinson of the Pretoria Regiment was awarded the DSO and the French Croix de Guerre.

After the war, the Citizen Force was briefly held in abeyance but during the 1922 Rand Revolt the Pretoria Regiment was reconstituted under command of Lt Col JC Freeth, DSO, VD, and within a few days of mobilisation there were 1,000 all ranks under arms. WO1 WP Cooper was the RSM at that time.

Under command of Capt LW Tomlinson, they were chiefly engaged in freeing the railway line from the strikers' control near Benoni. The rebellion was eventually crushed by considerable military firepower and at the cost of over 200 lives.

During April-May 1926 three British officers visited South Africa in search of a suitable alliance for the Royal Welch Fusiliers (RWF). They included Major EO Skaife, OBE. After spending some time at Potchefstroom meeting the officers of a number of infantry battalions in camp, their choice fell on the PR. King George V gave his approval to the Colonel of the Fusiliers and the official affiliation steps commenced. On 30 June 1927, the Royal Welch Fusiliers, known today as the 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh, and the Pretoria Regiment became affiliated regiments.

On 31 May 1928, the Pretoria Regiment took part in the Guard of Honour for the first unfurling of South Africa's own flag by HRH Princess Alice, the Countess of Athlone. In 1930 the Princess was appointed as Colonel-in-Chief of the Pretoria Regiment and the words "Princess Alice's Own" (PAO) were added after the name Pretoria Regiment. In 1931 the Regiment became fully bilingual and on 01 July 1936, the 2nd Battalion was formed as an Afrikaans-speaking unit.

On 12 May 1937, the Cadet Detachment of Pretoria Boys' High School, Cadet Detachment 141, under command of Maj GJ (Stokkies) Joubert, VD, - a master at the school at that time, and the 1st Battalion Pretoria Regiment, under command of Lt Col JG Jeffrey, VD, became affiliated on 12 May 1937.

World War II (1940 - 1945)

The 2nd Battalion Pretoria Regiment (PAO), under command of Lt Col PL Kriek, was mobilised on 22 July 1940 as part of the 9th SA Infantry Brigade, while the 1st Battalion Pretoria Regiment (PAO), under command of Lt Col GH Boerstra, ED, was mobilised one day later, on 23 July 1940 as part of the 3rd SA Infantry Brigade.

The preparatory training of the 1st Battalion Pretoria Regiment (PAO) took place in the Cullinan, Bronkhorstspruit, Spitzkop, Carolina, and Middelburg areas; while the preparatory training of the 2nd Battalion Pretoria Regiment (PAO) took place in the Zonderwater, Louis Trichardt, De Wagendrift, Spitzkop, and Piet Retief areas. Brigade exercises were, however, usually held in the Barberton area.

When the 2nd Bn Pretoria Regiment (PAO) was disbanded on 31 December 1940, its remnants joined the 1st Bn Pretoria Regiment (PAO), which became the Pretoria Regiment (Princess Alice's Own), under command of Lt Col George Boerstra, as part of the 7th SA Infantry Brigade.

When the war began, WO1 WH (Bill) Houghton was the RSM. When he was commissioned during 1941 - later to become a Squadron Commander in the Regiment, WO1 Max Friedlander took over as RSM until 1945.

By mid June 1942 the Pretoria Regiment (PAO), under command of Lt Col CL (Kom-Kom) Engelbrecht, DSO, ED, sailed from Durban on the "Empire Trooper" for its first tour of active duty under command of the 7th SA Infantry Brigade. They reached Diego Suarez in Madagascar 11 days later, from where they successfully completed an amphibious landing at Tulear in a joint operation with the Royal Marines code named "'Operation Rose". Here, for the first time, they met the Royal Welch Fusiliers to whom they had become affiliated in 1927.

Warned that the Pretoria Regiment might have to fight a rearguard action, should the Japanese occupy Madagascar, Lt Col CL (Kom-Kom) Engelbrecht realised that there would be no chance of escape. Consequently he made preparations for the Regiment to become a guerrilla force, but fortunately, this was not needed.

