Incident at Whitewater



“Incident at Whitewater”
1899; South Africa; The Boer War

left_incidentatwhitewaterFORD and AUDAS are two British soldiers fighting the Boers. They have just escaped a Boer ambush on horseback.

Ford and Audas
Ford and Audas escape an ambush

They come across a farm with a stream. In the farmstead live a Boer family; 34 year old PIETER; his wife ELS; daughter GRACE and labourer, JESS. 

PIETER initially opens fire on FORD and AUDAS. Then, PIETER is driven inside by a severe pain in his leg, caused by a recent axe accident.

The two Englishmen approach the farm again, this time AUDAS waves a white vest in surrender. PIETER is once again ready to fire on the two men but is prevented from doing so by JESS and ELS.

Cottage with Horse
The soldiers are weary and are happy to find a farm

The Englishmen’s horses drink from the stream as PIETER lets out another cry of pain. FORD is concerned while AUDAS initially picks up PIETER’s gun and holds the Boer farmer at gun point. He is persuaded to put the gun down by FORD and ELS.

FORD asks AUDAS to help carry PIETER inside. FORD recognises the infliction as gangrene and realises urgent help is required, otherwise PIETER will die. PIETER is stubborn and is reluctant to have the enemy operate on him.

Pieter Jess Els and Grace
Pieter, Jess, Els and Grace are grateful for the soldiers help.

Using brandy as an anaesthetic, FORD performs the operation, amputating PIETER’s leg. JESS reassures GRACE that they are going to be safe. 

Meanwhile the British commander, LEWIS, is beginning to suspect that FORD and AUDAS have deserted.

After the operation, ELS feeds the British soldiers as a sign of gratitude.

LEWIS ambushes the Farmstead with his men, accusing FORD and AUDAS of desertion. He also accuses ELS of harbouring British deserters. ELS explains the situation to LEWIS, about how they saved PIETER’s life. LEWIS believes the story. 

Before the two men leave, PIETER thanks them with all his heart. They came as enemies and left as friends.