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November 16th 10 years 2 months ago #1444

  • djb
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1899 - Gatacre lands at East London. Hildyard with reinforcements arrives at Estcourt. Martial law proclaimed in Hay district.
1900 - De Wet forces Springhaan's Nek and marches south to invade Cape Colony.
1901 - Bruce Hamilton commences his operations in the E. Transvaal.

In Ladysmith:

The sun came back to cheer us up and warm our bones. At the Liverpools' picket, on the Newcastle road, the men at six o'clock were rejoicing in a glorious and soapy wash where the rain had left a pool in a quarry. The day passed very quietly, shells only falling on an average of one every half-hour. Unhappily a shrapnel scattered over the station, wounded three or four natives, and killed an excellent railway guard—a sharp fragment tearing through his liver and intestines. There was high debate whether the shell was thrown by "Silent Susan," or what other gun. Some even stuck out for "Long Tom" himself. But to the guard it makes no difference, and he was most concerned.

Relief was to have come to us to-day for certain, but we hear nothing of it beyond vague rumours of troops at Estcourt and Maritzburg. We are slowly becoming convinced that we are to be left to our fate while the main issue is settled elsewhere. Colonel Ward has organised the provisions of the town and troops to last for eighty days. He is also buying up all the beer and spirits, partly to cheer the soldiers' hearts on these dreary wet nights; partly to prevent the soldier cheering himself too much.

In the evening I sent off another runner with a telegram and quite a mail of letters from officers and men for their mothers', wives, and lovers over seas. He was a bony young Kaffir, with a melancholy face, black as sorrow. At six o'clock I saw him start, his apish feet padding through the crusted slush. One pocket bulged with biscuits, one with a tin of beef. Between his black chest and his rag of shirt he had tucked that neat packet which was to console so many a woman, white-skinned and delicately dressed. Fetching a wide compass, he stole away into the eastern twilight, where the great white moon was rising, shrouded in electric cloud.


From Kimberley:

During the night the enemy fired a gun somewhere in the Premier Mine direction probably as a signal.

Reconnaissance this morning under Lt Col Scott Turner in direction of Carter’s Farm. Enemy showed in considerable strength, and was found occupying a ridge about 2000 yards from the Reservoir. From the fire from this spot we had casualties as follows:

1 man killed.
2 officers wounded.
7 men wounded.

Enemy opened with shrapnel from near Carter’s Farm, and burst their shells fairly accurately over the reservoir.

Enemy fired 30 shells in all during the morning. It is a pity the reservoir is within range of enemy shrapnel from Carter’s farm. With their Krupp guns they can burst their shrapnel at a much longer distance than our guns can.

The feeding of the natives living outside the barriers becomes rather a difficulty. Mr Rhodes has arranged to build stores inside the barriers with windows outside which all can buy.

Enemy appear very busy to-day improving the works near Jacob Schotz’s farm near the Premier Mine.

I have to-day altered the proportions of forage ration so as to make it work out longer.
Dr David Biggins

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November 16th 5 years 2 months ago #49882

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1899 - From the letters writer by Lt Col Park in Ladysmith

It poured with rain heavily from early yesterday morning till about three this morning, and we all had a most wretched day and night. The trenches in the posts were all full of water, and everybody was soaked to the skin all the time, and very few have got diy clothes to change into. It was impossible to light fires, so only cold food could be had, and we were very thankful when this morning dawned with a clear sky, and now there is a fine hot sun, and all the blankets and kit of all sorts are drying beautifully.

