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Sketches of soldiers in the Blackburn Times 11 months 1 week ago #66799

  • BereniceUK
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davidh wrote: I didn't know he was from Blackburn.


I hope this link works, David. The house in the centre is 46, Hollin Bridge Street, the family home.
www.google.com/maps/place/46+Hollin+Brid...7355693!4d-2.4929973
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Sketches of soldiers in the Blackburn Times 11 months 1 week ago #66803

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Thanks Berenice. That's great.

David

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Sketches of soldiers in the Blackburn Times 10 months 3 weeks ago #67039

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Private Joseph Sharples, 2nd Scots Guards

It has been reported that Private Joseph Sharples, of the 2nd Scots Guards, wounded at the battle of Modder River. Private Sharples is only 22 years of age, and is a Blackburn man. He has served in the [unreadable] also three years in the Regulars. We have been enabled to reproduce his photo through the courtesy of his brother, Robert, who resides in Clitheroe.


The Blackburn Times, Saturday 20th January 1900
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4693 Lance-Corporal W. H. Holding/Holden, "D" Company 1st Loyal North Lancashire Regiment

ANTICIPATING THE BIGGEST BATTLE OF THE WAR.
Mrs. Holding, of Griffin-street, Witton, has received some interesting letters from her son, Lance-Corporal W. H. Holding (No. 4,693), of the "D" Company 1st Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. The letter is dated Thursday, December 7th, 1899, and is from the Modder River Camp. He says: - "We have been marching, fighting, and camping out on the open plains all the time I have been here. We have had three battles, and I managed to pull through them all. The first one was at a place called Belmont, but that was not so much. We were fighting about six hours, but only lost a few men killed and wounded. We brought in the dead, and laid them in their last resting places. We were doing that nearly all day. The next battle we had was at a place called Graspan. Well, this was a little harder, for the bullets were falling over us like rain. I pulled through however without a scratch. After a few days, we fought another battle at a place called Modder River, and this was the worst of all. It lasted about 16 hours, and the bullets fell just as thick as before, but at the finish we beat them off. We lost a good many, but the enemy lost about five or six to us one. We are staying here till the war is over, as the General says we have done more than our share of the work."



In another letter, under date December 21st, he says: "We are expecting to begin fighting very soon. The battle will be one of the greatest battles ever fought since the war began." - Mr. Holden mentions that his captain's wife has sent every soldier a Christmas card to be sent home to the soldiers' wives and friends. He also says that another kind-hearted English lady has sent every soldier engaged in this war some note paper. He goes on to say: - "I must not forget to tell you that her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen has not forgot us, for she is sending every soldier a tin box of chocolate, which is already sweetened and milk in it, enough to make 30 cups of cocoa. I have also heard that some kind ladies and gentlemen are sending us ten tons of Christmas pudding. You can send me tobacco, cigars, pipes, &c., free of charge by just putting my name, number, rank, company, and regiment on the outside of the parcel. The enemy are quite close at hand. They are at our right and at our front. The last battle we had a few hundreds killed and wounded, but the Boers had treble that number. It took them over three days to bury their dead, and they had to send for a lot of our doctors to attend to their wounded, but they still hang out. We have not done any fighting for a few days now, but as soon as the battle is over we shall come home to England. Please send me some local papers. The General says that our regiment is the best he has under his command."

The Blackburn Times, Saturday 27th January 1900
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Driver M. Leach, 63rd Battery Royal Field Artillery


