Thames South African War memorial

Thames South African War memorial

Thames South African War memorial

Thames South African War memorial c1910 (top image) and c1986.

On 18 December 1902 Thames unveiled a memorial ‘To those who fell and in honour of those who served’ in ‘The Empire’s Hour of Need’ in South Africa. It was sited beside the town’s main thoroughfare, Pollen St, facing out towards Grahamstown and the Hauraki Gulf beyond.

The tall, thin stone obelisk with fountain and ornamental bowl sat on a stepped base of Malmesbury bluestone. It featured Sicilian marble panels carved with the arms and emblems of England, Scotland and Ireland, and the ensign and shield of New Zealand. The memorial displayed the name and country of origin of the fallen: Gunner Fred W.D. Forbes of the 5th New Zealand Contingent, Trooper William Donkin of the 7th New Zealand Contingent, and Trooper Robert Farquhar of H Squad, Brabant’s Horse.

It was unveiled by Councillor J.W. Poulgrain before a large crowd that included the Minister of Mines and of Justice, James McGowan, volunteer soldiers, returned troopers, veterans, school cadets, and military and civilian bandsmen, who also performed.

The memorial was later moved to Victoria Park, where it still stands.

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Russell Skeet

Posted: 24 Jul 2008

I think the image of the South African War Memorial is incorrectly titled. I believe that the image shows the memorial in it's original location on the corner of Mary Street (that runs approx east/west - or left right in the image) and Pollen Street (that runs north / south.) In the image the viewer is looking down down Pollen Street and the large two storey building in the left mddle distance is the Hotel Imperial. The Methodist Church was moved several time ending up on the corner of Sealey and Mackay Street across the road from the Thames High School.