Article Index


This is the diary of Walter Miles Airey, CIV, and covers the period from January to September 1900.

January 1900 4 Thursday Sworn in at Guildhall to the C.I.V.M.I
12 Friday Served with uniform and rifles. Slept at H.Q. L.R.B.  Recd. Freedom of the city. Farewell service At St Paul's.  Dinner Inner Temple
13 Saturday Parade at 4.0 a.m.  Marched to Line Elms.  Left Southampton 6.0 pm for South Africa
14 Sunday Crossed Bay of Biscay.  Rather rough.  Sat on deck all day.
15 Monday Lounged on deck all day.  Parade at 10 a.m.  Measured for more khaki. (see below)
16 Tuesday Parade at 10.0 a.m.  Physical drill.  Parade at 2.30 pm.  Sorted equipment. Quite like summer.  Sea like the river
17 Wednesday Arrived Madeira 4.0 a.m.  Landed. Saw through town.  Returned to boat at 10.0 a.m. Bought fruit extraordinarily cheap
18 Thursday Passed Teneriffe (sic). Excellent view of the snow capped peak.  Drills 10.30 and 2.30
19 Friday Parade in riding breeches, bare feet and shirt sleeves 10.30 and 2.30.  Morning bath on pool deck 4.30
20 Saturday Passed Cape Verde.  Watched flying fish and sharks.  Parade 10.30 and 2.30
21 Sunday Church parade 10.30.  Glorious day.  No other duties
22 Monday Crossed the equator.  Concert in the evening.  Sergt. (sic) Gibbons seriously ill.  Parade 6.30, 9.30. 3.30
23 Tuesday Sports in the afternoon.  Parade 6.30, 9.30.  Sergt. Gibbons died.  Myself inoculated for enteric in the evening
24 Wednesday Burial Sergt. Gibbons.  Military honours. Frightfully stiff I can scarcely move about & very feverish.  No duties
25 Thursday Feeling somewhat better though still like an old man.  Continuation of sports and concert. Distribution of prizes.  No duties
26 Friday Right well again.  Mess orderly.  Manchester Port signaled relief of Ladysmith.  Lieut. Wilson stood Pheasant supper
27 Saturday Wavell Competition. Scottish 1st and 4th.  Smoking concert.  Mess orderly
28 Sunday Mess orderly.  Church parade
29 Monday Arrived Cape Town.  Great reception.  Delegation from Caledonian Society to meet us.
30 Tuesday Landed Cape Town.  Pitched camp Greenpoint common
31 Wednesday Fitted saddlery.  150 sets.  Reviewed in afternoon by Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener
February 1 Thursday Caught horses, bridled and put them in the kraal.  5.50 a.m to 8.30 pm picketed do.
2 Friday 6.0 a.m brought horses into our own lines, ride in afternoon.  Stables 5.30
3 Saturday Trial of horses.  First full mounted parade.  Stables 5.30. Lord Roberts inspected Comp in evening
4 Sunday Watered horses.  Another detachment of C.I.V arrived
5 Monday Usual parade
6 Tuesday Do
7 Wednesday Half day off.  Parade in afternoon full marching order.  Dinner and midday with W. McBean
8 Thursday Reveille 4.30 a.m. Prepared for our departure to the front, packed kits.  Dinner with Mr. Seaman.  Inspected by Sir A Milner
9 Friday Left Cape Town for Orange River 4.30.  Tea and fruit given by loyalists at Lady Grey
10 Saturday Had breakfast at Matjiesfontein, dinner Prince Alberts Rd, tea Beaufort West
11 Sunday Arrived at De Aar and went on to Orange River
12 Monday Continued journey to Enslin. Encamped Enslin for the night.
13 Tuesday Left Enslin for Ramsdan at 1.30 am. on scouting duty.  Encamped here for the night
14 Wednesday Left Ramsdan for Reit River at 1.30
15 Thursday Left Reit River for Jacobsdal.  Lost 60,000 rations
16 Friday Fighting outside Jacobsdal.  4 C.I.V wounded.  Jacobsdal taken.
17 Saturday Left Jacobsdal for Klip Drift without food water or blanket.
18 Sunday Arrived Klipdrift.  Left again 6 pm with convoy of sick and wounded
19 Monday Arrived Jacobsdal 2 a.m. left again at 6.30 a.m. to catch up with main body in pursuit of Cronje.  Cronje caught up and his force of 13,000 surrounded he is given an hour to surrender.
20 Tuesday Caught up main body.  Cronje would not surrender so was bombarded firing going on till dusk.
21 Wednesday Cannonading continued at daybreak.
22 Thursday Few shells dropped occasionally to keep them on the alert.  Horses taken out to graze whilst we watch the effect of the shells.  Boer Convoy destroyed by fire at night.
23 Friday Truce all day.  Horses taken to graze.  Terrific thunderstorm at night every article soaked through.  Batch of prisoners brought in.
24 Saturday Few shells dropped into Boer camp. Another thunderstorm.  Soaked through again.
25 Sunday Church parade. Storm in afternoon, fine night.
26 Monday Remained in camp all day. Moved out in the evening to surround Cronje.  200 dead bodies raked out of the Modder just here.
