Historic Images of Sri Lanka

Diyatalawa Camp, Ceylon

Diyatalawa Camp Ceylon

Diyatalawa military base and Training facilities, Ceylon. Coloured image #IMG73

Date: 1910 – 1920’s
Photographer/Publisher: The Colombo Apothecaries
Location: Diyatalawa, Sri Lanka.
Boer war prison camp Diyatalawa, Sri Lanka (ceylon)

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Looking for Boer war prisoner information?

“Anyone looking for details of their relatives who were Prisoners of War in a Ceylon Boer POW Camp please contact Robin A Woodruff on who will try to assist.”
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1. Johan van Rensburg - May 2, 2009

Hi ,
My South African forefathers (Boers)were in the concentration camps in Ceylon and Burmida.

I mention you have Photo’s to identify.

Can we Help from this side.


2. lanka - May 14, 2009

The first overseas (off African mainland) camps were opened in Saint Helena, which ultimately received about 5,000 POWs. About 5,000 POWs were sent to Ceylon. Other POWs were sent to Bermuda and India.

The first batch of prisoners arrived in Ceylon on 9 August 1900. Diyatalawa was the main camp. Mt Lavinia was the convalescent camp while dissidents and irreconcilable were housed at Ragama. A camp for prisoners on parole was also opened at Urugasmanhandiya in September 1901. Hambantota was also a parole camp.

3. Sisira - May 14, 2009

There were no concentration camps in either Ceylon or in Sri Lanka mate.

4. Molly Davies - May 23, 2009

My great grandfater J. Van Dyk and some of the other family members captured on Surrender Hill were interned in Diyatalawa Camp.
I have a few photgraphs taken at this camp.
My great grandfather returned aboard the
ss. Mongolian.

5. Anton Edema - July 19, 2009

During the first Boer war we had POW camps in Ceylon. Urugasmanhandiya, Ragama, Dyatalawa.The Boer burial grounds near the Ceylon Volunteer Camp was taken over for the Rifle range expansion.

6. Anton Edema - July 19, 2009

During the first Boer war we had POW camps in Ceylon. Urugasmanhandiya, Ragama, Dyatalawa.The Boer burial grounds near the Ceylon Volunteer Camp was taken over for the Rifle range expansion.
There are maps,Sketches of Camps in the Volunteer gazette,History of the Ceylon Artillery Volunteers,2Volunteer Sri Lanka Light Infantry History.

7. Robin A Woodruff - December 31, 2009

In general from researching the subject I find that the POW’s were in general well treated. There were however deaths from illness whilst in the POW’s were interned and a number shot “whilst trying to escape” unqote.
The camps that became known as “Concentration camps” were in South Africa
and housed the women and children driven from their homes under the “scorched earth policy”. Over 26,000 women and children were to perish in these concentration camps.
As a collector of POW Boer War memorabilia I am currently in Sri Lanka researching the subject of the POW Camps. I will visit Diyatalawa 03/01/10 and am writing a book titled “Captivated Carvings-The Story of POW boer War Art”.
I am very keen to purchase items made by the POWs, or photos of them and the camps in Ceylon, St Helena, Bermuda and India to add to my collection and publication. Please contact me through the Contact Page of this site.

8. Anton Edema - January 2, 2010

I have done extensive research on Diyatalawa but I never came across escapees being shot at the camp.Many items which belongs to Boers and were with the Ceylon Defence Force units.unfortunately after a century all is gone.Only few know about the Boers in Ceylon(Sri Lanka).

9. Robin A Woodruff - January 20, 2010

As a collector of POW memorabilia I am keen to purchase items made by the POW’s from ALL POW Boer War Camps in South Africa, St Helena, Ceylon, India and Bermuda together with photos and other ephemera.
These would feature in my book ” Captivated Carvings –The story of POW Art” and any additional information that can be provided about the POW, family, military background etc would be appreciated. Thank you.

