Military activities

Aching With Loneliness

During the Anglo-Boer War, Lt Austin mentioned suffering from intense loneliness: “I am in charge of a blockhouse with twenty men to guard a bridge 200 miles from Cape Town. Our HQ is at Worcester, a long way off, so I am my own master here. I have no troubles, except it is awfully lonely.”  […]

.

An accidental death in Laingsburg

Anglo-Boer War researcher Allen Duff recently visited the graves in Laingsburg and was faced with a puzzle. The inscription on the grave of Private F Gardner, of the 5th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, stated: “Accidentally killed in the execution of his duty on 9.01.1902.” Allen wondered just how Private Gardener could have been ‘accidentally’ killed’ then […]

.

Defending Graaff-Reinet in 1801

Graaff-Reinet’s Resident Commissioner, Honoratus Christiaan David Maynier, was extremely unpopular. Dissatisfaction with his services reached a peak during 1801 when he was accused of harbouring “a force” of between 200 and 400 vagrants at the Drostdy. To the horror of some locals, he also made loopholes in the walls of the church claiming this necessary […]

.

Graaff-Reinet Rifle Corps

Graaff Reinet had a rifle corps, established when a Burgher Law was passed because of rumours of another war were rife.  John H Roselt placed an advertisement in the Graaff-Reinet Herald early in February 1856, stating that a meeting would be held in the Court Room at 19h30 on February 21 for the purpose of […]

.

Khoi Resistance To Colonialism In The Baviaanskloof

Baviaanskloof, in the heart of the Kouga Mountains, has always been immersed in mystery and good stories. Here, in 1799,  the Khoi Chief, Klaas Stuurman, offered refuge to “drosters”,  escaped slaves and other fugitives and took up the cause of those forced into “apprenticeship”, badly treated and poorly paid. In time, a group of Khoi […]

.

Somerset East : A Wild And Dangerous Place

The Karoo was still a wild place in the 1850s and news was not always reliable. On January 10, 1851, the people of Somerset East were relieved to hear that Bear Moorcroft and his son had not been murdered as they had previously been told. But sadly, they were told, by travellers reaching town that […]

.

The Graaff-Reinet and Somerset East military units

Military historian Col Graham du Toit says, regarding the Graaff-Reinet and Somerset East military units: The unit referred to was the Graaff-Reinet and Beaufort Levy.  Formed in 1850, this unit was commanded by Captain Heathcote and consisted of 40 mounted men and 190 infantry. It served from 1850 to 1852 in the Eighth War on […]

.