Dirk Jacobus Jonker was Commandant of the Rouxville Commando at the start of the Boer War. He was assigned PoW No. 9770 after the surrender of General Marthinus Prinsloo at Slaapkrans in the Brandwater Basin on 30 July 1900 and sent to Ceylon. Prior to that date he was in action at, inter alia, Stormberg, Wepener and Bethlehem.
His son, also
, submitted the Application Forms “A” and “B" on behalf of his late father in March 1924 via the District Staff Officer, Bloemfontein. Under “Dates of Service" he wrote: “10 Oct. 1899 to 1901, then Prisoner of War to Ceylon. Back on Parole due to illness caused by War".
This opened a hornet’s nest at Defence Headquarters! The reply to the DSO, Bloemfontein stated:
“I have to inform you that prisoners of war, in all cases of illness, received the necessary medical treatment in the camps and were not sent back to South Africa. If there were any special reasons why this Officer was returned from Ceylon on parole, they must be stated so that the Central Medal Board can have all pertinent facts when considering the application”.
The DSO referred the matter back to Jonker Jnr. and he replied “My father was sent back from Ceylon on account of illness, as follows:
On Commando my father suffered from ear suppuration which weakened his body and affected his lungs. When he arrived in Ceylon the Camp Doctor made a special application for him to be returned to Africa as the climate was unsuitable for his health. Fourteen days later he was sent back to Cape Town where he spent 5 months in the Simons Town Camp. From there he was transferred to DeAar and from there, on application of my mother who was in the Aliwal North Concentration Camp, he was allowed to join her. Within three months he died in the Aliwal Camp.”
A fellow-PoW on Ceylon, Asst. Field Comet J. Stroebel, certified on the same page that all the facts were correct, that he knew the late Commandant Jonker well and that he served faithfully.
The re-submitted application was approved by the Board and a DTD and ABO eventually issued. Data now available from the University of Cape Town Database British Concentration Camps of the South African War 1899-1902 corroborates the circumstances of his death. He arrived in the Camp on 6 May 1901 and died of "Morbus Cordis" (Heart Disease) on 1 November 1901. What is significant is that it is stated under Status: “No oath of neutrality”.
Sold with 3 original photos (a bearded Comdt. Jonker sitting on a chair in a PoW Camp: the late Comdt. Jonker in his coffin propped up against a wall: the Widow Jonker sitting in a chair outside the farm homestead); copies of the PoW Register, Vorms “A” & “B” and relevant correspondence.