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Today in Kimberley's History - The Cape Corps

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 29 DECEMBER

29 December 1894, Three buildings on Dutoitspan Road burnt to the ground. 
29 December  1895, Dr Jameson departs Pitsani for his raid on the Transvaal.
29 December  1917, Cape Corps arrive back in Kimberley from East Africa. 

(Pictured is the Cape Corps badge of WW 1 and members of the Corps in East Africa 1917).

DID YOU KNOW

PT-1229-Today_In_Kimberley's_History-Cape_Corps-01The Cape Corps history during World War I 1914-1918 is arguably the most famous of all their campaigns as it was during this war that they fought as combatants in East Africa, North Africa and in Palestine, and they fought exceptionally well particularly at the battle of Square Hill in Palestine.

The Depot in Kimberley for the training of the two battalions was at the Bultfontein and Dutoitspan Mine areas adjacent to Beaconsfield, and in fact, on one occasion the local inhabitants of Beaconsfield harassed the camp so much that the military authorities had no choice but to send the entire corps on leave. The discipline and restraint of the Cape Corps under severe provocation from the locals was beyond praise. The soldiers on active service in east Africa arrived back in Kimberley on 29 December 1917 and were sent on leave, returning to Kimberley in February. The 1st Battalion was sent to Egypt in March 1918 and the reserve half battalion on 22 June. Recruiting and training of men in Kimberley continued unabated as it was expected that large drafts would be required in Egypt. Thus it was that the men left Kimberley for their ultimate destination – Square Hill.

The Cape Corps Band was formed in Kimberley under Bandmaster C Linsell during March 1917 and proved itself most popular at various functions in Kimberley and later throughout South Africa.

The coloured people of Kimberley rose to the occasion with the formation of the Cape Corps Gifts and Comforts Committee, and of all the branches formed around the country the Kimberley branch proved themselves tireless workers, especially Messrs Tobin, Japhta, McLeod and Sass. At a time when there were over 3000 men in the No 3 Compound camp the committee hired St Johns Hall in Clarence Street and gave out free tea daily with cake and fruit twice a week. A dinner was given at Christmas to hospitalized troops and gifts provided for many and later games and writing material were also supplied. One of the most indefatigable workers was Mr HJ Tobin, the first secretary of the Cape Corps Recruiting Committee and he was also on the Executive of the Governor-General’s fund – a fund for dependants of the soldiers.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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