Category: Natal

Durban Shipwatch: Anastasis

My handy ship visit book records that we visited on board this classic beauty on 18 May 1996. Rudi and I went down specifically to see her, and I was carrying a large video camera but no stills camera. Rudi was to take some extra images of the ship for me for my collection but he never did and those images and the video are gone forever as Rudi passed away in December 2018 and his collection was lost. All I recall of the ship was that she really was a ship from a different age and really stunning. 

Postcard image obtained on board

My notes read: 

MV Anastasis (IMHO 5379729). Ex Victoria of Lloyd Triestino. Built Cr Adriatico, yard # 1765. 11695 GRT, 158,4 x 20,7. Sold 1978 to “Youth With A Mission” (YWAM) Co, Limassol. Used as a mobile hospital, housing 3 operating rooms, a 40 bed hospital ward, dental clinic, laboratory, x-ray unit and 3 cargo holds. In service for 29 years, she was broken up in 2007. 

Official Mercy Ships postcard

We were fortunate to have a guided tour of the ship by the lady who signed my book. Alas her surname is unrecognisable. 

DRW © 1996- 2019. Created 23/08/2019

Updated: 23/08/2019 — 20:28

Frederick Hitch VC

Frederick Hitch (27/11/1856 – 06/01/1913) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Rorke’s Drift during the Anglo-Zulu War on 22–23 January 1879.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 24717, Page: 3178 reads:

“THE Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned Officers and Soldiers of Her Majesty’s Army, whose claims have been submitted for Her Majesty’s approval, for their gallant conduct in the defence of Rorke’s Drift, on the occasion of the attack by the Zulus, as recorded against their names, viz.:—

2nd Battalion 24th Regiment, Corporal William Allen and Private Frederick Hitch.

It was chiefly due to the courageous conduct of these men that communication with the hospital was kept up at all. Holding together at all costs a most dangerous post, raked in reverse by the enemy’s fire from the hill, they were both severely wounded, but their determined conduct enabled the patients to be withdrawn from the hospital, and when incapacitated by their wounds from fighting, they continued, as soon as their wounds had been dressed, to serve out ammunition to their comrades during the night.”

Frederick Hitch VC collapsed and died at his home whilst talking to a neighbour on the 6th of  January 1913 and he was buried in St Nicholas Churchyard, Chiswick.

DRW © 2018, created 26/08/2018. Image courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:26

Durban High School War Memorial

The images of the Durban High School War Memorial are courtesy of Shelly Baker. It may be found at GE co-ordinates -29.844204°, 30.997675°.

The school has existed since 1866 and recently celebrated it’s 150th anniversary. Sadly the Roll of Honour lists so many from the school that perished during the two World Wars as well as the Korean Conflict and the Border War, and one of it’s most famous old boys was Edwin Swales VC.  It is the oldest standing school in Durban and one of the oldest in South Africa.

250 old boys died, and more than 2000 were injured in both World Wars.  The Victoria Cross (VC), 27 Distinguished Flying Crosses (DFC), 21 Military Crosses (MC), 10 Military Medals (MM) and 8 Distinguished Service Orders (DSO) were awarded to old boys in these and subsequent conflicts. In the Battle of Delville Wood in 1916, 12 old boys were killed, 9 wounded and 3 were taken prisoner. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durban_High_School)

The dome was designed by Professor L. Croft, and old boy, and was erected at the Durban High School and Old Boy’s Memorial Trust through the generosity of the late Mrs Lilian Readshaw, a benefactor of the school. Dedicated by the Reverend R. Horrocks, 11 November 1992.

Roll of Honour panels are available on request.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 10/07/2017

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:16

South African Heavy Artillery Memorial: Warrior’s Gate, Durban

75th (Natal) Siege Battery: Warriors Gate Durban

My quest to have a record of all of the South African Heavy Artillery Memorials is one step closer as I can now share images of the SAHA Memorial at Warrior’s Gate in Durban. Special thanks to Carl Hoehler for the  information on where these memorial could be found, as well as additional information on the 6 guns that made up the memorials to the South African Heavy Artillery, and to Shelly Baker for all the effort she took to find and photograph the memorial.

 

This 6-inch 26-cwt howitzers is one of 6 brought back from France and Flanders to be part of the memorials to the South African Heavy Artillery that were established in major centres in South Africa. It is to be found within “Warrior’s Gate” at the corner of Old Fort Road and Masabalala Yengwa Avenue, in Durban (GE Co-ordinates -29.851048°, 31.026746°). Unlike its counterparts in Johannesburg Zoo and Port Elizabeth, there was no dedication plaque to be seen. However, the tompion on the gun does give some indication of why it is there.

