Kaptein – H. P. Slegtkamp

Hendrik Frederik Slegtkamp was born on 19 April 1873 in Beverwijk, Holland. In 1895, after completing his military service and a short period with the Dutch Civil Service, he emigrated to the ZAR as an employee of the NZASM for work connected with the Pretoria – Lourenco Marques Railway line. During the Jameson Raid he served on the Boer side, thereby gaining full ZAR citizenship. In October 1899 he joined the Middelburg Commando, but within days he transferred to the German Commando under Field-cornet von Quitzow and saw action at Talana and Ladysmith. He did not feel quite at home with the Germans and re-joined the Middelburg Commando in time for action at Colenso on 15 Dec 1899. When Captain W M Edwards formed his Scout Corps on 19 Dec 1899, Slegtkamp threw in his lot with them. 20 January 1900, during the first stages of the Battle of Spioenkop, was Slegtkamp’s special day of glory, and earned him the title “Hero of Spioenkop”. Lt Blake Knox, in “Buller’s Campaign” (p49/50) gave a contemporary account of De Roos, Hindon and Slegtkamp’s (all three from Edwards’ Scouts) initiative and bravery:

In February 1900, Comd Gen Louis Botha gave him permission to join the Irish-American Scouts (part of the Irish Brigade under Col J Y F Blake) in the OFS and he took part in various skirmishes in the vicinity of Brandfort. The British advance forced the Boers northwards, and Slegtkamp, having joined Capt Danie Theron’s Scout Corps (TVK) in May 1900, was made corporal in charge of the Hollanders in the Corps. The TVK left for the Free State in May 1900 to disrupt and destroy British lines of communications, and were heavily involved in the skirmishes near Lindley on 26/27 June 1900 (VC action : Pte C Ward, Yorks Lt Infy). On 30 June, he was severely wounded in the hip near Bethlehem and admitted to the local Boer hospital, but managed to flee to Fouriesburg just before the British occupied Bethlehem on 7 July. After his recovery, Slegtkamp re-joined the TVK in the Western Transvaal. When Capt Danie Theron was killed on 5 Sept 1900, his Scout Corps broke up. Hindon now formed his own Scout Corps with Slegtkamp as 2/IC and up to the end of the war they wreaked havoc throughout Northern, Central and Eastern Transvaal with derailing of trains, attacks on blockhouses, etc. A prime example was the incident on 31 August 1901 near Waterval when a troop train was derailed and Col Vandeleur, Irish Guards, was killed. Due to a misunderstanding Capt Jack Hindon surrendered to the British on 16 May 1902 and for the last two weeks of the war Capt Slegtkamp was the C/O of the Corps. They laid down arms near Balmoral on 6 June 1902. In July Slegtkamp was deported to Holland and landed there on 5 August 1902. In Vlissingen, Haarlem and his home town of Ijmuiden he was feted and entertained as “The Hero of Spioenkop”. In Ijmuiden he also received a suitably inscribed gold pocket watch. He returned to the Transvaal in 1903. After working as a labourer on a farm in the Standerton district, he bought his own farm near Witbank in 1912. In the same year he was also appointed by the Landbank as Inspector for Drought Relief. Throughout his life he supported the republican ideal and in the late 1930’s he joined the anti-British and pro-German movement, the Ossewa-Brandwag, later becoming General-in-Chief of the Highveld Region. He spent his last years in Middelburg, Transvaal where he died on 2 Feb 1951