Due to the fact that Britain was able to operate a naval base from Simon’s Town in South Africa, South Africans who volunteered to join the South African Navy usually landed up seconded in the service of the Royal Navy in WW2.
To the point where hardly a ship in the Royal Navy did not carry a South African contingent. Also, any tragedy – involving high combat loss or a sinking of a Royal Navy ship during WW2 usually carries with it a South African (SANVR) honour roll.
Here is a photo of the members of the South African Division of the Royal Naval Volunteers Reserve on board HMS NELSON posing for the camera sitting on one of the enormous 16 inch guns of A turret. July 1941.
Image – Imperial War Museum copyright.