 

The weapon ties into the 75th (Natal) Siege Battery and from the images it appears as if it is in a very good condition, and it is heavily fenced off to prevent illicit harvesting of scrap metal. 

The 6 Memorials to the Heavy Artillery can be found in: (Open in new page)

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 08/07/2017. Images courtesy of Shelly Baker. 

Updated: 14/09/2018 — 09:00

Harry Norton Schofield VC

Harry Norton Schofield (29/01/1865 – 10/10/1931) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions while serving as a captain in the Royal Artillery (Royal Field Artillery), during the Second Boer War  on 15 December 1899, at the Battle of Colenso.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 27350, Page: 5737, reads: 

“Royal Field Artillery, Captain H. N. Schofield.

At Colenso, on the 15th December, 1899, when the detachments serving the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, had all been killed, wounded, or driven from them by Infantry fire at close range, Captain Schofield went out when the first attempt was made to extricate the guns, and assisted in withdrawing the two that were saved.”

He was awarded the VC along with Lieutenant Frederick Roberts, Cpl George Nurse and Captain Walter Congreve for their attempt at “saving the guns”.

He served in the First World War and retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel and is buried in Putney Vale Cemetery in London.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 14/06/2017. Taddy cigarette card by Card Promotions © 1997, first issued 1902. 

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:17

Sir Walter Norris Congreve VC.

Walter Norris Congreve (20/11/1862 – 28/02/1927) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions while serving as a Captain in the Rifle Brigade during the Anglo Boer War at the Battle of Colenso. Along with Lieutenant Frederick Roberts, Cpl George Nurse and  Harry Norton Schofield they were awarded the Victoria Cross for their attempt at “saving the guns” on 15/12/1899.

The Citation that was recorded in the London Gazette of Issue:27160, Page: 689, is about the actions of Captain William Congreve and Lieutenant Frederick Roberts. George Nurse is seemingly mention as an afterthought. The Citation reads:

“The Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officer, whose claims have been submitted for Her Majesty’s approval, for their conspicuous bravery at the battle of Colenso, as stated against their names:—

The Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own), Captain W. N. Congreve.

The King’s Royal Rifle Corps, Lieutenant the Honourable F. H. S. Roberts (since deceased).

66th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, Corporal G. E. Nurse

At Colenso on the 15th December, 1899, the detachments serving the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, had all been either killed, wounded, or driven from their guns by Infantry fire at close range, and the guns were deserted.

About 500 yards behind the guns was a donga in which some of the few horses and drivers left alive were sheltered. The intervening space was swept with shell and rifle fire.

Captain Congreve, Rifle Brigade, who was in the donga, assisted to hook a team into a limber, went out; and assisted to limber up a gun. Being wounded, he took shelter; but, seeing Lieutenant Roberts fall, badly wounded, he went out again and brought him in. Captain Congreve was shot tbrough the leg, through the toe of his boot, grazed on the elbow and the shoulder, and his horse shot in three places.

Lieutenant Roberts assisted Captain Congreve. He was wounded in three places.

Corporal Nurse also assisted.”

Captain Congreve served held a series of command posts in Britain and Ireland and was served with distinction during World War I, deployed with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France, and taking part in the Battle of the Aisne. He went on to command the 6th Division from May 1915 and then XIII Corps from November 1915. 

From 1924 to 1927, he served as the governor of Malta, where he died. He was buried at sea in the channel between the coast and Filfla Island.

Congreve’s son was Major William La Touche Congreve, VC – they are one of only three father and son pairs to win a VC (Frederick Roberts VC and Lord Roberts VC were also father and son) 

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 14/06/2017. Taddy cigarette card by Card Promotions, © 1997, first issued 1902. Biographical Information sourced from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Norris_Congreve.

 

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:17

George Nurse VC

George Nurse (04/04/1873 – 25/11/1945) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions while serving as a corporal in the 66th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, during the Anglo Boer War at the Battle of Colenso.

The Citation that was recorded in the London Gazette of Issue:27160, Page: 689, is about the actions of Captain William Congreve and Lieutenant Frederick Roberts. George Nurse is seemingly mention as an afterthought. The Citation reads:

“The Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officer, whose claims have been submitted for Her Majesty’s approval, for their conspicuous bravery at the battle of Colenso, as stated against their names:—

The Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own), Captain W. N. Congreve.

