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    “Early in Sept. 1900 the three-pronged eastwards advance of the British under Genls. Buller, French and Pole-Carew put the retreating Boers, many of them without horses, under great pressure. At a Boer Council-of-War, held at Hectorspruit on 16 Sept 1900, it was decided that only mobile fighters, well experienced in local conditions, would continue with the next (guerrilla) phase of the war. 

    Approximately 2000 burghers under Genls. Louis Botha and Ben Viljoen withdrew northwards and the balance, some 3000 strong, were advised to join Genl Coetzer at Komatipoort or to cross the border into Mozambique. This motley array consisted of elderly burghers, foreign volunteers, Cape rebels, deserters, dejected Boers and even men and their families who had previously hidden in the bush! 

    The Portuguese Authorities were afraid that the Boers would destroy the bridge over the Komati River or even engage the British on Portuguese soil. After a message from President Kruger that the bridge must not be touched, General Coetzer left with some 250 men with serviceable horses to join General Botha: this left General F.J. Pienaar in command.

    On 21 Sept Portuguese secret agents promised Pienaar favourable terms if the Boers would surrender to the Portuguese and thus prevent a confrontation with the advancing British forces. 

    During the night of 22-23 September General Pienaar crossed the border into Mozambique with some 700 Boers and Pienaar ordered his forces to lay down their arms. 


    Towards the end of the month a larger group of about a thousand, which included women, children, foreign volunteers and even a few servants also crossed the border. Those who were armed laid down their weapons and a special train carried them to Lourenco Marques.


    According to international custom the Boer Burghers were now internees and were warned that they would be shot or imprisoned if they tried to return to the ZAR.


    The British were not quite satisfied with the presence of the Boers in Mozambique and after lengthy negotiations it was decided that the majority would be sent to Portugal.


    This was finally done between February and June 1901 when some 890 males and 175 females, of which 150 were younger than 16 years, were interned in 6 Portuguese towns (Abrantes, Alcobaça, Caldas da Rainha, Oeiras, Peniche and Tomar).” 

    “Viva os Boers” privately published in Afrikaans by O.J.O. Ferreira, Pretoria, 1994.
    “The Foreign Volunteers, on the other hand, were in a different category: initially the representatives of the ZAR Government in Mozambique distanced themselves from the Volunteers, implying that they would have to make their way home at their own cost.


    This led to vehement protests by the Volunteers, who requested free passage home as well as some form of remuneration. In this they were strongly supported by the Portuguese authorities who wanted to get rid of them.

    Eventually a Committee of ZAR officials was formed to facilitate repatriation of the Volunteers and after clandestine (so as not to sour Portuguese-British relations) over-border negotiations money was made available by the ZAR Government and a suitable vessel was chartered.

    On 2 October 1900 the SS “Styria” left Lourenco Marques for Trieste with 378 passengers, of which almost 370 were Foreign Volunteers. The leader of the party was a Mr de Cock (an official in the ZAR Auditor-General’s office) who afterwards submitted a report and passenger list with destinations of individuals to the ZAR Government.

    The SS “Styria” docked in Trieste on 31 October 1900 and, on instructions of the Lourenco Marques committee, the Trieste branch of the travel agency Thomas Cook paid out “pocket-money” to each Foreign Volunteer and issued each one with a travel-ticket to a city of his choice.” Source: An Afrikaans article “Die Repatriëring van Buitelandse Oorlogsvrywilligers uit Transvaal na Europa in 1900” by C de Jong, published in “Africana Notes and News” Sept 1981.

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