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Here Rests A Brave British Soldier
Mark Hobson


Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 105
Location: Halifax
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On a recent trip out to the battlefields I couldn't help but notice the neglected state of some of the cemetery's that contain the remains of British soldiers who died during the war, either from injuries or disease.
The most obvious one was the cemetery at Fort Eshowe, which was badly overgrown and with many inscriptions indeciperable either due to rust or neglect - we managed, after a fair amount of searching, to locate Midshipman Coker's grave which proved almost impossible to read. Another cemetery which has a very run-down appearance was at Helpmekaar, which is difficult to find and even more difficult to get to due to barbed-wire fences, undergrowth, and fields of wild horses to navigate. Worth the effort but it was still a shame that access is difficult and with no signposts (unless we missed them). Also, the small cemetery at Rorke's Drift - the one across the river, not the one at the mission which is very neat and tidy - was also very overgrown, hidden in a copse of trees, and again difficult to locate. I could go on...

I understand that their remote location and lack of funds contributes to the problem, but it seems a crying shame that these mens final resting place, buried in the red soil of Zululand, is so run-down and poorly maintained.

I wondered if any efforts are made on a regular basis to maintain their upkeep. Surely they deserve better than this?

Mark Hobson
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clive dickens


Joined: 17 Sep 2005
Posts: 162
Location: REDDITCH WORCESTERSHIRE
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Sad
Mark
I went to the British cemetery in Mafeking last time I was out there and that was in an awful mess too. It seems to me that it is a great pity that these graves of British soldiers who went out to fight for their country cannot be maintained better than this.
I also went to Cheively cemetery and I cleaned up the grave of Freddie Roberts VC myself.
Clive
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Andrew Bush


Joined: 03 Sep 2005
Posts: 66
Location: Melbourne Australia
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Mark,

I have just returned from Zululand, and I also visited Helpmekaar. The guide I was with Paul Lamberth from Rorke's Drift Lodge will be contacting the Police Station in front of the grave yard to try and get them to maintain it as some of the dead there as you know are from the Natal Mounted Police who are know part of of the SA police.

Fort Pearson has been restored with an Orientation centre and a Diorama.


Regards,

Andrew Bush

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Andrew
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Mark Hobson


Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 105
Location: Halifax
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Clive & Andrew

Thanks both for your thoughts. It's good to hear that something constructive might be done at Helpmekaar. A few years ago we did a combined Zulu War/ Boer War battlefield tour, escorted by the one and only Paul Naish (my head still hurts from the castle lagers we consumed!) and one thing I did notice was that the graves of men killed in the Boer War were much better kept than those who died in the Zulu War, especially the Boer graves - which is understandable I guess.

Perhaps all it will take is for each visitor who travels to the battlefields and graveyards to perhaps do a quick tidy-up job as Clive did, as and when it is needed - a bit of weeding, or a sorting out of the stones surrounding the graves, that kind of thing. Nothing major, just 5 minutes of a thing, and it might make a little bit of difference.

Mark Hobson
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Here Rests A Brave British Soldier
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