5 British Concentration Camps of the South African War 1900-1902
BCCDBritish Concentration Camps
of the South African War


Irene has received more attention than any other camp, for a number of reasons. Because it was located so close to Pretoria, it was under the eye of the senior camp authorities. The presence of a group of Boer women from Pretoria who nursed in the camp and who expressed themselves strongly on conditions there, at the time and later, gave it additional notoriety. But there were other factors as well. The Irene camp superintendents and medical officers wrote long, detailed reports reflecting on many aspects of life in the camp. Taken with the accounts of the Pretoria women, we have perspectives on Irene camp from many different standpoints. These accounts have to be interpreted carefully but they give us a valuable sense of the life in Irene.

Even before the British reached Pretoria, the capital was overflowing with refugees and the arrival of the British triggered a fresh influx. As a result, Pretoria was forced to supply relief to a substantial number of people from the start of the war. Some of the Boer families were housed in a camp on the banks of the Apies River, where Henrietta Armstrong, one of the Pretoria women, worked already in 1900. Irene camp may have been formed shortly after Kitchener’s notice of 22 September 1900 that camps should be established in Pretoria and Bloemfontein; it was certainly in existence in December 1900 and the Apies River families were then moved to Irene. At this stage, in December 1900, when there were 891 inmates, the camp was managed by the military under Capt Hime-Haycock.1

Irene was transferred to civilian control in February 1901 when N.J. Scholtz, was appointed superintendent. He was originally a Cape colonial but latterly had been employed by J.B. Robinson’s company. Although he was not popular, Scholtz must have been fairly efficient for he was promoted to travelling inspector in July 1901, when he was replaced by G.F. Esselen, a man who inspired little confidence. Johanna van Warmelo, one of the Pretoria women, had little time for him. ‘I think we are going to bully this new man – he looks so small and sickly and afraid’, she wrote. The Ladies Committee agreed. They thought him ‘weakly amiable; he has no authority and no force of character’.2 Esselen was finally replaced in January 1902 by Lieutenant L.M. Bruce, RAMC, previously quartermaster of the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital. Despite his lowly rank, Bruce transformed Irene into a model camp.3 As a man with a medical background, Bruce’s philosophy behind the management of the camps was sanitation ‘from first to last’. ‘I view the Camp more or less, as a large hospital, and as such have given to Sanitary matters particular and unremitting care’, he wrote.4

Irene was a large and constantly changing camp, reaching 5,641 inmates at its peak, but averaging about 4,000 people. In the early days many families came from Pietersburg, until a camp was established in the north; in April 1902 the unhealthy Nylstroom camp was closed and its inhabitants moved to Irene although they were always housed separately. Both Pietersburg and Nylstroom were malarial areas and many families from these districts were already debilitated when they arrived at Irene. Along with the people from the Waterberg and Rustenburg, they were mainly impoverished bywoners with few resources. They brought with them the habits and customs of the poorer rural societies, practices which aroused the disgust of the British personnel and helped to stigmatise the Boers as insanitary, practising primitive and distasteful forms of healthcare.5

One reason for Irene’s poor reputation was the ill health. Measles was present from the first, probably introduced from Pretoria, for the capital was an unhealthy town.6 Families from the malarial areas arrived chronically ill and in a wretched state. ‘Some of the women had sacks tied round them for want of better covering, and the children were in a worse state, a good many of them being covered with vermin’, one report noted. The doctors became increasingly concerned about the extent of disease at this early stage. ‘If all the other 52 weeks are equally sickly, it would mean that every man, woman, and child would come under the doctor’s hands six times per annum’, Dr George Turner, the Transvaal MOH commented. When Dr G.B. Woodrooffe was appointed as camp MO, he attributed the poor state of health to a mix of factors, ranging from the severe epidemic of measles to the great difference in temperature in the tents during night and day, the strong superstitions and aversion that many had to fresh air and clean water and ‘the utter callousness and helplessness of many during illness, and their belief in all kinds of disgusting remedies’, as well as the camp life, to which many were unaccustomed and the diet, especially the lack of fresh milk and vegetables.7

