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The South African Navy can trace its official origins back to the SA Naval Service, which was established on 1 April 1922. The first ships acquired by the newly formed navy were HMSAS Protea (a hydrographic survey vessel), HMSAS Sonneblom and HMSAS Immortelle (both minesweeping trawlers). Unofficially, however, the SAN can trace its history even further back, to the Natal Naval Volunteers (NNV), which was formed in Durban on 30 April 1885 as well as to the Cape Naval Volunteers (CNV), which was formed in Cape Town in 1905. On 1 July 1913 these two units were amalgamated to form the South African Division of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR).
In January 1940 a new naval unit, called the Seaward Defence Force, was formed 338 Rear-Admiral Guy Hallifax CMG, who had retired in South Africa from the Royal Navy, was appointed Director of the Seaward Defence Force. This unit was to be responsible for operating the minesweepers, anti-submarine ships, and the other inspection and signaling duties in South African waters.
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