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Lieutenant Colonel Edward De Santis
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Early Life (1910 - 1940)

Gerald Henderson van Onselen was born on the 24th of September 1910. He was raised as a Roman Catholic. Prior to the Second World War, he worked in the mining industry and was employed by the South African Gold Production Commission.

Enlistment and Training (1940 - 1941)

Van Onselen enlisted in the South African Engineer Corps (S.A.E.C.) at Pretoria as a Sapper (Regimental Number 192287) on the 8th of August 1940. After his enlistment he was assigned to the 10th Field Company, S.A.E.C.

On the 15th of August he was found to be fit for military service and was categorized in Fitness Class A1. He was 29 years and 1 month old when he enlisted. His next of kin was listed in his Army records as his wife, Mrs. O. van Onselen. Mrs. van Onselen’s address was listed as 6 Gochs BLDS, Benoni. During van Onselen’s period of service, his wife apparently had two additional addresses. His service papers indicate that she also lived at 127A Kemston Avenue in Benoni and later at 20 Royale Court, Princes Avenue, Benoni. She moved to this latter address on the 25th of November 1942.

In December of 1940, van Onselen and the other men of the 10th Field Company, S.A.E.C. were stationed at the Engineer Training Center at Cullinan, a camp located approximately 20 miles from Pretoria. The company trained at Cullinan in preparation for deployment on active service.

Overseas Service (1940-1942)

The 10th Field Company, S.A.E.C., under the command of Major E.T. Dobson, was assigned to form part of the 2nd South African Division Engineers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Ray. The other engineer units of the 2nd South Africa Division included the 2nd and 4th Field Companies and the 20th Field Park Company. The 10th Field Company embarked at Durban on the 6th of June 1941 aboard S.S. Llandaff Castle bound for the Middle East. The company disembarked at Port Tewfik on the 23rd of June.

On the 25th of June 1941, the 10th Company moved to Mareoplis to work on camp construction, and to engage in training and the inspection of the defences at Dekhaeila and along the Nubariya Canal. One section of the company moved to El Hamman and to a position east of El Daba on the 18th of July. The section was involved in reconnaissance of wells and cisterns in these areas, including those at Natrun and Mogra. The mission of the section was to record water supplies with plans to destroy or pollute the wells and cisterns if the enemy approached and threaten to capture them.

By the 30th of July 1941, Sapper van Onselen and the men of the 10th Field Company were at El Alamein. While at El Alamein they engaged in training, mine laying and other defensive works.

The defensive positions established by the 2nd South African Division were given numbers for identification. On the 23rd of August 1941 the 10th Field Company replaced the 2nd Field Company on work at positions 9, 10 and 11 in order to carry the defensive perimeter around El Alamein further to the south. Elements of the company were also working on positions 14 to 26 on the south of the perimeter. During this period, the responsibility for water supply for the whole El Alamein area was placed on the shoulders of the 2nd South African Engineers, in addition to their work on the defenses. For Sapper van Onselen and his mates in the 10th Field Company, this was a time marred by the death of Sapper W.F. Ehmke, who was buried in the military cemetery in Alexandria. This was the unit’s first loss since arriving in the North African theatre of operations.

The conditions which Sapper van Onselen had to suffer in the inhospitable climate of North Africa included horrendous heat, flies, fleas, sandstorms, and the ever-present dangers of serious sunburn, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The type and difficulty of the work engaged in by the Sappers of van Onselen’s company at this time are best described by this passage from the Corps history:

"Even an operating theatre had been included in 10 Field Company’s tasks, but one of its most formidable jobs was the construction of slightly more than 8 km of road from El Alamein towards the Qattara Depression. Altogether 450 men of the Native Military Corps, drawn from the infantry battalions, and transport from the whole division worked on the project, but hard rock slowed up progress in some places. Other areas were so soft that loose sand had to be stripped off to a depth of a metre before soling, gravelling and finally surfacing the road with salt-laden sand from the swamp. With working parties often taken off the task for brigade exercises, the road was pushed southward as quickly as possible. Their work was made the more difficult by the fact that the ranks of the 10th Field Company, like those of other units unaccustomed to the prevailing conditions, were being depleted by illness, especially desert sores. Accidents also took their toll, and on 26 September 1941 Sapper A.J. van Vuuren died in hospital."

