Natal Midlands Breaking News


Our October meeting was a member participation event. Members were asked to give a short (2 minute) talk on some aspect of their research. What a surprise at the wealth of interesting information that was revealed. Richard Lister spoke about his ancestor Lister; who was a surgeon in England; who developed carbolic acid as a medical disinfectant. This led to Rodney Coyne, a pharmacist, telling us a bit more about the product and how in this modern age it has Joseph Listerbeen removed from soaps. Rodney then went on to mention a female ancestor who was one of the French Emperors mistresses. His favourite he claimed. This then led to discussion on people in Pietermaritzburg of French descent. Vanessa Ford also spoke about her French connection which is recorded in the book “A Memoir of Letters”.
A memoir of letters Penelope ForestAnd so the stories continued with Peter Payne telling us about a well known Catholic family where the son who was studying for priesthood suddenly converted to Judaism. This naturally caused great consternation in the family.
Peter Kirkman then told of his search for a particular book and painting that was purported to be in the extended family and how after very many years he managed to obtain both which by then were of no interest to their current owners and the book was in a box to be sent to the dump.
The evening reminded us once again of the importance of this sort of information being recorded for future generations and also gave us ideas for future speakers.

John Deare for The Natal Midlands Branch

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Theft of Grave Markers and other metal from the Fort Napier Military Cemetery

Theft of Grave Markers and other metal from the Fort Napier Military Cemetery in Pietermaritzburg!


In the first week in September Sgt. Maj. Izobel Gerhard of Natal Carbineers was contacted by Multi Metals so inform her that a metal grave marker had been found. She identified it as being from Fort Napier Military cemetery and was able to trace the ‘occupier' from our database.


John Deare then contacted Steve Watt and suggested he check as there were bound to be more missing.

On this week Wednesday night, Mr. Pillay who works for correctional services heard noises in the cemetery and phoned the police. Unfortunately they took a while to get there and the culprits disappeared but they did recover a bakkie load of metal.


This Saturday Steve Watt and a representative from the War Graves Commission repaired some of the damage.


Multi Metals have circulated photographs of the metal fittings stolen to scrap-metal dealers .

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