Roxon also noted the seriousness of the offences involved, explaining that "I consider that seeking a pardon for these men could be rightly perceived as 'glossing over' very grave criminal acts. (Wilcox, p. Nicola Roxon replaced Robert McClelland as Attorney General on 12 December 2011. According to South African historian Arthur Davey, "...Hunt was only 28 when he was killed and therefore younger than his subordinates, Morant and Handcock, and only a year older than the hapless Witton. This is the earliest record of Breaker Morant s exploits and reprinted for … "The Breaker" had further claimed to be a war correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and had "left without discharging his liability" of £16/13s. Breaker Morant, Peter FitzSimons, Hachette, $49.99. [...] Technically, the two "Aussies" were British officers. His superb horsemanship, expert bush skills and educated manner soon attracted the attention of his superiors. This mistake appeared in his book as late as 1981 (7th edition, p. 268), and is a possible reason as to why there is confusion about the location of the execution, i.e., Pretoria or Pietersburg. Reuter with dire consequences if he continued to aid the British Army.[43]. We are going to shoot you,' or words to that effect. However, Denton claimed that Morant and Handcock were executed in Pietersburg and buried near that spot. to Fort Edward asking for a full explanation as to why Mr. Heese had been detained for several weeks. Morant's Afrikaner adjutant, Trooper Theunis Botha, later recalled, "I may say here that for Morant's own cowardice the whole of the party would have been caught as every other man in the patrol will testify. Heese. A petition to pardon Morant and Handcock was sent to Queen Elizabeth II during February 2010. On 30 October at 10am ceremonial burial took place. Here you will find a collection of famous poems of Harry Breaker Morant. The missionaries, accompanied by their Swiss brothers and sisters sang funeral songs. The book’s title and blurb promise a biography of Breaker Morant. We are adverse to taking the matter to court till we had heard from you."[22]. Born in England and emigrating to Queensland in 1883 in his early twenties, Morant was a charming but reckless man who established a reputation as a rider, polo player and writer. Harry "Breaker" Harbord Morant (born Edwin Henry Murrant, 9 December 1864 – 27 February 1902) was an Anglo-Australian drover, horseman, bush poet, military officer and war criminal, who was convicted and executed for murder during the Second Anglo-Boer War. The former ‘King of Tenterfield’ endured a stunning fall from grace, slipping into bankruptcy and imprisonment. "Vice-Admiral Sir Digby Morant denies that Lieutenant Morant, who was executed at Pretoria, was his son, or that he was in any way related to him. Morant spent most of the night writing and then penned a final sardonic verse, which he titled, Butchered to Make a Dutchmen's Holiday. When he died in 1941 the estate that he left was not that of a wealthy farmer. The all-Australian supporting cast features Bryan Brown and Lewis Fitz-Gerald. Reuter's congregation. The Rubicon is crossed. One Kaffir [sic], when commanded by Capt. Hendrik Jacobs, however, believed that Lobedu witch-doctors were to blame. After about a year, he adopted the name Harry Harbord Morant, claiming to be a member of the British nobility and the estranged son of Admiral George Morant. In the absence of the original trial records, three primary sources remain. He became in later life a well known game ranger at Kruger National Park. "[48], According to Trooper Christie, "I said that Captain Hunt had died a soldier's death - that he was killed in a 'fair go' and beyond being stripped there was no maltreatment of him; and how the Kaffirs [sic] might have stripped him. It must be read on the author’s terms. At that point, the sensible thing to do was to ship them off to a POW camp. Telegrams were also sent. The regiment, based in Pietersburg, 180 miles (290 km) north of Pretoria, saw combat in the Spelonken region of the Northern Transvaal during 1901–1902. Apart from the Swiss brothers there were several of our missionaries present. Morant is often described as being 'well-educated' and claimed to have been born in 1865 at Bideford, Devon, England and to have been the illegitimate son of Admiral Sir George Digby Morant of the Royal Navy; a claim repeated as fact by later writers, although the admiral denied it. He published it during 1907 with the provocative title Scapegoats of the Empire. We met them with their rifles so we knew they fired the shots. Born in England and immigrating […] [113] It said that while Morant and the others probably committed some crimes and may well have deserved disciplinary action, there is now persuasive evidence from several sources to show that the Kitchener 'no prisoners' order did indeed exist, that it was widely known among both the British and Australian troops and was performed by many disparate