Ottawa — The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, issued the following statement to mark the 113th anniversary of the end of the South African War.
“During the South African War, fought from 1899 to 1902, more than 7,000 Canadians volunteered for service in our nation’s first official dispatch of troops to a war overseas. It marked the beginning of a long tradition in our country of international military service.
“This was also the first time Canadian women served with the military overseas, with 12 Nursing Sisters helping the sick and wounded in South Africa. Georgina Pope of Prince Edward Island led the Canadian Nursing Sisters and was awarded the Royal Red Cross for her exemplary service—the first Canadian to ever receive this award.
“Commonly referred to as the Boer War, the difficult terrain and the commando tactics of the Boer soldiers were a great challenge for the British. Canadians who were skilled on horseback were an essential addition to the British forces in fighting battles and undertaking gruelling scouting missions in South Africa.
“Approximately 280 Canadians lost their lives in the conflict and their names can be found in the South African War and Nile Expedition Book of Remembrance in the Memorial Chamber on Parliament Hill. Today, Canada commemorates all those who served in South Africa, contributing to our proud military history.”
For more information on Canada’s role in the South African War, visit: veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/south-african-war
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Office of the Minister of Veterans of Affairs
Veterans Affairs Canada