Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Anglo Boere Oorlog/Boer War (1899-1902) - "Foot Soldiers"

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

view all

Profiles

  • Burgert Adriaan Joubert (c.1878 - 1900)
    Burger Deaths ABO Surname: JOUBERT First Names: BURGERT ADRIAAN Age: 22 Address: WITBANK WARD BLESBOKSPRUIT Commando: STANDERTON Battle: PIETERSHOOGTE Date: 27/02/1900 Buried: N/A
  • Gert Lucas Joubert (1869 - 1957)
    Standerton Refugee Camp Personal Details Name: Mr Gert Lucas Joubert Date of birth: Born in camp? No Date death: Died in camp? No Gender: male Race: white Marital status: married Na...
  • Hermanus Steyn (1883 - 1937)
    ABO - Foot Soldiers Surname: STEYN Full Names: HERMANUS Date of birth: 4/4/1883 Address 1899: VENTERSBURG, OVS Name of last Officer: GENL DE WET Date Surrendered/ Captured: MEI 1902 Date ...
  • Willem Hendrik Steyn, b1c3d6e1f1g5h1i1 (1862 - 1941)
    Titel: Die Steyns van Vredefontein ABO - Foot Soldiers Surname: STEYN Full Names: WILLEM HENDRIK Date of birth: 28/10/1862 Address 1899: VENTERSBURG, OVS Name of last officer: KMDT HASEBROE...
  • Mathys Johannes Herbst, a5b3c8d4 (1859 - 1932)
    c8 Sarel Coenraad Petrus * 11.5.1825 = Graaff-Reinet 12.6.1825 † Burghershoop Concentration Camp, Krugersdorp 1902 x Smithfield 24.07.1851 Petronella Johanna Cornelia Lourens d4 Mathys Johanne...

The Anglo Boer War (1899-1902)

"Foot Soldiers"

This project is an extension of the The Anglo Boer War (1899-1902). The main focus of the main project is to feature the prominent figures of the war. This project is a place where we can add information about both British/Colonial and Boer foot soldiers who fought in the Anglo-Boer War, somewhere to assemble profiles of these men who are on Geni and to share interesting tales and anecdotes about them.

How to Participate

To participate in a project you do need to first be a collaborator - so join the project! Look at the discussion Project Help: How to add Text to a Project - Starter Kit to get you going! Further help can be found at Geni Wikitext, Unicode and images.

To join the project use the drop down menu at the top left of the screen and click Join the Project. If this option is not available to you then contact a collaborator and ask to be added to the project. As a collaborator you will be able to edit this page.

  • Please add the relevant profiles of soldiers (not their entire descendants - only those who fought in the war). This is easily done from the profile page using the Add to project link. Only profile profiles can be added to projects.
  • If you have interesting stories or anecdotes about someone who fought in this war please add him to the relevant section below with a brief description, adding full details to the "About" section on the profile.
  • If you have any related queries please start a discussion linked to this project. (See the menu top right).
  • Please add related projects to the menu on the right.
  • If you have links to related web pages that would be of interest to others please add them in the relevant section at the bottom of the page.
  • Add any documents of interest using the menu at the top right of the page, and then add a link to the document in the text. If you do not know how to do this please contact one of the other collaborators to assist you.

How to add a link is explained in the attached document - Adding links to Geni profiles in projects.

Introduction

On 11 Oct 1899 the Boers declared war on the British after Britain rejected the Transvaal ultimatum which had demanded that all disputes between the two states be settled by arbitration; that British troops on the borders be withdrawn; and that troops bound for South Africa by ship should not disembark.

The Boers

The Orange Free State joined the Transvaal in accordance with the alliance of 1897. During the Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902) the Boer commando formed the backbone of the Boer forces. The commandos disbanded after the declaration of peace in 1902.

Each commando was named after the town it was attached to (e.g. Bloemfontein Commando). Each town was responsible for a district, divided into wards. The commando was commanded by a kommandant and each ward by a veldkornet or field cornet. The commando was made up of volunteers, all officers were appointed by the members of the commando, and not by the government. Every burger (i.e. citizen) between 16 and 60 was on standby with immediate notice to be ready to report within a few hours to an assembly point stated in the notice. The message usually was delivered by a dispatch rider to people on his list, then each one notified another few on their list, and so on. Although the commandos lacked discipline, they knew the veld were toughened through struggling to farm a harsh and forbidding land. This lack of conventional military forces resulted in over confidence in the well-disciplined and organised British Army, few of whose generals understood South African conditions.

The Kommando was not restricted to a certain size. It could be anything from platoon size (12-30 fighters) up to a regiment (2,000) or a brigade (5,000). The size depended on the task and the commander’s rank usually reflected the Kommando’s size (although rank and size might often be mismatched, such as in the case of the young and brilliant General Wynand Malan who often commanded small raiding forces, and General Jan Smuts who commanded only 200-500 men in some raids into the Cape colony).

Every burger had to have at least one horse with saddle, a rifle with a minimum amount of cartridges [30], and usually 7 days of provisions to be kept ready in case of call-up.

Provisions consisted of Biltong (dried, salted meat) dried homemade biscuits, and coffee with sugar. Extras in the form of home brewed “Mampoer” (Moonshine) was optional but always present. Blankets and bedrolls were attached to the saddles or a group’s were put on a horse or mule drawn cart. Cattle-drawn carts or wagons as typically used in British troop columns, suitable to accompany foot-slogging infantry, were considered too slow for military operations based on the cavalry concept. The Boers had no infantry and all ranks were mounted. There were no infantry footsloggers – and so the Commandos were extremely mobile. A dismounted Boer would soon be captured - many Boers had extra horses.

