The South African Scottish Memorial in Parktown

The memorial was designed by William Tait Conner, a Glasgow born architect who moved to Johannesburg in 1903.  The sculptor was Arthur Taylor.   It is said that the face of the soldier is modelled after Capt. Thomas Hesketh Ross MC. OC of “B” Company, 4th SAI, who served in the South West Africa Campaign and was awarded a Military Cross for his heroic conduct at Delville Wood. He was killed on the eve of the Arras offensive. This is one of the finest war memorials in Johannesburg.

The statue of the Scottish Soldier was initially erected on the east side of King George Street immediately outside Joubert Park and across the bridge from St George’s Presbyterian Church in Noord Street where the Regimental Colours hung. It was unveiled on Easter Sunday, 1st April 1923 by H.R.H. Prince Arthur of Connaught, Governor General of the Union of South Africa.

It was later moved to the west side of King George Street where it stood for many years,  and as the area deteriorated so he became lost amongst the chaos surrounding him. On 5th November 1994 the statue was re-dedicated at the site where it now stands overlooking St Andrews Road in Parktown and he is looking magnificent. His new site is right in front of the headquarters of the Transvaal Scottish which is situated in “The View”. The memorial originally was to members of the South African Scottish, and later it commemorated the soldiers of the Transvaal Scottish.

The main inscription reads:

Pro Patria
In grateful memory
of the
officers, non commissioned
officers and men of the
South African Scottish
Regiment
who fell in the Great War.
Ye honoured mighty dead
who nobly perished in the glorious cause.

Also in grateful memory of the
officers, non commissioned officers and men of
The Transvaal Scottish Regiment, who gave
their lives in the two world wars of
1914 – 1918 and 1940 – 1945

The memorial may be found at Google Earth co-ordinates 26°10’49.69″S, 28° 2’43.43″E. Parking in St Andrews Road is almost impossible.

update: 07/02/2015.

It seems as if the monument has been vandalised (photograph in the Star of 2 Feb 2016) by persons unknown who crossed out inscriptions and exhorted that “We want land”. Frankly it is disgraceful.

© DRW 2007 -2018. Edited 12/11/2012. Moved to blog 31/01/2014, updated with additional information 29/12/2016 from http://theheritageportal.co.za/article/story-behind-south-african-scottish-memorial