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November 19th 10 years 2 months ago #1453

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1900 - Viljoen unsuccessfully attacks Balmoral and Wilge River Stations.
1902 - Martial law repealed in the Transvaal and O.R.C.
1903 - Transvaal Labour Commission issues report.

In Kimberley:

At day break this morning enemy was discovered to be throwing up a new work in advance of Felstead Farm. Possibly about 4000 yards from No 2 De Beers Machine.

The strength of the Kimberley and Beaconsfield Town Guards on 15th inst was as follows:

Kimberley - 1800
Beaconsfield - 391
Premier Mine - 226
Kenilworth - 55
Ambulance No 1 - 40
Ambulance No 11 - 61

Total 2573

The following gives the total strength of garrison on 15th inst including Town Guard. (Total all ranks)

23 RGA - 94
No 1 Section 7th Co RE - 51
1/L N Lan Regt (including RAMC 6) - 434
AS Corps - 9
Diamonds Fields Artillery - 106
Maxim Battery - 32
Kimberley Regt (includes DFH) - 565
Cape Police - 352
Diamonds Field Horse - 165
Kimberley Light Horse - 353
Mounted Inf North Lan Regt - 21
Ambulance - 14
Maxim - 6
Transport - 1
Town Guard - 2573
Staff Mt Camp and HdQts Town Guard - 10

Total = 4792

Exclude DFH and MI 1/L N Lan Regt - 186

Total = 4606

A flag of truce was sent in this afternoon; the bearer of it brought a letter from General De Laken requesting that certain children (letters from their parents were enclosed) might be allowed to leave the town. I answered that as I had given permission on 7th inst to all who desired to leave the town, I regretted I could not now accede to his request.

In Ladysmith:

Another day of rest, for which we thank the Fourth Commandment. After the Sabbath wash, I went up to Cæsar's Camp for the view. On the way I called in upon the balloon, which now dwells in a sheltered leafy glade at the foot of the Gordons' hill, when it is not in the sky, surrounded by astonished vultures. The weak points of ballooning appear to be that it is hard to be sure of detail as distinguished from mass, and even on a clear day the light is often insufficient or puzzling. It is seldom, for instance, that the balloonist gets a definite view towards Colenso, which to us is the point of greatest interest. I found that the second balloon was only used as a blind to the enemy, like a paper kite flown over birds to keep them quiet. Going up to the Manchesters' position on the top of Cæsar's Camp, I had a view of the whole country almost as good as any balloon's. The Boer laagers have increased in size, and are not so carefully hidden.

Beside the railway at the foot of "Long Tom's" hill near Modder Spruit, there was quite a large camp of Boer tents and three trains as usual. They say the Boers have put their prisoners from the Royal Irish Fusiliers here, but it is unlikely they should bring them back from Pretoria. The tents of another large camp showed among the bushes on Lombard's Nek, where the Helpmakaar road passes between Lombard's Kop and Bulwan, and many waggon laagers were in sight beyond. At the foot of the flat-topped Middle Hill on the south-west, the Boers have placed two more guns to trouble the Manchesters further. But our defences along the whole ridge are now very strong.

In the afternoon they buried Dr. Stark in the cemetery between the river and the Helpmakaar road. I don't know what has become of a kitten which he used to carry about with him in a basket when he went to spend the day under the shelter of the river bank.
Dr David Biggins

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November 19th 5 years 1 month ago #49971

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

Roused at 12.20 a.m. by shells whizzing unpleasantly near. A heavy fire was going on for about twenty minutes and ceased for the day. More Dutch treachery for which I hope they will receive punishment later on. 10.15 Church parade conducted by Archdeacon Barker. The heat was fearful. Men had to rest on their rifles to prevent falling. No more duty until 5.30 when we were ordered out for 24 hours piquet. This time I was no No. 2 near farm house by the railway line - Boer lines - lovely night. I so enjoyed it after the stench of the town, which fairly hums. If precautions against this are not soon taken, an epidemic will be the consequence. This is the 19th day of the Siege and it is computed that over 1000 shells have fallen into the town, although, marvellous to relate, only some 5 or 6 lives lost. Verily the words of Kruger “that the bullets would be directed by the Almightly in the right cause” have been consummated.
Dr David Biggins

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November 19th 5 years 1 month ago #49984

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1899 - From the diary of Miss Bella Craw in Ladysmith

Quite a new experience, and not at all a nice one. We went to bed at about eleven and were wakened as I thought at daylight, by the friendly boom again. I turned over thinking I would have just another forty winks before getting up. Mama said, "Surely it can't be morning". Being bright moonlight we could not tell. Another came just over our heads almost immediately. Aunt Fanny came to our room and said, "Don't you think we had better go to our "Ungotana"? She went back to her room and had only about got to bed when we heard the boom again, and then the corkscrew whiz of the shell coming, then a flash like lightning and such a report the window rattled. We covered our heads and thought our last hour had come, or rather minute. A shower of sand and small stones showered on the roof to say nothing of glass. Ada shouted out, "Are you killed?". We jumped out of bed, opened the door and could see nothing but smoke and dust and smell powder. Willie and Wilfrid were rushing to us feeling certain the house had been hit. They rushed us to the hole. Some of us did not even take time to put slippers on but ran with blankets wrapped round us. However, Willie and Wilfrid soon followed with plenty of blankets, pillows and candles and told us we must make ourselves comfortable as it was only half past twelve. Uncle George then came.

He had heard in which direction the shell had come and feared it was somewhere near the house. The shelling was thick and fast but only lasted about half an hour, but it was hot while it lasted.

After an hour or so we came out again, back to our beds, but had a look at the damage done. The shell had come from Mr. Pepworth's Long Tom, entered the ground at the root of an apricot tree at the corner of our room and the conservatory, breaking every pane of glass and some of the woodwork, just escaped the tennis court, bur what an escape we had. It made us realise what might have been, and none of us despise the hole now. In the afternoon, or rather at about seven in the evening, another shell came through the Royal Hotel, killing a poor man standing in the doorway, taking off both his legs, Dr. Stark by name. Rumour has it that he was very wealthy, but went to every war and offered his services free. He generally carried a fish basket on his back with the medical comforts.

We went to Church Parade this morning in the vacant erf at the foot of our land. In the afternoon the Volunteers played a tennis match on our court, Natal Carbineers against Border Mounted Rifles, N.C.s winning. A rest all day from shelling. Can't understand what they meant by that wild half hour in the middle of the night.
Dr David Biggins

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November 19th 2 months 19 hours ago #79830

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Source: Diary of the siege of Mafeking by Edward Ross

Sunday, 19 November 1899

We always sincerely thank God for our quiet Sundays.

We were somewhat astonished this morning to hear a couple of rifle volleys in the direction of the Volunteer outposts. It seems that they had seen three men approaching from the distance, and opened fire upon them, and it was not until some considerable time afterwards that they found out that they had been firing at three Cape Police who had been out scouting. They should have been informed previously that these men were out, it was not their fault.
Dr David Biggins

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