Andries Smorenburg

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Andries Smorenburg

Birthdate: (67)
Birthplace: De Bilt, Provincie Utrecht, Nederland
Death: 1939 (66)
Immediate Family:

Son of Gerrit Smorenburg and Johanna Aletta Rijnhart
Husband of Martha Smorenburg
Brother of Anna Sophia Margaretha Ruitenbeek and Ida Anthonia Georgina Smorenburg

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About Andries Smorenburg

Andries Smorenburg was 'n Nederlandse vrywilliger wat aan die Anglo-Boereoorlog deelgeneem het. Hy is op 'n ontstuimige nag in De Bilt naby Utrecht gebore en het hierdie nag as 'n voorbode vir sy eie ontstuimige lewe beskou. Toe hy 'n jong seun was het sy vader eenvoudig verdwyn om by die Franse Vreemdelegioen aan te sluit en op die ouderdom van sestien het hy na die Transvaal vertrek saam met sy bankrot werkgewer, vir wie hy gewerk het as leerling-skrynwerker en wat gehoop het om weer on die goudmyne van die Witwatersrand op vaste voete te kom. Smorenburg het in 1887 by die Johannesburg Polisie aangesluit, maar met die uitbreek van die oorlog was hy in Arnhem in die Nederlande vir behandeling van sy been wat gangreen ontwikkel het, maar gelukkig gered is. Hy het via Lourenço Marques na Pretoria teruggekeer en met sy aankoms is hy die rang van kommandant in die buitelandse korps aangebied. As 'n sersant in die berede polisie is hy ook gevra om die manne as 'n kommando op te lei. Sy neef, Jan Smorenburg, is as sy kwartiermeester aangestel.

Hy is gedurende die slag van Boshoff gevange geneem en eers in die tronk op Boshoff aangehou voordat hy as krygsgevangene na St Helena gestuur is.

Kommandant Andries Smorenburg sal onthou word vir sy vindingryke poging om van die eiland te probeer ontsnap. Die Britse offisiere op St Helena het gewoonlik kuriositeite wat deur die krygsgevangenis gemaak is, gekoop en dan huis toe gestuur in kratte. Smorenburg het besluit om ’n krat te bou waarin hy kon wegkruip, en wat gestoor kon word aan boord van ’n skip wat na Engeland seil. Met sy aankoms by ‘n Britse hawe sou hy dan ontsnap. En so bou hy toe 'n krat, 4 x 2 x 2 voet met klein 'deurtjies' aan drie kante wat hy van die binnekant kon vasmaak. Hy sou ook sy proviand in die krat moes hou en dit moes genoeg wees vir sowat twintig dae. Hy het vyf-en-twintig pond leérbeskuitjies, blikkies boeliebief, vleis-smeer, konfyt, waterbottels, 'n paar stukkies kers, vuurhoutjiedose en 'n kaart van die Southampton-dokke bymekaargemaak. ‘Tobacco would be my greatest difficulty, as l was an inveterate smoker,’ het hy in sy herinneringe gekla, ‘but I learned to do without cigarettes before I made my attempt to escape.'

Sy geleentheid het gekom toe ’n Britse offisier 'n groot aantal kuriositeite wou verskeep op die RMS Goth, wat gereed sou wees om te seil op 22 Desember 1901. Smorenburg het die adres op sy krat geverf gehad, sowel as die detail ‘Prisoner of War Souvenirs. Glass. This side up. With care’. Sy neef Jan het 'n ander krat opgemaak met die soewenier—bestelling. Smorenburg het uit die kamp ontsnap op die mistige nag van 20 Desember deur hom onder ’n vlak sloot onder die kampheining deur te wikkel, en koers gekry na Jamestown. Maar hy kon nie sy krat in die hawe vind nie en toe hy 'n barg sowat 100 meter van die kant gewaar, het hy geraai dat dit steeds van die barg op die Goth gelaai moes word. Hy het toe uitgeswem na die barg toe waar hy slegs een slapende wag aangetref het en, wil jy glo, sy krat. Hy het homself so geriefiik moontlik binne-in ingerig en aan die slaap geraak. 'n Paar uur later is sy krat aan boord van die Goth gehys. Nadat die skip vertrek het en dit veilig was om uit te klim, het by ontdek dat hy in die klein bagasieruim en nie in die Skeepsruim was nie. Op Kersaand kon hy hoor hoe die passasiers en bemanning feesvier.

