Category: Johannesburg

Hennenman Air Crash Memorial (Turffontein)

Just over a year ago Clinton Hattingh photographed the Hennenman Air Crash Memorial in Alberton,  When I posted the link to it somebody said there was a memorial at Turffontein Race Course too. I could only file the information away but always tried to remember to hunt it down if ever I was in Turffontein again.

On 29/03/2017 I went looking for the memorial.

The race course is a large area, and I have never been in it before. The security guards were incredibly helpful and courteous and it is thanks to them that I can show images of the memorial.

Turffontein Race Course

The memorial is situated in a fenced off and access controlled area and it is really very beautiful.

 

It is interesting that there are at least 3 memorials related to the air crash that happened nearly 30 years ago, the security guards had no knowledge of the disaster, but I am sure there are those from the horse racing and aircraft fraternities who do. Fortunately those who lost their lives have not been forgotten and their memory lives on in these two memorials. I am still investigating the 3rd one, and hopefully will find it one day. 

© DRW 2017. Created 29/03/2017. Special thanks to the staff at Turffontein Race Course for their assistance.

Updated: 19/04/2017 — 19:37

The Irish Brigades Monument in Orania

This page is the result of the dereliction of the site of the Irish Brigades Monument that used to be in Brixton. The original entry for this monument is still available under Extinct Memorials

Initially I was not able to find any information on the monument when I first photographed what was left at the site in 2007, All I could find was an article that said it was the site of a monument to Irish volunteers who fought for the Boers during the South African War and that it had been sold in the mid 90’s.  At the end of 2007 I found a picture which showed the monument in the distance next to the Brixton Tower.

 

The architect was Johan (Jan) Carel Van Wijk, who was also responsible for the design of the Taal Monument in Paarl) and it was unveiled in 1975 by Mrs Betsie Verwoerd.  The design consisted of 4 pillars in an ascending line that symbolized the four Irish Commandos that served with the Boer Forces in the Anglo Boer War.   ” (http://www.oraniainfo.co.za/accommodation.html)

There was some controversy regarding the ground that the monument was erected on and eventually it was dismantled and the components were moved to Orania in June 2002. It now stands on Monument Hill on the edge of the town, (Google Earth: -29.811852°.  24.419704°). Images available on the Mail and Guardian website from 14 November 2014 

All that is left in Brixton is a derelict trash ridden area that vaguely looks like a gun emplacement. There used to be a plaque there, but its gone, and any artefacts that could be identified are also gone. The only thing left behind is litter, uncut grass and rubble.

In October 2011, I was contacted by an architect; William Martinson Barch, who sent me a link to the Artefacts site with images of what this monument looked like at ground level

There is an interesting history of the Irish Volunteers as well as the memorial available at “The South African History Source. Written by Experts“.

I revisited the site in Brixton in December 2011 to see if there had been any progress, but if anything it was looking worse that it had before. The “Freedom Memorial” that was supposedly at the site of the AW Muller Stadium has also been removed.

So while the memorial doesn’t exist in Brixton any longer it now exists in Oriana and although I do not have a photograph that I can use there are a number of links on this page that will show the monument in it’s present location. Realistically moving the monument back to Brixton would achieve no purpose at all. 

*Update 27/12/2016*

I was contacted by Diederik-Johannes Cloete who threw even more light on the subject, specifically an article at the http://www.irishpub.co.za/index.php/culture that shows what I assume is the Afrikaans portion of the plaque from the monument. I am hoping to reproduce the image with permission. 

I was also informed about an article that appeared in the Mail and Guardian on 14 November 2014 about the monument and Orania and can now safely say I have seen images of the monument and technically it is no longer extinct although the context of it is long forgotten. 

There is also a short video on youtube about the monument

© DRW 2007-2017. Created as a spinoff from the original page 28/12/2016. Special thanks to William Martinson and Diederik-Johannes Cloete for information and links. 

Updated: 07/01/2017 — 18:20

C22- Articulated Saloon.

This classic C22 Articulated Saloon is staged at Reefsteamers in Germiston. The idea is that she will be restored to a point that she can be used to house overnight visitors at the depot. Her interior has been changed considerably but there is enough of her woodwork left over to show the beauty of this relic of a bygone age.

© DRW 2009-2017. Moved to blog 15/04/2015

Updated: 21/12/2016 — 08:25

GMAM Garratt No.4079 “Lyndie Lou”

When I was young, a Garratt was something you only read about, it was very rare to see one outside their usual stomping grounds, yet South African Railways operated a large number of these huge machines and in a number of classes too. Sadly, they are rare beasties, and as far as I know there are only two that are capable of steaming in South Africa. There are however, many derelict Garratts thoughout the country, which is really shame because these were very powerful machines.
The GMAM Garratt 4079 “Lyndie Lou”, is based at Reefsteamers in Germiston, after a period with Rovos Rail. She is a huge machine, dwarfing everything around her. Unfortunately her bulk makes her an unpopular choice for running day sitters because of the amount of coal and water she has to carry with her. I have always struggled to get a pic of her complete length, but after a lot of patience I was able to achieve it when they moved her from one line to another. I was fortunate enough to do a trip with her on the 6th of November 2010 and she was really amazing to watch in action. The beauty of the Garratt is that she can run equally well in either direction, so she was popular on the Reefsteamers open day trips that I took with her, unfortunately we were delayed on both occasions.

