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    In the Colonies and Boer Republics which became the Union of South Africa in 1910, several unofficial military decorations and medals were instituted and awarded during the nineteenth and early twentieth century.


    The Cape Copper Company Medal for the Defence of O'okiep is a private campaign medal which was instituted by the Cape Copper Company Limited in 1902.


    The medal was awarded to members of the O'okiep Garrison who defended the town while it was besieged by Boer Commandos from 4 April to 4 May 1902, near the end of the Second Boer War.

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    Coincidentally with the recent start of this thread, a Cape Copper Company Medal for the Defence of O’okiep just appeared in the latest listing of medals being offered by Liverpool Medals, SKU: J8898 (https://www.liverpoolmedals.com/product/defence-of-ookiep-medal).


    The description reads:

    "Medal for the Defence of O’okiep, Bronze, 484 Private Cornelius Van Heever, 1st Namaqualand Border Scouts;


    A very rare medal, awarded locally to the defenders of the mining town of Okiep during the Boer War.


    Officially impressed: “C. Van Heever”.


    Confirmed on the medal roll, earning a matching Queen’s South Africa, with bar Cape Colony, for his service with the 1st Namaqualand Border Scouts.


    During the Boer War, the Siege of O’okiep lasted from 4th April to 4th May 1902.


    According to the nominal rolls for his unit, the Namaqualand Border Scouts, Cornelius first signed on with the unit on 12th March 1901, and was discharged on 30th June 1902.


    This medal is a bit more interesting that your typical Namaqualand Town Guard man as he was already fighting in the region before the siege began.


    The Colonials in South Africa 1899-1902, transcribed by Angloboerwar.com provides the following information on the unit’s services:


    The Namaquland Border Scouts, about 360 strong, was almost wholly recruited from half-castes. 


    In the words of a British officer who, although not belonging to them, saw much of their work: 

    “they were an excellent force, which did a great deal of hard patrol work under Colonel White, and had several stiff brushes with the enemy. They were conspicuous for consistently refusing to surrender when surrounded, as patrols were at times. They would keep up a fight till dark, and although half of them were killed the survivors of the party would escape. They made wonderful marches without water in their desert country”. 


    The work of the regiment was very similar to that of the Border Scouts. The corps was employed in their own district in 1901 and 1902, and had the good fortune to be part of the garrison of Ookiep when that town was besieged in April 1902. 


    The force which held the town made a most excellent defence, and were complimented by Lord Kitchener. Lieutenant Watkinson was wounded at Ookiep on 13th April.


    In March 1902 a detachment at Garies had fighting on various occasions. Lieutenant Darter was killed on the 18th and Squadron Quartermaster Bidmead on the following day.


    The Mentions gained were as follows:—


    LORD KITCHENER’S DESPATCH: 23rd June 1902.—Captain H G Maddison; Lieutenant Rich; Sergeant G Muller; Quartermaster Sergeant L S Panizza; Private B Links."


     It is accompanied with a high resolution image of the obverse and reverse shown below. This photo can be zoomed for greater detail. 





    Edited by Rusty Greaves
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