During the South African War (1899-1902) most of the horses to be used by the British troops had to be shipped out from England to South Africa. The Port Elizabeth harbour became one of the main ports of entry for both troops and their horses.
Most of the 400,000 horses used during the war were shipped from England. The offloading of horses from the ships was done by means of a crane. The horses had to be hoisted from the ship onto a barge which ferried the cargo to the dockside and then the horses were again hoisted up to the dockside!
The Horse Memorial was unveiled in 1905 on the corner of Rink Street and Park Drive. People had been particularly aware of the horses, of their bravery and uncomplaining suffering. The memorial was moved to the bottom of Cape Road in 1957. It was declared a national monument in 1983 and restored by Anton Momberg in 1993.
Because of repeated vandalism, iron railing was put around it in 1994.
The inscription on the granite statue reads, “The greatness of a nation consists not so much in the number of its people or in the extent of its territory as in the extent and justice of its compassion.”
Text: R Hift / M Harradine Photographs: Bob Binnell
The first shipment of South African gold left Algoa Bay in 1874.
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3 October 2012 7:51