Generaal Koos de la Rey

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Generaal Jacobus Herculaas de la Rey

Also Known As: "Koos", "Generaal Koos de la Rey", "Leeu van Wes Transvaal."
Birthdate: (66)
Birthplace: Doornfontein, Winburg, Oranje Vrystaat, Suid Afrika
Death: September 15, 1914 (66)
Langlaagte, Johannesburg, Transvaal, Suid Afrika (Shot and killed by Constable Charles Drury)
Place of Burial: Lichtenburg, Transvaal, Suid Afrika
Immediate Family:

Son of Adrianus Johannes Gijsbertus de la Rey and Adriana Wilhelmina de la Rey, B8c10d13
Husband of Nonnie de la Rey (Greeff)
Father of Anne Johanna Magtelena De la Rey; Sannie Brugman (de la Rey); Ada Ferreira (de la Rey); Adaan de la Rey; Jacobus Herculaas de la Rey and 11 others
Brother of Johanna Elizabeth Bezuidenhout; Adam Johannes de la Rey; Jan Hendrik de la Rey; Maria Marthina de la Rey; Ignatius Marthinus de la Rey and 7 others

Occupation: Military, parliametary leader
Managed by: Maria Francina Botha
Last Updated:

About Generaal Koos de la Rey

General Jacobus Herculaas de la Rey (22 October 1847 - 15 September 1914), known as Koos de la Rey was a Boer general during the Second Boer War and is widely regarded as being one of the strongest military leaders during that conflict.

He is generally regarded as the bravest of the Boer generals during the Second Boer War and as one of the leading figures of Boer independence. As a guerrilla, his tactics proved extremely successful. De la Rey opposed the war until the last, but when he was once accused of cowardice during a Volksraad session, he replied that if the time for war came, he would be fighting long after all those clamoring for war had given up. This proved to be the case.

De la Rey fought in the Basotho War of 1865 and Sekhukhune's War of 1876. He did not take a very active part in the First Boer War, but as field cornet in the western Transvaal, he took over Piet Cronje's Potchefstroom siege when Cronjé fell ill. He was elected commandant of the Lichtenburg district, and became a member of the Transvaal Volksraad in 1883. A supporter of the progressive faction under General Piet Joubert, he opposed Paul Kruger's policies against the uitlanders, the foreigners who flocked to the Transvaal gold-rush, and warned it would lead to war with Britain.

On 15 September 1914 an old comrade General C.F. Beyers, Commandant-General of the armed forces, resigned his commission and sent his car to fetch De la Rey from Johannesburg to Pretoria as he wished to consult with him. The two generals then set out that evening for Potchefstroom military camp where General JCG Kemp had also resigned. They encountered several police roadblocks but refused to stop, although they had in fact been set to capture the Foster gang.[2] At Langlaagte the police fired on the speeding car and a bullet struck De la Rey's back, ending his life;[2] his last words were dit is raak ('It hit'). He returned to his Lichtenburg farm as van Rensburg had predicted. Many Boers were convinced he had been deliberately assassinated, while others could not believe that he would have joined a rebellion, breaking his oath. According to Beyers the plan was to co-ordinate the simultaneous resignation of all the senior officers in protest at the attack on South West Africa. The theory of a government assassination holds sway to this day.


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Generaal Koos de la Rey's Timeline

October 22, 1847
Winburg, Oranje Vrystaat, Suid Afrika
January 4, 1878
Age 30
Lichtenburg, Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek, Suid Afrika
February 21, 1879
Age 31
Lichtenburg, Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek, Suid Afrika
November 26, 1880
Age 33
January 15, 1882
Age 34
December 11, 1883
Age 36
Lichtenburg, Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek, Suid Afrika
September 1, 1885
Age 37
Lichtenburg, Ngaka Modiri Molema, North West, South Africa
September 1, 1885
Age 37
February 19, 1887
Age 39