Looking for information on the Railways and Harbours Brigade

Discussion in 'South African' started by GatoGato123, Oct 22, 2021.

  1. GatoGato123

    GatoGato123 Member

    Hello everyone,

    I was wondering if, even despite its name, the R&HB had some form of infantry during the second world war, and if they did, whether or not they fought in East or North Africa. I do believe I read somewhere that it had an infantry battalion, but I'm not entirely sure.
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  3. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    For your info In separate research I found that the South African Air Force converted several anti-aircraft formations into the infantry role, so became infantry battalions - one was posted to Algeria - and another from memory went to Italy.

    Not sure if the R&HB went that far, not my focus.
  4. MarkN

    MarkN Banned

    South Africa had severe problems recruiting enough manpower to fill-out the units it had created. The government came up with several ideas to increase the numbers willing to volunteer for overseas service. One of those was to make it easier for employees of big state institutions or organizations to sign up with guarantees of job protection - whilst employing non-whites in their positions for the duration. The two biggest employers, SAR&H and SAP, became major providers of manpower.

    The SAR&H Brigade was a formation created in South Africa for staff of the SAR&H Administration volunteering for service. The Brigade itself never left South Africa, nor did the majority of volunteers, and was engaged principally on war work in South Africa. This included 'infantry' units for local defence and protection. No SAR&H Brigade 'infantry' units served overseas.

    However, numerous sub-unit sized bodies of SAR&H employees served overseas. Mainly in engineering, construction and labour type roles, but some more pointy in nature served in armoured car sub-units. Individuals also volunteered to serve with infantry batallions.
    dryan67 likes this.

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