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The Boer War letters of Subaltern Samuel Richard Normand, RA 1 year 5 months ago #74145

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Nelspruit
Jan 5th. 1901

My dear father and mother

I finished a letter this morning and as it is still raining hard and we can't get on with our work I will take this opportunity to start another . I was trying to fill any letter with a short account of our journey here and got as far as Pretoria. We stayed there all that day, and were glad of the chance to get the mules and horses out of the trucks for a little exercise which no doubt did them a lot of good. Tyler in the mean time was busy making arrangements about transport for us etc. But did not meet with much success. In the evening we dined at the Transvaal hotel a good house and indulged in the luxury of a bath. We spent the night on the platform and were very comfortable except for the mosquitoes which gave me a very bad time. At 4:30 AM we started off again. For about two or three miles there are many Pretty Little farms and villas surrounded with eucalyptus and neat little gardens but we were soon in the dreary old open country again.

The chief stationer of any note is Nooitgelacht chiefly because it was to there the British prisoners at Pretoria were taken just before our occupation of the capital; In point of size it is nothing. Ever since leaving Pretoria we have been gradually rising and at 12:30 PM we reached Middleburg - nearly the highest point in the Transvaal. On the platform there who should we find but Woolcombe Adams who was our third Subaltern and left us in June last to join an ammunition column. He soon spotted us and gave us an account of his doings since leaving us. He had the luck to be in several small engagements near there. He and his commanding officer a captain live in the half of a very comfortable house, the other half of which is inhabited by its owner a Dutchman who is a builder. The other is really splendid- I suppose the altitude is about 5,500 feet, very healthy and fresh. Everybody there looks in splendid condition, so very different from the people at Ladysmith and here who look fagged out. The town too is most picturesque if a bit straggling but very pretty. The soil is mostly of a dull brick colour, and with the red brick houses gardens and fresh green trees the whole is most charming . I met there also several of the RB who came out on the or Auramia with me.

We started next day (31st December) at noon and we were very sorry to leave so congenial a spot. We got to Belfast , the higher station in the Transvaal about 1:30 PM and to Machaladorp about 6:00 PM . Helvetia Is close here were the 4.9 inch gun was taken - a very bad business. At Machadoorp we detrained all our baggage and equipment and manage managed the section into two distinct commands, as the GOC here, Reeves of the Dublin Fusiliers has arranged that one gun shall go to Nooitgedlacht and the other under Tyler to Nelspruit. We have our mules and horses here under the charge of a Sergeant and about 20 men who are to be attached to the 6th Howitzer battery temporarily. After wasting a lot of time waiting for orders we are finally started at noon, and are now informed that we are both to go to Nelspruit about 6 hours from here. For her down we descend very quickly, in fact between Waterval Boven and WartsvalOrder the gradient is so steep that the line is built with a rack which the engine engages with a cogwheel this journey which we finished by reaching Nelspruit at 6:00 PM ; is a series of magnificent views. The scenery is simply splendid. Tyler who has seen much of Indian mountain scenery - Except the line in the Himalayas to Darjeeling, which I believe beats everything- confessed that he had never seen anything a so fine. I took a number of photos from the train which I hope will turnout okay. On arrival there we left everything in the train, which did not go on and accepted the hospitality offer of the half battalion of the Welsh regiment to dine with them they are a very good lot, and we had once felt suddenly at home. Unfortunately had to break up our happy party as there was an alarm “on” , and most of the officers were going out on post duty, sleeping in the trenches- our show being still in the train we slept on the railway embankment; But luckily brother Boer gave us no trouble. We were up at 4:00 AM Tyler to go around the defences with the C.O Major Harkness, while I got the train unloaded and all our goods and chattels out on the side of the railway. We could only obtain a couple of Scotch carts a thing rather less than half the size of an ordinary cart and drawn by 4 bullock's to get all our stuff to the camp about 1/4 of mile uphill. Having no mules, everything had to go in these carts, and there as there is a good ammunition our total weight was close to 4 1/2 tonnes .While the carts were being loaded, brought up, unloaded and sent off again, as many men as we could spend her were busy making a gun emplacement and trenches for our defence; as “brother” may attack any night . It is a bit disheartening this line of communication work . Every station along the line is defended by trenches - blockhouses- fortified camps etc. and surrounded with a maze of barbed wire to prevent being rushed. One may know of a commando of Boers say 5 miles off , but cannot go out and “utterly destroy” them as we should have to leave the station- stores etc undefended. However we all trust it is not to be before long, and that Kitchener will soon begin to move.
It is already apparent that such a move h
as commenced.

