Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Volunteer Military Units – The Initial Iterations

The initial impetus to establish some form of volunteer military force in Port Elizabeth arose due to the perpetual threat posed by the warring Xhosa tribes.

To augment the British forces stationed in the Cape, especially in times of crisis, the British established volunteer military units throughout the Cape Colony. In the beginning they were typically of short duration to meet a specific threat posed to the colonists but later these temporary units would be replaced with units of a more permanent nature.

This blog will cover all such volunteer forces and units until the first disbandment of Prince Alfred Guards in 1860.

Main picture: February 1835 – Arrival of Harries’ Troop from Palos Kraal with WM Harries in the centre

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Visit by Sir George Grey in October 1858

Visits by dignitaries to Port Elizabeth were always an occasion for celebration and revelry. So, it was with the whistle-stop visit to Port Elizabeth on the 21st October 1858 when the whole town was invited to attend a welcoming parade.

Many of the issues raised during this visit are still of interest today either due their being topical or their casting a light on distant practices. But at the risk of overstatement, the original verbatim reports are somewhat jarring for the reader today, as the level of sycophancy displayed when the residents address the Governor, is cringeworthy.

Main picture: Painting of Sir George Grey by Daniel Louis Mundy in the 1860s

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