Joseph Benjamin Nell
|Death:||Died in Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa|
|Place of Burial:||Johannesburg, South Africa|
Son of Jacobus Hendrik Louw Nell and Martha Jacoba Nell
|Managed by:||Lee Alison Francis Cahill|
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About Joseph Benjamin Nell
Source: Lee Cahill, 29 May 2013 (Last updated 3 December 2016)
- I don't know much about my great-uncle Joseph but, according to my aunt, Hilda Wallace Keyte, he served in both Egypt and Italy during WW II, as did his brother Ben. (Update 3 December 2016: In a telephone conversation with Joseph's son - also Joseph - he told me that his Dad first served in Mombasa and, at some point, also served in Aiden).
- I only met the elder Joseph and his wife, Dot, once or twice, the last time when I was living with Gran (Maria Petronella Nell Wallace) while I was at university and they came to Johannesburg for a visit. A sweet story from that time is that, although the spare bedroom had twin beds, they both slept in one bed. They did this because they'd apparently never slept apart since the day of their marriage. Dot apparently also baked fresh bread for Joseph every day because he didn't like store-bought bread.
- Joseph died on the same day as Gran did, 16 August 1990, and is buried. together with his wife, in a cemetery in Long Avenue, Randburg.
- The younger Joseph tells the story of vising his Dad in hospital the day before he died and, when he left, telling him that he'd see him the next day. "No," the old man said, "don't come tomorrow". When questioned about this, he just repeated: "Don't come tomorrow." As the son left the ward, he turned to his father, who gave him a beautiful wave and a smile. He passed away the next morning.
- Joseph and Dot had four children (in birth order): Robert (Bobbie), Dorothea Regina (known as Toetie), Joseph (known as Boetie) and Anton. Toetie died quite young, and Bobby and his wife Helene raised her children.
- Bobby and Helene later emigrated to Australia, but I've been unable to trace them.
- On 14 July 2013, I was contacted via Geni by the grandson of Joseph's brother Ben (Benjamin Jacobus Louw Nell), who now lives in Australia. According to him, Ben and his brothers Abraham, Joseph and Daniel (Daan) moved to what was then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1948. I was able to confirm this with my aunt Hilda (and later with Joseph's sons, Joseph and Anton). I'm unsure of when he returned to Johannesburg.
- Anton Nell, Joseph's youngest son, has since been in touch with me and we share information about the family from time to time.
- Joseph Nell, Joseph's second youngest son, made contact with me on 3 December 2016. He currently farms near Standerton in Mpumalanga.
From Anton Nell, 3 May 2016: "He (Joseph Benjamin Nell) always told me about the hardships that they led as children on the diamond diggings, sometimes going to bed with no food in their bellies - and how Ouma Nell used to cook the “bies” from the goats milk and share it amongst the children. Yet if you met JHLN’s children (my uncles and aunts) you would have seen they were all huge, healthy men and women that produced good-looking families.
Another indication of the hardships that they had was that my father got his first pair of shoes at the age of 18 years old.
During the Great Depression years he walked from Barkly West to Johannesburg to come and find his sister that he was so close to (Aunty Nellie, Lee's grandmother) and to find a job. Apparently it took him two weeks to reach her, so we can just imagine the hardships that went with all of that . I am afraid to say that, as modern citizens, we do not know what real hardship is today."
I find it so poignant that these two siblings, who were so close, died on the same day.
Update about Joseph's walk from his son Joseph (3 December 2016): He walked from Barkly West to Johannesburg to try and find my Gran, the sister he was so close to. He slept in old graveyards along the way for safety. Once he reached Johannesburg, it took him about two weeks to find her and, during that time, he slept in Joubert Park. Once he found her (she was living in Jeppe at the time), she took him in and he stayed with her and her family for a while. He worked on the mines and then with the railway police, after which he signed up for combat in WWII.