10. Brian Badge - January 21, 2010

Hi Robin i have a small box made of hardwood and covered with some type of near transparent covering carved into it are the words Boer + Camp
Ceylon 1902

11. Radie Ferreira - May 28, 2010

My grandfather was the founder of “De Strevers” a religious publication and organisation in Diyatalawa.
I have a bound copy of each and every publication from 19 Dec. 1901 to 8 Aug. 1902. It also contains a memberlist with 600 names including their Hut numbers, home town, post office and congregation in South Africa. Receipts, poems, program of a concert, an official stamped pass issued by the Camp Commandant`s Office giving my grandfather “permission to hold religious meetings in the camp”, dated 30 July 1902. Also in the book is a photograph of the “workstaff” of “Strevers Press” with their names and towns and farms in South Africa. My grandfather was a teacher when he became a prisoner-of-war, but after the war he went back to university and qualified as a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church. He was an member of the 1914 Rebellion in South Africa and interned in Kimberley with many others who became famous political and business leaders in South Africa.

12. Achintha Tilakawardane - June 13, 2010

As a child I spent days on holiday atthe Survey CampDiayatalawa when myn father was in the Survey Department. I had been taken by my father to the grave yards. I remeber the sadness of some of the dead who were quite young. I also remeber Fox Hill which I think was a white image of a fox on the hill side made by the inmates, and then visible from the train on its way into Diyatalawa. On a recent visit, 2005, I wasa told that the cemetry was within the Army base nad not accesible to visitors.
I also knew of a Boer cemetry in Pettah, near the roundabout. The tombstones were on a wall next to a car park. I think it was on a side road leading onto the Hunters Building, I forget the street name.

I am interested in any information that could be provided of the inmates please.

13. CC Bester - June 24, 2010

Hi Radie Ferreira, my great grandfather was in Diyatalawa camp from 1901 – 1902. I was wondering if his name and details were in the publications you mentioned. He was CC Bester from Vrede. Thanks. Christo

14. cindy brown - June 28, 2010

Hi Radie
My Great Grandfather was also part of the rebellion He was the chief of Roads (Transvaal) I would love to know if he is mentioned in those journals

Cindy Brown

15. Martha Pretorius - June 28, 2010

My paternal grandfather as well as my husband’s grandfather were both POW in the Diyatalawa camp. Does anyone know whether a complete list of POW’s in Ceylon is available on the Internet?

16. Robin A Woodruff - July 4, 2010

To all of you that have written about the Boer POWs I would like to be in direct contact as I can help you with your family research and would like to discussin depth your items. This unfortunately cannot be dont through this site.
Whilst the list of POW’s is not on the Internet I can perhaps be of assistance. However it is necessary to have the full names, for as you know, there are many names similar or even the same or spelt slightly differently. Sometimes the Brits got them wrong in the records.

You can as an option contact me through FT Print Ltd, Hertford UK. …. robinw@…

Many thanks

17. Robin A woodruff - July 4, 2010

I was under the impression we could not trade addresses but seeing Cindy’s above I would welcome contact from those of you who have commented here.
I am still keen to supply information and to gather more for my book as well as to buy Boer POW items from any of the camps, Belleview and others in South Africa, and Bermuda, St Helena, India and Ceyolonl that anyone would like to part with.
thank you

Robin A Woodruff

18. Robin A Woodruff - July 8, 2010

To Achintha Tilakawardane
Regarding your article , the Military site is next to what was the Diyatalawa Camp and thats now used by the General Survey Dept. You cannot access that without permission , but fortunately I was able to gain through the help of a lady whose Father was a Senior member of that Dept years ago and wrote the Dutch Burger Union Journal articles. R.L. Brohier.
However what little remains of the Cemetary is outside of these restricted areas and up a road to the right of the camp, aptly named Boer Road.
It is easily accessable.
Unfortunately all of the small hand made white crosses made by the Boers were taken down, the earth flattened to make way for a “rifle range” that happens to be 500 meters away, and only the large stone cairn put up by the South African Govt in 1918 remains. Dreadful to destroy a graveyard but I guess no-one would have cared for it after all these years. Given your email address I could send you an article I wrote about my visit.
Robin A Woodruff

19. Robin A Woodruff - July 8, 2010

To Brian Badge
I only picked up your message this week. wuld you kindly contact me regarding the Box.

20. Robin A Woodruff - July 8, 2010

To Radie Ferriera
Would be interested to exchange information on the camps and to know more on your Grandfather’s details.
Robin A Woodruff

21. Yolanda Sim - July 14, 2010

I found the following details on the National Archives website:-

Diyatalawa Concentration Camp Cemetery, Ceylon.
Jan Johannes Brooks of Harrismith.
Died 26-11-1900. Aged 30 years.

