Collecting specimens at Deelfontein

One unusual aspect of the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital at Deelfontein in the Karoo, was that it had a menagerie for the entertainment, amusement and instruction of the sick and wounded men.  Specimens were collected by principal medical officer, Colonel Sloggett and two taxidermists from the British Museum, who had been sent to the hospital to be treated for typhoid fever. They were E C H Seimund and C H B Grant, both members of Yeomanry regiments, and other members of the medical team who also found the veld creatures and abundant bird life of the area fascinating. An article in The Ibis, No 13, dated January, 1902, notes that the British museum is indebted to Colonel A T Sloggett for its very interesting collection of South African birds.  While serving at the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital during the Anglo-Boer War, Sloggett sent them information and specimens.  The actual collection, says the article, was made by two of the museum’s taxidermists who served as troopers in the Yeomanry and who helped Colonel Sloggett compile the collection   At the conclusion of the war, most of the animals were sent to the Zoological Gardens in London.  The trio presented a fine collection of preserved material to the British Museum. This collection included about 830 bird specimens and their eggs.  “Forty bird species were recorded in the Deelfontein area from 1901 to1902,” state Sue Milton and Richard Dean in an article in the October 1, 2008 Journal of African Ornithology.


© Rose’s Roundup, July 2011 (No 210)

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