Pretoria Regiment

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Pretoria Regiment
SANDF Pretoria Armoured Regiment emblem.jpg
SANDF Pretoria Regiment emblem
Active 1 July 1913 -
Country  South Africa
Type Armoured Regiment
Part of South African Armoured Formation
Army Conventional Reserve
Garrison/HQ Magazine Hill, Patriot Street, Salvo KopPretoria
Motto(s) Nulli Secundus ("Second to None")
Battle honours
Battle Honours
South West Africa 1914 - 1915
Madagascar 1942
Bagno Regio
La Foce
Gothic Line
Catarelto Ridge
Po Valley
Commanding Officer (1906-1914) Lt Col Hartley Dales
Commanding Officer Lt Col Cliff van der Westhuizen
Beret Colour Black
Armour Squadron emblems SANDF Armour squadron emblems
Armour beret bar circa 1992 SANDF Armour beret bar

The Pretoria Regiment is an armoured regiment of the South African Army. As a reserve unit, it has a status roughly equivalent to that of a British Army Reserve or United States Army National Guard unit. The Regiment is stationed in the city after which it was named, Pretoria. It is part of the South African Army Armour Formation.[1]



The regiment was formed in Pretoria on 1 July 1913 as the 12th Infantry (Pretoria Regiment) - a unit of the Active Citizen Force - by the amalgamation of several units: the Pretoria Company of the Transvaal Scottish, the Central South African Railway Volunteers, the Northern Mounted Rifles and the Pretoria detachment of the Transvaal Cycle and Motor Corps.

World War One[edit]

The Regiment landed from the sea and served in German South West Africa at Aus and Tschaukaib in the south. They were part of the advance on Tsumeb in July 1915.

Rand Revolt[edit]

The regiment prevented a force of armed strikers from damaging the Pretoria-Germiston Railway line in May 1922.


In 1928, it was renamed The Pretoria Regiment.[2]

The Royal Colonel[edit]

On 24 October 1930 it was once again renamed, to The Pretoria Regiment (Princess Alice's Own) after Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone. The Regiment became fully bilingual with the addition of a 2nd Battalion staffed predominantly by Afrikaners.[2]

World War Two[edit]

During World War II, the Regiment was converted to an armoured formation attached to the 11th South African Armoured Brigade, South African 6th Armoured Division. The unit was demobilized after the war, and in 1946 it was re-organised as a part-time force, consisting of two separate regiment-sized formations. These were re-integrated in 1954.[2]

Tanks of the Pretoria Regiment, 1944

Renamed again[edit]

After the establishment of the Republic of South Africa in 1961, the unit was again renamed The Pretoria Regiment by the South African Defence Force. In the 1960s, recruits were trained on Centurion tanks and the new Eland armoured cars.[2]The regiment assisted in the development of the Oliphant MBT.

Border War[edit]

The regiment was placed under the command of the 8th Armoured Division (South Africa) in this period.

The regiment saw service in the Border War in operations such as Operation Prone.

One squadron of the regiments tanks was attached to 61 Mechanised Battalion Group for operations near Cuito Cuanavale sustaining no personnel or vehicle casualties.[3]

SADF era Regiment Pretoria commemorative letter


Name Type Country of Origin In Service Notes
Ford CMP[2] Utility truck  Canada Retired
Bedford MK[2] Utility truck  United Kingdom Retired
SAMIL Utility truck  South Africa Yes SAMIL 20, 50, and 100 variants.[2]
Morris C8[4] Artillery tractor  United Kingdom Ceremonial
Eland[2] Armoured Car  South Africa Retired
Ferret Scout Car  United Kingdom Ceremonial Mk 2.[4]
Marmon-Herrington Armoured Car  South Africa Retired Mk IV.[2]
Ratel[4] Infantry Fighting Vehicle  South Africa Yes
Sherman Firefly[2] Medium Tank  United Kingdom Retired
Centurion[2] Main Battle Tank  United Kingdom Retired
Skokiaan[2] Main Battle Tank  United Kingdom/ South Africa Retired
Semel[2] Main Battle Tank  United Kingdom/ South Africa Retired
Olifant[2] Main Battle Tank  United Kingdom/ South Africa Yes Mk 1A.
SANDF Oliphant mark 2 main battle tank at AAD 2016

Insignia and Honours[edit]

Regimental Symbols[edit]

  • Badges: An impala on a mountain representing the Magaliesberg range to north of Pretoria, with in the foreground some succulents. Beneath the impala and the mountain is a ribbon bearing the regiment's motto, Nulli Secundus ("Second to None"). This motto was granted to the regiment by the then Prime Minister Louis Botha after the 1914 - 1915 campaign.[5]

Previous Dress Insignia[edit]

UDF and SADF era Regiment Pretoria insignia

A unusual backing appeared on the regiments cap badge around 1945 when it was associated with a British unit, the 24th Guards Brigade, when they were both part of the 6th South African Armoured Division.The two units had fought side by side on the Italian Front and ended their association by celebrating their co operation , the 24th Guards Brigade gave their arm badge as a present to the unit.The two wings are therefore those depicted on the Guards Brigade arm patch.

Divisional Affiliation[edit]

SADF 81 Armoured Brigade Regiment Pretoria Flash


Battle honours[edit]

Conflict Honour[citation needed] Year(s)
World War I South-West Africa Campaign 1914 - 1915
World War II Battle of Madagascar 1942
World War II Bagnoregio 1944
World War II Sarteano (Trasimene Line) 1944
World War II La Foce 1944
World War II Florence 1944
World War II Gothic Line 1944
World War II Caterelto Ridge 1944
World War II Po Valley (Spring offensive) 1945
South African Border War Battle of Cuito Cuanavale[citation needed] 1988

Official mascot[edit]

Class 21 no. 2551

During the Second World War, the sole Class 21 2-10-4 Texas type locomotive of the South African Railways (SAR) was often used to haul long and heavy military trains, troop trains and sometimes Italian prisoners-of-war to the military unit and prisoner-of-war camp at Sonderwater near Cullinan. In the process it was made the official mascot of the oldest military unit in Pretoria, the Pretoria Regiment (Princess Alice's Own). The Class 21 was the only SAR locomotive to be honoured in this way by the armed forces.[6][7]


  1. ^ Pretoria Regiment
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n South African Armour Association
  3. ^ The Pretoria Regiment: Brig Gen (ret) D. Fourie
  4. ^ a b c Pretoria Regiment turns 100
  5. ^ "Pretoria Regiment". 2014-03-02. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved 2015-04-11. 
  6. ^ Soul of A Railway, System 8, Part 2: Pretoria: including local services, workshops and running sheds, Part 2. Captions 2, 3. (Accessed on 18 March 2017)
  7. ^ The Rayton-Cullinan Railway Line and World War 2, Lieutenant-Colonel J.E. Samuels (SANDF, Ret), Bulletin of the Railway History Group, No. 82, December 2005