It was too thick and wet for any signalling all yesterday, but we hear that the 2nd battalion, with the whole of General Hildyard’s brigade, is at Colenso, only about eighteen miles off, so that something must happen in the next day or two. All I want at present is to get some news through and letters from you, and be able to send you news that we are all right; everything else may wait so far as I am concerned. I should like to know if I am in the Gazette yet, but that will come in time. It will be very funny if the two battalions meet out here, and what a quacking there will be when they do! I think it is very likely that the relieving force will not come in here at all, but will hover round the outside of the Boer lines and harass them, and try to cut across and seize the railway north of Elandslaagte, and cut off the Boers’ communications by railway, which would prevent their getting supplies and oblige them to retire, and then we should move out and all fall on them together. I hear that they, the Boers, are in a terrible state from dysentery and want of good food, as it is, and that the filth and general insanitariness of their big camps is indescribable. Our men are doing very well in the food line, and are getting each day a small ration of either bacon, jam or cheese and pickles, in addition to the ordinary meat and potatoes, and we still get good bread daily, so that we have nothing to complain of. I hope I shall see General Hildyard. I want to hear something of my Teddy. I wonder if Colonel Hamilton, of the Queen’s has brought Gingerina out with him. I should like to get her back and take her to India with me. She would be a real joy. I asked leave to keep our little tents up this morning as they were so wet, and was told I could keep them up altogether as they are hidden from view of the enemy’s gun, and being khaki they don’t show. It makes such a difference, having a comfortable place to go and sit in during the day, and being able to read and write peacefully.
Dr David Biggins

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November 16th 5 years 2 months ago #49883

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

Saddled up at 3.30. Did 1 1/2 hours horse exercise with roads in terrible condition. Fine bright morning. Inspection of horses at 2 o’clock - finished at 5. Just sat down comfortably to tea when we were ordered to saddle up immediately and at 6.30 away and relieved B.M. Rifles on 24 hours piquet. Men very wrath not getting more notice. Told off to No. 5 piquet.
Dr David Biggins

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November 16th 5 years 2 months ago #49890

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It is certainly interesting to read about Crosby and his regiment, in the unlikely event that anyone wonders about the amount of vital work being carried out on a daily basis, by, not only the Natal Carbineers, but, the whole of the Natal Volunteers and Militia, they can be left in absolutely no doubt, whatsoever, of it's great importance to the campaign in the Colony of Natal as far as Great Britain was concerned.

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

Saddled up at 3.30. Did 1 1/2 hours horse exercise with roads in terrible condition. Fine bright morning. Inspection of horses at 2 o’clock - finished at 5. Just sat down comfortably to tea when we were ordered to saddle up immediately and at 6.30 away and relieved B.M. Rifles on 24 hours piquet. Men very wrath not getting more notice. Told off to No. 5 piquet.

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November 16th 5 years 2 months ago #49981

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1899 - From the diary of Miss Bella Craw in Ladysmith

A lovely day, no rain, all sunshine. Colonel Green sent to bed, not so well today. We all went for a walk up town this morning. The only other woman we saw was Mrs. Barker. I really don’t think there are many left in the place. Two or three stores had ventured to open one door. Cur shopping consisted of some buttons and braid. Captain Vallentine took us in to see the damage done to Ivy Lodge dining room.

He was sitting writing in the study next to the diningroom. He says the shock was so great he had a headache for the rest of the day. The chimney of the lamp over his head broke and the door was taken off its hinges. Another one fell in the lawn close to the tennis court making an immense hole. This afternoon I went for* a ride with Mr. Varty. We rode through the old camp. The little bridge was washed away. We crossed where it used to be and rode to the top of the Red Hill. Saw and had a chat with an officer of the R. Irish Rifles. He said that the Boers were thick along the next ridge. We saw three places just where we stood where shells had fallen, sent from Long Tom when the Artillery came through there a few days ago. We had a few shells today.

One shrapnel fell, or rather burst just over the Station killing a white man, a guard, and a coolie, and wounding three white men and three coolies. One of the men is not expected to live. The coolie that was killed had 6 bullets in him.
Dr David Biggins

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November 16th 3 years 11 months ago #57431

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1899 - From the diary of Major George Tatham, Natal Carbineers

Shelling part of day. One white man, railway employee, killed, several wounded.
Dr David Biggins

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