The Cenotaph – World War Memorial Monument
Kimberley’s Cenotaph unveiled in Du Toitspan Road on 15 July 1928
The Cenotaph erected originally to commemorate the fallen of World War I, with plaques added in memory of fallen Kimberley volunteers in World War II. There is a memorial dedicated to the Kimberley Cape Coloured Corps who died in the Battle of Square Hill during World War I. Consisting of a gun captured at the battle, it originally stood in Victoria Crescent, Malay Camp, but, post-1994, was moved to the Cenotaph.
DID YOU KNOW by Steve Lunderstedt
The Cenotaph on Dutoitspan road in memory of Kimberley’s 400 men who died during the Great War 1914-1918 was unveiled on Sunday 15 July 1928 in front of a crowd numbering eight to ten thousand persons, and coincided with the annual commemoration of Delville Wood.
It was unveiled by four mothers who had each lost either a husband and son, or two sons, during the war. Research, which is ongoing, on who these mothers were, has proved a problem and at least two researchers have put in many hours with little good fortune. What is known thus far is the probable names of two of the mothers. A definite “mother” is Catherine Anderson – the wife of William – who lost two sons, while another is Katie Solomon, the wife of local attorney Arthur. It is believed, but not proven, that Ethel Annie Pickering, who lost both her sons in the war, is another of the four. Ethel Pickering is famed for firing the first shell from the Long Cecil gun.
Doug Strugnell of Perth Australia confirms the part of Mrs Anderson as she was his grandmother.
The Cenotaph was designed by local architect and artist William Timlin. Councillor Henry Schmidt, Mayor of Kimberley, was Chairman of the War Memorial Committee, and Colonel T. Ormiston DSO VD gave the Unveiling address. The following Reverends played a part in the service: Rev William Pescod, Rev WH Kinsey and Rev JR Albertyn.
Prior to the unveiling ceremony a service unique in South African ecclesiastical history took place in St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, a Pontifical Requiem Mass, said at the time to have been held only once in Rome on a Sunday in the forty years preceding. The service was for the soul of departed soldiers and the preacher was Father Janssen OMI who had served with the German forces in World War I.
After World War 2 dates and four additional plaques were added.
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