The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging

Military History Journal - Vol 3 No 4



Situated alongside a dusty road at Keiskammashoek, in the Ciskei, stands a drill hall, in excellent condition. It is controlled by a white town council — operating in a Group Area, reserved for blacks, belonging to the Xhosa Development Corporation. At present approximately 200 whites are living in the area but plans are afoot to bring in 10 000 blacks from Humansdorp, to start a cotton industry, after which I imagine the whites will leave this traiiqtiil hamlet, and the old Drill Hall will probably be demolished, unless it can he classified as a National Monument.

The front elevation of this drill hall embodies the traditional gable, of Cape Architecture, embellished with the title and badge of the Border Light Horse (1902-1909)(1). Above the gable stands a unique lightning conductor supporting two crossed cavalry sabres. The Hall, the largest in the village, is well maintained and frequently used for large functions, and the beautiful timbered roof-structure was probably designed by a Bavarian church architect. Unfortunately, no foundation stone is visible.

Further up the same dusty road, one turns left and drives up a quiet lane, flanked by oak trees, leading to the local cemetery where there is a granite memorial, bearing the names of many men of the 10th Regiment who were killed, or died, in this area between 1852 and 1864. Mr Piet Rheeder, the local Sheriff, told me that the remains of the most senior officer, Captain Ormsley-Gore, were exhumed from his grave outside the Police Post, and finally laid to rest in the cemetery.

At the end of the main road one comes to the Grosvenor Hotel (a veritable museum dedicated to the early German Settlers) where, displayed in a glass case, is an embroidered drum-banner, emblazoned with the badge of the Cape Light Horse (l909-1929)(2). In the Public Bar one will see displayed two bandsman’s leather music-pouches, with Regimental badges and music therein; also two pairs of drummer’s pipe-clayed leather gauntlets. Mine Host, Teddy Radloff (a descendant of the original German Settlers) informed me that the Cape Light Horse paraded behind a mounted band and that the musical instruments were ‘borrowed’ by the UDF in 1939, to equip new units.


(1) Regimental Devices in South Africa, 1783-1954 by H.H. Curson. Plate XLIV —page 45.
The Armed Forces of South Africa by Major C. Tylden Page 44.
(2) Formed originally by the amalgamation of the Transkei Mounted Rifles, (1891-1909) — Border Light Horse (1902-1909) and the Tembuland Light Horse (1903-1909) Refer Regimental Devices in South Africa, 1783-1954 by H.H. Curson, Plate XLIV, page 45 and The Armed Forces of South Africa by Major C. Tylden, Page 55.

Return to Journal Index OR Society's Home page

South African Military History Society /