I think this goes further to show how well known Trooper Gorton actually was to the townsfolk of Ladysmith during the siege.
Simply the worst possible news to have had to convey, very sad indeed.
djb wrote: 1900 - From the diary of Miss Bella Craw in Ladysmith
Long Tom has not fired a shot today. I am afraid they are up to some mischief, moving the gun or something of the sort. Mama and. Wilfrid a little better. Lord Alva was buried this evening, has died from his wound. Also poor Mr. Gorton. We only heard this evening. He is to be buried at Indombi. Aunt Fanny has been up to see about a coffin being sent out for him. Heliographing from Potgieter's Hill seen for first time today. Buller's Column advancing
1900 - From the diary of Major George Tatham, Natal Carbineers
Visited outposts with Major B., then to Wagon Hill. Saw an exchange of prisoners. We handed back a young man with a wound in the head for a Hussar with a broken arm. Men met near Ruins. Poor Gourton died of wounds received at Wagon Hill. Sent out coffin.
1899 - Diary of the siege of Mafeking by Edward Ross
Thursday, 11 January
The enemy shelled us off and on nearly all day, including Big Ben and the i-pound Maxim. Lots of shells round Early’s corner, one going through Weil’s bonded warehouse. No casualties and very little damage.
All the tin stocks have now been taken over by the military authorities. What little milk there is is to be reserved for the hospital, so we shall now go on short rations of everything.
What looked like a peculiar star, comet, or freak of some heavenly body was noticed in the sky, down westwards, at about 7.30 last evening. It appeared somewhat like a long streak of light, descending immediately downwards, then, suddenly being arrested in its course, it struck upwards in a zig zag manner, almost forming the features of a face in the sky. The phenomenon lasted about 15 minutes and was seen by hundreds of people. Some said it was the enemy's signals, but it certainly did not look like anything artificial.
From 5 a.m. to breakfast-time Big Ben continuously shelled us, most of them going right over the town to Major Godley’s camp. About thirty large 94-pounders were sent in. This rather destroys the idea of the gun getting too hot to use after 8 or 10 rounds, as some big pot told us the other day. The big gun shells were interspersed at intervals with 7and 12-pounders. Altogether it has been one of the hottest early mornings we have yet had.
After they had stopped shelling, a party of about 200 Boers were seen advancing from east to north. They came to within a mile and a half, and then went right about face, and returned to their big laager. At the same time a party of 2 or 3 hundred were seen approaching from the south; they came up to about 2 000 yards, when our Maxim opened on them, and they immediately retired. Later on their ambulance waggon was seen to come out. Damage done unknown. What their plan was nobody seems to be able to fathom. Perhaps it was a demonstration giving them news to wire to Cronje of another great attack made by the brave Boers on Mafeking. Perhaps on the other hand it was just a feeler to see if we were all alive still, thinking perhaps their terrific shelling of this morning had killed everybody. They have got such a nice habit of thinking just what suits themselves. If so, they must have been sadly disappointed as we are still very much alive, even though whisky is 1/6 a thimble-full. I am very sorry for all the Scotchmen, though; they must feel a bit bad, not being able to have their "parritch” in the mornings, and no whisky.
One of the men out at Fort Ayr was wounded this morning, but not mortally, a Mauser bullet passing through his buttocks.
Poor Dudley was buried this evening, a lot of officers and men attending. This is the second trooper only who has had a coffin made for him, the other being Trooper Frankish.
A rocket was sent up from one of the west outposts at about 8 o’clock this evening, more incomprehensive (to Town Guard) signals.
Enemy fired three shells at Cannon Kopje this evening at about 9 o’clock. No harm done.
Enjoyed a comfortable read this afternoon of the Bulawayo Chronicle dated December 18th. No fresh news, except the confirmation of the capture of the war correspondent Hellawell. It is indeed a treat to get hold of an outside paper, even as late as this; quite a crowd of people are waiting round for the next turn to read it. It came from the north in a native’s shoe and is nearly worn through. It was only possible to read about two-thirds of it, and one had to keep as far away from the paper as possible. Writing about natives makes one think what really good work they have performed on our behalf. With the exception of Reuters’ one man they have been our sole and only mode of communication with the outside world, every particle of news we have received has been through this source both from north and south. Not this only, but the stupendous work round and about the town, in the way of trench-digging, throwing up earthworks, making dugouts, etc., etc., is far more than one can imagine. Of course the authorities have paid them for work done, but where on earth should we have been without the assistance of their manual labour? Between two and three hundred in each gang have been at work night and day for the past three months, and if the amount of work they have accomplished could be put into one length it would have formed a moat 7 feet deep totally surrounding Mafeking. It is a great credit to their loyalty, and should be well recognised by the Imperial authorities. No more loyal or deserving men could possibly be found than Lekoko and Silas Molema, the acting chiefs of the Baralong nation at Mafeking, godfearing and straightforward men both of them.
Dr David Biggins
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