Bursting Bubbles

Every time I am sure I must have encountered the most blinkered and ignorant True Believer of them all, yet another pops up, desperate to claim the title as his own. A fellow going by the name of ‘Melville Lotter’ is the latest in this long and undistinguished list of buffoons, and he sent me the following message recently:

Sorry to bust your bubble…

Lets be honest. The British were pathetic in that war. They became very much the laughing stock in Europe who enjoyed every moment watching the Boers kicking English asses from the Cape right up to the mighty Zambesi. The arrogance of the English before the war was already noticeable. In just 2months we will be back and the war will be over and we will get our medals. The war last almost 3years. Out of frustation they dump hundred thousands of soldiers agains two small republic whos population was about the same as one of average cities in the UK. And when the numbers didnt do the thing they murder 27 000 Boer children and woman in the concentration camps to force the Boer fighters to surrender.

You should go back to school and take history up as a subject because the moron who teach you about the South African war wrote his own little fairy tail to make idiots like you feeling better about their dark history of colonialism, murder and the torture of innocent people.

What you CAN do is to ask you King and parlement to appologies for their war crimes they commited in South Africa in that period. You are now excused.

It is abundantly clear that Mr Lotter not only has zero knowledge of the Boer War, but is also barely literate; therefore the only thing he is likely to ‘burst’ is either a blood vessel, or perhaps his colostomy bag.

Of course, his pie-in-the-sky make-belief that the Boers spent the war ‘kicking English asses from the Cape right up to the mighty Zambesi’ is an entertaining one; in all my years of reading on the subject, I must have somehow missed the Battle of Victoria Falls and the Battle of Kariba. But, hey ho, when you are ill-informed as the ridiculous Mr Lotter, you can just cheerfully pull things out of the air as you wish. No doubt his fantasies go down well among his equally ill-read, and equally fanatical, friends.

And if one really feels the need to accuse anyone of being ‘pathetic’ in the Boer War, I would say that dubious honour would have to be awarded to the republicans. As I have stated in earlier blog articles, and despite outnumbering the scattered Imperial garrisons by some 2.5:1 when they launched their invasions of British territory, the Boers proved utterly unable of taking Mafeking, Ladysmith or Kimberley… never mind Durban or Cape Town.

Christ, even capturing the tiny outpost of Kuruman took the republican invaders 6 weeks, despite outnumbering the garrison by 12:1[1]. Originally a mission station, by 1899 Kuruman was an administrative centre for a large farming area. When a 700-strong Boer force under Commandant Visser attacked on 13 November, they were held at bay by a miniscule force of police and loyalist settlers, both white and coloured,[2] only some 80 armed men in all.[3]

Commanded by Major A. Bates of the Cape Police, this scratch force was kept under fire for the next four days, though the republicans, despite their overwhelming numbers, never dared to mount a close assault.[4] On the 18th Visser’s force retired a few miles and awaited reinforcement in the form of some local rebels. With his numbers swelled to 1,000 men, Visser continued to besiege this irrelevant outpost. We are always (with no evidence whatsoever) assured by the usual idiots that the Boer invasion was ‘purely defensive’; in reality, and except for Kimberley, Kuruman and Mafeking, the whole of British Bechuanaland and Griqualand West was annexed to the two republics.[5] What a strange way for a nation to (ahem) ‘defend’ itself.

From 5 to 17 December, Visser’s men kept the defenders under fire, launching four assaults during this period, all of which were repulsed with losses.[6] In desperation Visser then demanded heavy artillery and sat back to await its arrival.

One of the ladies of Kuruman wrote to a friend:

‘Our men fought bravely for six days, after which the Boers departed, and we don’t know if they intend returning or not. Charlie is at the Police Camp and looks well and happy. He is very proud of our men. Our men are still on the alert, and are strengthening their forts, as the Boers will not return without a cannon. They quite expected this place to be handed over to them at once.[7]

Not daring to go toe-to-toe with the plucky loyalists and police again, the Boers only finally captured the village on 1 January, and only after their artillery arrived and they could bombard the inhabitants with impunity. That’s what I would call ‘pathetic’.

Like all good Defenders of the Myth, Mr Lotter is clearly not a man who is in anyway interested in historical reality, which explains why he then trots out the tired old canard of the British arrogantly thinking they would have already won the war (and be home again for their medals) within ‘2months’ (sic). Of course, Mr Lotter is completely unable to reference which General or high-ranking political figure actually said this and when, for the simple reason that it is just something that True Believers made up, and like to tell one another.

