Canadian Letters’ From The Boys’ Second Anglo-Boer War, 1900

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Canadian Letters’ From The Boys’ Second Anglo-Boer War, 1900

Postby Spañiard » 22 Jun 2017 16:39

SVP, the below are excerpts...for the full account kindly fallow short link...Canadian Letters’, Snippets, &c., From “The Boys’,” Second South African War, 1899-1900. http://wp.me/p55eja-QI

92 Réal Huot, (3rd Field Battery, C.A.) B.D. RCA, ‘E’ Field Battery. — Writes to his brother in Montreal, from Cape-Town, 27th Feb., 1900.— Note: Sailed on “SS Laurentain” arrived in Cap-Town, 17th Feb., 1900: — Dear Alphonse, I write you a few words to tell you that I am well and in good health. People here are very good to us, and I never ate so much fruit as I did this winter. My officers are good to me, so are the rest of the boys. Yesterday they made us put a paper in our valises with the names of our nearest relatives, to whom we would like to have news sent if we died on the field. I put your name and I gave your address. If I am fortunate enough to go back to Canada again I will have lots to tell you. We leave here to-morrow for Kimberley, about 700 miles from here............

405 Pte. W. H. Snyder, 2nd Canadian Contingent 1st Batt. Canadian Mounted Rifles, ‘B’ Squadron On board S.S. Milwaukee, Feb. 28th, 1900, to Principal L. D. Robinson: — My Dear Mr. Robinson,—I have a little leisure now, and will try to get a letter ready to send to you at the first opportunity. I have just come off a twenty-four hour continuous watch, so if my letter appears disconnected, please pardon on this account, as I naturally feel a little sleepy.We are now eight days out on our long voyage and have come about 1,900 miles. It is rumored that we will be at the Cape VerdeIslands by Saturday, and that we will be convoyed by a British Man O’War from there.The first three days out was very rough but since then the water has been as calm as a lake. I was quite sick for two days but am all right now.We are fairly comfortable but our sleeping quarters are pretty cramped. We sleep in hammocks, wedged in like sardines. We get up at a quarter to six and go at once to stables. The horses, poor creatures! Have the hardest time. Already some eight have died and been thrown overboard.The weather to-day is simply perfect, the sea is like a mill pond. A breeze, like one is accustomed to meet on a balmy day in June, is sweeping over the decks. I am writing this stretched out on the deck. All over the ship is hustle and bustle. Some are drilling, others at fatigue work, others at target practice, while many are reading or writing. We seem to be altogether out of the track of sailing craft. Occasionally a steamer can be discerned away off on the horizon but never near...........

112 William J. Macdonald, B.D., R.C.F.A. ‘C’ Battery, Onboard S.S “Milwaukee” Mid Ocean 19th March, 1900, Letter To Geordie: — Dear Geordie…Soon after starting the captain told us we may have a chance to post some letters in case we met a mail vessel, so he gathered the letters written. I wrote you one, but now I’ll write you another one instead. In three more days we expect to land, and everything now is bustle is getting ready. We have had a splendid voyage, but now everybody is ready to go ashore, as we are very anxious to hear the news, we have been a month without hearing a whisper from the outside world, and I don’t suppose there is any body of men on the face of the globe today,, more anxious to hear the war news than we are if this morning Toronto Globe could mysteriously fall down on this ship it would bring one hundred times its value, but the time of waiting will now soon be over, and we will know all about the war. I am burnt completely brown, and taking us all through we are sunburnt lot of men. Going through the tropics. The heat has been intense, but now we are getting so far south it is beginning so far south it is beginning to get cooler again. The first Sunday out we had to spread awnings all over the vessel to protect us from the sun, and ever since that day a shady place has been at a premium. I am very sorry we didn’t call at Cape Verde Islands so that the folks at home would know we were all right, but we passed 5-6 miles to the west of them, so could not signal. A week later however we passed close to Ascension Island, and I expect we would be cabled from there.......We had one pretty bad storm a day or two after starting and from there right up until now we now had splendid weather, but today we are running into another and even now the waves are washing up over the bow of the vessel. The horses are suffering a great deal more than we are, and so far we have lost 37 since leaving Halifax. We have on board with us the Methodist Chaplain Rev Mr Lane, and he is a splendid fellow. He has been through our campaign himself, and has been wounded in action, so he thoroughly understands soldiers and a soldier’s life. Mr. Best, the representative of the Y.M.C.A. is also with us, and he is also well liked by everybody. You would scarcely believe the amount of gambling going on board unless you were here to see.............

