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More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has preserved.

Those Faking Combat Photographers in the Boer War - 11 Fake Combat Photos - 6

Intro 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Fake 8 Fake 9 Fake 10
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A classic fake battle photo, this one, supposedly, "when the smoke of Battle has cleared away."

Absolutely not.

This is, in no way, a candid grab shot of the aftermath of any battle, but a very carefully, and tightly composed reenactment by hale and hearty men.

Remember, it is very difficult to compose for a square stereoview format - to which this photographer was held - when you have to fill the vertical planes not the horizontal. Which is why this format died. It's much easier to photograph horizontally elongated subjects without danger of cut-offs.

Not even the world's best photographer could happen upon all the pictorial elements in this photo, and have them positioned so accurately in his frame, simply by cruising about the battlefield to do candid shooting.

The photographer carefully placed figures for the foreground action - the classic giving water to the wounded - and then arranged the background static stretcher bearers. He also placed an additional corpse and a man to bookend the right side of the frame.

When he was ready to shoot he ordered the stretcher party to lift - not walk - because he would not have gotten the nice framing with the rear stretcher bearer on the left side of his frame that way. And they might have walked out of the frame. Note the rear man is actually caught in a "lift" not a walking posture.

This way all the figures in the frame are wonderfully orchestrated into a very tight and pleasing composition in a very demanding camera format.

Note especially how - like any good photographer composing a scene - he has his figures, with their backs at the edge of his frames looking inwards.

Scenes like this took place after battles, but this is patently not one of them...

Fake #54 - Eventide - when the smoke of Battle has cleared away - Driefontein
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - London, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A genuine "After the Battle" photo of British dead after the Battle of Spion Kop, taken by Van Nes, a Boer photographer, in Jan. 24 or 25th, 1900.

Our Museum has just provided a digital copy or our original photo of this scene to the Folio Society (of Great Britain), which is publishing it in August 2011, in the re-issue of Thomas Pakenham's classic "The Scramble for Africa."

Note: Nothing is faked here. The figures are randomly caught wandering about aimlessly, some accidentally covering each other up. On the right at least three figures are ungracefully pancaked on top of each other.

One has "liberated" a Slade Wallace belt and pouch; another a bayonet and frog, as souvenirs.

It is a classic candid shot, with the photographer trying to catch whatever is available as best he can amidst moving figures, and still get decent composition.

Note how the bodies are all completely disheveled, mixed wildly about, amidst debris and scattered kit, spread hither and yon. There is nothing cosmetic, or photographically perfect, in the display of the bodies or wandering figures.

And no photographer, setting up a "fake" photo of actors, would ever deliberately place a major figure at the edge of his photo composition facing out of his frame. Absolutely never...

Compare it with Fake #54 Eventide.

Go to More Real Dead Bodies

Remember all this when you see the "after the battle" stereoviews..

Spion Kop After the Battle, Jan. 1900 - Van Nes

Orig. photo - Image Size - 17 x 22 cm
Found - Boulder, CO

The gruesome Spion Kop photos (about five have surfaced), showing the aftermath of the disastrous British defeat, were all taken by Boer photographers, and published by German, Dutch, and French sources, to help discredit the British and boost the Boer war effort. One was published by British "Black & White" magazine to make British blood boil, to make the common man keep supporting a losing war the rich and the super-rich wanted to pursue at all costs.

They are the only genuine photos of British dead we have ever seen, among the many thousands of war photos that we have looked at from the time.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Thomas Pakenham, an Irishman - he's actually a real British Earl though he doesn't use his title - is above all, a masterful historian specializing in the Victorian period.

Unlike the usual full-time professional historians, who are commonly, poor communicators, and insist on writing dry, boring, academic stuff, Tom has an uncanny gift for bringing to life the people who made the history.

His massive Boer War book is a truly wonderful and engrossing work, which is very hard to put down once one starts reading.

His Scramble for Africa, another massive work which he first issued in 1991, has now been re-issued by the Folio Society of Great Britain as a spectacular boxed set.

Unlike the many tiny and grotty images with which Lorimer editors defaced their book, the editors at the Folio Society used only big and powerful images - many in colour. The pictures are the largest you will see in any historical narrative work - as opposed to picture book. They are all - and there are many - very well chosen, the commendable aim being that they should all be a decent - above the norm - in size, so that faces and detail engage the reader as much as the text.

In modern times a new type of fake photo has emerged - the Photoshop fake - wherein photographers combine or rework photos and major picture elements in their computers to create a spectacular photo that never happened in real life but earns big bucks. Photoshopped fakes - a kid's head in a lion's mouth - are often passed off as "real," like the Boer War fake stereoviews, until they are outed by sharp-eyed sleuths. Eminent photographers have been fired for gross abuse in Photoshopping their photos and creating fakes.

In fact every photographer or editor does it to get rid of photo imperfections. Every single picture in the Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum has been Photoshopped... It's how the picture was cropped from the book photo and the yellow dot added, below.

A Small Secret - We confess the photo we supplied to the Scramble book has been Photoshopped. But we believe completely ethically in all respects.

The original above had a huge and ugly label across an empty space in the foreground. We suggested they Photoshop it to remove a distracting element that marred a powerful photo.

In only seconds, using the Clone tool in Photoshop, the artist borrowed and copied over, pieces of ground from the right side to overlay the offending label area. Nobody could possibly tell by looking at the photo in the book.

