The Field Guide, a companion to Anglo-Boer War Blockhouses – A Military Engineer’s Perspective, is an extensive review of the blockhouses left standing in South Africa. A first-of-its-kind guide, it can be used for virtual visits to learn more about these military structures, or better still to get ‘boots on the ground’. Its aim is to put the blockhouse sites on the battlefield tour map and to encourage professional guides and amateurs alike to explore them in detail or make them a stop-off on a longer trip.
Built 120 years ago, these temporary structures occupied for years by the lonely and bored ‘Tommy Atkins’ have a story to tell, of military industrial proportions. The author visited virtually every site, excepting only a few whose isolation and inaccessibility speak volumes about the challenges offered by the South African veld to the combatants.
The guide also acts as a record of the current condition of the sites, all sadly having been ravaged by human destruction and the inexorable effects of weather and the passage of time. Thirty of them are protected by government legislation which has proved ineffective. One day this guide may be the sole source of reference to an aspect of our national heritage that we are in danger of failing to preserve.
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