Join Kathy Munro, Brett McDougall, Brendan Hart and Hamish Patterson, at the View at 2pm on Saturday 27 February for a panel discussion on Delville Wood. Tea, coffee, drinks available at the bar after the event. A rare occasion to see the museum of the Transvaal Scottish. Kathty Munro will lead a tour to point out a couple of really worthwhile items including a cross made from wood brought back from the Delville Wood battlefield .
Phone Eira from the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation to book - 011 482 3349
Brendan Hart of Mayat Hart Architects is the consultant heritage architect for the new memorial at Delville Wood, near the village of Longueval in France. 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Delville Wood, one of the bloodiest battles fought on the Somme in 1916. It was a battle of the First World War, between the German forces and the Allied forces on the side of the British. The battle lasted 6 consecutive weeks. The wood was a strategic salient. The South African losses of men in the prime of their youth in the first week were huge.
Later Delville Wood seared itself into the consciousness and national identity of South Africa with a small part of France becoming the site of the Herbert Baker designed memorial and being claimed as almost an outpost of South Africa. In the nearby war cemetery, men from all countries, including South Africa, who fought and died at Delville Wood lie buried. There is a South African military museum dating from the 1980s. The wood close by, in blossom with bluebells in April, is a poignant place. This year the South African government adds a new dimension to that memorial with the installation of a new additional solemn commemoration of the black men who served in France in non combatant roles. The accidental tragic sinking of the SS Mendi in 1917 was another huge loss of fine men, almost all black men on their way to France.
In death 100 years later are we more of a united country finding a common history through more inclusive forms of memory and commemoration?