The Boer War in 3D

This peculiarly, Victorian source of entertainment allows the viewer to gaze in wonderment as the characters from the Scriptures, fairy tales or even the news of the day miraculously come to live before their very eyes.  Viewing two identical images that are placed side by side through a lens ‘tricks’ the eye into seeing the images in three dimensions.  

Although my viewer came with a variety of slides it was the volume imaginatively entitled ‘The South African War Through the Stereoscope' that piqued my curiosity.  Here were thirty-six slides depicting events in the Boer War and published by Underwood & Underwood.  It is clear that there is an element of sensationalism to the images, many of which will have been reconstructed for the benefit of the camera, but they do provide an invaluable resource from the point of view of uniforms, equipment and even tactics of the British Army at the turn of the twentieth century. 

Once an animated slide is ‘clicked’ on the page it can be viewed as a still image in the normal way.  It is also probably worth mentioning, purely as a disclaimer, that every effort has been taken to faithfully reproduce the text accompanying each slide at that any inaccuracies were as they would have been presented to the general public at the time.

1. The Yorkshire Battalion disembarking at Cape Town, South Africa

2. South African Light Horse, coming down Adderly St. to entrain for the front Cape Town

3. Royal Munster Fusiliers receiving the word that they are going to the front, South Africa

4. The dying Bugler's last call - a batter field incident, Gras Pan, South Africa

5. The Sad Roll Call after some of the British were cut off at Dordrecht (Dec. 30th) S.A.

6. Col. Porter's Men ready to meet Boer Cavalry Charge on Naauwpoort (Dec. 13), South Africa

7. The Yorkshires breakfasting in camp at Naauwpoort, S. Africa - their gallantry on Jan. 28th lauded by French

8. Gen. French and Staff examining Boer Laager at Rensburg, S.A., just after Boers' retreat, Dec. 30th

9. New Zealand Mounted Rifles (Jan. 15th) after repulsing Boer attack at bayonets' point, Rensburg, S. Africa

10. Looking over the 12th Brigade Camp and Signal Hill, Slingersfontein, British Campaign, S.A.

11. "When the Cannon's roar is still" - sleeping by their arms before Colesburg, South Africa.

12. Major Remington and his scouts - the "British Rough Riders of S. Africa."

13. British Scouts firing on a Boer Patrol (Jan. 10th), near Colesburg, South Africa

14. The Military Camp at De Aar as it appeared before Roberts' advance to Kimberley - South Africa.

15. A few day's Fodder for British War-horses arrives at De Aar, South Africa.

16. Telephonists and Telegraphers getting and sending News from the British Siege Train a Orange River, S. A.

17. Great Orange River Bridge (450 yds.) which the Boers failed to destroy, Hope Town, S. Africa.

18. City of London Imperial Volunteers just arrived at the Orange River, South Africa. 

19. In the Orange River Trenches holding back the Boers - South Africa.

20. Tenderly they lifted him - Orange River Hospital, South Africa.

21. Some of Methuen's Infantry firing on retreating Boers from the Boer Stronghold at Belmont, South Africa.

22. Gallant storming of a Boer Kopje by the Suffolks, at Colesberg, S. A., Dec. 31st - praised by Gen. French.

23. The Last Drop - a scene on the Battlefield at Dordrecht, South Africa, Dec. 30th.

24. Royal Munster Fusiliers lining the Trenches on a Boer Alarm, Honey Nest Kloof, S. A.

25. Royal Munster Fusiliers firing from behind Redoubt at Honey Nest Kloof (Feb 16) S. Africa.

26. British Field Telegrapher sending news of victory at Klip Drift (Feb. 12th) - South Africa.

27. Fording the Modder with British Army Supplies after passage was forced by French, Feb. 13th, S. Africa.

28. Hurriedly repairing Modder River Bridge to pass a train with supplies into Kimberly (Feb. 21), S. Africa.

29. Cape Garrison Artillery making it hot for the Boers across Modder River, S. Africa.

30. The Burial Place, at Modder River, of the Highlanders who fell at Maagersfontein, S. Africa.

31. The Boer Prisoners (Cronje's Men) resting on the road from Paardeberg to Modder River, S. Africa.

32. Arrival of Gen. Cronje at Modder River, a prisoner of war, escorted by C. I. V. Mounted Infantry, South Africa.

33. One of Lord Roberts' Ammunition Columns en route to relieve Kimberley, S. Africa.

34. Colonial Troops fresh from active service in South Africa, Kensington Gardens, London, Eng.

35. Loyal Canadians being reviewed by Her Majesty the Queen, Horse Guards Parade, July 1st 1902, London, England.

36. General Christian De Wet - the Boer Leader - and his Secretary, 


  1. What a fantastic collection. Thanks for going to all the trouble of preparing the stereoscopic images for the internet Michael. I really enjoyed them, and the scenes were most evocative for this lesser known conflict.

  2. I have seen other images, presumably from the same series. Were these images published in Australian newspapers? Are they copyrighted?

    1. From what I understand they were an American news company so I imagine it was entirely possible that the images were syndicated throughout the World's press. As for copyright, that's a good point, but I have physically changed these images from their original use and I'm not looking to pass off the original work as my own, nor profit from it. The original publishers have been credited so I feel that I have respected the intellectual rights of the creator. With regards to these Gifs, if you would like to use them, then please help yourself, all I ask is that you likewise acknowledge their original source. Best wishes,


  3. Felicidades por estas imagenes, Deseo que siga usted deleitándonos con sus trabajos ahora que ha vuelto

  4. I have been moved by the images as I am trying to collate information for our church re the Highlanders killed at Magersfontein. I may have just found them. Thank you.

    1. Dear Cathy, thank you for your comment and I do hope that they are of use to you. I have my original scans of the slides that are of better quality, if you let me know which images you are interested in, I can post them on the blog for you to copy. Kind regards, MIchael

  5. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.

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