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Title: With Botha in the Field
Author: Ritchie, Eric Moore
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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With Five Diagrams and Eighty-two Illustrations mostly by the Author

Longmans, Green and Co.
39 Paternoster Row, London
Fourth Avenue and 30th Street, New York
Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras


[Illustration: The Author]








[Illustration: The only photo of the meeting of General Botha and
General Smuts in the field just before Windhuk was taken]


The ungentle reader (upon whom a malediction) will discover that this
little book is not by any means exhaustive. But the gentle reader may
find it to be what I hope it is. For him I wrote it.

Europe at the present time is lacerated in the greatest war of which
man has knowledge. Compared with the doings in the Eastern and Western
Fronts, in the Austro-Italian Theatre, or in the Dardanelles, the
campaign of South Africa must take a modest place.

My idea is simply to make clear to the public (for example, all names I
mention will be easily found on my diagrams, drawn from a German fully
detailed map, the best of the South-West African Protectorate in
existence) of gentle and patriotic readers something of the latter-day
work of a gentleman and a patriot, justly famed amongst peoples with
whom integrity and honour are still esteemed sovereign virtues.

"The Nonggai,"
Pretoria, S. Africa,
August 1915.

[Illustration: General Botha's Bodyguard leaving for the Front]










The Author

The only photo of the meeting of General Botha and General Smuts in the
field just before Windhuk was taken

General Botha's Bodyguard leaving for the Front

Diagram of Campaign

Group of Rebel Leaders

Rebels rounded up after the capture of De Wet

The last pursuit of Kemp. Flying column crossing the Orange River after

Troops returning to Pretoria after Nooitgedacht. December 16, 1914

Diagram of Nooitgedacht

General Botha's train leaves the Orange Free State after the crushing
of the Rebellion

Exhausted Troops after defeating De Wet in the Orange Free State

Leaving Pretoria. General Botha's Bodyguard departing

Kits aboard. The Troops departing for the Front

Camp of the Bodyguard at Groote Schuur

Brothers in Arms. The British Navy and Botha's Bodyguard fraternised
aboard. Many of the latter are, of course, pure South African

Boxing aboard. En route to German South-West Africa

Awaiting landing from the Transport

Trekking over the terrible Sand Dunes near the Coast, German South-West

Some of the first Burghers to land at Walvis

Before the Advance. General Botha photographed with the Red Cross

General Botha and Staff alighting for an Inspection. (The famous
Brigadier-General Brits, who trekked to Namutoni, is the fourth figure
from the right.)

Awaiting the Advance. The Commander-in-Chief at tea with the Red Cross

Awaiting the Advance. Garrison Sports at Swakopmund. Start for 100
yards race

Awaiting the Advance. Garrison Sports. Winner

Swakopmund from the Lighthouse: Extreme Right

Swakopmund: Centre

Swakopmund: Extreme Left

Man and Beast in the Desert: both absolutely spent

Looking for Water in the River Bed

A Halt in a River Bed: General Botha has lunch

Main Guard aboard--en route to hunt the Huns

On the Great Trek--the Chief of the Staff has a hair-cut

Action at Riet

An unique picture of General Botha, the Commander-in-Chief and his
Staff reconnoitring

After Riet water in blessed profusion

A Typical Parade of the Germans in South-West Africa

Typical captured German Infantry

The Great Trek. Otjimbingwe: its Palms and Wells

The Great Trek. Otjimbingwe: the Commander-in-Chief at the old German

The Great Trek. Getting Milk from a Goat. Milk was priced beyond Silver

The Great Trek. An extempore bath towards the end of the Trek

A Beauty Spot passed during the last Trek

The Last Phase. Conference at Omaruru. German Staff lunching

The General receives his Bodyguard at a Garden Party after return

German prisoners of war, imprisoned at Karibib


Towards Windhuk. The first troops in Waldau

The first South African Engineer Corps Staff at Windhuk

Towards Windhuk. A quick railway repair after the Germans' usual
practice of blowing up railway bridges

Towards Windhuk. The first train to Windhuk. The South African Engineer
Corps Construction Party aboard

At Windhuk. How we treat the German women. Ten minutes after occupation

At Windhuk. The Commander-in-Chief addresses his massed troops from the

At the Gate of Windhuk. Headquarters Staff Motors awaiting entry

At the Gate of Windhuk. General Botha discusses matters with the
Governor of Windhuk

At the Gate of Windhuk. The Interpreter

At the Gate of Windhuk. General Botha emphasises

The great Wireless Station at Windhuk

Conference at Omaruru. General Staff lunching

The Last Phase. The BE2 tuning up in shed before flight over German

At the Provost Marshal's office at Windhuk--all in Law and order

The Union Jack just hoisted at the Governor's office, Windhuk

The Great Military Barracks at Windhuk

Panorama of Windhuk

Picturesque Windhuk

Windhuk. Basking in the sun: from the great Wireless Station

How the Germans started to try trading with us ten minutes after we
entered the Capital. Note the spelling

The Last Phase. Difficulties with General Botha's car through the thick

The Last Phase. The Germans had a hobby of blowing up bridges. Here is
a fine specimen

General Frank's house, Windhuk. Photo of the two first men there taken
under the flag hauled down by us

Windhuk. The first British station-master and one of his staff

The Fork that Caught the Germans

The Last Phase. Opposite the very spot where surrender was made. A vast
ant-hill at 500 Kilometres

South-West Africa. Position of enemy before surrender

The Last Phase. The German white flag train just arriving

The Last Phase. General Botha meets Von Franke at 500 Kilometres

The Last Phase. Troops entraining to return home

The Last Phase. The famous Rhodesian Regiment that did so much in the
final brilliant movement

The Last Phase. Isumeh. British prisoners released

The German Staff before surrender

General Botha and his brilliant Chief of Staff, Colonel J.F. Collier,
meet Von Franke at 500 Kilometres

The Last Phase. The Commander-in-Chief, General Botha, receives an
ovation from his Bodyguard after disbanding them

Generals Botha and Smuts, the Great South Africans, receive a
tremendous ovation from the crowd at the Capital on the successful
conclusion of the Rebellion and the Campaign

Homeward bound! General Botha and Staff returning on the _Ebari_

The Great Man and the Chips of the Old Block returning to the Union
after Conquest

[Illustration: Diagram of Campaign]






Six weeks after the war-cloud smashed over Europe a man called on me.
He was an old friend; but the point about him is that at that
particular time I fancied him on his farm at least a thousand miles

"Hello!" I said in surprise. "Why this sudden appearance?"

"This is going to be a big thing, my boy. I am off 'Home.' They will
need us all."

It impressed me. He was a person calm and methodical minded, and, like
so many good men, he has been dead now many months. His words, which
have proved true, were the first to turn my mind definitely to
war-thoughts. Besides, the man whose trade is writing has always, when
events are stirring, the itch to go, look and note.

In the branch of the Union Service to which I belong--the South African
Police--none but Reservists could then proceed to Europe; but when
General Botha announced that he himself would take command of the
Expeditionary Force to German South-West Africa, a Bodyguard from the
South African Police was decided upon, volunteers came forward, and on
this unit I had the honour to serve.

The intention of the Union Authorities was to push forward with the
German West Campaign as quickly as possible. The Rebellion delayed
operations roughly some three months--a period during which some
exceedingly severe marchings and stiff rifle actions took place. I
mention this deliberately, for in the stir of well-won applause
following the victorious end of the Campaign proper, the preliminary
canter of the Rebellion is perhaps somewhat forgotten.

It does not seem, in the light of later information, strictly true to
say that the Rebellion of 1914 broke upon the Union of South Africa in
a manner wholly unexpected. But its ultimate development and extent did
cause both surprise and great uneasiness. The details of its various
activities over the country are by this time stale history. Leaving
comment of a political nature alone, I confine myself briefly to the
movements which, performed by General Botha and the loyalist troops,
were so swift and accurate in their workings that they broke the back
of the main risings before more than local disorganisation and the
least possible amount of bloodshed had been achieved.

On the 12th of October the Bodyguard for the German South-West Campaign
assembled for field practices, etc., at Pretoria. On the 20th we heard
that we should be leaving at an hour's notice, presumably for the
South-West. The following day wild and disquieting rumours began to
circulate from early morning. Maritz had gone into rebellion.
Motor-cars sped all forenoon between General Botha's house close to us
and the Union Defence Headquarters. Our camp was full of alarms. The
police of Pretoria became suddenly twice as many about the streets.
Towards evening it was positively stated that plots were afoot aiming at
nothing less than the life of General Botha; and the Main Guard, which
had been mounted at the General's house from the day of the Bodyguard's
formation, was doubled. Not a soul was allowed within or around the
modest grounds of the house without challenge at the point of the bayonet
and presentment of the countersign. It will be long before memory loses
the picture of those evenings, when through the lighted windows of the
left wing of the house the Main Guard first and second reliefs got a view
of a familiar ample figure in anxious consultations at a table upon which
the electric light cast a mellow glow.

The next day, the 22nd of October, rumour gave way to fact. Rebellion
had definitely broken out in the Transvaal and the Free State; Beyers,
the ex-Commandant General, Kemp and others were leading in the
Transvaal; the names of De Wet and Wessel Wessels were coupled with the
Free State. For the second time within a year unhappy South Africa
heard rumours of imminent Martial Law proclamations.

Monday morning, the 26th, arrived and found us still waiting; then the
Bodyguard got twenty minutes' notice and entrained, horses, kits and
everything for Rustenburg. We arrived there at five o'clock the
following morning, and started at once in pursuit of rebel commandos
which were led by Kemp and Beyers. Before starting, General Botha over
a cup of coffee had an anxious consultation with his loyal commandants
who had arrived to meet him. Throughout the day we trekked, with one
brief halt only, and "outspanned" that night near Oliphant's Nek.
During the day the loyal commandos located the rebels without much
difficulty; they were routed in all directions, and some eighty were
captured. At two o'clock in the morning we continued the trek, stopped
in the forenoon on the railway line at Derby (close to Drakfontein, the
scene of the British disaster to Benson's Horse during the South
African War), and pushing on in the evening to Koster, learnt from
incoming scouts that Kemp had escaped capture by minutes only. The
direction of his flight was questionable at the time.

