Recently, I’ve been discovering acknowledgements to various forces which have tended to be kept out of the media spotlight.
The first was an article on Johannesburg’s oldest war memorial – one to Indian troops. It dates back to 31 October 1902.
And by the time I got to visit Delville Wood on Friday 16 March 2018, I had discovered that when the memorial was opened in 1926, there were three acknowledgements which didn’t make it into the white press. Thanks to Bill Nasson who discovered a newspaper record of it and referenced it in an article entitled Delville Wood and South African Great War Commemoration (English Historical Review, 2004).
- Leo Walmseley laid a wreath to the carriers and labourers who served in Europe and Africa. Leo himself had been a pilot in the East Africa campaign.
- Petals were thrown to remember the 250 Indian Stretcher Bearers from South Africa who served and
- Major William Cunningham remembered the Cape Corps who had served in East Africa and Palestine.
The newspaper which carried the info was African World Supplement, xi Abantu-Batho, 1 October 1926.
It’s a pity such remembrance was done on the quiet but it shows that there are always some who stand out from the crowd.