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Prisoners of War

POW Camps Overseas

The first overseas camps were opened in St Helena.The SS Milwaukee arrived off St Helena on 11 April 1900 with 514 prisoners on board. This was the first batch of some 5000 prisoners housed in the two camps on the island namely Broadbottom and Deadwood. Six loads of prisoners of war from South Africa were landed in the Bermudas during the period 28 June 1901 to 16th January 1902. The camps were situated on islands in the Great Sound namely:

  • Burts (400 men)
  • Darrell's, (1100 men)
  • Hawkins (1300 men)
  • Hinson's (120 men)
  • Morgans (850 men)
  • vi Tuckers (800 men)

Smoking Pipes made by Boer POW's - War Museum of the Boer Republic

The first batch of prisoners arrived in Ceylon on 9 August 1900 and subsequently others followed until some 5 000 prisoners had landed. Diyatalawa was the main camp. Mt Lavinia was the convalescent camp while dissidents and irreconcilables were housed at Ragama. A camp for prisoners on parole was also opened at Urugasmanhandiya in September 1901. Hambantota was also a parole camp. Camps were established in India at the following places:

  • Abottabad
  • Ahmednagar
  • Bellary
  • Bhim Tal
  • Dagshai and Solon
  • Fort Govindgarh
  • Kaity-Nilgiris
  • Satara
  • Shahjahanpur
  • Sialkot
  • Trichinopoly
  • Umballa
  • Upper Topa

A display of handcraft made in a Boer prisoner-of-war camp at St Helena - War Museum of the Boer Republics

The young Joubert Reitz gave expression to the feeling of grief and longing of the approximate 26000 Boers who were sent to camps, forts and goals in Natal, the Cape coast, St. Helena, Bermuda, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and India as prisoners of war in the following poem:

The Searchlight

When the searchlight from the gunboat
Throws its rays upon my tent
Then I think of home and comrades
And the happy days I spent
In the country where I come from
And where all I love are yet.
Then I think of things and places
And of scenes I'll ne'er forget
Then a face comes up before me
Which will haunt me to the last
And I think of things that have been
And happiness that's past
And only then I realize, How much my freedom meant
When the searchlight from the gunboat
Cast it`s rays upon my tent


Introduction to the War
Role Players and Figures
Concentration Camps
Prisoners of War
Chronology of the War

Prisoners of War
POW Camps Overseas
British Prisoners of War
Cape Rebels

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