“We once bumped into a column of Russian POW’s. They were in a very bad way and some of them could hardly walk, being assisted on either side by their friends. We had just been given a rare treat - a parcel on the march and our chaps had got stuck in - so much so that some became sick and brought up. A Russian was a witness to this, and no trouble started to wolf down the vomit with his bare hands. This gives an idea of what real hunger can do.”
World War II
A little-known story in South Africa is the remarkable effort under the direction of Professor (later Sir) Basil Schonland, Director of the Bernard Price Institute of Geophysical Research (the BPI), at Wits, to design and build a radar set within three months of the outbreak of war in September 1939.
The military art collection of the Ditsong National Museum of Military History includes a watercolour entitled, “HMS Kelvin – D-Day +6” by Francis Flint. The painting is noteworthy in that it portrays three important personalities of the Second World War (1939 – 1945) – Sir Winston Churchill (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom); Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke (Chief of the Imperial General Staff) and Field Marshal Jan Christiaan Smuts (Prime Minster of the Union of South Africa).
John Lincoln's series on the history of Cullinan continues. This article looks at the village and surrounding area during World War II. Click here to view the series index.
Professor Lipmann Kessel MC, MBE, FRCS (1914-1986) was an eminent surgeon and a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, who wrote several important works on orthopaedic surgery, but rather like another well-known doctor, Roger Bannister (1929-2018), Kessel is best remembered for what he did as a young man. In the case of Bannister it was breaking the four minute mile barrier (in 1954) and with Kessel it was his medical role during the famous Battle of Arnhem, in late September 1944.