Info Requests II

posted in: InfoRequests 17

Two more requests for information from the FAD colloquium.

Graham Read wrote:

Picture courtesy Graham Read.
Picture courtesy Graham Read.

I have made several unsuccessful attempts to identify the team, the school and the players in the photograph. My only information is that the boy at top left was Rolf Londal (1909-1965). It looks like “Kennedys TA XV 1923” is lettered on the rugby ball although there are only 13 players. The photograph was taken in Durban and perhaps a FAD reader can provide details.

Mark Lingenfelder wrote:

Thanks for the reply. Thanks also for the wonderful website on Durban history! Maybe you will be able to help me with my research.

I am busy writing a book about a crime that was committed in Durban in 1943. The crime involves a British soldier of the Royal Artillery, named Sidney Bernard Smith, who was stationed at the Clairwood Military camp from which he absconded. He was arrested for the rape and subsequent death of an 11-year old Montclair girl named Doreen Nutbeam, which happened at St Stephens church, Montclair. The search for him and his ultimate arrest was one of the largest Durban had ever seen, involving over 1000 policemen and civilians. He was tried and found guilty based on circumstantial evidence, and sentenced to death. The trial however, was fatally flawed and his sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. The crime and trial made international news and even cast a shadow over the Smuts government.

Nicky Nortje’s article vaguely alludes to the incident. He speaks about it as a “rumour” and claims the Church of St Stephens is haunted by the girl’s ghost. I can imagine that many urban legends must have grown up around this tragic incident, which in fact did happen on Christmas eve 1943. I would like to ask him where he got this information from and if he has anything to add.

I have attempted to make contact with anyone living in the Montclair area during the 1940’s, but have had no luck as yet. If you know of anyone who was living in this area, or Durban, during the second world war, please let me know. Maybe they will have some recollection of the incident.

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17 Responses

  1. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Graham,
    I cannot identify the team in the photo you submitted but in 1923 the only high school for boys in Durban was Durban High School ! Glenwood only opened its doors in 1929. There were other boys schools in Natal such as Hilton opened in 1872 but you say it is a Durban photo. Is that documented on the back?
    Regarding the 13 players and not the normal 15 could it not be a rugby league side? I am going to stick my neck out and say that some of the boys have an “Australian” look to them.
    I looked up the surname Londal in the Durban 1938 Directory. There are no entries.

  2. Trevor Friend
    | Reply

    The clothing, hair and general demeanour of the individuals as well as the quality of the picture has more of a post WW2 look to it. Perhaps the date on the ball has another connotation?

  3. Richard Holmes
    | Reply

    Could Kennedy/’s have been the name of a House?

  4. Graem
    | Reply

    The teacher or coach, and the guy to his left, could be father and son ?????

  5. Graham Read
    | Reply

    It was recently suggested to me that the team might have been connected to the Technical High School in Durban, or Mansfield. This is just hearsay, I have no evidence of it. I was told that certain pupils from Mansfield Road Boys Primary School which opened in 1911 later moved on to the Technical High School, and that in 1920 Mansfield began accepting Standard 8 pupils. The date on the ball can be assumed to be accurate as the boy at top left in the photo was one of my uncles and was15-years old in1923. After 92-years anyone in the family who knew about the team has passed on. Unsolved clues include the partial view of the building in the background of the photo, the distinctive shield with unfortunately no printing or engraving on it, the text on the rugby ball, and the team’s uniform jerseys. There is an apparent disparity between the ages of the players indicating that it was not a team chosen from a particular age group of scholars. Some time ago when I first started trying to identify the team I had no idea how difficult it would be, but I have no doubt that somewhere out there is a rugby fundi who knows the answers.

  6. Mike
    | Reply

    Hi Graham,
    Good luck with your investigations. The only local School I can find with a Kennedy “house “is Glenwood. It was named after :
    KENNEDY, Norman Alexander
    Tpr (742)
    4/SAH (1/SAMB)
    Where Wounded/Killed/Died:
    Madongo, Tanganyika
    Where Buried/Commemorated:
    Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery, Tanzania
    Cause of Death:
    Killed in action
    Date of Death:
    Dates at Glenwood:
    To be confirmed:

    So there may be some truth in the Technical High School in Durban “story “! As this later became Glenwood .Hope this doesn’t confuse the situation further.

