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brian conyngham

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Everything posted by brian conyngham

  1. What started out as a "sub theme" in my medal collecting, has turned out to be one of my main collecting areas. I find these groups interesting to say the least, as it can be said that they were "definately there"! Hardships being the order of the day, many losing their lives trying to escape and others dying due to sickness and being employed by the Axis to carry out forced labour in salt mines etc. Towards the end of the War many of these weakened soldiers were forced to partake in forced marches, known as "Death Marches" to escape the advancing Russians. Winter conditions, lack of food and even trigger happy Allied fighter pilots took there toll and many never made it. I will attempt to post at least one or two groups a week, sadly due to lack of time for my hobby of late I cannot to post daily. Hope you all will enjoy the posts? Regards Brian
  2. I found this rather unusual veterans medal last year, has anyone seen another. It was manufactured in Berlin, not sure who was the manufacturer. Maltahohe was a very small town in GSWA. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maltah%C3%B6he
  3. Jon that is an interesting story, yes have heard of it but not sure who was involved. Any idea where the medals are? Resize the pictures and try and post.
  4. Hi Rob Thanks, yes and ongoing albeit with brakes on, now have over 50 POW groups but still need to do lots of write-ups. My spare time has diminished of late but will get back into the groove when the pressure lifts. I also had a family member of one of the groups I posted contact me as the GMIC is an "open forum", people Googling a name can get a hit off this site, the chap became quite offensive and despite me having correct dates with paperwork he maintained I had wrong info....sadly another reason I stopped posting here. I got the feeling they wanted the group despite me paying for it legitimately, it appeared to me that they felt as a family they were entitled to it. He had just been a great uncle, so far removed from immediate family! Brian
  5. John You have outdone yourself...what a pleasure catching up on all your new groups. I have taken a bit of a sabatical on collecting but with that said I have when the occasion has arisen acquired the odd one or two POW groups, including a SA Airforce Spitfire pilot shot down in Northern Italy and the RSM of the UMR......being two of them. Regards Brian
  6. Hi Rob This sounds like a Blue on Blue event. Many of these columns were straffed by trigger happy Allied airmen unfortunately. Being companions for so long it would have been likely that they were together when bombed or straffed. From all the reports I have read very few prisoners were shot while attempting to escape, One of the accounts I read was that one group were caught and after all the other prisoners had passed shots were fired into the air...however no killing took place and the same group later joined their mates a few days later. It was a scare tactic. Most of the guards were old soldiers and not of the fanatic SS Types. However saying that there were no doubt cases of shootings, especially if it was found the prisoners were abusing civilians along the routes. Hope this helps.
  7. Glad to have been of help. They do occasionally come up for sale (always incorrectly identified) but yes not that common. Often seen without ribbons, which is a problem. Regards to all for 2015. Regards Brian
  8. Here is part of the Cropped document outlining the issue. Regards Brian
  9. Hi John You really have had a fantastic year, well done! Regards Brian
  10. Hi Guys There is a huge misunderstanding about this medal. The CORRECT name for this small medal is the Womans War Badge. Issued by the DRC to related females of sevice personal who came from Number 5 Military District (Natal). Purple ribbon for those who had died, Red White and Blue for those who were wounded and still serving. They were issued with two versions of certificates. More about this medal in a book I am hoping to bring out within a year. Regards Brian
  11. Tom sorry I do not have any personal documents. Brian
  12. John Some great additions...well done on the RAF group, never seen one for sale out here. I have a few bomber groups but no POW's Brian
  13. John Great new additions, great write-ups. I have a copy of of the book "Flywheel" (Stalag 4B) published in the 80's to raise funds for the Red Cross. The artwork is amazing considering the conditions these were produced under. Regards Brian
  14. John Guy and Crooks are realy fine additions to your ever growing POW collection.....I think your Topic Heading needs to be renamed Paper work is what it is all about especially with WW2 British groups. So many British soldier POW's were "short changed" regards medals, so it is nice to see POW groups with F&G medals/clasps and Italy Stars, well done and thanks again for posting these well researched groups, always a pleasure to visit your page. Regards Brian
  15. US PoW Medals

    John Very nice article and I echo Bretts comment...thanks for sharing. I only have 2 American awards a named DFC to a SA Chap that flew with the poms in WW2 with the Air Sea Rescue in the Med. And a single Purple Heart, un-named sadly I believe it is a Korean issue with a medal bar and 3 oak clusters, thats how it came in the box. I have heard that some US medals are named and did see a Silver Star once named up but did not buy as I thought it was nonsense but now kick myself for not buying it! When are US medals named, rumour has it when they are KIA, is this true? Regards Brian
  16. Guys POW Medals to the GSWA campaign are rare from what I can work out, I as a few of you know keep a look out for these and all I have is a single Victory medal to a Pte A C Mack 6th Mounted Rifles, been on the look out for his other medals for around 10 years. Will a great group and thanks for posting! Brian
