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Boer War Silk Ribbons - 1899 - 1901

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Canadian Boer War Silk Ribbon - 1900
Go to the Pretoria Jug
Orig. silk - Size - 5 x 21 cm
Found - Brighton, ON

The taking of Pretoria, then considered the most important event of the war, produced three ribbons shown on this page.

The military logic of the time was that once the British Army captures the two Boer capitals of Bloemfontein and Pretoria the Boers would give up and the war would be over. The Boers didn't see it that way, deciding to let the British occupy the big cities and towns while they ran freely about the countryside, attacking a wagon train, or sabotaging a train, blowing up a bridge, or ambushing a troop column. The British never knew when or where they would be hit, or how hard...

Fast Forward to 2008 - It's happening all over again in Afghanistan, with the Canadians - this time the foreign occupiers - hunkered down, not only in Kandahar City, but behind miles of wire, tellingly close by the airport so they can - à la Saigon - make a quick exit by air if pressed too hard.

They don't dare go out of the city anywhere without massive armoured and air support. The Taliban, like the Boers before them, totally control the countryside of their own homeland. In the spring of 2008 even President Karzai admitted that the Taliban control more of Kandahar province than do the Canadians - whose job they claim is supposed to be to provide security for the region! Understandably they have their hands full, just protecting themselves from attack.

But then isn't that what you'd expect if you were shooting up someone else's country, half way around the world? And repeatedly killing civilians in the process... And this from a group that claims to be a training force... What, training guerrillas?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretoria Hurrah! - The Canadian Parliament building celebrates the capture of another on Pretoria Day in Ottawa, Ontario, a city which sent numerous local lads to fight in South Africa, some of whom died, and others who are in the crowd below.

 

Pretoria -1900 & 2000 - The British - including Canadians - at the festivities when the Union Jack was run up on the Transvaal Republic's parliament building, June 6, 1900. They thought with thousands of military feet on the ground and millions in killing hardware at their disposal they had vanquished the Boers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In fact tens of thousands were to die - mostly women and children - before the guerillas, fighting only with the clothes on their back and an iron will to be masters in their own homeland, were overcome. But then casualty figures only reflect that the generals were up to the task in South Africa, as they are willing in Afghanistan... Should we let them?

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

The most spectacular Boer War Bacon print, celebrates the high point of the conflict.

Never before, or after, would popular and military glee reach the dizzying heights of that June day in 1900.

That's Bobs doffing his helmet as he salutes the flag, his Sovereign, and the Soldiers of the Queen who had made it all possible.

That's the Canadian guns on the back right.

In those days Canadian gunners used their binoculars to see what they were aiming at before they shot. So they killed no women, children, or civilians.

Today, Canadian gunners in Afghanistan shoot at targets 30 kms away, and just hope the right people are getting killed. That's Afghans of course.

Below the Canadian guns up close, and the place they stood their horses, where the car is parked, as Lord Roberts addressed the multitude.


Bacon Print, British Entry Into Pretoria, June 5, 1900 - 1900
Orig. chromolithograph - Image Size - 56 x 76 cm
Found - Montreal, PQ
Copyright Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996-1999-2005

Left John Perry, leaving for his first tour in South Africa, said goodbye to his girl, scratched his calling card - C Co(mpany) Royal Canadian Regiment - on the rocks at Belmont above, in South Africa, and returned home, a hero. He was already signing himself as Sgt.

Go to John Perry's Belmont

A year later he volunteered again - was life really that boring and meaningless, in Galt, Ontario? - and this time "bought the farm," as they say - the wrong farm...

Below his temporary grave at Boschbult Farm and his permanent one at Ottosdal.

And his gal...

Buffy Sainte Marie probably had John in mind when she penned her famous plaint about the Universal Soldier in the 1960s.

"And he never sees the writing on the wall...
He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on."

As Willie Nelson cautioned Mothers everywhere about making good life choices:

"Mommas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be... "

 

 

 

Fellow Texan Barbara Bush sure heard him...