But you can, by detecting patterns. Look for "copies" of ground that are duplicates. We point out the two dark rounded "bird's nests" at 10 and 11 o'clock from the yellow dot, that reappear five times on the left, where the label was before. And note the dark handled "crescent wrench" at the 3:30 position which appears four times.

It clearly shows the wondrous fakery that modern technology makes possible, if you have mischief on your mind.

The Scramble for Africa (1991) - Thomas Pakenham, reissued Aug. 2011

Orig. books set - Image Size - cm
Found - London, UK

We are most grateful to the Folio Society of Great Britain for donating a boxed set of the Scramble for Africa to the Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum.

Right Thomas Pakenham AKA 8th Earl of Longford.

His mother, Lady Longford, a life-long Socialist, was a noted author - of biographies of eminent Britons.

His sister is Lady Antonia Fraser, the much honroured British writer.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Fake Spion Kop #1 - Probably the most famous fake combat photo of the Boer War, often called "Canadians: Baptism of Fire," which has been variously held by different experts as: Canadians at Sunnyside, Dec 31, 1899 (Canadian Carman Miller, 1998), or at Paardeberg, Feb. 18, 1900 (Briton Pat Hodgson, 1974.)

We believe it is neither, just a fake reenactment, perhaps done at Belmont.

Which explains why, when it is not a photo of a "real" historic event at a definite time and place, but only a staged reenactment as we contend, then it's bound to surface, in various guises, to serve many purposes.

Here is a newly discovered, and first time publication, of a third application for the same photo, which was used in a German postcard from 1900, printed in Strasbourg, then a German city, and which was posted in the Netherlands in 1901.

This printer claims this photo is of "Spion Kop: Englishmen Stalking." So making the soldiers English, not Canadians at all, at the famous battle where no Canadian troops were present (Jan. 22-24, 1900.)

Sunnyside, Paardeberg, and Belmont are all far apart. Spion Kop is extremely distant from them all.

So which is the fake? Carman Miller's identical pic on his book cover, or this 1900 postcard of the Englishmen Stalking? We think both probably are...

Anyone who has been to Spion Kop knows this is not the terrain in this photo.

And just in case you forgot your history, the British stalked up Spion Kop in total darkness and fog - not in broad daylight, like the men in the photo - and when dawn broke, they were already entrenched on top.

It just goes to prove that when fakery is about it is extremely difficult to keep the story straight. Three completely different times and places for the same photo is extremely good circumstantial evidence that it is in fact none of the above, but just a reenactment done by some British troops with time on their hands, and then used by book, magazine, and postcard publishers as they wanted, in Canada, the UK, and Germany.

For the complete story on how this fake photo has been used and abused over the last century:

Go to the Most Faked Combat Photo
Fake #55 - Spion Kop: Englishmen Stalking - Weiss-Reinschmidt, Strassburg - 1900
Orig. postcard - Image Size - 23 cm
Found - Guernsey, UK

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure This rare, Spion Kop inspired, multi-page sheet music makes clear that during the Boer War combat pictorialization rested entirely in the hands of imaginative illustrators, not photographers. Exactly where it had been for centuries, and this in spite of the invention of the highly portable Kodak pocket folding camera in the early 1890s.

Sheet Music, The Night Attack; A Military Scene - Fabian Scott, 1900
Orig. sheet music - Size - 26 x 35 cm
Found - Liverpool, UK

In fact, during World War I, painters and war artists - not photographers - would continue to do the combat illustration.

And why not? It was just too dangerous on the front lines to sit out there with a camera... Hell, people with rifles were dying, draped over barbed wire, by the tens of thousands, in only hours...

And in fact, fake combat footage continued to be shot, intermixed with real bombs going off, and real Red Cross wounded, etc., and shown to the Home Front, as genuine scenes from the battle front. All part of the propaganda war that journalists and filmmakers have been part of ever since. You pick a side to support, and then write, paint, or photograph, to promote it, and demonize the other. Something very evident among the toadying calumnists in the Canadian media during the Afghan War of the 21st century.

Right a faked combat sequence, shot in a training trench far behind the lines, that was included in a celebrated supposed documentary film "Battle of the Somme," in 1916. Other scenes were also faked of men charging and falling as if they'd been shot.

Go to WWI Combat Woodcuts
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Of course the high end of combat illustration, during the late 1890s was published by Bacon, which produced more than a dozen fabulous battle pictures of Queen Victoria's wars.

Bacon prints were the television of the late Victorian Age. (But they do lack all the giggling, gussied up babes that are propped up, day and night, to dish out all the TV news that their corporate bosses want you to know in our day.)

Left a detail from one of two fabulous Battle of Omdurman prints which celebrated General Kitchener's victory over the Muslims outside Khartoum in 1898.

Action scenes are all keyed by numbers to highlights of the battle, noted at the bottom of each print.

They also make clear why no photographer would dare set up his rig near the firing line, as Canada's Lt. James Mason would do, just over a year later, and take the world's first genuine combat photo.

These wonderful battle prints have had a new rebirth of popularity, thanks to high megapixel digital cameras, giclée technology, and skilled Photoshop artists, who take photographs of good quality originals, restore the colour, and remove as much as possible, glaring rips, and stains. Modern giclée colour inks on canvas make these pictures dominate any room in which they are displayed.

Buyers, and observers, who have seen both, agree, that the giclées are better - more stunning - than the originals.

