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27th September 2003Transvaal Rangers and others...
By Neil Raaff

I've recently developed an interest in the Zulu War and related campaigns. I'm predominantly trying to find out information about units one of distant relatives, Commandant P. Raaff, had an involvement in.

The most well know of these was the Transvaal Rangers. I believe he also had an involvement in raising the Lydenburg Rifles for the Second Sekukuni campaign. One book even mentions involvement in the Riversdale Mounted Burghers.

Information on these units is at best scant and I would appreciate any information volunteered. I understand a diary of a member of the Transvaal Rangers was published but only in very limited quantities. If someone has or knows where to obtain this diary could they please contact me.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.


27th September 2003Justin Young
Hi Neil

Like yourself I have a great interest in the Transvaal Rangers and have been trying to build up a picture of this unit. But as you said information is very limited.

You are correct about the units Raaff Served in but he also played a leading role in the Matabeleland campaign in 1893, before his death in 1896 (I believe this was the year)
There are a couple of diary's of members of the Transvaal Rangers. One having recently been published in AZWHS Journal (Regimental Sgt Maj Cheffins) and another by Trooper T Thomas which I've been trying to find out about for some time but no-one seems to have heard of it.

If you would like copies of the diary and some other stuff I've come up with, send me an email off forum and I'll email you them.
I'm always happy to share any info. I come up with, so maybe we could both try and help each other?

27th September 2003Neil Raaff
Many thanks for the reply Justin. No doubt we will be able to share some worthwhile information!

My link to Raaff's involvement in the Riversdale Mounted Burghers is rather tenuous (a single paragraph reference in a book!). I believe they were involved in one of the earlier campaigns... perhaps it was Raaff's first involvement as he moved North? Does anybody know much about this unit?


28th September 2003John Young

Just to correct you on one thing - Raaff died in 1894, after he had given evidence against Major Patrick Forbes to "Dr. Jim" - James L.S. Jameson, for his mishandling of the pursuit of Lobengula.

I'll have to find Raaff's obituary, to clarify this, but I believe he served in the Transvaal Artillery, prior to its annexation by Shepstone.
He was arrested by the Transvaal Republic's authorities during the 1st Anglo-Boer War 1880-81.

John Y.
28th September 2003Neil Raaff
John, many thanks for your reply.

As I understood it Raaff died in Bulawyo on Boxing day in 1893 having brought his troops back from the pursuit of Lobengula. However, I have seen accounts that suggest the 26 th of January 1894.

I didn't realise that he had served in the Transvaal Artillery. I heard that he was a bailiff or sheriff of the court at the time of the 1st Boer War and was sentenced to death following his arrest? Apparently this was repealed.

An interesting character nonetheless who seems to have had some involvement in the general goings-on of the time.

Once again, thanks for your interest.

20th May 2004Sebastian Raaff
To all,
I am Comondant Raaff's great-grandson, I too am reasearching him and would be greatful for any information concerning him. If I could be of any use to any of you I will gladly say any information I have.

Your sincerely

Sebastian Raaff