This history of the Catholic Order of the Knights of da Gama is a development and considerable expansion of a brief outline prepared by the author for the 45th anniversary of the Order, and published in a special issue of The Link I owe a great deal to PSK Brendan Geoghegan, who interviewed several of the old-timers and taped their reminiscences. The material on the very early days depends heavily on the mountain of correspondence and other records preserved by the late Alan Woodrow himself and to Ben Ryan. Ben is the last survivor of the original eight Transvaal pioneers. He served as Grand Knight of Council No. 2 and later as Supreme Secretary. John Pitts helped with the original Alan Woodrow Park section, now much enlarged, and Len Robinson did the same for The Link, as well as supplying me with several photographs and other items of general information. He and Vic Cristoforos provided me with some material on Maclure House. Several others sent me data, notably Hans Damhuis, Steve Shipley, George Christie, Fr Frank McGreal on the Squires, Arthur Girvin Wybergh Moffat, Tom O' Neil, John Bettesworth, George Deeb, Brian Dardis, Brian Probert, John Stanworth, ‘Guip’ Turk, Manuel de Souza, Clive Leon and Bill Wentzel. There were others who forgot to sign contributions. Brian Sutcliffe took many photographs of Alan Woodrow Park. I am deeply grateful to them all. In addition to the above, for this 50th anniversary, I have researched the original archives of the Order and appealed to all and sundry to provide material, reminiscence, anecdote and photographic records. Many responded, without whose efforts the result would have been So much the poorer. The Order thanks them all most sincerely. Nevertheless, the opinions expressed and conclusions reached are entirely my own. I must make it very clear, too, that the work is a history of the Order per se and not of its individual councils. The latter is a matter which must be left in the hands of local scribes. What has become obvious, more than anything else, in examining the history of the Order is that firstly, in those areas, both geographical and material, in which we have enjoyed the greatest success we have also experienced the closest collaboration with and cooperation of the clergy and hierarchy and secondly, we would get nowhere without the active involvement of our ladies. Our future hinges on a full appreciation of these salient features of our growth.
F. L. Coleman,
Editor: The Link
Extracted from The Knights of Da Gama 1943 - 1993, Francis L. Coleman