Port Elizabeth of Yore: Woodridge School: Its Connection with the Schleswig Holstein

During January 1938, the pre-WW1 German ex-battleship, now training ship, paid a visit to Port Elizabeth. The young German cadets were invited to attend a party Woodridge School. In retrospect that innocent invitation ultimately became an embarrassment to the school for reasons soon to be revealed. One year and nine months later on the 1st September 1939, this self-same ship would fire the very first shots of WW2.    

Main picture: The cadets from the Schleswig Holstein display the swastika emblem over the balcony at the Woodridge school

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A Haunting Reminder of the Horrors of WW1

The horrors of WW1 are unspeakable. Knowing that their chances of survival were minuscule once “going over the top”, unhinged many a Tommy. Even those who were terror stricken, had to face another enemy apart from their warped minds, a tribunal for desertion or failing to obey an order if they failed to display an appropriate martial ardour.

Such were the terrors of an inhumane war. To commemorate this suffering, Martin Galbavy has created a “tin” statue as a tribute to the soldier’s bravery, their torment & the suppression of their demons.

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Echoes of a Far-off War

June 28, 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.  The Serbian assassin, Gavrilo Princip, fired the first shot in what was to become a horrific four-year long bloodbath. Unbeknownst to the inhabitants of a peaceful settler town on the coast of Algoa Bay, that shot would ultimately reverberate within its military barracks, its churches and its homes.

One hundred years after the start of the Great War, none of the participants remains alive, Harry Patch being the last to pass away. Nevertheless, we are periodically reminded of the valiant but ultimately futile exercise by the aging relics, fading photographs, scarred landscapes being reclaimed by nature, and memorials and graveyards across the globe.  

This blog is in memory of a few of those sons, fathers, brothers and friends from Port Elizabeth who paid the ultimate price for that assassin’s bullet.

Main picture: Soldiers of an Australian 4th Division field artillery brigade walk on a duckboard track laid across a muddy, shattered battlefield in Chateau Wood, near Hooge, Belgium, on October 29, 1917. This was during the Battle of Passchendaele, fought by British forces and their allies against Germany for control of territory near Ypres, Belgium. (James Francis Hurley/State Library of New South Wales)

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The Village – Series 1 – Authentic portrayal of Life in an English Village circa 1913-1920

Rating: 5 out of 5

Undoubtedly a grim tale told through the eyes of a young Bert Middleton. Life was dismal, wretched & tough for all in a down-at-heel village where nobody seems to smile. Powerful performances of John Middleton, a tormented alcoholic father struggling to make a living on a stony patch of land are buttressed by his wife, Grace, the ballast in the turbulent mix.

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