In reality, British military intelligence had reckoned on needing some 200,000 men in theatre in the event of war with the republics[8]. The British Army’s one and only Corps (just some 45,000 strong) only started shipping out to South Africa on 20 October – nine days after the Boers invaded Natal and the Cape – and it would take several weeks for them all to get there. Thereafter, the 5th Division only started shipping out on 11 November, and orders to mobilise the 6th Division were only issued on 2 December[9]. One will notice that all of this happened prior to the ‘humiliations’ of Black Week, showing-up Mr Lotter’s made-up 2-month timeframe as the complete nonsense it is.  

Then we are treated to the usual crowing that the ‘war last almost 3years’ (sic) and the favourite ‘go to’ excuse for the British victory being because they mobilised ‘hundred thousands’ (sic) of troops. Clearly Mr Lotter is a spectacularly ignorant fellow, but the idea that a guerrilla war lasting almost three years[10] is some sort of astonishing, nay: unprecedented feat of arms is, of course, utter hogwash.

Following the French annexation of Morocco, for example, it took them 22 years (from 1912 to 1934) to finally suppress the guerrilla resistance. And even Mr Lotter might be aware of some of the guerrilla wars later in the 20th Century; perhaps he has heard of the South African border war – which lasted 23 years[11] – and the Rhodesian bush war, which lasted 15 years[12]… both of which, despite what some people prefer to tell one another, ended with the terrorists achieving their aims. Most famously of all, perhaps, were the guerrilla wars in Vietnam which raged from 1946 to 1975[13], which saw first France, and then the United States, defeated and humbled, and which ended in victory for the guerrilla / terrorist forces after almost 30 years.  

Indeed, and though it pains a certain type of person to hear this, the Boer War was actually won very quickly in comparison with other 20th Century Guerrilla Wars – the average length of which was 9 years[14]. But, perhaps needless to say, facts and historical reality matter not one iota to people as thick-headed as Mr Lotter; in their bizarre, ill-educated, and resolutely-blinkered world view, and despite all evidence to the contrary, the Boer War is the ‘longest, toughest, most grueling war’ that has ever been fought in the history of mankind, and always will be.

Appearing for all the world as though he was working his way through an AWB-sponsored paperback entitled, ‘My first book of comforting Boer War fables and excuses’, Mr Lotter then ludicrously claims that people who die of measles / old age / infant death etc are all ‘murdered’… but only if it happened during the Boer War, and if they were in a concentration camp at the time. Obviously.

After thanking him for brightening my day with his entertaining insanity, I assured Mr Lotter that the next time I meet HM King Charles III, or that I am asked to address ‘parlement’ (sic), I will ask them to ‘appologies’ (sic) for a war started by (and lost by) the Boers.  


[1] Kruger, Goodbye Dolly Gray, p.165

[2] These Kuruman coloureds were often referred to as ‘Bastards’, a name which, remarkably enough, seems to have held no malice

[3] Kruger, p.165

[4] Maurice, History of the War in South Africa 1899‒1902, Vol. 3, p. 3

[5] Amery, The Times History of the War in South Africa, Vol.2, p.297

[6] Maurice, Vol. 3, p. 3

[7] Creswicke, South Africa and the Transvaal War, Vol.3, p. 26

[8] Churchill, My Early Life, p.228

[9] Carver, The National Army Museum Book of the Boer War, p.13

[10] In reality, the Guerrilla War phase of the Boer War lasted about 2 years

[11] The war lasted from August 1966 to January 1990, and ended with the loss of Namibia to the SWAPO guerrillas / terrorists

[12] The bush war raged from July 1964 to December 1979, and saw the end of white rule and a switch, instead, to the incompetent despotism of Mugabe’s goons

[13] France threw in the towel in July 1954 after almost 9 years, and the US involvement commenced in late 1955

[14] Ricks, Fiasco, p.433


  • ScotchedEarth Posted January 30, 2023 2:14 am

    Always thought it rather impressive, myself, that in 20 months we forced the Boers to sue for peace, and this fought over an area just shy of four times the size of the *entire* British Isles (and afterwards many of the surviving Boers became loyal sons of King and Empire, former Boer commando leader Jan Smuts being only the most prominent). Makes you wonder what we were doing in that small corner of the British Isles that is Northern Ireland for almost 38 years.

    • Bulldog Posted February 1, 2023 6:12 am

      When compared to other guerrilla wars, the achievement of the British army in the Boer War was certainly impressive.
      As for Ulster, HM Government should certainly have gone in much harder, I feel, rather than pussy-footing about.

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