“Remembering these, let no man think too highly of himself or meanly of mankind.”

This is the inscription on the War Memorial in Makhanda’s Church Square, where yesterday (Sunday, 14 November 2021) we joined together with our community for the annual district Remembrance Day Parade.

Representatives from Kingswood College (Senior and Junior School) as well as the Old Kingswoodian Club laid wreaths in remembrance during the parade.  

Remembrance Day serves to commemorate all those who have died in conflict in the service of freedom.

It is the day we remember those who were willing to serve their country and, if need be, to make the ultimate sacrifice so that we can have the life that we know. We will remember them.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.”

Verse from “For the Fallen” by Robert Binyon

The significance of Remembrance Day:

Remembrance Day, or Poppy Day as it is sometimes known, is observed every year on 11 November, or on the nearest Sunday to that date. It was one this date, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, that the armistice was signed between the Allied forces and Germany ending the First World War.

Thank you to Karl Delport (OK 1991) for the photo of the gravestone of Old Kingswoodian Second Lieutenant J.M. Hollingworth of the South African Infantry who was killed in action, at Delville Wood at the age of just 21 in 1916.

The significance of the Poppy:

Source: Royal British Legion

“The poppy is a symbol of Remembrance and hope, including hope for a positive future and peaceful world. They are a show of support for the Armed Forces community, those currently serving, ex-serving personnel and their families; and a symbol of Remembrance for all those who have fallen in conflict.

The Western Front

During WW1, much of the fighting took place in Western Europe. The countryside was blasted, bombed and fought over repeatedly. Previously beautiful landscapes turned to mud; bleak and barren scenes where little or nothing could grow.

Fields of Poppies

There was a notable and striking exception to the bleakness – the bright red Flanders poppies. These resilient flowers flourished in the middle of so much chaos and destruction, growing in the thousands upon thousands.

In the Spring of 1915

Shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was moved by the sight of these poppies and that inspiration led him to write the now famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.”

In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place: and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders’ fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high,

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders’ Fields.

In Flanders Fields: The poem by John McCrae