Boer War remembered

STRONG TIES: Jim Harrap - whose grandfather Charles Grosser served in the Boer War - was among those to attend the intimate service. 
Picture: SANDRA MORELLO

STRONG TIES: Jim Harrap - whose grandfather Charles Grosser served in the Boer War - was among those to attend the intimate service. Picture: SANDRA MORELLO

PAYING HOMAGE: Mount Gambier's Reverend John Deer officiates at the service at the base of the Boer War memorial.

PAYING HOMAGE: Mount Gambier's Reverend John Deer officiates at the service at the base of the Boer War memorial.

COMING TOGETHER: Mount Gambier Community RSL president Bob Sandow and Leon Rademeyer - who served in the South African Defence Force in the 1980s - paid homage to those who fought in the Boer War. Mr Rademeyer laid a wreath at the ceremony to remember the fallen on both sides of the conflict.

COMING TOGETHER: Mount Gambier Community RSL president Bob Sandow and Leon Rademeyer - who served in the South African Defence Force in the 1980s - paid homage to those who fought in the Boer War. Mr Rademeyer laid a wreath at the ceremony to remember the fallen on both sides of the conflict.

SPECIAL MOMENT: Lieutenant Colonel Brenton Gasteen - one of three top ranked officials from the Australian Defence Force to attend services in Mount Gambier - was among those who laid a wreath on Saturday (April 25).

SPECIAL MOMENT: Lieutenant Colonel Brenton Gasteen - one of three top ranked officials from the Australian Defence Force to attend services in Mount Gambier - was among those who laid a wreath on Saturday (April 25).

DESCENDANTS of soldiers who fought in the South African War of 1899 to 1902 gathered at the Boer War Memorial on Saturday morning (April 25) for a poignant and small family service.

Standing at the foot of the granite, white marble and stone memorial on Bay Road, descendants paid homage to the service of their forefathers.

The memorial - which lists the names of regional soldiers who were killed during the conflict - was unveiled in 1906 and serves as a reminder of the South African conflict.

Mount Gambier Community RSL president Bob Sandow told the small gathering the occasion marked the 115th anniversary of the war.

He said 600 Australians died and 20,000 fought in the conflict.

"Your grandfathers and ancestors started the tradition of the Anzac," Mr Sandow said.

He said these men showed "bravery, toughness and coolness" which has carried forward in the Anzac spirit.

One of the descendants at the service was Jim Harrap, who proudly wore the service medal of his grandfather Charles Alexander Constantine Grosser.

"I am very proud of my grandfather, even though I barely knew him," Mr Harrap told The Border Watch.

He said his grandfather was promoted to a sergeant and survived the war.

Mr Harrap - who served in the Royal South Australian Regiment - said he had an uncanny resemblance to his grandfather.

"That's why I wear the whiskers and the long hair - we look identical," Mr Harrap said.

Mr Harrap's cousin travelled 1300km to bring their grandfather's original medal to the service.

And in a special moment at the service, The Border Watch journalist Leon Rademeyer - who served in the South African Defence Force in the 1980s as a national serviceman - was invited by Mr Sandow to lay a wreath at the memorial.

Mr Rademeyer said he was honoured to lay a wreath in remembrance of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Boer War, in particular the Boer women and children.

"The reason for honouring those who lost their lives in service of their countries is to make sure it never happens again," he said.

Mr Rademeyer served in the South African Air Force during the South African Border War.

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