Hildebrand Anglo-Boer War Monument
The Hildebrand Anglo-Boer War Monument and grave site is located along Route 27 on the West Coast near
In the September of 1901, Boer fighters arrived in Van Rhynsdorp to join forces and to attack the British troops that occupied territory near Cape Town. Under the leadership of Manie Maritz and Jan Theron, the Boer forces moved south to infiltrate the Cape Colony. This was the furthest the Boers had been from home, and the closest the action was to be to Cape Town. Hildebrand was appointed Veldkornet after a successful attack on a British military supply column and was ordered to conduct raids to the south, in the direction of Darling and Hopefield. The other commando would meet up with him after they had raided Piketberg.
Hopefield was successfully taken, and the commando proceeded on toward Darling on 10 November 1901. The scouting party sent into Darling on 11 November 1901 realized that the Town Guard had withdrawn, leaving Darling to be occupied by the Boers. They released the only prisoner, Mr Loubser, destroyed the telegraph, and gave word to Veldkornet Hildebrand who, along with a few members of the commando, entered Darling on the 12th to requisition supplies and horses from the area.
At noon on the 12th of November, British reinforcements led by Lieutenant Colonel Crabbe arrived in Darling. The British, who were 500 men strong, forced Hildebrand and his commandos to withdraw to higher ground, 6 kilometers north. During the withdrawal of the Boers, the British attacked, and Hildebrand was mortally wounded. The commando hid Hildebrand’s body in a porcupine burrow to retrieve it later that night, but could not find the burrow again. Klaas Papier, a shepherd to the farm owner, Mr G Loedolff, later found the body. The battle took place on Mr Loedolff’s farm, and upon the shepherd’s discovery on the 13th of November 1901, he wrapped the body of Hildebrand in blankets and buried him in the same place.
Veldkornet Hildebrand’s body was disinterred a few months later, and given a proper, dignified burial. A white marble headstone was later erected with the Dutch inscription that translates: “In Memory of C.P Hildebrand, of Lichtenburg Transvaal, who as Veldkornet in the Commando of Maritz was killed in action here on 12th November 1901, this stone was erected by Afrikaans friends. 1 Tim 6:12.”
The decision to erect a monument on the site, was taken in 1937, and on 16 December 1940 the Hildebrand Anglo-Boer War Monument was consecrated. The monument and war grave is currently being maintained by the Dutch Reformed Church of Darling. It is a site that reminds us of the heroic efforts by the Boer Forces to liberate the Cape Colony of British rule.