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TOPIC: Opperman, Jacobus Daniel. General

Opperman, Jacobus Daniel. General 2 years 3 months ago #34922

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Served: Swaziland. Awarded the DTD (Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst).

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David Biggins

Opperman, Jacobus Daniel. General 2 weeks 2 days ago #54969

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DTD (General J.D. Opperman). In original white box of issue. City Coins, September 2017.

General Jacobus Daniel (Koot) Opperman was born in Cradock on 16 January 1861. In 1873 he moved to the Harrismith area with his family. He served in the 1884 expedition against Usibepu. Here he met Louis Botha, a future comrade-in-arms. He married Anna Catharina Badenhorst and had three children (her death notice in file).

In 1893 he was appointed Lieut in the Tvl police (ZARPS) and posted to Swaziland. He served in the Boer War with the Swaziland Burghers. He fought at Colenso and at Pieters Hill where he was carried from a trench after being concussed by a lyddite shell. He also fought at Barberton, Vryheid and Piet Retief. He was wounded at Itala in September 1901.
A most competent soldier; he was mainly responsible for the British defeat at Scheepersnek and the capture of two guns at Bloedrivierpoort in September 1901 as well as for the destruction of Bethune's Mounted Infantry.

When attacking Major Valentin of Plumer’s Column at Onverwacht, near Ermelo on 4 January 1902 he was shot in the forehead within 20 metres of the enemy as he urged his men forward. His body lay on the field and his adjutant, M.W. Coetzer, and Willem Collins battled to load the 120kg body onto a horse. By then, the British columns were arriving at the top of the ridge and the Boers now became subjected to artillery fire. In spite of all their efforts, they failed to recover the General’s body which was left on the field. Today he lies buried in Vryheid cemetery.

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David Biggins
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