The story

Jack Baragwanath

Jack Baragwanath

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John (Jack) Baragwanath, the son of a Methodist clergyman, Thomas H. Baragwanath, was born in Newburgh, New York, in 1887. He later recalled: "My mother's father was the Rev. John G. Oakley, and her brother was the Rev. Charles Oakley, so what with my father.... I was up to my ears in ministers, and was brought up in an atmosphere of strict piety. Father was a very religious man, though no bigot."

Baragwanath studied geology and engineering at Columbia University (1906-1910). "During my last term, I took a course in archaeology under Professor Marshall Saville. I was fascinated by his lectures on the pre-Colombian peoples of Mexico, Central America, and the West Coast of South America. Near the close of the course, Saville asked me whether I would like to join an expedition to Ecuador sponsored by a gentleman named George Heye. He was leaving in about a month, he said, with a small party to study the pre-Incan civilization of that then remote country. He needed a geologist. Would I go for six months at a salary of twenty-five dollars a month and expenses."

When the expedition came to an end in August 1910 Baragwanath told Marshall Howatd Saville that he wished to stay in Ecuador. "I began to toy with the idea of becoming not only a geologist but a mining engineer. I had felt the terrific excitement of mining, of creating new wealth by digging ore from the ground. I had seen many men blasting out fortunes for themselves. I had already taken courses in the theory of mining, a lot of chemistry, surveying, assaying, mapping, and even a course in mining camp hygiene. Yes, I would be a mining engineer, leaning particularly on geology."

Baragwanath eventually got a job in a gold mine in Portovelo. "My first job was night-shift boss in the cyanide plant, a place full of vats, pipes, and zinc-boxes where the ground-up ore, after leaving the stamp mill, was leached in a highly poisonous solution of sodium cyanide, and the gold that was thus dissolved was deposited as a black slime on zinc shavings. The plant was a silent, eerie area, an Avernus where nothing moved but bats and big moths. My only duty was to turn certain valves at widely spaced intervals. The rest of the twelve-hour stretch I spent fighting to stay awake. In desperation I began to collect the moths that flocked, in large numbers and great variety and beauty, around two bright lights. If I had stayed there long enough, I would have become either an accomplished lepidopterist or a manic-depressive. But before long they must have recognized my technical genius for they transferred me to the Engineering Department."

This involved spending a lot of time underground: " J. Ward Williams... taught me the technique of mining wide and narrow quartz veins, driving drifts and cross-cuts, running raises, and sinking shafts. He made me learn to timber, lay track and hang pipe, to point blast-holes and how to space them. I was made dynamiter for one awful period during which, with one assistant, I had to load and shoot all the drill-holes in every stope at the end of each shift. Night after night I would stagger home with a 'powder-headache' so severe that no aspirin, Anacin, or Bufferin could have given me any relief even had such compounds been available. I am one of those unfortunates who are allergic to nitroglycerin."

On 28th January, 1912, a group of pro-Catholic soldiers killed recently imprisoned President Eloy Alfaro. "A mob had broken into his dungeon and dragged the old gentleman out. In the street the mob had tied ropes to his arms and legs and literally pulled him apart... Down in Guayaquil the crowd had beheaded a general of the Alfaristas and publicly burned his body in the main square. After this, they had put his head in a kerosene tin and sent it to his wife in Quito." Baragwanath, fearing for his own life, decided to return home.

A few months later Baragwanath obtained work with Morococha Mining Company in Peru. "My salary was $3,000 a year, most of it clear, as there were no expenses to speak of... I was soon made General Mine Captain, in charge of all the mines." By 1915 he was General Manager of the "whole Cerro de Pasco enterprise". He recorded in his autobiography, A Good Time was Had (1962): "The next four years I spent in exploring mine possibilities throughout the length and breadth in Peru, principally silver, copper, and lead mines."

In October, 1919, Baragwanath established his own company in New York City. This mainly involved advising companies such as the Ludlum Steel Company. During this period he developed a reputation as a playboy. Women found Baragwanath very attractive and was known as "Handsome Jack". According to Brian Gallagher he was: "Six feet tall, broad-shouldered and lean, he wore his dark hair slicked back and sported a thin mustache. His close resemblance to some of the dashing male leads of the period's films could not be missed."

Baragwanath met the artist, Neysa McMein, at a party at the home of Irene Castle. Baragwanath later recalled: "The party turned out to be great fun. There was dancing and a good deal of singing around the piano which was played by a girl - an artist, I was told - whose name was Neysa McMein. She was so striking that I could hardly take my eyes off her. Fairly tall, with a fine figure, she had a face whose high cheek-bones, greenish eyes, and heavy, dark lashes and eyebrows would have commanded attention and admiration anywhere.... She wasn't a beauty, she was just beautiful. She asked me to drop in at her studio the following Saturday afternoon."

McMein was considered to be one of the most attractive women living in New York City. The writer, Marc Connelly claimed: "Neysa couldn't have been more popular. She couldn't have been lovelier. Everybody loved her. She was perfectly beautiful, a tall Amazonian sort of person, handsome as could be." Harpo Marx described her as "the sexiest gal in town" and admitted that "the biggest love affair in New York City was between me - along with two dozen other guys - and Neysa McMein."

In his autobiography, A Good Time was Had (1962), Baragwanath described the meeting in her studio: "I went to Neysa's studio that Saturday afternoon and was welcomed pleasantly but, I thought, rather blankly. Obviously, she had forgotten where she had met me but sensed that in some misguided moment she must have invited me. She grinned and casually waved an introduction to her other guests, none of whom even looked up, then she went back to her easel where she was putting the final touches to a pretty-girl cover job in pastels. She concentrated without any regard to the noise in the room, which was roughly that of a busy steel plant. There were two pianos, back-to-back, manned by two vigorous young men, one of whom turned out to be Arthur Samuels, a young advertising man, and the other Jascha Heifetz. Over in the corner, at a rickety table, four men, including Heywood Broun and George Kaufman, were playing poker, quite oblivious to the enveloping racket. On and around a sway-backed sofa were several aspiring actresses screaming at each other above the clamor in a frantic effort to convey their egocentric thoughts. Other and even more voluble guests arrived to add to the decibels of uproar. Neysa just stood at the easel through all this, her hair in disorder, her face and faded blue smock streaked and smudged with pastels, easily translating the tranquil beauty of her model into colored chalk on a sandboard."

Marc Connelly claimed: "Neysa couldn't have been more popular. She was perfectly beautiful, a tall Amazonian sort of person, handsome as could be." Harpo Marx described her as "the sexiest gal in town" and admitted that "the biggest love affair in New York City was between me - along with two dozen other guys - and Neysa McMein."

Baragwanath's relationship gradually improved and they married in 1923. A daughter, Joan, was born the following year. Like their friends, Ruth Hale and Heywood Broun and Jane Grant and Harold Ross, Neysa and John had an open marriage. Neysa had a long-term relationship with the Broadway director George Abbott and had affairs with several other high profile men, including Robert Benchley. Her biographer points out that although she was relatively discreet she acquired a considerable reputation for promiscuous behaviour. Her friend, Samuel Hopkins Adams, described her as: "Beautiful, grave, and slightly soiled... one hastens to add, is to be taken in a purely superficial sense as applicable to the illustrator's paint-smeared smock and fingers."

Brian Gallagher, the author of Anything Goes: The Jazz Age of Neysa McMein and her Extravagant Circle of Friends (1987), has pointed out that Neysa had close relationships with "homosexuals or neuters" like Alexander Woollcott. "Neysa tended to maneuver round an actual admission of her sexual liaisons: she would hint much but confirm little... Neysa spent a fair amount of time with men who could be no more than good friends. Still, it is clear that both were able to acknowledge, tolerate, and absorb into their marriage a degree of infidelity."

Another of Neysa's lovers was Ring Lardner. His biographer, Jonathan Yardley, argues in Ring: A Biography of Ring Lardner (1977): "Ring Lardner was willing to wink at peculiarities of behavior in some women he liked - Neysa McMein, a well-known artist of the time, was widely rumored to have had many prominent lovers - so long as they brought style, wit and class to the friendship."

Jack Baragwanath had a long-term relationship with a chorus girl, Ellen June Hovick. She confessed to him that when out of Broadway work she had sometimes worked as a striptease artist. Hovick swore him to secrecy and even refused to tell him the name under which she appeared. He eventually discovered it was "Gypsy Rose Lee" and eventually she became one of the biggest stars of Minsky's Burlesque. Later she made five films in Hollywood.

In 1925 Alexander Woollcott purchased most of Neshobe Island in Lake Bososeen. Other shareholders included Baragwanath, Alice Duer Miller, Beatrice Kaufman, Marc Connelly, Raoul Fleischmann, Howard Dietz and Janet Flanner. Most weekends he invited friends to the island to play games. Vincent Sheean was a regular visitor to the island. He claimed that Dorothy Parker did not enjoy her time there: "She couldn't stand Alec and his goddamned games. We both drank, which Alec couldn't stand. We sat in a corner and drank whisky... Alec was simply furious. We were in disgrace. We were anathema. We were not paying any attention to his witticisms and his goddamned games."

Joseph Hennessey, who ran the island for the visitors, later commented: "He ran the island like a benevolent monarchy, and he summoned both club members and other friends to appear at all seasons of the year; he turned the island into a crowded vacation ground where reservations must be made weeks in advance; the routine of life was completely remade to suit his wishes." Regular visitors included Dorothy Thompson, Rebecca West, Charles MacArthur, David Ogilvy, Harpo Marx, Lynn Fontanne, Alfred Lunt, Noël Coward, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and Ruth Gordon.

Jack and Neysa loved giving parties. Dorothy Parker was a regular visitor to their apartment in New York City and to their home in Sands Point on the North Shore of Long Island. One visitor Dorothy Parker later claimed that McMein made wine in the bathroom and was always entertaining friends such as Herbert Bayard Swope, Alice Duer Miller, Alexander Woollcott, Ruth Hale, Jane Grant, Charles MacArthur, Marc Connelly, George S. Kaufman, Beatrice Kaufman , Donald Ogden Stewart, George Gershwin, Ethel Barrymore and F. Scott Fitzgerald. She added that her friends loved "playing Consequences, Shedding Light, Categories, or a kind of charades that was later called The Game." George Abbott claimed that Nesya was "the greatest party giver who ever lived". He also added that they played a game called Corks, a simplified version of strip poker.

