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Corporal G. H. Briggenshaw, 1st Mounted Rifles, Bechuanaland, 1885 1 month 3 weeks ago #79998

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WITH THE BECHUANALAND FIELD FORCE.
(From one of Methuen's Horse.)
Mafeking, Land Goschen,............
Monday, Aug. 16.......
TO THE EDITOR OF THE BUCKS HERALD.
Sir, —As this might afford some interest to the inhabitants of our town (Aylesbury), and seeing that public opinion has recently been directed to our "new Colony," I am bold enough to imagine that a few lines from me may be acceptable to your readers, especially as upon this occasion I have been fortunate enough to obtain some interesting notes from the correspondent of a leading London "daily." The troop to which I belong has moved up and down country at various intervals, and at every station we have been fortunate in obtaining a plentiful supply of good water. In most cases game has abounded, and in our spare time we have enjoyed some excellent and profitable sport. At Saltpan (one of the many inland lakes of salt water), at which we remained for a few weeks, we found droves of beautiful springbok; and, as their flesh is remarkably tender and agreeable to the taste (not unlike venison at home), we were rarely short of "buckmeat," excepting when a few predatory jackals and vultures come down in the night, and decamped with some choice joints. You will perceive that we have at length reached Mafeking, the farthest point north to which the Expedition has yet gone. Mafeking is the town of Montsoia, chief of the Barolong tribe, and it was here that the late Mr. Bethel! and his native allies kept the Freebooters at bay for some considerable time. There is an old tree in the town in which Bethell used to sit, and, if any of the Freebooters came too close, pick them off with his rifle—a splendid weapon, which after his death was bought by a Boer for £40. The town—in its way an oasis—is situated in the centre of a barren expanse of sand; being built amid beautiful trees and rocks on either side of the Molopo River, and, consequently, possesses a good supply of water. The huts are of mud, thatched with grass, and are surrounded by stone walls, loopholed, so that an enemy entering the town would certainly be shot without seeing anyone to shoot at himself—several of the Freebooters made this interesting discovery. Montsoia is a short fat old Kaffir, too fat to ride a horse, so drives about in a "buggy" drawn by four mules. The natives are fairly industrious, although very poor at present, most of their cattle having been stolen from them. They cultivate Indian corn, Kaffir corn, water melons, pumpkins, &c. Towards the source of the river, inside the Transvaal, are some splendid farms, and even at this time of the year—winter—beautiful crops of wheat may be seen springing up. Parties of our regiment often go into the Transvaal— unarmed of course—and, in turn, receive visits from members of the Transvaal Artillery. They (the latter) wear a black uniform—not unlike the Irish Constabulary; but from what I have seen of them they are not better shots than we are, and certainly do not ride so well. There is a Wesleyan missionary here, and service is held twice a day, being well attended, native ministers often officiating; but on Sundays the natives turn out in the most attractive costumes they can obtain, the fair sex—excuse the paradox — appearing in many coloured shawls, scarves, &c. They sing—very loudly, but not always in tune—the melodies well-known at home, such as the "Old Hundredth," "We shall meet on that beautiful shore," &c. The Royal Engineers are building a new church here, which has been subscribed for by the troops, and is to be presented to the inhabitants as a momento of our visit. It is built in the shape of a cross, and when completed it will be extremely pretty. Our band plays near the town every Sunday evening, and attracts crowds of the dusky inhabitants, who appear to be much delighted with the performers and instruments, but the drums come in for the greatest share of their admiration. I have several times visited the grave of Mr. Bethell, who lies in a little graveyard near the town, in which are buried four other Englishmen. His grave, which is shaded by a fine tree, is railed in, and upon a marble headstone is the following inscription:—"ln memory of Christopher Bethell (of Rise, Yorkshire, England), who lost his life while performing military duty for her Britannic Majesty, in defence of the Barolong nation, July 31st, 1884, aged 29 years." As one proceeds north, the country improves wonderfully to Kanga and Motopola. The scenery there is charming, and water plentiful. Elephants, giraffes, and quantities of monkeys are to be seen there, and, unlike southern Bechuanaland, the country is well wooded. In the early days of the Diamond Fields, it was computed that about 7,300 wagon loads of wood entered Kimberley annually, so one need not be surprised that wood is scarce in Lower Bechuanaland. Colonel Carrington has consented to organise the new police force, and he goes to Cape Town for that purpose. He offers to take 50 or 70 from the regiment, bnt declines to accept old soldiers, which those who have served their country well look upon as a most ungracious act. General Sir C. Warren has proceeded down country, but not before having inspected Methuen's Horse, and expressed himself much pleased with them, and complimented Colonel Methuen upon the drill, mobility, and good conduct of the regiment. As soon as the police force is organised this regiment will be relieved, and proceed down country for home, so we hope to be in "Merrie England" again in the course of a month or so, few of us any tbe worse for the hardships we have at times endured while endeavouring to maintain the honour of the British flag in South Africa.
Corpl. G. H. Briggenshaw,............
1st Mounted Rifles.......
Bucks Herald [Aylesbury], Saturday 19th September 1885

Briggenshaw/Brigginshaw is an Aylesbury and Buckinghamshire surname. I could find birth records for several Georges, but not a G. H.

G. H. Briggenshaw appeared in a cricket match in Aylesbury, for H. Bunning's XI, on Saturday, 27.11.1890.
Bucks Herald [Aylesbury], Saturday 4th October 1890

Probably the same G. H. Briggenshaw was one of the two umpires (rather than of a referee) in a football match which was played in Aylesbury, Saturday 28.2.1891.
Bucks Herald [Aylesbury], Saturday 7th March 1891

The same paper, in 1903, made mention of a Police Constable G. Briggenshaw in Aylesbury.

There's a death recorded in Eton, Buckinghamshire (now in Berkshire), in 1941, for a George Saenry (mispelling of Henry?) Briggenshaw, aged 79, so he could have been the George Briggenshaw who was born in Aylesbury, 1862 - Ancestry gives the same man the full name of George Henry Briggenshaw..

Edit - George Harry Briggenshaw, born Dropshort Farm, Aylesbury, 28th January 1862.

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