Returning to Pretoria, we remained there for a few days. The whole town
was in a state of remarkable tension. The police were armed. Armed
volunteers were called for. Loyalists were training after working hours
in batches on various open spaces. It was freely whispered that the
German South-West Campaign would be given up, so formidable was the
threatened opposition to it.... I am writing this much less than a year
later: and Windhuk has fallen, the Germans have surrendered their
territory, and thousands of burghers and volunteers are returning to
their homes.

On the 2nd of November we left Pretoria again. More trouble was brewing
at Brits, close to Pretoria. We trekked straightway to Zoutpan's Drift,
the commandos again pursuing a body of rebels who, cutting through the
railway line, had caused damage at De Wilts or Greyling's Post, twenty
miles or so outside the Union capital. Quite unwilling to make a stand,
the insurgents were again put to flight, and General Botha returned to
Pretoria the following day. In the meantime other loyalist columns in
the Transvaal had taken to the field, and the rebellion seemed well in



Compared with the Free State insurrection, the Transvaal affair
appeared in many ways to be a small business from our point of view. In
actuality it was nothing of the kind. It was, if anything, much more
ugly in spirit. The genius of the Free State section of insurgents
displayed itself chiefly in a highly finished exposition of lying,
looting and "legging it."

De Wet's delirious harangue had not exhausted its nine-days' life as a
masterpiece of unconscious humour when General Botha left Pretoria for
the Free State on November 9. Again, I am not concerned with the highly
complex motives which prompted the veteran Dutch General to make his
delightful "Five Bob Outrage" speech and other things at Vrede.
Flogging dead horses is a useless job, anyway.

During the journey to the Free State, our guard en the train was
extremely strict. Though every possible precaution of secrecy had been
taken, we were positively told to be prepared to find the train fired
upon. But, if during such journeys preparedness was doubtless essential
in the circumstances, it always seemed to me that we, or any one so
placed, were pretty powerless to avert disaster should a properly
directed shot from the darkness find its mark.

On November 11 we detrained at Theunissen, in the Free State. It was
speedily clear that this part of the world was in the grip of
disturbance. Telegraph poles all along the line had been wrecked; an
amount of mild pillaging had been going on. The people of Theunissen
were almost in panic. The two fights--one against Conroy, at Allaman's
Kraal, the other and larger, against De Wet, at Doornberg--had been
enormously magnified. General Botha was welcomed in genuine relief. We
remained at arms in the train during the first part of the night. At 2
a.m. we were roused, and in less than half an hour were on the way
across country to Winburg.

The arrival at the little railhead dorp of Winburg was remarkable.
Scarcely were we halted and hand put to loosen girth before the
loyalist leaders came running out in the morning sunshine to meet us.
De Wet had left the place two hours before, disappearing with his
following over the first kopje. He had caused absolute panic. His
forces had cut the inhabitants off from all touch with the outer world.
De Wet had commandeered all food supplies worth having. Houses had been
looted and speeches were made in the marketplace. His followers had
assured the people that the Empire was tottering, Germany had defeated
Britain on land and sea, a hundred thousand were marching on Pretoria,
and that Botha and his Government were defeated and disgraced. And
these statements were to a large extent believed.

It was but natural. Cut off the wire and rail communication of a South
African veld town and you have isolation in the most thorough sense. In
such a place at such a time mere statement may seem quite possibly the

Towards evening we got news of the rebels, and a night-march was
ordered. As we left the town the loyal people lined the streets, the
fellows in the columns whistled "Tipperary," and we got a rousing

[Illustration: Group of Rebel Leaders]
[Illustration: Rebels rounded up after the capture of De Wet]

General Botha is celebrated amongst fighting men for many things, and
his night-marching is one of them. He appears to believe to the fullest
extent in night-marching. He had located De Wet at a place called
Mushroom Valley, and parts of the Commander-in-Chief's forces had been
sent to make a surrounding movement. During the all-night trek from
Winburg to Mushroom Valley I had a first thorough experience of the
true horrors of sleep-fighting. It was bitterly cold--cold as the Free
State night on the veld knows how to be. And we could not smoke, could
not talk above a faint murmur, and nodded in our saddles. The clear
stars danced fantastically in the sky ahead of us, and the ground
seemed to be falling away from us into vast hollows, then rising to our
horses' noses ready to smash into us like an impalpable wall. After
midnight, outspanning in a piercing wind, we formed square; main guard
was posted over the General's car, and those lucky enough to escape
turn of duty huddled together under cloaks and dozed fitfully until
two-thirty. From two-thirty till sunrise we trekked on. Suddenly, just
after good daylight, the Staff halted the column, glasses were put up,
and away we swung half right into the veld. Up came the artillery and
opened fire on a cluster of ant-sized figures four thousand yards ahead
beneath the shoulder of a kopje. Had the thing not contained the very
germ of tragedy it would have been laughable to see the way those
figures scattered over the red veld. It was De Wet's commandos caught
napping. Just before the shell fire our burghers had gone out ahead
hell-for-leather on either flank. The whole column then advanced. After
two hours' pretty hot work the action was over. We lost six killed
against the rebels' twenty-two, and with twenty wounded on our side the
rebel losses were proportionate. We took upwards of three hundred
prisoners, De Wet himself escaping by the merest fluke. He lost all his
transport, and generally ceased after the action to be a serious

During the operations against De Wet I watched, when possible, the
demeanour of the quiet South African patriot with whom fate had placed
me in the field. I had last seen him many years before, gravely bowing
from under a silk hat to a crowd that swayed and cheered as he drove
through the streets of Manchester. And now duty found him in the field
against an old comrade-in-arms. There was a sadness, there was a
profound pathos about it. No wonder if to me it seemed that General
Botha looked downcast indeed, if stern as well, during the Rebellion.
Life, surely, was not dealing too fairly by him.

Following Mushroom Valley, we trekked, with two brief outspans only, to
Clocolan, all the time scattering De Wet's followers. At Clocolan we
paused for one day, entrained men and horses and reached Kimberley, via
Bloemfontein, on the 18th of November. The following day rebel
activities were reported in the direction of Bloemhof; but after an
eventless journey we returned to Kimberley on the 21st.



It was at Kimberley that news came through that Kemp was making a
desperate cross-country trek to get into German territory in the
Upington neighbourhood. A reference to a map will show that Upington,
on the Orange River, is on the extreme western borders of the Union;
and it must be said that the trek which Kemp and the remnant of his
moderate force, poorly mounted and equipped, had made since being
routed by General Botha on the 27th of October (a month before) stands
as a remarkable piece of work. We pushed on to Prieska, via De Aar, and
reached Upington, on the scarcely completed new line from Prieska, on
the 25th of November. The journey over the desert stretch from Prieska
to Upington was full of alarms; during the night the train halted in
the lonely veld owing to a washaway, and we stood to arms, throwing out
cossack-posts around the train wherein the Commander-in-Chief slept. It
was tremendously exciting work.

The old town of Upington was transformed in those days. Around the
Dutch Reformed Church, standing peaceful and dazzling white in the
torrid sun, were tents, wagons, horses, motor-cars, signalling-parties,
despatch-riders and infantry. Away over the hard red sand dunes to the
north was the action zone, and from that direction every five minutes
came sweating motor despatch-riders, who tore along to Headquarters.
The following day news came through that the Imperial Light Horse and
the Natal Carbineers had been engaging Kemp before and since dawn;
almost cornered, he was making a final dash for the border to get into
German South-West. It was an anxious time; each minute brought a fresh
rumour as to the fighting and the thousands of men Kemp had got
together for his desperate move. Our staff returned before dark,
reporting an eventless day, with intermittent fighting. On the 28th the
Staff went out in motors as far as Rooidam. They returned with bad news
in the early afternoon. After a prolonged rearguard action Kemp had
succeeded, taking over to the Germans with him a force which was said
to be far greater than had been supposed. (Need I add that after events
showed there had been gross exaggeration?)

I offer, with reserve, the following ingenious explanation of Kemp's
escape; it was told me later by several who saw the action. Near the
end of his terrific trek through from the North-Western Transvaal to
the German outpost for which he was making, Kemp was hotly pursued by
the loyalist troops. His men were exhausted. Half of them were
dismounted. All his horses were spent. In these conditions he was
forced to the most trying form of fight--the rearguard and flank
action. With his goal practically right ahead, he reached three of the
parallel large sand dunes with which the veld around Upington is
scattered. They were on his left flank. He swerved into them. Hotly
pursued, he crossed two, and under the lee of the second left a party
of good shots. Then, cantering away over the third, he doubled round on
his tracks and with his exhausted followers made for the German
outpost. When the Union troops came up they were ambushed at short
range, and the check they got just served the fleeing rebel. In the
pursuit afterwards our parties found traces of buried rations for
horses and men. These had been provided with German thoroughness.

The second phase of the Free State Rebellion was a pantomime more than
anything else; a week's pantomime acted in the open veld in rain that
never stopped. It was the most miserable week I have known. We left
Upington on the 29th of November, reaching Kroonstad, Orange Free
State, late next evening. Here the Commander-in-Chief was met by
General Smuts, Minister for Defence; a consultation took place, and as
a result we left by train for Bethlehem in the evening. Our arrival
was timely, too. The place was in a perfect uproar. Nobody knew what
was going to happen next. All the loyalistcivilians were under arms.
The large mill of the Kaffrarian Steam Flour Company had been converted
into a fort which was, in case of necessity, impregnable to rifle-fire.
The rebels in the field had declared the New Republic practically
established, with temporary capital at Reitz. Just before we saddled up
to track them the news came of De Wet's capture on the Malopi River,
near Mafeking. The news put everyone in fresher spirits. The charm
around the famous guerilla fighter had broken. That the Rebellion was
doomed we all knew. But most of us were weary, nevertheless. It
furnished a refresher.

We left a happier Bethlehem at a rainy dawn the next day. Half way to
Reitz we outspanned in the rain. It rained all night. The following
morning came back to mind a talk an old soldier and I had once while
freezing one early morning awaiting the Channel boat at Greenock.
Alluding to cold and misery, he said: "You don't know what it is, my
son, till you've been held up for three nights by rain in war-time in
the South African veld, and spent the time standing in water. I did it
outside Mafeking." Well, I understand a little now.

The next day our scouts entered Reitz; the rebels had fled. For two
days we operated against them. A day later General Botha returned to
Reitz. Nothing was said at the time. The fact was that before we
entrained at Reitz, on the 7th of December, Wessel Wessels and
Serfontein were surrounded. A day later they surrendered: the Orange
Free State Rebellion, in all its futility, was over.

