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Paul Alexander Wijnberg
Born (1934-12-19)December 19, 1934
Died 2 July 2013(2013-07-02) (aged 78)
Place of death Somerset West
Allegiance
  • Flag of South Africa (1928–1994).svg Republic of South Africa
  • Flag of South Africa.svg Republic of South Africa
Service/branch Naval Ensign of South Africa.svg South African Navy
Years of service c. 1958-1998
Rank Rear Admiral
Commands held

Rear Admiral Paul Alexander Wijnberg served in the South African Navy (SAN).

Early lifeEdit

Paul Alexander Wijnberg was born in Natal on 19 December 1934 and attended Maritzburg College,[1] where his name has been, for many years, on the College Roll of Honour, together with those of many notable high achievers including Alan Paton and General Bob Rogers.

Naval careerEdit

Having been a Sea Cadet in Pietermaritzburg he decided to enrol at the “T S General Botha” at Gordon’s Bay for studies leading to Matriculation. The other Cadets in his year group left prematurely and he was attached to the class of the following year which comprised Norman Wise, Peter Bitzker and Koos de Beer, all of whom had distinguished careers in the South African Navy and retired with the rank of Rear Admiral, Junior Grade.[2]

On 25 January 1958 Paul married Mary Bredin in her hometown of Ixopo in Natal, showing the locals just how a naval wedding should be conducted and a few months later he was off to HMS EXCELLENT to join the 1958/9 Royal Naval Long Gunnery Officers’ Course at Whale Island in Portsmouth, United Kingdom. There he excelled and absorbed the culture of the Naval Gunnery Officer to such an extent that it was often remarked of Paul Wijnberg that he never walked, he always marched. During his absence from South Africa the SAN moved from Salisbury Island to Simon’s Town and on his return he was appointed Officer Commanding SAN Gunnery School.

One of the many highlights of Admiral Wijnberg’s career was his appointment as Naval Attaché to Paris from 1973 to 1975, placing him in a situation which required extreme tact and diplomacy due to the prevailing political situation in the Country. Admiral Wijnberg and his wife Mary impressed the French Government to the extent that he was awarded the Ordre Nationale de Mérite.

He commanded the frigate SAS President Kruger (F150) during the ship’s participation in the US Bicentennial Celebrations in 1976.

In 1977, he was appointed to Defence Force HQ in Pretoria as the Director Force Development for the South African Defence Force. He was promoted to the rank of commodore in 1978 and took up his appointment as OC: Naval Command Natal in December 1980.[3]

He was promoted to Rear Admiral and appointed Flag Officer Naval Command East, responsible for Naval operations on the east coast of South Africa. He was succeeded in this post by R Adm Paul Viljoen[4]

Rear Admiral Wijnberg retired in 1998 and purchased an apple farm in Grabouw.

DeathEdit

Admiral Wijnberg’s health deteriorated and he passed away on 2 July 2013 at the family’s new home in Helderberg Village in Somerset West to which he and Mary had fairly recently moved.

His memorial service was held in the chapel at the S A Naval College in Gordon’s Bay on Monday 5 July 2013.

Vice Admiral Robert Simpson-Anderson spoke volumes of Admiral Paul Wijnberg, the man and the archetypal Gunnery Officer, paying tribute to his outstanding service to the SA Navy and the Republic of South Africa. Michael Wijnberg, Paul’s eldest son, spoke about his father as a dedicated and enthusiastic family man.

Following the Service the family proceeded to the quayside where Rear Admiral Paul Wijnberg’s ashes were scattered in False Bay.

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Maritzburg College: Military". Maritzburg College. http://www.maritzburgcollege.org.za/mcob/military?showall=&start=3. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  2. "Paul Alexander Wijnberg". S.A.T.S. General Botha Old Boys Association. 12 September 2013. http://generalbotha.co.za/?page_id=1850. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  3. http://www.maritzburgcollege.org.za/mcob/military?showall=&start=3
  4. Bennett, Chris (2011). South African naval events : day-by-day, 1488 to 2009. Naval Heritage Trust. ISBN 9780620430142. 
Military offices
New title Flag Officer Commanding NAVCOM East Succeeded by
Paul Viljoen

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