The South African Naval Museum has been most fortunate to see a steady increase in the donation of items made by the public, and as previously reported, this bodes well for the confidence the public places in this specific museum.
The traditional functions of a professionally recognized museum are:
– Restoration & Preservation
The donations of so many items all form part of the collection function. But before these items can go on display, they may be in need of some restoration or repairs. And it is also of no use for the item to just go on display without placing it within the necessary context and for that reason the necessary historical research needs to be done in order to illustrate the item’s use and relevance. Displaying the item presents its own challenges, with so many options and display methods available today (often dictated by the availability of funds!). And with that the public and visitors are educated – acquiring knowledge of our maritime history, getting (in) to touch (with) history, so to speak.
TYPE VIIC U-BOAT MODEL
A 1:48 scale model of a German Type VIIC U-boat, donated to the museum by the late Robin Jackson, it was made by Richard Woodard. This model was placed close to the triple-barrelled Squid anti-submarine mortar off the frigate Loch class frigate HMSAS Natal. Natal gained some fame when it sunk a German Type VIIC U-boat (U-714) on 14 March 1945, only four hours after having left its builder’s shipyard.
JB COASTAL RADAR MODEL
This model represents South AFrica’s first secret radar detection station installed in April 1942, above the Cape Point lighthouse. Using the JB system it added some protect to Allied convoys from enemy U-boats and surface raiders. Reutech repaired the model to a running (rotating) state again.
100 YEAR OLD CROCHETED PILLOW CASE
Donated by Mrs Glynneth Carrington. The pillow case was crocheted by Mrs Emma Shirley (Mrs Carrington’s grandmother) during the First World War (1914-1918) and depicts either a dreadnought or battleship in fine detail. The detail on the pillow case reveals features that closely resemble the King George V-class dreadnought battleships built for the Royal Navy in the early 1910s and which saw service during the First World War.
ADMIRAL DURNFORD UNIFORM
This Royal Navy uniform was donated to the SA Naval Museum by the great-nephew of Admiral John Durnford, Patrick Durnford and originally given to him by the Admiral’s son, Fred Durnford. Admiral Sir John Durnford was the Commander-in-Chief, Cape of Good Hope Station, at Naval Base Simon’s Town from 1904 to 1907.
MAE WEST LIFE PRESERVER VEST
Donated by Mrs Betty Spencer, who’s husband Louie Spencer wore the Mae West on 5 April 1942 when the cruiser HMS Cornwall was sunk in what was known as the “Easter Sunday Raid”. Many South Africans who served on the cruiser lost their lives when the ship was sunk. but Louie Spencer survived the ordeal (thank to his Mae West!).