About five years ago, I started to research the South African Military Hospital in Richmond Park, situated close to where I live in South West London and also the stories of the men commemorated in the South African War Graves Section in Richmond Cemetery. I intend to post about them from time to time.
For the past three years on Remembrance Sunday I have held a modest informal ceremony there. I hope that some readers will feel moved by the stories and visit the Richmond Cemetery, or other cemeteries or memorials in the United Kingdom where there are war graves of South Africans.
This project has since expanded to researching other South African War Graves that I come across in the United Kingdom, the latest addition being the grave of 20 year old Pilot Officer Arthur Wescombe Searle (R.A.F.V.R.), in Dirleton Cemetery in East Lothian, Scotland. His parents lived in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe). He is buried in Section E, grave number 996 should readers find themselves near Dirleton. I hope to post a photograph of his grave at some point in the summer.
Arthur Searle came to my attention when I spotted a display in the grounds of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, near the spot where his plane crashed on 5 September 1941, following the collision of two Spitfires over Inverleith. An account of the incident, and subsequent discovery of parts of the plane can be found here.