by W A J O'Meara



CHAPTER I.  CRITICAL DAYS: MEASURES FOR THE DEFENCE OF THE DIAMOND FIELDS.  Kekewich ordered to Kimberley on a secret mission.  Preparations for the defence of the Diamond Fields taken in hand.  The Boers out on Commando.  Kekewich decides to include Beaconsfield within the main line of Defence.
CHAPTER II.  KIMBERLEY CUT OFF FROM THE SOUTH: SORTIES FOR THE PURPOSE OF PREVENTING THE ENEMY CLOSING ON THE DEFENCES.  First serious act of hostility on the western border.  Final instructions received by Kekewich just prior to the isolation of Kimberley.  Kimberley isolated.  The Cape Police retire from the railway.  The first week of the siege.  Correspondence between the High Commissioner and Rhodes.  Mettle of the Kimberley Troops tested by the Boers.  A Lull.
CHAPTER III.  ENEMY FORCES INVEST THE DIAMOND FIELDS: KEKEWICH LEARNS THAT ALARMIST REPORTS HAVE REACHED THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF.  Wessels' Ultimatum to Kekewich.  A Trying Situation.  Buller calls for an appreciation of the situation.  Boer Artillery Occupies Carter's Ridge.  Two Extraordinary Proposals.
CHAPTER IV.  COLUMN SENT FROM ORANGE RIVER TO RELIEVE KIMBERLEY: IT FAILS TO REACH THE DIAMOND FIELDS.  Advance of Relief Column Notified to Kekewich.  A Successful Sortie by the Kimberley Troops.  Relief Column's Searchlight Signals Seen.  The Boers put up a Stubborn Fight.  Another Lull.  The "Removal Order".
The Relief Column Fights at Magersfontein 84
CHAPTER V.  INSTRUCTIONS SENT TO KEKEWICH TO HOLD OUT FOR ANOTHER COUPLE OF MONTHS: LABRAM DESIGNS AND constructs "long cecil".  Kekewich Ordered to Husband Supplies.  Progress of Events in Kimberley to the end of December 1899.  "Long Cecil".  Events of January 1900.  "Long Cecil" comes into Action.
CHAPTER VI.  BOER SIEGE GUN BOMBARDS KIMBERLEY: A CIVILIAN THREAT TO CALL A PUBLIC MEETING TO DISCUSS THE MILITARY SITUATION.  "Long Tom" comes into Action at Kamfersdam.  Rhodes Proposes to call a Public Meeting.  Civilians Demand Immediate Relief.  Lord Roberts Replies.  Kekewich Explains the Difficulties of his Position.
CHAPTER VII.  LORD ROBERTS SENDS A MOUNTED FORCE TO RELIEVE KIMBERLEY: KEKEWICH HANDS OVER HIS COMMAND TO FRENCH.  Boers Disquieted by British Movements.  Relief at Last.  The Day after the Raising of the Siege.


I. Extract from "The Morning Leader" of March 27, 1900
IL Extract from the "Diamond Fields Advertiser," December 13, 1899
III. Extract from the "Diamond Fields Advertiser," February 10, 1900


Wessels' Ultimatum
Message No. 98 of 18th November 1899
The Conning Tower
Labram with "Long Cecil"
Rhodes' Message of 11th February
Searchlight Redoubt at the Kimberley Mine
Map of Kimberley


A clever brain, a human heart, and a cheery spirit; a lovable disposition, unswerving loyalty, and absolute devotion to duty—supply a make-up for a man which should carry him through most if not all of the difficulties of leadership in life.  Robert Kekewich possessed just these qualities in a remarkable degree. Moreover they were just the qualities which were needed in the man who was to command successfully through a crisis such as that of the Defence of Kimberley.  His difficulties there were not entirely due to the novel form of warfare involved nor to the enemy without his gates, but also to differing elements within them. But in the event he pulled through successfully and thus his character and his methods are well worth studying by those who aspire in their turn to happy and successful leadership.


Robert George Kekewich second son of Trehawke Kekewich, of Peamore, Devon, was born on the 17th June 1854, and joined the Buffs on the 2nd December 1874. He fought in the Perak expedition of 1875-6, and in the Soudan, 1884-5, where he gained a brevet majority. He was employed as D.A.A.G. in the Soudan campaign of 1888, and afterwards as military secretary to the Commander-in-Chief, Madras, and was engaged in the operations in Burma, 1892-3. He was promoted into the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire) and commanded the 1st Battalion of that regiment in the South African War. He commanded the garrison during the siege of Kimberley; received the rank of brevet-colonel and the C.B., and in August 1902, was specially promoted major-general. He was appointed colonel of the Buffs on the 5th October 1909. On the outbreak of war in 1914 he was appointed to the 13th (Western) Division, which he commanded until his death on 5th November of that year.