TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY
24 December 1909, Three miners, Messrs Mackey, Maher and Robert Close, badly burned in an underground explosion at Dutoitspan Mine.
24 December 1926, The 22 year-old Miss May Rose of Kimberley is runner-up in a National beauty contest in Port Elizabeth.
24 December 1926, Sir David Harris donates a trophy to the SA Coloured Cricket Board for annual competition.
DID YOU KNOW
During World War 1 two infantry battalions of Cape Coloured men were raised by the Imperial authorities and fought in East-Africa and Palestine, their best-known action being the capture of Square Hill in Palestine, 19 September 1918. The German Field Gun was captured by the Cape Corps at El Magheir near Jerusalem, 20 September 1918. The Cape Corps has a proud history. Originally founded in 1795 the Corps is the oldest colonial military unit in South Africa and outdates by many years and decades such fine Regiments as the Cape Town Highlanders, Prince Alfred’s Guards, the ‘Dukes”, the Kaffrarian Rifles, and is 81 years older than the Kimberley Regiment.
On September 21 1997 the gun captured in Palestine during World War I by the Corps, was rededicated at the Cenotaph on Dutoitspan Road after being removed from its original position at what was originally called Victoria Crescent. In both World Wars, Kimberley was the depot for the Cape Corps battalions. Statesmen such as Cecil Rhodes, JX Merriman, and Jannie Smuts have lauded the Corps and the men themselves. The Cape Corps Association was formed shortly after the Great War, with the strongest association being in Kimberley. Their first objective was to raise funds for their memorial, this being finally unveiled by General Jannie Smuts on 25 February 1934. Smuts had this to say of the Cape Corps:
“It is a privilege to be here today and to take part in this great ceremony…. I am here, as a representative of the Government of this country to honour the memory of the gallant men to whom this memorial has been erected…..the great and gallant services which they rendered to South Africa….I shall never forget the hardships they suffered with me….they took their place as brave men by the other brave men in the Great War. More no man could do. The Cape Corps raised by their sacrifice and service and gallantry the self-respect of the whole coloured community in South Africa. The outstanding fact in those years of suffering was that there was no colour distinction. All in suffering, loss and sorrow were knit closely together and my wish and prayer is what was then won will not be lost.”