18 September 2021
25 July 2021
Boerewors Express was first published in May 1998 as an e-mail newsletter. In September 1999, it became a print publication available by paid subscription. It had subscribers from all over the world. In July 2004 it moved to an online blog until September 2013, after which it lay dormant. It's finally back as an online newsletter now and looking to grow bigger than before. You can read the July 2021 issue here:https://www.yumpu.com/user/boereworsexpress
Family Jewels - The Queen and Friedman Jewellers
French experience - a South African restaurant
The famous recipe book
Thembi's soccer moves
Murder in Manchester
Strawberries & boom
Expat debut novel
Special art in Leeds
Rugby in the USA
Deportation in NZ
Nostalgia and art
A Cape Town Dame
Yes, it's my real name
Living the US dream
Car accident in US
Did you know?
01 June 2021
A South African was buried in a common grave at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, USA, and unbeknownst to his family for 30 years.
Lieutenant Victor POTGIETER was born on 30 November 1914 and grew up in Carolina, South Africa, the son of Marthinus Philippus Gerhardus POTGIETER (1888 - 1965) and Susanna Catharina MINNIE (1892 - 1977).
He had 3 siblings:
Amalia POTGIETER (1916 - ). She married Folkers Johannes Petrus SWART.
Benjamin (Ben) POTGIETER (1918 - 2012).
Minnie POTGIETER (1930 - 2017). She married Gerhardus Jacobus LAUBSCHER (1925 - 1981) and Lucas Barry Hertzog LINDEQUE (1918 - 2009). Minnie was named as the sole beneficiary in Victor's Last Will and inherited £1159 from his estate.
Victor graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand where he earned a B.Sc Civil Engineering degree, before volunteering for active service in 1940. He went missing in September 1944 on a secretive mission during World War II. He remained a mystery, until his family found out about his last resting place in 1981 in a newspaper report.
His last recorded posting was in May 1943, at 104 Water Sections, South African Engineering Corps (service number: 131877V). There are only two movement orders recorded for him after this date, and they don't give up any clues. He was posted as missing in 1944, and his date of death was recorded as 09 September 1944 (age 30 years and 3 months). Because individual remains could not be identified, he was buried in a common grave with 11 other men. All that the American authorities knew about him was his name, and they assumed he was a British national.
By 1944, the war in North Africa started winding down and the South African units moved to Italy to take part in the push north. In Cairo, Lt. POTGIETER volunteered to do more than building bridges and digging wells. This led him to flying into enemy territory at night with British and American servicemen, often parachuting to liaise with Tito's partisans in Yugoslavia and the Balkans. Lt. POTGIETER became part of an Allied team tasked with supporting Yugoslavian opposition to the Wehrmacht, which had invaded the Balkan, in defeating the Soviet Union. The leader was an American engineer and pilot, Major Linn Markley Farish (aka Lawrence of Yugoslavia), of the 2677 Special Reconnaissance Regiment, who was posthumously awarded the American Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart. Farish was the US Army Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Liaison Officer with the Yugoslav Resistance Movement in Yugoslavia. The OSS was the precursor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Farish's initial role was to map out landing strips for US aircraft to rescue downed US airmen, but he also took part in rescue operations, rescuing airmen shot down over Yugoslavia, by parachuting into territory controlled by the Yugoslav Resistance Movement.
Lt. POTGIETER was killed when the aircraft, a Dakota C-47 (43-48314) of the 12th Troop Carrier Squadron based in Brindisi, crashed on the night of 09 September 1944. They were flying in bad weather and the aircraft suffered dual engine failure whilst on a mission. The aircraft crashed into the side of a mountain near the village of Stevenikon. The resulting fire made individual identification impossible. The drop zone was to have been to two areas, about 10 km apart, controlled by the Lillian Mission. The first drop was for Stores and the other one for Personnel. An eye witness statement stated that the first drop was successful. The aircraft circled for its second drop, and as it circled the engines cut out and a parachute flare was fired before the aircraft crashed. Lillian personnel recovered the bodies and buried them in a common grave at Levadhia, Greece. On 05 September 1945, the remains were reburied in Phaleron War Cemetery in Athens. On 22 May 1951, the bodies were re-interred in Arlington National Cemetery in Section 2, Site 3434-F. The South African Embassy in Washington began to pay an annual Remembrance Day tribute at his grave from 1993.
