South Africa’s Role in WW2 Has been Redeemed!
A few weeks ago, depressed as I have for so many years become at the approach of November 11, I published an article here on Blogcritics because I was reminded of how a Canadian official had given my husband the brush-off by informing him that “South Africa was never in the War," but I now have the perfect rejoinder.! I can boast that many of the allied forces, including Canadians, fought under the command of a South African Field Marshall. As ashamed as I am of what has become of my homeland I may now still take pride in the South Africa of long ago, and of our internationally-known heroes: people like Christiaan Barnard who performed the world’s first heart transplant, and, for my special purpose, Field Marshall Jan Christiaan Smuts.
The Boer War Forgotten When the WW’s 2 and 3 Were Declared
My French Protestant ancestors, one of whom is reputed to have smuggled in a Bible hidden in a loaf of bread, arrived in South Africa in 1652 on a ship known as the Dromedaris, fleeing from the threat of being burnt at the stake in France. I have ancestors who were governors-general or aides-de-camp, (one of my forgiving aunts married the aide–de-camp to a British general after the Boer War). When WWII broke out, South Africans, many of whom had fought with the Allies in the first World War, were among the first to enlist!
On June 6, 1944, after stormy weather on June 5 had forced the postponement of the invasion with many units already embarked and at sea, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Conditions did not promise to improve substantially, but Allied meteorologists predicted a small window of opportunity on June 6, D-Day. Aware that the moon and the tides would not be favourable again for some time, General Eisenhower gave the go ahead. There could be no turning back! Recently I read somewhere that while Eisenhower was waiting anxiously in his tent many auspicious people, including the king of England, had come in but it was when the South African, Smuts, arrived and voiced his opinion that it would have to be “now or never” (or words to that effect,) that the invasion began.