South Africa Defence Force
The Army Gymnasium 1973 - 1994
[Colin Hodgkins collection SA 0023]
[Colin Hodgkins collection SA 0024]
The Army Gymnasium insignia is a Machine Gun for the Army, Anchor for the Navy, Wings for the Air Force and the Red Flame for patriotism. The M.G. on the bottom scroll is for Military Gymnasium
Beret Command Button Badge
The Army Gymnasium button badge is the the insignia on a dark blue background. The round badge has a screw post fixing.
[Colin Hodgkins collection SA 0380]
The Army Gymnasium based at Voortrekkerhoogte was first designated Military Gymnasium 1st February 1950. Originally the purpose was to provide the SA Army with a source of potential Junior Leaders.
In 1957 the first Signal Troop was established at the Gymnasium and was apparently announced as “You standing over there, you are signalers”. 1963 The Gymnasium changed from a training unit to become a full time infantry battalion. In 1967 The Army Gymnasium moved from Voortrekkerhoogte to Heidelberg, Transvaal and was referred to as the “Big Move”. The Army Gymnasium occupied what was the Teacher Training College to much opposition by the local community. The Army Gymnasium became fully operational after the “Big Move” on the 1st January 1968.
In 1973 The School of Signals and 1 Signal Regiment transferred to Heidelberg under the command of the Army Gymnasium. This again brought objection from the ‘City Fathers’ (Town Councilors). Much was done to win hearts and minds and The Army Gymnasium was to later be granted the Freedom of Entry to the City of Heidelberg on 5th October 1974.
The Army Gymnasium became officially a SACS Unit from 1st January 1974 and on 31st December 1978 The School of Signals and 1 Signal Regiment merged in to The Army Gymnasium. The two unit’s admin and control were conciliated to streamline services. The designation The Army Gymnasium was retained despite the role being one solely one of signals training. From 31st December 1978 to 31st December 1985 1 Signal Regiment and The School of Signals were designated ‘NSM Training Branch’ of The Army Gymnasium and ‘Formal and Further Training Branch’ respectively.
On 5th December 1997 The School of Signals relocated to Pretoria along with 1 Signal Regiment.
These are a pair of The Army Gymnasium flashes, not strictly a Signals badge though was worn by Signals personnel. There was a design for a specific Signal flash but it was never produced. A Pocket Breast was however produced and worn.
The flashes are a metal based badge faced in coloured epoxy resin, secured by three stick pins.
Pocket or Breast Badge
Breast or Pocket badge (right) is a size reduced shield of the same construction and design as the larger shoulder flash. It is secured by two stick pins to a leather or vinyl fob and is buttoned on to the breast pocket.
[Colin Hodgkins collection SA 0165]