Platinum Provincial Dugout


Coalfields District Dugout

MOTH Coalfields Dugout completed in 1964

Members of MOTH Crater Shellhole meet every first Sunday of each month at the MOTH Hall, Coalfields District Dugout, corner of Rhodes- and Remembrance Avenues, Witbank. Time: 10:00 for 10:30





Shellhole Spirit, Endeavor and Intent.

Whilst observing all the requirements and objectives of the MOTH Constitution, the Shellhole Executive strives to create a harmonious atmosphere of fun, meaningful “Mothing” and participating engagement for all Moths, and Friends of the MOTH including family members.

“It’s The Spirit that Counts” Moth “O”

About Crater Shellhole


M.O.T.H.’s proudly celebrate 95 years of Comradeship

An article in the WITBANK NUUS Friday 12th June,1987 is headed “M.O.T,H.’s proudly celebrate 60 years of Comradeship.”

36 Years later on Sunday 5th February, 2023, members of MOTH Crater Shellhole celebrated  their shellholes’ Charter date, 3 February, 1928, signed then by the Founder of the Memorial Order of Tin Hats, the late Moth Charles Alfred Eviden, better known as Moth “0” also fondly referred to a Moth “Evo” who was wounded in WWI where he served in the Allied Forces, still merely a boy.

He settled in Durban after the war and was particularly saddened and concerned about the abandonment of the ex WWI soldiers who arrived back in their country, most of them not finding jobs, no respect or compassion shown to them. In fact they became the “Forgotten Soldiers”, Moth Evo founded the Order on the 7th May 1927. Crater Shellhole was founded less than a year later.

During WWII, Crater survived as Shellhole with only 4 members. Crater Shellhole remains the only surviving Shellhole of 5 Shellholes founded in Witbank in the 1927 -1928 timeline. The Shellhole was founded by a group of mining men who also did service during WWI. They decided on the word CRATER as the Shellhole name referring to a “Large Bowl-shaped cavity in the ground caused by bomb-explosion impact.” The Crater logo consist of the background colours; navy blue, red and sky blue depicting the sea, land and air forces. It sports a mine safety lamp referring to the coal mining industry and the Cosmos flowers showing the geographic location of this proud shellhole.

Members of the MOTH Lowveld District  joined their fellow MOTH brothers for the birthday bash

L-R Linda Volschenk, Kotie Human, Marie Cane, Chris Sonnekus, Lemuel Vermaak, Andre Janse van Rensburg, Corrie Lennox, Marielia Vermaak, Pieter huma, Raymond Cane, Eras Bezuidenhoudt, James Moulder, Phyllis Scruton, Gerhard Burger, Dirk Botha, Rassie Vermaak, Redmond Lennox, Madelein Burger, Dirk Volschenk.

Moth Cerneels Uys, of Crater Shellhole, answered the Sunset Call – 12th May 2022

It is with regret that we announce that Moth Cerneels Uys, of Crater Shellhole, answered the Sunset Call to higher service on 12 May, 2022, after succumbing to cancer.

We support his wife, Tillie, in her sadness.

Moth Uys expressed his wish for a private funeral ceremony, before his departure.

Moth Cerneels transferred to Crater Shellhole during 2020, prior to that he was a member of Shellhole Staaldak, Montagu.



On Sunday 3 April 2022 members of the MOTH Crater Shellhole and guests gathered at the cenotaph in the Moth Cottages for their 7th War Veterans Memorial Service to pay tribute to those member  of the armed services from Witbank who lost their lives during the wars. The service normally takes place at the Joubertsrus Cemetery in Lukin Street, Witbank but had to be moved to the Moth Cottages because the Emalahleni Local Municipality has neglected the cemetery and it is unsafe to visit it.

Moth Chris Sonnekus the Adjutant of Crater Shellhole started the proceedings by welcoming everyone present and explaining the purposes of the parade and service.

This was followed by a short scripture reading and prayer. Moth Dirk Volschenk then addressed the gathering followed by the lowering of the flags while the Last Post was Sounded. The parade of Moths then kept a minute of silence in memory of the fallen soldiers while the Reveille was sounded and the flags were once again raised.

The proceedings concluded with representative from the MOTH laying wreaths at the cenotaph.

Group of Friends of the MOTH and guests at the Crator Shellhole Veterans Parade.

The annual Armistice Day ceremony took a very low profile this year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Instead of the annual parade by army veterans a private wreath laying ceremony was held at the Cenotaph where full Covid-19 protocols were enforced. This enabled the members of the MOTH to pay their respects to those laid down their lives for their country during conflict

The service was led the Old Bills of Crater Shellhole Moth Chris Sonnekus and Dion Slabbert of Ratel Shellhole.


