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Anglo Boere Oorlog/Boer War (1899-1902) LADYSMITH Kamp/Camp

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Ladysmith had been one of the towns besieged by the Boers in the early part of the war. A substantial number of British troops had been stationed there and, when they left, their barracks were used for Boer prisoners-of-war until 1902, when the men were moved to the coast. By this time the Harrismith camp inmates had become a source of irritation to Lord Kitchener and it was decided to move the entire camp over the border to Ladysmith, where the old military barracks provided easy accommodation. By early February 1902 ‘tin town’ was ready for occupation. It was particularly suitable for such recalcitrant inmates, Sir Thomas Murray, the Natal camps superintendent believed, since it was enclosed with unclimbable fencing. There were also a variety of other buildings available for hospitals, schools and other needs.1

Despite the time spent planning the transfer, in typical military fashion, the first inmates arrived with no warning. Finding a suitable superintendent proved to be difficult since those who were most suitable spoke no Dutch. ‘One must have a gentleman’, the Natal general superintendent declared. Most of the transfers took place in February 1902 but the Harrismith people went reluctantly.2 Many were reconciled to their fate, however, when they realised the pleasure of the new accommodation. ‘It is so glorious to live in a house again’, a clergyman’s wife wrote.

‘When we see the dust storms and rain coming we need not run to fasten up our tents and fix down the pins, nor need we crawl on all fours through the mud through the small openings of our tents in order to get backwards and forwards to our wooden kitchens.’

The food was good, with fresh fruit and vegetables and the people were allowed regularly into the town. Lottie Theron, the daughter of a Dutch Reformed Church minister, writing to her family in the ORC, also found the accommodation a great improvement. Her family had been allowed to bring their piano, a great boon. Lottie herself did not remain in Ladysmith for long, because she was sent to school in Stellenbosch, but she kept regular contact with her brothers and sisters. They were relieved when peace came. ‘I wish you were here to see all the children, they had a white flag and came running through the camp screaming Hurrah!’ her sister wrote.3

A young school teacher from England, Kate French, also recorded some of her experiences in Ladysmith camp. She found the climate much more bearable than Merebank’s humidity and she was struck by the ‘prim neatness’ of the camp. She commented little on her pupils but enjoyed the lively social life of the town, with dances, picnics, tennis and dinners.

The thorn in the flesh was the Superintendent. The less I say about him the better, but it is a disgrace that such men should be put in authority over anyone. Many the rows I had to have with him. Perhaps in the future he will get his deserts, if he is not already reaping them.

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They died in Ladysmith Camp



How to Participate

If you have an ancestor who was in the ABW Ladysmith Concentration Camp:

  1. Get yourself added as a collaborator
  2. Navigate to your ancestor's profile
  3. Under the "More Actions" link choose "Add to Project"
  4. Select the ABO ===Ladysmith===" project

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


  • Include in the "About Me" section of each person a brief biographical sketch of their lives. Also include their Settler party and ship name and arrival date if known
  • Include a photograph/painting of your ancestor if one exists.
  • Your ancestor's profiles should be marked as "public" and not "private".
  • All included profiles should 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 pioneer ancestor, (their parents, siblings and children) profiles were public profiles also.
  • Do not make public any profiles of living people.

NOTE: All POW included on this project will have their profiles editable by other collaborators of this project. The object of reproducing the list here is to see if these people can be located on Geni and perhaps develop trees from them. 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!

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