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Research Guides

The Boer War: Australians and the War in South Africa, 1899–1902

Appendix 3: Boer War jargon, acronyms and abbreviations

AAMCAustralian Army Medical Corps
ACHAustralian Commonwealth Horse, designation for the units of the sixth wave of Australian contingents
Afrikaanslanguage used by descendants of Dutch South Africans
AMCArmy Medical Corps
AMSArmy Medical Service, the same as Army Medical Corps
Boerliterally a farmer; descendant of Dutch South Africans living in the Transvaal or Orange Free State
burgherwhite male citizen of the Transvaal or Orange Free State
bushmendesignation for third, fourth and sometimes fifth waves of Australian contingents
bushveldtbush country in the middle Transvaal
CBCompanion of the Order of the Bath, a title awarded for distinguished service
CBCCitizen's Bushmen Contingent, one of the third wave of Australian contingents
CIVCity Imperial Volunteers, designation for British infantry contingents to the war
claspattachment to medal ribbon proclaiming the wearer to have participated in a campaign, battle or skirmish
CMFCommonwealth Military Forces
commandantcommanding officer of a Boer commando; commanding officer of the military forces of an Australian colony
commandoBoer military unit, usually of a particular district
contingentmilitary unit or units raised and despatched at one time
dongacutting made in the ground by flowing water
driftriver ford
DSODistinguished Service Order, decoration for bravery
GOCGeneral Officer Commanding
gratuityextra payment to soldiers returning from the war
HMTHer/His Majesty's Transport
IBCImperial Bushmen Contingent, one of the fourth wave of Australian contingents
inspanto harness transport animals in readiness to march
IYImperial Yeomanry, designation for British mounted contingents to the war
kaffirBoer word for South African blacks
koppie, kopjesmall hill
kraalcattle enclosure; group of huts; village
laagercamp, sometimes formed by circle of ox-wagons
MIMounted Infantry
MISAMounted Infantry South Africa
mounted infantry, mounted riflesinfantry using horses for mobility between battlefields; cavalry fighting with rifles rather than swords
NCONon-commissioned officer; a corporal or sergeant
nekpass between two hills
NSWMRNew South Wales Mounted Rifles
outspan, uitspanto unharness transport animals and halt a march
patriotic fundnon-government charity collecting and dispensing money for wounded soldiers and dependants of dead soldiers
poortgateway; gap between hills
QIBQueensland Imperial Bushmen
QMIQueensland Mounted Infantry
RandThe Witwatersrand in the Transvaal, more particularly its rich gold mines
RFFRhodesian Field Force
SAMRSouth Australian Mounted Rifles
SAWSouth African War
Special Servicedesignation of Australian officers despatched to the war not in command of contingents but to act as staff officers and learn staff and command techniques
TIBTasmanian Imperial Bushmen
trekBoer word for journey, used to describe military patrols during the Boer War
TSSTurbine Steamship
Uitlanderoutsider, foreigner
veld, veldtbush country covered in undergrowth and trees
VCVictoria Cross, highest decoration for bravery
VMFVictorian Military Forces
VMRVictorian Mounted Rifles


member of the Transvaal's semi-military police force (Zuid Afrikaansche Republiel Politie)