Baragwanath later recalled that he never liked Alexander Woollcott: "Among all of Neysa's friends there was only one man I disliked: Alexander Woollcott. Unfortunately, he was one of Neysa's closest and oldest attachments and seemed to regard her as his personal property. I knew, too, that she was deeply fond of him, which made my problem much harder, for I imagined the consequences of the sort of open row which Alec often seemed bent on promoting. When he and I were alone he was disarmingly pleasant, but in a group he would sometimes go out of his way to make me feel small. I was no match for him at the kind of thrust and parry that was his forte, but after a while I found that if I could make him mad, he would drop his rapier and furiously attack with a heavy mace of anger, with which he would sometimes clumsily knock himself over the head. Then I would have him.... Close as Neysa and Alec were, and as much as he loved her, his uncontrollable tongue would get the better of him and he would say something so cruel and spiteful to her that she would refuse to see him for as long as six months at a time. And there were little incidents, not infrequent ones, when he would obviously try to hurt her."

Neysa allowed Jack to hold something he called "Freedom Week" at Sands Point. This was a week every summer where Neysa agreed to be absent. The men entertained a group of women each night. These groups were loosely organized and recruited by theme: there was Models' Night, Actresses' Night, Salesladies' Night, Chorus Girls' Night and Neurotic Women's Night. One of the most popular visitors was Maria McFeeters, who later obtained Hollywood fame as Maria Montez.

In 1940 Jack Baragwanath went to Cuba where he became general manager for a nickel-mining operation encouraged by a United States government anxious to find replacement sources for the valuable metal. His efforts resulted in Cuba becoming the world's second largest nickel producer. While in the country he became close friends with Ernest Hemingway.

Neysa McMein died of cancer in New York City on 12th May, 1949. Jack Baragwanath commented in his autobiography, A Good Time was Had (1962): "There could be no doubt that our marriage had been decidedly successful." He also admitted that it was a very unconventional relationship as it "was as much a deep friendship as a marriage".

Jack Baragwanath published his autobiography, A Good Time was Had, in 1962.

© John Simkin, May 2013

During my last term, I took a course in archaeology under Professor Marshall Saville. Would I go for six months at a salary of twenty-five dollars a month and expenses.

My first job was night-shift boss in the cyanide plant, a place full of vats, pipes, and zinc-boxes where the ground-up ore, after leaving the stamp mill, was leached in a highly poisonous solution of sodium cyanide, and the gold that was thus dissolved was deposited as a black slime on zinc shavings. But before long they must have recognized my technical genius for they transferred me to the Engineering Department. Around a mine there is always a faceless, nameless thing called THEY, whose Godlike decisions govern the activities of the individual and control his personal life....

As soon as I had got my coveted job underground, J. Ward Williams had begun to ride me. A lousy, lily-fingered college boy - he'd show me. And he did. With whip and spur interlarded - if one can interlard a spur-with obscene curses, he taught me the technique of mining wide and narrow quartz veins, driving drifts and cross-cuts, running raises, and sinking shafts. Night after night I would stagger home with a"powder-headache" so severe that no aspirin, Anacin, or Bufferin could have given me any relief even had such compounds been available. I am one of those unfortunates who are allergic to nitroglycerin.

The party turned out to be great fun. There was dancing and a good deal of singing around the piano which was played by a girl-an artist, I was told-whose name was Neysa McMein. Fairly tall, with a fine figure, she had a face whose high cheek-bones, greenish eyes, and heavy, dark lashes and eyebrows would have commanded attention and admiration anywhere. She had a tumbling mass of untidy, blond, I-can't-do-anything-with-it hair, and her dress was simply a dress. She asked me to drop in at her studio the following Saturday afternoon.

What now impresses me with that party of Irene Castle's was the number of young people there, roughly my age, who were to achieve great reputations in the arts - Bob Benchley, Marc Connelly, Sally Farnham, George Kaufman, Charlie MacArthur, Dorothy Parker, Bob Sherwood, Alec Woollcott, and several others. This group was an amazingly small nebula considering how many bright stars were to burst from it.

I went to Neysa's studio that Saturday afternoon and was welcomed pleasantly but, I thought, rather blankly. Other and even more voluble guests arrived to add to the decibels of uproar.

Neysa just stood at the easel through all this, her hair in disorder, her face and faded blue smock streaked and smudged with pastels, easily translating the tranquil beauty of her model into colored chalk on a sandboard. I sat there quietly and unnoticed, thinking what a damn fool I had been to trade the pleasure of Grace's company for this circus, but I treated myself to an occasional smile at Grace's conception of the dangers of Neysa's jungle studio.

Among all of Neysa's friends there was only one man I disliked: Alexander Woollcott. Then I would have him.
Once, after one of these melees I said to Neysa when we were alone, "You know, one of these days I may have to really go to town on our friend Alec and give him a good kick in the pants." She just looked at me quietly and said, "Perhaps some day you had better do just that."

Close as Neysa and Alec were, and as much as he loved her, his uncontrollable tongue would get the better of him and he would say something so cruel and spiteful to her that she would refuse to see him for as long as six months at a time. And there were little incidents, not infrequent ones, when he would obviously try to hurt her.

North Shore social life, even for persons as accustomed to associating with the famous and rich as Neysa and Jack were, could be rather fantastic - probably never more so, on a regular basis, than at Herbert Swope's mansion. If Neysa was more famous than rich, and people like the Whitneys were more rich than famous, Herbert Bayard Swope was both in equal, and very full, measure. His enormous, lavish parties, with their variegated lists of guests, were a great magnification of the lively entertaining Neysa and Jack did at Sands Point: everyone eventually came to Swope's, and usually had a very good time there. At one of these gatherings, Neysa was standing in a group when one member, seeing their tall, red-haired host stride majestically through his "Swope-filled room," remarked in admiration, "He has the face of some old emperor." To which FPA could not resist adding, "And I have the face of an old Greek coin," an over-assessment which Neysa immediately, and quite accurately, amended to "You have the face of an old Greek waiter."

Neysa, for the most part, shared in the general sentiment that Swope, in some mysterious way, embodied a sort of ancient nobility, even as he played his part as master of the modern revels. But she also found one of Swope's habits - his chronic, cavalier tardiness - infuriating. With his unbounded energy and nearly unbounded egotism, the powerful and influential Swope simply held to his own expansive daily schedule and could be quite oblivious to the hours his more regular friends kept. He once called George Kaufman at ten o'clock in the evening to ask what the playwright was doing about dinner and received the reply he probably deserved, namely, "digesting it." When Swope and his wife showed up a full two hours late for a dinner at Sands Point and the meal was ruined, their hostess made the best of the following few hours, but quite firmly told the Swopes as they were leaving that she would never invite them to dinner again. Apparently, she never did, although she continued to see the Swopes as part of her North Shore rounds.

Of course, in a practical social sense, Neysa could not have completely cut off someone as powerful on the North Shore scene as the editor of the New York World. Besides, Herbert Bayard Swope was probably the leading figure of an inner circle of North Shore croquet devotees among whom Neysa counted herself. Swope's estate, in fact, boasted one of the finest, and probably the most often used, croquet grounds in the area. To the extent that this prime area of the North Shore was its own little nation in summer, croquet was the national game-and virtually everyone had either to be a player or a fan. Since Neysa greatly preferred to play in the sun rather than sit in the shade watching and drinking, it was necessary, in some measure, to stay on Swope's good side, for he dominated the arrangement and progress of the matches as surely, and by the same means, as he dominated many another thing: through the sheer force of his personality.

In June 1937, Jack, on his business travels, stopped a week at the Sherwoods' home in England. (The Algonquin crowd had by then dispersed itself as far afield as Britain and Hollywood.) During the visit, Jack was introduced to an old "historical" party game: a group is divided into two teams and a referee, with the latter picking a list of ten historical events ("Hannibal Crossing the Alps," "The Beheading of Charles I," etc. ). The captain of each team gets the first event and then must, through a series of rapid sketches which provoke "yes-no" questions, induce a teammate to guess it. The correct guesser then rushes up to the referee, gets the next event, begins "drawing" it and so on, until one team gets all ten events.

What was amusing in England proved bland and dull in New York: as Jack remembered his initial American foray with the game, "no one died laughing." Then Neysa and Howard Dietz, the lyricist and publicist, hit upon a series of modifications. First, phrases need not refer only to historical events: they could be book and song titles, mottoes, slogans, proverbs, or just about anything else. Second, teams would be put in separate rooms-with an observer from the opposing team in attendance if bets had been placed-so players might carry on boisterously and frantically without disturbing their opponents or giving away their correct choices. Third, and most importantly, clues could be conveyed either by drawing or pantomime, with a combination of the two being preferable. The result of these modifications was an instant, contagious hilarity. Clifton Webb wriggled across the floor in his white pique waistcoat doing "The Tortoise and the Hare"; players yelled and screamed their guesses as their prompter frantically alternated between outsized mime and rough sketches. The non-artists, according to Jane Grant, "quickly executed something crude but effective," while "Neysa and her artists friends ... were too taken up with line" and so usually lagged behind.

When someone guessed correctly, he or she would dash from the room in search of the referee and the next phrase. Since this was no simple game - e.g., players were forbidden to use letters or numbers in their drawings - it often went on for fifty minutes or an hour or longer, always at a frenzied pace. Early on, some conservative souls tried to insist that phrases should either be drawn or mimed, but it was Neysa's free-for¬all version-she did pause long enough to write down the rules of the variation she and Howard had devised-that quickly won out. That this version was soon prompted, almost glorified, in the pages of The New Yorker, where Jack declared George Abbott the best of its players, did not hurt in imparting a sense of madcap glamour and a distinct aura of being "in" to "The Game."

"The Game, in Jack's words, "spread like a disease. The whole country was soon playing it" - a rank overestimation only if one insists on including in the tally those millions of citizens who did not inhabit one or another of the interlocking circles in which Jack and Neysa moved. In any case, Algonquin stalwarts immediately transplanted "The Game" to Hollywood, where many of them were then working. In Hollywood, like that earlier Algonquin export, croquet, it quickly became and remained the rage. Robert Montgomery, Fredric March (once a model for Neysa), and Charlie Chaplin, not surprisingly accounted the best "actor-outer," were among its first partisans and enthusiasts. Marc Connelly was such a devotee that he would rehearse his team all afternoon in his rooms at the Garden of Allah. Nor did "The Game" prove a passing Hollywood fancy: its hold on the movie community persisted over two decades, long enough to make enthusiastic players of the likes of Gene Kelly, Grace Kelly, and, rather unexpectedly, Marlon Brando.

Some indication of how thoroughly Neysa came to be identified with "The Game" is the assertion of her good friend Jane Grant that Neysa "invented from scratch The Game"-a claim Grant might not have made had she relied strictly on her memory and not just on her impressions. A decade after Neysa's death, Cleveland Amory proclaimed "The Game" to be "the most durable American contribution to the history of parlor games." As with her drawing, so too with her games: Neysa McMein had an acute sense of what would be popular, a sense derived from her willingness to expend her mental energies on things some thought inconsequential, but which her friends found relaxing, engaging, even compelling.

