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Memorial to the first Civilian Casualty during the Siege of Kimberley

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 03 MARCH

UPDATED: 03/03/2020

Assuredly something important happened on this day in Kimberley’s history, but has not yet been found. Research continues…

IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH OF THE SIEGE OF KIMBERLEY
The immediate aftermath of the siege of Kimberley, despite the intense suffering of the black population, saw many blacks gaining employment with the British army of Lord Roberts VC, primarily as drivers and conductors for the wagons taking supplies to Paardeberg and then returning with wounded British soldiers. At least six Blacks were given official permission to raid cattle from the “Boer” farms surrounding Kimberley for Lord Roberts’ army.

Within Kimberley, it would never again be the same for the black population. The old familiar locations and townships had been flattened for military purposes, although it served the plans of the civilian authorities well in restricting black growth and curtailing development to certain stipulated areas. It was the beginning of enforced separation. Of the four numbered locations, only Number 2 remained intact, while Numbers 1 and 4 were demolished, although Number 1 would begin again and remain until at least the 1930s.

Number 3 remained only because it was a mission station, but even that would close in time. Both the Flenters and Mankurwane’s townships were destroyed, while the Greenpoint and Malay Camp were spared, although the advent of apartheid in 1948 would see the Malay Camp disappear. Number 2 was immediately extended westwards with another 396 extra plots to accommodate displaced persons from other locations.

Of all the locations and townships that existed in October 1899, only Number 2 and Greenpoint remain to today.

There are no memorials for the Black people who died during the war in Kimberley and region despite the need, although there is a lone memorial to an unknown Black woman on the pavement outside of the Catholic Cathedral on Dutoitspan Road (pictured). She was identified last year as Sarah, a domestic servant aged 40 years. No surname yet.   

Perhaps the only tangible relic, which could well become a memorial, is the kerbing that still exists on the roads leading to the Honoured Dead Memorial – laid by the black people during the siege.

Nothing yet found on this date in Kimberley’s history – research continues.

A ‘timeless’ cricket test match (the only one ever) between SA and England begins in Durban on 3 March, and continues until the 14th. England needed forty-one runs to win, but it was a drawn match, because their boat home was leaving. 1939.

DID YOU KNOW
Kimberley born and educated Ken Viljoen was the only local cricketer that played in the “Timeless Test” from 3 to 14 March 1939.

After ten days and some 46 hours of cricket, the Timeless Test ended in the one result that few would have thought possible – a draw. The sad thing was that when rain came as the players headed off for tea, the match was at its most tantalising with England, who finished within 42 runs of victory with five wickets in hand, firmly in the driving seat.

It was clear from the start this would have to be the final day if the tour party were to be able to undertake the 1000-mile train journey to Cape Town in time to catch their boat home on March 17. There was the added worry that rain was forecast, making the 200 runs still needed by England a difficult proposition.

South Africa, whose fielding throughout has been excellent, kept England in check in the first hour when only 39 runs were scored. Norman Gordon, who had bowled without luck, was particularly effective at limiting runs with a leg-stump line, and it was only in the second half of the session that Wally Hammond and Eddie Paynter were able to up the tempo. They took every run on offer without taking risks, and Hammond farmed the strike to good effect. The South Africans visibly wilted and heads dropped.

Alan Melville persevered with his pace attack for much of the day, as much to eat into the time available as anything.

England’s target had fallen under 100 when Paynter was well caught low down by the wicketkeeper off Gordon – his first wicket of the match – but by now the weather was closing in. Hammond kept attacking in between two brief interruptions for rain, until, chasing quick runs, he danced down the pitch to try to loft Eric Dalton back over his head and was stumped. His innings has lasted almost six hours and yet contained only seven fours. His attitude appeared to be that if he stayed, England would win. The runs would come as a consequence, and he was outstanding at placing the ball for the single.

Les Ames was equally cavalier as the clouds darkened, Bryan Valentine should have been stumped off his first ball when he too was beaten by Dalton, and as the players headed off for tea, the heavens opened. The rain eased off after the interval but as the players trooped back down the pavilion steps, it started pouring again. This time there was little chance of a resumption.

The captains consulted and, for a time, it seemed as if the MCC management and South African board were considering extending the game to the Wednesday lunchtime, what would have been the 11th day. There was even talk that the squad could go on and leave the two not-out batsmen and the four yet to bat behind to play on, or even that a plane could be chartered to replace the train.

But England had to be on the train leaving Durban at 8.05pm in order to catch the Athlone Castle and so the game had to be abandoned as a draw.

Stats and Trivia:
• At ten days, this was the longest first-class match in history
• A record 5,463 deliveries were bowled in the match
• Wally Hammond hit his 21st Test hundred, equalling the record of Don Bradman
• No previous Test had ever produced as many as 16 fifties by both teams
• Each side in the Test scored over 900 runs – South Africa 1,011, England 970
• This was the biggest aggregate of runs in any first-class match, 1,981

(From the website: © ESPN Sports Media Ltd: ESPNcricinfo)

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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