Category: Anglo-Boer War stories

  • In Search Of A Swedish Rebel

    At the end of the last century a Swede from Gothenburg decided to make the Karoo his home. According to reports, Frederick Toy lived in Beaufort West and Willowmore from about 1870 until the Anglo-Boer War broke out.  He could not help but take up the cause of the Boer people whom he had grown […]

  • Odd Honesty Among The Thieves

    a typical Murraysburg cottage similar to the one in which the doctor lived Boer Commando units loved the Murraysburg branch of the Standard Bank. It  was in a far-flung isolated spot and easy to attack, so, for a while during the Anglo-Boer War,  it became most robbed instution of its kind in the Karoo. The…

  • My Kingdom For a Good Horse

    “If you find a good horse, keep him,” was the advice given to British soldiers in South Africa in the 1850s.  They were instructed to look for “a horse that could be pulled up in his stride and one that would not mind a gun going off between his ears.”  They were also warned against…

  • Beaufort West Consigned To The Dust

    Olive Schreiner, author, liberal free-thinker, champion of the under-privileged and women’s rights,  loved the Karoo, but she didn’t like Beaufort West. Olive stayed Beaufort West for a while during the Anglo-Boer War – towards the end of June, 1900. She hated the town and its people and didn’t hesitate to say so. In a letter,…

  • Incredible Find

    Trooper P Burton (No. 4249) died of wounds received during a skirmish at Grootfontein, near Laingsburg on October 11, 1901.   He was only 24 years old.    He was buried in the Laingsburg cemetery and his comrades collected sufficient funds to erect a marble memorial to mark his grave.    Then in at about 08h00 on Sunday,…

  • From The Spanish Armada To Blockhouses

    A Cornishman who could trace his lineage back to the time of the Spanish Armada lies buried in the Great Karoo. Richard Hastings Tremearne, the British officer who supervised the building of the blockhouse lines in the Karoo,  was a descendant of  John Tremearne, vicar of Paul, in Cornwall, during the Spanish Armada. Soon after…

  • Shortcut Ends in a Deadly Encounter

    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…

  • Hey Presto! A hospital

    Lord Roberts chose the spot, but it was two dynamic English women who ensured that Deelfontein Military Hospital became a reality.  Those who have seen Deelfontein wonder why such a far-flung spot was chosen as a site for a major hospital.  The Anglo-Boer War was at its height in January, 1900, when Sir Redvers Buller…

  • A Paradox of the Plains

    It’s only a lonely little railway siding like so many on the plains of the Great Karoo. What makes Deelfontein eerily different, however, are its buildings. They have an old-world air of elegance and appear to have been designed to reflect the glories of the British Empire.  Not many tourists take this route, but Wally…