The South African Constabulary Reserved Coach on the West Rand

Its very rare to find an old classic like this, especially in such a good condition. This beauty was built in 1893 by Brown Marshalls & Co. England, and saw service in the Boer War. According to a plaque on it, it was used by  Lt-Genl Baden Powell as well as Genl Jan C Smuts and D Leyds, Secretary of State. Later, it was used as a clubhouse at Modderfontein and is now permanently in possession of the Scouts. There are no interior fittings and the coach has been re-roofed and some of the side panels have been replaced as well as the light fittings. Overall its in an excellent condition, and out of sight from anybody who would like to harm it.    In 2010 I was fortunate enough to come into contact with the original author of the article I read about this coach and have received his permission to publish it.


SOUTH AFRICAN CONSTABULARY [SAC]: RESERVED SALOON
By a former policeman, Hennie Heymans, Brigadier (SAP) Retired.

A photo of a coach marked “South African Constabulary” has come into my possession. The original was obtained during c. 1989 from the former South African Police Museum in Pretoria. Somebody who knew that I was “interested in trains”, gave me a copy of the photo. There was no information available about this coach in the museum.

Coach built by Brown and Marshall, Birmingham, 1893
Coach built by Brown and Marshall, Birmingham, 1893

The beginning of the Search:

A photo thereof with a request for further information appeared in the SA Rail and Harbours. No information was offered.
Enquiries were made at Railway Head Office, which drew a blank. The history of the coach remained unknown. I spoke to Mr. Mervyn Mark and followed the enquiry up by sending a fax to fellow enthusiasts, without avail.
I learnt of the Railway History Group (RHG) in Cape Town, and I joined them. Later I sent them an enquiry about the coach. Again no information was obtained!
Later I thought that the photo was a propaganda photo taken during the Anglo-Boer War or that it was used for recruitment purposes. But I did not give up hope!

Breakthrough during a chance encounter:
One day I bought a few boxes containing old SA Railways and Harbours Magazines and old SAS-SAR’s. While paging through a 1959 copy, not looking for anything in particular, I came across an article by a certain Mr. Holtz. He has the following to say about a coach used by Baden-Powell:
“At Modderfontein [Modderfontein was the first HQ of the SAC], near Johannesburg, a disused railway coach with a background [What’s the background referred to?] can be found, minus its wheels and resting on a brick foundation, in the recreational area of a huge chemical and explosives plant. This old coach was used by the late Field-Marshall Smuts when secretary (sic) of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. Later, the coach was used by Robert Stephenson Baden-Powell of Gilwell [Apart from Baden-Powell’s own Gilwell the HQ of the Scouts on the West Rand is also called Gilwell], the founder of the Boy-Scout movement. Incidentally, Baden-Powell was the god-child of Robert Stephenson, son of the father of railways” [See South African Railways and Harbours Magazine March, 1959, p 226 –227[

Comment by Investigator:
To date (1999) no identifiable reference of this coach can be found in the CSAR information that I have collected.

1. If this coach was indeed used by General Smuts, it seemed logical that the British Army took possession of it as part of the spoils of war. President Kruger’s coach [later CSAR No. 20003 / SAR No. 17] went to the GOC, Lord Roberts, so why not General Smuts’ coach to the Inspector-General [i.e. Commissioner] of the SAC? Some form of poetic justice? Or maybe there is some ancient Law of Military Succession that provides for this type of eventuality? [Staatsprokureur J.C. Smuts was de facto and de jure overall in charge of the ZARPs [The police of the South African Republic (later the Transvaal Colony)]. and in a functional way then General Smuts was succeeded, as Attorney-General of the former South African Republic, by Lieut. -Gen. Baden-Powell.]

2. The Imperial Military Railway [IMR] controlled the railways in the conquered ZAR and OFS. Lt.-General Baden-Powell was a living hero, so it presented no problem! In war anything is possible! Soldiers are normally known for their fighting prowess and not for their literary ability! In war not everything is recorded.

3. Later the coach was staged at Modderfontein and finally it ended up as a club.

4. I feel we have solved the riddle of the SAC coach, but now we have to prove it!

Further Investigation:
I made several phone calls to the Modderfontein Dynamite Factory. There was a super lady on the switchboard, Ms Susan Kruger, who knew everything I wanted to know. She referred to me to a few people who “knew something about trains.” Speaking to a particular gentleman one day, a lady in his office by chance overheard our conversation and she, later identified as Ms Suzette Kotze, volunteered some information to assist with the enquiry. Ms. Kotze was the historian and she worked in THE DYNAMITE COMPANY MUSEUM, Modderfontein.
We had a few chats but the bottom line was the coach had been donated to the Scout Movement somewhere on the West Rand near Florida.

