23 February 1900, General C de Wet makes concerted effort to recapture Oskoppies (Kitchener’s Kop) at Paardeberg.
DID YOU KNOW
On 23 February 1900, the battle of Paardeberg was in its seventh day. General Christiaan de Wet had held the feature Oskoppies (Kitchener’s Kop) from 18 to 21 February as an escape route for the besieged General Piet Cronje and his Boer army but had withdrawn through necessity. On the 23rd he attempted to recapture the feature.
General de Wet entrusted General Philip Botha and Kommandants de la Rey, Fick, Kriegler, Theunissen and Vilonel for this task, a force of some 500 Boers mostly from the Heidelberg and Winburg Commandoes attacking the kopje held by the Yorkshire Regiment and the East Kent Regiment (The Buffs).
It was a poorly executed assault with the majority of the attacking Boers being forced to withdraw. Kommandant Helgaard (Harry) Theunissen, together with 87 Winburgers, held their ground until their comrades reached safety, and after some two to three hours surrendered to the British.
There were at least 15 Winburgers killed in this assault.
The Winburg Commando had been withdrawn from the Natal Front on 14 February and rushed to the Kimberley area in order to assist General Cronje.
(Pictured is the battle of Paardeberg in progress as seen from Signal Hill).