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War Stories Chapter 15-post script

Updated on June 18, 2013
Ruth Smulders nee Cilliers
Ruth Smulders nee Cilliers


War stories - chapter 15 – (Postscript.)


Thank you for reading my little bit of history, which has been mixed at times, with a bit of fiction. I have really enjoyed writing it. For the record I want to add the following: The war story was inspired by another blogger who wrote a wonderful short story set in Paris during the war entitled “1943”. Thank you! The date of my birth caught my eye.


The story is unashamedly self indulgent and at times I wiped away a tear as in my imagination I went back to those difficult war years. How my Mom would have written it, I do not know and never will. I think though, that she would approve.


What is fact and what is fiction becomes difficult even for me to determine. I have not done extensive research on the war but most of it is somewhat true. I grew up on the farm near Pretoria and listened to stories as they were told. I knew my uncles and aunts and my grandparents on my Mom’s side. The story of their involvement in the war is a mixture of fact and fiction. They did fight in the war and Charl was injured and A was awarded the Military Cross. Oupa did arrest John Vorster in Durban and Dad did return home on leave as the photos indicate. My family did know Robey Leibbrandt, and Helen is said to have hidden him from security forces on his return to South Africa.


Albert served in the permanent force and eventually was put in charge of the War Graves Commission and travelled extensively to North Africa and Europe to search for and document information about soldiers who died overseas. He also did research on South Africans who died in previous wars in South Africa. Those records must be in the archives somewhere.


Charl completed his law studies and became a very successful trial lawyer in Johannesburg. He played a mean game of tennis and was a good golfer in spite of his injury. Crene usually drove the car when they came to visit on the farm and their daughter, Nicky, followed in her maternal grandfather’s footsteps and became a medical doctor and then married a German doctor. They now live in Germany.


Ruth and Hub had six children and they all started their lives on the farm in the house that their Oupa built. There were Italian prisoners of war working on the farm, but whether they built the house we lived in, I do not know. My Dad made several attempts to leave the farm and he and Mom eventually lived in their own house in the suburb of Muckleneuk, overlooking Pretoria.


Jessie married Mac McDonell, an Australian, who worked for Murray and Roberts, and they ended up retiring to Bribie Island near Brisbane in his home country.(Thanks Mike!)


Dad’s sister Betsy never married. She taught English for many years in schools in Pretoria and Johannesburg.


Oupa bought another farm near Naboomspruit, north of Pretoria and Helen and her children ended up living there when Boet went to jail on trust fund charges.


Robey Leibbrandt served some time in jail but was released in 1948 when the Nationalist Party came into power. He died in 1966.


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    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      5 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Thanks Antoinette-glad you enjoyed it.

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      5 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Thanks for your comment and hope you enjoy the story/history.

    • profile image

      Antoinette Ferreira 

      5 years ago

      Uncle Johan. How amazing! We were researching "Hubert Smulders" and came upon your wonderful story. I can't wait to read it all and am looking forward to it. I found a postcard that Oupa sent to Ouma Ruth from Jerusalem in October of 1941. I also have the photograph of what I believe is their wedding day in Cairo on the 23rd of February 1942. Their is a handwritten not on the back as verification. It reads as follows: To Albert & Billie. With love & thanks, Ruth and Hub. Cairo 23.2.42".

    • clara kish@yahoo. profile image

      Clara Kish 

      5 years ago from Mt. Perry. Ohio

      Hello Johan, I just read your story of your family , it was very interesting to me, sorry it took so long to read it . Thank you fro putting it on .Wish you the best in life. Clara Kish

    • Gill Harris profile image

      Gill Harris 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Quite a history there. Wish I had been old enough to discuss it more with Ouma. I do remember stories shared while she made her famous koeksisters whenever she came to visit but at the time I was more interested in the sticky sweet confectionary than the tales. Pity!

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      6 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Just History profile image

      Just History 

      6 years ago from England

      thank you , I have realy enjoyed reading this series

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      6 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Thanks for the encouragement!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Wonderful historical take on your family. I enjoyed it, Johan.

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