William George Robert Mumford was born on 20th May 1873 at 7 a.m., at 16, John Street, Lysoe Street, Clerkenwell, the sixth
child of William Mumford and Mary Crosby. He was the fourth son who carried this name, the first three having died in childhood. In
fact, of the nine children born to William and Mary, only three survived their early childhood. His father was a prison warder by
occupation but, at the time of writing, his origin is not known. His mother was born at New Walsoken, then in the county of
Norfolk, but now a suburb of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.
Nothing is known of his childhood or education and the first recorded details of his employ was as a stockbroker's clerk working at
8 Drapers Gardens, Throgmorton Street, London EC. His home address at the time was given as 22, Avenue Road, Woodside Park
N. His address subsequent to his marriage in 1903 was at 28 Avenue Road, North Finchley.
He joined the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) in 1899 and, whilst serving in "A" Battery in 1900 joined the City Imperial
Volunteers (CIV). He was enlisted together with 140 other men in "B" Sub- Division of the CIV Battery.
The following pages are the transcript of the diary of Gunner William George Mumford No 1328, in the City of London Volunteers.
It has been copied from a hand written transcript, the original now being partly illegible, due to the obvious difficult conditions
under which it was written, together with some fading and/or water damage to some pages. A number of pages are completely
missing, assumed to have been lost subsequently. These are annotated accordingly in this manuscript.
WILLIAM GEORGE MUMFORD
Cycled to Breachwood Green and back. Roads very muddy. Started home 8:00 - raining. Saw wren. Had food at Aunt's - retired
11:30 after a cold bath & good supper, being very tired owing to heavy mist which soaked me through while coming home.
Received telegram from Lord Denbigh saying War Office had decided to accept Battery if they could supply all, and asking us to
meet him at the barracks with a view to volunteering for same. Went with Allen to Barracks and volunteered for active service. Only
three men did not stand out: they were Fitch, Allen & ......?
Went to the HAC to see what was going on, morning. Home 6:30 evening - did not go out - turning out drawers & destroying
private correspondence. Retired 10:30.
Went to HAC morning to fill up attestation papers. On to business - told EB I was going; he was upset. Went back to
headquarters to be medically examined; passed all right. Went back to E to get closing prices. Home 6:30.
Went to HAC to be sworn in as a soldier. Took the Queen's shilling - went back to business to settle up things - home 3:30. Went
for a walk with Maudie round East Finchley - retired ten- thirty.
Had quiet day - short walk morning, and evening clearing out boxes etc, etc.
Told mother this evening was going away to Africa: she was very much upset.
Went to St John's Wood Barracks - attached to 'A' Sub- Division. Ser. Dixon, Corporal Elam, Bombardiers Nelson & Dollar.
Quartered in the gymnasium, forty of us. Each man provided with a bedstead and a box to put kit in, also four blankets. All lights
have to be out by 10:15. No man allowed
to leave barracks without special leave signed by an officer.
Reveille 6. In stables best part of the day. Food very good and plenty of it. Obtained leave and went home to see mother; did not
stay. Back in barracks 9:30. Had 3 fires going in gymnasium - nice and warm, but miss sheets on bed very much as blankets are
smothered in flea powder.
Wednesday 10th - Thursday 25th
Went Home. Mr and Mrs Loveless came. Went for a walk with Mr Loveless to Church End.
Went back to Barracks by bus. Maudie came to Church End; raining hard all the time. Retired ten- thirty.
Sunday 28th & Monday 29th
Arthur Sewell, G Snutch & Loveless came to see me - took them round to watch the chaps in the riding school which was very
amusing - several of them being unable to stick to their horses the moment the order to trot was given.
Off guard at 9 o'clock. Went to city (Guildhall) at 11 to receive the Freedom of the City. E Bellairs came up to Barracks: went to
City with him - said goodbye to Plumbley & Jack Snowhall. Tom called at the office. Took cab to Kings Cross, had dinner at R....,
cab to barracks. Tom stayed till 10:30 - turned in at 11:30 - up at 1:30am - had coffee & bread & butter & started for the docks.
Left St John's Wood Barracks. Started 2:30 am for Royal Albert Docks - snowing hard, six inches on the ground. Embarked on the
SS Montfort. Irish Hospital & Oxford Yeomanry with us, (gunners in ..? and drivers riding horses barebacked.) Dinner & tea on
board - food very good & plenty of it. Allen & myself Mess orderlies for the Sergeants - hammocks served out with three blankets
for each man - retired 8:30.
Up at 6:30. Busy all day, clearing up & getting meals ready - passed Dover at 5:30 - sea calm. Had a sing- song in the messroom.
2 men fell down the hatchway - both in hospital.
Sea still very calm - entered the Bay of Biscay at 6:30. One horse died & was thrown overboard. Had first wash & shave. Ship
owners presented each man with a writing portfolio. Nobody bad yet on board - this is good as the journey through the Bay is
considered the roughest part of the voyage owing to the streams & winds.
Up at 6:30, breakfast at 8, dinner at 12, tea at 6. Sea still very calm. Was vaccinated this afternoon. We have about 300 horses
and 400 men aboard. The work in the stable is very trying: I am glad I have escaped it. The horses have to be changed from stall
to stall to enable the men to clean them out thoroughly. This is rather dangerous work as there is very little room to do it in.
Sea very rough all day and night. Most of the passengers were very bad. Raining hard. Was not sick myself but do not feel well.
Was very sick in the evening but managed to feed as well and so kept up my strength.
Up at 6:30. Raining hard afternoon & evening. Felt a little better. Concert postponed owing to sea- sickness. The horses are being
exercised between decks every day, mats being laid down to prevent them slipping. Several chaps have had their feet trodden on
by the horses, some rather seriously, having to go into the hospital.
Another horse died and was thrown overboard. Lovely day, weather simply grand. Several chaps slept on deck all night but I was
advised by an old sailor not to do so as the sea is very dangerous, giving one a cold, especially those who have been used to town
life. We had an alarm of fire at 11:30 am when every man had to rush on deck as he was, and fall into line. We were then told off
to man the pumps after which we were dismissed. The alarm was given to test us in case of an emergency.
Arrived at Las Palmas at 11:30 - stopped till 6:30 to coal up. The natives came off in boats to sell bananas, oranges, figs, cigars
and silk handkerchiefs. It is a Spanish possession. Sea calm. There are several large vessels in the port, including the Irish boat
Argonaut. Wrote to Mother, E. Bellairs, S Plumbley & Tom Snowball. Had a sing- song in the cabin. Retired eleven- thirty. (The real
Town of Las Palmas is 7 miles inland). View approaching the Harbour was simply grand. Bought with Allen, bananas, nuts,
grapes(?) & cigars.
Lovely morning. Lost two more horses which were thrown overboard. Had a bath and change. Have been transferred to B Sub-
division - Sergeant Taylor & Corporal Attneave. Several chaps were inoculated and are now very bad indeed.
Up at 5:30, watching sunrise. It was simply grand, words cannot describe it. A gentle breeze blowing all day & the sea quite calm.
Toothache rather bad. Saw several flying fish and sharks in the distance. Concert on deck evening by HAC - very good. Major
McMicking Chairman. Slight accident to the engine, only going at half the speed for the present. Several chaps have bad colds
through sleeping on deck. (At Las Palmas last Saturday, bought cigars 2/6 per 100).
Up at 6. Had a bath on deck (sea water in a large sail put up for the men). Heat very great, perspiration rolling off in bucketsfull.
Several sharks seen this morning. Arm rather bad through vaccination, very red and swollen. All Mess orderlies changed except
Allen & I for Sergeants'. Find the light very strong & cannot read for long on deck. Another concert on deck by the men. Retired
Up at 5.30 Had bath on deck. Had sports at 2. Case of typhoid on board - shifted over the wheel house in a tent. Results of
Sports: Tug of War - Irish Hospital Water polo - C.I.V. Battery Obstacle race - Bom. Ritchie(?) Swimming - team race - C.I.V.
Up at 6. Very warm again, dull in the morning. Spoke to the SS Mount Eagle with the Shropshire Yeomanry on board about 12.30
She is the sister ship to ours but is owned by different people. Not feeling very well so retired 8 o'clock.
Up at 6:15. Lovely day. Mount Eagle out of sight. Another case of typhoid. Two more horses thrown overboard. Attended lecture
by our doctor on field dressing. Crossed the line at 11:30 pm. Very close & hot all night. Had a pound of tobacco served out as a
present from ship's owners to each man.
Up at 6. Had a good bath. Reading a novel by James Grant(?) entitled "Philip Rollo". Sailors had an exhibition in crossing the line.
Several dressed up with black faces and sacks - one as Father Neptune, & they chased the sailors who had not crossed the
Equator & held them on a chair, smothered their heads in a black greasy fluid with a white- wash brush and then went through the
form of shaving with a piece of round hoop(?), something like what you see on a beer barrel. After this, they were tumbled head-
over- heels in about five feet of water where Father Neptune who, of course, was a great strapping man, ducked them three or
four times. After this, they were then allowed to go, looking more dead than alive & grumbling because they could not get the
sticky stuff off their heads.
Had a very quiet day. Short service in morning by Major MacMicking which could not attend as I was Orderly.
Monday 19th to Thursday 22nd
Still very bad, did not get up till 2 o'clock, although it is a lovely day. Given lecture by Lieut. Lowe(?). Passed the S.S. Britain
belonging to the Union Castle - told us that Kimberley was relieved & the Boers were flying in all directions. This is good news if
Lovely morning but very rough. Combined concert this evening which was very good. Tableaux Vivants extra good. Several
telegrams received. Find Mess Orderly work very trying during rough weather, having to take food downstairs while the vessel is
rolling - result being half the things are upset in the journey.
Lovely morning, very rough, ship rolling a good deal. Kit inspection at 2 which kept us all busy. Had service bag served out to each
man. Expect to reach Cape Town tomorrow. Short service in morning by Major MacMicking. Saw an albatross for the first time - like
a large seagull. Had arm dressed as it is very painful.
Lovely morning. Saw land for the first time for 16 days. Arrived at Table Bay at 5:30. Table Mountain top covered in clouds. A large
quantity of boats in the Bay - a lovely starry night but rather cold. Anchored for the night. Sea looked as if it was covered in snow
owing to the phosphorous in the water. Had a late dinner - retired 10:30. Sailors all intoxicated - our military police had trouble
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
Had a good view of Table Bay. We do not land until the morning. We just heard, (11:30 am), Roberts captured General Cronje
with 7000 Boers. Boats all wearing bunting, firing rockets and blowing steam whistles. Latest rumour altered to 3700 men. Retired
10:30. Great excitement in Cape Town - the Dutch papers having their premises mobbed - the people here are very loyal.