She, and George Herbert Walker Bush, a considerable live war hero himself, didn't make the same mistake twice.

Mrs. Bush made sure all her sons, including Dubbya and his successor Jeb - among the super rich and powerful politicians running America - escaped any and all war service, in Vietnam or elsewhere.

And ditto for Dubbya's daughters who refused to sign up for the war their Daddy craved and promoted with all his being, but, ahem... not for his daughters.

But then what else is new? Haven't the rich - including Democratic war service shirkers Bill Clinton and Chelsea - always wanted the poo folks to do the dying for them overseas...? and been pleased to call them Heroes for doing it... So they can enjoy their wealth in peace, at home...

Go to Boschbult Farm
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Canadian Boer War Silk Ribbon - 1900
Orig. silk - Size - 6 x 26 cm
Found - East Aurora, NY

The ribbon says, honestly, that the Boys served the Queen (read upper class British imperial industrial and commercial elites). But that would have been right over the heads of the Boys most of whom were in their late teens or early 20s.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Canadian Riel Rebellion Silk Ribbon - 1885
Orig. plate - Size - 5 x 19 cm
Found - Toronto, ON

Among the rarest of the rare - and a very early silk ribbon - celebrated the return of the 7th Regiment to London, Ontario, after being part of General Middleton's North West Field Force sent to quell the Riel Rebellion/Resistance in Saskatchewan.

This belonged to Capt. Dillon, famed Canadian rifleman, who went west.

Go to Captain Dillon
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Canadian Boer War Silk Ribbon - 1900
Orig. plate - Size - 4 x 11 cm
Found - Dunnellon, FL

The earliest battlefield ribbon we've been able to find is the one celebrating the most costly British and Canadian victory of the entire war, the ten day Battle of Paardeberg, where Boer men, women, and children, were surrounded in a huge wagon park and pounded into submission with guns and shells.

There's another take of the same event published on the ribbon script. So who's right?

Heroes or Villains? - In 100 years little has changed, with Afghans and Canadians sharply disagreeing about what Canadian soldiers are doing, once again shooting and shelling in a foreign land. Celebrated as heroes, by some at home, they are angrily denounced abroad, as repeat offenders in killing babies, children, women, and civilians in Afghanistan.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Canadian Boer War Silk Ribbon - 1900
Orig. plate - Size - 6 x 15 cm
Found - Kingston, ON

Three months after the Battle of Paardeberg, the British Army captured Pretoria, the capital city of President Paul Kruger's Transvaal Republic. It was the high point of the entire Boer War; the victory seeming complete, and peace assuredly just around the corner.

And hey, the sleepy town of Campbellford, Ontario, had two representatives there! Local pride like this burst out in hundreds of towns across Canada. And the Boys would soon be coming home! Everyone got ready their welcome ribbons right and below.

In 2008 the same Canadian populations are bitterly opposed to what Canadian Forces are doing in Afghanistan. The flag waving Boer War parades are nowhere in evidence; only mournful vigils as a hearse a week carries another soldier's body back to his hometown, a gift from the Government and politicians of Canada.

Another young life squandered to please corporate America. Leaving a wife, a son or daughter, to grow old without him... Well at least they have the Government's assurance that his death was worth it... whatever...

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Canadian Boer War Silk Ribbon - 1900
Orig. silk - Size - 8 x 18 cm
Found - Ottawa, ON
Two different ribbons above and right celebrating the same group of volunteers from Toronto. Different manufacturers went into production to feed the popular demand. Sadly, few survive today.
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Canadian Boer War Silk Ribbon - 1900
Orig. silk - Size - 5 x 21 cm
Found - Dunnville, ON
Many Canadian towns printed ribbons to pin on coats and hats for people to wear as they joined the huge throngs that gathered at railway stations to Welcome the Boys back from having put the Boers in their place.
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Canadian Boer War Silk Ribbon - 1901
Orig. silk - Size - 6 x 19 cm
Found - Port Carling, ON

Anglos on the March - The names on the ribbons do not really reflect Canada as much as the British Anglo community (English, Scottish, Irish) which mostly saw the whole war as a racial confrontation between the superior Briton who must prevail over the inferior Dutchmen who must fail to challenge the hierarchy of racial merit.