Crater Moth Shellhole holds virtual AGM on Sunday 4 July 2021

At 10h30 on Sunday the Moths of Crater stood to attention in their homes throughout Witbank as outgoing Old Bill Chris Sonnekus opened the Shellhole’s annual general meeting in true MOTH tradition. Due to the Covid 19 Level 4 lockdown restrictions the meeting could not take place at dugout and was therefor held on a virtual platform.

In opening the meeting Old Bill Chris again confirmed that he will not serve for another term as the Old Bill Unit Commander, stating that the time has arrived for the younger generation to take over the reins of leading and managing the Shellhole activities into the future.

The meeting then continued to confirm the election of the new executive committee that were chosen at the May meeting:

Old Bill                       Moth Dirk Volschenk
Deputy Old Bill         Moth  Eraz Bezuidenhout
Adjutant                     Moth Cerneels Uys
Paybill                        Friend of the Moth Annie Lynn

Many of the members paid tribute to Moth Chris Sonnekus for his selfless to Crater Shellhole and the Coalfields district for over 21 years.

The senior offices that he held ranged from Adjutant to Old Bill at Crater Shellhole as well as MOTH Coalfields District over a period of 21 years. He performed the duties of Old Bill on two occasions stretching 4 years and 6 years respectively.

He was a leader who lived and practised the three ideals of the MOTH namely True Comradeship, Mutual Help and Sound Memory in all his activities inside and on behalf of the MOTHS.

He was awarded the coveted Certificate of Excellent Service by the Order during his term of office.

Moth Chris will continue as the Shellhole Playbill organizing fund raising activities, social days and educational and technical visits.

The Moths were also very proud to welcome a new member Moth Pieter Wentzel into the Shellhole.


Despite the Covid 19 shutdown Old Bill Chris Sonnekus and the Crater Shellhole Moths decided that rather than break with tradition the Shellhole would hold its regular monthly meeting on the first Sunday of May (3 May 2020). The only difference being that the dugout is closed and the Moths have been placed under Shutdown.

The problem was solved and the venue transferred into cyberspace and held via WhatsApp. All proceedings were conducted either with a voice message or by text.

At precisely 10:30 Old Bill Chris opened the meeting in the formal MOTH tradition by sending a video. The roll call was conducted and there were 10 Moths present, 5 Friends of MOTH and one potential Friend of the MOTH (Annie Lynn).  Apologies were recorded

All the business was attended to promptly with limited debate, including adopting a proposed constitutional amendment that the executive of a shellhole must retain the personal details of a member confidential.

The meeting then disposed of the nominations for the Shellhole executive and committee for the new year. Nominations are as follows:

Old Bill:                      Moth Chris Sonnekus
Deputy Old Bill:        Moth Dirk Volschenk
Adjutant:                    Moth   Eraz Bezuidenhout
Pay Bill:                     Annie Lynn

Sergeant at Arms:    Moth Gerhard Burger
Play Bill:                    Moth Mervyn Laufs
Supply Bill:                Moth Raymond Cane
Rag Bill (PRO)          Friend Clive Hatch

The proceedings terminated with the following toasts being proposed:

South Africa – Ons Land                Moth Chris Sonnekus
The Order                                          Moth Pieter Human
Absent Friends                                 Moth Dirk Volschenk
The birthday boys and girls            Friend Clive Hatch

In his toast Clive included ex Serviceman Captain Tom Moore (Now honorary colonel) who turned 100 years old on 29 April 2020. His name had come into prominence after he had collected £29 million in aid of the British NHS by walking around his house 100 times.


Motorcycles roar at MOTH Crater Emalahleni Veterans’ Parade.

Annually  on the first Sunday of March the Crater Moths conduct a parade in remembrance of the veterans from the Witbank District, whose chairs are forever vacant following war action in WWI, WWII and The Angolan War.

Traditionally this parade is held in the Old Witbank Cemetery in Lukin Street where 11 military graves from mostly WWII are located. Due to the extremely shameful state of upkeep of the cemetery and the stench of accumulated sewerage at the entrance to the cemetery, the parade had to be moved to MOTH Witbank Sound Memory Cottages.

The arrival of 11 motorcycles manned by Moth members of the MOTH Platinum Motorcycle Association, (MMA) to join Crater Shellhole Moths at their annual Emalahleni Veteran’s Parade, added excitement to the proceedings.

Sergeant Major Redmond Lennox proudly brought the parade consisting of Moth Bikers and marching Veterans advancing on the notes of MOTH March, to halt at the Cenotaph and Wall of Remembrance.