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Letter Printed In The Globe Toronto, May 1st, 1900, from Van Wyk’s Vlei, Cape Colony, April 4th, via London, April 30th: — The first death in the Second Canadian Contingent occurred to-day. Private Bradley (Ottawa) had ridden his horse to the river in order that the animal might drink. The horse suddenly threw him, and he sank into a deep hole. Bradley could not swim. Private Walters, of Ottawa, and a dozen others, jumped into the water to rescue him, and one of the number, Private Firns, a West Australian, brought him to the surface. Lieutenant Morrison threw a rope to the pair, who were then pulled ashore. Bradley was unconscious, but after prolonged effort, Dr. Stewart and Hospital Sergeant Whitton succeeded in restoring animation. The mud had, however, so injured his lungs that pneumonia set in and he died the same night. The body was buried here with military honors. Fearful rains, almost impassable roads, and a threatened shortage of provisions and forage are characterising the march. These hardships are beginning to tell. We left nineteen men in the hospital at Carnarvon, and another hospital has been established here..........

Howell’s Brave Deed. — Recommended For The Victoria Cross. — Brantford, Ont., 30th, November. — The Expositor has received a letter from Captain J. S. Kingston, of the Imperial Light Horse, who is a Brantford boy, reporting that Reginald Howell, another Brantford lad, who enlisted in the South African Light Horse, distinguished himself at the Tugela River by swimming across to capture a ferry and also saving the life of a comrade who had become exhausted. Howell has received the Humane Society’s medal and has been recommended for the Victoria Cross. The young Canadian was personally thanked by General Buller and Lord Roberts.

Lieutenant Joseph Matthews, of Lindsay: — I think from the way they acted under fire for the first time, that Canada has no need to be ashamed of the regiment. When told to try an impossible charge of about six or seven hundred yards, against a hidden enemy, they showed no hesitation whatever, but charged like men. The Highlanders say that the fire they faced at Dargai and Magersfontein wasn’t a patch to this. Since then we have been under fire more or less all the time, but I don’t think we will be called upon to repeat Sunday’s performance, as the artillery are doing the work................

Private H. S. White, in the St. John, N.B., Sun, as fallows: — Meantime recruiting and looting go ahead merrily; the Dutch residents willingly accept the honor of service in the ranks of the Free State army — perhaps they do not realize at ail that they are risking themselves into rebels pure and simple. Steenekamp is there; the place has been annexed to the Free State, and they look upon themselves as burghers fairly and squarely...........................

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Private H. Newell, 2nd Middlesex, writing to his brother at Richmond, as fallows: — 24th, January, 1900, will never be forgotten by the Middlesex Regiment. It is called the day of horrors by the regiment, and Spion Kop is called the Slaughter Hill, and such it was. English troops were slain as in a butcher’s shop. It was near 18 hours’ fighting as far as I was concerned. Our regiment (Middlesex) fought like lions the whole day long, with heavy casualties. On my right two men had their legs blown off; on my left men had arms and some had their heads blown off. To-day is the first day that I have had my boots off for about 16 day s, and as for sleep, we have had none, except with our eyes open..........

Brave Stretcher-Bearers. — Corporal Cawdron, — of Hamilton, after describing the fight, relates the following incident of the battle: — The Cape Colony Volunteer stretcher-bearers deserve great praise for the way they worked with our wounded. Too much praise cannot be given them. One, a corporal, and Dick Thompson, of D Company, went 100 yards under fire for a poor fellow who was tossing about, but he died as they lifted him up. At 10 o’clock we marched on to the Boer laager and took possession of it, while prisoners were escorted along the other side of the river and looked like Coxey’s army, some with shawls, overcoats, umbrellas, etc. Of the congratulatory messages sent Corporal Cawdron says: — Sir Wilfrid Lauriers cable was read out in orders to-day, and Colonel Sherwood’s communication to members of the Forty-Third, and quite a few nice things were said by the Forty-Third as to the Colonel’s thoughtfulness.