Go find names of other Canadian groups: the Ukrainians, Swedes, Icelanders, Danes, Norwegians, Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Germans, Austrians, Poles, Greeks, Russians, or French - we could go on - on any of these ribbons...

In 2008 the Afghan War is a similar racial conflict pitting a Coalition of the Willing to do the Killing, made up entirely of white "European" Christians, targetting exclusively non-white Muslim victims.

It's called the March of Civilization... And the Canadian Government, and politicians of every stripe don't want to be left behind...

This is also the only celebrity ribbon we've found, featuring as it does the young artillery lieutenant John McCrae.

Some dozen years later he would become Canada's most famous poet when he penned "In Flander's Fields" which became perhaps, the signature poem of World War I. This time John went as a healing doctor not a warring pup as before. It brought him a premature death anyway, as it did to millions of others, in one of the more useless wars in history.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Canadian Boer War Silk Ribbon - 1901
Orig. silk - Size - 5 x 12 cm
Found - Barrie, ON

The most gaudy silk ribbon was made to honour the lads from Scarboro. It features photo portraits of four local volunteers in an attached pinback.

The Maple Leaf backdrop was already well established as a Canadian hallmark during the 19th century.

The Boer War's First Contingent's helmet badge was a maple leaf, which in the 1960s would become the central motif of Canada's new flag.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Canadian Boer War Silk Ribbon - 1900
Orig. plate - Size - 7 x 14 cm
Found - Pepperell, MA

This, an uncommon"Send Off" ribbon, was produced by the local volunteer firefighters of St. Catharines, Ontario, to honour local volunteers who joined up as things were getting desperate for the British in South Africa in the early months of the war.

In Black Week, in December, the British had suffered three catastrophic defeats. As a result the commander-in-chief was replaced. And in St. Catharines, eager young men were willing to forego the drudgery of farm labour or dull office work, to lend the Queen a helping hand in far-off exotic South Africa, for pay and all expenses paid....

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Canadian Boer War Silk Ribbon - 1900
Orig. silk - Size - 6 x 12 cm
Found - New Plymouth, NZ

This peace silk was published to celebrate the peace everyone expected after the Pretoria, the last Boer capital fell. Lord Roberts above and many British troops, including most of the Canadians, went home.

In fact the longest, and the worst part of the war, was still to come as the local Boers resorted to guerilla tactics to fight a superior and better equipped enemy on their own ground and their own terms.

Only by turning on the women, children, and old folks, putting them into concentration camps - where they died in the tens of thousands - to prevent them helping their guerilla husbands, fathers, and sons, with food and clothing, were the British generals able to win the final victory. Faced with 26,000 dead women and children - and more to come - the Boer guerillas gave up.

The military practice of targetting women and children of the enemy has been wildly successful ever since, in World War II, Iraq, Lebanon, and continues to wreak destabilizing havoc in Afghanistan.

"They make a Desert and they call it Peace". - Tacitus

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Canadian Boer War Silk Ribbon - 1900
Orig. silk - Size - 5 x 18 cm
Found - Barrie, ON

The last ribbon brings home the true tragic irony of all wars - the Dead are Losers.

They lost it all for themselves, their families, but especially for their country. They can never contribute to personal, family, or community growth and prosperity, on any level, ever again...

The living are celebrated on these ribbons, with their names, so we remember them a century later, while only one ribbon gives a throw off to Canada's "Dead Heroes." Their names - while the heroes are hardly cold in the ground - are already consigned to the dust bin of history.

And the gals, fiancees, and widows? After a suitable period of mourning, they all go off to marry someone who made a better life choice...

