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The Boer War Volunteer Ambulance Corps Memorial

Sunday 22nd May 2016

For several years this important memorial had been very neglected. It once had a wonderful ‘Obelisk’ which had become extremely unstable and for safety reasons had been removed to a corner of the Cemetery where it had lain for many years. However, due to a very generous anonymous donation last year from a FoSOC member restoration work was carried out by Alstone Stonemasons and the Obelisk put back in its rightful position. Then, much to Barney, our mascot’s surprise during an extremely warm day two weeks ago, Billy, our Chairman started digging a large hole right next to it aided and abetted by our Treasurer, Terry Pook! However, there was no cause for concern as they were simply installing a beautifully made oak post crafted by Terry bearing a lovely brass plague. It was of course perfectly positioned, level and true and last Sunday, the ex-Mayor of Southampton, Linda Norris was invited to unveil it. Unfortunately the Inscriptions on the base of the memorial have eroded very badly and are virtually illegible but our website manager, Bruce, has managed to source and purchase a rather unique original photograph which he has now donated to FoSOC. It was taken shortly before these plucky volunteers sailed from Southampton to South Africa on 3rd Jan 1900 aboard the SS Kildonan Castle. The story was first reported in a supplement to 'The Illustrated London News’ on 13th Jan 1900 and the picture portrays the majority of the brave souls who gallantly risked and lost their lives to help the injured soldiers returning from the battlefields, the officer in charge, Dr Lauder and The Mayor, Lieutenant-Colonel Sir George Alfred Ernest Hussey who recruited them and who’s grave is also located in the Old Cemetery. Pictures and the history of the SS Kildonan Castle can be seen by copying this address into your browser.