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Author Topic: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel  (Read 2646 times)

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Offline Armpie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2017, 06:19:51 pm »
So the convoy reached the Vaalriver just west of Vredefort.  On the farm Klein-Bloemfontein.  At the neighbouring farm, I found rest for the day.  I was tired.  I had a long 7 hour ride.  So I settled in at Bellary guest farm with Keith and Shani Ward. Trying to see what I can do about the GPS's.   Keith was harvesting that night, but by 8 the harvester broke, so he called me and we finished off his whiskey.

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In the front of the road is the dust of a Khaki patrol after I let loose a few rounds from the Mauser.

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« Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 06:25:12 pm by Armpie »
Sedert 8 Janaurie 1666 toe die "Vergulde Tijger" geanker het
 

Offline Armpie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2017, 06:55:49 pm »
The next morning a said my goodbye to my new found friends, and set off to investigate the battlefield west of Vredefort, where Gen de Wet lost his 5 wagons of flour with 18 POW's and 5 dead, and the the British lost 39 dead and wounded.

5 wagons were sent to a mill to get flour.  Unfortunately the wagons were surprised and the British took 18 prisoners and 5 wagons of flour.  General de Wet decided to attack at once and in the ensuing battle on the farms east of  Klein Bloemfontein, 10km west of Vredefort, the British lost 39 men dead or wounded and the Boers 12.  But was it worth 5 wagons of flour?

I went past Witkopjes, Palmietfontein and other farms where the battle took place. It was open flat country with sand and sometimes rocky patches.  It was early and the sun was a problem heading east.   Then I went into Vredefort for petrol.  I returned north along the Vaalriver along farms like Stinkhoutboom where there was also skrimishes.  The road was up and down winding, and the area fairly woody.

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Offline Armpie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2017, 07:13:01 pm »
So the convoy crossed the river here at Schoemansdrif.  It was early August and the river was low, so crossing took place in ankle deep water.  Immediately after the convoy turned right along the mountain until they reached a small village Venterskroon.

But near disaster struck here.  Without the Boer scout’s Lord Metheun’s 1 Division crept up to the back of the 3 ranges that no separate the Boer laager from the Transvaal.  In a surprise attack, at Tygerfontein, the Boers were driven from one hill to the next.  So bad it became that 2 artillery guns were abandoned.  The guns were given up as a lost cause.  It was just then when Danie Theron and 40 op his men rode past, to get out of the firing line.  Theron immediately realized what was happening.  The left their horses and stormed up the koppie.  While 20 men kept the British at bay, the other 20 pushed the cannons down the slope. Then pulling it lose from a tree or rock, then pushing t down the hill.  So Danie Theron and his men saved the guns.

Lt Strydom of the OVS Artillerie Corps nearly lost his gun at Tygerkloof

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I also crossed the Vaal at Schoemansdrift.  Except this time there is a low water bridge.  Then I continued about 10km before I turned right around the mountains.  I also crossed some of the Tygerkloof battlefield here in the north.  This area north of the river is beautiful.  Then I also arrived at Venterskroon.



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Tygerkloof from the north.

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« Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 07:16:18 pm by Armpie »
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Online Jors Troelie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2017, 07:14:55 pm »
Gooi Pappie gooi, ons lees lekker
 

Offline Armpie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2017, 07:31:50 pm »
So in the dirt, only street I rode up.  Really little cowboy town.  And there is a building dated 1889, the later Police Station, now a information centre.  A little down is the "Imperial inn 1891".  So at 10:30 I parked the KLR and set off in side.  I was friendly greeted and offered a hamburger and chips.  With a Coke and a Coffey, for R90.  Inside was a painting of the building in 1895.

Again I set off on the dirt road passing the farms the Freestaters took.  Eventually I reached the Parys Potch road, went a few km's on that road and then turned east on a dirt road towards the Fochville Parys road.  In the far one could see the Gatsrand and the Deelkraal Mine complex.  I took another dirt road leading towards Gatsrand passing the Ensilspruit Silo's.
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Here the convoy was keeping to the west of the Losberg with the British more on the line I was following.

Sedert 8 Janaurie 1666 toe die "Vergulde Tijger" geanker het
 

Offline Armpie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2017, 07:38:45 pm »
The rest of the convoy escaped through van Vuurenskloof in the direction of Losberg, near the current Fochville.

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Likewise here as at the Vaalriver before, the Boers had no plans to move away from here at the Gatsrand.  But there were only 2 small kloofs to get through.  So the General get to the burger, and the general said they should inspan.  But there was no action.  “Generaal, jy sien daai maer perd.  Dit is myne.  Hy is klaar.  En jy sien my hier onder die wa.  Wel ek is gaar!”  So the general summoned two of Theron’s scouts.  20 miutes later there were a few massive explosions in the hills next to the camp!  “Span in die Ingilse skiet op ons met hulle bomme!” minutes later the first wagons were entering the first kloof.  The scouts dynamite worked out just fine!