If anyone can assist me with information on him, please let me know. It will be much appreciated.

Yolanda Sim

22. Robin A Woodruff - August 12, 2010

Hello Yolanda,
There is only one Boer POW listed that could be of interest to you.
POW N0. 11673
Johannes.J. Brooks
Age 30
From Harrismith
Captured and sent to Diyatalawa.
Unfortunately this gentleman is from an area of the records that are very short of information. Usually they contain the Commando he fought with, Date of Capture , Where Captured, sometimes the Date of Receipt and the Date Sent.
It would have been in August 1900 though I believe.
In the writings of R.L. Brohier in the Ceylon Dutch Burger Union Journals is listed those who died and were recorded on the Tombstones in Diyatalawa Cemetary. Here is listed Jan J Brooks Harrismith OVS Died 26 Nov (no year) but the way they are listed above 1901 and 1902 would suggest 1900. Age 32. The cemetary is located outside of what was the Diyatalawa POW Camp, but that is now used by the General Survey Dept. and is almost in the same condition as in 1900. Access to the camp is only by permission as their is a Military Camp now built next to it. The cemetary is up “Boer Road” that was built by the POW’s and runs up and along the right hand side of the camp. Unfortunately all of the original wooden crosses were destroyed and the area flattened to make way for a rifle range that is 500 metres away.(Sacrilegious!!) All that remains now is a Cairn erected by the South African Govt in the early 1900’s. If you email me
I will send you two articles I wrote after my visit in Jan this year, for the Anglo Boer War Philatelic Society Journal also published in “Knapsack” the Journal of the Museum of the Boer Republics in Bloemfontein.
I hope this helps and look forward to hearing from you.
Robin A Woodruff

23. Robin A Woodruff - August 12, 2010

Yolanda, This was never a Concentration camp and nor were any of the others where the POW’s were held “off shore”
The term Concentration Camps refers to the camps where the women and children were held in South Africa after being driven from their homes(farms) that were burnt under the British Scorched Earth policy. Many thousands of woman and children died through malnutrition, disease etc. Some very sad stories eminate from this period of the war and especially as the men were sent thousands of miles away from their country and families.
I am not in full command of the facts of this episode in what was in my opinion a dreadful and unnecessary war, and you would be advised to visit the Museum in Bloemfontein where there is a Monument to the Women and Children and books and images on the subject. Or read their web page. I have been 3 times from England now and every time I visit I learn more, best wishes Robin

24. Robin A Woodruff - August 12, 2010

Having reread Anton Edema’s response to my mail at the beginning of the year he is corrrect in that to my knowledge also no POW was shot in Ceylon. However there was one shot in Bermuda whilst trying to escape and this is what i was refering to bt had not made that clear.
Robin A Woodruff

25. Leon Dippenaar - September 21, 2010

Hi, My great grandfather – Wilhelmus Hermanus Jooste was in the Diyatalawa Camp, Ceylon.
Where can I find more information about him and the camp.

Leon Dippenaar

26. Robin A Woodruff - September 23, 2010

Leon, contact me on my email address in the above message and I will assist as much as I can.

27. Bharata Gunathilaka - October 5, 2010

I am hoping to make a web site on Diyatalawa city. Prior to this attempt a collection of readings relating to the ancient city will be launch on 15 th October.
Open request made to send facts and writings from those who interested. Specially request to write boer descendants to inquire on your beloved relatives, so that the exposure will may gain unexpected results. Bharata Gunathilaka

28. Bharata Gunathilaka - October 5, 2010

Let me allow to publish my E mail

29. Anton Edema - October 6, 2010

The military camp next to the Boer cemetery is the camp where Boers were kept.When the Boers left it became the Ceylon Volunteer Force Camp or CVF camp.From the past historical data I found that Boers were guarded by the British and the Indians.The possible reason was that Ceylon Light Infantry consisted of many Burghers(Dutch descendants living in Ceylon)
The camp site map is well drawn and found in the Volunteer Gazette.I have photo copy.Boers were well treated especially their officers.You may find some names in the Diyatalawa Garrison Church.