Jack Baragwanath - History

By Michael D. Hull

A British battleship and an American cruiser converged secretly in a remote bay on the Newfoundland coast early in August 1941.
[text_ad] There, during a few days, one of the most momentous meetings of the 20th century would bring forth a historic resolution that would guide the Allies to victory in World War II and would seek to pave the way for eventual global unity.

On Saturday, August 2, President Franklin D. Roosevelt jauntily informed hovering reporters that he was going on a fishing trip. He boarded the presidential train at Union Station in Washington, D.C., and rode northward. The following day, at the Navy Submarine Base in New London, Conn., Roosevelt was lifted aboard the 165-foot presidential yacht, Potomac. His guests for the “fishing trip” included one of his most admired friends, the beautiful Princess Martha of Norway, and Prince Karl of Sweden, but no reporters.

The yacht sailed down the River Thames and into an Atlantic sunset. The president described his objective as “serious fishing.” The Potomac was later spotted cruising off Martha’s Vineyard, and then FDR’s visitors were put ashore. The yacht then headed out for the open sea and disappeared from sight.

In Washington, veteran reporters suspected that something unusual was afoot because Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles General George C. Marshall, Army chief of staff and Admiral Harold R. “Betty” Stark, chief of naval operations, had all abruptly disappeared on vacations or undisclosed official business. No one in the capital outside the highest levels of the administration knew where the president was or what he was up to. “Franklin loved little mysteries of this kind,” his wife, Eleanor, said later.

At first light on Tuesday, August 5, 1941, the Potomac eased close to the heavy cruiser USS Augusta off Martha’s Vineyard, and Roosevelt was hoisted aboard. He joined Welles, Marshall, Stark, and other leading advisers for a top secret mission. The Augusta was the flagship of crusty Admiral Ernest J. King, commander of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

The cruiser and four escorting destroyers steamed northeastward, speeding recklessly through fog-shrouded fishing banks. The flotilla dropped anchor on Thursday, August 7, in Placentia Bay, a desolate cove on Newfoundland’s southeastern coast, near the fishing village of Argentia. Sleet began to fall, and two days of miserable weather followed.

Meanwhile, HMSPrince of Wales, the Royal Navy’s newest battleship, was churning westward through the heaving waters of the North Atlantic. The battleship, which had recently been refitted after her dramatic role in the pursuit of the German Navy’s dreaded battleship Bismarck, was carrying an important passenger—a chubby, pink, baby-faced man wearing a blue Royal Navy uniform and a peaked cap. British Prime Minister Winston Spencer Churchill was looking forward to his first meeting with the American president, an encounter they had postponed from the spring partly because of FDR’s legislative burdens and partly as a result of Churchill’s preoccupation with ill-fated military campaigns in Dakar, Greece, and Crete.

This would be the two leaders’ first face-to-face meeting, although they had corresponded congenially for two years. Both men believed that the disturbing chain of events in Europe and the Far East demanded personal discussions. The doughty prime minister was “as excited as a schoolboy on the last day of the term,” according to his private secretary.

The British battlewagon maintained absolute radio silence during the trip across the Atlantic Ocean to avoid alerting German U-boats, and this gave Churchill a rare chance to relax. For 14 months since taking office, he had been burdened with problems: Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, the bombing of cities and industrial centers, military setbacks in North Africa and the Mediterranean, and the hardships borne by his people.

Churchill reported later that during the voyage he experienced “a strange sense of leisure which I had not known since the war began.” He was able to read a copy of C.S. Forester’s novel, Captain Hornblower R.N., which Oliver Lyttelton, minister of state in Cairo, had given him. The former First Lord of the Admiralty found the book “vastly entertaining.”

Churchill also played backgammon with Harry Hopkins, FDR’s frail special envoy, who was returning home after conferring with Soviet Marshal Josef Stalin. Hopkins won $32 from the prime minister. And Churchill watched films in the evenings. On the last night out, he saw Alexander Korda’s Lady Hamilton, starring Laurence Olivier as Lord Horatio Nelson, victor of Trafalgar, and Vivien Leigh as his mistress. It was Churchill’s favorite film, and it moved him to tears although he had already seen it four times.


General Information

The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is the 3rd largest hospital in the world, occupying around 173 acres (0.70 km2), with approximately 3'200 beds and about 6'760 staff members.

The facilities are housed in 429 buildings with a total surface area of 233'795 m2.

Approximately 70% of all admissions are emergencies, including approximately 160 victims of gunshot wounds per month.

Accident, emergency and ambulance represent the busiest services, counting over 350 daily patients. Every year, about 150'000 inpatient and 500'000 outpatient cases are registered.

The Department of Ophthalmology, the St John Eye Hospital, has 111 beds and counts about 50'000 patients per year.

Approximately 60'000 patients per year are treated in the Maternity Hospital.

The hospital is in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa. (Soweto was a separate municipality from 1983 to 2002, when it was amalgamated to the City of Johannesburg.)

It is one of the 40 Gauteng provincial hospitals, and is financed and run by the Gauteng Provincial Health Authorities.

It is a teaching hospital for the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, along with the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, Helen Joseph Hospital and the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital.

This site's purpose is to make the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital easy to find and contact and to give the visitor the most important information about it (not managed by the government).

The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital strives to:

  1. Achieve the highest level of patient care based on sound scientific principles and administered with empathy and insight.
  2. Train our work corps to be the best equipped and motivated to serve the sick and injured.
  3. Maintain and defend truth, integrity and justice for all, at all times, to the benefit of patients, staff and the community.

CEO Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital: Dr Sandile Mfenyana

The History of the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital

The story of Bara started soon after the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand.

A young Cornish lad, John Albert Baragwanath, arrived on the gold fields to make his fortune. The surname "Baragwanath" was derived from the Welsh word "Bara", which means bread, and "gwanath" means wheat.

After trying a number of projects, John Albert started a refreshment post, one day's journey by ox wagon from Johannesburg, at the point where the road to Kimberly joined the road from Vereeniging. Here was good grazing and water. Soon he had a small hostel, "The Wayside Inn", established. However, to the transport drivers, and stagecoach passengers, it was "Baragwanath's Place"or just Baragwanath.

The Second World War brought many changes. As the five years of worldwide disruption and destruction unfolded, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth had to change rapidly from appeasement politics to war effort sacrifice. In South Africa the outbreak resulted in political upheaval, change of Government, and - Baragwanath Hospital.

In 1939 Britain, and the Empire, had large blacklogs in all services, including the provision of health care for military personnel.

By September 1940, with hostilities escalating, and with the need for hospital and convalescent facilities becoming urgent, the Secretary of State in London formally asked the South African Government if it would provide health care facilities for Imperial troops of Middle East Command. The British War Office suggested that 2 hospitals of 1'200 beds be built in South Africa, as well as a convalescent depot of 2'000 beds. After due consideration one of these hospitals was designated for Johannesburg. In November 1941 construction started on the ground bought from the Corner House mining group, at the 8th mile stone on the Potchefstroom road, - near the place where the old Wayside Inn had been situated.

The British Government ultimately paid 328'000 pounds for a hospital of 1'544 beds.

After experimenting with various names, it was finally agreed that this hospital would be "The Imperial Military Hospital, Baragwanath".

The situation internationally in 1941 and 1942 looked bleak for the Allies. There was thus real urgency to construct the hospital as quickly as possible. Within a remarkable 6 months the first patients could be admitted, in May 1942.

On 23 September 1942, Field Marshall Smuts officially opened the hospital. He used the opportunity to indicate the post war plan, which was that the Government would use the hospital for the Black population of the Witwatersrand. In the meantime Baragwanath was called on to deal with casualties of the war, mainly from the Middle East command. During the latter part of the war Baragwanath treated mostly Tuberculosis patients, not only from Middle East Command, but also from the Far East Command - mainly the Burma theatre.

It is therefore not surprising that Baragwanath Hospital was an important venue for the Royal visit in 1947. Many British and Commonwealth troops were still recovering here, and King George VI used the opportunity to present medals on that day (5 April 1947).

Post war plans were already underway. The South African Government had bought the hospital for one million pounds. On 1 April 1948, the black section of Johannesburg Hospital (known as NEH) was transferred to Bara, and the hospital opened with 480 beds.

Over the next 30 years Baragwanath grew in size and status. Today it not only provides for Soweto, but also serves as referral hospital for a large part of the country, including surrounding African States.

As a civilian hospital it's main contribution has been towards training of health professionals. Since 1948 doctors graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand benefited significantly from the experience gained here. Likewise, as a training school for nurses Bara has contributed widely. The graduate nurses not only fulfil an important task at Bara, but also in Africa. Baragwanath trained staff work in many areas of the world today and do so with distinction.

The Bara experience also contributes to research. Soweto is a community in flux, neither first nor third world. By recording and documenting the change in disease, and pathology, Baragwanath gives guidance to all who face similar situations, world wide.

In 1997 a new factor was added to the complexity of the hospital. After the tragic murder of the prominent activist, Chris Hani, his name was coupled to that of Baragwanath, to give the hospital the name "Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital"

Hani was truly a remarkable man. He was born on 28 June 1942 at Cofimvaba in the Transkei, and matriculated at Lovedale college. He obtained his BA degree (Latin & English) from the Universities of Fort Hare & Rhodes in 1961. Shortly hereafter he joined the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC) or Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). During 1962 he was mostly active in the Eastern and Western Cape, but was soon involved in military operations in the then Rhodesia.

Although he spent time in Botswana and Zambia he infiltrated South Africa again during 1973 to settle in Lesotho, where he stayed active until 1982. Repeated assassination attempts, however, forced Hani, now Deputy commander and Commissar of MK, to leave Maseru for Lusaka.

From 1983 to 1987 he was Political Commissar, as well as a member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC (a post he had held since 1974). During 1987 he was promoted to Chief of Staff of MK - a post he held until his death.

On his return to this country he was actively involved in the negotiations towards an interim Constitution and preparations for the first Democratic Elections. His death on 10 April 1993 left the nation with a great loss. Coupling his name to that of the hospital cemented the best of the past with the best of the present. A healing act and firm step towards reconciliation.

Chris Hani Baragwanath is a microcosm of what is happening in South Africa.

The stresses of the broad social, economic and political changes in the RSA are reflected here. Just like the Phoenix on the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital coat of arms the hospital also rises out of it's own ashes every time.

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No continent on the face of the earth provides more ideal settings for an unforgettable adventure than the African continent. Stories of Africa’s sheer size, diversity and timeless beauty have been told for hundreds of years by the people that live on its rich red soil. Africa is home to the explorer, the adventurer, the thrill-seeker and even those who just want to escape from the chaotic world. Now imagine a magazine that offered a window into Africa, an escape.

