Wednesday, September 3, 2008

2008. Boer War Ghosts of Canterbury's Sons

2008. Boer War Memorial, Victoria Square, Christchurch. All the bldgs in the pic were damaged in the 22.02.11 quake & were later demolished. Queen Victoria, Boer War statue survived all the 2010-2013 quakes

Trek 1 * Christchurch NZ, New Brighton Road / Lake Terrace Road junction: WW's grey granite memorial to BURWOOD BOYS... * New Brighton Pier, Christchurch: WW's PRO PATRIA beige stone cenotaph to HONOURED DEAD... * Cave Rock, Sumner: Amongst other war plinths, a grey stone SUMNER BOYS plinth, remembered Boer War dead, who died of enteric fever...

2008. Boer War Memorial, Sumner, Christchurch

* Heathcote Valley, Martindales Road, Christchurch: WW's black granite memorial TO THE MEMORY...
* Gloucester Street, Returned Servicemen Association, Christchurch: Two 105mm Howitzer guns commemorated the Boer War and other Kiwi wars...

2008. RSA War Memorial, Gloucester Street, Christchurch

2008. Boer War Memorial, Victoria Square, Christchurch & names of 79 Canterbury Sons killed in the Boer War

* Victoria Square, Christchurch: Below Queen Victoria's bronze bottom a bronze plaque commemorated 79 names of CANTEBURY'S SONS who died in the Boer War. That's 34% of Kiwis who died in the Boer War. On the ground another bronze plaque honoured Boer War dead. Not a Maori amongst them, as Britain disallowed Maori fighting the White Man's War... (Editors, J. Crawford, I. McGibbons, "One Flag, One Queen, One Tongue," Auckland University Press, 2003). * Cathedral Square, Christchurch: WW's monument GIVE PEACE IN OUR TIME... * Christchurch Cathedral: Boer War 3rd NZ Rough Riders bronze plaque, and WW's St. Michael and St. George Memorial Chapel... * Cashel Street Bridge of Remembrance Arch, Christchurch: Commemorated WW's and later wars. ROSEMARY THAT'S FOR REMEMBRANCE...

2008. St. Michael & St. George Memorial Chapel, Christchurch Cathedral.
Christchurch Cathdral was badly damaged in the 2010-2013 quakes & was cordon closed for many years.

I remembered the Queen Victoria statue in Durban's Francis Farewell Square, and how whitey meths doppers slouched around Victoria's shadow on humid days. Across the road, at old Durban PO, I remembered scrutinizing the bronze relief of Natal colonists welcoming Churchill, after Boers had ambushed his train near Estcourt, and detained him in Pretoria... He escaped - hiding in a mine - and returned to Durban, via Lourenco Marques, in time for Spionkop. Had Boers shot Churchill, he wouldn't've later instigated Gallipoli's mess.

My maternal grandparents were a Somerset East Hendrikz and a Birmingham expat Wesleyan, Rev. Frank Cosnett, who'd sneaked around Colesburg during the Boer War, witnessing First Contingent Kiwis being Boer blooded. Grateful Cape colonists named a hill, New Zealand Hill, after them. One of ouma's seven brothers was blown to bits in the Great War, fighting for Engelse on the Western Front. A Scottish uncle got a Blighty shot through the knee. He eventually built Bloemfontein airport. Mom was born in Bethlehem, Vrystaat, where Boers and Tommy Atkins had skirmished. Mom was schooled in Ladysmith years after the siege. Bloemfontein's Vroue Memorial commemorated about 28 000 Boer dead in concentration camps. About 14000 blacks also died in camps (Ibid).

