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908 Corpl T Eden Railway Pioneer Regt. PoW Roodewal 7/6/1900 6 years 3 weeks ago #58910

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Queen's South Africa Medal with four clasps: Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal and South Africa 1901 (loose on ribbon) officially named to 908 Corpl: T. Edan, Rly: Pnr; Regt (Railway Pioneers Regiment). He was one of 70 men of that regiment taken prisoner at the Battle of Roodewal (Rhenoster River) on 7/6/1900, and later released.
Roodewal, Battle of, 7 June 1900 The British vulnerability to Boer attacks on their lines of communication and supply was demonstrated by Chief-commandant Christiaan De Wet early in June 1900. The garrison at Roodewal Station, on the Bloemfontein to Vereeniging line, was overcome and the mail and supplies stored there looted. De Wet had considerable difficulty in diverting his men’s attention from the booty in order to carry away the large quantities of .303 ammunition suited for use in captured Lee-Enfield rifles.

Although the British had taken Pretoria two days earlier, the Orange Free State forces remained very active, blowing up bridges and ambushing supply convoys. As a result Roodewal Station, which had been taken by the British on 23 May and garrisoned with men of the 4th Derbyshires, was the temporary railhead and goods were off-loaded there until the railway to the north could be brought back into commission. De Wet captured a wagon train en route to Heilbron from Vredefort Road Station at Zwavelkrans, near the Rhenoster River on 5 June. It surrendered without resistance as the 200 men on board were outnumbered three to one and fifty-six wagons of supplies were taken. On 6 June, still undetected, De Wet returned to the railway line where he divided his force into three. The first, 300 men and one 75mm Krupp, was sent to deal with Vredefort Road Station at sunrise the next day; the second, with another 300 men, two Krupps and a Pom-Pom, were ordered north to attack the British camp; and De Wet himself, with eighty men and one Krupp, headed for the station at Roodewal itself. The British, who were attacked at dawn, resisted fiercely and De Wet’s men were pinned down until the northern party had succeeded at the camp and brought two more 75mm Krupps south to help. The increased artillery fire forced a British surrender. De Wet observed that their fortifications were constructed of bales of clothing and blankets, which kept British fatalities down to twenty-seven men, while 200 or so were captured. The richness of the prize was beyond Boer powers to exploit, for they lacked the transport to carry it away. The post-bags were opened and looted by Boer and British alike and what the commando could not carry off was to be burnt. De Wet had to work hard to ensure a place for rifle ammunition among the goods his men took, then, according to De Wet: “When the sun set, the burghers were again on the march. But what a curious spectacle they presented! Each man had loaded his horse so heavily with goods that there was no room for himself on the saddle; he had, therefore, to walk, leading his horse by the bridle.”

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