30. eben van tonder - October 17, 2010

i think my great grandfather, Johannes Willem Kok was also a prisoner here.

I would love to have a look at some of the poems and stuff that Radie speaks about.

Any information, please mail me at

31. Werner du Preez - October 20, 2010

I have to 2 great-great uncles who died in Diyatalawa. Stephanus Johannes du Preez, 6 Dec 1900 and Philip Rudolf du Preez, 27 Jun 1902.
Any info regarding these two family members would be appreciated.

32. C NEL - October 21, 2010

My greatgrandfather Hermanus Wilhelmus Wessels from Harrismith was POW in Dyatalawa. Do you have any info on him. i have a photograppppph which was taken of a group of prisoners

33. bladford - November 10, 2010

Ceyon camp artifacts

I have been given from my grandparents a Black ebony walking stick.
The handle is a horses hoof and foot. and the stem has criss cross markings at the top with sprial markings down a quarter of the stem with the words Boer Camp Ceylon 1902. i use this stick daily.
I wonder if you have any more information on the handycraft that was made in this camp.

34. Iris Andrew - November 15, 2010

I have just come across this website.
I am the curator of a museum in Parys, Free State, South Africa which was a centre of the Anglo Boer Wars.
I have many items of memorabilia from Boer POW camps in Ceylon, Bermuda and St Helena.
If anyone is interested I can send photos. I do not have much of the history and would be interested to have any comments on the items.


35. Robin A Woodruff - December 11, 2010

I would like Werner du Preez, C.Nel, Blandford to contact me at
so that i can give them information about their family members.

Also Iris Andrew to exchange details about memorabilia.
thank you and Seasons Greetings


36. Robin A Woodruff - December 11, 2010

To Radie Ferreria

Please contact me at email address
as i would like to exchange informaton about the POW’s.

37. Pieter Meyer - December 13, 2010

I have bought at a “Flea Market” an album with letters and memoirbillia of a prisioner called Michiel Christiaan Eloff , aged 41 and from the farm Poortje Standerton. He was put into hut 41. He was the father of 12 children.

I desperately need more info on this man in order to put up a Philatelic display of all his activity in the camp. I am prepair to pay for the information if needed.

His wife and children was at the Pietermarizburg camp.
Thank you
Pieter Meyer
044 2724600
Fax 044 272 2556

38. Bodhild Rødland (Rodland) - January 6, 2011

My husbands great uncle was a Norwegian prisoner in this camp during/after the Boer war.

He was a Norwegian seaman who had come to Transvaal (we do not know why). There he became a foreman at a sawmill, and when the war broke out he attended on the Boer side.

His name was Herman Adolf (do not know if he used his second name) Hansen, born in Egersund in Norway January the 9th in 1866. I wonder if he is mentioned in the newspaper.

Yours sincerely Bodhild Rødland

39. Dirk van den Bergh - January 10, 2011

My great grandfather was interned at Diyatalawa Camp, Hut 54. I have in my possession a cigarette holder made from animal bone and wood with engravings “Van DJP van den Bergh aan zign vrouw” Reference of the Hut number and a Boer soldier on horseback.

40. Robin A Woodruff - January 16, 2011

Would Bodhild Rodland please contact me as her husbands relative is listed in the POW Roll but as being on St Helena.
thank you
Robin A Woodruff or on +447747737745

41. Anton Edema - February 16, 2011

I came across many articles about boers in SL archives and in the National Museum.SL army marksman school is also collecting data on boers.

42. Pieter Meyer - May 13, 2011

I need info on Michiel Christiaan Eloff born 13.11.1855 and taken prisoner on 02.06.1900 at Standerpoortjie. Thereafter transported to Ceylon Prisoner no 11695.
Kindly assist with more info.

43. Robin A Woodruff - August 8, 2011

Pieter Meyer
Please end your details to and I will try to help.

44. Maggi Mackay - September 7, 2011

My great grandfather Johannes Marthinus
Maritz was interned at Diyatalawa. He passed away in 1907. I am trying to work out the connection between him and manie maritz.

45. Mandie - November 6, 2011

I have a great-great granfather who died in Diyatalawa. Pieter Andries Hendrik Grobler . He died in the camp.

Any info regarding him would be appreciated.

