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75406 Corporal
South African Engineer Corps

Ó Lieutenant Colonel Edward De Santis, 2000


Unless otherwise noted, the details supplied in this narrative were obtained from the service papers of Corporal Bell [1]. The papers are photocopies of Bell’s records and were obtained from the South African (formerly the Union of South Africa) Department of Defence. Sources for this research also included some original documents that apparently were kept together with Bell’s medals over the years. All these records and documents are described in the Reference section. The detailed information regarding Corporal Bell’s service during the Second World War has been taken almost exclusively from the two volumes by Neil Orpen and H.J. Martin entitled Salute the Sappers, the history of the South African Forces in World War II, Volume 8, Parts 1 and 2.


Robert Alexander Bell was born on the 13th of December 1917 in Johannesburg, South Africa. His mother was Mrs. E.C. Bell of 87 6th Street, Orange Grove, Johannesburg. No mention of his father is made in his military service record.

As a young man, Bob Bell lived at Eaton Hall on Visogie Street in Pretoria, South Africa. He was a Concrete Engineer [2] by profession and was employed by the Reinforcing Steel Company of Pretoria prior to his enlistment in the Army.

His mother was designated as his next of kin from the time of his enlistment in the Army in June of 1940 until her death in January of 1943. At that time he changed his next of kin to Miss P. Bartie of 277 Bree Street in Johannesburg. There is no indication as to who Miss Bartie may have been. One may assume that she was his fiancée.


The following is a description of Robert Alexander Bell at the time he enlisted in the Army in 1940:


22 years and 6 months


5 feet 9¾ inches


150 pounds







Chest measurement:

33½ inches

Distinctive marks:

Tattoos on both forearms.


Robert Alexander Bell attested for service in the South African Army as a Private in the Pretoria Highlanders, a volunteer unit of the Union Defence Force, on the 28th of June 1940. His swearing of the oath of attestation was witnessed by one S. Cormack at Pretoria. At the time of his enlistment, Bell indicated that his nationality was South African. He also indicated that he was not a member of either the British or the South African military forces, but that he had prior service with the Transvaal Scottish Regiment. Bell stated that he had never been convicted by civil court. He was not married at the time of his enlistment. Bell listed his religion as Church of England.


Home Service (1940 – 1941)

Bell was posted to the 1st Battalion of the Pretoria Highlanders with the 6th South African Infantry (Police) Brigade in Pretoria on the 1st of July 1940. These units formed part of the Active Citizen Force Infantry Battalions and Brigades that were organized in March of 1940. The 6th South African Infantry Brigade, with headquarters in Pietermaritzburg, was raised on the 17th of June 1940 and originally consisted of the following units:

1st Pretoria Highlanders

1st South African Police

2nd South African Police

The 2nd Transvaal Scottish replaced the 1st Pretoria Highlanders in the brigade on the 21st of November 1940. Private Bell and his battalion were transferred on this date to the 9th South African Infantry Brigade with headquarters at Premier Mine in Cullinan, about 50 kilometers northeast of Pretoria.

Bell served with the 1st Pretoria Highlanders until the 29th of November 1940 when he was transferred to the South African Engineer Corps. At this time, his rank was changed from Private to Sapper. His work in civilian life undoubtedly had much to do with this transfer, as his specialized skills would be more useful to the Engineers than to the Infantry. As a result of his transfer, he was posted to the Engineer Reserve Training Depot.

Service in Egypt (1941 – 1943)

Sapper Bell served at the Engineer Reserve Training Depot until the 10th of January 1941 when he was posted to the 83rd Supply Company. He embarked at Durban [3] for Suez, [4] Egypt on the 6th of June 1941 and on the 24th of June he disembarked and was assigned to the 83rd Works Company where he was employed as a draughtsman. Bell’s service records appear to be somewhat confused regarding his unit of assignment. In some places the records indicate that he was in the 83rd Supply Company and in other places they state he was serving in the 83rd Works Company. According to the official history of the South African Engineer in World War 2, the official designation of the unit to which he was assigned was the 83rd Engineer Base Stores Depot. This organization had the mission of both supply and works; hence, the confusion on the part of the clerk making entries into Bell’s records.

The 83rd Engineer Stores Base Depot under Major J.F.S. Lorimer moved from Suez to Fanara to begin a gradual takeover of the depot located there. The takeover was officially completed on the 24th of July 1941. A detachment of the 83rd Engineer Stores Base Depot was sent to Ataka on the coast of Suez Bay to salvage timber at the lorry assembly depot located there [5].

