DIARY OF WILLIAM HOLPIN DURING THE BOER WAR

Memorandum of the War

Holpin war diary 2016-10-25T14:25:05+00:00

We are grateful to Denise Cousins for allowing us to see the diary written by her great grandfather, William Holpin, during the Boer War.  The diary covers the period between 12th February and 1st August 1900 when William was serving as a Bomber with the Royal Artillery in South Africa.  Although the notes do not include references to William’s own activities nor any personal observations about the war or the country, they enable us to get a good picture of the dangers, hardships and distances covered by the solders during such a short period of time.  In a period of four months William’s unit marched from the Modder River to Pretoria, a distance of just under 400 miles, if one travels on modern roads in a straight line.  These troops of course had rather more difficult conditions and their wagons had to drag the heavy guns with them.  There was also the small matter of fighting Boers all along the route.  From Pretoria onwards his journeys sometimes involved the use of trains.

William’s wrote the diary as one long sentence without using full stops. To make the content easier to read, we have taken the liberty of breaking it up into sections. Generally we have made each section cover William wrote about each particular day. We have also corrected William’s spelling and used the modern spelling of place names to aid anyone interested in referring to a map to see where action took place or to research further into the subject.

Commencing on the 12th February 1900 I marched from Modder River.  On 12th February arrived at Enstin on the same date about 10 p.m. watered and fed there, and then moved on to a place called Ram-dam arriving there early on the morning of the 13th then we watered and fed and rested for about 2 hours and then we moved on again arriving at a place called Risley River and rested for the night

on the following morning 14th we moved on again arriving to within about two miles outside the town of Jacobsdal but we had not scarcely got into camp before we had to turn out with a gun but we did not require to use it but our Infantry and Cavalry had some rather heavy fighting driving the enemy from there we all retired back to camp for the night

and on the following morning 15th we moved on to assist in the flanking movements of Maggersfontein but we had to change our course in the direction of a place called Spitfontien where we arrived about 4 o’clock in the afternoon and came into action and we very soon began to scatter the enemy in all directions so we retired back to camp for the night so on the morning of the 16th we were sent out to a place called Klip Karral which we engaged the enemy the whole day long and in the afternoon myself and two more Bombardiers were sent down to the river that were nearest to where we were in action but on arriving there we had not the option of filling them at that secluded spot and on arriving there before we could dismount off of our horses we were fired upon by the enemy both with big guns and rifles as we made for the place where our own men were but the enemy had worked to a position as they got within a very short range as they opened fire within or about 500 yards off us so we had to put spurs to our horses and gallop for about two miles farther down the river and at the same time they captured a number of our infantry as there were about 50 ponies came galloping after us without anyone on their backs and while we were filling the water bottles there was one man that escaped as he told us that he had to swim for it and when he came to us he had neither coat or side-arms on so he must had a very hard time off it and I can say that we had a very trying time of it ourselves as it took us until about 4 o’clock the following morning before we could find the battery and then we should not have found the Battery then only one of the officers belong to the Battery left it just as they had to take another position and he informed us the direction we had to take so with the assistance of him and a little of  our own sense we found the Battery but it was rather a trying time as each of us had about 26 to 28 water bottles to carry and it took the men for about a month after to find their own in fact some of them did not find them at all but it was our duty to complete what we were sent on as the men did not have the opportunity to get a drink from about four o’clock in the morning on the 16th until the following morning about the same time but we could not get back before as it came over dark before we could complete filling them and then we were wandering about the whole night long trying to find the Battery and then had to move on again there and then as the enemy had moved on farther