Giclées on canvas, of these amazingly detailed battle prints, are available here:

Go to Bacon Battle Prints
Go to the Omdurman Story
Bacon Print, Omdurman, The First Battle, 6 a.m., Sept. 2, 1898 (detail)

Orig. chromolithograph - 33 x 48 cm
Found - London, ON

Giclées on canvas look just like original oils. Except they're better. Oils, acrylics, or watercolours cannot show the stunning detail on these old chromolithographs or stone lithos. But giclées can show every dot and dash that the artist drew on the tiny faces and sporrans, etc. and all on canvas. And, unlike all the modern photomechanical reproductions sold in all the art galleries - uniform grid of dots across the whole picture - giclée inks can reproduce the hundreds of different colour nuances of the old prints. And when you look close-up, you see real ink, not photographed repro dots...

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Fake Spion Kop #2 - It stands to reason that if scores of supposed combat stereoviews on the British side were faked, Boer combat fakes should also exist.

They do; we believe this is one.

American entertainment conglomerates needed product to sell to American audiences about a war which, for almost three years, was in the news.

But South Africa was a long way away. And US photographers were no less antsy about exposing themselves to danger whether on the British or the Boer side.

The solution - recreate and shoot the war in upstate New York, where, in fact, lots of fake Boer War movies were shot, and then projected as "real" battle scenes from South Africa, in front of gullible American audiences who never knew the truth. The movie fakery was also done outside London in the UK for similar reasons.

It would stand to reason that a few - or many - stills were also faked.

The landscape here is all wrong for Spion Kop, which was almost entirely barren treeless terrain.

This looks like treed upstate New York, and does not match genuine Spion Kop photos of the time or the landscape as it exists there.

(In 1900 Spion Kop was exceedingly barren; in modern times many trees and bushes have been allowed to spread and cover areas - like Mount Alice - where none were when General Buller stood there.)

The men are dressed more like American country boy reenactors making like Boers than like real Boers looked at the time.

They also seem to have only one piece of kit. Real Boers were on commando and were always carrying numerous belts, pouches, and bags, for ammo, food, water, and personal items.

Go to Spion Kop 1
Go to Spion Kop 2
Go Fake Boer War Shows
Fake #56 - A Wounded Boer at Spion Kop
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Carlisle, PA
Bad Staging - The scenario is all wrong. The man on the left is shooting down at something very close and threatening, from behind a huge covering rock - while his companion exposes his back, with complete disregard, to the same danger... And the other man is sitting fully frontally, and quite happily, exposed to the same "threat," in relaxed and peaceful contemplation...

And the wounded man, who needs shade most, is exposed to the blistering sun, his hat on a rock... We guess so the photographer can get a good shot of the face of the "poor wounded" Boer. What are they all doing or waiting for...? You guessed it: some coherent direction from the photographer.

Faking the war was big business in the US... And everyone had lots of experience doing it...

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Fake Spion Kop #3 - Here is another fake combat photo that surfaced which was taken just before the number 2 man was "shot" in the fake photo above. That's his hat on the rock.

Their rifles are off in all directions. But the two on the right still can't seem to see what the left hand man is shooting at above. Though it must be right in front of their eyes.

The landscape again is pure New York pasture land.

Not Africa and not Boer Riflemen on the Firing Line.

Though that's what the ebay hustler is selling it as.

But New York state, American actors, Malabar costumes and the creative juices of William Rau a leading US photographer of the period.

Fake #62 - Boer Riflemen on the Firing Line
Orig. Stereo view - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Carlisle, PA
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Fake Spion Kop #4 - A slightly different exposure than #62, most noticeable in the closest figure. whose head position has moved.

The title has been changed as well, this time not supposedly on the firing line but in an advanced location where snipers are to be found, picking off unwary targets. In the New York woods...

Titling Fantasies - When one compares the three titles, supposedly describing unique action at the same location, it shows how they reflect publishing inventiveness, not on site military truth.

Like the photography itself, the captions betray Philadelphia fantasies of the outside world.

If they are "sniping on the outpost" they are engaging only fringe elements of an enemy group, perhaps one man or two. They would never end up with a "wounded Boer."

It's ridiculous from another point of view. Four snipers would never work together, whether on the Boer or British side. It was a solitary occupation.

This would never become a group of "Boer men on the firing line."

Why does this work? Some Americans know...

"The public in America is woefully ignorant about the world. And our educational system has failed to correct that, and I have to say that in recent years our presidents have not done what is needed.

"Americans don’t learn about the world, they don’t study world history, other than American history in a very one-sided fashion, and they don’t study geography ... In that context of widespread ignorance, the ongoing and deliberately fanned fear about the outside world, which is connected with this grandiose war on jihadi terrorism, makes the American public extremely susceptible to extremist appeals." Zbigniew Brzezinski, Former US National Security Adviser, Pres. Carter

Fake #67 - Boers Sniping on the Outpost
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Carlisle, PA
Compare the fake photo with a genuine photo of Boers on Spion Kop in January 1900.

Boers often dressed like gentlemen on commando, with vests, white shirts, dress pants, etc. Hell, they were gentlemen...

Not like the country rubes - Hardy, Har, Har - that the Americans portray them as being.

Compare the flora of the area. The grass in the fake looks temperate zone lush, not Spion Kop dried up, tough, and sparse.

There are virtually no trees on Spion Kop, and those that exist have African shapes.

Compare the twisted Spion Kop tree trunk with the straight North American specimen - possibly an elm - dominating the right rear of the fake photo. It is not a tree that could be found anywhere on the real Spion Kop.

"Wounded?" Hell, he's not even a Boer...

It's all bad staging by an ignorant photographer.

The real photo of the dead of Spion Kop was taken at the very top of the hill where hundreds of British died, including the commanding General Woodgate.

