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    On 6 June 1901 the Commandant van Reenen and his Cape Rebel Commando decided to spend the night on the farm Ruigtevlei, south of Steynsburg.


    It was bitterly cold and apparently guards were not posted. Shortly after midnight they were totally surprised by an attack of the 17th Lancers (the “Death and Glory Boys”) under Lt-Col W P Wyndham.


    The leading squadrons, led by Captain D’A Legard, rushed the farm buildings which l sheltered the bulk of the commando and captured 23 prisoners (although the official Boer PoW Register lists only 16 names and a Boer source puts the total at 18 and states their names).


    A number of the Rebels, who chose to sleep in a nearby poplar-grove, managed to escape. In the action one Boer Rebel, Jan Kruger, was killed with a bullet through the heart.


    Capt Legard was seriously wounded (and subsequently MiD for good service at Ruigtevlei) and two Lancers (Lanham & Turner) were mortally wounded.


    The captured rebels had to walk to Steynsburg, where they were put in gaol. During the following week the Rebels were tried by a Military Court: all of them were found guilty of High Treason under arms, while a number of them were also found guilty on a 2nd charge: the murder of Pte Lanham.


    One of these men, P W Klopper, was shortly afterwards moved to Burgersdorp gaol where his death sentence was ratified on 19 July 1901 and he was hanged on 20 July 1901.


    On the same day the Steynsburg prisoners were marched to the Market Square where they were informed that all remaining death sentences had been commuted to penal servitude for life on Bermuda.

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