Photograph of Deneys Reitz, a boer commando

Deneys Reitz
1882-1944

Born in 1882, began soldiering at the age of 17, for when war broke out in South Africa between the Boers and the British he rode away on his Basuto pony to join one of those 'Commandos' which were to perform such prodigies of resistance for the next three years. After the Boer surrender in 1902 Reitz went into voluntary exile in Madagascar, but was eventually persuaded by his old leader, now Field-Marshal Smuts, to forget his bitterness against the British and to embrace 'the broader loyalty' to the Union of South Africa. His subsequent record of service shows how ardently he adopted the advice of Smuts. In the 1914-18 war he fought with distinction as a comrade-in-arms of the British, and became Commander of the First Royal Scots Fusiliers, one of the oldest regiments in the British Army.

In the home affairs of South Africa, too, Deneys Reitz made a name for himself and after entering the Union Parliament — again under the inspiration of Smuts—occupied a succession of important public offices. In 1943 he became the High Commissioner for South Africa in London, where he worked with ardour and enthusiasm for a still closer relationship between the Dominion and the Motherland.

Deneys Reitz died in October 1944.

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