I am coninually
amazed by the number of vists this site is attracting. The
monthly average now seems to be a tad below 5000 per month,
with March 2006 being the best month ever with 5793 visitors
who, between them, viewed 10566 separate pages.
<== Click to view graph of the site visits.
did an article for our ratepayers' magazine Metrobeat on the
history of Cato Manor. The area was originally a farm belonging
to George Christopher Cato, Durban's first mayor, and was
then was divided into small holdings operated by Indian market
gardeners. It gradually became an informal settlement for
black people working in Durban, was the scene of extensive
rioting, and was then deserted after the residents were forcibly
moved by Nationalist government to other townships.
Click to read the
I've got a got a story for you about Archie Archbell who learned
to fly in Durban from 1936 and joined the RAF just in time
for WWII. He went on to become a squadron commander and flew
the King and Queen of England on two occasions; the exact
number of times he had crashed during training.
is quite an historic day because I've just heard from the
printers who have told me that FAD Publishing's second book
will be delivered early next week. The title is Pambili Bo
and it was written by Reg Sweet about 222 (Natal) Squadron
of the RAF. The squadron was paid for by the people of Natal
and served with distinction in the Battle of Britain and thereafter.
here for more detail about the book and where to get it.
I have a fantastic addition to the flying boats section in
the form of a page of photos collected by Lebbeus Laybutt
who served with 35 SQN SAAF, which flew flying boats from
Durban bay. Lebbeus sent the pictures he had collected to
his son Reg, who was kind enough to let me copy them. There
are some great squadron aircraft pictures, some aerial views
of Durban, and a nice picture of a Seafire (naval Spitfire)
which visited Durban and was probably scrapped here. Click
here to view the page.
quite a burst of activity at the moment. This time it's an
article I culled from the 3 March, 1945, edition of Parade,
the British Army newspaper. The article concerns Durban, naturally,
and in it, the author Herbert McWilliams contrasts the situation
in Durban with how things had been a few years before, when
the city was crowded with troops and ships on their way to
war. I have very kindly typed out the story for you and you
can read it here.
time of the month again when I'm doing my Editor thing on
Kwazulu Industrial News and have very little time to spare
for nice things like history. I thought I'd just post a new
picture I've received. This time it's of the remains Ovington
Court which stick out of the sea off Addington Beach at low
water. Click here
to go to the page and scroll right down to the bottom.
have just acquired a book about a troopship mutiny which took
place in Durban in 1942 and it not only give a great insight
into the mutiny and its aftermath, but also to the convoys
which stopped of at Durban during WWII, the political situation
in South Africa, and much else besides. I'll write that up
as soon as I can.
Facts About Durban I pride myself on bringing you the widest
selection of facts to do with Durban. We are fans of the quirky
and interesting but it is likely that today, we have our quirkiest
story yet. It is the tale of a smelly dead fish which once
slept in Room 47 in the White House at Natal Command military
base on Durban's beachfront, and was the focus of media and
scientists from around the world.
grateful to my informant Mike Laing for sending me the story,
which he co-authored, and giving me permission to reprint
it. Click here
to read the story.
be the longest gap between entries in the diary since Facts
About Durban began. It's not that I'm running out of material
to put in it, but that I just haven't been able to find the
time to write up the new stuff. This damn site has taken over
my life to the extent that I feel guilty when I don't add
to it regularly.
today I've manged to write up up a page of stories mostly
to do with accidents from Durban's aviation past. It all came
about when I was loaned a copy of James Byrom's Fields of
Air, which is an evocative and fascinating account of civil
aviation in South Africa. I devoured the book in one misty
afternoon and, as you might expect, took especial note of
the entries to do with Durban.
view the page
for today. Gasp!! What productivity!! This time it's a short
history of my alma mater, the University of Natal.
Click here to view
last diary page I wrote of some war graves I had discovered
in Hillary Cemetary and have now moved that material and some
responses I received to their own page. One of the responses
was from Ricky Nortje, National Coordinator of the SA War
Graves Project. He later sent me a document with all sorts
of interestings things in it including a good bit of detail
on those and other war graves in Durban, the origins of his
organisation, and of the Commonwelath War Graves Commission.
The Hillary page is here
and Ricky's page is here.
that's not all, I've been translated!! My informant Ragnar
Iversen is one of the proprietors of a Norwegian shipping
website specialising in ships from Sandefjord and other
ports in Norway. They also have the stories of companies which
employed large numbers of Norwegians and wondered if they
could use my story of the whaling in Durban. After translating
it into Norwegian, of course. The page is linked at the top
of the main
whaling page here.
now 63, was involved with the sea ever since the age of 15
when he was a mess and galley boy on a whale catcher. He visited
South Africa many times during his seagoing career and had
a number of relatives that worked in the whaling industry
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