After an opening prayer by Old Bill Chris Sonnekus, he welcomed all and pointed out that the names of soldiers who answered the sunset call to Higher Service during combat in the two World Wars and the Angola war are edged on the panels of the Cenotaph. It was noteworthy that the Road Captain of the MMA, Moth Larry Beechy, who was present on parade, lost his twin brother in the Angola War and his name, Neville Beechy also appears on the Cenotaph.

The touching Last Post was sounded followed by a wreath laying ceremony with the soothing notes of Mozart’s Piano Concerto #21 in the background.

Members all joined in after the parade at the Lapa to “build a hamburger” and great comradeship was evident at the occasion.

From left to right; Moths A Van den Heever, W Hendricks, F paine, J van der Waldt, R Lennox, L Beechy, D Botha, M Tammidge, W Barkhuizen, E Bezuidenhout, Friend C Pretorius, Moths C Sonnekus, B Swart, R Cane, Friend M Burger, Moths D Volschenk, P Human and G Burger

MOTH Crater Shellhole Annual Bowls Tournament

The Bowls Tournament that did not rain out.

Ten teams from various MOTH Shellholes and bowling Clubs arrived at Witbank Golf Bowls Club wearing their rain gear to compete in the annual MOTH Crater Bowls Fundraising day. After four days of hard rain measuring a total of 156mm, players and officials anticipated that the games would be cancelled in favour of a friendly game of dominoes inside the warm clubhouse. However at start of play the rain stopped and the two games were completed before “Mother Nature” decided to continue with her blessing of more good rain.

Great fun was had all over the green with Ralie Van Der Spuy and Hans de Wet winning the spiders. The overall winners, walking away with the coveted MOTH Trophy, was the team from Ermelo namely Monte Sole Shellhole.

A delicious spread was presented at lunch time by the Vroue Landbou Unie, Witbank Branch followed by the prize giving event and a fun filled “Bingo Session” narrated by Phyllis Scruton. Moth Chris Sonnekus, Old Bill of Crater Shellhole, thanked the Witbank Golf Bowls Club President Gavin Shoobert and club members for their great effort and hospitality. Behind the scenes were Michael Mabena and Lina Makola with games master Joey Kriel, assisted by Corrie du Preez, managing the tournament. Helping to secure the best takings ever were also Monica and Ralph Gilbert, Jonathan Shoobert, Piet Nel and Pieter Human.

The sponsors namely Tony’s Open Market, Ma Rooi Koeksister Franchise and Vroue Landbou Unie were hailed for their open hearts and pockets.

It is concluded that the outstanding reciprocity existing between Crater Shellhole, Witbank Golf Shellhole and Vroue Landbou Unie, contributed towards the success of the fundraising event.

Moths Gerrie Oosthuizen, Viano Prinsloo, Chris Sonnekus, Fritz Olmesdahl and Jan van Niekerk.


As usual Crater Shellhole manned the 2019 Poppy Day collection point outside the OK at the Riverside Crescent. Thanks to Moths Chris Sonnekus (Old Bill); Raymond Cane (Supply Bill) and Redmond Lennox (Sergeant Major) a total of
R1649.50 was collected.

Old Bill Chris Sonnekus and Moth Raymond Cane start off the Crater Poppy Day Collection


A full team of Moths, Friends of the MOTH and their spouses converged on the annual Vintage Fair hosted by the Sound Memory Cottages Witbank where they set up camp to sell Boerie Rolls and Yankee Stix.

The squad were meant to work on a rotational basis but the camaraderie was so great that most of the team enjoyed themselves at the stall for the whole morning. As business wound down and the cash was counted the Shellhole was proud to have contributed both financially and in kind to the success of the Vintage Fair which raised R50031 towards the cottages. Our stall contributes R1685 to the event.

As the Cherry on the top the day ended with Old Bill Chris Sonnekus winning the Wheelbarrow of Booze.


(March 2019)

 Once again on a hot Sunday Morning 4 March the Moth of Crater Shellhole paraded at the old Witbank Cemetery in honour of those servicemen from Witbank who paid the highest price.

The parade was led by Ken Faduk who played the bagpipes as the Moth marched to the group of seven military graves in the cemetery where wreaths were laid by various members of the shellhole.

Moths Raymond and James Cane laid a wreath at the grave of Pte TH Cane, their grandfather, who is buried in the cemetery. Moth Mike Long laid a wreath at the grave of Pilot GL Malley from the Royal Air Force who was killed during a training flight at the Paxton Air Force base just outside of Witbank on 10 September 1943 at the age of 21.

