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"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess

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Friday, 20 February 2004
Tasmanian Mounted Infantry, 1900
Topic: Militia - LHT - 12/26

TMI

Tasmanian Mounted Infantry

1900

Tasmanian Mounted Infantry [1900 - 1903]
12th (Tasmanian Mounted Infantry) Australian Light Horse [1903 - 1912]
26th (Tasmanian Mounted Infantry) Australian Light Horse [1912 - 1921]
22nd (Tasmanian Mounted Infantry) Australian Light Horse [1921 - 1930]
3rd (Tasmanian Mounted Infantry) Australian Light Horse [1930 - 1933]
22nd (Tasmanian Mounted Infantry) Australian Light Horse [1933 - 1942]
22nd (Tasmanian Mounted Infantry) Motor Regiment [1942 - 1943]

Pro Rege et Patria - for King and country

 

Headquarters

 Launceston

Honorary Colonel  

Vacant.

Commanding Officer  

Captain GTC Steward, 30 March 1900.

Adjutant  

Captain AWM Percival.

Quartermaster  

Vacant.

Medical Officer

Vacant.
 
 

"A" Hobart - Kingston - Brighton - Sorell Squadron

Lieutenant LFS Hore, 20 March 1900

Lieutenant DC Lewis, 30 March 1900

 

"B" Ulverston Squadron

Lieutenant J Swan, 4 August 1900 

 

"C" Ross Squadron 

Lieutenant LF Thompson, 8 January 1900
 
 

Previous: 12th/26th Australian Light Horse

Next: Tasmanian Mounted Infantry, 1901

 

Further Reading:

12th/26th Australian Light Horse

Tasmanian Militia

Australian Militia Light Horse

 


Citation: Tasmanian Mounted Infantry, 1900

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Wednesday, 30 June 2010 6:25 PM EADT
Tasmanian Mounted Infantry, 1901
Topic: Militia - LHT - 12/26

 TMI

Tasmanian Mounted Infantry

1901

Tasmanian Mounted Infantry [1900 - 1903]
12th (Tasmanian Mounted Infantry) Australian Light Horse [1903 - 1912]
26th (Tasmanian Mounted Infantry) Australian Light Horse [1912 - 1921]
22nd (Tasmanian Mounted Infantry) Australian Light Horse [1921 - 1930]
3rd (Tasmanian Mounted Infantry) Australian Light Horse [1930 - 1933]
22nd (Tasmanian Mounted Infantry) Australian Light Horse [1933 - 1942]
22nd (Tasmanian Mounted Infantry) Motor Regiment [1942 - 1943]

Pro Rege et Patria - for King and country

 

Headquarters

 Launceston

Honorary Colonel  

Vacant.

Commanding Officer  

Captain AH Rigall, DSO.

Adjutant  

Captain AWM Percival.

Quartermaster  

Vacant.

Medical Officer

Vacant.
 
 

"A" Hobart - Kingston - Brighton - Sorell Squadron

Lieutenant LFS Hore, 20 March 1900

Lieutenant DC Lewis, 30 March 1900

 

"B" Ulverston Squadron

Lieutenant EL Mays, 20 March 1901

Lieutenant J Swan, 4 August 1900

 

"C" Ross Squadron 

Captain AH Rigall, DSO, 8 November 1897.

Lieutenant RB Beddome, 2 January 1901

 

 

Previous: Tasmanian Mounted Infantry, 1900

Next: Tasmanian Mounted Infantry, 1902

 

Further Reading:

12th/26th Australian Light Horse

Tasmanian Militia

Australian Militia Light Horse

 


Citation: Tasmanian Mounted Infantry, 1901

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Wednesday, 30 June 2010 6:28 PM EADT
Off to the war, Town and Country Journal, 4 November 1899
Topic: BW - Boer War

Australian Contingents for South Africa

Embarkation of the NSW Contingent, October 1899

 

The troops marching along Oxford Street, Paddington.

[From: The Town and Country Journal, 4 November 1899, p. 39.] 

