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SHAHJAHANPUR POW CAMP, INDIA 6 years 5 months ago #49287

  • Elmarie
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On 19 October 1901 the first prisoners arrived at the camp located some two miles from the station, near some very old ruins crawling with jackals and other unpleasant vermin according to A.P. Burger. The jackals made a pest of themselves in the camp. Many a POW lost a treasured pair of shoes to these four-legged thieves who were not afraid of approaching the tents in broad daylight.
The men were housed in large marquee tents with sides that could open. Each POW received a wooden bed, a mattress, cushions, two sheets, blankets and a chest for their clothes. They also received a knife, fork, and mug on arrival. In April 1902 J.J. Boshoff wrote to his sister that they were on the verge of moving to huts that had thatched roofs. Boshoff expressed the wish in a letter to his sister that the women and children were looked after in the same way that the POWs were. Near the camp there was a river with clean clear fountain water where Pieter Dippenaar bathed twice a week in December 1902. Trees surrounded the camp so that they did not have much of a view.
The Boer camp housed some 1000 POWs under Lieutenant-Colonel M Jacson. Lieutenant-Colonel J.H. Campbell, Captains G. Head and P. Hind later replaced him respectively. The camp was only closed on 3 January 1903.
Elmarie Malherbe
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SHAHJAHANPUR POW CAMP, INDIA 1 year 1 month ago #81449

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BOER PRISONERS IN INDIA.
....The Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant publishes the following extract from a private letter from a Boer prisoner in India. The writer of the letter is a Hollander: "Shahjahanpur, April 8th, 1902:—I have nearly reached my destination after about six weeks wanderings. Removed from Naauwpoort Feb. 25, Bloemfontein February 26, Ladysmith March 1, embarked at Durban March 5, and kept there on board ship in the bay till March 19. On the evening of March 19th our anchor was weighed, and exactly a fortnight later (2nd April) we anchored at Bombay. On the 4th we were landed and taken immediately to the train, in which we have been travelling almost without a break ever since. Last night we were set down here, but we were not even yet at the end of our journey. Some of us (the 800 of us are divided into five camps) are going right on into the hills, where it is cooler than here, for the heat here is terrific. The place, however, is beautiful, though it is still winter. As you will see from the heading "Prisoner of war on parole," I have given my parole. About 100 of us have done this, and are already gainers by it. That the remainder have refused is partly due to ignorance, partly to intimidation—exercised, be it noted, in the main by those who have least distinguished themselves in the field or who have not fought at all. The pledges we have made are these:— 1. That we will not attempt to escape. 2. That we will abstain from political demonstrations. 3. That we will have no dealings with the press, British, Continental, or Indian. 4. That we will send our letters unsealed. 5. That we will observe certain "bounds" and behave ourselves in an orderly manner. That is all. And now, here, for instance, we must attend morning and evening roll-call, but during the rest of the day we may walk or ride at our pleasure, so long as we keep within a line drawn half a mile the other side of the railway. Beyond that line we must never go. Our food is prepared for us, and all this time the other poor, stupid fellows are sitting mewed up in a camp within a triple fence of barbed wire. This morning sixteen more joined us, among them an old acquaintance of mine from the Fouriesburg district, another Hollander, Van Altona, who has, I believe, been thirty-five years in South Africa as a Government schoolmaster, so that we are now five Hollanders together. The voyage was not a pleasant experience. There were about 800 prisoners and about 600 soldiers, besides a crew of some 200, and we were kept between decks. However, only two of our number died, which, taking the circumstances into consideration, is, I think, a good record. The railway journey to this place from Bombay was a much more comfortable experience than those I had in South Africa. First and third-class carriages, with six in each compartment (four less than the allowed number), so that there was some possibility of getting a nap on seat or floor. Here we are housed in well-arranged, roomy tents, with plain bedsteads to sleep on. There are twelve of us in each tent, though they seem designed to accomodate about thirty, and the treatment is in every way good. Each tent has its corporal, each row of tents its sergeant, and Van Wyk, formerly field cornet of the Johannesburg commando, is our commandant. The British officers settle all arrangements and regulations through him. We have been supplied with white cork helmets, such as all Europeans wear here, and we are told that white suits are to be forthcoming."
The Westmorland Gazette, Saturday 17th May 1902
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SHAHJAHANPUR POW CAMP, INDIA 1 year 1 month ago #81452

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....We have received from the editors a copy of the December issue of the "Thin Red Line," the regimental paper of the 2nd Battalion (Princess Louise's) Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. The regiment is at present stationed at Shahjahanpur, looking after a large number of Boer prisoners. From the editorial notes of the magazine we gather that cricket and football seem to be the favourite recreations of the Boers, and that psalm-singing is their chief occupation. The prisoners are very bad walkers, and a weekly route march of from four to five miles is quite enough to "knock them up." An interesting feature of the issue is a letter by a Boer prisoner, who had been a landdrost in the Heidelberg district of the Transvaal, and had been captured on the 31st of August by Col. Benson's column. The writer describes the "men in kilts" as "quite a kind set of fellows."
Aberdeen Journal, Wednesday 22nd January 1902
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