On the 20th of October 2000 she wrote me a letter. Attached to the letter, as an annexure, was a document entitled: SOME ASPECTS OF LORD BADEN-POWELL AND THE SCOUTS AT MODDERFONTEIN by KARL KOHLER [Mr. Kohler was most probably a scoutmaster and employee of the Modderfontein Dynamite Factory] dated 12-9-87.
I have taken the following excerpt from Mr. Kohler’s notes she sent me:
“As the pace of training and posting out from Modderfontein increased more districts were provided with police coverage and it became necessary for General Baden-Powell to visit them and inspect their activities and establishments.
Lord Roberts had gained considerable quantities of railway rolling stock when he captured Pretoria and assigned the Transvaal’s State Secretaries’ [NZASM and CSAR No.’s unknown at this stage] coach, which had been used by Dr. Leyds [Refer to “Kruger se Regterhand – Biografie van Dr W.J. Leyds”, by LE van Niekerk] [see photo below] and General Smuts, to General Baden-Powell. This coach was extensively utilized on regular inspection trips to the far distant ramifications of the Orange Free State and the newly conquered districts of the Transvaal. There was an arrangement with the newly re-instated railway systems that this coach could be shuttled through any system as required by the General.
Eventually when he had completed his two tasks at Modderfontein he donated the coach to the factory where it was used for several years to provide transport for employees and their families between Modderfontein and Kempton Park Station. Later its wheels were removed and it was installed as the Bowling Green Pavilion at the sports grounds, and fitted with a suitable plaque [Two plaques were eventually fitted onto the carriage. See outcome of visit to Gilwell Estate] commemorating its previous history.
In 1959 a second bowling green was constructed and a larger pavilion was required. The Factory Manager at the time, Mr. E. K. Gibson, who was also a keen scout, obtained permission from the board of directors to donate the coach to the scouting establishment at Gilwell Estate, at Florida on the Witwatersrand, where it has been beautifully restored and is the centre of attraction and highly regarded because of its tangible association with Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scout movement.” [Kohler p. 3 – 4]

The next thing to do was to phone the Scout Movement in Pretoria who referred me to their Head Office in Johannesburg who in turn referred me to the Warden at Gilwell Estate, Florida.

Photo of the carriage used as a clubhouse at Modderfontein
Photo of the carriage used as a clubhouse at Modderfontein
Here is a photo of Dr. and Mrs. Leyds on an official tour by Railway. However, the windows don't match the SAC coach. The chairs and windows have the appearance of Pres. Kruger's coach
Here is a photo of Dr. and Mrs. Leyds on an official tour by Railway. However, the windows don’t match the SAC coach. The chairs and windows have the appearance of Pres. Kruger’s coach


Visit to Gilwell Estate at Florida on the West Rand
.
On the 20th of November 2000 I visited Gilwell Estate, Hamberg Rd., near Florida Lake on the West Rand. The Warden was not available and spoke to the Warden’s son, Michael Minnaar, who is also a Boy Scout. He took me to inspect the remains of the preserved carriage. It has no wheels and is set on the ground. The carriage did not have balconies at either end. A little roof is built over the carriage to protect it against the elements. It is set amongst some trees. Here is a rough sketch of the carriage:

a rough sketch of the carriage by the author
a rough sketch of the carriage by the author

Description:
The carriage has eleven windows on the side and two doors, one in front and one at the back. Each door has a window on each side. There is no balcony.
How the windows open remains a mystery to me. The top part of the window has a pane around the glass while the bottom part appears to move down. The carriage was locked and I could not inspect the inside. No visible number or maker’s plate, however there were the following:

Plate “A”: A silver plate above the door reads:
Plate “A”: A silver plate above the door reads:
Oval Plate “B”:
Oval Plate “B”:
This is an example of a Pretoria-Pietersburg Railway carriage. It is not the same carriage but it is no doubt a “Reserved” or “Private” carriage. The windows, paneling and the air vents are similar to the SAC carriage.
This is an example of a Pretoria-Pietersburg Railway carriage. It is not the same carriage but it is no doubt a “Reserved” or “Private” carriage. The windows, paneling and the air vents are similar to the SAC carriage.