An Acre of Massacre - Spion Kop is notorious in the history of warfare, as having the largest number of soldiers killed on the smallest piece of ground of any battlefield.

Because of their fearful losses, the British retreated from the hill during the night. The Boers buried the British dead.

Americans on site at the time claimed they saw up to 1,000 British corpses being buried.

It remained the largest number of British soldiers killed on any battlefield during the Boer War.

Right looking downhill with Aloe Knoll in the middle distance, from where Boer sharpshooters shot over 70 Tommies in this trench through the head by shooting up at them...

In a modern photo taken from almost exactly the same spot - Aloe Knoll is the dark green slope in the middle distance - historian John Snyman points to the spot where General Woodgate was shot.

General Woodgate fell right in the foreground of the archival.

The men were all buried in the trenches they had dug for safety and covered with the rocks they had piled up to protect themselves from withering Boer rifle and artillery fire.

The rocks in the archival are the very ones that are whitewashed today.

Boer artillery was shooting up here from the far hill.

During the day and night of Jan. 23, 1900, this spot was hell on earth crisscrossed by withering rifle and artillery fire.

As night fell, the British had enough, and retreated back down the hill, to the back right from here, leaving hundreds of their dead behind.

The retreat gave British movie cameraman Bill Dickson - below, probably at Colenso, Dec. 1899 - the closest thing to combat footage he would ever get, only because the army came back to him as he struggled with his cumbersome gear at the rear of the attacking force.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure The reverse angle of the same trench from the other end.

It was later found that some 75 of the men lying here were shot through the right side of the head by Boer sharpshooters who were lying on Aloe Knoll, a height of land rising just below and right of this position.

These totally genuine "after the battle" photographs are extremely important for establishing the benchmark of what genuine dead bodies on a Boer War battlefield really look like.

They show conclusively what total fakes all the so-called "combat," "battlefield," and "after the battle" stereoview photos were. They are, in a word, "laughable," were the subject not so tragic.

It shows what absolute amateurs the stereoview photographers were in staging anything close to a real battlefield scenario or combat photo.

And it also shows how absolutely gullible were Victorian audiences, who had very frew alternative sources of information to verify the truth of what they were being fed by the rich and super-rich possessing classes who owned and manipulated the press.

British Dead, Battlefield of Spion Kop, Jan. 24, 1900
Orig. photo - Size - 17 x 22 cm
Found - Washington, CT

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A modern view of the same place on the trench shown in the photo above. It is the other end of the trench shown in the John Sneyman picture.
The trench
Orig. photo -
Found - Spion Kop, RSA
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
.303 Lee-Metford Battlefield Relics - Spion Kop, Jan. 1900
Orig. dug battlefield relics - Size - 57 mm
Found - Hastings, UK

Dug - Spion Kop, Dec. 1959, by Raymond Stocker, UK
These are relics of the British defensive fire on the bloodiest day and night in British Boer War history. Very likely the men who fired these off, in January 1900, did not survive the deadly Boer rifle and shell fire.

Empty casings like this would have littered the ground by the thousands the day after the battle.

Go to Canadian Who Died on Spion Kop
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
Martini-Henry .455 Battlefield Relics - Spion Kop, Jan. 1900
Orig. dug battlefield relics - Size - 32 mm
Found - Devon, UK

Dug - Spion Kop, 1960s
Some Boers used Martini-Henrys on Spion Kop. Bot is a .455 calibre Mark II live round, with two circular crimps to hold the bullet in.

In the middle are four Mark I (single crimp) and Mark II bullet heads dug from the battlefield at Spion Kop sometime in the 1960s. Note the longitudinal striations from going down the barrel. Many rounds like this did not hit a solid target during the battle, and distort, but just got buried in the ground, until retrieved by amateur diggers.

On the outside are two souvenir Martini-Henry casings retrieved from a Boer War battlefield by Canadian RCR Pvt. James McKerihen in 1900.

Go to Martini-Henry

Spion Kop Sniper- Jan. 24, 1900
Spion Kop
Mass Grave- Jan. 24, 1900
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A photo of a dead Boer on Spion Kop. His arm is folded across his chest and a sheet lies on a nearby rock.

The photo was taken by intrepid American observer, Webster Davis who was on Spion Kop - among the Boers - in the days after the massacre.

Dead Boer on Spion Kop - Jan 1900

Orig. photo -
Found - Webster Davis

Webster was Assistant Secretary of the Interior under President Wm McKinley, and when the Boer War broke out asked the President if he could take leave to visit the theatre of war.

He went as a totally pro-British observer and came back an equally passionate supporter of the Boers and denounced the British with a passion he wrote about in John Bull's Crime or Assaults on the Republics.

McKinley fired him for his views.

We were able to locate the exact spot by hunting for the rock configuration to match the landscape in the old archival.

Today a cactus grows at the spot the dead man's arms are folded.

Webster stood in this exact spot and saw this view as he took his photo.

He may have watched as the Boer was buried at the back of the modern photo, the nearest place where there is enough soil for a grave.

Boers and Brits were not buried together.

The British mass graves are some 100 yards to the right from here.

War graves remain - from the Boer War, World Wars I and II - a permanent reminder of Man's inhumanity to Man, and that the race hatred that separated the men who lie there, in life and during combat, are memorialized, for eternity in the separateness maintained in the cemeteries of war dead.

















flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure After the British retreated from the hill, the Boers took several views that became famous, all destined to show the world that simple farmer guerillas, fighting with their hearts for their homeland, could wreak horrific defeats on the world's most powerful army.

