Corrrespondence re Lucas M DU TOIT

South African Prime Minister’s Office Corrrespondence re Lucas M DU TOIT

Transcript of South Africa National Archives file


SAB PM VOL 1/1/42 PM 64/1916

UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA Prime Ministers Office No 4 / 64 / 1916 Revd MERING re L.M. DU TOIT who is imprisoned in Brixton Prison


{New Page} l0th November, 1916.

Sir, Genaral Botha requeats me to aoknowledge reoeipt of your lettar of tha l0th October. No 19/201/16 in regard to Mr DU TOIT. All tha facts of this case were not known to General Botha who desires me to convey his thanks for the confidential report included in your letter of tha l0th. Tha Rererend Meiring of tha Paarl had interested himself in the case and was very pleased when I was able to inform him that Mr. DU TOIT was on his way to South Africa.

I have tha honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant. Private secretary

The Hon. W.P. SCHREINER K.C. C.M.G. 32 Victoria Street Westminster London SW.


32. VICTORIA STREET, WESTMINSTER, 8. W. 19/201/16. 10th 0ctober, 1916 My dear General Botha, I duly received your telegram of the 5th instant in regard to Mr. L. M. DU TOIT and was able at once to reply that he had sailed for South Africa on the 27th ultimo.

Possibly all the facts of his case were not known to you. A confidential report was sent to the “Department of the Interior on the 3rd instant; and, in order not to trouble you unnecessarily, I am arraning for copies of the papers to be sent, officially, to your Office, including a copy of a letter from the “Voorschotkas”, Amsterdam. From this letter and from his letter to me you will gather that he does not appear to hâve been yery candid about his past in South Africa, according to the report from Scotland Yard.

With Kind regards, Yours sincerely, W.P. SCHREINER

General the Right Hon. Louis Botha, P.C., M.L.A. , Prime Minister, Pretoria.



I acknowledge the receipt of your cablegram of the 5th instant, and confirm the reply. Ho. 1055 of the 6th Idem on the subject of L. M. DU TOIT.

The High Commissioner has addressed a personal letter to the Prime Minister on this subject, and I now. enclose copies of the papers in this Office in regard to this man, viz:-

1. Letter from du Toit 30th August 2. Reply thereto 13th September 3. Letter from du Toit 16th September 4. Form filled up by him 16th September 5. Note by the Secretary. 16th September 6. Letter to Scotland Yard 21st September 7. Note by Secretary 26th September 8. Report from Scotland Yard 29th September 9. Letter from Vereeniging Zuid-Afrikaansche Voorschotkas 21st September 10. Letter to Department of the Interior 3rd October

I am Sir Your obedient servant


The Secretary to the Prime Minister Pretoria


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NAME L. M. DU TOIT. BRIXT0N PRISON. 30th August, 1916.

The Honourable W.P. Schreiner, High Commissioner for South Africa Victoria Street, London.

Sir, I am a British subject, born at Stanford, Cape Province, S.A. About 1890 I went to Johannesburg, Transvaal, and got naturalised as a burger of the late South African Republic in the course of time. In the late Boer War, 1899 – 1902, I fought on the Transvaal side as a burger of the State, and after peace became a British subject again by annexation of the country, as well as by signing a document to that effect.. In 1906 I left Transvaal.

At the outbreak of hostilities between England and Germany, I happened to be in Germany and was in the course of time interned as a British subject. In March last I got ill and I made an application to be exchanged to England for the purpose of proceeding home, South Africa. After medical examination the petition was granted and I was escorted across the Dutch borders as an exchanged British civil prisoner of war. On arrival in Flushing, Holland, my money was exhausted, and was informed by the British Consul, Flushing, to wait pending Instructions from the British Consul General, Rotterdam, as he has no right to advance me my fare across to England being a colonial British subject and not a home born British subject.

After about a week in Flushing, he advised me to go to Rotterdam and see the B.C. General personally. I went, and was told to wait still longer. In the meantime I managed to borrow some money from a South African Society in Amsterdam, and I was then allowed by the British Consul to proceed to England at

{New Page} at once. Acting on the British Consulate’s advice, I took passage on the steamer SS Brussels which was captured on her way by German torpedo boats, and taken to Belgium where I was kept back for 3 weeks, and then transported over the Dutch border again on the strength of my passport from Berlin.

