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Tuesday 4th March 2014

Joined: 16 Jan 2007
Posts: 135
Location: Nottingham Road KZN RSA
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This will be the centenary of the dedication of the monument on the battlefield

I am seriousy thinking of being present there on that date
I wonder if any "event" might be planned for that date?
According to Brereton the date was delayed (presumably it was intended for the 35th anniversary) beause the regiment was suddenly deployed to North China

I would appreciate it someone could assist me in understanding
1. Why a delay? In advance would be self-explanatory
2. Why North China and not Europe as war clouds gathered there
Must admit my knowledge of the 1914 era is lacking
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Peter Ewart

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
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I don't know the full details of the delay, although a 22nd January unveiling would have made sense, wouldn't it? I do know that in 1913, when the 2nd Bn was stationed at Pretoria, some of the officers of the regiment made the long journey down to Isandlwana, no doubt as a pilgrimage but also to reconnoitre the field for the placing of a memorial. These officers chose the exact site for the obelisk that was eventually erected.

As you probably know, no representative of the regiment at all was present at the unveiling ceremony in March 1914, "owing to the unexpected departure of the battalion from South Africa," as the regimental report of the ceremony put it. Bill or Martin might be able to help on the reason for the North China posting (Brereton doesn't, presumably?) There were no "gathering war clouds in Europe" at the time of the battalion's departure, other than the continuation of the naval arms race and the routine bellicosity of the Kaiser. The Sarajevo assassination didn't occur until 28 June 1914.

Again, as you probably know, Col Clarke of the 2nd S African Mounted Riflemen planned and organised the whole ceremony in the absence of the SWBs (perhaps he couldn't get it all done by January) and Sir Reginald Hart, commanding British troops in S Africa, performed the unveiling, which was fully covered by the Natal press at the time. (Perhaps Hart wasn't available until that date?)

Some of the photographs were taken by Major Knox of the Natal Mercury and some by Margaret Johnson, wife of Archdeacon Charles Johnson of St Augustine's, Zululand, who - with the Bp of Zululand - took a fairly prominent part in the ceremony. Her camera didn't miss much in that district over the years.

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Tuesday 4th March 2014
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