[Illustration: The last pursuit of Kemp. Flying column crossing the
Orange River after him]

[Illustration: Troops returning to Pretoria after Nooitgedacht.
December 16, 1914]



Just before and during the Commander-in-Chief's long trek, other bodies
of loyalist troops had been engaging the rebels. The most notable of
these actions were against Muller at Bronkhorst Spruit (5th November,
1914; casualties, one killed and three wounded), and against Fourie at
Hamanskraal (22nd November, 1914; casualties, three killed and ten
wounded). Both these actions took place in the neighbourhood of
Pretoria. As a result of them and the death of Beyers in the Vaal
River, the Rebellion in the Transvaal was virtually smashed. There
remained only Fourie to be dealt with.

Fourie, late Major in the South African Defence Force, possibly the
most fanatical of all the rebels, appears to have been a man of
character and proved courage. Having got away at the action at
Hamanskraal, he and his younger brother were moving about in the veld
with ex-Major Pienaar and a moderate force. Their fantastic purpose was
said to be the taking of Pretoria itself on Dingaan's Day, the 16th of
December. As all the South African world knows, this date marks the
anniversary of the famous fight of the Voortrekkers at Blood River in
1838. The day before a force of South African Police, Defence Force,
and South African Mounted Riflemen left Pretoria, detrained at
Greyling's Post, on the Pietersburg Line, and started in pursuit of the
last big rebel commando at large. In this move we of the Bodyguard
found ourselves acting; General Botha, who had returned to Pretoria
after his severe field work, had gone to his farm for a few days' rest
before the South-West campaign.

[Illustration: Diagram of Nooitgedacht]

We trekked at dawn and during the whole of the following day, with one
rain-sodden halt, till four in the afternoon. The rebels had doubled in
their tracks after reaching a large dam at Blaaubank. Late in the
afternoon our scouts returned to the column and reported having located
the enemy three miles ahead, entrenched in a donga, or dried-up stony
river course, on the farm Nooitgedacht No. 4. We prepared for action,
and encountered the rebels in the next half hour. This, the first true
action I had been in, was an extremely dirty affair; a man who had gone
through some of the worst fights in the South African War afterwards
assured me it was the hottest corner he had ever been in. Bush-country
fighting is detestable chiefly because you cannot see your enemy until
you are on top of him. Our centre cantered in extended order up an
avenue flanked by dense bush. We were laughing and asking where the
deuce the rebels were, when a hail of rifle fire at short range greeted
us. Our fellows were out of their saddles in a second, and advanced to
the attack through the bush. Meantime, the South African Police extreme
left had swept round to the head of the spruit on both sides of which
the donga was formed, the South African Mounted Riflemen and more South
African Police closed in, the Defence Force unit getting in rear and in
flank of the rebels to cut them off. The attacking party had to work
their way through open veld before they could charge the enemy; they
made a mark as good as standing game. It was two and a half hours
before the "Cease-fire" whistle sounded.

[Illustration: General Botha's train leaves the Orange Free State after
the crushing of the Rebellion]

[Illustration: Exhausted Troops after defeating De Wet in the Orange
Free State]

It fell to me to be a horse-holder (one man in each section is, of
course, a horse-holder when mounted infantry are in action) in this
fight. In nightmare I have passed that evening since--and wakened
quickly, too. The worst of rifle fire is that you can hear bullets
whizzing and spitting in trees, but it takes an experienced hand to
divine direction. It was only afterwards I found out that a party of
rebels were firing on our horses in rear. The horses knew it, though,
and shewed it in their eyes. The sun came watery through the clouds
just before sunset; I remember during the lulls in the wicked coughs of
rifle fire hearing doves cooing gently in the sun-pierced trees.

[Illustration: Leaving Pretoria. General Botha's Bodyguard departing]
[Illustration: Kits aboard. The Troops departing for the Front]
[Illustration: Camp of the Bodyguard at Groote Schuur]

When darkness fell we had captured Fourie, his brother and all his
following, except nine men who made their escape at the beginning of
the fight. The loyalist casualties in this action were twelve killed
and twenty-four wounded. I saw a man who had shared a last cigarette
with me as we rode into the action that afternoon lying dead on a
blanket three hours later. In that instant I learnt something of the
true meaning of war.

There are hundreds of brave deeds that must go unrecognised in these
days. But from what I know of this particular action there was an
amount of gallantry and quiet heroism displayed amongst the fellows
that deserved more than casual comment. I could speak of things I saw,
and would like to, moreover. But as for my pains a punched head from
outraged modesty would be the reward I shall say no more.

A few days later Fourie was tried by court-martial, convicted, and shot
at dawn. In the last days of December the few remaining rebels at large
either surrendered or were captured. As the last days of the Old Year
slipped by, rebellion within the Union of South Africa died out, and
General Botha spent the holidays in peace on his farm at Rusthof--in
the haven where he fain would be.





At the stroke of seven on the evening of January 13, 1915, a train
steamed out of Pretoria station to the accompaniment of roars of
cheering. And few in the imposing string of carriages that made the
train were sober within the meaning of the act. But everyone was in the
highest spirits. The Rebellion was over. The New Year was with us.
After weary days our real business was on hand. We were off to German
West at last.

We reached Cape Town on the 15th. I am particular about the date, not
entirely as a result of a desire for meticulous accuracy. All who
started on the South-West Campaign will remember their Cape Peninsula
experience after the heat and burden of the Rebellion. The authorities
might have chosen most of our camping grounds about Cape Town with the
genial purpose of providing a kind of military holiday as a preliminary
canter to the campaign proper. The unit to which I was attached had its
temporary resting place on the slopes of Table Mountain at Groote
Schuur, on the Rhodes Estate. And I fancy the world has on its vast
surface few spots more alluring and more bracing to the spirit.

Up till that time South Africa itself had never put an expeditionary
army, to be shipped by sea, on a war footing, and at Cape Town the work
of equipping the South-West African Expeditionary Force was carried on
and finished during the four weeks we were there. The quiet pine and
fir lined roads on the Rondebosch side of Table Mountain complained
daily under the traffic of wagons and motors, horses, mules and guns;
it ruined the roads and begot unceasing clouds of dust.

And from breakfast-time till late afternoon every street leading to
Cape Town and to the great Supply and Ordnance Stores at Maitland and
at Portswood Road was filled with grey and khaki carts and wagons
roaring steadily along in golden dust. In the whole Peninsula the
normal interests of life were for the time being completely

Being associated directly with the Commander-in-Chief and Headquarters,
we were fortunate in having our camp on the finest piece of ground on
the estate; our tents stretched down a strip of sloping sward,
sheltered from the wind by the wonderful trees that luxuriate on the
lower falls of Table Mountain; from one's tent entrance the eye was
caught by a panorama sweeping a radius of twenty miles inland. I shall
never forget those days when in the morning wind and sun I helped to
make out requisitions for shirts and breeches and saddlery to the notes
of wood music; nor those nights when we lay in our blankets on the
grass, stars swinging above, the town-lights winking away below us. It
is not often in life that one slips into dreamless slumber on soft
grass, lullabied by the night-song of a south-wester in pine trees
centuries old.

If we had our discipline and our work at Cape Town, we had our
compensations, too. At that time khaki was completely the fashion
there. On the long promenade down Adderley Street to the pier-head you
could have counted a dozen men in khaki to one in mufti. It reminded
one of the days of the South African War fifteen years ago. There was
naturally a tendency to make much of the soldier-visitor. It did not
spoil him, though. A more orderly lot could not have been found. And
this with the people whose guests we were in indulgent mood, and the
civic authorities throwing open to us every amusement at their

Though there was work ahead we were all sorry to leave Cape Town.

[Illustration: Brothers in Arms. The British Navy and Botha's Bodyguard
fraternised aboard. Many of the latter are, of course, pure South

[Illustration: Boxing aboard. En route to German South-West Africa]

On Friday, the 5th of February, we struck camp at sunrise. All our
horses had been shipped the day before; we proceeded to the Docks by
train and on foot. As showing the kindness with which the troops were
treated I must mention that after the heavy work of embarking horses a
body of one of the Ladies' War Organisations arranged refreshments for
us at the railway station.

The journey by train from Groote Schuur to the City takes about fifteen
minutes; by motor about a quarter of that time. But war-work is a
trifle different; we were three hours on the heavily laden transport
wagons before we got to the transport _Galway Castle_.

Many of us who have moved about a good deal and are fond of the sea
were looking forward to that voyage. It was a four days' trip to Walvis
Bay; we thought we would have rather a jolly time. Disillusion is
hateful. And that trip was disillusionment itself. I suppose we
inexperienced ones overlooked automatically the fact that we were in
the ranks and travelling to war by transport. It wasn't a high-browed,
superior outlook that caused our undoing, I fancy. The thing is, you
must rough it soldiering by ship before you grasp the idea. There were
other points, too.

[Illustration: Awaiting landing from the Transport]

[Illustration: Trekking over the terrible Sand Dunes near the Coast,
German South-West Africa]

[Illustration: Some of the first Burghers to land at Walvis]

When we got safely aboard the _Galway Castle_ many of us fancied, in
expressive phrase, that we were "well away"; that we had struck a good
thing. Our officers were accommodated in befitting state in the first
class; our warrants and staff non-commissioned dignitaries were also
fixed up in correct style; the rest of us had plenty of room and
quietness to ourselves in the third class. All this by 2.30 in the

And then eighteen hundred more warriors filed down the quays and, like
Mr. Jim Hawkins, came aboard, sir. Now most of these were as good
fellows as you could wish for; but they were landsmen, such as never go
down to the sea in ships. A large proportion, indeed, had never seen
the sea before viewing it at Cape Town. (South Africa is a fair-sized
territory.) Very few of them were good sailors. It is not a man's fault
that he is not a good sailor; nor is he to blame for knowing little of
the ways that make for cleanliness and comfort under even the most
trying conditions on shipboard. But on the whole we did not enjoy that
four days' voyage to Walvis Bay. It was a case of bedlam as to noise,
and "muck in" and take what you can get.

Though my knowledge of organisation for a campaign is not great, I
would suggest that for campaign work the only kind of ship used should
be a vessel absolutely and completely fitted up as a troopship. If the
ships the Government used for the South-West campaign transport had all
been fitted up uncompromisingly as "troopers" I fancy we should have
fared better.

At 8 a.m. on the 9th we arrived at Walvis Bay. General Botha, who, with
his Chief of Staff, A.D.C.'s, etc., had embarked at the Cape on the
auxiliary cruiser _Armadale Castle,_ arrived at Walvis later in the
morning. We spent the day on board the _Galway Castle_ awaiting orders
and the disembarkation of horses.