Jan 17th

I stupidly missed the mailbag about four days ago, the bag comes in on any train and day and seldom stops for more than half an hour. I believe it may pass this afternoon so I'm going to send it down on the 15th I got my first letters and since the 19th Dec. on my arrival at Ladysmith.

They were as follows
Bertie Nov25th 27th enclosure
Father Dec 5th
Mother Dec 6th Dec 14th
Sissy Dec 7th.

It is now nearly two months since Bertie's first was posted , for which I am very much annoyed as it is impossible to do what he asked me to do, and I fear my letter will not reach him before he goes. You see all my letters go first to Van Reener’s then back to Ladysmith and then to Nelspruit which takes another week hence the delay.

This is a very hot place. It is about 1700 feet up or more than 2000 feet below Ladysmith and about 4000 feet below Belfast and Middleburg.

Which is generally credited with being a malarial swamp. Certainly it is damp and generally the climate- especially now as we are in the middle of the rains- is moist, consequently when is pretty limp and uninclined for any exertion whatsoever. Horses and mules cannot live here except in the “cold” (!save the mark) Weather, so all are mules and horses had to be left behind at Machaladorp. The M.I Were evacuated here about a month and a half ago and lost horses at about the rate of eight per day. In the summer however it is a splendid grazing country- magnificent grass all around. Oxen however thrive , except a few cases of lung sickness. Our usual life is to get up at 3:00 AM and stand to arms for an hour or more, then do a couple of hours work before breakfast which is at 7. Then two more hours from 8 to 10, after which it is too hot except to sit in the shade and wish for ices! About three it begins to cool down and we put in another hour from four to five. The temperature yesterday and the day before was up to 104 degrees and 106 in the shade- unfortunately a damp heat . Tyler declares he has not felt the heat so much in the Plains of India. Personally, I feel pretty fit, so I think I must be fairly well acclimatised to it. The only way is to force oneself to take exercise, but it is a bit of a temptation after being up since 3:00 AM to sleep before and after lunch. We go to bed about 9 as all lights are put out at 8:30. Bed, however, does not necessarily mean a good night's rest as J and I take it in turns to visit our 4 sentry posts at least twice during the night. Even these precautions do not always prevent surprise. At Belfast – Machadadorp, Hevetia etc. the Boers have been led through the outposts by native spies -on one occasion one of our own, and have rushed the pickets from behind. That's a in the last show at Machadadorp they got a severe handling and maybe chary of repeating the experiment. We have had two alarms here once on the 7th sentry fired at four men on foot and one on horseback, probably a Boer scout and four natives trying our outposts . On the 14th we got a warning telegram from Steinacker that a big commando of Boers on South side (our side) of Krokardil River advancing toward Nelspruit and Barbeton - Also on the 15th about midnight another century had a shorted two men who could be heard and were once seen in the barbed wire about 100 yards from the gun. They vanished however, and we were not a disturbed again! Rain has been threatening for a couple of days and we're all praying that it may come under cool the air. My very heartiest congratulations too Sis and old B. I'm writing a short note to him also. I must close as time is almost up very glad indeed to hear about Sis, and hope the relief is lasting.