  17. Rescued and restored!

    Congrats for a job well done! Brian
  18. John Thanks for the comments and link, very interesting to say the least. Yes, I was very chuffed to acquire that group. Being a medic it would appear he stayed behind in Benghazi to look after the sick POWs, he must have seen some sights! I am away for a few days and will get back to posting when I return. Have a great weekend Brian
  19. Donald Munro Semple Private, 2nd Battalion, Royal Durban Light Infantry (R.D.L.I) - 1939/45 Star - Africa Star - War Medal - Africa Service Medal Semple was born in Durban, Natal on 7 June 1910. Not long after the outbreak of war in South Africa on 6 September 1939 many thousands of Colonial men swearing allegiance to the Empire were ready to take up arms on her behalf. Semple was such a man. According to records held in the South African National Defence Force Archives, in June 1940, Semple was a Bricklayer by trade employed by the Durban Corporation. He was 30 years old and married to Margaret Ethel Semple. The couple had one child aged 2 months. He stood 5 feet 5 inches tall and had grey eyes, a fair complexion and dark hair. He weighed 123 pounds. By religious affiliation he was Presbyterian. His wife, as next of kin, lived at 344A Umbilo Road, Durban. An alternate address was provided as 25 Burmans Lane, Durban. Semple claimed to have seen service with the R.D.L.I. from 1929 to 1933. He had a tattoo on his right arm by way of distinctive marks. On 19 June 1940 he attested at Durban for the duration of the war, as a Private, with number 7222, with the Support Company of the 2nd Royal Durban Light Infantry. Some five days later on 24 June 1940 Semple was posted to the Support Company of the 2nd Royal Durban Light Infantry at Pietermaritzburg. For a short while he was was moved to the 38th Railway Construction Company of the S.A.E.C. at Premier Mine reporting to the Engineering Training Centre there but it was determined that he was not to be an Artisan and he was moved back to the 2nd R.D.L.I. without further ado. Camp life proved boring to Semple as on 24 November 1940, whilst undergoing training at Oribi Camp outside Pietermaritzburg, he contravened Sec. 19 of the M.D.C. and was sentenced to 7 days Confinement to Barracks. Lt Lang and Lance Corporal Miller were the witnesses. Not long after he was in trouble again being sentenced on 1 December 1940 to another period of 7 days Confinement to Barracks for the same offence. On this occasion Sgt.’s Doble and Lonsdale with Pte. Buchanan were witnesses. On 29 January 1941 Semple was transferred, temporarily, to the 3rd Natal Scottish. His troubles were still not over as he was found guilty on 12 April 1942 of contravening Section 15 (1) of the M.D.C. (Absent without leave) for a period of 2 days whilst at Zonderwater outside Pretoria. Captain Nicholson was the witness. Semple was sentenced to 4 days C.B. and had to forfeit 2 days pay. He was saved the trouble of any further indiscretions by getting the order to embark at Durban for the Middle East per S.S. “Llandoff Castle” with the 2nd R.D.L.I. on 20 July 1941. Disembarking at Suez with the Supply Company, R.D.L.I. on 12 August 1941 Semple was now firmly on the operational zone he had been training for. On 19 June 1942, on the eve of the fall of Tobruk, the 2nd Battalion R.D.L.I. held from point S. 25 north of the Derna Gap, along the western perimeter to S.7, around Carrier Hill and back. They were headquartered at Fig Tree some 15 miles outside of the town