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War dead tribute

A special Remembrance hour at Hermanus Cemetery was held at 11:00 on Wednesday 11 November to mark the armistice agreement that ended the First World War.

Members of the local Seagull Shellhole of the MOTHs and Hermanus resident Melanie Moore, who started beautifying Hermanus Cemetery a few years ago, arranged the special assembly for Remembrance Day.

Lieutenant-Colonel Harvey Saayman, former commanding officer of the Western Cape Regiment, said in his address Hermanus had a rich military history, and “we should be proud of the influence of South Africans during World War I and World War II”.

Few people know that during World War I, Hermanus had the highest level of volunteering pro rata of population in the British Empire, and the War Memorial was erected near the Old Harbour to commemorate the 11 volunteers who never returned.

Saayman paid tribute to the connection Hermanus had with General Jan Smuts and his sister, Bebas Smuts, who served as Mayor of Hermanus during the Second World War from 1941 to 1946.

Other war heroes included Roger Bushell (the Great Escape), whose grandparents and parents used to live in Hermanus. Hermanus High School has a trophy for the highest achieving learner named after him and South African Victoria Cross winner William Henry Hewitt, whose ashes were scattered at sea off the cliffs at Gearing’s Point.

Moore thanked everyone who took part in this successful event, from those who spoke to those who made music and helped to beautify the cemetery. She also thanked André Willemse for releasing doves on this occasion.

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