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De Lange, B J. Burger 9 years 2 months ago #29524

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3 duplicate names on the roll.

Forename/initials: Barend Jacobus. Served: Rustenburg. Received the Wound Ribbon (Lint voor Verwonding).

Forename/initials: Barend Jacobus. Served: Pretoria Suid.

Forename/initials: Barend Jacobus (Jnr). Served: Pretoria.
Dr David Biggins

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De Lange, B J. Burger 1 month 1 week ago #95755

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Of the names on the medal roll only two qualified for the medal shown below; namely:

Barend Jacobus. Served: Rustenburg. Received the Wound Ribbon (Lint voor Verwonding).
Barend Jacobus. Served: Pretoria Suid.

Research will be provided for both; starting with BJ de Lange of the Rustenburg Commando:

Barend Jacobus de Lange
WIA 26 September 1901 (Rietvlei, Rustenburg)
Rustenburg Commando

BIRTH: 27 November 1876
Rustenburg, Transvaal, South Africa

DEATH: 22 January 1937 (60)
Rustenburg, Transvaal, South Africa


Father: Barend Jacobus de Lange (1855 – 1881)
Mother: Louisa Dorothea Weyer (1855 – 1907)

Barend Jacobus de Lange was born in 1876 in Rustenburg to BJ de Lange (Snr) and Louisa Dorothea Weyer and was the second eldest of 4 children. Unfortunately his father passed away on their farm in Rustenburg when he was only 5 years old.

In 1882, the following year, his mother married Pieter Johannes Lodewikus Venter (1856-1909) and they had 7 children bringing the blended household to 11 children.


Wife: Catharina Helena Fourie (1882 – 1940)

BJ de Lange married Catharina Fourie just before the outbreak of the 2nd Anglo Boer War on the 22nd June 1899.

2nd Anglo Boer War

At the outbreak of the war in South Africa in October 1899 BJ de Lange left his wife of 4 months and joined the Rustenburg Commando and served under Commandant Barend Izaak Jacobus Van Heerden.

BJ de Lange was one of the few burgers to serve the entire duration of the war with the Rustenburg Commando; he would have been present for the disintegration of the unit at Mafeking followed by the remarkable turn around, mid 1900, that saw them distinguish themselves at major engagements in the Transvaal.

The following accounts of the Rustenburg Commando are courtesy of Brett Hendey of this forum.
Ref: www.angloboerwar.com/forum/13-miscellany...-rustenberg-commando

Rustenburg Commando – Mafeking (Low Point)

The Siege of Mafeking, which had started on 13 October 1899 proved to be a difficult trial for the Rustenberg Commando, elements of which were present from the commencement of the Siege, and the Commando was to see it through to its end.

Four other Commandos were involved in the investment, but on 18 November three were detached to strengthen the Boer line at Modder River, south of Kimberley. The Marico Commando and the Rustenbergers, initially a total of about 3500 men, were left to hold the perimeter at Mafeking.

In January 1900 there was a further reduction when 200 Rustenbergers were detached and sent to strengthen the Boer line on the Tugela River in Natal. The besieging force was further weakened by absences due to illness and men leaving to attend to their farms and other personal matters.

The 217 days of the Siege were largely repetitious and monotonous, and the Boers became increasingly depressed and demoralised.

Matters came to a head after the Siege ended on 17 May 1900, and demoralised Boers left both the Marico and Rustenberg Commandos in droves. Wulfsohn reported that by 29 May 1900 the Marico Commando was reduced from 1250 to 110 men. Much the same applied to the Rustenberg Commando, and only about 130 Rustenbergers under Assistant Commandant Casper du Plessis remained in the field.

The rebirth of the Rustenberg Commando, which began in mid-June, is well documented. The respected General H R Lemmer was sent to the western Transvaal to get its Commandos back into the field.

By that time Rustenberg was occupied by the British, and Lemmer’s task of reforming the Rustenberg Commando was greatly assisted after the town was abandoned by the British and re-occupied by the Boers on 4 July.

During this period the Rustenberg Commando was being rebuilt, but its strength would never again exceeded 600 men, a far cry from the 2000 men that Wulfsohn estimated had started the war. However, the new incarnation of the Commando was much improved by being without many of the men who had signed the oath of neutrality or were otherwise not committed to the Boer cause.

Rustenburg Commando – A Fighting Unit

Wulfsohn recorded that Rustenberg’s importance during this phase of the guerrilla war was due to its strategic location in the northern foothills of the Magaliesberg, its proximity to the Olifant’s Nek and Magatos Nek passes, and the important westerly road from Pretoria that passed through it.

June 1900 was also the month when the guerrilla war began in earnest in the western Transvaal. It was marked by the actions at Roodewal Station on 7 June and Silkaats Nek on 11 July 1900.

The most significant actions in the vicinity of Rustenberg and the Magaliesberg that were listed by Wulfsohn were:
Silkaats Nek …………………………………………….. 11/07/1900
Rooipoierspruit (Koster River) ………………………… 21/07/1900 – 22/7/1900
Siege of Elands River ………………………………..... 04/08/1900 – 16/08/1900
Buffelspoort …………………………………………….. 03/12/1900
Nooitgedacht …………………………………………… 13/12/1900
Wonderfontein (Groot Marico) ……………………….. 05/09/1901
Moedwil …………………………………………………. 30/09/1901
Kleinfontein …………………………………………….. 24/10/1901
Note: Battles in highlighted Bold is where BJ de Lange was present.

Rietvlei, Rustenburg (26/09/1901)

After the action at Vlakfontein, Colonel R G Kekewich took over the command of the British forces in the Magaliesberg from General Dixon.

Around mid-September 1901 Colonel R G Kekewich was required to deal with the irrepressible Kemp, who had reappeared with his burgers near Rustenburg.

On the 24th September 1901 Kekewich made a night march to Crocodile drift on the Upper Elands and captured Commandant Van Rooijan and 35 burghers. He then moved to Lindley Poort and located Kemp and De la Rey in the valley.

By this time BJ de Lange had become a father; he had a young baby son, 4 month old Barend Jacobus De Lange born 2nd May 1901 in Rustenburg.

On the 26th September BJ de Lange was wounded with a Gunshot Wound to his right foot whilst potentially visiting his family; eventhough wounded he remained with his Commando.

This is also the location where Alexander Cairns was killed in action 6 month prior:

Battle of Moedwil

On 29 September 1901, Kekewich with a force of about 800 men set up camp on the banks of the Selons River on the farm Moedwil, 22 km from Rustenberg on the road to Zeerust. De la Rey and Kemp urgently needed to replenish their supply of Lee-Metford ammunition and were looking for an opportunity to get it.
The isolated camp at Moedwil offered that opportunity.

The Boers, about 200 in number, already had details of the camp from scouts, and there were Rustenbergers in their ranks who knew the area intimately, so the attack on the camp was planned accordingly.

It began about 4.30 am and outlying pickets were quickly overrun, and the camp covered with devastating rifle fire. Horses and mules stampeded and, in the chaos that followed, only the gallant stand by groups of Yeomanry, Scottish Horse and Derbyshires saved the camp from annihilation.
The resistance by the British grew stronger, and by 6 am the Boers realised that taking the camp was impossible, so they began to withdraw. The Scottish Horse and Yeomanry were unable to follow, because all their horses had been dispersed.

Remainder of the War Effort

By October 1901, the war in the western Transvaal had moved away from Rustenberg and the Magaliesberg to the more open country in the south west of the Republic.

The regular war did, however, continue, and one of the most bitterly contested actions involving the Rustenberg Commando took place at Kleinfontein on 24 October 1901. Five Boer commandos under the overall command of General de la Rey attacked a column under Colonel van Donop in a wooded valley between Groot Marico and Zeerust. The Boers suffered more casualties that usual, the Rustenbergers alone had 15 men killed, with more dying later of their wounds.

The Boer cause was by then largely lost, and attention became focussed on the peace negotiations, which culminated with the ending of the war on 31 May 1902. Like Boers elsewhere, the Rustenbergers returned to rebuild their families, their farms and their lives.

After the War

After the war BJ de Lange had 4 more children; he passed away on the 22nd January 1937.

Speak my name so that I may live again
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De Lange, B J. Burger 1 month 1 week ago #95756

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Well done Sturgy! You do know that, depending on a couple of issues, it could be possible to narrow the medal down to a single recipient. Depending when the 2 medals were applied for - you compare the Vorm B's with the three naming styles and you might get lucky.

All the best

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De Lange, B J. Burger 1 month 1 week ago #95773

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Thanks Rory; according to our favourite researcher in South Africa there are two possibilities for the medal; the one described above and the second one below; which I will post shortly.

