An interesting insight into how the Officers kept themselves amused at the States Model School, from the Eton College Chronicle May 10, 1900.
"FROM A PRISONER IN PRETORIA
Model School, Pretoria
Dear Mr Editor,
Whilst following the fortunes of Old Etonians in South Africa, perhaps it may have escaped your notice that a small and unhappy band has already reached Pretoria. Mr Rawlins' House is represented by Captain Ricardo, Royal Horse Guards, and H.A. Chandos-Pole-Gell, Coldstream Guards. Mr Carter's by Major Foster, Royal Artillery. The late Mr Dalton's, Mr Ainger's and Mr Luxmoore's respectively by M. Tristram, 12th Lancers, G. Smyth-Osbourne, Devonshire Regiment, and G.L. Butler, Royal Artillery; and Mr Cornish's by G.R. Wake, Northumberland Fusiliers.
The histories of their separate captures would take up too much of your valuable space. Some have been here but a short time; some many weeks, and during their captivity their thoughts turned to old Eton days, and the game of Fives recommended itself to them as a means of passing some of the many weary hours. There was no "Pepper Box" or "Dead Man's Hole" but a room, two of whose walls mainly consisted of windows, with the aid of three cupboards and a piece of chalk, was quickly converted into a Fives Court.
Entries for a Public Schools tournament were numerous, Eton sending three pairs. Tristram and Gell unanimously elected themselves to represent Eton's first pair, closely followed by Eton II, Ricardo and Osbourne; Eton III being Wake and Butler. The facts that Tristram had recently been perforated with Mauser bullets, and Gell had spent Christmas and the three preceding weeks in the various gaols between Modder River and Bloemfontein, were no doubt responsible for their not carrying off the coveted trophy. Alas! They were badly beaten in the first round by Marlborough. Not so Eton II and III who carried the Light Blue successfully into the second round, both having drawn byes. This good fortune could not last and they fell heavily at the second venture, being beaten by Wellington and Rugby respectively. The ultimate winners proved to be Wellington, after a desperate encounter with Charterhouse.
So much for our pleasure, our troubles are legion, but we will not burden you with them. We daily expect to hear of the E.C.R.V. sharing the hardships of the campaign and covering themselves in glory to the tune of "FLOREAT ETONA".
Feb 14, 1900
P.S. We all hope to be at Eton on the Fourth of June."