Sandfontein Artillery Regiment

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Lys' Volunteer Corps
Transvaal Horse Artillery Volunteers
Transvaal Horse Artillery
Sandfontein Artillery Regiment
SANDF Transvaal Horse Artillery emblem
SANDF Transvaal Horse Artillery emblem
Active17 March 1904 to present
Country South Africa
TypeReserve Artillery
Part ofSouth African Army Artillery Formation
Army Conventional Reserve
Garrison/HQMount Collins, Kelvin, Sandton
Anniversaries17 March 1904
Equipment140mm guns
Battle honours
Battle Honours
South West Africa 1914 - 1915
WebsiteOfficial website
Officer CommandingMajor Richard Ngwenya
Collar BadgeBursting grenade with seven flames
Beret ColourOxford Blue
Artillery Battery EmblemsSANDF Artillery Battery emblems
Artillery Beret Bar circa 1992SANDF Artillery Beret Bar

The Sandfontein Artillery Regiment (formerly the Transvaal Horse Artillery) is a reserve artillery regiment of the South African Army.

The Sandfontein Artillery Regiment is currently located in Johannesburg. The main ordnance of the regiment is the G6 self-propelled 155mm gun/howitzer. It consists of four batteries: Regimental Headquarters Battery, 7 Battery, 8 Battery and 9 Battery.



The Transvaal Horse Artillery was formed on 17 March 1904 as Lys' Volunteer Corps (after its first commanding officer, Major Godfrey Lys) and was a regiment dependent on horse transport from the start.[1]: 60  His adjutant was Brevet-Major J.W.F Lamont, Royal Field Artillery.[1]: 60  Lys would resign in January 1905 and Major A. Langebrink took over command.[1]: 60  The uniform was in the style of the Royal Household Artillery with the silver substituted by gold.[1]: 60  Its first honorary colonel was Thomas Cullinan.[1]: 60  The regiment's name was changed six months later to the Transvaal Horse Artillery Volunteers, which it retained until 1911, when the volunteers designation was dropped, to become the Transvaal Horse Artillery.

In 1913, the unit was embodied in the citizen force of the new Union Defence Forces as the 7th Citizen Battery (THA).

World War I[edit]

German South-West Africa Campaign[edit]

The regiment was part of the Northern Force sent to invade (the then) German South-West Africa at the outbreak World War I. It first saw action in September 1914 at Sandfontein[2] and later distinguished itself at Riet and Namutoni.


Volunteers from the Transvaal Horse Artillery also later fought as part of the South African Heavy Artillery in Palestine, Egypt and Europe.


In the inter-war period the regiment grew from a single battery to a three battery brigade; it was also mechanised by the introduction of trucks. During the 1922 Rand Rebellion the THA took part in the Battle of Brixton Bridge and in the clearing of Fordsburg.

The unit was renumbered as the 3rd Citizen Battery (THA) in 1926, and reverted to the name Transvaal Horse Artillery in 1932. On the outbreak of World War II in 1939, it became the 3rd Field Brigade (THA).

World War II[edit]

During World War II, the THA first saw action against the Italians in Abyssinia.

The regiment's most memorable action during the war was during the battle of Sidi Rezegh in the Western Desert on 23 November 1941. As a part of 5 South African Infantry Brigade Group, the THA suffered considerable losses during heavy action which saw it firing over open sights at the panzers of the Afrika Korps.

After the collapse of Tobruk in June 1942, the regiment lost its headquarters unit as well as its 8th and 9th batteries, except for one troop of 8th Battery. This troop, together with the Coldstream Guards, were the only units to drive out in formation. The remaining (7th) battery of the regiment was first attached to 7 Field Regiment and took part in the fighting at El Alamein in October 1942. It subsequently joined 4/22nd Field Regiment, South African Artillery and saw action throughout the Italian Campaign.


From 1960 to 1968, the THA was affiliated to the University of the Witwatersrand and was known as the Witwatersrand University Regiment.

South African Border War[edit]

During the post-war period, the regiment was often mobilised with 7 South African Infantry Division's 72 Brigade,[3] to take part in South Africa's Border War. The regiment was called up in 1976 for three months active service in Angola and South West Africa and followed this up with two months in the operational area in 1979. Other operations included:

Name change[edit]

In August 2019, 52 Reserve Force units had their names changed to reflect the diverse military history of South Africa.[4] The Transvaal Horse Artillery became the Sandfontein Artillery Regiment, and have 3 years to design and implement new regimental insignia.[5]

Commanding officers[edit]

  • Commandant Roy Andersen 1980
  • Commandant Johan Van Wyk 1985
  • Commandant Brent Chalmers 1986
  • Commandant Ivor Rimmer 1988
  • Commandant Raymond Bothé 1991
  • Lt Col Mark Dabner 1994
  • Major Ian McDonald 2001
  • Major Albert D. Pestana 2005
  • Major Johan Agenbag 2015
  • Major Richard Ngwenya 2017

Freedom of Entry[edit]

The Freedom of Entry into the City of Johannesburg was bestowed on the Regiment in 1964.


The regiment celebrated their 110th Anniversary in 2014.[6]

On 11 June 2007 the THA shared a Royal Salute alongside the Honourable Artillery Company, (HAC) at the traditional saluting base, the Tower of London, in honour of the official birthday of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, consort to Queen Elizabeth II. It was the first time that any non-Commonwealth troops participated in such an event in the United Kingdom.[6]

On 16 December 2013 the THA had the honour of firing a 21 gun national salute for the president at the official parade to commemorate the Day of Reconciliation and also in honour of the late President Nelson Mandela at the occasion of the unveiling of this statue at the Union Buildings.[6]

Regimental symbols[edit]

  • Cap badge: a field gun in the centre, with the word "Transvaal" above it and the words "horse artillery" below, with a laurel branch on a curved scroll in between.
  • The Transvaal Horse Artillery was formally affiliated with the Honourable Artillery Company from 1937 to 1961 and then again from 1994 to the present.
  • The regiment received the Freedom of the City of Johannesburg in 1964.
SADF era Transvaal Horse Artillery bullion badge
SADF era Transvaal Horse Artillery insignia

Battle honours[edit]

  • South West Africa 1914 - 1915



  1. ^ a b c d e Praagh, L.V. (1906). The Transvaal and Its Mines: (The Encyclopedic History of the Transvaal). London: Praagh & Lloyd.
  2. ^ Warwick, Rodney (28 October 2014). "When South Africa fought the Germans". PoliticsWeb. Retrieved 29 October 2014. The two Transvaal Horse Artillery guns uncoupled and swung into action; the white gunners and black auxiliaries demonstrated significant courage in fighting back from such an exposed position with ammunition being rushed across from inconveniently parked munition wagons. A German shell burst killed Battery Sergeant-Major Harris and UDF artillery casualties rose; by noon both guns were out of action.
  3. ^ "A hundred and 10 not out for the Transvaal Horse Artillery". defenceWeb. 2014-04-29. Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  4. ^ "New Reserve Force unit names". defenceWeb. 7 August 2019. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  5. ^ "Renaming process has resulted in an Army structure that truly represents SA". IOL. 16 August 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "A hundred and 10 not out for the Transvaal Horse Artillery". DefenceWEb. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Affiliations". Retrieved 31 March 2021.

External links[edit]