Enter Adventure Afrika: a new, exciting and diverse magazine title which will be printed alongside an Afrikaans offering – Avontuur Afrika. Aimed at outdoor and adventure enthusiasts, Adventure-Avontuur Afrika will bring your dream trips to life with engaging content, packaged within multiple platforms to accommodate and cater to our audience preference. The core content pillars being entertainment, education and awareness the content promises to push boundaries and showcase a world of adventure to print and digital audiences alike.

M&A Productions is a multi-faceted company started by husband-and-wife team Anton and Mary Willemse who both boasts years of experience within the motoring, off-road, public relations, marketing and sales industries. They have secured a multi-talented editorial team in Justin Jacobs who will fill the role as Head of Content for both print and digital platforms while Anton in his capacity as publisher will be instrumental in developing some boundary-pushing adventures to delight and engage its audience. Justin has been a prominent member of the motoring media fraternity in South Africa for over a decade having worked for various websites, newspapers and other print titles with Anton being at the forefront of all things 4ࡪ from accessories to trails to equipment. As former editorial director of the award-winning Toyota Zone magazine, Mary will focus on the business side of things making sure production and content mix remains top-notch.

Adventure-Avontuur Afrika and its affiliated platforms aim to take you on an adventure through the rivers, over the mountains and across the great plains of Africa. It is a portal that will educate and inform you about where to go, how to get there and what you will need along the way.

Every adventure starts with a just single footstep, this is your invitation to join us on ours.

South Africa: South Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg

Download original files





SOUL FOOD SERVICES CC First respondent

MONGI DUBASI Second respondent

BOKMAKIERIE TRADING 110 CC Third respondent


[1] This is an eviction application. The applicant is the Board of the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, in Johannesburg (&ldquo the Board&rdquo ). The respondents are:

a. Soul Food Services CC (first respondent) &ndash purportedly a close corporation established in terms of the laws of the Republic of South Africa (reg no 2006/10772/23)

b. Mongi Dubasi (second respondent) &ndash an adult male person who is a member of the first respondent

c. Bokmakierie Trading 110 CC (third respondent) &ndash a close corporation, duly incorporated in accordance with the laws of the Republic of South Africa (2005/185774/23),

d. Arnold Killy Mahlangu (fourth respondent) &ndash an adult male person, who is the sole member of the third respondent.

I shall refer to the second to fourth respondents collectively as &ldquo the respondents &rdquo. Where I intend referring to a specific respondent, I shall do so.

[2] The founding affidavit was deposed to by Mr Gideon Sithole, in his capacity as chairman of the applicant. He claims his authorisation to launch the application on behalf of the applicant, from the minutes of a meeting dated 17 September 2015, which is attached to the founding affidavit.

[3] The first respondent did not file any affidavits, nor was it represented in court. It would appear from the papers that it is no longer in existence. The second respondent, the member of the first respondent, was represented by Mr Steyn, who also represented the third and fourth respondents. The fourth respondent filed answering affidavits on behalf of the third respondent.

[4] The applicant claims that the property in question is being unlawfully occupied and wants an eviction order against the current occupier/s. The relief prayed for is set out in the notice of motion:

1. Evicting the first, second, third and/or fourth respondents, and any other persons who might be holding title through the respondents, from following premises: CHRIS HANI BARAGWANATH ACADEMIC HOSPITAL, CHRIS HANI ROAD, DIEPKLOOF EXT 6, SOWETO. The respondents are in unlawful occupation of said property and that it is just and equitable that they be evicted from the property with immediate effect from the date of the order or such other period that may be determined by the Honourable Court

2. In the event the first, second, third and/or fourth Respondent and or any other persons occupying premises under and by virtue of any of the Respondents&rsquo, including their servants and employees, failing and/or refusing to vacate the premises, that the Sheriff of the above Honourable Court be authorised to forthwith enter upon the premises and evict the Respondent and all those who occupy the premises under and by virtue of the Respondent&rsquos occupancy therefrom.

3. payment of outstanding rental amounts

5. Further and/or alternative relief.


[5] This matter has a protracted history, and has been the subject of court proceedings on three previous occasions. The present application is the fourth attempt by the applicant to either have the lease contract set aside, or to have the occupier/s evicted.

[6] A contract was concluded between the applicant and the first respondent on 7 May 2010, for the lease of certain property (known as Hospideli Restaurant, the Doctor&rsquos Canteen and the Coffee Shop), situated at the Chris Baragwanath Academic Hospital, in Soweto. The five-year lease came into effect on 1 July 2010 and would terminate on 30 June 2015, according to the contract. The applicant was represented by Dr Elijah Nkosi, chairman of the Board at the time, while the first respondent was represented by Mr Mongi Dubasi, the second respondent. They were the only parties to the contract.

[7] The applicant took its first step on 30 August 2013 when the third respondent was evicted from the premises, after the applicant had given notice of termination, to the first respondent as the original lessee. But it was only one month&rsquos notice &ndash not three months as required by the contract. The third respondent, who in the meantime, according to the respondents, had substituted the first respondent as lessee, applied for an urgent restoration order against the applicant and Maloti Catering Services, a close corporation which had taken occupation of the property upon the eviction of the third respondent (case no 2013/32969). The relief was granted by Potterill J in this division. The applicant and Maloti then applied for leave to appeal the order but was denied leave by the High Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal and, ultimately, the Constitutional Court. Occupation was restored to the third respondent sometime during November 2014, after the sheriff had evicted Maloti from the leased property. Writs of execution were issued in the various courts pursuant to the court order, for the taxed costs and charges of the third respondent. The sheriff made the following entry on the return: &ldquoThe Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital Board has no attachable assets at given address.&rdquo

[8] Sometime during 2014 it emerged that the first respondent had purportedly never been properly registered as a close corporation.

[9] This appears to have been the catalyst for an application against the present first, second and third respondents, launched in the Gauteng Local Division (case no 23853/2014). The gist of the relief sought was to declare the decision of the applicant, taken on 9 October 2009 to award the contract to the first respondent, invalid, and to declare the lease agreement with the first respondent, invalid. The court referred the matter to trial due to factual disputes which could not be resolved on the papers. Costs were reserved for determination in the action. The applicant was given 30 days within which to file a declaration, but none was filed. Subsequently, there was correspondence between the applicant&rsquos attorney and the respondents&rsquo attorney, in which the applicant tendered the costs of the application, and gave notice of its intention to withdraw the action.

[10] A third application for eviction followed on 12 December 2014, against the third respondent &ndash this time in the regional court (case no 2014/3786). The third respondent filed an opposing affidavit on 27 January 2015, but the applicant did not file a replying affidavit, nor was the matter set down. According to the respondents, the applicant&rsquos attorneys again tendered costs and indicated the applicant&rsquos intention to withdraw the application.

[11] The next attempt to evict the respondents was set in motion when a notice of termination was served by the sheriff on 8 October 2015 at the leased premises. According to the notice, the effective date on which the property had to be vacated was 8 January 2016 (three months&rsquo notice). The respondents challenge the validity of the termination notice, including how and on whom it was served by the sheriff. Several irregularities are alleged. The third respondent also questions why it was addressed to the first respondent, and not to it as the occupier of the premises. The property was not vacated, thus resulting in the present eviction application before the court.

[12] The respondents contend that the contract is still in existence, due to the third respondent exercising the option to renew the lease for another 5 years, by letter dated 21 January 2015. The applicant argues that the third respondent could not have exercised the option to renew, as it is not a party to the contract.

[13] The third respondent is in possession of the property. The question is whether it is lawfully in such possession.

[14] The respondents contend that the applicant consented to the substitution, thereby making the third respondent the lessee. The applicant denies that it ever consented to any substitution, even though it appears to concede in the founding affidavit that a substitution had taken place. The contract contains a non-variation clause, requiring that any variation or amendment of the contract should be in writing and signed by the parties. It is common cause that no substitution has been recorded in writing.

[15] In addition to eviction, the applicant is claiming from the current occupier/s outstanding rental payments. It is common cause that there are rental amounts outstanding, but there is a dispute about the exact amount. The third respondent claims that invoices have not been forthcoming from the applicant, preventing payment.

[16] The applicant states that it has in the meantime concluded a lease agreement with a third party, over the same property. This third party has launched proceedings against the applicant, to enforce the lease agreement.

[17] The respondents raise several points in limine . The essence of the respondents&rsquo first point is that the applicant could not resolve to evict the occupiers, or authorise Mr Sithole to launch proceedings on its behalf, as it lacked the necessary authority to do so, due to the expiry of the Board members&rsquo term of office. And even should the Board have been legitimate and valid at the time, there is no proof, either by way of resolution, or in the minutes of the relevant meeting on which Mr Sithole relies for his authority, showing that Mr Sithole had in fact been authorised by the Board to launch proceedings on its behalf.

[18] The other preliminary points are the absence of a cause of action, the existence of factual disputes, and unpaid legal costs from previous litigation.

[19] The first preliminary point raises an issue of fundamental importance. It is not merely a technical point, but it goes to the heart of the exercise of the powers of the Board. If the Board was not legitimately and lawfully in place, it could not have resolved to evict the occupiers, and neither could it have authorised the chairperson to act on its behalf in launching the application.

[20] The founding affidavit must set out the locus standi of the applicant, which the party instituting the proceedings must allege and prove. See Mars Incorporated v Candy World (Pty) Ltd [1990] ZASCA 149 1991 (1) SA 567 (A) at 575H-I) Trakman NO v Livshitz 1995 (1) SA 282 (A) at 287B-F. See also Harms Civil Procedure in the Superior Courts at A-55: &ldquoIt is for the party instituting proceedings to allege and prove that he has standing and the onus to establish this issue rests upon that party throughout the proceedings.&rdquo If the party cannot to do so, the application would fail at this early stage.

[21] It is not necessary for the applicant always to allege locus standi specifically. If it is clear from the facts that locus standi does exist, or if it is not challenged, there is no need to allege it. But if it does not appear from the affidavit, or if it is challenged by the respondent, locus standi should be specifically alleged and established.

[22] There are two aspects to locus standi. The first is the capacity to litigate, which is the capacity of the person to institute legal proceedings and the second refers to the interest which a party has in the relief claimed, or the right to claim relief. (See Herbstein & Van Winsen The Civil Practice of the High Courts of South Africa (2009) 5ed Vol 1 at 143.) Undoubtedly, the applicant has a direct and substantial interest in the subject-matter of the application, as well as in its outcome, in its capacity as the lessor.

[23] The Board will only have locus standi in the first sense, however, if it was a valid board at the time that it purportedly resolved to launch proceedings against the respondents. Otherwise, it will lack legal capacity and the capacity to litigate.

[24] In support of their argument that the Board&rsquos term of office had expired, the respondents rely on the minutes of the Board meeting of 17 September 2015, which they aver recorded the following: first, that Mr L van der Westhuizen, the Logistics Manager and a director, and the CEO, Dr S Mfenyana, refused to sign a transport slip on the basis that the Board members&rsquo terms of office had expired second, that the aforementioned persons had apparently refused to attend Board meetings and third, that the CEO had not reported to the Board for nine months, since the beginning of the year.

