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Regiment Westelike Provincie is a mechanised infantry regiment of the South African Army. As a reserve unit, it has a status roughly equivalent to that of a British Territorial Army or United States Army National Guard unit.

HistoryEdit

Regiment Westelike Provincie (R.W.P)[1] (originally called Regiment Westelike Provinsie), is one of eight Afrikaner-oriented Traditional Citizen Force infantry units raised by the Union Defence Force on 1 April 1934, as part of a programme to rebuild the UDF after the Great Depression.. It was based in the country town of Stellenbosch, 45 km outside Cape Town, and recruited its members from the surrounding districts of the western part of the Cape Province. At that time, Citizen Force service was voluntary.

The new Regiment lost no time in ensuring that the inner man was cared for and in 1936 the first specially bottled R.W.P brandy was produced.[2] The much honoured tradition of toasting the Regiment and dignitaries in pure, undiluted R.W.P brandy is still in use today.

The National Party-voting Western Cape districts generally did not support South Africa's involvement in World War II. In spite of this R.W.P was able to muster enough men who were willing to go on active service. The Regiment mobilised on 1 September 1940[3] and became No. 12 Armoured Car Company, South African Tank Corps.[4] After months of training in this new role, No12 Armoured Car Company was amalgamated with No. 11 Armoured Car Company (RSWD) Regiment Suid Westelike Distrikte, to form 5th Armoured Fighting Vehicle Regiment, South African Tank Corps.[5] The Regiment moved to Egypt in September 1941 but was disbanded on 13 October 1941 after arrival. The personnel were used as reinforcements for depleted armoured car regiments already operating in the Western Desert with whom they participated in many of the well known battles in North Africa like Sidi Rezegh, Bir Hakeim, Knightsbridge, Gazala Line, El Alamein.

On the disbandment of the South African Tank Corps early in 1943, former R.W.P personnel were absorbed into the Royal Natal Carbineers and Imperial Light Horse and soon adapted themselves to tank warfare, serving with distinction in their new units with the 6th South African Armoured Division in Italy.

The Regiment was presented with a Regimental Colour by his Majesty King George V1 during the visit of the Royal Family to South Africa on 31 March 1947.

The wartime Prime Minister Gen Jan Smuts accepted the appointment as Colonel-In-Chief of the Regiment from 17 September 1948.[6]

In 1949, R.W.P itself was converted to Armour, and it was renamed Regiment Onze Jan, after 19th-century Afrikaner political leader Jan Hofmeyr, in 1951.

From 1952, Citizen Force recruits were chosen by ballot rather than volunteering.

When the Army was re-organised for internal security duties in 1960, ROJ was converted back to infantry and was renamed Regiment Boland. R. Bol later moved to Paarl and, after the introduction of National Service conscription (in 1968), it formed a second battalion in Worcester on 1 September 1970. The two battalions were separated in April 1974. 1 R. Bol resumed the original title Regiment Westelike Provinsie and moved to Cape Town, while 2 R. Bol remained in Worcester as Regiment Boland. The only remnant of their association is the similar cap-badges of the two Regiments.

In 1983, R.W.P adopted the Dutch spelling of "Provincie" because it regards itself as the successor to several short-lived volunteer units which existed in the Stellenbosch and Paarl and neighbouring districts in the 19th century, when Dutch, rather than Afrikaans, was the prevailing language in those areas. (See below for a list of those units.)

R.W.P served in the Angola campaign in 1976, and carried out several tours of duty in the Border War in South West Africa. It was also deployed on internal security duties in the Townships during the 1985–90 State of Emergency.

