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German Settler Memorial
King William's Town, Eastern Cape

Ivan VINCENT: Architect



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32°52'23.87" S 27°23'18.38" E

This commemorates the arrival of the British German Legion Settlers of 1857 and the German (civilian) Settlers of 1858/59. It was unveiled on 26th November, 1966 by Mr. P.J. Rupert, a brother of Dr. Anton Rupert, (who was unable to perform the unveiling himself). Their grandfather was Johann Ruppert (one "p" has been dropped) of the British German Legion.

The pillar feature represents the Brandenburg Gate, a feature of Berlin, Germany. Berlin was at one time a walled city. Those of its nineteen gates which still remain have only an historical or architectural interest. The most important of these is the Brandenburg Gate which is an imitation of the Propylaea at Athens. It is 201 feet (61.3m) broad and nearly 65 feet (19.8m) high and is supported by 12 Doric columns each 44 feet (13.4m) in height. There are two lateral colonnades, each supported by 16 columns. Brandenburg was a province of Prussia.

The water represents the sea and the names of the ships which brought the immigrants out are inscribed around the pond. Those on the south side are the ships which brought out the Legion and those on the north side are those which brought out the Settlers. On the west wall behind the "Brandenburg Gate" are listed the settlements to which the immigrants were sent.

(Provided by the Amathole Museum – Stephanie Victor, submitted by William MARTINSON)

The British German Legion (or Anglo-German Legion) was a group of German soldiers recruited to fight for Britain in the Crimean War. It is not to be confused with the King's German Legion, which was active during the Napoleonic Wars.

The leader of the legion was Major-General Richard Charles von Stutterheim (Baron Richard Carl Gustav Ludwig Wilhelm Julius von Stutterheim). In 1856, members of the legion were billeted at Barrack field in Colchester Garrison, where many married local women.

It was disbanded near the end of 1856, having seen little or no military action due to the war having ended. Facing difficulties in repatriation by having served a foreign country, the majority of members of the legion were resettled in the Eastern Cape Colony, in South Africa. As a result, to this day there are place names of German origin in the area around King William's Town, including the town of Stutterheim.


A Drift Stone

From a newspaper article provided by the Amathole Museum – Stephanie Victor.

The Drift Stone ("findlings block") is typical of the stones which were carried down from Scandinavia during the Ice Age some twenty thousand years ago. The stones were embedded in the ice and as the glaciers melted they were left here and there in North Germany. The stone pictured above on its plinth of local granite was the gift of the German Government which shipped it out to South Africa and saw to its delivery in King William's Town. These stones occur in the area approximately corresponding with that from which the majority of the German. Settlers came.

It is fitting that a small piece from their fore-fathers' homeland should form a part of the memorial which symbolises the sterling character of people who were settled in what was, at the time, the undeveloped area of British Kaffraria.

(submitted by William MARTINSON)