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PLYMOUTH HMS DORIS SOUTH AFRICAN (BOER WAR) MEMORIAL

Compiled and Copyright © Martin Edwards 2005

The memorial is in the form of a gun mounted on a plinth in Devonport Park, Plymouth and is dedicated to the men who lost their lives from HMS Doris in the South African war 1899-1902. The memorial was unveiled on February 27th 1904 by Admiral Sir Edward H Seymour GCB OM, Commander in Chief at Devonport, and Vice Admiral Sir R H Harris, whose flag was flying on HMS Doris at Simonstown when the brigades were formed. The gun was handed over to Devonport Corporation on the same day.
From an old postcard

This gun captured from the Boers during the South African War 1899-1902
has been erected here by the Officers and Men of HMS Doris in the memory of
their shipmates who lost their lives in that campaign.  

The gun has recently been restored, below is a Press Release and pictures relating to the restoration, all Copyright © Plymouth City Council 2006, 2007.

The Doris gun is removed

Time: 11.30 and 12.30
Date: 12 March
Place: Devonport Park

Big day for Doris gun

Devonport is bringing back the big gun – quite literally.

The Doris gun is being returned to its home in Devonport after being carefully restored by specialists.

The historic Doris Gun, which was unveiled in 1904, commemorates the crew of HMS Doris, who had died fighting alongside the army at the Battle of Paardeberg in 1900.

One of the only three remaining ‘pom-pom’ guns in the world, the base stone around the monument has been cleaned, the cracked tablet with names of the crew repaired and the gun’s metal work stabilised to prevent further decline.

During the restoration work, shots were found inside the barrel of the gun.

Cabinet Member for Creative Plymouth and New Deal for Communities Councillor Chris Mavin said: “These memorials are not just an important landmarks. They have historical significance for people whose families have lived here for generations.

“We want to revitalise the park to make but we are not forgetting the part people of Devonport have played. It is great to be able to see this gun come back home.”

The renovated Doris gun is returned

The gun, which is a grade II listed structure, was restored thanks to a grant £75,000 from the Devonport Regeneration Community Partnership. The grant will also fund the restoration of the war memorial in the park.

The park is undergoing a radical transformation to transform a Victorian park into a People’s Park. Plymouth City Council has been working with the Friends of Devonport Park, the DRCP, the Granby Island Community Centre as well as the Lawn Tennis Association and the Groundwork Trust to make this happen.

Last year three tennis courts were renovated and new fencing, entrance gate and path put in thanks to the Council’s work with the Friends of Devonport Park and the Groundwork Trust to secure £50,000 funding from the Barclays Spaces for Sports Programme. Devonport Regeneration Community Partnership, the Granby Island Community Centre and the Lawn Tennis Association were also involved

Frank Wilson, Chair of the Friends of Devonport Park, added: “We are making huge progress in creating a park that will be the pride of the area. This is another significant bit of work that has been completed to be enjoyed by everyone."

“This is a great example of different organisations pulling together to create something special for the community.”

PLUMBE

John Hulke

Major, Royal Marine Light Infantry. Killed in action 25th November 1899 at Graspan. Aged 41. When leading a charge at Graspan Major Plumbe was shot, his last words 'Forward! never mind me.' His pet dog sat with his body for 6 hours. Son of Dr. S.A. Plumbe, of Maidenhead. Commemorated in West End Cemetery, Kimberley South Africa.

Extract from The Last Post - Roll of Officers who fell in South Africa 1899-1902 by Mildred G Dooner, published by Naval and Military Press

Plumbe. - Major John Hulke Plumbe, Royal Marine Light Infantry, was killed in action at Graspan, Nov. 25th, 1899. The third son of the late Dr. S. A. Plumbe, of Maidenhead, he was born in 1858, and educated at the Oxford Military College. He entered the Royal Marines in 1877, was promoted capt. i88o, and major 1885, and is stated to have been a highly qualified officer, being a specialist in gunnery, fortification, torpedoes, and other subjects. He served in the Royal Marine Batt. in Egypt in 1882, and was present at every action in which it was engaged from the occupation of Alexandria to the actions of Tel-el-Mahuta, Kassassin, Aug. 28th, Kassassin, Sept. 9th, and Tel-el-Kebir, where he was slightly wounded in the hand and hip. He received the medal with clasp and bronze star. In the battle of Graspan Major Plumbe was in command of the Royal Marines belonging to the Naval Brigade. In this action their losses amounted to forty-three per cent., due to the “unflinching and self-sacrificing heroism of the troops that led the assault.” Three officers and 72 men of the Royal Marines were killed or wounded out of a total of 5 officers and 190 men. In the Naval Brigade Major Plumbe, Commander Etheiston, Captain Senior, and Midshipman Huddart were killed, and almost all the petty and non-commissioned officers were struck down. Just before he was killed Major Plumbe said, “Rush for the hill, men,” and when mortally wounded his last words were, “Forward! never mind me.” A pet dog he took into action with him watched by his body for six hours, until the arrival of the ambulance. Major Plumbe was at first buried on the battlefield, but on the morning of Nov. 26th his body was moved, and he now lies close to Enslin Station beside Commander Etheiston and Capt. Senior. Their graves are marked by a large cross. Major Plumbe’s servant, Private Doran, died of his wounds. The names of Major Plumbe and his servant are inscribed on the monument erected in the Cambridge enclosure, St. James’s Park, by the officers and men of the Royal Marine Artillery and Light Infantry, in memory of their comrades who fell in South Africa and China.

HUDDART

Cymberline Alonso Edric

Midshipman, Royal Navy. Killed in action 25th November 1899 at Graspan. Aged 18. Son of James Huddart, of Eastbourne. Buried at Enslin.

Extract from The Last Post - Roll of Officers who fell in South Africa 1899-1902 by Mildred G Dooner, published by Naval and Military Press

Huddart. - Midshipman Cymbeline Alonso Edric Huddart, of H.M.S. “Doris,” was mortally wounded in action at Graspan, Nov. 25th, 1899, and died the same night. He was nearly 19 years of age, and was the son of the late James Huddart, Esq., of Eastbourne. He entered the “Britannia “in 1895, where he was one of the two chief captains of cadets, and passed out with such seniority that he joined the “St. George” on the Cape Station as midshipman June, 1897. On Admiral Rawson’s arrival home from the Cape Midshipman Huddart was transferred to the “Doris.” At the time of his death he was acting as A.D.C. to Capt. Prothero, commanding the naval brigade with the Kimberley Relief Force. At the battle of Graspan Midshipman Huddart is stated to have “behaved magnificently and still advanced aftet he had been twice wounded, until he was finally struck down mortally wounded.” He is mentioned in the dispatch of Lieut.-Gen. Lord Methuen, Nov. 26th, 1899. Midshipman Huddart is buried close to the hospital at Enslin.

BOYLE

John

Private, Royal Marine Light Infantry

DORAN

Francis

Private, Royal Marine Light Infantry

COLEMAN

Francis

Able Seaman

WISE

Matthew

Able Seaman

EDWARDS

Albert C

Able Seaman

HOOK

John E

Ordinary Seaman

LOCKETT

William

Storeman

PHILLIPS

W J

2nd SBS

WILLS

Lewis

2nd (Dom)

Ready - Aye - Ready

Last updated 14 March, 2007

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