South African Boers of French Origin: Huguenots: Eugene Terre-Blanche of the AWB

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[A French supporter sent me this about ET and about the Huguenots and French who fought among the Boers. This is very interesting stuff. Jan]

My French supporter wrote:
Jan,
As I am now listening your show with the W.A.R. guys, where you allude to the possibly french origin of Eugene Terre-Blanche’s name, I can certify that it is indeed french. "Terre blanche" means "white land" or "white earth" or "white soil", depending on the context.
I reckon that the first interpretation explains best the ancient formation of such a south-african family name.
E.T.B. was definitely a descendant of french Huguenots.

Bernard Lugan, this french africanist historian I mentioned in a previous mail, has written a few books about the french presence in South-Africa, mainly Huguenots and guys who went to fight along the Boers.

While I’m at it, here are a few lines I find about Lugan (not updated):
"Bernard Lugan, born May 10, 1946 in Meknes (Morocco), is a senior lecturer at the University of Lyon III, where he has taught various courses on the History of Africa and the Francophonie since 1984.
He also gives lectures at the Institute of Advanced National Defense Studies as well as at the Joint Defense College (former War School) within the History and Geostrategy of the Francophonie module.
A doctor of history and doctor of letters, this africanist taught for eleven years (1972-1983) at the National University of Rwanda, a country in which he carried out archaeological excavations."

Robert de Kersauson:

"Robert Marie de Kersauson de Penandreff (af), born February 19, 1877 in Brest.He left for the Transvaal in 1899 when the Boer War broke out.
Having learned Afrikaans, he was seconded to an elite corps of the Boer army, he organized the guerrilla war of the last Boers fighting against English domination in Namaqualand, then fled across German South West Africa andlaunches a final attack against the city of Cape Town even after the capitulation of the Boers.During the First World War, he fought heroically, particularly at Verdun.

Between 1919 and 1939 he worked for the Citroën company in Central Africa.Mobilized in 1939 with the rank of battalion commander, he reached the age limit in 1940 and ended his life, with his wife Marie Louise Goutorbe in South Africa where he had obtained South African nationality.
Died on June 11, 1971 in Franschhoek (South Africa)."

"Born in 1879 in Brest, Marquis Robert de Kersauson de Pennendreff was twenty years old when the Anglo-Boer War broke out.While he was preparing for Saint-Cyr, he gave up and immediately left for the Transvaal.He had the privilege of being presented to President Paul Kruger before whom he took the oath, before being incorporated into a commando of volunteers commanded by Captain de Kertanguy.Then he was placed in “Theron’s Verkennirigskorps”, a corps of scouts commanded by Daniel Theron, a descendant of Huguenots.After a few months, Robert de Kersauson was part of a small group of seven men detached from this commando and sent under the orders of (?) to organize the guerrilla war of the last Boers living on English territory, in the Cape Colony.

In these desolate spaces, the Boer guerrillas took control of immense regions, capturing British garrisons, disorganizing defense lines and lines of communication.Robert de Kersauson earns his lieutenant’s stripes by fire.Refusing to surrender to the British after the capitulation in May 1902, Robert de Kersauson took refuge in German territory before returning to France.Incorporated into the 7th Dragoon Regiment, he participated in the Madagascar campaign.

He returned to South Africa a few years later, and married a French woman from Saint-Etienne.The couple then left for the United States of America, where Robert, formerly taken with the whole family by his mother Isabelle – probably to escape the creditors of her late husband, (Notary and Mayor of Guilers) – had studied atthe University of Los Angeles.Robert de Kersauson does mining prospecting in Arizona.
In 1914, he joined the French army and fought heroically, notably at Verdun.In 1916, as a second lieutenant, he commanded the American Sanitary Section No. 1. The irony of history is that some of his former companions refused to fight against the Germans and entered into dissidence during the rebellion by Maritz.

In 1939, he was mobilized with the rank of battalion commander.On February 14, 1940, having reached the age limit, he was sent home.
He then decided to settle in South Africa, where, as a Boer veteran, he obtained South African nationality.He returned to South Africa a few years later, married a French woman from Saint-Etienne, Marie-Louise Coutorbe, then the couple embarked for the United States of America where Robert did mining prospecting in Arizona.

