SKILLIE PROJECT

Skillie Verslag 26 April 2024

Bring Skillie Home

Ons is baie opgewonde met die huidige vordering van die Skillie projek en glo die einde is in sig.

Ons kry hulp van die HALO Trust vir die projek. Die Halo Trust se missie is om wêreldwyd, lewens te beskerm en die bestaan van mense in oorlog geteisterde areas te herstel. Hulle vind plofstowwe en landmyne en stel dit onskadelik, onder andere ook in Angola. Verlede jaar, met ons besoek het ons hul werksaamhede reg deur Angola waargeneem.

Hul het baie goeie toerusting wat ons kan gebruik. Ons is baie opgewonde oor oom Koos Moorcroft wat saam met ons gaan. Ons het dit goed gedink om weer bietjie geskiedenis van die projek te plaas .Baie dankie vir almal se bydraes en geduld. Ons het waardering vir ons projek leier Mike Mc Williams wat jare reeds werk aan die projek.

Willoughby Brits

PVO President

Missing in Action

Andries “Skillie” Human was last seen alive exiting the side-door of a Hercules aircraft at 500ft over the fortified military base Cassinga, 150kms over the border into Angola on May 4 , 1978.

Skillie was only found to be Missing in Action that evening when the Parabats returned to base in SWA.

Speculation that he had landed in the Culonga River which ran alongside the camp was the most probable cause of his disappearance.

Over the years, every tour group that visited the battlefields of Angola was asked to make enquiry as to Skillie’s whereabouts.

In 2011 a rumor spread that Skillie had been found and buried by a local tribesman and this spurred the Parabat Veterans Organization (PVO) to plan a trip to search for the grave. Detailed estimates of Skillie’s landing site were made taking into account the aircraft run-in speed and the location of the landing positions of his stick. The expedition anticipated using Below-Ground Radar and metal detectors to sweep the banks of the river.

Found

While planning proceeded, a windfall came our way. A Namibian Historian visited Cassinga and also made enquiries about Skillie. The historian was taken to a nearby village where he met the man who had actually found Skillies body and buried him.

Skillie had indeed fallen into the river and drowned. A few days after the battle , his body floated to the surface and was retrieved by the headman and buried in a waist-deep grave next to the river. The old man took the historian to the grave site and showed him the indentation in the ground where the body lay.

A detailed GPS reading was taken at the site and photographs.

The grave site is in fact within 100m of the estimated landing area established by dead reconing.

The plans for the expedition were immediately put into high gear and the Ebo Trust was contacted to help with the governmental interaction

Fund Raising

General Opperman of the Ebo Trust estimated that a sum of R350 000 would be needed to launch a successful expedition. This was based on the amount used to execute the retrieval of the Ebo remains.

Strange Bedfellows

During the fundraising effort, Mike McWilliams of the PVO was approached by Eeben Barlow, the founder of Executive Outcomes, the famous private security force. Eeben told of a friend of his, an MK soldier who had retrieved remains of dead ANC cadres from Angolan camps. This man had close relationships with both the SA and Angolan governments and was willing to help with the Skillie project.

Another soldier MIA

The Angolan Ambassador to SA was contacted and asked to help in smoothing the path of the expedition.

She was very happy to do so, and asked whether we could help her in turn. Naturally, the PVO offered any help she may need.

A woman in her embassy in Pretoria was the wife of a FAPLA Captain, Jeonimo, who had gone MIA in 1981 during action against the SADF. Naturally, everyone was keen to find out what had happened to him. The Angolans believed he had been taken prisoner, but had never been repatriated at the end of hostilities.

Despite government to government  enquiries and the intervention of the Red Cross, no trace was found of Capt. Jeronimo, dead or alive.

The Angolans knew the date when Capt. Jeronimo went missing and they also knew that he was a tank commander and where he was last seen, Xangongo.

After months of exhaustive investigation, the PVO came to the conclusion that he had not been a POW.

Found

Eventually we tracked down the man who had shot out the only tank to be shot out alongside the Kunene River near Xangongo on that particular day.

The Soviet T34 had been shot out by a Ratel with a HEAT round. The T34 driver and gunner had managed to exit the tank, but died alongside it. The tank commander who took the full force of the HEAT round was killed in the turret.

The tank was driven away by a SADF tanker as a captured weapon with the body of the commander still in the turret.

On interviewing the tanker, he told of extracting the body from the turret the next morning and burying it where the tank had laid up overnight, somewhere in the trackless bush of Angola.

This series of events explained why the body was never found and the captured T43 had been taken back to Pretoria and is now on display at the Army College.

The Angolans are very happy to have an answer to their mystery and are very well disposed to help with the Skillie Project.

Expedition Date

We would very much like to Bring Skillie Home in June this year. It will have been exactly forty six years since he went missing and his widow, Rachel Human would really like to get closure as soon as possible. May is the time when the rains stop in Angola, so it is the ideal time to launch the expedition.

