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Desecration of the Prince Imperial Memorial
Ken Gillings


Joined: 23 Apr 2006
Posts: 61
Location: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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Members of this forum will be dismayed to learn that the monument to the Prince Imperial at the Tshotshosi River near Nondweni has been destroyed - most likely by people looking for remains to use for muthi. The relevant authorities have been informed.

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Ken Gillings
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Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
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Very sad indeed, Ken. When I visited a dozen years ago it was in fairly good condition (a year or two before the storm damage & restoration). It seemed that the locals clearly felt some sense of responsibility for its condition and they certainly could not have been more friendly & welcoming to visitors.

When you say the memorial has been "destroyed" do you mean Queen Victoria's cross has been knocked over, or the graves of Abel & Rogers have been desecrated - or dug up? - or have they dug under the P/Imp memorial itself in the belief that the Prince's remains were there?

It seems that very little can be done to prevent regular damage to the more isolated graves & memorials. At Fort Pearson, Hlobane (Campbell & LLoyd) and Myer's Drift we saw many graves which had been very recently desecrated (not for the first time) and in some cases blown open by explosives, and at Myer's/Intombe one could look deep down into the grave(s). And Melvill & Coghill, of course, have not exactly been left undisturbed. The Khambula cemetery, despite having been restored (in the 1990s?) was not in that good a condition. Eshowe was difficult to tell because of the long grass. Since then, I gather things haven't really improved for long, if at all.

Thanks for letting us know. Any more news would, I'm sure, be appreciated, Ken.

Peter
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Ken Gillings


Joined: 23 Apr 2006
Posts: 61
Location: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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Good morning Peter.
It would appear that only the memorial has been destroyed. The original cross was badly damaged about 18 months ago and has been replaced with a replica (which has now been broken in half). I think the original is being stored by Amafa / Heritage KZN.
James van Vuuren of Amafa has told me that he would welcome contributions towards the restoration and I'm assessing the best option. We'll probably use the Gunners' Association's account (which is in a Trust Account and has kindly been made available by the Chairman, Lt Col Richard Lovell Greene).
The Fort Pearson, eNtombe, Hlobane, Khambula and kwaMondi graves have all recently been upgraded but Hlobane (Campbell & Lloyd) was desecrated again when I was last there.
Now that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has taken over the maintenance of most military cemeteries where there are 10 graves or more, there has been a massive improvement in their appearance - especially wrt Anglo-Boer War military cemeteries throughout South Africa.
Regards, Ken

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Ken Gillings
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 865
Location: UK
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Very sad news indeed. I have not been to the site but looked at some photographs. As Peter says, protecting graves in rural locations is very difficult. Maybe some metal railings could be erected around the site, although this would also prevent visitors being able to get close to the memorial.

Peter
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Ken Gillings


Joined: 23 Apr 2006
Posts: 61
Location: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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Peter, the metal railings would be stolen as the erection team's vehicle drove away...

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Ken Gillings
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Alan
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1418
Location: Wales
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Pic of area in 2002. Abel and Rogers' graves in the background.


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Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
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Ken

Many thanks for the explanation and update.

P.
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rich


Joined: 01 May 2008
Posts: 897
Location: Long Island NY USA
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Very sad news indeed. I have not been to the site but looked at some photographs. As Peter says, protecting graves in rural locations is very difficult

I have to say that it gets me to read about the desecration and destruction of historical monuments and gravestones. Not sure if this is done but aren't rewards given for information relating to aid in the capture of those doing the desecrations? Looks to me community involvement could help in this.

And by the way this kind of desecration isn't only happening in Natal. Recently in Mali, Islamic extremists have destroyed centuries old tombs in Timbuktu. Today it seems objects of the past apparently are simply there for plunder without regard to its historical significance.

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Rich
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AMB


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 897
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How very sad. It's a long time since I was there. During that same trip - '97, I think - I came across graves dug up at Khambula. Equally sad to see. Seemingly nothing changes.

AMB
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AMB


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 897
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All,

Further to my last, the link below adds some further on this sad subject.

http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2012/07/19/anglo-zulu-war-graves-looted

AMB
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rich


Joined: 01 May 2008
Posts: 897
Location: Long Island NY USA
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I'm just wondering. Will there come a time when a Natal security firm will have to patrol the Anglo-Zulu war battlefields?.....and I mean all of them.

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Rich
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Ken Gillings


Joined: 23 Apr 2006
Posts: 61
Location: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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Good morning.
Several members of the Forum have contacted me and asked if they can contribute towards the restoration of the Memorial. Amafa / Heritage KwaZulu-Natal have indicated that they would appreciate such a gesture and any excess may go towards a reward for the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the desecration of the monument. The Gunners' Association will act as the conduit, pkf the Chairman of the Durban Branch, Lt Col Richard Lovell Greene, who has offered the use of his Company Trust Account.
The details are: Chapman Dyer Inc, First National Bank Durban Main Branch, Account Number 50850621431, code 221426.
Please specify PRINCE IMPERIAL and your surname. Please e-mail me the details with your name so I can forward them to James van Vuuren of Amafa / Heritage KZN who has undertaken to acknowledge receipt. My e-mail address is [email protected]
Regards, Ken

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Ken Gillings
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Desecration of the Prince Imperial Memorial
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