Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
  • Page:
  • 1

TOPIC:

November 23rd 10 years 1 month ago #1506

  • djb
  • djb's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Administrator
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 27152
  • Thank you received: 2696
1899 - Kimberley siege day 40 (32%). Ladysmith siege day 22 (18%). Mafeking siege day 42 (19 Battle of Belmont. Battle of Willow Grange.
1900 - Dewetsdorp captured by de Wet.

From Kekewich's diary in Kimberley:

Lt Col Scott Turner has taken much trouble about the cattle question, and has to-day arranged to guard a new grazing ground between Webster’s and Hull’s farms; it is rather far out but the country is fairly open, and by keeping a couple of guns near No 2 Machine De Beers, to prevent the enemy leaving Webster’s and a large number of men beyond them I hope the cattle may be fairly safe. The large numbers of mounted men on cattle guard coupled with those employed on reconnaissances and the day and night petrol makes the work very heavy for the mounted troops.

Rain commenced at 3 pm and continued to fall until 10 pm. It will doubtless improve our grazing much.

I received this morning at 8.30 am the following message which was brought in by a despatch rider. It is the first news we have received from the outer world for 12 days.

“Reade Orange River to O’Meara 18th. November No R98 General leaves here with strong force on 21st November and will arrive Kimberley on 26th unless delayed at Modder River. Look for signals by searchlight from us. They will be in code.”
In order to cover the cattle Guards and prevent the enemy from moving from Webster’s farm I sent out 2 guns Diamonds Field Artillery this morning. During the morning the enemy’s gun from Felstead was moved in the direction of Susanna.

From Nevinson's account of Ladysmith:

The schoolmaster's wife had a fine escape. She was asleep in her bedroom when a 45lb. shell came through the fireplace and burst towards the bed. The room was smashed to pieces, but she was only cut about the head, one splinter driving in the bone, but not making a very serious wound. Two days before she had given a soldier 10s. for a fragment. Now she had a whole shell for nothing. At five o'clock "Long Tom" threw seven of his 96lb. shells straight down the street in quick succession, smashing a few shops and killing some mules and cattle, but without further harm. We watched them from the top of the road. They came shrieking over our heads, and then a flare of fire and a cloud of dust and stones showed where they fell. At every explosion the women and children laughed and cheered with delight, as at the Crystal Palace fireworks.

Both yesterday and to-day the Boers on Bulwan spent much time and money shelling a new battery which Colonel Knox has had made beside the river near the racecourse. It is just in the middle of the flat, and the enemy can see its six embrasures and the six guns projecting from them. The queer thing is that these guns never reply, and under the hottest fire their gunners neither die nor surrender. A better battery was never built of canvas and stick on the stage of Drury. It has cost the simple-hearted Boers something like £300 in wasted shell.

All day waggons were reported coming down from the Free State and moving south. They were said to carry the wives and daughters of the Free Staters driven by Buller from their own country and content to settle in ours, now that they had conquered it. A queer situation, unparalleled in war, as far as I know.

In the evening I heard the Liverpools and Devons were likely to be engaged in some feat of arms before midnight. So I stumbled out in the dark along the Helpmakaar road, where those two fine regiments hold the most exposed positions in camp, and I spent the greater part of the night enjoying the hospitality of two Devon officers in their shell-proof hut. Hour after hour we waited, recalling tales of Indian life and Afridi warfare, or watching the lights in the Boer laagers reflected on a cloudy sky. But except for a hot wind the night was peculiarly quiet, and not a single shell was thrown: only from time to time the sharp double knock of a rifle showed that the outposts on both sides were alert.

From Major Baillie's account of Mafeking:

20th to 23rd. Daily shelling and sniping. Captain Sandford moved the Boers and the seven-pounders from the western entrenchments. One of these guns they now abandoned with the exception of a picquet.


I think we are ready for some new news from Major Baillie tomorrow!
Dr David Biggins

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

November 23rd 5 years 1 month ago #50084

  • djb
  • djb's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Administrator
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 27152
  • Thank you received: 2696
1899 - From the letters writer by Lt Col Park in Ladysmith

Piping hot the last two days with a thunderstorm last night; but it doesn’t seem to have done much good as it is hotter than ever, and the little tent is like an oven and full of flies, and there is no cool place anywhere. However, I would far rather have the heat than cold.

