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posted in: Housekeeping | 0

The previous post by guest diarist Gerald Buttigieg is the first in the diary which takes advantage of a WordPress feature that allows you to hide part of a long entry, but still leave it accessible when anyone wants to read it. The idea is to keep the length of the front page within reasonable bounds, but not to limit authors in any way.

The trick is to click the Continue Reading link at the bottom of any abbreviated entry and the whole article will be displayed for you,

By the by the by, I have just put up a profile page for Gerald, which will be of interest.

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What happened in Durban 50 / 40 years ago? 1961 / 1971.

My late father in law, Arch Black was born in Durban in 1914. He went to Redhill Primary followed by DHS, then with the noted A.S. Langley as Head. He worked for the City Engineers Dept. till he retired having joined after being demobbed in 1945. He died in Durban in 1982.  Arch was always very fond of his “home town” often remarking of the changes he had seen in Durban in his lifetime. Between 1960 and 1975, Arch started a collection of scrap books filled with cuttings from the Durban newspapers. I am in possession of these books today and they recall many incidents pertaining to Durban probably now long forgotten.  Being a young adult then, they are also of my time and probably most of you  Durbanites now in your mid sixties. So let’s recall the past and see if you recall what happened or was happening in 1961, 50 long years ago.

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Guest columnist

posted in: Housekeeping | 3

I am delighted to say that FAD now has it’s first guest diarist. In keeping with the relaxed nature of the site, however, I’ve only now got around to introducing him, well after his first post.

Gerald Buttigieg is a Durbanite now resident in the KwaZulu Natal interior, and has been an active contributor to this site for many years. His contributions include his memories of growing up in Durban in the 1950s & 1960s including Sessions, Going Fishing & School Breakup Day, St Henry’s first soccer team, What did you do for fun in Durban?, and he contributed extensively to The way we were page.

His diary entries will appear in the body of the diary, as they made, and will also be listed on their own page.

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The Durban Regiment

posted in: New Articles | 50

Next year 2012, will mark the 50th anniversary of the inception of Active Citizen Force training as it was then known.  It would be for many 18 / 19 year olds, the start of 9 months full time military training.  The first contingent of Durban boys left Durban Station probably just after New Year’s Day, 1962. Although not the only training base, 1SSB or 1st Special Services Battalion at Tempe,  Bloemfontein would be the base where the ballotees from all over South Africa would gather to start a sojourn no one knew very much about.

Durban at the time had two regiments based in the city. The Durban Light Infantry ( the Royal had been dropped) and a relatively new regiment, the Durban Regiment.  I was allocated to the Durban Regiment and called up for the second contingent which left Durban Station on 1st April 1962.  Every three months thereafter another contingent would be leaving the City.

At the time that I knew very little about the Durban Regiment. Initially during the 9 month period, one’s regiment was irrelevant to an extent as we were all designated as South African Infantry. There were those who were allocated to the Technical Services Corp,  the Admin Section, the Medics, the Navy, Air Force, Tank and Artillery units  etc. who did their basic training at their respective bases but the majority were drafted into the Infantry.

Although I served with the Durban Regiment for 4 years, 1962 to 1966, I never did find out about its history. I have found the following on the internet:

“Established in 1923 as the Durban Volunteer Guides, the unit was disbanded after World War Two but reformed on paper in 1959 as an armoured infantry unit.

The unit hastily formed and deployed to Cato Manor for Operation Duiker in March 1960 to help “restore order”. The DR provided troops for the Namibian war from 1972 to 1982 and did service along the Natal border from 1982 to 1984. From 1985 to 1991 the unit was involved in counterinsurgency operations in various townships between Margate and Stanger.”

Perhaps those whose interests are facts military could add more about the two regiments in the city, the DLI and the DR.

Below is the Durban Regiment’s insignia, an eagle against a sea shell background and the motto Pugna Celeriter which translates to Strike Swiftly.

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Search the site

posted in: Housekeeping | 0

I discovered recently that Google had cut off the free site search facility that had served the visitors to this site. Their service now costs $100 a year and, although I have thought about free alternatives, there is really nothing as good as Google out there.

I’m appealing to visitors to the site to donate to pay for the cost of having a search facility on the site, now and in the future. There are many of you and small amounts from everyone would help secure FAD’s future.

It’s quick and easy to use the PayPal donation facility. Things are much improved since the early days because you no longer have to have a PayPal account of your own. They accept credit cards like any other online payment facility.



I am also accepting a limited amount of advertising on the search page and other locations in the site. Contact me here if you’re interested.

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Flying boat

posted in: Mini Memories | 1

My informant PJ Thomas remembers flying to Durban via BOAC flying boat. He wrote:

Hi, I came across your web page and thought you might be interested in my experience. After WWII my dad was demobbed from the air force. The government offered assisted passage to ex servicemen to anywhere in the Commonwealth. My uncle had been in the navy and he described Durban as one of the best places he had visited, and was heading there. My parents then booked a passage to Durban on a flying boat.

I was then 9 years old when we departed from Poole on the 8th Feb. 1947. The trip took five days, landing in the evening and staying overnight while the plane was checked and refuelled. I made contact recently with the British Airways Museum who were most helpful. When asked the date of the flight I was able to give it from my dad’s old passport. They then gave me the flight log for that trip which went as follows:-

8th Feb. 1947
BOAC flight 4M19 – ShortS26 flying boat “Golden Hind”.

