Paul (Eugene Pierre on the Steinaecker’s Horse nominal roll, and Pierre on KSA roll),
Trooper No. II
He was born in Canada of French parents.
He ran away from home to join the American Navy and after two years he jumped ship at Cape Town.
Harry Wolhuter maintained that between working as a builder, and bouts of hard drinking, Perry left hurriedly after dropping a brick on a woman’s head (from a scafold) and then went to work at constructing bridges on the Delagoa Bay-Pretoria railway.
After losing heavily on a contract he ceased working for the railway and took up ‘blackbirding’ i.e. recruiting native mine labour without a licence. He was arrested for these activities in Portuguese East Africa and spent a month in gaol there.
On his release he returned to the Transvaal, but, in an altercation with a native called ‘Long One’, he shot him in the knee with a revolver, and had to take refuge over the border again until the commotion had died down.
Perry had no previous service. He enlisted in Steinaecker’s Horse at Komatipoort on 14 November 1900.
He accompanied Wolhuter on many patrols and became one of his most trusted Troopers. He was described as a useful man in fixing loads on pack animals and encouraging stubborn donkeys to move. The legend goes that he used to light a match under the stubborn donkeys’ tails.
When Wolhuter had to be evacuated with black water fever he left Perry in charge of the post at Ngwanetsi.
Perry was discharged “time expired” at Komatipoort on 27 September 1902 after the cessation of hostilities. He qualified for the QSA medal with clasps Transvaal, and his KSA with the two dates was issued from the Steinaecker’s Horse roll.
After the war he traded in the hides of lion, leopard and other game while travelling all over the country from Komatipoort to Rhodesia before settling on a farm No.171 on the Sabie River. He was a near neighbour, and good friend of Harry Wolhuter. On his death, having no next of kin or descendants, he left his estate to Harry. However Harry had to dispose of Perry’s property and other assets to be able to cover his (Perry’s) outstanding debts.
Perry was buried on the property, which much later became the site of the Sabie River Bungalows, famed for its sulphur springs.
The Perry’s Bridge Tourism Center at Hazyview and the bridge over the Sabie River near Hazyview are named after him.
Gleaned from “Steinaecker’s Horsemen” by Bill Woolmore.
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