and we had to follow them up and we came close onto them on the 17th February at a place called Spyfontien where we opened fire on them about 5 o’clock in the morning as we got very close on to them as we had to rest from about 2 o’clock on the morning of the 18th until day break as it was our nation’s motto to have daylight for it as they had almost had them in a circular and then during the day we worked completely around them with the assistance of General French coming up at the exact moment as it was impossible for them to escape so we kept at them from about 5 o’clock until dark during that day and then retired a little distance but only far enough to be out of rifle range but we did not retire far enough to allow them to escape as from the night of the 18th February until the night before Cronje’s surrender which he surrendered on the 28th we were putting both shell and rifle fire into them night and day in the former occasion it was mostly infantry fire but the latter we gave them a fair supply of shell for to last them for a while both from our pattern guns and the big guns in fact they were getting it from all sides and on the night before he surrendered  we gave them the full force of about 6 to 9 Batteries and while we were pouring the shell into them our infantry were closing in on them the whole time and in the morning our troops had got so close to him that he saw at the first streak of daylight nothing but glittering steel all around him and as soon as he saw it he quickly decided the best steps to take and the safest for his own side and the men that he had under his command as if he had not had done that there would not be a man left to tell the tale as we were all in readiness to make the final charge on him and I can truly say that he would not have had the breadth of a pins head of a chance if he had awaited half an hour longer so Cronje immediately sent out the flag of truce and then we took him and his whole force prisoners but it was a great deal better for our side that it did turn out the same as what it did as we should have had a lot of blood shed on our side and after we had cleared them all out of the Lagger a great number of our troops were allowed to go into it and I shall not forget it for a while as it stunk most horribly there and there must have been a very great number of both men and cattle killed there as the river that ran along there which we had to get both our drinking water and also water for the horses and cattle every time we went down to the river we could see any amount of cattle floating down in it and all along side there were a great quantity of the enemy just thrown into a hole and a little mould pulled over them as we saw several of them with their hands and feet showing out of the ground so on the same day that Cronje surrendered we moved from that side of the river on to the opposite side and I was pleased to shift from there as every night that we were there we were wet through as it was impossible to be otherwise as it was both pouring down upon us and running underneath us so during the day we very often managed to dry our clothes on us ready for another soaking the following night and the blankets were spread out the whole day long so the amount of rain that we received there caused the river to rise to an extent that on us crossing it there were about 10 to 12 horses taken clean off their feet and the current was so strong that as soon as we cut them free it carried them down the river but with the assistance of a few willing hands that were there we were able to save the greater number of them by plunging into the river a little farther down and securing a rope around their necks at the same time keeping their heads above water and then with the help of those willing hands they were dragged safely ashore and after getting everything safely ashore we moved on to a safe distance away from the smell to a place called Hosfontien and there we rested for a day or two

so when we moved again we made tracks for Bloemfontien but we had proceeded far before we came in contact with another body of the enemy at a place called Abrahams Kraal which we reached on the 8th of March but they did not delay us long as we very soon scattered them in all directions towards the town of Bloemfontien so we then rested for the night

and on the following morning we made track after them but did not come in contact with them again until we got to a place called Driefontien which was on the 10th March and after driving them from there we rested for the night

and on the following morning we were after them again but did not come across them anymore this side of the town which we reached on the 14th March and then we marched through the town of Bloemfontein past Lord Roberts and our own General which was Kelly-Kenny and the people gave us a very fair reception as we passed through both from white and black people that were in the town as they distributed a few things that was very much needed such as cigarettes, matches, bread, biscuits and coffee and they appeared to be highly pleased to see the English take possession of the town and Lord Roberts was highly pleased to see the body of men that he had under his command and to see them in such grand fighting form after the hardships that they had to put up with right through and the continual marching that they done on such a small diet that they had to do it on so on reaching the other side of the town just about a mile outside of the town we remained there  from 14th March until 29th April and while we were there we were refitted with a new supply of cattle as well as having the option of pulling ourselves together as we were supplied with a great deal more substantial food to put some strength into our side before starting again and also while we were there the Boers took possession of the Waterworks but they did not have the pleasure of keeping it long as we recaptured it the same day which was on the 31st March

and there was also a little fighting outside the town also on the 15th April some of our troops under the command of General Gatacre were caught unawares whilst crossing a drift not far from the water works so the enemy captured about 5 companies of the Northumberland Fusiliers besides cutting a Battery of horse artillery up almost every man as there was not about 14 men left out of the Battery that got clear away without a scratch but it was a lucky chance that there were some more of our troops close at hand that had the courage and pluck to go in and recapture the guns back again before they had a chance to get away with them and at the same time they gave the enemy a severe shaking as they had a very great number killed and wounded a far greater number than what we had on our side as we were not so badly off  as we recaptured all of our men on reaching Pretoria.