WW1 Battle of Jutland Memorial, Sumner, Christchurch 2008

2008. Darfield War Memorial

During WW1, my paternal grandfather was a ship's doctor on HMS Revenge during the Battle of Jutland. WW2: While four of Leah's uncles went "up North," dad guarded big guns on Durban Bluff. As a troopie I guarded the same guns 24 years later. Mom's early teaching years were at Wentworth, near an old Boer War concentration camp. Rosie, our old Indian servant, had slummed for years near old Merebank concentration camp, before apartheid force-moved her to May Street slum. I guarded military warehouses at Jacobs, near another old Boer War concentration camp. Brother Fraser did troopie service in SA and SWA. Leah and I began married life in Pinetown near another old Boer War concentration camp (Ibid).

I worked at Kleinzee and often drove past Okiep where Jan Smuts had fought.

I worked at Koffiefontein, where Boers had horsed around, battling Brits along Cape railway at Belmont, Graspan, Modder River and Magersfontein, while Rhodes counted his diamonds, besieged in Kimberley. North of Koffiefontein, at Paardeberg, Field-Marshall Roberts besieged and dondered generaal Cronje and 4000 Boers for ten days, before imprisoning Cronje at Saint Helena, and his Boers in India, Ceylon, other camps (Ibid), to velang na die Boland and sing Sarie Marais into their potjiekos. A Christ's College Kiwi soldier received a Mauser bullet from Jannie Boer at Paardeberg (Ref. Christ's College Chapel).

2008. Glentunnel War Memorial & Mount Hutt

Trek 2 * At Darfield, Canterbury, NZ, a grey granite obelisk remembered Boer War, WWs, other wars: AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN... * Beyond Glentunnel was a phallic, grey granite monument to WW's dead. Below a black granite plaque commemorated Boer War, Korean War, Malayan War, Vietnam War, and peace-keepers, with snowy Mount Hutt backdrop... * At Coalgate / Hororata intersection was St. John's Anglican church and a grey stone WW's monument, with the same black granite plaque remembering Boer War and other wars...

2008. War Memorial, St. Johns Anglican Churchyard, Hororata

Trek 3 * Halswell Domain, Christchurch: Black granite WW1 memorial. READY EITHER TO LIVE OR DIE VALIANTLY...
* Halswell Quarry Park: Korean War red memorial bridge over a ditch...
* Old Taitapu Road... to Taitapu Domain: Red stone Boer War and WW's memorial arch. TO THOSE WHO SERVED...

2008. Taitapu War Memorial, Taitapu Domain

* Taitapu / Akaroa T Junction: White stone cenotaph honouring Boer War, WW's, other wars. LEST WE FORGET...

Over 6500 Kiwis fought in the Boer War, and 230 Kiwis died for Empire, Uitlanders and Boer gold. (J. Crawford, "To Fight For The Empire," Reed, Auckland, 1999). A century later, Southern African trekkers peacefully settled amongst ghosts of CANTERBURY'S SONS.

Happily, Kiwis and South Africans were no longer enemies, unlike blacks killing whites in SA, like 3000 white farmers killed since 1994, and an average of 50 murders a day in SA by 2008. That's more people murdered in SA every week in 2007/8 than all Kiwis who died in the Boer War. (Published with variations in SINZASA's Indaba journal, issue 3 - 2003).

SA: 21553 murdered in 2002/3; 19824 murdered in 2003/4; 18793 murdered in 2004/5; 18528 murdered in 2005/6; 19202 murdered in 2006/7; 18487 murdered in 2007/8 (SAPS Crime Stats 2007/8).

And who will raise monuments for the murdered in post apartheid SA?

2008. Taitapu War Memorial, Taitapu main road to Akaroa

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.


Mark JS Esslemont said...

Email from an Auckland expat about the Boer War Horse memorial, Port Elizabeth, SA:

"I seem to think that it had a trooper kneeling next to a horse and giving it water from his helmet [bucket]...

Regarding the enteric fever aspect, read that Cronje and others threw dead horses into the rivers flowing toward British encampments and this was a source of the fever and typhoid, which also took its toll on the Souties. The Imperial Forces lost almost 20 000 to disease and about 8000 from lead poisoning."

Mark JS Esslemont said...

Received an email from an Amanzimtoti priest inquiring about Boer War concentration camps in Durban and Pinetown.