Francis Barry Pratt served in Ward 1, Vryheid Commando under Field Cornet Potgieter and Genl Cheere Emmett. On his Vorm “B” application he mentions being in action at Vryheid (Storming of Forts, Lancaster Hill 11 Dec 1900), Spieshoek (Blood River Poort) and Fort Itala, but, strangely enough, makes no mention of the Holkrans Massacre, of which he was a survivor.
At an inquest in June 1902 another survivor, the 16-year-old Daniel Coetze stated: “When the shouting began, I and another man named Frantz Pratt ran down to a spruit as the Zulus got between us and the rest of the party. Some Zulus followed us and threw assegais at us, but we fired at them and drove them back, but could not re-join our party, so we went and hid about 500 yards off down a donga. In the morning, about 7 o’clock, the Utrecht Commando came and found us”.
Francis Pratt was one of the bearers when the 56 burghers were re-interred on 20 January 1905.
He was also present on 6 May 1947 when a monument commemorating the slain burghers was unveiled at Vryheid.
He died in July 1976, aged 93.
Dr David Biggins
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