1899 - From the diary of Trooper A J Crosby, Natal Carbineers
Reported myself in camp. After breakfast about 5000 troops went out to Blauwbank to meet an expected attack from Boers who retired on our approach. Troops returned immediately after. In camp the whole day waiting for waggon.
....The excitement in Wellington over the Transvaal is growing. All classes of the people are enthusiastic. In all places the talk is of war. ....The camp at Karori is assuming a truly military aspect. The men are in regular training now. The severe storm of wind and rain on Thursday was a trying experience, but the men bore it very cheerfully. There is a splendid feeling of comradeship between the men from different parts of New Zealand, and the old spirit of "derring-do" is strongly manifest. It will not be for lack of dash and grit if these men do not distinguish themselves if they come in contact with the enemy. The fellows simply yelled their delight when they heard last night that war had been declared. The news was brought into camp about a quarter to ten at night. The fellows cheered like mad. Then they sang, "God Save the Queen," and cheered the Queen, and it would have gratified the heart of Her Majesty to have heard the loyal spirit in the lusty voices of her most distant subjects. ....It was a wonderful sight at the theatre to see bitter political opponents, staid old men, and daintily-dressed girls all joining in the National Anthem when the declaration of war was announced. ....There are 160 men in camp now. They have been divided into two companies, one representing North Island men, the other South Island men. There are more North Islanders than Southerners. The . North Island Company is No. 1, and the South Island Company is No. 2. Their tents are separated, and their horses picketed in the particular lines. This already has given rise to friendly rivalry, or emulation between North and South. The Northern company is to be under the command of Captain Davies, of Hawera Mounted Rifles, and the Southern company is to be commanded by Major Madocks. ....Already steps are being taken to present the contingent with a company flag. The idea is popular, and the men are likely to have colours to carry into action distinctly New Zealand. ...."Soldiers of the Queen" is becoming immensely popular. The small boy whistles it, and the girls hum it; but if someone could write a New Zealand battle song, it would become all the rage. ....Dozens of men have presented themselves as volunteers, begging for a chance to get some fighting, and the warlike spirit is visible everywhere. ....Major Robin and his staff are working like Trojans, trying to obtain order from a mass of obstinate details. At present the men wear a mixture of all sorts of uniforms, and their accoutrements are those of nearly every volunteer corps in the country, but the kharkee uniforms are to be issued shortly, and then there will be more uniformity. ....The men are now undergoing continuous drill. All this morning they were at manual and firing exercise, directed by Major Rogers and Sergeant Cardale and Lieutenant Neave. Sergeant H. J. Hamilton (Marlborough Mounted Rifles), and Troopers L. C. Bartrop (New Plymouth), J. M. Patterson (Hawera), C. M. Lewin (Waverley), J. Blair, and H. Geetro (Johnsonville) arrived in camp today. ....Sergeant Cardale has been promoted to be No. 2 Company's sergeant-major; Major Berland to be acting-regimental quarter-master. ....It is stated officially that the date of departure will be October 21. ....Work is going on rapidly, preparing the Waiwera for transport service. She is well adapted for this purpose, being a very roomy vessel, with an immense storage capacity. She is about 7000 tons register, and can steam 14 knots, though an average of 12 knots will be maintained at an expenditure of 45 tons of coal per day. Her officers declare her to be a splendid sea-boat, exceedingly steady and dry. so that the passage for the men and horses should be comfortable. ....No official communication lias been received by the Governor of the declaration of war. .
[By Telegraph.—Press Association.]
....The Mayor has convened a public meeting for Monday next, to make arrangements for a suitable send-off to the Transvaal Contingent. ....The Agricultural Department has obtained all the horses required for the contingent, so far as the Defence Department is concerned. ....The Government intend to charge excursion fares when the contingent leaves, to enable residents to see the departure. The Manawatu Company will probably do the same. ....The Governor has invited the officers of the contingent to dinner the night before they leave. The New Zealand Herald, Friday 14th October 1899
1901 - Extract from the report of the unveiling of a memorial, dedicated to Granville Cooper, of Burrowa, New South Wales, who had died on October 13th 1900.
...."He was born in Burrowa on the 3rd of June, 1878, and was a resident of the district up to the time he volunteered to go to the war as a member of the New South Wales Bushmen's Contingent, which was in the month, of January, 1900. He left with his contingent for South Africa on the 28th February, and arrived there on March 30. The contingent was ordered to proceed to the relief of Mafeking, but that event was accomplished before they arrived there. He [the Mayor of Borrowa] could not relate the manner of Trooper Cooper's death better than by reading an extract from a letter from Trooper Thomas Wotton, also a native of Burrowa, to his father, Mr. W. J. E. Wotton, formerly Police Magistrate here, dated from Lownes Farm, 15th October, 1900. The letter says: - 'We had a very narrow escape a few days ago. Twenty men were sent out patrolling about 10 miles from here. They had to go to a house to get some tools the Boer men use for mending rifles. While they were at the house some shots were fired, and they rushed out to find about 200 Boers surrounding them - in fact, there was only one way out. Orders were given for every man to ride for his life. A man named Beaumont was the first to come down. His horse was shot dead, and he was wounded in the arm and was taken prisoner. The next to come down was Cooper, a Burrowa boy. (You will remember his people.) He fared worse than Beaumont. His horse was shot and a bullet struck him in the arm, making a nasty gash. Cooper turned round and saw a big Dutchman about 40 yards away, galloping down to try and cut him off from the other fellows; but I am glad to say he did not come much further, as Cooper put a bullet in his heart, and he fell off his horse dead. Cooper then threw away his rifle, and started to run. Sergeant Henley, seeing him coming, went back to pick him up. Just as he got upon the horse, another bullet struck Cooper in the stomach, and the poor fellow died a few hours afterwards. The next day 200 of us went and cleared the Boers all out. We have had great praise from Lord Errol.'" The Burrowa News, Friday 18th October 1901
According to the Smith roll, "399 Tpr. Granville Thomas Cooper" of D sqn., NSWCB was born 3/6/1878, a station hand by occupation from Burrowa. He was wounded on 12/9/1900 and died 14/10/1900 at Ottoshoop and is buried at Zeerust cemetery. According to the ALH site, the place of his being wounded was Molopo Ottoshoop. There is a monument dedicated to him at Boorowa (the current spelling) and I will see if I can locate a pic. The Town and Country Journal has a group pic of D Sqn., NSWCB and Granville Thomas Cooper is identified. Unfortunately, his particular image is very poor and I chose not to reproduce it.
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