Aim and Scope
To gather profiles of the men who were POWs in Bermuda and who have profiles on GENi, and to share interesting tales and anecdotes about individuals. Please collaborate and contribute...
During the Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902), Bermuda received and housed a total of approximately 4,619 Boer prisoners of war, of whom 850 were under the age of 19. The youngest was six years old and the oldest 78. Of the prisoners, 35 died on Bermuda and six? died en route.
They were placed in camps related to their views and authorities' assessment of risk. "Bitterenders" men who refused to pledge allegiance to the British Crown, were interned on Darrell's Island and closely guarded. Other islands were allowed to be nearly self-governing.
There was an Industrial Association linked to each camp. This encouraged participation in camp work but also in the making of craft items and games.
- David Stephen du Plooy, a young Boer soldier, who served under Cronje, and then was a prisoner of war, arrived in New York a stowaway on the steamship Trinidad from Bermuda yesterday. (July 10, 1901)
- W.J Pienaar swam 2 miles out to sea where a Dutch ship picked him up and took him to America.
On the Island of St George initially 37 "Colonial Rebels" sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour were kept in the local gaol. They were held in solitary confinement and prohibited from talking amongst themselves or communicating by any other means. They were not allowed to receive visitors, letters or newspapers. The Reverend JR Albertyn was allowed to visit the jail once a week but only to read the Scriptures. However, on occasions he was able to transmit messages in Afrikaans under the guise of his sermon to these men in detention from their families.
The number of rebels imprisoned on the Island of St George increased to such an extent that a special camp had to be established on the western approaches of the Island of Hawkins to cope with the 250 who were being held in detention on the island.
360 - 607 men, The camp at Burt Island was brought into use in July 1901 and was closed in October 1902. Prisoners were under the command of Captain EE Pine. Indications point to this camp developing into a centre for those totally opposed to the British, and most adept at influencing their fellow prisoners to hold firm. They were classed as “irreconcilables”.
Major Armstrong commanded the camp at Darrell Island where some 1100 "Bitterender" prisoners were held until October 1902. About 300 bittereinders refused to sign a certificate pledging fealty to the British King. The last “bittereinder” in Bermuda died in 1927.
Some 1300 Prisoners of War were allocated to the camp on Hawkins Island under the command of Captain Traherne. In use from December 1901 to August 1902 when it closed.
884 men, including 27 officers, Major Elkington commanded the camp where approximately 850 men were kept between September 1901 and January 1903 when it was closed.
Port Island - Hospital Island
35 men at one stage..
Zeta Island - Contagious diseases hospital Island
809 men /700 Prisoners of War under the command of Major Morrice were held on the Island of Tuckers until the camp was closed in August 1902.
In June 1901, The New York Times reported an attempted mutiny by 900 Boer prisoners of war en route to Bermuda on the Armenian, noting it was suppressed. It described the preparation of the camps for the men and said that martial law would hold on Darrell's Island. Several escapes happened soon after their arrival. A young Boer soldier (David Stephen du Plooy) escaped from Darrell's Island soon after arrival, reached the main docks, and stowed away on the steamship Trinidad, arriving in New York July 9. He hoped to be allowed to stay in the US. Three prisoners of war escaped on July 10 from Darrell's Island to mainland Bermuda.
NAME OF BOAT DATE OF ARRIVAL NUMBERS CAMPS
- Armenian 28 June 1901 963 Darrells, Burtts (Most men were from Cronje’s command and were taken at Paardeberg)
The Armenian left Cape Town May 29 01 for Bermuda
- Ranee 18 July 1901 518 Darrells, Burtts
- Manilla 1 August 1901 607 Tuckers
- 10 Jul 01 The Manilla is taking POWs from Durban to Bermuda. 7 prisoners died on the voyage, 2 from pneumonia and 5 from malaria. SS Manila
The "SS Manila" arrived 1 Aug 1901 at Bermuda with 607 Boer prisoners of war, distributed to Tucker's Is. (reference: Boer Prisoners of War by Colin Benbow, p12).