It is curious that I should have written on 21st saying how little harm the Boers’ shells did us, as that same afternoon one of our men was killed and another wounded by one, the only casualties we have had for about a fortnight. There were various shaves going about yesterday; notably, one on good authority that Buller had taken Bloemfontein after hard fighting, and another that the Cape Dutch had risen and that Messrs. Hofmeyer and Schreiner had been arrested for high treason, and a third that another Army Corps had sailed from England. Nothing about our relieving column. I hope it will soon make a move, as we all have had quite enough of this being cooped up and having to turn night into day. Old Rujub (our native barber, who has been with the regiment nearly twenty years) is becoming quite a celebrated character in the camp, and is the only barber in the place. All sorts of fellows come and ask to be allowed to make use of his services, and Sir G. White has

asked two or three times for him to come and shave him and cut his hair. He is very flourishing, and lives in a little tente d'abri sheltered by a stone wall, and goes the round of all the officers everyday. He says this is a hard war and there are a great many too many shells.

Can’t write more now as I keep nodding in my chair. It is chiefly from boredom and want of exercise and change of food, but all day now I feel so sleepy directly I sit down that I have to get up and walk to keep awake. I should be all right directly, if I had more to do and something to interest me a bit in life. Don’t you ever go and be in a siege; it’s a beast.
Dr David Biggins

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

November 23rd 5 years 1 month ago #50085

  • djb
  • djb's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Administrator
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 27152
  • Thank you received: 2696
1899 - From the diary of Trooper A J Crosby, Natal Carbineers

Returned to camp at 4.30. No special duty but much too hot to enjoy a laze. On leave in afternoon - strolled up town making a few purchases. Neither milk or cocoa to be got so had to be contented with some sugar and a packet of toffee by way of luxury. Shells fell doing more mischief than usual. Town Hall Hospital was struck on right wing bringing down the wall from roof, killing an attendant. Another burst opposite making a hole through flag pavement at a depth of 3 ft. smashing Sparks Bros, shop front and taking away greater portion of veranda and part of roof. Lower down town opposite Mrs. Walton’s house, a shell entered side of house, wounded a Mrs. Davis, wife of School-master (Govt.) Another took away part of the next house but no other injury.
Dr David Biggins

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

November 23rd 5 years 1 month ago #50086

  • djb
  • djb's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Administrator
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 27152
  • Thank you received: 2696
1899 - From the diary of Miss Bella Craw in Ladysmith

Again had a rather disturbed night. A thunderstorm and booming of the guns at the same time which was anything but pleasant. It has been going on all day long, but this afternoon they were thick from three places, the "Long Tom" at Pepworth's farm, "Slim Piet" on the Umbulwana and another which has not been christened, at least we have not heard his name yet, but he comes from Besters way. Long Tom took one side of the Street and is coming down almost house by house. We stood at our gate and watched a flash and then a great cloud of smoke, and then about twenty- two seconds afterwards the shell struck, and such a cloud of dust. We saw four fall one after the other, and some of the splinters came right down the street. Three houses from*here a piece was picked up. By just looking under the big Hed Gross flag flying over the Town Hall we always saw the flash and knew when it was coming.

Before dark Mama and Aunt Fanny went up in the ricksha and Bert and I walked up to see the damage done. Three had fallen in the middle of the street just above the Natal Bank, one of which was just in front of the Bank, some of the stones falling on the verandah, and the next almost took Sparks Bros, verandah away and broke some of the windows. The next fell and burst in the Market Square. The next behind Mr. Francis, the Jeweller's house a little further down. Then Mrs. Murray had a gentle reminder in her back yard. The next entered through a stone house into a room where a Mrs. Davis was sitting. I hear she was cut on the head, lip and arm, but not dangerously. I hear another man had a piece taken out of his leg. Some mules and oxen were also killed, but it is simply wonderful, when you see the size and feel the weight of these shells and the splinters. Even the smallest pieces at the speed they come at are enough to kill, how little damage has been done. We have an immense piece weighing about thirty pounds which landed near our stables. The men were playing cricket at the time and took no notice. Colonel Green is better again. He, Mr. Crompton and Aunt Fanny are playing "patience" in the next room.
Dr David Biggins

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

November 23rd 3 years 11 months ago #57437

  • djb
  • djb's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Administrator
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 27152
  • Thank you received: 2696
1899 - From the diary of Major George Tatham, Natal Carbineers

Shelling from Umbulwan commenced after daylight and two oxen and one mule (Govt.) were killed in showyard which was a favourite place for this shelling.
Dr David Biggins

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

November 23rd 1 month 3 weeks ago #79890

  • djb
  • djb's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Administrator
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 27152
  • Thank you received: 2696
1899 - Diary of the siege of Mafeking by Edward Ross

Thursday, 23 November

Nothing to write about, same old monotonous shelling, one native killed.

