Episode 63 - The death of the French Colonel as Vincent van Gogh’s brother fights for the Boers.

Episode of: The Anglo-Boer War

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Dec 2, 201826m
Episode 63 - The death of the French Colonel as Vincent van Gogh’s brother fights for the Boers.
Dec 2 '1826m
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We’re going to ride with the French Colonel or "Die Franse Kolonel", Georges Villebois-Mareuil as he heads into the Free State with the International Legion. This episode is slightly longer than usual because the details of this Frenchman are so intriguing. We will also be introduced to some of the International soldiers who fought for the Boers, including artist Vincent Van Gogh’s brother, Cor. He’s already been living in the Transvaal building locomotives for the President Paul Kruger’s government, and when war breaks out, naturally he signed up to fight for the Boers. The French Colonel Villebois-Mareuil, a man steeped in family military tradition, had arrived in South Africa soon after the war began in October 1899 and had travelled to Ladysmith in November. He was present at the battle of Colenso, and by January 1900 was well known to the Boer soldiers as he began to advise General Piet Joubert. This was a sensitive matter as Joubert brooked no interference, but at one point the Frenchman had suggested an attack on two British outposts that were critical for the defence of the besieged town. These were observation points known as Caesars Camp and Waggon Hill and they required attacking at night. On 2nd January General Joubert held a war council at his hooflaer or HQ above Ladysmith and it was finally decided to launch an attack on the town, preceded by the taking of Caesars Camp and Waggon Hill. On 5th January the Boers began to move - little knowing that fate was against them. One of the better organised British commanders, Colonel Hamilton, was in command at Caesars Camp and Waggon hill. Also, Sir George White, the Ladysmith commander, had issued orders for the various guns there to be moved out on to the plateau - dealing the Boers a blow before the battle started because the hustle and bustle of artillery moving around meant the British were very wide awake.

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