Benoni War Memorial

Article Benoni City Times Dated 1954

Memorial Unveiled at Impressive Moving Ceremony

At an impressive and moving ceremony, attended by over 2,000 people, Benoni War Memorial in The Benoni Town Hall grounds was unveiled by the Mayor of Benoni (Clr G. Walmsley) last Sunday afternoon.

Shortly before the ceremony began, three aeroplanes flew low overhead in V-formation, and dipped their wings in salute as they passed over the memorial.

Then as the guard of honour (formed of two platoons from the Second Ack-Ack Regiment, South African Corps of Marines) led by the military band of the South African Corps of Marines, marched into the grounds, the people rose and stood at attention.

The ceremony opened with the hymn, “O God of Bethel, by Whose hand. Thy People still are fed.”


A scripture reading from the Old Testament followed. Rabbi I. Freed- man read Psalm 121: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”
A prayer was then delivered by Rev S. A. Hickel, of Benoni Baptist Church. “In dedicating memorial let us always remember those who made the most sacrificial sacrifice. They gave their lives that we may benefit and enjoy liberty and freedom, of amongst other things, religion.

In praying for those who made the sacrifice we pray too. O Lord, for the widows, children and others. close to and loved by the fallen.”

Ds N. G. Smith, of the Nederduits- Hervormde of Gereformeerde Kerk, Benoni North, then read verses one. to eight from the Revelations book of the New Testament. “En ek het ‘n nuwe hemel en ‘n nuwe aarde. gesien, want die eerste hemel en die eerste aarde het verbygegaan; en die see was daar nie meer nie.”.


Rev C. Wilkins of Benoni Methodist Church, in an address which followed, said that concerning wars, there was often disagreement amongst the people as to the rights. and wrongs of it, but on one point no-one could disagree-“the fallen deemed it their duty to give their lives in the service of their country; they placed duty before self; they died that we may live.
The memorial should be a constant reminder to everyone, that in remembering the fallen we should hear the message which the memorial stood for: “We should live our lives properly, that their sacrifices will not have been in vain.”

After the address, Clr Walmsley. with the Town Clerk (Mr F. S. Taylor), and Rev Wilkins stepped from the dias and approached the memorial.
A solemn silence fell on the gathering. Slowly the South African Wreaths were then laid.
Slowly the South African and Union Jack flags, which draped the memorial, were drawn apart, unveiling it, as four buglars from Benoni High School sounded the Last Post and the Reveille.

The Rolls of Honour of Benoni residents who died in the 1914 to 1918, and 1939 to 1945 wars were read by ex-servicemen and then placed in the memorial.

Mr S. J. Dudley (Moths) read that of the 1914 to 1918 war, and Mr S. J. Venning (B.E.S.L.) that of the 1939 to 1945 war.


Lt Olpkers, of the Salvation Army. then lead the assembly in the sing
ing of the hymn. “Abide with Me.”

To conclude the ceremony. Rev Mr Wilkins offered the blessing.
After the ceremony, as the assem-byl dispersed, and only a few people remained and admired the wreaths placed all around the memorial. rays from the setting sun, shrouded the memorial in a golden glow, and Church, offered a prayer dedicating an elderly lady, dressed in black stood looking down at one of the wreaths, softly reciting a verse on a card attached to it.