I am ever your loving son
Sam R Normand
Dr David Biggins

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The Boer War letters of Subaltern Samuel Richard Normand, RA 1 year 5 months ago #74146

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Feb 4th Monday (1901)
Hospital Ship “Orcana”
Lorenzo Marques

My dear Father and Mother

I'm still on the hospital ship but this does not mean that I am still an invalid, for I could easily have gone on Saturday. However on Friday I got a wire from headquarters telling me that my application for a Pom pom section had been sanctioned, and asking if I was fit to join at once. I have been unable to send off an answer as yet as on Saturday and Sunday the offices were closed and are so again today, and though I believe I have managed to get a wire through by sending it in charge of a fellow who left this morning for Romati Poort, I am still waiting here till I get an answer to know if I may go round via Durban and so avoid the long (and risky!) railway journey via Pretoria. My destination is Harrismith I believe. But again another difficulty has turned up! The Boers are threatening this place and I can't be sure yet if this fellow will get through to Komati, as the Telegraph line is cut and the Boers may hold up his train. Verily we live in a country of uncertainty and trouble. My only way now is to send a cable via Durban, and if I don't get any answer take the law into my own hands and go as soon as I can via Durban as I am only wasting time here. I fear Bert must have harboured many evil thought about me . His letter of 25th and 27th November only reached me about the 7th of Jan or later- I could not wire as private telegrams cannot be sent, and my letter would likely not reach him before sailing. I got a wire from him in London about 30th of Jan addressed “Captain Normand congratulations Bertie” so presume he has had word of my promotion. This is the only interpretation I can put upon it especially as my application for the Pom poms was not be sanctioned till I was promoted, and the last telegram I got from Major Simpson was also addressed Captain Normand. If this is true I may consider myself well in luck getting promotion in 6 1/2 years. There are all sorts of excitements going on here about 2500 Boers marching on Lorenzo Marques (Portuguese territory) presumably to release the Boer prisoners here and to get some more stores etc. Those on the hospital ship will be safe enough, and besides the Portuguese Man of War and one or two smaller vessels we have the “Philomel” which is a 2nd or 3rd class cruiser Protecting us and guarding British interests here. I do not suppose the Portuguese would make much of a show as they are few in number and I don't think over well armed; But if any of them does come off and the Philomel is asked to help Britain will have a stronger claim than ever to on Delagoa Bay. If anything is to happen I hope it will take place before I leave as it would be sickening to miss such an opportunity! Otherwise there is practically nothing going on here - we eat sleep read and play . The inevitable ships game of bull board and I wish it wasn't so hot I'm sending also per Sam and mail (German East African Line “Admiral” via Durban) A roll of developed photographs which please put away for me. If they don't arrive please let me know and I will make inquiries. About 1:00 o'clock the first German Lloyd boat came in their new line from Trieste through the canal. British merchant I'll enterprise will have to hustle if they don't want to be ousted from trade in these waters. Germany is making a big bid for it. Unfortunately we don't get any news down here of the operations now going on, so I will have plenty to read up later. Though I dare say all are in the same way as Kitchener is pretty reticent about his doings - and quite right too, or in many cases, a shrewd man putting bits of news together can make a fair plan of the movement of the troops, and may even guess as their intended destinations. After this letter it may be some considerable time before you hear from me again, as I go to Harrismith I may help few chances of sending off mail, but you must not put let that disturb you, If you do not hear from me for a month , that I will always try and get off mails regularly. I hope all are well at home got. Please give my love to Gerry and the Turks.

with much love to all
ever your loving son
Sam R Normand
Dr David Biggins

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The Boer War letters of Subaltern Samuel Richard Normand, RA 1 year 5 months ago #74147

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Doornberg – Nr Dundee
20 February 1901

My dear Father and Mother,

If there is no peace for the wicked I must be evil indeed. I do not know if I am in the Transvaal or Natal last week I was as often in Natal as the O.R.C. However to go back. I wrote you last from on board the Corinthia on the 6th inst. We should have got into Durban about 5:30 AM on the 7th. It was however the boats first trip, and the skipper in taking two safe equals went past Durban altogether! We turned back and got in about 10:30 AM I got onshore about 12 noon and went to report myself to headquarters there I got leave to go that night by train to Harrismith so as to join the section of Pom poms I wrote about previously. My baggage which was to be taken off the ship to the station by some agents did not arrive in time for the train- in spite of warnings and telephone messages to him. Then the difficulty of a bed cropped up. All the hotels and the clubs were full, but after a good deal of persuasion I was promised a shakedown in the Beach Hotel. I shared a room with one called Lord Dyke who is prospecting in Zululand for talc. He is a very good chap and speaks Zulu like a native.