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De Lange, B J. Burger 1 month 1 week ago #95774

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Barend Jacobus de Lange (Jnr)
Pretoria Commando South

BIRTH: 14 November 1879
Rietvlei, Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa

DEATH: 11 March 1947 (68)
Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa


Father: Barend Jacobus de Lange (b 1850)
Mother: Maria Catharina Jacoba Van Jaarsveld (1857 – 1927)

Barend Jacobus de Lange was born in 1879 in Pretoria to BJ de Lange (Snr) and Maria van Jaarsveld who had recently married on the 11th January 1877 and was the eldest of 3 chidlren.

2nd Anglo Boer War

At the outbreak of the war in South Africa in October 1899 BJ de Lange joined the Pretoria South Commando and served under Veldkornet Jacobus van der Walt and Assistant Veldkornet Lourens Abraham Meyer.

According to his Form B he served at:


Helpmekaar (May 1900)

A good description of the events around Helpmekaar can be found here:

These engagements pitted the Boer forces against the popular colonial units of the Thorneycrofts & Bethunes Mounted Infantry as well as the South African Light Horse.

Laingsnek (2/9 June 1900)

Rhenosterskop (29 November 1900 and/or 29 March 1901)

29 November 1900
This could perhaps be rated the first occasion where troops from all the Australian colonies were involved. Fought to the east of Pretoria against Boer General Viljoen on 29 November 1900, it was mainly the Australian Bushmen contingents that took part. The Australians had 12 casualties (the Queenslanders having the majority) and the New Zealanders had 28 casualties. Viljoen withdrew from his position but it had been a pyrrhic victory.

29 March 1901
"Four squadrons of 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles rode out to clear some gullies of Boers and found what seemed to be only a few fugitives. The fugitives nevertheless drew some of the Victorians into a trap and shot down a captain, a lieutenant, and several men."
Australian Mounted Troops Involved Included:
5 Victorian Mounted Rifles
Reference: Wilcox, Craig. Australia's Boer War. The War In South Africa 1899-1902. Oxford University Press in conjunction with AWM, Australia, 2002, ISBN 0 19 551637 0 p 200

Reference: www.bwm.org.au/warcourse/Rhenosterkop.ph...ad%2028%20casualties .

Bakenglaagte (30 October 1901)

Lieutenant Colonel George Elliott Benson's British No. 3 flying column, comprising 2000 men, specialised in night raids that were terrorising Boer Commandos on the highveld, it had become so successful that General Botha ordered all available Boer forces to accumulate at Bakenlaagte so as to attack Benson.

The No. 3 Flying Column was marching back to a refit station after performing farm clearing operations. Rainy and misty weather had reduced visibility and made the going difficult which caused the marching British column to become spread out into clusters of troops. The column force became further extended when Benson began to deploy small detachments of mounted men and infantry to suppress small Boer sniping teams that were roaming around the marching column.

General Botha arrived with about 800 reinforcements after riding about 40 kilometres (25 mi) without stopping, on arrival, Botha observed that the strung out column provided an ideal opportunity for an overwhelming force to roll up the isolated and spread out groups of commonwealth troops piecemeal and immediately ordered a large Boer force of mounted men to attack the small isolated rear guard of the column.

Outnumbered four to one, the Columns rear guard of 210 Commonwealth troops set up a defensive position on Gun Hill and fought about 900 Boers in a close quarter twenty minute gun fight that ended only when the column rear guard was annihilated.
Great bravery was demonstrated by the men on both sides with combined casualties numbering approximately 87 killed with 182 wounded. Colonel Benson (a veteran of the Battle of Magersfontein, 11 December 1899) was to die the next morning from wounds received on the field of battle.

This rear-guard action allowed the main column time to deploy and set up a defensive perimeter under Lt Colonel Wools-Sampson. This deployment prevented the attacking Boer forces from riding on and capturing the main column as originally planned. The Boers left the field with what ever spoils they could carry and the British carried in the wounded to the entrenched camp during the night.

Boer charge at Bakenlaagte, picture courtesy of John Charlton

Reference: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Bakenlaagte

Verklumpkop (?)

After the War

After the war BJ de Lange married the daughter of one of his fellow burgers (Coert Frederik Erasmus) from the Pretoria Commando. Perhaps he met her whilst travelling between the farm steads during the guerrilla phase of the war.


Wife: Helletjie Maria Erasmus (1882 – 1947)
Married: 21 June 1904

Following their marriage Bared & Helletjie moved to her fathers farm “Hartebeestspruit” North-East of Pretoria where they farmed on farm 572 “Hartebeestspruit”

Bared and Helletjie went on to have 8 children together; they were married for 43 years and both passed away in 1947 having lived and worked on the farm together.
Speak my name so that I may live again

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