Mr. Richmond Smith, special correspondent of the “Star,” for mid May, 1900 as fallows: — “On they went, over ridges, through fields of mealies and ploughed ground galloped the cavalry, followed by the guns. It was a grand chase. Then as four butts or ridges were passed on a gallop, suddenly a pom-pom opened fire away to the left, then another and finally a third! Up over another grassy ridge at breakneck speed, and lo! the cause of the firing was apparent! Three or four thousand yards ahead, far below us was the Boer convoy crossing the spruit and slowly crawling up the opposite bank. The Royal Horse Artillery guns were quickly unlimbered and opened fire on the convoy. Shell after shell dropped among the waggons but still they trekked on. Suddenly there was a loud report and a shell dropped in the midst of our advancing cavalry. The enemy made a desperate attempt to protect their convoy but failed. Quick as lightning a gun was limbered up and galloped away out of our sight around the projecting kopje from which it came. A dozen wagons cut off from the rest left the road to escape our shell fire and trekked across the veldt. Two whole batteries were turned upon them and shells landed in half dozens at a time in front, behind and all about them. Our mounted infantry drove the enemy’s riflemen from the ridge overlooking and commanding the spruit and shell stormed convoy..................

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405 Pte. W. H. Snyder, 1st BATT. C.M.R. ‘B’ Squadron, Green Point Camp, Cape Town, S. A., 1st, April , 1900: — My Dear Mr. Robinson: — It is rumored about camp that we are to leave for front on Thursday, so I am going to try and get off a letter to you, as it will be next to impossible the write from there. You doubtless know long ago that we arrived in Cape Town on March 21st, just exactly four weeks from the time we left Halifax. We met hardly any sailing craft while coming over, but once we entered Table Bay we found a perfect hive of steamers of all sizes – men of war transports. We heard of the capture of Cronje and of the relief of Ladysmith, shortly after our arrival, and cheer after cheer rent the air from six hundred of Canada’s sons. We did not know for a few hours about the gallant part our first Canadian Contingent had played in it, but when we did hear, cheer after cheer was given for our gallant comrades from the Land of the Maple Leaf.......It seemed a great change to find when we arrived here that the trees were all leaved out and the weather like our summer. The winter or rainy season is about commencing. The houses are very pretty, with beautiful lawns and gardens attached. You will meet nearly all kinds of people in Cape Town. I was detailed, with about 150 more, to act escort to Boer prisoners yesterday. They were taken to St. Helena by the same boat that we came out in. There were about 400 of them. They took matters very philosophically and laughed and chatted. I was talking to one. He said the Boers didn’t blame Englishmen for fighting but thought that Canada had no business to get mixed up in it and that the Boers were laying for the Canadians particularly.........


C.U.

Part II will fallow:-
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Re: Canadian Letters’ From The Boys’ Second Anglo-Boer War,

Postby Spañiard » 22 Jun 2017 16:39

Lieut. Harold L. Borden, CMR 1st Batt. ‘B’ Squadron 4th Troop — Major Harold L. Borden, formerly commanding officer of the King’s County Hussars, Kentville, N. S., who was killed in South Africa. The deceased officer left Canada as lieutenant of the fourth troop of B Squadron, Canadian Mounted Rifles, and previous to leaving was stationed in Quebec for a few days, having secured his discharger from B Field Battery, R.C.A. The young man was a particularly fine specimen of robust young Canadian manhood and had already won distinction by his bravery in swimming with some others the Sand River on the march from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg. He was only twenty-three years of age, stood six. feet three inches in his stockings and weighed 198 pounds. He was brought up in King’s County, Nova Scotia, and had studied at Mount Altison University in Sackville and later at McGill, in Montreal, where he was in his third year of medicine. In his despatch conveying the sad intelligence of the deaths of young Borden and Burch, Lord Roberts said: — “The two young Canadian officers were killed while gallantly leading their men in counter attack on enemy’s flank at critical juncture of assault upon our position. Lieutenant Borden had been twice before brought to my notice in despatches for gallant and intrepid conduct.”