After missing the 6:00 PM train on Thursday I could not getaway till the same hour on Friday, but before then my “cup was full” for I got a telegram from Major Simpson saying that my appointment to Pompoms was cancelled. This was most annoying especially as the only telegram I was able to get through to Pretoria must have arrived about 2 hours after the appointment was cancelled. (It was cancelled owing to my not replying to Pretoria; Headquarters thus presuming I was unfit to join.) I was then ordered to re-join 4th mountain battery at Van Reenen where I arrived at noon. On my way through Ladysmith, however, I was lucky enough to find the box of presents for the men since kindly sent out by Mr and Mrs Blunt So I got it put on a truck and took it with me. It was really a very nice present, consisting of over 180 little khaki bags, with a red RA worked on the flap , and containing socks towel soap a little note paper and tobacco. Each man now with the battery got one and I had about 30 over, which I am sending to men who have left to join other commands. Although the box had been a year on its travels the contents were all in good condition and quite unsoiled. I sent Mr B a wire that the box had arrived, and sending thanks and both Ker and I wrote as well. My promotion I find appears in The Gazette of the 15th of January but I expect it will be antedated a month or more. I'm very lucky getting promotion a so soon -six years two months- and as it is occurred while on active service I am excused examination - however I do not grudge the time I spent at the crammers in October 99 as it brushed up “my knowledge box “ a good deal as I was getting a bit rusty. The scenery here is very curious and I have got a number of photos which I hope will turnout well. Our camp was at an altitude of 6050 feet according at my aneroid , or 2250 feet above Ladysmith- though the map only gives the former as about 5600 which is possibly more correct.

To the right or North East of us is Nelson's Kop which like all of the other Hills here rises shear out of an undulating plane. It and the Mordrei Kop-the Reneberg and the Platberg all rise about 1500 to 2000 Feet above the plane the geological formation seems to be a dark igneous rock (at least it is dark on fracture but the outside is grey). The weatherworn refuse breaking off from the top and rolling down, and crumbling, produces soil to grow scrubby Bush and cane and plenty of good grass. On the top of the Koppie just above our camp, one can sit astride with one leg on one side and the other leg on the other in many places- for about half a mile it is a literal knife edge full thought this Hill and another like it, but not so sharp are connected by the dip of about 200 feet over which the pass goes- and the slope of these two Hills forming the dip were dugout into a long series of deep trenches by the Boers, Absolutely commanding the approach to the path as far as the eye can see. It is a marvelous position, and could never have been taken by force. On Monday I got 2 letters one from father and one from `siss- both of 11th January also the papers for which Many thanks. Van Reenen and is also a nice quiet spot – the Boers are separated from us by the Wilge R. about 12 miles off, and may and we may not cross it either. Polo is played there three times a week, and we also had a game of cricket against 73rd Field battery and beat them. Ker and myself and another fellow Rode out to a deserted Boer farm to try and get some potatoes but could find none - however we had a feed of grapes and brought back a chair teapot cabbages strainer and the claret decanter amongst other things . The latter shaped like a Black Forest bottle makes an imposing ornament on our mess table - in fact with the exception of a Tumbler or two is our only piece of glass. My visit to Van Reenen however was doomed to an early end . On Monday night I got orders to go to Newcastle at once, So left next day at 2:00 PM for Ladysmith, on arrival there I got a wire telling me to go to Dundee instead. I accordingly left Ladysmith next day in a goods train at 10:30 AM and got to Dundee at 5:30 that evening. There I spent the night and started on Sunday at 9:30 M for a 20 mile ride to De Jagers, With my baggage in a Scotch cart. I got there just in time for lunch with the 69th field battery and left again at 2:30 AM for another six or seven mile ride tothe top of a big Kop called Doornberg where I now am. Here I am in charge of a 12 pound naval gun which moves about the country - were necessary- dragged by horses. The men are rather a mixed lot consisting of a small detachment of the second company West division Royal Artillery and the drivers are men of the 5th division ammunition column but I guess say they will do alright. We generally go with convoys of food etc to Vryheid about once every 10 days for a fortnight and often get a shot - usually a long on at “brother”. It is I suppose about 4800 feet above sea level, and healthy but ever since I have been up - 2 days and a half- it has only stopped raining for about 2 hours! So you may well imagine how wet everything is. I am still going to try and get posted to a section of Pom poms, as I fully believe the war is really drawing to a close. It might suddenly fall through almost anytime but if our various columns have any luck it should be over by the end of April so I don't want to miss a chance of seeing the end. The mail goes tomorrow morning early, so I will close this very egotistical letter.

