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THE PRICE OF FANATICISM: THE CASUALTIES OF THE BULHOEK MASSACRE

DOI: 10.5787/26-1-239

Keywords: The Bulhoek massacre , The Union Defence medical personnel , Israelites , Queenstown , the senior Magistrate of Queenstown , E.C.A. Welsh , Government's instructions , bloodshed , Frontier Hospital , Tempe hospital

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Abstract:

The Bulhoek massacre is a well-known event in popular memory of many black South Africans and a standard feature in accounts of South African history. Despite this fact historians have not yet established the exact number of Israelites who were killed as a result of their attack on the Police on 24 May 1921. It is the purpose of this article to establish a reliable number of Israelites who were killed during the Bulhoek massacre. The Union Defence medical personnel that accompanied the Police force to Bulhoek consisted of Major M. Welsh (in charge), Sergeant Major W. Richardson, Sergeant S. Allan, Sergeant Wallace, Private Kriel and Driver Valentine with one motor ambulance and field equipment. En route from Pretoria to Queenstown, the team was joined by Private Sutton from Tempe hospital in Bloemfontein. On their arrival at Queenstown the medical personnel accompanied Colonel Truter to an interview with the senior Magistrate of Queenstown E.C.A. Welsh. The latter stressed the seriousness of the situation and warned that the Police would not be able to carry out the Government's instructions without bloodshed. The medical personnel became convinced that bloodshed was unavoidable. They decided to ascertain the exact number of available accommodation at the Frontier Hospital in Queenstown. They found that only about 25 Europeans and up to 40 Africans could be accommodated. After checking available accommodation at Frontier Hospital, they erected a tent hospital at the show grounds of Queenstown.

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