The Siege of Mafeking
was the most famous British action in the Second Boer War. It lasted 217
days, from October 1899 to May 1900, and turned Robert Baden-Powell into
a national hero. The resistance of the soldiers and civilians provoked
international interest and proved to be a decisive propaganda if not
military victory for the British.
Colonel Robert Stephenson Smith Baden-Powell was a Commander of
Rhodesian forces in the fall of 1899. As hostilities were imminent with
the Dutch Boers, Baden Powell, commanding a highly trained commando
force, determined to defend the small town of Mafeking which lay on the
main railroad line between Kimberley and Bulawayo. What was remarkable
about Powell's defense is that much of it consisted of deception. He had
his soldiers bury fake landmines, string invisible barb-wire and moved
his few cannons around each night giving the Boers the impression that
the town was much better defended than was actually the case. As
normal commerce was interrupted and rationing ordered, Powell issued 1,
2 and 3 shilling coupons as well as as ten-shilling and one-pound notes.
From February to March 1900, these notes were printed in an underground
shelter on ordinary writing paper. As the notes was released into
circulation, the Army Paymaster, Capt. Greener, collateralized the notes
by depositing checks of an equivalent amount into the Mafeking branch of
the Standard Bank of South Africa, which were accepted by Robert Urry,
the manager. So few of the notes and coupons were actually redeemed that
it created a rather fat bank account and later raised questions of
faulty accounting. The last notes were redeemed in 1908. Lord
Baden-Powell is of course perhaps best known as the founder of the Boy
Reverse Side of Item
Specifications: The currency measures 5" wide x 3.75" tall (128mm x
98mm). The item is used, folded and wrinkled with minor edge tears.
It is embossed with the a "One Penny" Bechuanaland Revenue stamp.
There are several small pinholes as is common. It is signed by
Capt. Greener, Chief Paymaster as is common. There is no
perforation on the Left Edge. Printed by "T. & Son, Printers,
by Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd. .................................