Royal Navy get the freedom of Ladysmith

2008-02-19 00:00

The Royal Navy is to receive the Freedom of Ladysmith later this year.

Fifi Meyer, tourism officer for Emnambithi (Ladysmith) Municipality, said that this is a result of their role in saving Ladysmith in the Anglo-Boer War.

The ceremonial event on April 4 will kick off the third annual Ladysmith Siege Weekend, which takes place on April 5 and 6. The main event is the extreme Swartkop Challenge, which re-enacts the hauling of a 1,5-ton gun up a

100-metre slope at an almost 45° angle.

Meyer said that the Royal Navy managed to deploy their long-range 12-pounder guns in the nick of time to save Ladysmith from being captured by the Boers.

“These compelling events might have taken place 108 years ago, but are frequently recalled by the descendants of those involved. Up until 1999, the Naval Field Gun Display was a popular annual event for the Royal Navy,” said Meyer.

Safely back on British soil, the men involved were keen to display their prowess at gun hauling and this lead to the Naval Field Gun Display, said Meyer.

More information can be obtained from the website www.swartkopchallenge.com or from the Ladysmith Siege Museum on 036 637 2992, or e-mail museum@ladysmith.co.za.

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