It was in March 2016 that I wrote about the role of horses in the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) and I have been taken aback by the number of times that particular post has been read since then.
To refresh your memory, or if this is your first visit on the subject, I quote from that entry:
Only three years after the end of the Anglo-Boer War, the first Horse Memorial was unveiled in Port Elizabeth on 11th February 1905 to commemorate the horses which had suffered and died during that war. The inscription on the base reads:
THE GREATNESS OF A NATION
CONSISTS NOT SO MUCH IN THE NUMBER OF ITS PEOPLE
OR THE EXTENT OF ITS TERRITORY
AS IN THE EXTENT AND JUSTICE OF ITS COMPASSION
ERECTED BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION
IN RECOGNITION OF THE SERVICES OF THE GALLANT ANIMALS
WHICH PERISHED IN THE ANGLO BOER WAR 1899-1902
I mentioned then that the purpose of the memorial seemed to have been missed by the group of people – supposedly members of the EFF – who vandalised the memorial on 6th April 2015 by toppling the kneeling soldier in front of the horse, who is offering it water from a bucket.
Near the end of last year I had the opportunity to visit the Horse Memorial after students from the Art Department at the Nelson Mandela University had restored it. By being able to look at it closely – instead of driving past it in the flow of traffic – I was struck by the attention to detail of the memorial and wish to share these with you.
The leather satchel at the rear of the saddle would typically have been used for keeping spare horse shoes.
The blade of this sword has been missing for a number of years.
At the time it was erected, the Horse Memorial included a trough that was filled with water for horses to drink from. That need fell away with the widespread use of motor vehicles. The memorial has since been moved to what is now a traffic island and the trough has been filled in.