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Remembering names — 7 Comments

  1. Sadly there’s definitely no equality in death when it comes to the recording of the names. What sticks in my mind are the contrasts. For instance, I can visit the grand and sombre memorials to the fallen officers and administrators from Britain’s distant colonial conquests. They’re there for me to see in nearby churches. But given the disparity in firepower, who could hope to record the names on the other side?
    That was what was in my mind as I read the inscription on the Shangani River Memorial in Zimbabwe. It’s in the Matobo hills south of Bulawayo, near where Rhodes is buried. A patrol of 34 soldiers, the Shangani River patrol, was sent out to capture the Ndebele king Lobengula over a misunderstanding. The patrol was wiped out, after what their adversaries acknowledged was a brave fight. No names are carved in stone however, for the more than 400 locals killed by the Shangani River Patrol.
    I suppose the renaming or streets and buildings post independence is partly a reaction to this sort of thing. (Finding your way around is another matter.)

  2. The most depressing thing I read about inequality in death was that soldiers’ families were only allowed 66 characters, including spaces, free of charge on the gravestones and had to pay thereafter. Many poor families in the years after the First World War could not have afforded any additional inscriptions.

  3. Interesting, am doing short history of Kill of the Grange parish church where there is a memorial plaque to Richard Fielding Morrison and his younger brother who also died in 1914-1918 war……

  4. Commemoration in more than one church was not unusual. My wife had the war memorials for the former Saint George’s Church as well as those for Saint Thomas’ Church in the present Saints George & Thomas Church – some names appear on both memorials.

  5. Many thanks, I think the answer may be that the memorial in Kill gives info that put up by the parents to their two sons, while the one in St Matthias appears to be put up by his wife. Clearly I need to visit and see for myself, but fear that will only lead to more amblings along a winding research path – interesting but time consuming……………………..

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