Members of the Malley family had contacted the MOTH Head Quarters in Durban at the end of 2018 after having read about the Crater Moths cleaning up the graves of the war veterans, including Malley’s grave in 2017,

At the conclusion of the parade the Moths drank the traditional toasts at the cemetery before getting together for a braai in the lapa at the dugout.


Election Time for 2019/2020

The Executive Committee for 2019/2020 of the Crater Moth Shellhole was elected at a well-attended meeting on Sunday at the Moth Dugout. Crater Shellhole is one of the oldest Moth Shellhole in South Africa having been formed in February 1928. The Shellhole still proudly displays its original charter that was signed by the founder of the Order Moth   Charles  Evenden fondly known as Moth O.

The following were elected to Executive: Chris Sonnekus Old Bill; Dirk Volschenk Deputy Old Bill, Lorraine Hatch Adjutant (First time in Crater 91 years History lady Adjutant) and Pieter Human Paybill.

Over and above the executive the following were elected to the Shellhole Committee: Redmond Lennox Sergeant Major, Clive Hatch PRO, Raymond Cane Supply Bill and Mervin Laufs Playbill.

These Moths and Friends of the Moth were elected to manage Crater Shellhole for the next year in the spirit of the three Moth ideals of True Comradeship, Sound Memory and Mutual Help

At the conclusion of the meeting the members and families true to the Crater Family braai.



 An informal Crater Shellhole braai was held at the SMC Witbank on Sunday 16 December to bid farewell to Moth Len and Friend of the MOTH Karin Bowker who are relocating to KZN during January.

During the course of the day Crater Old Bill Moth Chris Sonnekus presented Moth Len with his transfer certificate to enable him to join a new Shellhole. Moth Chris also used the occasion to thank Moth Len for his service and dedication to both Crater Shellhole (1928) where he has served as Old Bill twice and Deputy Old Bill several times as well as the Coalfields District where he has served as District Old Bill on ten occasions.

He also thanked Friend Karin who supported Len throughout his tenure and since becoming a Friend of the Moth has been active in all aspects of Mothing.

Moth Len responded by thanking everyone for their friendship over the years and reassured the members that he and Karin would be returning to Witbank frequently as his family still lived in the town.

The occasion was also used to do the draw for the Christmas Hamper which was organised to supplement the funds collected on Poppy Day which were disappointing.

The prize was won by Liezle De Jonkheer and was collected on her behalf by Moth Redmond Lennox. An amount of R3660.00 was raised which will be donated to the Sound Memory Cottages Witbank.

Crater Shellhole (1928) Bowls Fundraiser 9 December 2018

The Magic of Charity Coalition

MOTH Crater Shellhole 1928, Witbank Golf Bowls Club and Witbank Vroue Landbou Unie (VLU) joined forces to present a winning charity bowls day on Sunday 9 December 2018.

12 Shellholes and MOTH Units from Witbank and Ermelo arrived sporting their bowls club and shellholes’ colours to compete for the coveted Coalfields trophy,

The President of Witbank Golf Bowls Club, Gavin Shoobert, supported by the very able Stephen and Bryan Price, Monica Gilbert and Joey Kriel  and behind the scenes Linah Makola reached out to Crater Shellhole with their beautiful green, hospitality and Club hospitality.

A lunch spread, fit for a king was proudly organized by Phyllis Scruton and her VLU team and gained many complements from the tired bowlers who played two games under the unrelenting Highveld sun.

The highlight of the event was the Bingo game aptly arranged by Phyllis and Monica and narrated by Wolly Womarans.

The proceeds of the day was a record taking and Moth Chris Sonnekus, Old Bill of Crater Shellhole paid tribute to the sponsors namely Phyllis Scruton, Eben Bernado, Ouma Rooi Koeksisters,  Itec at Tony Open Market Garden, Johan Gerber and all the bowlers who dug deep into their pockets in the name of charity.

The team of Crater Shellhole namely Gavin Shoobert, Eben bernado, Chris Sonnekus and Barry Woollett walked away as the winning team however at the end of the day it was goodwill and a “want to help” attitude that won the day.

Overall Winners





Chris Sonnekus, Eben Bernado, Wally Woollett and Gavin Schoobert




MOTH Crater Shellhole Golf Fundraiser

National Heritage day, Saturday 24 September 2016, saw keen golfers taking to the immaculate greens of Kriel Golf Club to partake in the annual Crater Golf Fundraising event. Organizers Moths Archie Taylor and Mervin Laufs can rightfully be very proud of a well marketed, presented and organized event.

The atmosphere was fun filled and the “wors- rolls” sponsored by Moth Johan Gerber, was delicious!

Sponsors and golfers dug deep into their pockets to ensure that this was again a major success.

