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Archive for October 1st, 2022

A HUGE thank you to Anton Roetz, who visited my blog a little while ago. Anton made me aware of this piece of interesting history. I absolutely love to know that this is what some soldiers did during the Anglo-Boer War to entertain themselves and even more to know what one farmer did. Read this interesting piece of information. Information from the site of Cradock-info.

During the early 1900s, British soldiers created a chessboard or chequers board on the top of Saltpeterskop, a 1514m high koppie (hill) in the Park. While using the peak as a lookout point during the Anglo-Boer War, they played chess or chequers with their fellow soldiers on the next lookout point, the Old Fort in Cradock, transmitting moves by means of a mirror, which had the official purpose of communicating warning signals.

The story goes that a certain farmer – unbeknown to the soldiers – picked up the signals and started a game against the soldiers while sitting on the stoep of his farmhouse.

The chessboard and the names of the soldiers are etched onto a flat slab of rock at the top of Saltpeterskop, which is the first koppie on the right as one drives into the Park.

Names recorded include Corporal Pegram of the 1st Coldstream Guards, Corporal Hutchinson, Private W. Chambers of the 5th Lancaster Fusilliers, and many others with dates in 1901 and 1902. The chessboard is still visible today and can be accessed on a guided hike with a SANParks guide.

Salpeterkop was supposedly named after a cave on the hill which provided a supply of saltpetre (potassium nitrate), a substance used in the manufacture of gunpowder for firearms in the early days. The cave was reported to have collapsed and its location is not known today.

Salpeterkop Graves Image: Cradock-info.co.za
Salpeterkop image: Thegreatkaroo.com
Twitter – SANParks

Mountain Zebra National Park – Chessboard — It is believed that the chessboard was created
during the early 1900s by British soldiers. They created the chessboard or draught board on a rock on top of Saltpeterskop, a 1 514m high hill.
Names of the British soldiers engraved on the chess board on Salpterkop

Resource link: https://www.cradock-info.co.za/town/article/1270/mountain-zebra-national-park-cultural-heritage-sites

https://www.thegreatkaroo.com/listing/cradock_excursions_salpeterkop_hike

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