South African records

Discussion in 'South African' started by chaz, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. chaz

    chaz Active Member

    in the past Audrey Portman has researched South African records for me. I contacted her for the latest one and had a reply that the SA RECORDS were moving building. no Ive received the following..
    Just a note to let you know that the SADF archives have now re-opened but unfortunately we are no longer allowed access to the WW2 records.
    There are negotiations taking place regarding this but for the moment, that is the situation.
    Sorry I can’t help you further.

    I thought maybe they would start charging to cover moving or building but further reply,

    No problem with the WW1 docs.
    Their reasoning regarding the WW2 records is that there can be some medical entries on the documents. They feel that there may be family members still alive who would not necessarily want to know about some of the medical problems that these men suffered from.
    Even if we can prove the man has died, they are still more concerned about the family.
    The fact that we have been accessing these records for 20 years makes the whole thing a bit ridiculous.

    A member of the family can request a Record of Service document which includes information from his file.This is just a type written Word file.
    This can be requested through me with a suitable letter from his next nearest kin and a copy of an ID book or passport.
    DianeE and dbf like this.
  2. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    If your interests lie with the SAAF then you may be interested in the Operations Record Books currently available free to download from TNA in the series AIR 54. These are large files that have been digitised from microfilm and can be of mixed quality. Although currently free, be aware that this had been the case with other series similarly digitised from microfilm that TNA have since broken into smaller pieces and now charges £3.50 a pop to download.
  3. Rishika

    Rishika New Member


    I am a PhD student in London UK working on South Africa in WW2. Came across this forum and if someone can help - are only the service records closed? I will be in Pretoria in September for research!
  4. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Well-Known Member


    Might be worth asking the London-based SANDF Attache.

    Secondly try Gerry van Tonder whose focus is not the SADF, but his network might help. His website: The Rhodesian Soldier - Online

    Closer to home have you asked Dr Jonathan Fennell, whose recent book 'Fighting the People's War' looked at the Commonwealth armies? Admittedly he is @ Shrivenham. See: Dr Jonathan Fennell
    Rishika likes this.
  5. Rishika

    Rishika New Member

    Hi David, thank you for this!
    I did contact the SANDF Attache in London. He was very helpful but unfortunately could not inform me the exact specifics. Have read Dr Fennell's book as well but I did not know about Mr Tonder - will definitely reach out to him
  6. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi, have you looked at this wesite The South African Air Force Under "contact us" is the following
    SANDF Documentation Service Directorate
    (Personnel Division)

    The Senior Staff Officer
    Documentation Centre
    Private Bag X289
    South Africa

    Telephone: +27 12 339 4600
    Fax: +27 12 339 4631

    I would suggest you contact them now to see if they can help.
    However the documents are not digitised and WW11 is not a priority.
    Best of Luck
    CL1 and Rishika like this.
  7. Rishika

    Rishika New Member

    thank you very much Diane! I did send an email to this address a few hours ago (and now I'm praying for a response). I am visiting SA in September - just trying to get in touch with someone so I don't look like a complete fluke at the archives :P I have managed to make some contact with every other archive/university.
    CL1 and DianeE like this.
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Rishika,

    A friend of mine received some assistance from Sue Onslow, who is a Teaching Fellow at King's College, London. She has studied South African and Zimbabwean recent political and military history and might have some pointers for you.

    Sue Onslow

    Out of interest, what areas are you looking to study. We have a strong South African POW thread and members who have researched this side of things quite deeply.

    Welcome aboard.


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