At Fanara the 83rd Engineer Stores Base Depot performed routine work throughout November and December of 1941. The unit’s workload picked up considerably by February of 1942 when at Suez the Base Workshops had greatly expanded the sawmills and joinery workshops and, though they had similar equipment at Fanara, all facilities were constantly having to expand to meet the growing demand for a wide range of products [6].

Duty was fairly easy for Bell in Fanara once the unit caught up with February’s demand for supplies. He was granted seven days leave from the 4th to the 10th of March 1942. Major Lorimer was recalled to South Africa on the 11th of May 1942 and Major J.M. Southey assumed command of the 83rd Engineer Stores Base Depot. On the 17th of May 1942, Bell attended a parade to hear Field Marshal Smuts deliver an address [7].

Numerous air raids took place during July of 1942 when the Luftwaffe occupied landing grounds vacated by the Desert Air Force as it pulled back in the wake of the German advance against El Alamein. The 83rd Engineer Stores Base Depot remained unharmed and as the danger to El Alamein subsided, the items that the unit had packed during the previous month were distributed to the forward areas [8].

As the threat from the Germans and the workload lessened, Bell was granted another leave of seven days from the 7th to the 13th of August 1942. Routine work followed Bell’s return to duty throughout the remainder of 1942.

Lieutenant Colonel Southey [9] was recalled to South Africa on the 11th of January 1943 and was replaced by Lieutenant Colonel H. Mill Colman. Mill Colman returned to South Africa towards the end of March and Major J.M. Breeze became the acting commander of the 83rd Engineer Stores Base Depot.

Bell had been granted 14 days of leave from the 3rd to the 16th of February 1943 when he was able to visit Tel Aviv with two of his mates, Joe Dembakken and Bert Robertson. Following his return from Tel Aviv he found his unit facing the enormous task of packaging thousands of tons of equipment into lots weighing not more than a man could carry, all this being done in preparation for the Allied invasion of Sicily. Items weighing more than 36 kilograms (about 79 pounds) had to be mounted on skids so that they could be dragged along on the ground. All the equipment was loaded onto ships in the Great Bitter Lake, ready for the forthcoming invasion.

Home Service (1943)

From the18th to the 24th of May 1943 Bell was again on leave. On the 9th of July 1943 he was placed on the "X4" List pending his return to South Africa [10]. He embarked for South Africa on the 12th of July for home exchange and arrived at Durban on the 7th of August. He was immediately taken on the strength of the Base Depot at Durban.

On the 10th of August 1943 Bell was transferred from the Base Depot at Durban to the Engineer Reserve Training Depot and was immediately granted 30 days leave. When he returned from leave on the 30th of September he was transferred to the Engineer Training Center at Sonderwater. On the 23rd of September he was transferred to "G" Reserve Field Company in Cape Town. It appears, however, that his assignment to "G" Reserve Field Company was changed immediately, for on the following day he was assigned to the 5th Field Company, S.A.E.C.

The 5th Field Company had returned to South Africa from the Middle East along with other units of the 1st South African Division on the 13th of January 1943. At the time that the division returned to South Africa, plans were underway to form two South African Armoured Divisions, the 1st and the 6th. It soon became clear that South Africa could not support two armoured divisions. Plans to organize the 1st South African Armoured Division simply faded away. The 6th South African Armoured Division was formed under Major General W.H.E. Poole and the division sailed from Durban for the Middle East on the 19th of April 1943. The engineer units with the division consisted of the 8th Field Squadron (commanded by Major A.H. Rocyn-Jones), the 12th Field Squadron (commanded by Major R.M.M. Cormack) and the 17th Divisional Field Park Squadron (commanded by Major J.R. Dunbar-Sutherland).

Bell served with the 5th Field Company until the 2nd of November 1943 when he was transferred to the Base Sub Depot in Hay Paddock Camp at Pietermaritzburg. He was classified "A1" at Hay Paddock on the 16th of November in preparation for his return to active service. On the 26th of November he was struck off the strength of the Base Sub Depot and embarked at Durban on board SS Highland Brigade for service overseas.

