Lambert Jackson Woodburne
|Lambert Jackson Woodburne
DVR SD SM
13 July 1939|
Kimberley, Northern Cape, South Africa
|Died||5 July 2013
Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa
|Service/branch||South African Navy|
|Years of service||1958–1992|
Vice-Admiral Lambert Jackson Woodburne DVR SD SM, South African Navy (13 July 1939 – 5 July 2013) was a former Chief of the South African Navy (1 July 1990 to 31 August 1992). He is one of only two people to have been awarded the Van Riebeeck Decoration, which he received for Special Forces operations in Tanzania. He was more commonly known by his nickname "Woody".
He was born in Kimberley, South Africa in 1939. Woodburne's father was a former South African Air Force wartime pilot who farmed near Maclear in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Woodburne was schooled in the Eastern Cape and Swaziland and served in the Naval Gymnasium at Saldanha Bay in 1958. He then joined the Permanent Force and enrolled for a Bachelor of Military Science (B. Mil) degree studying at both Stellenbosch University and the Faculty of Military Science at the South African Military Academy from 1960 to 1961. He did not graduate and after his time at the Academy he started maritime service on frigates.
He completed the Specialist Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Course in the United Kingdom where he came top of the class. On his return to South Africa he became the Officer in Charge of the Naval Diving School in Simon's Town for two years. The Navy 'Diver of the Course' which still receives the Woody Woodburne Shield. Woodburne went on to command the mine sweepers SAS Mosselbaai and SAS Johannesburg.
With the establishment of the Submarine Branch, he volunteered for submarines and was chosen as the first commanding officer of SAS Emily Hobhouse (S98) in 1971; a position held until 1974. During the submarine’s work-up in France, he was described as one of the “best foreign submariners ever worked up in France”, which earned him the Southern Cross Medal.
In 1972, the SAS Emily Hobhouse landed Special Forces troops led by Commandant Jan Breytenbach near Dar es Salaam as part of a raid on the Tanzanian port. The Special Forces team placed explosives on a bridge, power lines and targets around the town. While making the pickup rendezvous, the submarine snagged a fishing net and sunk the fishing vessel dragging the net. This mission earned Woodburne the Van Riebeeck Decoration.
From 1975 to 1977 he was assigned to the Agosta submarine project. After this he served with the Special Forces (1978–1983) where he attained the rank of Captain. These were "exciting and dangerous years" said Woodburne in an interview after announcing his retirement in August 1992.
From 1983 to 1985 he was the military attaché in Argentina. In 1986 Commodore Woodburne became Director of Naval Operations, then seven months later Chief of Naval Staff Operations. In January 1989 Rear-Admiral Woodburne moved to the Western Cape as Flag Officer Commanding Naval Command West. On 1 July 1990 he was promoted to Vice-Admiral and appointed as Chief of the South African Navy; a position he held until retirement on 31 August 1992.
Woodburne married Vivienne Kemp and the couple had two daughters, but they divorced after his retirement.
Decorations and medals
|Van Riebeeck Decoration (DVR)||1972|
|Southern Cross Decoration (SD)|||
|Southern Cross Medal (1952) (SM)||1971|
|Southern Cross Medal (1975) (SM)|||
|Pro Patria Medal|
|Good Service Medal, Gold|
|Good Service Medal, Silver|
|Good Service Medal, Bronze|
Vice Admiral Woodburne's medal group is unique as it contains the Van Riebeeck Decoration plus two Southern Cross Medals – the 1952–1975 version and the 1976 version, both of which allowed the wearer to use the post nominal title SM.
The citation for the Van Riebeeck Decoration reads:
Lieutenant Commander Lambert Woodburne distinguished himself by displaying outstanding leadership, perseverance and devotion to duty in a special task of a delicate and dangerous nature during 1972. One occasion, during that year, he was placed in command of an extremely sensitive task in the interest of the security of the State, in the execution of which a great deal had to be relied upon his own judgement and initiative and which demanded positive and dynamic leadership from him. He tackled and executed this difficult task with great courage and daring and, with his personal example, inspired the other members of the team that took part in this task. His positive leadership, perseverance in the face of great odds and his outstanding devotion to duty undoubtedly played a decisive role in the successful execution of the task.
Notes and references
- Prins, S.C. AB. "Funeral of late Vice Admiral Lambert Jackson Woodburne DVR, SD, SM". SA Navy. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
- South African Defence Force Information website
- "South African Honours and Awards". Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- Ian S. Uys (1992). South African military Whoʼs Who, 1452–1992. Fortress Publishers. ISBN 978-0-9583173-3-7. Retrieved 19 April 2011.p 274.
- Alexander, E. G. M., Barron G. K. B. and Bateman, A. J. (1986). South African Orders, Decorations and Medals. Human and Rousseau. p121. ISBN 0-7981-1895-4.
- South African Navy News magazine. Vol XXVIII no. 2, 2008. p24
- O. Haupt; South Africa. South African Navy. Submarine Flotilla (1999). Through the periscope: South African submarines: the first thirty years : reflections past and present. SAN Submarine Flotilla. ISBN 978-0-620-23782-6. Retrieved 19 April 2011. p 6.
- Stiff, Peter (1999). The Silent War. Galago Publishing. pp. 50–51. ISBN 0620243007.
- Uys, Ian (1992). Cross of Honour. Uys Publishers. p. 10. ISBN 0958317321.
- Ley, Marga (25 August 1992). "Die Vloot gaan verander Lambert Woodburne tree af". Beeld (South Africa). Retrieved 9 April 2011. "Later was hy vier 'opwindende en gevaarlike jare' lank deel van die Weermag se spesiale magte"
Translation into English: "Later he spent four 'exciting and dangerous years' in the Army's special forces.""
- "Woodburne gaan van vrou skei". Die Burger (South Africa). Retrieved 19 April 2011. ""Die pas-uitgetrede hoof van die Suid-Afrikaanse Vloot, v.-adm. Lambert Woodburne gaan van sy vrou, Vivienne, skei" (Translation to English "The recently-retired head of the South African Navy, Vice-Admiral Lambert Woodburne and his wife, Vivienne, are going to divorce.")"
- Nel,Carryn-Ann (July 8, 2013). "Oud-vlootadmiraal (73) oorlede ná ’n lang siekte". Die Burger. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
- Stiff, Peter (1999). The Silent War. Galago Publishing. p. 51. ISBN 0620243007.
- Stiff, Peter (1999). The Silent War. Galago Publishing. p. 52. ISBN 0620243007.
- Peter Stiff (2001). The Silent War: South African recce operations 1969–1994. Galago. ISBN 978-1-919854-04-5. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
- The South African Navy Official Website
- The operational South African navy at SADF Information website; including several pictures of "Woody" Woodburne and Daphné class submarines
|Chief of the South African Navy
Robert Claude Simpson-Anderson