The mounds of British dead impressed the world and shocked the British Empire.

This was the fourth major defeat the British Army had suffered in a row.

To the world it looked like the Boer insurgents could defeat the British and send them running.

British Dead, Battlefield of Spion Kop, Jan. 24, 1900
Orig. photo - Size - 17 x 22 cm
Found - Washington, CT
So much for the "King of the Hill" military philosophy, which was why the British generals had decided to have their men seize Spion Kop, the highest piece of ground in the area.

Only to have them end up being only able to dig shallow trenches on downward facing slopes...

It was a virtual repeat of the Battle of Majuba Hill, in 1881, during the First Boer War, when British General Colley, near right, and his men triumphantly seized the only mountain top in the area.

The Boers did the unthinkable, and stormed up the hill, totally surprising and almost wiping out the British force. The defeat staggered Britain.

It cost General Colley his life; he's buried on top of Majuba Hill.

The British sued for peace, ending the First Boer War and leaving the Boers in their two republics secure, for the moment...

The Boers hoped the Spion Kop disaster would be a repeat of history and make the British sue for peace again.

The world thought it was a good idea; the British didn't...

Wiping out the stain of the Majuba Hill disaster became a major motivating factor for British generals during the early months of the Boer War.

Go to the Brave Generals of Yore

Today's "BlackBerry Generals" are a long cut below Colley and Woodgate. Canada's top General Hillier rode in the turret of a tank alright, but it was on a parade ground in Ottawa, not Afghanistan. In September 2011, his successor General Natynczuk right raised a storm of protest when he dinged the taxpayer by taking a fat cat private military jet to join his family on a Caribbean vacation. There were lots of commercial flights - which government rules say should be taken - available. But for today's civil service generals it's all about an egomaniacal sense of entitlement. To take, from the Queen, not to "Serve the Queen" as the career generals of yore once did.

Lord Wolseley said of General Stewart who was fatally shot moving against the enemy in the Sudan campaign to rescue Gordon at Khartoum in 1885. "No braver soldier or more brilliant leader of men ever wore the Queen's uniform."

The Brave General: Canadian Style - Natynczyk's pathetic defence, to the aggrieved Canadian taxpayer for his high-flying US style of entitlement, "I was shot at in Bosnia" is a sad reminder of how far - in their own estimation - modern generals have fallen from the standard of their forbears in the Victorian British army.

Hell EVERYBODY was shot at in Bosnia, women, children, babies, and men. Thousands of them were killed or horribly maimed. Just by being there; in their homes... And unlike the brave general, they had no army, and no personal bodyguard to protect them, no steel helmets, body armour, or armoured personnel carriers to hide behind when gunshots rang out.

They Took the Light from Her Eyes - How we all wish Karine Blais, too, had only been "shot at" like the brave general, instead of being stupidly sacrificed in a greedy corporate war against the Muslims in Afghanistan, just so rabid politicians could wring billions out of the Canadian taxpayer to satisfy defence contractors, right wing corporate bagmen, racists, tribal fanatics, and fat cat war materiel lobbyists.

Sorry general, just by being in a country where bullets are flying everwhichaway among civilians during their everyday lives, bears no comparison to the brave deeds of generals like Stewart, Colley, Penn-Symons, Wauchope, Woodgate, and Benson, who were all killed when they marched deliberately on to a battlefield at the head of their troops, to confront a dangerous enemy. Something which no Canadian general has done in living memory. When they can just command with their BlackBerrys from Tim Horton's.

Canada's BlackBerry generals are distinctly different from Queen Victoria's generals, who loudly announced when they entered a combat area. Hell Bobs - that's Lord Roberts of Kandahar, who succeeded brilliantly in the same theatre of war in which Canadians and fellow members of CWILLKILL have failed so miserably*** - sent out notices to everybody where he was going to attack next in Afghanistan just to give civilians a chance to escape the coming battle.

Whereas today's generals literally sneak into the war zone, never announcing that they're coming in. Usually we know they were there on a "flying visit" only after they have left again. Taking every precaution to ensure that the enemy doesn't know where they are to take a pot shot at them.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
Sheet Music, Roberts Marching Through Pretoria - 1900
Orig. sheet music - Size - 26 x 35 cm, copyright 1900
Found - Cumbria, UK
For a lot of reasons Bobs is secure, for the Ages, as Canada's most popular general, by far, with countless Canadian homes displaying memorabilia in his honour, 100 years after he passed on...

But Canada's Afghan generals have their own memorabilia. Here are some items commemorating the work of General Rick "the Killer" Hillier, who has the unenviable reputation as the first Canadian general in history, ever to lose a war...

Go to Canadian Generalissimo

Everything is geared to ensure that a general gets to spend his fat cat pension in perfect health and not suffer mental or physical disability from the stress of combat that thousands of grunts are burdened with for the rest of their lives. See below.

It's patently loathsome for someone like him to brag he was "shot at" when 157 Canadian soldier boys and girls are dead after having been repeatedly sent into combat areas he did not go. They, their families, and friends, all wish that they had only "been shot at."

No more pension, no more private jets for them to join their wives and kids on a Caribbean vacation...

And for Karine, no more romps in the yard with her dog "Molly," and forever gone, her wedding plans with her beau, "Kermit."

*** Bobs solved the Afghan combat problem with military dispatch; CWILLKILL generals have fought for an ignoble loss in a war that has lasted longer than World Wars I and II combined, and longer than Vietnam. While arraying the modern world's most powerful countries and state-of-the-art killing technology against poverty-stricken pajamahadeen patriots, no less.