 

The following is an extract from the newspaper Town and Country Journal, 4 November 1899, p. 13.

 

OFF TO THE WAR.

DEPARTURE OF PORTION OF THE N.S.W. CONTINGENT.

AN ENTHUSIASTIC DEMONSTRATION.



The steamer Kent embarked 131 passengers on Saturday, including 38 of the Lancers and 91 of the Army Medical Corps, but there could not have been more enthusiasm if the occasion had been the sending off of a whole army corps. This demonstration seems out of proportion if we look at the mere practical side of the matter, for, of course, the sending away of 129 soldiers is a small affair when compared with the size of the forces engaged in the war, but the people have not looked at the question in the cold light of numbers. It is a matter of emotion, and the actual efficacy, of the small number is thus lost sight of. It has been thought the proper thing to express sympathy with Great Britain in the war in the Transvaal, and if the Home authorities had chosen to fix the number at ten times what they did the response would, no doubt, have been cheerful and complete. The demonstration on Saturday was, therefore, of significant value as a sign of public approval of the action of Parliament in sending the troops.

The troops were formed up at the Victoria Barracks. Altogether there must have been 1500 men on the ground. Major Bayly formed them up in regimental rotation. First came the R.A.A. (Field and Garrison), the New South Wales P. P. Artillery. (Field), the Lancers, the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Regiments; the Submarine Miners, the Engineers, the National Guard, the Army Service Corps, and the Army Medical Corps. With the Permanent Artillery Band in the centre of the ground, the rest of the troops were ranged round the asphalted parade ground, with the men of the Lancer contingent and the Army Medical Corps, who were to embark on board the Kent nearest to the Barrack gates. After them came the Police Band, and then the rest of the troops.

Just as 2 o'clock had struck a loud cheering was heard at the gates. The Governor, accompanied by Mayor Lindsay, A.D.C., the Archbishop of Sydney, with whom were the Rev. North Ash (chaplain to the forces), the Rev. Wallis MO, the Rev. J. Rose, the Rev. Dill-Macky, the Rev. Mr. Wilkinson, and the Rev. E. T. Beck, Mr Lyne, Mr. Wise, Mr. O'Sullivan, and Mr. See (Minister for Defence) drove onto the ground, where Colonel Mackenzie, Colonel Airey and Colonel Bayly received them. It was a most brilliant spectacle that must have caught the eyes of the visitors. The black square, embroidered with a deep fringe of scarlet, blue, yellow, and reddish-brown, edged with steel, tossing plumes, the shine of brass instruments, and at the back of it all the darker edge of civilians, was quite metamorphosed from its ordinary severe aspect.

 

The heavy squall drenched everyone and flooded the streets.

[From: The Town and Country Journal, 4 November 1899, p. 39.] 

 

But, just as the distinguished party took up a position near the Artillery Band, immediately in front of the contingent in honour of which all this was being done, a heavy squall of wind and rain began to drive across the ground. In a minute everyone without a coat or umbrella was wet to the skin, and very few had coats. The Governor in a light suit, with an umbrella, fared just as badly as the ordinary onlooker with ditto. The ladies in white dresses (from the High school) suffered severely. Even as the rain commenced they presented the silver bugle to the Lancers - and did it with the most seeming promptitude, too. Major Lee briefly acknowledged the gift, and said it would always remind his regiment of the esteem and admiration of their fair friends in Sydney. Giving the bugle to a bugler, the latter blew long, clear, and loud, the Lancers' call to action.

The band struck up the hymn, "O, God! Our Help in Ages Past," and many of the onlookers joined in. Verse succeeded verse, while the pitiless rain fell, and turned everything to misery. The troops were wet through; most of the spectators were in a similar condition, and still the hymn went on. At last the A.A.G. could stand it no longer. Riding forward he held up his hand and the band stopped. "I told you twice before to stop!" he shouted above the rain and wind. Two long prayers and a lengthy harangue to those about to depart followed, till even the Governor, who was sheltering the form of the Archbishop beneath his umbrella, looked volumes. For the rain abated not a jot.