The 9th September was also the first day of operations that culminated in the 2nd British Expedition to Greece on 12-16 October. Most of the preparation work was undertaken by Special Forces and SOE Force 133.
The deceased were:
Capt. Paul E Davison jr. Pilot and OC of 12th TCS
2ndLt. Joseph C Volk. Co-Pilot
Capt. Edward L Quegan. Navigator
Lt.-Col. Linn Markley Farish. OSS
S/Sgt. Peter Gingeresky. Radio Operator
Cpl. Theron E Hoxsie. Engineer
Maj. Clifford Roy Forbes-Harris. SOE Force 133. Royal Engineers
Lt.-Col. Edgar Herbert Hiscocks. SOE Force 133. Royal Armoured Corps
Cpl. Kenneth William Clarence Thomas. SOE Force 133. Royal Corps of Signals
Capt. Geoffrey Watson. SOE Force 133. Royal Artillery.
AC2 Alojz Poberaj. Air Dispatcher. RAFVR. Yugoslav.
Lt. Victor POTGIETER. SOE Force 133. South African Engineer Corps.
Flights of the Forgotten Special Duties Operations in World War Two. By K.A. Merrick. London: Arms & Armour,1989.
The C-47: Flying Workhorse of WW II. By Richard Harvey.
Beacons in the Night: With the OSS and Tito's Partisans in Wartime Yugoslavia. By Franklin Lindsay.
A visit to Arlington, by Lyonel Capstickdale, published in the Jock Column, Magazine of the Transvaal Scottish Regimental Association, June 1994.
The second South African buried at Arlington National Cemetery was Athelstan Frederick SPILHAUS.
He was born on 25 November 1911 in Cape Town and spent his early years on a farm near Natal. Spilly, as he was known, attended schools in the United Kingdom before returning to South Africa and being admitted to the University of Cape Town. He graduated with a B.Sc. in 1931 and a Doctorate in Oceanography in 1948. He moved to the USA in 1931, where he earned a Master's degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1933, and a D.Sc. from Coe College in 1961.
He was a research assistant at MIT from 1934 to 1935, and then became Assistant Director of Technical Services for the Union of South Africa Defence Force until 1936. In 1947, he served as meteorological advisor for the Union of South Africa. He became an American citizen in 1946.
By a special Act of Congress in 1943, he became a temporary officer in the US Army Air Corps. In 1944 and 1945 he ran weather stations in northern China, living in caves near Mao Tse-Tung's headquarters behind Japanese lines, supplying weather reports critical to US bombers out of Guam and Saipan.
He was awarded 11 honorary degrees and received many honours, including the French Legion of Merit and Sweden's Berzelius Medal. His awards also included a Decorated Legion of Merit Exceptional Civilian Service Medal from the U.S. Air Force, and a Patriotic Civilian Service Award from the US Army.
A man of many talents, he was also a sculptor and collected antique mechanical toys. He wrote 11 books and published more than 300 articles. He is credited with the research and development of meteorological equipment, radar and radio upper wind finding, and the development of meteorological instruments for measurements from aircraft in flight.
He died of chronic pulmonary disease on 30 March 1998 at his home in Middleburg, Virginia, USA. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honours in Columbarium 4 PP-16-2. He was survived by his wife, Kathleen Ann Fitzgerald, two sons, A.F. Jr., of Potomac, and Karl Henry of Needham, Mass., a daughter, Margaret Ann Morse of Richmond, 13 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. His wife died in 2011.