The men of the 10th Field Company were relieved of their engineer tasks temporarily at the end of October 1941 when they were put on standby to support the 4th South African Infantry Brigade. The brigade was placed on alert owing to a crisis caused by a fireman’s strike on the Egyptian State Railways. As a show of force, the brigade along with the 10th Field Company conducted exercises in the El Hamman area between the 30th of October and the 1st of November.

On the 7th of November 1941, 45 men of the 10th Field Company left for Baggush to build two 7,000-litre concrete tanks for the clearing station of the 18th Field Ambulance, while the company’s No. 2 Section reconnoitered a new route from the Cairo-Alexandria road to El Daba. On the 14th of November the whole company moved to Baggush (Maaten Baqqush) to work on dug-out construction, to help the Commander Royal Engineers (C.R.E.) with the construction of the divisional engineer headquarters, and to work at the 18th Field Ambulance site.

The 10th Field Company was at Baggush on the 18th of November 1941 working on the divisional headquarters camp. Sections of the company were also working on hospital buildings at Garawala at this time and were constructing a temporary bridge over an anti-tank ditch. Additionally, the unit was operating water points along the coast highway at Sidi Haneish and at Fuka.

The railway at Baggush was bombed by the enemy on the 1st of December 1941, and one unexploded bomb still lay close to the track and had to be attended to. As the 10th Field Company was the nearest Sapper unit, they were tasked to cope with this dangerous and nerve-racking situation. There was no way to tell whether the bomb was safe, or armed, or damaged. An officer and a sapper from the company volunteered to defuse the bomb. Lieutenant W.J. Davies and Sapper G.A. Raper were examining the bomb when it exploded, killing both of them instantly, as well as the Intelligence Officer of the Umvoti Mounted Rifles. Lance Corporal H.F. Bezuidenhout of the 10th Field Company was mortally wounded and died within minutes of the explosion. All four men were buried at El Daba.

On the 5th of December 1941 the 10th Field Company joined the 4th South African Infantry Brigade and moved to the Habata area on the 7th of December. A detachment of the company was left behind in the El Alamein-Baggush area to control water points and to dispose of additional unexploded bombs at El Alamein. No. 2 Section of the company joined the brigade convoy before it continued in a suffocating dust storm to Mersa Matruh and then went into camp for the night. The section reached Sofafi on the 7th of December, and on the next day moved into a bivouac area near Point 221 in the Playground Box south of Sofafi. On the 16th of December, No. 2 Section left the unit lines at Sofafi with the Kaffrarian Rifles on their way forward to Sidi Omar Nuovo, where No. 3 Section of the company had already joined the 2nd Royal Durban Light Infantry.

The 10th Field Company now began preparations for an attack on the enemy positions at Bardia, Sollum and Halfaya. Zero Hour for the assault on Bardia was tentatively scheduled for 0600 hours on the 29th of December 1941. The engineer order of battle for the attack was as follows:

Main Attack: 3rd South African Infantry Brigade

2nd Field Company (minus one section)

One section of the 10th Field Company

Diversionary Attack:

"Northforce": One section of the 2nd Field Company

"Kingforce": A Detachment of the 4th Field Company

No. 1 Section of the 10th Field Company returned to Sidi Omar Nuovo on the 22nd of December. Two days later No. 3 Section was put under command of the Kaffrarian Rifles for the forthcoming attack, while No. 2 Section went to Bir bu Tabel, southwest of Sidi Azeiz, and came under the 1st Army Tank Brigade. Headquarters and No. 1 Section were left to complete the fencing of a minefield at Sidi Omar Nuovo.

From the 27th to the 29th of December the weather deteriorated badly and fierce dust storms swept the desert, followed by heavy rain squalls. The section of the 10th Field Company scheduled to accompany the main attack concentrated near Sidi Azeiz. The men spent hours checking weapons and equipment. During the afternoon of the 29th the men were informed that the attack had been postponed until 0630 hours on the 31st of December.

In the early morning hours of the 31st of December 1941, No. 3 Section of the 10th Field Company went forward with "C" Company, Rand Light Infantry and struck the wire in front of the enemy positions right at the points where the gaps were to be blown. Precisely on time the Bangalore torpedoes, made of 5-cm steel piping, were lighted by an N.C.O. and two sappers. A 10-metre gap was blown in the wire and within four minutes the leading infantry platoons were through, while the Sappers filled in an anti-tank ditch, that measured about 6 metres wide and averaged about a metre deep along this stretch of the enemy position. A roadway was marked off, and though searches were made with mine detectors for about 100 metres all around the gaps, no mines were found.

