Nigel High School Reunions » Andrew Madden and Robert De Vito
Operation Sceptic, launched in June 1980 as a lightning attack on a SWAPO base in South Angola, developed into an extended operation as more and more SWAPO caches were discovered in the territory.
Operation Sceptic also saw the first serious clashes between the SADF and the Angolan forces (FAPLA).
During the operation the South African forces clashed for the first time with mechanised elements of SWAPO. SWAPO lost its forward base facilities and 380 terrorists were killed. Several hundred tons of equipment and supplies as well as many vehicles were captured by the security forces.
Seventeen members of the SA force were killed, including our Andrew Madden.
An eyewitness account of his death:
“Andrew died in my arms in Angola 10th June 1980. Operation Sceptic as smoke shell took us 80km into Angola on counterinsurgency. One of the bravest of our group, he fought to stay alive for four hours after his fateful injury. He lay under my close and desperate medical attention as the life slowly drained away. We prayed together and he gave me his rosary which he had been given by his grandmother. Rescue was delayed further and futility and sickening sadness closed over us as the sun set and the night took hold. Andrew was a gentle giant who we all respected and on occasion shielded me and other meeker comrades from some of the rougher types that were to be found in the army.
Andrew was such a good all rounder and an excellent soldier. He had severe shrapnel wounds caused by anti aircraft rounds that had penetrated the inside compartment of the Ratel. He had a hole in the back of his neck and under his arm. Shock and loss of blood had caused his veins to collapse . There was no pain as I spoke gently with him all the while.
He died peacefully.”