School shotists are on target

2014-09-16 00:00

GLENWOOD High School’s marksmen have been on target, recently winning the Natal Grand Challenge Shield at the 2014 Inter-schools Shooting Bisley.

The shield, affectionately known as “The Angel” because of the dominant figure in the centre, is regarded by schools as the most prestigious shooting trophy to secure.

It was first awarded in 1896. For much of this time, shooting was part of many school’s cadet programme, becoming an independent school sport in 1994. The weapons used have changed through time, with the original Snider Carbines replaced by the .303 and .22 rifles, before today’s air rifle took charge.

At a cadet camp held in the grounds of the Agricultural Society in Pietermaritzburg over five days in 1896, 1 135 cadets, 33 teachers and 12 drill instructors attended, with Merchiston one of several primary schools attending. Here the Challenge Shield was born and Hilton College took the honours, using the Snider Carbines that kicked like a mule. Hilton took the spoils the following year as well, before College were victorious in 1898.

The annual cadet camp of 1899 was held in Durban, with Dundee School winning what was called the Richmond White Challenge Cup, a cup that has not been seen again after it was taken by the Vryheid Boers when they occupied the school soon after the competition.

Boys from many schools were caught in the hostilities of the Boer War from 1899 to 1902, and after the Jameson Raid in 1896, many Afrikaans-speaking boys at Hilton returned home to serve in their local commando.

With the Boer War past, competition for the shield resumed once more and Ixopo was the winner in 1903. Michaelhouse added its name in 1906 and 1912, with Berea Academy (1908) and DHS (1911) getting in on the act.

War again intervened, with no competition from 1914 to 1919 and in 1924, Technical High School Durban, later to become Glenwood High School, took The Angel home.

Glenwood won again in 1927, from 1929 to 1932 and again in 1934. In-between, Greytown won in 1933/34 and 1936, Escourt 1935, 1938/39 and College in 1937.

World War 2 halted proceedings and it was a while before shooting resumed. Glenwood won again in 1957/59, DHS in 1955 and Kearsney in 1958.

Glenwood won from 1964 to 1966 and again in 1970, but then the Northern Natal schools started emerging, including Glencoe, Hoerskool Vryheid and Pioneer, which won from 2007 to 2010, and again in 2012. Empangeni won in 1996, George Campbell in 1997 to 2000, College in 1999, 2001 and 2006, and Glenwood in 2011 to 2014.

But The Angel, for now, belongs to Glenwood High School.

— Details by Kevin Jordan, Glenwood High School.

Cadets at school

CADETS was a major part of many schools’ programmes, first introduced in the province in the early 1870s. Hilton College was the first school to introduce cadets, followed by Hermannsburg and Maritzburg College.

As a frontier colony, it was the province’s duty to train young men in the basics of marching, shooting and military discipline, and by the 1890s, cadets was introduced at some primary schools for boys over 10 years old. Bellair Primary School introduced cadets from 1903 and Highbury had its boys marching from 1909 to 1955.

In the seventies and eighties, cadets at schools was seen in a negative light and a waste of valuable time. However, in the late 19th century, it was popular and a vital part of a young boy’s upbringing.

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