History/Background Information: Laidlaw states: "The medals were made by Gerhardus Franciscus Keyzer aged 52, a resident of Pretoria and employed as a bench worker by the N.Z.A.S.M. - NEDERLANDSCHE ZUID-AFRIKAANCHE SPOORWEG MAATSCHAPPIJ (Dutch South African Railway Company).
He was captured at Boshof on 5 April 1900 and sent as a P.O.W. to Ceylon (No. 2783) where he was interned in the Ragama camp. He refused to sign the oath of allegiance to the British Crown and was repatriated as an exile to the Netherlands at the end of hostilities.
It was originally thought that the blanks used were skimmed ZAR Pennies. However, a Newspaper paper article in ‘De Locomotief’ published in Semarang, Indonesia, confirmed that the coins used were filed off Ceylon 5 Cents of Queen Victoria.
Where the medals were made is not known. The possibilities are: in the camp, on the journey back to the Netherlands or in the Netherlands.
Apparent varieties exist but may be only the result of the poor strike.The first batch of prisoners arrived in Ceylon on 9 August 1900 and subsequently others followed until some 5 000 prisoners had landed. Diyatalawa was the main camp. Mt Lavinia was the convalescent camp while foreign volunteers, dissidents and 'irreconcilables' were housed at Ragama.In the wartime correspondence of Jeannot Weinberg, a Jewish POW in Ragama Camp, he writes, 'The Germans, Hollanders, Irish Americans are, with a few exceptions, a most disreputable lot. They are without exaggeration the scum of the scum'. This appellation also appeared in a 'Times' of Ceylon article.
Most of the prisoners in Ceylon were repatriated to South Africa at the end of the war after signing the oath of allegiance to King Edward VII. The foreign volunteers and those who refused to sign were probably given passage on Dutch ships to the Netherlands.
An example of this medal in VF condition with a ribbon made from a hat band, belonging to Burger H. H. Smorenburg of the Hollander Corps was sold by Stephan Welz on auction for approximately $4,000 on 17 November 2012.
Herman Hendrik Smorenburg (1883 – 1946), aged 17, from Waterval Boven in northern Transvaal was captured at Tobakop on 1 May 1900 and taken as a POW to Ceylon (No. 3362) and interned at the Diyatalawa camp. He was probably transferred to the Ragama camp as an 'irreconcilable'. He refused to sign the oath of allegiance to the British Crown and was repatriated as an exile to the Netherlands at the end of hostilities but later returned to South Africa.."
Certification: NGC AU58BN - The only one graded
Condition Notes: A superb rendering of this scarce medal, practically as struck with bold definition.
Reference: Hern 300, Laidlaw 0786a