Class GMA 4-8-2+2-8-4 Wikipedia Page

Class GMA 4-8-2+2-8-4 Wikipedia Page

At the time of writing she was out of action as her wheels needed reprofiling, and it was hoped that one day she would amaze us all again. Sadly though, it is unlikely that I will ever see her again.

© DRW 2010-2017. Created 15/04/2015. table fixed 20/06/2016

Updated: 21/12/2016 — 08:04

Class 25NC -3472 “Elize”

“Elize” was the first steam locomotive I had been behind since 1981, and she is an impressive machine. Considered to be the “Cadillac” of South African steam locomotives she is fitted with a mechanical stoker, roller bearings and all the “mod cons” and is considered to be a “modern” locomotive. She was placed back into operation at Reefsteamers in 2006, and while very powerful and modern, is a bit too heavy on coal and water for day trips. She is however, a very impressive machine, and her sheer size alone make her worth seeing in action.

South African Class 25NC 4-8-4 Wikipedia page

Reefsteamers has a proper history of this locomotive and while I know they do not like using her for short tours they still enjoy watching her in action. Sadly worn tyres and flanges have temporarily grounded her, but she is sure to grace the iron road once of these days.

© DRW 2010-2017. Added to blog 15/04/2015. Fixed table 20/06/2016

Updated: 21/12/2016 — 08:06

Class 15F – 3046 “Janine”

Class 15F 3046 was put back into steam in May 2010 after many years of work by Reefsteamers. She is a firm favourite amongst passengers and has ventured quite far from her home in Germiston. She is also the only operational 15F in South Africa. My first viewing of her was on 23 May 2010 when she was double headed with Class 25NC Elize. It was a day of steam and I am happy to say this loco was the star. I hope that she graces us with her presence for many years. In August 2010 she was named Janine and has since started to make her mark on the rails.

South African Class 15F 4-8-2 Wikipedia page

When she was still a “young lady”  3046 gained fame for having pulled the royal train in 1947, with the then-princess Elizabeth on board. Built in 1945, she was retired from service in 1988 but kept intact by Spoornet as a reserve and underwent steam testing for 4 consecutive years, until use of steam traction officially ended in 1992. The Reefsteamers page on Janine is worth reading to see the history or this machine.

*Update*

In late 2016, 3046 was renamed “Vreni”  (pronounced ‘Freeny’ in English)

© DRW 2010-2017. Moved to blog 15/05/2015. Fixed table issue 20/06/2016, updated 21/12/2016

Updated: 21/12/2016 — 08:10

Oswald Austin Reid VC.

Oswald Austin Reid (02/11/1893 – 27/10/1920) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions On 7 March 1917 at the Battle of Diyalah River, Mesopotamia,

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 30122, Page: 5702, reads:

“Capt. Oswald Austin Reid, L’pool R., attd. L.N. Lan. R.

For most conspicuous bravery in the face of desperate circumstances.

By his dauntless courage and gallant leadership he was able to consolidate a small post with the advanced troops, on the opposite side of a river to the main body, after his line of communications had been cut by the sinking of the pontoons.

He maintained this position for thirty hours against constant attacks by bombs, machine gun and shell tire, with the full knowledge that repeated attempts at relief had failed, and that his ammunition was all but exhausted. It was greatly due to his tenacity that the passage of the river was effected on the following night. During the operations he was wounded”

He is buried in Braamfontein Cemetery in Johannesburg.  

The grave of Oswald Austin Reid VC

The grave of Oswald Austin Reid VC

Inscription

Memorial Stone at the National Memorial Arboretum.

Memorial Stone at the National Memorial Arboretum.

Braamfontein Cemetery

© DRW. 2011-2017. Added to Blog 03/01/2015, updated 05/04/2015, With thanks to Kevin Brazier, author of “The COMPLETE VICTORIA CROSS, A Full Chronological Record of All Holders of Britain’s Highest Award for Gallantry

Updated: 05/05/2017 — 06:58

Jameson Raid Memorial and Graves, Krugersdorp

There are a number of Jameson Raid remnants to be found in Burgershoop Cemetery in Krugersdorp. The dominant one is the memorial erected in 1917, where 5 Burghers are remembered. There are also the graves of 3 Jameson raiders with headstones, and evidence suggests that at least 2 others are buried in the cemetery.

Jameson Raid Memorial.

Jameson Raid Memorial.

The memorial was almost illegible when I first saw it in 2008, but I was able to recreate the inscription as below.

