ABO (Burg. P J. Schoeman)
1914-15 Star (Burg. PJ. Schoeman S.A. Veteran R.)
BWM; AVM (Bil.) (Burg. PJ. Schoeman Z.A.V.R.)
Pieter Jacobus Schoeman, a Cape Rebel from Nieu Bethesda, Graaff Reinet, joined Comdt W. Fouche’s Commando on 3 January 1901. He later served under another Rebel Commandant, G. Odendaal.
In his ABO application he specifically mentioned that he took part in the skirmish at Zuurvlakte, Aliwal North when Veldkornet Olivier was killed. Zuurvlakte is situated between Aliwal North and Jamestown.
On the morning of 14 July 1901, a combined force of Commandant Willem Diederik Fouche and Commandant Myburgh lay in wait on a semi-circle of hills west of Zuurvlakte. A detachment of Connaught Rangers under Major Moore moved from their bivouac at 8 am and came in touch with Fouche’s advance parties at 10 am. Moore drove them back, and started advancing on the offensive. However, moving forward over the level veld, he soon had to deal with heavy fire from superior Boer numbers encircling him on high ground. The Rangers dug in with little more protection than that offered by some ant-hills and from noon till dusk they had to lay on the defensive.
At dusk Moore could start an effective retreat. His men gained the protection of a line of rocks to the rear and as their opponents were now on the open ground they in turn began to lose considerably until it became too dark for aimed firing.
The British lost 7 men killed and 3 officers and 17 men wounded.
The Boers lost one man, the 21 year old Field-cornet Japie Olivier, who was shot through the spine and immediately paralyzed. He was initially nursed in a nearby farmhouse, but died a few days later.
His grave is still at its original place on the battlefield, but the 7 Connaught Rangers casualties were reinterred in Aliwal North.
During WWI (March 1915 to March 1916) Schoeman served with the SA Veteran Rgt. in SWA.