On arrival in Holland the second time, my passport was signed by the British Consul at once, and I took the first steamer to England. On my arrival here, 15 July, I was detained and put in prison, and although I have not been charged with anything up to date, according to questions put to me by the Chief Commissioner of Police, New Scotland Yard, at various interrogations, it appears that I am under some suspicion in connection with the capture of the SS Brussels. I am perfectly innocent of whatever suspicions there may be against me, neither am I in the least afraid or anxious that I сап be punished by law, as English Justice is too far advanced nowadays to punish anybody without being guilty of some crime; but it is the time I am wasting here and the uncertainty and suspense I am kept in.

As my earnest intention is to proceed home as soon as possible, I humbly beg to apply to you. Sir, as High Commissioner for South Africa, for your assistance, so as to be able to appoint a solicitor, as my money is nearly exhausted. I will forward you the money on arrival in South Africa, or pay it in to any office in the Union of South Africa, according to your wish.

At Stanford I have 3 married sisters living, and also some fixed property, under the supervision of my brother-in-law, N.J. DE BRUYN, there.

Thanking you in anticipation, I am, Sir, Your obedient servant, (Sgd.) L.M. DU TOIT. Brixton Prison 31-8-16.

{New Page} 19,201/16

13th September. 1916.

Sir. The High Commissioner has received your letter of the 30th August, He has no funds available to make you any financial advance.

If you desire to cable to anyone in South Africa for money to enable you to pay for your defence the High Commissioner will be prepared to send a message on your depositing at this Office an adequate sum to cover cost of the message and its reply. For this purpose, an amount of £5 about should be deposited I am, Your obedient servant.


Lodger L. M. DU TOIT, Brixton Prison, S. W.

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The Honourable Mr. W. P. Schreiner, The High Commissioner for South Africa.

Sir, I am a British Subject born in the CC., South Africa At the outbreak of War between England and Germany I happened be in Germany and was in the course of time interned as a British Subject. In March last I got ill and was then permitted as an exchange civil prisoner of War to proceed to England for the purpose of going home (South Africa}.

As my money is exhausted, I humbly beg of you assistance to proceed home.

In Stanford, C.C. , I have some fixed property to the value of about £250. 0. 0 left under supervision of my brother in-law, N. J. DE BRUYN, Stanford, C.C.

I have also 3 married sisters in the same village.

Your obedient servant, (Sgd.) L. M. DU TOIT


Africans in bona-fide distressed circumstances arising out of the war, who seek the High Commissioner’s aid, are requested to complete this form.

(1) Full name Lucas Mart DU TOIT (2) Age 46 years (3) Birthplace of— (a) Applicant Stanford (b) Applicant’s father F J DU TOIT Stanford (deceased) (c) Applicant’s husband, in case , of a married woman or widow. (Give dates.) (4) Nationality by Naturalisation of— (a) Applicant British Subject (Birth and annexation of the Transvaal) (b) Applicant’s father British Subject (by birth) (c) Applicant’s husband, in case of a married woman or widow. (Give dates.)

(5) How long resident in South Africa, Born in South Africa Stanford. Lived in Johannesburg from 1890 till 1906. and where ? Full details

(6) Give present or last full address Stanford CC in South Africa

(7) Whether married or single Widower

(8) If married, state if any children, their – sex, ages, and where wife (or husband) and children at present reside

(9) State how employed in South Produce Merchant, Ophirton. Johannesburg, Transvaal Africa and name and address of last employer.

(10) State date of departure from South April 1908. I was sentenced in German W. Africa Africa, and the full reasons for in Jan 1908 on a charge of manslaughter# to 10 years visiting Europe … penal servitude and was sent to Germany to serve my time. Served in Celle Germany till July 1915. # of his wife (police statement)

How were means obtained to come When 25% of my time was taken off. Worked over ? in a hospital for 6 weeks and was then interned till June 6 1916 when I was transported across the Dutch frontier. (11) State fully how employed during visit to Europe

(12) If engaged .upon military, naval, munition, or nursing service, give full details of rank. etc.