The King’s Royal Rifle Corps, Lieutenant the Honourable F. H. S. Roberts (since deceased).

66th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, Corporal G. E. Nurse. 

At Colenso on the 15th December, 1899, the detachments serving the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, had all been either killed, wounded, or driven from their guns by Infantry fire at close range, and the guns were deserted.

About 500 yards behind the guns was a donga in which some of the few horses and drivers left alive were sheltered. The intervening space was swept with shell and rifle fire.

Captain Congreve, Rifle Brigade, who was in the donga, assisted to hook a team into a limber, went out; and assisted to limber up a gun. Being wounded, he took shelter; but, seeing Lieutenant Roberts fall, badly wounded, he went out again and brought him in. Captain Congreve was shot through the leg, through the toe of his boot, grazed on the elbow and the shoulder, and his horse shot in three places.

Lieutenant Roberts assisted Captain Congreve. He was wounded in three places.

Corporal Nurse also assisted.”

George Nurse achieved the rank of Lieutenant with the Royal Artillery during World War I and died in Liverpool on 25 November 1945.  He is buried in Allerton Cemetery, Liverpool in the Church of England section.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 13/06/2017. Taddy cigarette card by Card Promotions © 1997, first issued 1902. 

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:18

Edgar Thomas Inkson VC, DSO

Edgar Thomas Inkson (05/04/1872 – 19/02/1947) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Boer War while serving as a lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps, attached to The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on 24 February 1900, at Hart’s Hill, Colenso.

The Citation, recorded in the Edinburgh Gazette of Issue: 11268, Page: 85,  reads:

“Royal Army Medical Corps, Lieutenant E. T. Inkson.
On the 24ih February 1900, Lieutenant Inkson carried Second Lieutenant Devenish (who was severely wounded  and unable to walk) for three or four hundred yards under n very heavy fire to a place of safety. The ground over which Lieutenant Inkson had to move was much exposed, there being no cover available.”

He died on 19th February 1947, aged 74 at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, Sussex, and he was cremated at Woking Crematorium, and his ashes were interred in Brookwood Cemetery. 

A plaque, commemorating his bravery may be found at the National Memorial Arboretum.

Lt. Edgar Thomas Inkson. VC.

DRW ©  2017-2018. Created 12/06/2017. Taddy cigarette card by Card Promotions © 1997, first issued 1902. Grave image courtesy of Mark Green

Updated: 10/08/2018 — 05:22

John Norwood VC

John Norwood (08/09/1876 – 08/09/1914) was serving as a second lieutenant in the 5th Dragoon Guards during the Second Boer War when his actions resulted in him being awarded the Victoria Cross.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of 20 July 1900, Issue: 27212, Page: 4509, reads:

“On the 30th October, 1899, this Officer went out from Ladysmith in charge of a small patrol of the 5th Dragoon Guards. They came under a heavy fire from the enemy, who were posted on a ridge in great force. The patrol, which had arrived within about 600 yards of the ridge, then retired at full speed. One man dropped, and Second Lieutenant Norwood galloped back about 300 yards through’heavy fire, dismounted, and picking up the fallen trooper, carried him out of fire on his back, at the same time leading his horse with one hand. The enemy kept up an incessant fire during the whole time that Second Lieutenant Norwood was carrying the man until he was quite out of range.”

He served in the First World War and was killed in action during the First Battle of the Marne at Sablonnieres, France, on 8 September 1914. He is buried in Plot 4, Sablonnieres Communal Cemetery, France.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 26/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:06

Robert Jones VC

Robert Jones (19/08/1857 –  06/09/1898) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Rorke’s Drift during the Anglo Zulu War in January 1897.

The Citation reads:

“Privates Robert and William Jones were posted in a room of the hospital facing the hill. They kept up a steady fire against enormous odds. While one worked to cut a hole through the partition into the next room, the other shot Zulu after Zulu through the loophooled walls, using his own and his comrade’s rifle alternately as the barrels became too hot to hold from the incessant firing. By their united efforts six out of the seven patients were saved by being carried through the broken partition. The seventh, Sgt. Maxfield, was delirious and refused to be helped. When Robert Jones returned to take the Sergeant to safety by force he found him in his bed being stabbed by the Zulus.”

He is buried in Peterchurch Churchyard, Herefordshire.

DRW 2017-2018. Created 26/02/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green. 

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:29
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