Cornwall Stone

The HMS Cornwall Mystery Stone
By Boet Dommisse

Attie at the site of discovery
(Image STHS)

In late 2007 an observant bulldozer operator Attie Martiens, working on abuilding site in Dolphin Way, Simon’s Kloof, noticed that a very large boulder he was moving had an inscription on its sea-facing aspect. This proved to be the badge of HMS Cornwall, expertly sculpted by a stone mason (APJ) in 1946. It had weathered well but only traces of the original colours remain.
Despite numerous enquiries and letters to the Press the Simon’s Town Historical Society have been unable to find any definitive information about this carved stone.

HMS Cornwall entered Simon’s Town dry dock in February 1940. She was sunk on Easter Sunday 1942 by Japanese dive-bombers off Ceylon (Sri-Lanka). The stone was only sculpted six years later.
One suggestion is that a survivor from the Cornwall carved the Crest in memory of his comrades.  The Cape Times of 16 April 1942 published a list of the South African survivors after HMS Cornwall was sunk off Ceylon. Listed was Jack PA – initials PAJ. The initials engraved on the stone are APJ. Could there be a connection? Hopefully some senior citizen who lived in Simon’s Town in the late 1940’s will remember seeing this skillfully carved and coloured crest.

Close up of the Crown
(Image STHS)

Incidentally one of the survivors of the Cornwall was Surgeon Lieut.Commander Glyn-Rees, later a well-known gynecologist in Cape Town. The present HMS Cornwall  was involved in the war in Iraq.The stone has since been relocated to Jubilee square in St George’s Street

Two versions of the Crest, the one on the left painted on the dry dock wall in Simon’s Town. The other is from a badge supplier
(Image STHS)

If anyone has any information on the origin of the stone and would like to pass it on to the Society you can contact:-
simonstown.historical.society@gmail.com