Military service has been voluntary again since 1994.[7]

PredecessorsEdit

While R.W.P has been in existence only since 1934, it regards itself as the successor to several small and short-lived units which were formed in the Western Cape country districts in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. They were:

First Volunteer Movement

  • Stellenbosch Volunteers – formed 1856, disbanded c1865
  • Worcester volunteers – formed 1856, disbanded c1863
  • Paarl Rifle Corps – formed 1856, disbanded 1859
  • Malmesbury Volunteer Cavalry – formed 1856, disbanded c1866
  • Paarl Cavalry – formed 1857, disbanded 1859
  • Paarl United Volunteers – formed 1859, disbanded c1862
  • Robertson & Montague Rifle Corps – formed 1860, disbanded c1864

No volunteer units in these districts between 1866 and 1878.

Second Volunteer Movement

  • Worcester Volunteer Rifles – formed 1878, disbanded c1879
  • Worcester Volunteer Rifles – formed 1885, disbanded 1901
  • Paarl Volunteer Rifles – formed 1885, disbanded 1897
  • Wellington Volunteer Rifles – formed 1885, disbanded 1901
  • Victoria College Volunteer Rifles – formed 1888, disbanded 1899
  • Robertson Volunteer Rifles – formed 1890, disbanded
  • Malmesbury Volunteer Rifles – formed 1892, disbanded 1896.
  • Western Rifles – an administrative grouping, which existed from 1893 to 1908, of the Worcester, Paarl, Wellington, Stellenbosch, Robertson, and Malmesbury units
  • Western Light Horse – formed at Worcester 1903, disbanded 1908
  • Paarl Volunteers – formed 1906, disbanded 1909.

No volunteer units in these districts between 1909 and 1913.

Citizen Force

No CF units in these districts between 1929 and 1934.[8]

Commanding OfficersEdit

  • Lt Col. J.H.Wicht CM (31 May 1934 – 31 August 1939)
  • Lt Col. G.C.G.Werdmuller (1 September 1939 – 6 September 1939 )
  • Lt Col. C.J.Lemmer (7 September 1939 – 8 December 1939)
  • Major. M.Versveld (9 December 1939 – 13 January 1940)
  • Lt Col. C. J.Lemmer (14 January 1940 – 31 August 1940)
  • Lt Col. H.S.G.Taylor (1 September 1940 – 31 December 1941)
  • Lt Col. L.Verwoerd (1 February 1946 – 30 June 1947)
  • Major. G.W.Krige MC (1 July 1947 – 30 September 1947)
  • Lt Col. L.Verwoerd (1 October 1947 – 21 April 1948)
  • Major. G.W. Krige MC (22 April 1948 – 11 February 1951)
  • Cmdt. W.S. Malan (12 February 1951 – 6 January 1956)
  • Cmdt. F.C. de Goede (7 January 1956 – 6 February 1961)
  • Cmdt. D.I. Moodie SM, JCD (7 February 1961 – 29 February 1968)
  • Cmdt. J.Kruger (22 July 1968 – 31 July 1971)
  • Cmdt. E.J.J. Nel (1 August 1971 – 6 June 1972)
  • Cmdt. A.A. Rossouw JCD (7 June 1972 – 25 March 1976)
  • Cmdt. A.W. Bester SD, SM, MMM, JCD (26 March 1976 – 31 December 1981) (Later Col. A.W. Bester, SD, SM, MMM, JCD)
  • Cmdt. G.W. Boshoff SD, SM, MMM, JCD (1 January 1982 – 31 March 1987)
  • Cmdt. D.J. Holtzhausen SM, MMM, JCD (1 April 1987 – 2 April 1992)
  • Lt Col. A.A. Duminy MMM, JCD (3 April 1992 – 1 April 1999)
  • Lt Col. D.H. Saayman MMM, JCD (2 April 1999 – 1 April 2000)
  • Lt Col. J.J. Visser MMM, JCD (2 April 2000 – 1 April 2005)
  • Lt Col. S.E. Pierce (2 April 2005 – 18 August 2012)
  • Lt Col. H.H. Gertse (19 August 2012 – present)

Colonel-In-Chief

  • Field Marshal the Right Hon. J.C. Smuts, PC, OM, CH, DTD,ED,KC, FRS (1948–1950)

