commandant, noun

Forms:
Also with initial capital.
Origin:
DutchShow more Dutch commandant, kommandant commanding officer of a fort, town or district.
1. In historical contexts. During the 19th (and late 18th) century, and especially among the Boer forces during the Anglo-Boer wars: the chief military officer of a district; the leader of a commando; also used as a title; field commandant; kommandant sense 1; veld commandant.
1791 G. Carter Loss of Grosvenor 149Hynes thinks that Quin was a kind of commandant.
1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. (1928) I. 101A party..had been sent in pursuit of them by the commandant of the district.
1838 F. Owen Diary (1926) 125The commandant thanked me for speaking my sentiments openly to them, rather than to the natives.
1846 J.M. Bowker Speeches & Sel. (1864) 225If I can get horses, I intend to join the Commandant of the Burgher force.
1852 M.B. Hudson S. Afr. Frontier Life 225Commandant Joubert, who has thrice brought a body of Burghers into the field this war against ‘the Tambookies,’ was one of the Commandants during the time of the old Commando System.
1877 C. Andrews Reminiscences of Kafir War 1834–5. 11The Colonel had to dinner the noble old Dutch commandant of the Swellendam Burghers, Linde.
1880 E.L. Price Jrnls (1956) 397I ought to have told you of Commandant Fereira’s adventure...He is..a Commander of an army.
1900 H.C. Hillegas Oom Paul’s People 206Second in authority to the commandant-general are the commandants, permanent officials who have charge of the military affairs of the seventeen districts of the republic.
1913 J. Brandt Petticoat Commando 27The many armed burghers passing through the town would only obey orders of their own respective Commandants and Field-Cornets.
1924 D. Fairbridge Lady Anne Barnard 127The Commando system..was instituted.., Adriaan van Jaarsveld being appointed Commandant.
a1930 G. Baumann in Baumann & Bright Lost Republic (1940) 167When war was declared and the commandos called up for field service, the old elected Commandants took command of their different districts.
[1947 E.R. Seary S. Afr. Short Stories 228Commandant (Afrikaans): chief officer of a commando, i.e. of a troop of burgher soldiers raised in one district.]
1971 Personality 11 June 37He was the commandant of a burgher commando of the Camdebo, engaged in the frustrating task of chasing elusive Bushmen.
2. The commanding officer of a unit of the police force; kommandant sense 2. Also used as a title.
1866 E. Wilson Reminisc. 41I received instructions from the Commandant, to prosecute enquiries into the..robbery.
1933 W.H.S. Bell Bygone Days 73Appointed to the command of the Frontier Armed and Mounted Police in the place of Commandant James Henry Bowker.
1947 C.R. Prance Antic Mem. 135Though he never mastered six words of the world’s worst Afrikaans as spoken by His Majesty’s South African Constabulary, his horsemanship and his simple friendliness quickly endeared him to his Brother Boer. He would ride day-long, farm-visiting with the Commandant.
1960 J. Cope Tame Ox 65The squad car arrived at the wayside station with the commandant of the district police in uniform.
1969 M. Benson At Still Point 115Matthew..told him he would at once telephone the Commandant.
1971 H. Zeederberg Veld Express 155Commandant Tjaardt Kruger, the chief of the Republic’s Intelligence Service..told Pieter Zeederberg, then Hoofd Kommandant of Pretoria, that Jameson’s original plan was to use the coaches for the ‘invasion’ of the Transvaal.
3. An officer commanding a commando unit in the Union Defence Forces; subsequently, one commanding a reserve defence unit of the South African Defence Force; also used as a title. See also commando sense 5.
1922 Rand Daily Mail in J. Crwys-Williams S. Afr. Despatches (1989) 236Commandants walked calmly about signalling instructions.
1957 R.B. Durrant in Hansard 27 Feb. 1834More than half the commandants of the commandos had not had military training.
1973 E. Prov. Herald 10 May 4The Officer Commanding the Graaff-Reinet Commando, Commandant Piet Hugo, has been appointed acting OC of Group 5.
1988 Cape Times 29 Dec. 6The departure from the Defence Force this week of Commandant Andre Malan, former OC Outeniqua Commando.
4. An officer in the South African Army or Air Force; also used as a title.
Note:
Previously the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and ranking between Major and Colonel.
1950 D. Reed Somewhere S. of Suez 187The Nationalist Afrikaner Minister of Defence, in 1948, announced that it (sc. the Defence Force) would be reorganized...The British military model and nomenclature were done away with and the Boer Commmandos revived, with their ranks from Field Cornet to Commandant.
1977 Joint Operational Dict. 95Commandant,..Person holding this rank; equivalent rank in the SA Navy: Commander.
1979 Cape Times 2 July 5Kilted soldiers of the Cape Town Highlanders said goodbye..to Commandant C ‘Bud’ O’Brien, their commanding officer during two tours of active service.
1983 Pretoria News 24 May 1The transport pilot who had the most flying hours in the South African Air Force, Commandant Izak Jacobus Henning.
5. In historical contexts. With qualifying word: Chief Commandant [translation of Dutch Hoofd-Kommandant], the senior commandant of two or more commandos acting jointly.
1971 [see sense 2].
1971 D.W. Krüger in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. III. 345In the Orange Free State the designation of Chief Commandant was revived during the Second Anglo-Boer War, when it was conferred upon the senior commandant of two or more commandos acting jointly...A rank of Chief Commandant was created in the South African Defence Force in May 1969. It indicates the grouping of a number of local commandos under a superior officer with the new designation.
6. The leader of a ‘commando’ of Voortrekkers, an Afrikaans youth movement similar to the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides; also used as a title; kommandant sense 3. See also Voortrekker noun sense 2 b.
1975 J.F.P. Badenhorst in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. XI. 288Membership is open to White boys and girls, officers (‘field-cornets’ and ‘commandants’), executive members and ‘lay members’.
1990 Sunday Times 30 Sept. 13The commandant of the Maritzburg based Gerrit Maritz Voortrekker Commando..said the movement was ‘definitely not right-wing’.
7. An officer in the military- or paramilitary wing of a right-wing political organization.
1991 H. Jansen in Sunday Times 14 July 4He had bought the farm Witklipbank from former Delmas AWB commandant Bill R—.
the chief military officer of a district; the leader of a commando; also used as a title; field commandant; kommandant1; veld commandant.
The commanding officer of a unit of the police force; kommandant2. Also used as a title.
An officer commanding a commando unit in the Union Defence Forces; subsequently, one commanding a reserve defence unit of the South African Defence Force; also used as a title.
An officer in the South African Army or Air Force; also used as a title.
, the senior commandant of two or more commandos acting jointly.
The leader of a ‘commando’ of Voortrekkers, an Afrikaans youth movement similar to the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides; also used as a title; kommandant3.
An officer in the military- or paramilitary wing of a right-wing political organization.
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