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BOER WAR LYRICS - Battlefield Poetry from South Africa's Boer Wars

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MOST of the verses in this little volume were conceived and written, if not quite finished, at the time of Gen. Cronje’s surrender at Paardeberg (February 1900 - Note:Paardeberg translates as “Horse Mountain” and Cronje is pronounced Kron-yee.) The publication of these lyrics was delayed until late 1902 due to the uncertain nature of the earlier, but imperfect, peace accord. And well the delay was, for peace was not achieved until 1902.

Growing up in apartheid-era South Africa, the Boer War formed an important part of most South African children’s history lessons. What was not taught was that volumes of poetry had been written on the subject. Even Thomas Hardy famously wrote several poems about this war. This small volume is but a sliver of the work published on the subject. One only has to browse the internet to find more volumes of prose and verse associated with this forgotten conflict.

But we shouldn’t be surprised at this for soldiers have been writing poetry about conflicts since before Alexander the Great. Now almost a tradition, the trend continues to this day with poems still being written about the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

HISTORICAL NOTE: The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic) and the Orange Free State. It ended with a British victory and the annexation of both republics by the British Empire; both would eventually be incorporated into the Union of South Africa, a dominion of the British Empire, in 1910.

Forces in this war were called upon from all corners of the, then, British Empire. On the British side, participating countries were United Kingdom, the South African Colonies of the Cape and Natal, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and British Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

The Boer republics of South Africa and the Orange Free State were by no means alone in their stand against the Empire. Volunteer contingents from the German Empire, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands swelled the Boer ranks. Smaller volunteer contingents were received from Belgium, France, the USA, Italy, Russia, Poland and Denmark.

The mobilisation of these armies from the around world was but a dress rehearsal for the impending 1st World War.

10% of the profit from the sale of this book will be donated to charities by the Publisher.
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