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Hammer and chisel 1 month 3 weeks ago #71385

  • BereniceUK
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….I transcribed this letter home, which was published in the Mid-Cumberland and North Westmorland Herald, on 9th June 1900, and thought it might be of interest here.

"Sergt. J. Simpson Yeates, writing home to Penrith from No. 2 General Hospital, Wynberg, on May 15th says: - We are excessively busy and have to work patients coming in from the front. No. 2 is one of the largest hospitals. Some of the poor men die here and several have serious operations. I have to make the names every day and the list is sent to England. "Dangerously ill" patients have to be visited every half hour all night to see that the orderly is awake and doing his duty. One man's head had to be split open to-day with a hammer and chisel in order to get something out. Some kind of insect had got into his head through his ear, and there was no other way of getting it out. Operations are performed every day in the operating room. We have an X-rays room for finding where the bullets are lodged in arms and legs. We have 1100 patients in this camp. We hope to send 280 to England to-morrow. Over 600 came in on Saturday, so you can imagine how busy we are. Most of them are to clothe, as they come down from Bloemfontein and Kimberley in a ragged and dirty condition, and their clothes are hardly fit to be seen. The poor doctors hardly know which case to attend to first. One lad I saw, 8 years old, had been shot through the elbow at Paardeberg. He is mending nicely and seems quite cheerful."

….Was the reference to an 8 year-old lad correct? Could he have been there with his father, or was it a misprint of 18?
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Hammer and chisel 1 month 3 weeks ago #71388

  • Frank Kelley
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Yes, I would think that was correct, there were family members with the OFS forces at Paardeberg, including the commanders wife.


BereniceUK wrote: ….I transcribed this letter home, which was published in the Mid-Cumberland and North Westmorland Herald, on 9th June 1900, and thought it might be of interest here.

"Sergt. J. Simpson Yeates, writing home to Penrith from No. 2 General Hospital, Wynberg, on May 15th says: - We are excessively busy and have to work patients coming in from the front. No. 2 is one of the largest hospitals. Some of the poor men die here and several have serious operations. I have to make the names every day and the list is sent to England. "Dangerously ill" patients have to be visited every half hour all night to see that the orderly is awake and doing his duty. One man's head had to be split open to-day with a hammer and chisel in order to get something out. Some kind of insect had got into his head through his ear, and there was no other way of getting it out. Operations are performed every day in the operating room. We have an X-rays room for finding where the bullets are lodged in arms and legs. We have 1100 patients in this camp. We hope to send 280 to England to-morrow. Over 600 came in on Saturday, so you can imagine how busy we are. Most of them are to clothe, as they come down from Bloemfontein and Kimberley in a ragged and dirty condition, and their clothes are hardly fit to be seen. The poor doctors hardly know which case to attend to first. One lad I saw, 8 years old, had been shot through the elbow at Paardeberg. He is mending nicely and seems quite cheerful."

….Was the reference to an 8 year-old lad correct? Could he have been there with his father, or was it a misprint of 18?

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