which became the rallying point for resistance prior to the fall of Tobruk. They were destined to not even put up a fight. With the break of dawn on 20 June 1942 Semple was Missing believed Prisoner of War (2nd R.D.L.I.) – U.D.F/ Ech. 909. He, along with the entire 2nd Battalion of the R.D.L.I. and thousands of other South African troops was “in the bag” at Tobruk. General Klopper, hopelessly outnumbered and almost completely encircled had ordered the Brigade’s surrender in order to minimize casualties. The Germans already had control of the town and the harbour areas. Semple is confirmed as a Prisoner of War on 31 August 1942 Having been taken POW in North Africa and moved over to Italy, Semple was recorded as being detained at Campo 82 at Laterina a camp of about 5 000 men. Lice and dysentery were rife and the constant snow turned into slush and contributed to the muddiness of the place. There was only one tap to serve the thousands there. According to the General Questionnaire completed in respect of every P.O.W. during their debriefing, Semple was at Laterina from 6 August 1942 until 17 September 1943. After the Italian capitulation the Germans took over the running of the Campo and, at a later stage the inmates were marched 150 kilometres to a more permanent camp through Bologna en route to Germany. In Germany Semple was detained at PoW Camp IV C - Brux - (Wistritz bei Teplitz) with PoW No. 223810. He was interned here from 6 October 1943 until 20 May 1945 and was put to work in the Coal Mine at Brux from the time he arrived there until liberation. Whilst incarcerated Semple’s next of kin changed her address to 56 A Geranium Street, Rosettenville, Johannesburg on 26 April 1944. After almost three years of captivity in both Italy and Germany Semple was taken on strength of the U.D.F. Repatriation Unit as a released P.O.W. on 24 May 1945. A day later, on 25 May 1945 he arrived in the United Kingdom and was taken off strength of the R.D.L.I. General list. After some two months in England Semple was taken off strength U.D.F. Repatriation Unit on 19 July 1945 and evacuated to the Union disembarking at Cape Town he was taken on strength of the Cape Fortress on 3 August 1945. On 4 August 1945 he was taken off strength Cape Fortress and transferred to C.A.T.D. at Oribi Camp outside Pietermaritzburg where he was taken on strength (2 R.D.L.I.) After a spot of leave he was told to report to C.A.T.D. Oribi and was taken on strength on 5 October 1945 On 4 November 1945 Semple was taken off strength and posted to the Dispersal Depot at Kings Park, Durban.(in absentia) before being taken on strength at the Natal Associated Area on 9 November 1945. Despite being primed for discharge Semple had to wait until 27 January 1946 before being discharged and demobilized from the army. Semple’s Record of Service and Particulars of Discharge Form rates his Character and Conduct as Very Good. He was allowed to claim service of 5 years and 218 days. He received a £ 1.16.9 cash allowance in addition to the £ 30 standard payment most soldiers received as well as bricklaying tools before resuming his occupation as a Bricklayer with the Durban Corporation. He claims to have suffered from partial deafness but whether or not this can be ascribed to his captivity or a battle related event cannot be determined. Donald Munro Semple was awarded the 1939/45 Star; Africa Star; War Medal and the Africa Service Medal. They were dispatched to him on 19 October 1954 to 15 Tilbury Avenue, Rossburgh, Durban.
