Name: ARDERNE, Eustace Aldford DSO, OBE (Brigadier)
Birth Date: 14 Dec 1899 Cape Town
Death Date: 30 Mar 1994 S. Africa
Nationality: South African
Profession: Regular Army Officer
Married: 19 Nov 1932 Margaret Hennessy
Children: Hilary Claire (1944); Caroline Margaret; Peter Alvanley
Book Reference: Rhino Link 4
War Service: Joined Army in 1918, fought in Russia in 1919, KAR in 20's. Distinguished career in WW2 - 2 DSO's
Ross Dix-Peek: Research Notes on Brigadier Eustace Aldford Aderne (web): Brigadier Eustace Adlford Arderne has to be one of the finest soldiers Southern Africa has ever produced, a fighting-man to the core. He was born in Cape Town (“The Mother City”), South Africa, on the 14 October 1899, a member of a well-known South African family. Educated at Diocesan College (“Bishop’s”) in Rondebosch, Cape Town, he was accepted in to the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in July 1917, when just 17 years-of-age.
After graduating from Sandhurst in 1918, Arderne was subsequently commissioned into one of the finest county regiments of the British Army, the Durham Light Infantry, being sent to their training battalion at Catterick, due to the fact that he was only 18, as soldiers being sent to France had to be at least 19 years-of-age.
The Durham Light Infantry, or the old 68th Regiment of Foot, was raised in 1758 and became the Durham Regiment in 1782. Known as the “Faithful Durhams”, they spent much of their early service in the disease-ridden West Indies, and was selected in 1808 for training as a crack light infantry corps, wearing the honoured bugle-horn badge thereafter. Their fine record includes the battles of Salamanca; Vittoria; The Pyrenees; Nivelle; Orthes; The Peninsula; The Alma; Inkerman; Sevastopol; Reshire; Bushire; Koosh-ab; Persia; New Zealand; Relief of Ladysmith; South Africa 1899-1902; Afghanistan 1919; Aisne 1914-1918; Ypres 1915-1918; Hooge 1915; Loos; Somme 1916 and 1918; Arras 1917 and 1918; Messines 1917; Lys; Hindenburg Line; Sambre; Dunkirk 1940; Tilly-sur-Seulles; Defence of Rauray; Gheel; Tobruk 1941; El Alamein, Mareth, Primosole Bridge; Salerno; Kohima; Korea 1952-1953. Sadly, like so many other fine regiments, they were disbanded in 1968, following the army cuts of the same year.
Arderne later joined the 2nd battalion of the Durham Light Infantry in France, and then served in Germany in 1919 with his battalion, forming part of the Allied Occupational Army of the Rhine.
Upon hearing of the Allied intervention against the communists in Russia, Arderne transferred to the Royal Fusiliers, sailing for Archangel, North Russia. He was part of the Allied push down the Dwina River, an attempt to relieve General Denekin who, together with a small party of Loyalists or “White Russians”, was besieged in Moscow. The operation was a failure, however, with General Trotsky’s vast army of Communists (Known as the “Red Army”) advancing rapidly on the Allies, forcing them to retreat to Archangel, and to ultimately abandon the ill-starred campaign.
Arderne was then posted back to Germany, and was stationed in Silesia, where the British were desperately attempting to keep the peace, the reason being 60 000 Poles had taken it upon themselves to antagonise the Germans, in protest to the partitioning of Silesia, a ruling endorsed by the fledgling League of Nations. Peace prevailed, however, and Arderne was transferred on secondment in October of 1922 to the 6th battalion of the King’s African Rifles, and was stationed at Arusha, in Tanganyika.
Following two years spent in East Africa, Arderne returned on leave to his native South Africa.
In his own inimitable style, Arderne chose to walk home, and only utilised the services of a train when he got to Beira, in Portuguese East Africa (modern-day Mozambique). He was not left unscathed, however, succumbing simultaneously to cerebral malaria, dysentery, and tick fever, lapsing into a coma for four days, and upon recovering rejoined his regiment, then stationed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and shortly thereafter accompanied them to Egypt, where he played Polo for the regimental team, which soon became the best team in the country at the time, and in accordance with his penchant for languages, Arderne availed himself of the chance to learn Arabic, doing so in typically Eustace Arderne style, by dressing up in shabby looking clothes and haunting a cafe in the poorer parts of Alexandria!
Arderne was then married, on the 19 November 1932, to Margaret Hennessy, the daughter of Sir Alfred Hennessy, of Cape Town. The wedding took place at St John’s Church in Wynberg, Cape Town. The icing on the cake depicted the Durham Light Infantry’s crest and Sir Alfred Hennessy even acquired the services of a military band to play the regimental march of the Durham’s! Arderne and his newly wed bride then rejoined the regiment in Catterick, where he was stationed for ten months, leaving in late 1933 for the 2nd battalion, serving in India and the fabled North West Frontier, and Arderne, being an avid traveller, even took time to visit Tibet. From India, Arderne proceeded, with the 2nd battalion, to the Sudan, where he rejoined the 1st battalion,Durham Light Infantry, and then, in 1937, accompanied the battalion to Shanghai, and ultimately Peking, following five months stationed at Tientsin. The battalion remained in China until December 1940, and although the Second World War had commenced, the representatives of an array of countries, including the Germans, British and Vichy French, got on quite cordially.
The 1st battalion, and Arderne with them, were then transferred to the Suez, and arrived there. On the 6 December 1940. They subsequently proceeded to Mersa Matruh where Arderne took over command of the 1st battalion from Liutenant- Colonel Goldschmidt (the latter officer having retired for medical reasons). The battalion then dug in to await an anticipated Italian attack. Although the Italians did indeed attack, their efforts lost momentum after they had captured Sidi-Barrani. While stationed at Mersa Matruh, Arderne learned of his award of the OBE, and in line with his nature, accepted the award rather modestly. Became Brigadier. After WW2 retired to S. Africa.