On the 29th April en route for Pretoria which we reached on the 5th June 1900.  But before we reached there we had some very heavy battles as well as some lively times during the distance between the two towns and on leaving the town of Bloemfontein we were not very long before we came in contact with some of the enemy force on 15th May we had a pretty heavy fight with them but we was not long in driving them off and taking possession of their positions and I can say that they did not forget to move with our shells following them scattering them in all directions but they were very soon collected together and take up another position with a few more to strengthen them as on the 4th May we came across them again and we gave them a rather severe hustling which they got the worst of the game as we only had two casualties on our side while they must have suffered more severely as they were driven in all directions but they were pretty quick in collecting together again that is the privilege of knowing the country as they must have

as on the 5th May we arrived into the town of Wyndberg and drove about 200 of them out of the town that were quietly having a drink and enjoying themselves for the last time before the English took possession of it but they were rather surprised as none of them seemed to be aware that our people was so close on to them but at the first alarm they were on their horses and away behind some Kopjes before our people could scarcely look around but our mounted troops gave chase after them but they had too much of a start of our men so they made good their escape so they returned to our headquarters where we rested for the night just outside the town

and on the following morning we were off after them again but they did not offer to take up another position or either show fight until the 10th May when they thought that they had a pretty good position but we very soon shifted them but at the same time we had a pretty sharp bit of fighting while it lasted as we attacked them on the night of the 9th but it set in dark almost as soon as we attacked them so we rested for the night and almost before the first streak of daylight put in its appearance we attacked them again as during the night we had worked nearly all around them we gave it to them with all our might but they made good their escape as there was a place left open on the side proceeding to Pretoria and a river between them and where we halted but during the night we got possession of some part of the other side of the river and the names of the places that the enemy occupied were  (Zand-rivier and Ventersburg) but we had very little casualties on our side but they must have suffered very severely as our shell and rifle fire were dropping in amongst and all around them but we cleared them from there and followed them up until dark and then we encamped for the night

and on the following morning we followed them up again and our Second Cavalry Brigade came across a party of them and captured about 40 of them as prisoners and brought them into camp where we rested for the night and on the 12th May we were on the move again and marched just on to the outskirts of the town of Kroomstad where we had a little misfortune as there was supposed to be about 140 of our force captured which consisted of the Scotch-Greys but we did not come in contact with the enemy ourselves so we arrived into the town about 5 o’clock in the afternoon and rested there from the 12th until 15th May

when we then moved on again another direction enroute for a place called Harrismith but before we had proceeded far we received orders to branch off and take another direction but we did not come in contact with any of the enemy until 18th May where we were almost being captured ourselves as we rested for the night on the first side of the drift that we had to cross to allow all of our convoy to pass over and we almost stayed too long in fact if we had not moved just when we did do we should have been in the hands of the enemy as we did not have any escort at all to assist us and there was calculated to be about 400 of the enemy to about 60 of us all told but we done a flank move on them and got clear and joined the main body on the following morning the 19th May and some of our infantry were out scouring the country a little distance form camp and as they were advancing up to a farm they were fired upon and on arriving up to the farm they found it to be occupied by three boys in possession of arms and ammunition which our men took possession of as well as the  boys and brought them into camp for safe keeping and about midday the main body moved out of camp while we remained with a few mounted troops behind to escort  a small convoy that was expected up but we was all prepared to move at any minute and the convoy arrived about 4.30pm so we moved on after the main body but before we had proceeded far on the road our advance scouts sighted some of the enemy so we immediately formed our small force into a lagger with the intention of selling our lives dearly but they did not prefer to attack us as soon as they saw our move they galloped away behind a large kopjie but they was calculated to outnumber us by 2 to 1 as there was supposed to be 400 of them while there were only about 200 of us all told and there was not a shot exchanged on either side so we moved on again and joined our main body about midnight then we rested until daylight and then we moved on again all together but before we had got on our way far we came in contact with some of the enemy but we put a few shots into them from our guns and sent them on the retreating line towards Pretoria as fast as their horses could move from that position but on the same day the same of the enemy that were scattered from the others worked around behind our main body and attacked the rear part of our column and they captured a very few of our people but at the same time we had a few casualties killed and wounded but the enemy had a greater number killed and wounded and  taken prisoner

but on the following morning 21st May we had a slight skirmish with the enemy again and capturing some of their baggage but no casualties at all on our side then we moved on into camp and rested for the night

and on the following morning we were on the move again and at about midday we captured the town of Heilbron without any opposition at all and the inhabitants were delighted to see us as one of them told us that they had been awaiting for the English to come and take possession of the town for (8) long weary months.  But I cannot say if it is correct or not but we marched right through the town and fixed our camp on the outside portion of it but it was lucky that did no move on through the town as it was the cause of some of our mounted troops to capture some of the enemy wagons which was loaded with provisions and forage, so we rested there for a couple of days but on the morning of the 24th we were on our way again driving the enemy in front of us and at the same time capturing the (Vaal – River Junction) But the railway were all blown up that is at every convenient place that it was possible such as bridges and crossings and we were also a day too late to have the pleasure of capturing a complete Commando at the Vaal River Junction as they entrained late in the afternoon of the 23rd May en route for Pretoria but we moved on a little farther and then rested for the night

