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1st Battalion Rhodesian Light Infantry Regimental Association ®




24 July 1939 – 17 April 2012

Dear Member / Friend

It is with regret that we inform you that Mervyn Kluckow passed away at 19h00 last night in the Waterfalls Family Hospital, Midrand, South Africa.

Mervyn has been fighting his last battle for some time now with heart related problems. He will be indeed missed as he was a stalwart of the Association. Our sincere condolences to Marieta, the family and friends of Mervyn.

Kind regards
Bill Wiggill

"The padre then calls us all to pray
The bugler has Last Post to play
The cannon roars and belches flame
We will recall, with pride, their names
A minute’s silence stood in place
As tears roll down the hardest face
deafening silence fills the air
With each of us in personal prayer"


Dear Bill,

I would be extremely grateful if you would kindly pass my sincere condolence to Merv's family. As you may know Merv and I knew each other from the 1950s and we had long chats about the very old ones. I must include our chats about religion and how we came to know about Jesus Christ and how much it meant in our lives. We marched together and fought together. This man was a real soldier although I am 82 years old he is sorely missed by me and I know one day Merv and me will meet again. This to me feels worse than one of my troops falling in battle. Merv to me was a straight talker without any bull.

May our Father God keep him in peace as well as those of his family and friends left behind?

God Bless and my kind regards to all "Saints"

John Brian Dollman

Our sincere condolences to all Merv’s family, Mervyn a great teacher in the ‘Art of War’ he was my mentor at the School of Infantry, until we meet again Merv.

The Brothertons’

Hi Bill,

Sad news re Mervyn! Please convey our condolences to Mervyn's family.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember him. Rest in peace o warrior!

Mike Sageantes

Dear Bill

So sorry to hear about the passing of Mervyn Kluckow. He was a stalwart of the association and did much valuable work in getting the RLIRA to where it is now; I have known Mervyn for some 50 years and go back to Assessment Course days with Ron Reid Daly. I also played rugby with Mervyn in the good old bad days.

Please pass my condolences to the family.

Kind regards
Ian Bate

Hi Bill,

Really bad news, please pass on our heartfelt condolences to the family from the guys in the Eastern Cape region Pete Gombart.

It is with great sadness that I received your mail re the passing of Mervyn last night, he certainly was a stalwart and a great asset to the Association. From myself and on behalf of all the members in the KZN region, I send our heartfelt condolences on the loss of another “Incredible”.

Kind Regards
Skippy Michell


Mervyn attested into the Staff Corp in 1957 having completed 4.5 months at Llewellyn Barracks, his regimental No. was 1226.

Mervyn started his 6 months Drill & Weapons and TAC course at the SInf in Gwelo. The first course to be run at the school after the move from KG V1 barracks. They were accommodated in tents for the full 6 months of the course. Some of his fellow students whom you may know were John Mcvey, Muk Micklesfield, Gypo Biddle. RSM was Willy De Beer, Regimental Wing CSM Ron Reid-Daly later to become RSM RLI and later commissioned as the Training Officer RLI.

Was posted to Llewellyn Barracks as an Instructor. Then spent a year there with some of his Course mates and met up with others whom you may remember. Bob Bouch and Len Mommsen who were PT instructors and also Robin Tar who later became RSM of the RLI. Mervyn was then posted to 1RRR drill hall in Salisbury as PSI C Company very boring mostly Admin work, spent 1year there and was then posted back to Llewellyn where I completed my contract and left the army.

From 1960 to 1963 he spent three years ‘cavorting around the world.’

1 year in the Far East.
1 year in the USA
1 year in Europe& England
1 year in Africa including getting to the Masai Mara and seeing the greatest natural spectacle on earth "The Great Migration".

What an experience he reports

01/05/1964 he rejoined and attested into the RLI and posted to 1 Cdo as a Troopie, third year, for pay purposes. OC at the time, Major Bruce Campling. CSM was Vince King. CO of Battalion Maj GP Walls 2i/c Maj Jack Cain, Adjutant Capt Dave Parker. RSM was Ron Reid-Daly.

1965 just after the last Battalion camp which was held at Salisbury South very close to Salisbury South Golf Club Mervyn was called in by the CO and told that he had been selected to attend a 13 week Vickers Machine Gun Instructors Course at S. Inf. Suffice it to say he was not happy about this development as he had rejoined to Soldier and Mervyn told GP WALLS this as the old proverbial RED light was already blinking and he had a very good idea as to what was coming having read extensively on the Mau Mau debacle in Kenya. However his exact words were “if you come top on the course I will guarantee you will come back to the Battalion.”

He knew not what was in the wind except change. To cut along story short he went from one instructor’s course to the next and was spent the next year at SInf.

Finally he got back to 1 Cdo and was made the 2 troop Sgt. Just after the Viljoen Murders at Hartley where Dennis Crouks also was and the subsequent follow up ops which went on from the Zvimba Reserve to well past Sinoya. They returned to RLI Barracks only to be told that he had been transferred into Base Group under OC Maj Chris Snyman (now deceased) to Join up with Uncle Ron and open up Training Troop. Now Mervyn says he started to understand the Co’s thinking. It was obvious that the decision for the Battalion to do its own training had been in the making for a long time and it would appear that Uncle Ron & Mervyn had been part to that plan for some time.

This outcome likewise did not last for too long either. They had just seen their first recruit course through and had returned from Kariba where the final COIN course had been conducted when again he was summoned by the CO. and advised that The School of Infantry have First Call on all Instructors with B grading qualifications and that he was to be Posted to SInf Regimental Wing as an Instructor. Mervyn was told no amount Winging & Wining would help Army H.Q. decision.

1 July 1966 Mervyn arrived at S. INF so fast he says he had Skid marks on my face. He spent the next seven years as an instructor at the school and with GP Engela, Frank Turner. Apart from Instructing on all the Courses they also re-wrote all the training pamphlets and manuals after UDI. It had taken Mervyn a mere three years & eight months from Troopie to WO2.

Mervyn was now in GP Walls words the highest qualified Instructor in the Rhodesian Army. (Cool but that would not help me in Civvy Street.)

It was in 1968 that Maj John Smitherman who was then the Chief Instructor (CI) at the school had started doing a CIS (Chartered Institute of Secretaries) and talked Mervyn into doing it as well. In his mind it was a good idea as he had no real Civvy street Qualification and again the RED light was blinking. Mervyn says he shall always be grateful to him as it has stood him in good stead when moving into Civvy Street.

In the Final year of his10 year contract he was again posted back to Llewellyn Barracks and left the Army 31 May 1974. He took up a position in Belingwe as a Secretary Accountant for a Group of 4 Companies. It was now that he was called up with 6RRR as Mortar Platoon Commander 6 weeks in, 6 weeks out continuous until his final call up December 1980.

After that he purchased a Hotel and opened an accounting practice which kept him busy until immigrating to SA. Mervyn went into his own Real Estate business in 1992.