I hope all are well and flourishing
with heaps of love
ever your loving son
Sam R Normand
Dr David Biggins

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The Boer War letters of Subaltern Samuel Richard Normand, RA 1 year 5 months ago #74148

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7th. March 1901
Wet. 2. Co. WD RGA
Doornberg
Dundee

My dear Father and Mother

Last night I got 3 letters mother says and Bert all of 1st February . You will by this time have heard how I missed the Mail of December 26, being then on route 4 Nelspruit . My letters to date are as follows

I Dec 18 WJN
-
II Jan 5.MNN
-
III ) 17 WJN
IIIa ) 20 Belle
IV 28 WJN
V Feb 4 WJN
VI 7 WJN (enclosed)
-
VII 20 MnN
VIII 27 MnN
-
Mail missed here

On the 28th ult., as stated in my letter of that date we started off to join the convoy for Vanheid on the main road about 2 1/2 hours march from here .We had almost got to the appointed place when an orderly came to me with orders to return to Der Jagers As the convoy could not go that day as all the waggons were not yet across the Buffalo River, owing to the heavy rain. So back we went, getting much delayed by impassible dongas,to avoid which we had to go round; however we fetched up at about 11:30, but I had to shift my camp later in the evening to a safer position. The new camp was with the volunteer camp of the South Lancs - 2 fellows- who asked me and the infantry subaltern a Canadian called Webster - to dine so we were very comfortable. The mess-man in their mess is also a volunteer- and is manager of Saunders physical training establishment in Manchester. He gave me a couple of mementos in the shape of a 6P and three P piece which he bent double with his teeth before me! That evening all the wagons got across about 70, all loaded with rations and forage, and the next morning we marched off about 6.30 are halfway camp at Rooi Kop.

This is only about 12 miles, but a convoy is slow work! The main body left at about 9:00 and we pitched camp- after an hour halt by the way at 2:30. Here we heard that a party of 6 Boers were driven out of Pretorius’ farm about four miles from Vryheid by our nature scouts.

Next morning we started off at 6:15 and after a long pull uphill and an hours hold at Scheepers Nek got to Vryheid at about 4:30. This is quite a Pretty Little place hot, and is the spot where the big fight took place about the middle of December where the Lancaster's lost so many men. Has I had a lot of papers etc. for Captain Marshall, I rode off up the Hill , where he and a Subaltern called Drought each have a 12 pound gun. I got up in about an hour because it was a pretty high hill. After handing over the papers the rain began so I went down as fast as I could- my potent pony cantering nearly the whole way down, and slipped just about as far as he cantered but we never came to grief, And arrived in camp in 20 minutes. The rain then stopped- merely to deceive us, for I woke up that night about 11:30 to find my tent swapped out. I was lying in about 2 inches of water and blankets and everything wet through. I got a couple of small wooden boxes of a waggon and I sat on one and got my head resting on my arms on another and was soon sound asleep- it was pretty uncomfortable, but I felt none the worse the next morning. We started off again to March back at about 6:30 and had no excitement till nearly at Rooi Koppies When a party of about 250 Boers who had been like “brer rabbit” lying low and saying nuffin, Closed in our observation post in where of the column ; But they had not reckoned with two sections of field guns which were already in position on a koppie close by. The range was too long for good work and the commando was going along at full gallop but two of them anyhow were rolled over. No casualties on our side. This reminds me of the true version of the Elands laagte affair - About the beginning of April last year, when the Boers shelled the camp. Our troops were having a little drill an exercise in the shape of manoeuvres on a small scale- Luckily with their pouches full of ball ammunition. They were pretending to attack a koppie and had successfully reached the Crest when lo and behold brother Boer was found to be climbing up the Hill from the other side. Our astonishment was great but brother was both figuratively and literally “struck all of a heap “. I expected he wondered how on earth we could have heard of his plans to take this Hill and so cleverly frustrated him. It was an extraordinary piece of luck!