Since the beginning of the operations in South-West Africa the world
has been flooded with descriptions of Walvis Bay; at least I have seen
two books with long descriptions of the place, and more than a dozen
articles on the subject. I shall not add to this list by any long (and
assuredly unconvincing) attempt at a new picture. When you have left
the green-covered kopjes of the Cape a few days before and come to
anchor in Walvis Bay on a cold morning you think you have reached
No-man's-land after a fast voyage. It is a first impression only. The
place is desolate enough; it suggests the Sahara run straight into the
sea, or the discomforting dreariness of Punta Arenas, in Patagonia.

But first impressions are not everything. Walvis Bay is desolate; a
study in yellow ochre sands, burnt sienna duns, tin shanties veiled in
hot desert winds, and a sea that seldom knows anything more than a
ripple. But that is the point. Walvis Bay is nothing now--but it is a
bay. As a fact, it looks to be one of the finest natural harbours in
the world. With the South-West interior developing in the future,
Walvis Bay should have something to look forward to.

[Illustration: Before the Advance. General Botha photographed with the
Red Cross Sisters]

[Illustration: General Botha and Staff alighting for an Inspection.
(The famous Brigadier-General Brits, who trekked to Namutoni, is the
fourth figure from the right.)]

We left the _Galway Castle_ on the 11th, disembarking into lighters, to
be towed up the coast to the occupied German port of Swakopmund. Down
to the tender, on to the lighter, kits and equipment, and farewell to
the quietened steamer. For a while we stood away from her, and rose and
fell under no way on the still grey waters. Then we saw a tender from
the _Armadale Castle_ steaming towards us. She came up on our starboard
quarter and made fast. A figure well known to us all crossed the
gangway and climbed to the boat-deck of our steam tender. We had not
seen the Commander-in-Chief in personal command since the past bitter
days of the Rebellion. A great cheer hit the morning silence and echoed
over the bay to each transport at anchor. With a smile of genuine
pleasure, General Botha brought his hand to the salute. And away we
went, the tender steaming full speed ahead, blunt-nosed barges surging
in her wake, for Swakopmund.

Swakopmund was the first Headquarters of the Northern Force, Union
Expeditionary Army; we made two sojourns at this German port. First we
were there for a period of some five weeks, from February 11 till March
18, whilst awaiting the first advance into the Namib Desert; then we
were there for a further month, from the 27th of March till the 25th of
April, whilst awaiting the general advance to Windhuk and Karibib.

[Illustration: Awaiting the Advance. The Commander-in-Chief at tea with
the Red Cross Sisters]

[Illustration: Awaiting the Advance. Garrison Sports at Swakopmund.
Start for 100 yards race]

[Illustration: Awaiting the Advance. Garrison Sports. Winner]

It is difficult to write about Swakopmund. As a town it is the most
extraordinary place I have seen. I use the superlative deliberately.
But I do not wish to live there. It is purely artificial, and
artificial to a ghastly degree too. There is not a spot of vegetation.
There is not a genuine tree to be seen. The water has a detestable,
unsatisfying blurred taste, to which the adjective "brackish" is
applied. It is probable that a town occupied by enemy troops does not
look at its best; but the fact that it was under such conditions when I
first knew Swakopmund makes no important difference. The place in its
essentials must always be the same. If ever there was a work of bluff
Swakopmund is that thing. One fancies the German commercial expert, a
Government official, or, maybe, a representative of the ubiquitous
Woermann, Brock & Co., looking along this ferocious and awful coast for
a spot to found a town that should appear on the maps and be esteemed a
seaport. The Swakop River? Very well. Was there water there? But
certainly so; water obviously of the worst quality--yet water. Besides,
were there not always refrigerators and condensing machinery? Upon
which Swakopmund was forced into existence--planked down there bit by
bit in the face of circumstance. Walk a trifle over a thousand yards
from the edge of the changeful Atlantic through Swakopmund's deep sandy
streets and you get the key to the town. For it ceases utterly,
abruptly; from the door of its last villa, fitted with perfect
furnishings from Hamburg, the bitter desolation that is the Namib
Desert stretches away from your, very feet. Marvelling at this place, I
was particularly struck by the size of its cemetery. But I was not long
puzzled. If you strike Swakopmund on a fine sunshiny day you will be
pretty favourably impressed with the climate; it seems warm and
temperate, and the sun sparkles on the sea.

In a week or so you will learn to modify that judgment. More than half
the days we were at Swakopmund a heavy pall of dampness hung over the
place, and after a day or two of it one's system seemed to be badly
affected. Maybe we were not acclimatised, but the fact remains that a
very large proportion of us were down with a kind of dysentery,
attended by vomiting and violent pains in the stomach. Then there are
days when the winds blow from the desert--an indescribable experience.
They bring moths and flies with them, and great clouds of sand; it is a
genuine labour to breathe, and at noon and for two hours after the
temperature in the sun runs up into the "hundred-and-sixties."
Swakopmund is not a health resort; or perhaps we dwelt there in the
wrong season. But it is a monument to Teutonic determination. The
Germans willed this town there, planted it on the edge of the
wilderness; fitted it out, from bioscope theatre to church with organ
and electric organola; and they lived in it, with the climate of
perdition and all the accessories of a suburb of Berlin, and called it
a seaport. It is not a seaport; in a fair gale you can't land a barrel
of corks at the pier. But given time and they would have built in the
face of nature a two million pounds breakwater and everything complete.
Yes, they are a thorough people; they are human ants as regards work.
Nevertheless, it is not colonising. The Germans are not colonists.

Army Headquarters were fixed at the Damaraland Building close to the
shore--a splendidly equipped edifice, with a tower commanding a
fifteen-mile-radius view of the desert and the sea. General Botha made
the private quarters of the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief at the
Woermann Line House close by.

When we arrived at the northern seaport it had been in our possession
many weeks, but our troops were occupying the trenches just outside the
town, and from the Damaralands Building Tower our look-out and
signallers could see through the heat-haze the enemy's patrols moving
to and fro in the glistening sands beyond.

Whilst awaiting orders for an advance, life at Swakopmund was in some
ways quite good. There were two attractions: regimental concerts, when
sanctioned, and the shore. South Africa at war differs in great degree
from other parts of the world. The country has the germ in its blood.
Men who have campaigned before felt the stirring in them when the
South-West campaign started. The call for volunteers acted like a
magnet. All sorts and conditions of men were found with the Forces in
the South-West. Patriotism called them; but there called them also that
deep-seated spirit of unrest which prompts so powerfully when war drums
sound once again. I used to think Kipling exaggerated a trifle; now I
know the truth. At the concerts on the South-West front the most
astonishing array of talent was to be found. One such function in
particular stands out in mind. The stage was made up of army biscuit
boxes supporting rough planking outside a builder's yard in the deep
sand. At a borrowed piano belonging to some vanished resident a trooper
officiated; he was clothed in a grey back shirt and ammunition boots--
and displayed the daedal methods of a Fragson. Singers of every type
with every kind of voice, and perfectly trained, performed. Only later
did I learn that amongst the artists were half a dozen of the best
performers in Johannesburg. And at the foreshore, between fatigues,
drills, and spells of duty the fellows used to gather, to enjoy the one
luxury of Swakopmund--the surf-bathing. Here you would meet men upon
whom you never expected again to set eyes assembled literally from all
over South Africa from the Cape to the Zambesi. Belonging to one
regiment I met, in privates and corporals, six well-to-do farmers, a
handful of solicitors, bank clerks, a sub-native commissioner or two,
and the no longer youthful private secretary to one of the most eminent
semi-public companies in Africa. And there we all were cut off from the
outside world. Each evening we got an issue of the official Bulletin--
six square inches of paper thankfully received. For the rest we had no
change from the perpetual sound of the sea and the mournful note of the
bell-buoy that marks the inshore shoal. Its "dong-dong, dong-dong-dong"
created a perfect illusion of the call to a tiny church through the
country lanes of England. Everyone who was there can still hear the old
bell-buoy at Swakopmund.

[Illustration: Swakopmund from the Lighthouse: Extreme Right]
[Illustration: Swakopmund: Centre]
[Illustration: Swakopmund: Extreme Left]

[Illustration: Man and Beast in the Desert: both absolutely spent]
[Illustration: Looking for Water in the River Bed]
[Illustration: A Halt in a River Bed: General Botha has lunch]



There were some skirmishes outside Swakopmund early in February. On the
23rd the Commander-in-Chief took the field; leaving the base shortly
after dawn, he carried out a driving movement which pushed the enemy
back from the outspan at Nonidas to his posts much further into the
desert. In the course of this successful operation we first heard
rumours that the Germans as a whole were not anxious to fight. The
Union patrols captured several prisoners, amongst whom was an officer
with whom I had several chats when I got the opportunity. As was the
case with many of the prisoners afterwards taken, for a while he
feigned total ignorance of English. It was not long before it became
perfectly clear that he of course understood it well.

Following the operations on the 23rd of February, the mounted troops
pushed steadily into the desert, occupying with merely nominal
resistance Goanikontes, the water-hole and police post at Haigamkhab,
and the water-hole at Husab.

On the 18th of March the Commander-in-Chief and Staff, with all forces
except those detailed to the base and infantry already holding the line
and stores depots, etc., trekked out from Swakopmund on what was
officially described as a "reconnaissance." It was really the first big
push into the Namib Desert. The enemy had taken up an extremely strong
position on the edge of the desert proper, on the front indicated on
the general diagram of the campaign marked Pforte-Jakalswater-Riet.

I have little official knowledge on the tactics of the campaign; it is
necessary, however, here to allude to the plan of proceeding known to
every one who took any part in it. The vital consideration to the
advance of any army across the Namib Desert is to secure the
water-holes on the Swakop River. The Swakop is by no means the usual
prepossessing kind of stream that flows efficiently between wide banks.
It flowed actually for a day just after General Botha landed at
Swakopmund--the first and last time, apparently, within the memory of
man. But it has water in it nevertheless; and at fixed and charted
spots are to be found bore-holes and wells for the convenience of
dwellers in the profitless wilderness. The principal wells and holes
are at the places marked on the diagram. General Botha's principal task
was to take an army right across the Namib Desert, and to do that he
had to capture every water-hole and keep it. It is true that at certain
points in the Swakop and other of the large rivers of South-West Africa
you can find water by digging very near the surface--perhaps. But when
you have a parched army at your back you must deal as little as
possible in speculation. At Riet and Jakalswater the enemy had
determined to hold the valuable water-holes at any cost, but especially
at Riet.

