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Approximately 5,126 POW were held in the following camps:
- Diyatalawa (Main camp)
- Mount Lavina (Convalescent camp)
- Ragama (Camp for dissidents and irreconcilables)
- Urugasmanhandiya (Camp for prisoners on parole)
- Hambantota (Camp for prisoners on parole)
- Nuwara Eliya (Prison for irreconcilables)
- Welikada (Prison in Colombo)
When St Helena filled up, Ceylon was chosen as a destination. The first batch of prisoners arrived in Ceylon on 9 August 1900 A large camp was set up at the hill station at Diyatalawa. The hill station proved to be good for the health of the incarcerated.
They are housed in large huts constructed of wood, and having roofs of galvanized iron to keep out the rains and the rays of the tropical sun. The roofs are covered with cocoa nut leaves, so that the iron doesn't get heated during the middle of the day. In each hut we saw beds for about forty prisoners. They were ranged along the wall on either side, and over each was a shelf on which the prisoner kept his books and other small belongings. Under the bed was his clothes-chest and the tin plate and knife and fork with which he ate at table. Some of them had their tables in the huts where they slept, but more had spread their meal under some shady tree in the open air. They are furnished with the raw materials, and each hut is supposed to prepare its own food.
Schedule of Boer arrival in Ceylon
- Date of Arrival *Name of Vessel *Free Staters *Transvaalers *Uitlanders*Total
- Aug 9 Mohawk * - *113*129*242
- Aug 11 Orient * - * 26*26*52
- Sept 3 & 4 Ranee * 525*46*27*598
- Sept 8, 9 & 10 *Bavarian* 1230* 42* 19* 1291
- Sept 11 & 12 *Dilwara* 800* 146* 42* 988
- Sept 13 & 15 *Mongolian * 719* - *4 * 723
- Sept 26 *City of Vienna *57 * 184* 20 * 261
- Nov 10 *Ranee *128 *96 *17 *241
- Jan 10 Catalonia * - * - * - * 500
- Jun 1 City of Cambridge *- * - *- * 103
The exiles in Ceylon were the most active in printing. Using an old Eagle hand press purchased from the Ceylonese, the prisoners of war in Ceylon printed the newspaper De Strever, organ of the Christelijke Streversvereniging (Christian Endeavour Society), which appeared from Saturday, 19 Dec. 1901, to Saturday, 16 July 1902. Other newspapers, which they published, mostly printed by roneo, were De Prikkeldraad, De Krygsgevangene, Diyatalawa Dum-Dum and Diyatalawa Camp Lyre.
The conditions did not stop escape attempts. Five exiles – Lourens Steytler, George Steytler, Willie Steyn, Piet Botha and a German named Hausner – succeeded in swimming out to a Russian steamer in the port of Colombo, travelled by a devious route through to the Crimea and from there to St Petersburg, Russia where the locals, sympathetic to the Boer cause, celebrated their escape. Then on to Germany, The men then visited Kruger in Holland and finally landed at Walvis Bay. They then made their way back to South Africa to rejoin their comrades. "Die vyf swemmers" - ‘n ware ontsnappingsverhaal geskryf deur Prof C.J Barnard
POWs in Ceylon
- Henry H. Engelbrecht refused to swear allegiance.Was later released and stayed in Sri Lanka as Game Ranger at Yala National Park
- Hendrik Petrus Geldenhuys Refused to take the oath of allegiance and not allowed to return home. Died on the island in 1904 age 65
- Hermanus Jacobus Kriel 1872-1945
- Jacobus Remeus Kruger 1881
- Jacobus Petrus Gideon Kriel 1854-1935
- Jan Johannes Daniel Kruger 1874
- Theunis Johannes Kruger 1876 – 1901 POW in Ceylon
- Jacob Johan (Japie) Strating. Along with 19 other P.O.W’s. he refused to sign the Oath of Allegiance to the Crown and they were interred in the Welikadi Prison in Colombo
- William Eduard Scott of Hut 19 from Winburg
- Johannes van Heerden Hans, merely 7 years old, was the youngest boy detained in a POW camp.
- Ernst Frederik Wepener 1876
- John Weinberg A Jewish Transvaler. He was classified as a Russian because of his birth and moved to Ragama with the other foreigners.
- Jacobus Wille "The diary" - written during his time in the Diyatalawa camp in Ceylon - was transcribed by his daughter Minnie Postma.