The management of Kriel Golf Club was awarded a MOTH Certificate of Good Comradeship by Moths Len Bowker and Chris Sonnekus for 5 consecutive years of relentless support and hosting of this fund raising event. The Executive of MOTH Crater Shellhole (Founded in 1928) wish to express their most sincere appreciation to the management of Kriel Golf Club, the sponsors, the players and those “behind the scene” workers like Thea and Sand-Lee Laufs, all, for making this yet another win-win event.

Handing over of the MOTH Certificate of Good Comradeship (non-Moth) Left to right; Willie van Zyl, Jakkie Marais (Captain) Moths Archie Talyor, Chris Sonnekus, Len Bowler and Mervin Laufs



                  Crater Golf Trophy














MOTH Crater Shellhole and Witbank S M C, supports the restoration and cleaning of military graves.

Early on National Heritage day a group of residents from Witbank, under the leadership of Friend of the MOTH, Clive Hatch, gathered at the Old Witbank Cemetery to partake in a public clean-up effort.

Friend of the MOTH Clive Hatch, Moths Chris Sonnekus and Len Bowker

This effort was preceded by an investigation by Friends of the MOTH Clive and Lorraine Hatch when they inspected the alleged poor conditions at Witbank Cemetery only to discover 15 military Graves mostly from the WWII era in appalling conditions. A combined effort by Crater Shellhole and Witbank Sound Memory Cottages, with some valued sponsorship from Moth Jakes Jacobs, soon saw the graves restored to acceptable standards.



At the February 2017 MOTH Crater Shellhole meeting, a cheque of R5000.00 was donated to the Witbank MOTH Cottages towards a Jojo tank and pump to ensure that the residents are able to receive water when municipal water is not available. Recently the residents were without water when there was the severe pipe burst.

The cheque was received on behalf of the cottages by the acting chairman Clive Hatch who thanked the Crater Sellhole for the continued generous support to the cottages.

The funds were raised at a recent bowls day jointly organised by the Crater MOTHs, the Vroue Landbou Unie and the Witbank Golf Bowls Club. In presenting the cheque to the cottages the Crater Old Bill Moth Chris Sonnekus thanked the organizers and sponsors of the bowls day who all made the donation possible namely the Vroue Landbou Unie, Tony’s Open Market Garden, Sonja Pal Bus Services, Himo Spares, Barry & Phyllis Scruton, Willly & Glenda Allison, Gavin Shoobert, Colliery Training Center, Chris Sonnekus and the Ladies of Witbank Golf Bowls Club.


“Old Bill of Crater Shellhole Moth Chris Sonnekus (right) presenting the cheque to the Clive Hatch (centre) the acting chairman of the Cottages while Moth Len Bowker (left) the MOTH District Old Bill looks on.”


The MOTHS of the Crater Shellhole celebrated the 89th birthday of the shellhole at the meeting held in the dugout on Sunday 5 February 2017.Crater is one of the oldest shellholes in the MOTH Order having been formed in February 1928 shortly after the MOTH Order was formed in 1927.

At the meeting of February 5 the following Moths were presented with their long service ties:


5 YEARS:                                                      10 YEARS:

Moth Archie Taylor;                                     Moth Mike Long;

Moth Henry du Plooy;                                 Moth Raymond Cane;

15 YEARS:                                                   20 YEARS:

Moth Dirk Volschenk;                                  Moth Redman Lennox;

Moth Len Bowker;

Recipients of long service ties from left to right:
Back row: Moths Mike Long (10); Redman Lennox (20); Archie Taylor (5); Henry du Plooy (5); Raymond Cane (10);
Front: District Old Bill Len Bowker (15) and Crater Old Bill Chris Sonnekus;

The occasion was also used to welcome and install two new members into the Shellhole MOTHS Louis  Britz and Dannie Basson who were joined by their wives for the occasion.

From L to R Old Bill Chris Sonnekus ; new Moths Louis Britz and Dannie Basson; District Old Bill Len Bowker

After the meeting the traditional birthday cake was cut by Friend of the MOTH Karin Bowker  and everyone adjourned to the lapa for a traditional braai

Moth Redman Lennox and Old Bill Chris Sonnekus watching on as the Birthday Cake is cut by Friend of the Moth Karin Bowker
Old Bill Chris Sonnekus and Moth Redman Lennox enjoying a toast at the braai


A short but impressive memorial service in the Old Witbank Cemetery on Sunday 5 March 2017 by the Crater Moth Shellhole will at the military section of the cemetery in memory of those men who died during the Second World War and one soldier on the Angolan Border. These graves were found to be in a poor condition and were restored by the MOTH Crater (1928) Shellhole and the Sound Memory Cottages Witbank during August and September 2016.