The third South African buried at Arlington National Cemetery is PFC Christopher Warren LOTTER. He was born on 16 March 1988 in George, South Africa. He was known by his middle name, and had last lived in Chester Heights, Pennsylvania.
He died on 31 December 2008, at 20 years of age. He was buried at Section 60, Site 8766.
He grew up in Mossel Bay and after matriculating in 2006, immigrated to the U.S. where he became a U.S. citizen before joining the U.S. Army in January 2008.
On 15 September 2009, in a ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in South Africa, his mother received the State of Hawaii’s Medal of Honor on behalf of her late son who was based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. The Hawaii Medal of Honor was established to express the deep appreciation and gratitude from the people of Hawaii to the loved ones of members of the military with connections to Hawaii who sacrificed their lives in defence of the United States of America.
He is survived by his father Barry of Chester Heights, mother Marlene Coertze in South Africa, sister Michelle, and brother Justin.
07 September 2013
|Emperor Norton I|
Joshua Abraham NORTON in London, England circa 1818, son of John NORTON (a farmer) and Sarah NORDEN, a Jewish family. The family immigrated to South Africa as part of the 1820 British Settlers, sailing on the La Belle Alliance as members of Willson's Party. The party boarded La Belle Alliance at Deptford. After more than a month's delay due to the ice-bound Thames, the ship sailed from the Downs on 12 February 1820, arriving in Table Bay on 02 May 1820, and finally in Algoa Bay on 26 May 1820.
John NORTON born circa 1794 in Deptford, Kent, England.
Died 20 August 1848 in London, England.
Married in England in 1815 to Sarah NORDEN (born 1796 in East Smithfield, London, England; died 07 December 1846 in Grahamstown, Cape; daughter of Abraham NORDEN 1758–1840 and Abigail ADEL)
1. John Lewis or Louis born circa 1816 in Watford, Hertfordshire, England; died 08 May 1846 in Grahamstown, Cape. Married Kate WHITNALL. He was amongst the first students to attend the South African College (now the University of Cape Town) in 1829. He was killed in the 7th Frontier War (March 1846 – December 1847).
2. Joshua born circa 1818 in Deptford, Kent, England; died 1880 in San Francisco, California, United States of America
3. Philip born 28 March 1820 at sea; died 16 April 1847 at Kromme Park, Fort Beaufort, Cape. married Anne Mary OGILVIE circa 1839.
4. Esther born circa 1822
5. Benjamin John born circa 1823. Married MULLER.
6. Henry born circa 1825
7 Selina Jane born circa 1827. Married Donald Hume MACCLEOD.
8. Abraham born circa 1828 in Grahamstown, Cape; died 01 July 1835 in Grahamstown, Cape
9. Mary Ann born circa 1828. Married William KNIGHT.
10. John Louis born circa 1830 in Grahamstown, Cape; died 05 July 1906. Married Anna Margaret ERASMUS.
11. Louisa born circa 1833
12. Elizabeth born circa 1835
Joshua grew up in Port Elizabeth, then known as Algoa Bay. In 1825 he attended John HANCOCKS's school in Grahamstown. In 1844 he owned Gingerbread Hall near the Baakens River. He later left Port Elizabeth and joined his brothers John and Benjamin at their Cape Town business.
Joshua joined the gold rush in California, arriving in San Francisco in November 1849 aboard the steamer Hurlothrumbo. This voyage makes him the only person who was both an 1820 Settler and a San Francisco 49er. The gold-seekers were called "forty-niners" in reference to 1849. He was 30 years old and had a small fortune of $40 000 from his father's estate. He soon got involved with property and an import brokerage. Four years after arriving, he had $250 000 of capital built up. Sadly, he lost his fortune when he thought of another venture.
|Emperor Norton I|
"At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua NORTON, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of S. F., Cal., declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U. S.; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of Feb. next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity. — NORTON I, Emperor of the United States."