Service in Egypt (1943 – 1944)

Bell disembarked at Suez on the 16th of December 1943. At this time he was on the S.A.E.C. General List ("X" List). On the 22nd of December 1943 he was assigned to the 6th (South African) Armoured Division Reserve Field Squadron [11]. When he joined the unit, the 6th South African Division was at Khatatba, on the Nile, northwest of Cairo. The division remained in Egypt until April of 1944 where it trained for the upcoming invasion of Italy.

Service in Italy (1944 – 1945)

The lead element of the 6th South African Armoured Division arrived in Taranto, Italy on the 20th of April 1944. Corporal Bell embarked on the 28th of April 1944 to join the remainder of his division in Italy. He probably arrived in Italy with the other men of the Reserve Field Squadron of the 6th S.A. Armoured Division.

The 6th S.A. Armoured Division was at Triflisco, near Monte Cassino, in early May of 1944. The Sapper squadrons of the division all underwent thorough training at the Triflisco bridging camp and learned some very different rafting techniques and watermanship on the swiftly flowing River Volturno from the techniques used on the calm waters of the lagoons at Ismailia in Egypt. They were prepared to go into the line for the first time in Italy. Their function was going to be to clear obstacles ahead of their division’s advance to enable the infantry and armour to maintain their progress in the attack.

The headquarters of the division engineers under Lieutenant Colonel K.T. Gilson moved from Triflisco to Sant’ Agata. On the 27th of May 1944 the Divisional Engineer Headquarters moved up to Cox’s Corner in the area of Rocca d’Evandro station. The 6th South African Armoured Division continued its move to the north reaching Pontecorvo on the 30th of May, Ceprano on the 31st of May and Rome, via Ceccano, by the 6th of June 1944. The division reached Orvieto on the 14th of June. Bell had had a pretty easy time of it thus far in the Reserve Field Squadron. That was soon to change.

Corporal Bell’s services were soon required in one of the operational field squadrons due to the casualties suffered by the Sappers during their move up the Italian peninsula. He was placed on the "X4" list on the 8th of June 1944 and on the 13th of June he was assigned to the 12th Field Squadron, S.A.E.C. under the command of Captain T.A. Jane.

Bell joined Troop 1 of the squadron during its advance to Orvieto in support of the 12th South African Motorized Brigade. The squadron cleared mines on the road for the brigade, all the while under heavy sniper and anti-tank fire. From Orvieto they fought their way up to Allerona and continued pushing the enemy back until they reached the village of Fabro. Captain Jane was with the advance guard when he was hit by shell splinters and had to be evacuated on the 16th of June 1944. He was replaced by Major R.M.M. Cormack.

By the night of the 19th/20th of June the squadron was in the tiny village of Le Piazze. On the 21st of June 1944, near Cetona, the 12th Field Squadron was heavily shelled at a bridge site and lost 7 men killed and 7 wounded. The squadron reached the area between Sarteano and Chianciano on the night of the 25th/26th of June.

The squadron was operating in the Torrita-Sinalunga area on the 2nd of July 1944. Corporal Bell with Troop 1 was with the advanced guard of the 11th South African Armoured Brigade. His troop was in the lead making deviations, repairing craters and sweeping the road and verges for mine.

On the 6th of July additional reinforcements were received from the Reserve Field Squadron. By the 10th of July, Major Cormack was able to send 22 men from the squadron on a short leave to Siena.

By the 18th of July the 12th Field Squadron was back in action again in the Radda area, heading for the commanding German positions on Monte Querciabella beyond Volpaia and near the source of the River Greve. The men of Troop 1 were delayed by enemy demolitions and obstacles, but they managed to fill in craters, reconnoiter a bridge site and an alternative route through Radda.

Florence lay barely 30 kilometers ahead of them and the Germans were resisting bitterly. While supporting battalions of the 12th S.A. Motorized Brigade, the 12th Field Squadron had Lieutenant D.H. Paterson blown out of his scout car by a Tellermine while Troop 3 was filling craters west of Volpaia. In the shadow of Monte Querciabella on the 21st of July 1944, Lieutenant W.T. Arthur and Sapper R.S. Wilson were wounded and Sapper R. Eddy was killed in action in the same confined area.

The 12th Field Squadron received 16 more replacements from the Reserve Field Squadron on the 22nd of July 1944 to make up their recent losses. No sooner did these new men arrive, when Corporal Bell and Sapper J.J. Schoeman were both wounded.

