Military History Tours On Tour - Boer War 112th Anniversary Tour to South Africa 29 May 2014
Absolutely perfect weather, and a near perfect touring day.
A truly great breakfast and again we headed out early, on the road by 08:00. This time we headed west on the freeway, passing through Johannesburg en route to Vereeniging. It was here in a tented encampment that the treaty to end the second Anglo-Boer War was developed in early 1902. We drove through what is now the car sales capital of the nation to the beautiful Peace Monument. Today, unlike previous occasions, the monument gate was unlocked and we were given the privilege of seeing it up-close.
Then on to Vredefort to gaze at the very hill where on 22 July 1900 Lieutenant Neville Howse, his horse shot from under him treated and extracted a wounded young trumpeter under a hail of bullets. Such heroism earning him the first VC awarded an Australian soldier in an Australian uniform.
Luncheon from our boxes alongside the Vaal river at Parys followed. The setting was truly idyllic bright winter sun, shady trees and rushing water glinting in the sunshine.
Another road trip to Klerksdorp followed. There we were able to visit the Klerksdorp museum. The Museum is located in the Town’s old jail. It has an excellent Boer War display, augmented by others that detail the history of the district. There is also at the moment a special exhibition tracing the path of modern South Africa to democracy.
Bert Gaffen, the Museum’s historian then took charge and guided us to the Boer War and Concentration Camp cemeteries. We found two marked Australian graves in the war cemetery. The wall of honour in adjacent the concentration camp cemetery was very moving. Who could not be moved by the recorded deaths of so many young children?
We departed the cemetery as the sun dipped low and headed to our hotel for a bumper meal and comfortable bed.
There will be another great day tomorrow.