(13) If discharged from the Army or Navy, state why so discharged, and when

(14) If applicant is the wife (or child) of a person in any of His Majesty’s Naval or Military Forces, give husband’s (or father’s) full name, regimental number (or military or naval rank) and the name and address of his last employer in South Africa

(15) State precisely what means of Intend to start business again at Stanford if livelihood or other satisfactory I can obtain assistance from relatives and means of sustenance are available friends. If not I am going to do farming on myto the applicant on his (or her) property. return to the Union

(16) Give names and addresses of (a) N. J. DE BRUYN Stanford CC relatives or (b) friends in South Africa to C LAURENS whom reference may, if necessary, be made Dempers, Moore and Krige, Caledon, CC

(17) Give names and addresses of any persons in the United Kingdom to whom reference may, if necessary, be made

(18) General remarks, including details As I am permitted and intend to go home now, I of form of assistance sought by humbly beg for assistance in the form of a loan applicant, and a clear and full for my passage to Cape Town, and also the statement of applicant’s present means of keeping me going here till the next financial position. Boat leaves (23/9/1916).

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High Commissioner


This man vas “brought here by a Police Officer (subordinate – Sergt. HANSFORD) from, Scotland Yard with the object of ascertaining whether the Union Government would repatriate him.

DU TOIT has, it appears, been released from Brixton Prison where he was under suspicion of being concerned in the capture of the SS Brussels.

The policeman tells me that Scotland Yard has, he believes, some information as to the past history of this man, and I requested him to ask the Authorities to supply us officially with all details.

I told him the case had already been before you and of your decision. He says that DU TOIT has no money.

(Sgd.) T. S. NIGHTINGALE 16.9.16

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P.M. 4/64/16.

21st September 1916.

Sir. On the 16th instant an officer from Scotland Yard accompanied one L. M. Du TOIT recently discharged from Brlxton Prison where he was confined us a lodger, of this Office with the object of ascertaining whether the Union Government would be prepared to repatriate this man (du Toit) to South Africa.

The Police officer was informed of the position in regard to such cases, and he was asked to suggest to the authority at Scotland Yard that they should formally communicate to the High Commissioner whatever is known of the past history of the man du Toit.

Up to the present no such communication has been here been received and I am to enquire whether one may be expected. The High Commissioner would also be glad to know what the present position in regard to DU TOIT. I am Sir Your obedient servant. ? Secretary

The Assistant Commissioner of Police New Scotland Yard, S.W.

{New Page} SPECIAL BRANCH NEW SC0TLAND YARD, S.W. 29th September, 1916


The above named, was born in Cape Colony on the 9th of May, 1870, and remained there with his parents till he was 21 years of age, when he went to Johannesburg. After living in Johannesburg for 3 or 4 years he became a Burgher and fought against this country in the Transvaal war, after which he became a British subject by annexation. He left South Africa in 1906 and went to German West Africa where he remained in business as a merchant for one year. He committed manslaughter, for which he was sentenced on the 10th of November, 1907 to 10 years’ imprisonment. He was sent to Germany to undergo his sentence and after 7 years was released in 1915, he went to work as a male nurse in a Hospital near Potsdam for 6 months, and was interned on the 22nd of August 1915 till the 6th of June 1916, when he was certified by the Camp Doctor to be suffering from Tuberculosis and was repatriated from Germany.

On the 22nd of June this year he left Rotterdam on board the [[SS Brussels] for London, but the boat was captured by the Germans and taken to Zeebrugge where the passengers and crew were made prisoners, but du Toit, who was on very friendly terms with the Germans, and was suspected of being the agent through whom the boat was captured, was immediately set at liberty. He left Flushing for London on July the 15th last, where he was arrested and detained pending inquiries. From the result of enquiries the opinion formed was that du Toit should be allowed to go to South Africa and arrangements were made with the Union-Castle Line for him to work his passage on the ship “Gordon Castle” leaving London on the 27th instant, due to arrive at Cape Town on the 20th October.

{New Page} VEREENIGIKG ZUID-AFRIKAANSCHE VOORSCHOTKAS. Amsterdam. 21st September, 1916.

The Secretary, High Commissioner for the Union of South Africa, 32, Victoria Street, Westminster, S.W.

Sir, May we ask you attention for the following? An Africander, Mr. L.M. DU TOIT, of Johannesburg, informs us that he is at present detained in the Brixton prison apparently suspected of having assisted the Germans in the capture of the S.S. Brussels.

We know this gentleman from correspondence and from Personal meetings, and shall be very glad if you will see what you can do for him in the difficult position in which he is now placed.

In order to assist you as far as we can, we will relate as concisely as possible what we know of this gentleman.