After being evacuated, Bell was hospitalized for 62 days. Following his release from hospital he was assigned back to the 12th Field Squadron, [12] returning to the unit on the 24th of September 1944. The squadron was then under the command of Major C.J. Ballenden. Bell rejoined the unit at il Bottogone between Prato and Pistoia where the squadron was maintaining Route 66 between gli Olmi and Pistoia, looking after and strengthening Bailey bridges, and clearing craters of mines. At the same time the men of the squadron were training on the Plymouth bridge.

On the 28th of September the squadron moved to a position south of Mercatale and on the 29th they completed a 33-meter Bailey bridge started by an American unit. Bell and the men of Troop 1 then moved to Castiglione in early October and on the 7th of the month they set to work constructing a 73-meter Bailey bridge across the River Setta north of Serra.

Between the 10th and the 17th of October 1944 the 12th Field Squadron battled the bitter cold and rain to keep the main divisional axis up Route 6620 open. By the 15th the Sappers of the squadron had made it possible for Jeeps to use the serpentine lateral roads up from Route 6620 and passing under an arch of the shattered Rio Farnetola railway viaduct before twisting its way up to Grizzana. By the 17th the squadron was busy sweeping both mouths of the short tunnel north of San Benedetto and the southern mouth of the much longer Pian di Setta tunnel. This work was being accomplished while the squadron maintained the road up to Grizzana from the other end of the Pian di Setta tunnel.

The 12th Field Squadron was continuously busy during late October keeping the steep mountain roads and Jeep tracks open, especially between Lagaro, Monteacuto Ragazzo, Grizzana and Stanco. Corporal Bell and the other men of Troop 1 were located just off Route 6620, due east of Monteacuto Raggazzo during this period.

After November 1944, there were few changes in the monotonously grueling work of keeping the supply routes open in the face of continuously wet and cold weather. Troop 1 had a brief break from normal routine in early December while they installed a tank and pump for a mobile bath unit at Ponte Locatello.

The year 1944 finally came to an end for the men of the 12th Field Company, and a very arduous year it had been. Major Ballenden and his unit had been constantly in the forefront of the advance from Rome to the Gothic Line, and had constructed 672 meters of Bailey bridges during its advance and repaired 171 other demolitions, often under enemy shellfire and in spite of heavy casualties. Northwest of Cetona, where an advance reconnaissance party of the squadron had surprised an enemy demolition party and saved a bridge, two of the Germans had been killed and their officer taken prisoner. Then northwest of Greve and on other occasions, the squadron had built bridges in advance of the forward defended localities, sometimes as much as 1,300 meters ahead of the forward posts. This was certainly a frightening proposition for the Sappers, as any combat engineer knows who has been that far forward of friendly lines. On one occasion an enemy patrol had been put to flight by Sappers moving up with a bulldozer to repair a crater in the road.

The 12th Field Squadron had also built some 40 kilometers of Jeep tracks and maintained them under the most difficult conditions. Major Ballenden’s own hazardous forward reconnaissance had been an inspiration to his men. At Radda his own driver had been killed beside him. His conduct had made seemingly impossible tasks practicable and his devotion to duty and courage were recognized with the award of a Military Cross.

Not only officers received recognition for the part they played in recent operations. Sapper J.C. du Toit, a squadron despatch rider, received the U.S. Bronze Star for his meritorious service from the 25th of August to the 22nd of November 1944 during which period he displayed unusual devotion to duty and fearlessness while under shellfire. Corporal Bell received a mention in despatches for his services during the period from the 1st of September 1944 to the 31st of February 1945.

Snow, rain and cold effectively stopped the Allied advance in Italy during the winter of 1944/1945, and well into the spring of 1945. During this period, Corporal Bell and the other men of the Allied forces simply had to endure further privations and hardship until better weather offered them a renewed opportunity to drive the Germans back.

The 12th Field Squadron spent the winter months building defensive positions. On the 21st of January 1945 the squadron was laying mines at di Sotto, northwest of Monte Sterlese. By mid-February the squadron was at Lucca in a reserve area, and by the 29th of March 1945 all the divisional Sappers of the 6th S.A. Armoured Division were ready to move back into the line. The 12th Field Squadron returned to the Pian di Setta and Pian di Lama areas for operations. They had only been back in line a few days when a dozen heavy caliber enemy shells landed in their headquarters area and a scout car was hit by shell splinters. The Germans repeated the shelling on the following day. Fortunately the squadron suffered no personnel casualties on either day.

