Daniel Johannes Stephanus Theron (1872 - 1900)

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Nicknames: "Danie Theron"
Birthplace: Tulbagh, WC, South Africa
Death: Died in Fochville, South Africa
Cause of death: Killed in action
Occupation: Prokureur; Legendariese Boerekommandant en -spioen tydens ABO
Managed by: Maria Francina Botha
Last Updated:

About Daniel Johannes Stephanus Theron

Daniël Johannes Stephanus Theron, (9 May 1872 - 5 September 1900), often called Danie Theron, was born in Tulbagh, Cape Colony, and raised in Bethlehem, Orange Free State.

Originally trained as a school teacher, he became a lawyer and notary with his own law firm in Krugersdorp, Transvaal Republic, and was made a Captain in the Boer Army when the Second Boer War began

Theron became a Boer Army Captain and was put in charge of organizing and leading the Boer Intelligence scouts, the Theron se Verkenningskorps (TVK) (Theron's Reconnaissance Corps). To save horses for combat, he developed the use of bicycles for despatch and reconnaissance. His 105 recruits were equipped with various items including revolvers, binoculars and sometimes light carbine. The TVK would watch British movements and study their tactics during battles.

Theron's most notable single action was in the Battle of Paardeberg, where on 25 February 1900, a Boer Gen. Piet Cronje and several thousand troops were surrounded by British forces. Outnumbered and losing the battle, Theron, acting as a messenger for the other primary Boer commander, sneaked through British lines to convey a plan for a breakout operation - and then sneaked through the lines a second time to bring back Cronje's reply. The TVK brought many Boer civilians and soldiers across the river safely into Boer territory, but in spite of Theron's efforts the planned operation failed and most of the Boer forces surrendered.

While scouting alone on a koppie at Gatsrand, about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) north of present-day Fochville, he encountered seven members of Marshall's Horse and was killed in action.

On 15 September 1900, the men of the TVK exhumed the body of their Commandant and reburied him in the family cemetery of the Pienaar family near Fochville. But on 10 March 1903, Theron's last will was carried out and his body was once again exhumed to be reburied next to that of his late fiancée Hannie Neethling on her father's farm Eikenhof on the Klip River.

Commandant Danie Theron's death earned him immortal fame in Afrikaner history. On learning of Theron's death, De Wet said: "Men as lovable or as valiant there might be, but where shall I find a man who combined so many virtues and good qualities in one person? Not only had he the heart of a lion but he also possessed consummate tact and the greatest energy... Danie Theron answered the highest demands that could be made on a warrior"1. South Africa remembered its hero by naming their School of Military Intelligence after him.

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Daniel Johannes Stephanus Theron's Timeline

1872
May 9, 1872
Tulbagh, WC, South Africa
1900
September 5, 1900
Age 28
Fochville, South Africa
1903
March 10, 1903
Age 28
Johannesburg, Kliprivier, Gauteng, South Africa