The Anglo Boer War Memorial in Evesham, Worcestershire is technically not a memorial as we know it. Rather, it commemorates men who volunteered for active service in the ABW. It would be interesting to know how many of them came back alive, and which may have died in combat or as a result of Enteric Fever. It may be found on the wall of the Town Hall and is easily overlooked.
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:—
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.
“Royal Army Medical Corps, Major William Babtie, C.M.G.
At Colenso, on the l0th December, 1899, the wounded of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, were lying in an advanced donga close in the rear of the guns without any Medical Officer to attend to them, and when a message was sent back asking for assistance, Major W. Babtie, R A.M.C., rode up under a heavy rifle fire, his pony being hit three times. “When he arrived at the donga, where the wounded were lying in sheltered corners, he attended to them all, going from place to place exposed to the heavy rifle fire which greeted anyone who showed himself.
Later on in the day, Major Babtie went out with Captain Congreve to bring in Lieutenant Roberts, who was lying wounded on the veldt. This also was under a heavy fire.”
He died at Knocke, Belgium, on 11 September 1920, aged 61 and was buried in Stoke Cemetery, Guildford, Surrey. He is commemorated by a plaque at the National Memorial Arboretum.
“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.
“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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
“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.”