  20. Irvine Herbert Marwick Corporal, S.A. Army Postal Corps - 1939/45 Star - Africa Star - War Medal - Africa Service Medal Marwick was born in Durban, Natal on 13 May 1913. With the outbreak of war in South Africa on 6 September 1939 he enlisted for service. According to records held in the South African National Defence Force Archives, in July 1940, Marwick was a Postman with the General Post Office by occupation. He was 27 years and 3 months old, married to Elizabeth Petronella Wilhelmina Marwick, had two children aged 8 years and 6 months respectively, stood 5 feet 6 inches tall and had grey eyes, a fair complexion and dark brown hair. He weighed a slender 121 pounds. By religious affiliation he was Roman Catholic. His wife, as next of kin, lived at 90 Manor Drive, Glenwood, Durban. On 4 July 1940 he attested at East London for the duration of the war, as a Private, number 45398, with the South African Postal Corps and was posted as a Private to S.A.A.P.C. at Potchefstroom for training on 8 July 1940. A mere 6 days later, on 14 July 1940, Marwick was taken off strength of the S.A.A.P.C. at Potchefstroom and attached to the Post Office at Premier Mine. After a month he was taken back on strength of S.A.A.P.C. at Potchefstroom from Premier Mine on 11 August 1940. This was followed by two bouts of special leave - from 2 – 9 September and 27 September – 5 October 1940. The last just prior to his embarking at Durban per S.S. “Durham Castle” for East Africa on 14 October 1940. On disembarking at Mombassa on 21 October 1940 Marwick was attached to the 5th S.A. Infantry Brigade. Commenced operations against the Axis Forces in East Africa Marwick is promoted to Acting Sergeant - 3 April 1941. After this spell in East Africa Marwick embarked at Mombassa per “Johan De Witt” for North Africa on 19 April 1941, disembarking at Port Said, Egypt on 3 May 1941. At this point he was detached from 1 Divisional Postal Unit to A.P.O. 17 (5th Brigade H.Q.) with immediate effect. He reverted to the rank of Private on the same day. On 1 August 1941 he was promoted to rank of Corporal with pay and allowances. On 23 November 1941 Marwick was reported “missing” (S.A.A.P.C.) attached to the Headquarters section of the 5th S.A. Brigade, he was in the thick of things at Sidi Rezegh. The following extract provides some context to the battle. 'In 1941, 23 November was the last Sunday of the ecclesiastical year, called officially in England the Sunday next before Advent. In Germany it was Totensonntag, 'Sunday of the Dead', a kind of Lutheran All Souls' Day, and the battle of 23 November became known in Panzergruppe by this forbidding name. “The early winter's night descended rapidly, and all that was left of 5th S.A. Brigade on the field of battle consisted of little groups of bewildered and disconsolate prisoners who huddled together neglected, while German staff officers wrestled to discover what had happened, and dispatch riders bounced backwards and forwards among the wreckage, guided by frequent flares and the light of trucks of burning ammunition.” *Text taken from 'The Sidi Rezegh Battles 1941' by J.A.I. Agar-Hamilton and L.C.F. Turner, published by Oxford University Press, Cape Town, 1957 On 20 January 1942 Marwick’s address changes to c/o H. Kleinhans, Railway Cottages, Post Office Strubenvale, Springs. On 8 April 1942 Marwick is confirmed as a Prisoner of War. He was known to be held at Campo 53 at Macerata, about 175 kilometres north – east of Rome, on 5 March 1942. However, in order to get to the camp on mainland Italy he, and those taken with him at Sidi Rezegh, had to endure unimaginable hardships. An extract from the book Captives Courageous by Maxwell Leigh, Ashanti Publishing, in a chapter entitled Hell camps of North Africa, pages 14 – 16, provides some context, 'Those captured at Sidi Rezegh on 23 November 1941 had to survive the privations of the cages at Benghazi and Tripoli. Many had to survive the Thirst March as well. Having skirted Tobruk on their westward trudge, the Sidi Rezegh veterans were driven at the end into an area surrounded by barbed wire on a barren slope about 40 kilometres west of the seaport. The area had no shade and no shelter. From the camp near Tobruk the prisoners from Sidi Rezegh were transported after three days to Derna in Cyrenaica and then Benghazi, where they were accommodated in Italian barrack – huts, sleeping on ‘tiled floors as cold as an ice floe’. All the prisoners were famished and most were suffering from either constipation or “gyppo guts”. On 8 September 1943 Armistice is declared after the capitulation of the Italian Fascist Government. The sentries on guard at the various Campos disappeared into thin air allowing many South Africans to flee into the open countryside where they either were caught, sheltered by the local peasants or made it through enemy lines to re-unite with the Allies. Many stayed behind obeying the orders of superior officers who were convinced that the Americans were coming. Unfortunately the Germans beat them to it and these POWs’ were transported east to Germany and occupied Poland. Marwick was one of thousands herded eastwards by the Germans. He found himself incarcerated at Stalag IV D at Torgau on the banks of the River Elbe in Germany. He was assigned P.O.W. number 262069. On 1 August 1943 Marwick was promoted to War Substantive Corporal in absentia with seniority from 1/8/1941. On 11 May 1945 he was released in Europe, arriving in the U.K. on 15 May 1945. Shortly afterwards, on 22 May 1945, he was admitted to 109 S.A. Military Hospital being discharged on 25 May 1945 On 26 August 1945 Marwick was taken off strength of the U.D.F. Repatriation Unit for evacuation to the Union; disembarking at Cape Town and taken on strength of the Cape Fortress on 11 September 1945. The next day he was taken off strength of Cape Fortress and moved to C.A.T.D. at Oribi outside Pietermaritzburg where he was granted leave and told to report on 13 November 1945 One day back from leave and Marwick is admitted to Springfield Military Hospital and discharged on the same day (14 November 1945) What followed was a series of hospital admissions and discharges. Obviously the privations that Marwick had endured as a POW in North Africa, Italy and then Germany had taken their toll. On 2 June 1946 Marwick was discharged from the army – declared medically unfit by a Medical Board. Marwick’s Record of Service and Particulars of Discharge Form rates his Character and Conduct as Very Good and his Efficiency as Superior. He was allowed to claim service of 5 years and 330 days. He had a Std. VII by way of education and received a 30 pound cash allowance before resuming his occupation as a Sorter with the G.P.O. Irvine Herbert Marwick was awarded the 1939/45 Star; Africa Star; War Medal and the Africa Service Medal. They were despatched to him on 30 December 1952 to 56 Frances Road, Norwood, Johannesburg. Marwick is bottom right in picture.