At first disease was compounded by a severe shortage of medical staff. When Henrietta Armstrong started nursing in Irene camp it was clear that her services were badly needed for there was only one nurse, Nurse Turner, and she proved unreliable, taking ‘French leave’ at will. Under the circumstances Dr Wotherspoon turned to the Pretoria women with relief.8 The medical staff was gradually augmented, with Drs Hamilton, Green, Neethling and Woodrooffe arriving at various points, but the Pretoria women were still valued. ‘These ladies do their work well, and it would be difficult and impossible for the present medical staff to do their work without them’, Dr Green wrote. Esselen also thought their efforts ‘untiring’. He would, in fact, have liked more philanthropy provided from outside – ‘a great deal could be done in this direction if there was some woman in camp to lead and direct the inmates as to their Christian duties in this direction (visiting and providing comforts to the sick)’, he wrote.9

The growing concern over Irene camp led Kitchener to invite the distinguished doctor, Dr Kendal Franks, the Honorary Consulting Surgeon to the British forces, to inspect Irene camp in July 1901. He was assisted by Dr Neethling, who had previously been with the Boer forces and was, consequently, not biased in favour of the British, Franks explained. Franks also spent much time with Johanna van Warmelo, probably the best-known of the Pretoria women, whose ward contained the new arrivals, mainly very poor people ‘of the lowest class’. It was here that Franks found ‘the greatest amount of sickness, dirt, and want of clothing, and ignorance to be found in the camp’. He explained that: ‘As most of Miss Van Warmelo’s statements are coloured by what she found in her own ward I was especially glad of the opportunity to visit her ward in her company, and of sifting her statements for myself on the spot.’ In all the other wards, he explained, he was struck by the ‘contented, cheery, well-cared-for appearance of the people’.

As in other camps, Franks found that the women were extremely reluctant to enter hospital. Johanna van Warmelo attributed this partly to their fear that they would have to pay, and partly to their belief that they would be starved there - the result of the practice of putting all typhoid patients (who had to be hospitalised) on a low diet. Maternity patients were equally reluctant to give birth in hospital, preferring their own midwives, ‘a set of untrained and ignorant women’, Franks declared for, like many doctors, he was deeply prejudiced against independent midwives. While Afrikaners were greatly angered by the British insistence that the Boers were insanitary, one needs to draw a distinction between the propaganda which the British made to excuse their own inability to limit the mounting mortality, and the reality that many of the poorer bywoners, like many pre-industrial people, had not absorbed modern sanitary concepts. The habit of changing the children’s clothing only once a week, was not unusual, as the British discovered amongst evacuees during the Second World War. The practice of piling on clothing and bedding as the temperature of a feverish child rose, was equally widespread, as was the unwillingness to admit air into the tents.

On the whole, Franks’ report was fair and thorough. Unfortunately, like that of the later Ladies Committee, it was couched in patronising and self-serving terms which were bound to antagonise the Boers. He concluded, for instance:

The high death rate among the children, I would like to emphasise again, is in no way due to want of care or dereliction of duty on the part of those responsible for this camp. It is, in my opinion, due to the people themselves; to their dirty habits both as regards their own personal cleanliness and the cleanliness of their children and of their surroundings; to their prejudices; their ignorance; and their distrust of others, even their own nationality, when their advice runs counter to their own preconceived and antiquated ideas. This is specially noted in connection with their treatment of the sick, to their rooted objection to soap and water, to fresh air, and to hospitals.10

Mortality continued to dog Irene camp. The repeated influx of new arrivals, who could not be isolated, and who had no immunity to the disease, meant that the measles kept finding new hosts. Pneumonia and bronchitis were also continuing sources of concern, especially in the cold winter of 1901. Few of the children were admitted to hospital so they continued to suffer in the tents, treated by their mothers. Like Franks, Woodrooffe was concerned about the ‘dangerous, useless and disgusting remedies’ used by the mothers, while he worried that food was constantly smuggled into hospital for the typhoid patients.11

Although Johanna van Warmelo spoke well of Woodrooffe (Henrietta Armstrong detested him), it is clear that he was increasingly unsympathetic to the Boer women and his reports are filled with anti-Boer sentiments. In August he complained that several cases of pneumonia died because of food given against his orders. There was no excuse for the dirt, he felt; water and soap were always obtainable. ‘Those that have money will spend it on all kinds of rubbish and tell you they have no soap. Their morals are about as clean as their skins.’ Woodrooffe was also deeply suspicious of unqualified practitioners. ‘The most famous quack in camp is “Dr.” Pretorius, a cripple, whose qualification is that he was an attendant in one of the Boer ambulances. He parades a great red cross on his coat sleeve and another on his hat’.12