At last the Archbishop himself advanced, and in a voice of great emotion, pronounced the beautiful and solemn "Benediction." Then followed "God Save the Queen," sung by everyone.

Then, at last, the troops moved off, headed by the Governor in his carriage; the band of the R.A.A. stepped out manfully to "Soldiers of the Queen;" then came the Lancers, their light-brown uniforms dark with moisture, and the pennons on e lances hanging limp and sullen. Followed the Army Medical Corps; then came the Permanent Artillery, the P.P. Artillery (all companies), and the Police Band. Their tune was "The Union Jack." Next came more Lancers, and recently another band, that of the 1st Regiment, laying "Take Off Our Hats to the Queen." Third Regiment followed; then came the band of the 2nd Regiment ("Britannia the Pride of the Ocean"), then the 2nd Regiment; next the Submarine Miners and Engineers, and then the Scots pipers. Their band (silent) came next, followed by the Scots College boys, under Captain Levitus, and then the "Dandy Fifth" themselves. The Australians (6th) succeeded (the band playing "Sons of the Sea"), and close up came the 7th, with the Old Tune of the Old Line-"The British Grenadiers."

 

The Scottish Rifles.

[From: The Town and Country Journal, 4 November 1899, p. 24.]  

 

The 8th (Irish) Regiment followed, and was succeeded by the National Guard, headed by Sir George Dibbs. The Army Service Corps brought up the rear of the procession, that must have been over a quarter of a mile long - and the very last man who stepped, through the gate was Major Bayly, with a wet jacket, but also with a load of responsibility off his mind. And then the city took up the tale.

Though the day was wet the streets were crowded. The troops left the Victoria Barracks precisely at 3 o'clock, and the appearance of the contingent was the signal for loud cheering, which, indeed, was continued almost unceasingly along the line of route - Oxford Street, by way of Bourke, William, and Park Streets to Pitt Street, and thence to the Quay. In several places in Oxford and William streets strings of bunting, dampened by the pouring rain, drooped across the roadway, while
several private houses made loyal displays of British colours.

During, the several hours which preceded the time set down for the embarkation, crowds gathered around the approaches of the Quay, at the lower end of Pitt Street. From the middle of the Quay thoroughfare to the large iron gates of the German Steamship Company's Wharf, picket fence barricades had been erected, so that the crowed, thus restrained, formed an avenue, through which the soldiers could march to the roadway which skirts the wharves. By half-past 1 o'clock, many thousands had gathered, while thousands more were making their way to the spot from all approaches. All the available coigns of vantage on surrounding high buildings were availed of. The roof and windows of the fire station, at the corner of George Street, were crowded. So were the hotel balconies in the neighbourhood. The high platforms on the wharves, the fences which surrounded them, every ledge, in fact, which would bear the weight of or furnish foothold for a human being had its living freight. The long wait was, under the circumstances, somewhat tedious.

At last the troops arrived, and there was wave after wave of cheering. The departing troops lost no time in getting aboard, and there were then the unavoidable farewell scenes to be got through. At last these were finished, and the steamer moved from the wharf, on her way down the harbour. She cast anchor off Double Bay, and got finally away at 6 a.m. on Monday.

 

The Australian Rifles.

[From: The Town and Country Journal, 4 November 1899, p. 24.] 

 

The total of passengers on board the Kent is 131, being 38 of the Lancers, 91 of the A.M.C., a Veterinary surgeon (Veterinary-Surgeon Lieutenant F. W. Melhuish), and a war correspondent (Mr. A. B. Paterson., of the "Sydney Morning Herald"). The total of horses is 152, being 131 for the Lancers, 49 for the A.M.C., and 2 for the war correspondent. There was also an uncontemplated passenger. Mr. S. Hordern, of Darling Point, kindly placed four pigeons belonging to himself and Mr. J. Wright, of Sussex-street, members of the Homing Pigeon Society, on board the Kent on Sunday, taking them in his yacht. One of the pigeons returned to Mr. Wright's place at Sussex Street about 8 o'clock on. Monday morning, with the following message from the ship:-

