Dundee Courier

Dundee cenotaph to mark centenary of its unveiling

On Sunday, August 27, the actual memorial ceremony will be held at the cenotaph with wreath laying followed by snacks and drinks at the Shellhole. 

August will mark the centenary of the unveiling of the impressive Dundee cenotaph that occupies a prime spot in front of the municipality.

A bumper programme is being planned by the Moths to mark the event in the hope of attracting tourists to the area.

The Armistice to end the First World War, the “war to end all wars”, was signed at 11 minutes past 11 o’clock on the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918. According to the Dundee and District Courier –

 

“In August 1919, Mayor  John Mckenzie rallied the town to celebrate the signing of the Peace Treaty following the Armistice that ended World War 1. The town planned a grand programme of entertainment lasting a week. This included a gigantic picnic and sports for the children of the district, thanksgiving services at all churches, five-a-side tournaments, a mask and domino ball at the Masonic Hall and a grand vocal and instrumental concert featuring the Dundee Peace Celebrations Choral Society”.

 

The Dundee, District and Mines cenotaph to commemorate those men (and one woman) who paid the supreme sacrifice was officially handed over on August 23, 1923.

“The Dundee Cenotaph owes its existence to the generosity of the citizens of Dundee, and the persistence of James Mackenzie, who was Mayor of Dundee from 1918 – 1920, 1928 – 1930 and again in 1941,” said Moths Old Bill, Pat Rundgren.

“It was erected by Messrs. Crankshaw in Newcastle. The statue is carved from white Italian Carrara marble, with a base of local sandstone. The cost of 1200 Pounds was raised by public subscription, which was a great deal of money at the time.

 

All those who laid wreathes gather in front of the cenotaph

“Over 70 wreaths were laid. One was even dropped by aeroplane, which missed its’ target by 50 yards and fell in the school grounds next door (now the Education Department offices).”

 

The Cenotaph was refurbished in 2008, made possible by the efforts of many Dundee citizens. Stuart Clarke, a former Dundee resident who now lives in California, was responsible for raising a large amount of the cash needed to do the job. Morgan Govender was the contractor while Tourism Dundee and Endumeni Municipality were also instrumental in making the project a success, particularly Peter Jones of the Dundee Diehards re-eanctment group.

 

“In 2016 the Cenotaph was “upgraded” mainly through the efforts of Tourism Dundee (Norman Parkinson) and Talana Museum (Pam McFadden). The cannon was renovated by Posselt Lourens, and latterly again by Buffalo Coal (Bob Bentley) when an errant motorist attempted to take a short cut to the Municipal buildings through the palisade fencing. “Only last year, yet another motorist attempted the same deed, and the fencing had to be repaired once again, this time through the generosity of HENCO and Talana Museum.”

 

The Moths have planned a bumper programme to mark the centenary weekend. This kicks off on Friday, August 25, at the Moth Shellhole with an evening meal and watching the legendary film “Zulu”

On Sunday, August 27, the actual memorial ceremony will be held at the cenotaph with wreath laying followed by snacks and drinks at the Shellhole.

For more information please contact Patricia Zoya at the Tourism Dundee offices (071-1757399) or by contacting info@tourdundee.co.za or  Pat Rundgren 072 803 2885.

 

 

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