Crossing the Gatsrand
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Here on the northern side of the Gatsrand, the convoy had to negotiate the Potchefstoom- Krugersdorp railway line. But he Western Transvalers were disrupting the British communication, so about 3km west fromWelverdiend station, the convoy in lines of 6 crossed the railway line without much effort.
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Offline Armpie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2017, 07:45:19 pm »
I took the tar road up to Welverdiend and stopped here about 3km from Welverdiend Station.  Here the convoy crossed the railwayline and also the stream just to the north.

Railway crossing- likely

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I travelled about 11km west on the 501 and came to a road "Muiskraal"  The most technical part of the trip.  Nice riding.  Here the convoy was now moving towards the flats of the Western Transvaal.
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Offline Armpie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2017, 07:49:38 pm »
Now the burgers were on the way to du Toitspruit where they would rondevous with the Western Transvalers of the “Border Commando”.  These men were the silent heroes of the trek.  Ever since General Piet Liebenberg  returned from Silkaatsnek he was building his commando here in the Western Transvaal.  The commando was now 600 strong.  He kept the British busy from his base at the Gatsrand.  He cut the telephone lines, destroyed the railway infrastructure, destroyed trains, and killing the black messengers of the British. Before long no black was willing to carry any message for the Khaki’s. So effective were they that it took 24 hours to get a messege from Pretoria through to Bloemfontein and then to the west.  But General Liebenberg’s men and horses were tired after more than a month’s dangerous operations.  And his laager also grew to 200 wagons and carts.  They needed help.

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As jy nuus vir die Engelse gedra het en Piet Liebenberg het jou gevang was jy geskiedenis.  Nie lank of daar was nie meer gewilliges nie.


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Offline Armpie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #28 on: April 26, 2017, 08:00:50 pm »
So de Wet moved west to Syferbult, north of Frederikstad station,  where the Western Transvalers were waiting for him.  The majority of  Liebenberg’s commando was just west at Blesbokfontein.  Here Danie Theron and his scouts left the convoy.  Theron most likely felt the Western Transvalers were in their back yard and could do the dangerous rear guard job.

The ride now went into mealielande.  Plenty and flat.  And flat is sand, nothing serious, but you have to keep your head up.  From here the route would follow a fairly straight way due north.

"We crossed the mooiriver at a muddy little drift"  Not this time

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Offline Armpie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #29 on: April 26, 2017, 08:08:57 pm »
But the next morning the English scouts found the Boer laager.  Immediately the laager became a convoy, and run north.  But this was no Boer terrain.  Open country with nowhere to hide.  It did not take long before the English cavalry of Metheun caught up with the rear of the convoy.  A low ridge became the vocal point.  While the Boer artillery was racing to get to a firing position a British shell exploded over one of the horse teams.  5 of the 6 canon horses were killed and the canon was abandoned, with the British cavalry a couple of hundred meter away.  Here in the red dust of the flat Western Transvaal 5 good horses were lost.  The farm was Modderfontein..  The battle of Modderfontein reached the New York Times. 

The day Modderfontein, Ventersdorp, reached the New York Times.  15 August 1900.
STILL CHASING GEN. DE WET; British Capture Guns, Ammunition, and Horses.

But the fight continued the whole afternoon, and the British only relinquished the chase when it became dark.  The night was going to be long.  One of Hollanders, Verloren van Te Maat, would later wrote “It was an endless trek.  Endless flat earth in the moonlight, with dust and nowhere a hill or ridge in sight where we could rest.”  Along the trek here, passing 16km east of Ventersdorp,  some of the mules and oxen died in the pulling harnesses.  It must have been woeful.

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Bombardier Borstlap.  Dit is sy kanon en parde wat verloor is.


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Offline Armpie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2017, 08:19:52 pm »
Now ever since I first read this thing about the kanonperde I wanted to find the place of the incident, but getting "Modderfontein, Venterdorp" is virtually impossible.  But I did find the farm and the plain where the incident took place.  But the plain is one massive mealieland.  So, here was I wondering how I would take a photograph of the highground when along came Daniel with his massive tractor.  "Klem maar, die baas hy es nie". 

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Die vlakte by Modderfontein waar Bortslap sy kannon en perde verloor het.  As jy reguit suid kyk kan jy die skool by Blesnokfontein 10km suid sien
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Offline Armpie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2017, 08:22:18 pm »
So met my doelwit bereid, draai ek die fiets wes in die sand en ry die 12km Venterdorp toe vir die nag.  Ek het nie eers besef hoeveel sand nie tot ek die volgende oggend terug gekom het, om die tog hier te kom hervat.
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Offline Single Cylinder

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Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2017, 09:14:38 pm »
Lekker interresant, baie dankie
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Offline Dustbiter

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2017, 03:01:52 pm »
thanks Armpie,
really great RR, as you had a story to tell (en in Engels ook!), and it was something you felt passionate about which always makes a story more interesting. Just a map of the area and battle fields indicated would have been useful - perhaps you can still add one/some.

« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 08:02:48 pm by Dustbiter »
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Offline Armpie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2017, 04:07:46 pm »
Just stick it out a day. I hope to finish today or tomorrow.  As soon as I come back from my freedom day celebration.  I just cannot miss a speech of my inspirational president :-[. The report is about 2|3 finished.  I will include a map.
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Offline RrP

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #35 on: April 27, 2017, 04:35:23 pm »
Looking forward to the next chapter thanks for your efforts so far.
 

Offline Armpie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #36 on: April 27, 2017, 06:21:56 pm »
So I rode off into the sun set to Ventersdorp.  Booked in at a guesthouse for the night. Then I went to the old graveyard to find the grave of private Shaw.  Shaw a boy from England had a Boere girlfriend it later seemed.  When the English started to burn the farms he objected.  The officer told him to join the boyers if he objected to the ways of the British Army. And that is what he did. He joined a Western Transvaal Commando. At peace, he was recognised by the same officer.  He was tried and shot. He had no chance.  The British executed they enemy, why would they not kill a " deserter".  He was ececuted in the most cruel way when the firts folley was intentionally  missed..  Shaw was  buried here bu taway from the other British. I could not find his grave. I went back to the Pizza shop and received a really hot pizza. Not even the beer could help.  So the next morning I ser off for where I left yesterday.   The battlefield at Modderfontein.  Turned left at the crossing and took the way north.  Like de Wet and his men did.  On the way to Uitkyk and Schoolplaats.
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Offline Dorsland

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Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #37 on: April 27, 2017, 07:51:38 pm »
Bitter interessant Armpie.  Vryheidsoorlog is ook my passie so dankie dat jy dit hier plaas.

Toe ek nog in die Potchefstroomdistrik geboer het, het ons ook perdesafaris gedoen.  Een van die 3 dag safaris wat ons gedoen het was 'n rit wat die Slag van Frederikstad ingesluit het.  Ons het die kommandos se opmars na Frederikstasie oor die Mooirivier net suid van Muiskraal gevolg tot by die stasie self.  Die foto hieronder is die ou hotel waar Generaal Barton, bevelvoerder van die Britse troepe,asook Britse offisiere, gekwartier was.  Dit is (of was toe ons dit destyds as deel van die rit besoek het) 'n kontantwinkel. 

Soos jy seker weet is daar die ou begrafplaas net wes van die stasie tussen die Potchefstroom/Carletonvillepad en die spoorlyn en het ons moeite gemaak om dit netjies en instand te hou.  Net noordoos van die hotel, vlak langs die spoorlyn was die waterput waar die stasieen hotel sy water van gekry het.  Dié is met klip uitgelê en was sterk deur die Tommies bewaak.  Die Boere het hulle aanvanklike aanvalle op dié waterput geloods met die hoop om dit te beset en sodoende die Tommies uit te droog.  Ongelukkig het dit nie gewerk nie.

Ons roete het die ou waroete tussen Potchefstroom en Johannesburg gevolg en het ons ook die bouvalle van 'n Joodse handelaar se huis besoek waar Paul kruger dikwels oornag het.  Ook in die baie nabye omgewing is die oorspronklike Deelkraal waar die Boere hulle gesteelde vee wat hulle van die swart stamme teruggekry het, gekraal het alvorens dit tussen die boere opgedeel is.  Vandaar die naam deelkraal en waar die Deelkraalmyn sy naam vandaan kry.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 07:52:45 pm by Dorsland »
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Offline Armpie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2017, 07:04:00 am »
The road took me past Uitkyk, then shortly on the N14 and then back to Uitkyk, Schoolplaats, Doornplaat, Swartplaas, Leliefontein and up to Groenfontein.  Initually 'n busy corigated dirt road, but towards Leliefontein and Groenfontein,again 'n tweespoorpaadjie.  On the border of Groenfontein, in 1900 the farm of the widow bezuidenhout, I met a farmer he was on his way to a funeral.  At the t-junction towards I met another farmer, dressed in his suit.  So I said " You all of to the same funeral!?"  He looked at me and with sad ness said "Yes, he was only 4 years old.  he died in my wifes arms.  He swallowed a legoblokkie." Suddenly I  also felt sad. It was tragic.

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« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 08:19:23 am by Armpie »
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Offline Armpie

Re: From Brandwater to Waterval-On the tracks of the Boere Pimpernel
« Reply #39 on: April 28, 2017, 07:10:44 am »
I went through Derby and just past Derby, infront of me the majestic Magaliesberg!  I took the Kareekloof road.  I am not sure of the road here, and have to go read it up, but It was a beautiful winding road running op 'n kloof.  Plenty of game ranches.  But must say from here on nobody greated me again..

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Sedert 8 Janaurie 1666 toe die "Vergulde Tijger" geanker het