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Re: October 15th 9 years 1 month ago #5994

  • Brett Hendey
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Frank

That is another badge from your collection that is new to me. What other surprises have you not yet revealed?

Regards
Brett

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Re: October 15th 5 years 1 month ago #49092

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1899 - From the diary of Trooper A J Crosby, Natal Carbineers

Acton Homes - on patrol the whole day. About 4 miles from camp, on our return was warned to be in readiness to move on to Blauwbank at 5 o’clock next morning relieving BMR.
Dr David Biggins

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Re: October 15th 4 years 1 month ago #56045

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Pieces from The Times on 17 October reporting the many events and uncertainty around Kimberley and in Natal.





Dr David Biggins
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October 15th 4 years 1 month ago #56049

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The photo below is of the QSA awarded to Trooper C C Alexander, one of the Natal Policemen captured at De Jager's Drift on 14 October, and referred to in The Times report in David's post .
I did write about Alexander and the De Jager's Drift incident elsewhere on this forum.

Brett
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October 15th 4 years 1 month ago #56052

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The account of the capture and the rest of Alexander's story is here:

angloboerwar.com/forum/8-events/1221-war-came-to-natal#1221

Brett
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October 15th 1 month 2 weeks ago #79171

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Source: Diary of the siege of Mafeking by Edward Ross

Sunday, 15 October [1899]

The expected attack last night did not come off and everything remained quiet.

During the morning Cronje’s doctor, who is a German, drove into town in a landau and a pair of white horses under the protection of a large Red Cross flag. He commenced by again apologizing for firing on our ambulance yesterday and then informed us that they could not respect our Red Cross flag if placed on too many buildings in the town. Three of our centres were then arranged upon by the Colonel with him, namely [the] hospital, convent, Weil’s and women’s laager, which the doctor promised would be respected. How they can obviate hitting some of those places when shelling the town from a distance of two or three miles is beyond conception — suppose we shall know more about it tomorrow.

Buried all the reserve ammunition today at the back of the Court House, and covered the holes with galvanized iron and about four feet of earth, which it is to be hoped the shells won’t penetrate.

It is now definite knowledge that the Boers intend giving us a very hot time with their artillery early tomorrow morning. When their shells commence flying around I do not intend to sit on the ammunition any longer than I can possibly help, because personally I think there is a vast difference between cowardice and common sense.

All the women and children, with a very few exceptions, have moved down to their laager today for safety against shellfire.
There is naturally a very great deal of anxiety amongst them, having their husbands, sons, brothers, or sweethearts in the trenches facing the enemy.

Tom has been transfered to the fort at Early’s corner.

It is reported today that the Boers have captured one of our armoured trains coming up from Vryburg and have taken Nesbit and fifteen men prisoners. It is also reported that Cole with 25 men of the P.R. has retired from Lobatsi and is endeavouring to regain Mafeking on foot.

Have just received instructions that when the shelling commences I must abandon the ammunition for the time being and take cover. If there is time I shall make for De Kock’s fort, if not, shall do a sprint for Riesle’s cellar.

Had a nasty spill off the bike this morning. Pelting away to find the Major, ran slap into a crowd of niggers and colliding with one turned a double somersault and got very much shaken, but no damage except barked shins and elbows.
Everything quiet during the night.

Very early this morning three or four heavy discharges were heard down south and it is thought that the Boers have blown up the Madibi and Maritzani bridges.28 It was reported at headquarters that Cronje’s commando had moved off, probably to attend to the above little matters and will soon return for their attempt to make us, as they prophesied, "cook their breakfast”.

We have been waiting since daylight for the promised shelling of the town, but they did not commence the bombardment until about 9.30 a.m. when we heard the first roar of their cannon.

Sitting in the charge office and not hearing the expected tremendous bursting of the shells, I was for a few minutes undecided what to do, so got up and went out into the Court House compound to see what was going on. A man was on the roof of the Court [House], and hardly had I recommenced speaking to him, when immediately over our heads bang went the bursting of a shell. I picked up two or three of the pieces, when it struck both the man on the roof and myself that it was hardly safe to stand out in the open, so locking up the door of my ammunition store I hurried across to our bomb-proof cellar. The other man in the meantime had quickly done a slide off the roof and followed suit.

Almost at the very moment of our getting into the cellar, crash came another shell right through the front dining-room window, shaking the whole building, making a nasty crashing, wrecking sort of noise and filling the place with the stench of an unknown combustible. It really seemed as if the projectiles were following us.

The enemy had now got two guns at work, but after seven or eight shots, only three of which landed in the town, they seemed to direct their fire towards the hospital. Their shells were either dropping short or were aimed at that particular spot, as two of their shells went right into the convent which is next to the hospital.

At considerable intervals during the day they fired about ten more shots, one of which went very close to the women’s laager.
Our ideas of the effects of a bombardment have been most pleasantly altered. We expected to see all our buildings in ruins and our iron and wood shanties in flames, and many people killed; but as the Colonel in today’s orders very succinctly puts it, "It will now be remembered that shellfire is more alarming than effective.”

I have been all round the town and the only casualty I can find is the smash to the hotel window and some little damage done by pieces of shell, and a chicken lamed for life. So much for their heavy artillery. 

News has been brought in today that the stores at Lobatsi have been looted by the Boers, but that Transfeldt himself has escaped to Mochudi,

All day long heavy smoke and big fires can be seen all round us, caused by the enemy looting and burning the surrounding native huts.

I am going back to sleep at the ammunition store, and only hope they will not shell during the night.

The whole town is very excited over today’s bombardment and everybody that meets congratulates each other at the unexpected, comparatively speaking, harmlessness of the enemy’s German-made shells. The Emperor has done us a good turn this time.
All the Town Guard have been at their appointed posts all day and are now being served out with rations, by the military’ authorities, free.

The mean hounds have cut off our water supply, but Captain Hepworth who has been up here for many years is opening up all the old Warren wells and is having a busy time of it, but promises us a plentiful supply in a very' short time, so if old Cronje thinks he is going to parch us out he never made a bigger mistake in his life and as for food, well, those in the know tell us we have sufficient to last until Oom Paul’s navy captures England, so all we have to do is to sit tight and wait until our troops have taught the enemy the lesson they require.

The Colonel in tonight’s "general orders” warns us that we may expect a further heavy shellfire tomorrow and the next day and instructs us to take all necessary precautions. We will do so by taking a bottle of whisky, a pack of cards, and going down the cellar and playing nap all day. These shells do not frighten us very much. He says that two guns are posted on the east, and that four twelve-pounders will probably come into action from the west. As there were only two playing on us today, tomorrow I suppose will bring a perfect rain of shrapnel, but as the strong floor above our cellar is covered with bags full of sand, we can afford, as B.P. says, “to sit tight (not tipsy) and laugh at them”, whilst our unsophisticated native servants run backward and forward bringing our whiskies and sodas.

During the afternoon Everitt, a well-known Zeerust man, brought a message under cover of a white flag from the Boer "Fighting General’ (as he calls himself) giving us two hours to bury our dead and to attend to our wounded, and again asking us to surrender. As I have previously mentioned the total extent of our casualties, I might here incidentally mention that the two hours’ grace were used to better advantage, namely, strengthening bombproofs, laying in a stock of food-stuffs, water, etc., and finally clustering in groups at the different street corners chatting over the day’s events.
Dr David Biggins

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