Honorary Colonels

  • Major P.J.Roos (10 July 1934 – 22 September 1948)
  • Capt. W.N. Naude (26 September 1960 – 24 February 1969)
  • Councillor M.J. van Zyl (30 October 1982 – 30 November 1997)
  • Capt. G.S. van Niekerk (1 December 1997 – Still serving)

Regimental Sergeant Majors

  • WO1 SH Joubert (1934–1938)
  • WO1 SW Burger (1939–1945)
  • WO1 F Ferreira (1946–1952)
  • WO1 R du Toit (1952–1955)
  • WO1 M Louw (1955–1956)
  • WO1 IM van Rooyen (1957–1964)
  • WO1 L Liebenberg (1965–1968)
  • WO1 H du Toit (1969–1972)
  • WO1 PF de Bruyn (1972–1983)
  • WO1 MP Eagar (1983–1985)
  • WO1 WP van Rhyn (1985–1992)
  • WO1 DR Oosthuizen ( 1992–1992)
  • WO1 ND van der Walt (1992–2001)
  • WO1 JM Cupido (2001–2005)
  • WO1 T Jordaan (2005 -2005)
  • WO1 A Wakies (2006 – current)

Regimental SymbolsEdit

  • Regimental Badge : The Unit's Badge consists of a wreath of leaves of the Silver Leaf tree encompassing a kernel of the same tree with the inscription R.W.P Due to an error in the original artwork, the full stop after the "P"was omitted, hence creating a tradition that remains part of the Regimental history.
  • Regimental Motto : The Motto of the Regiment "NON SIBI SED PATRIAE"-"Not for ourselves, but for our Country ", is inscribed on the Regimental Banner. The Unit Badge is worn on the uniforms without the banner, and depending on the type of dress, is either matt black,chrome or brass. The Silver Tree, like the Regiment, is indigenous to the Western Cape, South Africa.
  • Regimental Flash : The beret flash (originally a helmet flash) has horizontal stripes of red over white over black, with a blue diamond on the white stripe: blue and white are the traditional colours of the Western Cape.[9]
  • Regimental Credo : "LOYALTY, COMMITMENT, EXCELLENCE"
  • Regimental anniversaries : Regimental Day (1 April) Gen. JC Smuts Parade (24 May)
  • Regimental Brandy : R.W.P Brandewyn
  • Regimental Band

Battle honoursEdit

None

Regimental FreedomsEdit

R.W.P was granted the Freedom of the City of the following Cities:

  • Cape Town 23 April 1983
  • Bellville 3 November 1984
  • Keetmanshoop Honorary Citizenship March 1987
  • Parow 24 March 1990
  • Goodwood 24 March 1994
  • Overstrand Municipality Hermanus in 2006. These honours mean that the Regiment may march on foot or mechanised with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed through the streets of Cape Town or any of the Overstrand towns, namely Hermanus, Rooi Els, Pringle Bay, Betty's Bay, Kleinmond, Fisherhaven, Hawston, Onrus, Sandbaai, Stanford, Gansbaai, Uilenskraal Mond, Franskraal, Pearly Beach and Baardskeerdersbos.

ReferencesEdit

  1. South African Army C Army/D /PLAN/406/11/2 22 July 1980
  2. Crook.L. 71 Motorised Brigade. South African Army. p.54
  3. Union Defence Force Special Command Order No. 21 (M) 154/51/325/29 25 August 1940
  4. Union of South Africa Prime Minister's Office154/51/325/29 1 September 1940
  5. Union of South Africa Prime Minister's Office 154/51/325/11 17 March 1941
  6. Union of South Africa, Defence Forces Order No. 4144, 5 July 1949.
  7. Crook, L. 71 Motorised Brigade South African Army 1994
  8. Hulme, J.J. 'Cape Colonial Volunteer Corps' in Military History Journals, June 1969, December 1972 , July 1973.
  9. Regiment Westelike Provincie Dress Code R.W.P/R406/11/

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