Well, to resume, we spent the night at Rooi Koppies next day marched back to De Jaegers the following day Monday - 4th inst- I went back to my” appy ome” on the top of this Hill where I arrived about noon . Ever since then it has been a steady drizzle except for about 2 hours on Tuesday and an hour yesterday. It is very cold too. The rain is quite exceptional at this time of year, but we shall soon have dry clear days and frost at night.

I got a wire the other day asking if I would take the appointment of divisional adjutant at Portsmouth Cork Harbour Malta or Singapore. I replied Portsmouth preferred but was not desirous of the appointment while active operations were proceeding here. I am still in hopes of getting a pompom and after the war I'm trying for mountain artillery again- a new battery is being formed in Egypt- Cairo- so if you meet any influential person, you can try and “work” him for me.

I am writing to Major Sir Anthony Weldon who got me an offer of China, and he may be able to do something for me. Divisional adjutant would probably be good from a pecuniary point of view, but I would rather get a mountain artillery post again, as specially as a new gun is now approved, a real good one! Besides I hate sitting on a stool for five years doing office work!

I'm very sorry to hear about Nettie’s illness, but hope she is now strong. She's not by any means delicate and does as much and more than most girls without any fatigue. I hope before you have had better news of poor Mrs Richards. It is very unfortunate about new place in Surrey. I suppose you had your news from the Gillanders - Please remember the most kindly to them when you see them.
Many people are now very optimistic about the early closing of the war. The Boers - and especially De Wet are in a sorry plight.
De Wet Has only about 1200 men, no waggons and no guns, and a number of prisoners of war we brought back from Vryheid say that most commandos have not had tea- coffee or sugar or flour for nearly two months.

I must now close
with much love to all
ever your loving son
Sam R Normand
Dr David Biggins

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The Boer War letters of Subaltern Samuel Richard Normand, RA 1 year 5 months ago #74149

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22/3/01
Rooide Kop
Rooi Koppies
Nr. Vryheid

My dearest mother

Nothing like accuracy in an address . There is a little hill in the middle of the veldt about 12 miles from De Jagers drift and 18 from Vryheid, Slightly to the West of a Direct Line between the two and 1 1/2 miles South of the Blood River. My last home; I mean my last letter home was I think number X of the 14th inst. or thereabouts, And I am sorry I missed the mail of the 21st which left here by convoy on the 19th. I do not remember if I mentioned the circumstances which let us coming here, but about 10 days ago a party of Boers blew up and burnt the bridge over the Blood River across which the convoys to Vryheid have to go. In fairly dry weather the River is passable by the drift, but after rain we have had the River the only about 16 feet across is all over 12 feet deep. The intelligence was sent up to Doornberg by a Dutch woman Mrs. Potgeiter – in a farm near here - by a couple of Kaffirs, So we wired the fact to Dundee and signalled it to the Vryheid, and the sappers went out to build a temporary one. Meanwhile the convoy started and we pitched camp on this Hill high for this the King own Lancs. 2 field guns of the 69th field battery and my gun and a few mounted infantry. The second night we had a slight “scrap” with the Boers, one man killed and two wounded on our side and the same on the Boer side, but one of the wounded since died so we scored by 1 casualty. Since then we have had no alarm or anything else. Generals French and Dartnell however all I believe now in Vryheid and will likely soon set it to work and clear this district. About 800 Boers crossed a place called Scheepers Nek, About 7 or 8 miles from here in their flight from French and moved off eastwards. We expect to be here for three weeks or possibly 5 guarding the bridge and adrift for the convoys, but as for myself I am still hoping to get posted to Pom poms. I heard again from Captain Patch our old captain in the fourth mounted battery- who is doing his best to help me. It would be a very great treat to get with one of the mobile columns instead of sticking on the top of a Hill! This is not a bad spot as such places go, except that there is a regular plague of mosquitoes. Below the Hill is a big Marsh formed by the blood River and the Hill itself when we came up was positively swarming with them. There were more numerous than the worst attack of midges on a warm wet evening at home; But they are getting ousted now, from so much traffic, grazing etc. on the grass. This morning however I went down to the Marsh- about 2 miles- at day break to try and get some duck , and it was impossible to use field glasses for sooner did one keep still than 10 or a dozen of the brutes would settle on face hands and everywhere, and then it was simply a case of slap slap slap and many bad thoughts- . However we got a duck and saw 6 wild Swans And so are going to try and stalk the latter again. Stevens a fellow in the K.O. got one yesterday. The chief difficulty here is cartridges and so we generally have to use a rifle.

