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let's be fair, these camps were made not for extermination of Boers but for denial of population's support to the guerilla fighters. Harsh times, harsh measures alas.
Here's a crazy idea ... how about no figures representing concentration or POW camps at all, in any war? Or, for that matter, figures representing any massacres or abuses of captured military or civilians? Not only are such sets extremely controversial, they are simply in poor taste (see Orion Chechens). Seriously, is there anyone out there who wants to see 1/72 figure sets representing the Holocaust, or the Rwandan massacres, or the Khmer Rouge?? If someone is demented enough to want to model such things (or thinks that a diorama of a Gulag or a Boer War prison camp or something similar would serve an educational purpose), then they can do so on their own time and make their own conversions. But let's leave manufacturers out of it, and let's not raise this kind of stuff on forums.
I too must most strongly object to this nonsense. No civilians were 'eliminated' during the Boer war. Read your history, dont just make it up.
Thinking about it, Willy cant even get his terms right. POW camps were for POWs. Concentration camps were for the civilians, which were very different things. Willy, you should read a book on the Boer war.
Pretty harsh words, but not unwarrented!
Both the British and Boers had "Prisoner of War" camps. Regarding the British prisoners by Boers - "Ladysmith Street" at Waterval Onder. Regarding the Boer side, "Main Street, Broad Bottom Camp, St. Helena.
Was it neither side, or both sides, were guilty of inhumane treatement of civilians and prisoners of war (what's the difference?).
My vote - No controversial POW camp scenes for the Anglo-Boer Wars for either side in "Toy Soldier Collecting."
I, too much, like both sides. My boss today in Japan is from Cape Town. I respect him and support him. But I also have many British friends. These events were too long ago. Please leave politics out of Toy Soldiering.
Happy Handsome Toy Soldier Collecting
In every war there are prisoners and with that there are inhumanities that people should not forget, maybe a set like this may help us to not forget the inhumanities suffered by the South Afircans during this bloddy conflict
Indeed. However that would be a set of men, women and children doing nothing, looking hungry and some dying of disease. Tough thing to sculpt in 1:72. Some of the Boers set might do if you cut off the weapon, but some generic civilian sets for this (and other) periods would be great. After all, civilians always get caught up in wars.
In my mind the difference is POWs are captured combatants, whereas the concentration camps were for civilians forcibly moved from their land. There is no doubt many died in the camps thanks to British incompetance or neglect, but Willy implied they were murdered, which is nonsense.
I am sure most readers of this forum know enough of their history to know he was wrong, but for him to state that it was a fact really annoyed me. Some may read that and just accept it without checking.
My turn to stir the pot. Lets keep this website for armchair generals not armchair politicians.chuckle (lol)
So lets keep it all in toyland where its friendly, now please.
You're right, Jon:
I asked my boss from Cape Town if he was aware of any kind of extermination or genocide of Boers in the camps. He shrugged and said no. His school days studies never alluded to this happening. He said of course there was suffering in all camps on both sides though, as with any war, but he clearly held no grudge nor could recall any such events. My books have already referenced that both sides lost more from disease, malnutrition and neglect than in actual battles.
As for common terminology, the beautiful illustrated edition book "The Boer War" by Thomas Pakenham lists in the index and text that "Concentration Camps" were for holding the Boer Civilians, and "POW Camps" were for holding British regulars. However, photo subtitles mention both ways in different references.
I'm sure the S*R Team will give us enough civilians for conversions in the Boer Infantry or Command sets. I'm hoping to see a Boer Regulars set to mate with these releases.
My boss (from Cape Town) recommended as being an excellent historical source, the book "Cry the Beloved Country." I'll look on Amazon.com. Don't anybody beat me to it!
Although this is a controversial subject, I'm glad Willy brought it up. I feel better knowing my new information.
Also, I personally apologize to everyone for my totally unsportsmanlike/ungentlemanly comments last week on this forum in an earlier thread. I hit the town last week and the pubs and am deeply ashamed by my online behavior. I enjoy everyones contributions and feel lucky and enjoyment to share our hobby.
Now we can enjoy a happier collecting of these figures and I'm looking forward to reading up more on the whole of the history of The Boer Wars.
Cheers to everyone
Dear Dave et al
Many Boer male prisoners were sent to St Helena or Ceylon and other parts of the British Empire as POWs. They were in effect exiled.
Most of the Boer families faced starvation (from about 1901) as the British had instituted a scorched earth policy to deny the Boer guerillas a means of re supply. The Boer Commandos had also provided the protection of farmsteads from blacks who had been dispossesed of their lands by previous generations of Boers and saw this period of turmoil as a chance for redress. The concentration camps were thus seen as a solution for these two main issues which in truth had not been thought of beforehand and it was not part of a plan.
Famine and disease was a feature of all Colonial Wars and was used as a weapon against non Christian and non white peoples by all colonial powers. The Boers were white Christians so there had to be a compromise.
The concentration camps gave the British authorities supposed control of a situation that was likely if unchecked to lead to famine and massacres of white people. Very much a political solution that now we only examine in the very broadest and most understandable terms of the terrible loss of civilian life. The question of whether the Boer families would have survived better without British intervention is a moot point. In essence both approaches would lead to condemnation though the British and Lord Roberts in particular chose the concentration camps because it side stepped any charges of laissez faire and showed expediency in the short term. Now this does not translate well into 1/72nd scale figures. The camps did have nurses and doctors who struggled with epidemics and malnutrition (not a policy of starvation) and brought dignity to an otherwise misguided, incompetent attempt to solve things that were completely out of hand.