and then on the following morning we had to shift for about two miles so as to get our own column altogether as there were three different columns crossing one another at the same time so after we got our lot all together we completed the day’s rest

but on the following morning 26th May we moved on again crossing the River Vaal without any opposition at all and we were expecting to have a great deal of opposition there as it was rumoured that the enemy were very strongly entrenched but there was not a shot fired on either side and we encamped just on the other side of the Vaal for the night

and on the following morning we moved on again after the enemy but we did not come in contact with any of them but on the 28th May we heard the guns belonging to Lord Roberts’s column as both Lord Roberts and French were into it pretty heavily and on 29th we relieved General French’s column while he moved on in a circular route to try and surround them and we had a pretty lively time and the shot and shell both from our own guns and the enemies were passing one another in all directions but I am pleased to say that we go the best of the fun at the finish but the enemy were very strongly entrenched but our troops finally drove them off and took up their position but while the engagement was proceeding one of the enemies shells struck the body of one of the ammunition wagons bursting one of our own shells and destroying a furze? of another and the bullets from our own shell with the different parts of the shell bursted between the two leaders while there was some pieces of the shell struck a couple of the others causing the whole team to run away but on the smart and quick thoughts of one of our gunners having the presence of mind to put the break on or I do not know how far I should have gone as I was left with the team to manage myself as both the men in the lead and centre were thrown off leaving me the whole team to manage myself while at the same time there was a bombardier that was laying down by the wheel of the wagon in the rear of my team and a piece of the shell or bullet took a piece out of his puttee but did not touch him himself but it was a pretty heavy battle while it lasted but we finally cleared them out of there and then we moved for about three miles through burning feldt and had to camp for the night as it set in dark and we were not able to get a drink of water as we could not find any and nearly everyone was parched with thirst

so on the following morning we were up and ready for it again about 4 o’clock but the enemy had cleared and they had quite enough of the cold steel as the Gordons charged them with the bayonets but they suffered rather severe as there were about 94 of them killed and wounded while the Boers suffered a great deal worse as they lost twice the number and after leaving a party behind to bury the dead and wounded while we moved on to a place called Florida where we found plenty of water but we had no rations there as the supply had got separated from us but it was not long that we had to wait as with the prompt action of our commanding officer they soon found us out so the town of Florida is very small but the outskirts are a distant range of mines both of gold and coal mines which reach for about 30 miles in length so on the 31st May we captured the town of Johannesburg but at the same time the enemy gave a very hard fight for it but they found that we was master but they did not half like the idea of having to give the town up to the British but as soon as Lord Roberts gave them two things to do the first, surrender and the second that if they did not wish to surrender the town would be blown up so they very soon decided on the former and at the same time there were a good number gave their arms and ammunition up so we moved on again to about 5 miles on the far side of the town and rested there while at the same time there were a few of our men got permission to visit the town and they told me that it was in an awful condition and a very dirty smell all through the town,

so on the 2nd of June we moved on again in pursuit of the enemy but did not come in contact with them until we reached to within about 5 miles outside of the town of Pretoria and we reached there on the 4th June and Lord Robert’s column were engaged with them when we arrived but we soon gave him assistance and cleared them from there and General French took possession of all the forts so we camped for the night

and on the following morning we moved on into the town or just on to the outskirts of the town watered and fed the animals and at the same time all the prisoners that were in the town was released which was on the 5th and about 2pm the same day we marched through the town past Lord Roberts and all his staff which was all formed up on the market square and then we marched on through the town just to show the Boers the nation and the stuff that they are made of  that they was fighting with and some of the inhabitants were delighted and pleased to see us whilst there were some of them looked as if they could cut our throats that is the class of people that they call the Dutch or Dutch Germans and some of the pro-Boers that could not look us in the face, but at the same time we had a fair reception take it all together so after going right through the town we went back to our former camp

and on the following morning about 12 noon on the 6th June  we had orders to proceed back down country so we moved out to about 12 to 14 miles from Pretoria to a place called Irene arriving there the same night but on the 7th we moved on to about 3 miles down to where they making a siding for to entrain horses and cattle but there we had to wait as the train was not up to take us down but on the 8th there was a train come to take us but he had not the opportunity of arriving up to us as he had the bad luck to have the engine and trucks run completely off the rail and they said it was his first experience as an engine driver and he had the misfortune to be injured and was immediately conveyed to the nearest hospital so that delayed us for another day and on the morning of the 9th the train arrived and we very soon had the whole lot in our possession on the train and proceeded down country arriving at a station called Vereeniging and there we had to disentrain as the bridge of the Vaal were blown up or a portion of it where the train passed over so we rested for the night

