October Speaker: Colonel Ivor Rimmer – “Hold the wood at all costs”
Johannesburg born and raised, Ivor completed his national service, and started his working career in Information Technology. In 1979 he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Transvaal Horse Artillery, which he later commanded, and in 1991 was elected National Chairman of the CMVO and appointed as Chief Advisor to the Minister of Veteran Affairs. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel in this post, serving until he retired from military service in 1995. In the early 90’s Ivor was appointed as a Trustee of the Delville Wood Trust, a position he still holds today.
While no one battle in any war should be described as better or worse, harder or easier than any other battle, the six days of hell endured by the men of the 1st SA Infantry in the little wood, deep in the Somme in 1916 must surely rate amongst the worst. Those immortal words “Hold the wood at all costs” could be argued as an order that no modern general would be stupid enough or allowed to give, but it was given and the brave South African soldiers held that wood.
101 years later is a fitting time to reflect on the journey that those men took, going to a foreign soil and fighting for a kingdom that so recently had decimated so many of their kinfolk fourteen years previously.
Not a history lesson filled with facts and numbers but rather a story that delves into the very souls of those who fought there, entwined with the thousands of pilgrims who continue to visit there a century later. Names and places, so much part of our everyday life, but are we aware of why and where they come from?
They shall grow not old, as we grow old…….
September Speaker: Brett Archibald
South African born Brett Archibald matriculated at Westville Boys High and went on to study at Natal University and UNISA. He completed 5 years of articles at Ernst and Young and went on to become a director at RCI Southern Africa before moving to London as Managing Director for Group RCI EMEAI. Hailed as the miracle surfing survivor, Brett is in fact a charismatic, well known philanthropist who champions for Christel House South Africa in addition to having many diverse business interests.
This is the amazing story of Brett Archibald’s survival at sea against all odds, after having fallen overboard unconscious off a surf charter boat in the middle of a stormy night. Brett tells his incredible story in such a gripping way that those in the audience are transported with him into the horror of the twenty-eight and a half hours during which he had to draw on every ounce of self-belief, will to survive and application of life principles that ensured he lived to tell of his own miraculous rescue. Brett’s story includes all of the intertwining pieces that connected during those terrifying hours to ensure his safe return to his family. It is a tale of hope, survival and belief.