On hindsight I surpose one can never be certain if any of these claims are 100% correct. There might of course have been veterans in way off places living in farming communities who died without any fanfare or died suffering from alzheimer’s in an old age home!
If not the last surviving Burgher, Oom Herman Lubbe was definitely one of the last!
The last batch of twelve Anglo Boere Oorlog medals was issued in 1982: 11 to next-of-kin of Burgers but one to Burger HC Lubbe personally
Herman Carel Lubbe was born on 5 September 1888 in the Jacobsdal district of the Orange Free State. When the Boer War broke out he was living with his parents in the Fauresmith district. His father and brothers were on commando and early in 1901, when his mother was taken to the concentration camp in Kimberley, he joined the Fauresmith Commando under Commandant Charles Nieuwoudt as a twelve year old “penkop”.
He was in the field up to 31 May 1902 and took part in various skirmishes, among others on Sunday 25 December 1901at Kokskraal in the Fauresmith district. In this action, one officer and one private of the 49th Company, Imperial Yeomanry, were killed and a number wounded: Oom Herman told me how shocked he was to see men being shot. In April 1902 he also took part in a night raid near Bloemfontein when hundreds of head of cattle were retrieved from the Farmers Guard, a unit mainly composed of ex Free State burghers who had joined the British forces. Herman Lubbe laid down arms at Bloemfontein early in June 1902.
In October 1914 he joined the Colesberg/Hanover commando under Commandant Robinson. He saw active service against Rebel and German forces in the Upington area as well as Lutz se Put.
In 1982 the “Sunday Times”, prior to the 80th Anniversary of the signing of the Peace Agreement, ran a number of interviews with Boer War survivors under the heading “The Last Warriors”. Oom Herman’s story featured on 25 April 1982 and he was presented with a specially struck “Vereeniging 1902 – 1982” silver medallion.
Although he received a 1914/15 Star in the early 1920’s he was not aware that he was entitled to more medals. In August 1982 I assisted his grandson in applying on his behalf for his ABO medal as well as this 14/18 War and Victory Medals. These applications culminated in the presentation of the 3 medals at a special ceremony on 24 January 1983 in his hometown of Carolina.
More than 80 years after the Boer War, and almost 70 years after the actions on the South West African border, Herman Carel Lubbe was awarded his medals by Major-General Neil Webster, Chairman of the Council of Military Veterans Organisations. The ceremony was short and simple but most definitely unique. It will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find another survivor of a war who are entitled to a campaign medal, 81 years after signing of the peace.
Burger Herman Carel Lubbe died on 11 August 1985. His medals now have an honoured place in my collection after he presented them to me in February 1985.
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