Bobs also killed no civilians during his fabled March from Kabul to Kandahar, always giving them ample warning to clear an area he was about to attack.

Quite the opposite of CWILLKILL generals, whose sneak attacks, drone strikes, and long distance bombing and bombardments, of Afghan homes and towns, have resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Muslim women, children, babies, and men.

And Bobs also wrote proudly in his autobiography: "It was a matter of intense gratification to me that the whole time we remained in Afghanistan, nearly two years, not a single complaint was made by an Afghan of any soldier in my force having interfered with the women of the country."

A century later, there are lots of reports of Afghan women being gang raped by CWILLKILL soldiers, including a teenage girl who died from vaginal tearing and bleeding during a rape by American soldiers in January 2011. (We won't get into all the body parts CWILLKILL soldiers are proven to have cut off as souvenirs from Muslims they have killed.)

Lest We Forget - All part of Canada's enduring military legacy in Afghanistan.

Canada's corporate military adventure, besides killing a lot of poor young Canadian boys and girls, has saddled thousands of others with truly awful physical and mental problems that will devastate themselves, their families, their friends, and their fellow countrymen, with grievous side-effects for decades to come.

But not, we hasten to add, the rich and the super-rich, none of whom sent their sons or daughters to die in the dust of Afghanistan.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure A fabulous pitcher that celebrated a great Canadian Boer War achievement, "wiping the slate clean of the stain of Majuba," with the Battle of Paardeberg.

The idea for concluding the battle on that day was British General Hector Macdonald's, who had been there at Majuba Hill in 1881, when the Boers had killed General Colley, and annihilated his army. As a result of which Britain granted the Boers peace. The Boers set up their Republics.

Now after the outbreak of the 2nd Boer War, to remove the festering stain of that shameful British defeat, Macdonald urged Lord Roberts to overrun the Boers at Paardeberg, on Feb. 27, the anniversary of Majuba Day, and "wipe the slate clean." The Canadians who were in the front line trenches, when the Boers surrendered, were dubbed the Heroes of Majuba. But there's more to the story...

Go to Majuba Hill

Carlton Pitcher, Wiping the Slate Clean - Feb. 27, 1900

Orig. ceramic jug - Size - 18 cm
Found - Newton Abbot, UK
Signed Carlton War Rd No 267782

The picture features Lord Roberts, the British Forces commander in South Africa, erasing Majuba on a blackboard held by his eventual successor there, Lord Kitchener. Both commanded at Paardeberg. In fact Roberts had only been on the job for a month when his predecessor General Buller orchestrated Spion Kop, the fourth major British miltiary disaster in the opening months of the war.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Fake US #4 - Another of the American Boer War production cards, similar to Fake #56 of the "wounded Boer at Spion Kop" above, with which it should be compared, as together they show just how truly transparently awful some fakes really are.

We don't believe this picture was taken in South Africa, either, but in upstate New York, of actors paid by a photography or film company, just to re-enact some Boer War battles for the camera.

There was a war on in Africa of which there was news in the papers every day, and in the opening months it was all about disastrous British defeats at the hands of some farmers.

But it was an awful long way to send a cameraman to South Africa (it took over a month each way.) When you could just send him a few miles north of New York and hire some local yokels to pose. Which both film and still photography companies did.

In some hilly pasture land where the grass is temperate zone lush.

But the dead giveaway is at far right. Look at the vegetation. It appears more clearly in other photos below and shows Canadian and American temperate zone bush and trees you would never find in South Africa.

The horses are also wrong, nice big well-fed American specimens, born and bred. Boers rode wiry and smallish African veldt ponies.

But American audiences would not have known any of all that.

In fact they are very much like today, believing everything that the American media put in front of them - you know about "weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," the deadly threat to world peace from the pajamahadeen, that Obama is an agent of change... We could go on...

Fake # 57 South Africa, Boer Commando
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Carlisle, PA

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Fake US #5 - Here is a second fake photo of phony Boers with equally phony British prisoners, photographed, for certain, in upstate New York.

It is clear, from the editorial content of the photo, with British kilted soldiers being escorted to prison, that it probably dates from October when the British retreated from the Boers, leaving prisoners behind, or from Black Week in December, 1899, when the Boers inflicted several huge defeats on the Soldiers of the Queen, and captured many Tommies.

The vegetation in the background is a dead giveaway. It exposes the supposed South African vegetation in the other two the fakes they really are.

Alas, if only the photo editor had cropped the top off this photo he might have gotten away with it. Instead we have supposed Boers riding in mixed deciduous and coniferous tree cover and lush grass, typical of northern temperate zones. The leaves are gone so it's late fall 1899, but before the snow falls.

Trouble is the Brit prisoners are clearly total fakes. No British fighting soldiers dressed like that in South Africa. It's purely some US editor's idea of what kilted soldiers must have looked like.

The Highland Brigade at Magersfontein (Dec. 1899) wore kilts but they were all in khaki uniforms with pith helmets, not barrack caps or tams.

Note again the magnificent and huge grain-fed American quarter horses of the Boers...

And note the blaring dishonest captions that big media companies have no problem attaching to propaganda, then and today...

Fake #58 South Africa, Boer's Rear Guard with Prisoners
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Carlisle, PA

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
Fake #63 Boer Cavalry bringing in Prisoners, South Africa
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Carlisle, PA
Fake US #6 - First they take the prisoners downhill, and then they bring them back up...

