Andries Swanepoel was 16 years old when he joined the Krugersdorp Commando in April 1900. He saw good action for a few months in the Boer retreat from Klip River/Doomkop eastwards via Donkerhoek (Diamond Hill) and Dalmanutha. On 12 September 1900 the advancing British forces were at Waterval-Onder and the Boer forces were hemmed in between them and the Mozambique border.
On 16 September 1900 the Boer Krygsraad at Hectorspruit decided that mobile burghers should form groups and trek northwards while the rest were sent east to Komatipoort to join General J. Coetzer. A few days later Coetzer and some 300 burghers, with still useable horses, left northwards to join General Louis Botha.
The remainder, a motley crowd of approximately 2000 (elderly burghers, men without horses or rifles, foreign volunteers, Cape rebels, women and children and even a few servants) now fell under General F. J. Pienaar. Swanepoel found himself in this group.
Pienaar negotiated with the Portuguese authorities and eventually on 23 September 1900 a long train with everybody on board crossed the border and with the status of internees and not prisoners.
Eventually almost 1100 of the group were sent to Portugal where they were interned in Abrantes, Alcobaca, Caldas da Rainha, Oeiras, Peniche and Tomar. The greater majority of them (including Swanepoel) returned to South Africa on board the SS Bavarian, reaching Cape Town on 5 August 1902.
In WWI Swanepoel was Draft Conducting Officer at Potchefstroom and, with Union service only, entitled to the single War Medal.