Memorable Order of Tin Hats

The Memorable Order of Tin Hats (M.O.T.H.) was founded in 1927 by Charles Evenden as a brotherhood of South African former front-line soldiers. The ideal is to help comrades in need, either financially or physically; and to remember all servicemen who have answered the Sunset Call, both in war and peacetime.[1][2]

Memorable Order of Tin Hats
Lapel badge of Memorable Order of the Tin Hat.jpg
Formation7 May 1927; 95 years ago (1927-05-07)
FounderMoth O
TypeEx-Servicemens and Womens organisation
Legal statusCharity NPO & NGO, (MESCA)
HeadquartersFlame Lily Park Retirement Homes, Melvern, Durban, South Africa
Region served
South Africa and Worldwide
Official language
M.O.T.H National Chairman
Anders "Andy" Boden
National Executive Members
PublicationThe Home Front
  • M.O.T.H. Ex-Servicemen’s Cottage Association,
  • M.O.T.H. Women's Auxiliary Mothwa,
  • M.O.T.H. Motorcycle Association MMA.
AffiliationsRoyal Commonwealth Ex-Services League


M.O.T.H. Shellhole, Bloemfontein.

According to the Dictionary of South African Biography, one night in 1927 after he and the editor of The Natal Mercury, RJ Kingston Russell, had seen a war film, Charles Evenden was persuaded to draw a cartoon on 'remembrance'. According to the Dictionary, "The cartoon showed a tin helmet surmounted by a burning candle. Around the flames of the candle were six words – True ComradeshipMutual HelpSound Memory".[3]

However, the official M.O.T.H. website carries a cartoon captioned Forgetfulness and this led to the founding of the Order. This is confirmed by the Eastern Province Herald which describes the cartoon as follows: "a bullet- and shrapnel-riddled Allied helmet awash in the ocean. In the background a steamship passes over the horizon, leaving the forgotten, ghostly form of a veteran forlornly wading through the water."

"The concepts of True Comradeship, Mutual Help and Sound Memory were to become the inspiration of a remarkable organisation of ex-front-line soldiers, of all ranks, known as M.O.T.H. Evenden, as the founder of the movement and its guiding inspiration was given the title of Moth O – a position he held until his death."[3]

The membership of the M.O.T.H. movement, under Evenden's vigorous direction and leadership, grew into thousands. Men and women of two world wars, of the Second Anglo Boer War (1899–1902) and even those of former enemy forces streamed into its ranks. All who were prepared to keep alive the memories of comradeship and self-sacrifice – the finer virtues that war brings forth – were welcomed and made at home in shell holes as the meeting premises are called with colourful and meaningful names of war-time memories and occasions. M.O.T.H. shell holes have been opened in Ireland, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and a Cyber shellhole for members all over the globe. Membership was also extended to those who had participated in the South African Border War.[1]

Warrior's Gate M.O.T.H. Museum of Miltaria and Moth Sanctuary, DurbanEdit

The museum, located in Durban, is modelled on a Norman design from a photograph given to Evenden by Admiral Evans-of-the-Broke. The exhibits extend from the Anglo- Zulu war, 1st and 2nd Boer wars, WW1, WW2, Korean war, Vietnam war, Rhodesian war, and the SWA border war periods. Entrance is free but donations are always welcomed.


In 1948 Evenden opened Mount Memory, a monument to the missing and dead of the Second World War, in the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains. Moth are remembered on the Memorial wall, that have answered the Sunset Call. The Moth Gardens of Remembrance, accommodating the Delville Wood Weeping Cross in Peitermaritzbug. There are also numerous Moth Memorials around the country and managed by the local Moth Shellhole in that area.

Eligibility for membershipEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Memorable Order of Tin Hats – About Us". Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  2. ^ SESA 1974, pp. 327–28.
  3. ^ a b DSAB 1987, pp. 250–51.


  • "Charles Evenden". Dictionary of South African Biography. Vol. V. Human Sciences Research Council. 1987. ISBN 0-7969-0420-0.
  • "Memorable Order of Tin Hats". Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa. Vol. 7. Nasou. 1974. ISBN 0-625-00324-1.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit