Category: South Africa

Durban High School War Memorial

The images of the Durban High School War Memorial are courtesy of Mrs Bee. 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. Created 10/07/2017

Updated: 10/07/2017 — 06:55

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 Mrs Bee 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. Created 08/07/2017. Images courtesy of Mrs Bee. 

Updated: 08/07/2017 — 18:52

Derelict War Memorial in Springs

Since I first started photographing memorials I have been of the opinion that war memorials on the East Rand are really wasted. The only exception to the rule was the former Brakpan Roll of Honour that was claimed by the Cosy Corner MOTH Shelhole in Brakpan.

The latest in extinct war memorials was found by a correspondent; William Martinson, who kindly sent me images of what is left of what may have been a memorial erected by a MOTH shellhole in Springs.

The clue here is an inscription that is left on the structure.

Naturally I wanted to know more, so have mailed off my contact in the area to see whether he can shed any light on it. There is a Honey tank in Springs and she does not seem to have a a context in the place where she is now (being stripped while nobody is looking), and I could not help wondering if she was not the gate guard from there. I did a blogpost on her recently, and this may be part of the puzzle.

The next question is: just where is this structure. It took me some time but eventually I found it on Google earth.  The co-ordinates are roughly -26.246636°, 28.429237°.

I was very curious about the area that the derelict is in, from GE you can see a large parklike area with lots of trees shaped like a cross. You can see the trees in the image below, the white arrow points to the derelict.

The cemetery can just be seen in the top centre of the image. Historical images on GE date back to 2008 and it appears as if it was a wreck even then. My own thoughts were: “Why build a war memorial there anyway?” From a 2017 perspective it makes no sense, but immediately after the 1st world war it was a totally different story, the memorial being erected in the 1930’s. The other derelict war memorial in Springs pretty much sums it up.  A change in demographics, less money for maintenance and more for mercs, a culture of neglect for history and the never ending quest to cut costs so that the suits will have more to spend on salary increases in spite of them never earning one in the first place. 

Many years ago the MOTH was a thriving organisation, with shellholes in most cities, but the decline in their membership, and a policy of declining former national servicemen membership really put the nail in the coffin. Witness the closure of the former headquarters in Johannesburg and the abandonment of the war memorial in “Remembrance Square”

Whatever the reason for the state of this structure, had the inscription not remained it would really have been worth ignoring, but the words “Mutual Help, Comradeship and Sound Memory” really are a farce in this case.

My thanks must go to William Martinson for his images. He also sent me a link to the Artefacts site that has an entry on the  memorial.  The link also provides an answer to the cross shaped trees in Olympia Park. It is a pity that no images have surfaced that could show how this structure looked when it was originally inaugurated, perhaps the answer is in the local library in Springs? assuming one exists in the first place. 

I am hoping that somebody will be able to add to the history of the structure. If you do have any information I would love to hear from you. 

Update 07/07/2017

My contact had the following to say: “I managed to track down that this structure was a cenotaph and garden of remembrance for the Springs Dugout of the MOTHs during the early 30s. There are no longer any Shellholes in Springs. The last one to close was Mudhook which was situated diagonally across the road of the new Springs Civic Centre. The Shellholes in Spings were Mudhook, Black Cat and Seven Seas. We have the Bell from Seven Seas Shellhole at Cosy Corner,  There are supposedly two field guns standing close to the public swimming pool that used to stand next to the wall of Remembrance,I will make a plan and go and check it out. The park as far as I know is called Olympia Park.”

The monument also featured in an article about illegal dumping in the Springs Advertiser of 6 August 2015.

So there we have it in a nutshell. The MOTH shellholes closed down and the memorial was left behind. The field guns? who knows. I have not forgotten this memorial though and will keep an eye open. Somewhere out there must be an image of some information. 

© DRW 2017, created 02/07/2017, updated 07/07/2017, 18/07/2017

Updated: 18/07/2017 — 18:41

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

Updated: 20/06/2017 — 05:58

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 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.”

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

Updated: 20/06/2017 — 06:00

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 is buried in Plot 72, Grave 211757 in Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey. 

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

Lt. Edgar Thomas Inkson. VC.

© DRW 2017. Created 12/06/2017. Taddy cigarette card by Card Promotions © 1997, first issued 1902.

Updated: 20/06/2017 — 06:00

Arthur Martin-Leake VC*

Arthur Martin-Leake (04/04/1874 – 22/06/1953) is one of three men who were awarded the Victoria Cross twice. 

While attached to the 5th Field Ambulance during the Second Boer War on 8 February 1902,  he was awarded his first VC for his actions at Vlakfontein,

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 27433, Page: 3176, reads:

“South African Constabulary, Surgeon-Captain A. Martin-Leake.

During the action at Vlakfonteiu, on the 8th February, 1902, Surgeon-Captain Martin-Leake went up to a wounded man, and attended to him under a heavy fire from about 40 Boers at 100 yards range. He then went to the assistance of a wounded Officer, and, whilst trying to place him in a comfortable position, was shot three times, but would not give in till he rolled over thoroughly exhausted. All the eight men at this point were wounded, and while they were lying on the Veldt, Surgeon-Captain Martin-Leake refused water till every one else had been served. “

He returned to service as a lieutenant with the 5th Field Ambulance when the First World War broke out.