Compare the vegetation in the background with the previous photo. Same time; same place; same actors...

Typical of what happens to volunteer actors when a photographer has them going one way and then another to get all the shots he needs without having to move his heavy camera rig to a new location... Because it's way too much trouble to move the crew and a set-up to a new location, you've seen this in many Italian westerns when movie directors shoot galloping horsemen going back and forth from the same camera position, over the same background, and the editor splices them together to extend the chase.

And wonderfully corroborative shots of the landscape in upstate New York.

Just how many more of these do you need to see to become convinced that your favourite battle pictures are phony and you way overpaid for them...?

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Fake US #9 - The caption says, again falsely, that it's Highlanders in South Africa, when it's only Americans goofing off for the camera.

Clearly, this was done on the same day as all the other photos were shot in upstate New York.

This, from a costume point of view, is again, the worst of the American Boer War fakes.

Fake #64 Highlanders on the March,, South Africa

Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Stratford, ON

These four men are clearly the same four Highlanders featured in the large view above. In fact #1 and #2 - as well as others - clearly appear as actors in all the photos shot of this reenactment.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Fake US #7 - So once you've decided on deceit in providing information to the public, it escalates.

When you've got Malabar just around the corner, why not rent a bunch of uniforms and head out on to the back forty and make like they're British troops in South Africa.

This, from a costume point of view, is the worst of the American Boer War fakes.

The British Army in South Africa was totally and uniformly, khaki clad, in camp, on the march, and on the battlefield.

Note the similarity in costuming, between the different cards - as opposed to the real dress the British actually wore in South Africa - and the similar grass cover.

And this photo has more swords in it - five - than you will find on any genuine photo from among the many thousands that were taken in South Africa during the Boer War from 1899-1902. It is almost impossible to find photos of men with a single sword.... But hey, when Malabar offers five for the price of one, why not go for it?

NOTE - These actors are all in the fake prisoners photo #63 above.

Clearly this was a massive photo shoot and the pictures then distributed to a variety of photo and stereo view producers.

And for over 100 years they have all been distributed as genuine South Africa Boer War photos.

And they continue to be marketed as such on ebay, every day of the week.

Fake #59 Highlanders Resting, South Africa
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Stratford, ON
Here from the war zone, taken probably in the same month as the photo above - though continents apart - is a genuine photo of British highlanders and the uniform they wore in battle.

Members of the Highland Brigade are paying homage at General Wauchope's grave, after the disastrous defeat at Magersfontein in Dec. 1899.

Note, the only dark clothing the men wear is their kilts, and these they have covered up with khaki aprons to make them less visible.

Look at the huge white gaiters the Americans wear compared to the khaki puttees and spats of the highlanders.

Their tunics are khaki, and they all wear pith helmets, also khaki, which they have doffed in honour of their fallen chief.

Everything white, dark, or glistening, like swords - none worn here - was either removed, covered, or stained with khaki to make it less visible against the dry veldt grass to deadly Boer marksmen.

It shows in stark relief how phony the American stereoview cards are.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Fake US #8 - American fake Boer War battle photos reached a new low with this entirely fanciful creation.

Note how the landscape, in the background, is a total match, not for South Africa, but for the mixed deciduous and conifer tree cover of the other fake American photos above.

In fact all these photos seem to have been shot on the same small piece of ground on the same day.

Note the uniforms of the entirely ludicrous British highlanders charging up to the Boer guns.

A scenario like this virtually never happened.

Anytime British infantry ever reached the kopje tops, where Boers had fought defending actions, the Boers would have mounted their fast horses and been miles away.

Furthermore the Boer artillery pieces were manned by men who were uniformed and highly trained, the only members of the Boer forces who were. See below.

Whereas here the Boers are in typical American "hardy har har" rag tag Boer costumes.

Note exactly why the British Highlanders were all in khaki in South Africa. See what wonderful rifle targets the distant highlanders in dark uniforms make, and how the white sporrans on black are the ideal aiming points. There is no camouflage protection in these American reenactor duds whatsoever.

Which is why the entire British army in South Africa, from generals on down, from cavalry, to infantry, to artillery, all wore khaki, top to bottom.

Fake #60 Highlanders Capturing Boer Guns - William H Rau
Orig. Stereoview - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Stratford, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Fake German - Germans also faked Boer War "combat" photos.

Here is Franz Knie, probably a German volunteer who went to fight on the Boer side as many foreign soldiers of fortune or sympathetic souls did.

Alas, for all the bravado, we'll never know if Franz ever got to South Africa even though he must be ready to take a shot at one of the British soldiers he seems to have discovered.

The flora and fauna in this picture is pure north European German forest temperate zone. None of these trees would be found in South Africa.

Fake #96 Franz Knie als Transvaalbure c 1899
Orig. pc - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Kitchener, ON
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure International Fakery - Combat fakery was international.

Here is a German postcard from 1906 dealing with a supposed combat scenario of German troopers seemingly directly engaging the enemy (black African freedom fighters under Jacob Morenga) in German South-West Africa (later Namibia.) The poem describes the scene.

The poem makes clear the men are heroes, surrounded and in the midst of a firestorm with the dastardly "Black wild band."

Jacob Morenga, dubbed the "Black Napoleon" by the Germans, inflicted deadly casualties on his colonial oppressors in some 50 battles, before being killed by a combined German and British force in 1907.

Were this photo what it claimed to be, no photographer would be in this position, and end up with such a wonderfully composed shot.

And no trooper - except in the movies - would possibly try to shoot something with his rifle from the back of a galloping horse... It's pure show business...

