The Boer War

Boers entraining horses, Johannesburg, Dec 1899

The Boer War had its origins in the conflict between the original Dutch settlers of South Africa and the British colonists who first came to Cape Colony in the early 19th century. The Dutch Boers (farmers) set up their own republics in Transvaal and Orange Free State and fought the British for their independence in 1880-81.

The British people in general had little idea of what the war was all about but joined in with great enthusiasm to protect the Empire. With the British Army spread all over the world, it soon became apparent that it would be necessary to call up reserves and this was soon followed by a rush of volunteers.