units. Deciding to proceed anyway, Captain Hunt led "his patrol into a situation that would echo through the next 100 years". Daniel refused, saying that they might have prevented him from approaching the prisoners, that he was in possession of a pass from the commander at Pietersburg allowing him to travel freely, and promised to report himself at the camp and bring his passport with him. Wrench and his patrol to return to Fort Edward as an advance guard. I find the author's style a bit hard to deal with at times but overall it was an interesting book and very informative. Brand new Book. Smit, who was in reality a Deacon at his Dutch Reformed parish. [40], According to Leach, however, Captain Hunt's broken neck would be consistent with a fall down the concrete steps after being wounded. Reuter had supplied the ammunition used in the same attack. As a result, Reverend Krause secretly summoned Pastors Sonntag and Endelmann, arranged for them to receive passes, and sent them to the Bandolierkop area to investigate. The epic story of the Boer War and Harry 'Breaker' Morant: drover, horseman, bush poet - murderer or hero? BVC Sergeant J.C. Wrench and a patrol of eight men were sent to intercept the party and to take charge of the prisoners. (Church of England and Roman Catholic)."[89]. Schulenburg wrote to the Public Record Office and was informed by letter that the trial transcripts, like almost all others dating from between 1850 and 1914, had "been destroyed under statute" by the Civil Service between 1923 and 1958. Despite the warning and the fact that it was a bright moonlit night, Hunt chose to attack anyway.[37]. The items found included a number of personal effects engraved with Morant's name and/or his initials, including a penny on a leather thong, engraved with his name, which has a roughly circular nick on the edge. For the past decade Military Lawyer, James Unkles, has pursued justice for the descendants of Lieutenants Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant, Peter Handcock and George Witton who were found guilty of killing prisoners during the Boer War. The most widely known book is the best-selling Australian novel The Breaker by Kit Denton, first published in 1973 and inspired by Denton's meeting and conversation with a Boer War veteran who had known Morant. The list is ordered alphabatically. '"[53], The known names of the victims were C.P.J. At that part of the hearing when witnesses were called to testify in the Heese case, an element of surprise occurred when Prof. Malie Smuts, granddaughter of Reverend Heese stepped forward and presented items that had been recovered from her grandfather's cart by the British military and returned to the Heese family after the war. Reuter further alleged that his own mission station had been threatened. [103] On 31 October 1941, a brief obituary in the Rhodesian Herald described Taylor as one of Rhodesia's "pioneers". But let all the world come and try to trample me down and put his foot on my neck, and try to crush my country, then with twenty men about me I will fight, yes, fight the world entire, fight till I am free or dead.'"[29]. After taking command of the prisoners, Sgt. In an exchange of fire, Captain Hunt was shot through the chest. "[101], Alfred Taylor returned to his farm near Plumtree, in Southern Rhodesia. Have you murdered him, too?' For most of the first 200 pages Breaker hardly features. Further investigation revealed that the alleged rapist was Captain James Robertson. His busy professional life involves co-hosting the breakfast program on Sydney's Radio 2UE, writing weekly columns for the Sydney Morning Herald and Sun Herald newspapers, appearing on Foxtel's Back Page television show and, when time permits, authoring best-selling books. Captain de Bertodano later recalled, "One afternoon walking through the Camp, I met Morant out for exercise with a young Lieut. He was one of the few who managed to ride the notorious buckjumper Dargin's Grey in a horse race that became legendary.[6]. [48], Lieutenant Morant then approached Trooper Christie and said, "I know it's hard times for him, but it's got to be done, see how the Boers knocked Captain Hunt about. Commandant-General Piet Joubert of the South African Republic had already expressed a similar ideology after the Transvaal War of Independence seven years earlier. The epic story of the Boer War and Harry 'Breaker' Morant: drover, horseman, bush poet - murderer or hero? Some of this mail apparently never even left Pretoria, whilst certain letters did arrive at their destinations. It is for this reason that we have taken the liberty of addressing this communication direct to you." The all-Australian supporting cast features Bryan Brown and Lewis Fitz-Gerald. [121] On 9 May 2012, she indicated that the Australian government would not pursue the issue further with the British, as there was no doubt that the three men had committed the killings for which they were convicted, and the Australian government's position is