"Kent, 7.15 a.m.-Strong head wind, fairly heavy sea, vessel very steady, horses doing well. P.M.O. reports all well. Stowaway discovered on board -West, 14, Hurstville, apprentice Biddell Brothers, under bunks since Saturday, no food. He wishes to find his mother, who is a nurse in England, and is going with troops to Africa. P.M.O. suggests he" is the 'Little Boy at Manly." Fittings of ship, are apparently perfect, and horses right forward and aft are travelling well. Old mare that left sick now improving. All well on board. Consider we have made auspicious start. No ill effects from Saturday's wetting. Men send best wishes to those who are to follow."

A luncheon was given by Mr. Cox, one of the directors of the agents of the Kent, in the North German Lloyd's shed., Circular, Quay, at which over 500 persons were present, including the Governor, Premier, Mayor, and Primate. Patriotic speeches were made, and the toast of "The New
South Wales Contingent" was duly honoured.

Following is the personnel of that portion of the contingent which departed by the Kent:

 

The NSW Lancers Contingent.

[From: The Town and Country Journal, 4 November 1899, p. 27.] 

 

N.S.W. LANCERS.

Captain and Temporary Major G.L. Lee.
Lieutenant G.H. Allan.
Lieutenant C.W.F.P. Roberts.
Lieutenant R.M. Heron.
W.O. C.E. Fisher.
S.S.M. W. Winch.
Sergeant C. Williams.
Sergeant A. Livingston.
Trumpeter A. V. Taylor.
Trumpeter W. Papworth.
S.S. W. Mullard.
Trooper E. Lee.
Trooper C. Fiaschi.
Trooper R.M. Johnson.
Trooper G. Whittington.
Trooper W. G. Moon.
Trooper L.D. Tunks.
Trooper J.W. Muir.
Trooper A.W.G. M'Millan.
Trooper H.A. Artlett.
Trooper A.B. Pettigrew.
Trooper G.W. Davey.
Trooper W. Stewart.
Trooper G.E.L. Ramsay.
Trooper J.A. Weston.
Trooper J. Elliott.
Trooper K. M'Pherson.
Trooper L. Fetting.
Trooper C. Lamb.
Trooper A. A. Burgin.
Trooper E. Wilson.


DRIVERS AND BATMEN.

Trooper H. Sandon.
Trooper A. Robinson.
Trooper G. Bell.
Trooper W. M. Ellis.
Trooper W. Chapman.
Trooper L. H. Griffiths.
Trooper A. T. Bowman.

 

The New South Wales Army Medical Corps Contingent.

[From: The Town and Country Journal, 4 November 1899, p. 27.] 

 

N.S.W. ARMY MEDICAL CORPS.