There is ample evidence available that Lord Baden-Powell used the Railways on official SAC business. “ He set about performing this inspection by train … had travelled a distance of 13,503 miles by train …” [Hillcourt p 230]

The coach in question could be any of the following reserved saloons:

The (new) S. A. Railways / Central South African Railways Re-Numbering List:
The (new) S. A. Railways / Central South African Railways Re-Numbering List:

National Monument:
It is a pity that this coach, which is part of our national heritage, has not been declared a National Monument. It is in the national and international interest to do so. I think that the coach has great potential as a tourist attraction. The Scouts should receive recognition for their good work in preserving the coach. The coach should be utilized as a museum for either South African Constabulary or the Scout Movement or to remember Lord Baden-Powell by. This country needs the special values and virtues for which this great soldier, policeman and scout proudly stood for. I salute his memory!

——————————————————————————–

Bibliography:
Article by Mr. Holtz in South African Railways and Harbours Magazine, March, 1959. P 226 – 227.
Conradie, Eric: Support i.e. various letters, photographs, and diagrams on this subject.
Hillcourt, W: Baden-Powell – The Two Lives of a Hero, Heineman, London
Kohler K: SOME ASPECTS OF LORD BADEN-POWELL AND THE SCOUTS AT MODDERFONTEIN. Attached to a personal letter received from Ms S Kotze, Museum Curator, Dynamite Co. Museum, to the Author dated 20-10-00.
Rhind, D. Interest through various letters and discussions on this subject.
Van Niekerk, L.E. KRUGER se REGTERHAND – BIOGRAFIE VAN DR W.J. LEYDS. JL van Schaik, Pretoria, 1985. ISBN 0 627 01430 5.


Images: (open in new window)

© DRW. 2009-2018. Created 23/05/2009. Updated 06/03/2010. Moved to blog 10/01/2015. Thanks to Carlos Das Neves Vieira for the information and Hennie Heymans for permission to republish his article. Colour photographs by Derek Walker.

Derelict C13 Balcony Coach 7936

I spotted this faded and derelict beauty while I was visiting Millsite, and kept on coming back to her because she had so much character, and even with all the water damage and years of neglect her leather and woodwork was still beautiful. She even had that feint wood and leather smell that the old coaches had. Sadly though she will never be restored, she is just too far gone, all the metalwork and removable fittings have long ago been stolen, and the compartments trashed.

© DRW 2009-2018. Created 15 April 2009. Moved to blog 01/12/2014

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 2001-2018. Moved to blog 30/11/2014

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 are of Troopers William Charles Beatty-Powell, John Bernard Bletsoe, Harry Davies, John R.H. Foster, and C.E Hennessy, and they were hidden amongst the trees, and not too many people were 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. 

The site  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 2012 after it had been cleaned up

In March 2018 I was contacted by the South African War Grave Society  (Registration No.: 203-374 NPO) who had undertaken a partial restoration of the graves. Unfortunately my images really stop at 2012 so I am sure that the graves are looking better since the restoration was undertaken. The image below shows a before and after. 

 

(Image from South African War Grave Society Information sheet)

I wish them much success in their future projects, and may it grow from strength to strength. If you would like to assist please contact me via my contacts page and I will pass on their contact details. 

 DRW © 2011-2018. Moved to Blog 30/11/2014

David Reginald Younger VC

Capt. David Reginald Younger was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his deeds during an attack near Krugersdorp on 11 July 1900, during the Anglo Boer War. 

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 27462, Page: 5085 reads:

“Captain D. R. Younger, Gordon Highlanders.

This Officer, during the action near Krugersdorp, on the 11th July, 1900, volunteered for and took out the party which successfully dragged a Royal Artillery wagon under cover of a small kopje, though exposed to a very heavy and accurate fire at only 850 yards range. He also accompanied the second party of volunteers who went out to try and bring in one of the guns. During the attempt he was mortally wounded, dying shortly afterwards. His cool and gallant conduct was the admiration of all who witnessed it, and, had Captain Younger lived, the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief in South Africa, would have recommended him for the high award of the Victoria Cross, at the same time as Captain W. E. Gordon, of the same Regiment.” 

The grave of Capt. David Reginald Younger VC

The grave of David Reginald Younger VC. may be found in Burgershoop Cemetery, Krugersdorp, within the ABW plot. Google Earth co-ordinates for the cemetery are: 26°6.164’S 27° 45.610′  

Inscription on the grave.