 Golden Hind on one of her visits to Durban.
Departed Poole 0740
Arrived Augusta 1616
9th February
Dep.  Augusta 0535
Arrived Cairo 1050
10th February
Changed to BOAC flight 50E4 “Caledonia”
Dep. Cairo (time not recorded)
Arrive Khartoum (time not stated)
Arrive Kisumu 1440
11 February
Departed Kisumu 0405
Arrive Mozambique 1400
12th February
Dep. Mozambique 0300
Arr. Beira 0630 Dep. 0705
Arr.Lourenco Marques 1100 (Dep. not stated)
Arrive Durban 1315.

There is a growing archive of flying boat-related material on this website. The main flying boat page is here and it has links to other pages on passenger flying boats, military ones, and eye-witness accounts. The general aviation page is here.

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Eagle Cabinet Works

posted in: Mini Memories | 3

Back on 21 October 2009, Robin Lamplough wrote to ask if anyone had heard of a firm called Eagle Cabinet Works. Neil Gould has now replied to the effect that:

Eagle Cabinet Works belonged to the late Joe Eagle [a close friend of my Grandad’s]. After he died, it was taken over by the late Garvin Bernstein who modernized it and turned it into a pine furniture factory and kitchen cabinet door factory [export only]. I moved to the UK in 1974 and around 1979, was the representative of Eagle Cabinet works in the UK, employed by Bernstein. He is survived by his wife Glenda in Durban. The Bernsteins were family friends of my parents and I grew up with their kids.

I don’t know if this is of interest but I wrote a book which includes a lot about growing up in Durban

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Gordon Road Girls’ School

posted in: InfoRequests | 1

Reader Patrick Coyne is currently working on a history of Gordon Road Girls’ School for its centenary next year and is calling for any information, stories and pictures that you might be able to contribute. Leave a comment by clicking the link below, or contact me at the the usual place, if you can help.

A reminder that search function on the site has been suspended but that you can still search it using the Google site itself. See here for how to do it.

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City Hall Organ

posted in: Appeals | 0

A couple of years ago, I posted a letter from Wim Mutsaerts detailing some of the history of the city hall organ and the deplorable condition in which it now finds itself. Things do now appear to be moving forward and Wim is in the process of establishing a trust to oversee its repair. He wrote:

I have met with Dr Michael Sutcliffe, Durban City Manager, who has agreed that it is time something should be done for the Restoration of the City Hall Organ. He suggested the creation of a Trust and to present a Proposal. I invite retired Members of the Public to fill the following posts on a voluntary, part-time basis.

  1. A Chairman (a marketing man with or without lawyer experience), who is able to start the fundraising campaign and get advise on the best structure for fundraising. I offered to assist this person.
  2. Consultants. Two-three well-known professional Organists have been already approached and gladly accepted.
  3. An Accountant, to keep meticulous financial records
  4. A Public Relations Person/Fundraiser. This position requires knowledge of individuals and enterprises likely to support the project.
  5. An Administrator, who would keep precise records of activities.
  6. Additional Volunteers, who would assist with aspects of the Projects.

The time has arrived when I need to call on the support pledged by Organ Friends, to assist me with further activity as well as with fundraising for this worthwhile project. I also need to contact well-wishers known to you who would be willing to contribute. Clearly, I need help and I have established the positions to be filled in good time for the Trust yet to be formed.

As for myself, I have limited contact with the Natal population at large. Accordingly, I must rely on Natalians, particularly those who have retired from active employment, to volunteer their services to the cause. The project will cost about R9 million, if contracted to world experts Messrs Rieger from Austria. I have asked Rieger to provide me with a detailed floor plan (layout) of the Organ they have already outlined.

It would display ALL the parts of the Organ, including the organ case, the console, the wooden and the steel pipes, the swells, the bellows, the windchests and so on. Each part will be allotted a number. I intend to break down the estimated costs of repair to arrive at a price per item or part. Interested members of the public would be invited to submit their ‘Intention to pledge’ or to reserve that amount for the Trust.

If you have other ideas or suggestions, please e-mail me. It is my aim to have the Organ working to its former glory by the time I turn 80, on 31st December 2013, much less than 3 years from now.

I look forward to Your responses at earliest opportunity. Thank You in advance and the very best of wishes.

Wim Mutsaerts (Organ-iser)
SMS: 083-325-9828

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Edward Dunn

posted in: Mini Memories | 0

My informant Moira Badstubner originally let me know about an organisation she had had been a member of, the The International Arts League of Youth. That article is here on the site, but in her latest letter, received during my move downunder, she recalls Edward Dunn, the IALY’s patron and leader of Durban’s civic orchestra. She wrote:

Hello Allan

As a teenager I was “mal” over classical music.  Edward Dunn gave me so much to remember – even now when I hear certain classical music I think of him. “Dance of the Hours” was on the Afrikaans programme at 12 today – it was one of his favourites.  For the good he did to the future generation, he will be rewarded.

The orchestra members were well-known to the Durban public – Nancy Greig (cello), Snowy Edwards (timpani/drums), John Clark (cello), Ilona de Vos (Harp), Stefan Deak (first violin – Hungarian), Charles Denholm (violin), Barbara Groom (viola)(Aitcheson), my favourite, – Paul Martens (my teacher) and George Walker – their students used to compete in the Eisteddford every year.

I am so grateful to the Durban Transport dept – in those days we could catch a bus to anywhere, anytime – safely!

Looking forward to reading your latest news bulletins…
Moira Badstubner (née Williams)

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