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South African War (Boer) 1899-1902

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The following article was available only on paper in The National Archives' reading rooms. It was designed to act as a signpost to records of interest on a particular historical subject. It is not comprehensive, but may provide the basis for research among the records. It may have been compiled many years ago and could be out of date so feel free to edit this page to improve the information.
WO 32 Notes Registered Files: General Series

These files deal with all aspects of the administration of the War Office, and military forces. WO 32 is split into coded sections, for example CODE 0 (AU). The ‘0’ indicates abroad, and the ‘(AU)’ denotes that South Africa is the country concerned. The reader will find various WO 32 codes throughout this document. For a full list of the codes please refer to the printed catalogue of WO 32.



Administration & Correspondence

WO 25/3520-3522 1899-1902Embarkation & Disembarkation Returns, including a nominal roll of regimental officers.
WO 30/1101901Instructions from Kitchener to O/C (Officer Commanding) 18th Hussars. "Notulen Boek" of N J de Wet Strafrechter.
WO 32/63691896-1899CODE 0 (AU): Registered Files: General Series.* Proposed measures for defence of frontier of Cape Colony and Natal against attack from Transvaal & Orange Free State 1896-1899.
WO 32/7797-78331880-1881CODE 0 (AU): Registered Files: General Series. 36 documents covering the activities of the first Boer War of 1880-1881.
WO 32/7844-91191897-1904CODE 0 (AU): Registered Files: General Series. 1275 documents covering the activities of the period 1899-1904. A subject index for the period 1826-1901 can be found in WO 139.
WO 32/7945-79461900CODE 24(A): Memorandum and Reports. Memorandum by Maj. Gen. Sir Colleridge Grove. Reports of actions at Graspan (Enslin) and Colenso. Correspondence with Admiralty.
WO 32/81571900CODE 29(H): Rates of pay for irregular forces locally raised in South Africa.
WO 33/152-154, 157, 160-161, 165, 171, 198 1892-1901Reports and Miscellaneous Papers, covering military buildings, lands, notes on the Dutch Republic of South Africa, reconnaissance reports, communication lines, censorship enforced.
WO 105/5-401899-1904Field Marshal Lord Roberts's Papers. 48 boxes, folders. Relating chiefly to operations in South Africa 1899-1902. See also WO 108.
WO 106/288 1881Directorate of Military Intelligence. Memorandum on the advance on the Transvaal from Cape Colony.
WO 1081899-1913South African War Papers. 395 volumes. These consist largely of the correspondence of the Commander-in-Chief in South Africa (Lord Roberts), with reports and returns received by him from unit commanders. See also WO 105.
WO 108/3381899-1902Lists of casualties.
WO 108/93-951904Imperial Yeomanry & Volunteer Battalions. Roll of officers, NCOs and men
WO 1261899-1902Local Armed Forces, Enrolment Forms. 167 boxes. Alphabetically by unit. See also list in medal rolls in WO 100.
WO 1271899-1902Local Armed Forces, Nominal Rolls. 23 volumes. Alphabetically by unit. See also list in medal rolls in WO 100.
WO 1281899-1902Imperial Yeomanry Soldiers' Documents. 165 boxes. Indexed by regimental number. They contain attestation and discharge documents. Where a dummy slip is found the documents were transferred to WO 97. See also list in medal rolls in WO 100
WO 129/1-71900-1902Imperial Yeomanry Registers. 7 volumes. Indexed by regimental number.
WO 129/8-121900-1902Casualty Books and Nominal Roll of Officers awarded King's South Africa medal. See also WO 108/83 (casualties).
WO 139/10-111866-1901Subject Indexes to WO 32. 13 volumes. These indexes provide a digest of the chief correspondence of the War Office, covering the period 1866-1901. They give references to unweeded papers in WO 32.

