Commando by Deneys Reitz
(About this book )

Born in 1882, Deneys Reitz (pictured right) began soldiering at the age of 17 he was the son of F W Reitz, the State Secretary of the Transvaal. The young man knew and writes about the State President, Paul Kruger, and his wife. When war broke out in South Africa between the Boers and the British he rode away on his Basuto pony to join one of those 'Commandos' which were to perform such prodigies of resistance for the next three years. After the Boer surrender in 1902 Reitz went into voluntary exile in Madagascar, but was eventually persuaded by his old leader, now Field-Marshal Smuts, to forget his bitterness against the British and to embrace 'the broader loyalty' to the Union of South Africa. His subsequent record of service shows how ardently he adopted the advice of Smuts. In the 1914-18 war he fought with distinction as a comrade-in-arms of the British, and became Commander of the First Royal Scots Fusiliers, one of the oldest regiments in the British Army.

This is a remarkably compelling and well written book graphically describing the horrors faced by the boers as a superior force engulfed them. Do not be fooled by the blandness of the chapter titles.

More images from the Boer War battlefields at Ladysmith at these links:

Chap Title Chap Title Chap Title Chap Title
0 Preface 7 An Affair At Surprise Hill 14 New Conditions 21 Horses And Men
1 Memory's Tower 8 A Visit To The Tugela Line 15 A Successful Affair, And After 22 Moss-Trooping
2 On The Brink 9 The Battle Of SpioenKop 16 From West To East 23 A Long Trail
3 To The Frontier 10 The Rest of our Corporalship is Destroyed 17 The End Of The 'A.C.C.' 24 Calmer Waters
4 We Invade Natal 11 A Campaign In The Free State 18 The Next Stage 25 The Last Phase
5 A Battle 12 The British Invade The Transvaal 19 Farther South 26 The Lost Cause
6 Ups And Downs 13 Farther Afield 20 We Go Into The Cape Colony