Fatal disease was never entirely eliminated from Irene camp. The winter months of 1902 brought virulent pneumonia and measles returned as families came back from Merebank in Natal. By this time, however, isolation was possible and the disease did not spread. Nevertheless, by October 1902 the MO was satisfied with the ‘strikingly well-nourished condition’ of the people. October was the first month in which there were no deaths in the camp but the children returning from Merebank showed signs of scurvy, he feared.13

The graph below compares the mortality in Irene camp with the average deaths in the Transvaal camps. The most striking feature is the very high mortality of children in May and June 1901, well before most camps felt the impact of the measles epidemic. It was this early tragedy that marked out Irene as the iconic suffering camp. Apart from this peak, the Irene pattern of deaths was similar to that of the other Transvaal camps.

The Irene death rates tell a slightly different story for, apart from the early epidemic, Irene death rates were slightly lower than the Transvaal average. However, there was a long period of ill health, stretching right through 1901 and affecting adults as well as children. The measles epidemic struck again, with fresh arrivals, and there was probably some typhoid as well, together with respiratory ailments, since adults were affected as well.

Underlying the ill health was the nutrition but we need to be careful how we interpret the evidence. Much has been made of the fact that, in the beginning, there were two ration scales in the Transvaal, with no meat for families whose men were on commando. While this scale certainly existed on paper, from the first several camps ignored the instruction and within a month, by March 1901, most camps, including Irene, had abandoned it. Nevertheless, the ration scale did not provide enough calories, fat was lacking and vitamins were deficient. But Irene was better off than many camps. From fairly early on the Irene estate supplied some vegetables. Enterprising Indian market gardeners also found a ready sale for their produce by the end of 1901, when some inmates had their own gardens. From the Boer point of view the greatest problem was the meat, for they were accustomed to generous quantities (as were many Victorians, black and white). The quality of a ration scale was judged by the meat and the livestock was sadly thin and scrawny. Tinned and later frozen meat were alien to Boer bywoners and always seemed a poor substitute. Esselen tried to remedy the situation by giving away the heads and ‘plucks’ (innards) free to the poorest camp people. Even this had its problems for the Ladies Committee was appalled at the condition of the slaughter ground, where the young children went to collect the blood and tripe from the slaughtered animals.14

Although sickness and death dogged everyone, like Bethulie, Irene seems to have been a particularly depressed camp. Henrietta Armstrong recognised that the morbid obsession with death was unhealthy. She wrote, ‘It’s deplorable the way they all cluster around a dying patient to see what they generally call “zoo ‘n prachtige sterftbed”’ [‘such a beautiful deathbed’]. Other indicators of the poor morale were the rumours, the squabbles and the absconding which all helped to make Irene an unhappy place. Gossip was an ongoing problem and the superintendents of Irene camp referred to it a number of times. Even when Irene had been transformed, the superintendent complained of the ‘deliberate and gross misrepresentation of facts circulated with malicious intent’. Vaccination, he noted, was a fruitful source of such rumour-mongering. ‘One woman declared that a child who had been vaccinated suffered the loss of an arm, that another had died, and that several were sick in hospital.’ Others claimed that marriages could be annulled after six months, although this was repudiated from the pulpit.15

There was also much resentment and conflict between the inmates of Irene. Scholtz commented on the friction between the women whose men were on commando or prisoners-of-war and the men in the camp.

These are generally very bitter against the men in the camp, whom they style “hands-uppers,” and treat so contemptuously that the men will not do anything for them. In consequence these families have no ovens. To meet their wants in this respect, I have had several ovens built where they bake their bread. I have, also, had several soup kitchens built, but as the people do not seem to appreciate them I have discontinued building these.’16

Esselen had difficulty getting the men to work – an indication of his lack of authority. ‘They expect to have everything found for them without doing an ounce of work themselves’, he complained to the Ladies Committee. Dr Woodrooffe, too, was critical the men’s unwillingness to help the women.

