Boer War

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This is a backup of the West Yorkshire Archive Service's "Off the Record" wiki from 2015. The live went offline in 2016 and remains unavailable.

The Boer war (1899 -1902) had three distinct phases. First, the Boers mounted pre-emptive strikes into British-held territory in Natal and the Cape Colony, besieging the British garrisons of Ladysmith, Mafeking and Kimberley. The Boers then won a series of tactical victories against a failed British counteroffensive to relieve the three sieges.

The second pahse, after the introduction of greatly increased British troop numbers under the command of Lord Roberts, saw a successful British offensive was launched in 1900 to relieve the sieges. The British were then able to invade the Transvaal and the republic's capital, Pretoria, was captured in June 1900.

Finally, beginning in March 1900, the Boers engaged a protracted hard-fought guerrilla warfare against the British forces. This phase lasted a further two years.

There are a series of personal recollections of the Boer war in letters and diaries held at the WYAS offices. The diaries of Harry Rhodes (ref:WYL707) date form 1900 -1901. Harry Rhodes was a Colour Sergeant of 'I' Company (Tetley's Company) West Yorkshire Regiment. These are held at WYAS Leeds.

At WYAS Bradford there are two notable accounts of action in the Boer War. Colonel Wilson's diaries of events concerning the Colesberg operation in South Africa during the Boer War (ref:68D82/25/e/33). There is also a Printed confidential account of the Stormberg operations (ref: 68D82/25/e/46).

Other references to the Boer War appear in unexpected sources such as school log books (ref: WWD4/2)

For information about tracing ancestors who fought in the Boer War see