When I originally visited Palmietkuil War Cemetery in 2007 I saw that there was a war memorial in Springs marked on my streetfinder. When I finally got to Springs I could not find it, but then I was expecting something like a plaque or small plinth. However, there was one odd structure that I took a few photographs of that I was not too sure about.
That was on an traffic island on the intersection of Boksburg Street and 1st East Ave, (Google Earth co-ordinates: -26.248567° 28.440126°) almost on the edge of the town, and that structure was a mess. Surely something like that was not a war memorial? At the time I did not even write it up for the web page.
I finally was able to confirm that this is the “War Memorial”, although it is totally unrecognisable as being anything like a memorial. Erected in 1965 I believe that underneath the dome there was a tripod of rifles, the interior of the dome having “Their Name Liveth Forevermore” inscribed on it. Concrete panels lined the pathway to the dome, and on these were the lists of names of the fallen. A fountain burbled in the background and Remembrance Day Parades were regularly held there. That was in the past.
Scroll forward to December 2011, and only the basic structure remains. The rifles are long gone, the names are long gone, the fountain, which was working in 2007 was no longer in operation, and the promise inside the dome about never forgetting can be vaguely read as dim outlines on the walls. Homeless people have made this their new home and litter abounds.
In between Nov 2007 and Dec 2011 apart from gardening nothing had changed or been improved. Its too late for the memorial, but I would have thought the town council would have at least done something with this derelict structure. Sadly, this memorial is now extinct.
In 2014, I was contacted by Joe Borain who informed me that they were stealing the copper off what was left of the dome. The image below being taken in February 2014. It was also announced that the council would be “restoring” the memorial, but whether that ever happens remains to be seen.
Following a discussion on facebook, I learnt that there is another war memorial in the Springs Civic Centre, and that too has been vandalised/neglected. It seems as if Springs is really not interested in their heritage at all.
A number of articles about the state of the memorial appeared in the Springs Advertiser in 2014. http://springsadvertiser.co.za/88042/war-monument-is-a-haven-for-the-homeless/
The local council promised that they were going to restore the memorial, part of the restoration would be the removal of what was left of the copper on the dome and plastering and painting it, as well as replacing the lost panels. The upgrades were meant to be completed by May 2015.
The dome was cleared and replastered by Aprl 2015 but whether anything has been done further is not known.
Joe Borain sent me images of the “progress” so far, still no plaques, although the grass has been cut. It was as expected though, not much changes in small dorpies like Springs. (images are from 30/12/2016)
Special thanks to Diederik Cloete for the information and Joe Borain for the updated pics
DRW © 2010-2021. Created 14/12/2011. Moved to blog 09/02/2013. Updated 17/02/2014, 29/12/2016m moved to Musings 02/01/2021