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Capt. Danie Theron

 

Daniel Theron

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Danie Theron

9 May 1872 – 5 September 1900


Theron as Commandant of the Wielrijders Rapportgangers Corps, 1899

Place of birth

TulbaghCape Colony

Place of death

Gatsrand, South African Republic (nearFochville)

Allegiance

Description: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d0/Flag_of_Transvaal.svg/22px-Flag_of_Transvaal.svg.pngSouth African Republic

Years of service

1899 - 1900

Rank

Captain

Unit

Scout

Commands held

Theron se Verkenningskorps (Theron Reconnaissance Corps), South African Republic

Battles/wars

Second Boer War:
-- Battle of Paardeberg
-- Spioen kop

Other work

School teacher, lawyer

Daniël Johannes Stephanus Theron, (9 May 1872 - 5 September 1900), often called Danie Theron, was born in TulbaghCape Colony, and raised in Bethlehem, Orange Free State. He is best known as the driving force behind the formation of a military bicycle corps used by the Boer Army for scouting and relaying messages. Originally trained as a school teacher, he became a lawyer and notary with his own law firm inKrugersdorpTransvaal Republic, and was made a Captain in the Boer Army when the Second Boer War began. During the war, he was put in charge of a significant scouting unit, the Theron se Verkenningskorps (TVK) (Theron Reconnaissance Corps). He fought at the Battle of Paardeberg and one of his most famous feats occurred at the Battle of Spion Kop.[1] The British Commander in Chief, Lord Roberts, called Theron: "the hardest thorn in the flesh of the British advance", put a reward of £1,000 on his head - dead or alive, and dispatched 4,000 soldiers to find and eliminate the TVK.[2]

[edit]Early life

He began his career as a school teacher but later earned a law degree and started his own practice. Before the Second Boer war, Theron was a commando in the 1894 Malaboch War, and he trained scouts for reconnaissance until 1899. By his contemporaries, Theron was said to be slight, wiry, with a dark complexion, and short-tempered.[3]

[edit]Second Boer War

Theron became a Boer Army Captain and was put in charge of organizing and leading the Boer Intelligence scouts, the Theron se Verkenningskorps (TVK) (Theron's Reconnaissance Corps).[4] To save horses for combat, he developed the use of bicycles for despatch and reconnaissance. His 105 recruits were equipped with various items including revolvers, binoculars and sometimes light carbine. The TVK would watch British movements and study their tactics during battles.

Reconnaissance missions became Theron's specialty. He was able to move through the land without being detected. As the war progressed, Theron and his men were moved closer to the Western front. The Boers, under the rule of Piet Cronje, were constantly skimishing with the British forces.

Theron's most notable single action was in the Battle of Paardeberg, where on 25 February 1900, a Boer Gen. Piet Cronje and several thousand troops were surrounded by British forces. Outnumbered and losing the battle, Theron, acting as a messenger for the other primary Boer commander, sneaked through British lines to convey a plan for a breakout operation - and then sneaked through the lines a second time to bring back Cronje's reply. The TVK brought many Boer civilians and soldiers across the river safely into Boer territory, but in spite of Theron's efforts the planned operation failed and most of the Boer forces surrendered.

"He was, without doubt, one of the finest scouts the Boer nation produced. He repeatedly entered our lines and obtained most valuable information. Again and again he cut off our scouts and patrols, raided our stock, and did all manner of splendid military service for his people.

— Frederick Russell Burnham, Chief of Scouts for the British Army in the Second Boer War (1900).[5]

After the British occupied most of the Transvaal in March 1900, Theron and the TVK became well known for the guerrilla campaign they conducted against the British Army. The TVK attacked trails and rail yards, ambushed and captured British soldiers and officers, blew up bridges, and freed captured Boer fighters from British prisons. On two separate occasions while scouting in the veldt in no-mans land, Theron came upon the British Army Chief of Scouts, the American Frederick Russell Burnham.[5] Both times the two men exchanged fire, but only at a distance.[5]

In July 1900, the British dispatched a unit of 4,000 soldiers to find and eliminate the TVK. After one skirmish with this force on 19 July, Theron managed to evade his pursuers and continue raiding, but the TVK was always on the run.

[edit]Death

While scouting alone on a koppie at Gatsrand, about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) north of present-day Fochville, he encountered seven members of Marshall's Horse and was killed in action.[2][6]

On 15 September 1900, the men of the TVK exhumed the body of their Commandant and reburied him in the family cemetery of the Pienaar family near Fochville. But on 10 March 1903, Theron's last will was carried out and his body was once again exhumed to be reburied next to that of his late fiancée Hannie Neethling on her father's farm Eikenhof on the Klip (Rock) River.[2]

Taken from:  www.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Theron

 

Danie Theron monument

This monument to Danie Theron is only about 10 minutes away from where I live. It is situated on top of the Gatsrand mountain near Fochville in South Africa. This is actually the spot where Theron was killed during the Boer War in 1900.

 

Main gate to the monument. The site has been kept as natural as possible, hence the long grass etc.

 

Above the main gate.

 

Main gates showing Boers on Horseback.

 

From the top of the mountain looking at the gold mine in the distance. A nice view all around.

 

A plaque that has been placed in a chained-off area on the top of the mountain.

 

Another Plaque on top of the mountain.

 

Arriving at the Monument.

 

Getting closer.

 

Myself at the base of the monument.

 

Looking up at the tower.

 

Looking up at the tower from the other side.

 

Pauline standing with the car.