DTD (Kapt. D. O. van Velden)
ABO (Kapt. D. O. van Velden)
1914-15 Star (Capt. D. O. van Velden 10th Dismtd Rfls)
BWM; AVM (Bil.) (Lt. Col. D. O. van Velden)
Dirk Overgaauw van Velden was born in Dordrecht, Cape Colony, in 1879. He was educated at the South African College and was subsequently employed in the Cape Agricultural Department. He came to the Z.A.R. in mid-1897.
“Dick” van Velden’s initial Boer War service was with the Pretoria Town Commando at Pieters Heights, Pepworth and Spion Kop.
Early in 1900 he was appointed to the Staff of Gen. Louis Botha, with whom he served up to the time of his capture near Ermelo on 12 May 1901. He spent the rest of the war on Darrel’s Island, Bermuda as PoWNo. 19271. (His DTD and ABO were awarded in 1921)
In 1904 he qualified as an attorney and started a practice in Pretoria.
On 1 July 1913 he was appointed Captain, 10th Dismounted Rifles, A.C.F. and was called up for service in German SWA in August 1914. In December 1914 he was the Presiding Officer at the court martial and execution by firing squad of Jopie Fourie, the young Defence Force Captain turned Rebel Officer. In October 1915 he was appointed to the Permanent Force (Staff) as Major and D.A.A.G.
His subsequent rise in the SADF was steady: June 1917 saw him as Lt Col.on the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief, East Africa (MiD and DSO) and eventually Adjudant-General, UDF in Feb. 1921. In this capacity he signed all “Lint voor Wonden” certificates that were awarded to former Boer soldiers.
Although he was 16 years his junior, van Velden had built up a lifelong friendship with the Prime Minister, Gen Louis Botha. He was on first name terms with him and his wife Annie and was one of the eight bearers at the funeral of Gen Botha on 30 August 1919. He was also instrumental in arranging for the posthumous award of the DTD and ABO to Gen Botha (copy of letter from Mrs Botha refers).
Van Velden retired from the UDF on 1 April 1925 and died in 1947.
Note: The above combination of awards is unique to some 40 ex-Boer Officers who had a Decoration (DTD), earned by fighting against the British, as well as a Decoration (DSO), earned by fighting with the British! An interesting fact is that the DTD officially ranks before the DSO.