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Daniel Theron


Title Commandant
Other Names Johannes Stephanus
Date of Birth 1872-00-00
Date of Death 1900-09-05
 
Born, 1872, died 5 September 1900. During the South African War of 1899-1903, Theron established himself, and was widely regarded by the Afrikaner community, as a hero and an idol. He established a Cycling Scout Corps. He recruited 100 men from the two Boer Republics at war with Britain, but eventually ended up with a variety of many other nationalities, such as Dutchmen, Germans, French, Russians, Irish, Greeks, Turks and Bulgarians. Theron's Corps made a significant contribution to the successful and varied operations of General Christiaan de Wet under whose command Theron served in the Western Transvaal (much of which is now part of the North-West Province). Theron's exceptional talents as a war scout were demonstrated at Paardeberg, when he crawled through British lines to deliver a message from De Wet to the beleaguered General A.P. Cronje. After being promoted to Commandant, Theron left De Wet's command with his scouts in August 1900. In a series of daring raids over a period of two weeks, Theron's forces blew up the railway line at Roodepoort, freed Boer prisoners of war at Vanwykrust and captured a supply train at Klip River Station. The Theron Scout Corps evoked respect on both sides of the war, partly because of the high standards applied in the selection process and the high performance standards set by Theron himself through personal example. Consequently, the Corps were turned into a military training school for the future officers of the Union Defence Force after unification in 1910. During the guerrilla phase of the war, in one Boer-British skirmish at Gatsrand near Potchefstroom on 5 September 1900, Danie Theron was killed by artillery fire. In 1950, half a century after his death, a monument was erected to him on the spot where he was killed.


South Africa's North-West province: A Guide to its History and Heritage. © 2017

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