The idea of helping the helpless does not exist in consciences of the stalwart burgher, over and over again a woman whose husband is fighting or a prisoner of war has to sit and nurse her children and ask in vain of a fine well-built, noble “patriot” to chop her wood or fetch her rations or her medicine, his reply is “I have no time,” or something to that effect. There is no such thing as gallantry among these creatures, unless paid for, when another name will cover the term gallantry.’17

Some of the men reacted by absconding. In July 1901 nine men left. While one was a ‘weak-brained’ youth who only wanted to go home, others, Esselen believed, were encouraged to desert by women who wanted the men to take letters to their husbands on commando; the men didn’t actually want to rejoin the commandos themselves, he considered. Such men, he suspected, were under some kind of obligation to the women, as bywoners, debtors or suitors. In other cases families were anxious to discover the fates of family members from whom they had not heard for months. Esselen eventually established a register to try and trace missing family members. Even after Esselen left, absconding continued to be a problem. Although a number joined the National Scouts, in January 1902 16 were arrested, charged with sedition and inciting others to abscond. Four were captured in the act of leaving the camp with blankets and food.18

But Esselen had difficulties with the women as well. His proclamations were torn down and he responded by ‘naming and shaming’. ‘Since the list has been compiled, giving the names and particulars of those women and children whose husbands are still on commando, the women of those still on commando have considerably quieted down, and generally speaking, a better tone seems to prevail in camp’, he reported. Under the circumstances it was not surprising that the Irene families were amongst the first to be moved to Natal, as early as September 1901. The women were ‘defiant’, Esselen reported, when the lists were drawn up but they ‘turned very meek and mild’ when the trains arrived and they were loaded up. ‘Previous to their despatch from here they were told by visitors and even by inmates of this camp that the British would not dare to send the women out of the camps, as the other Powers would interfere and not allow them to do so’.19

The Ladies Committee visited Irene camp twice, in September and again in November 1901 and their report on Irene was one of the longest they wrote. Their first impression was that the camp was ‘untidy and ill-kept’ with tents pitched irregularly on rocky and stony ground. The water supply was regularly polluted by animals, dead and alive, and taps were not repaired. They devoted considerable space to the rations and the way in which they were issued. The meat, they thought, was thin and the weight included bone; the ration looked ‘very scanty’ and the superintendent was unwilling to take the responsibility of increasing it. There was much grumbling about the meat, the Ladies noted, and several people returned their ration and had it replaced. Milk was mixed with boiled water and the place where the milk was handled was filthy. Lack of fuel was another problem and was unnecessary, the Ladies felt, since both wood and coal were readily available. Nor were the Ladies impressed by the camp matron, Mrs Esselen. In efficient camps, the matron was always busy, they pointed out, but every time they encountered Mrs Esselen, she was sitting in her tent doing embroidery and drinking tea.20

Education was another source of conflict. Although Irene camp had schools from early on, they seem to have been used by the inmates to instil their own culture. When Esselen investigated a marquee provided for the women for their own use, he found a Dutch school in full swing – ‘no less than three classes presided over by three Dutch girls, not one of whom I consider competent to teach in a day school’. A number of other informal schools also existed, one run by a twelve-year old girl and another by a young man who was almost illiterate. The men (not the women!) in the camp had been told that Dutch schools would not be allowed without government permission but this had been started without his knowledge or consent. ‘I relate this incident to point out the glaring impudence or lawlessness of these people, and how necessary it is to imprint on their minds, during their life in the burgher camps, that they must bow to discipline and will have to respect law and order, and that there will be no more back-door influences or escapes’, Esselen complained.21

The headmaster of the formal school, Mr Leibrandt, was ‘a rebel’, the Ladies declared. The bulk of the teaching was done by the Rev. Richardson, a University man, probably Irish, the Ladies thought. He had, they said, become ‘very Dutch’ and was ‘extraordinarily dirty’ but he was an enthusiastic teacher with the power of interesting the children. When they returned in November, Leibrandt had disappeared and the new headmaster, Mr Reynolds, seemed ‘zealous and painstaking’. The Committee was particularly impressed by Miss Rothman who taught the infants and loved her work. A group of ‘admiring mothers’ watched their children performing action songs, they noted.22