The service commenced with a parade of Crater Shellhole MOTHs and Friends of the MOTH led by the Piper Ken Faduk from the entrance of the cemetery to the military graves where the members joined the public in the seating provided.

Crater Shellhole Old Bill Moth Chris Sonnekus welcomed the Moths and guests to the first WWII the fallen veterans’ parade presented by Crater Shellhole, founded in 1928, one of the oldest Shellholes in the MOTHDOM.

He explained that the Friend of the MOTH, Clive hatch initiated the caretaking by Crater of the 15 Graves that he and his wife Lorraine located here in the cemetery. MOTH Redmond Lennox was so impressed with the work that Clive and Ophrey, an employee from the Sound Memory Cottages, did in restoring the graces that he suggested that Crater Shellhole, on an annual basis, exercise SOUND MEMORY by having a True comradeship parade to remember the fallen of WWII.

This event maybe a small beginning but Crater Shellhole are extremely proud that they have commenced with this idea.

Moth Len Bowker the Coalfields District Old Bill spoke briefly of the intensity of World War 2 which involved over 100 million people from 32 countries, the largest war known to mankind and that the Moths were here to pay tribute to those soldiers who paid the ultimate price.

This was followed by Clive Hatch who outlined the importance of maintaining cemeteries because they are part of collective history of a community, and “the few words carved on the tombstone often reveal details that are not always public knowledge. As do the details on the graves of those servicemen who we are here to commemorate today.”

He continued by saying “As we remember these 15 servicemen today I think that we are aware that in Emalahleni there is another serviceman NL Smith buried alongside in the Jewish Cemetery, a young man who died at the age of 16 Wessel Truter from the Youth Training Brigade who is buried on a Tweefontein Farm as well as four servicemen buried in the Kwa Guqua Cemetery, Jotham Kunene; JJ Makaya; Moses Mngadi and James Morgar. We also pay tribute to these servicemen”

Hatch also thanked the United Kingdom High Commission in Pretoria as well as the Royal Air Force Association of South Africa for their assistance in supplying us with information on the deceased servicemen. Both the High Commission and the RAF Association were unable to attend this year’s service but are committed are committed to attend this parade next year.

Sincere thanks also expressed to the Ward Councillor Anthonie Brits for his efforts in having this Cemetery cleaned up and for his commitment to having all eMalahleni Cemeteries maintained as well as to Theo van Vuuren and the Parks Department for ensuring that this Cemetery is neat, tidy and respectful for this service.

These speeches were then followed by am moving ceremony with the Moths and the Friends of the MOTH standing to attention and saluting as the quiet air was pierced with notes of ‘The Last Post’ as the flags were lowered to half mast followed by ‘the Reivielie’ as the flags were again hoisted.

A wreath laying service followed with various Moths laying wreathes on behalf of the order, the Royal Air Force and the Cane family who has a relative buried in this section.

The service ended with those in attendance returning to MOTH Dugout at the Sound Memory Cottages for lunch.

These graves are from former members of the South African Defense Force buried in the cemetery as well as two members of the Royal Air Force who were stationed at the Paxton Air Force Base during the Second World War are:

RankUnitInitialsSurnameDate of deathAge
PilotRoyal Air ForceG.L.Malley10-Sep-4321
Flight SergeantRoyal Air ForceJ.M.Ronaldson01-Feb-45
CorporalA.D.K.V.B.J.van Wyk09-May-4649
2nd LieutenantS.A.A.FJ.Donaldson09-Dec-4121
Pupil PilotS.A.A.FC.L.Beukes25-Feb-4219
CorporalS.A.R. & H. Btl.W.LMathews25-Mar-4325
Air MechanicS.A.A.FN.L.Smith22-Jul-4135
PrivateYouth Training Brigade SA ForcesW.JTruter26-Apr-4116
PrivateNative Military Corp,SA Forces.J.Kunene30-Oct-4331
PrivateNative Military Corp,SA Forces.MMngadi19-Oct-43
PrivateIndian & Malay Corp SA Forces.JMorgas14-Aug-43



Speech at the memorial service at old cemetery 5 Feb 2017

Crator Shellhole Celebrate the MOTH 90th.

The MOTHS of Crater Shellhole used their monthly meeting on Sunday 7 May 2017 to commemorate the formation of the 90 years ago on 7 May 1927, Crater Shellhole as one of the oldest shellholes was established in February 1928.

The business of the day was handled expeditiously by Old Bill Chris Sonnekus to enable the MOTHS and Friends of the Moth to celebrate the Order’s 90th Birthday with a special toast to the order and the cutting of the traditional birthday cake. Not only was the MOTH birthday celebrate but also the following four birthday boys and girls Raymond Cane; Mike Long; Karin Bowker and Ian Mc Clarran.

