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.
1838F. OwenDiary (1926) 125The commandant thanked me for speaking my sentiments openly to them, rather than to the natives.
1846J.M. BowkerSpeeches & Sel. (1864) 225If I can get horses, I intend to join the Commandant of the Burgher force.
1852M.B. HudsonS. 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.
1877C. Andrews Reminiscences of Kafir War 1834–5. 11The Colonel had to dinner the noble old Dutch commandant of the Swellendam Burghers, Linde.
1880E.L. PriceJrnls (1956) 397I ought to have told you of Commandant Fereira’s adventure...He is..a Commander of an army.
1900H.C. HillegasOom 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.
1913J. BrandtPetticoat Commando 27The many armed burghers passing through the town would only obey orders of their own respective Commandants and Field-Cornets.
1924D. FairbridgeLady Anne Barnard 127The Commando system..was instituted.., Adriaan van Jaarsveld being appointed Commandant.
a1930G. Baumann inBaumann & BrightLost Republic (1940) 167When war was declared and the commandos called up for field service, the old elected Commandants took command of their different districts.
[1947E.R. SearyS. Afr. Short Stories 228Commandant (Afrikaans): chief officer of a commando, i.e. of a troop of burgher soldiers raised in one district.]
1971Personality 11 June 37He was the commandant of a burgher commando of the Camdebo, engaged in the frustrating task of chasing elusive Bushmen.
1933W.H.S. BellBygone Days 73Appointed to the command of the Frontier Armed and Mounted Police in the place of Commandant James Henry Bowker.
1947C.R. PranceAntic 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.
1960J. CopeTame Ox 65The squad car arrived at the wayside station with the commandant of the district police in uniform.
1969M. BensonAt Still Point 115Matthew..told him he would at once telephone the Commandant.
1971H. ZeederbergVeld 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.
1922Rand Daily Mail inJ. Crwys-WilliamsS. Afr. Despatches (1989) 236Commandants walked calmly about signalling instructions.
4.An officer in the South African Army or Air Force; also used as a title.
Previously the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and ranking between Major and Colonel.
1950D. ReedSomewhere 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.
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].
1971D.W. Krüger inStd 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.
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