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Lieutenant General George Edwin Brink, CB, CBE, DSO (27 September 1889 – 30 April 1971)[1] was a South African military commander.

George Edwin Brink
General George Brink (seated) in the Western Desert, 1941
Born(1889-09-27)27 September 1889
Jagersfontein, Orange Free State, South Africa
Died30 April 1971(1971-04-30) (aged 81)
St. Michaels-on-Sea, Natal
AllegianceSouth Africa
Service/branchSouth African Army
Years of service1913–1946
RankLieutenant General
Commands heldInland Area Command (1942–44)
1st Infantry Division (1940–42)
Western Cape Command (1933–37)
Special Service Battalion (1933)
South African Military College (1932–33)
Battles/warsFirst World War
Second World War
AwardsCompanion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order
Grand Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands)
Croix de Guerre (France)

Early lifeEdit

Brink was born at Jagersfontein, Orange Free State, on 27 September 1889 and was educated at Grey College, Bloemfontein.[1]

Military careerEdit

In 1913, Brink joined the Union Defence Forces. In the First World War, he served in German East Africa during the first East African Campaign. In 1919, he attended the Imperial Staff College.[2] On his return, Brink was appointed to the staff of the South African Military College, later being appointed Commandant of the College.[2]

In 1933, Brink was appointed the first Officer Commanding of the Special Service Battalion.[3] In December of that year, Colonel Brink was posted to Cape Town to take command of Western Cape Command, where he served till 31 January 1937.[2] From 1 November 1937[2] to 1939, he was Director of Army Training at Defence Headquarters. He was promoted to Deputy Chief of the General Staff on 15 June 1938.[2]

From 1940 to 1942, Brink commanded the 1st South African Division during the second East African Campaign. He also commanded the division during the Western Desert Campaign in North Africa.[4]

In 1942, Brink turned over command of the division to Dan Pienaar. After hurting his back and being declared unfit for field duty,[2] Brink then commanded the Inland Area Command in South Africa from 1942 to 1944.[5]

From 1944 to 1948, Brink was in charge of demobilisation. He had already retired from the Permanent Force in 1946[2] and promoted to lieutenant general in the Reserves.[2]

During his military career, Brink was awarded the Croix de Guerre avec Palmes,[2] Distinguished Service Order, Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1941,[6] and Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1942.[7] He was also appointed Grand Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Another distinguished South African Soldier has passed on". The South African Military History Society Military History Journal. 2 (1). June 1971.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ploeger, Jan (1989). "SUID-AFRIKAANSE STAATS- en STAATSONDERSTEUNDE MILITÊRE GESKIEDSKRYWING (1924–1987)". Scientaria Militaria South African Journal of Military Studies (in Afrikaans). 19 (4): 27.
  3. ^ "1 Special Services Battalion". Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  4. ^ "South Africa Declares War". HyperWar Foundation. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Lieutenant General George Brink CB CBE DSO" (PDF). South African National War Museum. 27 September 1973. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  6. ^ "No. 35335". The London Gazette. 4 November 1941. p. 6371.
  7. ^ "No. 35697". The London Gazette. 8 September 1942. p. 3945.
Military offices
Preceded by
Pierre van Ryneveld
Officer Commanding South African Military College
Succeeded by
Pieter de Waal
New command Commanding Officer Special Service Battalion
May–November 1933
Preceded by
Officer Commander Western Cape Command
Succeeded by
New command General Officer Commanding 1st South African Division
Succeeded by
Dan Pienaar