THE BOER PRISONERS OF WAR IN CEYLON.L.G. POULIER.
In the April number of the
an account of absorbing interestappeared from the gifted pen of Mr.R. L. Brohier. It displays muchresearch and accuracy, but on one point I think Mr.Brohier'sinformation is not correct. He informs us that the Medical Reportsreveal one case where a Boer attempting to escape was shot andkilled (Chap. VII p 89).I had the story first hand from the three perpetrators of the ‘shooting’.They were Beinhauer (Austrian), Levin (French), and Potgieter (Boer), who were fed up with the guard restrictions and staged astunt to get even. They stuffed a dummy in a white shirt and slacks,perfect in its camouflage even to the slouch hat which came downbelow his ears covering the top half of his face, then bided their timetill the Commanding Officer and his staff were at dinner. The guardby the barbed wire at this time usually relaxed and took a seat at oneend of his beat, with his back to the wire. When the coast was clear these three "Hooligans" deftly threw the dummy over so as to alighton its feet between the double lines of wire in a standing position.The ‘prisoners’ then put out all the camp lights, when the white figurecould be seen for some distance in the dark. The sudden black-outaroused the guard by the wire, who rose and started his patrol. Aboutthirty feat away he spied the white figure and challenged three times.There being no response he fired and knocked the figure prone, thenforthwith reported the incident. There was a hullabaloo. TheCommanding Officer and his staff along with the Medical Officer abandoned their mess and rushed to the scene. With the aid of aflickering lantern they cut the wire, and as the guard stooped to pickup the "dying man" a loud cheer burst forth from the blacked outprisoners camp. The Commanding Officer who had a sense of humour took it all in good part, though he and his staff had beeninveigled away from their meals, and so the matter ended.I rather suspect that the guard, who did not like his discomfiture,circulated the story that a live "Prisoner" was shot as at that timesecrecy was the order of the day.Later the three “Dare devils" staged another avenging stunt atRagama. They and the whole camp were peeved at the order for