Colonel W.D.C. Williams.
Captain and Temporary Major T.H. Fiaschi.
Captain R. Roth.
Captain T. A. Green.
Captain A. E. Perkins.
Lieutenant T. M. Martin.
W.O. P. Mason, Permanent A.M.C.
Sergeant R. Eberling, Permanent A.M.C.
Sergeant J. Rose, Permanent A.M.C.
Sergeant T. Render, Permanent A.M.C.
Private H. Rigden, Permanent A.M.C.
Private J. Harrison, Permanent A.M.C.
W.O. J. Bond, Permanent Staff.
Q.M.S. J.H. Mills, A.M.C.
Sergeant Major D. Hadfield, A.M.C.
Sergeant A.J. Hindmarsh, A.M.C.
Bugler A. Blair, A.M.C.
Bugler W. Davis, A.M.C.
Private W. Cousens, A.M.C.
Private P.F. Walker, A.M.C.
Private G. Daggar, A. M. C.
Private E. M'Kinley, A. M. C.
Private F. Kenny, A. M. C.
Private A. S. Tait, A.M.C.
Private F. Goodhall, A.M.C.
Private R. Parkhill, A.M.C.
Private F. Aitken, A.M.C.
Private J. Hannah, A.M.C.
Private H. Longbottom, A.M.C.
Private E. Widgery, A.M.C.
Private A. Midgley, A.M.C.
Private H.P. Legge, A.M.C.
Private O. Levido, A.M.C. (Reserve).
Private F. Blackall, A.M.C. (Reserve).
Private G. Newton, A.M.C. (Reserve).
Private A.F.W. Maters, A.M.C. (Reserve).
Private G. Stratton, A.M.C. (Reserve).
Sergeant W. Walpole, R.A.A. (Field).
Driver J. H. Easby, R.A.A. (Field).
Driver H. Norris, R.A.A. (Field).
Driver F. Timmins, R.A.A. (Field).
Driver J. Green, R.A.A. (Field).
Driver W. Gill, R.A.A. (Field).
Driver Colbourne, R.A.A. (Field).
Driver W. Goole, R.A.A. (Field).
Driver J. Maund, R.A.A. (Field).
Driver G. Rose, "C" Battery, N.S.W.A. Regiment.
Driver D: M. Cronin, "C" Battery, N.S.W.A. Regiment.
Driver W., T. C. Colliver, "B" Battery, N.S.W.A. Regiment.
Driver G. Downey, "C" Battery, N.S.W.A. Regiment.
Driver J. Louden, "C" Battery, N.S.W.A. Regiment.
Driver A. Inman, "C" Battery, N.S.W.A. Regiment.
Private F. Harkness, R.A.A. (Garrison).
Private J. Riglesford, R.A.A. (Garrison).
Private E. Hitchens, R.A.A. (Garrison).
Private A. Russell, R.A.A. (Garrison).
Private L. Strong, R.A.A. (Garrison).
Private W.D. Lewis, 1st Regiment.
Private J. Oram, 2nd Regiment.
Private A. Shapter, 2nd Regiment.
Private J. Connolly, 2nd Regiment.
Private F. Tawnley, 2nd Regiment.
Private J. Healy, 2nd Regiment.
Private R. Walton, 2nd Regiment.
Private O. Stanton, 3rd Regiment,
Private A. Dargin, 6th Regiment.
Private J. Fraser, 5th Regiment.
Private E. M'Namara, A.S.C.
Private A. J. H. Gray, A.S.C.
Private W. Collins, N.B.
Private M'Naughton, N.B.
Private H. Warren, N.A.V.
Private G. Willey, R.A.A. (Field).
Private F. Smith, R.A.A. (Field).
Private G. Dart.
Private J.S. Howarth.
Private A. Matheson, R.A.A. (Garrison).
Private W. Blestowe.
Private C. White, R.A.A. (Garrison).
Private J. Donnellan.
Private G. Schofield, Police.
Private E. Chamberlain, Police.
Private J. Henry, Police.
Private G. Selmes, Police.
Private I. Goodsell, Police.
Private A. Justin, Police.
Private C. Lindfleld, Police.
Private H.I. Ranson, Submarine Miners.
Private T. Cox, Submarine Miners.
Private C. Harrison, A.M.C.
Private F. C. Airey.
 

Loading the horses onto the Kent.
 
[From: The Town and Country Journal, 4 November 1899, p. 39.]

 

 

Further Reading:

Boer War, 1899 - 1902 

South African (Second Boer) War, 1899 - 1902, Australian Forces, Roll of Honour 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Off to the war, Town and Country Journal, 4 November 1899

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Tuesday, 27 April 2010 11:17 AM EADT
Thursday, 19 February 2004
At Elands River, Town and Country Journal, 1 September 1900
Topic: BW - Boer War

A letter from Elands River

Town and Country Journal, 1 September 1900

 

A fully equiped Bushman

[From: the Town and Country Journal, 24 February 1900, p. 21.]

 

The following is an extract from the Town and Country Journal, 1 September 1900, p. 21.

 

At Elands River.