[25] Furthermore, the respondents have in their answering papers the letter of appointment of Mr Motha Jack Moche, a former board member, and a confirmatory affidavit from him. Mr Moche&rsquos term of office was for the period 1 June 2012&mdash31 March 2015. From this, the respondents infer that the Board&rsquos (including Mr Sithole&rsquos) term of office terminated at the end of March 2015. They attach to their supplementary affidavit letters from Ms L Mekgwe the MEC for Health at the time, dated 1 June 2012, and Mrs T J More, in her capacity as acting chief executive officer of the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, dated 21 August 2012. Both letters confirm the appointment of Mr Motha for the period 1 June 2012 &ndash 31 March 2015.

[26] Based on this excerpt the respondents submit in the supplementary affidavit of Arnold Mahalangu (Par 7.12 p 143 of the bundle) as follows:

The inescapable conclusion to be drawn from the facts set out above is that when the applicant instituted the application against the respondents on 27 January 2016 the applicant was not duly constituted and that G. Sithole was no longer its Chairperson. The applicant had no locus standi and G. Sithole lacked the requisite authority to represent the applicant.

[27] The applicant attached to its replying affidavit a letter dated 31 March 2016, purporting to be from the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Health and Social Development of Gauteng, Ms Q Mahlangu, addressed to the chairperson of the Board, Mr G Sithole. The letter appears to be on an official letterhead, but there is no official stamp or seal. The letter requests the Board &ldquoto ensure that all outstanding matters are urgently finalised&rdquo before their term of office expires on 31 March 2016. The applicant submits that this shows that the Board was valid and therefore legitimately in place at the time when the decision was taken to launch the proceedings, and that it had the authority to authorise Mr Sithole to launch proceedings on its behalf.

[28] The respondents disagree, claiming that this letter in fact shows that Mr Sithole was no longer the Chairperson of the applicant, as the replying affidavit was signed on 5 April 2016, some days after the alleged expiry of his term of office.

[29] Problematic for the applicant is that there was no confirmatory affidavit from the MEC, attached to the replying affidavit. In open court the applicant&rsquos counsel attempted to hand up from the bar a confirmatory affidavit from the MEC. However, it was not deposed to under oath (or affirmation). Applicant&rsquos counsel conceded that it was thus not a valid affidavit.

[30] Theophilopoulos, Van Heerden and Boraine Fundamental Principles of Civil Procedure 3ed (2015) state the following in respect of confirmatory affidavits (at 144):

Where the applicant refers in the supporting affidavit to communications or actions by other persons, such reference must be affirmed by obtaining affirming or confirmatory affidavits, from the said persons and attaching it to the supporting affidavit. The attachment of confirmatory affidavits is necessary in order to comply with the evidentiary rule against hearsay evidence. Only admissible evidence should be contained in the affidavit.

[31] The letter of the MEC is not a public document. This is important because a public document may be used to prove the truth of its contents, despite the hearsay rule. The document &lsquoproves itself&rsquo, so to speak. See Schmidt & Rademeyer Law of Evidence (2003) Issue 13 (July 2015) 11-22: &ldquoA public document is defined as a document made by a public officer in the execution of a public duty which is intended for public use and to which the public has right of access.&rdquo The letter was a private communication between the MEC and members of the Board. It therefore does not prove itself. In the absence of a confirmatory affidavit, I shall disregard the letter of the MEC.

[32] In my view, t he applicant has failed to discharge its onus to show its locus standi, on the probabilities as they appear from the papers.

[33] But even if I am wrong in upholding this point in limine, the application stands to be dismissed also on the point that Mr Sithole lacked authority to launch proceedings on behalf of the applicant, as I explain below.

[34] In the case where an application is launched in the name of an artificial person, it is necessary that a natural person is authorised by the applicant to launch proceedings on its behalf. This is normally done by way of a resolution taken by the artificial person, authorising the person to launch the application on behalf of the applicant. So, in the case of a company, there would usually be a Board resolution authorising the natural person to launch proceedings on its behalf, annexed to and proved by the founding affidavits. See Poolquip Industries (Pty) Ltd V Griffin & another 1978 (4) SA 353 (W) (at 356 E) .

[35] As with locus standi, it is for the applicant to prove that the individual who is launching the proceedings on its behalf, has the necessary authority. The deponent does not need specific authorisation from the applicant to depose to the affidavit. See Ganes v Telecom Namibia Ltd 2004 (3) SA 615 (SCA

[36] Is there always a need for a Board resolution? There is case law adopting a less stringent approach to proof of authority. In Eskom v Soweto City Council 1992 (2) SA 703 (W) Flemming DJP said (at 705):

[t]here is now, ordinarily, no prescribed formula for proving authority either as a routine prerequisite for issuing an application or otherwise.

In the absence of a prescribed mode of proof, it is a factual question whether a particular person holds a specific authority. It may be proved in the same away as any other fact.

[37] Similarly, in Mall (Cape) (Pty) Ltd v Merino Ko-operasie Bpk 1957 (2) SA 347 (C), Watermeyer J wrote the following on behalf of a full court (at 351D-352B):

I proceed now to consider the case of an artificial person, like a company or co-operative society. In such a case there is judicial precedent for holding that objection may be taken if there is nothing before the court to show that the applicant has duly authorised the institution of notice of motion proceedings &hellip Unlike an individual, an artificial person can only function through its agents and it can only take decisions by the passing of resolutions in the manner provided by in its constitution. &hellip It seems to me, therefore, that in the case of an artificial person there is more room for mistakes to occur and less reason to presume that it is properly before the Court or that proceedings which purport to be brought in its name have in fact been authorised by it.

There is a considerable amount of authority for the proposition that, where a company commences proceedings by way of petition, it must appear that the person who makes the petition on behalf of the company is duly authorised by the company to do so. This seems to me to be a salutary rule and one which should apply also to notice of motion proceedings where the applicant is an artificial person. In such cases some evidence should be placed before the Court to show that the applicant has duly resolved to institute the proceedings and that the proceedings are instituted at its instance. &hellip The best evidence that the proceedings have been properly authorised would be provided by an affidavit made by an official of the company annexing a copy of the resolution but I do not consider that that form of proof is necessary in every case. Each case must be considered on its own merits and the court must decide whether enough has been placed before it to warrant the conclusions that it is the applicant which is litigating and not some unauthorised person on its behalf. Where, as in the present case, the respondent has offered no evidence at all to suggest that the applicant is not properly before the Court, then I consider that a minimum of evidence will be required from the applicant.&rdquo

[38] Most recently, in Corplo 358 Close Corporation v Charters [2011] ZAECGHC 27, Grogan AJ referred to the Tattersall case (infra), a judgment of the Appellate Division on proof of authority [at paras 5-7]:

[5] Judgments on the sufficiency of proof of authority to act are not harmonious. It seems to me, however, that the leading case in this regard is Tattersall and Another v Nedcor Bank Ltd [1995] ZASCA 30 1995 (3) SA 222 (A), in which the authority of a bank manager to launch proceedings on behalf of the bank was placed at issue. The court held (at 228G-H):

&ldquo A copy of the resolution of a company authorising the bringing of an application need not always be annexed. Nor does s 242(4) of the Companies Act 61 of 1973 (to the effect that a minute of a meeting of directors which purports to be signed by the chairman of that meeting is evidence of the proceedings at that meeting) provide the exclusive method of proving a company's resolution ( Poolquip Industries (Pty) Ltd v Griffin and another 1978 (4) SA 353 (W)). There may be sufficient aliunde evidence of authority ( Mall (Cape) (Pty) Ltd v Merino Ko-operasie Bpk 1957 (2) SA 347 (C) at 352A).&rdquo

[6] On the facts, the court found sufficient evidence aluende of authority (at 228I-229A):

&ldquo What Spencer alleges in the founding affidavit is (i) that he is duly authorised and (ii) that such authority appears from PS1. The appellants' denial is an ambiguous one it is not clear whether they dispute (i) or (ii) or both. Moreover, the denial is a bare one. Not only is there no explanation as to how they are able to gainsay Spencer's assertion that he is authorised, but no evidence is tendered in support of what is now argued, viz. that Spencer was not authorised. It would seem that the denial was what may be called a tactical one. The tactic must fail. This is a case in which the approach adopted in Mall's case (at 352B), namely that when the challenge to authority is a weak one, a minimum of evidence will suffice, applies. Weight must be given to the use by Spencer of the word 'duly' (authorised). It is an indication that the authority conferred on him was properly conferred ( Mall's case at 352D).&rdquo

[7] While this case may differ on the facts, it seems to me that the principle to be extracted from this passage applies. The respondent&rsquos denial of authority may be somewhat more than bare, in the sense that it points to clear deficiencies in LC1. However, there is no positive averment that Mr Wicks actually lacks authority, or that he was not in fact authorised to bring the application. While the respondent was entitled to raise the point, it appears to have been raised &ldquotactically&rdquo. I am prepared to accept that Mr Wicks had the necessary authority to launch the application on behalf of the applicant. The respondent&rsquos point in limine accordingly fails.&rdquo

[39] It is a question of fact whether the evidence tendered is sufficient to establish that it is in fact the applicant who is litigating. The same applies in respect of the locus standi of the applicant.

[40] Where the respondent does not present any evidence that the applicant is not properly before the court, the minimum of evidence ought to suffice to prove the authority. But if the point is raised and the issue has not been fully canvassed in the affidavits, something more would be required from the applicant. In the present case, the respondents referred to the minutes and other evidence to cast doubt on the applicant&rsquos locus standi, as well as the authority of Mr Sithole.

[41] The respondents argue that the minutes on which the applicant relies, do not authorise Mr Sithole to institute the proceedings on behalf of the applicant. There is no record in the minutes of a resolution by the Board to evict the occupiers, or one authorising Mr Sithole to bring the application on its behalf. Can one simply assume that the chairperson would have the authority to institute proceedings on behalf of the Board, even in the absence of a special resolution or other supporting evidence?

[42] The only part of the minutes that relates to this application is paragraph 5. (p 5 of Minutes, P 17 of Bundle). The minutes say the following:

· Phindiwe Khumalo incorporated had been appointed to deal with the issue of evicting Soul Food services from the hospital as their lease with the Hospital Board came to an end in July.

· Dr S Maseko asked if the money that Soul Food Services was paying was being kept in MP Masemola&rsquos account.

· Mr G Sithole said the money was being paid in to the Hospital Board account, not MP Masemola&rsquos trust account. (sic)

In para 6 of the minutes is a column recording decision points, but there is no mention of the eviction application.