Landed at the quay at 10:30 - unloading all day, ammunition principally. Retired 11:30, tired out. Green Point camp is at the foot of
Table Mountain & commands a good view of Table Bay where there are about 40 large transport vessels anchored. It is a very
pretty spot and healthy, except when the sandstorm comes it is very disagreeable, the sand getting into everything.
Took horses to Green Point Camp where we are staying, pegging them down all day. Started as Sergeant- Major Pilboro's batman
- sleeping under tents, nine in each. Had a good dinner but only tea and bread for tea. In tent - Saul, Lee, Blacklin, Page, Burgess,
Cooper- Smith, Brady, Valentine & myself.
Author's Note: List gives nine men, but ten shown in tent photograph taken Sunday 1st April.
Up at 5:30 - Stables 6- 8:30 - Breakfast 8:30- 9. Fatigue 9:30- 11:30 - Stable 11:30- 1:30, Dinner, Stable 2- 4, Fatigue 4- 6, Tea
6- 6:30. Cleared up S.M. Pilboro's tent - made own bed etc. etc. Unloading trucks for fatigues. Retired 10:30, tired out. Horses
picketed in lines, fastened. Had a little trouble as they were not used to it. Several broke loose. The sun was very powerful today
but there is generally a breeze blowing which we shall not get up- country.
Up at 5:30. Very hot all day. Went to Cape Town evening with Brady - nothing much to see - half shops closed - as many black as
white people in the town. There is nothing but camps everywhere - Warwick Militia, Canadian Artillery, Garrison Artillery. Everyone
admired our horses, saying they look the best and fittest they had seen in the camp. The grooming & exercise three times a day
on board is responsible for this, as the Yeomanry and other artillery companies did not exercise theirs.
Up at 5:30. Fatigue work & cleaning horses all day. The Canadian Artillery started off today. The black women in Cape Town dress
up in the most marvellous way in bright- coloured silks and satins & so look very strange with their black faces. The better class
men wear flannels & straw hats. There are four classes of blacks - Malays, Cape boys, Hottentots & ...?
Up at 5:30. Had a busy day; took teams out practising. Went with Blacklin to Government ....(?) gardens. Home 10:30. Very good
band - all soldier songs - great enthusiasm. Had a bathe this evening: could not swim owing to the rocks but it was very
refreshing. The water is rather cold which seems strange as the sun is so hot all day.
Up at 5:30. Full dress parade with guns & waggons. Had a little difficulty with horses at first but went better afterwards. Had first
gun drill at camp. At 4:30 went into Cape Town by cable tram. It is a 3d ride and takes about 20 minutes. Am feeling very well &
sleep like a top. The food we are having is good but no variety. Bread, jam & coffee for breakfast, mutton or beef, boiled potatoes
& bread for dinner and tea, bread and bully beef for tea.
Reveille 5:30. Went into Cape Town evening with Blacklin. Another contingent of Canadian Artillery went off this morning. Had gun
drill again. Lee (Gunner) sent to hospital with dysentery. Sent in spare kit bags. The news from the front continues good, the
Boers having lost heart & are retreating in all directions, our cavalry following them up, not giving them time to collect their horses.
They are now within 35 miles of Bloemfontein, the capital of the Orange Free State.
Reveille 5:30. Out with guns & waggons at 7. Had leave off from 12:30 to 4. Went to Cape Town, had dinner at Coles Rest:, went
to Standard Bank, drew £10. Gun drill 4:15. Did not leave camp evening. Two of the Canadian Artillery came to our tent for a chat.
Some of the Company have travelled 12,000 miles to reach Cape Town.
Reveille 5:30. Boot and saddle 6 - parade 7. Went with guns & waggons practising turning & firing live shells (cannon) out to sea.
Returned 10; breakfast 10:30, stable 11:30 to 12:30 - cleaning harness & grooming horses all day. Did not go out evening -
Reveille 5:30. Went out with guns & waggons. Breakfast 10. Cleaning harness & grooming horses all day. Went to Cape Town
evening with Blacklin, had dinner at Coles Restaurant - back in camp 10. Retired 11. The town was crowded with people and looked
more like an English town.
Reveille 5:30. Church Parade 10 a.m. Went with Blacklin to Rhodes house at Rosedale - met Mr West who showed us round the
grounds - also saw Mr C Rhodes on the steps of his house (Groote Schuur). Went on to Wynberg by Callidra - back by tram to
Cape Town - dined with Mr West at Poole's Restaurant (good dinner). Back in camp 9pm - retired 9:30 - very tired. Rhodes
menagerie in the gardens, all kinds of pheasants, deer, bullocks, birds, and a large cage with splendid specimens of African tigers,
lions, leopards & numerous other animals.
Reveille 5:30. Argyll & Sutherland Volunteers arrived in camp. Out with guns & waggons 8:30, breakfast 11:30. Was number 5 on
the guns. Had a drill on the ...? Went to see Allen in camp. Did not go to Cape Town. Retired 10:30.
Reveille 5:30. Out with guns & waggons - marched to Sea Point by road & back along the front to try the teams - everything went
well. Went to Cape Town evening with Murdoch - had dinner at Dixie's Restaurant. Getting ready for start in the morning. There
are now all kinds of troops in Cape Town of an evening, some having come down from the Front & others only just landed & they
would present a very pretty sight were it not for the khaki uniform they have to wear.
Reveille 5. Breakfast 10:30. Started on the road to Durban 1 p.m. sitting on the buck ammunition(?) waggon with Bates. Camped
for the night at Durban Road, 12 miles from Green Point sleeping in the open on the ground. Did not undress - waterproof top
coat and blanket which was soaking wet in the morning through the dew. The waggons went the wrong way which delayed us
about two hours. They are drawn by ten mules, one nigger driving & the other having a long bamboo whip with which they are very
Bloemfontein taken by Roberts. Reveille 5:30. On the march again 8:15 to Stellenbosch where we camped. Met a lot of Indians
going to the Front with remounts. We are 30 miles from Cape Town and are encamped on a hill close to an ostrich farm. The land
& farms around belong to the Right Hon. Cecil Rhodes. We have been guarded by Lord Alfred Compton (Beds Yeomanry). We are
4 miles from the village & have a mountain just in front which looks grand at sunset & sunrise. Rode the S.Major's horse to water
which is 1 1/2 miles away - it bumps a bit, the heat is very great & I perspire freely. Retired 9:30 after visiting the dry canteen.
Reveille 5:30. Stables 6 - cleaning harness & grooming all day. Had a swim in a pond one mile from camp. Expecting orders every
minute to proceed up- country by train. Guard turned out 10:30 - reported signalling on the hills. Compton's Horse patrolled them
best part of the night but did not discover anything. We have four canteens here, 3 dry & 1 wet, all being run by Jew refugees
from up- country. Coffee, tea and cocoa at 3d per cup any time during the day. Nothing costs less than 3d, that being the current
coin - a tickey as it is called by the natives.
Reveille 5:30. Boot & saddled 8:30 - still waiting for the orders to proceed to the front - kits packed and horses harnessed all day.
We could turn out in full marching order in ten minutes. Gun drill at 4:30 during a sandstorm which was very trying as the sand
gets in the eyes and makes them smart. Slept on the ground all night as the tents had been packed ready for marching.
Reveille 6. Church Parade 9:30. The Major & Adjutant took the service which lasted half- an- hour. Had a swim afterwards which
was very refreshing. A quiet day, no gun drill. Slept on the ground. Spent the evening in the canteen drinking coffee etc. etc. We
are now, by the help of our own money, living well on all kinds of tinned goods. Of course, we pay stiff prices but what does that
matter so long as we enjoy them? We may not be able to spend it later on. At least, the general opinion is that we are to see
some hard times before we return. Wrote to Mother (2) and Tom.
Reveille 5:30. Boot & saddle 9:30. Expecting orders all day to entrain. Slept in the open again on waterproof sheets - men not
wishing to erect tents.
Reveille 5:30. Out with guns and waggons manoeuvring - supposed attack on Stellenbosch which we were protecting. Went over
some rough ground - two waggons stuck in a ditch. Full marching order at 7:30, starting entraining at 10:30. Right section only
started off by train at 5:30 - very tired and sleepy. Slight accident to buck waggon. Ammunition which delayed us. Mules killed and
waggons smashed up.
Started off 5:30 for Matjesfontein, 200 miles from Cape Town. Passed through some grand mountain scenery, the railway
travelling round the mountain in horse- shoe fashion which was grand. The line is guarded by volunteers all the way. Arrived at
Matjesfontein 9:30; started unloading train - slept in the carriages all night - retired 12:30. Breakfast 12:30 at Worcester, dinner &
tea 5:30 Jousse River(?)- bully beef & dry biscuits. Several horses were knocked away during the journey. Right section only to
Matjesfontein, Left to Picketsburg (Piquetberg?) Road.
Thursday 22nd PIQUETBERG
Reveille 6. Moved camp 200 yards. Ground very rocky & no canteen. The worst place we have stopped at. Not so warm. The
Northumberland Fusiliers, S & W (?) Yeomanry, the Duke of Edinburgh's Own Volunteers camping here, the last named are getting
7/6 per day and are mostly Englishmen. There is really no town to speak of, all the ground being owned by one man named Logan.
Everything is dear except ...? wines which are very good, 1/- per bottle at most. Sherry costs ...?. Cleaning harness and grooming
horses all day. Short walk in the evening. Had a walk round into the village ....? Slept in Allen's tent. Retired ...?
Friday 23rd to Monday 26th
Reveille 5.30. Gun drill after. Went for a march with the Yeomanry and Cape Volunteers. Did not go myself. Went on guard at 6.30
to guard ...?. 8.30 to 10.30 & 2.30 to 4.30pm. (46? Company Yeomanry) (Cape Volunteers) (Duke of Edinburgh's Own
Volunteers). Wrote to Mother, Bellairs, Keeble, Dick Crosby & Loveless.
Reveille 5:30. Did not go out with guns. Gun drill 4:30. Fuse setting & laying. Living is very dear - tinned butter 2/6 lb, biscuits 1/-
lb. jam 1/- lb, bread 9d small loaf. We have 8 buck ammunition waggons, each having 2 black drivers & are drawn by ten mules.
Reveille 5:30. Went out with guns along the railway about 8 miles. Guns & waggons went very well. Came into action twice.
Scenery was grand. Had a supper in tent - sherry, sardines, biscuits, jam, bread & mutton. Major & Staff went to see General
Wauchope's grave about one mile away. He was brought down from Magersfontein at Mr Logan's expense.
Reveille 5:30. Turned out 7 o'clock. Marching with guns & waggons till 10:30, about 8 miles. Very pretty country. On the waggon
No.7. Breakfast 11. Cleaning harness and grooming horses. Guns came into action once. Went for short walk with Blacklin. Retired
nine- thirty. Heard General Joubert was dead.
Reveille 5:30. Out by 7 along railway. Into action twice. Took No.5 on gun. Back 10:30, breakfast 11, stables 11:30. Went to
cricket match between CIV Battery - 60 runs & Imperial Yeomanry 46. Battalion 96 for 6. Gun drill 5. Short walk evening. Retired
Reveille 6. Church Parade 9.30. Marched outside Logan's house. Imperial Yeomanry on our left & Duke of Edinburgh's Own
Volunteer Rifles on our right. (D.E.O.V.R.). Service conducted by their own chaplain - brass band accompaniment. Had tent group
taken afternoon. Bom. Valentine, Blacklin, Page, Sawle, Burgess, Hanks, Brady, Flanigan, Allen & myself - (photograph). Tent
inspection morning & kit outside & tent brailed up, the lightest day's work since I volunteered. Retired 8.30 after a short walk.
Reveille 5.30. Out with guns by 7. Did not go myself - clearing up the lines. Guns back at 11.30, breakfast 12. Cleaning harness
and grooming horses all day. Gun drill 4.30. Short walk with Brady evening. Went to the stores - could not get served owing to
Reveille 5.30. Out with guns & waggons at 8.30. Had breakfast before going out, owing to complaints. Went on the Sutherland
Road about six miles. Came into action once - had it explained to gunners afterwards by the Major. Went on guard 6.30. Took
8.30 to 10.30 watch. Raining best part of night.
Reveille 5.30. Had breakfast at 8. Did not go out with guns which went to General Wauchope's grave, gunners visiting same. Slight
reverse to British troops rumoured.
Reveille 5.30. Marching order parade 7. Guns back at 10.30. Breakfast 11.30. Horse harness drill by the S.M. Pilboro'. Short walk
with Blacklin evening. Severe thunderstorm prevented gun drill afternoon. 17th Lancers went through today by train, going to the
Reveille 5.30. I did not go out with guns - cleaning the lines. Breakfast 11.30. Had concert in the tent, evening.
Reveille 5.30. Marching order at 7 with guns & waggons, practising turning and wheeling. Did not go into action. Back at 11.30,
breakfast 12. Cricket match afternoon with the Imperial Yeomanry 5th Battalion which resulted in a draw. They scored 175 all out.
Battery 50 for 9. Back to camp at 6. Short walk afterwards with Allen. Had sardine supper in tent - retired 9.30. Some of the
Yeomanry went on to Beaufort West.
Reveille 5.30. Stables 6. Church parade 6.45 at the Duke's Volunteers lines. Had a very easy day. Went to Mission service evening
with Blacklin and Page, at the school. Did not exercise the horses. Retired 9.30. Wrote to Mother(4), Maudie, Emma, Tom,
Bellairs(3), Cummings, McDermott & Jack Downing. Letter from Mother.
Reveille 5.30. Took No 6 on waggon. Came into action twice - over very rough ground - waggons got stuck. Had breakfast before I
started. Went with Brady to concert in the Dukes lines. Went to the tents concert, not bad, but some of the Dukes were
Reveille 5.30. Took No 6 on waggon - Into action once over same ground as yesterday - back at twelve- thirty. Went on guard at
6.30 - took 6.30 to 8.30 & 12.30 to 2.30 guards. Letter from E Bellairs.
Reveille 5.30. Went out with guns & waggons. Took No 4. Came into action twice. Went for a walk evening with Page, Blacklin &
Burgess & had sardine supper in the tent. Retired nine- thirty.
Reveille 5.30. Did not go out with the guns - cleaning the horse lines. Had a dinner at Railway station - very good - Afterwards to
Jack's; spent the evening there. Page, Blacklin, Brady, Burgess, Allen & myself at dinner. Charged us 5/- each, four courses.
(Good Friday) Church parade 8.30. Marched to Yeomanry lines. One of their Corporals took the service. Had a very easy day, only
water & feed twice for horses. Went to Jack's evening for drinks with Page, Blacklin, Burgess & Allen.
Reveille 5.30. Went with guns & waggons on the Sutherland Road; came into action twice. Took No 6 on waggon. Went to concert
outside Logans house - very good. Went to Jack's afterwards - back to camp at 10.30.
Reveille 6. Raining all the morning. Great excitement in camp - just received telegram to say we are going to Bloemfontein as soon
as the officials can get us a train. Had a very easy day - exercised the horses twice - went for a walk evening.
Reveille 5.30. Stables 6. Marching order cancelled owing to rain. Had to clean all harness again as it was soaking wet. Did some
washing for myself. Went to Jack's room with Page & Allen (musical evening). Retired 9.30.
Reveille 5.30. Did not go out with guns; they returned at 12.30. Rumoured the Left Section are to join us tomorrow morning
about 8 a.m. Jack & Tom spent the evening at our tent. I was on guard first (6.30 - 8.30); nothing happened. Lovely moonlight
night. Wrote to Mother (5) & Bellairs (4).
Reveille 5.30. Marching order 8.30. Went route marching on the Sutherland Road - back at 1.30. Did not go into action. Jack &
Tom (employed by Logan at Hotel) spent musical evening with us in tent. Had letter from Dick Crosby.
Reveille 5.30. Did not go with guns & waggons. They had a long day - went to ....??. Cleaning lines & tents all the morning. Battery
returned 5.30. Went for a walk with Blacklin & Page to Jack's room, had a drink & came back to camp.
Reveille 5.30. Went with guns & waggons on the Kimberley Road. Very pretty scenery all along the bed of a river which was very
rocky for the horses. Picketed horses & had dinner - boiled mutton & biscuits. Arrived in camp at 5.30 having enjoyed the change
very much as the gun drill gets so sickening after a time. Cleaned the harness & groomed horses. Went with Page to Jack's room,
spent musical evening. Retired 9.30, tired out.
Reveille 5.30. Took No. 6 on the waggons. Came into action once at the base of Majupa Hill the Second - returned 12.30. Cleaning
harness and grooming horses afternoon. Had some friends in the tent evening and commenced a little concert which was
interrupted as the Major would not allow any civilians to enter the lines, so our visitors had to leave at once. Retired 9.30.
Reveille 5.30. Exercising horses before breakfast. Church Parade 9.30, the Major reading the Service. Left camp at 10.30 with
Flanigan & Valentine, having got leave to go exploring the hills. Climbed to the top of the first peak & had dinner. Lit a fire & made
soup - salmon, jam & bread. Had a bathe in mountain stream & more soup for tea, lighting fire again. Arrived in Camp 6.30, having
spent a most exciting and enjoyable day.
Reveille 5.30. Boot & saddle 7.30. Went 10 miles on the Kimberley Road - very pretty scenery. Picketed the horses - had a swim &
dinner. Boot & saddle 2.30. Arrived in camp 5.30 having spent a very pleasant day. Went on guard at 6.30 - took 10.30 to 12.30 -
Wet night - nothing important happened.
Tuesday 24th to Friday 27th
Reveille 5.30. Boot & saddle 7.30. Went along Kimberley Road about 6 miles. Came back across country into Sutherland Road -
into action once. Very rough going. Was No 7 on waggon which had eight horses to pull it. Afternoon cricket match with
Shropshire Yeomanry. We made 154 for 6 & declared. They made 114 for 4 - the game resulting in a draw. I did the scoring & so
was excused stables. Evening, went with Page to Jack's house - met 2 Yeomanry chaps - split a bottle of whisky together. Back in
camp 9.15 & retired for the night - no harness cleaned.
Reveille 6. Exercising horses. Church parade outside Logan's house at 9 with D E O V R's, Shropshire Yeomanry & Duke of
Cambridge's Own. Tent inspection 11.30 - easy day off watch. Football match on Logan's ground between D E O V R & Shropshire
Yeomanry. Spent the evening at Jack's. Back in camp for water & feed. Retired 9.30.
Reveille 5.30. Boot & saddle 7. Had a long day with guns & waggons. Fired live shells & hit target at 2,500 yds. at 3rd shot working
with the Yeomanry (Shropshire). Camped 4 - had dinner 5.30 - arrived in camp at 8. Pitch dark, having had a hard but interesting
day's work. Tea 9.30 pm. Retired 10.30. Harness and horses not touched.
Did not go out with guns & waggons - cleaning harness all the morning & exercising the horses. Went on guard six- thirty; took 8
guard. Wrote to Mother(7), Tom, Keeble, Sewell(?) & Plumbley.
Reveille 5.30. Had a long day with guns & waggons. Took No. 7 on waggon. Did not come into action. Had trouble with the S.
Major's horse in the wheels - waggon got stuck in a swamp - four horses down & two men underneath - delayed us an hour. Meat
served out to each man for dinner; had to cook it themselves. We grilled ours over a wood fire & enjoyed it very much. Back in
camp at 7.30, pitch dark. Unharnessed horses and turned in, having spent a most exciting day. Had a letter from Tom & Bellairs.
Reveille 5.30. Out with guns & waggons. Took No 7 on waggon & came into action once. Returned 12.30. Cleaning harness &
grooming all the afternoon. Had dinner at Station Restaurant with Murdoch, Page, Duncan, Sulman & back in camp at 9.30. Retired
at once, having had a good dinner. Letter from Mother.
Reveille 5.30. Field day with the Shropshire Yeomanry. Came into action once. Took No 6 on waggon. Went over very rough
ground - walking nearly all day. Back in camp 6.30, very tired. Came into action on top of a steep hill & had to drag gun up with
drag ropes. Evening - went with Burgess to Station Restaurant & had a good feed.
Reveille 6. Guns did not go out. Cleaning lines whilst horses were exercised - cleaning harness afterwards. Had a wash in mountain
stream two miles from Camp. Concert in the schoolroom by CIV Battery - the Major in the chair - went off very well - Tableaux
Vivant being very good. (Stableman's Dream, Scotchman, Italians & Muleteer). Went to Toms afterwards with Burgess & Page,
having special leave to clear up the place. Arrived in camp 10.45, & retired at once.
Reveille 6. Exercising horses before breakfast. Church parade & tent inspection 9.15 to 10.15. Went to Tom's morning. Afternoon
- went up the ravine with Brady. Lit fire & made cocoa & jelly. Had salmon for tea. Returned home 6.30 having spent a very
pleasant afternoon. Had a concert in tent, evening, Hanks' friend from the Dukes playing the mandolin very well.
Reveille 5.30. Field day. Took No 8 on waggon. Came into action once - fired live shell. Returned at 5.30; did not groom horses or
clean harness. Camped 6 miles on the Sutherland Road for dinner. Went on guard at 6.30. Took 10.30 to 12.30. Saul, from our
tent, a prisoner for striking picket (Blacklin) and refusing to leave horse lines. Had trouble with the niggers, they having to be
Reveille 5.30. Marching order with guns & waggons. Took No 8 on waggon but did not come into action. Wrote to Mother (8),
Bellairs (6), Tom, Lee, Will Crosby & Harry Crosby.
Reveille 5.30. Camped on the Sutherland Road. Practised fire with guns but was not very successful. Had a letter from Maudie.
Reveille 5.30. Took No 5 on guns but did not come into action. Went over very rough country. Cleaning harness and grooming
horses all the afternoon. Did not leave camp evening. Had letter & papers from Els(?) and Mother.
Reveille 5.30. Went along the ravine - (field day). Fired live shell which was not very satisfactory. Picketed horses & had dinner five
miles from camp. Returned to camp 5.30.
Reveille 5.30. Exercised horses before breakfast. Cleaning harness & grooming horses morning. Afternoon - CIV Battery sports -
very good. Evening - camp fire concert, the Major in the chair - very good. Went over to the Station to get wine with Burgess.
Reveille 6. Church parade & tent inspection 9.30. Went up the ravine with Brady afternoon. Made fire and cooked - cocoa, jelly -
had potted chicken & tongue & had a bathe in the mountain stream. Returned 6.30, having spent an enjoyable afternoon. The
Shropshire Yeomanry & Duke of Cambridge's Volunteers left by train for .....?. Wrote to Mother (9) Bellairs (7) Nellie Stokes, Story.
Reveille 5.30. Took No 6 on waggon. Came into action once at 3500 yards; shots very effective. Camped & had dinner; back in
camp 5.30. Had tea; went on guard 10.30 to 12.30 - nothing important happened. Lovely moonlight night. The D.E.O.V.R. left by
train, destination not known.
Reveille 5.30. Marching order. Did not come into action. Went along Sutherland Road about 7 miles. Returned 2.30. Horses very
tired. Cleaning harness & grooming horses afternoon.
Reveille 5.30. Had field day on the Sutherland Road. Practised with live shell, not very successful. Camped & had dinner; it was very
cold. Returned to camp 5.20. The S.M. very ill with dysentery. Did not leave camp evening, retired early. Transport officer came
over & told us to hold ourselves in readiness to go up- country on the 18th, destination not known.
Reveille 5.30. Guns & waggons did not go out to enable the men to get ready. Kit bags packed & sent in. Advance Guard sent to
Bloemfontein to take charge of ammunition & waggons. Had letters from Mother, Ada & Keeble.
Reveille 5.30. Horses exercised before breakfast. Busy loading goods trains with forage. Half the tents taken down.
Reveille 5.30. Exercised horses before breakfast; barebacked. Entrained them at one o'clock & started on our journey at 1/2 past
2. Arrived Beaufort West, watered & fed horses. Great rejoicing here over Relief of Mafeking. Engines decorated & flags flying. Had
tea - bully beef & bread & coffee. Travelling in carriage with Mr Dean, QMS Oakley & SM Pilboro' - the SM ill & I am to look after him.
Retired at ten- thirty & slept well all night although it was very cold.
Arrived at De Aar at ten- thirty. Watered & fed horses & had breakfast. Started again at 1.30 for Naauwpoort - arrived
Naauwpoort 8. Watered & fed & had tea. Left 3 mule trucks & 4 luggage trucks behind as train could not take them up the inclines.
Wrote to Ada, Tom & Mother (10).
Arrived at Springfontein at 6.30 a.m. Had breakfast & exercised horses. Started again for Bloemfontein at 2.30, arrived 10.30,
slept in train all night. We met swarm of locusts during the railway journey and lost the monkey which is the pet of the regiment.
Reveille 6.30. Had breakfast, untrained horses. Marching order at 2.30. & marched to the camp. Unloading trucks & waggons in
camp all day. We are camped 2 miles from the town on a sandy ground. There are in all 30,000 soldiers here & they are composed
of Artillery, Infantry & Mounted Infantry. There is a large hospital & burying ground here & there are between twenty five & thirty
deaths every day. The bodies are sewn in a blanket & buried 20 in a pit. They are mostly cases of dysentery & enteric from the
Reveille 5.45. Exercised horses after breakfast. The Left Section arrived today, looking smart & fit. Helped them to unpack & put up
tents. One of the sights here are the bullock waggons.
Reveille 5.45. Guns Parade before .....? in honour of the Queen's birthday. Guns complimented on their smart appearance. Went to
Town Hall but could not get in - crush so great. Food very good today, the Captain managing everything. Plum duff & vegetables
for dinner, porridge & jam breakfast, jam for tea & plenty of it. Have to take horses 2 miles to water. It is a sight as so many are
being watered at the same time from the remount stations, as many as 300 waiting at a time for water.
Reveille 5.45. Stables 6. Exercising the horses. Stripped saddles after breakfast. Various rumours in camp that Buller has had a
reverse & French has gone back to Kroonstad again. Captain Budworth distributed the remaining spare kit, to the Q.M.S.'s
disgust. Took horse to water evening, riding bareback. Letter from Dick Crosby.
Saturday 26th to Tuesday 29th
(2 pages missing)
Reveille 5.45. Rode Hanks' horse with saddle, exercising - back at 12.30. Heard Roberts had entered Johannesburg without
fighting, Boers having scooted, not having expected him until the next day. Did not go out evening - retired 8.20. We are
encamped about 2(?) miles from Bloemfontein. Provisions are much cheaper here than at Matjesfontein & we are still being fed very
Rode Hanks' horse again at exercise. Heard today Roberts had not yet entered Johannesburg having given the Boers 24 hours to
give in before he commenced attacking. Examined Boer forts whilst exercising - morning.
Reveille 5.45. Did not go out this morning - cleaning the horse lines instead. Went with Brady to Town Hall. Variety entertainment
being the Vaudeville Comedy & Dramatic Company - very good. Heard Franco Piper play banjo. Back in barracks 11.30. Had to
dodge the sentry as I had not a pass. Roberts entered Johannesburg. No news about fighting. Wrote to Mother (12), Emma,
Bellairs, Cummings and Tom.
Reveille 5.45. Did not exercise horses. Cleaning horse lines & did some washing. No mention of moving yet. Reported in papers
Pretoria fort deserted & Kruger has scooted to the Portuguese territory & Roberts is within 20 miles of Pretoria. Warned for
attending man on guard so could not go out with Brady as arranged. Had letters from Mother, Maudie, Jack Downing, E.B., also
papers from E Bellairs.
Whit Sunday 3rd
Reveille 6. Church Parade 8.30. Marched to rest camp, exercised horses, walking all the way, rode Hanks'. Went on guard at 5.30 -
took first turn - was relieved in the morning - nothing important happened. Wind very cold all day. Large swarms of locusts; also
saw large ant heaps during exercise, morning - look more like hay cocks in the distance - they are very plentiful & average about
two feet in height & four feet in circumference, being oval in shape.
Reveille 5.30. Relieved of guard by Herbert. Full marching order 8.30. Took No 5 on gun & came into action twice. Gunners had a
lot of walking. Dollar tumbled off horse and was very queer. Cleaning harness all afternoon. Allen turned up Officers' Mess Orderly
& became gunner. Did not go out evening.
Tuesday 5th PRETORIA TAKEN BY ROBERTS
Exercised horses this morning & stripped saddles. Lord Roberts entered Pretoria without opposition with his main army.
Reveille 5.30. Marching order 7.30. Fired live shells at practice - very good except the range- finding by the Major, he giving 3500
yards when it should have been 1975 yards. Colonel Davidson, who watched practice, was very pleased; he is in command of the
Artillery Brigade here.
Reveille 5.45. Marching orders 7.30. Took No 9 on waggon. Came into action twice but did not fire live shell. Returned 1.30.
Cleaning harness & grooming, afternoon. Did not leave camp evening. Retired 7.30.
Reveille 5.30. Stripped saddle exercise. Did not go out myself. Went with Brady to the Town Hall to see a play entitled "Jane" (Leigh
- Pierce Company). Returned to camp twelve- thirty. Wrote to Mother (13), Maudie, Bellairs & Jack Downing.
Reveille 5.30. Marching order. Artillery reviewed by Major- General Kelly (Kenny?). Came into action. Everything went off well.
Colonel very pleased, said he could not spare us from Bloemfontein but promised the officers we should see some fighting before
we returned as the war was not nearly over.
Reveille 6. Church Parade 8.30. Went out exercising with Blacklin's horse, returned 12.30. Went with Allen into the town, had
dinner at the Masori Hotel. Returned to camp 5.30. Did not go out again. Visited Grey College Hospital with Allen to see his friend
who is recovering from enteric fever. Had letters from Mother, Bellairs & McCalla.
Reveille 5.45. Took No 6 on waggon & came into action twice. Drill Order parade. Did not leave camp evening; retired 9.30. First
time of having Drill Order - no kits to pack on horses or waggons - a very pleasant change & not such a rush of a morning.
Reveille 5.45. Drill order. Took No 6 on waggon. Came into action. Did not leave camp evening.
Reveille 5.45. Exercising horses, took Blacklin's pair, back at 12.30. Grooming horses and cleaning harness as it all had to be
inspected during afternoon. Went on guard at 5.30 but was relieved in the morning.
Reveille 5.45. Drill order. Rode Blacklin's spare horses; came into action twice. Did some ground scouting on the way home. Went
to concert at the Soldiers' Home given by the C.I.V. Battery which was very good. Refreshments provided. Major MacMicking, Lieut.
Lowe, Bayley & Duncan being present.
Reveille 6. Horses exercised. Stayed in camp myself cleaning horse lines. Did not leave camp evening; writing letters. Wrote to
Mother (14), Bellairs & McCalla.
Reveille 6. Drill order; boot & saddle. Competition at 8 for driving between the four Sub- Divisions, C- Gun driving & A- waggon
driving. Went to small dinner party in the town with Symes, Allen, Mordin, Schultz and Nelson which was very good. Raining hard
evening. Leave from camp stopped owing to us being under orders to leave at any moment - destination not known. Retired 9.30.
Very close all night & raining hard. Received letters from Bellairs, Mother & Tom. 3 papers from E.B.
Reveille 6. Raining hard. Horses exercised. Did not go out myself - shifting horse lines. Orders altered today to 'Stand Fast' so we
are not likely to move yet awhile. Did not leave camp evening - still raining - retired 7.30. Rumoured rebels are within twelve miles
of the town. Mounted infantry sent out to meet them & patrols doubled all round the town.
Reveille 6. Drill order parade. Did not go out myself. Had chocolate from E.B. & letter & People from Keeble. Wrote to George
Snutch, Dick Crosby, Arthur Sewell & G. Keeble.
Reveille 6. Exercising horses; did not go out myself. Had leave off, afternoon. Went with Allen over Irish Hospital - came on to rain.
Had dinner at Bon Accord. Went to Town Hall, programme not very good. Saw Sullivan, Baker, Lea, McDougall, Stephenson & Vigor
in the hospital.
Reveille 6. Exercising horses. Football match between A & D drivers. All leave stopped. Orders received to entrain for Kroonstad.
Struck tents 8.30 - boot & saddle 10.30. Marched to station 11.30. Entraining all night - bitterly cold & very slow work. Sleeping in
open goods truck, underneath buck- waggons.
Started on journey 6 - very interesting - all bridges blown up by Boers. Watered at Brandfort. Vals(?) River very pretty than for
weeks. Over five miles sitting on top of buck waggon. Country very flat but very good pastures. Arrived outside Kroonstad at
8.00. Slept in trucks all night.
Reveille 6.30. Unloading Right Section till eleven. Marched out to meet the rebels but was too late to come into action. 17 Lancers -
our advance & 47 Infantry rearguard. Saw several dead Boers. Firing going on all the evening on our right. We advanced about 15
miles from Kroonstad to Honing Spruit (Heuning Spruit?). Returned to the train (Catposch), 4 miles back & camped for the night.
Hot coffee, biscuits and bully beef served out. Brady & I slept under the gun limber & enjoyed a good night's rest, the first for
Reveille 4. Boot and saddle 5 - on the march again at 7. Advanced to the Honing Spruit Station and halted till 1.30. Returned to
Catposch (Catbosch?), had grub & marched back to Kroonstad, arriving at 7.30 - horses having marched 25 miles. Retired 9.30.
No orders yet for morning. Left Section started for Lindley this afternoon, which is forty miles away.
Reveille 5. Marching to Lindley under Colonel Brookfield with the Yeomanry & 2 guns of the 17th Battery to protect convoy 4 miles
long. Overtook it 15 miles from the town. We are acting as rearguard. We were marching till 7.30, when we camped. Slept under
the gun limber with Brady. Shots exchanged between ours & the Boer's scouts. The convoy comprised of bullock teams, mule
teams & a pair of traction engines & it is a very interesting sight to see them winding their way down among the hills in single file.
The bullock teams have sixteen to each waggon & are very clumsy things.
Reveille 4. On the march by 5, pitch dark. Picketed horses by the Valsch River at 1.30 & stayed for the night. Very pretty scenery &
plenty of good water but we are not allowed to drink it unless boiled. In the evening the Rebels set light to the grass all around.
This lit up the country for miles around & on the skyline was a very pretty sight. We have the Yorkshire Infantry (Buffs) &
Yeomanry & Australian bushmen protecting the convoy & scouring the country for miles around.
Tuesday 26th VAN DYKE KOP (WONDERKOP?)
Reveille 3.30. Ready to resume march at 5. Started at 6.30. Engaged the enemy & came into action - under fire for the first time
on this campaign; rifle fire being very thick; bullets whizzing round fast & furious. Fired 240 rounds & shelled the devils out in
about an hour. Took No 7 on waggon after action. Back to buck waggon to replace fresh ammunition. Camped for the night at
....?, the 17th Battery firing a few rounds at the enemy to keep them off in the evening. Expect the rebels will make a big stand
tomorrow as we are nearing a deep spruit & they have been seen in large numbers by our scouts. Clough & O'Regan were
wounded slightly, also two horses, but nothing serious. This is jolly good as the fire for half an hour was very heavy.
Wednesday 27th to Saturday 30th
(Two pages missing)
Reveille 4.30. Left Section came in at 5.30, tired out, been marching all day & night. Both sections saddled up & were ready to
march off by 6.30, and so we stood till 2.30 when marching order was cancelled by General Paget & we unsaddled & prepared to
stay the night again. Did not leave camp in the evening. General Clements reported six miles away; firing heard all day - 38 Battery
in action. Retired seven- thirty.
Reveille 4.30. Marched off to meet General Clements towards Bethlehem at six- thirty. The town of Lindley is being left, all troops
coming with us. The Rebels contested the Kopjes on the road stubbornly & we came into action several times but only advanced
six miles on the road. In evening, shells were very thick around the waggons but they did not burst. Camped at ....? for the night.
Very cold all day, no sun & showery.
Tuesday 3rd BARKIN KOP OR KEMPS FARM, PLEISIT FONTEIN(?)
Reveille 3.30. On the march again at 6.30. The rebels took up positions on a large kopje & we had great difficulty in shifting them.
We were within 100 yds of their infantry. Had it not been for the Captain our guns would have been captured as our guard retired
& left us alone. We were working with the 38th Battery who had their Major wounded & three officers killed besides all their
gunners at action on guns. This was through the Yeomanry who did not keep a proper look out and let the rebels come within rifle
shot and then retired themselves. We must have had quite 200 at us & it is wonderful no- one was killed in our Battery. Conway
joined us from Kroonstad with ammunition which was badly wanted as we had fired our last shell. Raining off & on the whole day.
Retired under the green sheet in wet clothes at 9.30 - tired out.
Reveille 6. Did not move till 9. Marched about 8 miles. Commandeered flock of sheep & cattle. Guns took up position & fired at the
rebels 4,200 yds away. They did not reply. B's scouted. General Clements reported only four miles away with large guns. Camped
for the night. We are on quarter rations - Macorikit one tin & three biscuits per day. Our Lieut. Duncan has been put in command
of 38 Battery temporarily & Captain Budworth has been made Adjutant to the Brigade Division of Artillery.
Reveille 4.30. Moved off at 6. General Clements signalled with the heliograph. Halted at 11.30. No Boers within five miles; waiting
for General Clements to join us. Started again at 2.30, advanced about eight miles in all. Picketed for the night three miles from
Bethlehem. Rebels shelled the ridges on our left flank but did no damage. We did not fire ourselves altho' the scouts exchanged
shots with them. We are burning all the farms and houses where we find any firearms & also commandeer their sheep and oxen
which is very welcome to the soldiers & it is reckoned extra ration which is very much needed after a hard day's work as we are
Reveille 7. Boot & saddle 8.30. Rebels shelled the ridges on our left again but did no damage. Watered horses at 9 o'clock. Still
waiting for General Clements' column who came up with his 5" guns at 12.30 & started shelling the Boer trenches. He has with him
7,000 men & we make in all 10,000. The Boers hold Spitzkop which is a very strong position. A message has been sent to the
town of Bethlehem to surrender but they refuse to do so & state they will hold us responsible for the women and children who are
there. We are firing on them until 5.00, our Infantry taking several of their trenches with the bayonet charge. We have the Munster
Fusiliers & the York Infantry, both Corps being good fighting men.
Saturday 7th SPITKOP
Reveille 3.30. Advanced at 6 & commenced to shell the position, our Infantry advancing under our fire in a line about a mile long in
open order till at last the enemy retreated & we rushed the crest, the 5" gun all the time shelling Spit Kop to prevent them placing
their big gun on it. The enemy retreated towards Nauwpoort(?) & we, not having any cavalry could not follow them. Their trek was
reported 3 miles long. Camped for the night at the foot of Spitkop. Extra rations served out & rum.
Reveille 7. Shifted camp afternoon, Right Section to one Kopje & Left to another, the waggons, limbers & horses being kept at the
base & the guns on the top of the hill. The hill on which we are has a picket of the Munster Fusiliers who are jolly good chaps & as
brave as lions. Clements' force seen approaching in the distance. Extra meat rations are being served out. The grass where Paget's
column was has been burning all night.
Reveille 6. General Clements column passed on their way back to Senekal with Roberts' Horse as scouts. Took horses to water &
graze, morning. A gunner has to be on guard all day with the gun & another at night. Went on picket at 6; nothing important
happened except several horses got loose & the grass for miles around was alight at night.
Reveille 6.30. Stables at once. Breakfast 7.30. Drivers took horses to graze. Gunners on the hill building a redoubt with stones.
This is very hard work. Afternoon, drivers took horses out to graze again. Writing letters. Slept under the gun all night on the hill.
General Hunter's force, composed mostly of cavalry, is outside of the town. Wrote to Mother (16), Tom, Bellairs, Keeble & McCalla.
Reveille 6.30. Drivers grazing horses, gunners cleaning horse lines. Afternoon - all hands on hill assisting the Munsters to build the
redoubt. Rifle shots exchanged between Remington's scouts & the Rebels. Provisions very dear; bread 3/- per loaf (small). Tea,
coffee, milk cannot be bought, it being all wanted for the hospitals. Supplies running short. Convoy expected in every day.
Reveille 6.30. Gunners grazing horses, drivers cleaning harness. Had mealie porridge for breakfast, not very nice, no sugar in
stores. Building redoubt on hill with Munsters, afternoon. Had pumpkins & potatoes for dinner. The Boers laager can be seen
eleven miles away.
Reveille 6.30. Cleaning harness all morning which was inspected by the Major, together with carbines & pistols. Went after doctor's
mule, overtook it 1/4 mile from Bethlehem. Retired early, not feeling well. Oatmeal run out so are having mealie porridge which is
not very nice, being only half cooked & having no sugar with it.
Reveille 6.30. Took horses to graze. Met Ian Hamilton's Division comprising Highland Light Infantry & the 5th Field Battery going to
meet Clements Division from Lindley to bring in convoy. Went on guard at the gun from 2.30 to 7.30. Nothing happened. Saw
Horse Artillery coming in from Lindley. Feeling very unwell with dysentery so retired at once after seeing the doctor who gave me
some pills. Rum & jam served out. Just received orders to be ready to start for Senekal at nine- thirty in the morning with the
Munster Fusiliers, the 5th Battery & Highland Light Infantry relieving us.
Reveille 6.30. Spent a very bad night, having to get up 4 times. Boot & saddle at 7.30. Started out 9.30. Halted for Paget's
Column to join us at 12.30, comprising Kent Yeomanry, 38 Battery & Yorkshire Light Infantry. Marched eight miles & halted for the
Monday 16th BULTFONTEIN
Reveille 6. On the march at 9.30. Halted mid- day for feed. Right Section being advanced guard again. We have a large convoy with
us and are carrying 12 days rations with us. Colonel Broadwood's Brigade of Cavalry passed us, comprising the 12th Lancers,
Horse Guards & Q Battery, Horse Artillery & a section of Pom- poms. Attacked the rebels position on ....? & received a very heavy
shellfire from their long range guns, we having to retire by the Col. Paget's orders. Brady was wounded in the arm from a bursting
Reveille 6. Boot & saddle. Right Section except B waggon going with convoy into Senekal, the Left Section with B waggon staying
behind. Stood harnessed up all day awaiting orders. Camped for the night. Rebels reported fifteen miles away. General Hunter is
supposed to be driving them towards our position. Broadwood's Brigade of Cavalry have gone - we have the 38th Battery,
Munster Fusiliers & E.Kent Yeomanry with us. The grass was set alight several times during the day & we had great difficulty in
putting it out, all the horses having to be moved as it makes such rapid progress, travelling at the rate of five miles an hour with a
Reveille 6. Boot & saddle at once. Breakfast 7. Unsaddled the B waggon horses at 11. Broadwood's Brigade of Cavalry is reported
to have chased the rebels about twenty miles. It is supposed they have gone to Lindley & re- occupied the place. This can hardly
be true as the Bedford Yeomanry & six guns are supposed to be stationed there & I should think they could hold the town secure.
Reveille 6. Boot & saddle for Left Section only, not B waggon. Horses grazing all the morning & afternoon. Clement's column
reported fifteen miles off having returned from Senekal. The report of the Boers re- occupying Lindley has been contradicted.
Reveille 6. Boot & saddle at once. Breakfast 7. Could see Clement's column 7 miles off, camped. The 38 Battery & Yorkshire
Infantry went out to reconnoitre & returned at nine- thirty. Horses grazing all morning & afternoon. Have to groom the farriers' as
well as the S.M.'s horse. Palace (Palles?) taking on cooks job. We are twenty men short in the Battery through illness. Allen was
left at Lindley.
Reveille 6. Cleaning horse lines. Grazing & grooming all morning. Ammunition waggons sent off to fill up, afternoon. The 38 Battery
has Major Mercer(?) in place of their Captain who was killed at Barkin Kop.
Reveille 6. Left Section went off at 9.30; B waggon staying with buck waggons ready harnessed to move off at 2. Guns returned at
12.30 having failed to locate the Rebels. Grazing & grooming all afternoon. Went on picket - the most miserable night I have spent
in Africa - got soaking wet & about thirty horses got loose.
Monday 23rd SLABBERT'S NEK
Reveille 4.30. Paget's column moved off at 6.30 but was detained an hour by the Yeomanry. Advanced five miles on the Ficksburg
road to Slabbert's Nek where the Rebels held a strong position. Came into action at 12.30 with the 5" guns, 8 & 38 Battery &
ourselves. Shelled their position till 5. They have a pom- pom & several field guns. We could not silence their guns, only making
them shift their position several times. We fired about 150 rounds. Camped for the night at seven- thirty. Infantry pickets sent out
on the hills - we have driven them off. The 38 Battery has their officer hit by shrapnel in the leg in two places. This makes the fifth
officer wounded of theirs. They are very unlucky.
Reveille 5. Took up same position with guns. Sniping going on all night. Shelled the Boers out by 12.30 & continued our advance
through Slabbert's Nek - the country being very pretty - mountains on all sides. Camped for the night 3 miles from the Nek. Plenty
of poultry in camp which were taken from the farms. The Rebels had a very strong position at the Nek & should have been able to
hold it against twice the number of men but they seemed to have moved their guns during the night as they never replied to ours
during the engagement.
Reveille 6. Started as advanced guard to convoy but had to go back five miles & take the rear guard. General Hunter's convoy
joined us but not his fighting army. We have now four generals with us - (Paget, Clements, Hunter & Hamilton). Camped for the
night at ...?. Wind very cold all day, had to keep on top coats & sweaters. The 5" guns at Slabbert's Nek were posted on a hill one
mile in our rear & when firing lyddite, the report was tremendous, the shell rushing over our heads with a loud crackling sound
which very much resembled the enemies bursting shells & made us duck at once.
Reveille 6.30. Watering & grazing horses 8.30. Boot & saddle 9.30. Stood ready all day but the Artillery did not move off although
the mounted Infantry visited the town 5 miles away & reported the Rebels had all dispersed in batches of 20 & 30 & had left their
empty waggons behind, about 100 in number. This rumour later on was contradicted. The village is short of provisions and an
English resident told me they had been prisoners for the last eleven months.
Friday 27th FOURIESBURG
Reveille 5.15. Took rear guard of convoy which started at 6. Battery started at 9.30 & arrived at Fouriesburg at 2.30 which is a nice
little village & has a Post Office. The Rebels have left all the English prisoners including the D C O & eight men of the 38 Battery.
The last- named were captured at Barkin Kop or Kemp's farm - also the Stafford & Derby Infantry. Camped for the night one mile
from village - water very scarce but country very pretty. There is a church & a lot of small houses which are called Sunday houses
& are used by the farmers to live in when they come to the village for the Saturday to Monday. They are very strongly built but
have only one floor.
Reveille 6. Clement's column & part of Paget's went out to fight the rebels. Artillery fire going on all day. Several batches of
prisoners brought in. We shifted our camp closer to the town at mid- day. The Boers will not give in but the general opinion is that
they are fairly cornered this time & it is a matter of only a few days as there is no way for them to escape, only by the mountains,
& they could not take their convoy with them which the Staffordshire & Derbyshire prisoners who were left behind say comprises
over a thousand waggons. Over 30 prisoners were brought in during the day. Wrote to Mother (17) & Allen.
Sunday 29th to Wednesday 1st August
(2 pages missing)
Reveille 6. Boot & saddle 7.30. Started at 8 - halted mid- day. We have about 1200 Rebel prisoners with us. They are allowed to
ride their horses & have also a large quantity of small carts which the elder men drive. Camped for the night at ....?. Tobacco
getting very scarce. Some of our men paid at the rate of 12/- per lb.
Reveille 6. On the march at 8.30 as advanced guard again. Arrived this side of Slabbert's Nek at 12.30 & camped for the night.
Right Section only two miles away. They have been to Senekal and Wynberg & have had some hard marching but no fighting.
Plenty of provisions at Wynberg. After reaching Wynberg they returned to Slabbert's Nek via Senekal where they waited for us.
Reveille 6. On the march at 7.30 - joined the Right Section at 9.30. They have had a good time & brought with them plenty of
provisions, tobacco etc. for us. Camped for the night at Bultfontein; just the other side of the hill of our old ground. Passed
convoy from Senekal for us. The prisoners hold services & sing every evening, mostly Moody & Sankey hymns.
Reveille 5.15. On the march by 7.30. Roads very busy. Advanced twelve miles. Camped at 1.30 for the night at Rawlin's Farm. We
have a much larger number of prisoners than before so think some of Clement's must have joined us.
Reveille 6. On the march at 8.30 & arrived in Senekal at two- thirty. Went to get provisions for B waggon in the village - also
visited Burgess who is in the church, he having been left behind by the Right Section on their way to meet us at Slabbert's Nek.
Reveille 6.15. Left Senekal at 7.30 & marched 15 miles to ....? & camped for the night at one- thirty. Grazing afternoon & stables.
Rum sent out to troops. The women from the farms for miles around drive to the Main Road to see their friends & bring them all
sorts of food. They are very clean & healthy looking & mostly wear white Dolly Varden bonnets.
Reveille 6. Started at 7.30 as bodyguard. Halted at mid- day fifteen miles from Wynberg & camped for the night. The women from
the surrounding farms for miles round drive along the line of route to see their male friends & some very touching scenes are
Reveille 5.30. On the march as bodyguard to the prisoners at seven- thirty and arrived at Wynberg mid- day. Camped one mile
outside the town & received mail which was very welcome. The people lined the road to watch the prisoners come in; 750 of whom
went off by rail at once, much to their disgust as they expected to take the Oath of Allegiance & return to their farms & families.
Received 10 letters & 2 papers.
Reveille 6. Feed & grooming until 7. Breakfast & water at 8.30. Marched for Smaldeel at 2.30. Stayed for the night at Creefontein,
nine miles from Wynberg. Rumour has it that we are going to entrain for Krugersdorp which is 18 miles from Johannesburg. Wrote
to Mother (19) & Maudie.
Reveille 6. Resumed march & arrived at Smaldeel 12.30. Gunners walking all the way - wind & dust very bad which made it the
worst march we have had. Received orders to entrain for Pretoria at 9 in the morning with the 38 Battery and Yeomanry. Paid
Reveille 6. Harnessed up at once & started entraining at one- thirty. The reason we are so late is the 38th took a long time to
entrain. Arrived at ....? & stayed the night. We are not allowed to travel at night by Lord Roberts' orders. All the bridges have been
blown up by the Boers but have been quickly repaired by the Royal Engineers. Where the very long bridges have been wrecked,
time has been saved by running the train along the bank & across the river bed on wooden piles as to erect a span from side to
side would take too long.
Resumed our journey at 5.30 & proceeded very slowly all day. The 38th Battery being in front, stayed for the night at ....?. Slept in
the open trucks which were rather crowded. Letters from Jimmy Arnold, Mac, Will Crosby, Maudie, Emma, (E.B.4), F Poore,
Mother(4), Nellie Spokes (Stokes?), Tom, Will Story, Percy Poore, Harry Crosby. Pictorial Life & Black & White from Tom.
Headed Pretoria. Off again at 5.30. Stopped at Elandsfontein for 2 hours to water & feed horses & arrived at Pretoria at 6.30. It is
a very pretty town both as regards the scenery & houses, looking more like a fashionable suburb of London. Black servants are
employed everywhere. Camped outside the station for the night. The town is lit by electric lights & everything is clean - plenty of
trees & gardens well laid out. Wrote to Mother (20) & C.B. from Elandsfontein.
Reveille 6. Moved off at 9.30 and passed Lord Roberts & Staff who inspected us outside his house. Camped two miles outside the
town with the 38th Battery & the Munster Fusiliers. Col. Paget interviewed the Major & told us to be ready to move off at an
instant's notice. Each gun must carry 300 rounds of ammunition & we shall only take four days rations with us.
Reveille 6. Stables - grazing all the morning, boot & saddle at 2.30. Gen. Paget with Col. Chapman who is in charge of the Artillery
Division, inspected the guns. Moved off at 4 & marched five miles, the buck waggon being unable to follow as they got stuck in the
drift. Consequence was, we had no grub & the drivers were without their blankets & kits. In the march out of Pretoria we passed
through a long avenue of blue gum trees which were very pretty, resembling our fir trees at home. Wrote to Mother (21), Emma &
Reveille 4. On the march by 5. Returned to the buck waggons & had breakfast. Continued our march through ...? pass. On the
....? road along the railway. Guns took up position to cover Infantry advance but did not fire. Firing heard in the distance. The
Montgomery Yeomanry came into action for the first time. Visited a farm where the Boers had been the night before & taken four
men & cattle, commandeered tobacco (twist), forage etc. etc., for the troops. Camped at four- thirty.
Saturday 18th WONDERHOEK?
Reveille 6. Boot & saddle 7.30. Advanced six miles & came into action - Right Section only. The Boers had a Krupp 40- pounder,
the firing of which was very accurate. Waggons in good shelter so no casualties. Montgomery Yeomanry had 2 men wounded & 5
captured. We fired 12 rounds at 5,500 yards & held the position till dusk. The Cow guns were sent for as ours could not get within
range. We are supposed to join Baden- Powell who is at Waterval where our English prisoners were kept during the first part of
Reveille, boot & saddle & hooked in at 4. Marched off at 6. Did not come into action. Reached Waterval at 1.30. Guns took up
position but did not fire. We left the 7 Battery & the West Riding Infantry to protect stores at Waterval. Our object is to prevent
De Wet from joining Botha who is supposed to be at Middleberg. If we succeed in doing this it will prevent a big fight. The village of
Waterval is one mass of barbed wire & telegraph wires to prevent the English prisoners from getting away. Water very bad.
Reveille 2.45. On the march at 3.30. Proceeded six miles & came into action in a wood - small parties of the Boers sniping all the
day. Warwick Yeomanry lost an officer. Baden Powell with Canadian Artillery joined during the day. The enemy did not reply to our
fire although we used the pom- pom. Harriman's Kraal.
Reveille 4. Our Right Section, guns - with B waggons took up position (action rear) to protect the drift while transport & Baden-
Powell's force continued their march. Advanced ten miles and camped for the night. Baden- Powell's force has gone on - firing
being heard in the distance.
Reveille 2.45. Advanced to Pienaar River which is 42 miles from Pretoria. The rebels had blown up the bridge between here &
Pretoria. Powell's force shelled them out of the Station yesterday. It is a small force & they have only two small guns, so the report
goes. De Wet is on our left flank. Moved off again at 2.30 but returned to camp after proceeding one mile on the road. Up again at
11, boot & saddle. Marched to Pienaar River junction to protect convoy as the rebels, with five guns & two pom- poms, are
reported only one mile away. Baden- Powell, who has gone on to Warm Baths succeeded in rescuing 100 English prisoners &
captured 25 Boers including a German officer.
Halted at 2.30 am. Had breakfast and proceeded on the road with Baden- Powell's convoy. Halted mid- day to rest horses &
marched back to Pienaar River junction where we camped for the night.
Reveille 5.30. Moved off at 9 - marched 7 miles & halted to feed horses. Continued & arrived at Warm Baths at 7. The place is very
busy & the Mimosa bush is everywhere. It was a health resort at one time for the Boers, it's hot sulphur springs being in great
demand. There are about 300 bathrooms built of corrugated iron & as much as one hundred pounds has been charged for one
bath for the season - so the report goes.
Reveille 7. Shifted our camp about 100 yards in the morning. Had a hot bath also of which there are about three hundred. The
water is very hot & sulphury & the place is a regular spa for the town people all over the country.
Reveille 6.30. Church Parade at 10, the Major taking the service - horses grazing afterwards. Boot & saddle at 2.30. Shifted camp
one mile on the outskirts of the wood. It is a very unhealthy spot in the rainy season owing to the fever being so bad.
Reveille 6.30. Stables, grazing horses & cleaning harness which was inspected by the Major at 12. Had a warm bath afternoon with
Chapman. Baden- Powell's force arrived in the evening with the 38 Battery. It is reported he located the Boers thirty miles away,
five thousand strong & ten guns in a very strong position. He was not strong enough to attack so had to return.
Reveille 5.45. Stables & harness cleaning again morning. It is rumoured we are to join Baden- Powell's flying column & march back
to Pienaar River on the 30th. Paget's Infantry & Artillery being left at Warm Baths to protect the place. Wrote to J. Arnold, Will
Crosby, Harry Crosby, Maudie & Mother (22).
Reveille 5.45. Grooming & grazing all the morning. Had another bath afternoon. No move yet. Large quantities of melons taken
from the farms which were distributed to the Battery. Received letters from Mother (3), E.B., A. Sewell, Keeble, G. Snutch & Will
Thursday 30th to Sunday 2nd September
(Two pages missing)
Reveille 4.30. Harnessed up & moved off at 9.30. Halted mid- day & continued our march at 4 for Pienaar River. It is reported the
Boers have blown up the line again in two places & that the Transvaal was proclaimed British territory on the 1st September. Got
into camp at seven- thirty, tired out. The waggons & numbers left behind have had a very easy time of it, grooming and grazing
once each day.
Reveille 2.30. Moved off for Warm Baths at 4.45 & arrived there at 2.30 without any halt. The Boers have been shelling the town
with three guns & today the 38 Battery have taken up position & are preventing them from continuing their shell fire - also the 5
inch Cow guns. We have 18 guns in all now & should be able to keep them off. It is rumoured that De Wet & Grobler are here but
it is not believed by our people. Passed train which had been derailed by Boers five miles from the town.
Reveille 6.30. Horses grazing. Had a hot bath myself. Sniping going on all the morning. The Cow gun was fired several times & we
could see the shells bursting on the Kopje on our left flank. Line repaired. Train arrived from Pretoria with an escort of C.I.V.
Infantry, F Company, but returned at once so did not get a chance to speak to them.
Reveille 6. Right Section with A waggon went out to take up position on the Kopje. They did not fire although they were sniped at
continually. Boot & saddle 5.15 & marched off 6.30. Destination not known. We are under Col Hickman, marching all night & arrived
at Pienaar River at 4.30 in the morning - watered & fed horses. We are off again at 5 for Pretoria via Waterval. Wrote to
Cummings, A.Sewell, Will Crosby and Geo Keeble.
4.30 a.m. Arrived at Pienaar River - on the march again at 5.30 - camped at 11 till 5. Resumed journey & got to Waterval at 11
a.m. Left Section gone reconnoitring with Bushman & did not arrive in camp until 11.30 pm. They had not seen anything of the
enemy & had not fired.
Arrived at Waterval at 11 a.m. Fed horses & rested until 3 p.m., then stables. The men left at Warm Baths joined us again, having
come by train. It is rumoured that Warmbad is being evacuated & the line is going to be cut north of Pienaar River as the place is
not worth holding besides it being untenable later on owing to the diseases through the rain. Letters from Mother & E.B.
Reveille 5.45. Stable hour and breakfast. Gunners took horses grazing, drivers cleaning harness. Yeomanry shifted camp
afternoon. Cabled to Mother - 'All right'.
Reveille 5.45. Grooming & grazing all the morning. Building gun epaulements afternoon. Force of Boers two hundred strong
reported on our right flank ten miles away. Wrote to Mother (24), L.A.Allen, Arthur Jennings & E Bellairs.
Reveille 4.30 for Right Section Guns & A waggon going reconnoitring. Back at 12.30 - not seen anything of the enemy. Building
gun epaulements again.
Reveille 5.30. Digging gun epaulements morning and afternoon. Sun very hot. Grazing & grooming also. Had letters from Mother,
EB, R.Campkin, L. Campkin & McCalla.
Reveille 2.30. On the march with Hickman's force at 4 - halted at 11 & resumed journey, arriving at Hebron at 4.30 and camped for
the night. Burnt several farms & captured seven Boers. Hebron is a small straggling place composed mostly of Kaffir Kraals & small
farm- houses built of mud & stone. We were enabled to buy chickens at 2/- & eggs at 2/- a doz. but there was only a limited
Reveille 4.30. Saddled up & ordered to stand fast. At 8, General ....?'s force, which had marched from Pienaar River during the
night, joined us.
Reveille 5.45. Stable, horses, water and grazing at 8. Boot & saddle 2.30. Marched off at 3.30 for Crocodile River with Paget's
force. Halted at 8.30 having done eleven miles.
Reveille 3.15. On the march again at 4 & arrived Rooikopje on the Limpopo or Crocodile River which is 17 miles from Nitrals Nek
where the Scotch Greys were cut up some time back. Heliographing going on all the day to there. There is a rumour that Grobler &
Erasmus Commandoes are giving themselves up, Colonel Paget going to Waterval to meet them. Our advance scouts went to a
farm flying a white flag & enquired where the water was to be found. They were directed down a hill but had not proceeded far
when they were fired on, 2 men & six horses being killed. The rebels were captured & are going to be taken direct to Pretoria to
stand in trial.
Reveille 5.45 for Right Section, Left Section at 3.30 & marched off to take up position on Kopjes - returned at 12.30. Boot &
saddle for Battery at 2.30 & marched off. Halted at 9.30 for night having come ten miles on the road to Waterval. Col Paget has
given order to destroy all property & crops on the farms around owing to the peoples treachery in firing on our scouts under cover
of the white flag. Infantry out cutting down young crops. Dam blown up & all the farms & cottages burnt, about twenty in all.
Reveille 3.15 am. Continued march and reached Hebron at seven- thirty a.m. Off again at 5 and camped at eight for the night,
eight miles from Waterval. Veldt fires going in all directions. Progress very slow as there was no moon to guide us by & the road is
very dusty and hilly.
Reveille 2.30. Continued march and reached Waterval at seven- thirty where the men left here rejoined us again. Rumour has it
that the C.I.V. Infantry are at Pretoria mobilising & are to sail home on the 3rd Oct from Cape Town. Burgess rejoined Battery
here, also Baker, but the last- named has gone on to Pretoria Hospital having been bitten by a scorpion on his way down from
Pienaar River. Wrote to Mother (25), EB, Rose Campkin, Lizzie Campkin, McCalla & M Loveless.
Reveille 5.30. Grooming & water at 7.30. Aquatic sports between the Sub- divisions at 9. Polo match won by C Sub- division.
Reveille 5.30. Grooming & feed. Aquatic sports again between N.C.6 Gunners & Drivers. Boot and saddle 4.30. Moved off at 5 -
destination not known but it is thought in an easterly direction. Camped for the night at 9 about eight miles out.
Reveille 2.30. Continued march at 3 - no fires to be lighted - no talking. We are to surprise and capture a laager. Advanced
altogether 30 miles from Waterval on to Bronkhorst Spruit which is on the railway line from Pretoria to Middleburg. Had camped
about an hour when a large force was seen approaching which was thought to be the Boers. Our guns came into action & the
Infantry were sent out to meet them when it was found to be Col. Plumer's force which had come round from Hanman's
(Hangmans?) Kraal. About 10,000 head of cattle captured & a few waggons during the day. The name of the place is Waggons
Reveille 6. Stable hour. Church parade at 8.30, by the Major. Grazing & stable hour afternoon. Cow guns & two companies of West
Riding Infantry went out, Cow guns fired on the Boers at 5,000 yds. range but the enemy did not reply. They returned to camp at
Monday 24th SYBRAND'S KRAAL
Reveille 5.30. Stable hour. Boot & saddle 8 and moved off. Advanced about five miles & halted for the day. Country very pretty -
numerous farms about in the valley which are to be destroyed. A German Red Cross ambulance is here with three Boers seriously
injured from the fire of the 5" Cow guns yesterday. The Canadian battery which are the other side of a large kopje have their guns
trained on the Boers' laager.
Reveille 5.30. Stable hour & water & grazing at seven- thirty. Had a bathe in the river. Gen. Paget has gone to Pretoria. We are
holding a seven day's truce with the enemy while Gen. Erasmus, the Boer leader, goes to Bronkhorst Spruit to find out if Botha
has resigned the command of the Boer army. If so, Gen. Erasmus is prepared to surrender at once as Botha is the only man he will
serve under. Their force is estimated at anything between one & two thousand men.
Reveille 5.30. Stable hour & grazing at 7.30.
Reveille 4. Left Sybrand's Kraal and arrived at Waterval at 5.30 - 32 miles & only one short halt during the march. Our orders
arrived from General Paget at Pretoria at midnight for us to proceed at once to Pretoria via Waterval - for home, it is thought. The
Boers have been shelling Pienaar River all the morning & ....? train has been unable to get there. Letters from Mother (2), EB (3), J
Downing, L Allen, Ada, Cummings & Tom.
Reveille 5.30. Stable hour. Col. Paget addressed us & told us we were to go home & he was very sorry to lose us. Boot & saddle
8.30. Moved off at 9 The band of the Wilts Regiment played us for two miles out of camp. Arrived in Pretoria but had to camp
three miles out of town, close to the CIV Infantry lines. Nobody allowed to leave camp.
Reveille 5.30. Stable hour. Guns & waggons sent to the station & horses to re- mount depot. We are taking the guns & waggons
back but not the ammunition. Fatigue parties all day. We are to entrain on Tuesday. Went to concert in the CIV Infantry lines with
Reveille 5.30. All harness stripped and given in. No church parade. Had a bathe in the afternoon.
Monday 1st & Tuesday 2nd
Started again at 6 from Klip River. Arrived at Kroonstaad at 4.30. Stayed for tea.
Left Ventersburg Road at 5.30. Stopped at Smaldeel for breakfast - travelled all night.
Arrived at Naauw Poort at 5.30. Stayed till 9.
Arrived at Grootfontein and had breakfast there. Ten minutes stop at Matjesfontein - no troops stationed here - raining hard - the
place looks very deserted.
Sunday 7th CAPE TOWN!
Arrived at Cape Town Harbour at 5 & detrained & went on board the SS Aurania. Sir Alfred Milner & the Lord Mayor came to see us
off. A large crowd of people gathered & sent up cheer after cheer as the vessel left the Quay. We have the whole of the C.I.V.'s
aboard including M 9,9 & Battery. Handed in all rifles & pistols to the armoury.
Reveille 6. Mess orderly for the day. We have to supply 25 men and two corporals for guards every day. Hammocks served out
with two blankets. The ship rolls a good deal & we have nothing like the room as we had on the Montfort. We mess & sleep in the
forward part of the vessel.
Reveille 6. Feet inspection at ten & medical at 11. Taken on Mess Orderly with Dobrey. We have to draw all the food - breakfast 7,
dinner 12, tea 4. We are not fed as well as we were on the Montfort but the food is well- cooked.
Bathing parade at 4 in top coats and towels. Back to bed. Reveille 6.
Reveille 6.45. Men of the battery doing No 4 Watch.
Friday 12th to Sunday 14th
Reveille 6. Had bathe before. Then new tunics served out to the Battery - not to be worn until we reach England.
Reveille 6. Had a bathe at four- thirty. Parade at 11 for lime juice. Every man obliged to take it.
Reveille 6. Bathe at 4.30. General inspection at 10 - lime juice at 11. Private Hutchins of C Company died at 12.30 last night & was
buried at 6.30 this morning. He had been bad since we left Pretoria, of enteric fever.
Reveille 6. Bathing parade for the Battery at 6.30 - General Inspection at 10 & lime juice parade at 11. Unwin of the Left Section
admitted to hospital with enteric & temperature of 106o. Sighted land at 2.30 pm - first time since we left Cape Town.
Friday 19th ST VINCENT!
Reveille 6. Travelling very slowly all night & arrived at St. Vincent at 7. We are coaling here. The natives soon surrounded the ship &
were soon doing a roaring trade in bananas, oranges, necklaces made of shells & also diving for tickies, at which they are very
expert. We were coaling all day & the best part of the night from four coal lighters. The ship was in a beastly state. The Portuguese
Governor came aboard and they fired a salute from the Fort. Our officers went on shore to a ball given by the Governor. Letters
from Mother & Percy Poore.
Reveille 6 - No bathing - moved off at 6. This is a record coaling for this vessel. The Britannia, which had arrived the day before
with sick and wounded, had to wait until we had coaled as our orders were to proceed at once so as to be in London by next
Reveille 6. Battery doing No 4 watch.
No further entries in the diary.
PART SUMMARY OF MOVEMENT
6th Sworn in CIV Battery
9th St. John's Wood Barracks
3rd Left St John's Wood barracks & went on board SS Montfort*
10th Stopped to coal at Las Palmas
17th Crossed the line (equator)
27th Arrived Table Bay
1st Camped at Green Point Camp
14th Marched to Durban Road
15th Marched to Stellenbosch
15th Camped at Stellenbosch
21st Trained to Matjesfontein
19th Left Matjesfontein
21st Arrived Bloemfontein
21st Left Bloemfontein - arrived Kroonstaad
26th Came into action. Under rifle fire
27th Entered Lindley 7.30 evening after 4 days march
2nd Left Lindley
7th Arrived outside Bethlehem.
15th Left Bethlehem
27th Arrived in Fouriesburg
2nd Left Fouriesburg with prisoners.
6th Through Senekal
9th Arrived Wynberg
10th Left Wynberg
11th Arrived Smaldeel
12th Left Smaldeel
14th Arrived Pretoria
16th Left Pretoria
24th Arrived Warm Baths
30th Left Warm Baths
4th Arrived Warm Baths
6th Left Warm Baths
7th Arrived Waterval
* S.S. Montfort built at Newcastle- on- Tyne by Palmer 1899, number being 739.
The CIV Battery was largely formed from men of the HAC and kitted out at the expense of the Liveried Companies of the City. The
four guns with which they were provided were 121/2 pound Vickers Maxim quick firing guns, of a pattern not previously used by
the army. Taking fixed ammunition, having practically no recoil and a much improved breech mechanism, they were a great
improvement on those employed by the Regular Artillery. Since they were new to the Battery, three weeks training was required
before they were competent for action. The entire Battery received the Freedom of the City of London on 1st February 1900, which
was followed by a farewell dinner on the next day and embarkation from the London docks on the SS Montfort on February 3rd.
Their moment of Glory came on July 3rd at Barkin Kop, although little is made of the event in the diary. William Mumford was with
"B" sub- division of the Battery, under Sgt P S Taylor. The Battery was under attack from a Boer Commando, who had just over-
run the four guns of the 38th Battery, RFA. Sgts Taylor and Dixon, turned the guns back- to- back, a new precedent in gunner
history and fought off the attack. The Drivers, then took their teams out and rescued the guns of the 38th, which the Boers had
now abandoned and turned them on the retreating Boers. It was apparently unheard of for drivers to man guns and the event
made something of military history. The diary however, would seem to contradict the point of history since entries appear which
indicate that men were trained and appeared to act, in the capacity of both gunners and drivers at differing times. A further
confusion appears in the record of Arthur Conan Doyle in his book, "The Great Boer War - A Two Years Record, 1899- 1901", who
indicates that the recapture of the guns was achieved by or with the aid of 'The Australian Bushmen'.
On their return to London, the CIV took part in a great parade through the streets of London and a reception was held in their
honour in the Guildhall, (a painting of the event is still held in the Guildhall), followed by a dinner for 3000 held in the grounds of
the HAC Barracks. With the rest of the Battery, W G Mumford, was presented with the Queen's South Africa Medal, with clasps for
"Cape Colony", "Wittebergen" and Transvaal".
Subsequent to his discharge, William Mumford resumed his employ and on 11th July 1903, married Christine Ethel Kendall and
sired eleven children. He retired from stockbroking due to ill health to 72 Wimbourne Road, Southend on Sea, where he had
previously moved for the sake of his eldest daughter's health. He died at home on 9th February 1933, aged 59.
The following is a copy of an address list which appears at the beginning of the diary. Many of the names appear in the diary text,
but not all. It is thought that the three Crosby's were probably cousins of W G Mumford.
Loveless W 9 Maidenhead Court, Aldersgate St
Crosby Will 12 Percy Rd, N Finchley
Crosby Harry 4 Adelaide Cottages, High Rd, Whetstone
Crosby Horace No 2639, 1st Scots Guards, G Company
Downing Jack 40 Denton Rd, Ridge Rd, Stroud Green N
Holmes H 57 Grays Inn Rd, Holborn N
Joyce J F 72 Cavendish Rd Harringay N
Keeble G E 50 Ferntower Rd N
Lee W J 26 Barrow Rd, Streatham SW
McDermott 70 Cornwall Man. Clarence Gate RP(?) NW
Osborne H 38 Southampton Row, Bloomsbury, WC
Parker C c/o Mrs Ward, 3,Havelock Rd, Gt Yarmouth
Sewell A 24 MB, Kings Rd, Park St, WC
Snowhall J G 46, Baker St, Lloyd Square, WC
Story W 62, Islip St, Kentish Town NW
Stokes Crown Hotel, Lavender Hill, Clapham
Snutch G C.I.V. G Company Infantry
Jennings M 22, Bolsover Street, Gt Portland St McCalla Len(?) 22, Canning Crescent, Wood Green N
Poore (Cpl?) P E 3rd Bn The Kings Own Reg, Ship St, Dublin
Poore G 172 Albany St, Regents Park, London
Plumbley S 7 Selwood Place, Onslow Gdns, W
Alf Linley Good Hope Cottage, Hay St, Port Elizabeth SA
6 June 1900
MISCELLANEOUS NOTES IN THE DIARY
2126 SM Pilboro
2092 W G M (Mumford?)
The above are possibly army serial numbers.
Disentry - greenstick bared schape(?) on food
Sunstroke - Salt water on wool in ear
Toothache - Rum in opposite ear
SS Montfort built in Newcastle upon Tyne by Palmer 1899 number being 739.
POSTCARD SENT BY W G MUMFORD TO HIS MOTHER
FROM SOUTH AFRICA
|William Mumford's Diary