AN EVENTFUL VOYAGE.
Driver M. Leach, of the 63rd Battery Royal Field Artillery, sends an interesting and graphic description of the wreck of the troopship "Ismore" to his brother, who resides at 2, Shore, Blackburn, when it was proceeding to the Cape with a contingent of men. He says in one letter, dated November 16th, 1899: - We expect to arrive in Palmas to-morrow. I am on the sick list just now. I was inoculated last night, and it is very painful. We have had a very rough voyage. As we were passing through the Bay of Biscay I fell flat on my back. I did not even know whether I was on my head or on my feet. We got into a severe gale on Tuesday and we had to shelter in a harbour. We have had a lot of trouble with the horses. We have had ten Hussars sick, eight of them dying. She is a very good sailing boat, but rocks dreadfully." Enclosed with this letter was a slip of paper, dated December 3rd, on which was written:- "We struck a rock yesterday morning, but I am quite safe. We all took to the boats and got ashore. Will write later.
CALLING THE ROLL ON A SINKING SHIP.
In another letter, dated December 9th, he says: - "We have arrived at the Cape at last. I daresay you will have read in the papers about our misfortune. We had a terrible time I can assure you, and I would not like to go through it again. I will now describe it to you. About 2 30 a.m. on Sunday morning we were all in our hammocks fast asleep when we were awakened by a terrible shock. I was bounced out of bed on the floor, in fact all of us were. We all rushed on deck and we saw she had struck on some rocks. It was dark and we could see no land. The officers told the trumpeters to sound the "fall in." I shall never forget it as long as I live. We all fell in line, and we got the order to dress with as much marching order kit as possible - that is, with our water bottles, life belts, etc. We were next told off, so many men to each boat. We had to stand in line and the roll was called. As our names came in turn we had to slide down a rope into the boat below. We then rowed away from the wreck. As day was breaking we could see land about a mile away, and we made our way there with all haste. When we got on 'terra firma' we did not half send us a cheer. The major congratulated us on our coolness. One of the hussar officers took a snap shot of the men. We were all chatting together, just as if nothing had happened. We were on shore about two hours. We thought the place was deserted when there came in sight a number of n******. When they saw us they ran for dear lives, but we chased them and called them back. We were very hungry. So we told them the best way we could that we wanted something to eat and drink, which they quickly brought. They also drove us two bullocks (into, I was going to say, "camp") but we will call it our company. We soon had a good dinner. We were here two days awaiting orders from Capetown. We had no tents, so we had to sleep in the open air. We had not even our overcoats. We lost everything - guns, horses, kits, etc. On Tuesday morning a gunboat came in sight and took us all aboard, and landed us safely at the Cape, and we are now camped out in Maitland. We are getting new kits, horses and mules, guns, waggons, etc. We shall be ready for the front in the course of a few days. It is very hot here indeed. My face is that sore that I can't wash. It is a very nice country. We are allowed in town three hours every night. It is a wonderful sight to see the different ways of people. You would laugh to see them. They say, "White man, me lubby him. Kill Boer." They don't like the Boers, you know. There were eighty Boer prisoners brought to Capetown yesterday. You would pity them if you only saw them. They looked proper wretched, and when they were asked what they were fighting for, they actually didn't know.
Add Driver Leach Experience [sic]
In a later letter Driver Leach gives a graphic account of the wreck. Writing from Maitland Camp on December 16th, he says: - "I am glad to let you know that I am still living, though they tried hard to drown and starve us. I shall never forget the 3rd of December. We were all on deck on Saturday, singing, dancing, and enjoying ourselves, being the last night we should spend on the water. We then went down to sleep in our hammocks. At about half-past two in the morning I was suddenly awaked by feeling my head come in contact with the roof. There was a terrific crash and a sudden stop. We all jumped up out of our beds and ran on the upper deck. But we could see nothing. An order was given for the trumpeters to sound fall in. We all fell in as if on parade. We stood as if rooted to the spot, not daring to move. The ship's crew began to lower the boats, which seemed to last a life time. The roll was called and each man as his name was called stepped out to the front and was lowered into the boat. When daylight broke we could see nothing but rocks and cliffs around us for about a couple of miles distant. We pulled our way towards them and found a very nice place to land. We were on the coast for about four hours before we could see any signs of habitation. At last some n****** came in sight but they seemed to be afraid of us. We soon got their confidence however. We were very hungry and you can guess they could not provide for about 400 of us. However, they got us two bullocks and some bread. We were on short allowance for two days. We were ultimately picked up by a gunboat and brought to the Cape and are now encamped in Capetown. It is a nice place, but there are too many n******. We have lost all our horses, guns and kits, &c., so we are starting afresh and are now waiting for guns and waggons. We expect to be ready for the front in the course of a few days. The Boers have had the best of us this week, having captured 10 guns and completely cut up the 66th Battery. Don't I wish I was there! I am longing for a shot at them. Things here are very dear; one could not live properly here without a weekly salary of £5 or £6. Excuse the writing as I have not got a good pen, the one you gave me being at the bottom of the ocean."

The Blackburn Times, Saturday 13th January 1900
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Sketches of soldiers in the Blackburn Times 10 months 3 weeks ago #67049

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Elmarie Malherbe
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Sketches of soldiers in the Blackburn Times 10 months 3 weeks ago #67067

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Thanks for the photo Elmarie. I went to the site a couple of times when I visited the Dundee/Talana area.