Mike McWilliams

Parabat Veterans Organization

mmcwilliams@geminicarbon.com

073 164 3278

Skillie Verslag 4 Februarie 2024

  1. Ons maak baie goeie vordering met die projek maar nog steeds baie stadig
  2. Soortgelyke projekte soos bv Ebo Trust , VSA Vietnam, Australia Vietnam en ander het baie lank geneem om afgehandel te word
  3. Ons vergader gereeld saam met ons projekleier Mike McWilliams
  4. Wynand Erasmus ons tesourier, vergader ook gereeld saam om Begroting te hanteer, Wynand is besig met n voorlegging vir ons
  5. Ons vergader ook gereeld saam met kenners en manne met baie ervaring in Angola, soos bv oom Koos Moorcroft
  6. Die Angolese regering, polisie , het die graf area besoek
  7. Die Angolese regering het ons laat weet dat ons nou kan gaan en projek af handel
  8. Ons wag nou vir skriftelike dokumentasie tussen verskillende departemente en ook met Cassinga distrik, provinsie, dit neem ongelukkig baie tyd
  9. Dit is nou ongelukkig reen seisoen tot ongeveer einde Mei, ons beplan om dan te gaan en projek aft e handel
  10. Baie dankie vir almal se Geduld en respek vir Skillie se familie

Fondse bekikbaar is R314 000, reflekteer so in ons geouditeerde finansiele state

PVO se Nasionale raad sal finale besluit neem hoe fondse aangewend sal word wat oorbly nadat die projek afgehandel is

Willoughby Brits –  willoughby.brits@parabat.org.za

President

Mike McWilliams – mike.mcwilliams@parabat.org.za

Projekleier

Skillie verslag Oktober 2023

  1. Ons het baie goeie vordering gemaak met die projek , maar nog steeds baie stadig, ons volg die korrekte en wettige prosedures
  2. Ons kommunikeer gereeld met Mike McWilliams die projekleier
  3. Begroting het 3 Scenarios, As alles volgens plan verloop , As ons gaan en nie Skillie kry nie , as ons nie gaan nie.
  4. Ons het n baie goeie brief ontvang , toestemming van Minister Pandor
  5. Die saldo van Fondse vir die projek is R315 000, deur ons ouditeur bevestig
  6. Risiko – bakleiery in PVO, slegte , swak kommentaar op sosiale media, Polities, van ons eie mense wat verskil , ook offisiere
  7. My opinie is dat projek so stil as moontlik gehou moet word tot ons Skillie terug het, dit verminder risiko
  8. Ek ontvang baie min navrae of kritiek orals in die land waar ek rond beweeg
  9. Baie dankie aan Mike mcWilliams (Projekleier) vir sy goeie werk en geduld
  10. Chris Pohl , Willoughby Brits , Anthony Modena , Dr Andre Roux was op n Recce Angola ekspedisie, Cassinga besoek en ook Skillie se graf, sien video – http://www.parabat.org.za/wp-content/PVOapp/SkillieVideo2023-07-10.mp4
  11. Koos Moorcroft en Callie Roos was leiers van Ekspedisie
  12. Ons het baie geleer van Angola ook spesifiek die paaie Noord en Suid van Cassinga, baie swak toestand
  13. Ons het baie met oom Koos Moorcroft die projek bespreek, hy het ons baie gehelp, ook Jack Greeff
  14. Roetes , doeane , grensposte, ander is nou baie meer bekend aan ons na ekspedisie in Angola
  15. Goeie kontakte in Angola en Namibie is baie belangrik, ons het dit opgebou.
  16. Iets soos n GPS toestel , selfone is baie belangrik, ondervinding met dit is baie belangrik
  17. Grond is terug gebring vanaf die Graf area, soos Ebo Trust gedoen het
  18. Sien asb al die verslae op die PVO website
  19. Angola wil nou dat ons vir hul amptenare betaal, ons wag vir begroting, kan dalk n uitdaging wees 
  20. PVO sal moet dink aan ons opsies oor die projek en met alle rolspelers kommunikeer

 

13 July 2022

Project progress:

The PVO received confirmation that the Angolan government was preparing a letter to:

– confirm free movement to the PVO project team in Angola,

– provide approval to excavate the grave site identified by a local resident.

Project funds:

The funds donated to the project remain under PVO management.

PVO NEC

enquiries@parabat.org.za

25 Mei 2022

  1. Alles is nog op koers met Skillie projek
  2. Covid 19 verslapping reels help baie
  3. Die Angolese President het dit ongeveer 24 Maart offisieel goedgekeur
  4. Angolese span word saamgestel waarmee ons moet saamwerk
  5. Ons wag nou vir die span
  6. Ons het ook n aanbod gekry vir hulp met honde en n vliegtuig
  7. Bg is nie vir ons rekening nie maar vir hul rekening
  8. Aviator het n berig in hul tydskrif geplaas
  9. Aviator is ook bereid om PVO nuus in hul tydskrif te plaas
  10. Totale bedrag in Skillie fonds is R274 000
  11. Soos in 2021 deur PVO tesourier Jim bevestig per epos
  12. Skillie begroting ontvang in 2020
  13. Ek het geld sake , praktiese deel met Mike bespreek
  14. Geldsake sal deursigtig en korrek hanteer word saam met nuwe tesourier Thinus
  15. Ons sal probeer om n bank kaart te kry, vir reis en projek en US Dollars kontant
  16. Mike McWilliams is projekleier en alle navrae kan aan Mike en my gerig word
  17. Sien asb vorige verlae en terugvoering, was ook gereeld in Batchat gepubliseer