Commemorative Services are held annually throughout South Africa to honour those members of 1st Bn Cape Corps who lost their lives during WW1 in Palestine. Following a swift victory against Ottoman Turkish Forces at Square Hill to the right of the Jerusalem-Nablus road, about 16Km north of “Rham Alla” (Ramallah) on 19 September 1918, the 400 souls of the 1st Battalion Cape Corps who took part in the battle had sustained 152 casualties, on the following day during a follow through battle at Kh Jebeit, some 700m from Square Hill.
1st Bn Cape Corps was formed as a combat unit during WW1 and consisted entirely of coloured troops under command of white officers. After the battle, 43 lay dead on the field of battle, 8 died of wounds later, 101 survived their wounds and one man was taken prisoner by the Turks. Included in the dead were 6 officers and 7 wounded leaving the Bn, or what remained, to rely largely on the NCOs to conduct the retreat.
The dead were buried in the Jerusalem War Cemetery and a Turkish gun captured at Square Hill now proudly stands at the Square Hill Memorial in Kimberley, South Africa.
On Sunday 23rd September 2018, the Centennial Remembrance Service of the Battle of Square Hill was held at the Castle in Cape Town. The Reserve Force Council (RFC) was represented at the Remembrance Service by Cllr John Del Monte, Deputy Chairman of the RFC, who laid a wreath on its behalf.
Cllr John Del Monte laying a wreath on behalf of the RFC.
Cllr John Del Monte paying homage to the soldiers that lost their lives at Square Hill, 100 years ago (18 September 1918).