Tag: ABW

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

Charles Edward Parker VC

Charles Edward Haydon Parker (10/03/1870 – 05/12/1918) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Anglo Boer War.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 27205,  Page: 3964, reads:

“On the occasion of the action at Korn Spruit on the 31st March, 1900, a British force, including two batteries of the Royal Horse Artillery, was retiring from Thabanchu towards Bloemfontein. The enemy had formed an ambush at Korn Spruit, and before their presence was discovered by the main body had captured the greater portion of the baggage column and five out of the six guns of the leading battery.

When the alarm was given Q Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, was within 300 yards of the Spruit. Major Phipps-Hornby, who commanded it, at once wheeled about and moved off at a gallop under a very heavy fire. One gun upset when a wheel horse was shot, and had to be abandoned, together with a waggon, the horses of which were killed. The remainder of the battery reached a position close to some unfinished railway buildings and came into action 1,150 yards from the Spruit, remaining in action until ordered to retire. When the order to retire was received Major Phipps-Hornby ordered the guns and their limbers to be run back by hand to where the teams of uninjured horses stood behind the unfinished buildings. The few remaining gunners, assisted by a number of Officers and men of a party of Mounted Infantry, and directed by Major Phipps-Hornby and Captain Humphreys, the only remaining Officers of the battery, succeeded in running back four of the guns under shelter. One or two of the limbers were similarly withdrawn by hand, but the work was most severe and the distance considerable. In consequence all concerned were so exhausted that they were unable to drag in the remaining limbers or the fifth gun. It now became necessary to risk the horses, and volunteers were called for from among the drivers, who readily responded. Several horses were killed and men wounded, but at length only one gun and one limber were left exposed. Four separate attempts were made to rescue these, but when no more hordes were available the attempt had to be given up and the gun and limber were abandoned.

Meanwhile the other guns had been sent on, one at a time, and after passing within 700 or 800 yards of the enemy, in rounding the head of a donga and crossing two spruits they eventually reached a place of safety, where the battery was re-formed.

After full consideration of the circumstances of the case the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-chief in South Africa formed the opinion that the conduct of all ranks of Q Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, was conspicuously gallant and daring, but that all were equally brave and devoted in their behaviour. He therefore decided to treat the case of the battery as one of collective gallantry under Rule 13 of the Victoria Cross Warrant, and directed that one Officer should be selected for the decoration of the Victoria Cross by the Officers, one non-commissioned officer by the non-commissioned officers, and two gunners or drivers by the gunners and drivers. A difficulty arose with regard to the Officer because there were only two unwounded Officers — Major Phipps-Hornby and Captain Humphreys — available for the work of saving the guns, and both of these had been conspicuous by their gallantry and by the fearless manner in which they exposed themselves, and each of them nominated the other for the decoration. It was ultimately decided in favour of Major Phipps-Hornby as having been the senior concerned”

Major Edmund Phipps-Hornby, Lieutenant Francis Aylmer Maxwell, Gunner Isaac Lodge and Driver Horace Glasock also earned the Victoria Cross in this action.

He is buried in London Road Cemetery, Coventry

© DRW 2016-2018. Created 18/01/2016. Image courtesy of Mark Green

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 13:23

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 2007-2018. 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: 11/01/2018 — 13:24

Bethulie Concentration Camp Memorials

The images in this post are courtesy of Clive Jackson and are used with permission. 

The concentration camp in Bethulie does not have a good reputation as can be read in British Concentration Camps of the South African War, and this can be seen from the long list of names at the new concentration camp monument (Kamp Kerkhof).

The graves of 1737 people were relocated to the present graveyard which is 3km from the town.  It was unveiled by then State President CR Swart  in October 1996.  The graves were moved to the new site because it was feared that the water from the Gariep (former Hendrik Verwoed) Dam would inundate them.  More information about the memorial may be found at the Bethulie Concentration Camp site on Pathfinda.com, the monument may be found at Google Earth co-ordinates: -30.484774°, 25.999216°. 

Gariep Dam (Image by Ronnie Lovemore)

Gariep Dam (Image by Ronnie Lovemore)

On the Gariep Dam is a plaque commemorating those whose graves were covered by the waters of the dam.

(Image by Ronnie Lovemore)

The old camp memorial was located at  -30.484778, 25.999231 and the original cairn and two monuments can still be seen.  The old memorial is at the sight of the original camp cemetery and a glimpse at the Google Earth image shows the rough outline of the cemetery.

There is also a memorial to Louw Wepener  who was killed in the second Basotho (aka The Seqiti War) war along with his companion Adam Raubenheimer. The story goes that when the Boers tried to attack the Basotho Mountain Stronghold, Thaba Bosiou, they were bombarded with huge rocks rolled from the top. When the remains were recovered some time later, it was impossible to tell whose bones belonged to whom, so they were interred together at the memorial.

© DRW 2016-2018. Created 20/10/2016.  Images by Clive Jackson and Ronnie Lovemore. 

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 07:56

Thomas Joseph Crean VC, DSO

Thomas Joseph Crean (19/04/1873 – 25/03/1923)  was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Anglo Boer War in 1901.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 27405, Page: 843, reads:

“1st Imperial Light Horse. Surgeon Captain Thomas Joseph Crean,  

During the action with De Wet at Tygerskloof on the 18th December 1901, this officer continued to attend to the wounded in the firing line under a heavy fire at only 150 yards range, after he himself had been wounded, and only desisted when he was hit a second time, and as it was first thought, mortally wounded.”

He is buried in St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery in London.

Thomas Joseph Crean VC 19/04/1873 - 25/03/1923 St Marys RC Cem, London

There is also a plaque commemorating him at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery

DRW © 2016-2020. Created 16/06/2016, edited 11/05/2017

Updated: 05/01/2020 — 14:38

Cheltenham Anglo Boer War Memorial

Again one of those “almost fell over it” occurrences while rushing for a bus in Cheltenham. Situated close to the Cheltenham War Memorial in the grounds of the Municipal office in Cheltenham, it is one of three memorials in this space.

The memorial commemorates the Officers, Men and Volunteers from Cheltenham who lost their lives during the Anglo Boer War.

The memorial was unveiled by Lt-Genl Sir Ian Hamilton KCB on 17 July 1907. Google Earth co-ordinates are:  51°53’58.48″N,   2° 4’37.19″W.

© DRW 2015 – 2018. Created 30/08/2015.

Updated: 26/08/2018 — 19:58

Anglo Boer War Blockhouses

There are a number of Anglo Boer War blockhouses left scattered around the country, but not too many in the territory that I used to cover. In fact I have only seen two:  Fort Harlech in Krugersdorp and the famous Witkop Blockhouse on the way to Vereeniging. And, I have Clinton Hattingh, Terry Cawood and Willem Joythe to thank for the balance of images on this page. More about the design and variations of blockhouses may be found at BRITAIN’S LAST CASTLES, Masonry Blockhouses of the South African War, 1899-1902 by Richard Tomlinson

Fort Harlech (Krugersdorp)

This blockhouse may be found in Bill Taylor Park in Potgieter Street, Monument, Krugersdorp. Google Earth co-ordinates 26° 5’49.04″S 27°47’19.39″E.

Witkop Blockhouse

The Witkop Blockhouse is on the road between Alberton and Vereeniging (R59) and is next to the Engen Garage. When I last saw it in 2008, it was already looking very precarious, apparently things have gotten much worse. Google Earth co-ordinates 26°28’1.57″S 28° 4’11.94″E

Bela-Bela (Warmbaths)

warmbaths01 warmbaths04

This blockhouse may be found in the grounds of the Bela Bela Muncipality. Google Earth co-ordinates S 24 53.044′ E 28 17.447′. Photos courtesy of Clinton Hattingh 2010.

Bartons Folly (Hekpoort)

Bartons Folly is on the hill above the road (R563) leading up to Hekpoort, about 30 kilos from Magaliesberg. Images courtesy of Willem Joythe 2012. Google Earth co-ordinates: 25°55’2.52″S 27°37’14.62″E.


The Noupoort Blockhouse was photographed by Terry Cawood in August 2012. Google Earth co-ordinates: 31°10’30.86″S 24°56’52.25″E.


This blockhouse is usually described as a fort, and is built out of raw tigers eye. It is situated on Prieska Koppie which today is the Ria Huysamen Aloe Garden. It was photographed by Terry Cawood in August 2012.

© DRW 2008-2018. Moved to blog 24/11/2014. Images by Clinton Hattingh, Willem Joythe and Terry Cawood. Used with permission.

Updated: 08/01/2018 — 07:55

The Jameson Raid Surrender Memorial: Doornkop

There are a number of memorials associated with the ill fated Jameson Raid of 1896, and I have decided to split them as opposed to keeping them all together like they were before. My knowledge of these events is small, and it was only in April 2009 that I decided to do something about it. I had seen graves from this incident in 2 cemeteries before, but had never followed up on the memorials.  Contact with Leon Engelbrecht tickled my interest and I went hunting….

Viewed from across Adcock Street

Viewed from across Adcock Street

My first find was the so called “Surrender Memorial”. (Google Earth Co-ordinates  26°12’24.00″S, 27°48’22.52″E) This memorial, along with an additional two were not marked on my map book in the first place. The one that was marked is the most difficult of all to find.  Major roadworks were also happening in that area which made things a bit more complicated. However, In Adcock Street look for  “The Brickworks”, and 3 memorials can be found in it’s immediate area.

