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July 11th 9 years 2 months ago #4463

  • djb
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1900 - Actions of Zilikat's Nek, Onderste Poort and Dwarsvlei. Scots Greys and Lincolnshires captured. French and Hutton compel Boers to retire from the Tigerfontein ridge.
1901 - Broadwood surprises Reitz and captures Free State Government staff. Narrow escape of Steyn.

From the diary of Lt Burne, RN:

The weather at Durban is lovely and I am already feeling better. Have met Nugent of the Thetis and Major Brazier Creagh, also down with jaundice. My letters have lately all gone wrong, but to-day I received a batch to my great delight.

And now I must perforce close this record of personal experiences, written perhaps more to amuse and satisfy myself than for the perusal of others; more especially as this being a personal Diary I have been obliged by force of circumstances to use the pronoun "I" more than I would otherwise wish. The war seems played out so far as one can judge. It appears to be becoming now a guerilla warfare of small actions and runaway fights at long ranges; these furnish of course no new experiences or discoveries to Naval gunners; in fact, the sameness of them is depressing, and what with marching, fighting, poor living, dysentery, and jaundice, I humbly confess that my martial zeal is at a much lower ebb than it was a year ago. Yet time may produce many changes and surprises, and I may yet find myself again at the front; who knows!

Stirling's comment on the capture of the Scots Greys and Lincolnshore men:

Early in July 1900 the post at Zilikat's Nek, Uitval's Nek, or Nitral's Nek, in the Megaliesberg Mountains, was taken over from Baden-Powell's force by a squadron of the Royal Scots Greys, five companies of the Lincolnshire Regiment, and two guns O Battery, RHA, the whole under Colonel H R Roberts. On 11th July the enemy in great numbers attacked the position, and "owing mainly to the defective dispositions of the commanding officer, the enemy gained possession of the pass and captured the two guns, almost an entire squadron of the Scots Greys, and 90 officers and men of the Lincolnshire Regiment, including Colonel Roberts, who had been wounded early in the day".
Dr David Biggins

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July 11th 2 months 6 days ago #77292

  • BereniceUK
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1900 - Lance Corporal Arthur Baker of the Volunteer Active Service Company, 2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, was killed in action at Nitral's Nek on this day. [His full name was Thomas Arthur Baker.]

....The news was received in Grantham with great regret that Lance-Corporal T. A. Baker, of the Volunteer Company, had been killed. He was the son of Mr. W. Baker, 53, College-street, Grantham, and his age was 25. He joined the local Volunteer Corps on January 30th, 1894, and was promoted on July 27th, 1898. Baker was a good shot, took the keenest interest in his work, and was always regarded as a most reliable non-commissioned officer. When Volunteers for the Active Service Company were called for he was one of the first to proffer his services, and, when accepted, immediately threw up his employment as a driller at Spittlegate Ironworks. He was sent out with the first draft. Naturally, the greatest sympathy is felt for his sorrowing parents, who have received numerous letters of condolence. The deceased Volunteer regularly wrote home, describing his experiences in the war, and the last communication from him we are permitted to publish. It runs as follows :—
Pretoria, June 7th, 1905.......
....Dear Mother and Father,—Just a line to let you know how things are going with us. We passed through Johannesburg, and then advanced to Pretoria. Our Company being the firing line, we came in touch with the Boers after marching twelve miles. They had a good position. Our Company (D) was on the right, and one (E) on the left ; and after being under fire for about three hours we cleared the hills of them. Our artillery fire was splendid! We had several casualties in the Lincolns, but our Company came through without a scratch. It was a very trying time for us, and our Colonel was pleased with the way in which we received our baptism of fire. We advanced right over the position, and found it beautifully fortified. Two of the Lincolns were hit very badly. We camped there for the night, and then marched into Pretoria in the morning. We waited till ten o'clock for them to surrender and give up their arms. Our brigade then marched through the town—the Guards and all the Cavalry regiments, with Lord Bobs and Kitchener. We were drawn up in front of the Royal Hotel, in the Market-square, and saw the Union Jack hoisted in Pretoria. We stood at attention nearly three hours to let the British troops pass through with bands of music, and people shouting themselves hoarse, and singing "God save the Queen." Every house was then searched, and all arms and bandoliers and ammunition were placed at street corners. We are now encamped on the race-course, where our prisoners were but were shifted when we came into view. They took them up to Lydenburg, but French's Scouts surprised them yesterday, and most of them have escaped. They came into our camp with hardly a rag on, no hats, and they have nearly pined them to death. We have been marched hard, but we are now having a rest here, and think we shall stay till we get our sailing orders. l am in fairly good health, though thin, for when on the march we have been down to quarter rations—one biscuit a day, but we are on full now, and expect to be home by August Bank-holiday. Your loving son, Arthur. Remember me to all. Have had no letters or papers for a month.
—Baker's death is much regretted by his comrades. At the weekly parade of the two local Companies on Wednesday evening, Major R. F. M. White addressed the men as follows, before marching to the drill-field :—Before we move off this evening, I want you to think for a moment of the comrade who has fallen in South Africa. I have telegraphed to the War Office for official confirmation of the statement, and have received the following reply:—"Regret 6585 Lance-Corpl. T. A. Baker, Volunteer Company 2nd Lincolns, killed 11th July, Nitral's Nek.—War Office." Those of you who joined this year did not know Corpl. Baker as a Volunteer, but the older hands will know I am not saying a word too much when I state that he was one of the very best members these Companies have ever had. Smart, intelligent, cheerful, and willing, he was an ideal soldier, and as a man his character was of the highest. We have all to deplore the loss of a good comrade. It is a matter of pride to us, to know that it was Lincolnshire Volunteers who saved the Maxim gun, and I can only hope it was assisting in that gallant action which cost poor Baker his life. As a mark of respect, I have ordered that neither of the bands shall attend parade this evening, and I ask all of you to maintain perfect silence in marching to and from the drill-field.
Grantham Journal, Saturday 28th July 1900
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July 11th 2 months 6 days ago #77293

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Baker T A  6585  Lance Corporal  Demise: Killed in action 11 Jul 1900
Place: Silikats Nek

Source: In Memoriam by S Watt

Baker T A  6585  Lance Corporal Killed in action. Ziiikat's Nek, 11 July 1900 2nd battalion.

Source: South African Field Force Casualty Roll

Medal roll for 6585 TA Baker Riefontein 14th August 1901
 Records him as Private Baker
As does his personal effects register.
3 clasps Johannesburg, Cape Colony and Orange Free State.

He was born in Little Gonerby, Grantham. A machinist by trade.
His personal effects were left to his father William. £1 and 2 shillings.
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards

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