Official Private & Personal Papers

War Office

WO 132/21872, 1879-1886, 1900-1901Buller Papers: Semi-official Correspondence.
WO 132/51890-1899Buller Papers: Semi-official Correspondence.
WO 132/61899-1900Buller Papers: Miscellaneous Papers.
WO 132/71899-1900 Buller Papers: Cypher Telegrams.
WO 132/81899-1900Buller Papers: Code telegrams.
WO 132/91899-1900Buller Papers: M I Reports - Natal.
WO 1361900-1902Colvin Papers: Records of the 20th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry commanded by Colonel (later Brig. Gen.) R. B. Colvin. 9 volumes, files.
PRO 30/57/16-251899-1905Lord Kitchener's Papers. These extracts cover the main correspondence dealing with Lord Kitchener's influence and activities in the Boer War. Other papers in the series are likely to refer to his time in South Africa.
PRO 30/67/5-191900-1903Middleton Papers. These extracts from the papers of the Earl of Middleton (formerly St. John Brodrick) have direct reference to the Boer War. Other papers in the series may also refer to the war.

Maps & Plans

FO 925/9141900Natal, 16 miles/inch
FO 925/11691900Natal, 2 mile/inch
MFQ 1/1308 1901Natal, 3 extracts from WO 32/8045. Boer War: enquiry into circumstances of surrender of a force at Nicholson's Nek, 1899, with maps; case of Captain S. Duncan, Gloucester Regt.
MPH 1/838 Natal, whole piece, formerly WO 108/301.Royal Engineer Services: maps, sketches, etc.
CO 700/NATAL26, CO 700/NATAL271899-1901Natal, various maps covering the period 1899-1901.
WO 78/54531901-1902Campaign Maps - 9 parts covering 17 series, two maps per series.

Medals and Awards

ADM 171/52-541899-1902Naval Medals and Awards. Queen's South Africa Medal 1899-1902 and King's South Africa Medal 1901-1902.
ADM 171/531899-1900Medal Roll of naval & marine brigade personnel who served ashore and afloat during the Boer War; Queens South Africa Medal and King’s South Africa Medal.
ADM 116/6411902Honours and Awards, Boer War 1899-1902.
WO 32/7614, WO 32/8182-81881904-1908, 1912CODE 16(B): Award of Distinction, South Africa 1900-1901, to Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians). Question of awards to various Australian and other colonial units, for service in South Africa.
WO 32 1899-1903CODE 50(M): Victoria Cross and Gallantry Awards. Various references to gallantry awards, some naming the recipients, (Full list) WO 32/4990, WO 32/7435-7437, WO 32/7443-7482, WO 32/7878, WO 32/7892, WO 32/7895, WO 32/7899-7900, WO 32/7952-7953, WO 32/7960 & WO 32/7963
WO 32/80031900-1901CODE 51(A): Mentions in Despatches.
WO 98/4, WO 98/7-81899-1903 Victoria Cross Register 1864 -1900; includes notes of some deaths up to 1952. Also a list of Victoria Cross recipients 1856-1952.
WO 1001899-1902Campaign Medals and Award Rolls. These rolls are available on microfilm. This class includes an index of medals and clasps as well as a unit index, containing a cross-reference list of piece numbers in WO 100, WO 126, WO 127 and WO 128.
WO 129/121900-1902Imperial Yeomanry: Registers. Nominal roll of officers awarded King's South Africa medal.
WO 162/96-971900-1920Important Decisions Books. South African medals and others.

Medical Papers

WO 25/3261-3472, 3474 1850-19101850-1910Index to Casualty Returns. Includes some returns from South African War 1899-1902. Listed by regiment.
WO 32/7144-5, WO 32/78961900-1902CODE 0 (AU): Application of Geneva Convention; for aid of sick and wounded. Action of military authorities. Also the provision of hospital ships.
WO 33/1951899-1900Committee Report on Sir Thomas Gallway's medical report on campaign in Natal.
WO 97/2171-4231, WO 97/4232-6322, WO 97/6323-63551900-1913Royal Hospital Chelsea: Soldiers' Documents. Arranged alphabetically by surname. Supplementary lists.
WO 108/89-91, WO 108/3381899-1900, 1902Nominal Rolls of Casualties.

War Graves

WO 32/3792-3811 1904-1930CODE O(H): South African War Graves. Covering the post-war administration, maintenance and funding of soldiers’ graves in South Africa.
CO 1031/29401957Care of Boer graves in Jamaica.
CO 54/938/141936-1937Boer cemetery, Diyatalawa [Ceylon].
DO 119/14791900-1901List of Soldiers buried in cemeteries in Cape Colony.


WO 32/60621902 CODE 45(N): Military balloons: lecture on their role in South African War.
WO 32/6979 1901CODE 45(K): Reports of valise equipment from units in South Africa, 1899-1901.
WO 32/7026-70271901-1902CODE 0 (AU): Report of Gipps Committee. Enquiry into the purchase and administration of ordnance stores in S.A. Including case of Col. Clarke, Principal Ordnance Officer.
WO 32/7028-70381903-1906CODE 45(H): Ordnance: Munitions and Guns. Disposal of Boer guns, limbers and carriages and distribution of trophies from South African War.
WO 32/7860, WO 32/78751899, 1900CODE 0 (AU): Report by Director General of Ordnance, intelligence on Ladysmith Boer guns, tables of ordnance and an article on effectiveness of various artillery pieces.
SUPP 5/1321901Royal Ordnance Factory Records. Extracts from unit commanders’ reports on rifles, carbines, small arms, ammunition, carts, wagons etc. Volumes 1, 2 and 5.
SUPP 5/137-1381898-1906Reports on Artillery Equipment in South Africa. Heavy artillery and Vickers Maxim 1 Pr. automatic guns.

Pensions & Compensation Claims

WO 23/173, WO 23/175-1781898-1906Royal Hospital Chelsea (also other locations) In- pensions; Admission Rolls.
WO 1481901-1904South African War Claims. 48 volumes.
PIN 15/440-443, PIN 15/452, PIN 15/2454, PIN 15/24571901-1903, 1903-1944War Pensions. Correspondence and awards to South African Defence Force and their widows.
PIN 71/1-6277 Selected War Pensions Awards Files. Filed in alphabetic sequence covering widows and disablement awards, these pre-1914 files include pensions granted for service in the Boer War 1899-1902.
PMG 9/48-501896-1905Pensions for Wounds. Pensions & gratuities for wounds.


WO 108/101, 340-3491902Part of the South African Papers. The photographs cover the defences at the siege of Ladysmith, pictures of blockhouses, defence works, a hospital camp and refugee camps.
COPY 1/443-4611899-1903Photographs of South African War.
COPY 1/5581911Folios 54490-54492, photographs of concentration camps in South African War.
CO 481807-1910War and Colonial Department and Colonial Office: Cape of Good Hope Colony (Cape Colony), Original Correspondence.

Prisoners of War

CO 152/2671901Boer prisoners of war - Antigua.
CO 537/403-4091901Boer prisoners in Ceylon (CO 458, Gov. 27680, 28180, 28346, 28932, WO 29558, Gov. 34493).
CO 537/4531901Report on Boer prisoners of war (Gov. 31258).
CO 537/1201-12021920Anglo-Boer War Decorations (GG 57962, 59099).
CO 879/721902Confidential Print. Appointment of medical staff in the concentration and burgher camps: memoranda 1901 & 1902. Concentration camps: memorandum by Mr Just 1902.
CO 879/751901-1903Confidential Print. Boer prisoners of war: correspondence 1901-1903. Refugee camps in South Africa: correspondence 1901-1902.
CO 879/761902Confidential Print. Release and return of prisoners of war; memorandum by Mr Just 1902.
WO 32/83471905Code 0 (AU): General questions relating to Boer & foreign prisoners of war, 1899-1902.


COPY 11899-1904Copyright Registers of Publicity Material. Included are examples of advertisements, etc. using the Boer War as a theme, e.g. COPY 1/156 folio 490 is a cut-out Boer War paper chess set.
WO 32/4755-47631903-1907CODE 24(A): Official History of the war in South Africa, correspondence. 9 documents.
WO 32/7137-71381899CODE 0 (AU): Newspaper correspondents’ application to accompany troops. Question of ban on foreign correspondents and revised rules governing the licences for correspondents.
WO 32/7945-79461900CODE 24(A): Publications: general question of publishing despatches from Naval Brigade.