27 Tuesday Cronje surrendered unconditionally.  Cronje and prisoners escorted to Modder River.
28 Wednesday Grazed horses
March 1 Thursday Left Paardeberg Camp to one 2 mile E of Boer Position.  Terrific storm.  Outpost  on the shells all night.  Very cold work,  Camp Osfontien Poplar Grove.
2 Friday Botha in command of Boers 2 miles from here.  Grazed horses in the morning.
3 Saturday Grazed horses and scouting
4 Sunday Church Parade in the a.m. Clergyman did not arrive.  Worst thunderstorm so far at night.
5 Monday Grazed horses.  Sentry duty on kopje at night.  No excitement.
6 Tuesday Sentry over water spring all day.  Turned out to false alarm at 10.30 pm remained out all night.
7 Wednesday Started out at 3.0 a.m after the Boers. Naval guns gave them a hot time.  Was under fire for a short time.  Camped at 7 pm. Hard days work.  Acting scout for the advance.  Camped Poplar grove.
8 Thursday Grazed horses a.m.  Sentry on kopje all night.  Bathe in the Modder in the afternoon.
9 Friday Trial of rifles in the a.m.  Bathing parade in the Modder in the afternoon.
10 Saturday Started in pursuit of Boers 5.0 a.m.  Boers surprised 500 killed our losses 400 k & w.  Boer losses very heavy in wounded.
11 Sunday Sunday continued march at 5.0 a.m.  Sentry on kopje all night.
12 Monday Continued march, escorted siege guns and naval guns arrived in camp 3.0 a.m. (13th)
13 Tuesday Continued march on Bloemfontein.  Left at 12.0 a.m. Arrived camp at ….
14 Wednesday 5.30 a.m. at Brands Kopje 3 ½ miles form Bloemfontein.  Boers retreated without opposition
15 Thursday Foraging on evacuated farms.  Shot a buck & secretary bird.
16 Friday Grazed horses a.m.  Went into Bloemfontein the afternoon
17 Saturday Grazed horses in a.m.  Smoking concert in the evening.  Visitors from all regiments in the district.
18 Sunday Church parade in a.m. by Colonel
19 Monday Dismounted drill and grazed horses in a.m.  Walked into Bloemfontein in the afternoon, soaked through in  a storm, lost way back to camp.  Caught again in a storm at night.
20 Tuesday Mounted drill and grazed horses in a.m. Do (ditto) afternoon.  Washed underclothes first time since leaving Cape Town.
21 Wednesday Mounted parade in a.m.  Bathing parade in afternoon
22 Thursday Mounted parade in a.m. grazed afterwards.  Parade of all ranks.
23 Friday Heavy rains all day and night.  No parades.
24 Saturday Rains continued.  On night guard duties
25 Sunday Church parade by Colonel.  On duty all day
26 Monday Mounted parade in a.m grazing of horses in afternoon.  Concert given by 8th M.I. in the evening.  Very good
27 Tuesday Mounted parade in a.m. grazing in afternoon.  Sentry on Kopje at night
28 Wednesday Left kopje at 5.30. a.m. 2 mile tramp to camp. Orders to saddle up and march off at 7.15 a.m. Marched all day, camped at 10 pm.  Very hot day
29 Thursday Continued march at 4.45 a.m. under fire all day.  Boers driven from their position.  Camped for the night in the plain,  Karree
30 Friday No rations until night, found transport and camped 4 miles off
31 Saturday Bathed in the morning.  Moved position again in the afternoon, Spytfontein.  Sentry at night
April 1 Sunday Dug trenches on top of kopje in the morning.  Scrumped fruit in the afternoon.  Sentry at night
2 Monday Sent back to Karree to bring back remounts.  Away all day.  Australians on similar job.  Narrow escape on sentry at night.
3 Tuesday Saddled up at 5.0 a.m. Full marching order.  Piquet at night.  Built entrenchments all day.  Piquet at night
4 Wednesday Continued entrenchments.  Support at night
5 Thursday Built fresh entrenchments during the a.m.  Moved camp in the afternoon about 1 mile.  Patrol at night; returned to camp at ….
6 Friday 3.0 a.m..  Built more entrenchments.  Piquet at night
7 Saturday Moved camp 4 miles further north.  Cossack post at night.  2 Boers captured.
8 Sunday Divine service by Adjutant (?)
9 Monday Grazing during day
10 Tuesday Brigadiers orderly
11 Wednesday Brigadiers orderly
12 Thursday Brigadiers orderly
13 Friday Brigadiers orderly.  High tea with engineers
14 Saturday Orderly.  Boers made a feint attack & were driven back,  Horse knocked up
15 Sunday Church parade in a.m.
16 Monday C.I.V sports day in afternoon.  No duties all day. (orderly in a.m. only).  Heavy storm at tea time.  Cleared up in an hour.  Concert afterwards.  Received cake etc from home
17 Tuesday Rain continued all day.  Piquet at night
18 Wednesday Still raining.  Cleared up in the evening, fine at night
19 Thursday Piquet
20 Friday No duties
21 Saturday Saw Davis in 2nd M.I.
22 Sunday Davis came to tea.  Night guard
23 Monday Tents arrived
24 Tuesday Usual camp duties and fatigues
26 Thursday Piquet
27 Friday Piquet
28 Saturday Piquet
29 Sunday Piquet
30 Monday Skirmish at Karree Kloof.  Enemy in great force.  63 casualties.  Piquet at night
May 1 Tuesday Piquet at night
2 Wednesday Packed kits ready to move off.  Received new Argentine horses at night.  (No good)
3 Thursday Moved off 5.30 a.m. Big fight Mil Sec (?) drew the fire & Sergt Kingsford and Pte  Holland were killed by shell fire.