46. francois - November 7, 2011

hi, do you have a record of a person by the name of thomas francois theron uys, who was in ceylon as p.o.w. ?

47. Sandy Barnes - November 10, 2011

You can get all the info you need from the official researcher of the Anglo-Boer war in Bloemfontein. Her name is Elria Wessels: ewessels []

48. C.V.Kumanayake - November 30, 2011

I’ve lived in Diyatalawa since my birth. There is a road in Diyatalawa named after Boers! It is said that the Boers had contructed it. There are descendents of Boers living in & arround Diyatalawa. But they do not know that they are descendents of Boers! If someone can do a proper survey or a research interesting facts would come out!

49. Tony Blandford - December 4, 2011

I have a ebony walking stick the handle is shaped as a horses hoof and written on the shaft say Boar camp Ceylon 1902. It has been handed down from my grandparents and I have know ideas where they got it from. If anyone has any information regarding prisoner carving I would be very interested

50. P.H.BARNARD - December 12, 2011


51. Todd Cole - December 21, 2011

Hello Ma’am,

I hope this email finds you well. I saw your name on a website concerning
persons researching the history
of relatives who were Boer prisoners in Ceylon. I hope that you can help me in
my search.

I can tell you what I know from the papers of my Great-Grand Father though some
facts are sketchy:

His name was William Frederick Karsten.
He served in the Boer Kommando credited with blowing up the train on which
Winston Churchill was riding as a
young man. His Kommando also captured Mr. Churchill during this attack.

William became a prisoner later in the war and was sent to Ceylon, where he
resided for many years (up to eight years?). He was
placed in one of the camps there saved for “less-cooperative” prisoners, maybe
called “Diyatalawa”?. His journal was signed by members of his camp including
Americans, Italians and Irishmen. They may have been referred to by the British
as “foreign volunteers or fighters”. From the journal it appears that all of
them were extremely anti-British in their feelings.

According to his papers, he and many others were “forgotten” on Ceylon and kept
by the British on Ceylon long after the war was over. Again, according to his
journal, My Great-Grand Mother appealed to the wife of “Oom-Paul”(spelling?) or
Paul Krueger for help. His case was presented through Oom-Paul or Paul Krueger
to Queen Victoria, who interceded on their behalf and ordered their release.
Mention was made of these “special” prisoners being given a small bag of gold in
compensation by the British upon their release. He was then transported by a
German ship potentially to England, from where he immigrated to the United

These journals and oral histories have long been passed down by my relatives and
have been the source of great interest.

I would be eternally grateful for any help you could provide me in my search for
information concerning my Great-Grand Father.
I would also be more than willing to share with you copies of his journals,
drawings and pictures. They may aid others in their search.

Thank you for your consideration and best wishes:

Todd Cole
6541 Shady Brook Lane ste 5109
Dallas Tx 75206

52. Eric Frank - December 27, 2011

I’m fascinated by the story of Hendrik Engelbrecht. The boer POW who refused to swear allegiance to the crown. Does anyone have any information on him?

53. Robin A Woodruff - January 3, 2012

Will Eric Frank please send me his contact details to as mentioned at the front end of this site. i can help with Engelbrecht and have cleaned his grave twice.


54. Robin A Woodruff - January 3, 2012

Will PH bernard also please contact me on to give him information about the walking stick.

55. Erina Jones - February 16, 2012

There is a wonderful big 415 page Afrikaans book: BANNELINGE IN DIE VREEMDE by Elria Wessels, available from


56. Erina Jones - February 16, 2012

Roughly translated, the Afrikaans book: BANNELINGE IN DIE VREEMDE means Exiles in foreign parts/places. The book is about the lifes of the exiles in the camps. There is 316 photo’s of which some have never been previously published.

The author of the book is Elria Wessels, Historian at the Anglo-Boer War Museum in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Those of you who are looking for a certain prisoner of war can search at in the Database Index, Section: Prisoners of War.


57. Jack Smith - March 21, 2012

Hi ! my dad has a boek on the pow in St. Helena&Ceylon and India. Bannelinge in die vreemde. ISBN 978-0-981-4009-4-5 Web My great grand father was in Ceylon.

58. Gawie Booysen - May 20, 2012

I have an old wooden post letter opener if you can call it that… (Gedaehtenis Van Diyatalawa Kamp Ceylon 1901) crafted out on the wood… any info on this…?

