No matter how big or small the town in South Africa, you are very likely to find a war memorial of some sort somewhere in or close to it. As you come into the Karoo Heartland town of Somerset East from the Graaff Reinet side the town’s war memorial stands on an island on the left-hand side. The War Memorial commemorates the men of Somerset East and the surrounding district who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars. Officially it seems that the memorial is called the Delville Wood Memorial but I haven’t been able to find any reference to Delville Wood regarding the memorial online.
The monument was designed and constructed by Crankshaw Brothers of King William’s Town and is made up of a tapered granite pylon on a square base set. On the eastern side is a longsword with its blade down and the head of a springbuck…
…along with the names of the fallen from 1914-1918.
On the west side, a plaque records the names from 1939 -1945 …
… while a granite plaque was subsequently added to the north face of the memorial recording the names of two men who lost their lives on the SS Mendi and five who died in East Africa.
On the south side is another plaque with names of men from the town who died in South Africa and then South West Africa.
Somerset East is a town with so much history dating back to the early 1800s. Some people like my son though are really into war history and will go out of their way to find war memorials like this when traveling. Here’s hoping I will continue to find them to share with you.