As we walked through Richmond Cemetery on Remembrance Sunday, there was an icy wind to chill the 8ºC on the mercury, and I regretted not giving my gloves an outing. As the South African War Memorial came into sight when we were about 200m away, and I caught a glimpse of red, and called to my husband that I thought there might be wreaths there. But then headstones and trees obscured the view until we were much closer, when indeed both of us could see FOUR wreaths.
We have been coming here on Remembrance Sunday for several years now with, in more recent years, the company for the two minutes’ silence, of three cyclists, aka the “Patrons of Lost Causes”. Usually there is nothing at the War Memorial, so this was a pleasant surprise.
Some years ago, Archbishop and Mrs Tutu sent a magnificent floral wreath, and one year there was a single wreath (from the British Legion), and a paratrooper’s cap, but otherwise the monument has been bare. We’ve got into the habit of bringing sprigs of rosemary from our garden, one for each grave. One year, when Marks was marking down the price of roses at the end of the day, we were able to provide each grave with a red rose. (CWGC spies please note, we are very careful not to place anything near the headstones.) We also visit the grave of Private George Henry Rosser, 2/SAIR who was actually a native of Richmond, and is buried nearby.
Thank you to the organisations behind these wreaths, probably laid here on Saturday, Remembrance Day. We appreciate that this year South Africa Lodge 6742 (UGLE), the MOTHs. the Royal Star and Garter Home and the South African Legion have remembered the South African servicemen buried alongside the South African War Memorial.
Nor did the cyclists, the supporters of lost causes, forget the South Africans this year. Here’s the photo I took of Trevor, as surprised as we were by the wreaths. That they’re there at all, is possibly due to the efforts of another of the cyclists, Mark, who’s previously expressed his disappointment to S.A. officialdom.