A party of 25 men from the 10th Field Company under Lieutenant G.H. Henderson was attached to the 8th Royal Tank Regiment. On instructions from the tank squadron commander, the Sappers hung back at Gap 2 until 0700 hours to avoid the initial shelling directed at the tanks, but after ten minutes they were ordered forward and joined the armour on the second line of wire. About 40 metres from the wire the foremost tanks halted and exchanged heavy cannon and Besa machine-gun fire with nearby strong points before three Sappers went forward with a mine detector to test the existing gap. The gap was found to be free of mines. The Sappers were enfiladed with machine-gun fire, but the tanks quickly silenced the enemy and the Matildas rumbled through, followed by the Sappers and infantry mounted in Bren-gun carriers.

No further obstacles were encountered, and when the tanks moved on westward at 1000 hours, the Sappers of the 10th Field Company were told to remain behind and await orders. Sheltering in a wadi occupied by a platoon of the Kaffrarian Rifles, the Sappers eventually withdrew to their rallying point at 1500 hours that afternoon after successfully fulfilling their task.

In the Imperial Light Horse sector further to the left, gaps were successfully blown and all went well at first, when Lieutenant E.A. Ralph’s Sapper party from the 10th Field Company went in with "A" Company and blew a gap 18 metres from the intended spot. They broke right into an enemy strong point in which the infantry soon overwhelmed the Italian defenders. It was still dark when a further gap was blown 18 metres to the east of the first one. The anti-tank ditch was filled in and lanterns were placed to guide the tanks as enemy fire increased. Soon this fire became so intense that the engineer section was forced to take cover in a nearby ditch.

During a lull in the enemy’s fire, Sapper J.N. Pietersen went forward, and though he found the track suitable for traffic, he could not get back to the shelter of the ditch and was pinned down for three hours. Enemy fire then died down and the sub-section retired to a rendezvous outside the perimeter.

In helping blow the gaps, Corporal W. Custer of the 10th Field Company specially distinguished himself, as he had already done in leading a mine-seeking party in the Sollum-Halfaya area. He was always in the lead in carrying up and placing Bangalore torpedoes under fire, and his conduct did not pass unnoticed.

At 2100 hours on the night of the 31st of December 1941 Lieutenant Ralph’s section of Sappers headed once more for the enemy perimeter. They made a new gap close to Gap No. 2 originally blown by the 2nd Field Company, and then widened another gap to 14 metres. With their task completed, the section returned to bivouac at the rendezvous, and played no further part in the ensuing action.

By midday of the 1st of January 1942 the South African forces within the Bardia perimeter were reorganizing and consolidating their gains. No. 1 Section of the 10th Field Company was moving into Bardia from the reserve position near the Sidi Azeiz landing ground when visibility fell to about half a metre due to a particularly violent sandstorm. Somehow the Sappers managed to fill in tank traps and remove the wire at Gap 2. At Gap 1, unfortunately, an artillery vehicle struck a mine and Lieutenant Newman of the 10th Field Company also had his truck blown up. He received leg and hand injuries and had to be evacuated. His driver, Sapper Viljoen, was also wounded.

By the 5th of January 1942, the majority of the 10th Field Company was at Sidi Omar Nuovo. One section of the company was at Sidi Azeiz searching for mines and booby traps until the 5th of January when it too moved to join the remainder of the company at Sidi Omar Nuovo. There the company re-equipped with boots and clothing, checked weapons and ammunition, and serviced vehicles before reverting to routine engineering tasks.

Preparations were now made to attack Sollum on the 11th of January. In the middle of a violent sandstorm, a section of the 10th Field Company began to make a 360 metre gap in the frontier wire and minefields to clear a direct route between Conference Cairn and Bir Hafid. In great part, due to the work of Sapper van Onselen and the other men of the 10th Field Company in reducing enemy obstacles, the infantry were able to quickly take their objectives in Sollum.

Having lost Sollum, the enemy position at Halfaya soon became untenable. On the 17th of January 1942, over 5,000 Germans and Italian surrendered. A section of the 10th Field Company had begun erecting two observations towers salvaged from Tobruk for use by the artillery to direct fire on Halfaya. With the surrender of the enemy garrison, these towers were not required.

Cleaning up after the battles at Bardia, Sollum and Halfaya required much effort on the part of Sapper van Onselen and the other men of the 10th Field Company. No. 2 Section of the company lifted 740 mines in the Bir Ghirba area in a single afternoon. No. 1 Section and No. 3 Section went to Point 207 and their sub-sections plotted and fenced a minefield between Cova and Bir Semin before moving to Sollum Barracks to effect repairs, clean up the place, and to attend to other engineer tasks. Both No. 2 and No. 3 Sections were occupied on the dangerous and unpleasant task of clearing mines under terrible weather conditions, with incessant wind and rain which frayed the men’s nerves.

Captain W.S. Garrett of the 10th Field Company recalled that under such circumstances it was difficult to resist the temptation to yank out a Tellermine by grabbing the lifting handle conveniently provided at one point on its circumference (see Figure 1) . Sapper Guthrie did just that with a mine that was booby trapped, but lived to tell the tale, as the booby trap went off but failed to detonate the mine. Had it not been for the rigid discipline exerted by Lieutenant G.H. Henderson and Lieutenant E.A. Ralph, there would have been heavy casualties on this task. Unfortunately, on the 25th of January 1942 the company suffered a sad blow when Lieutenant Ralph, who had played such an outstanding part at Bardia, was himself killed by the explosion of a booby trapped mine in a minefield near Point 207.

A number of units with little experience with mines were now coming into the desert, and they often sent parties to operate with the 10th Field Company for demonstrations of how to lift enemy mines. With two sections of the company engaged on this work, all officers of the 10th Field Company had a share of this perilous work, along with many N.C.Os and Sappers.

Lieutenant B.W. Forster-Towne had been on loan to the 10th Company for some time, and in January of 1942 he was taken on the unit’s strength. The company, which had lost three officers in three months were happy to have him on board permanently.

The company had salvaged large quantities of enemy ammunition for destruction, in addition to supplies found at Capuzzo. These munitions included Italian aerial bombs. The enemy dump contained a great many large bombs stacked in smaller dumps over an area some 300 to 400 metres square. It was decided to explode them simultaneously, and demolition charges derived from Italian anti-tank mines were wired up with a double circuit of cordtex. The charges were to be set off from two separate ignition points, using safety fuse to provide the necessary delay.

The dump was close to the road carrying all east-west traffic to the forward areas, and as the explosion would be a big one, the road had to be under military control to protect travelers. All traffic was stopped at about 1100 hours. Captain W.S. Garrett and Lieutenant Forster-Towne each lit a set of fuses, and each had a 1-ton truck standing by with the engine running. Forster-Towne’s truck stalled, and the wisdom of having two trucks standing by was quickly apparent. A gigantic explosion duly went off, with no damage to anyone.

On the 27th of January 1942, the 10th Field Company was issued orders to form detachments to act with columns from the Imperial Light Horse and the Royal Durban Light Infantry. From early February until early March of 1942 the 2nd South African Division’s Sapper units had a very quiet month. The C.R.E. (Lieutenant Colonel Ray) detached Captain E.L. Batemen and Captain W.S. Garrett from the company to prepare trafficability maps of the escarpments westward from Capuzzo.

During this quiet period, Headquarters Section of the 10th Field Company was at Sollum Barracks providing essential support services to the field sections. The field sections were collecting enemy materials for demolition or were demarcating and fencing minefields east of Halfaya and in the Abar Abu Talaq area. Unfortunately, on the 5th of February while Sapper W.J. Walsh was lifting ammunition for destruction, an enemy shell exploded and wounded him. The company headquarters moved the next day to the Silqiya area and resumed normal operations.

Defence of Tobruk (1942)

In early March of 1942 the 2nd South African Division received orders to garrison Tobruk. At Tobruk, where its headquarters was first in a verminous area near Pilastrino, the 10th Field Company began construction of dugouts on the 28th of March, and the next day No. 3 Section bivouacked south of the harbour for mine spotting in the bay. Other sub-sections of the company went out with columns of the Umvoti Mounted Rifles and the Royal Durban Light Infantry. With his sections fully deployed, the company commander moved his headquarters to a better site in the northwestern corner of the fortress.

In late March it was also planned to move the 2nd South African Division to the right of the Gazala Line. In preparation for this, Major E.T. Dobson of the 10th Company made a reconnaissance to Gazala for a suitable site for his company headquarters if the move came off. During this period some changes were also made to the organization of the 2nd South African Division Engineers. Now under Lieutenant Colonel R.D. Henderson, the 2nd South African Division Sappers consisted of the 2nd and 10th Field Companies, the 20th Divisional Field Park Company, and a section of the 95th Bomb Disposal Company.

