15 July 1871, Diamond News reports that there are 43 graves in Dutoitspan cemetery.
15 July 1916, The SA Brigade moves into Delville Wood (pictured) at 05h00.
15 July 1928, Kimberley’s Cenotaph (pictured) unveiled in Dutoitspan Road.
DID YOU KNOW
The Cenotaph, in memory of Kimberley’s 400 men who died during the Great War 1914-1918, was unveiled on Sunday 15 July 1928 in front of a crowd numbering eight to ten thousand persons, and coincided with the annual commemoration of Delville Wood.
Although not the only war memorial in South Africa dated 1914 – 1919, it is unusual and the reason is that although hostilities ceased on 11 November 1918, the Peace Treaty was only signed in 1919. The Cenotaph was unveiled by four mothers who had each lost either a husband and son, or two sons, during the war.
What is known thus far is the probable names of two of the mothers. A definite “mother” is Catherine Anderson – the wife of William – who lost two sons, while another is Katie Solomon, the wife of local attorney Arthur. It is believed, but not proven, that Ethel Annie Pickering, who lost both her sons in the war, is another of the four. Ethel Pickering is famed for firing the first shell from the Long Cecil gun.
Councillor Henry Schmidt, Mayor of Kimberley, was the Chairman of the War Memorial Committee, and Colonel T. Ormiston DSO VD gave the Unveiling address. The following Reverends played a part in the service: Rev William Pescod, Rev WH Kinsey and Rev JR Albertyn. After World War 2 dates and four additional plaques were added.
The Cenotaph was designed by local architect and artist William Timlin.
Prior to the unveiling ceremony a service unique in South African ecclesiastical history took place in St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral, a Pontifical Requiem Mass, said at the time to have been held only once in Rome on a Sunday in the forty years preceding. The service was for the soul of departed soldiers and the preacher was Father Janssen OMI who had served with the German forces in World War I.