Hendrik Cornelis Van Niekerk
Hendril Cornelis Van Niekerk was born on the 02/11/1894 at Vlaakplass in the Belfast District of the Transvaal. His next of Kin at the time of his attestation into the 13th Mounted Rifles (Die Noord Transvaal Ruiters) for service in GSWA was his Father, one Mr J.A Van Niekerk. He was a Union National and his Religious Denomination was Dutch Reformed.
Van Niekerk served in GSWA as Trp 2319 with the 13th MR from the 27/10/1914 until the 26/05/1915 when the Regiment was disbanded after the successful completion of the Campaign.
His papers from the Archives in Pretoria also show that he served in the 1914 Strike the Rebellion of 1915-16 and also the Strike in 1922.
After Van Niekerk was released from active service he went into the Farming Profession and he farmed and lived in the Helvitia Noord area in the Transvaal. He also married his wife Cornelia Carolina Catharina Van Niekerk (Born Fourie) during this time.
The military life must have had an impact on his as he decided to join the Belfast Commando on the 14/03/1925 and served as a Lt until the 26/09/1934. He was promoted to Captain and sever with this rank from the 27/09/1934 until the 14/02/1941. On the 15/02/1941 he was transferred to the Belfast Commando Detachment of the National Reserve of Volunteers. This was part of the ACF (Active Citizen Force). He was still on strength on the 14/03/1945 when application was made for the award of the Efficiency Decoration. He had by this point completed 20 years commissioned service.
The Belfast Detachment of the NRV was disbanded on the 01/04/1947 and Van Niekerk was then transferred to the Union Reserve of Officers. He received his yearly address confirmation up to and including the 10/11/1954 wham at the age of 60 years he was placed on the retired list of Officers of the Union Defence Force.
During his time in the Belfast Commando he completed 3 training courses :
Course No 719 G —Regimental Officers 03/01/1941-25/01/1941
Company Drill – 47%
Military Disciplinary Code – 50%
Map Reading – 46%
Military Hygiene – 50%
Regimental Training – 40%
Very Weak, requires a good deal more training.
Course 980H – Regimental Officers 18/02/1942-25/031942
Guards and Sentries 65%
Company and Battalion Routine 73%
Company Drill 73%
Military Disciplinary Code: 26/50
Map Reading 40/50
Improved Greatly on course, very quiet personality
Course 1217R- Special NRV Instructors Course 02/11/1942-12/12/1942
Bren Gun 68%
Section Leading 78%
Instructing Ability 48%
Organisational and Regimental Duties, MDC and Hygiene 50%
Enthusiastic and eager to lern, Lacks modern military experience. Should do better in the future.
Van Niekerk’s 1914-15 Star was despatched to him on the 14/12/1922. The BWM and Vic on the 09/01/1923.
The award of the Efficiency Decoration was published in the Government Gazette on the 25/05/1945. His was one of 23 to the unit.
Many men who served in the NRV never bothered to claim the Africa Service Medal as his papers make no mention of the award of the ASM one can assume he too did not bother to make application for the medal.
Captain Van Niekerk passed away in 1964
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