A warning order for the 2nd South African Division to move to the Gazala Line was received on the 16th of April and was canceled two days later. The 10th Field Company was now given tasks within the perimeter that made it apparent that the division was going to settle into defensive positions at Tobruk. The major portion of the company was involved with mine spotting while No. 3 section worked on laying a pipeline to Acroma. On the 22nd of April, instructions were issued to the company to prepare a bridge bypass for demolition on the Derna road running through the perimeter. Laying of mines continued every day, with the 10th Field Company now also laying mines along the coast at Tobruk. Work went on unabated on improving infantry and artillery positions for the 1st South African Division if and when it moved into the Tobruk perimeter.

On the 28th of April 1942 the 10th Field Company was also tasked to improve the main road crossing at Wadi Sahal, in addition to a great many small but necessary tasks on which the company was also working. Work increased on the Tobruk defences as intelligence sources received information that an enemy attack would be forthcoming in the not too distant future. The 10th Field Company was assigned to the 4th South African Infantry Brigade on the 23rd of May with the mission to support the brigade in the defence of its sector.

On the 27th of May the Gazala Line was outflanked by the Germans and an attack on Tobruk was imminent. On this day the 10th Field Company laid mines along the coast and at Wadi el Magrun near the western perimeter of Tobruk. It had also prepared a plan for the demolition of the road to Derna.

On the 14th of June 1942 the 1st South African Division received orders to withdraw from the Gazala Line. On this same day the garrison in Tobruk was told that the perimeter was to be held against siege. The 10th Field Company and other Sapper units of the 2nd South African Division had no thoughts of withdrawal, and by last light on the 18th of June the enemy had closed the last overland route to the fortress and were engaging Acroma with heavy artillery. Although the British 8th Army was in disarray, its plight was unknown to Sapper van Onselen and the other men of the Tobruk garrison. They remained blissfully confident of their ability to withstand any onslaught. That they could expect no help from outside would hardly have been believed by any of them.

Major Dobson, whose company headquarters had originally been near Pilastrino and then on high ground just east of Wadi es Sahal to escape the fleas, now moved back to the area of Pilastrino to be with the 4th Infantry Brigade. On the 19th of June the 10th Field Company was putting the final touches on the minefield closing the road deviation through the Wadi es Sahal when an enemy shell was lobbed into the defences and killed Sergeant D.C. Harris.

On the evening of the 19th, Sapper van Onselen and others who tuned in to the B.B.C. news service were taken aback to hear that "Tobruk, of course, is no longer of any strategic importance." They were caught like rats in a trap at Tobruk, and their reason for being there, they were told, was of no strategic importance.

By 0400 hours in the morning of the 20th of June 1942, under cover of darkness, the German and Italian infantry and engineer assault troops were working their way forward into the minefields around Tobruk. At the cemetery near the road below King’s Cross, a group of officers and men of the 10th Field Company were paying their last respects to Sergeant Harris as he was buried with military honours. The Sappers could hear the sound of the enemy assault raging to the south of them.

By 1400 hours that afternoon General Rommel himself was at King’s Cross and the British armour defending the position had been almost wiped out. By 1600 hours the German 15th Panzer Division was engaging the Guards on Pilastrino Ridge. The 10th Field Company awaited orders for some active involvement in the battle, but it was clear that the Pilastrino area was going to be overrun.

In the early afternoon of the 20th of June the 10th Field Company had begun packing up to move when enemy dive-bombers attacked them and the 5th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery nearby. While they still could, the 10th Field Company headquarters moved back and then northward to a new position just on the sea side of the Derna Road. There they came in for a considerable amount of bombing and strafing, against which there was little protection.

At some time on the 20th of June 1942 Sapper van Onselen became separated from the rest of his company and was reported missing, presumably captured. By 0630 hours on the 21st of June the South Africans within the Tobruk perimeter surrendered to the Axis forces. Shatteringly unexpected, the order to destroy arms and vehicles left everyone speechless, bewildered and disbelieving as it filtered through to the men of the 10th Field Company who were still awaiting to repel the enemy attack. The men of the company soon found themselves behind barbed wire and growing increasingly hungry and thirsty as they waited to be sent off through Derna and Benghasi to prisoner of war camps in Italy, from which only a handful managed to escape before being sent off to further captivity in Germany and Austria. There the rest of the men remained until they were released by the Allies nearly three years after being captured.

Prisoner of War (1942-1945)

Sapper van Onselen was confirmed as a prisoner of war on the 17th of August 1942. His capture was reported to the South African military authorities and to his wife, who was then living at the Princes Avenue address in Benoni. After leaving North Africa, Sapper van Onselen was taken to Italy and was then transported to Stalag 18A, the German prisoner of war camp at Wolfsberg in the Province of Karnton (Karnten), Austria. Wolfsberg is located about 97 miles southeast of Salzburg and about 110 miles southwest of Vienna. The town of Wolfsberg is located approximately 16 miles north of the northern border of present day Slovenia. During his captivity at Wolfsberg, Sapper van Onselen became Prisoner No. 8760.

Repatriation and Return Home (1945-1946)

Sapper van Onselen was released from captivity on the 31st of May 1945. On that date he was taken off the strength of the South African Engineer Corps and placed on the strength of the Union Defence Force (UDF) Repatriation Unit. He arrived in the United Kingdom on the 1st of June 1945 and remained in England for over a month and a half, presumably receiving medical attention. His health must have been extremely poor when he was released from Stalag 18A, for as will be noted throughout the remainder of his service, he was either being treated for health problems or he was on convalescent leave.

On the 19th of July 1945, Sapper van Onselen was taken off the strength of the UDF Repatriation Unit and was evacuated to the Union of South Africa. He disembarked at Cape Town on the 3rd of August 1945 and on the following day he was taken temporarily on the strength of the Cape Fortress. That same day (4 August 1945), Van Onselen was further reassigned to C.A.T.D. at Oribi Camp near Pietermaritzburg.

Sapper van Onselen spent most his time at Oribi Camp on handicap leave. On the 6th of October 1945 he was taken on the strength of the Medical Regiment S.A.A. (3TS) at Assembly Camp near Benoni and then further assigned to the 23rd Medical Regiment, S.A.A., also at Benoni. He was admitted to hospital in Johannesburg on the 7th of November 1945.

After treatment, Sapper van Onselen was discharged from hospital and placed on sick leave on the 21st of November 1945. On the 6th of December he was taken off the strength of the 23rd Medical Regiment, S.A.A. and placed on the strength of Assembly Camp, Headquarters, Johannesburg, for demobilization. He returned to his unit from sick leave on the 11th of December 1945 and then was granted sick leave again on the 24th of December.

Discharge (1946)

Sapper van Onselen returned to Assembly Camp from sick leave on the 6th of January 1946. His discharge from the Army was authorized on the 26th of February, but he was not finally discharged until the 12th of March 1946.

No specifics of van Onselen’s post-service life are known. His military records indicate that the Gold Production Commission was to be notified in case of his death or discharge. It may be safe to assume that he returned to his pre-war duties with the Commission after leaving the service.

Gerald Henderson van Onselen’s medals for service in the war included the 1939-45 Star, the Africa Star, War Medal and Africa Service Medal. The medals were forwarded to him on the 5th of January 1953. The naming on the medals shows his Regimental Number to be 192287; however, his service records show that at the time he received the medals he was being identified by Regimental Number 41/2045.



1. BARNETT, C. The Desert Generals. Kimber, London, 1970.
2. HAMMOND. Hammond Medallion World Atlas. Hammond Incorporated, Maplewood, New Jersey,1969.
3. HMSO. Prisoners of War: Armies and Other Land Forces of the British Empire, 1939-1945. J.B. Hayward
and Son, Polstead, 1990. Section 4: Section 4, South African Land Forces.
4. JACKSON, W.G.F. The Battle for North Africa, 1940-43. Mason/Charter, New York, 1975.
5. LEWIN, R. The War on Land: The British Army in World War II. William Morrow & Company, Inc., New
York, 1970.
6. ORPEN, N. and MARTIN, H.J. Salute the Sappers. South African Forces, World War II. Volume VIII.
Sappers Association, Johannesburg, 1981.
7. RAINIER, P.W. Pipeline to Battle. Random House, New York, 1943.
8. STRAWSON, J. The Battle for North Africa. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1969.

Computer Programs

Maps ‘N Facts.


D.D. 293: Military Service Record of 192287 Sapper G.H. van Onselen, South African Engineer Corps.


1. Commonwealth War Graves Commission (www.cwgc.org).
2. Microsoft Expedia Maps (www.expediamaps.com)
3. MILLS, T. The South African Army, 1939-40.