Val­ley of the Stiffs

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Colesberg -

Ta­ke the N10 to Cra­dock, ask for di­recti­ons to the main ce­me­te­ry and you’ll soon find your­self fas­ci­na­ted by w­hat one of our lo­cal chaps calls “The Val­ley of the Stiffs”.

Should the de­ad souls of the Cra­dock Ce­me­te­ry ri­se from t­heir gra­ves on a moon­lit nig­ht and sit do­wn to­get­her at a long ta­ble by the si­de of the Gre­at Fish Ri­ver, it would in­deed be a fa­mous fe­ast.

Hos­ting the ghos­t­ly din­ner would be po­lar ex­plo­rer Dr Re­gi­nald Koett­litz and his wi­fe, Ma­rie Lou­i­se. He died on Ja­nu­a­ry 10, 1916, and Mrs Koett­litz ex­pi­red a scant two hours af­ter him.

To his rig­ht would be Ge­ne­ral Pie­ter Hen­drik K­rit­zin­ger, a ma­jor Boer war­ri­or who led his B­ri­tish pur­su­ers a de­vil’s dan­ce through the dis­trict.

To his left would be Har­ry Ed­win Wood, who died in 1946 and was the of­fi­ci­al Astro­no­mer and Time­keeper and se­cond di­rec­tor of the U­ni­on Ob­ser­va­to­ry in Jo­han­nes­burg. He dis­co­ve­r­ed and na­med 12 co­mets and 3 mi­nor pla­nets, and had a co­met na­med in his ho­nour by a col­le­a­gue, “1660 Wood”.

For the rest of the com­pa­ny, mo­re than 70 B­ri­tish sol­diers, a gag­gle of nuns, four Ca­pe Re­bels (gra­ves was­hed a­way in the 1974 f­loods) and he­re’s one Har­ry Pot­ter, far from ho­me, bu­ried on Ka­roo soil.

Ang­lo-boer War sad­ness out­si­de S­pring­fon­tein.

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