- Yudel Pline
- Ilya Rubinshtein
- Mikhail Sheinker
- Hirsh Yavshits
- Vasily Rukert (marked as "returned to Russia under his own steam")
Died in Ceylon
Cemeteries, Batticaloa cemetry, Colombo. Kanatta cemetry, Colombo
There are 133 Boer graves marked by plain wooden crosses. Seven are unmarked as the great stone monument erected by the Government of South Africa in 1913 bears 140 names.
- Daniel Johannes Joubert 1873 - 7 March 1901
- Michael Christoffel Roux 1864-27/11/1900 Cause of death – Typhoid
- Simon Gettleson Left a number of painted seashells, made during his last days on Ceylon, now housed in the Anglo Boer Museum in Bloemfontein.
- Staden van Hermanus Bethulie 48 14-9-1900
- Venter Hendrik G Johannesburg 36 14-9-1900
- Badenhorst Adriaan Bloemfontein 17 26-9-1900
- Robinson Daniel Johs. Wepener 23 8-10-1900
- Berg van der Barend P. Potchefstroom 23 11-10-1900
- Pretorius Johannes M. DeWetsdorp 39 31-10-1900
- Lourens Wessel H. DeWetsdorp 19 31-10-1900
- Coetzee Jan Adriaan Thaba Nchu 55 18-10-1900
- Stroebel Daniel R. Thaba Nchu 18 21-10-1900
- Venter Jacobus J. Bethulie 20 25-10-1900
- Jonge De Frans Corns. Rouxville 44 30-10-1900
- Rautenbach B.Johs. Bethlehem 22 31-10-1900
- Tonder van Cornelius Ladybrand 18 9-11-1900
- Smith Daniel Nicolaas Ladybrand 36 2-11-1900
- Fick Johannes Jacobus Wepener 21 12-11-1900
- Jonge De Johannes J. Bethulie 38 14-11-1900
- Olivier Andries Ficksburg 17 14-11-1900
- Myburg Sarel Jacobus Bloemfontein 25 14-11-1900
- Smit Johannes Stefs. Heidelberg 25 14-11-1900
- Oosthuizen Cornelius Smithfield 24 17-11-1900
- Lubbe Gert Schalk Thaba Nchu 19 16-11-1900
- Bekker Nicolaas Johs. Smithfield 36 18-11-1900
- Cleaver Ferrar R.M. Johannesburg 29 18-11-1900
- Bredenhamer Leopold Johannesburg 21 26-11-1900
- Henning Andries S. Rouxville 20 21-11-1900
- Walt van der Rudolph Thaba Nchu 41 23-11-1900
- Steyn Louw Petrus Bethlehem 47 23-11-1900
- Kotze Christian B. Wepener 23 24-11-1900
- Villiers de Jan Daniel Ficksburg 25 23-11-1900
- Kruger Theunis Johs. Bethulie 29 25-11-1900
- Laubscher Frans G. Kliprivier 38 24-11-1900
- Bernardie Alexander Ladybrand 18 25-11-1900
- Brooks Jan Johannes Harrismith 30 26-11-1900
- Wiesner Abraham J. Thaba Nchu 16 27-11-1900
- Plessis du Andries P. Bloemfontein 19 28-11-1900
- Olivier Jan Hendrik Ladybrand 28 28-11-1900
- Roux Michiel Chris. Bethulie 33 27-11-1900
- Rooyen van Jacobus P. Wepener 19 29-11-1900
- Wyk van Hendrik P. Vrede 42 29-11-1900
- Grobbelaar Johannes Smithfield 22 1-12-1900
- Schutte Pieter George Winburg 22 5-12-1900
- Olivier Gert Cornelius Ficksburg 42 2-12-1900
- Niemand Petrus J. Winburg 35 6-12-1900
- Niekerk van Johannes Bethlehem 28 6-12-1900
- Bruin de Philip R. Ladybrand 216-12-1900
- Preez du Stefanus J. Wepener 25 6-12-1900
- Breed Dirk Cornelius Ficksburg 18 10-12-1900
- Lombaard Jozua J. Ladybrand 22 12-12-1900
- Nell Andries Jacobus Reddersburg 27 14-12-1900
- Coller van Johannes Winburg 47 15-12-1900
- Langeveld Christoffel Bloemfontein 36 15-12-1900
- Walt van der Douw G. Bloemfontein 16 16-12-1900
- Fourie Johannes Herm. Ficksburg 17 19-12-1900
- Lamprecht David J. Smithfield 2119-12-1900
- Bester Johannes A. Winburg 20 20-12-1900
- Smal Andries Jacobus Smithfield 22 23-12-1900
- Wille Lodewyk Ficksburg 44 ??
