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. 

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 2017-2018, created 02/07/2017, updated 07/07/2017, 18/07/2017

The MOTH Memorial in Remembrance Square, Johannesburg

These photographs were taken on 15 October 2011 at the Moth Memorial in Remembrance Square in Johannesburg. I actually had no idea that this existed, it is in a really obscure place that has become one of the forgotten areas of Johannesburg.

Many years ago the Memorable Order of Tin Hats (aka MOTH),  had a large hall (and possibly their regional headquarters) in the building facing it, and it was a very popular venue for dances and functions.

Today it looks like a sad seedy hotel and as you can see from the pics, the memorial has become yet another forgotten icon of an organisation with an ever diminishing reason to exist, as the World War veterans pass on.

The Memorial is a three sided needle with the remains of insignia from the Air Force on one side, the wording “Ons Sal Gedenk/We Shall Remember Them”  and a Tin Hat and half destroyed plaque on what I suspect was the front.  Ironically the street is called Remembrance Street. Realistically it is now a taxi parking spot and a popular object to lean against after a few pints.

The former MOTH hall.
The former MOTH hall.

Remembrance Square may be found at Google Earth Co-ordinates     26° 11.918’S, 28° 2.437’E.

© DRW 2011-2018. Created 15/10/2011.  Moved to blog 07/01/2014

Florida MOTH Shellhole Cenotaph

These photographs were taken in the grounds of the Dardenelles Moth Hall in Swan Avenue, Florida, during November 2008 and March 2012.

Dardenelles MOTH Shellhole Cenotaph
Dardenelles MOTH Shellhole Cenotaph

The shellhole also has a good collection of plinthed military hardware, including a Crusader tank and a number of artillery pieces.

Crusader Tank
Crusader Tank

This memorial may be found on Google Earth at  26°10’40.10″S,  27°54’36.51″E.

DRW © 2007-2020. Edited 15/08/2011. Moved to blog 19/01/2014

Cosy Corner Wall of Remembrance

The Cosy Corner MOTH Shellhole Wall of Remembrance.

When I originally saw what was left of the The Garden of Remembrance in Brakpan in 2007, I could just throw up my hands in dismay at what I then called “The wreckage of remembrance”.   In August 2008 I was informed that the name plaque which was on the memorial had been removed, little knowing that the story did not end there.

What was left of the "Garden of Remembrance" in Brakpan in 2007
What was left of the “Garden of Remembrance” in Brakpan in 2007

On 13 November 2011 I was contacted by Joe Borain who explained that the name plaque had been removed from the derelict memorial and a new Wall of Remembrance was erected at the Cosy Corner Moth Shellhole in Brenthurst, Brakpan, and the plaque had been installed there. I was able to visit the Shellhole in December 2011 and discovered a veritable museum that has come about at this Shellhole.

The new Wall of Remembrance at the Cosy Corner Shellhole in Brakpan
The new Wall of Remembrance at the Cosy Corner Shellhole in Brakpan
The former Roll of Honour
The former Roll of Honour

My primary target was the rededicated Wall of Remembrance, but there was so much more to see at this Shellhole, especially if you have an interest in Delville Wood.  These images are just a small portion of what I saw, and the Shellhole is worth a visit if you have an interest in veterans affairs or warfare. Special thanks must go to Joe Borain for taking his time out to show me around and accompany me on a gravehunting expedition in Springs.

© DRW 2011 – 2018. Created 14/12/2011. Moved to blog 18/01/2014