1899 - From the diary of Trooper A J Crosby, Natal Carbineers
Turned out 6.30 to stables. News in camp that the Boers had attacked the armoured train at Frere on which were boarded some Devons and Durban Light Infantry - 4 or 5 killed, amongst them a Durban man, Skinner. Capt. Wylie and several others wounded and 45 taken prisoners. Anxious about Father but can get no tidings of him, so hope he is safe. Dutch opened fire just after midnight keeping it up for some time without much injury. The shell that struck the Church yesterday took away the greater portion of porch and did much damage to the Hospital (another shell). B.M.R. played a cricket match in spite of shells and heat, the latter being almost unbearable. We are all getting or have got weary for want of some fresh excitement.
1899 - From the letters writer by Lt Col Park in Ladysmith
There has been a good deal more firing this morning than we have had lately, and the Boers also woke up and blazed for nearly and hour between 12 and 1 o’clock last night, and woke everyone up, but apparently no harm has been done. It is extraordinary what a number of shells can be fired without hitting anyone or anything that matters. I suppose quite twenty fell in and round our front post while I was there early this morning, and they only kicked up showers of dirt and stones and bits of shell, which couldn’t hurt men behind strong stone walls, as we were. It has been most intensely muggy all yesterday and today, and I feel slack and sleepy in consequence. I expect another heavy storm is brewing. By the way, I forgot to tell you that we entirely missed the meteors on the nights of the 13th and 14th, as it poured with rain one night, and was drizzly with thick clouds on the other. I hope you got a good view of them and found then worth seeing. I do horribly begrudge all this time, as it is so utterly wasted. It wouldn’t be so bad if we were getting on; but we just sit here day after day and week after week, doing nothing except eat our hearts out, and wondering how much longer it is to go on, and what the relieving column is doing, and why it doesn't make a move, and where Buller is, etc.; and no answer comes to any of these questions. The padre came in last night from the hospital camp, and reported that Gunning is getting on capitally now, and is quite bright and cheery again, though not allowed to sit up yet. Of course, there is no news of Hayley, Green or Yule. The first two ought to be fit to rejoin after the siege, and I rather expect to hear that Yule has been sent home.
1899 - From the diary of Miss Bella Craw in Ladysmith
Again wakened up at 12 o’clock by those abominable shells and had to run to our hole. It only lasted about three quarters of an hour, quite long enough for us. We hear that seven shells went into the Imperial Light Horse Camp, no one hurt, two went into tents.
It really is miraculous the escapes men, women and children have had so far, and yet the Boers are telling the kaffirs that Ladysmith is stinking with the dead, and they are only waiting to take possession until it sweetens.
There seems to be a great deal of discontent in Camp and town, that they are not allowed to go out and fight and take the Boer guns, but as long as so little damage is being done here I suppose it is the right thing to do. Every day brings General Buller with his Army nearer, and General White knows best what he is doing I suppose.
1899 - Diary of the siege of Mafeking by Edward Ross
Tuesday, 21 November
The enemy gave us two big shells at daylight and continued sniping until breakfast-time.
In front of our fort is a main road running straight, east and west of the town. This is the only road that has not been barricaded, and it is the only road that the Boers from their trenches can see straight down; so now when anybody attempts to cross, or in any way expose themselves, down comes a hail of Mauser bullets. Only today a native was shot in the head whilst trying to cross. This makes it very warm for us in front, and we have to be very careful and keep under cover immediately we are out of our dugouts.
Three or four big shells came whizzing over us towards evening, and at about 9 p.m. old Creetje placed one that burst almost over us. Very luckily no one was hit, as a lot of people were enjoying the cool of evening after a stifling hot day in the trenches and dugouts.