Nicholas Jacobs 20 lived in Meyersfontein in the district of Boshoff in the Orange Free State. He worked in the Criminal Investigation Department, Bloemfontein OFS.
When the War broke out he attested on the 27th September 1899 with the OFS Forces, serving with the Telegraph Section of the OFS Artillery.
He served under General Hertzog, Maj Albrecht and Col Brand all out of Bloemfontein. His campaign during the War covered the OFS, Transvaal and Cape Colony. The following battles and skirmishes are by him claimed on his Vorm “B”:
Kimberley (Siege) +- 25/11/1899.
Magersfontein (Battle) 11/12/1899 to 12/12/1899.
Houwater (Skirmish near Prieska) 5/3/1900
Sannaspost (Battle) 31/3/1900
Mostershoek (Reddersburg) (Battle) 3/4/1900 to 4/4/1900
Thabanchu (Engagement) 28/5/1900
Wepener (Siege) 9/5/1900 to 25/5/1900
Fauresmith (Attack) 19/10/1900
Koffiefontein (Siege) 26/10/1900 to 3/11/1900
Jagersfontein 16/10/1900. Boers under command Gen J B M Hertzog released prisoners.
8 Months of campaigning is unfortunately missing with entries of ect.etc as he was taken prisoner on the 7th June1901, near Fauresmith. Two months later on the 16th August 1901 he was shipped on the “SS Montrose” to Bermuda, arriving on the 13th September 1901. This shipment of 932 POW’s were allocated to Tucker’s and Morgans Islands in the Great Sound of Bermuda.
However according to the records held in the Bloemfontein Museum he was allocated to “Burt’s Island” camp, whilst interned in Bermuda. This was the smallest of the camps holding approximately 360 prisoners. All 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”.
His return to South Africa is unknown but due to his interment on Burt’s Island, he might have come home later than most of the other Boers, who had signed the Declaration Allegiance to King Edward VII. Signing the Allegiance document ensured a free and early return home.
He applied for an ABO and his application was approved on the 27th June 1921.
No further info has been found on the life of Nicholaas Jacobus Jacobs.
Andries Eloff was born on the 30th January 1875 and Christened on the 4th July 1875.
The Eloffs were a prominent Afrikaner family, based largely in the Rustenberg area of the Transvaal. President Paul Kruger’s daughter Elsie Francina married Frederick Christoffel Eloff, the son of Sarel Johannes Eloff, a life-time friend of the President. The Kruger’s also farmed in the Rustenberg area.
A number of Eloffs took part in the 1877 First Dorsland (Thirst land) Trek. Their aim was to leave the Transvaal and settle in an area around Humpata, in Angola. This First Dorsland Trek was not that successful with many dying from tropical sickness and hardship, relating to their difficult almost “Amish” lifestyle. A number of disillusioned Trekkers returned to the Transvaal, however, many decided to settle in the Grootfontein area of South West Africa. The area they settled in became known as the Republic of Upingtonia, named after the Prime Minister of the Cape Sir Thomas Upington. By 1885 many of these early settlers had given up hope and dispersed, some returned to the Transvaal and a few others moved into German settlements in South West Africa.
A Second Dorsland Trek took place in March 1892, when some one hundred families left the Transvaal. Around forty families of this trek once again settled in Grootfontein area, whilst the rest trekked on into Angola. In 1893 saw further groups of Transvaal Dorsland Trekkers move north into South West Africa and Angola.
(Note: The last of these Dorsland Trekkers only returned to South West Africa and South Africa in 1974, when Angola became independent from Portugal and Civil War had broken out!)
It is unknown on which of the later expedition’s Andries Stephanus Eloff undertook, but we do know he did trek and ended up living in the Grootfontein settlement/area. It was here on the 19th February 1895 he married Neeltjie Christina Bester. Ten months later they had a daughter born on the 5th December 1895. Like so many Boer families, she was named after her mother. On the 1st September 1896 the young Neeltjie Christina Eloff was christened, at Grootfontein.