Esselen, too, thought education had improved since the Dutch schools had been closed. ‘Parents who some months ago cursed the English and myself in particular because I warned them that if they remained obstinate and continued to refuse to send their children to School I would take the children in hand myself and compel them to attend school, are now coming to see me and thank me for ordering their children to school’, he reported. Previously the streets had been filled with ‘crawling little children wallowing in filth and dirt’; now the school marquees were filled with children clearly interested in their lessons. ‘The thirst and desire for knowledge is becoming manifest in the children and in a number of cases the children have actually come to me personally and complained that their parents would not allow them to go to school.’ Above all, their English was improving and the children now sang and played games in English. Bruce, too, was impressed by the standard of education. ‘It is a pleasure indeed, as a result of the Educational endeavour for this Camp, to see the children forming classes of their own after school hours, singing over all the songs they learn in school and teaching each other English.23

By February 1902 the educational system had expanded considerably and we can get some idea of the way it was organised from the lengthy report.

8-8.30 Drill for 50 children daily
8.30-11 General school
11.30-1 General school
2.15-4 Manual training
3-5 Drawing for one tent (two classes); Women’s class
Extra work for upper class Std IV
Teachers’ class – Monday & Thursday
6-8 Men’s class

In addition to the manual training classes, it was hoped to open a cooking school.24

Pursuing an Anglicisation policy, the British were often oblivious of the profound objection of the Boers to the loss of their own culture. Bruce, for instance, commented:

A curious case of prejudice longstanding occurred in the case of a father who persistently refused to allow his children to attend school. I remonstrated with him and he replied, that he had allowed his children to go to school at the beginning but he also took the precaution of going himself to see what they were being taught. He was both astonished and alarmed to see that the children were being taught to be Soldiers and “HANDSUPPERS” and since that time he had objected to their attending school. The mind that can see so much in a simple school drill instruction is, fortunately, conspicuously rare among the Burghers. The person in question, however, is one of the irreconcilable few who cause trouble out of all proportion to their individual worth’.25

The teachers were a mixed bunch, ranging from young Dutch women to a batch of girls imported from Britain. ‘With so large a number of ladies and of mixed nationalities living away from a town the social side of life claims attention’, H.F. Reynolds, the headmaster, noted. There was a teachers’ mess and every week an ‘At Home’ was held, attended by the camp and hospital staff, officers of the garrison and some local residents. Other entertainments ‘promoted social intercourse between the Dutch and English Teachers and prevent the weariness that is so often connected with Camp life’.26

The Ladies Committee was critical not only of the Esselens, but also of the Pretoria women who, the Ladies considered, had far greater authority than the superintendent. They felt that the women contributed to the poor morale of the camp. ‘On the whole their tone was to weep and bewail, but take no active steps to help the people to help themselves or make the best of things’, the Ladies commented. The Committee decided that they were a ‘dangerous element’ in the camp, undermining the authority of the superintendent and acting as go-betweens between the camp and the town. Irene required a strong superintendent who could sweep away the little cliques and coteries who defied Esselen’s authority, they declared. The Pretoria women were dismissed later that month, to their anger, ‘which leads me to conclude that they were not voluntary nurses, in fact they were anything but nurses’, Esselen now stated. The result, he believed, together with the despatch of some of the ‘firebrands’ to Natal, was a much more resigned spirit.27

There is no doubt that, to some extent, the Pretoria women worked against the interests of the British. Henrietta Armstrong described one occasion when she tried to prevent a group of Boer men from joining the British forces. ‘Oh, what a talking-to I gave those men’, she wrote. ‘How I pleaded with them. I proved to them what a wrong step they were taking, but they are blind to their own happiness.’. In the books she wrote about her wartime experiences, Johanna van Warmelo left no doubt about where her sympathies lay. At the same time, unlike the camp inmates, these were educated women who recognised that some people needed hospital attention. When Mrs Oosthuizen fell ill with double pneumonia, Henrietta Armstrong ensured that she was hospitalised. ‘By taking her to the Hospital I hope we shall be able to pull her round!’, she noted.28

