Albany Anglo-Boer War Memorial
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The Albany Anglo-Boer War Memorial is located at the central crossing of the intersection of High Street with the northern end of Bathurst Street and in close proximity to the Commemoration Methodist Church.
The memorial was unveiled by the Governor, Sir Walter Hely-Hutchinson, and paid for by "money provided by free will offerings of the citizens and of the members of the various Corps, to the honour of whose dead comrades the memorial is erected." A significant gathering of people attended the unveiling ceremony.
In the Grahamstown Journal of 10 March 1906, in which a detailed account of the festivities which took place at the unveiling of the memorial appeared, it was referred to as the 'Memorial to the fallen men of Albany and Grahamstown.' However it is also sometimes referred to as the Anglo-Boer War Memorial.
The memorial is beautifully crafted in a fine grained, light cream marble. It is mounted on a base comprising a set of broad, well proportioned steps in a square layout, with a segmentally curved projecting bay on each of the treads on the east and west sides. The bottom step was constructed in plastered concrete with the two upper steps in marble. The bottom step was originally provided with a set of solid square metal uprights - which presumably once supported a heavy chain or set of horizontal rails to form a low perimeter 'fence' around the memorial. These metal uprights have since been removed but the 'memory' of their original positions is still visible at intervals.
The steps are surmounted with a low square marble pedestal with battered sides and a sloping upper face with moulded projecting perimeter edge. This in turn is surmounted by a smaller low square marble plinth - again with a moulded upper edge and is in turn surmounted by a truncated marble obelisk, capped with a fine classical mouldings around the upper edge. The obelisk in turn supports a fine bronze statue of a Winged figure of Peace standing over a dead soldier.
The north and south faces of the plinth of the central memorial each has a rectangular decorative cast bronze sculpted panel let into the surface of the marble. The sculpted bronze panel on the north face of the memorial depicts a mounted man taking leave of his farm, staff and animals. The panel on the south face depicts the men in action in a mounted attack on a Boer defensive position. The south face of the obelisk has a coat of arms, a large bunch of flowers and a wreath - all of which are carefully composed in a bronze casting.
The sculptor of these four fine bronze art works was Stanley Nicholson BABB (1874-1957) of England. Other public works by Babb are the Scott Memorial in St Paul's Cathedral and figures of Gainsborough and Romney at the Victoria and Albert Museum. (Ref: Times, London, 23 September 1957, p. 14)
A short inscription - in v-cut letters with lead inserts - records the main dedication on the memorial - on the south face of the obelisk just above the coat of arms. This dedication reads:
The memorial is further enhanced with a listing of the fallen men. The names and the details of the units they served in are recorded on the remain three faces of the memorial. The North face of the obelisk records the roll of honour of the Men of the Albany district who died serving in the following units:
The West face of the obelisk records the roll of honour of the Men of the Albany district who died serving with the following units:
The East face of the obelisk records the roll of honour of the Men of the Albany district who died serving the following units:
FIRST CITY VOLUNTEERS
Rudyard Kipling especially composed the poetic inscription recorded on the south face of the pedestal. Also inscribed in v-cut lead letters and badly vandalised - it is however still legible:
An additional inscription was let into the east side of the pedestal at a later date - in matching lead letters - which inscription reads as follows:
Reference: Grahamstown Journal, 10 March 1906.
Base information provided by Liz de Wet of the Cory Library, Rhodes University and edited, adapted and extended and wordings transcribed by William MARTINSON, October 2019.