Reading all that has been posted on this topic, IL is reminded of the writings of "Jack the Sniper" (also known as Charles James O'Mahony) of the West Yorkshires in his memoir " A Peep Over The Barleycorn". Regarding Fighting Order, he describes it as including "haversack, canteen, water bottle, and unnecessary rolled coat attached to the belt in rear, crowned by folded blankets suspended between the shoulders". "Common sense came to the rescue when General Buller dispensed with the wearing of the blanket and greatcoat, and ordered a light waterproof sheet, rolled and attached to the belt, to be carried instead".
On Outpost duty, Jack/Charles continues: "On settling down for the night, each man detached the oil sheet from his belt and laid it on the ground for a mattress. Although an oil sheet won't let water through, it can't prevent it getting over ...... we were fairly saturated , at least on alternate nights".
Of course, the West Yorks were on the Tugela front and "Jack The Sniper" has left us some memorable descriptions of the fighting there. His memoir (rather disjointed in places and replete with passages to scandalise the PC brigade) is available in reprint form from the Naval and Military Press. With which this writer has no association apart from buying occasional books.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Neville_C, Moranthorse1
IL: "A peep over the barleycorn" is indeed an astonishing book. The unfortunate Irish ex-private soldier, while ill and dying (if I recall correctly of consumption), pours out fevered, lyrical descriptions of the Natal campaign and a love of his comrades and of campaigning. He's verging on madness, but a joy to read!
Neville, another astonishing item from your collection! I've seen quite a few accumulations/collections in my time, but your eye for a poignant item is superb.
The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.