In 1939, he was mobilized with the rank of battalion commander.On February 14, 1940, having reached the age limit, he was sent home.
He then decided to settle in South Africa, where, as a Boer veteran, he obtained South African nationality.The couple settled in a small house with the pretty name of Hermitage in Franshhock, the “French corner”, near Cape Town, where the first Huguenots who fled France settled.
On June 11, 1971, Robert died, followed on March 17, 1972 by his wife.Having had no children, the Kersausons bequeathed all their possessions to the Huguenot museum in Franshhock.Their grave is also located a few dozen steps from the museum."

https://primo.qatar-weill.cornell.edu/discovery/fulldisplay/cdi_crossref_primary_10_5787_6_2_856/974WCMCIQ_INST:VU1

Colonel Georges de Villebois-Mareuil:

"In France, perhaps more than elsewhere, we like to perpetuate the memory of great men by giving their names to squares, streets and avenues.This very laudable habit in itself, however, has drawbacks.Very often the memory of heroes is lost and no one knows the real reason for their fleeting notoriety.This is the case of Colonel de Villebois-Mareuil, forgotten hero of the Boer War which ravaged South Africa in 1900, for whom a street in our Commune has been named since December 21, 1900.Georges Henri Anne Marie Victor de Villebois de Mareuil was born on March 2, 1847 in Nantes.[2] He was of noble lineage, one of his ancestors having distinguished himself at the battle of Bouvines in 1214. He studied in Paris at the Jesuit college of Vaugirard.At the age of twenty, he left Saint-Cyr and chose the Marine infantry as his weapon and began his military career in Cochinchina.But the war of 1870 forced him to return to France.

Appointed captain, he participated in the recapture of Blois from the Prussians, an action during which he was seriously injured.Decorated on the battlefield, he then spent nine months in hospital where he was very close to losing his life.In 1877, he entered the war school.During his internship he went to the Balkans to study the battlefields of the Russo-Turkish war which had just ended.He left school in 1879, 11th out of 67 students.In 1881 he participated in the Tunisian campaign.On February 11 of that same year, he married Paula Estrangin, a young girl 15 years younger than him, the daughter of a Marseille shipowner.From this marriage a daughter Simone was born.Promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1889, he left for Algiers as chief of staff of the division.He left this city with regret in 1892, promoted to colonel and appointed to the metropolis.At 45, he is the youngest colonel in France.

This soldier also loved to write.He wrote several works on the organization of the army and even, before his marriage, several novels.But Villebois-Mareuil’s career was to be disrupted by the Dreyfus affair and its after-effects on the army.We know about the file affair organized by the Minister of War, General André.Each officer was listed according to his political and religious convictions and Villebois-Mareuil was right-wing and very Catholic.He had just been appointed to command the 1st regiment of the Foreign Legion when he was refused authorization to follow it to Madagascar.Ulcerated, very affected by his recent widowhood, he resigned.In October 1899, the Boer War broke out.A prominent figure in French nationalist circles, de Villebois-Mareuil offers his services to Dr Leyds, President Krüger’s envoy to Europe.Leaving Marseille on October 26, he reached Pretoria at the end of November.He joined Generals Joubert and Botha at Ladysmith and participated in Colenso’s victory over the English.This victory, for which the English press gave him all the credit, caused a great sensation in Europe.But the hero’s days were numbered.On March 17, Colonel de Villebois-Mareuil was named general and took command of the Legion of Foreign Volunteers, the number of which reached nearly three thousand.After the Boer victories of the first months, the English had pulled themselves together and sent reinforcements from across the empire.Villebois-Mareuil decides to try to take over the town of Boshof but he learns on April 4 that this town is strongly held by several thousand English, under the command of Lord Methuen.He then decides to cut the railway line which, to the southwest, is used to supply the city.
We will borrow from Noël Laurent, the story of the tragic end of Colonel-Count de Villebois-Mareuil. "…The volunteers are surrounded by hundreds, thousands of English riflemen firing at point blank range with the support of six artillery pieces in battery at 800 meters…" It is now the lieutenant of Breda who had accompanied Villebois-Mareuil in this adventure which recounts the death of his superior: "He had just lowered the white flags which had been raised against his orders. An English officer arrived on him andwas shot again with a revolver shot. But at the same moment, he was hit in the right side by a shrapnel and he fell without uttering a word."His adversary, Lord Methuen, deeply moved by his courage, had him paid the honors and had him buried according to the wishes he had expressed, near the place where he had fallen, in the Boshof cemetery.Villebois-Mareuil has now been resting since 1970 in the South African national sanctuary of Magersfontein.The announcement of this glorious death had a great impact in France.The Duke of Orléans offered to pick up the hero’s body on his yacht.But the will had to be respected.A solemn requiem mass was sung on April 18, 1900 at Notre-Dame before a considerable audience.Many towns gave the name Villebois-Mareuil to one of their streets.Our Commune did not waste time, since the decision was taken two and a half months after the hero’s death to rename rue de la Station after his name [4].The Colonel’s feat of arms and bravery crystallized French nationalism.Fashoda was still in everyone’s memory and the Boer War had seriously tarnished the prestige of England which for many French people remained the treacherous Albion.Less than fifteen years later, the terrible holocausts of the First World War, where France and England fought side by side, gave the South African war the dimension of a colonial adventure and little by little the memory of the colonelde Villebois-Mareuil would fade away. "

