Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Just how much do you know about the Boer War?  I believe I was napping when this history lesson was discussed.  It really was a shame, because my Grandfather (father's father) was a part of the Boer War.

I never met my Grandfather, Vincent Cerny, he died before I was born.  The largest reminder of him is a photograph of him that hung at Grandma's.  He was in uniform and when I would ask, was told it was taken when he was in the British army fighting in the Boer War.

Now, in my mind, I saw him and the British army, in Africia, fighting large pigs with tusks.  I really never new what this was about till in my 30's when I read :
Just how, as a child, was I to know it was between the Dutch and English, in Africia?
Now how did this happen, you say?  A young Bohemian man, from the US ending up in the British army, in Africia, seems like a tall tail.  Well, the tall tail comes before, and started with a young man off to make his fortune.  Traveled to South Africia and worked as a manager of miners, in the diamond mines.  And, the managers must have been much hated by the miners, probably many under paid and over worked in awful conditions.  Grandpa was the 'inbetweener' inbetween the rich mine owners and the poor miners.  At one point he was attacked and made it out alive, but decided this was not his best option for making it rich.  He was paid with a little bag of diamonds and was off to make a change.
Now just how much more happened, I will never know, because all of Daddy's family is gone, so I will get to the end of the story.
He met another American and between the 2 of them, they bought and ran a restaurant.  I believe this was a more prosperous venture.  But the Cerny luck, which continues today in myself, was present, when the whole area was swept by cholera.  Grandpa's partner was a casuality of the disease and the restaurant closed.
If you can imagine the US and the many states, with no problem going from state to state or driving thru many states unincombered.  Now, imagine the country of Africia and the little 'states' are really not states, but each a seperate country, got the picture?
Yes, Grandpa was driving from one place to another, that took him from one country to another country.  He was stopped and arrested for entering a country without the proper papers.  At this point, he contacted his brother, my Uncle John, who then contacted the US embassy, which in turn contacted the British embassy and, after a little dealing, was offered his freedom from prison.  But, only, if he would agree to serve one year in the British army. 
Thus, his story of ending up in the British army fighting the Dutch, in Africia.  Isn't he a handsome fellow?  Needless to say, I am grateful he made it thru and home where he met and married Barbara and started his own insurance business, raised 3 children, the youngest being my father.   Wish I had, had the opportunity to meet him.

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