Those present then retired to the hole in the wall for some liquid refreshments and the lapa for a very pleasant Braai.


The official Coalfields District Dugout parade to commemorate the 90th Birthday of the MOTHs took place at Gondar Shellhole in Middelburg on Saturday 3 June with an impressive parade and wreath laying ceremony.

The parade was led by the South African Police band and was attended by senior officers of SAPS and the local military camp.

MOTHS from all district shellholes including 9 MOTHS and 2 Friends of the MOTH from Crater (1928) Shellhole as well the Old Bill of the Order Moth Andy Boden and the Provincial Old Bill Moth Dave Berry were in attendance.

Crator members


The monthly meeting of the MOTH Crater Shellhole held on Sunday 3 September 2017 was an important meeting where the new office bearers of the Shellhole for 2017/2018 were installed.

There was also a touch of nostalgia and sadness because the meeting concluded with members of the Lynn family in attendance to lay a plaque on the wall of remembrance in memory of the late Neville Lynn who passed away in January. The MOTHs formed up in a parade while the plaque was laid by Neville son Vaughn who was in South Africa from the UK. Vaughn was assisted by his mother Annie and sister Angie.

The Moths line up with the Lynn Family watching on while the Last Post was being played during the ceremony when a plaque was laid in memory Moth Lynn at the Wall of Remembrance at the Moth Cottages


Rtd Brigadier General RD Penhall

 CRATOR Shellhole were honoured to host retired Brigadier General Rodney Penhall at their October 2017 monthly meeting

General Penhall had a distinguished career in the South African Air Force having joined in 1968 as a

pupil pilot and retired in 2007.

During his career he flew fighter planes as well as helicopters. And was stationed in many air force bases in South Africa starting in Dunotar and finally as General Officer Commanding Air Force Base Waterkloof, the Senior Air Base of the SAAF.

In 2004 he was seconded from the SAAF to the United Nations during which time he was deployed by UN to Banda Ache during Asian Tsunami, to Northern Sudan/Darfur/Kenya/Southern Sudan before/during Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

He explained to the meeting about his secondment to Banda Ache during the Asian Tsunami on boxing day 2004 where he coordinated the distribution of international aid from the air force base to the outlying districts. Also the fact that one of the prime functions was to earn the trust of both the local leaders and population as well as the various air force personnel from the other countries.



The annual Crater Shellhole annual MOTH Bowls Day was held at the Witbank Golf Bowling Club was held on Sunday 10 December 2017.

 A total of 12 teams participated in the day including Moth Shellholes from as far afield as Ermelo and Pretoria.

The day was enjoyed by all with the Underdogs Monte Sole Shellhole 3rd team from Ermelo being the eventual winners squeezing Crater Shellhole B team into second place. Following up in twelfth position was Gondar Shellhole who received some of Ma Rooi’s special koeksusters to sweeten up their day.

This most enjoyable day collected over R8000 which will be used to assist the Moth Sound Memory Cottages. The Old Bill of Crater Shellhole concluded the proceedings by thanking all the participants, the Witbank Golf Bowling Club and especially the following sponsors Tony’s Open Market, Vrou Landbou Unie, Barry Scruton, Charles Collen, Johan Gerber, Adrian Blake, Corrie Lennox, Karin Bowker and Ma Rooi from Ermelo who made the day a success.


On Sunday 4 February 2018 the MOTH Crater Shellhole celebrated their 90th birthday at the monthly meeting followed by a flag raising ceremony to commemorate its ninety years of service in Witbank and to those MOTHS from Witbank who have passed through the ranks of Crater Shellhole.

Following the formal proceedings the members of Crater with their families enjoyed a sheep on the spit donated by the Shellholes Sergeant-at-Arms Moth Redmond Lennox which was expertly prepared my Shaun van As.

Crater Shellhole was founded in 1928, less than a year after the establishment of the MOTH Order. The Charter of Crater Shellhole was signed by Moth “O” (Eveden) the “Founder Member” of the MOTHs on 3 February, 1928 and is the second oldest surviving Shellhole in the MOTH Platinum Province. The name Crater was derived from the word crater meaning a “large bowl-shaped cavity in the ground caused by the impact of a bomb-explosion” with particular reference to first-hand experience by the Crater Shellhole Founder Members during WWI.

Although the Shellhole struggled to survive in the late thirties and particularly during WWII, when it was down to a mere 4 members, Crater Shellhole through the faithful efforts of a few Moths and Witbank stalwarts namely Alec Buchan, Alf Bowker, Andy Souter, Jack Small, Gordon Harley, Jack Boddy, Willie Boles Fred Trivett and Bill Penman, avoided having to hand in their coveted and treasured Charter.