After the Regiment returned from Madagascar, it was attached to the 6th SA Armoured Division in training at Khatatba north-west of Cairo in Egypt and converted to armour. The 29 year old Lt Col Arthur H Johnstone, who had served in the Western Desert until then, was appointed CO of the Pretoria Regiment, and under his command the Regiment was sent to Italy as part of the 11th SA Armoured Brigade.

The Regiment, plus their tanks, was shipped to Italy where they landed at Taranto and Bari on 20 April 1944. After disembarkation, they underwent further training at Matera and Altamura respectively before moving north towards Rome.

The Regiment went into its first action as an armoured unit at the village of Grotto S Stefano north of Rome. All the Regiment's tanks formed up in line overlooking the village and they fired 1,200 rounds into Grotto S Stefano.

As part of the 24th Guards Brigade, the Regiment and the 5th Grenadier Guards led the 6th SA Armoured Division's advance on Orvieto. At the citadel of Bagno Regio, No 3 Troop of A Squadron, commanded by Major Riches, was pinned down in the open for 36 hours. They fired close on 120,000 rounds from their Browning machine guns and the Troop Leader, Lt Fred Davey, repeatedly crossed the road in the face of sweeping Spandau machine gun fire to relay messages when the tank radios were put out of action by German fire.

For his brave conduct Lt Davey was awarded the Military Cross, the first Regimental decoration, while the Regiment earned its first Battle Honour of the Italian Campaign.

Lessons learnt were put into practice when the second Battle Honour was earned northwest of Sarteano. Here Lt Guy Chennels won an immediate award of the Military Cross for bravery. Discovering enemy preparations for a counter-attack he charged the position five times, inflicting heavy casualties and when his tank ammunition gave out he fired his Tommy gun from the turret and also hurled hand grenades at the Germans.

On 01 August 1944, the Pretoria Regiment was advancing outside Florence. The lead tank from A Squadron was hit by an 88 mm gun and the sixth tank set off a mine, immobilising the whole column. C Squadron, brought up to outflank the enemy from the right, drove on towards Bologna and came under very heavy fire.

After two months of strenuous fighting, the Regiment had lost 124 tanks. Quoted from page 81 of the PR War Diary: "Some idea of just how heavily engaged we had been can be gained by our tank turnover - 60 destroyed and another 64 put out of action temporarily by various means such as mines, artillery, accidents and breakdowns".

The Gothic Line came next. The American 5th Army broke through the Gothic Line suffering 3,903 casualties.

Protecting the left flank, A Squadron was ordered to seize Monte Caterelto. Only the Squadron HQ and one Troop reached Castiglione before the road crumbled, and only two tanks could be brought along the ridge. The Germans counter-attacked twice and were repulsed on both occasions. Then C Squadron advanced on the Bucciagno Spur overlooking Caterelto and on the crumbling glue like boulder strewn track, only one tank remained mobile while the others fired as pill-boxes, alternatively supporting the attack on Caterelto and repulsing counter-attacks. B Squadron closed up to join the action and A Squadron tried to break the stalemate by outflanking the enemy via Route 6620. The 11th US Corps finally succeeded in outflanking and forcing that determined German garrison back.

Pierre Niehaus, the Regimental Intelligence Officer at that time, confirmed that the Regiment officially approved the formation of the Pretoria Regiment Association at a gathering in an open field near Lucca, South of the Apennines, in Italy on Sunday 17 September 1944. Nothing more would have happened in this regard until the fighting was over in 1945, and the first AGM of the Pretoria Regiment Association was only held in Pretoria during May 1946.

When the winter of 1944-1945 set in, the Regiment first operated as infantry in the snow and then was re-equipped with 76 mm Sherman tanks plus six 105 mm Shermans.

The 6th SA Armoured Division had entered Castiglione dei Pepoli in September 1944 and at the end of November 1944, Lt Col Arthur Johnstone, the CO of the Pretoria Regiment, decided on the actual site of the South African War Cemetery at Castiglione which was the started by the RSM, WO1 Max Friedlander.

The South African forces held positions some 8 kilometres north of Castiglione during the winter and many burials came directly from the Apennine battlefields. The majority of the original graves were South Africans from the Pretoria Regiment. The rest were mostly from the 24th Guards Brigade, which was part of the 6th South African Armoured Division.

In February 1945 the Pretoria Regiment said farewell to the 24th Guards Brigade and moved back to reorganise as a combined Armoured / Reconnaissance Regiment. It emerged with five Squadrons of five Troops each. With some 1,200 men on strength, it was the largest armoured unit in the Commonwealth.

Returning to Castiglione in April 1945, the push for the Po Valley began. The Regiment led the 6th SA Division advance westwards past Bologna.

Maj Percy Kightley was awarded the Military Cross for his cool daring and disregard for personal safety in reconnoitring and then securing a suitable crossing to replace the demolished Canale di Burana Bridge.

At Felonica, south of the Po River, the enemy held on tenaciously and Lt Murdo Munro personally led his armoured column in a charge on the village, in spite of Nebelwerfer, small arms and anti-tank fire, and with every house used as a pill-box. He was awarded the Military Cross for his gallant leadership and bravery, while Sgt WS Simpson was awarded the Military Medal. Soon thereafter Lt Munro received the US Bronze Star for bravery in breaking the Venetian Line.

The Po River was crossed on 27 April 1945 and on the next day the Regiment reached the Venetian Line on the slopes of Monte Berici. Lt Col Johnstone received an immediate award of the Distinguished Service Order for his outstanding leadership in the whole Campaign and especially his skilful handling of the breakthrough of the Venetian Line.

During the Italian Campaign, members of the Regiment were awarded one Distinguished Service Order (DSO), five Military Crosses (MC), three Military Medals (MM), seven Mentioned in Dispatches (MID), one US Silver Star and one US Bronze Star.

The Regiment had earned eight battle honours in Italy, honours that echo the splendour of an age-old civilisation.

The Post World War II Period (1946 - 1989)

On 01 January 1946, the Pretoria Regiment (PAO) once again split into two Regiments, namely the 1st Pretoria Regiment (PAO) under command of Lt Col AH Johnstone, DSO, ED, and the 2nd Pretoria Regiment (PAO) under command of Lt Col PL Kriek.

On 01 January 1954 the two Regiments were once again amalgamated into one Pretoria Regiment (PAO) under command of Cmdt Harold S Morony, OBE, ED, who was succeeded by Cmdt AL du Preez, ED, in 1958.

The 1960 Emergency "Operation Duiker" relieved the monotony of peace-time training and the men of the Regiment showed their readiness for action in a swift response to the call, as their predecessors had done 20 years earlier. As the Emergency began Cmdt Jannie A van Jaarsveld, JCD, took over command of the Regiment.

During 1960 the suffix "Princess Alice's Own" (PAO) had to be removed from the name of the Pretoria Regiment as South Africa had left the British Commonwealth to become a Republic in 1961.

After WO1 Jan G Heyneke joined the Permanent Force in 1962, WO2 Richard P (Karos) Joubert acted as RSM for two years and he was succeeded by WO1 George W Hattingh, PMD, PPM, who did much to revive the Warrant Officers' and Sergeants' Mess before becoming Corps Sergeant Major in 1973.

During the Regiment's Golden Jubilee celebrations a parade was held at the Caledonian Grounds on 29 June 1963, at which the Regiment received its new Colour - the first to be manufactured in South Africa. The Ensign was Lt PJF (Fick) Fourie who later commanded 2 Regiment Noord Transvaal, and WO2 Karos Joubert was the RSM on this solemn occasion.

On 01 July 1963, the Mayor and the City Council of Pretoria accorded the Regiment the honour of the Freedom of Entry to the City of Pretoria with bayonets fixed, drums beating and Colours flying, in proud recognition of the Pretoria Regiment's fifty years of service to the City and to South Africa. During 1963 the Regiment also participated in Ex Spitzkop 1 in Potchefstroom.

In 1965 Cmdt Heini R Dittberner, JCD, took over command of the Regiment. The Regiment was camped at Badge Hill on the Gen de Wet training area outside Bloemfontein in 1965 and participated in Ex Spitzkop 2 in Potchefstroom during 1966.

The Regimental camp at Driekloof in November 1969 saw a full Regiment - 3 Tank Squadrons plus the HQ Squadron - undergoing continuous training at Gen de Wet training area outside Bloemfontein.

The Regiment also took part in the Republic Day parades held in Pretoria in 1966, again in Cape Town in 1971, and in Durban in 1981 where only the Regimental Colour Party took part.

In 1970 Cmdt Brian V Blignaut, SM, JCD, took over command of the Regiment. Post-war training varied as circumstances changed from full-scale Regimental camps down to mere token practices. Training continued at a low intensity in the 1970's with a system of Cycle A, Cycle B and Cycle C training which meant that one Squadron usually went to camp at a time, and then only once every three years. Such continuous training was done at Potchefstroom, Bloemfontein and Walvis Bay.

Non-continuous training consisted of parades held every Tuesday night and once a month on a Saturday. These were compulsory for all members living in Pretoria, and took the form of drill parades behind DHQ, lectures, tewts (tactical exercises without troops), and small arms shooting exercises with personal weapons.

In 1973 the Pretoria Regiment "Trooped the Colour" at the Defence Force Sport Stadium in Voortrekkerhoogte as the climax of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. The "A" Guard was commanded by Major Deon FS Fourie, JCD, who took command of the Pretoria Regiment in 1975. The celebrations included the ceremony of "Beating Retreat" in front of the City Hall, a Medal Parade in front of the Command Headquarters at which the popular Commanding Officer, Cmdt Brian Blignaut, JCD received the Southern Cross Medal, a March through Town, a Military Ball and a Church Parade.

At that time the Regiment formed part of the Northern Transvaal Command which was based in Voortrekkerhoogte, now Thaba Tshwane, while the Regimental Headquarters were situated in Hut T295, in Dequar Road.

In 1974 the Regiment became part of 81 Armoured Brigade and RHQ was moved to the new Poynton Building, only to be moved to Silverton in 1980 just as Cmdt Eddie H Penzhorn, JCD, took command.

The Regiment had taken part in Ex Spitzkop 1 in 1963 and Ex Spitzkop 2 in 1966 at Potchefstroom, but with the formation of the brigades, brigade training became an annual event on the Regimental calendar. In 1975 the newly formed 81 Armoured Brigade held its first Brigade exercise Ex De Wet 5 (Badge Hill) at the Gen De Wet training area outside Bloemfontein.

In 1976 the Regiment completed an intensive 26-day continuous tank gunnery refresher course under 81 Armoured Brigade, held at 1 SA Infantry Bn in Bloemfontein. At the same time, the RHQ Troop Sgt, Adam Loock, and the OC's driver, Cpl CP Nell, attended the first conversion course to the new Ratel IFV with members of 1RNT.

The last 81 Armoured Brigade training exercises held in Bloernfontein were Ex Mainstay I in June 1977, Ex Mainstay II in July 1977 and Ex Mainstay III in August 1977. These training exercises marked the end of a training era and heralded the new concepts of mechanised infantry in IFV's and fully integrated mobile warfare with flexible and custom-made battle groups and combat teams.

The year 1978 brought with it an introduction to the Army Battle School at Lohatlha. The new approach to training required some fundamental attitude adjustments, but this change in training was geared to equip the Regiment for the real thing. Ex Mare Mane 1 laid the foundations for the success of all future training, even though the Battle School was not fully operational yet.

Successive training exercises such as Ex Blinkspies 1 in 1979, Ex Applause 4 in 1980, Ex Mamba 3 in 1981, Ex Panther 4 in 1982 and Ex Eland 1 in 1983, showed that the Regiment had taken up the task of training itself in earnest. All the hard work brought well earned rewards and the Regiment's evaluation results were of a high standard. Consequently, the Pretoria Regiment received the Brigade Floating Trophy (Olifant Poot) in 1981 for the best unit in the Brigade.

The Pretoria Regiment has seen many changes in history. In the 1960's tank crews were converted from Sherman Tanks and Mark IV Armoured Cars to Centurion Tanks and Ferrets. These in turn had to make way for the Eland 60 and Eland 90 Armoured Cars, the Skokiaan Tank followed by the Semel Tank and finally the Olifant MBT.