and on the following morning we had to march across the River Vaal and entrain at the first station this side of the Vaal so as soon as we could entrain we proceeded on down through the C.R.G.? as far as a station called Vredefort where we had to disentrain without any delay in the least as the enemy were very close on to us so as soon as we had everything clear we camped for the night

and on the following morning we moved on after the enemy coming upon  them about midday of the 12th of June and with the assistance of Lord Methuen’s column we attacked them and drove them from their position and then we moved on just the other side of where the enemy had their position and camped for the night

and on the following morning Lord Methuen with his column moved on after the enemy while we looted De Wets Store and burned his farm to the ground and after taking all that we required from the stores we served that the same and there were another little farm about 200 yards from the stores and that was lined with both large and small ammunition which was all destroyed so in the afternoon we moved on to the Kopjie that the enemy had possession of the day before so we took up our position but we had only just taken our position in time as the enemy gave Methuen the slip and then paid us a visit on the 14th and tried to take it again but they was awfully deceived as we sent out 4 guns to chase them but they attacked us on all sides and when they thought all the guns were out of the camp they came and tried to take the camp but as they go to within 200 yards of it and then we gave them a couple of shell the first one killing and wounded 19 of them while one of our infantry shot another one that was trying to hide behind a big rock and they had a very clever way of attacking the camp if they had succeeded and they commenced by attacking a destruction train first about 2.30 am but our guns was immediately on the spot and prevented them from that as we got the information  where they were by Lord Kitchener himself that is the time that he was almost captured but he got free and we sent a few shell into where the enemy were supposed to be and the officer in charge of the destruction train said if we had gone up and placed the shell in amongst the enemy they could not have been put in better but at the same time we had about 5 casualties on our side as they were one of the engineers killed and two Kaffirs killed and the others were wounded while the enemy suffered more severely as one of them chanced his life close up to the train riding behind the wheel of the truck trying to pick our men off that were in the open but he had one to oppose just as wily as himself for as soon he shew his face at all he had a bullet pass clean through his left nostril and left lip penetrating right through his head while there were a great many more killed and wounded and we remained in that position until the whole lot were buried both our own men and the enemy’s and also until the trains had got clear away and so we then changed our position but only had one casualty afterwards but during the whole day that we were in action we only had about 7 to 8 casualties on our side but we had some remarkable luck as there were about 100 shell fired into us from the enemy’s Long Tom but did not take any effect on us but ours took more effect on them as there a great number of them laying about but we was not strong enough to proceed after them and hold the position we were in so at dusk we returned to camp for the night

but on the following morning we were up before the break of day ready to attack them again but they had all cleared away so we remained in camp until 21st June then we received the order to entrain at the Kopjie Junction en route for Pretoria to rejoin our own force and we were relieved by 62nd Battery but on us arriving at a station called Elandsfontein we received another order to proceed towards Springs as the column had moved out there

so we arrived there on 22nd just as the column were moving out so we had to quickly disentrain and follow after them which was under the command of General Hamilton so we moved on down towards the Free State again

arriving at a place called Heidelberg on 23rd June but we had a slight brush with the enemy but finally clearing them out and taking possession of the town so we remained there for two days and while we were halted there General Hart came in with his column which a portion of it was the Somerset L.I.

But on the 25th we moved out again in pursuit of the enemy but did not come in contact with them again for a few days

so we kept on the move crossing the River Vaal on 30th and continued the march arriving to a small town called Frankfort on 1st July and we arrived there just in time to prevent them blowing up a footbridge that cross the Wilge-River so we rested for a couple of days