When General Botha treks he treks at express speed. With him the
intention is that the essence of strategy shall be surprise. The
Commander-in-Chief left Swakopmund at 2.30 a.m. on the 18th of March.
We outspanned at Goanikontes, thirty-four kilos, at 10.30 that night.
Goanikontes was left at 6.30 a.m., and the Husab Outspan was made at
10.20 that morning. The rest of the day was spent at Husab; at 6.30 in
the evening the Commander-in-Chief, and with him General Brits, left
for Riet, outspanned for a few hours and attacked the German position
at Riet at dawn on the 20th. The general action which was fought on the
Pforte-Jakalswater-Riet front on this day was conceivably the most
important move of the campaign. It was essential that the water-holes
should be secured.

[Illustration: Main Guard aboard--en route to hunt the Huns]
[Illustration: On the Great Trek--the Chief of the Staff has a

[Illustration: Action at Riet]

Around Riet, the principal point of attack and defence, the disposition
of the Germans was as strong as it is possible to imagine. My sketch of
the place should give a fair idea of things. In the technical sense it
is not a true plan; but accuracy is not sacrificed to clearness. The
veld around the Riet water-holes is just a mass of small kopjes and
rocks; it narrows to a small defile that opens suddenly on to the
coverless Husab Road. This defile is the only main approach to the Riet
wells, and it is commanded close up on both flanks--on the right by the
great bare kopje, Langer Heinreich, on the other by small kopjes and a
line of ridges.

In attacking this position General Botha had to consider not only the
enemy's strength of position, but also the fact that his troops had to
go into action after a waterless twenty-odd mile trek over the desert.
As the Commander-in-Chief got up to his front on the 20th the big guns
had started. The artillery duel continued well into the afternoon.
Every credit is due to the other units, but it was our artillery that
cracked the nut at Riet. The range was 2,700 yards; but the Germans
never got it. Why it is difficult to say; they had every advantage, and
one understands that the Germans are nothing if not artillerists. But
they were a wash-out at Riet; they were over-firing the whole time. On
the other hand, the Union gunners got the range at once and were all
over the enemy. They put an ammunition wagon out of action after three
shots, and did further deadly work. That afternoon General Botha sent a
detachment out to attempt an enveloping movement. But they came back
later, reporting that the slopes of Langer Heinreich on the right and
the sharp kopjes on the left made the thing impossible.

As the afternoon came on I may say I don't think we knew too much about
the state of affairs with the enemy, and when he ceased artillery fire
about 3.30 p.m. everyone seemed pleased enough. Few knew then that the
German Commander had begun to evacuate the position; his supply of
shells was said to have run short. On account of our numbers, also, he
feared an enfilading movement on his left flank should our mounted
infantry advance to the defile Q.

In the meantime the authorities had decided we must find water in the
rear; for that purpose a party was at once despatched to Gawieb, in the
Swakop River bed. It was found by a party from the Commander-in-Chief's
Bodyguard, and at the Gawieb Hole the greater part of the forces
watered that night. And they took seven hours to do it.

Before sundown General Botha, with Staff and Bodyguard, fell back two
miles on the Husab-Riet Road and camped there for the night. Scarcely
had the Headquarters party arrived before news came that the enemy was
in precipitate flight, had evacuated Riet and had blown up his small
ammunition and railway water-tanks at the Riet terminus of the narrow
gauge railway line to Jakalswater. Bodies of the Union troops had
occupied Riet on the evening of the 20th.

The actions at the Jakalswater and Pforte fronts, to fight which the
columns had swept away to our left the night before, were equally

That is the general story of the fight of the 20th March on the inland
edge of the Namib Desert. But how to picture vividly the scene before
Riet that day? At dawn in those parts conditions are bearable enough;
the sun has little strength; the night wind refreshes. From 6.30 till
10 o'clock the desert is endurable. Then comes the change. All along
the front the stark yellow sand is taking on a different hue under the
climbing sun rays. It turns almost to glaring whiteness all around--to
where it stops short at the foot of those scorched and smothered rocks
on the left flank. To our right the members of the Headquarters Staff
are standing--sitting--resting. An officer brings his glasses down
slowly, blinks, feels for a pipe, lights it. Another moves head and
extended arm to the right and makes a remark to a colleague. Along the
ridge we occupy the Bodyguard are standing-to and watching the action;
you see that fellow wearily ease a heavy bandolier; further down
another brings an army biscuit from his haversack and breaks it on his

And now look at that little group almost straight ahead of us; as the
tall Chief-of-Staff moves aside you see a figure on a little camp
stool. The left hand is just under the hip, binoculars are in the
right; up go both hands with the glasses; down they come. He speaks to
the Chief-of-Staff; there is the favourite gesture--the arm is jerked
out horizontally, the hand pointing loosely, and dropped again. The
face is powdered with fine sand and dust; during the day he has been
allowed a small beaker of water from the artillery. A favour indeed.
That is Botha--Louis Botha, Commander-in-Chief, the man who leads us.
And on either flank, well screened, little knots of men are grouped
round the guns--and "Hampang-ky-yao!" they go in our ears, their report
carrying ten miles back into the desert where our transport hears them
in muffled thunder. And look up as you hear that screeching whistle.
The enemy's shells burst in the depression behind us on both flanks--
"Pa-ha-ha." They look like slabs of cotton wool against the brazen blue
sky. And all afternoon the heat strikes up at you overpowering, like
the breath of a wild animal. Then the wind rises, and the sand shifts
in eddies. Veils and goggles are useless. They can't keep out that
spinning curtain of grit. The horses rattle the hard, dry bits in their
mouths, trying to get some moisture.

On the 21st Headquarters moved into Riet. Here we found two water-holes
in the bed of the river; one was a splendid Persian well, with chain
buckets. Riet was no paradise; it was a luxury though, even if the
river sand was blinding, to lie under a wagon and hear the water

[Illustration: An unique picture of General Botha, the
Commander-in-Chief and his Staff reconnoitring]

[Illustration: After Riet water in blessed profusion]

Our casualties in the actions on the Pforte-Jakalswater-Riet front were
fifteen killed, thirty-nine wounded and forty-two missing. On the 21st
our commandos occupied Salem, eight miles further up the Swakop River.

The Commander-in-Chief and his party remained at Riet till the 24th. It
was then decided that a supply depot must be established at Riet before
further advance was made. On the evening of the 24th Headquarters
returned to Swakopmund, reaching the coast at 9.30 on the morning of
the 26th--an extremely fast trek.

Looking out of my window in the heart of civilisation at the evening
sun that glorifies the Pretoria green kopjes, the scene dissolves. In
its place comes the picture of the first gaunt daylight on the 26th of
March last at fifteen kilometres, just going into Swakopmund. The mist
from the coast had rolled inland; through it after dawn came miles of
horsemen and wagons, guns, limbers, lorries, ambulances. Every human
unit in that column was covered in white dust, and every horse was
weary. And except for the staccato "click-click" of bits and an
occasional deep hum from a passing motor the army moved in perfect
silence through the sand.

The official history of the South-West campaign remains to be written,
of course; in the meantime I am convinced that the actions on the
twenty-one mile Pforte-Jakalswater-Riet front were practically the
deciding factors of the campaign.

[Illustration: A Typical Parade of the Germans in South-West Africa]



On the 27th of March General Botha left Northern Force Headquarters at
Swakopmund for Luderitzbucht, the landing-place of the Central Force
under the commands of Brigadier-General Mackenzie.

The whole plan of campaign was very much this. The Protectorate was to
be invaded from several angles, the route of these various forces being
quite clear, I hope, in the diagram given. Roughly speaking there were
three forces: the Northern (General Botha, Commander-in-Chief), working
inland from Swakopmund; the Central (Brigadier-General Mackenzie)
working inland from Luderitzbucht; and the Southern and South-Eastern
converging on Keetmanshoop from Raman's Drift-Warmbad-Kalkfontein
(Hartigan's Horse), from Upington (Brigadier-General van Deventer and
Colonel Celliers) and from Kimberley-Hasuur (Colonel Berrange's
column). As a result of this great concentration on Keetmanshoop and
northwards from all sides, the Germans would be forced to decisive
action, to retreat northwards, or be cut off. Upon these forces
reaching a certain distance inland a general move would be made in the
direction of Windhuk--and again the enemy would have to fight or
retreat to the limits of his railway system.

[Illustration: Typical captured German Infantry]

[Illustration: The Great Trek. Otjimbingwe: its Palms and Wells]
[Illustration: The Great Trek. Otjimbingwe: the Commander-in-Chief at
the old German capital]
[Illustration: The Great Trek. Getting Milk from a Goat. Milk was
priced beyond Silver]

On the 30th of March the Commander-in-Chief returned to Swakopmund, and
the same day news came of the occupation of Aus by the Central Force.
It was now that we heard definitely that General Smuts was in the field
with the forces south of us.

With the Central and Southern advances, General Mackenzie, from
Luderitzbucht, occupied Garub on the 22nd of February, and Aus on March
31. Colonel Berrange's column, having left Hasuur on the 3rd of March,
reached Kabus, by Keetmanshoop, on the 19th. Leaving Raman's Drift on
the 2nd of April, Colonel Hartigan's column occupied Kalkfontein on the
14th of April, and reached Keetmanshoop on the 20th of April. Seeheim
was occupied on the 18th of April. The advance to these towns was
achieved by a series of fast treks in which frightful conditions of
thirst and fatigue were encountered. General Mackenzie's troops in
their advance north occupied Bethany on the 13th of April, and
continued northward to Berseba, Gibeon, etc., on the way to Windhuk.

We now come to the feat that broke all known marching records and
caused two hemispheres to talk. On Sunday and Monday, the 25th and 26th
of April, General Botha's forces left the coast: on the 5th of May they
were outside Windhuk. Striking right across the desert through every
kind of country, General Botha's army marched night and day, and in
five of those days covered a minimum distance of a hundred and ninety
miles. Many units did much more than two hundred miles--over forty
miles per day.

It was some trekking.

Swakopmund was left on the 26th of April at dawn. Haigkamchab was
reached by I on the same afternoon, and Husab supply base at 6.30 p.m.
Next day Husab was left at 2.15 p.m.; the column halted for a few
minutes at 5 p.m., and pushed right through to Riet, which was made at
10.20 that evening. Headquarters rested all day on the 28th at Riet,
left it at 8 p.m., trekked by moonlight along the Swakop River for
three hours, outspanned till an hour before dawn, and made Salem at
6.45 a.m. on March 29. At 9.30 that morning the column moved on again,
reached outspan at twenty miles by 1.35 in the afternoon, rested for an
hour and a half and pushed on again till a quarter before midnight,
when it rode into Wilhelmsfeste. But the water was at Kaltenhausen,
some miles further ahead of this military post. We reached it at 1.15
on the morning of the 30th. Animals took two hours to water in the
bitterly cold morning air. The guards had not taken two steps on their
beat before the sand was littered with sleepers that looked like dead
men. These sleeping columns, some ninety to a hundred miles from the
coast, were now half way to Windhuk.

[Illustration: The Great Trek. An extempore bath towards the end of the

Two hours after daylight General Headquarters moved to a camping ground
two miles back towards Wilhelmsfeste (Tsaobis), and rested during the
day in the shade of the scant trees with which the veld was covered as
the desert was left behind. The rest of the Northern Army had trekked on
with scarcely any pause. Shortly before sunset, the Commander-in-Chief
set out on a night march of twenty odd miles to Otjimbingwe. The trek
was done at a fierce pace till midnight, when an outspan was ordered;
the party slept for four hours, and made Otjimbingwe just as the dawn of
the 1st of May was breaking. As General Botha rode into this old mission
settlement the rear of the German forces, closely pursued, was galloping
in retreat over the kopjes to the east. Many prisoners were taken here.
General Botha spent the day at Otjimbingwe, left at dawn on the 2nd, and
trekked north-west seventeen miles to Pot Mine, which he reached at 12.45
p.m. Here the Commander-in-Chief awaited the arrival of General Smuts,
had a conference with him, and moved in force on Karibib at 2 a.m. on the
5th of May. He trekked the whole of that day, with two halts of an hour
each, and entered Karibib on the heels of the enemy at five o'clock in
the afternoon. At the same time the rest of the Northern Force had
entered Okasise, Okahandja, Waldau, and other stations on the railway,
had captured the whole system practically up to Omaruru, and were at the
gates of Windhuk. The German forces were in full retreat to the north and
north-east. Their civilian populations, left behind in the towns, seemed
dumfoundered at the appearance of the Union troops. Meantime the Southern
and Central Armies had approached the German capital on the southern

This account of the advance through the desert of General Botha's
Northern Force is purposely bald. The process of a vast flooding of
water over a country is in essence bald and direct. And that is as near
as I can get for comparison. General Botha's advance was like a
well-ordered flood: which, I take it, was exactly the idea. At a fixed
time organised bodies of men, mounted, dismounted and with artillery,
were systematically poured over the German territory. I am sure most of
the fellows who took part in that advance and recall it in detail will in
the future look back and wonder. For it is a subject for wonder, even
if history does contain some marches more eventful. It has been stated
since that all transport was left behind. But that is not strictly
true: a large quantity of transport was brought on by the Union Forces;
passed through the deepest sand in waterless desert, between gorges,
over big kopjes, into almost trackless bushveld--and was never more
than a day and a half behind. At one place out of a convoy of
twenty-seven wagons, seventeen capsized.

It is hackneyed, I know, but there is only one way to describe the
great trek to Windhuk. It was absolutely "a chequer-board of nights and
days." Looking at my diary just now, that I have had ten years'
practice at keeping, I see a confusion got into the dates. You didn't
know anything about the date or the day of the week. Existence was just
a dateless alternation of light and darkness, of saddle-up and
off-saddle, of cossack-post, of thinking about water--and of yearning
with every fibre of one's being for the ineffable boon of a long sleep.

It will be seen that the key to the advance over the Namib Desert was
the Swakop River. The water-holes of the Swakop River are very
singular; they form the nucleus of a kind of settlement (even if it be
only a couple of small huts) right in the dry river bed. At
Kaltenhausen, to take but one example, there is a splendid
shooting-lodge slapbang in the centre of the river; it has a fine
courtyard walled and railed in. It seemed extraordinary. At these
water-holes you suddenly leave the stony sand of the desert and come on
to finest soft sand. It is quite pleasant at night, but day tells another
story. Just after sunrise a wind starts blowing down the river valley and
raises this superfine, mineralised sand. To lie exposed to this for a day
is an awful experience; the fine dust will penetrate anywhere. I am sure
it must lead to positive blindness in time.

I mentioned the water-holes of the Swakop River for the particular
reason that their situation in most cases adds immensely to the merit
of the Northern Army's great trek. The trek-road from Swakopmund
follows the river only in a broad sense; the Haigamkhab, Husab and
Gawieb water-holes are really three to four and five miles from the
road and the camping grounds. That is to say, the columns, after a
twenty mile trek in the sand and sun had another quarter of the
distance to go--_to water_. And to water usually means across the yard
to the troughs, so to speak. We shall remember the water-holes of
South-West Africa. There is many a fellow now back in civilisation who
can recall vividly the tramp over stony, loose gravel through those
great echoing rocks down to the water-holes at Haigamkhab, Husab and
Gawieb. Hour after hour the processions of weary riders passed each
other in a cloud of dust that rose five hundred yards and filled the
choking canyon. The invariable question from him going wearily to water
to him coming refreshed and smothered in water-bottles and with a
livelier horse from it: "Is it far, boy?" And the stereotyped answer of
encouragement was as always: "No, no; just round the corner." All these
water-holes are almost duplicates of each other. I suppose not the echo
of a bird now hurts their pristine and awful quietude.

[Illustration: A Beauty Spot passed during the last Trek]
[Illustration: The Last Phase. Conference at Omaruru. German Staff
[Illustration: The General receives his Bodyguard at a Garden Party
after return]

The marvellous series of changes as one advances constitutes the most
striking feature of the advance to Windhuk from the coast. By rail it
is not so striking; but taking the marching route via the Swakop River
water-holes--Swakopmund, Nonidas, Haigamkhab, Husab, Riet, Salem,
Wilhelmsfeste (Tsaobis), Otjimbingwe, Windhuk--the changes in the
country and the stages that show them are as palpable as if marked by a
system of parallel walls. I have never seen this feature of the veld so
marked elsewhere in South Africa.

Swakopmund is the limit in the down-grade--deep sand; brak water; a
treacherous, dreary climate, with visitations of furnace-heat desert
winds; a huge cemetery; moths and flies. From Nonidas to Haigamkhab and
Husab the sand lightens and hardens, the atmosphere improves, rocks,
barren kopjes begin to appear; the little water you get is fairly good.
Riet comes; the barren kopjes are more frequent; the atmosphere, hot in
the day, is beautiful by night; the water is perfect. Salem is a
duplicate Riet; a small settlement in the river bed; but the water is
more plentiful, the vegetation more profuse. Then comes the great trek
to Tsaobis.

It does not look far on the map; it is a huge stretch nevertheless. For
the first three hours it was Riet-Salem country with extensions and
additions. Vast gorges, black and brown kopjes, boulders, sand
stretches, clumps of bush, minute trees. And then, on Thursday the 29th
of April (memory holds the date like a vice), we saw grass. It was
grass. It was undoubtedly grass--the kind of grass that gave one the
feeling that this particular veld, like a man prematurely bald through
worry or riotous living, had been trying some hair restorer with
ludicrous results--grass whitish, feeble, attenuated, that to be seen
at all wanted an eye levelled along the ground.

Each half hour brought its surprise as we moved along, General Botha on
his white horse at the head of the column, just visible to the eye
through the thick curtain of white dust our horses' feet flung up into
the sun glare. We rode in great gorges between kopjes. We crossed dry
river courses. We clattered over the hard bosoms of rocks, switchbacked
up and down each hour working out of the desert. Trees began to
appear--caricatures of trees. Then game spoor was reported. And suddenly,
just after noon, rain fell--out of one cloud in a sky otherwise brazenly
clear five drops fell. I counted five on my bridle hand.

Rain on the edge of the Namib Desert. It was ludicrous, too bizarre; it
was the last straw. We gasped. A deep roar of ironical cheering went
up. The Commander-in-Chief looked round and laughed. When we outspanned
later the horses made a show of grazing for the first time for five
months. The sagacious animals showed plain amazement in their eyes. At
Wilhelmsfeste (Tsaobis) the bushveld begins. The water supply of
Otjimbingwe is the feature of that rather quaint settlement. One must
ever associate it with its fine aeromotor pumping the precious fluid
for parched man and beast to drink their full after the desert passage
in the shade of cool palms many years old.

[Illustration: German prisoners of war, imprisoned at Karibib]
[Illustration: Karibib]
[Illustration: Towards Windhuk. The first troops in Waldau]

[Illustration: The first South African Engineer Corps Staff at Windhuk]

During the great trek alarms regarding mines were most frequent. There
were many wonderful escapes. It seems a marvel that the enemy were not
more successful than they were with these deadly machines. Suffer
casualties we did; but if all the mines that were laid had blown up our
casualties would have been formidable indeed. But somehow those mines
seemed foreordained not to act. They were discovered by the merest
chance; or they failed to go off; or they exploded at the wrong time.

Making for Karibib in the forenoon of the 5th of May, the authorities
naturally showed the greatest caution for the safety of General Botha--
though a large body of Union mounted troops had passed over the same
ground before the Commander-in-Chief, Staff and Bodyguard traversed the

In view of the fact that the South African Army was operating against
the forces of the same nation that has ravaged and despoiled Belgium, a
point should be made here. It must be remembered that the armed forces
of the Protectorate simply cleared bag and baggage out of all the
important inland towns in the face of Botha's overwhelming advances.
They left wife and child, the old and infirm, every stick of property
they could not carry, at our mercy. When we entered Karibib at five in
the evening the non-combatant population were moving about the streets,
or standing in best bib and tucker at their doors, calmly gazing at the
trek-stained horsemen that sought the nearest water tanks. They had not
the slightest fear of us. I spoke to a comrade who has seen war
aforetime. He said he had never seen a more orderly occupation of a

[Illustration: Towards Windhuk. A quick railway repair after the
Germans' usual practice of blowing up railway bridges]
[Illustration: Towards Windhuk. The first train to Windhuk. The South
African Engineer Corps Construction Party aboard]
[Illustration: At Windhuk. How we treat the German women. Ten minutes
after occupation]

[Illustration: At Windhuk. The Commander-in-Chief addresses his massed
troops from the Rathaus ]

The conduct of the South African troops should assuredly be noted. The
very confidence of these German townspeople that they had nothing to
fear from the hated troops of the British Union of South Africa was
eloquent. The thing stood out, a piece of bitterest irony in connection
with a people whose kindred across the seas were making civilisation
shudder at their atrocities afloat and ashore. The news of the
_Lusitania_ massacre on the high seas reached Karibib just after
occupation. Did one Teuton in the place have to suffer as a consequence
even the insult of a word? No. What would the Germans have done?
General Botha's forces had crossed a desert through which it was the
open boast of the enemy that it was strewn with mines and with every
well poisoned. Was a single defenceless citizen of Windhuk or Karibib
the worse for it after the occupation? Not one. The greater part of
General Botha's forces were on a half--a quarter--an eighth rations
when they made Karibib, Okahandja, Okasise, Waldau and the capital;
they lived until all supplies could come up on less than one biscuit a
day, a pinch or two of meal, and fresh meat.