[43] In respect of a meeting&rsquos minutes, the following was said in Eskom supra 705:

A minute of a meeting normally does not create authority, a minute is a statement in which the author thereof claims that he has observed that, previous to writing his note, something had happened by way of a show of hands or in some other fashion. The minute is not under oath and is not a witness. Even when the correctness of the minute is confirmed under oath, it is the affidavit which constitutes evidence and not the minute.&rdquo

[44] Generally, an initial absence of proof of authority may be retrospectively cured by filing proof of authority in reply. In NahrungsmittelGMbH v Otto 1991 (4) SA 414 (C), Conradie J said (at 418C-D):

[w]here there is a challenge to a deponent's authority, which should be more than a bare complaint that he failed to annex an empowering resolution, it would usually be prudent for an applicant to produce the resolution in reply.

The applicant failed to show any ratification.

[45] The situation in the present case is different from that in Corplo&rsquos case. First, the respondents averred positively that Mr Sithole lacked the necessary authority. It wasn&rsquot merely a bare denial. This averment was based on the minutes of the Board&rsquos meeting, which did not specifically authorize Mr Sithole. In my view, the minutes are insufficient to prove Mr Sithole&rsquos authority. The applicant also failed to show ratification by the Board of any lack of authority on the part of Mr Sithole.

[46] Less than a resolution may be acceptable in circumstances where there are other facts present that point to authority. But in my opinion more than minutes would probably be required, especially in an instance like the present, where there is no record in the minutes of any resolution authorising the chairperson to launch proceedings on behalf of the Board. In the absence of other evidence, the mere fact that Mr Sithole is the chairperson of the Board is insufficient to show that he had the necessary authority to launch the application on behalf of the applicant. See Griffiths & Inglis (Pty) Ltd v Southern Cape Blasters (Pty) Ltd 1972 (4) SA 249 (C).

[47] In my view there is insufficient proof of authority. The applicant has failed to discharge its onus, on the probabilities as they appear from the papers.

[48] I am also of the view that there was no need for a referral to oral evidence. The points in limine could be decided on the papers. The applicant had opportunity to refute the allegations of the respondents, but failed to discharge its onus.

[49] Considering my view on the fate of this application, it is unnecessary for me to consider the merits of the application, or the remaining points in limine.

Jack Baragwanath - History

Quad biking, socializing, gym, driving, watersports

Century Racing, BF Goodrich, Caltex Havoline RSA, Compcare Medical

2016: 3rd (2 stage wins)
2015: Ab. Stage 2

2020: South Cross-country championship
2015 : South African off-road champion
2014 : Botswana Desert Race (4th – Dakar Challenge winner)
2011 and 2013 : winner of the GOC Series
2008: MX National Quad MX Championship (Pro 450 Class), National Off-road Quad

“Pushing for a result without making too much noise”

The man behind the steering wheel lived his first Dakar rallies on a quad in South America. The lady behind the road-book in charge of navigation lived her first Dakar just a year ago In Saudi Arabia, on a bike. Both have high expectations in a Century Racing CR6 that has already proven how competitive it was on the world’s toughest rally. Despite retiring from his first Dakar in 2015, Brian Baragwanath impressed a year later when he finished on the podium of the quad race. A severe elbow injury forced him to stop riding and turn to four wheels. The strong man from Polokwane in South Africa is the perfect man for the CR6. Indeed for several years now he’s been working for Century Racing as an engineer. He therefore knows his car upside down. He’ll be counting on the help of Taye Perry in the navigator’s seat. The 29-year-old lived her dream of doing the Dakar last year and struggled her way through the dunes of Saudi Arabia to eventually finish in 77th position becoming, with Kirsten Landmann, the first South African woman to finish the event. A writer and part-time journalist, she’ll again have plenty to write about for that first experience in a car she’ll share with Brian. Despite the lockdown, both were able to compete in the South African cross-country championship and test together and will be aiming at a Top 10 spot despite their rookie status.

BB: “After my appearances on the Dakar which was great, I suffered a big crash in 2016, injuring my elbow. That, and the fact that I started a family (married, with two children) pulled me away from bikes. I was looking for a new challenge. Of course the engineering aspect is great. I work on a daily basis on the CR6. I was fully involved and I had always wanted to come back on the Dakar. And Century Racing opened their doors. I know that it’s a lot more competitive in the car race, but we have a good base. Seeing Serradori win a stage last year in the CR6 and finish 8th is great for our confidence. The SRT team are actually our clients but we share a lot of information. We shouldn’t however forget that we are a small team and that we need to focus on essentials and that’s being consistent. We’ll push for results without making too much noise. A good result would be finishing in the Top 10 and finishing on the podium on some stages. But we’re very new in the dunes. Taye wanted to do the Dakar again and we had a friend in common. We started working together on the South-African championship and it went really well. And it’s also true that taking a South-African woman to the Dakar with me brings a lot of attention to the team.”

TP: “My dad used to ride bikes before I even existed but then stopped. When I was 12 I asked to have a bike and so my dad started again and it would be our weekend outings. I gradually went from 80cc to 125 to 250 and now 450 bikes. It kept getting bigger and I wanted more. I was planning to return to the Dakar on a motorcycle, but Covid-19 and all of its economic ramifications prevented that. So I immediately accepted when offered the chance to go racing in both the South African Cross Country series and next year’s Dakar. I think it all came together remarkably quickly in the car, because both bike and quad off-road racers are instinctive navigators, used to reacting immediately at high speeds. Having the luxuries of an air-conditioned cabin, a seat, a safety harnass and a roll-cage around one feels like sheer indulgence. So, the least we can do is give it our all.”

Other items from this collection

Book, FOurth Empire Mining and Metallurgical Congress Proceedings, 1950

Red book of 551 pages. Contents include: * Invitation to hold the next congress in Australia * Mineral Industry in Australia (P.B. Nye) * Some notes on the Mineral Resources of the Union of South Africa (A.R. Mitchell) * Mineral Exploration in Australia (C.J. Sullivan) * Environmental COnditions in British Coal Mines

mining, australia, canada, south africa, mining and metallurgical congress

Photograph - Photograph - black and white, VIOSH: Graduation of Occupational Hazard Management Group, April 1981

Black and white photographs - graduation ceremony

Names written on back of photos.

Document, E.J. Barker's Practical Laboratory Notes, 1938, 1939, 1942

Foolscap manilla folders containing loose-leaf (and several stapled sets) of printed sheets, and hand-written laboratory. .2. A procedure

Photograph, Former Stawell School of Mines, c2000

Former Stawell School of Mines

Photograph, Shirley Faull and her Ballarat School of Mines Class on the grass in Lydiard Street South

Shirley Faull and her Ballarat School of Mines Class on the grass in Lydiard Street South

shirley faull, ballarat school of mnies, staffmember, lydird street south

Photograph, A Couple Seated at a Table, 1970

Geoff and Mina Biddington seated at a Table during the Ballarat School of Mines Centenary Dinner

geoff biddington, meena biddington, centenary, ballarat school of mines centenary dinner

Document, Michelle Groves, Chair of the Ballarat Chapter, Institution of Engineers

Michelle Groves, Chair of the Ballarat Chapter, Institution of Engineers

nicole groves, instittion of engineers ballarat chapter

Document, Cyclopedia of Victoria: Ballarat , 1904, 2008

Digital images of the Ballarat section of the Cyclopedia of Victoria, 1904

Alexander Woollcott - Biography

Alexander Woollcott was born in an 85-room house, a vast ramshackle building in Colts Neck Township, New Jersey, near Red Bank. Called the North American Phalanx, it had once been a commune where many social experiments were carried on in the mid-19th century, some more successful than others. When the Phalanx fell apart after a fire in 1854, it was taken over by the Bucklin family, Woollcott's maternal grandparents. Woollcott spent large portions of his childhood there among his extended family. His father was a ne'er-do-well Cockney who drifted through various jobs, sometimes spending long periods away from his wife and children. Poverty was always close at hand. The Bucklins and Woollcotts were avid readers, giving young Aleck (his nickname) a lifelong love of literature, especially the works of Charles Dickens.

He also lived with his family in Kansas City, Missouri in that city he attended Central High School, where teacher Sophie Rosenberger "inspired him to literary effort" and with whom he "kept in touch all her life." With the help of a family friend, Dr. Alexander Humphreys (after whom he was named), Woollcott made his way through college, graduating from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, in 1909. Despite a rather poor reputation (his nickname was "Putrid"), he founded a drama group there, edited the student literary magazine and was accepted by a fraternity.

In his early twenties he contracted the mumps, which apparently left him mostly, if not completely, impotent. He never married or had children, although he had a large number of female friends, most notable of whom were Dorothy Parker and Neysa McMein, to whom he actually proposed the day after she had just wed her new husband, Jack Baragwanath. Wollcott once told McMein that “I’m thinking of writing the story of our life together. The title is already settled.” McMein: “What is it?” Woollcott: “Under Separate Cover.”)

Woollcott joined the staff of The New York Times as a cub reporter in 1909. In 1914 he was named drama critic and held the post until 1922, with a break for service during World War I. In April 1917, the day after war was declared, Woollcott volunteered as a private in the medical corps. Posted overseas, Woollcott was a sergeant when the intelligence section of the American Expeditionary Forces selected him and a half-dozen other newspaper men to create an official newspaper to bolster troop morale. As a roving correspondent of Stars and Stripes, Woollcott witnessed and reported the horrors of the Great War from the point of view of the common soldier. After the war he returned to The New York Times, then transferred to The New York Herald in 1922 and to The World in 1923. He remained there until 1928.

One of New York's most prolific drama critics, he was an owlish character whose caustic wit either joyously attracted or vehemently repelled the artistic communities of 1920s Manhattan. He was banned for a time from reviewing certain Broadway theater shows. As a result he sued the Shubert theater organization for violation of the New York Civil Rights Act, but lost in the state's highest court in 1916 on the grounds that only discrimination on the basis of race, creed or color was unlawful. From 1929 to 1934 Woollcott wrote a column called "Shouts and Murmurs" for The New Yorker. He was frequently criticized for his ornate, florid style of writing and, in contrast to his contemporaries James Thurber and S. J. Perelman, he is little read today, although his book, While Rome Burns, published by Grosset & Dunlap in 1934, was in 1954 named by critic Vincent Starrett as one of the fifty-two "Best Loved Books of the Twentieth Century".

Woollcott's review of the Marx Brothers' Broadway debut, I'll Say She Is, helped the group's career from mere success to superstardom and started a life-long friendship with Harpo Marx. Harpo's two adopted sons, Alexander Marx and William (Bill) Woollcott Marx, were named after Woollcott and his brother, Billy Woollcott.

