(008274.77-E001840.93NAVRLOSUC20V)[There is an email address below where this man can be contacted. This would be a good idea. I think it will be good for this guy in New Zealand to make contact with South Africans and Boers in particular. It could help to begin bridging the gap of ignorance. Jan]
Dunedin historian Peter Trevathan is keen to make contact with the descendants of local six men who fought in the Boer War and whose graves or memorials are in the Northern Cemetery. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
Dunedin historian Peter Trevathan is fascinated by the war graves and memorials dotted about the city’s Northern Cemetery.
After spending much of last year researching the stories of World War 1 soldiers for a Southern Heritage Trust visitors’ trail, Mr Trevathan has turned his attention to the Boer War.
The Northern Cemetery holds the graves or memorials of five troopers and one officer who fought in the Boer War.
The South African War, or Boer War, was fought between the British Empire and the Boer South African Republic (Transvaal) and its Orange Free State ally from 1899 to 1902. It was the first overseas conflict involving New Zealand troops.
This country sent 10 contingents of volunteers, involving more than 6500 men and 8000 horses, along with doctors, nurses, vets and school teachers.
By the end of the Boer War, 71 New Zealanders had been killed in action or died of their wounds, and another 159 had died in accidents or of disease.
Mr Trevathan said his research showed Captain Robert Tubman, of Dunedin, had died and been buried in South Africa.
Five soldiers — Louis McKechnie, Peter Nelson, Frederick Forbes, James Heenan and William Farquharson — returned home and later died of their wounds or disease.
Their graves can be found in the Northern Cemetery.
‘‘These were ordinary young men with regular jobs, who were keen to put their riding and shooting skills into action,’’ Mr Trevathan said.
‘‘As in World War 1, they were attracted by the idea of adventure to go away to war.’’
This began the tradition of New Zealanders going away to fight for the Empire and the achievements of the Boer War contingents established the reputation of Kiwis as good soldiers.
On behalf of the Southern Heritage Trust, Mr Trevathan has been piecing together the general movements of the Dunedin troopers, but would like to learn more about them as men.
With this in mind, he hopes to connect with the families and descendants of the soldiers to gather their stories.
‘‘It would be so good to know more about them and their families, and if there were any original letters or documents in existence, that would be brilliant.’’
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