The Natal Carbineers Sports Association
When the Natal Carbineers were founded, in January 1855, it was on the perceived threat of “marauding Zulus”. Throughout the early years, the Regiment relied on volunteers and, because of the perceived threat, men volunteered. The Langalibalele campaign and the Anglo / Zulu Wars helped fuel the volunteer spirit.
Around the turn and early part of the twentieth century, the Anglo / Boer Wars and both World Wars were enough to keep the patriotic and volunteer movement strong.
During the post World War II years the ballot (which had, in fact, been around for a number of years prior to WWII) and conscription systems filled the Regiment. The leader group, however, was made up, predominately, of men who voluntarily extended their service beyond the prescribed requirement.
As South African politics changed and the conscription system collapsed, it became obvious to the incumbent senior members of the Natal Carbineers that, if the Regiment was to survive and continue to serve the people of South Africa, it would, once again, need to draw on volunteers. However, it was proven historically, that there would be no shortage of volunteers should there be a threat.
John Hall had recently been appointed to the post of Regimental Sergeant Major of the Natal Carbineers and the well being and morale of the members became his primary role.
The questions were,
after years of enduring persecution for serving in the armed forces, how could we improve the mood and feelings of the public at large?
how could we encourage people to volunteer and continue serving patriotically?
how could we ensure the future of the Natal Carbineers and maintain the integrity, ethos and spirit of the decades of volunteers who had given so much to establish the traditions and principals for which the Regiment renowned.
Drawing on the history of the Regiment, John found that the Carbineers had survived a threat (from the Colonial Government) of closure in 1865 on a popular swell of public support and emotion. What, in those times of peace, had nurtured this feeling of ownership of the Regiment amongst the local population? The Carbineers had been involved with equestrian events at Scottsville Race Course and the Royal Show. Lt Green had founded the Natal Carbineers Athletic Club in 1865.
Herein lay the answer. The solution lay in community involvement. This was the beginning of the Natal Carbineers’ very successful community outreach programme.
RSM John Hall put the idea to the then Commanding Officer, Lt Col Clyde Simpson who, in turn, solicited the support of the Natal Carbineer Trustees and the Officer Commanding Natal Command.
Lt Col Simpson appointed Sergeant Major Nic Cloete as the Regiment’s sports officer and together, John and Nic formulated and executed the plan.
The Natal Carbineers Athletic Club was reconstituted in early 1991 and was soon followed by a mixed “social soccer league”, volley ball, badminton, junior badminton, karate, judo, table tennis, junior football, dog training, in line hockey, pigeon racing and netball. These sports codes were enhanced with cultural activities such as the Genealogical Society, Midlands Amateur (HAM) Radio Club, Rotoract and the KZN Tour Guides Association.
The members of these sports codes and societies have taken part and organised activities of the highest standards and, in so doing, have kept the name and reputation of the Natal Carbineers uppermost in the minds of all those with whom they have made contact.
Many members of the Regiment take part in the activities of the Sports Association and, should the need arise, members of the Sports Association would volunteer their service where they feel most at home, in the Natal Carbineers.
The future of the Regiment is assured because this great pool of members who are so closely allied with the Carbineer Family, range in age from the little “lucky legs” under six junior footballers to the more senior in our community.
Nic Cloete, after succeeding John Hall, has been the RSM of the Natal Carbineers for two years and Lt Cols Roy Mottram and Kenny Lowe have succeeded Clyde as Officers Commanding of the Regiment. All have thrown their weight behind the Sports Association and it’s activities, aims and goals.
The Natal Carbineers Sports Association, now in its fifteenth year, and all its members, have served the Regiment and all the communities in and around the KZN midlands as well as being recognised all over South Africa for their skills, abilities and good sportsmanship.