26/3/01

The convoy on its way back from Vryheid leave here tomorrow, so this will go with it for the mail. Since writing on the 23rd we have been several times out shooting, with varied success. Two more duck some plover and all with the rifle and Captain Oliver RFA (he was at Leith with Walker and Russel) got a Panur or Bustard.

Yesterday we got a Helio message Inglefield’s column on their way here from Utrecht and they are now marching in. I rode to a Kraal near to get some eggs and chickens (the former 8 for 1/- the latter 1/- each) But we only got 8 eggs and 4 chickens- we met some of Inglefield nature scouts, but there was no news. they had seen no Boers but were bringing in about 500 head of sheep- stray Boer stock.the weather now is very fine and I think that the dry weather has commenced, and we may expect Frost at night in about another month. I got a very ancient and travelled letter from Sis dated 22nd December , also one from Bell dated Feb 15th I should very much liked to have seen Billy Morgan. I hope Bell has found her skates and has had a bit of skating. Please thank all for their kind messages of congratulation and if you see Ella Brown thank you ever so much for the splendid photos of the “spud”.

I will write her personally when I can find time; but for the last month- ever since I took over this command- I have had all my time taken up , except the last week or 10 days in writing and telephoning, trying to get things a bit ship shape .
with best love to all and heaps to yourself,

ever your loving son
Sam R Normand

PS I do not know if I have acknowledged receipt of the following letter
Father 25 Jan 8th Feb
Mother Feb 6th
Belle Jan 17th I also includes two stamps for Sis- if you'll say what Lorenzo Marques stamps she wants I will try to obtain them- also a very bad photo of a group on the hospital ship at LM still it may interest you I don't look very ill do I ?
Sam
Dr David Biggins

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The Boer War letters of Subaltern Samuel Richard Normand, RA 1 year 5 months ago #74150

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Roi Kop
1st April 1901

My dear father and mother,

After I had posted my letter this morning I got a signal message to meet the CRA at the drift and he gave me a telegram that I had been posted to a Pompom and was to go to Pretoria for orders as soon as I had been relieved here by an officer from van Reenen.

This is a fellow Jandy who took my place in the battery at Van Reenen and he is coming to take over my place again.

I am, as you may imagine hugely delighted to get this change of appointment. I dare say Jandy will be here about Wednesday, and I will likely leave here Friday for Pretoria this means going back to a Ladysmith again and repeating my journey to Pretoria and possibly further. I do not know where I am likely to go, but will probably be at Pretoria for a week or so, and then join some mobile column at Heidelberg Standerten or somewhere - perhaps will come across De Wet.

If I leave here, as I expect to do on Friday the 5th inst. I should reach Ladysmith evening of 8th leave the tent and get Pretoria about 13th inst. from where you should hear from me after 18th inst. After that date I cannot guarantee any mails if the column moves out. Pultney’s column came in today and leaves tomorrow for Dundee, and I am sending this by them so it will arrive same Mail as my no. Xii We we have also just sighted some waggons coming in from Utrecht, this is getting quite a lively spot. I must close now as I have no more news.

Ever your loving son
Sam

Xii (2) (there do not seem to be any other pages)

Are having good weather. Here it is splendid – except for a bad hail and thunderstorm which we had on Friday it blew several tents flat!
Please remember me to Nellie when you see her again – or write – for of course you have now left Edinburgh.
I hope Sis is well and that you will all have a good time abroad.

With much love to all,
I am
Your ever loving son
Sam R. Normand
Dr David Biggins

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