About - Unit 19

"The truth about the unsung heroes"

"We where instructed to go where no man even dreams to wonder. A place where death is certain, and guarantees are null and void. A small group of men as volunteers always stood up - odds overwhelming against them. As other men standing in the back ground , the gun fire was heard throughout the night. Prayers went out as darkness swallowed the gun fire.

In early morning light, their silhouettes where seen walking from deaths paradise. They carried their dead on their shoulders, they carried their dead in the depth of their souls.
Asked "Who cares, why?"
- they simply reply "For the man on my left, and right, I gladly give my life".

Media walking away, as the victory of a released prisoner are echoed throughout the world, and the memory of those brave are simply remembered as the Lost Boys of Unit 19"

- Sgt. Mark Janse van Rensburg "Cartoons"


In the 1980's a propaganda started discrediting the police force as the main culprits of the rise of unrest in our country. Political changes where needed but not at the costs of lives.

To those who know better, the men and women of the riot units back then saved a country short of falling into a full out civil war.

Many Riot units were established throughout the country to deal with civil unrest in each sector.
Unit 19 was the national response unit to assist in high risk areas throughout South Africa. They were on standby 24/7, and spend most of their time in the cross fire.

It was not uncommon that a Unit 19 member would have been in more than a dozen serious gun fights within a year period. Our memorial wall tells the tale.

In course of time Unit 19 members (and other riot units of this era) were incorporated into different units within the new democratic South African Police Service, and as such the Unit is only remembered by those who experienced it. Some of it's members are still within the SAPS, but most are incorporated in security companies across the world.

Even today they are characterized in companies as the brave of Unit 19. They stand out from the rest, for they know that death's shadow once followed them closely.

Maybe one day their story will be told...

More about ....

unit19"Training and Weapons"

In Learn more about the training of Unit 19 members.

unit19"Photo Gallery"

Trip down memory lane with photos of the past.

unit19" Articles"

Clips about our Unit.

unit19"Our Unit 19 poem"

Lovely poem written by one of our own.


Our committee today,

unit19"Visitors Book and Letters"

Letters and notes from visitors, and members.



BOOK: War in Peace (2012)
Galago Publishers Nick Howarth (Unit 6)

"No matter the cause, for the riot policemen on the ground it was a hell on earth They were given the task of curbing the violence which entailed putting their bodies in the line of fire, loading many hundred corpses for the morgues and placing their own family lives on the sacrificial altar of duty. They were the only barrier between peace and all-out civil war. They were shot at , spat at, blamed, maimed, killed, divorced and driven crazy by being exposed to the horror reality of non-stop violence."

To visit Nick's FB click here...

Copyright Unit19 - 2018