DRW.  © 2014 – 2020. Created 25/11/2014, edited 25/04/2017

Live Steamers

Before I came to the UK I lived very close to the Rand Society of Model Engineers that meets at Len Rutter Park in Florida. I used to do a quick look around whenever I saw they were open and was always amazed at the quality of the live steamers that ran there. Quite a number of the locos were based on real SAR machines, and the level of detail was astounding. Unfortunately between here and there all of my images went missing and I have not worked out where they are at this moment, so these images are really duplicates of what I had before. Hopefully one day I will find the images, as well as the many hours of video I shot there.

Incidentally one of the locos from Sanrasm has been plinthed outside the workshop, and it is not too far from another plinthed ex-Sanrasm loco at Florida Junction. I have since photographed that loco and pics are available on that blogpost.

NG6-103
NG6-103
Lady Sadie
Lady Sadie
RSME Unknown
RSME Unknown
Heath Robinson
Heath Robinson
Spick
Spick
Class S1-374
Class S1-374
Shay style loco
Shay style loco
Maria
Maria
Class 15F-3000
Class 15F-3000
Class 16CR-805
Class 16CR-805
Sudwes
Sudwes
Simplex
Simplex
RSME Unknown
RSME Unknown
Husky
Husky
Merchant Navy Class
Merchant Navy Class
British Railways 7P
British Railways 7P
Pixie
Pixie
Sir George
Sir George
Class 10BR-750
Class 10BR-750
Super Pea
Super Pea
Royal Scot
Royal Scot
Class 8DW-1225
Class 8DW-1225
RSME Unknown
RSME Unknown
RSME Unknown
RSME Unknown
Class 15F-3095
Class 15F-3095
Eton
Eton
Class G-219
Class G-219
GF-2390 Garratt
GF-2390 Garratt
RSME Unknown
RSME Unknown
Keri
Keri
RSME Nameboard
RSME Nameboard
Stationary Engine Museum
Stationary Engine Museum
Approaching Woodside
Approaching Woodside
4-10-2T NBL Side Tank loco, (Ex Sanrasm) to be Plinthed
 
4-8-2T Tank Loco 1837. Number 24386. Florida Junction
4-8-2T Tank Loco
1837. Number 24386.
Florida Junction

© DRW 2010-2018 Created 04/10/2010. Moved to blog 24/08/2014

Miscellaneous Trains

Trains spotted here and there in South Africa, often loco’s and sometimes oddities and peculiarities. Special thanks to Ronnie Lovemore for images of the Class 91 Diesels.

34-019. Randfontein
34-019.
Randfontein
Overhead line vehicle Newclare
Overhead line vehicle
Newclare
Sheltam 16 Randfontein
Sheltam 16
Randfontein
Sheltam 3011 Randfontein
Sheltam 3011
Randfontein
14-001 Pretoria
14-001
Pretoria
6E-1678 Hamberg
6E-1678
Hamberg
34-404 Millsite
34-404
Millsite
36-002,117, 026 Newclare
36-002,117, 026
Newclare
Metrorail sub Hamberg
Metrorail sub
Hamberg
Tshwane Business Express. Pretoria
Tshwane Business
Express. Pretoria
36-295, 292 Pretoria
36-295, 292
Pretoria
14-110, 106 Pretoria
14-110, 106
Pretoria
38-047, 044 Hamberg
38-047, 044
Hamberg
18-197 Germiston
18-197
Germiston
6E1's Maraisburg
6E1’s
Maraisburg
5m Sub Maraisburg
5m Sub
Maraisburg
Metrorail subs Germiston
Metrorail subs
Germiston
10M EMU Germiston
10M EMU
Germiston
18-406 Germiston
18-406
Germiston
18-405 Germiston
18-405
Germiston
E163 Germiston
E163
Germiston
E1228 Germiston
E1228
Germiston
E1416 Germiston
E1416
Germiston
A trio of 6E1"s Germiston
A trio of 6E1″s
Germiston
36-087 Germiston
36-087
Germiston
35-426, 441 Germiston
35-426, 441
Germiston
Shunters wagon Germiston
Shunters wagon
Germiston
E1267 Germiston
E1267
Germiston
DE 1207 Germiston
DE 1207
Reefsteamers
8E Shunting Locos Koedoespoort
8E Shunting Locos
Koedoespoort
The old and new Pretoria
The old and new
Pretoria
Diesel shunter Pretoria
Diesel shunter
Pretoria
Mainline saloons Pretoria
Mainline saloons
Pretoria
91-007 Apple Express Port Elizabeth
91-007
Apple Express
Port Elizabeth
91-002 Apple Express Port Elizabeth
91-002
Apple Express
Port Elizabeth
91-001 91-007 Apple Express Port Elizabeth
91-001
91-007
Apple Express
Port Elizabeth
Vapour Clarkson Braamfontein steam heater depot
Vapour Clarkson
Braamfontein steam
heater depot
Vapour Clarkson Braamfontein steam heater depot
Vapour Clarkson
Braamfontein steam
heater depot
Premiere Klasse Randfontein
Premiere Klasse
Randfontein