I went yesterday and saw our Town Commandant, Major Panzera, and asked him if I might go out to the brickfields, explaining that all the places had received their quantity of ammunition, and I should not be wanted for some time. He gave me the following pass: "To all whom it may concern, Mr. E. J. Ross has permission to proceed as a volunteer sharp-shooter with Corporal Currie”, signed, Base Commandant.

Armed with this pass, at 10 o’clock last evening I wended my way up the river with Corporal Currie, for the purpose of laying low until daylight, [which} would allow me to have a pot at the wily enemy. On arriving at our destination, known as Currie’s post, which is our extreme cossack outpost on the east, we found at the bend of the river about a mile and a half from the town a sort of miniature fort had been made by the Cape Boys, the bank of the river being used as a breastwork, a few sandbags here and there on the top forming portholes, and trenches had been dug out, possibly to enable the sharp-shooters to get a higher and better view, at the same time being under cover. Once in this, anything but a safe retreat, one is a fixture for the next twenty-four hours and can only come out again after dark, the following evening, as, being within two hundred yards of the enemy’s defence outposts, it is absolutely impossible to expose oneself in any way without drawing volley after volley from the enemy’s Mausers, which would soon make dead meat of you. On taking up our positions we found the ground much too wet to get any sleep, or lay down, so we sat on our coats all night and waited anxiously for the streaks of dawn to show themselves. At about 4 a.m. we could just make out the outlines of the brick kilns, about two hundred yards on our left, in which the enemy had esconced themselves. Watching through the glasses we saw three Boers come out of the large kiln and creep into a small sort of redoubt they had made at a distance of about twenty yards nearer the town. It not being light enough to shoot we placed a man to watch the spot, whilst we had some coffee. By that time we could just get a line through our rifle sights, and, after requesting Currie to place my shots, I got to the end of the trench and commenced firing. My first shot fell slightly short (I was firing at point blank range), my next shot just reached the bottom of their redoubt, the two next shots plumped right into the middle. After waiting about two minutes I sent another right between their portholes, and continued on this mark for about half a dozen shots, when suddenly out popped two Boers and scurried like rabbits across the small space into the brick kiln. It was indeed laughable to us, they on hands and feet slipping between the two places. There was no time to get a bead on them, we were laughing heartily, ar.d i: did not take them a second to cover the ground. What became of the other man it was impossible to say, but we had a man watching all day, and all we kr. ;w is that up to dusk that evening he had not moved out of that hole. After this the Boers kept very low and we could not get another sh or a: them, so later on I whiled away the time by having a few rounds at the enemy standing round their big gun, distance about 16 hundred yards due east, but could not see any effect of shooting, [the] distance being too great. After this and during the afternoon I had a further 15 shots at groups of Boers here and there, but did no harm as the bally Boers are too slim, and one does not get the slightest chance. A seven-pounder shell came over our heads and buried itself about six feet deep in the bank of the river, no: exploded, and before leaving the boys dug it out for me. Nice remembrance to keep of my first day at Currie’s post. This post is garrisoned by one white man (Lieutenant [r/V] Currie) and forty Cape Boys. It was extremely funny during the lull in the sharp-shooting to sit quiet and listen to the conversation of the Cape Boys. Their ideas of the war, etc., how. being allowed, they would capture the enemy’s big guns, and also how, after everything was over, they would never again call a Dutchman "boss' , as the Boers, they said, could not shoot and were very big cowards.

A very interesting incident occurred on the first night I went out to the post. It seems at about 11 p.m. our native sentry on duty saw two cows that had strayed down the river from the enemy’s camp, and reported the same in the following words: "Captain, I did challenge the cows three times and they did not answer, so I did put my bayonet on my gun and I hi charge them and I did strike one in the middle.’’ We afterwards four, this absolutely true, as there lay the dead cow in the veldt.
Dr David Biggins

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • Page:
  • 1
Moderators: djb
Time to create page: 0.409 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum