The Mafeking Railway Volunteers was a body of some 130 men who served under Capt More and was known during the Defence of Mafeking as the 'Railway Division'.
Captain More and his men played a major role in the eventual survival of the besieged men and women in Mafeking. Before the end of September 1899, he had already ordered all spare permanent-way material to be picked up between Palapye and Mafeking and between Vtyburg and Mafeking and brought into Mafeking to be stacked. More also ordered two bogie loads of bridge baulks, three bales of grain bags and 20 000 pounds of boermeel for feeding the natives. Having this stock of material at Mafeking proved invaluable to the defence of the town for he was able, at the request of the Colonel Commanding, to construct a siding one and a half miles long on the north front, thus enabling the armoured train to repel an attack from this side. Afterwards it was found necessary to construct numerous shell-proof trenches for the garrison, women and children and without the above named material, it would have been impossible to put even a small proportion of the inhabitants under cover from shell fire. He also, at the request of the Colonel Commanding, armoured three bogies with heavy steel rails. The sides were made 5 feet high and fitted with rifle and gun port holes and proved most effective and bullet proof.
A number of men of the Railway Division also rendered special services. Ten of them, including Myles Adams of the Locomotive Department, were detached for the purpose of starting an ordnance foundry and they were soon successful in the casting of cannonballs and seven pounder shell: Other duties included the making and repairing of tents, making powder charges, repairing signal lamps and heliographs, laying water to the hospital, convent and forts, erecting lookout posts, making shell proof trenches and also patrolling the town to prevent fires caused by incendiary shells.
Men of the Railway Division also took a very active part in the Defence of Mafeking, for example the first shots were fired in this respect was by railway men in the armoured train at 5 Mile Cottage, south of Mafeking on 16 October 1899. Again, on 26 December, twenty men went out in the armoured train to assist in the brilliant but unsuccessful sortie against the Boer Fort at Game Tree and afterwards rendered good service in bringing in the wounded under fire. In the last attack on 12 May 1900, they carried out excellent defensive duties during the whole of the day.
Source: City Coins #66, August 2015
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