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October 15th 10 years 1 month ago #1267

  • djb
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1899 - Boers occupy Lobatsi, Taungs, and Fourteen Streams. Kimberley siege started on this day (some say the 16th). Martial law proclaimed in northern Natal.
1901 - Surrender of 157 Somerset East District Mounted Troops at Doornbosch.
1949 - 50th Anniversary celebration of the Siege of Kimberley.


Attendees at the 50th Anniversary celebrations


Detail from the Kimberley medal
Dr David Biggins
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Re: October 15th 9 years 1 month ago #5920

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About the surrender of the Somerset East men, Davitt says:

On the 16th of November, the British press published a despatch from Reuter of a letter from Middelburg, Cape Colony, dated October 25, which contained this account of some British Colonial fighting:

"On the 13th inst. about 200 men of Smuts' commando, under Van der Venter, Karsten, and Botha, attacked a post at Doornbosch, near Somerset East, held by about 50 men of the Somerset District Mounted Troops. Captain Thornton, of the Cape Police, with 130 men of the same District Mounted Troops, went to the relief of the place, but were unable to prevent its surrender after a very feeble resistance. In his report Captain Thornton states that he took up a fairly strong position and was confident of holding his own, but the men under him having fired off most of their ammunition when the enemy was over 2,000 yards away, refused to fight on the nearer approach of the Boers, saying they would be shot if they did, and incontinently surrendered, only one man being slightly wounded.

"Thus, 180 men with rifles and 190 horses fell into the hands of the enemy. From the above account it will be seen at once that the surrender must have been intentional, for it is inconceivable that 180 men would surrender a strong position to an equal force with practically no resistance unless by prearrangement."
Dr David Biggins

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Re: October 15th 9 years 1 month ago #5923

  • Frank Kelley
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Good morning David,
Very nice to see the Kimberley medal on here today, do you feel the presence of Cecil Rhodes in Kimberley during the seige made things better or worse for the locals, given the help he gave and the Boers intense dislike of him?
Kind regards Frank

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Re: October 15th 9 years 1 month ago #5930

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Hi Frank,

Yes, I thought the Kimberley medal was a very fitting image for today.

The question you raise is a very interesting one. I see Rhodes as something of a maverick whose presence both helped and hindered the defence. I do feel sorry for Kekewich trying to contain him and it must have been a very frustrating time as Rhodes failed to acknowledge any form of military control. That said, Rhodes supported the siege with enormous resources from De Beers and I wonder if there would have been so readily available had not Rhodes been there to offer them up. It still surprised me what military stores De Beers held at the time.

Rhodes' presence certainly increased the appetite of the Boers to take Kimberley and I think they would have done so if the Long Tom had been brought into action earlier in the siege.

Best wishes
David
Dr David Biggins

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Re: October 15th 9 years 1 month ago #5941

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Hello David,
With the exemption of "Long Cecil" I think these were just leftovers from an earlier caper :woohoo: at the end of 1895! :evil:
Very best regards Frank

djb wrote: It still surprised me what military stores De Beers held at the time.

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Re: October 15th 9 years 1 month ago #5992

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Good morning David,

I have to say I agree with you on the subject of De Beers, One Great Enterprise, as Rhodes said, the most powerful company in the world at that time.
I really don't have much stuff regarding Kimberley, QSA's, KSA's and Stars, yes, but, you can just go out and buy those, but, not much in the way of siege items.
This however, is one little bit, I do have, that I believe was indeed made in the De Beers workshops and not at Messrs Batton&Wyeth in Kimberley.

King regards Frank


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