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5. Acknowledgements

I am greatly indebted to the professional and academic support that I have received from Prof Ian van der Waag and Dr Kent Fedorowich, my supervisor and co-supervisor respectively. Ian, a Professor of Military History and Chair of the School for Security and Africa Studies in the Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University, has journeyed with me since the inception of this project in 2015. He assisted me in shaping my thoughts around the topic, especially for the initial proposal. He has also provided constant support and encouragement during the completion of this endeavour. Ian is the foremost military historian in southern Africa, and it is an honour to be associated with him as my supervisor, mentor and friend.

Kent, a Reader in British Imperial and Commonwealth History, and the Associate

Head of Research and Scholarship of the Department of Art and Cultural Industries

(ACI) at the University of the West of England in Bristol, came on-board as my co-supervisor in 2016. Since then, he has immersed himself in the thesis topic and has provided me with invaluable and consistent feedback and suggestions. I am particularly thankful for the time and effort he has sacrificed during the completion of this dissertation. The completion of this dissertation would have been impossible without the continued support and guidance of my supervisors.

The sustained support of both my family and in-laws deserves a special mention. I especially wish to thanks my parents, Flip and Annemarie, as well as my brother, Tiaan, for believing in my dream and always taking a keen interest in my research. Having come from a military family, I grew up in a disciplined environment with a high regard for both the military and the subject of military history. I am forever thankful for my upbringing, and proud of the fact that several of my family members have served in the UDF, the South African Defence Force and the South African National Defence Force of the Republic of South Africa. Moreover, my parents inculcated in me the love of history, and in particular military history, from a very young age.  I am forever indebted to them, and to the fact that this affection has led to the fruition of this dissertation. My in-laws, the Woudstra family, have also provided me with immeasurable support during the completion of the dissertation, often inquiring as to my progress and providing words of encouragement. I cherish their belief in me.

The ever-present encouragement of my friends and academic peers has proved integral over the past few years. David Katz deserves a special mention, especially since the first steps of our joint postgraduate journey in 2012. David has been particularly generous with his continued advice and suggestions since then, particularly during the first half of 2018. David is a fellow doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University. I treasure our friendship immensely, and value our combined endeavour to challenge the available historiography on the South African participation in both world wars. 

While working as a military historian at the DOD Archives, I met fellow historian Will Gordon. Will is currently a teacher at Midstream College, where he teaches history and geography. Since then, we have forged a strong friendship. Will has always been willing to listen to my rants, enquire about my progress, and provide guidance when I needed it most. Over the past few years, we have regularly exchanged ideas about our dissertations, often over a scrumptious breakfast, or next to a fire with a glass of whisky in hand. Thank you for your friendship, I am grateful that our paths have crossed.

Tony Garcia, a former officer in the defence force, who now resides in New York, also journeyed with me during the completion of the dissertation. Tony has consistently enquired about my progress and provided kind words of encouragement. Tony and I share a keen interest in the initial South African operational deployments during the First World War. We have also had regular academic exchanges on the subject matter of military history throughout the years. I am thankful for our continued friendship despite the distance between us. 

Apart from the strong friendships and camaraderie between David, Will, Tony and myself, we are all doctoral candidates at Stellenbosch University, all under the supervision of Prof Ian van der Waag. I am proud of my association with all of these gentlemen.

I am especially indebted to Marlies en Ruth Woudstra for proofreading and language editing the dissertation. Their professional approach deserves commendation. I also wish to acknowledge four iron ladies that have mentored me during my professional career. They are Louise Jooste, the former Director of the DOD Archives; Annette Kellner, the former Head of the Records, Archives and Museums (RAM) Division at North-West University (NWU); Amanda van der Merwe, the Director Corporate and Information Governance Service at NWU; and the Institutional Registrar of NWU – Prof Marlene Verhoef. Thank you for believing in me, and affording me the opportunity to prove myself. 

The editors of Scientia Militaria and the Naval Digest deserve a special mention. They allowed me to investigate several concepts relating to the dissertation in their respective journals between 2016 and 2018, which allowed for a greater understanding of key concepts and historical moments related to this study. I also wish to acknowledge Jan-Willem Hoorweg, the former chairman of the South African Society of Military History, and Prof Louis Grundlingh from the Department of History at the University of Johannesburg, for affording me the opportunity to deliver talks on various aspects related to the maritime war waged off the South African coast during the Second World War. These platforms proved immensely valuable in articulating core ideas underpinning the dissertation and allowed for a critical debate on certain issues.

Several librarians and archivists have provided invaluable assistance during the course of my research. Gerald Prinsloo, the photographic archivist at the DOD Archives, provided several photographs for the dissertation, and readily assisted me during each of my research visits to the archives. Gerald is not only incredibly knowledgeable, he has always been kind in exchanging academic ideas and trawling the archives with researchers in the pursuit of knowledge. 

Maryna Rankin is the digital archivist of the RAM Division at NWU, and has kindly facilitated my access to several photographs, audio interviews and accompanying transcripts. Her professional approach greatly aided my research into the Ossewabrandwag. I was able to gain access to a wealth of primary archival material from The National Archives (TNA) of the United Kingdom through Anne Samson, who tirelessly photographed hundreds of files crucial to completing this dissertation.

Without Anne’s assistance, this dissertation would have been impossible to complete. 

Finally, I would like to thank Ilzé Cloete, a former librarian at the Ditsong Museum of Military History in Johannesburg. Ilzé kindly provided me with a wealth of photographic material relating to the naval war off the South African coast during the Second World War. These photos proved invaluable since they have never before appeared in the public domain. I must note, however, that the research support that I received from the staff at the South African Naval Museum in Simon’s Town, South Africa remained wanting; I still await a reply from them about a query submitted two years ago.

I dedicate this dissertation to Marit Helen Kleynhans, the bravest woman I know. I am grateful for your continued love and unfailing interest in my research topic. Thank you for having faith in my dream from day one. You are one of a few individuals in the world who has an intimate, and at times unhealthy, knowledge of the Axis and Allied maritime operations around the South African coast during the Second World War. You are my pillar of support, and above all, my best friend.



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