Die dag net na sy gewaagde ontsnapping het alles tot ’n einde gekom. Hy het matrose die luik hoor oopmaak en net genoeg tyd gehad om terug te klouter in sy krat voordat hulle met die leer afgeklim het. Die skip se skrynwerker het toe begin om kratte se mates uit te roep. Toe hulle by Smorenburg se krat kom, het hulle dit om en om gedop. ‘Ah, I think we have it here,’ het die skrynwerker uitgeroep. ‘Come on out, old chap. The game is up.’ Smorenburg het toe besef dat hy verraai is.

Hy is op 30 Januarie 1902 van Ascension na St Helena teruggestuur en voor 'n militére hof gedaag. Hy is skuldig bevind aan die aanklagte dat hy sy parool verbreek en probeer ontsnap het, en is aangehou in High Knoll Fort tot die einde van die oorlog toe hy gerepatrieer is. Hy is 'n paar uur se oefening per dag toegelaat, en om briewe te skryf en te ontvang.

Hy het later uitgevind dat 'n Hollander, 'n sekere Kaptein H., hom verraai het. Hierdie man is sy vryheid toegestaan en het na die Nederlande teruggekeer. Met sy terugkeer na Suid-Afrika enkele jare later het Smorenburg hom as ’n sterwende man aangetref. Presies wie hy was kon nie vasgestel word nie.

BROEDERS N DIE STRYD. Hollanders in die Anglo-Boereoorlog, Chris Schoeman

A BOER IN A BOX. (From our Special Correspondent.) London. February. 14. 1902. Commandant Smorenberg, a Boer prisoner of war on parole at St. Helena, has just made a bold bid for liberty, .leaving the island incognito as "Boer curios." A prisoner named Penn obtained permission from the doctor to send from the hospital tent to one of the shipping agents at Deadwood a case addressed to an officer of the 4th Gloucesters in England, and said to contain Boer curios. The case was 4 ft. 3in. by 2 ft. 4 in., of 3 in. deal, and as it was heavy was dropped from the waggon which brought it to Deadwood, and tumbled end over and into the storeroom to await shipment. It was roughly handled on the following day on the way to the Union Castle mail steamer on which it was shipped. Some days ago we heard that a Boer "prisoner 6 ft. high had escaped from the island in a box 4 ft. 3 in. long. The sequel has now been related by an officer of the steamer which carried the box. On Christmas morning, three days after leaving St. Helena, one of the crew who went down to get out the mails for Ascension reported that there was a stowaway below. After the vessel anchored the officer himself went down the hatch, but could see no one. As the sailor declared that the stowaway had asked him "not to give him away," orders were given to get up all the baggage. Thereupon a voice said.' "I will give myself up." Then a man's head, and after it a thin body and a pair of thin legs, appeared from the wooden case. As soon as the man was out he said, "This has been worse than hell." When he went on deck Colonel Evans, the military officer commanding the troops at St. Helena, at once recognised the man as Commandant Smorenberg. The latter stated that he had been in the case since December 20. and had not been able to get out until the 24th, when some baggage had been shifted. Taking advantage of. the opportunity, he came out to stretch himself, but went to sleep, and did not awake till he had been seen, but he managed to slip back into the case in the darkness. His experience of being tumbled about in elie case was 60 awful that when he heard what was going to happen he knew he could not stand it again,'and surrendered. "One can fancy," said the officer, "how he must have felt, being 6 ft. in height, shut in a case measuring:« 4 ft. 3 in. The poor man was very weak, but alter having some breakfast and a bath he was better, and felt more inclined lo talk. Had he managed to get to England, he said, he was going to wait his chance to get out of the case at night, and watch his opportunity to get away to Holland." From Ascension the prisoner will be returned-right side up, with care, this time-to St. Helena. The box had two doors, one at each end, and a window made to open into the box. all fitted with an iron batten one end and a button at the other, and these were hidden by the battens on the outside of the case. Stowed in it were a bag of biscuits, tins of extract of meat, two bottles of water, two clean shirts, an overcoat a pair of trousers, two pairs of socks, a tin with candles and matches, 'a bradawl, gimlet, chisel, and flat water tin.

The Advertiser Adelaide,18 March 1902 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2216 SMORENBERG ANDRIES 31 PRETORIA PRETORIA GEN. DE VILLEBOIS MA KALKFONTEIN 1900/04/05 ST. HELENA FORT HIGH KNOLL ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Andries Smorenburg's Timeline

1872
March 3, 1872
De Bilt, Provincie Utrecht, Nederland
1939
1939
Age 66