From its inception Crater Shellhole met at Landau Colliery, SA Coal Estates but later transferred its headquarters to the dugout at the Sound Memory Cottages in town.

Crater Shellhole, through the years, formed the pivot around which other Shellholes of the Coalfields District evolved as other Shellholes were founded, faded then re-opened and in many cases sadly closed.



The annual Crater Shellhole Veterans Memorial parade was held at the Moth Cottages on Sunday 4 February 2018.

The service started with the MOTH marching to the cenotaph in the cottages premises led by Mr Ken Faduk the piper. Moth Chris Sonnekus then addressed Moths and visitors on the significance of the red poppy in remembering the war dead.

After the address the Moths and Friends of the Moth stood to attention while the last post was sounded and the flags were slowly lowered. The flags were then raised to the strains of Reveille .

The proceedings concluded with all present filing past the MOTH tin hat and pasting a poppy in memory of those who laid down their lives for there their country



At the meeting to commemorate the 90th Birthad of the MOYH Crater Shellholes 90th birthday the following certificated of comradeship were presented. Comradeship C Badge and Certificate. This certificate is presented by a Shellhole to a Moth whose service is of exceptional merit and two certificates were presented.

  • Moth Redmond Lennox: Excelling the course of Good Mothing. Excellent participation in meetings and parades. Regular suggestions to improve meetings and create more interest in the MOTH.
  • Moth Raymond Cane: In spite of some broken service, Moth Raymondis per se the longest serving Moth at Crater Shellhole. He regularly volunteers to assist in tasks where needed. He made the Supply Bill duty a pleasure to observe. Moth Cane’s attendance and participation is an example for others.

3 Good Comradeship Certificate and G Badges were presented.  These certificates with the accompanying G badge is awarded by the Shellhole to Non-Moths who advance the purposes of the MOTH. for “outstanding efforts by the individual” who is not a Moth.

  • Friend Clive Hatch

Friend Clive takes his role as a friend of the MOTH rather seriously. In a very short while he did a training presentation, organized a very interesting lunch time speaker, and excels in Crater Shellhole’s marketing especially our relationship with the press and our use of the MOTH website. In short we might as well refer to Friend Clive as our PRO.

  • Friend Karin Bowker

Friend Karin was one of the first Friends of the MOTH to be initiated. Her outstanding support at meetings and Crater functions as well as her regular suggestions to make “Mothing” more user friendly did not go unnoticed. Friend Karin’s attendance record is outstanding. Her support of Moth Len Bower’s District and Shellhole MOTH duties is also remarkable.

  • Linda Volschenk.

Linda Volschenk is forever observed right on her husband’s side at Shellhole, District and Provincial functions. The Ideal MOTH wife

From left to right: Clive Hatch; Len Bowker (Coalfields District Old Bill); Karin Bowker; Raymond Cane; Linda Volschenk; Chris Sonnekus (Crater Old Bill);  Kneeling: Redmond Lennox



The Crater MOTHS were delighted to see Moth Brian Engelbrecht from Sedgefield at their monthly meeting on Sunday 6 May 2018.

Moth Brian was a long serving Moth in both Jiggerflea and Crater Shellholes, he also served as an important member of the Witbank Moth Sound Memory Cottages for over twenty years. Brian and Angela retired to Sedgefield during the course of 2017 where he joined the Albatross Moth Shellhole in Knysna.

During the course of the meeting Moth Brian presented a pendent from Albatross Shellhole to Chris Sonnekus, Old Bill of Crater Shellhole.

After the meeting the blokes gathered around the pub to get up to date with Brian and our other visitor, Moth Ian Mac Laggan our Crater Member who lives in KZN.

Moth Brian Engelbrecht presenting a pendent from Albatross Shellhole to Moth Chris Sonnekus Old Bill of Crater Shellhole



Friends, family, associates and Moths gathered at Witbank Sound Memory Cottages to pay their last respects to Moth Theodore Andrew Cremer, who answered the Sunset Call on 24 October 2018. Reverend Linda Jansen presided over the Service, delivering a message of hope for those who need to carry on with their lives.

Moth Theo was also afforded a MOTH funeral ceremony which was well attended by Moths and Friends of the MOTH from all 5 Units within MOTH Coalfields District. Moth Redmond Lennox sited the strong character and charisma of  Theo. Theodore was born on 15 June, 1952. His two children Matthew and Chantalle proudly remember their late father as a committed parent. Theo’s character was like the steel he worked with; Strong and steadfast. He believed in reaching out to others.