  21. Strang is different in many respects to chaps who were POW and either escaped or were repatriated from Germany in 1945. In his case he had been incarcerated in the cages in North Africa being released when the Axis Forces on the Continent called it a day. After that he resumed the fight which took him to Italy and on to the UK in various capacities. Douglas Alexander Strang Sergeant, S.A. Medical Corps - attached to 2 S.A.P. battalion - 1939/45 Star - Africa Star - Italy Star - War Medal - Africa Service Medal Strang was born in Pretoria, Transvaal on the 18 August 1914. Not much about his early years is known but he, like many others, was prepared to throw his lot in with the Allied Forces when war broke out in South Africa on 6 September 1939. According to records held in the South African National Defence Force Archives, in June 1940, Strang was a Hospital Attendant by occupation. He was 25 years and 10 months old, unmarried, stood 5 feet 9 inches tall and had blue eyes, a fair complexion and fair hair. He weighed 178 pounds. By religious affiliation he was Presbyterian. His mother, Mrs. Eugene Strang, was his next of kin, resident at 37 Parker Street, Riviera, Pretoria. Strang’s private address was 480 Jules Street, Malvern, Johannesburg. Strang claimed to have had two years A.C.F. training with the S.A. Medical Corps. He attested at Johannesburg for the duration of the war, as a Corporal, number 187631, with the South African Medical Corps on 12 June 1940 and was posted as a Corporal to S.A.M.C. at Premier Mine for training two days later on 14 June 1940. Strang wasn’t destined to be long with the S.A.M.C. Details section at Premier Mine as he was transferred to 3rd S.A. Police battalion before being taken on strength of 1st S.A.P. Battalion as a Medical Orderly on 27 June 1940. On 16 May 1941 he was posted to S.A.M.C. and attached to P/K South for a Course ex 1 S.A.P. and was promoted from Corporal to Sergeant two weeks later on 1 June 1941. On 20 July 1941 Strang embarked at Durban for the Middle East, disembarking at Suez on 15 August 1941 whereafter he commenced operations against the Axis Forces in North Africa. On 19 October 1941 he was admitted to hospital wiath an undiagnosed complaint and placed on the X 2 list only to be released five days later on 24 October 1941. Through December 1941 and January 1942, the Brigade Strang was attached to became heavily involved in the operations to capture Halfaya, Bardia, and Sollum and it is assumed that he had his hands full treating the casualties that stemmed from these engagements. Between the 22 to 28 February Strang was granted a much needed spell of leave with rations and allowance. This was to be his last before he was reported “Missing. Believed P.O.W.” (S.A.M.C. attached 2 S.A.P.) on 20 June 1942 and placed on S.A.M.C. X 3 list. Strang, attached to the 2 S.A.P. and with his comrades in the 1st and 2nd S.A.P. Battalions was stood to with the 2nd Transvaal Scottish on the western face of the Tobruk perimeter defences. Here they awaited the onslaught of Rommel's blitzkrieg attack which, when it came, penetrated the south-east sector, effectively to their rear. In the early hours of the 21st June, within 36 hours of the Axis attack starting, the entire Tobruk Garrison was ordered to surrender en masse, and with that, the battalions of the 6th (including 2/SAP) and the 4th Infantry Brigades of the 2nd SA Division, ceased to exist as fighting entities for the remainder of the war. On 18 November 1942 he was confirmed P.O.W. (FO 47/42/367) struck off the “ X 3" list and placed on strength of the S.A.M.C. “X 4” General List On 12 May 1943, eleven months later, Strang was noted as a Repatriated P.O.W. This date co-incided with the surrender of the Axis Forces in North Africa suggesting that Strang was held captive in the infamous cages in the Benghazi area. The hardships and sufferings that the chaps in the cages had to endure have been well documented. Not long after release Strang was promoted to War Substantive rank of Sergeant on 31 May 1943 embarking at Suez (Repatriated P.O.W.) for return to the Union on 4 July 1943. Having disembarked at Cape Town on 22 Juy 1943 Strang was taken on strength of the Union Base Depot at Pollsmoor and granted 30 days N.R.S.L. leave on expiry of which he was told to report to the S.A.M.C Training Centre at Zonderwater. He reported for duty at the S.A.M.C Training Centre at Zonderwater on 28 August 1943 and on 30 August 1942 was granted 30 days Vacation leave till 28 September 1943. Something must have come up because Strang was recalled to duty and his leave was cancelled on 15 September 1943. On 23 September 1943 he was taken off strength of the S.A.M.C. Training Centre to H.S.W. Pretoria where he was Medically reclassified from “A1” to “B1”. (S.A.M.C. H.Q.) on 13 October 1943. He must have found time for other pursuits as he met and married Elizabeth Stockwell Steyn, a Boksburg girl of 18 years of age who was a Dispatch Clerk (Corporal) with the W.A.A.S. (Women’s Army Auxiliary Service) stationed in Pretoria on 10 June 1944. On 9 August 1944 he was taken on strength A.D.M.S. (Assistant Director Medical Services), Northern Command, Pretoria from S.A.M.C. H.Q. and placed on duty at “M/1" Room G.H.Q. He was awarded the Africa Star and Africa Service Medal on 7 October 1944. It was almost time for Strang, who had been back on home soil for more than a year, to resume his operational war time career. He was placed on strength of the S.A.M.C.T.C. at Voortrekkerhoogte on 22 December 1944 preparatory to embarking on the H.S. “Amra” on 5 January 1945 disembarking at Suez with the S.A.M.C.on 21 January 1945. For this operational stint and with the S.A.P. Brigade a thing of the past, Strang was attached to the S.A. Corps of Signals, 3 Coy. Line of Communication from the S.A.M.C. General List for service on the Italian Mainland on 16 March 1945. After a short six weeks he returned to the S.A.M.C. General List on 24 April 1945 before being taken on strength of the U.D.F. Repatriation Unit (ex P.O.W.) ex S.A.M.C. emplaning for the United Kingdom ex Rome on 17 May 1945. On 26 August 1945 Strang was taken off strength of the U.D.F. Repatriation Unit for evacuation to the Union. He disembarked at Cape Town and was taken on strength of the Cape Fortress on 11 September 1945 before being transferred to S.A.M.C. at Voortrekkerhoogte the next day. On 20 November 1945 Strang was taken off strength and sent to the Demobilisation Corps for discharge from the army. His Details of Service Form rates his Character and Conduct as Very Good and his Efficiency as Good. He claimed to have been a P.O.W. for 11 months – from 21.6.1942 until April 1943. Having served in North Africa with 2 S.A.P. and then the 3 Coy. L of C he went to the UK where he served in the Repatriation Unit. He returned to his civilian occupation as a Male Nurse with the Geldenhuys Deep Gold Mining Company Ltd., P.O. Box 54, Cleveland, Johannesburg. Douglas Alexander Strang was awarded the 1939/45 Star; Africa Star; Italy Star, War Medal and the Africa Service Medal. They were despatched to him on 9 July 1953.
  22. John not sure if you have seen the whiskey advert but it goes like this: "Give that man a Bell's" well done, you deserve one and could not resist the pun regards your man Bell! Your collection is trully interesting and the info first class Keep them coming. Brian
  23. Discovered this grave at the little "dorp" (village) of Kamieskroon on the West Coast of the Western Cape a few days ago whilst on holiday!
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