Saturday, November 18, 2017

Souvenir Saturday: Norwegians in Natal



This attractive family portrait was taken by Emil Larsen, the Natal photographer. 
(See more about him elsewhere on this blog.) 
The dates given for his premises, 410 West St., indicate that the photo was
taken between 1900 and 1904. It is likely that the family is Norwegian but
the owner would be grateful if anyone could put names to the people in the  picture.

The owner states: this photo belonged  to my grand-aunt Adolfa Marie Nilsen Øvald (Oevald) from Porsgrunn in Norway, born 1890 and died in 1975. Her father was Halvor Martin Nilsen Øvald, died in 1901 on board his ship Coimbatore.

Comments would be welcomed.






Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wrecks of Waterloo and Abercrombie Robinson Cape 1842




'So great a loss of life has not happened in Table Bay since the year 1799.' 
Thus reported the South African Commercial Advertiser on 3 September 1842.

The Waterloo under Captain H Ager had been bound for Tasmania but, putting in for water at the Cape near the mouth of the Salt River on 28 August, had encountered a gale-force north-westerly to which she had speedily succumbed, her rotten hull timbers breaking up. 



Only a few hundred metres away, the British troop transport, Abercrombie Robinson, 1425 tons, Captain John Young, on a voyage from Dublin, was wrecked in the same gale. This ship was carrying 700 souls, including detachments of the 27th Regiment and Cape Mounted Rifles as well as the 91st Argyllshire Regiment (numbering 450), but due to the discipline of all on board, everyone was saved. 

This story ranks alongside that of the Birkenhead for human courage and selflessness while in peril on the sea.




Sunday, November 5, 2017

Remembrance: World War l Battle of Loos




World War l British infantry advancing at Loos 25 September 1915

 It was the biggest British attack of 1915, the first time that the British used poison gas and the first mass engagement of New Army units. The French and British tried to break through the German defences in Artois and Champagne and restore a war of movement. Despite improved methods, more ammunition and better equipment, the Franco-British attacks were contained by the German armies, except for local losses of ground. British casualties at Loos were about twice as high as German losses.




Thursday, November 2, 2017

Remembrance: ancestors' military memorabilia tell a story






Border Mounted Rifles: brass button with BMR and crown.
Boer War period.



Border Mounted Rifles: the famous boot and spur insignia, 
with the motto 'Rough but Ready'
shown on memorials at Intombi Cemetery Ladysmith


In memory of William Dixon Smith who died at Intombi
during the Siege of Ladysmith 1900. Also his stepson
Alick Anderson of the same unit.