The text of a letter home by my Grandfather from:-
Imperial Yeomanry Branch Hospital
Pretoria. Sep: 4th 1900
Dear Ma & all.
Don’t let the above address scare you, for “I’m allright” but every bullett has its billet as I found out a week ago today. But I feel as right as rain now, in no danger. We left Krugersdorp on the 24th for Potchefstroom with Gen: Harts brigade of mounted infantry. On the morning of the 29th our company was told off as advance gaurd [guard] whose duty it is to ride about a mile in front of the main column to scout the country, or more plainly to get shot at, so as to give the main column timely warning We were riding about 30 yards apart, and I happened to be outside man on the right flank. About nine o’clock, we got on some rough ground & I had to pass close under a kopje when were were almost past we were fired on from the top. I felt a sting in the leg and down went my horse. Some of the others came galloping over, dismounted, and made for the top of the kopje, when they got to the top they saw 5 boers mounted and going for dear life they opened fire on them but they were too far off for sure shooting and they got clear away. They had their horses at the foot of the kopje, ran down and away they went. I got my boot and puttee off and found the bullett had gone through the calf
of my^leg and into the horse, which we had to shoot. It bled a good deal till the doctor arrived and dressed it. They put me in a Cape-cart and took me back to the railway to a siding
The first train that came along was an empty goods train. I was put in a horse-car and with an orderly for Pretoria where we arrived at night.
My leg pained for a couple of days, but it is going on fine now. I’m not allowed out to walk yet. The Doctor says I wont be able to ride again for a month Well, I dont care as things are very comfortable here, could’nt be better anywhere. The nurses at this hospital belong to the Dublin hospital and the one we have is an elderly lady and she could’nt treat her own children better. There are five in here which is a large marquee with every comfort that one could wish
5/ even to cigarettes. They are putting in electric light today. In the next bed is a fellow who was in the Jameson raid he’s been telling me all about it. I wrote last week to Eth, Liz, and Gert but I hear the train was captured and the mails destroyed. I was reported wounded as. C.G. Dunn 6988 He belonged to our company and was sent to Kroomstad [Kroonstad] sick a month ago. He gave me his tunic when going, and I was wearing it when I came here. In a little inside pocket is a card with your name and number on. You give up your clothes when admitted to hospital. They
They open the pocket and send the identification card to the casualty department. I never knew the mistake till yesterday when the nurse called me Dunn. I had forgotten the card in the pocket. This hospital is 3 miles from the town in a lovely position. I met one of the Vicks at Johannesburg. This is Paradice after roaming the veldt for four months the two nights we were on the march were awful. It rained in torrents both nights we laid down till we were soaked through and then got up, put on our cloaks and were cooped up like drowned rats no where to get out of the rain. I did’nt get much sleep the first 2 nights here. What with a Spring-bed, pillows and sheets it was too thick. They spare nothing here, all they think of is making you comfortable. Must quit this time
Hoping all are well
Your ever loving Son,
[A few letters of words are missing due to a tear; and last quarter of page is lost. Spellings, punctuation and grammar, are as the original. The paragraphs are the page breaks. I couldn’t leave ‘gaurd’ uncorrected! Eth, Liz and Gert were three of his many sisters: Ethel, Eliza and Gertrude Maxfield. His mother was also called Eliza, living in Devizes Road, Salisbury, England.]
There is a mention of him being with (I think very briefly; a matter of a few weeks) The Imperial Light Horse and getting wounded at Moori (Mooi) River at the end of 1899 - so I'm guessing that was during the shelling by Gen. Joubert, and fighting around 21st - 24th November? He doesn't show up on the Roll done in 1902. But he was an experienced horseman and was quite a marksman, having joined the XII Manitoba Dragoons in 1897. Nor' West Mounted Police 1902 - 1907. Senior Major with the 1st C.M.R. in The Great War, winning the D.S.O. at Vimy. Lt.-Col. in 1919. LDV and Home Guard 1940 - 1943.
C.G.Dunn 6988 = Trooper, Oscar George Dunn 6985
EASTWOOD, PRETORIA, BASE HOSPITAL: Opened August 18, 1900; closed September 30, 1901. Originally with 400 beds, subsequently increased to 564 beds. 5,227 in-patients, including 466 officers, and 1,095 out-patients, treated.
Thank you Mark. Sorry I didn't do an introduction. I'm trying to put right my ignorance of my Grandfather's quite amazing life and military career. I've made a good start, but have a long way to go yet. No more Boer War letters found yet (though a lot from WW2; and his spelling and punctuation improved!), although I'm hoping some cousins in America might have some. His brother Bert received one there with the 'Mafeking Besieged' overprinting on, and so Bert thought he'd been in that siege (he wasn't). I'm on the trail of Bert's grandchildren and hoping! I've been to Kew, do have a few photos, and lots of mysteries to solve. I'll post a short piece of facts and conjecture on his Boer War period as soon as I can. Great site!. Best wishes, Pete.
Captain ('Galloper Jack') J.E.B.Seely back on the I.O.W. made out medal roll for QSA with 4 clasps. He also crossed out the '4' of 6984 and replaced it with a '2', even though 6982 Trooper A.Meekings was only a few spaces below. Consequently Walter shows up as 6982, though QSA and KSA are engraved with 6984. 'Bethlehem' is on his service record, so 'Wittebergen' must have been added later.