I am very interested in any further information on this person. I take it that what appears here comes from the Medal Role and/or his application for an ABO - is that correct? If so, are any further details provided there (I don't know, for example, if such applications contained birth dates, current addresses, etc., or only the name of the applicant's commando), and if there are, is there somewhere I might access such details? The Shearings provide a few further particulars, some of which are (I take it) drawn from additional sources, but I was wondering whether anything else appears on the actual Medal Role or ABO application.
I apologize if these are somewhat ignorant questions - I am still a neophyte in these matters, and would appreciate any information or advice.
Johannes George van der Watt (“Jan Aar”) is incorrectly listed in the Forsyth roll as serving in Comdt Lategan’s commando.
He joined up with Comdt Scheepers’ Cdo in the Aberdeen District in January 1901 and was one of five Scheepers men under Judge Hugo who left for the Orange Free State with General Wynand Malan on 14 July 1901. Malan hoped that he could persuade the OFS Government to proclaim the Cape districts under guerrilla warfare operations as part of the Boer Republic, making the rebels legitimate belligerents. A captured Cape rebel could then claim OFS citizenship and be sent to a PoW camp and not tried for treason. This proved to be a pipe dream.
After the party’s return to the Cape, Jan Aar served under Malan for some months and was wounded in the leg when Malan avoided capture. He is mentioned in “Oorlogsavonture van Genl Wynand Malan” by H J C Pieterse. Afterwards he also served under Comdt van Heerden and laid down arms 5-7June 1902 at Cradock (not Aberdeen as stated on Vorm “B”) as part of Comdt Fouche’s Commando.
The photo was probably posed at the time of his surrender : the hat is worn in the exact way as on a group photo of more than 30 Aberdeen Rebels taken at Cradock after they laid down arms.