As Mr. du Toit told us personally he lost his wife shortly before the outbreak of this war and, as he took this loss so much to heart, was advised to make a trip to Europe.

When the war broke out, he was in Germany and there was confined at Ruhleben. Having taken ill, he was removed to the Moabit-prison-hospital and only in June last was released as an invalid (lungs) in exchange for other civil prisoners with the British Government.

During his stay at Ruhleben, Mr. DU TOIT had obtained the address of Prof. Dr. J.W. PONT, of Bussum, Holland, the Chairman of the Nederl. Zuid-Afrikaansche Vereeniging. From this gentleman Mr. du Toit received once and again a small parcel of victuals, and on his arriving in Holland on his way back to South Africa, Mr. du Toit called on Prof. Pont to ask him for some financial assistance in order to pay his passage home.

Prof. Pont directed Mr. du Toit to the Z.A. Voorschotkas, and so Mr. du Toit came to see me.

Our Board advised him to apply to the British consul for assistance, but, as that gentleman could not help him, our Board advanced Mr. du Toit a sum of f.40 to pay his passage to London, advising him then to call on you for further help and advice.

Mr. DU TOIT intended going over to London by the Batavia line, but, as we learned, was advised by the British consul at Rotterdam to take the Harwich boat instead so as to save 30/-.

Mr. DU TOIT followed this advice, and embarked on the Brussels, which boat had the misfortune of being captured by the Germans and taken to Bruges, from which place, after having been detained for some 3 weeks, he was transported across the Dutch frontier on the strength of his passport from Berlin.

From Flushing, Mr. DU TOIT crossed over to England, but on arrival was at once detained on suspicion, as it seems, of having had something to do with betraying the S.S. Brussels into the hands of the Germans.

This, Sir, is, in short, all we know of Mr. DU TOIT, whom we have no reason to suspect of such a foul dead as referred to above and who besides, in our opinion, could hardly have had any reason, after his experiment in Germany, for working into the hands of one of England’s enemies.

We sincerely hope that you will be able to assist Mr. DU TOIT in his difficult position, and to help him out of his troubles, and we should feel much obliged to you by your eventually informing us in a few lines of the result of your endeavours.

We have the honour to be, Sir, Yours respectfully,



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19/201/16 CONFIDENTIAL 3rd October, 1916.

Sir, On the 8th September a letter was here received from Lucas Martinus DU TOIT, written from Brlxton Prison where he was detained as a Lodger, asking for monetary assistance, on the claim of being a South African British subject.

To this request a reply was sent that if he would defray the cost of a cable, the High Commissioner would represent his request to the Union Government.

On the 16th September, DU TOIT called here in company of a police officer and made a written statement in regard to himself – a copy of which is enclosed.

I also forward herewith copy of a letter dated 21st September addressed to Scotland Yard, and copy of the reply received, dated 30th September. I am, Your obedient servant, Secretary.

The Secretary for the Interior, Pretoria. Ds. P.G.J. MEIRING, Paarl Pearl.


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P.M. 4/64/16.

12 Oktober 1916.

Wei Eerwaarde Heer, Ik ben gelast door Generaal Botha uw schrijven van 30 September te erkennen en U te melden dat dadelik aan de beer Schreiner, Hoge Kommissaris te Londen gekabeld werd in zakе de beer du Toit.

Heden .werd de volgende kabel in antwoord ontvangen: “Naar aanleiding van uw telegram van 5 Oktober, du Toit werd op 16 September van Brixton vrljgelaten. HiJ vertrok naar Kaapstad per ‘Gordon Castle’ op 27 September, werkende voor zijn over tooht.” De brief van de heer duToit wordt hiermede terug gezonden.

Ik heb de eer te zijn. Wel Eerwaarde Heer, Uw d.w. dienaar,

Sekretarie van da .Serataris van de Eerste Minist

De Wel Eerw.HEER Ds. P.G.J.MEIRING, Paarl


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Telegram 7th October 1916 In Dutch/code?



Secretary to the Prime Minister 5th October 1916. DECODE: L M DU TOIT of German South west is prisoner in Brixton Prison, apparently on suspicion. Please enquire and assist him to return to Union if possible. Reverend MEIRING, Paarl knows him.

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Handwritten draft of decode. {New Page}

Handwritten letter to General Botha dated 30th September from P.G.J. MEIRING. In German/Dutch?

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