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Swanepoel, D J. Burger 9 years 2 months ago #37379

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2 duplicate names on the roll.

Forename/initials: Daniel Johannes. Served: Commandant Joubert.

Forename/initials: Daniel Johannes. Served: Johannesburg. Received the Wound Ribbon (Lint voor Verwonding).

Dr David Biggins

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Swanepoel, D J. Burger 5 years 5 months ago #62399

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ABO (Burger D J Swanepoel). City Coins #18. Reserve R50
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Swanepoel, D J. Burger 3 weeks 6 days ago #95960

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Daniel Johannes Swanepoel
WIA & POW 27 August 1900 (Bergendaal/Dalmanutha)
Johannesburg Politie (ZARP) Commando

BURG. D. J. Swanepoel*

As a member of the ZARP commando Daniel Johannes Swanepoel took part in one of the most gallant stands of the Boer War; being wounded and taken as a Prisoner of War at the Battle of Dalmanutha / Bergendaal on the 27th August 1900.

Accounts of the battle, and the final stand, at Dalmanutha:

Reference: Military History Journal, Vol 12 No 4 - December 2002

“…the pleasant countryside between Belfast and Machadodorp was 'swept by hails of shrapnel, while the rocks ... were torn and rent by the explosion of the lyddite shells. Smoke and sulphurous gases and rocks shooting up into the air made the place look like a Vesuvius eruption.

This is how the battle of Bergendal, the last of the pitched battles of the Anglo-Boer War, was described in The Times History of the War in South Africa 1899-1902 (Amery [ed], Vol IV, p 452). The battle lasted from 21 to 27 August 1900.

Its climax came on the last day, when 70 men of the Johannesburg Zuid-Afrikaansche Rijdende Politie (ZARP), a special mounted police corps of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) or the Transvaal Republic, faced a full attack by General Sir Redvers Buller's Natal Field Army.

At 11.00, the three-hour, uninterrupted bombardment of the kopje began. This attack was a combination of a Bombardment from the howitzers and salvos of shrapnel from a field Battery, assisted by the 4,7 inch naval gun placed at Belfast.

The shells ploughed up the land and filled the air with yellow smoke, shrapnel and fragments of rock. The heavy projectiles from the naval guns blew to pieces some heavy blocks of rock on the kopje behind which the ZARPs had taken up their positions. The rock fragments were just as dangerous as the shrapnel.

In his report to Roberts (BB 7,13 September 1900, p 102), Buller describes the final stages of the battle as follows:

'The enemy stood their ground with great gallantry, and only left their positions when the Rifles were among them and the Inniskilling Fusiliers on their flank, between 20 and 30 of them keeping up the fire until actually made prisoners.'

The historian, Conan Doyle, said of the ZARPs that no finer defence was made in the war. Knox, the medical doctor, who was present at the battle, and afterwards attended to the wounded, gives his impressions of the battle as it draws to a close (Knox, 1902, p 289):

'Bayonets glitter as the infantry double across the plain... The Boers stand up in their trenches emptying their rifles to the last moment. But they are doomed. The majority break and fly, some on horseback, some on foot... Time shrapnel is burst with beautiful and most accurate precision over the fugitive band that breaks across the railway line. Men on foot and men on horses caught in that hail are seen to stumble and fall”

"The remainder lay amongst the rocks where they had fought; and of those who died, none was mourned more deeply than the brave young Lieutenant Pohlmann. The commander, Oosthuizen, who was wounded, stayed with his men to the last, and yielded up his arms only with his charge."

In Craig Stockings book “Letters from the veldt”, p312, notes in one of General Hutton’s letters:

“It is a fact that 80 Boers held the kopje which the Rifle Brigade assaulted, it had been bombarded by some 24 guns, and [the brigade] lost three officers killed, five wounded and 80 N.C.Os. and men [killed or wounded]. The Boers at this spot lost only 15 killed and 25 prisoners, in spite of a hail of shells.”

The Aftermath:

For an appreciation of the battle itself a number of poignant photographs were captured in the following forum discussion:


In addition Rob D led a great effort to provide a gravestone for Commandant Philip Oosthuizen, hero of the ZARPs:


A member of the Rifle Brigade that was also wounded on the 27th August 1900, from the same medal collection, was recently uploaded in this forum:


Daniel Johannes Swanepoel
Johannesburg Politie (ZARP) Commando

* Based on when the medal was issued and suspender type the medal shown above can be attributed to 2 Burgers, namely:

• DJ Swanepeol of the Johannesburg Politie (incl wound ribbon)
• DJ Swanepoel of the Wolmaransstad Commando (incl wound ribbon)

BIRTH: 20 May 1869
Philippolis, Orange Free State, South Africa

DEATH: Unknown


Father: Daniel Johannes Swanepoel (b1831)
Mother: Jacoba Christina Vijjoen (b1837)

Originally from the Orange Free State Daniel was the 7th eldest of 11 children.


Wife: Anna Catharina Elizabeth Roets (b1882)

DJ Swanepoel married Anna Catharina Roets just before the outbreak of the 2nd Anglo Boer War on the 9th January 1899 in Rustenburg.

Their first, and only recorded child “Aletta Geertruida Catharina Swanepoel”, was born on the 2nd March 1900, whilst Daniel was on commando (week before he was at the battle of Driefontein).

2nd Anglo Boer War

At the outbreak of the war in South Africa in October 1899 Daniel Swanepoel left his wife of 9 months and joined the Johannesburg Politie (ZARP) Commando and served under Commandant Gerard Marie Johan van Dam who later approved his Vorm B in 1921:


According to his Vorm B DJ Swanepoel served at the following notable battles/actions:

• Ladysmith (siege/Nicholson's Nek)
• Pretoria
• Escourt (reconnaissance of)
• Dalmanutha (27 August 1900)
• Tugela (Colenso)
• Bloemfontein Waterworks / Sannas Pass (31 March 1900)
• Abrahams Kraal / Driefontein (10 March 1900)
• Rouwal

Brother in Arms:

He fought alongside two of his brothers; namely:

Jan Daniel Benjamin Swanepoel (1874-1902); ZARP Commando
Voluntary surrendered on 7th July 1901

Gert Johannes Swanepoel (1872 – 1901)

Gert passed away on the 10th September 1901 on board S.S. Montrose, en route to Bermuda POW camp from pneumonia.

Vorm B & C

With Help from this forum the Afrikaans was translated as follows:

" 27 / August 1900 Krygsgevane gewonden bij Dalmanutha en weg gestuur naar Ceylon."
In English : "27 August 1900 Prisoner of war wounded at Dalmanutha and sent away to Ceylon."

Kommando: ZAR Police Kommando
Date of Service: From 1899 until 1900 when wounded in the field and taken prisoner of war
Name of Officer: Commandant Van Dam
Nature/Details of Wounding: Prisoner of War wounded at Dalmanutha
Date and place of wounding: ..from 1899 to 1900

After the War:

Very little of Daniel Swanepoel and his family could be located on line after the end of the War in 1902; more research to follow.

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