59. Johan van Zÿl - June 20, 2012

Please note that on the War Museum of the Boer Republic’s website, most of the records of the Boer POW’s appear.

Johan van Zÿl
War Museum of the Boer Republics

60. Rikus Fick - July 5, 2012

Radie Ferreira posted a message two years ago about copies of the “Strever” from the Diyatalawa Camp in Ceylon. I am currently doing research on the history of the “Streevers Vereeniging” in South Africa and the activitites of this society in the camps during the Anglo Boer War. My research is being done in collaboration with a Church Historian from the University of Miami from where the so-called “Endeavour Society” came to South Africa. I would very musch like to make contact with Radie. If anyone can help, my e mail is:

61. Wim de Morree - July 14, 2012

I have a small (6 x 7 cm base, 5 cm high) hand carved wooden presse-papier with inscription :
Boeren Kamp / Diytalawa / Ceylon / 1900-1901-1902.

It must be made by a person who was kept captive there but I have no clue who it was.

I made 5 photos of it that I can share with you when you are interested.

my e-mail is

62. R F Shiell - October 30, 2012

Can anyone assist.
I am a lifetime B/W enthusiast,since hearing stories from my grandfather who served in the British army during the conflict.

My question being what british regiments were guards at Diyatalawa camp as my grandfather brought back many p.o.w crafted items.
Many thanks

63. Pieter - November 11, 2012

I have a walkingstick made of a dark hardwood with a Yellow wood handle. CV Theron, 12 december 1900, Baneling op Ceylon, voor vryheid en recht has been carved out on it. It would appreciate it if anybody has any information for me.



65. ROBIN A WOODRUFF - November 20, 2012




66. Chamila Unwin - December 10, 2012

Please let me know whether I could find any contact details of Major Anton Edema to find out details from him of Arthur and Duncan Unwin who were stationed at Military Camp at Diyathala.

Another Unwin who is presently residing in UK, who is not related has found out the above details and wanted me to check from here. Im from Sri Lanka and these Unwin’s are my husbands GG Fathers. Hope to hear from you with a positive answer. Thanks.

67. Paul Miller - December 25, 2012

Hi Robin,

I have in my posession and have had for the past 50 years, a atamp box carved from a black timber with the following details engraved on 3 sides.

“made by Pris of War, Boer Camp, Ceylon 1902.

The concave hinged lid has elaborately carved flags and an eagle and shield and 3 banners with the words:


When I bought the item in a curiousity shopin Hervy Bay Queensland Australia as a youth, I remember the lady in the shop telling me that it was a stamp box carved for the camp commander.

Wopuld you be able to give me some idea of the value of this item and how I would go about selling it for its unique value.


Paul Miller

68. Leon Ferreira - January 27, 2013


My great grandfather Stephanus Andries Fourie (B 29/11/1858) & his son Ockert Fourie were apparently prisoners first in St Helena then Ceylon – I have two black carved serviette rings from that time. My wife & i are visiting Sri Lanka in March ’13 & would love to know if the site at Diyatalawa is visitable & where further info can be found!

Leon Ferreira

69. Elise Bester - March 31, 2013

Does anyone know anything about Christiaan Frederick Schoeman. He was shot in his shoulder, captured and sent to Ceylon. Where and when unknown. D.O.B 28.10.1869.
Any information to:

70. Dilhan Fernando - April 14, 2013


I am a collector of Old Notes issued in Ceylon during British Period. Recently I came across “Prisoners Notes” issued in Ceylon for Boer inmates of Diyathalawa and Ragama Camps. If anyone has these notes I would like to get some notes or photos of same for my collection. This info is part of the history of Ceylon long forgotten by many. Many will not believe when I say there were “Prisoners Notes” issued during British Period in Ceylon.

You may contact me on email – or Mobile 0777227771

71. Milde Weiss - April 15, 2013

I see that some time ago, Radie Ferreira mentioned his/her grandfather, who was a prisoner of war. My grandfather, Jozua Francois Naudé, also a teacher when he joined the Boer army, afterwards studied at Stellenbosch to become a Dutch Reformed minister. His best friend during these years was CR (Neels) Ferreira, who became his brother-in-law when they married the two Van Huyssteen sisters, Ada and Letsie, on 25 December 1906 in Knysna. I know that “oom Neels” (later also minister at Koppies in the Free State) had at least one son, called Natie, who lived in Bloemfontein. I would love to make contact with Radie to find out how he/she fits into this family tree!