The editor of the San Francisco Bulletin published the edict and the people of San Francisco took their new Emperor to heart. Joshua later added "Protector of Mexico" to the title.
Norton the First was a stocky, bearded figure and dressed as royally as he could. His uniform included a blue Army coat with gold epaulettes and brass buttons; a beaver hat with a peacock feather; a cane and a sword. The uniform was given to him by officers of the United States Army post at the Presidio of San Francisco. When his uniform became tatty, the City Council voted for a special fund to buy a new uniform. He was called on to inspect military cadets at the University of California, marched at the head of the annual Police parade, and he had special seats at concerts and plays. He dined for free in San Francisco's best restaurants. He was allowed free public transport. He would spend time inspecting the condition of the city's sidewalks and cable cars. The City Council allowed him to issue and sell bonds to his subjects for 50c to $10. The bonds were printed for free by the City Council. The city's banks and businesses honoured these bonds and they happily paid the 25c taxes that Joshua levied from time to time. Crowned heads of state around the world received telegrams from him, and many replied.
|The Emperor's $10 note|
On 21 January 1867, Officer Armand BARBIER arrested Joshua for involuntary treatment of a mental disorder, which led to a major public uproar. Police Chief Patrick CROWLEY apologised to Joshua and ordered him released. Several newspaper editorials followed the arrest. After this, police officers began to salute Joshua when he passed them on the street.
The Emperor lived in a boarding-house on Commercial Street. He appears in the city's census of August 1870, listed as having the occupation of "emperor" and living at 624 Commercial St. He had two dogs, Lazarus and Bummer. They were with him constantly, even in church on Sundays. Lazarus died in October 1863, and Bummer died in November 1865. Mark TWAIN worked next door to Joshua's boarding house and saw the man most days, and wrote an epitaph for Bummer.
On the evening of 08 January 1880, Joshua dropped dead on the corner of California Street and Dupont Street (now Grant Avenue) in front of Old St. Mary's Church, while on his way to a lecture at the Academy of Natural Sciences. The following day the San Francisco Chronicle published his obituary on its front page under the headline "Le Roi est Mort" (The King is Dead).
Members of the Pacific Club, a San Francisco businessman's association, started a funeral fund which paid for a silver and rosewood coffin and a dignified farewell. Joshua lay in state in a black robe, starched shirt and black bow tie. There were thousands at his funeral procession to Masonic Cemetery on Sunday, 10 January. The original tombstone was a simple cross with the name Joshua NORTON and his dates. On 30 June 1934, he was reburied at Woodlawn Cemetery in Colma. This gravestone reads: "Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico. Joshua A. Norton 1819-1880". Adjacent to his plot is one marked "Her Royal Majesty, Empress of San Francisco, José I, The Widow Norton" - another mystery?
Many of the decrees attributed to him were written in jest by newspaper editors or for political purposes. Amongst those believed to be genuine include the following:
17 September 1859 – he declared himself Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico
02 December 1859 – he dismissed Gov. Wise of Virginia for hanging John BROWN, and appointed John C. BRECKENRIDGE of Kentucky to replace him
01 February 1860 – he ordered representatives of the different states to assemble at Platt’s Music Hall to change laws to do away with the evils under which the country was labouring
16 July 1860 – he dissolved the United States of America
01 October 1860 – he barred Congress from meeting in Washington, D.C.
25 July 1869 – he ordered San Franciscans to advance money to Frederick MARRIOTT for his airship experiments
12 August 1869 – he dissolved and abolished the Democratic and Republican parties because of party strife
16 December 1869 – he demanded that Sacramento clean its muddy streets and place gaslights on streets leading to the capitol
21 September 1870 – he decreed that the Grand Hotel furnish him rooms under penalty of being banished.
23 March 1872 – he decreed that a suspension bridge be built between Oakland Point and Goat Island, and on to San Francisco
21 September 1872 – he ordered a survey to determine if a bridge or tunnel would be the best possible means to connect Oakland and San Francisco. He also ordered the arrest of the Board of Supervisors for ignoring his decrees.