The Ford 3-ton lorry was replaced by the Bedford 4 X 4 to be followed by the Sarnil 20, 50 and 100 variants. The .38 S&M Revolver, the .303 Rifle and the Sten gun gave way to the 9 mm pistol, the 9 mm Uzzi SMC, the 7.62 mm FN, the RI, the R4, and the R5. The crew commander's visual range finding has been replaced by laser range finders, and so on.

In spite of all this, the spirit of the Pretoria Regiment has not changed. The job to be done comes first. This was clearly illustrated by Ex Panther 4 in 1982, when the Regiment supplied troops for a 60-day Modular Infantry Company deployment, the first Regimental tour of duty in the operational area as infantry together with members from LHR and NMR under command of Capt P Kruger from 1RNT, based at Oshivello, patrolling the so-called "kap-lyn" in the operational Tsumeb / Etosha area.

The second Regimental tour of duty in the operational area in 1982 was a 90-day Modular Infantry Company deployment as an Infantry Company with Maj Chris Raats in command, Capt Johnny Parsons as 2IC, and WO2 Noel Honeyborne as CSM. After a brief conversion training course at Oshivello, the company assumed operational duty at Etanga from where they spent the rest of the 3 months doing area patrol work on foot in the most adverse conditions. A tough comedown for any tank crew but done in true PR style.

It is interesting to note that these men reported for duty in July 1982, 42 years after the mobilisation of the Pretoria Regiment, also as Infantry, for World War II.

In 1984 the Regiment again reported for a tour of duty in the operational area, this time as the HQ of Battle Group Golf under command of T/Cmdt Chris Raats with Maj Johnny Parsons as 2IC, Capt Tollie Nel as Adjutant and WO1 Andy Carstens as RSM. After a brief conversion training course at Oshivello, the Battle Group moved to 53 Bn at Ondangua from where they were deployed in the operational area as required. During this tour they were visited by the grand old man of this Regiment, the spritely 73-year-old Honorary Colonel, Col Percy Kightley, MC, ED.

During April 1985 the Regiment assisted the School of Armour in converting Regiment Molopo from Armoured Cars to Tanks. WO2 Adam Loock and the PR Instructors did such a fine job that the Regiment was again used to assist in tank conversion training during 1986, 1987 and 1990. This achievement speaks of the very high standard which this Regimental Instructors core maintained.

During September - November 1985, Capt Wim Grobler commanded the PR Squadron called up for a 60-day Coin deployment in the Kempton Park / Daveyton Area on the East Rand. They were based at Atlas Aircraft Corporation in Kempton Park from where they provided armed patrols in the area while operating in support of the SAP.

On 01 January 1986 Cmdt Chris Raats, JCD, MMM, took over command of the Pretoria Regiment. During Ex Octavo held at the Army Battle School in September - October 1986, the final practical phase of the Regiment Molopo tank conversion was completed, followed by a two-squadron field exercise involving a Pretoria Regiment Squadron and a Regiment Molopo Squadron. The tanks used in this field exercise where also deployed in the operation area during 1987.

In December 1987 the Pretoria Regiment called up a tank squadron for duty in the operational area. On call-up WO2 Adam Loock took charge of the drawing and preparation of all the A vehicles including the totes and the spare equipment, while WO1 Andy Carstens looked after the drawing and preparation of all the B vehicles and the loading of all the equipment onto these vehicles.

In a burst of CF enthusiasm the CO, Cmdt Chris Raats, decided to command the Squadron with Capt Frans Parsons as 2IC, WO1 Andy Carstens as Squadron SM supported by WO2 Gawie Krugel and WO2 Theo Kriek as Squadron QMS.

When Cmdt Raats withdrew from the operational area, Maj Wim Grobler took over command of the Squadron and led the final battle of Cuito Cuanavale in January 1988. In a 58-minute engagement eight enemy tanks were destroyed without the Regiment losing a single man or tank.

A freak accident and cerebral malaria caused the only two deaths, those of Sgt MG Pienaar and Tpr HJ Nieuwoudt respectively. The Regiment once again lived up to its motto - "Second to None".