72. Chris Schonken - May 15, 2013

Hi,I am doing research on the life of my grandfather Johannes Theodorus Schonken during the Anglo Boer War. He joined Scheeper’s Commando on 18th Jan 1901 at Oudshoorn and then became member of Fouche’s Commando. During a battle near Aliwal-North with 5 sections of White’s men on 8th June 1901,he was captured by the Brittish. On 18 th April 1902 he wassentenced to death by the military court in Graaff-Reinet. The sentence was changed to life imp and then to 3 years by the Royal Commission. He was granted amnesty in 1903. I am trying to find out where he was in custody( in prison) Can someone please help? My e-mail is

73. Jacob Strating - July 16, 2013

Hi, I only discovered this site today (15/7/2013) and have missed out on the most interesting parts of Robin Woodruff’s discussion. I hope he has not lost interest in his project.
My grandfather Jacob Johan (Japie) Strating was a P.O.W. in Diyatalawa Camp until the last P.O.W. had left. Along with 19 other P.O.W’s. he refused to sign the Oath of Allegiance to the Crown and they were interred in the Walikadi Prison in Colombo for some time. They were later transferred to a farm in Java from where some of them gradually returned to SA. My grandfather befriended a local and returned to SA disguised in Indian garb.
I am particularly interested to find out more about his friend Mot (Lafras) Smit who was a real legend around the camp. I want to compile some more notes on him with the prospect of writing a book. Can anybody help, please.

74. J. Minnaar - September 22, 2013

My grandmother and her brother was in Ceylon. Van Wilpe. Does anyone have information. I have a Christmas program for a concert in Regama ,Ceylon date 1901.


75. Peter Bennett - February 28, 2014

I am trying to find out if The Queens Own RoyalWest Kent Regiment were at the Garrison here from Dec 1902 to Dec 1904, as i have a relation who was posted to Ceylon with the regiment during this period. When did the concentration camp close? If before these dates, why would the regiment have been there? He was posted from The Boer War in South Africa to Ceylon. To look after the prisoners? Can you help please. Thanks.

76. robin A Woodruff - August 8, 2014

It is remiss of me not to have visited this site for a considerable period but if all of those wishing to learn more about their relatives and a Boer war “Ceylon” connection please contact me directly on the email address herewith. thanks Robin

77. Mignonne Felthman - August 15, 2014


My paternal great-grand father, Frank Francis Samuel Telling, came to Ceylon from SA with the Boer POWs around 1900. He married and had 3 children one of which is my grandfather. He died in1910 or 1912 and was buried in Ceylon at the Madampitiya Cemetery. Unfortunately I cannot find details. Can you help me please? Thank you

78. STEPHANIE REED - December 20, 2014

My paternal grandfather Daniel Strijdom was sent to Ceylon, I would like as much information as possible please. I would also appreciate any addition mention in the Camp publication. ‘De Strevers’

79. Robin MacLean - May 8, 2015

I’m a target shooter in the UK. Recently I had the extreme good fortune to be able to purchase a lovely Lee-Enfield .303 rifle that was manufactured in 1897. The reason I mention this is because of the butt of this special rifle are inscribed the words “Jim Holloway 1st Adjutant to General S Du Toit Commando”.

I have since been doing some looking around the internet and discovered that Jim was a prize fighter of some note. I’ve also discovered that he spent time in Ceylon as a POW but they let him out to box on special occasions. Indeed, he even taught boxing to the fellow inmates at the camp.

Do you have any other info on Jim from your files?

Kindest regards,

80. Johan Maritz - July 13, 2015

My great-grandfather was in Diyatalawa in Hut 15. I have postcards and letters from and to him.
Is there any way of finding out who were in his hut with him?
His name was J.H.C. Oosthuizen

81. lititia kruger - July 17, 2015

My great grandfather was POW Ceylon 1902. We have a knife that was carved out 1902 Ceylon. His surname was either Giovanni or Gianni . We are not sure which one is his name or surname.

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