I have very little to report this week further than the preparation of the 321 remounts is being carried along at Maitland. All the horses at Green Point are ready and in good condition, and "A" and "B" Squadrons parade mounted every day. The whole staff of Farriers and Shoeing smiths are employed at Maitland and the work is progressing as rapidly as circumstances will permit.
There seems to be some delay in the matter of transport. It has been decided that we are to carry with us 380 mules for pack purposes, and up to the present time there has been a scarcity of the animal at this base. I was advised last night that there are 1400 on ship board lying in the Basin ready to disembark, and that we are to have our mules from this lot.
In addition to the three Maxim guns furnished by you we are to have a Vicker-Maxim "Pompom" as well. Lieut. Magee and 8 men have been at Stellenbosch for two or three days getting instruction in the working of the gun. There are only 26 of these guns at the front and all in charge of experienced artillery men. The officer in charge of the depot was delighted with the smartness and intelligence of the men and stated that it was by far the best detachment that had yet received instruction from him.
Yesterday, in accordance with a Base Order, we proceeded to Beach House on a "Time March" in company with a regiment of Infantry and a Mule Battery. Other troops had gone by different routes and several regiments were on parade there. We were inspected by General Forestier-Walker and Staff and afterwards covered the retreat of the Infantry in a sham engagement. I was well satisfied with the conduct of the men.
(Signed) S. B. STEELE, Lt. Col.
Military Historical Society
Thanks again for posting another interesting report, I do enjoy reading them.
"There seems to be some delay in the matter of transport. It has been decided that we are to carry with us 380 mules for pack purposes, and up to the present time there has been a scarcity of the animal at this base. I was advised last night that there are 1400 on ship board lying in the Basin ready to disembark, and that we are to have our mules from this lot."
Thats quite a gathering of mules! would these be used just for carrying supplies or would they be utilised in gun transportation also, I guess they would not be strong enough?
"From a billow of the rolling veldt we looked back, and black columns were coming up behind us."
It is a cart invented by Lord Dundonald after Spion Kop..... He wanted a cart that could move the Maxim Gun into action faster than the present system...... In the past they had to manually set the maxim up and it was in a fixed position.... This way it could be pulled by a horse, and set up in a matter of seconds and be moved to a new location quickly.....
He was not a fan of the senior staff in South Africa as he criticized them over the conduct of the war so he was fired and returned to England..... After being in England for a while he was then sent to Canada as the Senior British officer to the Canadian Militia..... He did not last in that job for long because he started butting heads with the Minister of Militia over the construction of the Militia Armouries across Canada..... They all were constructed by a friend of the Minister with no competition..... That is why most of the armouries, many still in use, were identical in construction...... The one here in Calgary is still used by a number of Reserve units.....
He was fired again after a couple of years and went back to England.... He wrote a book on his adventures..... I am not home right now but will send you the name when I get a chance if you are interested....
Military Historical Society