Commandant Gideon Scheepers, Boer scout and commanding officer during the Second Anglo-Boer War (South African War) was executed by a firing squad beside an open grave in the veld near Graaff-Reinet. He was captured in October 1901 by a British column and found guilty by a British military court on charges of murder, arson and demolishing of trains. Scheepers admitted during his trial that he had committed acts of arson, but claimed that he had acted at all times on the orders of his superior officers. He was buried at the place of execution. However, that same night his body was apparently exhumed by British troops and reburied at an unknown spot because of fear that his commando would attempt to recover it. Efforts to trace his grave and approaches to the British authorities to reveal its location was unsuccessful.
His execution caused an outcry in South Africa and abroad. Protests were made in the British Parliament and the United States of America, as he was not treated in accordance to the Geneva Convention. There was also a serious doubt as to whether a British military court was competent to pass a sentence of death on a prisoner of war while the war was still raging. His achievements in the war were adequate to ensure that his memory would endure, but the manner of his death elevated him to the rank of martyr.
- Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau.
- Kruger, D.W. (ed)(1972). Dictionary of South African Biography, Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council, v. 2, p. 628.
Taken from: http://www.sahistory.org.za/dated-event/gideon-scheepers-executed [18.01.2013]