Ottawa, 20th, July, 1900. — Hon. Joseph Chamberlain cables to Lord Minto to express to Dr. Borden his deep sympathy with him at the loss of his gallant son. The following cable was received addressed to the Minister of Militia: — Cape-Town, July 19th, 1900. — Hon. Mr. Borden, Minister of Militia, Deeply regret to inform you of the death of your son in action of Reitvler, 16th. Mrs. Borden and yourself have my sincerest sympathy at the sad loss of this gallant officer, whom I have twice had the honor to specially mention in despatches to the Commander-in-Chief for gallant and intrepid conduct. “HUTTON.”.................

Pro Patria. — “And how can man die better than fighting fearful odds; For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods.” — Gallant Borden! fit type of the band of brave and generous lads, who, with chivalrous hearts and unpolluted motives, went forth to die in their country’s cause! True apostles are ye all of freedom, and the equal rights of man — real missionaries of the gospel of democracy. No sham, garrulous sophists are ye, prating stale and windy platitudes of a liberty’ that enslaves; a ‘fraternity’ that matures the mind of Cain; and an ‘equality’ that widens more and more the social gulf that estranges man from a knowledge of his fellows. Noble boys, no enduring harm can come to a country with such a race of sons as you. Such men are not only their country’s shield against the aggressive arm of the alien; but its hope that everything is not quite encircled by the cold grasp of materialism; and that human beings exist who find something else to live for than the lust of gold. It is refreshing to hear the clatter of muskets as well as muckrakes. The example of our citizen soldiers inspires a hope that the reign of Mammon is not universal, and will not be eternal; that to heap up pelf is not the chief end of man; nor that its enjoyment, after the faculty for enjoyment is gone, will continue to be an everlasting sport and satire of the gods...............................

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Gazette, 21st, July, 1900. — And now, let us kneel before the grave of Borden, Burch, Cotton, Arnold, Chalmers, Lord Roberts’ son, Count of Ava Dufferin, LaRue, Bradley, Thomas, Beattie, and ail those young heroes whose glorious blood moistened the roots of the victorious laurels in South Africa for the union, under the same crown, of England and Canada.

Lieut. John Edgar Burch, Attached For Special Duties, 1st Batt Canadian Mounted Rifles. — John Edgar Burch youngest son of Major F.O. Burch of the 2nd Dragoons, was born at St. Anns, Lincoln Co., Ont., February 8th, 1874. He attended Public School here; High School at Smithville, and also received some training in business principles in Hamilton Business College. When about eighteen years of age he enlisted with B Squadron of the 2nd Dragoons which drills annually at Niagara on-the-Lake. He from the first gave evidence of a military spirit. He attended Cavalry School one session as a Sergeant and three succeeding terms as a Lieutenant. Here he became very popular with the officers of Stanley Barracks, Toronto, and distinguished himself as a horseman, swords-man, and commanding officer. In the Dragoons he was considered one of the best officers of the regiment and from first Lieutenant of B Squadron was promoted to the Adjutancy of the regiment. When the Second Contingent was called for South Africa he volunteered his services; and was offered the position of Lieutenant in the Canadian Mounted Rifles which he promptly accepted.........................................

Lieut. J.E. Burch, Canadian Mounted Rifles, Letter To His Father, dated 8th, May, 1900, South Africa. — The letter was read at the officers’ mess of the 2nd Dragoons and received with much interest. Dear father and mother: — We are now about 45 miles from Bloemfontein, and are fighting every inch of our advance. The Boers are strongly entrenched just in our front and a halt has been made for to-day to give our men and horses a rest. On the 3rd instant we ran up against the enemy entrenched on two kopjes on either side of a road which the transport must travel. I was sent forward with a troop belonging to A Squadron, Canadian Mounted Rifles, to draw their lire and determine their position. The Boers did not fire a shot until we were within 50 yards of them, and they were well concealed, then they let blaze at us. Just at that moment another troop on my left was compelled to retire leaving me under a cross fire. It did not take long to decide that it was best to get out of these close quarters. That was the first time any of us had been under fire, but the men conducted themselves wonderfully well. Our object had been attained and our cannon soon shelled the Boers from their position. It seemed remarkable that none of our troop was shot, although for about five minutes the bullets whizzed and whistled around us like hail stones. The next day we again met them in stronger force, but were compelled to stand fast for the day and wait for guns................................