- Montrose 13 September 1901 932 Morgan's
- The Montrose arrived had a rough passage. There were 74 cases of measles (2 died), 10 cases of pneumonia, 5 bronchitis, and 6 of senile decay.
- Harlech Castle 20 December 1901 340 Hawkins
- Monrose 16 January 1902 1,259 Hawkins
- Willem Bachofner
- Thomas Philip Brain (born in Natal)
- Andries Daniel Cronje
- Oelaf Abraham Izak Davel (born Richmond)
- Dirk Jacob Carl Bekker Van Deventer
- Petrus Marthinus Ferreira
- Gordon Alexander Fraser (born Philippolis OVS)
- Christian Jozua "Japie" Hauptfleisch (from Altona)
- Ernst von Khaynack (German captured in Cape Town, son of a Baron)
- Julius August Kieser (successful farmer near Jo'burg)
- Richard Alexander Knipe
- Jacob Johannes Malan
- Dirk Postma (born Aliwal North)
- Joubert Reitz (2nd son of ex-Pres of Orange Free State)
- Ignatius Michael van Rooyen (Ferreira's cousin)
- Frank Wilhelm Schonken
- Peter Gysbert Steyn (brother of Pres Steyn of Orange Free State)
- Jacob Wilhelm deVilliers (served briefly afterwards as Chief Justice of Union of S.A.) *Lodewyk Christian Marinus Wegerif
- Johannes Bernadus Wessels (general who had led troops at Battle of Sannaspos)
1904: REMAINING IRRECONCILABLES FC Launspach, an internee, who had left for the United States on 20 August 1904 provided the names of remaining irreconcilables:
STATUS NAME AGE PLACE
- Single HFC Prinsloo 35 of Pretoria, ZAR
- Married JA Lowe 29 of Fauresmith, OVS
- Single RJ Swanepoel 35 of Lichtenburg, ZAR
- Single *W Duweling 40 of Johannesburg, ZAR
- Married WP Laubscher 63 of Zeerust, ZAR
- Single DJ Greyling 26 of Smithfield, OVS
- Single PJ Mielitz 33 of Pretoria, ZAR
- Married J Bothma 53 of Ermelo, ZAR
- Single MJ Swart 38 of Middleburg, ZAR
- Barend Rudolph Buys 1876-1949
- Andries Johannes du Plessis1869-1922
- Hendrik Salomon de Klerk 1855-
- Fritz Joubert Duquesne 1877 - 1956
- Daniel Jacobus Joubert 1855
- Jan Johannes Joubert 1883 - 1923
- Nicolaas Jacobus Jacobs Sergeant in the Field Telegraph Section O.F.S. Artillery
- Jacobus Andries Abraham Kleynhans 1878
- Jan Sarel Marthinus Kruger 1848-1902 Buried at sea.
- Petrus Kruger 1871
- Dr August Schulenburg a medical doctor.
- Andrew A Smit Bekend as Oom Andrew. Sy dagboeke is uitgegee deur Johan Oosthuizen.
- Francois "Rooi Faan" van der Merwe, a real extrovert with long red hair, whose natural exuberance had got him into many a scrape both before and during the war. On his return home, he was a well known designer of clothes, a successful garage owner, and superintendent of a power station - all without the benefit of previous training! He died in Krugerspan in 1958 at the age of 81.
