Monday, February 23, 2015

The Great Gale Memorial in South End Cemetery

"Never before in its history has this port suffered under such overwhelming disaster as we record today. On Sunday morning some 38 craft rode at anchor under the leaden sky. Heavy rains had fallen and the wind gradually rose until, as the shadows of evening hid the shipping from view, a fresh gale was blowing in from the south-east, which, as the midnight hour was reached, had developed in to a hurricane. As the turmoil of wind and wave continued, so the toll of ships mounted, until 18 vessels were aground, with a raging sea adding a high toll of human lives.” - The Eastern Province Herald, 2 September 1902
These were the words in the Herald newspaper the day after the Great Gale of 1901.  A storm during which 18 ships were wrecked and 38 people killed.  Although the event is fairly well known amongst those who know something of the history of Port Elizabeth, I'm sure very few actually know that there is a monument to those who died in the South End Cemetery.

Looking at the monument, the names of those who died are divided into groups.  Here are the names of Captains, Officers and Crew as well as Rescuers who died during the operation.

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