The years 1896/97 brought excessive rains to the region, which unfortunately was followed by a severe fever epidemic in Grootfontein. Andries sadly lost his young wife to the fever on the 4th May 1897; this left him with a seventeen month old daughter to look after. It would appear after his wife’s passing he returned to the Transvaal?
Records indicate another marriage to a Groenewald took place, but research has so far turned nothing up to confirm this.
One of his younger brothers Sarel Johannes Eloff died at the age of 22 on the 6th July 1899, at Louis Trichardt. The cause of his death was due to an explosion at Fort Schutte near Louis Trichardt, during the War with Magato, a local African Chief in the area.
At the start of the Boer War in October 1899, he gave his address as Potgieter Street, Pretoria.
At the age of 25 he attested to serve in the war against the British forces in October 1899. His father Emmanuel Andries Eloff and brother Ernst Hendrik also joined up, along with a number of other Eloff family members. His father at the age of 50 served as a member of the ZARP, whilst Ernst rode with the Rustenburg Commando, along with many others of the extended Eloff family.
Andries however joined the State Artillery, serving under Commandant Loubser and General Cris Muller. The following battles are claimed on his Vorm “B”:
Dundee (Battle of Talana) 20/10/1899
Colenso (Battle of) 15/12/1899
Donkerhoek (Battle of Diamond Hill) 11/6/1900 to 12/6/1900
Unfortunately a number of months of campaigning are possibly missing, however, he might have possibly returned to Pretoria to man the many forts in and around the Boer Capital? The comment “En nog” (Translation: and more) does not help. He was taken prisoner on the 9th August 1900 in Pretoria.
Less than a month after being captured he was shipped off the Ceylon on the ship City of Vienna. They departed South Africa on the 3rd September 1900 and arrived in Ceylon on the 25th September 1900.
SS City of Vienna
He was allocated to Ragama Camp whilst a POW in Ceylon. Ragama Camp besides being the camp where the Foreign Boer Fighters were interned was also the camp where “Boer dissidents and irreconcilables were kept”. A Jewish Boer by the name of Weinberg described the foreign Boer Volunteers at Ragama as follows 'The Germans, Hollanders, Irish Americans are, with a few exceptions, a most disreputable lot. They are without exaggeration the scum of the scum'. Unfortunately we do not have Eloffs return date home. It is however likely that as an “irreconcilable” Eloff would have only returned home long after the War had ended. Ragama was the last POW camp to close in Ceylon. (Irreconcilables was a term used by the British mainly for Boers who refused to sign an allegiance to King Edward VII. This allegiance gave them free passage home)
His daughter Neeljie Christina Eloff survived the return trek to the Transvaal from South West Africa, and the War with possible Concentration Camp life for a young 5 year old? She later married a Johannes Andries Stephanus du Plessis, on the 3rd March 1915. (Note: The du Plessis family connection is strong with both the Eloff’s and the Kruger’s. Andries mother was Johanna Hendrina du Plessis, President Kruger’s first wife Anna who died and his second Gezina, were both du Plessis. The du Plessis family also took a prominent part in the Dorsland Treks.)
The Boer Dorsland Trekker and Boer War Veteran Andries Stephanus Eloff passed away in 1934, at the age of 59.
His daughter Mrs N C du Plessis applied for her father’s ABO medal after his death and her application was approved, unfortunately there are no date stamps on Andries Eloffs claim Vorm “B”.
Neeljie Christine Eloff passed away on the 24th April 1975, at the age of 79. She is buried in the Zandfontein Cemetery, Pretoria Transvaal.
ABO's have I feel an unfair "reputation" as difficult to research, I feel with the "Vorm B" and POW info available from Bloemfontein,this belief can be despelled to some extent.Admittedly with many medals having the same initials and surnames adds greatly to the negative perceptions regards these medals.
I have always liked and collected groups to the Artillery and POW's so these medals tick both boxes.