How much looting occurred in these towns?

There was none worthy the name.

Everyone was guarded. A few hours after the places were entered the
orders were issued threatening severe and instant penalties should any
looting be done by the hungry troops; officers, etc., were quietly
billeted; and to the houses occupied by women and marged with a white
cross no one unauthorised was allowed any approach whatsoever.

It was magnanimous, it was magnificent. But I wonder if the chivalrous
Teuton would call it war!

Karibib, the practical junction of the railway running north to
Grootfontein, the enemy's new "capital," was made Army Headquarters.
General Botha hoisted the flag at Karibib and proclaimed it on the 6th
of May, spent a few days settling matters at Karibib, and on the
afternoon of the 11th set out for Windhuk by motor, formally to enter
the capital. With him the Commander-in-Chief took his Chief of Staff
(Colonel Collyer), Lieut.-Colonel de Waal (Provost Marshal), Major Bok
(Military Secretary), Major Trew (Officer Commanding Bodyguard), Major
Liepoldt (Chief Intelligence Officer), Major Esselen (Staff), an escort
from the 4th Battery South African Mounted Riflemen and Bodyguard.
Overnight the Headquarters party "outspanned" at Okasise on a beautiful
camping-ground, and, meeting the Burgomaster of Windhuk under some
trees outside the town, ran into the South-West capital towards noon.
Later in the day the ceremony of formal taking over was performed
before a big crowd at the Rathaus. It was in every way a historic
scene. The mounted troops lined all about the square that fronts the
Rathaus from the roadway, their weary horses and stained uniforms
showing up in the background, with the throng of civilians crowded
amongst the motor-cars and carts in the square itself. A
warrant-officer of the Commander-in-Chief's Bodyguard had the honour of
hoisting the Union Jack over the Rathaus at Windhuk, the capital of
Germany's erstwhile colonial possessions.

A cheer went up as the flag fluttered up in the noon sunlight. Windhuk
was naturally regarded as the Mecca, so to speak, of the invading army.

[Illustration: At the Gate of Windhuk. Headquarters Staff Motors
awaiting entry]
[Illustration: At the Gate of Windhuk. General Botha discusses matters
with the Governor of Windhuk]

[Illustration: At the Gate of Windhuk. The Interpreter]
[Illustration: At the Gate of Windhuk. General Botha emphasises]

With the interests of the civilised world fixed on the vast
slaughter-grounds of Europe, I shall not spend much time describing
Windhuk. It is a pretty, picturesque little town, built amongst brown and
purple hills. In most ways it is highly finished; reflects the spirit of
German thoroughness that is an admitted attribute of the race. As usual
in South-West Africa, it has nothing of the _colonial_ town about it;
it might be another suburb of Berlin. Many of the houses are thoroughly
built into the sides of the surrounding kopjes--perched like great
red-roofed cages on the hillsides. The place doesn't seem to have a
single industry of its own; but then, as I said elsewhere, there is
hardly an established industry in the Protectorate.

There is one thing about Windhuk that grips your attention--and holds
it in no uncertain manner, too. One of the great objectives of the
South-West campaign was to secure the Windhuk wireless station. When
you see this--catch a glimpse of it suddenly where it stands on the
veld outside the town--you get a thrill of sheer astonishment. The
thing seems monstrous there. It is foreign to our ideas--a wireless
colossus in such a place. Had I seen this vast piece of work in a
humming city that stands warden to the seas it would have fitted in.
But where it is--well, it just surprised. Fancy a pretty bijou veld
town, red roofs, neat church, pepper trees, aeromotors, sleepy people
and everything--and across the veld, a mile and a half away, darkening
the sky with great vertical lines, five terrific steel lattice pillars,
nearly four hundred feet high, tied by cables with stay bolts as big as
a man; their aerials sweep from pillar to pillar, answer to the wind
the deepest note of a giant 'cello, and eavesdrop and conjure amongst
the news markets of the world. Now there is no electric light in this
village of Windhuk, or Windy Corner, yet. What was the idea with this
stupendous thing? And there are not enough Germans in the place--or in
the whole territory, if it comes to that--to populate a good-sized
town. There is also the usual telegraphic communication to the coast,
etc. Yet--the wireless.

Its significance could be of one kind only: a military one.

Leaving the town in the hands of Colonel Mentz, Military Governor, and
Lieut.-Colonel de Waal, the Commander-in-Chief returned to Headquarters
at Karibib on the 14th of May.

[Illustration: The great Wireless Station at Windhuk]
[Illustration: Conference at Omaruru. General Staff lunching]
[Illustration: The Last Phase. The BE2 tuning up in shed before flight
over German positions]

[Illustration: At the Provost Marshal's office at Windhuk--all in Law
and order]
[Illustration: The Union Jack just hoisted at the Governor's office,
[Illustration: The Great Military Barracks at Windhuk]



On the 19th of June Brigadier-General Brits, of the Northern Army,
occupied Omaruru, on the Karibib-Grootfontein line. The enemy had

Nearly five weeks had passed since the Commander-in-Chief had
officially proclaimed the capital. During this time much had happened.
An abortive conference had taken place at Omaruru itself, the Germans,
we were informed afterwards, asking for terms that we were in no mind
to give them. The railway line between Swakopmund and Karibib, broken
up by dynamited bridges, had been to a great extent repaired. The
poorly rationed troops were now replenished. The horses, badly knocked
up after the rush through to Windhuk, had had opportunity to mend a
bit. General Botha had proclaimed the country; with refreshed troops
and horses, he was setting out to attempt to spring a final surprise on
the Germans. He had now the Aviation Corps in full working order--had
aerial eyes wherewith to be guided through a subtropical bush country
very full of possible dangers. He had ahead of him an enemy astonished,
yet, if what was rumoured was true, prepared to make a series of fights
and a big stand in country of his own choice. He had with him an army
that had crossed a desert and, arriving in bush country such as you
find in the Rhodesia "low" veld, knew the nature of it as only the
South African can.

On June 24 Headquarters ran into Kalkfeld just after midnight. The
enemy had retreated. It had been predicted with the utmost confidence
that the Germans would here put up a fight. So confidently was this
expected that the Commander-in-Chief would hardly believe it when the
aeroplanes returned and reported that there were about half a dozen
Germans left in the place. Yet that proved to be exactly the fact, and
so greatly impressed was General Botha with the accuracy of the
observations on this occasion that he emphasised that the skymen were
to receive every possible assistance for the future.

[Illustration: Panorama of Windhuk]

[Illustration: Picturesque Windhuk]
[Illustration: Windhuk. Basking in the sun: from the great Wireless
[Illustration: How the Germans started to try trading with us ten
minutes after we entered the Capital. Note the spelling]

On June 26 Headquarters arrived at Okanjande, and pushed through to
Otjiwarongo, arriving there at 12 noon. The pace of the trekking was
now becoming phenomenal, and though the country was quite good, water
was as scarce as ever, the bush being intensely dense, with thick sweet
grass as much as eight feet high in places. It was a country made for
ambushes. In less than a week General Botha had trekked over one
hundred and twenty miles, the distance from Karibib to Otjiwarongo.
During this trek the army had had water only twice on the stretch from
Omaruru. But delay of any kind was now highly undesirable: the columns
could not afford to pause long owing to the consumption of rations. It
was no part of the Commander-in-Chief's policy to make bases and await
the arrival of large supplies; water was uncertain, and congestion of
columns at the watering places had to be avoided as much as possible.

Near Okanjande the first great development in General Botha's final
strategy occurred. The northern advance was being conducted as follows.
Brigadier-General Brits, on the left, remained at Otjitasu, leaving it
on June 30. General Botha, with his command, in the centre, was holding
to the narrow gauge Karibib-Otavi-Tsumeb-Grootfontein Railway, and
General Myburgh's column to the right. Brigadier-General Brits now
branched away to Otjitasu, making for Outjo, Okanknejo, and across the
Etoscha Pan to Namutoni. The other columns moved on, trekking night and
day, as in the great advance across the Namib Desert.

Headquarters made Okaputa on June 29; paused the next day, and on July
1 the Staff, leaving Okaputa at 8 o'clock in the morning, reached Otavi
and Otaviafontein at 4.30 p.m., close on the heels of an engagement at
Osib between the Germans and Brigadier-General Manie Botha, who had
pushed on with the Orange Free State Brigade at 6.30 the previous
evening, June 30. This engagement took place in the now intensely thick
bush country. In defeating the enemy, at a cost of a dozen casualties,
Brigadier-General Manie Botha succeeded in securing the finest water
supply the Union Forces had yet seen, and so swift and resolute was the
fighting of the burghers that the enemy fled to their last strong-hold
northward towards Tsumeb. Before striking the enemy in this action the
Free State Brigade, and their accompanying batteries from the 2nd South
African Mounted Riflemen, had trekked forty-two miles in sixteen hours
without halt for any kind of a rest. Behind them, in support, came the
force, consisting of the 6th Mounted Brigade, with the 1st South
African Mounted Riflemen Batteries, who did a similar trek, through
thickest bush, covering almost fifty miles in twenty hours. And the
animals had come through from Karibib--almost two and a half degrees of
latitude south.