and on the 3rd we moved on again farther down into the Orange Free State but on 6th there were a few of the enemy attacked the rear part of our column killing one and wounding another but it was not enough to prevent us from pursuing the enemy that we were driving in front of us so we kept them on the move until we reached a small town called Reity which was on 7th July so we rested for a few days and on 12th we left the town and as we were leaving the inhabitants wanted our general to leave some of our men behind to guard the town as they were afraid that the Boers would return and loot everything that was in the town. But it was impossible as we required them with the column so we continued on the move arriving to another small town called Bethlehem and marched on through the town on the 16th and continued on until we reached what they call the Drakensberg Mountains or within about 8 miles of it where we had to take up a position to prevent the enemy from escaping by that way so we remained there form 17th to 23rd but on arriving there one of our Basuto Scouts gave us the information that the column on our right front killed about 300 of the enemy besides capturing about 30 more of them and also capturing 2 of their guns on our arrival and while we were staying there 2 of our scouts were sent out in the direction of the hills to try and find out the exact spot of the enemy and where their laager was but had not returned again not when the remainder of the Scouts moved away three days later

so we moved out of the camp about 1 o’clock on the 22nd in pursuit of the enemy  as while we were holding that position the other columns were working around them and the ones that we are after are supposed to be a number of them that Lord Roberts gave the privilege of giving up their arms and remaining on their farms but they are under arms again and there are some more of them that has been troubling us for a long time by blowing the line up until they were stopped and then they made tracks for the mountains where they thought that they would be able to hold their own against us but they were very soon deceived as on 23rd we went straight into action about 1 o’clock and commenced an attack on them at a place called Reteifs Neck which is about 9 miles south of Bethlehem and we kept the attack up until dark and then we moved back onto a little level ground where we encamped for the night

and on the following morning we were up and into them again but our infantry had worked around them that they had to clear out or be captured so they took the former but as they were retiring from the other side of the hill the Highland Brigade caught them and they gave them volley after volley bringing about 100 of them to the ground besides capturing and wounding a great many more amounting to about 400 all told but we lost pretty badly as there were about 41 killed and wounded of the Sussex Regiment  so continued in pursuit of them and at a place called Fouriesburg we were so close onto them that they had to leave both our own men that were prisoners besides all of their wounded that they got away on 24th July  but on 26th one of the Artillery Generals of the enemy came into our camp and surrendered as he was sick of the war then

so we arrived into Fouriesburg on 27th and the people told us that the enemy had 20 guns with them but only 4 that they were able to work so we continued in pursuit of them over taking their rear guard about 9 o’clock on the morning of the 28th and after  exchanging a few shots on both sides they retired farther into the hills and we followed them up and at about 12 o’clock at night our infantry went up with the intention of charging them out of the hills but on arriving they had all cleared out and about 5 o’clock we commenced to climb the hill and it took us until about 8 to do it in and when we arrived there Prinslaw sent in to ask for 4 days armistice but was not allowed

and we immediately followed them up and on the 29th we had them properly hemmed in on all sides and we were on one side General Hamilton on another and Fighting Mac on the other so they could not get away

so on the morning of the 30th Prinslaw surrendered with his whole army so we took them all over with the old flag hoisted and the band playing the Queen while they all marched down the centre of two lines of troops and at the commencement of the line they had to give their arms and ammunition up but they did not all turn up on the 30th so on the morning of the 31st we had to go out and chase a couple of the commandos in and then we encamped for the night and the number that was calculated to be there amounted to about 5000 and General MacDonald took about 1500 of them and two guns while we had the remainder with two guns so we had a couple of days excitement watching them all come in and they was a  very rough and ragged lot and a great portion of them had scarcely a boot on their feet and they looked a very poor nation to put in a field of battle and there were a lot of very old people and some of them were mere boys but some of them were so old that they could scarcely walk leave alone fight so on the 1st August we moved out of camp en route for Kroomstead with some of the prisoners with the intention …  (end of diary)

The following notes were included at the end of the diary:

Notes

Whilst on the march from the Modder River to Bloemfontein as much as 2/- was paid for a bottle of water which the bottle only held about one and half pints

On 16th April it was rumoured that General Gateacre had to resign his command and sent home whilst General Prettyman precede him.

On 9th May I had the pleasure of plucking some ripe Indian corn for the first time after being in the country and on 12th May I plucked the second lot of corn and some ….

Personal notes

Wife Alice born 1877

Son Arthur born 22nd October 1898

Son Willie born 15th M ay 1900

14/6/1902 Posted the sum of £3.00 debt to Mrs H Gazzard

Presents sent home for the year 1900 and 1901

12/10/1900 posted the sum of £4

31/3/1900 posted Queens chocolate

3/3/1901 posted the sum of 30/- for the purpose of a present to be sent to my wife which should consist of ostrich feathers – 2 large white 5/- each, 1 small white 3/5 each, 1 large and 1 small black 2/6 each, mixed tips at 1/6d each.  Packing and registration 3/6.  Total £1 10s

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