Lambert Jackson Woodburne

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Lambert Jackson Woodburne

Lambert Jackson Woodburne.jpg
Born(1939-07-13)13 July 1939
Kimberley, South Africa
Died5 July 2013(2013-07-05) (aged 73)
Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa
Allegiance South Africa
Service/branch South African Navy
Years of service1958–1992
RankVice Admiral
Commands held
RelationsVivienne Kemp (wife)[1]

Lambert Jackson Woodburne DVR SD SM SAN (13 July 1939 – 5 July 2013)[2] was Chief of the South African Navy from 1 July 1990 to 31 August 1992.[3] He is one of only two people to have been awarded the Van Riebeeck Decoration, which he received for Special Forces operations in Tanzania.[4] He was more commonly known by his nickname "Woody".[2]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Kimberley, South Africa in 1939.[5] Woodburne's father was a former South African Air Force wartime pilot who farmed near Maclear in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.[6] Woodburne was schooled in the Eastern Cape and Swaziland and served in the Naval Gymnasium at Saldanha Bay in 1958.[7] 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[8] and after his time at the Academy he started maritime service on frigates.[6]

Military career[edit]

He completed the Specialist Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Course in the United Kingdom where he came top of the class.[5] On his return to South Africa he became the Officer in Charge of the Naval Diving School[5] in Simon's Town for two years. The Navy Diver of the Course still receives the Woody Woodburne Shield.[9] Woodburne went on to command the mine sweepers SAS Mosselbaai and SAS Johannesburg.[6]

With the establishment of the Submarine Branch, he volunteered for submarines[5] and was chosen as the first commanding officer of SAS Emily Hobhouse (S98) in 1971; a position held until 1974.[10] 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.[2]

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.[11] This mission earned Woodburne the Van Riebeeck Decoration.[12]

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.[13]

From 1983 to 1985 he was the military attaché in Argentina.[5][7] In 1986 Commodore Woodburne became Director of Naval Operations, then seven months later Chief of Naval Staff Operations.[5] In January 1989 Rear-Admiral Woodburne moved to the Western Cape as Flag Officer Commanding Naval Command West.[14] 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.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Woodburne married Vivienne Kemp and the couple had two daughters, but they divorced after his retirement.[1]

Admiral Woodburne was diagnosed with Progressive supranuclear palsy in 2007[15] and was confined to a wheelchair.[16] He died on 5 July 2013 and was accorded a military funeral in Simonstown.[2]

Decorations and medals[edit]

Ribbon - Van Riebeeck Decoration.gif Van Riebeeck Decoration (DVR) 1972[12]:10
Ribbon - Southern Cross Decoration.gif Southern Cross Decoration (SD) [5]
Ribbon - Southern Cross Medal (1952).gif Southern Cross Medal (SM) (1952) 1971[2]
Ribbon - Southern Cross Medal (1986).gif Southern Cross Medal (SM) (1975)[5]
Ribbon - Pro Patria Medal (South Africa).gif Pro Patria Medal
Ribbon - Good Service Medal, Gold.gif Good Service Medal, Gold (30 Years)
Ribbon - Good Service Medal, Silver.gif Good Service Medal, Silver (20 Years)
Ribbon - Good Service Medal, Bronze.gif Good Service Medal, Bronze (10 Years)

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.[12]

The citation for the Van Riebeeck Decoration reads:

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Woodburne gaan van vrou skei". Die Burger (South Africa). Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. 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.")
  2. ^ a b c d e Prins, S.C. AB. "Funeral of late Vice Admiral Lambert Jackson Woodburne DVR, SD, SM". SA Navy. Archived from the original on August 2, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  3. ^ South African Defence Force Information website
  4. ^ "South African Honours and Awards". Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Biography of late Vice Admiral Lambert Jackson Woodburne" (PDF). SA Navy. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 8, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d 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.
  7. ^ a b 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.
  8. ^
  9. ^ South African Navy News magazine. Vol XXVIII no. 2, 2008. p24
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Stiff, Peter (1999). The Silent War. Galago Publishing. pp. 50–51. ISBN 0620243007.
  12. ^ a b c Uys, Ian (1992). Cross of Honour. Uys Publishers. ISBN 0958317321.
  13. ^ Ley, Marga (25 August 1992). "Die Vloot gaan verander Lambert Woodburne tree af". Beeld (South Africa). Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. 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."
  14. ^ "Vlootbevel oorhandig". Die Burger. January 21, 1989. Archived from the original on December 5, 2014. Retrieved November 28, 2014.
  15. ^ Nel, Carryn-Ann (July 8, 2013). "Oud-vlootadmiraal (73) oorlede ná 'n lang siekte". Die Burger. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-04-16. Retrieved 2012-10-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ Stiff, Peter (1999). The Silent War. Galago Publishing. p. 51. ISBN 0620243007.
  18. ^ Stiff, Peter (1999). The Silent War. Galago Publishing. p. 52. ISBN 0620243007.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Andries Putter
Chief of the South African Navy
1990 – 1992
Succeeded by
Robert Claude Simpson-Anderson
Preceded by
Chris Bennett
Flag Officer Commanding NAVCOM West
1989 – 1990
Succeeded by
Position disbanded