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Imperial Light Horse, South African Army in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- Imperial Light Horse, South African Army during the Second World War -

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Imperial Light Horse, South African Army

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Those known to have served with

Imperial Light Horse, South African Army

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

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Pte. Frank Elie Marett Transport Div. Imperial Light Horse (ILH) Rgt.

Our father, Frank (Francis) Elie Marett lived in Benoni, South Africa at the start of WWII. He married Ethel Bamford in Pretoria and had a daughter Patricia Anne born September 1940.

He signed up for duty and did his basic training at Zonderwater military camp in Cullinan east of Pretoria and in Barberton in the Eastern Transvaal. Sadly, as the saying goes: “Old Soldiers never die, they slowly fade away” - he left us at the age of 99 in 2008.

Although he did not relate too much of the war days he did give little snippets from time to time. As far as can be remembered, he and his regiment left South Africa at the beginning of 1941 heading for Bulawayo in Rhodesia where they took possession of their Bedford Trucks that they would drive through Africa to Eritrea, Abyssinia and Somalia. Here they were loaded onto vessels to take them through the Suez Canal to Alexandria North Africa where they disembarked and regrouped. Their task was to supply the ground forces in the desert with provisions and ammunition against the German "Desert Fox" - Rommel.

He did mention on one occasion their convoy stopping in the desert. The drivers and crew then lying on top of their vehicles which were loaded with explosives to watch a dog fight taking place above them.

He was taken prisoner at Tobruk, along with many others, and marched through the desert to Tripoli. They were herded into the dirty holds of vessels and shipped across to Sicily then Italy.

He was sent to a POW camp in Italy where he spent a short time working on vineyards before they were evacuated and transported north to Germany, ending up in Stalag IVB as a prisoner.

He was fortunate to be sent to work underground on the coal mines shovelling the coal onto the conveyors which moved the coal to the surface; this was used to produce fuel for the German cause. He survived the ordeal and was released with the others at the end of the war. He was on the last train to arrive at Pretoria Station where he was reunited with his wife and daughter who was then five years old.

John Marett

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