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    Posted (edited)

    From the beginning of April 1900, the British garrison in the vicinity of Warrenton – Fourteen Streams received reinforcements virtually on a daily basis.


    The Boer forces under General du Toit were attacked in an artillery battle on 6 April and this pertinently brought home to the Boers the danger posed by Lord Methuen’s forces on the Western Front. Three additional field pieces were sent to Du Toit, reaching him on 21 April, and the Krugersdorp Commando left Pretoria by train on 23 April for Fourteen Streams.

    On 24 April the British lodged a heavy bombardment on the Boer position: according to one Boer source 6 guns were in action against the Boer trenches and the terrain was “ploughed up by the terrible lyddite bombs”.


    Boer casualties were 2 killed and 8 wounded. The attack of 24 April was not followed up: Lord Methuen and Gen Hunter had no intent to cross the Vaal River prematurely but wanted to keep the strong Boer force bottled up until Lord Roberts had advanced to their right.


    Nikolaas Cornelis Huysman was a Hollander who served in the Pretoria Commando under Field Cornet Boshoff from February to April 1900. He was dangerously wounded at Fourteen Streams on 24 April 1900. 

    According to his Vorm “C” Application for the Wound Riband he had 4 wounds in his right arm, 1 wound in his left arm and a wound in his chest through one lung, all caused by an exploding lyddite bomb.


    His name is noted in the ZAR Government Gazette of 2 May 1900, Casualty List No 84.
    In supporting correspondence, Huysman gave a full account of what had happened to him:

    “I did not serve until the end of the war, as I was dangerously wounded on 24 April 1900 during one of the skirmishes at Fourteen Streams (Cape Colony). I was then taken to the 2nd Dutch Ambulance Hospital at Christiana.


    Due to the dangerous condition of my wounds, I was allowed to stay in hospital after the British occupation of Christiana. In July, the Dutch Hospital returned to Pretoria and I was put in care of the Superintending Doctor (Bierens de Haan) at the hospital in the ‘Staats Meisjes School’, which was then under British control.

    After my discharge from hospital (end August 1900) I was considered a Prisoner of War. I then, on the advice of Dr Bierens de Haan, applied to the Military Governor to release me as PoW and allow me to go to Europe for an operation on my lung. After I was declared “medically unfit” by the British Doctor, my request to go to Europe was granted.


    I had to undertake under oath that I would not do or say anything against the British while in Europe: this I agreed to. I returned to the Transvaal in 1903”.


    In further support he appended a copy of a letter from Dr Bierens de Haan, which was sent in 1908 to the War Claims Commission in Pretoria:

    “Herewith I, the undersigned Dr J C J Bierens de Haan, MD, declare that H K Huysman, Esq. was under my care in the Hospital of the Netherlands Red Cross, located in the “Staats Meisjes School” in Pretoria (July-August 1900). At that stage I was the “Chef” (Supervising Surgeon at the Hospital).

    Huysman was still suffering severe after-effects of shell-wounds acquired some months earlier in a skirmish at Fourteen Streams. I strongly urged Mr Huysman to go to Europe for a lung operation: due 
    to lack of facilities it could not be done in South Africa with a fair chance of success.


    When I returned to the Netherlands after the war, Professor Dr Korteweg informed me that he had successfully operated on Mr Huysman and had removed a large fragment of a lyddite shell from his 


    I am of the opinion that Mr Huysman owes his life to having followed my advice, and that he should be considered a partial invalid due to the war”.

    After the war Huysman returned to South Africa and at the time of his medal application in 1925 he was employed by the “Nederlandse Bank voor ZA” in Cape Town. He died in 1951.

    Edited by archie777
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