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December 1st 10 years 1 month ago #1585

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1899 - Kimberley siege day 48 (38%). Ladysmith siege day 30 (25%). Mafeking siege day 50 (23%). Canadian and Australian contingents leave Cape Town for the front. Plumer makes a reconnaisance into the northern Transvaal.
1901 - Changes in administration of martial law in Cape Colony.

In Kimberley:

At 3.45 am following message was read. It may be a continuation of the last, i e from word “delighted”. “Orange River, Clack Cape Police.

“ Delighted to receive wire all well.”

IT may be that both these are signals from Orange river to some signal station to north; however this seems hardly likely.

A considerable movement this morning in cattle horse, men wagons etc to and from the pan to North of Intermediate pumping station and Free State. The cattle appear to be moving in the Free State direction.

Major Fraser reports from Beaconsfield that last night Capt Nelson saw at least 2000 mounted Boers arrive at Susanna. He could not see from what direction.

Major Fraser made careful examination of the ground to South this morning with a very good telescope; he reports that on the wimbledon ridge there are not less than 100 of the enemy and that many horses are watered at the Railway cottage well-halfway up the ridge.

Also that there are 200 men on Spyfontein ridge itself, but none on the ridge which stretches towards the Alexandersfontein plain. This information points to the reconnaissance on 28th November having drawn numbers of the enemy towards Kimberley, and I hope in this way reduced the pressure on the relieving column.

To-day I went fully into the question of supplies and forage. I calculate that we have remaining as follows at present rates of consumption for population civil and military

Meat about 25 days.
Preserved 10 days
Breadstuffs 40 days
Forage 30 days

I am arranging to reduce the allowances of breadstuffs and meat per person, to make the amounts last out to 60 days, more. It is I think very necessary to do this in order to have fully sufficient to supply food for the relief force; and 2ndly in order to have enough food to supply for the populations so that after the arrival of the relief force there may be sufficient for all until the complete opening up of communications.

The great difficulty appears to be the forage; the forage raton is now anything but a good one, and can hardly be reduced, and there is little grazing left. I shall I fear have order all private horses and mules, with certain exceptions, out of the town, and “commandeer” all forage, but even with this it will I fear be very difficult to make it run out for more than 40 days so I may be obliged to arrange to graze all mules, but I shall do my best to avoid this as I want if possible to keep the transport in good condition for the hard work that may be before it.

There is a large laager to-day near Tarathal Draut, I think it must be the one I referred to yesterday as cattle moving from Pan beyond the Intermediate pumping station in the direction of the Orange Free State.

I am trying quietly to carry out repairs to the Railway culverts near the White Dam; however the party of natives employed there were fired on this afternoon by the enemy’s cordite gun (5 shells) and so I shall have to stop work and wait for a better opportunity.


In Ladysmith:

A kaffir came in to-day, bringing the strange story that the old "Long Tom" of Pepworth Hill was hit full in the muzzle by "Lady Anne," that the charge inside him burst, the gun was shattered, and five gunners killed. The Kaffir swore he himself had been employed to bury them, and that the thing he said was true. If so, our "Lady Anne" has made the great shot of the war. The authorities are inclined to believe the story. The new gun on Gun Hill is perhaps too vigorous for our old friend, and the rifling on his shells is too clean. Whatever the truth may be, he gave us a lively time morning and afternoon. I think he was trying to destroy the Star bakery, about one hundred yards below my cottage. The shells pitched on every side of it in succession. They destroyed three houses. A Natal Mounted Rifle riding down the street was killed, and so was his horse. In the afternoon shrapnel came raining through our eucalyptus trees and rattling on the roof, so I accepted an invitation to tea in a beautiful hole in the ground, and learnt the joys spoken of by the poet of the new Ladysmith Lyre:—

"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—
sometimes think war has its blessings too."

But one wearies of the safest rabbit-hole in an afternoon tea-time, and I rode to the other end of the town trying to induce my tenth or twelfth runner to start. So far, three have gone and not returned, one did not start, but lay drunk for ten days, the rest have been driven back by Boers or terror.

