Roll Call: 3 Medical Battalion Group

Programme Notes: CTMT 2004

“Cape Town-based 3 Medical Battalion Group, which is responsible for all military health support during the Tattoo, is one of three multi-skilled part-time medical battalion groups in the SANDF. It traces its history back to the raising of B Company of the Volunteer Medical Staff Corps in 1891. B Company saw active service in the 1896-97 Bechuanaland Campaign and the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, during which the VMSC rendered such good service that it was awarded a King’s Colour, the only non-combatant unit in South Africa to be so honoured.

After the Anglo-Boer War, the VMSC became the Cape Medical Corps, and when the then Union Defence Force was formed in 1912, the CMC became the SA Medical Corps, B Company was renamed No 1 Company, SA Medical Corps. During World War I it manned military hospitals on the home front and also sent elements to the South West African and East African Campaigns. In May 1940 the unit (now No 3 Field Ambulance Unit) was mobilised for war service and pooled with others into hostilities-only units, which served with distinction in East Africa, the Western Desert and Italy. In the post-war period, it was required to serve at intervals throughout the protracted operation in what is now Namibia, during which it provided medical services for soldiers and civilians alike. In 1981 it was renamed again, this time to 3 Medical Battalion.” (CTMT 2004)

Programme Notes: CTMT 2007

18-final-muster-4“Cape Town based 3 Medical Battalion Group, SA Military Health Service, which is responsible for all military health support during the Tattoo, is one of three multi-skilled part-time medical battalion groups in the SANDF. It was founded as B Company of the Volunteer Medical Staff Corps in 1891, which saw active service in the 1896-97 Bechuanaland Campaign and the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, during which the VMSC rendered such good service that it was awarded a King’s Colour, the only non-combatant unit in South Africa to be so honoured.

The VMSC (by then the Cape Medical Corps) was absorbed into the new Union Defence Force in 1913, and the unit became a field ambulance unit, which rendered home and active service in all subsequent wars in which South Africa became involved. Its present name dates from 1981.” (CTMT 2007)

Programme Notes: CTMT 2010

“3 Medical Battalion Group is a reserve unit in the South African Military Health Service. The unit provides volunteers with indispensable training to enable them to render support to the South African National Defence Force. The unit headquarters is in Cape Town with medical task groups in Cape Town, Potchefstroom, Kimberley and Port Elizabeth.

3 Medical Battalion Group was established in 1889. Since its inception the unit has achieved battle honours in Bechuanaland and South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, South West Africa during the First World War and East Africa during the Second World War. King Edward XII rewarded the unit with the King’s Colours “for service in the South Africa War 1899-1900″. It was the first (and only) non-combat unit to be honoured in this way in the history of the South African Military Health Service.

The unit rendered service in several spheres of conflict in the troubled times after the Second World War but stayed true to its calling to render medical support to anybody who was in need. As such the unit established a hospital as Pereira de Eca and Ambulance posts at Ruacana, Oshikango and Oshivello where medical support was given to the wounded on both sides of the conflict as well as to a great number of refugees.

The Battalion received the Freedom of Entry of Parow and unit colours in 1986, followed by national colours in 1989.

Post 1994 saw the unit provide medical support to former President Nelson Mandela and VIP guests during his inauguration. Elements of the unit were also deployed in the public health sector during the national strike of public servants in 2007 and 2010, ensuring the public had access to medical care. The unit also deploys members abroad in support of international peace missions.

The unit’s service as recorded over more than a century of medical support was recognised by the City of Cape Town by bestowing Freedom of Entry to the City to the battalion on 23 October 2010.” (CTMT 2010)