S A Armour Corps


The Flame of the Armour Burns Forever
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History | Officers Commanding | RSM | Insignia | Customs
History       Go top
1 Special Service Battalion was founded during the month of September1946. Since WWII the Regiment was responsible for the training of Armour soldiers and played a major role in the Angolan/South West Africa conflict as well as internal operations in the RSA in support of the police. In 1989, 1 SSB received the new Rooikat 8x8 Armoured Fighting Vehicle that now together with the Ratel ZT3 Missile System, serves as the Regiment's main equipment. In 1995 and 1996 E and D Squadrons were extensively deployed in Kwa Zulu Natal with Eland and Ratel 90 mm Armoured Fighting Vehicles. They were extremely successful in stabilising their respective areas of responsibility.

On 22 September 1998 at 01:45, B Squadron, with Maj Gustav Brink as commander, crossed the Caledon River into Lesotho with 90 mm Ratel for Operation BOLEAS. The squadron played a major role in the initial skirmishes at one of the base's around the capital, Maseru. The next evening at 23:50 A Squadron, with Rooikat Armoured Fighting Vehicle, strengthened the South African forces in Lesotho. This was the first time that the Rooikat Armoured Fighting Vehicle was deployed outside the borders of the country.

Recently the Regiment has concentrated on force preparation and plays an important role during force preparation exercises at the Combat Training Centre (Lohatla) as well as in course support to the School of Armour. The Regiment is also setting the pace in its secondary role with outstanding results during internal operations, like border line control.

The Regiment has over the past years also taken up it's rightful place on the top of the sport score boards in the Free State, South Africa and even on international scene. Today 1 SSB is noted as being the oldest regular force unit in the SANDF with a proud history, which started in the Union Defence Force, was carried forth in the SADF and now being carried further in the SANDF. A military unit that not only survived but excelled through two major political transformations of our country, which is proof of this Regiment's professional military service to the government of the day.

Officers Commanding       Go top
  From To
Lt Col G.N. Nauhaus, OBE September 1946 May 1949
Maj E.E. Fodred, MC June 1949 August 1949
Maj P.E. Ferguson, MC September 1949 January 1951
Cmdt C.S. Leisegana, DSO February 1951 September 1953
Cmdt W.R. van der Riet, MC October 1953 December 1960
Cmdt S. Hugo, SM January 1961 June 1963
Cmdt J.J. Wahl, MC July 1963 October 1964
Cmdt J.R. Dutton, SSA, SD November 1964 November 1967
Cmdt W.H. Matthews, SM December 1967 November 1968
Cmdt M.B. Anderson December 1968 March 1969
Cmdt W.C. Meyer April 1969 September 1972
Cmdt P.J. Schalkwyk October 1972 July 1973
Maj A.J. Snyman (acting) August 1973 November 1973
Cmdt A.P.R. Carstens November 1973 November 1976
Cmdt R. Otto December 1976 December 1979
Cmdt F.A. Botha January 1980 November 1981
Cmdt A.J. van Niekerk December 1981 November 1983
Cmdt H.T. Heinze December 1983 November 1986
Cmdt A.J. Kriel December 1986 May 1989
Cmdt A.J. van Jaarsveld June 1989 November 1989
Cmdt B.C. Gildenhuys December 1989 December 1993
Col G.M.Louw, HC, MMM January 1994 December 1996
Col D.J Laas December 1996 December 1998
Col L. Ferreira December 1998 December 2001
Lt Col Spook le Roux December 2001 December 2006
Lt Col F Mbotyi December 2006 December 2008
Lt Col SJP Buys December 2008

RSM       Go top
  From To
WO 1 W.E. Wocke September 1946 October 1951
WO 1 S. du Plessis, MM November 1951 September 1953
WO 1 W.J. van der Merwe, SM October 1953 December 1965
WO 1 B.J.P. Ehlers, PMM January 1966 October 1972
WO 1 M.A. Booyens, PMM, MMM November 1972 October 1976
WO 1 J.P. O’Neill October 1976 November 1978
WO 1 P.H. Rohrbeck, PMM December 1978 January 1979
WO 1 G.D. van Baalen, PMM, MMM February 1979 November 1984
WO 1 I.J. Prinsloo June 1984 November 1988
WO 1 W.F. Snyman, PMM, MMM December 1988 November 1993
WO 1 J.A.B. van Zyl December 1993

Insignia       Go top
The cap badge is a spray of three protea flowers, bound by a ribbon bearing the initials SSB / 1SSB and motto. Unity is Strength SAAC

Customs       Go top

This song was written and composed by the men of the SSB who fought in WWII in remembrance of the Battle of Celleno on 10 June 1944 when the Regiment earned its 1st Battle Honours. Recently the members of 1 SSB sing this song during ceremonies like an Armour Shot Action. Avanté Parade, Celleno Day parade, Armistice Day Parade and Memorial and other services.

The words of the song are as follows:

There is blood on the sands of Celleno
Its the blood of the brave and the true
Of two Nations who fought there together
Neath the banners of Red, White and Blue.
As they marched up the sands of Celleno,
To the hills where the enemy lay.
They remember the Colonels last order
That the pass must be taken today.
Some thought of their homes and the mothers
And some thought of their Sweethearts so far
And some as they scrambled and stumbled
Were softly saying a prayer.
Onward they marched into battle
With their faces unsmiling and stern
Cause they knew as they marched past the hillside
That many would never return.
Yes theres blood on the sands of Celleno
Its the blood of the boys whom we love
May their names live in glory forever
And their souls rest in Heaven above.


The SSB Marching song was composed and played by the first SSB band under the drum major Sgt Drummy Steenkamp and was sung by the men of the SSB in the early days when on parade.

The words of the SSB Marching song are as follows:

Faithful True and Steady
Come what may were ready
Our reputation to uphold
While on parade or sports field
Our nerves are steeled.
Dauntlessly our courage well unfold
The SSB have a record that is fine
Manfully we will always toe the line
Sons of fair South Africa are we
And of this were as proud as can be
When there is trouble brewing,
Well be up and doing
We can prove our worth at any time
And in all sorts of weather
We will stand together
On the field of battle, we will shine
The SSBs quite the smartest in the land
Youll agree, on parade were extra grand
We have set a standard that is high
And before we yield wed rather die
To the SSB we all belong
Listen to our Regimental Song
Weve an emblem thats beyond compare
One, which we are very proud to wear
When before our Colonel we parade
See us swell with pride
To our tune we stride
Its Suiker Bossiek wil jou hê
Suiker-Bossiek wil jou hê
Suiker-Bossie:k wil jou hê
This is our Battalion song


The origin of this specific song could not be traced but it is a very popular song that is still sung by the soldiers of 1 SSB today during informal functions or get together in the 1 SSB Club and specifically when the Regiment performed well and are celebrating.

The words of the song are as follows:

When I hear the SSB I wonder where they go, they go
When I hear the SSB I wonder where they go, they go
Men with courage, men with pride rising form their turret side
Say Yes! Say No! I wonder where they go, they go
Over far rising suns they go, they go
Over far rising suns they go, they go
Men with courage, men with pride, rising from their turret sides
Say Yes! Say No! I wonder where they go, they go

(Then the tune of the 1st three lines is whistled followed by)

Say Yes! Say No! I wonder where they go, they go

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