- Petrus Josephus Fourie Ficksburg (27) May 18, 1873 - December 23, 1900
- Aswegen van Willem S. Smithfield 17 ? ?
- Weber Cornelius Johs. Johannesburg 33 ? ?
- Greyling Jacobus F. Wepener 23 ? ?
- Hugo Jacobus Rouxville 34 ??
- Greyling Jacobus L. Ficksburg 23 ??
- Booysen Johannes M. Zastron 20 ? ?
- Barry Jacob Jan W. Ficksburg 17 ? ?
- Biljon van Johannes Krugersdorp 39 ? ?
- Oosthuizen Willem N. Winburg 27 ? ?
- Jager de Stephanus S. Bethulie 23 ? ?
- Human Dirk Corns. Rouxville 24 ? ?
- Coetzee Floris Petrus DeWwtsdorp 29 ? ?
- Swanepoel Marthinus Smithfield 39 ? ?
- Rautenbach George F. Thaba Nchu 36 ? ?
- Venter Jan Gerhardus Bethlehem 20 ? ?
- Geldenhuis Jacobus Brandfort 4? ??
- Zwart Dirk Jozua Harrismith 22 ?
- Volschenk Andries A. Harrismith 19 ?
- Grobbelaar Gert P. Winburg 19 ?
- Smith Christoffel Heilbron 4? ?
- Hendriks Hendrik Smithfield 17 ?
- Plessis du Roelf C. Wepener 31?
- Rensburg Jacobus G.Jv. Smithfield 2? ?
- Wiese Willie Tobias Bloemfontein 2? ?
- Dickson George Bethlehem 43 ?
- Grobbelaar Pieter A. Thaba Nchu 51 ?
- Prinsloo Pieter Willem Ficksburg 28 ?
- Prinsloo Louw Ficksburg ? ?
- Beer de Nicolaas Kroonstad 19 ?
- Blignaut Phillip Smithfield 29 ?
- Palm Pieter Thaba Nchu 31?
- Brits Johannes J. Senekal 21?
- Pietersen Pieter J. Rouxville 26 ?
- Heerden van Pieter S. Winburg 28 ?
- Henop David Schs. Kroonstad 30 ?
- Nezar Michiel Gill. Ficksburg ? ? ?
- Niekerk van Gert H. Johannesburg ? ? ?
- Moolman Petrus L. Ficksburg 4? ?
- Nel Jan Izak Wepener 3? ?
- Wessels Phil.Johs. S. Harrismith 3? ?
- Olivier Johannes L. Rouxville ? ? ?
- Haley Johan Michal Rouxville 19 ?
- Berg van der Barend Johannes Bethulie 33, 1867, died of Typhoid Fever
- Deventer van Johs.H.C. Thaba Nchu ? ? ?
- Niekerk van Izak A. Ficksburg 2? ?
- Wessels Wynand S. Winburg 2? ?
- Rautenbach Nic.M. Thaba Nchu 2? ?
- Niewoudt Hendrikus Jagersfontein ? ? ?
- Hartman Jan Philip Thaba Nchu ? ? ?
- Myburg Egbert A. Jagersfontein ? ? ?
- Coetzee Abraham P. Johannesburg 3? ?
- Schoeman H.N. Harrismith 4?
- Roos Cornelius J. Bethlehem 3? ?
Buried at Sea
Those who died on sea on the way to Ceylon were buried at sea.
How to Participate
If you have an ancestor who was in the Ceylon POW Camp:
Get yourself added as a collaborator Navigate to your ancestor's profile Under the "More Actions" link choose "Add to Project" Select the Ceylon POW " project How to add a link is explained in the attached document - Adding links to Geni profiles to projects.
Try and include in the "About Me" section of each person a brief biographical sketch of their lives. Include a photograph/painting of your ancestor if one exists. You are welcome to use the projects Icon if not.. Your ancestor's profiles should be set as "public" and not "private". All included profiles should attempt to include full identifying information including birth and death dates as well as birth and death locations. It would also be very helpful if the immediate family of your POW ancestor, (their parents, siblings and children) profiles were public profiles also. Do not make public any profiles of living people. NOTE: All POWs included on this project will have their profiles editable by other GENi.com collaborators of this project. To take part in any project - you do need to first be a collaborator - so join the project. See the discussion Project Help: How to add Text to a Project - Starter Kit to get you going!