    P.S. I am sure you have seen your Uncles grave stone ( a picture of which is on the internet) which is at Stellawood cemetery.RIP.

  7. Richard Metelerkamp
    | Reply

    Hi Mark I have been interested in the Doreen Nutbeam case for years, I have some copies of microrisch documents pertaining to the case, and a photo of Doreens grave, there was a lady who visited in our block who was Doreens friend (Wendy Green) at the time but unfortunately could not remember much as she was only 7 years old at the time, please let me know how your book is getting on

  8. Graham Read
    | Reply

    Unfortunately the photo is not in colour, but it is sharp and someone has pointed out to me that the coach could be wearing a school or club tie.

  9. Kevin Jordan
    | Reply

    Hello Graham,
    I am the local historian at Glenwood High School. The photo is of Kennedys House, Durban Technical High School ( which changed its named to Glenwood in 1934.) The shield is the ‘Early’s Shield for Interhouse Rugby ‘ in memory of Jack Early who died in 1916 in WWI. I guess that the photo is from the early 1920s.The shield is presently on display in the Glenwood Museum. I would be very interested in obtaining a high resolution copy of the photo for our archives as the school does not have this photo, but a very similar one of Earlys House. I may even be able to identify a few boys by comparing with other photos from a similar period. I recognise the coach as a Mr. Dreyer.

  10. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Kevin,
    Thanks for clearing that up as it would appear that the post had run into a dead end. Perhaps you could take a close up photo of the shield and send it to Allan Jackson who can add it to this post. Use the Contact Us facility to contact Allan. I am sure that would complete the circle to a small extent.

  11. Graham Read
    | Reply

    My thanks to Kevin Jordan for solving the mystery of the rugby photograph. The photograph is part of a genealogy and family history project which has been traced to 1500.
    Rolf Londal (1909-1965), the boy at top left in the team photo, was the third eldest of seven children. His parents were Ola Eliasson Londal (1870-1942), a Norwegian, and Elizabet Bardardottir (1875-1957), an Icelander, who had arrived independently in Durban in the 1890s. They met at a Scandinavian social function in Durban and were married in 1902.
    Incidentally, regarding the connection which Kevin mentioned between the Technical High School and Glenwood High School: I was told that Rolf’s eldest brother, Eddie (1903-1998), and the artist Nils Andersen (1897-1972), who was also a Norwegian and a friend of the Londal family, had attended art classes together at the art school of the Technical College in Durban, probably about 1922. Eddie had first met Nils through a family friend named Anders Bjork who was a painting contractor and lived in Fir Lane, Greyville.

  12. June Fletcher
    | Reply

    Doreen Nutbeam was the daughter of a neighbour of my parents. From what my parents told me, the man who killed her was actually staying with the family. It was customary to host the soldiers of ships which were docked in Durban harbour. I was very young when it happened and friends with her younger sister. My parents often talked about the incident. It seems he also offered me sweets if I went with him but I refused to go. My father told me he was declared insane and sent to Fort Napier in Pmb but was released in 1961 when South Africa became a republic.

  13. I attended Northridge Road School as well as Clarence Road Primary School – If MY Memory is Correct the Late Doreen Nutbeam was in My Class ! I am now 82 and memory is ‘Dodgy!’ I also remember Joy Aiken Case re Murder by Clarence Gordon van Buren ( I was a member of Durban City Police in 1957 .

  14. Marius van Rooyen
    | Reply

    My mother was the sister of the late Doreen Nutbeam. My mother is still alive, living in KZN.

    • Mark

      Hi Marius. I only read your reply now. I would love to get into contact with you, or if anyone out there knows how I can get in touch please let me know. My email address is

  15. Lerlen La Foy
    | Reply

    Hi I’m not sure is this group is still in existence. I am looking for information on my grandfather’s (STANLEY YON) grandparents. They lived in Glenwood and they were attacked one evening by a Black man. My grandfather’s grandfather was killed. His wife was badly injured and managed to go to the nearest neighbour for help. My mum says that the nearest neighbours lived very far. I would appreciate any information. This could have been in the early 1900’s.

  16. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Lerlen
    Going back to the 1900s is a tall order. I would suggest you go to the Killie Campbell Museum and see if you can access their newspaper records of that era. I doubt whether any one on this site would have the information you seek.

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