He was awarded his second Victoria Cross during the period 29 October to 8 November 1914 near Zonnebeke, Belgium, whilst serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29074, Page: 1700 reads: 

“Lieutenant Arthur Martin Leake, Royal Army Medical Corps, who was awarded the Victoria Cross on 13th May, 1902, is granted, a Clasp for conspicuous bravery in the present, campaign: — For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty throughout the campaign, especially during the period 29th October to 8th November 1914, near Zonnebeke, in rescuing, whilst exposed to constant fire, a large number of the wounded who were lying close to the enemy’s trenches.”

He retired from the army after the war and resumed his employment in India until he retired to England in 1937.  He died, aged 79, at High Cross, Hertfordshire and was buried in St John’s Church, High Cross. 

Commemoration plaque at the National Memorial Arboretum

There is a Memorial to Arthur Martin-Leake VC  and Cmdnt Gert Martinus Claassen at the farm Syferfontein. 

The Image of the Syferfontein monuments by user “Valhotel”, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Martin-Leake.  created 11/09/2013, (CC BY-SA 4.0)  

Cropped Image of the Syferfontein image by user “Valhotel”, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Martin-Leake.  created 11/09/2013, (CC BY-SA 4.0) 

© DRW 2017. Created 07/06/2017. Taddy cigarette by Card Promotions, © 1997, first issued 1902. Gallaher cigarette card by Card Promotions © 2001, first issued 1915. 

Updated: 20/06/2017 — 06:00

Frederick Sleigh Roberts VC.

Frederick Sleigh Roberts(30/09/1832 – 14/11/1914) Was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions for actions on 2 January 1858 at Khudagan during the Indian Rebellion.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 22212, Page: 5516, reads: 

“Bengal Artillery, Lieutenant Frederick Sleigh Roberts, Date of Act of Bravery, 2nd January, 1858.

Lieutenant Roberts’ gallantry has on every occasion been most marked.

On following up the retreating enemy on the 2nd January, 1858, at Khodagunge, he saw in the distance two Sepoys going away with a standard. Lieutenant Roberts put spurs to his horse, and overtook them just as they were about to enter a village. They immediately turned round, and presented their muskets at him, and one of the men pulled the trigger, but fortunately the caps snapped, and the standard-bearer was cut down by this gallant young officer, and the standard taken possession of by him. He also, on the same day, cut down another Sepoy who was standing at bay, with musket and bayonet, keeping off a Sowar. Lieutenant Roberts rode to the assistance of the horseman, and, rushing at the Sepoy, with one blow of his sword cut him across the face, killing him on the spot.”

Lord Roberts VC at Horse Guards, London.

Lord Roberts died of pneumonia at St Omer, France, on 14/11/1914 while visiting Indian troops fighting in the First World War. After lying in state in Westminster Hall,  he was given a state funeral and was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral.  His son Frederick Hugh Sherston Roberts VC was killed in action on 17 December 1899 at the Battle of Colenso during the Boer War. Roberts and his son were one of only three pairs of fathers and sons to be awarded the VC.

His full titles are: Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, VC, KG, KP, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, KStJ, VD, PC.

© DRW 2017. Created 25/05/2017

Updated: 20/06/2017 — 06:00

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. Created 26/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 28/04/2017 — 06:18

Francis Aylmer Maxwell VC, CSI, DSO

Francis Aylmer Maxwell (07/09/1871 – 21/09/1917) Was awarded the Victoria Cross while attached to Roberts’s Light Horse during the Second Boer War On 31 March 1900 at Sanna’s Post (aka Korn Spruit), South Africa.

(67) FA Maxwell VC.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 27292, Page: 1649, reads:

“Lieutenant Maxwell was one of three Officers not belonging to “Q” Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, specially mentioned by Lord Roberts as having shown the greatest gallantry, and disregard of danger, in carrying out the self-imposed duty of saving the guns of that Battery during the affair at Korn Spruit on 31st March, 1900.

This Officer went out on five different occasions and assisted, to bring in two guns and three limbers, one of which he, Captain Humphreys, and some Gunners, dragged in by hand.

He also went out with Captain Humphreys and  Lieutenant Stirling to try to get the last gun in, and remained there till the attempt was abandoned.

During a previous Campaign (the Chitral Expedition of’ 1895) Lieutenant Maxwell displayed gallantry in the removal of the body of Lieutenant-Colonel F. D. Battye, Corps of Guides, under fire, for which, though recommended, he received no reward.”

Major Edmund Phipps-Hornby, Sergeant Charles Parker, Gunner Isaac Lodge and Driver Horace Glasock also earned the Victoria Cross in this action.

He was killed by a German sniper, at Ypres on 21 September 1917 while commanding the 27th Brigade, 9th (Scottish) Division, and is buried in Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium.

DRW 2017. Created 26/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green. Taddy cigarette card by Card Promotions © 1997 first issued 1902.

Updated: 09/06/2017 — 07:02
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