A tale of two graves: a biography of Lance Corporal Wijnand “Victor” Hamman, 1893-1917
Coetzee, Emile C.
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The biography of Lance-Corporal Wijnand “Vic” Hamman is quite unique in comparison to the stories of his peers who fought with him in the trenches during the First World War (1914-1918). This statement rests on the fact that he has two full-size graves but only rests in one of them. His remains were buried in the Browne Copse Commonwealth cemetery, outside Fampoux in France, but he has another grave in his hometown of Lichtenburg in the North-west Province, South Africa. This unique attribute inspired a research study to find out more about who he was and why he indeed has two graves after he fell in battle on the 12th of April 1917. His biography could however only be based on the limited amount of sources available about him and hence not every aspect about his life could be certified with a reliable source; resulting in several possibilities being considered to write his biography. Yet, enough was available to write the story of a young man from Lichtenburg who joined the 2nd South African Infantry Regiment to fight against the German Kaiser’s forces in France. His graves serve as reminders about the mysteries regarding his life, his family and why he was not commemorated by the community of his hometown.