4 Friday Sergt Kingsford's body brought in & burial.  No Duties
5 Saturday Marched on at 5.15 a.m.  25 miles march, heavy days work, scouting etc.
6 Sunday Continued march  6.0 a.m.  Camped at 5.30 pm. 12 mile march.
7 Monday Marched on at 7.30 a.m..  Camped at 5.30 pm near Winburg Kop.  Chicken and jam for tea.
8 Tuesday Division halted for days rest.  Horses very poor condition
9 Wednesday March off 5.30.  marched 25 miles
10 Thursday In action at Zand River.  Slept in enemy's evacuated postion
11 Friday Reveille 4.0 marched 5.30. 20 miles
12 Saturday Reveille 4.0 marched 5.30. 10 miles. Kroonstad taken. Camped 3 miles S.E.
13 Sunday Rested
14 Monday Resting, grazing.  Concert in evening
15 Tuesday Visited C.I.V infantry camp.  Concert in evening
16 Wednesday Watering and grazing
17 Thursday Washing day
18 Friday Watering and grazing. Piquet
19 Saturday Watering and grazing
20 Sunday Church parade
21 Monday Re-commenced march.  Camped 2 miles N.E. of Kroonstad.  Got a new Basuto pony (grand 'un)
22 Tuesday Continued march.  About 17 miles.  Piquet at night
23 Wednesday Marched 13 miles.  Camped at Ann Holme
24 Thursday Marched 17 miles.  Piquet at night
25 Friday Marched about 16 miles camped 16 miles south of Vaal.  Sent into hospital sick with fever
26 Saturday Started on return to Bloemfontein by bullock wagon.  Blankets frozen at night
27 Sunday Changed from bullock wagon to train.  Continued journey in open trucks
28 Monday Arrived Bloemfontein hospital.  Diet 4 pint milk per day
29 Tuesday Ditto
30 Wednesday Ditto
31 Thursday 4 pints milk per day
June 1 Friday Ditto
2 Saturday Ditto
3 Sunday Ditto
4 Monday 4 pints milk.  4 ozs arrowroot
5 Tuesday Ditto
6 Wednesday Ditto
7 Thursday Rations without meat
8 Friday Ditto
9 Saturday Full rations
11 Monday Moved to convalescent camp other side of Bloemfontein
12 Tuesday Met Stuart about 6.0 a.m.
14 Thursday Convalescent camp
18 Monday Convalescent camp
19 Tuesday Went to town
20 Wednesday C.C
21 Thursday C.C
22 Friday C.C
23 Saturday C.C
24 Sunday Church parade
25 Monday Convalescent camp
27 Wednesday Ditto
28 Thursday Went to town
29 Friday C.C
30 Saturday C.C
July 1 Sunday Church parade
2 Monday Went to town
3 Tuesday Convalescent camp
4 Wednesday Ditto
5 Thursday Convalescent camp
6 Friday Medical Inspection
7 Saturday Convalescent camp
8 Sunday Church parade
14 Saturday Left convalescent Camp for Noovals Port arrived at night
15 Sunday Med inspection and church parade
17 Tuesday Marched to Orange R. bridge and back to dinner
22 Sunday Church parade
27 Friday Left Norvals Port 5.0 pm bound south.  Supper at ……..port (?)
28 Saturday Breakfast at De Aar.  Dinner Victoria West.  Supper Beaufort West.
29 Sunday Breakfast Prince Albert Rd. Dinner Worcester. Tea Wellington
30 Monday Arrived at Wynberg 6.0 a.m.  Transferred to No 13 General hospital 11B Hut
31 Tuesday Went into the woods gathered silver leaves etc
August 2 Thursday Went to Cape Town
4 Saturday Cape Town
6 Monday Cape Town
10 Friday Cape Town
14 Tuesday Cape Town
18 Saturday Cape Town
21 Tuesday Left Cape Town . Embarked on SS Assegai
22 Wednesday Sailed from Cape Town.  Ships run till 12.0 a.m. 62 miles
23 Thursday Ship run 318 m
24 Friday 341
25 Saturday 343
26 Sunday 349
27 Monday 348
28 Tuesday 345
29 Wednesday 335
30 Thursday 343
31 Friday 345
September 1 Saturday 305
2 Sunday 335
3 Monday 330
4 Tuesday Arrived Las Palmas 317 miles
5 Wednesday 101 miles
6 Thursday 321 miles
7 Friday 326 m
8 Saturday 322 m
9 Sunday 333 m


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