Remembrance Sunday 2016

Preparing sprigs of rosemary for the South African war graves in Richmond, 2016

Preparing sprigs of rosemary for the South African war graves in Richmond, 2016

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.

2016: the British Legion left a wreath.

2016: the British Legion left a wreath.

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.

Find South African War Graves

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:

War Memorial Research (1): Perils and Pitfalls

War Memorial Research (2): First Steps

War Memorial Research (3): No easy match on the CWGC database?

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About Margaret Frood

Margaret Frood is a Family and Local Historian with an insatiable curiosity about the partially told stories of a family's past. Her four war memorial blogs have been created in the hope that they will help to rescue from oblivion the stories of those listed on the war memorials of Petersham, Ham and Tur Langton, as well as Southern Africans commemorated in the UK and in Western Europe.
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