Staff Diaries

WO 32/7868, WO 32/7876-7877, WO 32/7901, WO 32/79511899-1900Code 0 (AU): South Africa Staff Diaries, Dec. 1899, Jan. 1900, Natal May 1900, Dec. 1900.


WO 32/79431900Code 0 (AU): Horse sickness.
WO 32/7965, WO 32/79711900CODE 0 (AU): Armoured trains & organisation of transport for operations
WO 32/7272, WO 32/8756-87611901-1903Code 22(A): Committees of Ebrington & Stanley. Reports on provision of horses for Imperial Yeomanry and the supply of remounts generally. Also the reports on remount operations during the war, from various other commissions.
WO 33/2421902Reports on English & foreign horses and cobs in South Africa.
PRO 30/66/1-81899-1904Brig. Gen. Sir H. Osborne Mance Papers. These documents relate to Sir Osborne's army career in the Anglo-Boer War and are specifically to do with the railways in South Africa.


Administration and Correspondence

ADM 116/104-1111899Admiralty and Secretariat Cases. Boer War, contraband cases.
ADM 116/5291899-1900 Lists of officers and ratings killed in the Boer War. Date, place and cause of death; name, rank and service number.
ADM 116/36231900Printed reports from South Africa concerning the army’s operations during the war. The documents include a report from the Naval Brigade outside Colenso and situation reports from General Buller, Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener.
ADM 123/134-1351899-1902African Naval Stations, correspondence.
ADM 1881873-1923Royal Naval Registers of Seamen's Services
ADM 1961756-1954Royal Naval Officers' Service Records (Series III)

Cabinet Office

Administration and Correspondence

CAB 37/50/38, CAB 37/50/49, CAB 37/50/52, CAB 37/50/52-50/54, CAB 37/50/56-50/581899 Military strength in South Africa June 1899 - August 1899.
CAB 37/50/461899Representations of Uitlanders.
CAB 37/50/501899Time required to mobilise troops.
CAB 37/50/60-50/721899Situation and military readiness.
CAB 37/51/73-51/741899Covering line of advance in case of war.
CAB 37/51/76-51/861899Various papers covering South Africa.
CAB 37/51/881899Discussion of position after Boer War.
CAB 37/57/54 1901South African War: Despatch from Lord Kitchener, and some captured despatches from Boer commanders, 1901, June 4.
CAB 37/63/1641902Proposed prosecution of Enright and Hodgson, British subjects, for rebellion during the Boer War, 1902, Dec. 8.

Colonial Office and Dominions Office

Correspondence and Reports

CO 357/12-131898-1905Correspondence Registers - Natal.
CO 380/153-1551883-1905Drafts, Letters Patent etc.: South African Colonies.
CO 4171884-1925High Commission for South Africa, Original Correspondence.
CO 545/9-12 1898-1902High Commission for South Africa, Correspondence Registers, 1899-1902.
CO 546/5-81897-1902High Commission for South Africa, Out-letters Registers, 1897-1902.
CO 598/11905-1906Orange River Colony, Blue Books of Statistics.
CO 879/55-791898-1902Confidential Print: Affairs in South Africa 1898 Dec-1902 Dec. Listed in Colonial Office Confidential Print to 1934 (available in Research Enquiries Room).
DO 35/460/7.1932Boer War: alleged use of armed natives by the British.
WO 32/8074 1900-1902Boer War: employment of armed natives by Boers.
DO 119/347-4491899-1901Anglo-Boer War, High Commissioner’s Correspondence.
DO 119/21-26, DO 119/66, DO 119/73, DO 119/80, DO 119/94 1885-1900 South African High Commissioner, covering Indian traders' grievances; reports on speeches by President in Volksraad; conspiracy trial; commandeering of British subjects; and levying of war tax.

Foreign Office

Correspondence and Reports

FO 2/8291902-1903South Africa, Boer Treasure.
FO 93/107/91902South Africa, cessation of hostilities.
FO 704/11899-1902Ordnance: supply of munitions to Boers.

Also see the Research Guides on the British Army

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