Despite the disparagement of the Ladies Committee, things were gradually improving in Irene camp. Tinned meat was replaced by fresh mutton, of far better quality than before and the vegetable supply had improved. Many of the tents had been replaced by huts of sun-dried bricks and the tents were enclosed by brick walls to keep out the water. Health, too, was improving. The measles epidemic was spent and the people were more willing to send their children to hospital. ‘Sweeping improvements’ in sanitation in January 1902 reduced the mortality rate even further, although enteric fever continued to be a problem, perhaps because of a contaminated milk supply, the medical officers suspected. In March 1902 the camp was moved from its original site, about 8 miles south of Pretoria, to one which was just west of the railway station. ‘It would be difficult to select a site more healthful and better suited to our purpose’, the superintendent declared.29

Bruce was more successful in persuading the men to work and they were employed as carpenters, saddlers, brickmakers and blacksmiths. Others worked on the farms around Irene. Since all were paid, a good deal of money passed through the camp, enabling the families to improved their living conditions. A handful of men joined the National Scouts and more would have done so, Bruce believed, had it not been for ‘some evil influence’ which was restraining them.30

Festivities brightened the monotony of camp life. The first sports day was held on 19th October 1901, with treats for the smaller children. There was a large attendance and it was much enjoyed, Esselen said. The band of the Cameron Highlanders played and cakes, sandwiches, tea and coffee were served. A full set of cricket gear has been received and it was intended to play the first match on the king’s birthday. The arrival of the peace coincided with coronation festivities which were lavishly provided in Irene camp, with a concert and picnic for the children, a dinner for the old people and a ball and sports day for the adults. The expenditure, Bruce considered, was well worth it for the celebrations were an unqualified success and much gratitude was expressed by the people.31

The end of the war brought in a flood of men from the commandos. This presented its own problems for these Boers were unfamiliar with British ways. There was some friction between the longstanding male inmates and the new arrivals but Bruce appears to have dealt with them tactfully. Indeed, he noted optimistically, ‘I have received as Superintendent of the Camp much thanks from surrendered Burghers for the kindness of the Government to their families, and gratitude, as far as I am able to interpret the feeling of the people, is the prevailing sentiment of all those who have left to return to their farms. Perhaps part of Bruce’s success lay in his romantic appreciation of the drama of the moment, for he devoted considerable space in his reports to the arrival of the commandos.

The arrival of the surrendered Burghers after the peace proclamation produced a state of excitement never equalled in Camp. Men, women, and children thronged the boundary and gazed intensely along the road whence the surrendered Burghers were expected to arrive. In spite of the efforts of the Burgher Police, thousands of people stood on prohibited ground outside the Camp to welcome the latest fighting remnant as they returned. The dust of horsemen seen afar upon the road was the signal of expectant surmise among the women and children who were looking for long vanished faces. At that strange meeting place, before the suppressed excitement of several thousand people, the mother found her child, the wife her husband, the sister her brother. There was none of the loud hurrahs or tumult of shouting that usually characterise a British crowd. The hands of the heroes, for such they were accounted, were shaken cordially by the men, and as heartily were their lips kissed by the women. The reception was of a unique nature. In spite of rags and dirt and dust, the women lined up to impress their welcome upon sunburnt cheeks. The young women pinned the colours to their coats, and they were led triumphantly to the tents of their families and friends’.

The swearing of the oath of allegiance moved Bruce especially.

I was particularly impressed with the swearing in of five of the eldest men in the Camp. One of them was 85 years old, and the others of an approximate age. They struggled to my office with the aid of crutches and sticks, and the very necessary assistance of other Burghers. They had originally come from the Cape Colony with the “Voortrekkers” when the century was young, and through all the tragic scenes of political drama in South Africa had been staunch adherents to the Boer cause. Their history, indeed, is contemporaneous with the history of the country since the period of the 1820 [sic] settlement. It was a strange spectacle to witness these men of wrinkled and decrepit age, scarcely able to move without pain, voluntarily raising their hands to Heaven while their lips repeated the oath ”zoo waarlyk help my God Almachtig”.32

Repatriation from Irene camp took place fairly rapidly compared with some camps. By the end of July nearly 1,000 people had left. Bruce complained, though, that the burghers were remarkably acquisitive, taking anything they could in the hope that it might be useful to them, including tools and other government property. As a result, he had to keep a sharp lookout. By September over 5,000 had been repatriated.33 Irene camp seems to have been closed in December 1902 for no report appears for January 1903.