Information about those who fought for the Boers can be found at Anglo Boer War Museum

//photos.geni.com/p13/a7/68/cf/55/5344483a111ab00a/abo_footsoldier_sa_t.jpg

Service men - Boers

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

R

S

U

V

W

Z

The British

In the course of the war, the British Army was reinforced by volunteer contingents from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Cape Colony and Natal. There is a list of all the British military units which illustrates the british strength. Large numbers of British armed forces were engaged first in open warfare, and subsequently in a long and bitter guerrilla campaign which ended with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging on 31 May 1902.

Britain’s Native African Troops: Considered especially outrageous by Boers was the British use of native African troops (serving for pay or other inducements), particularly due to the manner in which Britain used the Africans. To preserve British troop strength for the “fighting war,” the British typically used their native African troops behind the lines to round up Boer families (as well as rounding up many native Africans working for Boers or simply “caught in the middle” of the war) and transport them to the squalid concentration camps in which thousands of women and children – Boers and native Africans alike – died or suffered terrible hardship. During these forcible round ups of civilians, numerous outrages and frequent instances of brutality by African troops occurred – including many contemporary accounts of “molestation” of Boer women (“molestation” being the Victorian era code word for rape and sexual abuse). Inevitably, this bred an enduring legacy of ill-feeling and resentment between Boers and native Africans that only exacerbated already strained race relations.

The British forces were boosted by Burghers or Boers who surrendered voluntarily - known as hendsoppers. They usually signed an oath of neutrality and were housed in the same camps as the women and children, usually working for the British in one way or another.

Those who surrendered and fought alongside the British were known as joiners.

There were also young men/boys recruited to join the National Scouts - many from the Concentration Camps where they were being held.

Albert Grundlingh has written a book called "The dynamics of TREASON" which explores Boer collaboration in the war.

Casus-Belli.co.uk has a helpful guide to researching British and Colonial soldiers.

Servicemen - British/Colonial

//photos.geni.com/p13/3d/79/a5/86/5344483a111ab00b/abo_footsoldier_gb_t.jpg

Footsoldiers

A

B



  • Age: 24
  • Regiment: 1/Northumberland Fusiliers

C

D

E



  • Age: 39
  • Regiment: 1/Northumberland Fusiliers

F

  • Corporal Joseph John Farmer (1855-1930) British Victoria Cross War Medal Recipient. Served as a Corporal in the Army Hospital Corps. He was awarded his medal for service at Majuba Hill, South Africa, on February 27, 1881.

K

  • John Bell Kelly Lieutenant 1869 - 30 October 1901 (Battle of Bakenlaagte)
  • Age: 31
  • Address: Victoria, Australia
  • Unit: 2nd Scottish Horse

L

  • Age: 29
  • Unit: 2nd Scottish Horse

M

  • Unit: 2nd Scottish Horse

P



  • Age: 23
  • Regiment: 1st Scotts Guards

R

S

  • Colonel Aubrey Woolls-Sampson Intelligence – Imperial Light Horse
  • Captain Albert Savory 1878 - 23 August 1900 (Battle of Bergendal)
  • Charles Arthur Julian Sharman(1874-1928) born in Leighton Buzzard, Buckinghamshire, Engl. on 6 April 1874 and studied architecture in England and in Zurich, Switzerland. He served with an English regiment in the Boer War, then emigrated to Canada in 1901. He was an active architect in Canada from 1908, designing several commercial, ecclesiastical and residential works for leading citizens of Red Deer including several buildings for Leonard Gaetz.
  • William Bradshaw Galliard Smith 1862 - 1901 (Battle of Bakenlaagte) Sergeant
  • John Statham

//photos.geni.com/p13/ca/68/5a/10/5344483a11c4e64b/abo_hendsopper_t.jpg

Hendsoppers

H

J

K

L

//photos.geni.com/p13/fd/2c/10/65/5344483a11c4e64a/abo_national_scout_t.jpg

National Scouts

D

H

J

Joiners

J

Nurses

At the commencement of the war in South Africa the British Army had just 88 full time nurses and despite some initial hesitation on deploying nurses, Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service Reserve (PCANSR) formed the basis of the employment of some 2000 nurses from all over the world during the war.

Read more at Nurses in the Boer War who also have an Australian Military Ancestor Search.

There is also a nurses data base at Nursing in the Boer war

//photos.geni.com/p13/49/5c/f3/b7/5344483a11c4e64c/abo_nurses_t.jpg

Martha Sarah Bidmead was the first South Australian and one of three Australian nurses who were awarded the Royal Red Cross (RRC) medal for service during the Boer War. After her war service she continued her nursing career in South Australia and assumed the position of superintendent of the District Trained Nursing Society of South Australia from 1912 until her retirement in 1926.

  • Alice Sweeting Bond

Miss Alice Sweeting Bond was appointed to the Army Nursing Service on 27 January 1892. Serving in the Boer War, she was present at the defence of Ladysmith and in operations in Natal, October 1899-May 1902, serving in No.15 General Hospital, Howick, Natal. For her services she was twice mentioned in despatches and awarded the RRC. Appointed to the QAIMNS in 1903, she was promoted to Matron in 1907. Serving in the Great War, she was again mentioned in despatches and awarded a bar to her RRC. Matron Bond retired on 1 December 1920. MID LG 8 Feb 1901, 10 September 1901, 21 June 1916.

Links to Useful and Interesting Resources