David

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Sketches of soldiers in the Blackburn Times 3 months 2 weeks ago #70369

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780 Private George Parkinson, B Company 1st East Lancashire Regiment

ANOTHER BLACKBURN SOLDIER MISSING.
….Private George Parkinson, No. 780, of B Company 1st East Lancashire Regiment, has been reported missing since the 25th of May. He is 43 years of age and has served seven years with the colours and eight years in the Reserve. In a letter to his mother, who resides at 39, Abraham-street, Blackburn, from Bloemfontein, he says: - "We are having some hard work to do, but we must do our duty. We had only been in South Africa nine days when we fought our first engagement, and four days later our second, at the taking of Jacobsdal. Now we are in the capital of the Orange Free State, about 700 miles from Cape Town, where we landed on the steamship 'Bavarian.' We have had some dreadfully hard marching under the power of a scorching sun, and at night we have had to lay on the bare ground, which is often swamped with rain, and the sky has had to serve as our roof. We have also been on half rations. We should be made of iron. But I am right so far. I must now conclude."


The Blackburn Times, Saturday 30th June 1900
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7253 Private William John Leeming Gardner, Volunteer Company 2nd (King's Own) Royal Lancaster Regiment Born in Lancaster, 1874.

SOLDIERS REPORTED KILLED, ALIVE AND WELL.

A MARVEL HOW LADYSMITH WAS RELIEVED.
….Writing to his mother, under date April 18th, from Elandslaagte, No. 7,253 Private W. J. L. Gardner, of the Volunteer Company 2nd Royal Lancasters, says: - "We disembarked at Durban in tugboats on the 12th, and we went in coal trucks to Pitermaritzburg. We stopped here all night and all day on Good Friday. It is a splendid country from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. All along the route there is nothing but fruit fields and every station we stop at ladies are waiting with fruit, cigarettes, hot coffee, and tea. We left Pietermaritzburg on Good Friday night at 11 o'clock, and, after a ten hours' ride, all night, we reached Ladysmith. Along the route from Estcourt to Ladysmith, noting could be seen but trenches made by the Boers. It is a marvel how Ladysmith was ever relieved, so strong were the Boer positions. We saw the armoured train which was wrecked near Chieveley, and also the grave of Lord Roberts' heroic son. We left Ladysmith for Elandslaagte, where we joined the 2nd Battalion Royal Lancasters, where we are now stationed. The men of the regiment seemed quite pleased when they saw so many old faces which they knew, and we were accorded a hearty welcome. When we arrived in camp we were both hungry and thirsty, the day being so hot, and having had to walk a long distance from the railway station to camp, for, besides having our full pack, we also had a blanket and oilsheet strapped on our backs. There are several men who have been reported killed in the papers here alive and without even a scratch. I was surprised when Joseph Stringer (you will know him) came and spoke to me. I could hardly believe my eyes. He has altered very much and looks the picture of health. He has told me about the Spion Kop affair. He said no one could believe what they went through after leaving Estcourt. The Boers actually knew what regiments were attacking them, and at Spion Kop they even shouted out the names of the regiments as they charged up the hill. They have spies all over Natal and especially at Durban and Pietermaritzburg. There are a great number of Boers three miles from here, and, only three days before our arrival, our regiment had to move the camp on account of the Boers shelling them. One morning the Boers started shelling them just as they were getting their breakfast, but our artillery soon got into action and silenced their guns. We go out every day with the regulars, making sangars and digging trenches, because we are going to make a stand here. Lord Roberts and Major-General Hunter are driving the Boers from the hills and in fact carrying everything before them. The Lancashire Brigade and the Artillery would annihilate the Boers if only they would come out into the open. We hold a very strong position, and this time we will require some driving out. The Boers were seen yesterday moving towards the east by our scouts and outposts, and we were at once ordered to stand to arms in case of attack, and if they had come they would have got something they deserve."


The Blackburn Times, Saturday 30th June 1900
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858 Private John Robert Haworth, 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards

A BLACKBURN SOLDIER SERIOUSLY WOUNDED.
….Mr. J. Haworth, of 34, Alton-street, Blackburn, has been notified by the War Office that his son, No. 858 Private John Robert Haworth, of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, was seriously wounded at Pretoria on the 12th of June. Private Haworth went out to South Africa at the beginning of the war, and fought at the battles of Belmont, Graspan, Modder River, Magersfontein, Poplar Grove, Johannesburg, and Pretoria. He is 21 years of age, and has served three years with the colours. This is his first experience of active service. He formerly belonged to the Volunteer Company of the Royal Artillery.
….In a letter dated May 8th, to his father and mother, Private J. Haworth says: - "I have nothing particular to say only that we are getting nearer Pretoria. Our division left Brandfort two days ago and is now at a village called Smaildell. We don't expect the Boers to make a big stand until we reach Kroonstad or the Vaal River. They know very well that we shall reach Pretoria, and they are making it as awkward as they can by blowing up the bridges, etc. Paper is very scarce just now, so you must excuse this short epistle. I received the box of cigars."


The Blackburn Times, Saturday 30th June 1900
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