Fallen Heroes

This page is dedicated to honouring the memory of those who have been involved with wildland fires in the Eastern Cape. These individuals were involved in some or other prominent way with the ECUFPA (or an Eastern Cape FPA) and wildland fires.

These individuals, although they may no longer be with us, will always be remembered.

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the star shine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.

By Mary Elizabeth Frye


27 June 1963 – 5 December 2016

Francois Gerber, MTO’s Longmore Plantation Manager, was a well-loved, well-known Manager and individual. He worked in the Forestry sector from 1983 until 2016. Francois tragically passed away from an unexpected heart attack, while purchasing rations for his firefighting teams, who were busy assisting with firefighting activities in various areas.

Those we Love remain with us,
for Love itself lives on.
Cherished memories never fade,
because a loved one is gone.
Those we Love can never be,
more than a thought apart.
For as long as there is a memory,
they’ll live on in our heart.

~Author Unknown


17 June 1975 – 22 April 2015

Darrell Rea was the Chief Pilot at Working on Fire and was based in Stutterheim during the 2014 Winter Fire Season.
Darrell tragically passed away when the Huey Chopper (ZU-UHI) he was flying in, crashed against the mountain side in the Baineskloof area, while he was undertaking aerial fire-fighting activities.


10 November 1943 – 8 March 2015

Hendrik Willem Marais (known to all as “Bees”) was a Working on Fire Pilot, who had been based for numerous seasons, as a winter contract resource for Hans Merensky’s Langeni Plantation.
Bees tragically passed away when the Huey Chopper (ZS-HBV) he was flying in, crashed while performing a forced landing. The accident occurred at Cape Point Nature Reserve, near Olifantsbos, in the Western Cape, while he was busy assisting with aerial fire-fighting of the devastating 2015 Cape Town fynbos fires.


4 May 1980 – 27 July 2012

Dean Pedro, Pilot for CJ Rance (Pty) Ltd & Amathole Forestry Company (Pty) Ltd, tragically passed away in a Huey Chopper (ZS-HCR) when it crashed on the mountain side in the Cata Area.
He was busy assisting other aircraft in the area with the aerial fire-fighting of a wildland fire, which was threatening the Cata Plantation, when the accident occurred.


Impressions of a Pilot
Flight is freedom in its purest form,
To dance with the clouds which follow a storm;
To roll and glide, to wheel and spin,
To feel the joy that swells within.

To leave the earth with its troubles and fly,
And know the warmth of a clear spring sky;
Then back to earth at the end of the day,
Released from the tensions which melted away.

Should my end come while I am in flight,
Whether brightest day or darkest night;
Spare me no pity and shrug off the pain,
Secure in the knowledge that I’d do it again.

For each of us is created to die,
And within me I know,
I was born to fly.

— Gary Claude Stoker