- Vainer, (who had gone mad. He was 1 of 5 Russians in Bermuda)
- Carel Frederik Ziervogel 1874 - 1959
Died in Bermuda
GRAVE NUMBER NAME and AGE CAUSE BURIAL DATE
- 1 119117 DJ Roodt (19) Enteric fever 6.7.01
- 2 19883 P de Klerck (22) Enteric fever 19.8.01
- 3 20371 WJ Smith (30) Erysipelas 26.8.01
- 4 19662 PJ Eloff (37) Carcinoma 10.9.01
- 5 19971 PW Maartens (23) Enteric fever 11.9.01
- 6 20093 LA Nel (54) Heart disease 15.9.01
- 7 21491 JN Steyn (31) Enteric fever 23.9.01
- 8 21023 CS de Haas (55) Pneumonia 3.10.01
- 9 17429 WDJ van Vuuren (71) Debility 4.11.01
- 10 19883 D de Klerk (19) Meningitis 21.11.01
- 11 20852 JA Calitz (41) Pnemuonia 21.11.01
- 12 21330 JP du Plessis (53) Pneumonia 30.12.01
- 13 24507 DF Beukes (19) Pneumonia 23.1.01
- 14 20326 PB Schalkwyk (41) Pneumonia 30.1.02
- 15 26127 GC Olivier (31) Heart disease 01.2.02
- 16 26047 TD Moolman (12) Meningitis 08.3.02
- 17 20663 S Charalaahedron (22) Tuberculosis 18.3.02
- 18 20339 AHA Schoeman (65) Syncope 30.3.02
- 19 25530 DJ Botha (40) Pneumonia 31.3.02
- 20 21309 RJ Opperman (45) Bright's disease 07.4.02
- 21 20843 *DJ de Bruyn (18) Enteric fever 08.4.02
- 22 16870 F Bosch (16) Shot escaping 28.4.02
- 23 20654 AJ van der Walt (66) Pneumonia 29.4.02
- 24 19638 WC Diedericks (66) Heart disease 01.5.02
- 25 20102 DG Nortje (53) Syncope 31.5.02
- 26 20562 JS Vermaak (53) Dysentery 02.7.02
- 27 24809 JH Joubert (67) Pericarditis 04.7.02
- 28 25116 DS Prinsloo (66) Gastritis 20.7.02
- 29 20048 BE Meyer (36) Enteric fever 15.8.02
- 30 26685 WJJ van Zyl (20) Heart disease 23.8.02
- 31 26326 SW van der Sandt (41) Enteric fever 03.9.02
- 32 21003 NJ Goosen (27) Tuberculosis 06.9.02
- 33 25269 *SJ Steyn (49) Bright's disease 12.9.02
- 34 21496 *JH Steyn (20) Enteric fever 06.11.02
- 35 21078 *WE Johnston (27) Enteric fever 15.1.03
WE Johnstone had died in 1901 during the period that the rebels (*) were held in the military prison at St. George's. He had been buried there, but his remains were moved to Long Island on the date shown.
Died and buried at Sea
- Those who died en route to Bermuda were buried at sea.
- De Haas, Barend Johannes Died on 14/12/1901 (32) from Pneumonia
- De Kock, Andries Johannes Died 5/12/1901(28) from Measles
- 2 deaths due to Measles/Meningitis
- 13 due to Pneumonia
- 4 of Bronchitis
- 1 of TB
- 1 of Debility
- 1 of Asthma
- 1 of Senile decay
- Jacobus Gustavus Theodorus van Niekerk 1852 - 1901
- Barnard, Jan Hendrik Died 24/8/1901 (40) from Pneumonia,
- Britz, Jan Johannes Rudolf Died on 1/1/1902 (20) from Pneumonia
- De Beer, Johannes Joseph Died 29/8/1901 (42) - Pneumonia
- Dippenaar, Petrus Johannes Died 3/1/1902 (45) of Measles
- Pieter Jacobus Geldenhuis Died 2/10/1901 (64) On board the Montrose of Atrophy and debility
Transcribed from South Africa Magazine, 19 April 1902
BOER PRISONERS AT BERMUDA
OUR FORMER ENEMIES IN CLOVER
The Boer prisoners of war now at Bermuda number about 4300, and are occupying seven islands in all—Darrell’s, Burtt’s, Tucker’s, Morgan’s, Hawkins’, Port’s, and Zeta, the last two being used as hospital islands. In addition to these islands, the Government has just concluded an arrangement for the lease of Hinson’s Island for a period of three years. For the present this place, which is one of the finest of the islands of the Great Sound, will be held in reserve. The prisoners are well fed, are supplied with all the clothing that they require, and are in perfect health. No more healthy station, says Reuter’s correspondent, could have been found in the British Empire for the temporary confinement of these men. The first contingent arrived on June 28, 1901. Since that date the admissions to hospital have been 1000, the deaths have been 13—mostly due to constitutional ailments from which the patients had been suffering before their arrival at Bermuda. Of the 1000 patients admitted to hospital nearly all were men who had become debilitated through exposure and suffering