Fake #94 Patroullienritt
Orig. pc - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Montreal, PQ
Patrol Ride (rough trans)

In the African wilderness
A patrol wearily wends its way
To try to locate the enemy
Surrounded by danger
May God protect the brave duo
Then suddenly all hell breaks loose
A wild horde of Blacks surrounds the scouts
A retreat to warn the enemy is urgent
A wild ride with the warning ensues
With the enemy close on their heels
Through blood and gore they persevere.

Hook, Line & Stinker - But at home, at the time, the ignorant and gullible public bought it - hook, line, and stinker - just like in our day, the American public bought the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And for exactly the same reason. The ruling establishment - tribal, corporate, political, and media - used outlandish propaganda to keep the public onside to further the economic goals of their establishment cronies. With one huge difference.

Human Progress - Who said there is no human progress? In 1900 the ruling British elites, from Lords and Generals on down, swallowing their own propaganda, sent their own sons and daughters to die in Africa. Within only a few months three British generals died in action and many officer sons of establishment elites. The top British general lost his only son in battle. The Canadian Minister of Militia, who orchestrated the war for Canada, lost his only son in battle.

"Let Other Dumb Bastards Die for Their Country" - In a huge contrast, in the decade-long white European Christian anti-Muslim race wars of the early 21st century, no sons and daughters of elite or establishment warmongers - Blair or Jack Straw from the UK; or Bush, Clinton, Gore, Albright, Rubin, or Blitzer, from the US; or Harper, Mulroney, Martin, Asper, Schwartz, Reisman, or Ignatieff from Canada - were sent to lay their lives on the line for their country. So much have leading political, corporate, and society people of so-called principle degraded in our day...

The death toll among civilians and front line soldiers in the racist anti-Muslim wars of our day, was multiple times those of the Boer War, but no Allied general gave his life, no member of the elites, and even the couple of colonels who died were killed in chopper accidents... Over 100,000 enemy civilian Muslim women, children, babies and men died at the cost of only a few thousand low level CWILLKILL grunts, almost all privates, corporals or sergeants. The Canadian, British, French, and American Establishments have the race war formula down perfectly. Oh, we forgot, while they greedily stuffed trillions of dollars in war contracts into their pockets in the process. Which is, of course, totally, what it was all about in the first place.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A Giant Step Backwards in Combat Pictorials

Genuine combat depiction took a huge hit with the invention of the camera when it should have taken a huge jump forward, because it could capture a live battle scene almost instantly.

Trouble was, the courage of photographers needed to operate it in the front lines - where the dying was being done - was missing for decades...

The popular press was still in its infancy, so viewing audiences back home were hugely ignorant of combat realities and truth in photos.

Media barons and photographers thought they could fake it and fool the home town crowd without putting photographers' lives at risk.

And for decades, they succeeded, with photographers spending more time tarting up a combat scene instead of trying to get to the location of an actual one in progress.

Fake #95 New South Wales Lancers and 6th Dragoon Guards
Orig. pc - Size - 9 x 18 cm
Found - Kitchener, ON
Here is a typical Boer War colour photo that was being passed off as a genuine battle scene, including: three dead horses, and three dead bodies, two covered over, complete with boots - toes down - protruding, and one far right draped over his horse. But if Boer fire was actually this close and deadly all the men would be cowering, not standing, with the photographer and his cumbersome rig between them and the enemy riflemen. Besides, it was probably photographed in England outside Aldershot...

The modern public, would not accept such a hokey scenario, anymore than it would accept "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq in 2003...

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Souvenir Boer Staats Artillerie Belt, Pvt. JRD McKerihen, C Co, RCR - South Africa 1900
Orig. leather - Size - oa
Found - Toronto, ON
One of the most fabulous Boer War memorabilia items you will ever see has to be this souvenir belt brought back from South Africa by Canadian Pvt. James McKerihen.

It is of Boer origin, the brass buckle inscribed Eendraagt Maakt Magt, (Strength Through Unity) the motto of The Transvaal Republic whose capital was Pretoria, on which the British Army, in which James was fighting at the time, was advancing to capture.

This is a uniform buckle, and so did not belong to a Boer commando mounted right, but to a member of.the Staats Artillerie, the Transvaal Government's artillery corps which, unlike all the other Boer fighters, were highly trained and wore a regular military uniform (all other figures). They were full time professionals, like the artillerymen in the British, though not the Canadian, army.

The picture is on a 1900 German chocolate card.

Go to James & the Boer Artillery
William Rau who did all the fake American Spion Kop stereo views in upstate New York, was no slouch in the world travel and photography business. But like all his other colleagues in the 19th century, he kept clear wherever bullets were flying, you know, to protect his cameras... ahem... from stray bullets.

So his war photography was typical to that of his colleagues: soldiers sitting, soldiers waiting, soldiers standing, etc.

Which is why no combat photographs had been taken during the 60 years that photography had been around.

And it ultimately fell to a soldier - and a brave amateur photographer - James Mason of Canada, who was to take a moment out of his fighting role, and snap the first real combat photo on the dangerous firing line.

Below are four typical Rau photos taken during the Spanish-American War, which lasted only a few months the year before the Boer War broke out.

Note how boring - but truly safe - the photography is.

So when the Boer War started, and the public became insatiable for battle photos, William didn't run for the steamship and South Africa, but for Malabar, Central Casting, and the hills of upstate New York, figuring that no one would be the wiser.

And he was right. On ebay they still are not... his Boer War photos still sell as real war photos.

Until our curator came along...