Peter Dickens works closely in South African military veterans affairs, in the United Kingdom he is the President of the South African Legion of Military Veterans – United Kingdom and Europe Branch and he is also the founding Chairman of the Royal British Legion – South African Branch. In South Africa he is the Deputy Old Bill of the Memorable Order of Tin Hats – Seagull Shellhole.

In terms of military experience, Peter served in the South African Army as an Operations Officer, a Convoy Commander and finally as a SSO3 in 15RCD – Gauteng Command, he holds the rank of Captain.

Peter has a B Soc Sc from Rhodes University in South Africa majoring in Economic History and Economics and a H Dip Marketing from the University of South Africa. He has three broad passions – underwater wreck diving, flying light aircraft and military history.

Although formally submitting accredited history papers and been called on for the odd public speaking engagement on military history, military history remains a pastime passion for Peter, commercially (to ‘earn a crust’) he is the Managing Director and co-owner of a craft brewery and distillery business called ‘The Spirit of Hermanus’ based in South Africa.

24 thoughts on “Biography

  1. I have been in contact with my US Congressman for the following reason: To honor coalition veterans. Even though America often fights wars with coalition forces, these efforts are never honored by the US government. The US does honor its own forces, but not those they partner with. If you want to throw in your 20c contact at the office of Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and lets see if we can get this done.


  2. Just came across this great blog! Brilliantly done and a so good to see someone documenting our military history in this way. Thanks Peter from a former Company Commander of 14RCD in Voortrekkerhoogte!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the article on Angola and the SAAF aircraft that were flown there. I was once at Snake Valley with Col Mac Gregor and as we walked between the hangers came upon a large number of
    Cessna 185.s which were having their Portuguese markings removed and taken back into SAAF inventory. I imagine they came from Mozambique.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Peter hello

    Your article about the liberation of Florence augments my family history and resonates deeply. Thank you!

    My father was one of these liberators – who had been right through the Africa campaign – Captain Ian Ellis.
    My mother had been in the Resistance and could only re-enter her city after 18 months in hiding – Giovanna (Robin) Giachetti .
    My English grandmother opened their home in Florence to the conquering heroes, which became a sort of SA go-to haven with a family that spoke English! – Baroness Nelly Giachetti.

    My parents got engaged in Piazzale Michelangelo in 1944, were married in the Anglican church in Florence in July 1945, and my brother, appropriately called David, was born in 1947 after their return to SA, where they lived ever after.
    Ian died in 2003 and Robin is 96, in Cape Town.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are to be congratulated Peter on a great resource. I read your sadness at the lack of interest in South African historical military affairs; but I guess one has to be philosophical. C’est la vie.

    Achieving a commission meant a lot to me and my family was deeply involved in SA military affairs from the Boer War (as a veg commandant) and in Delville Wood (as a subaltern) etc.

    I will follow your siren song of success with this great site.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great stuff! I’m researching a book about my Uncle Captain Stanley Brown who was with 26 Squadron SAAF and flew Wellingtons against U-boats off Takoradi, Gold Coast in 1943 (MIA 18 Dec 43). Does anyone have anything about the SAAF in this little-known (but strategically vital) West African theatre?


  7. Dear Peter,
    As a military history enthusiast, I recently visited the town of Żagań in Poland where the Luftwaffe’s Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp for Allied air force personnel was located during World War II. The camp became the scene of ‘The Great Escape’ that took place there on 24/25 March 1944.

    I chanced upon your article on the subject, specifically dealing with Squadron Leader Roger Bushell, the South African-born RAF officer who was the driving force behind the ill-fated escape. He was one of The Fifty – recaptured escapees murdered by the Gestapo.

    Your article identifies Johannes Post, a Kriminalkommissar in the city of Kiel for the murder of Bushell. Whilst Post was certainly one of the most callous of the lot, and a fervent Nazi (he held the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer), the men who shot Bushell and his fellow escapee Lieutenant Bernard Scheidhauer of the Free French Air Force were actually Emil Schulz and Dr Leopold Spann of the Saarbrücken Kripo (Kriminalpolizei). The latter evaded justice, as he was killed in an air raid, but Schulz was charged for the murder of Bushell and Scheidhauer, along with Walter Breithaupt, driver of the vehicle. Several sources credit Breithaupt with providing accurate details of the killing, including the fact that Schulz was the one who shot Bushell.

    I thought this information gleaned from several books, notably Simon Read’s Human Game – The True Story of the “Great Escape” Murders and the Hunt for the Gestapo Gunmen published in 2012, will shed new light on an interesting though tragic story.

    Please keep up the good work and count me in as an avid reader.


  8. Peter, as a former resident in Angola I´m not an outsider to these issues … Thanks a lot for the much detailed history on the Exodus of Portuguese nationals, who were pushed away from that territory as civil war broke out. Many of us managed to flee to S.W.A. via Oshikango and could save own lives ! We counted on ourselves and, of course, on “die Suid-Afrikaanse Weermag” … Please bring us whatever reports you can find related to the hidden cooperation between SADF and the Portuguese Army (I´ve been told of a few joint operations over Caprivi Strip). Best regards.


  9. Dear Peter
    Many thanks for providing superb information on SA military history.
    It is a wonderful resource for posterity.
    Best wishes


  10. i have heard that the sas somerset is set to go to the breakers – as the sa navy cannot afford to have another preservation ship – she is leaking oil – currently – at v&a waterfront – the last report i have is dated jan 2019


    • Can we not raise funds via a crowdfund page? We are losing so much history these days, as it is considered the ‘wrong’ history.


  11. Greetings Peter!

    Happy to discover your blog – also just this week joined the SAL – UK.
    I’m across the pond in Ireland and do a bit of blogging myself. However, I miss the camaraderie that only the military can bring and believe civvies don’t get “it”… especially here as the military is looked down upon.
    Anyway, I will follow your blog with interest and hope to (maybe) add a little value to the SAL group. (I have previously connected with Garth on LinkedIn…)
    Here’s a link that has other links included that will give you a bit of background…

    Cheers for now,
    Vossie aka AJ Vosse – pen name


  12. Hi Peter just stumbled on your great work on Heinz Werner Schmidt in doing my own little bits of research (quite amateurish) in this challenging time. Do you have any other further evidence of South African s or Namibians who fought for the Afrika Korp? Thanks again for some really great pieces and I look forward to following your blog. Keep up the good work. Stay safe in this difficult time.


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