© DRW 2009-2018. Moved to blog 17/08/2014

SANRASM South Site (Prior to 10/2010)

I spent a lot of time trying to find Sanrasm. The signage at Millsite was old, and it pointed in a nebulous direction, but there was no real road to follow. And, when it was almost in my grasp I gave up to return on another day. When I eventually found the place it was closed, and after some persuasion a friendly security guard gave me the number for the office. The excuse I was given was that “the grass was long and they could not let me in”. It was obvious that one of the reasons for the long grass was that somebody wasn’t doing their job! I was potentially a willing volunteer, but they were not really interested in me, instead I was fobbed off and told to go have a look at the Chamdor locomotive collection instead. and that was that.
I left feeling despondent, there was so much to see behind that fence, but unless I got very lucky there was no way I was going to see what there was! I did however take pics through the fence, and vowed that this was not the end. I would get in there eventually.

These images were taken over and through the fence.

I then discovered the “scrap line” while on a trip to Magaliesburg with Reefsteamers. This was a terrible place, and I had to fight my way through bushes and trees to get there (there was a much easier way, but I did not know it at the time). Now that I think about it, this was a really stupid thing I did. The area was still a mining area and there was a huge quarry on one side and the terrain was really dangerous and I was lucky to come out of this was a bad case of blackjacks and scrapes and scratches. I was also able to catch a glimpse into the site itself from the other side, and it was as bad here as I had seen from the gate. Worse was to come though, when I discovered North Site.

© DRW 2009-2018. Created 22/06/2014. Edited 17/01/2105

SANRASM North Site (Prior to 10/2010)

I had not even been aware of North Site when I had first visited Sanrasm, and only picked up on it existing by accident. I added it to my list and grabbed my camera and headed out there. Like South Site. it too was locked, overgrown and derelict, with an extensive pile of derelict locos and scrap outside the gates. It was very difficult to comprehend what I was seeing, it just got worse all the time.

1
sanrasmnorth21

© DRW 2009-2018. Created 22/06/2014, edited 17/01/2105

Inside South Site

I was lucky to be able to get inside Sanrasm when one of my friends managed to get himself a job cleaning up the place. That entailed cutting grass, trimming trees and vegetation, clearing up years of accumulated rubbish. It also meant navigating egos and placating the resident empire builder. Through him I was able to access the railwayana inside both sides of the track, and what I saw was shocking, but also fascinating.

Historically there were many important locos and coaches, and some were the only representatives of their class. Most had been vandalised beyond repair, and some were rotten when they got there, but a lot had happened during the tenure of the that one person. A lot of the rot was easy to sort out, it just required a bit of work. Work that was seemingly beyond them. But, enough said, lets get on with the show. These page are very graphic intensive so may take awhile to load.

Class 16DA No.844
Berliner side-tank 8786
Class 14R ‘Joyce
Slam door sub
Slam door sub
Slam door sub
GDA Garratt No.2259
L-14 Driving trailer
GM Garratt No.2301
Class 1 No.1253
Class 1 No.1252
Aveling & Porter steam roller
Former JHB Tram
Class 12A Industrial
Class 6A-473
Kitchen Car 282
Class 6A-473
GMAM Garratt No.4089
Coupe
Slam door sub
2nd Class coach 2123
4-10-2 NBL.23722
NGG 13 Garratt No.58.
Class 14R-1909
4-8-2 NBL.25916 “Jenny”
Wardale 19D – 2644
Engineers Caboose
GMAM Garratt No.4089
Class 14R No.1705
NBL side-tank
Class 15F No.3051
Class 15F No.3051
Drivers seat
2nd Class Coach 2123
Kitson Tank No.2269 “Kitty”
Hunslet Tank No.790
161 Phantom Pass
Shashi 229
Shashi 229
Shashi 229
Slam door sub interior
Class 6A No.454
Class 6A No.454

DRW 2009-2018. Created 22/06/2014, edited 15/01/2015