Canadian Letters’, Extracts, &c., From “The Boy’s” (R.C.R.), Second Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1900.

SVP. I’ll be only posting c. 3 blogs, and would require over a dozen more in order too cover a good portion of the letters, etc., from the South African War, some examples as fallows. —

 Letter Extract of Mr. Chamberlain to Lord Minto: — ”The great enthusiasm and the general eagerness to take an active part in a military expedition, which has unfortunately been found necessary for the maintenance of British rights and interests in South Africa, have afforded much gratification to Her Majesty’s Government and the people of this country. The desire thus exhibited to share in the risks and burdens of Empire has been welcomed, not only as a proof of the staunch loyalty of the Dominion, and of its sympathy with the policy pursued by Her Majesty’s Government in South Africa, but also as an expression of that growing feeling of the unity and solidarity of the Empire which has marked the relations of the Mother Country with the Colonies during recent years. The thanks of Her Majesty’s Government are specially due to your Ministers for the cordial manner in which they have undertaken and carried through the work of organizing and equipping the Canadian Contingent.”

 With The Royal Canadians, By Stanley McKeown Brown,War Correspondent, 1900. — When the contingent had been two weeks and two days at sea we passed the SS. “Rangatira,” of the Shaw, Savill Albion line on her way from New Zealand to London. To us she proved a post-box in the ocean, for it was by her that we were able to send the first letters home from the “Sardinian.” All night long some officers had watched for the light of a vessel, and from the Captain’s bridge it was nearly dawn before a faint sparkling spectre appeared on the horizon. Two on board our boat had made a wager the night before that a vessel would come in view before twelve o’clock the next day. “What shall we bet?” asked an officer of high rank, who gambled that no vessel would be seen. “Champagne,” answered the other, “if it suits you.” “Right,” was the one word from this high officer’s lips-for he was one of the six Colonels on board – as they sealed the compact.

The “Rangatira” stopped her engines, and the “Sardinian” halted, too. A life-boat was lowered from our ship, and after having put over to the England-bound boat with the great pillow slips full of letters, and bringing back copies of the Cape Town papers, we both steamed on, glad to have had a handshake from a British sister ship. “Well, boys, I’ve lost!” said the sporty Colonel, “and I’m willing to pay. Come along down stairs!”

Seven followers of Bacchus, besides the winner of the wager, changed their allegiance and followed the Colonel to the saloon. The nine officers sat, eight with eager eyes, around the table, and slapped the good-hearted Colonel on the back, and each in turn told him what a good fellow he was. “You must expect to lose sometimes, Colonel,” ventured a young subaltern.

“Oh, yes; can’t expect to win always,” patronizingly, as he stuck out his chest and rubbed his hands. The steward appeared in due time – very due time. “Your order, sir?” came from the servant in the spotless duck uniform. “I’ve just lost a bet to — and I want these boys to join us,” the Colonel said in a big-hearted way. “Bring in a pint of good champagne.” Eight heads dropped involuntarily, and some of those around the board had enough presence of mind to cough, while others groped for their watches, and became deeply interested with their brass buttons. It was the last “sporty” bet that Colonel is known to have made on board.

7354 Pte Noble John Jones, ‘C’ Coy, Toronto, Letter To his Mother, 29th,  October, 1899: — Dear Mother. — I am well and all right I am writing for the last time in Quebec for a while I am sitting on a stove with the pad on my knee so don’t be surprised at the scribble how are all the folks at home remember me to every body we sail tomorrow for South Africa so the next word you get from me will be off the field there is great activity down here fitting out the men I will write Just as soon as I get over there and get a chance the people in Toronto were more than good to me. I have nothing to complain of we have a fine Regiment we had a grand church parade today. I have not seen much of Quebec and what I have seen I do not think but very little of it the streets are narrow and muddy, I have very little news only that I am well and that is the main thing So I will close with love to all hoping to see you in a year… Good bye Noble.

2nd SS Bn. Royal Canadian Regiment Inf., S.S. Sardinian, Quebec City, Before Leaving, South African War, 28th Oct. 1899.

7354 Pte Noble John Jones, ‘C’ Coy, Letter To his Mother, Belmont South Africa, Wednesday 13th, December 1899: — Dear Mother. — I received your letter from Quebec last night & am glad to hear that all are well. We are having fine weather a little hot in the day time but pretty chilly at night our troops are having it pretty sharp up at Spitzfontaine we have lost a lot of men. but it is a terrible slaughter on the enemy we have cut off their water supply and have them surrounded they have only one thing to do surrender or die they are no mean foe they are a very ignorant people and stubborn fighters there is but little mercy shown on either side. This is their last stand but Petroria & that is their capital and I hear if they loose this battle they will give in. I think again you get this the war will be over and you will see us home pretty soon there come an alarm that the Boers were going to attack us And we hurried out at 3 o’clock in the morning on the veldt and the mountains but the enemy took a sneak and if they had of come on they would have got a warm welcome for the boys were pretty mad about loosing their sleep things look serious for a while but the boys came back to camp a deal merrier than left I tell you it puts queer thoughts in your head when you are lying behind a bunch of weeds expecting every minute to see a risk over a hill or a bullet hit the ground beside you or hear a chum give a groan and roll over you loose all fear it is a terrible feeling but it is all for the best we expect some more fun before the week is out.

we are camped on a battle field now at belmont and there is once and a while you run across a boer & I tell you he smells bad some of the boys out on outpost duty says the smell on the hills is nasty the British are making it hot for the enemy Just now I am sorry I left without seeing wille & Joe but as for bringing anything with me I cannot hardly carry what I have now I am getting all the things I can and am going to bring them home I hope we will all come back to toronto but I can hardly be but we will try very hard to do our duty cost what it may I have come through so far and have big hope of coming through the rest of it of course there is danger all round us, I am getting some photos taken here & I will send them out to you they will be kind of a curiosity in that country I will get a dozen all your friends them things that one was taken in toronto were no good Just cheap things and all he took was one for himself and one for me so I never took any they were not worth the bother I dont the canucks will see very hard fighting the Colonials are used for keeping open the lines of communications it is a pretty tough Job and a trying one but the soldier has to bear a little the ostrich is a common bird I had a piece of ostrich egg for breakfast down at the water in this country is not very plentiful but very good as a rule we expect to be sent up to fight this week but cannot say for sure there is reports of all kinds afloat I have been over the country a lot but no place like home. Good bye and love to all hoping to see you all soon…Nobel.

Unknown Author. — De Aar, 3rd,  December, 1899. — We are encamped just outside De Aar, and are to move on towards Kimberley to-morrow morning, so we will be in for the big battle to relieve that place Monday or Tuesday. The Boers are said to be terribly afraid of the bayonet. I have spoken with soldiers from the Modder River fight. They tell me that the actual fighting lasted sixteen hours, and that the British loss was heavy and included many officers, but that they drove the Boers across the river, so we hope to be in at the finish and the relief of Kimberley. We are all in splendid health and spirits, and are anxious lo get at the Boers. Two Boer spies were shot here this morning, one for spying round the camp, and the other got a bullet through his head while on the top of a telegraph pole cutting the wires.

2nd SS Bn. RCRI On Dock before Embarkation SS Sardinian, South African War 30th, Oct. 1899.

Unknown Author. — Belmont, 18th,  December, 1899. — It is wonderful to see the entrenchments that the Boers throw up on the tops of the kopjes, and it seems really marvellous that the British can ever have driven them back, but they did. — I have just got back from Graspan, 8.½ miles towards Kimberley, where we were guarding the lines while the Engineers put up the telegraph wires. They were all torn down by the Boers, and the iron poles bent and broken. We guarded the Engineers about seven miles past Graspan, to Eslin, and there handed them over to other troops from Eslin. The ‘grub’ we got out there was mighty fine, as there where several Boer farms en route, and we had sheep, vegetables, milk, eggs and butter, and the women cooked bread and scones for us. I forgot to tell you that the other night on outpost duty I heard some sort of a biped approaching my post, and challenged three times without getting an answer. Then, thinking it must be an enemy, I fired, and shot a poor unoffending ostrich through the head.

7060 Private H. Johnson, 2 SS Bn. RCRI, ‘A’ Coy, B.C. & Manitoba, Was Reported Killed. — After a graphic description of the battle of Modder River on February 18th, Private Johnson, son of Dr. Johnson, member for West Lambton, relates the incidents intervening between it and the next battle, the final stand of Cronje at Paardeberg. ‘On leaving the battlefield as I was going in I heard some groaning and searched for the place from whence the sound came, found a Seaforth, badly wounded. Fortunately I had put the rum with which we were served before the battle in my water bottle and had about half of it left. I raised him up and gave him a drink of it and the way in which it revived him was wonderful. Helping him along a short distance we met a stretcher on which he was put and carried in, but I shall not forget his inexpressible gratitude to me. On the 26th, about noon we went into the trenches for what was to be for forty-eight hours. We were not in very long before we were told that the regiment was to rush the Boer trenches during the next night, so we were ail on the ‘qui vive.’ On the morning of the 27th we were wakened at 2 a. m. and B Company was to be prepared to support C, D and G in the rush (B Company had suffered severely in the first fight on the l8th), the Gordons and Cornwalls to support the whole regiment. Our men left the trenches and stealing forward got to within about fifty yards of the Boers when a tremendous fire was poured into them. The men, in the meantime, had made trenches and were able to hold their ground though the gain was won at a fearful cost, about 14 killed and 24 wounded. To make matters worse the crossfire of the Shropshires hampered us and in addition to this the Gordons who had manned the trenches were waiting with bayonets fixed as supports. When the order to retire was given two of our men clambering into the trenches fell on the Gordons’ bayonets, both receiving severe flesh wounds, but fortunately neither of them fatal. Great was our surprise in the morning, the anniversary of Majuba Hill, to see the entire Boer force surrender, Cronje, their leader, with them. We were among the escorts.

7046 Private F. Finch-Smiles, 2nd SS Bn. RCRI, ‘A’ Coy, Wounded at Paardeberg, 18th, Feb., 1900. — of Victoria, has written to a friend from Orange River Hospital, in which he scores those Britishers who admire the Boers, saying that the latter potted the stretcher-bearers, used explosive bullets and fired into the hospital. This is just to let you know, he writes,  that I am still on top of the earth, though not quite as lively as perhaps I might be, and not able to do more than pen a few lines, as I get extremely tired. We had a very exciting day last Sunday week, and I got my dose early in the day, and so had leisure to reflect upon many things pertaining to the brevity of human existence on this sad earth — also many other thoughts of a philosophical character. My wound is healing up nicely, and I hope to be able to rejoin the regiment in three or four weeks’ time. We have been set nearly crazy over the good news that begins to roll in now, and if things continue as now I fear the campaign will be over before I am in condition to rejoin. Well, we shall see.

How 7255 Walter White, 2 SS Bn. RCRI ‘B’ Coy, Died at Paardeberg, 18th, Feb., 1900. — Windsor Boys Write Home Telling Of Their Friend’s Sad Death. — Messrs. Northwood and Boers, Windsor, are in receipt of letters from their sons in South Africa, both dated from Bloemfontein. Northwood mentions briefly the attack on the trenches at Paardeberg and the surrender of Cronje next day, then the movement of the Windsor boys to Bloemfontein. He touches most feelingly on the death of his intimate friend, Walter White, who, he says was killed while on an errand of mercy. He had moved from cover to give a drink to a wounded Highlander when he fell. ‘Words, ‘said the writer’ cannot describe m y feelings when I saw his face covered with the blood lie had so nobly shed for his country, I know it will be some consolation for his mother to know that her boy died such a noble death.’ From the surrender of Cronje to the writing of the letter the contingent had been marching and fighting every day, while living on half rations. At Bloemfontein, however, a few luxuries and necessaries were obtained. Boers’ letter contains a very interesting item of news not before conveyed in the letters from the boys. He says that three or four days after the surrender of Cronje, the Canadians and Highland Brigade were dispatched to dislodge some Boers who had occupied a kopje ten miles off. The Boers did not await the onset, but retired hastily, after some cannonade, leaving two of their best Krupps. In ail that day the troops detailed for this work manoeuvred over a distance of 20 miles. The march to Bloemfontein, 67 miles, took four days, and ail were much fatigued.”

2nd SS RCRI, Officers Onboard SS Sardinian, South African War, Nov. 1899.

7354 Pte Noble John Jones, ‘C’ Coy, Letter To His Brother Joe From Belmont, 20th,  December 1899: — Dear brother I am still alive and well so far we are having a pretty lively time of it just now between outpost. patrols and punk tea & coffee bull beef soup of all description but after all things are moving along very nicely. I had a lot of stuff gathered up that I am going to bring home I sent maggie a small ostrich feather but when I come across a good black one I will get one. Are you done threshing yet how did you make out the weather is pretty warm here. Just now and is still getting hotter you would be surprised how soon you get used to it I am commencing to to like the heat. it will be pretty hard to stand the cold after we get back home providing nothing happens to me I suppose the news went home about us having 8 hours hard fighting loosing one man and a large number wounded you dont want to believe reports like that for that is all lies we have not had a scrap yet but are looking for one every day we are up at the front pretty well but we are guarding this place because there are a large amount of supplies kept here and I have come to the conclusion that we will never be in the firing line because there are Imperial regiments here galore well drilled disciplined and well officered which we are not the enemy are pretty hard pressed as it is and I hope it will soon be over the poor Boers are fighting against their will their commanders are driving them on with revolvers and you bet that things in that state the war cannot last very long I hope it dont for their sake I am going to send you some scraps that I found on the battle field here at belmont there is not much to be found but I have a few things and some papers one letter I am going to send you a cross carabines they will do until I get something more substantial I have a lot of cartridges and things I cannot send by mail I am sending you three letters and hope this will find you all well goodbye love to all…Noble

Unknown Author. — Belmont, 24th, January, 1900. — We have great fun watching the Boers trying to break the British heliographic messages b y search light at night from Kimberley. We see the signal from Kimberley and the answer from Modder River, and the Boers’ light flashing up and down and ail around as if it had lost itself, but not interfering with the messages at ail I believe, the Boer position not being in direct line between the two points. We have just received our chocolate from the Queen. I will send my box home as soon as I can do so safely. . . .

Letter received by Col.-Sergeant MacNab, of the 5th Royal Scots, from Private R. Gunn, first contingent: — Friday, 23rd, February, 1900. — I am just writing a few lines to let you know how we are getting along. I suppose you will have heard of the big fight we had before this letter reaches you. We arrived at Modder Spruit after a 25 miles march, leaving Cliff Spruit the night before. We were just one hour in camp before we were in the thick of the fight. We had time to have a wash in the river and drink a little coffee, and we lived the rest of the day on one hard tack biscuit and a little water, we had in our bottles. We got in the fight at seven o’clock. The Boers were entrenched in strong position along the river. We could not see them on account of the thick bushes which grow along the water’s edge. We waded the river about a quarter of a mile from the Boer position, the water reaching up to our shoulders, and the weather being wet, we chilled for the rest of the day. After we reached the opposite side we opened out in skirmishing order. A and C Companies were the firing line, the Gordon Highlanders also forming a part. B, D and H Companies the supports, and E, F and G the reserve. We got the order to advance across a plain, protected only by ant hills. As we advanced we were met by a shower of bullets and shells from a small gun the Boers have. We call it a ‘Pom-Pom.’ It made things pretty lively for us. Our artillery commenced firing, which made it hotter for them, and we advanced slowly along, making use of the cover we could get. E Company then got the word to advance again, under Captain Fraser. No. 1 section got separated from the rest of the company, and we were under Sergeant Allan. We passed the support and firing line and got within twenty yards of the Boers and laid down there the rest of the day, as we could not see the enemy. About five o’clock we got the order to charge. E Company got there first, but could not get near them, as our men were moved down. No. I section suffered most. It was a very sad night for us. We retired after dark and camped about ten hundred yards from the Boer position. We slept that night without anything to eat, only a little coffee we made ourselves. We have the Boers surrounded and they can’t get away. There are about ten thousand of them. As we have to give our mail in right away I can’t Write any more this time.

Corporal W. F. Fowle, of A Company, Royal Canadian Regiment, letter to a friend in Winnipeg, dated 24th, February, 1900, Paardeberg Drift, as fallows: — Our poor Captain Arnold was shot down in the middle of the fight and three men were wounded in carrying him off the field. He was hit in the head and arm, and was unconscious soon after until he died this morning. Poor fellow, he fully believed he would never go back and acted rather nervously at times, although in the fight he showed great pluck. In fact, you could almost say he was foolhardy, as he certainly exposed himself unnecessarily. He marched by me the previous night and chatted about Winnipeg and the 90th among other things.

2nd SS Bn. Royal Canadian Regiment Inf., Onboard, SS Sardinian, South African War, Nov. 1899.

Captain Rogers, S. Maynard, 2nd SS Bn. RCRI, ‘D’ Coy from Ottawa, writes from Paardeberg Drift, February, 1900. — The death of Mr. Zachary R.E. Lewis, North-West Mounted Police (of D Company, Royal Canadian Regiment Infantry), in the attack under Lord Roberts on Cronje’s laager the day before. . . . as fallows: — Poor Zack met his death in a gloriously plucky manner, as he was one of two (out of the whole regiment) who fell right in the enemy’s trenches; in fact, from what I can gather, he was the first to reach them of our firing line (composed of Seaforth Highlanders, Black Watch, Cornwalls and Royal Canadians), and he had charged so far ahead of his comrades that no one saw him fall. In searching the battlefield for dead and wounded (which we did ail night, with the enemy constantly sniping at us), we could find no trace of him, and, as a number were missing, we fondly hoped he would return as others did the following morning. But, on searching the enemy’s trenches by daylight, we found dear old Zack there. His end must have been painless, as he was shot through the head. I had his remains buried to-day. . . . He lies with his comrades near the bank of the Modder River, at the edge of a beautiful grove — one of the few we have seen in this country. All his comrades’ share with me the deepest regrets. His constant good nature, as well as his North-West Mounted Police experience, made him one of my most valued and trusted men.

7907 Pte. Ernest William Bowness, 2 SS Bn. RCRI ‘G’ Coy First letter to the Patriot, Charlottetown, as fallows: — The Boers were entrenched all along the Modder River. A rope was stretched across, and by catching hold of it we kept ourselves from being carried away by the swift current and got across some way. At some places the water was up to our shoulders, and several fellows lost their footing and got in over the head. I tried to be the first Islander over, but Hedley McKinnon got ahead of me and I came in a good second. As soon as ail our company were over we went on to support the other companies, who were already at it. We advanced in extended order — that is seven paces between each man — until we came to the brow of a hill over which we had to go and advance down the slope about 1,000 yards before we came to the Boer position. It was going down that slope where we lost most men. At the brow we lay down to get our breath. It was while lying there that I saw the first man hit. He was a private in H Company, and was hit in the right arm by a stray bullet, plenty of which were whistling over our heads in fine style.

8128 Pte. George D. McCallum, 2 SS RCRI, ‘H’ Coy, from the General Hospital at Wynberg, writes to his father in Springfield, N. S. Speaking of his wound, as fallows: — I was under fire for 10 hours before I got hit. The wound is not much. I was hit on the head by a hard Mauser. It twisted the bullet a bit. I have the bullet that was taken out of my head. If I had got a rap on the head at home in a pit like this I would not have lost a day’s work with it, but the doctors know it all. They sent me from Paardeberg to the hospital at Modder River Station. The Consulting doctor was afraid of my head, so he sent me to the Island Hospital, which is a hotel made into a hospital, situated on an island between Modder and Reit Rivers. They kept me there for ten days till I was fit to travel; then they sent me here to Wynberg, which is only seven miles from Cape-Town; but I will be back with the regiment in about a fortnight, as the doctor here said I would be able to join my regiment in about three weeks when I first came here, so that by the time you get this I will be back at the front again. James Scott was shot through the fleshy part of the leg, which will lay him up for about two months.”

Letters from Baugh Boy’s Battle of Paardeberg. —  Corporal George Baugh, of the R.C.A., received two letters from his boys in South Africa on Friday, from Corporal R. Baugh, of the Maxim gun section, and Private E. Baugh, known among his comrades as ‘Boss.’ The latter was hit but twice, not three times, as already published. The first bullet struck him in the back and came out at the leg, leaving two holes, which his brother took to be two distinct wounds, and with the one in the foot thought he had been wounded three times. Writing from De Aar under date of February 27th, of the Paardeberg battle, Private Baugh says: — You should have seen the field after the battle. It was the worst sight I ever saw. The dead were piled on top of one another and the wounded were crying for help. The Boers were firing just the same. They did not stop night or day. We fought ail the day from 6 in the morning till 6.30 at night, and then we made a charge on them, and you should see the men falling. I got hit in the side first, but I did not stop. I went on till we got within a hundred yards of them. Then we had to lie down. We could go no closer and stopped there for a while. Then they must have seen us coming, for they hit me in the foot, but they did not shift me. I stopped there till it was ail over, and then we were brought into camp, and had to sleep on the rocks with nothing to eat till the next day. I hope I will get another chance at the Boers soon for I would like to hit some of them to pay them back for the twice they hit me. I only hit six or seven of them that day, but that is not enough. War is not as easy a thing as they say. We had two hard tack biscuits for two days with one bottle of water and had to fight for more water and to lose fourteen men before we got it; but we got it ail the same. We lost about 20 killed and 75 wounded. Poor Corporal Power is wounded in the breast, but I think he will be ail right again.

D Coy Before Crossing Modder River, Boer Campaign, Royal Canadian Regiment, Captain Samuel Maynard Rogers. LAC Sub-Fonds.

 R.C., Chaplain, Peter M. O’Leary, 2n SS Bn. RCRI, anecdote to the Montreal Star post Boer surrender at Paardeberg: — “a white flag went up in front of the Canadian lines. One of our officers stood up to indicate that it had been seen by us. Fearing treachery, one of the superior officers ordered him to lie down until a definite move in our direction had been made by the party bearing the flag. The latter shortly afterwards disappeared behind the Boer trenches, but a moment later again emerged holding the flag. This time he stepped over the earthworks, and advanced towards our position. He was received by a Canadian Officer, to whom he said he wished to surrender with all his men. As the surrender was unconditional, the officer accepted it, and thus it was that the Canadians had the honour of receiving the first detachment of Cronje’s men to surrender to British forces on that memorable day. It was not very many moments before white flags were up in all directions. I myself counted sixteen.”

7669 Pte. J. McCann ‘E’ Coy Montreal, Letter To His Mother: — South Africa, February 27th, 1900. — My darling mother, I Write you these few lines under great difficulties. I am all right at present. On Sunday morning we passed through our baptism of fire, having reached here after a forced march of 18 miles. On our arrival, when we received orders to advance on to the firing line, we were given a small drink of rum and a biscuit. I lay in the firing line from 6 o’clock in the morning till half-past seven at night without anything to eat or drink. We had to wade across the Modder River up to our necks in the water. The sun dried us in an hour. In the afternoon it commenced to rain. It was rather uncomfortable with rain and bullets dropping around us at the same time. Poor Aleck McQueen was about fifty feet from me when he fell. When darkness came, and it was safe to walk around, Soney Casey (Private R. P. Dalberg), myself and some of the boys, went and picked Aleck up. He was not quite dead then, but the doctor said he could not live long, so we had to leave him till morning, when we buried him. We have been fighting off and on since then, but not so near the enemy. I would write more, but have no paper. This morning paper was served out. The man was lucky who got any. I am writing this letter about a mile from Sunday’s battlefield, on top of a kopje. We are now 16 miles east of Kimberley, through where our mails will pass, and expect another big battle pretty soon. Good-bye, dear mother and father, for the present. Your loving son, SONEY.

7977 Private W.J. Raymond, 2 SS Bn. RCRI, ‘G’ Coy of St. John, N.B., writes: — People can shout ail they wish about the glory of war,’ but to me there is only one side to it, and that is the seamy side.’ At Paardeberg that morning, after the Boers gave in, we slipped from behind the line of entrenchments we had so quickly built, and approached the Boer laager and fortifications to accept their surrender and take their arms. On the way there I first discovered Fred. Withers, who lay dead upon the ground. I had up to that moment thought him alive, and you can picture the shock it was to find him — dead. It was terrible. It was difficult at first glance to know just who it was, but after we had looked at him closer it was easy to know the truth. He was lying on his back and had undoubtedly died instantly. We placed his helmet over his face and left him. A distance to the right a couple more bodies lay. We approached and knew that poor little Joe Johnston and Sergeant Scott would never voyage back to Canada again. I will not try to tell you anything about it, but covering them over as best we could, we walked away. On ahead and nearer the Boer trenches three more silent khaki-clad forms lay scattered on the grass, while inside the trench a Boer also lay dead. Later in the morning a burying party was formed, and ail of our regiment who had died were placed in one large grave—seven in all.

7861 Pte. Jos. A. Hudon, 2nd SS Bn. RCRI ‘F’ Coy Québec, — (65th Mount Royal Rifles)…wounded at the battle of Paardeberg, and under orders to proceed to Netley. Owing to the disaster to the Mexican, the ship on which he was to sail was ordered to take out the mails and passengers, and was consequently unable to find room for the whole batch of invalids, some of whom were sent to Green Point Camp near Cape-Town, and others to No. 3 General Hospital, Rondebosch, from which the letter is dated. Here, the colonel of the R.A. medical corps, commanding the hospital, hearing that he was good at clerking, sent for him and gave him a job on the staff office, which brought him 22 cents a day extra, and required light work. Private Hudon writes that he is sorry that he will not see his friends as soon as they expected, but comforts himself with the thought that he may obtain leave to go to the front later on, which is what he is looking for, because although he has won two bars on his medal he would like to win the bar for any general engagement fought around or on the way to Pretoria, and although ail the doctors he has yet seen have marked him as unfit for further active service he still has hopes to obtain his request later on. On Easter Sunday he had a visit from young Drum and Montizambert, who had just arrived from Canada in the draft to replace the casualties, and they had a great time of it the next day, which was a holiday in the office. He says, ‘Speaking of our charge at Paardeberg, the Boer papers call us ‘the little Canucks,’ ‘flying devils,’ and there is a bounty of ten shillings offered by President Steyn, of the O. F. S. for each Canadian caught dead or alive. So I think we are somebody after all.’ He concludes by saying that he is cheerful and well, and hopes to be back in September.

Dashing Advance of The Canadians at Battle of Baaderberg, Feb. 18-27, 1900, South African War.

7967 Pte. Arthur Jas. Ben. Mellish, 2nd SS Bn. RCRI, ‘G’ Coy New Brunswick & PEI, letter to a friend in St. John:— “We are so pleased at the kind sympathy shown by the people of St. John and all Canada for us in our great struggle. The thought has helped us in many a hard march and fierce battle, and when we have felt weary’ and hungry and ready to drop with fatigue the thought of how the friends at home felt for us and trusted in us has kept us from giving in, and enabled us to hold our own even with veteran soldiers such as the Gordons, Cornwalls and Shropshires, which compose our brigade. The suspense must have been terrible among our parents and friends during the days they knew we were fighting the Lion of Africa, as Cronje is known, and as the dead and wounded had their names telegraphed home the heart-breakings must have been piteous. But that is the way with everything, the greater the .sacrifice the greater the glory. And those who have died for our country have died nobly, and after all, life does not consist in quantity, but quality. In our company no nobler or braver man fell than Pat. McCreary. He was a stretcher bearer, and as such was not compelled to go nearer than one hundred and fifty yards to the fighting line, butt all day Sunday, regardless of the hissing bullets, he succoured the wounded, and as evening fell he went away forward where many of us had fallen in the charge, and there he was riddled with bullets by the cowardly and dishonourable enemy.

Then too, I must tell you of another New Brunswick man named *Hatfield. In the march from Paardeberg to Bloemfontein his boots gave out. Wrapping his putties round his feet he stubbornly limped on, mile after mile, never giving in. His feet were covered with blood blisters, the nails of his toes were torn off and bleeding, and every step must have been a hell to him, but he would not give up. And as there were lads in our company who could die like McCreary and march like Hatfield, doubtless there were like Canadians in the other companies. So you see that I cannot help feeling proud that I was allowed to resign my commission and live and fight with privates who were men. In writing to Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Taylor of Charlottetown on the death of their son Roland…just a line to express my heartfelt sympathy in your irreparable loss, your son was the friend of us all. During the tedious and trying months he was with us he always remained cheerful and by his example encouraged the downhearted. Never during that time of constant association did I hear him utter a profane or improper word but he lived in the midst of most trying surroundings a quiet, unostentatious Christian life, quietly reading his Bible every night. One day when coming from Thomas’ farm-house, where we had dinner he told me what a comfort it was to him to have a settled Christian belief. He lived nobly and died gloriously.”

7967 Private Mellish, 2 SS Bn. RCRI, ‘G’ Coy, writes his mother in Charlottetown: — Bloemfontein Camp, 15th, March, 1900. — Here we are at last. We marched here from Ferrara, our regiment being the rear guard. I have made a visit to the town, entering by the colored quarter. I was the object of much notice by the dusky inhabitants as I passed along on the outskirts. I purchased ten peaches and five pears for nine pence, and I can assure you I relished them. As I turned a corner a negro came running down the Street, pursued by a soldier. The sentries and a great crowd came up and I passed on. After getting well in the town, on enquiry I found a hotel and had a famous dinner. The table was set out with table napkins and other accessories. I enclose the bill of fare. While at the hotel an ex-officer of the Boers and a corporal and two men of the Manchesters came in wrangling about a Mauser carbine. One of the men took the rifle from the Boer and then the soldiers told the corporal to follow them in and take the officer a prisoner for having arms in his possession. This at once quieted the Boer and he left the rifle with the corporal.

7002 Sergeant Joseph Northcote, 2 SS Bn. RCRI, ‘A’ Coy., Letter From Paardeberg Drift, 2nd March, 1900, to His Father W.W. Northcote, Victoria, B.C., city assessor. —Saw Cronje Taken. — Accounts From Victoria Boys Who Were in The. — We are now camped till next Thursday about the battlefield. We have had a glorious victory over the enemy, although it cost us pretty heavy, about 140 killed and wounded. The Boers, however, have lost twice that number. They look like a fine lot of men, although they are very dirty, but I don’t think we have much to brag about in that respect just at present, for we have not had much time lately to be anything else.  It was the Canadians who made the Boers give in, for our fire was something terrible. We started the fight about 2 in the morning and the enemy gave it up at 6 a.m. Lord Roberts made a speech to the regiment, but our company was across the river, so we did not hear it. I had 25 men with me in the upper trenches, comprising some of our best shots, and when Lord Roberts came our way with his staff he asked who we were. I told him, and then he asked me my name. He then stated we had done noble work, and were as good a lot of men as were in the British army. I saw General Cronje taken prisoner, accompanied by his wife and two daughters. They were started for Cape-Town with an escort of 100 mounted men. I had a conversation with one of the Boers, and he said they were tired of it, and wanted to quit; but that General Cronje would not let them. We captured a great amount of ammunition and arms, including ‘pumpums.’ This is a terrible gun, and shoots a bullet of about a pound, but our naval gunners knocked it out almost in the first round. We have been under fire every day from the 18th of February up to the 27th, but I am pleased to say A Company has not lost any men since the l8th. I am sending you a sketch of the battlefield, and where the troops were situated; also the Boers’ laager, as it was on the 18th instant and on the 27th instant. Where we are going next we don’t know. Some say Kimberley and some to Bloemfontein. I have not had a paper from Victoria since December last. I am keeping in good health and spirits.

Canadians at Battle of Paardeberg, South African War, February 1900.

7221 Pte. Alex R. McLean, 2 SS Bn. RCRI ‘B’Coy, writes home concerning battle of Paardeberg, Galt, 20th April, 1900, as follows: — From Paardeberg to Bloemfontein Lord Roberts and staff were with us. Major Denison of London, Ont., is one of the field marshal’s staff officers. We have had some very bard times fighting by day and marching b y night, often on half empty stomachs for hours, so that what with fatigue and the climate it is no wonder that some of our boys have succumbed to fever, etc. It only goes to show the wisdom of the authorities in rejecting unlikely or weakly fellows. The boys from Brant, Oxford and Waterloo Counties are all right. We can hold our own with the cream of the best. Many of us have blistered feet and have not doffed our clothes, except for a swim, for the past five or six weeks, and more often sleep under the canopy of heaven than under any other cover, ail of which is trying to one’s constitution. There are nearly 50,000 troops here. We are camped on the east of the town, which is being strongly fortified. We have been promised that the colonials will march with the rest of the troops towards Pretoria, 300 miles distant. We all hope so. All our men are in fettle and are longing for the word from Bobs ‘forward.’

 

2nd SS Bn. Royal Canadian Regiment Inf., Killed Battle of Paaderberg, In Memory 18th Feb. 1900, South African War.

7354 Pte. Noble John Jones, 2 SS RCRI, ‘C’ Coy From Toba Nek, S. A. Letter To His Brother Joe: — 2nd May 1900. — Dear Brother I am well and hearty feeling well and on the right wing to Pretoria we had 4 days heavy fighting and gave the Boers a good licking we are making up the line for I dont know where I have only a few minutes to get this off so dont be dissapointed with so little news we had an awful time under the Boer shell fire and we only lost one man killed young [?] Col cottons son inspector of artillery of Canada well Joe I have to close as he is going give my best respects to all the folks and love to all at home so good bye & love to all…Noble.

 Pte. Noble John Jones, 2 SS RCRI, ‘C’ Coy, Letter To His Mother: — 8th May 1900. — Dear Mother, — I am getting a few days rest all the column is halted about 10 miles from Winburg on the road to Cronstadt I am well & hearty the greenies have caught up that is the [?] a nice lot of boys keen for fight they will get enough weather fine everything going on very nice dont know when we move liable at any moment wish the thing was over Just a chance mail going out so have to hurry I have no fresh news only I have been [portions missing] through nine engagements since we left Bloemfontein had it pretty nasty one day they shelled us pretty good made things interesting but shells no good dont burst very good not like the British that is the medicine for to [?] pork dont like on the swineette [?] nasty music but to go through to [?] finish or as far [?] we are kneeded [?] racket cannot [?] much longer they are getting hammered up all sides well I hope you are all well & happy I have no news so goodbye to all…Noble.

 Pte. Noble John Jones, 2 SS Bn. RCRI, ‘C’ Coy, From Kronstadt South Africa Letter To His Mother: —14th May 1900. — Dear Mother, I am now at the place where Mr. Steyn moved his government and he shifted his seat in a hurry made very little resistance I think the racket will soon be over I hope it will. We were reviewed by Lord Roberts today our numbers are coming down we are 400 strong in the field expect to move on towards the Vaal river in the morning it is about 40 miles from here expect enemy to make a start there had a scrap at sand river they had grand position but they run the fight [line of letter missing] them they won’t stand for their [?] the free state is pretty well done up & Gen. Buller is in the Trans Val doing good work expect War to be pretty well done by the last of the month & I hope it will am sick of it well I am well and feel good faring better than I did on the Paraberg trip only been put on three quarter rations and what we forage for wefare fine [?] add [?] once & a while the weather is fine & dry not too hot & Just cool enough for comfort I hear no news from the outside world so I have none to send so give my best respects to all so I will close with love to all…Noble.

7552 Private R.R. Thompson, 2 SS Bn, RCRI, ‘D’ Coy. — Writing to friend in Ottawa, from the convalescent camp at Norval’s Pont, on June 15th, says: — Ottawa has contributed nobly to Canada’s share of honor in the war. Of the 58 boys that left Ottawa on the 23rd October last, 25 have been killed or wounded. Certainly she has suffered very heavily. Our regiment has suffered severely; both from casualties and disease, of the 1,200 who were left, only about 200 now remain at the front with the regiment. We have lost about 170 killed and wounded and the rest are lying in hospitals or convalescent camps, suffering from enteric fever, malaria, rheumatism or sunstroke.

2nd SS Bn. Royal Canadian Regiment Inf., Killed Battle of Paaderberg, In Memory 27th Feb. 1900, South African War.

Captain C, K. Fraser, 2nd SS Bn. RCRI, O.C. ‘E’ Coy, (Montreal), 2nd SS Bn. RCRI — Sherbrooke, June 5th, 1900. — Captain C, K. Fraser, officer commanding E Company first contingent, has written the following letter to Mr. John Wasdell, father of Private Wasdell, who was killed at Paardeberg: — Bloemfontein, April 14th, 1900. — My dear Mr. Wasdell, I know you have been looking anxiously for some particulars from me of your son’s death upon the field of battle. I cannot tell you how much I sympathize with you in your sad bereavement. Your son had won the esteem of both officers and men of his company, and we ail feel his loss deeply. As captain of his company I always found him a faithful and most willing soldier, and he died doing his duty for his Queen and country. He was wounded in the attack on Cronje’s laager on Tuesday morning, February 27th. I was with him when he was carried into our trenches and sat with him for two hours, during which time he was attended by Surgeon-Major Wilson, and everything possible was done for him. He was then talent to the New South Wales field hospital, which is recognized as the best in the army. There he received every care and attention. He died the following morning (February 28th) and his end was peaceful. He was conscious up to a short time of his death. He was buried on Wednesday, the 28th, by a Church of England clergyman in a very pretty spot on the river bank. The grave has been very nicely fixed up and fenced in by some of his comrades, and a cross placed at the head.

His greatest friend in the army was Private Coates, of Montréal, who was with him when he died. I have several little things that were found in his haversack, some letters and his service cap, and also have his watch and purse containing $4 in gold, which I will take care of. I have also got £2 for him from a Montréal fund. This money I will keep with his other things till we return to Canada, as it would almost be impossible to send them from here. If there is anything that I can do or any further information that you would like, I would consider it a favour if you would write me and let me know. With heartfelt sympathy for yourself and family in your sad loss.

  • Believe me, yours faithfully, C. K. FRASER, Captain Com. E Co., R.C.R.

Noble John Jones, 2 SS Bn. RCRI, ‘C’ Coy, To His Mother 9th, July, 1900. — Dear Mother…I received your last letter & glad to hear of all being well. got the writing paper. received $10. from the Kilsyth boys more power to them, have never come across any of those desperate big reptiles seen some comical sights & some wonderful freaks of nature but I am not very good in putting in any polished scenes in print Just for the simple reason of being noticed there are some of the biggest lies printed in the Canadian papers I ever read as for bayoneting Boers we never got near enough for that. this is winter here flowers are very scarce around here Just now got those two Times papers Hammond is a great writer. I never left my Company & Regt I have been through it all & as for any of the first Contingent leaving their Regt. for making money who ever started that yarn is a liar Col. Otter kept all his men. I dont expect to start for home before the last of this month it Just depends on how the war is progressing we are on the line of communication lots of duty but better than treking & fighting I get no war news so cannot send any. I am well & hearty & in hopes of seeing you all before long give my best wishes to all I will close with love to all…Good Bye Noble.

The Late 7193 Privet F.G.W. Floyd 2nd SS Bn. ‘B’ Coy: — London, Ont., July 18th, 1900. — On Sunday afternoon at Richmond Street Methodist Church, in connection with the Sunday School exercises, a photo of the late Private George Floyd, appropriately mounted, was hung upon the wall of the school, the following inscription being engrossed beneath: — ‘In memory of Private George Floyd, in boyhood a member of this Sabbath School, killed in action at the battle of Zand River, May 10th, 1900. He died nobly fighting for the Empire. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.’ At the evening service a memorial sermon was preached by Rev. John Morrison, the subject being national and individual responsibility. The choir rendered appropriate music, and a detachment from Wolseley Barracks representing the Royal Canadian Rifles was in attendance. The pulpit and altar were tastily decorated with a large Canadian red ensign kindly sent for the occasion by Major J.W. Little. The congregation was large.

Pte. Francis George William Floyd, 2nd SS Bn. RCRI, Died 10th May 1900.

2 SS RCRI ‘G’ Coy. — 7967 Pte. Mellish, Arthur, Jas. Ben., — 82nd Queen’s County Battalion, writes as fallows: — “We had just lain down and were about to go to sleep, when a new order came to fall in, ready to march at once. After some confusion our Company emerged from a mass of artillery, cavalry and infantry, and took up its position as the advance guard of the column. We marched on slowly all night of Friday, the 16th. Early in the morning we came to a house with a windmill. We threw ourselves down on the ground exhausted, hoping to get a little sleep, but the order came for “G” company to guard approach of column, so we drew ourselves to our feet and marched to some rising ground about a mile away where we posted sentries. At day-break we marched back to camp. At 5 p.m. Saturday we left and marched toilsomely twenty-three miles, arriving near Modder River after sunrise Sunday morning, with nothing to eat on the way. We again tried to get some rest notwithstanding the booming of guns some distance off, but it was not to be. We had a small ration of coffee and a little biscuit which we were not given time to eat at our leisure and again fell in. The regiment moved over to a bill at the double and lay down there. Then we were marched back and proceeded to ford the Modder River, which was running deep and strong at that place. The Gordons and others were already struggling across with the help of ropes, the water was nearly up to our necks. Cronje and his army were strongly entrenched and the action was in progress. We were put in extended order and advanced to the open. Soon we could hear bullets whistling by our heads. After a little we lay down, then advanced again and so on, taking what shelter we could. We were in the supports and could not fire but our men began to be hit—Waye of Hunter River being among the first. Finally we got a position in which we remained for a long time. The sun was scorching hot and we had to lie flat to shelter ourselves from the bullets. Then a terrific thunder storm came up and we were soaked with rain and beaten with hail. It was bitterly cold after the scorching heat. The bullets were all the time whistling around us and the cannon roaring fearfully, the call for stretchers and bearers to carry of the wounded coming from all points. Then the order came: “Section one, “G” Company, Reinforce!” and getting our haversacks and fixings tight on, we rushed forward. The bullets sang and spluttered. I held on until I saw some cover with a Highlander and a Cornwall man, when I threw myself down. Evidently

I had been followed by some Boer sharpshooter, for the bullets kept around where I was for some time. However, I soon opened fire myself. It was in this line that poor Roland Taylor was shot. He was a fine young man in every respect. After a while we fixed bayonets and charged. We made a splendid charge amid a perfect storm of bullets our flank charging to the river, but it was too hot for us, so the order was to lie down, which we did, our whole line stubbornly holding the ground we had gained. The next morning three Canadians were actually found dead in the Boer trenches. The fighting went on as before till dark, when the firing ceased. I then helped getting in the dead and wounded for a while. It was very risky work, and we were liable to be shot any moment by the enemy’s snipers. Several were hit, and it was then that McCreary of New Brunswick was killed. I can tell you some gruesome stories about this part of our duty when I go home. The battle was a fearful one and lasted the whole day.

Pte. Harry Cotton Royal Canadian Regiment Inf., Died in Second South African War, Paardeberg, 1900.

We found the accounts of all the boys did not differ greatly. All had narrow escapes: a number of us had our clothes riddled with bullets, others had their water bottles shot away, others their rifles shattered, while fragments of knapsacks, helmets and even the boot-heels of some members of our Company were scattered far and wide. The next morning we cooked our emergency rations, a tin with concentrated cocoa at one end, and concentrated meat essence at the other. On Monday we were ordered to fall in and occupy a position on a hill. Here we entrenched ourselves and remained for some hours. In the evening we came down, formed up and the battalion marched two or three miles, where we piled arms for the night. Early Tuesday morning, without having any breakfast, we marched off and extended, and our Company advanced in the firing line opposite the Boer Laager and not very far from it. Here we made cover for ourselves. I built one for myself with my bayonet and top of canteen for pick and shovel, and I put a large lyddite shell lengthwise across it and some bushes to hide it from the enemy. All day the bullets were whistling by all only three men were wounded and they were away back in the rear, a heavy artillery fire keeping down the enemy’s shooting to a great extent. Our shells were shrieking over our heads on the Boer position in great style—the lyddite blowing up great clouds of dust and earth. One time I saw a man hurled bodily high into the air by the explosion. The shrapnel would break in the air and send a shower of bullets among the enemy. In the evening our company occupied a hill or kopje, where we were on duty all night, watching lest a force expected from Joubert’s column should appear. The night was extremely cold, and I stuffed my clothes full of grass and wrapped my puttees around my body. Wednesday morning we marched to another camp for a day’s rest, and really had some breakfast. Fred McRae and I visited the trenches of the Boers, held by them in Sunday’s battle, and found them full of Mauser and Shrapnel from our shells. Many dead horses and oxen were lying about. Thursday, we remained back of the naval guns till the afternoon, when we occupied kopje to prevent vanguard of enemy’s reinforcements coming in. This Friday morning we are lying around the camp. Below us flows the Modder River, winding away past our position, past the Boer position then past our camp in the distance. All the morning the bodies of dead Boers and horses have been floating by in great numbers, the heavy rain of last night causing the river to rise about six feet, which, combined with the swift current is bringing them down. Some of the boys have captured a bull and are just skinning it, while others are frying mutton on their canteen covers. This is quite a treat as we have been on short rations for over a week. A balloon is now going up in our camp and we will doubtless be able to locate the enemy.”

Lieutenant A.C. Caldwell, 2 SS RCRI, ‘D’ Coy, From Wynberg Hospital Letter To His Father Mr. W. C. Caldwell, M.P.P., of Lanark, Ont, as fallows: — Then the charge came, and the fire was awful. I can’t see how so few were hit. It is simply a wonder to me that the regiment wasn’t wiped out to a man. I wasn’t in the charging line, and I am very thankful I wasn’t. The men dropped right and left, and the regiment on our right lost men in bunches. Darkness came on, and how thankful we were for it — tired, hungry and thirsty, only the excitement keeping many of us up. Then came the wounded — it was awful. The dead were left on the field and buried next day, Monday. The camp that night was a thing to be remembered. Only a few of the blankets had come over, and one blanket to four men was the allowance. I got hold of a bag, and Armstrong (an old R.M.C. Cadet) and I got our legs into it, with the blanket around us, and crept under a tarpaulin, thankful that we were safe and Sound.

7301 Sgt. Albert Beattie, ‘C’ Coy, 2nd SS RCRI, Died of Entric Fever, 14th Apr. 1900.

Private J.H. Sutton’s Mother Waited & Hoped. — When months ago Hamilton’ s young men of the First Contingent said good-bye, there was one at the station whose handkerchief fluttered till the train had rounded the curve, and a parting answer from the rear of the car told that Private J.H. Sutton, of C Company, First Canadian Contingent, and Miss A.M. Daniels, would wait and hope. They wrote often. They both thought of a happy future. She sent her photograph, and he took it and put in under his dirty khaki uniform and looked at it often. The enemy shot him in the arm. She heard of it, but she still hoped on. He went to the hospital with fever and sunstroke, and she still kept hoping. She heard that he was recovering, that he would be sent home. About two weeks ago she took sick. The doctor said that it was measles. She rallied soon, and then pneumonia came. They told her that she could not live, and she wrote a letter to South Africa. As long as she could hold the pen she wrote. It fell from her hand, and a sister completed the letter. The funeral took place yesterday afternoon, and Rev. G.K.B. Adams, of the Gore Street Church, where she was a member, officiated.

Bride To Be Is Dead: — Hamilton, April 20th, 1900. — For Private J.H. Sutton, of this city, who was wounded in South Africa, and who is among those Canadians who recently arrived in London, there will be a sad home-coming. The following message was received from him in this city on Thursday: —

  • To Miss A . Daniels, Cannon street west, Hamilton, Canada. London, April 19th, 1900.
  • London Daily Mail forwards following received by its relief corps. Arrived in London safe. Tell my father. — J. H. SUTTON.

The messenger boy stopped at 162 Cannon street west and delivered the message. Miss Daniels did not get it. She was buried yesterday afternoon in Hamilton Cemetery. The war, creator of thousands of heart-breakings, had created just another.

7392 Private Sutton’s Last Letter. — Shortly after her spirit had gone a letter came, bearing the post mark South Africa. It reads thus: — March 17th, 1900. — Dear Bert, Just a few lines to let you know that I got your letter, dated January 14th. I was so glad to hear from you, and hope that you are in good health. As for me, I am in the hospital with a sunstroke, fever, and a wound in my arm. But I will soon be all right. You asked me if I had received ail your letters. Yes, I have received them up to the date January 14th, and also your photo. Now I hear that you are fretting about me. But you must not, for my sake, for I will soon be ail right again. I am not going to the front again, and I hope that the war will soon be over. I will have to write a short note, as it is hard for me to write much, as I am not allowed to get out of bed, and have to write this the best way I can. Bye-bye for the present.

  • I remain, yours ever true, PRIVATE J.H. SUTTON, C Company, R.C.R.
  • God be with you till me meet again. — JACK.

7818 Privet LaRue’s 2nd SS RCRI ‘F’ Coy, Québec, Last Letter: — The last mail from Africa brought a letter to Dr. Léonidas LaRue from his son Lucien. It was dated from Wynburg Hospital, June 7th, and, as he died of his wounds received at the battle of Paardeberg, June 24th, is probably the last letter written by him. It is as follows: — My very dear father, Here I am since yesterday morning at Wynburg Hospital, about 12 miles south-east of Cape-Town. The doctors seeing that I could not gain strength at Norval’s Pont decided to remove me here until I could take the first hospital ship sailing for Southampton; they say that the rapid healing of my wound is the cause of this rheumatism that has been troubling me for nearly two months, and that as soon as I am at sea I shall feel a perceptible improvement. All my comrades who were wounded like me at Paardeberg and returned to the regiment after being cured, have been obliged to corner back to the hospital after the first march, suffering from poisoning of the blood, or inflammation of their wounds. The war draws to its close; enthusiasm is at its height. Lord Roberts has made his triumphal entry into Johannesburg and Pretoria, with my regiment, 350 strong, the second Canadian regiment, and the Guards. Kruger, with his staff and troops, has withdrawn into the mountains north of Pretoria. I expect to leave Cape-Town in a week en route for Southampton — Netley Hospital. In case I get well during the passage I may, when I get to Netley, obtain a three weeks’ leave of absence, which would allow me to push a point to Paris and visit the exposition. I have been without news from home for two months, the regiment, I am sure, not knowing where to find me. My regiment will probably embark for England in a fortnight, and the city of London is preparing a grand reception for us. Do not fret yourself about my illness; I do not think I shall suffer from it long. The regiment will take me up in England and I think the first fortnight in August will see me in Quebec in the midst of ail the family. Well, my dear father, regards and kind wishes to ail the family; a thousand kisses for my brothers and sisters, the largest part for you.

  • A bientôt, Your affectionate son, LUCIEN.

This letter, so full of cheerfulness and bright visions of the future, is very affecting in view of the death of the brave young soldier a little more than a fortnight after, and will intensify the universal feeling of sympathy with the bereaved father and family.

7807 Pte. Harry Bell Montizambert, 2nd SS Bn. RCRI, ‘F’ Coy Québec. — Woodstock Hospital, 20th June, 1900. — Captain Pelletier (Major of the 65th Battalion) had a sunstroke at Paardeberg. He has been sent to England with one leg (the right) paralysed from toe to thigh, but the doctors told him that a month or two would fix him up as good as new. He had some narrow escapes. One bullet through his helmet, one through his collar, which cut the skin on his neck, and one through the heel of his boot. I think the first two are about as close as is pleasant. When I went to see him at the Clairmont Sanatorium I had a long talk with him and tried to cheer him up. I liked him very much, and I think ail of the Company did. All I have seen seem very sorry for him.

The Ottawa Citizen says: — Many of the older members of Parliament will recognize in the young soldier, whose gallant death is thus described, the fair-haired page of the House of Commons of former years, a general favourite among the members some ten or twelve years ago. Zachary Lewis was born and bred in Ottawa, the son of the late Dr. R.P. Lewis, a brother of the Archbishop of Ontario. He studied law for some years, but in 1896 joined the North-West Mounted Police at Regina, N.W.T., where he was stationed until recently. Having formerly served for three years in the Governor-General’s Foot Guards, and being in Ottawa on leave when the Royal Canadian Regiment was recruited, Truoper Lewis obtained permission to enlist in D Company, and so it was his lot to be the first of the North-West Mounted Police to thus fall in action on Imperial foreign service, a credit to his country, his city and his corps.

2nd SS Bn. R.C.R. First Contingent Returning To Canada From South African War, Toronto, King Street, 5th Nov., 1900.

Letter to Lieutenant-Colonel Ponton, of Belleville, Ont., Rev. F. C. Powell writes concerning a Montrealer: —  On Friday I went to Wynberg Hospital and had some speech with Captain Peltier, of Montréal, who was with poor and brave Arnold when he was shot through the head — awfully disfigured, they tell me, but he was not killed. As the ambulance bearers were carrying him off the field he was shot again through the shoulder. Peltier and others say the Boers fired continuously on the ambulance. They could hardly plead excuse of not being able to distinguish the Red Cross. They are keen enough to pick out and shoot the officers. One might suppose they might be equally keen in detecting and leaving alone the men of mercy, who leisurely walk about with no weapon, never dodging or hiding behind stones, but just quietly picking up wounded soldiers. Peltier, when night comes on, lives through the battle again in his sleep, and thrills the whole hospital ward with shouts, ‘Now Canada, on Canadians!’

7468 Pte. Harry Cotton, ‘D’ Coy Ottawa & Kingston, RCRI Killed in South Africa: — Harry Cotton, is a son of Lieutenant-Colonel Cotton, of the Militia Department Office, commanding the Ottawa district. He went away to South Africa as a member of D Company, first Canadian contingent. The late Mr. Cotton was about 23 years of age, and since 1895 has been in the service of the Bank of Montreal. He was an efficient and popular employee. He was quite an athlete, being a member of the Ottawa Football Club, and of the Ottawa Rowing Club. In the regatta at Brockville, last year, he was one of Ottawa’s four-oarded crew. In Kingston, where Mr. Cotton had previously been living, he was also identified with athletics. While stationed in Montréal he belonged to the Victoria Rifles, and with this corps gained his military experience. On going to the front with the first contingent he was granted a year’s leave of absence with full pay by the Bank of Montréal. He fell gallantly at Thaba N’Chu, on the 1st of May .

 

Spañard

 

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