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TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 6 AUGUST

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UPDATED: 06/08/2018

6 August 1883, Beaconsfield Village Management Board elected.
6 August 1986, Six soldiers based at Intelligence School die in a vehicle accident.

DID YOU KNOW

In one of Kimberley’s worst single vehicle accidents, six National Servicemen died when their military vehicle overturned inside the Danie Theron Combat School grounds on Tuesday 5 August 1986.

Four of the men died instantly while another two would die from their injuries received. Another 42 trainees were injured, seven seriously so.

There were 47 trainees on the SAMIL 50 troop carrier, all members of Alpha Company SA Intelligence School, from the January 1986 intake Junior Officer’s Course who were in the process of being promoted to Lance Corporal.

The SAMIL was returning from the Quartermaster’s Store where the men had exchanged clothing and equipment. The driver lost control and the truck overturned hitting a lamp post inside the Combat School grounds near the entrance gates at approximately 10h00.

Within three minutes the base medical personnel and a doctor were on the scene, followed shortly thereafter by Kimberley’s paramedic team including the fire department. Ambulances and private vehicles were used to ferry the injured personnel to the Kimberley Hospital and to the unit’s sick bay. The seven critically injured men were transferred to No 3 Military Hospital and the Universitas Hospital in Bloemfontein.

The driver was relatively unscathed, suffering from concussion and shock.

The Mayor of Kimberley, Councillor Dirk Liebenberg, expressed the city’s sympathy with the parents, family and friends of those who died in the accident.

The four trainee soldiers who were killed that day were:

Scout Alan Clarke (19) Sandton
Scout Jacobus Hamman (19) Reddersburg
Scout Jacobus de Jager (19) Worcester
Scout Jacques Delport (19) Valhalla.

The two men who died from injuries received:

Scout Jacob Nel (18) Kuruman
Died 6 August 1986
Scout Conrad Nelson (18)
Died 24 August 1986

Note: Subsequent to posting, the date of the accident has been confirmed as Tuesday 5 August 1986, and not 6 August 1986. This has now been corrected.

6 August 1883, Beaconsfield Village Management Board elected.

DID YOU KNOW

Benjamin Disraeli

In the early 1880s, and as the Dutoitspan and Bultfontein mining camps began to take on a more permanent look, the inhabitants sent a petition to the Governor of the Cape Colony to change their status to that of a municipality. The petition was granted and on 16 August 1883 the mining camps officially became known as Beaconsfield, named after the Earl of Beaconsfield (Benjamin Disraeli, pictured), who had died in 1881. Even the coat-of-arms and motto of Lord Beaconsfield was adopted, the motto being ‘Nothing is difficult to the Brave’.

PT-Dutoitspan_and_Bultfontein_Mines-1881

Dutoitspan and Bultfontein Mines

 

 

All did not welcome the name change, and newspapers reported on the doings of Dutoitspan rather than the new name, and many of the inhabitants themselves still called it affectionately ‘The Pan’. As recently as the 1960s the Beaconsfield Rugby Club was known as The Pan rugby club.

In October 1883 the Village Management Board was replaced by the Municipal Council, and on 31 October in the Good Templars Hall, Mr Samuel Charles Austen was elected Mayor with Mr C.K. O’Molony as the Town Clerk. Plans were immediately put into action for the laying out of streets, for bringing in water, and for installing a more efficient sanitary system. So lively were the early meetings of the Beaconsfield Council that a policeman was stationed in the council chambers to eject unruly members.

October may well have been a good month for the new council, but it was not for the residents of Beaconsfield, as the strike that took effect on all four Kimberley mines saw rioting at Dutoitspan Mine and crowds of people massing in and around the streets of Beaconsfield on Monday 15 October 1883. The week-long strike had been called because of stripping the white miners to search for diamonds, and they were not overly keen on this invasion of privacy.

PT-Dutoitspan_Market-1881

Dutoitspan Market

By 1886 the neatly planned township as it is today was in existence while the small villages of Dutoitspan and Bultfontein would be left to die a natural death. Certain of the buildings were in existence between 1883 and 1886 including the Magistrate’s Court (1884), the Phoenix (1885), and St Augustine’s Catholic Church (1883). It does appear from primary sources that the planned township was in existence by 1883, but the buildings were erected over the next few years.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

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