This South African clip art is of large size and format and is suitable for presentations, school projects and coloring books. The large images are too large for use on web pages, however you can use the thumbnail images for the net. Selections of both colour and black and white clip art are available. Please do not include these in any other collections of clip art. To download a thumbnail left click on the picture and then "Save As" to a directory of your choice. To download the full size image, first right click on the thumbnail and then left click on the full size image and "Save As" to a directory of your choice.

Between 1931 and 1938, Robben Island served as little more than a picnic spot. When the Second World War broke out in September 1939, however, it became a military station that formed the nucleus of the South African coastal defence system in the Cape Peninsula. When General Smuts took over the defence portfolio in 1939, Cape Town had already been recognised as potentially significant for the war effort. The Suez Canal was vulnerable to attack and the shipping traffic in South African waters was expected to increase dramatically. On 25 October 1939, Smuts announced that a South African Navy would be established. Shore stations were set up in Cape Town, Simon's Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban.

Robben Island's first military purpose was to replace HMS Erebus as a static battleship. On 23 March 1939 it was announced that, from 1 September the monitor Erebus, armed with 15-inch guns, would defend Cape Town. This was arguably necessary because it would take at least four years for the required coastal guns to arrive in South Africa. The intention was to station HMS Erebus close to Robben Island where it would serve to protect the ships in Table Bay Harbour until fixed armaments had been established on the island. However, the Erebus was never used. She was unsuitable for the rough seas around the Cape, and a blast from one of her 15-inch guns could have caused more damage to Cape Town than any enemy battleship. Following the recommendations of the 1928 Imperial Defence Commission, it was decided that a high-angle, 9,2-inch gun battery would be established on Robben Island instead. Thus the island assumed its first military role as a static battleship in the place of the monitor Erebus.

These cliparts were taken from a cigarette card book. Issued by The United Tobacco Company for the benefit of the the smokers of their products.




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Last updated January 2014