Maps of Brakpan

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In about 1995 Rob Nelson in Perth, via John Woodgate sent a copy of a map found in Lord Forrest's papers. The map was a copy of a sketch map of the actions at Brakpan. Of the five killed on 15 May one was Lt Anthony Forrest, son of the former Lord Mayor of Perth, and a nephew of the Premier, Sir John Forrest. The news of Anthony Forrest's death may well have contributed to his father's own death soon afterwards. The sketch map shows where Lt Forrest was killed. and where Bell won his VC. The map now resides in the J S Battye Library of West Australia. The map-maker is not named but from the considerable detail included it must have been drawn by someone very familiar with the scene, probably present on both days. The map itself was about the size of four pieces of A4 paper.

In October 1997 I deposited this map, along with other papers, in the then newly opened Empire & Commonwealth Museum in Bristol. Later in the month I had a letter from  Max Chamberlain in Australia asking if I could supply a copy of the map - the original in the JS Battye museum had apparently disappeared. He also supplied a draft map of his own describing four battle sites in E Transvaal, now called Mpumalanga. This map is reproduced above. The E & C museum later sent me two copies of the Lord Forrest map, which I sent to Max Chamberlain, one for himself, and one for the JSB museum.

In September 2007 I understand that Brakpan is still likely to be the name of the farm where the action took place.