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Canadian Boer War Silk Ribbon - 1901
Orig. silk - Size - 5 x 21 cm
Found - Victoria, ON

Anglo Canadians believed they were honouring Canada; French Canadians knew they were not. And what about all the other ethnic groups, who stood aside?

Today most Canadians - again led by the vast majority of French-Canadians - believe the Canadian Forces are in Afghanistan not to serve the Queen - let alone Canada - but George Bush and his Big Oil business cronies.

Likewise there are also precious few Canadians who believe that what the Canadian Forces are doing in Afghanistan is honouring Canada by any stretch.

Which is why the vast majority of Canadians have, for years, wanted the troops brought home from the killing fields of Afghanistan.

But corporate Canada has a lock hold on the politicians of every stripe in Ottawa, and it is not going to let them change, anytime soon, their policy to support the shooting war their American business partners want to pursue there.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
A fabulous and huge patriotic banner that has few parallels anywhere.

Did this banner fly on 5th Avenue the day General Black Jack Pershing and his boys were cheered by over a million patriots?

They had spent a little over a year in combat on the Western Front and had lost some 53,000 men in the fighting. Ever since, they like to say, they won the war!

By comparison, France, whose fighting men are endlessly and derisively mocked by xenophobic US comics, and TV pundits, as losers, had fought for four terrible and bloody years, three full years before the Americans stood up to be counted.

France's total military and civilian losses were 1,416,000 dead. A million and a half Frenchmen made the ultimate sacrifice to "Make the World Safe for Democracy."

Only the most repugnant ignoramus would dare to laugh at such a monumental and selfless sacrifice to one's country, a scale of patriotism which has no parallel in US history.

Not even close...

If a soldier's highest sacrifice is laying down his life for his fellow man, then, certainly, the French soldier has precious few superiors in the world.

And where are his equals?

Certainly not in America.

Not by a long shot...

Welcome Buddy Banner, World War I, 1919
Orig. fringed cotton banner - Size - 86 cm x 100 cm
Found - Halifax, NS

Welcome Buddy was an affectionate term used to greet American doughboys as they paraded in triumph down the streets of New York on their return from the blood-letting in France in February, 1919.

Unlike so many display banners, made out of flimsy material, this one is made of thicker cotton, fringed with a high quality sewn row of thick cords on one end, and on the other, a tough canvas edging stamped with metal grommets for a rope.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous collection of battlefield shells from the Battle of Hart's River, on Boschbult Farm, in the Western Transvaal, March 31, 1902, all gathered by farmers over the passing decades, as they ploughed the fields.

It features mostly Lee-Metford fired .303 British cartridges, with three exceptions:
- the large 37 mm Pom-pom shell, probably from a Canadian gun,
- a remnant from a large Martini-Henry shell, bottom fired by a daring Boer who charged in close, and
- a single unrimmed 8 mm Mauser cartridge top centre, from another Boer who braved the withering fire from the volley of .303s

On one end of these bullets are the dead Boer farmers of 1902; on the other end the arms manufacturers, like the Chamberlain Family, who were munitions industrialists whose sons were leading political facilitators in giving their family plants fat contracts in war production.

In 2007 bullets like this still litter battlefields around the world. This time the dying are non-white, Muslim men, women, and children. Today the purveyors of death and destruction are the new generation of industrialists that prosper from exporting war - the Cheney and Bush oilfield cartel that seeks to find cheaper oil at a price it can control, in perpetuity; don't ever expect US occupational forces to leave Iraq or Afghanistan in your lifetime...

Canadians, like mangy curs yapping at the heels of their Yankee overseers, have their own ravenous war industry lobbyists - like Prime Minister Brian Mulroney - many of whom are raking in tens of millions of dollars in "success" fees as the Conservative Government hands out billions of dollars in sole source military contracts for buying and servicing tanks, planes, and guns, all of which end up killing, you guessed it, the same non-white Muslim men, women, and children targeted by the American war machine...