As I rode, the shells followed me, turning first upon Headquarters and then on the Gordons' camp by the Iron Bridge, where they killed two privates in their tents. I think nothing else of importance happened during the day, but I was so illusioned with fever that I cannot be sure. Except "Long Tom," the guns were not so active as yesterday, but some of them devoted much attention to the grazing cattle and the slaughter-houses. We are to be harried and starved out.


In Mafeking:

To check an undesirable expenditure of ammunition, Colonel Baden-Powell detailed an officer, Mr. Greenfield and six men to accompany the Cape Boys (who invariably opened the ball) up the river bed with orders not to fire unless sure of killing some one, because, though they thoroughly enjoyed themselves yesterday they got through an enormous quantity of powder and shot. These Cape Boys are good men, fair shots, very brave, and have accounted for quite a large number of Boers while out sniping. In consequence of these orders sniping resumed its old condition, and not many volleys were fired. Creaky, in consequence, fired rather more.
Dr David Biggins

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December 1st 5 years 1 month ago #50267

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1899 - From the diary of Miss Bella Craw in Ladysmith

Another lively day from the Boer guns. Before breakfast we went to the gate to see where the shells were falling. One fell very near, a small piece whizzed through our back yard and fell at the back gate passing Aunt Fanny. She says she felt it as it passed so she had a narrow escape. Uncle George rode up town this morning. A shell came from Umbulwana and he saw it strike a man on horseback.

The horse fell dead and the man ran for a short distance. He said he thought he was not hurt, but came in later to say that the Doctors said he was very badly hurt. A piece of the shell had entered the chest below the heart. Later this afternoon we hear he is dead. He was one of the N.M.R., Crickmore by name, from Bellair. Another man died yesterday, of dysentry, by name Wade, a Natal Carbineer.

Went for another ride with Bert this afternoon, caught in a slight storm and shower.

A new Boer gun has been out up on the hill next to Lombard's Kop, called Gun Hill. At first it was rumoured that it was Long Tom moved from Pepworth's Hill, but now we hear "Long Tom" is done for, smashed up by our guns and this is a new one. I am sure we should celebrate this joyful news, the only thing is that this new one promises to be another demon. They have a splendid position.

A Boer spy was hanged today in the gaol grounds.

He, we hear, was in the Intelligence Department here and was one of the guides that led Major Ayde and his column into the Boer lines when they went to take Long Tom on Sunday night the 29th Oct. When Major Ayde and 800 men were taken prisoners (the Gloucesters and some of the Irish Fusiliers), this man went of course with them as a prisoner to Pretoria, has come back again and was found out here signalling to the Boers our movements, etc. We hear another is to be hanged tomorrow, an Imperial Light Horseman, but this is only rumour. Also that two more deserters have come in from the Boer lines.

Up to the 22nd of this month (November) the deaths were 34 Officers, 117 Rank and File - 800 wounded.
Dr David Biggins

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December 1st 5 years 1 month ago #50268

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

Roused at 2.30 feeling none the worse for last night’s dissipation, but loath to turn out, after exercising the horses, returned to camp. Shortly after 10 o’clock shell burst in road opposite Hospital mortally wounding a man named Crickmore from Bellair of the N.M.R. The horse he was riding belonging to the Quartermaster was killed. Orders not to leave camp. Heavy firing outside town. Expect and hope the Relief Column is in sight. Saddled up at 5.30 for piquet. Caught in heavy thunderstorm crossing over making it disagreeable for the night. On duty 7.30 to 9.30.
Dr David Biggins

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December 1st 3 years 11 months ago #57458

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

Shelling from Buiwan commenced early. Trooper J. R. Crickmore and horse struck while passing Town Hall, poor fellow killed. I was riding past office just behind this poor chap. Rations issued for 4-50 horses only, all rest had to go to veldt.
Dr David Biggins

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December 1st 1 month 2 weeks ago #80010

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1899 - Diary of the siege of Mafeking by Edward Ross

Friday, 1 December 1899

Another quiet day. The enemy can be seen altering the position of their big gun and lowering her out of sight of the sharp-shooters, so no big shells today.

Their little seven-pounder from Game Tree, however, sent in about twenty, but no damage done, her shells don’t splinter, but only blow out the nose or base, the shells being too solid for the charge inside.
Dr David Biggins

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