William Oberholster’s widow “produced documentary proof to the satisfaction of the Board” after she submitted a claim for his ABO medal. He had served in the Jeppestown Ward of the Johannesburg Commando and saw early service at Dundee, Elandslaagte, Colenso and Spionkop. In the last phases of the war in the Transvaal he ended up with the Middelburg Commando and he was captured at Nooitgedacht on 20 February 1902. This was a mopping up operation by the Columns of Col. Park and Lt. Cols. Williams and Urmston to try and net Commandant Trichardt’s Middelburg Commando that was known to be in Bothasberg, some 40 km north-west of Belfast. In the ensuing operations two Australian units, 2nd NSW Mtd. Rifles and 3rd NSW Imp. Bushmen, which were part of Williams’ Column, played the major role by taking 120 of the 163 Boers captured. A report published in The War with Johnny Boer by Chamberlain & Droogleever (p. 553-555), gives an excellent rendering of the Australians’ assault and unarming of the Boers. However, not all surrendered meekly:
“One giant, who while his comrades were surrendering all around him, had fired the last cartridge from his magazine at an officer a few yards away, fortunately without hitting him, let his rifle fall to the ground, then folded his arms and stood waiting. ‘Hands up! ’ roared the officer past whose ear the bullet had swished ‘I will never hands up to a Britisher’, was the reply but as he was now unarmed and helpless he was speedily a prisoner with the others”.
The Official History comments: “Trichardt himself escaped, but for hours his followers were hunted.....the victims as much of their own negligence as of their enemy’s dash, for the British had been undetected by so much as a single scout or sentry.”