Inscription

Inscription

D. MacDonald

D. MacDonald

Dedication

Dedication

PFJ Venter

PFJ Venter

G Jacobs

G Jacobs

AH Potgieter

AH Potgieter

SPF Van Tonder

SPF Van Tonder

Within sight of the memorial are three graves from the ill fated Jameson party, unfortunately, when I visited the cemetery in 2012, the headstone of Capt. Barry had been toppled.

Tpr ES Wiid

Tpr ES Wiid

Tpr. D. Frazer

Tpr. D. Frazer

Capt. Barry

Capt. Barry

To the best of my knowledge there are still two Jameson raiders graves inside this cemetery, although I have not been able to find them. Unfortunately the Jameson Raid has been long forgotten, as is the fact that this is one of the triggers of the Boer War that was to have so many far reaching consequences for South Africa. I recall blogging about the incident in February 2012, and thinking at the time that the shots that were fired so long ago are still reverberating around South Africa over 100 years later.

© DRW 2001-2017. Moved to blog 30/11/2014

Updated: 20/12/2016 — 20:28

REGM Military Cemetery

The Randfontein Estates Gold Mine Military Cemetery is somewhat of a misnomer, the reality is that it is a collection of graves related to the Jameson Raid, next to a railway line. The graves of Troopers William Charles Beatty-Powell, John Bernard Bletsoe, Harry Davies, John R.H. Foster, and C.E Hennessy, are hidden amongst the trees, and not too many people are actually aware of them. When I was first looking for them I was really lucky to find a security guard who knew the spot. His name was Alpheus Cele, and without him I have never found them. My first visit was in 2009, and at the time the area was half hidden amongst the trees and grass, in 2012, the site has been cleared of vegetation, although no restoration had been done.  It can be be found at Google Earth co-ordinates: 26° 9.021’S 27° 43.462’E

REGM Military Cemetery 2009

REGM Military Cemetery 2009

REGM Military Cemetery 2009

REGM Military Cemetery 2009

REGM Military Cemetery 2009 after it had been cleaned up

REGM Military Cemetery 2009 after it had been cleaned up

© DRW 2011-2017. Moved to Blog 30/11/2014

Updated: 20/12/2016 — 20:28

The Titanic Grave in South Africa

In fond memory of Hymie Alper (+ 12/11/1993), a kind and gentle soul.

On a busy corner of Johannesburg, right next to the Smit Street on-ramp of the M1 North highway, we find the only memorial to the Titanic in South Africa. Although not a memorial to the Titanic as such, but one wherein one of the many who lost their lives is remembered.
Close to the main gate in the general (non conformist) section of Braamfontein Cemetery, where headstones reflect the early inhabitants of what was then a busy mining town we find the final resting place of Mary Griffin (nee Webber).
Mary Webber, originally from Cornwall, married James Griffin on 5 November 1863, she came to South Africa in 1881, her husband having been killed by runaway horses in 1874 in Cornwall. On 17 June 1897, Mary Griffin passed away.

Registry entry for Mary Griffin

Registry entry for Mary Griffin

She is buried in the Non-Conformist plot, grave number 6746. Mary also had a brother, James and two sisters Hannah and Elizabeth. James took a fateful step on 10 April 1912 when he boarded the ill fated Titanic on his way to America. Travelling third class he was lost when the ship went down.

In 1914 the private rights to the grave of Mary Griffin were purchased by Mr John Griffin of Kenwyn Cottage (named after Kenwyn, the suburb of Truro where he lived) in Port Elizabeth and a headstone was erected to commemorate the lives and deaths of this brother and sister. John Griffin passed away in 1920. His only living descendants are 5 granddaughters who have scattered throughout the world.

James Webber. 3rd class passenger. Body not recovered. Braamfontein Cemetery, Johannesburg.

James Webber. 3rd class passenger. Body not recovered. Braamfontein Cemetery, Johannesburg.

The inscription reads:
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MARY GRIFFIN
OF KEA, CORNWALL WHO DIED AT
JOHANNESBURG 17TH JUNE 1897
AGED 66 YEARS.
ALSO

JAMES WEBBER
BROTHER OF THE ABOVE WHO
WAS DROWNED ON THE
“TITANIC”
APRIL 15TH 1912.
AGED 62 YEARS.
SAFE IN THE ARMS OF JESUS.

The probate report reveals little: Webber, James, of San Francisco, California, USA. Administration, London 2nd January 1913 to Harriet Julian, wife of Edmund Julian. Effects in England: £350.
Attempts at the time to trace the Griffin family in South Africa met with a dead end, although it was thought that they settled in Natal somewhere. However, a surprise email added some closure to this riddle. Apparently the family remained in the Eastern Cape until 2003 when the remaining members emigrated to New Zealand.
There are many strange things about this lonely grave, for starters this memorial exists in a town very remote from the North Atlantic and the great disaster that happened there. The scattering of the family, an email from New Zealand, a connection to Cornwall, Port Elizabeth, Southampton, America, and Johannesburg.

© DRW 2001-2017. Recreated 25/10/2014. With thanks to Brian Ticehurst and Diane Austin.

Updated: 20/12/2016 — 20:02
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