The Petticoat Commando

Johanna Brandt (1876 - 1964)

In introducing the English version of this book I venture to bespeak a welcome for it, not only for the light which it throws on some little-known incidents of the South African war, but also because of the keen personal interest of the events recorded. It is more than a history. It is a dramatic picture of the hopes and fears, the devotion and bitterness with which some patriotic women in Pretoria watched and, as far as they could, took part in the war which was slowly drawing to its conclusion on the veld outside.

I do not associate myself with the opinions expressed by the writer as to the causes of the war or the methods adopted to bring it to an end, or as to the policy which led to the Concentration Camps, and the causes of the terrible mortality which prevailed during the first months of their existence. On these matters many readers will hold different opinions from the writer, or will prefer to let judgment be in suspense and to look to the historian of the future for a final verdict. We are still too near the events to be impartial. But this book does not challenge or invite controversy. Fortunately for South Africa, most of us on both sides can now discuss the events of the war without bitterness and understand and respect the feelings of those who were most sharply divided by these events from ourselves.

The greater part of the narrative comes from a diary kept during the war with unusual fullness and vividness. The difficulty experienced by the writer of the diary in communicating to friends outside Pretoria information about what was passing inside, and in unburdening herself of the feelings roused in her by the events of the war, made the diary more than usually intimate. To understand fully many of the narratives which have been transferred from it to this book, it must be remembered that one is reading, not something written from memory years after the event, but rather the record of a conversation at the time, in which the diarist is describing the events as if to a friend who shares to the full all her own feelings and to whom she can speak without reserve.

Much has happened in the ten years which have passed since the end of the war. The country which was distracted by the conflicting ideals and interests of its different Governments and peoples has become the Union of South Africa. It is now one State. It remains that it should call forth a spirit of patriotism and nationality which will unite and not divide its people.(Introduction by Patrick Duncan)

Genre(s): War & Military, Biography & Autobiography

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 Introduction Richard Kilmer
Play 01 The Scene Of Action Richard Kilmer
Play 02 How The Mines Were Saved Richard Kilmer
Play 03 The Surrender Of The Golden City Richard Kilmer
Play 04 Martial Law Under The Enemy Richard Kilmer
Play 05 Only A Bit Of Ribbon Gay! Richard Kilmer
Play 06 Passes and Permits Richard Kilmer
Play 07 Postage By Strategy Richard Kilmer
Play 08 Outwitting The Censor Richard Kilmer
Play 09 Jan Celliers, Poet And Patriot Richard Kilmer
Play 10 A Little Adventure With The British Soldier Richard Kilmer
Play 11 Prisoner Of War Richard Kilmer
Play 12 The Concentration Camps Richard Kilmer
Play 13 A Consular Visit To Irene Camp Richard Kilmer
Play 14 New Developments Richard Kilmer
Play 15 The Formation Of The National Scouts Corps Richard Kilmer
Play 16 A Consignment of Explosives Richard Kilmer
Play 17 The First Interview With Spies, Introducing Two Heroes Richard Kilmer
Play 18 The Case Of Spoelstra Richard Kilmer
Play 19 Diamond Cut Diamond! Richard Kilmer
Play 20 Thanksgiving And Humiliation Richard Kilmer
Play 21 Filippie And COo Richard Kilmer
Play 22 The Secret Railway Time-Table Richard Kilmer
Play 23 The System Employed By The Secret Committee Richard Kilmer
Play 24 The Death Of Adolph Krause Richard Kilmer
Play 25 The Shoemaker At Work Richard Kilmer
Play 26 Bitten By Our Own Dogs Richard Kilmer
Play 27 The Betrayal Of The Secret Committee. A Memorable Day Of Trouble Richard Kilmer
Play 28 Hansie Earning The Vote Richard Kilmer
Play 29 A War Baby And A Curious Christening Richard Kilmer
Play 30 Forming A New Committee Richard Kilmer
Play 31 "Tea For Two" Richard Kilmer
Play 32 Kidnapping Mauser The Kitten Richard Kilmer
Play 33 The First Spies At Harmony Richard Kilmer
Play 34 The Captain's Visit Richard Kilmer
Play 35 Memories Bitter-Sweet Richard Kilmer
Play 36 A Silent Departure. "Fare Thee Well" Richard Kilmer
Play 37 Betrayed Richard Kilmer
Play 38 The Raid On Harmony Richard Kilmer
Play 39 The Watchword. Oiling The Hinges Richard Kilmer
Play 40 Peace, Peace--And There Is No Peace Richard Kilmer
Play 41 Conclusion Richard Kilmer