The obituary of John William Bryant, South Wales Borderers, in the Dover Express, 26.1.1940, says "At one time he was Paymaster Sergeant to the Boer prisoner of war camp at Kakeel, N.W.P., till it closed at the end of 1902."
Abbottabad, one of the camps on the route to the Khyber Pass, is situated in the North-West Frontier Province of the area now known as northern Pakistan. It lies about 83 miles (134 km) north of Rawalpindi and 135 miles (217 km) from Peshawar and is situated in the region of the Himalayas at the southern corner of the Rash (Orash) plain at 4,120ft (1,256 m) above sea level. Abbottabad has cool summers and cold winters, and receives about 8 in (200 mm) of rainfall annually. The temperature on 6 and 7 June 1902 rose to 39C and 46C in the shade according to J. S. van der Watt.
According to P.C.D. Otto the Boer POWs landed in Bombay and then traveled by train to Rawalpindi and from there by camel and foot via some rest houses to Abottabad. The first POWs to arrive at Abbottabad camped on the northern side of the town while the camp was being completed. The nights were cold and the men could see the snow-clad mountains in the distance. The camp, according to Otto was about four miles (6,4km) from the town of Abbottabad. According to C.J.P le Roux the camp was approximately eight thousand miles from South Africa.
It was one of the largest in India and housed some 1500 POW's. The camp had three commandants: first Major H.A. Kinloch, followed by Captain A. J. Lainson and finally Captain R. Oakley. When Kinloch left the Boers presented him with an address to show their appreciation for his kindness towards them.
The POWs were initially housed in eight rows of tents on what had been a plowed field. As a result it was not very level and they experienced some difficulty in keeping their belongings dry when it rained. According to P.C.D. Otto they were ordered to make paths between the tents. In order to pack down the loose soil they had to walk up and down the paths. They had to do the same in the vicinity of the hospital. There were eight cooking huts and a wash house. At 15:00 on 29 May they finally moved into the large wooden huts that were built for their use. While they were still in the tents there were eight to ten men to a tent. There were twenty-four men in a hut of 90ftX20ft. The POWs had to move their own furniture from the tents to the huts.
A high barbed wire fence surrounded the camp with elevated guardhouses overlooking the camp.
The camp finally closed its doors on 4 December 1902. Source: Elria Wessels