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Ambulances and hospitals

The Anglo-Boer was a vast and lengthy conflict, placing enormous burdens on medical services for the Boers as well as the British. For both sides, the railway junctions - such as Springfontein and Noupoort - were ideal places for hospitals.

The German Red Cross at Springfontein

The German Red Cross made available several ambulances to the Boers - and one was stationed at Springfontein. The ambulance left Naples on 6 December 1899, and, travelling via Lourenco Marques, arrived in Springfontein on 18 January 1900. The Ambulance consisted of Doctors T Ringel, J Wieting and A Flockeman, and the nurses were Anna Botefur, Anna Heiler, Louise Westphal and Amelie Thiel. There were also five male nurses.

They converted some empty station buildings into a hospital, with 20 beds, an operation theatre, and a dispensary. Three local tin houses became living quarters for the medical staff. Rev and Mrs Sandrock assisted with the fitting out of the facilities.

Springfontein Hospital


Between Gibraltar and the railway line was No. 12 General Hospital, managed by a highly professional medical team from Wales. The hospital was reputed to be the biggest medical facility in the southern hemisphere for a short while, and it was one of the first to use an X-ray machine.

Nothing is left today of the hospital.

See Steve Watt, A Welsh Hospital In Africa, for a detailed description of the Welsh hospital.



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