02 January 1873 – he decreed that a worldwide Bible Convention be held in San Francisco on this day
Mark TWAIN modelled the character of the King in "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" on Joshua. Robert Louis STEVENSON made him a character in his 1892 novel "The Wrecker". Stevenson's stepdaughter, Isobel OSBOURNE, mentioned Joshua in her autobiography "This Life I've Loved". She wrote that he "was a gentle and kindly man, and fortunately found himself in the friendliest and most sentimental city in the world, the idea being 'let him be emperor if he wants to.' San Francisco played the game with him."
Joshua is considered a patron saint in the religion of Discordianism.
The San Francisco Chronicle newspaper used to run "Emperor Norton Treasure Hunt" competitions in the 1950-60s. It was run in the Spring and included a proclaimation that Emperor Norton had buried a treasure somewhere in San Francisco. Clues would appear in verse, becoming more cryptic over the weeks. The prize was $1000. After the closing date, the paper would reprint all the clues and what they meant.
On 07 January 1980, the city marked the 100th anniversary of the death of its monarch with lunch-hour ceremonies. Every January, Clampus Vitus (an organisation of history buffs) holds a parade from Joshua's grave to Malloy's Tavern. Today, there's a petition to name the bridge "The Emperor Norton Bay Bridge."
20 October 2012
Twelve years ago he worked as a locum at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi and operated on a seven-year-old cancer patient who later died of leukaemia. He returned to South Africa two weeks after her death, at the end of his locum. In his absence he was tried and found guilty of manslaughter, even though no attempt was made to contact him and he was never given an opportunity to defend himself in court. He was sentenced to three years and six months in jail and required to pay blood money to the patient's family. The initial conviction was successfully overturned, but on October 3 a new trial for the same charges took place but the hearing was adjourned because the prosecutor could not find a crucial docket. Bail was denied. It is believed that the girl’s father laid charges out of anger. Professor Karabus did everything possible to save the child's life. He was being held in the hospital wing of the Al Wathba prison in Abu Dhabi because he had a pacemaker and needed medical attention. Bail was denied for a fourth time, and he was shackled at his last court appearance. Bail was finally granted at the fifth application. He had to surrender his passport, which was confiscated when he was originally arrested, and pay R240 000 to the court, which will be held as bond. His family have arranged accommodation for him in the UAE. The court also stated that the hospital had to give the Professor's lawyers access to the patient’s file, and ordered that an independent medical tribunal be established to review the file. The next court appearance is set for November 20. There is a petition on Avaaz and a Facebook page in support.
His son, Michael, lives in Toronto, and a daughter, Judith, lives in London. Professor Karabus has lived in the same house for 40 years. Numerous doctors have written letters to the UAE court testifying to the Professor's expertise and integrity. During his term as head of oncology at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital the mortality rate of children with leukaemia was reduced from 80 to 20 percent.
The publisher has produced a games app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, available free from the Apple iTunes App Store. The game is an action-packed adventure where gamers take on the role of an elite intelligence agent. The app also connects to the author via his website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. A sequel novel, Vicious Circle, is planned for publication in early 2013.
Coq d’Argent is built on the site of an ancient burial ground where wealthy Londoners were buried. In the 11th Century it was the Church of St Benet Sherehog attended by wealthy wool merchants. The church was so small that there was no room for a burial yard, so parishioners were laid to rest beneath the floor. Getting a patch of earth nearest the altar was a sign of prestige. The church was destroyed by the Great Fire in 1666 and the site was still used as a burial ground after that until it was closed in 1853. A recent dig unearthed 274 human remains. The restaurant appeared in the James Bond-themed film sequence for the Olympics opening ceremony that featured the Queen.