Despite low numbers, the South African Springboks bundled the Italians out of Abyssinia in months, thus also probably saving Egypt, the Middle East, and India. (The only Allied victory in the opening years of the war.) This enabled O'Connor to drive the Italians out of Libya (only to be chased out in turn by Rommel). For all Hitler’s derision, the South Africans went on to do yeoman work. There were South Africans in the Royal Navy; even on the county class cruiser which chased the Graff Spee in the River Plate.
MOST OF ALL I WEEP FOR TOM WARDER
Saying nothing about the vicissitudes of war, he told his children about how he had swum in the Mediterranean off the coast of Oran, but, not, until they were older, about how he and a friend had brought the body of an American soldier ashore. He sang the songs that he and his brother had sung on the ship, and played the tunes they had played in the squadron band, named The Venturians because the aircraft they flew were Venturas. His youthful listeners thrilled to hear about how he had once or twice had a chance to play with some famous musicians including Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller; but he was never able to talk much about how pilots, returning from anti-submarine reconnaissance to the hopelessly too short emergency airstrip at Kalafrana in Malta, on occasion misjudged the distance to the precipice at the edge of the towering cliffs.
The Warder Boys came home from the war in Europe, having signed up for further service in Burma; Tom to court his girl while they waited to be shipped out to the Far East. Fortuitously, before the order came for them to leave, peace returned to their world on V J Day. Tom joined a commercial airline, married and settled down to raise a family, remaining fiercely proud of his squadron. After emigrating from South Africa in 1978, he joined the Royal Canadian Legion and became a member of the Army Navy and Air force Veterans’ Association, retaining life membership of the South African Air-force Association. He gave his time, his energy and his money passionately, however, to help his wife establish an organization which has saved millions of lives in Canada and around the world by creating awareness of the most common genetic disorder of all: Hemochromatosis.
He has been described by physicians and patients alike as the "most courageous man" they have ever known. When, with dreadful suddenness, that same genetic disorder caught up with him and he learnt that he was dying, he was faced with two almost overwhelming problems: he might not have time to write "The Story of the Monarch," as he had promised the children; and not only was the kind of money which a funeral might entail, frozen in South Africa but it would take too long to arrive in time to pay for his funeral