Irene camp left a legacy in the form of an orphanage which was established there to take care of all the children from the camps who had lost their parents. Four dormitories were erected to take 60 children, and various other buildings. A garden was laid out, as well as a hen run, and Bruce hoped that a ‘manual training school’ would also be established for the boys. By November the numbers had increased to 70 and Bruce was willing to admit 90. He got his manual training school. At the end of the month Bruce handed the orphanage over to other care. These children were afterwards transferred to the Langlaagte Children’s Home, later known as the Abraham Kriel Children’s Home.34


H. Armstrong, Camp Diary of Henrietta E.C. Armstrong. Experiences of a Boer Nurse in the Irene Concentration Camp, 6 April-11 October 1901, ed. by T. van Rensburg (Pretoria, HSRC, 1980).

C. du Plessis, Notes Written During the War Between England and the Transvaal, 1899-1900 (Johannesburg, SA National Museum of Military History, 2001).

J.L. Hattingh, Die Irenekonsentrasiekamp, Archives Yearbook for South African History, 1, (1967), pp.72-201.

J. van Warmelo, The War Diary of Johanna Brandt, ed. by J. Grobler (Pretoria, Protea, 2007.

Published camp reports; Cd 819, pp. 28, 58-61, 120-123, 235-241, 351-355; Cd 853, pp.62-66; Cd 902, pp.69-73.

Unpublished camp reports: DBC 11-14 in the National Archives, Pretoria [NASA].

Kendal Franks report: Cd 819, pp.162-166

Ladies Committee report, Cd 893, pp. 115-123.

1 Hattingh, Irenekonsentrasiekamp, p.95; Armstrong, Camp Diary, p.45; Cd 819, p.23.

2 Hattingh, Irenekonsentrasiekamp, p.104; Cd 893, p.120.

3 Spies, Methods of Barbarism?, p.149; Hattingh, Irenekonsentrasiekamp, p.95, 101, 103, 104-105, NASA, DBC 12, Jan 1902.

4 NASA, DBC 11, May 1902.

5 Hattingh, Irenekonsentrasiekamp, pp. 121-122.

6 Cd 819, p.23; du Plessis, Notes Written During the War.

7 Cd 819, pp. 28, 58-61, 121.

8 Armstrong, Camp Diary, pp.64-66, 68.

9 Cd 819, pp.61, 236.

10 Cd 819, p.162-166.

11 Cd 819, p.240.

12 Cd 819, p.354.

13 NASA, DBC 13, Oct 1902, Nov 1902.

14 Cd 819, p.26; Cd 893, p.121; NASA, DBC 12, Jan 1902.

15 Armstrong, Camp Diary, p.110 ; NASA, DBC 12, Apr 1902.

16 Cd 819, p.58.

17 Cd 893, p.119; Cd 819, p.241.

18 Cd 819, p.239; NASA, DBC 12, Jan 1902.

19 Cd 819, p.354; Cd 853, p.63.

20 Cd 893, p.118.

21 Cd 819, p.352-353.

22 Cd 893, pp.118, 119, 121.

23 NASA, DBC 14, Nov 1901; DBC 12, Jan 1902.

24 NASA, DBC 12, Feb 1902.

25 NASA, DBC 11, May 1902.

26 NASA, DBC 12, Feb 1902.

27 Cd 893, p.119, 120; Cd 902, p.71.

28 Armstrong, Camp Diary, p.74, 78, 85; van Warmelo, War Diary.

29 NASA, DBC 12, Jan 1902, Mar 1902.

30 NASA, DBC 12, Jan 1902.

31 Cd 902, pp.71-73; NASA, DBC 11, Jun 1902.

32 NASA, DBC 11, Jun 1902.

33 NASA, DBC 11, Aug 1902, DBC 13, Aug, Sep 1902.

34 NASA, DBC 13, Oct 1902, Nov 1902, DBC 14, Dec 1902; Armstrong, Camp Diary, p.22.

Acknowledgments: The project was funded by the Wellcome Trust, which is not responsible for the contents of the database. The help of the following research assistants is gratefully acknowledged: Ryna Boshoff, Murray Gorman, Janie Grobler, Marelize Grobler, Luke Humby, Clare O’Reilly Jacomina Roose, Elsa Strydom, Mary van Blerk. Thanks also go to Peter Dennis for the design of the original database and to Dr Iain Smith, co-grantholder.