South African WWII Unit War Dairies

Discussion in 'South African' started by MrMac, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. MrMac

    MrMac Junior Member


    I have discovered to my dismay that the South African War diaries (under WO179) held at the UK National Archives, in the main seem to stop just past June 1941. Does anyone here know why ? (All the other Dominion forces seems to be represented throughout the War). Was there a falling out and they just stopped writing them in a huff ?

    I am looking chiefly for records of the South African Engineer Corps (SAEC).

    Are they there, but tucked away in an obscure place ?

    Can't get any meaningful answers from the National Archives themselves apart from the standard one which is to look at you blankly and shrug.

    The National Archive in South Africa web page directs you to their MoD for military records. Is that the only option in this case ?

    Any guidance would be much appreciated.
  2. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi I can only suggest you e-mail the Dept of Defence archives, I think they hold some diaries.

  3. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    There is also the South African Military History Society.
    Their e-mail address is
    Hopefully they could help you
  4. MrMac

    MrMac Junior Member

    Hi Diane,

    Thank you very much for the leads. I'll follow them up and see where they take me.

    From other posts on this forum there also seem to be some good historical books on the subject. I'll be doing my best to see if I can obtain copies.

    I am looking to see if I can obtain as much background information as possible into the early development of the Matilda Scorpion. From my information the CRE of the South African forces in the western desert and 21 Army Troops Field Company were instrumental in developing a working prototype and in then getting it accepted for manufacture in the Base workshops.

  5. DianeE

    DianeE Member

  6. Gavin Heath

    Gavin Heath Member

    Good day

    I am looking for information regarding the service and positions of South African units (esp. FC/CTH) on the French/Italian border (outside Courmayeur) at the end of the Second World War. This is for academic research reasons and would be most appreciated. Regards, Gavin
  7. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    I assume the abbreviation CTH refers to the cape town Highlanders, but FC means nowt to me without searching.

    I did see this pointer:
    From: 6th Armoured Division (South Africa) - Wikipedia

    It also has a table of organization for the 12 Motorised Brigade on 2/5/1945; this shows the abbrev. FC is First City.

    In a historical account of the 6th South African Armoured Vision is this:
    Link: hobby

    This thesis may have clues, it is a social history of the division and may identify other sources from two searches: file:///C:/Users/Audrey/AppData/Local/Temp/Bourhill_Red_2014.pdf

    Have you checked this book, published in RSA: From Addis to the Aosta Valley by Keith Ford? See: From Addis to the Aosta Valley | Keith Ford | The North African and Italian Campaigns 1940-1945 | Military History
    Gavin Heath likes this.
  8. Gavin Heath

    Gavin Heath Member

    Dear David. Thanks so much for the two sources. The Ford book may have what I am looking for, but I will have to find regimental histories. Regards, Gavin
  9. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    You might try to find the following:

    Bourhill, James. Come Back to Portofino: Through Italy with the 6th South African Armoured Division. Johannesburg: 30th South Publishers (Pty) Ltd., 2011.

    It covers the 6th SA Armoured Division through the end of the war in Italy as well as the postwar period.

    The regimental history of the Cape Town Highlanders and the First City would also help:

    Orpen, Neil. The Cape Town Highlanders, 1885-1970. Cape Town: Cape & Transvaal Printers, for the Cape Town Highlanders, 1970.

    Griffiths, Reginald. First City, A Saga of Service. Cape Town: Howard Timmins, 1970.
    Gavin Heath and Charley Fortnum like this.
  10. Gavin Heath

    Gavin Heath Member

    Thank you very much for these references. I tried phoning CTH a few times but no one answered the phone. I will however put in library orders for these books. Regards, Gavin

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