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Letter from Pte Snyder, Guards Hospital, London, 15th, July, 1900: — Dear Mr. Robinson: — You know, no doubt, that I have been invalided to England with enteric and dysentery. For a few days after landing, I was quite “fit,” but to-day have had to re-enter hospital, very sick indeed, with dysentery and abscess of the liver. During the few days of my liberty I saw Her Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria, at Buckingham Palace, also St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster, the Tower of London, Houses of Lords and Commons, War Office, Kensington Palace, Crystal Palace, British Museum, Madame Tussand’s Wax-works, etc. I have made the acquaintance of Mr. Murray, private Secretary to the Duke of Connaught. By his influence I was permitted to go into one of the Towers of Buckingham Palace, overlooking the grounds, where last Wednesday the Queen held a garden party. Glorious weather favored it, and afforded a grand opportunity for the display of exquisite toilettes, to which the beautiful garden of Buckingham Palace forms so fitting a background.......................

Botha Evades Canadians: — Mounted Rifles Had Practically Surrounded Him. — Toronto, July 17th, 1900. A special cable despatch from Mr. John A. Ewan, to the Globe, dated Pretoria, June 13th, via London, July 16th, as fallows: — After marching through Pretoria the Canadian Mounted Rifles were selected to assist in the movement for rounding up General Botha’s force. We came up with the enemy soon after crossing Pinar River, on June nth, and immediately engaged under instructions to hold him there. The position occupied by the Boers was one of singular natural strength and the purpose was to cut off all their avenues of escape and compel them to surrender. The field in which the Canadian Rifles lay was very stony and the men built themselves shelters during the night so that on the following morning they were able to smoke their pipes and cook their meals in comparative comfort, while the enemy enveloped the position with shell and rifle fire. The programme of our lads was to hold their fire for the most part but occasionally give their antagonists a liberal dose of lead intimating that they were still on hand and proposed to stay and hold the position.....................

175 Pte. L.W.R. Mulloy, 1st Batt. Canadian Mounted Rifles, ‘A’ Squadron: — He was From Winchester, Ontario, had lost his sight and had to be guided through the streets by a comrade on each side of him. A mauser bullet passed through his head from temple to temple at Bronkhorst Spruit. Now he stood on the West Gallery overlooking the area crowded with mercantile men, and, when the cheering had 6ubsided, he said: — I am glad that I have the privilege of speaking to a portion of the people of our British Empire. I am not a regular soldier. A year ago I was a student studying in the University, and ought now to be in the University out there. But when Canada was called upon to send out men, she did not send her ‘corner boys,’ but the best she had to give. (Cheers.) I do not know how it came about, but I happened to be in that crowd (cheers), and I came because, like the cat, I could not stop away. (Cheers.) I could not attend to m y business. I have no regrets for the past, I think if a man decides that a course is right and has followed that course out he has no right to regret afterwards, whatever the consequences may be. (Cheers.).................................

413 Pte. B.R. Armstrong 1st Batt. Canadian Mounted Rifles, ‘B’ Squadron, A Wounded Warrior Lost His Leg: — minus a leg, hobbled on his crutches alongside his comrades, and the Queen immediately gave an order to have the wounded soldier presented later. The battalion formed in quarter-column and advanced towards the Royal carriage in review order. They swung up, a solid phalanx of strapping khaki-clad figures, with sun-tanned faces, crowned with a forest of glittering steel, and halted with the front company close to the carriage. A grand spectacle they presented, and seldom, if ever, has a more warlike body stood at attention before Royalty. Colonel Otter was presented, and commanded to dine, and the other officers were brought to Her Majesty’s notice. Her Majesty then addressed Colonel Otter as follows: — I am very glad to see you here to-day and to express my warm thanks for the admirable services rendered in the War by the Canadian Troops. I wish you ail a safe and happy return to your homes. Madam, ‘replied Colonel Otter,’ we are only too proud to fight for the flag under which we have been born, exist and hope to live.’ Corporal Armstrong next limped up to the carnage, and the Queen asked after his health. ‘I am quite well, madam,’ he said. Where did you lose your leg? inquired the Queen. At Olifanfontein, madam, replied the corporal, smiling with happiness at the situation...................................

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Canadian Wounded Warriors, 1st Batt. Canadian Mounted Rifles, A-B Sqn's., (RCD B Sqd) South African War.