The Surrender Memorial

The Surrender Memorial


Remarkably, this memorial was in a good condition on both my visits in 2009 and 2012, although the roadworks were still ongoing.

It is apparent that this was not all, there seem to be graves in the Soweto area and ruins in Krugersdorp Nature Reserve. There is also an area further down along Adcock Street of importance and there may be more Jameson Raid related remnants to be found at Vlakfontein farm cemetery, Violet Mine Cemetery as well as in Magaliesburg area. I have however been unable to find any of these sites listed on the Vlakfontein Memorial. It is worthwhile picking up a heritage assessment dated 2006 from SAHRA for more information about the raid, these areas and their history.

From there I went in search of what is known as the “Vlakfontein Monument

© DRW 2009 -2018. Created 20/04/2011. Edited and some images expanded 02/02/2012.  Special thanks to Leon Engelbrecht for the inspiration to find these memorials and photographs of the “stump”, as well as Alpheus Cele for remembering where the graves in Randfontein were. Moved to blog 07/02/2014.

Updated: 06/01/2018 — 12:54

The Boer War Memorial in Durban

These photos of the Durban Cenotaph and Boer War Memorial were kindly provided by Ken and Eleanor Garvie and are used with their permission.

This Memorial is very close to the Cenotaph which may be found at Google Earth co-ordinates  29°51’31.34″S,  31° 1’30.60″E.

There are four name plates associated with the memorial, and these are available on request. Unfortunately in late 2017, the Durban Cenotaph was targeted by scrap metal thieves and it is possible that parts of this monument were damaged. 

© DRW 2012-2018.  Images © Ken and Eleanor Garvie. Created 29/06/2012. Moved to blog 07/02/2013

Updated: 06/01/2018 — 12:56

Steytlerville War Memorials and Graves.

These photographs in and around Steytlerville were kindly taken by Ronnie Lovemore, and are used with his permission.

The Memorial presumably commemorates men from the town of Steytlerville and surrounds who died in both World Wars.

The two  objects on top of it are a pair of machine guns facing in opposite directions.

The War Memorial in the town may be found at Google  Earth co-ordinates: 33°19’41.41″S, 24°20’39.34″E.

Sgt James McLellan CMP

Sgt James McLellan CMP

James Kobe Madlaila

James Kobe Madlaila

James Kobe Madlaila

James Kobe Madlaila

In the corner of the cemetery stands the grave of James MacLellan, originally thought to be a Boer War casualty, it turns out that he was a member of the Cape Mounted Police, force number 86, and he was a Sergeant and died on 08 October 1905. No other information has come to light. It is just a wooden cross bolted to a pole in the ground. His grave may be found at  33°19’43.14″S, 24°20’26.96″E.

Close by at 33°19’43.83″S, 24°20’26.91″E is the lonely grave of James Kobe Madlaila, a constable and interpreter on the staff of the resident magistrate who was shot by a commando while out scouting during the Anglo Boer War. During the trial of Gideon Scheepers he was accused of the murder of James Kobe Madlaila which allegedly took place on a farm named Rooiklip, Steytlerville on the 7th August 1901. A certain Edith Carey testified that she was in the house when the unarmed deceased came racing by on a horse. Scheeper’s men gave chase. The deceased jumped from his horse and ran into the yard. At this time, the men shot him in the thigh. Scheeper’s men then left, went to a hill and returned 10 minutes later and shot him dead. Scheepers gave evidence that Madlaila was killed in combat and that he knew nothing more of the incident.

Gideon Scheepers was executed by firing squad on 18 January 1902 and he was buried in an unmarked grave. 

The town also has a “Voortrekker Gedenkmuur” as you enter it, with many artifacts related to the Voortrekkers and farming, it may be found at 33°19’23.79″S, 24°20’42.06″E. And, on the road into the town, South African history has been painted on the surrounding rocks, 33°18’33.22″S,  24°21’39.19″E. An interesting bit of artwork that must have taken quite some time to do.

Voortrekker Gedenkmuur

Voortrekker Gedenkmuur

© DRW 2012-2018. Created 06/06/2012, Photographs © Ronnie Lovemore. Translation of the Gideon Scheepers/James Kobe Madlaila incident by Jennifer Bosch. Updated 01/10/2016. Moved to blog 06/02/2014

Updated: 06/01/2018 — 12:38
Blogging while allatsea © 1999-2020. All photographs are copyright to DR Walker or the relevant photographer. Frontier Theme