The 12th Field Squadron was employed stockpiling railway ballast at La Quercia on the 7th of April 1945. They continued this work up the railway line toward the Gardaletta tunnel. The ballast was stockpiled for use in making concrete and for other railway repair work. During this period they also worked on improving the vehicle track to the dangerous village of San Martino and sweeping mines along the route. On the 10th of April 1945 two non-commissioned officers and eight Sappers from Troop 1 were attached to the infantry for an attack on Monte Caprara [13]. This was a dangerous period for the squadron and it suffered many casualties, both killed and wounded.

On the 13th of April 1945 Major Ballenden, who had earlier been admitted to hospital for observation, was diagnosed with cancer of the throat and left Rome for the United Kingdom. Captain J.P. Andrews took over temporary command of the 12th Field Squadron pending the appointment of a successor to Major Ballenden. Major J.M. Gosnell took command from Captain Andrews on the 16th of April. Andrews was wounded the very next day after turning the squadron over to Gosnell.

By the 18th of April, 12th Field Squadron had cleared tracks ahead of San Martino and almost to the summit of Monte Caprara. On the afternoon of the 20th of April the squadron was constructing two double-single Bailey bridges over the River Reno near Sasso, beyond the point where that river is joined by the River Setta. The squadron began ferrying operations of troops across the River Po by the end of April.

News of the surrender of enemy forces in Italy reached the 12th Field Squadron on the 2nd of May 1945. The squadron rounded up 250 prisoners at Lorregio and proceeded to the Milan area. Following the surrender, the squadron became involved with occupation duties including the construction of a divisional shrine at Castiglione. The unit moved to Novara on the 27th of May and batches of men were now regularly going on leave.

After a short stay at Novara, the squadron was tasked to clear snow off the roads and repair bridges at Aosta and Courmayer, way up in the Italian Alps near Mont Blanc. Meanwhile, Major Ballenden returned from England and on the 21st of June 1945 after an absence of two and a half months, he resumed command of the 12th Field Squadron in place of Major Gosnell just as the unit was about to move back to Novara. This was a happy day for the men of the squadron, as many had been concerned about Major Ballenden’s health and the prognosis for his recovery.

Return Home (1945)

Demobilization of the squadron began shortly after its return to Novara. Corporal Bell continued to serve with the 12th Field Squadron until the 8th of July 1945 when he was placed on the "X4" list for repatriation. He enplaned for South Africa on the 11th of September 1945 and arrived in South Africa on the 14th of September where he was slated for demobilization. His discharge was authorized on the 26th of September.


For his service during the Second World War, Corporal Bell received the following honours and campaign medals:

1939-45 Star

Africa Star

Italy Star

Defence Medal

War Medal

Africa Service Medal

Corporal Bell received a Mention in Despatches for his service during the period from the 1st of September 1944 to the 31st of March 1945. The Mention in Despatches was published in the London Gazette dated the 29th of November 1945.


a. Promotions: Robert Alexander Bell received the following promotions during his time in service:

Date of Promotion or Appointment

Rank or Position

28 June 1940

Enlisted as a Private, South African Infantry

29 November 1940

Appointed Sapper, South African Engineer Corps

1 April 1941

Appointed to the rank of Acting Lance Corporal

1 March 1942

Promoted to the rank of Temporary Corporal

26 November 1942

Promoted to the rank of Temporary Lance Sergeant

1 March 1944

Granted the War Service rank of Corporal

b. Conduct: Corporal Bell’s conduct during his entire period of service was "very good."


During his time in service, Corporal Bell was granted the following qualifications:


Qualification or Classification

1 January 1941:

Classified as a Draughtsman

26 November 1942:

Classified as a Draughtsman, Class "A"

1 June 1943:

Classified as a Non-Artisan Corporal

Note: Bell’s reclassification as a Non-Artisan Corporal came after his transfer to a field company. This reclassification was in preparation for his duties as a combat engineer non-commissioned officer.


The following medical information was taken from Robert Alexander Bell’s service records during his time in service:

At the time of his enlistment in the Army, Bell was place in Medical Category "A" indicating that he was fit for any type of military service.

The following table shows medical treatment he received while in the Army.


