My disappointment at the neglect, by South Africans, of the South African War Memorial on both Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday continues. I was sorely tempted this year, to go to the annual commemoration at Ham or Petersham, and did not prepare the sprigs for the graves until the actual day. It was, therefore, dangerously close to 11 a.m. by the time we approached the memorial. I thought, as I had done last year, that this year the “Patrons of Lost Causes” (see earlier posts) would surely cycle elsewhere, and that we would once again, pay our respects alone.
But no, the inimitable Mark and one of his cyclists were already there and in their usual cheerful spirits. (The third cyclist wasn’t, because this year he was involved in an event in Europe.) We were pleased to see a wreath had been laid there by the British Legion, almost as heartwarming as it had been to see the wreath from Archbishop Desmond Tutu some years ago. We saw that St Dunstan’s had again laid wreath at the nearby grave of Natalie Opperman (1904—1988) in appreciation of her lifetime of service to the “war blinded” in both wars. We also checked up on the grave of George Rosser, a Richmond lad, serving with the South African forces, which had acquired a CWGC headstone last year. This time it was in full sun, so I photographed it again.
Come on Saffers! Do your bit next year, and in March 1918, and in November 2018. If Richmond is too much of a trek for you, then follow the guidance on this site, which will enable you to find the grave of a Southern African near to where you live.
If you’re interested in military research in general, then the following posts, from 2013, and on my professional blog, Discover your Family History, may help you get started: