The most myths and lies ever squeezed into a single sentence?

I am informed that a debate is raging on one of the Boer War Facebook discussion groups (echo chambers?), after someone dared to post a link to a recent article in which I shattered the self-serving, but much-cherished, myths of the British army ‘massing on the border’.

Needless to say, seeing this sacred cow of National Party legend slaughtered in no-uncertain-terms has greatly upset the True Believers, and they are screaming and squawking, and coming up with every and any excuse they can to keep the Apartheid-era fables of Boer innocent victimhood staggering on a little longer.

One fellow, who is either particularly deluded and ill-informed, or simply outrageously dishonest, popped up, and managed to squeeze what may well be a record number of myths and lies into a single sentence:

This is, of course, the sort of thing that Defenders of the Myth love to tell one another, for the sole purpose of playing the victim, and pretending that the big, bad, nasty British bully was determined to attack them. Unfortunately for Mr Pretorius, however, this single sentence is nothing more than a mixture of lies, make-belief and willful ignorance.

For a start, no one denies that the British garrison in their territories in South Africa was increased – that, indeed, was the whole point of the article I posted. In that article, I made it very clear which regiments and batteries were mobilised to the theatre, as well as their embarkation and arrival dates… so quite what rabbit Mr Pretorius thought he was cleverly pulling out of the hat is unclear.

What is remarkable, however, is that he completely ignores why the British were hastily reinforcing their garrison. Of course, the reason he sneakily omits that crucial aspect is that it doesn’t aid his defence of National Party myth. As the Boers had started mobilising men to the border of Natal in late August / early September 1899[i], of course Britain had to react – what did Mr Pretorius really expect them to do? By leaving out this aspect entirely, Mr Pretorius is disingenuously attempting to pretend that Britain was bolstering her troops in the region without good reason.

Mr Pretorius also declares that ‘the number of British troops and field guns in South Africa more than doubled’ between his chosen dates… and yet this is not actually true. The very document that Mr Pretorius was pretending to reference (and which he had posted in an earlier outburst), makes it clear that ‘part of the troops and guns included in this total were on 1st October 1899 still on passage from India and elsewhere’. Of course, Mr Pretorius simply left that important bit out, as it does not suit his fantasy. If Mr Pretorius is actually interested in learning when the various units of the second batch of reinforcements arrived in South Africa (and we all know he isn’t), all the details are in the article I posted on the subject.

A little later in the sentence, we get treated to an outright lie, when Mr Pretorius sweepingly announces that 15,000 troops were ‘employed on the Natal border’. This is complete and utter make-belief, and there is no way that even Mr Pretorius can be so ignorant to actually believe it. The reality is that the British reinforcements sent to Natal were overwhelmingly deployed to Ladysmith – which was a long-standing garrison town, nowhere near the border. Indeed, the only significant body of British troops in Natal which were not in Ladysmith was the 8th Brigade group, which was – at the time of the Boer invasion – still in the process[ii] of deploying to defend the coalfields at Dundee. A town which was, as Amery noted, ‘some fifty miles from Laing’s Nek’.[iii]

For more detail on shattering this fantasy, please look at this article:

And given that the invading Boers were able to loot and rampage their way all the way to Dundee before encountering British troops, where, one wonders, does Mr Pretorius like to pretend these 15,000 men all suddenly vanished to?

Further on in the same sentence (yes, I know – how does he do it?), we come across yet another falsehood. Always desperate to pretend the Boers were the innocent victims of a war they started, Mr Pretorius claims that [between 1 June 1899 and 1 October 1899, a British army] ‘expeditionary field force of 67,000 [was] being assembled’.

Such a claim might suit Mr Pretorius’ self-pitying agenda, but is, alas, simply not true. What actually happened was that the Transvaal mobilised on the 27th of September[iv]. On the 2nd of October, Kruger informed the Transvaal Volksraad that war was now inevitable[v]. The next day, the Orange Free State mobilized, and Kruger’s agents brazenly seized a gold shipment worth around £500,000. Many thousands of burghers from both republics were by then massed on their borders, with, as Professor Walker phrased it, ‘the belligerent Transvaalers jeering at their more hesitant southern allies’[vi].

It was only a few days after all that, on the 7th of October, that finally, ‘the order for the mobilisation of the cavalry division, one army corps, and eight battalions of lines of communication troops was issued, and a Royal proclamation calling out the army reserve was published’.[vii] So not only does Mr Pretorius cunningly leave out all the context, but he also lies about the date.

I wonder if the various True Believers are actually competing to see who can squeeze the most myths and falsehoods into a single sentence? Mr Pretorius may hold that dubious honour for now, but one can be assured another equally ill-informed fanatic will soon be along to steal his title.


Mr Pretorius’ rubbish was rapidly torn apart by those more knowledgeable than him (ie. everyone). After a lot of undignified twisting and turning, and altering his claims several times, he then shamelessly went into full denial mode:

This is the level of sheer ignorance and dishonesty one encounters from the more fanatical True Believers.


[i] Amery, The Times History of the War in South Africa, Vol.1, p.353 and Farrelly, The Settlement After the War, p.213

[ii] Rev Bailey, ‘Seven Months Under Boer Rule’, p.14

[iii] Amery, The Times History of the War in South Africa, Vol.1, p.354

[iv] Cook, The Rights and Wrongs of the Transvaal War, p.241

[v] Guyot, Boer Politics, p.115

[vi] Walker, A History of Southern Africa, p.486

[vii] Maurice, History of the War in South Africa, 1899-1902, p.6


  • Niall Beazley Posted April 12, 2024 12:29 pm

    Hi Chris, a lovely response to an errant True Believer, where do they come from? Always a amusing and great read. Well done on keeping the jackals at bay.

    • Bulldog Posted April 12, 2024 12:57 pm

      I really don’t know where they all come from, but they keep crawling out of the woodwork to spew their lies and myths. A truly bizarre bunch!

  • Peter Dickens Posted April 12, 2024 12:45 pm

    I’ve crossed swords with Mr Pretorius and his small band of supporters many times on social media – he forms a belligerent group of about twenty individuals who corner three Boer War social media groups and steadily provide content to support this mythical rubbish, this sort of statement from him is not unusual and no amount of logical discussion or presented fact has ever changed his views.

    • Bulldog Posted April 12, 2024 12:58 pm

      As the saying goes, ‘you cannot reason a man out of a position he has not reasoned himself into’. Mr Pretorius is clearly either very ignorant or very dishonest. Or maybe both. But it is still entertaining to expose his lies and myths.

  • Antony Posted April 13, 2024 7:28 am

    Good to see you continue to ‘keep them honest’ Bulldog.
    The cattle do love to wander forth from the pasture.

    • Bulldog Posted April 13, 2024 3:46 pm

      Not sure if I can really keep them honest… I don’t think this fellow could lie straight in bed.

  • James Grant Posted April 16, 2024 6:29 pm

    That’s a full-on classic. What a total bloody idiot. I guess when you tell so many lies, you have to have a good memory to keep up with everything you’ve made up.

    • Bulldog Posted April 17, 2024 7:19 am

      Mr Grant,
      You have to remember that these people are not in any way interested in the study of History. To them, the Boer War is the foundation of what could almost be considered a religious cult. As such, facts simply do not matter to them, and they have no qualms or hesitation in telling bare-faced lies to protect their myths. What is even more amusing is that some people still cannot see through the disingenuous utter nonsense this fellow spouts, nor can they see that he kept changing his claims again and again, until finally resorting to shameless denial.

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