Friday, July 1, 2016

Battle of the Somme Centenary: Lest We Forget

July 1916: the opening phase of the Battle of the Somme. British troops in a communication trench before an attack.

HQ Company 8th East Lancashire Regiment at Whizz-Bang Corner,
Fonquevilliers, 1915
A staggering 22,000 men lost their lives on the first day of the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916.
The largest battle of the First World War would continue until November, with Allied and German forces locked in a bloody, muddy stalemate as the daily death toll rose.
It would go on to become the bloodiest battle in history, with more than a million soldiers wounded or killed.
Britain alone lost 794,238 troops.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bell, Capt William Douglas, Port Captain of Natal

Captain William Bell with his telescope.
Note the absence of epaulettes on his coat in this photo.
Probably taken ca 1860.

Bell's Dolland telescope showing maker's mark and 'Day or Night' engraved on the side.
(photograph by Caz Collins, a Bell descendant)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Bluff Lighthouse, Durban, Bell group and keepers' cottage

Bluff Lighthouse, Durban.

Bell Group outside lighthousekeepers' cottage, Bluff.
More about this early photograph, the people in it and the date
coming soon.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Port Office, the Point, Durban

Port Office, the Point Beach, Durban ca 1870

It doesn't look a hive of activity but the Port Office was central to all Harbour activities, reports being kept of all vessels entering or departing, or using the slipway; masters of ships came to see the Port Captain here, etc. (Captain William Bell died in 1869.)

Natal Almanac 1897

Monday, June 20, 2016

Signalman's Quarters, Bluff, Durban ca 1900

The uniformed signalman is stepping down the ladder, presumably about to ride his horse into town - his assistant is holding the animal in readiness - no jumping into a car in those days. The signal equipment is centre pic but extends beyond the dimensions of this photograph. The roof of the building is iron and it has wooden walls. This would have been office and living quarters.

Durban Maritime Museum

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Umhlanga Lighthouse 18 June 2016

Photo by Euan Dixon-Smith

Umhlanga (Place of Reeds) boasts a beautiful stretch of beach,
 luxury hotels and a lighthouse painted in red and white is its main landmark.
Fully automated now, this concrete tower has a light range of 24 sea miles.

It has never had a lightkeeper residing within the tower or in keeper's quarters;
a warden lives nearby at the Oyster Box Hotel.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Waratah Revisited: why did lighthouse keepers at Cape Hermes not see the Waratah?

The latest in Andrew Van Rensburg's brilliant series of posts on the convoluted mystery of SS Waratah's disappearance in July 1909.

Cape Hermes Lighthouse