Jack Baragwanath - History

By Colonel James W. Hammond

The definitive combat unit of comparable strength among the forces of the world during the 20th century was the division. Not all divisions, however, have been of the same size. The number of men in Allied and Axis divisions during World War II varied considerably. The number of men in an American division also varied depending on the type of division, for example, infantry, airborne, light, mechanized, armored, or Marine Corps. Manning of American divisions even varied as the war progressed, and reorganizations were made to ensure the most efficient use of manpower and to reflect the tactical deployment in the various theaters of the world. Although a standard division might be desirable, it was not always viable. Tanks, for instance, were suited to the plains of Europe but of less use in the steaming jungles of New Guinea.

A division has been defined as “a major administrative and tactical unit/formation which combines in itself the necessary arms and services for sustained combat, larger than a brigade/regiment and smaller than a corps.” Inherent in such a definition is that a division is a combat unit that contains maneuver elements, infantry, or armor fire support elements, mainly artillery but also tank or antitank units and logistical or service support elements. The last includes motor transport, engineer, maintenance, supply, medical, and communications units. These three legs— maneuver, fire support, and logistics—enable a division to conduct sustained combat operations.

The Development of the Modern Army Division

Although the Civil War armies and the army sent to Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines in 1898 had units called divisions, they were mainly infantry or cavalry and lacked the other organic elements that constitute a modern division. The first real divisions of America’s armed forces were those sent to France in 1917-1918. They numbered more than 28,000 men and were more than twice the size of those of the other Allies or Central Powers. American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) divisions consisted of two infantry brigades of two regiments each three artillery regiments, two of medium and one of heavier artillery an engineer regiment plus the various housekeeping units of supply, transport (some truck but mostly horse-drawn), medical, sanitation, supply, and signal. The rifle companies, of which there were four in a battalion, were more than 250 strong. There were three squads of eight men in each platoon, but the companies had seven platoons apiece. The infantry regiments had three battalions. Due to their composition of four regiments of two brigades, this organization was known as the “square division.”

The square division was the standard Army formation for most of the period between the world wars. Although mostly paper formations and vastly undermanned, the Regular Army (RA), National Guard (NG) and Organized Reserve (OR) divisions were square divisions. The difference between the NG and OR divisions was that the former were multistate units whose regiments were under the governors of their respective states until called to federal service while the latter were cadres of Reserve officers and noncommissioned officers for mobilization. This was consistent with the reforms made by Secretary of War Elihu Root after the difficulties of the Spanish-American War, which then provided for an orderly, expandable Army.

From Squares to Triangles

In the mid-1930s, there was a public reawakening concerning the armed forces. The administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as a measure to get the Depression-stalled economy going again, decided that deficit spending to fund public works would be a prudent move. Included in such public works were warships for the Navy. The Army also benefited in that installations throughout the country were improved and even some air bases were constructed for the Army Air Corps.

The thinkers in the Army had never been idle, and they welcomed the opportunity to “get their nose under the tent” and share in the renewed interest in the armed forces. Although the Army was still saddled with the weaponry of World War I, a decade and a half had brought technical improvement. The biggest was in motor transport. Infantry could be given greater mobility moving to the battlefield, and units could be supplied more quickly. The reduction in time for movement could be translated into a reduction of manpower to provide the cutting edge. Firepower had been improved to include semiautomatic rifles, mortars, artillery, tanks, and aircraft.

A word about tanks is appropriate. Tanks had been an Allied innovation in World War I to break the stalemate of trench warfare. The AEF had formed a Tank Corps. It was disbanded after the war and what were formerly “tanks” were transferred to the infantry as “combat cars.” Since tanks had a connotation of offense, the euphemism was a way of appeasing a public, which would support an armed force for defense but abhorred any hint of its use offensively.

Army thinkers began to reappraise the tactics of the battlefield and the type of units that would have to fight. In the world war, infantry regiments attacked in a column of battalions in linear waves. Battalions of a regiment would move successively across no man’s land to take the enemy trenches after artillery had neutralized the defenders. The two lead battalions suffered relatively high casualties, but the breakthrough could be exploited by the third, or reserve battalion. A concept of “two up and one back” emerged. It was just a short step to applying this concept at all levels within a division. Thus was born the “triangular division.”

The Factor of Three

The factor of three was applied at all levels in the new, albeit experimental, division. Three squads made up a platoon. Three platoons were a rifle company. Three rifle companies with a weapons and headquarters company made up an infantry battalion. Three infantry battalions with a headquarters and service company were an infantry regiment. The division had three infantry regiments. Field artillery in the division consisted of three light battalions of three four-gun batteries and a medium battalion of four-gun batteries. In the initial artillery regiment of the first triangular division, circa 1936, the light battalions had 75mm howitzers and the medium battalion had 105mm howitzers. By the time war came, the light howitzers were 105mm and the mediums were 155mm.

These were two of the three legs of the triangular division. The third leg was rounded out by a reconnaissance troop, an engineer battalion, a medical battalion, and companies of ordnance, quartermaster, signal, and division headquarters personnel. There was also a military police platoon and a division band. Medical detachments were with the infantry and artillery to provide forward support on the battlefield.

The 1936 triangular division had 13,552 officers and men, of which 7,416 were in the three infantry regiments. After an initial field test, the recommended division in 1938 was reduced to 10,275, of which 6,987 were infantry. In June 1941, the division had risen in strength to 15,245, with 10,020 infantrymen. Fourteen months later, in August 1942, the division had increased to 15,514, but the infantry had been reduced to 9,999. A further reduction was proposed in early 1943, to 13,412 with 8,919 infantrymen.

The organization that fought the war (beginning in August 1943) was one of 14,255 officers and men, with 9,354 in the infantry. During the last year of the war, the standard infantry division had a strength of 14,037, with 9,204 in the infantry regiments. During all the reorganizations and changes, a triangular division was about half the size of the square division it replaced.

In addition to increased mobility there were other reasons for the fine-tuning of the infantry division during the war. The primary one, of course, was combat experience. Weaknesses were determined and remedied. Strengths were evaluated and reinforced. There were mundane reasons as well for tinkering with the size of an infantry division. Reducing the size from 15,514 (August 1942 level) to 14,255 (July 1943 level) meant a savings of 1,259 men. Thus for every 11 divisions, the savings in manpower would generate a 12th. Another reason was the wartime shortage of shipping. Slightly smaller divisions took up fewer “boat spaces.” This was important since the Army had to cross the oceans to fight the enemies. When the forces for D-Day and beyond were being built up in the United Kingdom, the two largest transoceanic liners, Britain’s Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, could “comfortably” carry a U.S. infantry division every other week. This was no minor factor. Another reason to keep the infantry division to the smallest size consistent with projecting its combat power offensively was the finite manpower pool in the United States.

Soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Division file ashore from Omaha Beach several days after the D-Day landings in Normandy. During the course of World War II, the Army and Marine Corps changed the configuration of their combat divisions to make them more efficient.

A Draft for the “Arsenal of Democracy”

While the number of American men of combat age who were physically fit for induction was between 20 and 25 million, there was competition for the pool other than the Army’s infantry. Service troops, such as engineers, supply men, and others were needed to make frontline infantry effective. The Army Air Corps, by then the Army Air Forces, had a large claim on manpower. The Navy and Marine Corps needed men. And, in addition to its fighting forces in the field, the United States was both the “arsenal of democracy” and the breadbasket of the Allies. Although many women labored in the factories and the fields, a large body of men was needed to turn out the weapons for the United States and its Allies.

In late 1942, the government took control of manpower. The draft, which had been instituted in 1940 for one year for selected 21-year-olds and older inductees, was extended to 18-year-olds, and voluntary enlistments for all those over 18 were suspended. All males subject to the draft were inducted and assigned to each service according to the needs at the time. Since the Navy and Marines had been enlisting 17-year-olds long before the war, some found this a way to avoid the draft before their 18th birthday. Last, by completely controlling manpower, the draft boards could defer skilled workers and farmers, often only temporarily. This last point was important because workers could be gainfully employed until the Army was ready to use them in uniform. More than one GI in the last years of the war encountered a truck, tank, or howitzer that he had helped build on the assembly line.

Old Divisions vs New Divisions

In 1917-1918, the AEF sent 43 divisions to France. Eight were RA, 17 were NG, and 18 National Army (NA) or divisions raised from regiments that had not existed before. These were all square divisions, but three NG and three NA divisions were converted into depot divisions for the Services of Supply. Likewise, two NG and one NA division were disbanded to replace casualties. After the war, the RA had three numbered infantry divisions and a cavalry division. There were two unnumbered divisions in the insular possessions: the Hawaiian and Philippine Divisions. The NG units returned to their respective states as regiments. As previously noted, the Tank Corps was disbanded. The Army had a maximum authorized strength, but this was never reached because the real limiting factor was paltry funding.

When war came to Europe in 1939 and the Axis ran wild in 1940, America saw the need to rearm quickly. The Navy was well on its way to building a two-ocean navy after the fall of France in 1940. The Army Air Corps was given similar priority. Both of these were Roosevelt’s darlings. For two decades the Army had been the poor relation.

This was changed. Five more RA infantry divisions were activated during 1939-1941. An additional RA cavalry division was activated. Reorganization revived the Tank Corps as the armored force. The NG was called into federal service, and 17 divisions were activated between September 1940 (when the first draftees also were inducted) and March 1941 as camps were built to quarter them. Four RA armored divisions were activated. The Hawaiian Division was split into a RA division and an additional Army of the United States division (AUS). AUS meant that no previous cadre organization existed as a framework for the new divisions.

A division of the U.S. Army is shown on parade at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, in 1939. By that time, Army divisions such as this one were composed of three regiments.

As would be expected, the pre-Pearl Harbor divisions were the “old” divisions and those subsequently organized were the “new” divisions. The NG divisions entered active service under the square division organization and were converted to triangular. One of these, the 27th Infantry Division, was deployed to Hawaii before it was converted. The ranks of all the old divisions were brought up to strength by draftees and new recruits finishing basic training. They were “fillers” in Army parlance.

Equipment for the old divisions was a problem. Factories were turning out arms for Britain, which had evacuated its expeditionary force from the European continent at Dunkirk but had abandoned most of its equipment. Roosevelt had assured arms production for Britain with the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941. Hitler’s attack on Russia in June 1941 brought Russia under the Lend-Lease provisions as well. Thus, there developed competition between the Allied forces fighting Hitler and the emerging U.S. Army preparing to fight if necessary. In the meantime, training went on in the United States. Newspaper photographs and newsreels of the time showed GIs in the field with wooden mock-ups labeled “howitzer” or trucks with “tank” emblazoned on their sides.

Raising New Divisions During World War II

In the meantime, the Army planners and logisticians were systematically setting about raising the new divisions. It was methodical and orderly at first.

When a division was designated for activation, the War Department selected its key officers about three months in advance. These included the commanding general, his assistant division commander, and his artillery commander. All were general officer billets, but the selectees did not necessarily have those ranks initially. Promotion came with performance. In addition, key staff officers and commanders were designated shortly after the commanding general was assigned. This enabled him to choose his subordinates from a slate prepared by the War Department. The criterion for the slate of eligibles was based on records of performance.