Lieutenant R. E. Zouch, “A” Squadron, N.S.W. Bushmen's Contingent, writing from camp at Eland's River, July 15, says:

We are now in garrison, a dreadful place; and it is hard to say how long we may be kept here. I t is very hard that, after having done so much of regimental work, “B” and “C” Squadrons have now gone ahead of us, and have had two scrapes with the enemy - one at Rustenberg, where we had two men killed and several wounded, one of the latter being Captain Machattie. We haves, however, done good work disarming the enemy, and are keeping open the lines of communication between Mafeking and Rustenburg. This is the coldest place I have ever known; we have no fuel, and the men only one blanket, and hardly any clothes; for we lost most of our kit when we were compelled to retreat from Rustenburg. We are now trying to obtain some boots, clothing, etc, from the "powers that be" but I fear we stand a poor chance of success. All the other regiments here are splendidly equipped, especially the Queenslanders, who are now camped with us; they seem to have everything required, even horse-rugs; while our poor ,horses doing heavy work have no rugs, and are now on half rations.

 We often wonder what, our numerous friends in New South Wales would say if they could only see our present plight, and how we are treated ; we came here to light, but in stead of that we are "dumped" ,down by the way side, and, I regret to say, are sorely neglected. Our colonel and staff have done on with the two fresh squadrons, while we have to remain behind to "grin and bear" it, so that "A" squadron is not getting a fair show. We have had no letters since we left Australia (nearly six months ago), except those written a few days after we sailed. This 'is the worst hardship of all, and we are quite out of the world so far as news is concerned, and we know very little about the, war, or what has happened elsewhere. It is cruel that we have' not received letters from the dear ones in Australia, written so many months ago, too. A few days ago we got hold of a Melbourne paper, about, three months old, and we all enjoyed reading it. There was a call to arms a day or two ago, at 4 o'clock in the morning, when we had to stand out on the breast works until sunrise, and afterwards work all day until half-past 4, building forts. I went on duty at 6 p.m., was about all night, and had very little to eat, but I am glad to say that I have felt splendid.

This place cannot be made very strong, as there is very little good material for that purpose, the ground being a mass of slaty chips, but it is the general opinion that the enemy will hardly attack us at present. I am writing, this letter on the walls of an old Zulu fort; there are many such about here. This is a poor country in the winter, but evidently a, fine place in summer. The cattle are a very common lot; their horns are the largest part of them; and I really think the animals are made of leather, as the meat is, something awful. We get enough of this so-called beef, but other articles of diet are scarce - often no sugar nor tea - and all of a most inferior quality. Tobacco is a great luxury, and we have been compelled to use the Boer production, which is as coarse and dry as chaff. A message has been forwarded to Mafeking for our mail to be forwarded here. When it arrives it will be a "red letter day” indeed. It is heart-breaking not to hear from, one's relations and friends, and far harder to bear than all we have gone through. I will send this letter by our cyclist, but it may never reach you, perhaps, as one of our postmen was captured yesterday, and this may share the same fate.

 

Biographies

 

1. The letter's author, Lieutenant R. E. Zouch, “A” Squadron, N.S.W. Bushmen's Contingent.

New South Wales Citizens' Bushmen's Contingent, Richard Essington Zouch

 

2. Thomas Alfred Machattie.

New South Wales Citizens' Bushmen's Contingent, Thomas Alfred Machattie

 

Further Reading:

New South Wales Citizens' Bushmen's Contingent

Boer War, 1899 - 1902 

South African (Second Boer) War, 1899 - 1902, Australian Forces, Roll of Honour 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: Elands River, Town and Country Journal, 1 September 1900

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Tuesday, 27 April 2010 11:01 AM EADT
Wednesday, 18 February 2004
A Letter Home, Town and Country Journal, 24 November 1900
Topic: BW - Boer War

A Letter Home

A Sydney Nurse in South Africa.

 

Town and Country Journal, 24 November 1900, p. 43.

 

The letter published in the Town and Country Journal is quite prescient in its predictions regarding the longevity of the war. The above extract is transcribed below.

 

A Sydney Nurse in South Africa.

The following extracts are taken from an interesting letter received by a private friend in Sydney from one of the nurses in camp near Ladysmith:

"'The Camp,' Ladysmith, October 3.