188 Pte. Robert S. Robinson, Canadian Mounted Rifles 1st Batt. ‘A’ Squadron, From Bankfontein, Letter To Art Galoska: — 3rd August 1900. — Dear Art, I am just wondering how those predictions tallied that I made in my letter of July first regarding the regatta. I had five letters written on about July 9th. But I found when I took them from my pocket to mail, that I had lost two — one of which was for you, all sealed and addressed. I have not had the chance to write again until today. But if I can’t repay your letter through the mail, I can bring you a war souvenir from South Africa if I come through all right. I also lost one partly written for Bill Hedges, but I will write him today. I have some Boer arms and Kruger coins and pennies, which I may be able to bring back to Canada at some future time when the CMRifles go home. This seems very indefinite just now, as we are in much the same position as Moses when the light went out, as regards to the finish of the war. I am not giving you much description of our movements, as I expect you are sick of reading about the continual chase after the enemy, who must know their case is hopeless, but continue to fight and run..................It appears the Boers had driven in our outposts and were advancing in force to attack us. After riding a couple of hours, that old familiar boom was again heard to our front. They aimed a few fifteen-pound shells at us before we reached the shelter of a small rising of rocky ground ahead. One shell dropped between the first and second man on my left, throwing a complete cloud of dust which covered us from sight for a moment. And poor Mr. Birch said afterwards he thought he had lost a couple of his men that time. Our guns, the Royal Horse Artillery, were in action in a flash, and it was not long until the enemy ceased shelling us. The second battalion was then sent to the left with one troop of A, and the balance of the B squad were sent to support the Royal Irish Fusiliers who were being hard-pressed on a kopje to our right. We soon came under heavy rifle fire from a force of the enemy in a farm to the front. We dismounted, and going through the knick and around the front of the kopje, we had to face hot rifle fire. The Boers used explosive bullets mostly, and they were whistling and cracking like firecrackers in all directions. In a little while, Brown fell wounded through the chest. He may recover. Soon after, Lieut. Borden fell exclaiming, “I’m done for boys”, and expired. They were both behind me, a little higher up the kopje. The bullets must have gone over our heads (of third troop)..........................

Heroes In The Mounted Rifles. — Thrilling Story Of How Corporal Miles, Cpl. Morden And Trooper Kerr On Outpost Duty. — Held A Band Of Boers At Bay At An Important Point. Pretoria, 7th, August, 1900. — Our little camp, said Lieutenant Davidson, was situated about three miles north of Honingspruit Station and between two important bridges, which had to be guarded. The force consisted of a regiment of Imperial Yeomanry, two companies of the Shropshire Regiment, and troops one and four of D Squadron of Canadian Mounted Rifles. Our camp was on the west side of the railway, while three miles away to the east across the railway were two large kopjes, on the top of which we had two outposts. We had also an outpost north of the camp about two miles, and another south of the camp about the same distance away. At the time the attack was made the Canadians were doing the outpost duty. The order of the camp commandant was that ail these outposts should be manned during the daytime only. On the morning of the 22nd of June, I was returning from camp after having placed the north and south outposts. It was about 6 o’clock and just breaking dawn. Each of these outposts consisted of four men. Lieutenant Ingles left camp at the same time as I did to place the two eastern outposts on the top of the two high kopjes three miles east of the camp.....................

The Heroic Outpost. — When the Boers opened fire on them the four Canadians composing the outpost realized the importance of preventing the enemy from gaining the high ground to the rear of the camp. One of their number was immediately sent back to camp with the horses, and the other three quietly set to work to reply to the enemy’s fire. It was long odds, three men against sixty, but these Canadians from Pincher Creek were stout-hearted fellows who did not know the meaning of the word fear, and rattling good shots into the bargain. For eight hours they fought, the number of their opponents increasing as the hours went by until there were close to a 100 burghers pouring in a fusilade of rifle shots at the three men who held the crossing over the railway line. Shortly after noon Corporal Morden was seriously wounded with a bullet through the chest. He never gave up, however, but kept on firing until later on another mauser bullet crashed through his brain. About 2 o’clock another one of the little party, Trooper Kerr, was wounded. At that time the force consisted of two wounded men and Corporal Miles, who was in charge of the outpost. About half-past two Kerr was shot through the heart, and a little later Corporal Miles received a bullet wound in the shoulder. He did not give in though for ail that, but continued firing and used up the cartridges of his dead companion after his own had been exhausted...................