At the same time as Brigadier-General Manie Botha had left Okaputa,
Brigadier-General Lukin, with the 6th Mounted S.A.M.R. Brigade, had
left Omarasa. We had therefore a perfect network of highly mobile
forces advancing on the German position somewhere north. Away on the
right, from Windhuk and Okahandja through the Waterberg,
was Brigadier-General Albert's column. On his left was Brigadier-General
Myburgh. Nearer the railway was Brigadier-General Manie Botha. Next came
the Commander-in-Chief with Headquarters Staff and Bodyguard; and,
further, General Lukin. For the time being Brigadier-General Brits, on
the extreme left, had disappeared.

[Illustration: The Last Phase. Difficulties with General Botha's car
through the thick sand]
[Illustration: The Last Phase. The Germans had a hobby of blowing up
bridges. Here is a fine specimen]

[Illustration: General Frank's house, Windhuk. Photo of the two first
men there taken under the flag hauled down by us]
[Illustration: Windhuk. The first British station-master and one of his

Brigadier-General Manie Botha now advanced right into the bush,
supported by Brigadier-General Lukin, who occupied Eisenberg Nek, on
the right flank. Brigadier-General Myburgh, trekking by forced marches,
in the course of his flanking movement on the right cut the line
between Otavi and Grootfontein, and, swerving north, encountered the
enemy at Asis and Gaub. This column, having captured seventy Germans,
marched straight on to Tsumeb, the extreme northerly limit of the
railway, forty miles north of Otavi. Here the enemy was attacked so
resolutely that they surrendered with all arms and four field guns, and
the Union prisoners of war were released. And great was their
rejoicing, too. Other columns marching north had now reached
Rietfontein and Grootfontein.

It so arose now that General Myburgh, having got for a brief space out
of touch with the Commander-in-Chief, was not aware that the Germans
had opened, on July 5, negotiations with General Botha. General Myburgh
was at once communicated with. As a fact, at the time he entered
Tsumeb, a conference was on hand farther south.

Why did the German forces in the Protectorate surrender without making
the big stand they threatened? If any proof be needed that they did
intend to make a stand it is necessary only to glance at the plan of
their final dispositions. And that is just where General Botha and his
forces had done their work. There is not the least doubt, not the very
least, that von Franke might have made a stand. It would have been
nothing more than a quixotically honourable waste of life ending in one
only possible way.

_He was surrounded before he knew it._

So neat and swift had been the scheme prepared by the
Commander-in-Chief that the German was incredulous--until his scouts kept
coming in and telling him what the real state of affairs was. For Brits,
after a two hundred mile detour through the wildest country had swept
right north to Namutoni on the Great Etoscha Pan, had released more
prisoners and was swerving further out. Myburgh was in Tsumeb. Both these
generals were behind the Germans, ready to strike out forthwith; and
von Franke was cut off from all his supplies. He had simply been
caught--caught by remorseless forced marches and strategy as neat as a
trivet--in a great fork with bent prongs. On the sketches in this
little book, to which I have sacrificed everything possible for
clearness, the general simple scheme of the campaign may be apparent.
The final position on July 5 was something like the diagram on page 61

Even guerilla warfare is an unattainable luxury when you are

[Illustration: [A] The Fork that Caught the Germans]

[Illustration: The Last Phase. Opposite the very spot where surrender
was made. A vast ant-hill at 500 Kilometres]

[Illustration: South-West Africa. Position of enemy before surrender]

At kilometre 500 on the line between Otavi and Korab, at 2 a.m. on the
9th of July 1915, von Franke, the German Commander, and Dr. Seitz, the
Imperial Governor of South-West Africa, discreetly surrendered to Louis
Botha, Commander-in-Chief and Prime Minister of the Union of South

[Illustration: The Last Phase. The German white flag train just
[Illustration: The Last Phase. General Botha meets Von Franke at 500
[Illustration: The Last Phase. Troops entraining to return home]

[Illustration: The Last Phase. The famous Rhodesian Regiment that did
so much in the final brilliant movement]
[Illustration: The Last Phase. Isumeh. British prisoners released]



PRETORIA, _July_ 10.

The terms of surrender of the military forces of the Protectorate of
German South-West Africa, as agreed to by the Government of the Union
of South Africa, and accepted by his Excellency Dr. Seitz, the Imperial
Governor of the Protectorate of German South-West Africa, the commander
of the military forces, which was signed on the 9th of July, 1915, are

(1) The military forces of the Protectorate of German South-West Africa
(hereinafter referred to as the Protectorate) remaining in the field
under arms and at the disposal and the command of the commander of the
said Protectorate forces, are hereby surrendered to General the Right
Hon. Louis Botha, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces of the Union of
South Africa in the field. Brigadier-General H. T. Lukin, C.M.G.,
D.S.O., acting on behalf of General Botha, shall be the officer in
charge with arranging details of the surrender and giving effect to it.

(2) The active troops of the said forces of the said Protectorate
surrendered in terms of paragraph (1) shall, in the case of officers,
retain their arms and may give parole, being allowed to live each under
that parole at such places as he may select. If for any reason the
Government of the Union is unable to meet the wish of any officer as
regards choice of abode, the officer concerned will choose some place
in respect of which no difficulty exists. In the case of other ranks of
the active troops of the said forces of the Protectorate, such other
ranks shall be interned under proper guard at such place in the
Protectorate as the Union Government shall decide upon.

(3) Each non-commissioned officer and man of the ranks last referred to
shall be allowed to retain their rifles, but no ammunition. One officer
shall be permitted to be interned with the other ranks of artillery,
and one with the other ranks of the remainder of the active troops, and
one with the other ranks of the police.

(4) All reservists (Landwehr) of all ranks of the said forces of the
Protectorate now remaining under arms in the field shall, except to the
extent as is provided for in paragraph (6) below, give up their arms
upon being surrendered, in such formations as may be found most
convenient, and after signing the annexed form of parole shall be
allowed to return to their homes and resume civil occupation.

(5) All reservists (Landwehr and Landsturm) of all ranks of the said
forces of the Protectorate who are now held by the Union Government as
prisoners of war taken from the forces of the Protectorate, upon
signing the form of parole above mentioned in paragraph (4), shall be
allowed to resume civil occupation in the Protectorate.

(6) Officers of the Reserve (Landwehr and Landsturm) of the said forces
of the Protectorate who surrender in terms of paragraph (1) above shall
be allowed to retain their arms, provided they sign the parole above
mentioned in paragraph (4).

(7) All the officers of the said forces of the Protectorate who sign
the form of parole above mentioned in paragraph (4) shall be allowed to
retain their horses, which are nominally allotted to them in the
military establishment.

(8) The Police of the Protectorate shall be treated, as far as have
been mobilised, as active troops. Those members of the Police who are
on duty on distant stations shall remain at their posts until relieved
by the Union troops, in order that the lives and property of
non-combatants may be protected.

(9) Civil officials in the employment of the German Government of the
Protectorate shall be allowed to remain in their homes provided they
sign the parole above mentioned in paragraph (4). Nothing, however, in
this statement to be construed as entitling any such official to
exercise the functions of the appointment which he holds in the service
of either of the Governments aforesaid, or to claim from the Union
Government the emoluments of such appointment.

(10)With the exception of the arms retained by the officers of the
Protectorate forces and by other ranks of the active troops, as
provided in paragraph (2), all war material (including all field guns,
mountain guns, small arms and guns, and small arm ammunition), and the
whole of the property of the Government of the Protectorate, shall be
placed at the disposal of the Union Government.

[Illustration: The German Staff before surrender]

[Illustration: General Botha and his brilliant Chief of Staff, Colonel
J.F. Collier, meet Von Franke at 500 Kilometres]

(11) His Excellency the Imperial Governor shall appoint a civil
official of the Protectorate Service who shall hand over and keep a
record of all Government property of the Civil Departments, including
records which are handed over to the Union Government in terms of
paragraph (10), and the Commander of the said forces of the
Protectorate shall appoint military officers, who shall hand over and
keep a similar record of all Government Property of the Military
Department of the Protectorate.

Given under our hand this 19th day of July 1915.

(Signed) Louis BOTHA,

General Commanding-in-Chief of the Union Forces in the Field.


Imperial Governor of German South-West Africa.


Lieut.-Colonel, Commander of the Protectorate Forces of German
South-West Africa.

The form of parole, shown as an annexure, begins--

"I, the undersigned, hereby place myself on my honour not to re-engage
in hostilities in the present war between Great Britain and Germany."

[Illustration: The Last Phase. The Commander-in-Chief, General Botha,
receives an ovation from his Bodyguard after disbanding them]
[Illustration: Generals Botha and Smuts, the Great South Africans,
receive a tremendous ovation from the crowd at the Capital on the
successful conclusion of the Rebellion and the Campaign]

[Illustration: Homeward bound! General Botha and Staff returning on the
[Illustration: The Great Man and the Chips of the Old Block returning
to the Union after Conquest]


The official report shows that the total casualties of the operations
in South-West Africa in connection with the Union Forces are
approximately as follows--

Killed in action                                 88
Died of wounds                                   25
Wounded in action                               263
Wounded and taken prisoners                      48
Unwounded prisoners in hands of enemy           612
Total                                         1,036

Died of disease                                  97
Died through accidents and by mis-adventure      56
Total                                           153


Immediately after the capitulation of the enemy, Brigadier-General
Lukin reported that he had satisfactorily completed the work of
accepting surrenders. The total number of surrenders amounted to
4,410, made up as follows--

Officers of the Active Troops and Police         110
Officers of the Reserve                          177
Rank and File of Active Troops and Police      1,548
Rank and File of Reserve                       2,575

The Union Forces when at greatest strength numbered 50,000 men.

The Germans when at full strength numbered 9,000, but a proportion of
these consisted of civilians, who eventually refused to serve.


In an official _communiqué_ issued at the end of July, figures were
given of the total number of the enemy included in the general
surrender. The total then given was 4,410, and included the
surrender of the main body at Korab, and also troops captured by
Brigadier-General Myburgh at Tsumeb on July 6, the surrenders at
Grootfontein, Otavifontein, Otavi and Tsumeb, and those who surrendered
at Otjiwarongo.

The additional numbers captured or surrendered at various points since
General Botha made his advance northwards after occupation of Windhuk

To Brigadier-General Myburgh's force,
mostly at Gaub                                 105

To Brigadier-General Manie Botha's
force between Okaputa and Otavifontein          50

To Brigadier-General Lukin's force              12

To Brigadier-General Brits' force,
mostly at Namutoni                             163

Total                                          330

Thus the total number of prisoners taken during the last stage of the
campaign, viz. from June 18 to July 9, was 4,740.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "With Botha in the Field" ***

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