Shortcut Ends in a Deadly Encounter

A farm in The Gang near to where Johannes Klue was shot

During the Anglo-Boer War a young man decided to take leave of his commando and visit his parents in Aberdeen. Johannes Klue, however, never made it home. On February 2, 1902, he took a shortcut through Wolwekloof, on the farm Remhoogte, in an area known as “Die Gang”, a long narrow valley which links Prince Albert to Klaarstroom.   Klue surprised a wounded British Soldier there and was shot in the chest.   The owner of Remhoogte, Roelof du Plessis,  heard the shot and rode out to investigate.   He found only the heavily wounded Klue, so he carefully loaded him onto the back of a horse and took him home for attention.   Sadly, despite care and attention at Du Plessis’s home, there was little that could be done for the young man and he died.  Roelof decided to bury him back in the kloof where he was shot, however, once he got there he found the body of the British officer, who by then had also died of his wounds.   So they dug two graves and buried the men, who had been enemies in life, side by side.

The officer was Lance Corporal J Boyd, of the Imperial Yeomanry.   He and his men had been in the area in January, but things were so quiet that they had been ordered to move to Calitzdorp.  Shortly afterwards  the Boers moved into Klaarstroom area and the Yeomanry regiment was ordered to return.  Colonel Parker was told to station five howitzers on Kredouw Pass on the road between Klaarstroom and Prince Albert.

On February 2,  Captain McDowell and Lieutenant Torrain captured three Boer spies outside  Klaarstroom.  McDowell actually rode into the village, but found so many Boers there that he did an immediate about turn and charged off in the direction of  Prince Albert. The Boers set off in pursuit and caught up with the British at Remhoogte. A skirmish ensued and during this Corporal Boyd was mortally  wounded. It was just after all this action that Johannes Klue stumbled upon him.

After the war Corporal Boyd’s wife asked for him to be re-intered in the nearest Anglican graveyard.  He is  one of two soldiers buried behind the Church of the Good Shepherd in Klaarstroom. The other is Trooper T R Hirschfords of Brabants Horse, who was killed in the area 12 days later.

Klue’s grave remained unmarked until the commemorative centenary of the War in 2002. Then, one day, the Friends of Fransie Pienaar Museum visited his lonely, long forgotten grave and laid a wreath on it.   At the time local researcher Helena Marincowitz said: “The wreath-laying ceremony was very moving.  No one has been near this grave in almost a century. “   The Friends of Fransie Pienaar Museum then arranged for a  small name plaque to be  erected on Klue’s grave.   When it was ready several members of the community went out with the local dominee who said a prayer after the little stone was erected on the grave.

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