The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging

Military History Journal
Vol 7 No 5 - June 1988


by R R Langham Carter

Henry Timson Lukin was born in London on 24 May 1860. He was commissioned into the Cape Mounted Riflemen in 1881 and rose to be their commanding officer. He commanded the Union forces in the First World War and was knighted in 1918. After his retirement as a full general in that year he devoted much of his time to the welfare of ex-servicemen.

Lukin died at his home Ascot in Ascot Road, Kenilworth, Cape Town on 15 December 1925 and was buried in the military allotment in the south-east part of Plumstead cemetery. His family erected there a tall cross of Paarl granite which had been made by Robert Cane and Sons of Wynberg for 150 pounds.

The general had been widely respected and he came to be commemorated by an unusually large number of memorials. It was soon decided to raise nation-wide 10 000 pounds to provide Lukin scholarships for the sons of ex-soldiers and a further 5 000 pounds for a statue and some church memorials. The latter seem to have included the medallions listed below but not the plaques which were funded separately by the CMR. The principal monument was to be a full-length figure for which the Union Government provided a site in the Gardens, Cape Town. The statue was unveiled by Lord Clarendon, the Governor-General, on 3 March 1932. It has been stated that this was modelled by A Prowasek, but Murray Schoonraad, an art professor at Pretoria University, discovered in October 1987 a plaster cast by Anton van Wouw (1862-1945) for a head and shoulders which he believes was a preliminary study for the final figure. The statue was cast at the Vignali foundry in Pretoria where the professor discovered the cast in October 1987. The cast is now owned by Pretoria University. They have had two bronze replicas made, one for their own studies and one for the Delville Wood Museum. The same cast by van Wouw, or another by him, was also used for some bronze head and shoulder monuments which, as Lukin was an Anglican, were erected in Anglican churches, namely: St Andrew's Cathedral, Bloemfontein (signed van Wouw); St George's Cathedral, Cape Town (erected by Foster and Co of Mowbray in St David's Chapel, which had been reserved for Anglo-Boer War and other military memorials. In February 1932 Sir Herbert Baker, the cathedral architect, complained to F R Phelps the Archbishop of Cape Town that the chapel wall had been damaged in the process and this had to be repaired before Clarendon unveiled, and Phelps dedicated, the memorial on 7 March 1932); St Mary's Church, Port Elizabeth, (a church newspaper reported on 24 September 1931 that it was about to be erected and no doubt it was soon after that).

The CMR's headquarters were in Kingwilliamstown and a head and shoulders in bas-relief modelled in 1931 by William George Bevington (1881-1953) of that town, with the sculptor's name and date still visible under the left shoulder. It was erected in front of the Town Hall with two stone benches at the sides and fish ponds in front. When the borough council decided to widen the road the ponds were levelled, the benches were allowed to remain but the bas-relief was re-rected on a new rectangular stone base at the corner of Alexandra Road and Ayliff Street. This was a suitable site as it faced the monument to the men, mostly of the CMR, who had served under Lukin and had been killed in the First World War, which he himself had unveiled.

There were also bronze plaques with Lukin's features in medallion form. These too may have been by van Wouw, but the fact has not been established as none of them are signed. They seem to have been given by the CMR and not to have been the concern of the national fund.

Further memorials are to be found in the foyer of the Drill Hall, Durban; Holy Trinity Church, Kingwilliamstown (unveiled by Lieutenant Colonel Roy and dedicated by the Rector on 19 December 1926. The church contains several other CMR mementos. The regiment's colours also used to be laid up here, but were found to be fading and have been transferred to the Kaffrarian Museum); St Alban's Cathedral, Pretoria and St John's Cathedral, Umtata.

There is also a marble inscription plaque in the concourse of the City Hall in Pietermaritzburg and a memorial column at the corner of Dutoitspan Road and Spencer Lane in Kimberley. Finally, there is a brass plaque in the north wall of Holy Trinity Church, Kokstad, the work of J Wippel and Co, a well known firm of church furnishers of Exeter, England.

Readers of this Joumal may be able to supply further details about some of these memorials. Possibly the list, though long, is not complete and information about any others would be most welcome.


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