There are a number of Jameson Raid remnants to be found in Burgershoop Cemetery in Krugersdorp. The dominant one is the memorial erected in 1917, where 5 Burghers are remembered. There are also the graves of 3 Jameson raiders with headstones, and evidence suggests that at least 2 others are buried in the cemetery.
The memorial was almost illegible when I first saw it in 2008, but I was able to recreate the inscription as below.
Within sight of the memorial are three graves from the ill fated Jameson party, unfortunately, when I visited the cemetery in 2012, the headstone of Capt. Barry had been toppled.
To the best of my knowledge there are still two Jameson raiders graves inside this cemetery, although I have not been able to find them. Unfortunately the Jameson Raid has been long forgotten, as is the fact that this is one of the triggers of the Boer War that was to have so many far reaching consequences for South Africa. I recallblogging about the incidentin February 2012, and thinking at the time that the shots that were fired so long ago are still reverberating around South Africa over 100 years later.
The Randfontein Estates Gold Mine Military Cemetery is somewhat of a misnomer, the reality is that it is a collection of graves related to the Jameson Raid next to a railway line.
The graves are of Troopers William Charles Beatty-Powell, John Bernard Bletsoe, Harry Davies, John R.H. Foster, and C.E Hennessy, and they were hidden amongst the trees, and not too many people were actually aware of them. When I was first looking for them I was really lucky to find a security guard who knew the spot. His name was Alpheus Cele, and without him I have never found them. My first visit was in 2009, and at the time the area was half hidden amongst the trees and grass, in 2012, the site has been cleared of vegetation, although no restoration had been done.
The site can be be found at Google Earth co-ordinates: 26° 9.021’S 27° 43.462’E
In March 2018 I was contacted by the South African War Grave Society (Registration No.: 203-374 NPO) who had undertaken a partial restoration of the graves. Unfortunately my images really stop at 2012 so I am sure that the graves are looking better since the restoration was undertaken. The image below shows a before and after.
(Image from South African War Grave Society Information sheet)
I wish them much success in their future projects, and may it grow from strength to strength. If you would like to assist please contact me via my contacts page and I will pass on their contact details.
Continuing from the Vlakfontein Monument I now went to the site of what is loosely known as the Stump Monument.
Next to “The Brickworks” is the spot where the cottage stood where Jameson surrendered to the Boer forces (Google Earth co-ordinates: 26° 12.441’S, 27° 48.431’E). I had missed seeing this site before, but the images here were kindly taken for me by Leon Engelbrecht in 2009.
There were two seperate plaques although both said basically the same thing. There was even a resemblance of a fence.
Between when the original images were taken in 2009 and February 2012 the stump has been reduced to a blackened piece of charcoal, and the fence has also been stolen.
I also realised that there were two similar granite plaques, which I had not realised from the images taken in 2009.
Just behind “the Brickworks” is what is known as the Vlakfontein Monument: (Google Earth co-ordinates: 26°12’30.72″S, 27°48’27.31″E.) When I visited it in 2009 the fencing had been complete around this memorial, although it was heavily overgrown.
This monument was interesting because it mentions some of the casualties of the ill fated raid. Originally a wooden cross was erected, but it was replaced in 1913 by a monument commemorating all those killed in action. A bronze plaque was affixed in 1962 and proclamation as a national monument was due to to follow in due course. During 1963 the West Rand Historical Society relocated the Vlakfontein Monument from its original location higher up the ridge to an area in the middle of the stone kraal where Jameson’s column was said to have made their last stand.
At the base of the monument was an almost illegible plaque that I was only partly able to piece together, but fortunately there were two much more legible granite plaques with the inscriptions on them.
I returned in 2012 to check if there had been any change in the memorial since my last visit and it was in a deplorable state. All the metalwork had been stolen and the grass was still as high as before. It was even very difficult to find the low wall that I had almost fallen over before.
I then moved across to the “Stump Monument“, I had missed this in 2009, so was curious to see it now.
There are a number of memorials associated with the ill fated Jameson Raid of 1896, and I have decided to split them as opposed to keeping them all together like they were before. My knowledge of these events is small, and it was only in April 2009 that I decided to do something about it. I had seen graves from this incident in 2 cemeteries before, but had never followed up on the memorials. Contact with Leon Engelbrecht tickled my interest and I went hunting….
My first find was the so called “Surrender Memorial”. (Google Earth Co-ordinates 26°12’24.00″S, 27°48’22.52″E) This memorial, along with an additional two were not marked on my map book in the first place. The one that was marked is the most difficult of all to find. Major roadworks were also happening in that area which made things a bit more complicated. However, In Adcock Street look for “The Brickworks”, and 3 memorials can be found in it’s immediate area.
Remarkably, this memorial was in a good condition on both my visits in 2009 and 2012, although the roadworks were still ongoing.
It is apparent that this was not all, there seem to be graves in the Soweto area and ruins in Krugersdorp Nature Reserve. There is also an area further down along Adcock Street of importance and there may be more Jameson Raid related remnants to be found at Vlakfontein farm cemetery, Violet Mine Cemetery as well as in Magaliesburg area. I have however been unable to find any of these sites listed on the Vlakfontein Memorial. It is worthwhile picking up a heritage assessment dated 2006 from SAHRA for more information about the raid, these areas and their history.