On Friday 01 July 1988, the Pretoria Regiment "Trooped the Colour" at the Defence Force Sport Stadium in Voortrekkerhoogte as the climax of the 75th Anniversary celebrations. On the Saturday morning the Regiment exercising its right of the Freedom of Entry to the City of Pretoria with bayonets fixed, drums beating, and Colours flying, followed by tanks and other vehicles on the tar. A large contingent of PR Veterans joined the parade and took part in the march past where the salute was taken by the Mayor of Pretoria in front of Munitoria. The evening ended with a formal Mayoral Ball at the City Hall and a Regimental Church Parade was held at the Defence Force Sport Stadium in Voortrekkerhoogte on the Sunday morning.

During January 1989, the Pretoria Regiment Squadron under command of Maj Wim Grobler took part in the battle of Quito Cuanavale.

The Post South West Africa / Angola Period (1990 - 2000)

During August - September 1990, the Regiment took part in Ex Manu Ferrea at the Army Battle School in Lohatlha with two Squadrons.

On 01 April 1991, Lt Col Wim Grobler took over command of the Pretoria Regiment.

In July 1991, the Chief of the Army, Lt Gen Georg Meiring, SSA, SD, SM, MMM, presented the South African National Colour to the Pretoria Regiment and nine other 81 Armoured Brigade units - 17 Field Regiment, 1 Regiment Noord Transvaal, SA Irish Regiment, 2 Light Horse Regiment, 5 Forward Delivery Squadron, 15 Field Engineer Regiment, 81 Signals Unit, 20 Maintenance Unit and 32 Field Workshop - at a Massed Colour Presentation Parade held at the Defence Force Sport Stadium in Voortrekkerhoogte.

During 1991, 81 Armoured Brigade closed down and the Regiment moved from Silverton to its present location on Magazine Hill from where it reported directly to the General Officer Commanding 8 Armoured Division.

With the advent of the new South Africa and the SANDF after 1994, this National Colour was laid up in the Bunker.

During 1999, 8 Armoured Division closed down and the Regiment then reported directly to the General Officer Commanding SA Army Armour Formation.

The New Millennium (2000 - 2012)

On 01 July 2000, Lt Col Cliff van der Westhuizen took over command of the Pretoria Regiment.

The Pretoria Regiment relies entirely on volunteers, black and white - men and women, to maintain its personnel strength and it continues as a tank regiment in what is now called the Reserve Force.

During the middle of 2002 an active recruiting campaign was started amongst the future leaders from in particular the University of Pretoria, to address structure according to the economic active population ratio, hereby recruiting and training the future commanders and other key personnel and troops from the population of the City of Tshwane. This training also aided in building a capable and responsible workforce from our leaders of tomorrow.

During the Pretoria Regiment's 90th birthday celebrations in July 2003 these future leaders were also exposed to a foundation to start building new traditions and renew ties with the area in which they reside. The 90th year also marked a traditional milestone as far as age goes and for the Pretoria Regiment it marked the beginning of a new era in which it started to apply a totally new concept in recruitment and training from a totally different base than in the past.

As a result of the two recruitment drives during the last ten years, the Pretoria Regiment managed to add back a squadron of tank crews and two fully qualified Lieutenants with another candidate officer confirmed in 2009. This period was also more devoted to maintaining the skills and creating succession and depth in the Pretoria Regiment to ensure future existence. Due to the nature and dynamics of the Reserve Force, members come and go from time to time but in essence the Pretoria Regiment positively influenced the opinions of our future business leaders and opinion formers regarding the Defence Force.

The True Spirit of the Pretoria Regiment

Over the years the Pretoria Regiment has typified the system of part-time military service rendered by ordinary citizens. When full scale military operations have required it to serve, the men have been there, uncomplaining, maintaining top standards of performance, accepting cold, hunger, heat, physical exhaustion, sleep deprivation, even death.

In peace time the Regiment has endeavoured to maintain the highest levels of training with patience, initiative, and a sense of duty - even at times when financial limitations frustrated their efforts at achieving higher standards.

The devotion to duty, the courage of men under fire and their fortitude in adverse conditions will continue in the years to come, carried forward by that which has brought the Pretoria Regiment to where it is today; pride in a fine Regimental history and in hallowed Regimental traditions, but most of all, a genuine love for the Regiment in which men have proudly served as true comrades-in-arms, always striving to be "Second to None"!



