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November 30th 5 years 1 month ago #50259

  • Frank Kelley
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Where Kaffirs cook! good gracious me, they don't write "em" like that anymore!


djb wrote: 1899 - From the diary of Miss Bella Craw in Ladysmith

At daylight this morning we were wakened by the sound of firing of all kinds and descriptions. It began at about 3.30. We got up at sunrise and for a time they seemed to be coming (the shells) from all sides.

We did not go to our hole at all today. There was a small engagement in Potgieter's direction, so far I have not heard the casualties. This afternoon, Aunt Fanny, Mama, Wilfrid and I all went for a walk and a very pleasant one too. We went past the Gordon Camp and saw a little of a game of Polo, but while we were watching, a shell came whizzing along and fell a short distance from the ground. They never looked aside but we walked on thinking it dangerous ground. At the bridge we were asked by the Sentry there for our passes, which none of us had but Wilfrid. This is the first time I have been asked for mine. However, he let us pass.

We stood for a time and watched some of the Gordons cleaning their helmets and best of all listened to the bag pipes. Five men were playing in the bed of the river on the sands, out of sight of "Long Tom", "Whispering Willie", "Silent Susan", and "Slim Piet" and ever so many more. It was such a treat to hear the pipes again. It was cheery to say the least of it.

From there, we went through the Light Horse Camp, went through their burrow. They are the very best I have seen. We crossed the river, passed the Prison and saw some of the Boer prisoners on the balcony.

From there we went to see the news posted up at the Post Office, found none, but saw Captain Adams there and he showed us a copy of "The Lyre" edited by Mr. Stephens. I must have one. During our walk shells were falling in the direction of the Town Hall. On our way home we were told that one had gone through the Town Hall again, killing one of the wounded and re-wounding eight others. Uncle George came in after dinner and brought a copy of "The Ladysmith Lyre".

It is very funny, most amusing. It calls the new 6-inch Boer gun "Nasty Knocks."

Extracts from Ladysmith Lyre.

Leading Article - The Situation.
The situation is unchanged. Under the heading of Advertisements is: Please note change of Address L. Tom, House, Life and Commission Agent, Horse breaker, slaughterman etc. begs to inform his numerous patrons in the Navy and Army that he has transferred his old-established business from Pepworth's Hill to Lombard's Kop. By punctuality and strict attention to business he hopes to merit a continuance of former favours. No credit:
Smash on delivery.

The poet under the River Bank

Wake for above Umbulwana the coming day
Lights up the signal for the guns to play;
How sweet to know 'tis but a living tomb
Awaits you, and there's time to creep away.

E'er the last shadow of the darkness died
Me thought a voice within the cavern cried:
"Look here, there ain't no room for more than ten,
And if you're late, you'll have to stop outside."

Oh dreams of pluck and fears of cowardice!
One thing at least is certain, cordite flies,
One thing is certain in this town of lies,
If Long Tom gets you on the head, you dies.

Some of escapes and some of ventures tell,
To some life's dull without bombardment - well,
The far off shrapnel makes a pretty cloud,
And Sweet's the whisper of the distant shell.

Some talk of future glory and of rank,
To some a coat without a medal's blank,
Oh, take the cash and let the credit go!
Be like the soldiers when they took the bank.

A pipe of Boer tobacco 'neath the blue,
A tin of meat, a bottle, and a few
Choice magazines, like Harmsworth's or the Strand
I sometimes think war has its blassings too.

Outstretched where yellow waters mumur still
Where Kaffirs cook, and high the cauldrons fill,
Whilst neither wine nor whiskey is forgot -
And peace to Joubert on his Pepworth Hill!

And sweet it is when, without trace of fear,
You tread the darkening town, for night is here,
Or, wondering why sometimes they fire at twelve,
Sink into bed - but know the culvert near.

So when the peace shall find me safe and well,
'Twill be a further joy each night to tell
How many a bullet nearly touched the spot -
And in my window place an empty shell.

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November 30th 3 years 11 months ago #57443

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

Rode out with Col. Royston to Tin Camp and round to inspect new bridge over Klip River just below Tin Camp. Shells from Surprise Hill fell about us as we passed over, musketry also firing well on into night. Eastwards towards Bell's Spruit we thought Boers were making an attack on this side of town. A few Long Tom shells from Buiwan about 6 p.m.
Dr David Biggins

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November 30th 1 month 2 weeks ago #80008

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1899 - Diary of the siege of Mafeking by Edward Ross

Thursday, 30 November

Today to me has been the very hottest day since the siege commenced. I had an order early in the morning from the Base Commandant to open up the hole in which we had all the reserve ammunition; I was to examine each box and report immediately as to whether the dampness had caused any damage to the ammunition. As I have previously explained, all the ammunition was buried in the compound at the back of the Court House; this I had to have dug up and examined, and during the whole time I was at work the shells were flying thickest. It seemed as if the Boers knew what I was doing, and half a dozen times during the work the native boys struck, and I had hard work to get them to go on. This was anything but a pleasant duty but, however, we managed to get through all right. It would have been indeed

a case of very hard luck if a shell had happened to burst amongst the ammunition, not thinking so much for myself, but this was all the reserve ammunition they had in the town, and a shell bursting amongst it would have played sad havoc.

Very heavy rifle-firing since very early in the morning until breakfasttime. Our seven-pounders and Maxims have also been very hard at work. One of our seven-pounders fired about 20 shells at the Boers who had taken up a position at Game Tree.

The Major and his P.R. had to retire last night from the trenches near the big guns on account of the heavy storm, the men having been out for two days; consequently the enemy are again shelling us mercilessly, one 94pounder just skimmed our Court House redoubt.

From 5 o’clock to 6.30 has been the hottest fusillade we have yet had. The enemy must either be gaining confidence, or just trying us, probably thinking half the people are killed from their shellfire.

Creetje we have as usual today at about 8.30, no damage except to buildings.

They have been firing at us a new smaller gun from Game Tree. Major Panzera says it is a seven-pound Schneider, but does very little harm, the shells bursting very erratically about one in six.

The P.M.O. Hayes seems to be getting into hot water: he issued a circular to the war correspondents denying them admission to the hospital. I understand the latter went to B.P. in a body about the matter, and he was extremely wrath and told off the doctor very strongly [that] being now the military hospital it is in the Queen’s Regulations that war correspondents should be allowed everywhere.
Dr David Biggins

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