Date of


Period of Hospitalization
or Treatment

Suez, Egypt

17 September 1941


85 days.
Posted to the ‘X2’ List.[14]

Sonderwater, South Africa

13 September 1943


4 days


22 July 1944

Wounded in action

62 days


Corporal Bell’s discharge from the Army was authorized on the 26th of September 1945. His service record indicates that he served at the locations shown in the tables below during the periods shown:


Period of Service

Home Service

28 June 1940 – 6 June 1941

Suez, Egypt

7 June 1941 – 7 August 1943

Home Service

8 August 1943 – 26 November 1943

Suez, Egypt

27 November 1943 – 28 April 1944


29 April 1944 – 11 September 1945

Home Service

12 September 1945 – 26 September 1945


Period of Service

Home Service

2 years and 103 days

Service Abroad

2 years and 348 days

Total Service

5 years and 86 days

Corporal Bell’s discharge papers indicate that during his time in service he had never been absent and he had never been in detention. Although he was wounded in Italy, he had not been captured. He was described as a sober individual of very good efficiency, conduct and character.


Following his discharge, Corporal Bell was assigned to a War Reserve Field Company of the S.A.E.C. at the Engineer Reserve Training Depot. This posting took place on the 15th of October 1945.

Presumably he went back to work for the Reinforcing Steel Company in Pretoria and may have even married Miss Bartie. On the 1st of January 1946 when Bell received his Mention in Despatches emblem from General Headquarters, Pretoria. His address at the time was 100 Salisbury House, Andris Street in Pretoria.

On the 1st of September 1948 Bell received his South African Sappers lapel badge, No. 324. At that time his mailing address was P.O. Box 1253, Pretoria. He received the certificate for his Mention in Despatches from General Headquarters, Pretoria on the 12th of January 1950. He was then living at 87 6th Street, Orange Grove in Johannesburg. This was his old family residence where his mother was living at the time that he entered the Army.



1. MERRIAM-WEBSTER. Geographical Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Springfield, Massachusetts, 1997.

2. ORPEN, N. and MARTIN, H.J. Salute the Sappers. Parts I and II. South African Forces in World War II, Volume VIII. Sappers Association, Johannesburg, 1981.


1. The Service Papers of Corporal Robert Alexander Bell, consisting of the following documents:

  1. Attestation Papers (D.D. 88 B.).
  2. Record of Service.
  3. Details of Service.

2. Transmittal note dated 16 January 1946 from General Headquarter Pretoria, Honours and Awards Sub-Section, forwarding the bronze Mention in Despatches emblem to R.A. Bell, Esquire.

3. Sappers’ Association Letter dated 1 September 1946 forwarding the Association lapel badge, No. 324, to Mr. R.A. Bell.

4. Notice from the Secretary of State for War regarding the publication of Bell’s Mention in Despatches in the London Gazette on 29 November 1945.

5. Letter from General Headquarters Pretoria dated 12 January 1950 forwarding the certificate for Bell’s Mention in Despatches.

Internet Sources

1. The South African Army, 1939-1940.


2. 6th South African Armoured Division Operational History and Order of Battle.



1. These service papers include the following documents:

a. Attestation Papers for Volunteer Units of the Union Defence Force (D.D. 88B).

b. Record of Service (D.D. 732).

c. Details of Service (D.D. 872).

2. The term "Engineer" as used to describe Bell’s profession or trade prior to entering the Army is not completely understood. There is nothing in his military records to indicate that he received any formal education that would have bestowed a degree on him.

3. Durban was the leading seaport in South Africa, located on the east coast on a landlocked lagoon inlet of the Indian Ocean.

4. Suez was a city with extensive port facilities located at the north end of the Gulf of Suez and at the southern terminus of the Suez Canal.

5. ORPEN & MARTIN, Vol. I, p. 208.

6. Ibid., p. 286.

7. Ibid., p. 405.

8. Ibid., p. 406.

9. Southey had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel while in command of the 83rd Engineer Stores Base Depot.

10. The "X4" List was the category given a South African soldier when he was being sent home for repatriation, in transit, unassigned, or on the General List awaiting assignment.

11. It appears that each South African division had a Reserve Field Company from which it drew reinforcements as needed. This system made for rapid replacement of casualties, since the men were already in the theatre of operations and were moving with the divisions.

12. It is not known for certain whether he returned to Troop 1, although this is probably a reasonable assumption.

13. Nothing in the official history indicates who the NCOs were who were involved in this attack.

14. The "X2" List is the Sick List.