The Royal Welch Fusiliers / 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh [Affiliated 30 June 1927]

Regimental alliances began in the hope that they would foster Commonwealth relations and develop regimental esprit de corps through relations with older regiments.

During April-May 1926 three British officers visited South Africa in search of a suitable alliance for the Royal Welch Fusiliers (RWF). They included Major EO Skaife, OBE. After spending some time at Potchefstroom meeting the officers of a number of infantry battalions in camp, their choice fell on the PR. King George V gave his approval to the Colonel of the Fusiliers and the official affiliation steps commenced. On 30 June 1927, the Royal Welch Fusiliers, known today as the 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh, and the Pretoria Regiment became affiliated regiments.

In the 1930's two officers from the Pretoria Regiment were accepted to spend a few months on a secondment to the RWF while they had sabbatical leave from the civil service. One was Major Ted Eustace, later a South African ambassador. The other was Major JFJ (Hans) van Rensburg, who at the age of 35 was Secretary for Justice.

The Pretoria Regiment received its new Colour in 1963. After the presentation, the Colour was carried to the Regiment in slow time with the band playing the march "Men of Harlech" to recall the Royal Welch alliance. When the Pretoria Regiment turned 60 in 1973, the Colour was trooped to the same slow march and the advance of the Colour Guard to take post at the Colour, was to the march "The British Grenadiers", the quick march of the RWF.

Cadet Detachment 141: Pretoria Boys' High School [Affiliated 12 May 1937]

The Pretoria Boys' High School Cadet Detachment, registered as Cadet Detachment No 141, was established on 01 September 1910 as a unit of the Transvaal Cadets.

The Cadet Detachment, commanded by Maj GJ (Stokkies) Joubert, VD - a master at the School, and the 1st Battalion of the Pretoria Regiment, commanded by Lt Col JG Jeffrey, VD, became affiliated on 12 May 1937.

After the Second World War, the Pretoria Boys' High School (PBHS) cadet uniform included a green diamond shaped cloth Command Flash and below that the red and yellow bar shaped cloth Pretoria Regiment Flash worn by all cadets on the upper arm of the right shirtsleeve. The cadet officers wore a Sam Browne, brown army boots and olive green hose tops with white anklets.

During the Royal Visit of HM King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1947, 10 boys of the Cadet Detachment were selected to fill ten places in the Guard of Honour of the Pretoria Regiment, for the arrival of the Royal Family in Pretoria on 29 March 1947.

Until 1968, the School had a bugle band trained by Lt Vivian Viljoen, one of the masters who later became a Major in the Pretoria Regiment. On several occasions, it played the Pretoria Regiment through the streets of the city to entrain for annual camp. To the delight of the soldiers and the crowds it played marching renditions of popular Beatles music, such as "I want to hold your hand". In 1975 a group of cadets spent a week-end with the Pretoria Regiment in camp at De Brug training area near Bloemfontein.

From the mid 1980's onwards, the Student Officers, wore a black Pretoria Regiment type beret with an individualised PBHS cap badge designed for the Cadet Detachment.

The School's Pipe Band, trained by Capt Peter Digby, also one of the masters, won the South African Junior Pipe Band Championships in 1973, 1982 and 1984. The Pipe Band wore the Pretoria Regiment's collar badges on their tunics.

Many former pupils and masters of Pretoria Boys' High School have served in the Pretoria Regiment. Four of the Regiment's Commanding Officers had very close ties with Pretoria Boys' High School. Cmdt Harold Morony, OBE, (OC: 1952-1953) and Cmdt Brian Blignaut, SM, JCD, (OC: 1970-1975) were both pupils at the School, while Cmdt Heini Dittberner, JCD, (CO: 1965-1970) was a master at the School, and Cmdt Eddie Penzhorn, MMM, JCD, (CO: 1980-1985) was both a pupil and a master at the School and commanded the Cadet Detachment from 1979 to 1980.

Contact Details:

Regimental Contact Details:

The Pretoria Regiment
PO Box 914014
Thaba Tshwane
South Africa

Association Contact Details:

The Pretoria Regiment Association
PO Box 26158
South Africa

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