while on active service, and are now suffering the consequent effects. The prisoners fare as the troops fare, and they appear to have more clothing than they can use, having recently returned to the Ordnance Store Department 500 suits of clothing because they had no use for them. There are now due from London, says the correspondent, 5000 suits of clothing, which, with what has already been imported, will make 12,000 suits the Government has supplied for the prisoners since last July, and each suit costs the Government 27s. 6d.; underclothing, boots, overcoats, &c., are an additional expense.
Writing later, the correspondent says: “In the prison camps of Bermuda, as in the prison camp at St. Helena and in the concentration camps of South Africa, there are many men who are keenly anxious for the termination of the war. Realising that the Boers have been hopelessly beaten in fair fight, that the story of foreign intervention with which they have been beguiled is a myth, that the independence of the former Boer Republics is a thing of the past, a large number of the prisoners of war have taken the oath of allegiance; others among the Boer prisoners make application, from time to time, to be admitted to British citizenship. Such an application and the consequent administration of the oath of allegiance to several prisoners of war now confined on Hawkins’ Island, recently gave rise to a serious incident. The prisoners of war confined on Hawkins’ are chiefly irreconcilables, and some of these are very bitter against the British. A week ago, on learning that several of their fellow-prisoners of more moderate views had taken the oath of allegiance, a party of the irreconcilables attacked the former and attempted to drown them in the Great Sound. The attempt was frustrated by the military guard, and the perpetrators of the attempt have been punished. They are now undergoing a period of discipline in the military prison at St. George’s.”
The correspondent further announces the arrival of the transport Harlech Castle from England with the 4th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment on board. The regiment is now quartered on Tucker’s, Morgan’s, and Burtt’s Islands—the headquarters being at Tucker’s. A redistribution of the prisoners-of-war in the different camps has, he says, now been carried out—the prisoners-of-war who have taken the oath of allegiance being placed in one camp, those who are willing to take the oath of neutrality in a second, and the irreconcilables and the hostile foreigners in a third. The Peace Camp, so called, has been established at Tucker’s Island. Straws serve to indicate the direction of the wind. A few weeks ago the men who are now confined in the Peace Camp were being ducked by their irreconcilable comrades, because they attempted to sing “God Save the King”; today at Tucker’s Island, any men who, even inadvertently, attempt to sing the “Volkslied” is ducked by his loyal comrades. Every week adds to the comfort of the Boer prisoners. On some of the islands wooden buildings are being erected to take the place of tents, and I understand that this will be done on all the islands. Last summer, in consequence of the severe drought that prevailed throughout the Colony, it proved a difficult matter to keep Darrell’s and Burtt’s Islands supplied with a sufficient quantity of rain water. To prevent a recurrence of this during the coming summer the War Department has recently completed a contract for the building of a 70,000 gallon tank on Darrell’s Island, and of a 50,000 gallon tank on Burtt’s Island. To the six islands (with an area of over 100 acres) now occupied by the different camps, the War Department has recently added Hinson’s Island (having an area of over 20 acres). This is one of the finest, and is certainly the best situated, of all the islands in the Great Sound. Hinson’s is now being cleared of timber and prepared for the site of a new camp.