But, a hundred years later, thanks to advancing civilization, the ferocity of the killing has increased...


Battlefield Relics, Battle of Hart's River, Mar. 31, 1902
Orig. relics - Size - mostly 57 mm
Found - Boschbult Farm, RSA by farmers

Collateral Damage - Then & Now - While some 30,000 Boers (mostly women, children) were killed in the Boer War, in our day, hundreds of thousands of Muslims (women and children again, probably more than men) have been killed by the American led "Coalition of the Willing to do the Killing" in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Palestine.

There is another difference...

Then, Boer women and children died in concentration camps through genocidal neglect; today, Muslim women and children are being killed overwhelmingly in their own homes and neighbourhoods, by deliberate and targeted high-precision missiles, bombs, and gunfire.

Today you cannot use the excuses of Lord Kitchener's day of accidental negligent homicide.

The "Coalition of the Willing to do the Killing'" is using the most sophisticated and most accurate computer controlled and satellite guided killing machinery ever devised by man.

Pentagon publicity videos and Discovery Channel programs proudly publicize the pinpoint accuracy with which Judaeo-Christian technology can aim missile delivered bombs, from hundreds of miles away, to within a few feet of the desired target. Every week these high precision murder weapons seek out targets in cars and homes, in Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia.

Let there be no mistake - the high-tech precision gunners and guided missile launchers know exactly who they have in the cross-hairs, and why...

Hopefully Muslim men will "learneth their lesson" of the high cost of opposing the will of white Judaeo-Christian Crusaders...

If the Boer War taught military men anything it is that targeting the women and children of fighting men offers the best guarantee of final victory. Carpet bombing German women and children in Hamburg and Dresden sealed the victory in Europe in World War II; atom bombs obliterating Japanese women and children at Hiroshima and Nagasaki did the same in the Pacific theatre.

It is also why, though the Coalition of the Killing claims to be fighting the Terrorists, Taliban, Al Qaeda, insurgents, whatever, Muslim women and children are being killed in stunningly huge numbers... For all the mock apologies, it is not an accident, because it has brought success before.

It is a historical fact, that, in spite of the self-righteous Judaeo-Christian hype about modern military chivalry and increasing morality and civility in the conduct of war, at no time in warfare in the past several hundred years previous to World War II, have "European" military men (German and Allied) killed more civilians, especially women and children, during the conduct of their work... Their policy is continuing in the current war against the Muslims. (In their defence we acknowledge it is true the current victims are not white or Christian peoples.)

Hillary Clinton, that heroine of modern American womanhood, said, as part of her run for the US Presidency in 2008, that she was prepared to "obliterate Iran," presumably with atom bombs, as part of her foreign policy initiatives, if need be... Even in the 21st century, a half century after Hitler, American university trained women are willing to consider mass genocide against non-white Muslim men, women, and children, if it would benefit American special interests in one way or another at home... And millions more so-called American feminists applauded her...

It is a truism that the more educated white elites have become, in the 20th century, the more they talk about morality, and how decently they conduct warfare - compared to their enemies - the greater have been the number of women and children they have killed. It escalated in World War II and it certainly did not end with the death of Hitler... In the Middle East it has never stopped since...

Simply put, officers of the British Victorian Army would be appalled at how their successors - modern military officers - have skewed the conduct of war away from confronting professional fighting men, to targeting, instead, directly and indirectly, their women and children...

The Boer War taught them that nothing succeeds like success...

And lest you think this can't be so, you have the word of Canada's top General, Hillier who loudly barked at a press conference that "our job (the Canadian Forces) is to be able to kill people" namely "the detestable murderers and scumbags" in Afghanistan.

And then killing is, also, much more face-saving than diplomacy - having to talk to people of a colour and religion which you clearly despise...

Go to Silks in Toronto

Above Pretoria Day 1900, in Toronto, Ontario. To see all the silk flags everyone is wearing -