In addition, the small RA of the interwar years included that intangible known as “service reputation.” Most officers knew most others. The key officers of the division to be formed were assigned special schooling such as the Command and General Staff Course (C&GSC), Advanced Artillery Course, and even condensed courses in automotive maintenance, logistics, and communications.

Just before actual activation, a cadre of key junior and middle-grade officers and noncommissioned officers was assigned. These came from the old division that had been made parent division to the new outfit. This could have been a weak point because of human nature. A commander would be reluctant to give his best people to someone else. Owing to the high state of professionalism of commanders, this did not occur in the raising of the initial new divisions. Commanders of old RA divisions took pride in the cadres they sent. It was not until later in the war that some commanders of the new divisions that in turn had been made parents to newer divisions forming began to send newer castoffs to cadres.

Upon the activation of a division, the key commanders and staff plus the cadre were joined by fillers and new officers mostly from Officer Candidate School (OCS). The division thus began a training cycle that was to last almost a year before it was deemed deployable. There were three distinct phases—individual training, unit training, and combined arms training. Appropriate testing by the Army Ground Forces (AGF) headquarters was conducted at all phases to ensure the division was up to standard. This continued well into mid-1944 when divisions committed in Europe began to take casualties. Then divisions in training in the United States were raided for their infantrymen who had completed individual training to serve as replacements overseas. Fillers had to start the cycle over again. Many of them came from disbanded antiaircraft battalions in the United States and from discontinued programs.

The U.S. Armored Division

There were other types of divisions in the AGF. Some were experimental and either discarded or retained in limited number. One of the two cavalry divisions, still a square division, was sent overseas to fight as infantry. The other was disbanded, reactivated, and deactivated in North Africa, its personnel being made service troops overseas.

The German blitzkrieg of 1940 alerted the U.S. Army to its need for armored formations, mechanized formations, and airborne units. Divisions of all three types were formed. Only two survived as viable units. The mechanized concept, which envisioned infantry riding to battle swiftly in trucks and half-tracks, was abandoned after troop testing. Those divisions reverted to standard infantry divisions. This decision was made for several reasons. The increase in vehicles placed a maintenance burden on the division, which enlarged its size out of proportion to its combat capability. Transportation to combat or the exploitation of a breakthrough could be furnished by mobile units of higher headquarters. Further, the deployment of a special mechanized division overseas took up more shipping than an infantry division. Standard infantry divisions could have all the advantages of mobility when reinforced by vehicles.

The trend moved away from specialized divisions. Exceptions were the armored division and the airborne division. There were to be 16 of the former and five of the latter. From the organization of the first two armored divisions in July 1940 until September 1943, these were heavily weighted with tanks. A minor modification occurred in January 1945 as a result of combat experience in France.

The initial armored division was 14,620 strong. It had a division headquarters with two subordinate commands capable of forming task forces for tactical employment. These were Combat Commands A and B. The tank component contained 4,848 men in two armored regiments. The regiments had one light and two medium tank battalions, with a total of 232 medium tanks and 158 light tanks. The infantry component was an armored infantry regiment of 2,389 men in three armored infantry battalions of three companies each. The 2,127 artillerymen were in three battalions of three batteries each. The latter served six 105mm self-propelled howitzers.

A pair of National Guard soldiers fires their weapons during maneuvers in Manassas, Virginia. The soldier on the right fires a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR).

There were a division headquarters and a division service company, signal company, reconnaissance and engineer battalions, and division train. The last had three battalions—maintenance, supply, and medical plus an MP platoon. The tactical concept that generated this formation was that the armored division, wreaking havoc, would punch through the enemy defenses and speed into the enemy’s rear. Fighting in North Africa as well as British experience in the Eastern Desert showed that tanks unsupported by infantry were vulnerable to antitank ambushes and minefields. Thus, the tactical employment of armored divisions was rethought.

In September 1943, the armored division was reduced to 10,937 men. The two armored regiments were eliminated and replaced by three tank battalions of three medium and one light tank company each. There were now 186 medium and 78 light tanks. The two combat commands were kept, but a headquarters reserve command was added. The infantry component was increased to 3,003, with the regiment eliminated and the three armored infantry battalions each increased to 1,001 men still with three companies. Artillery units remained essentially the same. The concept now was for the armored division to exploit the breakthrough of enemy lines made by the infantry divisions. To this end, separate tank battalions were formed from the tanks saved from the armored divisions. These could be used to reinforce an attacking infantry division as needed.

Specialized Infantry Divisions

The U.S. airborne division was conceived in 1942 as a miniature division of 8,500 men. There was a parachute infantry regiment of 1,958 and two glider regiments of 1,605 men each. The artillery included three battalions of three four-gun batteries of 75mm pack howitzers. The vehicles were mostly jeeps and trailers with approximately 400 jeeps and 200 trailers. The Army Air Corps provided the lift for the paratroopers and towed the gliders.

In December 1944, in response to recommendations from a battle-experienced airborne division commander, the size and composition of the airborne division was beefed up. It had 12,979 men in two parachute regiments and one glider regiment. A battalion of 105mm howitzers replaced the 75s. Supporting units were also increased. Only the 11th Airborne Division in the Pacific remained under the old organization.

Experiments were made in light, jungle, and mountain divisions, but all except the last were discarded when it was determined that the standard infantry division could fill the bill in any theater. The 10th Mountain Division was sent to Italy in December 1944 to let its muleskinners and skiers try their hand.

Preparing for the Invasion of France

Two major concerns remained regarding U.S. Army divisions prior to the invasion of France in 1944. One was the total number of divisions required in the Army to ensure victory. The second was how to transport the personnel and equipment to Europe when a trained division was ready to deploy.

The first U.S. Army units sent to the European Theater of Operations (ETO) were an NG infantry division in January 1942 and an RA armored division in March. They debarked in Northern Ireland. In April, an Army infantry division replaced a contingent of Marines in Iceland. In October, combat-loaded divisions sailed from the the UK and the United States for Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. Later, divisions were deployed to North Africa for operations in the Mediterranean theater in 1943. Their equipment had been moved separately.

Meanwhile, the buildup for the return to France was ongoing in the UK. A unique logistics concept solved a myriad of problems. The men of a division sailed for camps in England on a deployment schedule. At the same time, equipment was steadily being moved to the UK and stored in depots. Before leaving camp in the United States for a port of embarkation, a deploying division turned over its equipment to a new division being activated in the camp. On arrival in the UK, a complete equipment outfit of organizations, not individuals, was issued to the division.

The 󈭊-Division Gamble”

The question of the number of divisions was more complicated. There was a minimum of one year of lead time before a division was ready for deployment. After the fall of France there was also a question of Britain and its armed forces being able to hold out. Would the United States have to face the Axis threat alone? Then, when Russia was invaded there was the question of its survivability. If Russia and Britain were knocked out of the war, more U.S. divisions would be needed. As many as 200 divisions were estimated for the worst case scenario.

As the course of the war became clearer, a decision was made in early 1943 on the number of Army divisions needed to win the war. It was called the “90-division gamble.” The Philippine Division had surrendered in 1942. The 2nd Cavalry Division was later to be deactivated, reducing the total of Army divisions to 89. The last Army division was activated in August 1943 and deployed at the end of 1944. All 89 Army divisions went overseas. Only two, an infantry division in Hawaii and an airborne division in France, did not see combat.

In addition to the 89 Army divisions, there were six Marine divisions—all of which fought in the Pacific. Marine divisions used the triangular organization of the Army but had units peculiar to their amphibious mission. These included, eventually, a shore party battalion to organize the supplies coming over the beach and an amphibious tractor battalion. The standard Marine division could be tailored for a specific operation by being reinforced with specific units such as naval construction battalions (SeaBees). A reinforced Marine division could run to about 20,000 men. With the opening of the drive across the Pacific, Marine rifle companies came up with an innovation called the fire team. A fire team was a four-man unit built around the Browning Automatic Rifle. Three fire teams led by a sergeant formed a squad, one of three in a platoon, placing heavy firepower in the assault waves which struck Japanese-held islands.

By the end of the war, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps had deployed 95 divisions around the globe. Ninety-eight percent of these had engaged in combat, and the success of their deployment and combat experience was due in large part to reorganization and preparation efforts by higher-echelon commanders.


It is a pity this article does not give some cross comparison between a US Division and Divisions in other combatant countries. For example, by 1945 the US and USSR both had about 12 million men under arms, but the USA had only about 100 divisions whilst the USSR had about 500. Superficially this discrepancy suggests a bloated US military with large enrolled numbers but fewer fighting men than the Soviets. This, however, is misleading as the US provided massive logistical backup, while the Soviet armed forces were more medieval in nature, with a very small logistical tail.. An article explaining this discrepancy would be educative.

Myth, Truth, and Narrative in Herodotus

Herodotus, the ‘Father of History’, is infamously known for having employed elements more akin to mythological tales than to unvarnished ‘truth’ in translating his historical research into narrative form. While these narratives provide valuable source material, he could not have surmised the hostile reception his work would receive in later generations. This mythical aspect of the Histories led many successors, most notoriously Plutarch, to blame Herodotus for spinning far-fetched lies, and to set him apart as an untrustworthy historian. Echoes of the same criticism resounded in twentieth-cent . More

Herodotus, the ‘Father of History’, is infamously known for having employed elements more akin to mythological tales than to unvarnished ‘truth’ in translating his historical research into narrative form. While these narratives provide valuable source material, he could not have surmised the hostile reception his work would receive in later generations. This mythical aspect of the Histories led many successors, most notoriously Plutarch, to blame Herodotus for spinning far-fetched lies, and to set him apart as an untrustworthy historian. Echoes of the same criticism resounded in twentieth-century scholarship, which found it difficult to reconcile Herodotus' ambition to write historical stories ‘as they really happened’ with the choices he made in shaping their form. Each chapter in this book seeks to review, re-establish, and rehabilitate the origins, forms, and functions of the Histories' mythological elements. These chapters throw new light on Herodotus' talents as a narrator, underline his versatility in shaping his work, and reveal how he was inspired by and constantly engaged with his intellectual milieu. The Herodotus who emerges is a Herculean figure, dealing with a vast quantity of material, struggling with it as with the Hydra's many-growing heads, and ultimately rising with consummate skill to the organisational and presentational challenges it posed. The volume ultimately concludes that far from being unrelated to the ‘historical’ aspects of Herodotus' text, the ‘mythic’ elements prove vital to his presentation of history.

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780199693979
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693979.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Emily Baragwanath, editor
Assistant Professor, Department of Classics, University of North Carolina

Mathieu de Bakker, editor
University Lecturer in Ancient Greek, University of Amsterdam