188 Pte. Robert S. Robinson, Canadian Mounted Rifles ‘A’ Squadron 1st Batt. From Wonderfontaine 14th September, 1900, to Art Galoska: — Dear Art, — At last we are having a good rest. After five months continually on the go we have been left to guard and patrol in the vicinity of Wonderfontaine and Belfast, the duty being very light and no night work, which is done by the infantry. We have been here for two weeks. One half of the squadron is at Belfast and the other half at Wonderfontaine. Our second battalion is holding a farm about seven or eight miles away to our left and our patrols connect with theirs. About a week ago the Boers attacked the second battalion but were repulsed, and since they have given no trouble in the vicinity. Of course we enjoy the rest, but it is very dull here and the time passes slowly. We have been nearly nine months in the service now and as Tommy says “We’re fed up on the job.” I continue to be in very good health. The weather is much warmer and very pleasant now in contrast to the cold months of July and August. The trees are in bloom and the grass fields are nearly all green again but I hope the rainy season which is expected shortly keeps off until the war is over, but I don’t suppose we will be home before next year..................

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Canadian Soldier, 2nd Contingent, Plausible Member of RCFA ‘E' Battery South African War, 1900.

How Lieut. Chalmers Fell Gallant Canadian Died Leading His Men Out Of Tight Place. — Ottawa, December 17th, 1900. — Lieutenant-Colonel T. D. R. Evans, commanding the Canadian Mounted Rifles, sends the following report, dated at Belfast to the adjutant-general at Ottawa, of the death of Lieutenant Chalmers in action November 2nd: — On the 1st instant, at 7 p.m., a column under Major-General Smith-Dorrien marched from Belfast south towards Koomati Valley to co-operate with a similar column moving parallel and to the west. Rain was falling heavily, and the column halted at 12.30 a. m. until about 3.30 a. m. The advance guard on 2nd, instant consisted of sixty of my men under command of Major Saunders. The advanced party, 2nd, troop C Squadron, was commanded by Chalmers, and was accompanied by a guide who appears to have given them the wrong directions ; when the advanced party carne into touch with the enemy the main column had branched off to the right, and was nearly two miles away. About fifteen of the enemy were first seen emerging from a house in the valley, and thirty more came from a house about one mile west. These occupied a ridge to the west of our position. The advanced party moved up the slope to some trenches which had been constructed by the enemy. Other parties of the enemy now appeared from the east, and were engaged by the flankers of the support. Expecting early assistance from the main column, the advanced guard, although in a most dangerous position, held its place under severe rifle fire. At about 5 a.m. an order came from the G. O. C. to retire...............................

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RETURN OF 2nd CONTINGENT. — From the Gazette, 9th, January, 1901. — When the booming of guns announced to those who had anxiously watched for some sign of the transport since Monday that the Roslyn Castle was sighted, the quarantine steamer and a tug raced down the harbor to meet her. On board the tug was a large party of ladies, some of whom were the wives of the returning officers. The moon was just rising, as the Roslyn Castte came within sight, and by its faint light the party on board the tug were enabled to see a flag flying at half-mast from the transport’s after peak. Long before the tug came within hailing distance of the steamer the doctor’s boat had reached it, and turned back to order the captain of the tug to put back to shore. The ladies on board piteously begged the doctor to tell them who was dead before they started back. On the doctor’s boat was the Reverend Father Sinnett, who gently broke the news to Mrs. Sutton, one of the ladies who made up the light hearted party aboard the tug, that her husband, Captain Sutton, had died two days before the transport reached port. She could not realize for a moment the full meaning of what she heard. When she did her grief was pitiful. Mrs. Sutton had been one of the gayest of the little party on board the tug and did not attempt to restrain the joy with which she looked forward to meeting her husband again. She had only been married eight years when her husband answered his country’s call to arms, and left her for South Africa. Some time ago Mrs. Sutton left for England, hoping to meet him on his arrived there, only to find that he was coming direct to Halifax, which she managed to reach just in time to welcome him..............................


THK U FR YR TME.

C.U.


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