In 1/72nd? Medical personnel tending the sick and wounded would be a way of showing this episode but also an essential feature of the Anglo Boer war.
Spot on David. Looking at the painted boers, I was wondering what differences, if any, there were between these guys and civilians/cowboys etc of the wild west. Does anyone know if we could use some atlantic (or airfix wagon train) civilians for south africa too?
Thank you for your excellent information. I only grow more curious and am looking forward to now reading about the Boer Wars, not just enjoying illustrated histories. I'm having bad luck finding the book my boss recommended, but I'll confirm next week and repost any new info. Cheers!
Concerning differences or similarities between Boer Commandos and Cowboys, I think the only obvious detail is the "bandolier" worn by Commandos. They were never worn on American soil that I am aware of, but there were American mercenaries who fought in Mexico during revolutions and in Hollywood films (The Wild Bunch w/William Holden) who looked cool.
Regarding Atlantic and Airfix Wagon sets, both are super cool and lend very well for the Boer Wars, Zulu Wars, American West, all the way up and into WWI/WWII themes (hint, hint new S*R WWI theme). In fact, the Atlantic set comes with oxen-power. Both A/F and Atl sets oxens or horses are HO scale, but the small size means you can fit all four in any diorama or game, without wasting space.
Notes: (1) The Atlantic wagon is perfect for Boer Wars and Zulu Wars being wider, lower, has a movable tail-gate (back door), many accessories and is realistically oxen powered. (2) The A/F wagon can be converted by cutting the canopy (top) 1/4 off, and looking keen for U.S. Cavalry (John Wayne films), and also the Westward treck in U.S. history ("California or Bust") with no conversion. I've got other ideas I'll share visually, (3) The A/F figures are perfect for any farmer/Trecker scene. The men, women and children are very attractive and only waiting to be appreciated by us in this now super interesting set by S*R "The Boer Wars" and don't forget the camp fires, barrels, and trunk accessories (no bandoliers make them civialians, not commandos) good for "The Great Treck" also.
I have a date with my wife next week to teach me how to make scans on our new computer with her new digital camera, so I hope to begin sharing with everyone some of my conversions in a general sense - via HaTs "Everything Toy Soldiers" link, if I'm a good enough student! Time for my humility =
Cheers Mates, and if I may borrow Frank's kind words "Have a Great Day!"
Personally, I think that it is reasonable to acknowledge that in situations of war, some people may become like animals and completely lose it. I'm sure that those British soldiers who were responsible for the death of Boer civilians were later plagued by nightmares and many may have indeed committed suicide after the war ended. It would be interesting to see if there are any studies covering this aspect of warfare.
I met, years ago, an elderly lady, who was gang raped during WW2. She could still not talk to any man, some 45 years after it had happened.
A good friend of mine had to count killed enemies in Vietnam by putting their ears into a bag. Not a nice thing, neither then nor from today's perspective.
Our hobby should not enable some sick perverts to recreate those most gruesome and tragic events. Out of respect for the victims we should refrain ourselves from depiction of cruelty. Let's remember the dead of all wars as worthy humans, some misled to follow evil instructions, others being true heroes. Say NO to torture camps in 1/72 scale!
BTW, I also use the Imex civilian sets as Boers.
There were also good people like Emily Hobhouse who campaigned on behalf of the people in the camps and was indeed honoured by the S Africans. Newspapers like the Manchester Guardian (present day Guardian) printed stories about the camps including first hand accounts.
Nightmares and mental health issues were not talked about back in the early 20th cent. Admission of such could lead to incarceration in a mental asylum with no guarantee of release. Suicide carried a great stigma but many probably did choose that way out. Most of the mental asylums in the UK were disbanded in the 1980s/90s and the copious records that had been kept since Victiorian times were lost in many cases.
The Public Record Office/National Archives should have discharge details for the Boer War. There is also WO32/8063 onwards which are War Office reports on the camps-these are held at Kew again PRO/NA.
It would follow that the person responsible was Lord Kitchener, the successor to Lord Roberts, as he had declared martial law. Kitchener seemed to attract equal amounts of popularity and hate and both in great measure.
I'm impressed with your knowledge about the Colonial era. I think it would be awesome to have people like Emily Hobhouse scaled down to 1/72. I'm also sure that most soldiers on both the British and the Boer side of the war had honorable motives and were noble warriors throughout. Had they met each other in peaceful times they would probably have shared an Oatmeal Stout and played Rugby together.
Your comments are closer to truth than people may realize. When I asked my S.A. boss about the concentration camps, his parting comment under a chuckle was, "What, 10 years later we were fighting together in WWI. We are all still part of the same Commonwealth!"
in my opiniaon he was great man to figth agaist british imperialism and by the way lots of volunteers fougth in Boer side like my great grandpa who was 11 when he went south aafrica with his brother and frends and he killd a lot of Brits when he game back he hated brits more.he saw terrible thing there.
in the Boer War many Boers and S Africans fought for the British. Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders also volunteered to fight on the side of the British empire.
S Africans played an important part in the East African campaigns in WWI and were highly respected by all in WWII for their commitment.
Boer leaders like Jan Smuts helped with the reconciliation and indeed became a figure the equal of Churchill. His biography shows how important he was in the 20th c. A great statesman.