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Native Constable Hanns - P.O.W. Sandfontein


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I have had this group in my collection for a few years and could not confirm whether the recipient had served and seen action at the Battle of Sandfontein during the German South West Africa campaign in World War one.

"Coloured Constable" Hanns did not appear on the official casualty list that was submitted after the battle and his World War 1 service card could not be found at the archives.

This service has subsequently been confirmed as a researcher managed to find the service card pertaining to him.

Constable Hanns was made a Prisoner of War on 26 September 1914 at the Battle of Sandfontein and was only released by his German captors on 6 July 1915.

I think that this new research makes it a very special and rare medal group as medals named and issued to South Africans of other races for World War one service are not common.

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That is indeed a find!!

When i was in the archives there was a huge ledger will all the GSWA POWs, Wounded etc. etc.... i ordered it by chance, apparently noone has been able to find it in the order lists, I cannot remember what it was exactly listed under, but i think there was a provost Marchall collection on GSWA and it was in there somewhere.

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That is one fantastic group. I would imagine as a coloured P.O.W. he probably had a rough time at the hands of his captors.

Paul

Paul

I'm not sure about that - genuine question. The Germans had black troops and at least one black soldier served in a German regiment in WWI - I think his photo came up recently somewhere in the GMIC - so perhaps he's have been ok. I would hope and assume that WWI Germans in the colonies had a somewhat different take on the 'other races' than did the Nazis and their ilk in the '30s & '40s.

Peter

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Will

Thank you for showing a great and very rare medal group. One of my collecting themes has been 'medals to other races' in a South African context and I have found their representation to be very variable indeed, ranging from nothing to fair.

Peter

It is my impression that, unlike the British, the Germans were very firm Colonial masters, so subjects who stepped out of line were unlikely to repeat their transgressions. I do not have the details to hand, but apparently a rebellion in GSWA in the early 1900's was brutally put down. I expect that, if Constable Hanns behaved himself and kept a low profile, he would not have been ill-treated.

Regards

Brett

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"I do not have the details to hand, but apparently a rebellion in GSWA in the early 1900's was brutally put down."

Brett you are referring to the Herero and Namaqua rebellions 1904-07 the suppression of which ranks along with the Congo Free state as one of the blackest incidents in European colonial history in Africa.

Paul

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There is some research going on (on a Belgian WWI forum!)about Congolese natives who fought with the Belgians during WWI at the Yser.

Must be intresting to know theyre history too.

Not all ended in a Freikorps;

I would very much like to see that information. Do you have a link to the web site, Stuka?

Peter

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"I do not have the details to hand, but apparently a rebellion in GSWA in the early 1900's was brutally put down."Brett you are referring to the Herero and Namaqua rebellions 1904-07 the suppression of which ranks along with the Congo Free state as one of the blackest incidents in European colonial history in Africa.Paul

There's an excellent book on it entitled The Kaiser's Holocaust by Olusoga and Erichsen. A must read on genocide.

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Guys

POW Medals to the GSWA campaign are rare from what I can work out, I as a few of you know keep a look out for these and all I have is a single Victory medal to a Pte A C Mack 6th Mounted Rifles, been on the look out for his other medals for around 10 years.

Will a great group and thanks for posting!

Brian

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