"A character with a life worthy of a novel, Georges de Villebois-Mareuil was born on March 22, 1847 in Nantes into a Catholic and monarchist family, descended from the Parisian nobility.After his Baccalaureate, which he obtained at just sixteen years old, he entered Saint-Cyr in the “Vénétie” promotion.sc00050218Choosing the Infantry, he served in Cochinchina during the Second Empire then as an orderly for his uncle, then Colonel.In 1870, commanding a company of Chasseurs à Pied, he fought courageously against the Prussians in the defense of Blois and came out wounded.

Promoted to Captain in 1877, he entered the War School as a student and graduated eleventh in his class.In 1881, he commanded a company during the conquest of Tunisia before experiencing various assignments which deeply bored him.Promoted to Colonel at only forty-five years old (he was the youngest officer at this rank), he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Algiers Division in 1893, the year in which he experienced the pain of losing his wife.

He then asks to go to Madagascar but his superiors reject his request.He then asked to be placed in the Foreign Legion and joined the 1st Foreigner in Sidi-bel-Abbès.His unit is chosen to go to Madagascar.Unfortunately, Colonel de Villebois-Mareuil was unable to leave for the Big Island, receiving orders to remain in command there.After six months of service, he resigned from the Army, furious.
He then founded the “Union of Regimental Societies of Former Soldiers” which wanted to promote attachment to the homeland, honor, commitment and values of the soldier against bourgeois individualism and selfishness.He also entered politics and approached nationalist circles.In 1898, finding himself fully in the thoughts of Charles Maurras, he co-founded Action Française with Henri Vaugeois, Maurice Pujo and Maurras himself.The same year, he experienced particularly badly the withdrawal of Captain Marchand to Fashoda against Lord Kitchener and was one of those who wanted to fight against the “perfidious Albion”.

The opportunity was given to him in 1899. Indeed, the British declared war on the Boer (Afrikaner) Republics of Orange and Transvaal.In France, while diplomacy is beginning a rapprochement with London, particularly Anglophobic right-wing circles after Fashoda are openly defending settlers of Dutch origin.Without referring to the government or the Army, Villebois-Mareuil raised volunteers to fight in South Africa.
On November 22, 1899, he landed near Lourenço in Mozambique, then a Portuguese colony, and arrived in the Transvaal to put himself in the service of President Paul Kruger and without request for pay or reward!The President very warmly welcomes the arrival of the French officer and Georges de Villebois-Mareuil becomes Chief of Staff of General Piet Joubert.It was in this post that he participated with his men in the victory of Colenso against the forces of English General Buller.Villebois-Mareuil admires the courage of the Boers but he experiences a real cultural shock when he comes into contact with his farmer soldiers.Indeed, he very quickly found them poorly organized, undisciplined and too accustomed to the voting system to make decisions.Nevertheless, Kruger appointed Villebois-Mareuil as head of the Legion of Foreign Fighters.He then commands a whole troop made up of French, Italians, Germans, Austrians, Irish, Serbs and Russians;adventurers or fighters fueled by anti-English sentiment.
But on April 5, 1900, after the British had launched a new campaign with more resources, Villebois-Mareuil was forced to retreat to Boshof to the north of the Cape.While the Boers chose to retreat, Villebois-Mareuil remained to fight and was killed.The British then buried him with military honors.After the death of Villebois-Mareuil, the Boers experienced several defeats which forced them to abandon the pitched battle for guerrilla warfare.Kruger will order the Legionnaires to leave South Africa.But a handful will still remain until the capitulation, including the Frenchman Robert de Kersauson.In 1971, the South African authorities transferred the remains of Colonel de Villebois-Mareuil to Magersfontein, not far from Kimberley."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_de_Villebois-Mareuil



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