that pardons are appropriate only when an offender is both "morally and technically innocent" of the offence. So Morant and Handcock made two very basic errors: Once you’ve accepted the surrender, you take them to the railway line and get them shipped off to Bermuda, or wherever. According to South African historian Charles Leach, Captain Hunt had received "warnings and expressions of caution" regarding "the wisdom of attacking an enemy position at night" without normal reconnaissance of the place. [47], A volley rang out and Visser fell backwards from his sitting position. The guards became angry with Daniel for speaking to the prisoners, and ordered him to get up onto the wagon and consider himself also a prisoner. When we outspanned I heard that Lieutenants Morant, Handcock, and Picton would hold a court-martial and that Visser would probably be shot. When the matter was brought before Colonel Hall, the commandant of Pietersburg, he ordered the offenders to be discharged from the regiment and released. Around a year after his arrival, Murrant first settled in outback Queensland. Deliberations continued for further two weeks,[82] at which time it became known that the indictments would be as follows: In a confidential report to the War Office, Col. J. St. Claire wrote, "I agree generally with the views expressed by the Court of Inquiry in the opinions of the several cases. "[48], Before taking his place in the firing squad, Trooper Botha told Trooper Christie about Visser, "I know him good. "[53], According to BVC Trooper Albert van der Westhuizen, "He told us to scout as we went along as a large number of Boers were close at hand. Also we beg that all witnesses may be kept in camp at Pietersburg till the inquiry is finished. Taylor shot him dead with his revolver. The problem was you were dealing with an unstable set-up in the BVC . It reads: The Bushveldt Carbineers accepted the surrender of 8 Boers and after taking them along for some time shot them. "[51], On 20 August 1901, Captain Taylor received a report from his agent Henry Ledeboer, saying that eight Boer prisoners had surrendered to him and to BVC Trooper A.S. Petrie near the Swiss-run Elim Hospital. The only books,and film,of Breaker Morant,make him out to be a scapecoat for the English Army. Add to wishlist. "[66], The Society later wrote in Missionhaus Berlin, "On 30 October the burial of the murdered missionary Heese Jnr. On the evening on which Visser was captured I acted in that capacity. Before the Boer War, Major Thomas had been a pillar of his community. I'm a Pagan! According to South African historian Charles Leach, "In the opinion of many South Africans, particularly descendants of victims as well as other involved persons in the far Northern Transvaal, justice was only partially achieved by the trial and the resultant sentences. Hunt was killed. 'The Bushveldt Carbineers: a chapter from the Anglo-Boer War', in, This page was last edited on 8 January 2021, at 05:34. If they had intended doing this they should not have accepted a surrender in the first instance. Morant worked in a variety of occupations; he reportedly traded horses in Charters Towers, then worked for a time for a newspaper at Hughenden during 1884. [116], During November 2010, the British Ministry of Defence stated that the appeal had been rejected: "After detailed historical and legal consideration, the Secretary of State has concluded that no new primary evidence has come to light which supports the petition to overturn the original courts-martial verdicts and sentences. Trooper Botha continues, "In the morning similar questions were again asked him by Lieutenant Morant who again promised to spare his life if he answered truthfully. [95] They separated soon afterwards and never formally divorced; Daisy reportedly refused to have him live with her after he failed to pay for the wedding and then stole some pigs and a saddle. This was true, according to South African historian Arthur Davey, Rev. At the courts-martial several witnesses, Sergeant S. Robertson and Lieutenants Morant, Handcock, and Picton mentioned that Hunt had given orders that no prisoners should be taken. In fact, Major J. F. Thomas represented the men. [3][4] Edwin and Catherine were master and matron of the Union Workhouse at Bridgwater and after Edwin died in August 1864, four months before the birth of his son, Catherine continued her employment as matron until her retirement in 1882. Morant also wrote a confession which read. So deeply do we deplore the opprobrium which must be inseparably attached to these crimes that scarcely a man once his time is up can be prevailed to reenlist in this corps. "[9] At the time, and until the Australian nationality law of 1948, all 'Australians' were in fact, British subjects. 'You are the man who has worked up all the evidence and you ought to be ashamed of yourself for the betrayal of your brother officers.' Some time later, he was transferred to the prison at Portland, Dorset, and was released after serving twenty-eight months. Before commencing to ask these questions Lieutenant Morant said, 'If you tell the truth your life will be spared, if you tell lies you will be shot.' [55], In a letter to the Berlin Missionary Society, Rev. [30] It was further alleged that a local woman had accused a British Army officer of sexual assault. The letter concluded, "We shall esteem it a favour if you will let us know the course we had better adopt. When news of Hunt's death reached the fort, it had a profound effect on Morant; Witton said he became "like a man demented". Morant was often described as "well-educated". The organizing committee comprising a team of historians and enthusiasts was headed by Prof. Louis Changuinon. "[47], According to BVC Trooper Edward Powell, "After being captured he was conveyed in a cape cart about fifteen miles. He had not yet been buried. I don't like to do it, but they will shoot me if I don't. Accounts of Morant's life before the Boer War vary considerably, and it appears that Morant fabricated a number of these romantic legends. There was a Breaker Morant - he was executed at Pietersburg on 27 February 1902. His tenure as a junior officer in the regular army had been short and it can be supposed that his knowledge of military law was limited. The commanding officer, Major Lenehan, had been sent to Pretoria: Witton says he was under arrest, but I doubt this. According to a 13 January 1900 report of his enlistment by The Adelaide Advertiser, Morant, like all other volunteers, read and signed the following declaration: Morant was reportedly invited to visit the summer residence of South Australia's governor, Lord Tennyson. [59], In his memoir Scapegoats of the Empire, Lt. George Witton alleges that one of the eight victims, "a big powerful Dutchman", lunged at him moments before the firing squad started shooting. It reads as follows:[97], During 1981, South African historian Dr. C.A.R. I think anyone who reads it will come away convinced that Breaker Morant was no hero, nor was he badly dealt with by the British army. [99], Captain de Bertodano later denounced Witton's account, saying, "It is mostly a garbled and untrue version of the facts." ", "Lt Henry H Morant Dec 9 1864 Feb 27 1902 Pretoria RIP. Carl August Daniel Heese, a South African-born Minister of the Berlin Missionary Society. You are guilty as Hell and I am glad to help send you there... Where is your boy? Thomas pleaded with Kelly to have the executions stayed for until he could appeal to King Edward VII, but the General replied that the sentences had already been referred to England – and confirmed. During the next 15 years, he drifted around Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia. These are a series of terrible errors of judgement. About a week later, reports began to circulate that Reverend Heese had been found shot along the Pietersburg road about 15 miles (24 km) from the fort on his way to Pietersburg to report the activities of Morant and his group to the British authorities. We did not scout as we knew this all to be moonshine. He replied that he was killed in a fair fight, shot through the chest. Reuter was assigned to the Medingen Mission Station and, despite later claims by his family, he "seems to have been an exception" to the generally Pro-Boer sympathies "of the Zoutpansberg German population". During March 1900, Sergeant Morant carried dispatches for the Flying Column to Prieska, commanded by Colonel Lowe, 7th D.G., who was in the general advance to Bloemfontein and participated with the engagements of Karee Siding and Kroonstadt, and other engagements with Lord Roberts until the entry into Pretoria. [52], Lt. Morant ordered Sgt. Otherwise, they could find nothing new that could clarify the murder and the reason for this terrible deed. of E. and Handcock as R.C. Significantly, Morant did not see Hunt's body himself; according to Witton, Morant arrived about an hour after the burial. A week later, they returned to Fort Edward with the Kelly party and then escorted them safely to Pietersburg. While it seems certain that some members of the BVC were responsible for shooting Boer POWs and civilian noncombatants, the precise circumstances of these killings and the identities of those responsible will probably never be known for certain. Reuter's ties to the British. [98] On his release he returned to Australia and for a while lived in Lancefield, Victoria, where he wrote his controversial book about the Morant case. But, as Rev. One of them was W.D. Wilcox suggested this book is a follow-on from Cutlack's book … Most Australians have heard of the Boer War of 1899 to 1902 and of Harry 'Breaker' Morant, a figure who rivals Ned Kelly as an archetypal Australian folk hero. Morant was found guilty and sentenced to death. "The statement that Captain Hunt's body had been maltreated is in no way corroborated & the reprisals undertaken by Lt Morant on this idea were utterly unjustifiable. 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