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Capt Pollock 18th Hussars 3 weeks 1 day ago #74916

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here is a letter written by Capt Pollock to my great grandmother Mrs Davey. He was imprisoned by the Boers after the battle of Glencoe. There may be inaccuracies in my transcription for which I apologise
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Capt Pollock 18th Hussars 3 weeks 23 hours ago #74923

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Staats Model School
Prretoria

3rd December 1899

Dear Mrs Davey

It was very good of you to think of writing. We do not get very much information from the outside world here. Owing to the rigorous censorship you will understand that we are not at liberty to give much information just a present.

I heard about Cape from Martin of the 60th who is a fellow prisoner of ours here, he (H.A.B?) evidently had a very narrow shave the bullet went through his neck just missing, by some minute fraction of an inch, the carotid artery and coming out behind shaving the spinal column equally closely, he was however dong very well & was able to walk about after a week, he was to be sent down to Elandslaagte & and I thought he had been exchanged. One of the men (Capt Irvine) with us had a wonderful escape a bullet struck him just over the heart but he had a pocket book in the pocket of his jacket which deflected the bullet which passed round his ribs and lodged near his spine, he was doing well when I last heard of him. Major Grenville had a bullet through the toe of his boot without injuring his foot while another bullet took a piece out of the heel of the same boot. The men are still impounded on the race course but I hear they are to be taken to a place about 12 miles out. We have been quite a menagerie here now in the Model School – Irish Fusiliers & Glos Regt of course predominate, then there are 60th Rifles, Dublin (Haldane), Gordon Highs, Gunners Natal Carlmiers, Yorkshire Lt Reg, Churchill of the “Morning Post” and last but not least the Rev Adrian Hofmeyer, a full blooded Dutchman & and a cousin of the “Afrikander Bond”. He is a well educated man and a good speaker but his somewhat candid criticism has brought him into disrepute with his fellows. For almost a month we were allowed to see “Volkstem” the semi official Dutch paper. The Boers would seem to have been exceptionally lucky, although the brave burghers dash about amidst a hail of bullets & ‘fire bombs’ we never seem to wound more than five except at Belmont where more were killed and eighteen wounded. We were very glad to hear that all our people got safely back from Dundee, the Boers I fancy mean having a word with Gen Erasmus on the subject. Corporal Padwick 18th Hus. got cut off near Glencoe lived for three days on an emergency ration, got a bullet through his ear at a range of 5 yards! & eventually got back to the camp at Dundee, where he thought he would be safe to find it occupied by the Boers who caught him and sent him up here. You and Mrs Marling seem to have had quite an experience in Ladysmith during the bombardment you ought certainly to get the medal with clasp for the siege of Ladysmith.

The climate here is infinitely better than Natal, a little hot but without the familiar dust storms and flies . The men get half pound of “bully beef” twice a week, the other days they have to be content with mealy porridge, they also get bread & tea: we are allowed to supplement our rations ………….purchase.

We saw the “Irish Brigade “of the Navigation Miners and I made the acquaintance of ‘Colonel Blake’ who was adorned extensively in the national coloured green (fuggance?) , green rosettes & and a good many of them- although it was early in the morning seemed very thirsty, one of them presented us with a bottle of “Pommery” which he unrolled from a blanket on his saddle and which comprised his sole visible kit. Gen Joubert a short stout man in plain clothes met us at (Dannhauser?) and impressed on all that “if you behave yourselves you will be well treated. Next door to us there is a red cross hospital but shut out from our profane eyes by a tin wall 7 feet high. It is very kind of you to offer to send us papers and magazines but the post is so exceedingly uncertain here, that while thanking you I do not think it would be worthwhile. The people here blame the people in Natal but whoever is responsible the fact remains that very few letters filter through and we have to make the best of the daily “Volkstem” and the “Staatsbibliothek” or library. A large detachment of red cross nurses and doctors arrived here from Holland a few days ago. I am glad that so far as we know there have been no more casualties among the 18th H since they left Dundee, although you must still be very anxious, I hope everything will come right soon. If you get any news of the 18th H and have time we should be very glad if you would let us know as no one seems to know anything except about their own particular regt. Proposals for exchange have been made Colonels for Commandants, Majors for Field Cornets, Captains for Acting Field Cornets, Lieutenants for Corporals but we have been here so long now that it does not do to be too sanguine. Please remember me to Mrs Marling and Mrs Gosselin, I hope they are both well

Yours sincerely
W.P.M. Pollock
Dr David Biggins

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