"My dear M.,-When I wrote last the war was at full tide; now I write again when it is at low ebb. Between then and now lie ten months of work at such high pressure that to-day I feel worn out; so deadly sick of everything military that nothing appeals to me like a stray sketch of a cottage covered with roses, a hayrack on a farm, or an old-fashioned garden. For spring is in the air, and with the return of spring the homesick feeling in many hearts grows strong. A photo of General Christian De Wet lies before me. When I look at the keen alert face, I am apt to become dubious over the probable end of the war in three weeks or a month. De Wet says quite cheerfully he intends to fight while he has ten men left, and the general opinion is that until the brilliant Dutchman surrenders, or is caught, the air must still be full of uncertainties. At any moment he may bob up serenely in some new and unexpected quarter, or tear up a mile or two of railway lines; tend so far he has been able to set at nought Lord Roberts and all the other Generals.

"A cloud of dull apathy lies over the land, and a regiment might march through Ladysmith with the band playing 'Soldiers of the Queen,' and never a shopkeeper would pause in the act of measuring tea or sugar, to run to the door and cheer, for the 'gentleman in khaki' is simply a common Tommy once more, no longer an interesting novelty. 'The Camp,' where we are stationed at present, lies three miles beyond Ladysmith. It consists of rows and rows of corrugated iron sheds, placed on the open veldt with no signs of a tree or shrub in sight. I have only to go to the door of my quarters to look at Waggon Hill and Bulwana, while King's Post, with its trenches and breastworks, lies but a stone's throw away.

"At present the hospital is half empty, for there are no big battles now, and the fever season has not yet set in. Sometimes we take a day off, and roam over such a battlefield as 'Pieter's' or 'Spion Kop,' from which we return in the evening very weary, and occasionally very sad, for a fragment of a letter, or a bit of an old paper, picked up in a trench has taken our thoughts back tab those awful days of fighting before, the relief of LadySmith. There is a mania existing at present for collecting curios. The battlefields have been almost swept clean, and the prices asked for a pom-pom shell or a `Long Tom' which has been used in action are most exorbitant. In my ward at present I have the tailor who made suits of broadcloth for President Kruger for the past nine years. At times my poor tailor, who is an orderly, grows quite melancholy. 'If I only had kept the old dopper suit the President gave me for a pattern,' he said yesterday, 'I might have shaken hands with myself; but, alas, I gave it to a Kaffir!' "I cannot tell you how I long to come across some of the men from New South Wales. I have nursed 'Devons,' 'Yorke,' `Lancashires,' 'Gloucesters,' 'Inniskillings,' `Gordons,' and others, a New Zealander, and a South Australian, but never a man from Sydney. The anxiety of some of the poor fellows among the reserves to get 'home' is very pitiful. A bad case pronounced unfit" for further service yesterday received the verdict with a smile of delight. The man is going home with death beside him; nevertheless he is quite content, for, according to his idea, 'better a grave in the old churchyard without a stone than a tomb with a monument in South Africa.' Owing to the fearful rush of work at first. I have forgotten the names of the majority of the men I nursed, but I can never forget their heroism and courage in hardships and difficulties. I always seem to see them stepping past in great companies, just as if I had known them in dreams. Had I had the experience of a siege I might have attempted a book, but the siege did not fall to my lot.

"I shall always be glad of the experience I have had in this campaign. The little things which used to trouble me are mere nothings brought face to trice with big realities. Yet here, where a few months ago such issues hung in the balance, a nursing Sister is fretting because her hair is losing its colour, and another Sister is perfectly miserable because the coolie washes her linen so badly. The army will probably soon disband the civilian doctors and nurses, as they have a full supply of their own staff, equal to the sick in hospitals at present. I, with many others, am looking forward eagerly to the day when we can say thankfully, 'Our services being no longer required, we intend returning home.' "

 

 

Further Reading:

Boer War, 1899 - 1902 

South African (Second Boer) War, 1899 - 1902, Australian Forces, Roll of Honour 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: A Letter Home, Town and Country Journal, 24 November 1900

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Tuesday, 27 April 2010 11:04 AM EADT

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