Skip to main content

Full text of "Reminiscences of three campaigns [microform]"

See other formats



Collection de 

Canadian Instituw for Historical Microraproductioni / imritut Canadian da microraproductiont Itittoriquas 


Technical and Bibliographic Notes / Notes technique et bibliographiques 

The Institute has attempted to obtain the best original 
copy available for filming. Features of this copy which 
may be bibliographically unique, which may alter any of 
the images in the reproduction, or which may 
significantly change the usual method of filming are 
checked below. 







Coloured covers / 
Couverture de couleur 

Covers damaged / 
Couverture endominagee 

Covers restored and/or laminated / 
Couverture restaur^ et/ou pellicuiee 

Cover title missing / Le litre de couverture manque 

Coloured maps / Cartes gtegraphiques en couleur 

Coloured ink (i.e. other than blue or black) / 
Encre de couleur (I.e. autre que bleue ou noire) 

Coloured plates and/or mustratkxis / 
Planches et/ou illustrations en couleur 

Bound with other material / 
Relie avec d'autres documents 

Only editnn available / 
Seule edition disponible 

Tight binding may cause shadows or distortion 
along interior margin / La reliure serrde peut 
causer de I'ombre ou de la distorsion le long de 
la marge Jnterieure. 

Blank leaves added during rsstcratons may appear 
within the text. Whenever possible, these tiave 
been omitted from liming / II se peut que certaines 
pages blanches ajoutees lors cTune restauration 
apparaissent dans le texte, mais, kxsque cela etait 
possible, ces pages n'om pas M fknees. 

Adittonal comments / 
Commentaires stppiemenlaires: 

This ittm it filmad tt tiM raduciion rttio dMcfcad btlew/ 

C« dodHMfit m filirt w uu> di rMuction indiqu* ei^tnaiB. 

L'Institut a miciofllm^ le meilleur examplaire qu'il lui a 
6te possible de se procurer. Les details de cet exem- 
plaire qui sent peut-4tre uniques du point de vue bibli- 
ographique, qui peuvent modifier une image reproduite, 
ou qui peuvent exiger une modifications dans la meth- 
ode nonnale de (ilmage sont indiques ci-dessous. 


Cokxjied pages / Pages de couleur 

Pages damaged / Pages endommagees 

Pages restored and/or laminated / 
Pages restaurees et/ou pellicuiees 

Pages discokwred, stained or foxed / 
Pages dicotorees, tachetees ou piquees 

I I Pages detached/ Pages detachees 

rT\ Showlhrough/ Transparence 

I I Quality of print varies / 

' — ' QuaUte In^gale de I'impression 

I I Includes supplementary material / 
' — ' Comprend du materiel supplementaire 

I I Pages wholly or partially obscured by errata 
' — ' slips, tissues, etc., have been refilmed to 
ensure the best possible image / Les pages 
totalement ou partiellement obscurcies par un 
feuilM d'enata, une pelure, etc., ont ete filmees 
h nouveau de fa^on a obtenir la mellleure 
image ponible. 

I I Opposing pages with varying colouration or 
' — ' discolouratlons are filmed twice to ensure the 
best possible image / Les pages s'opposant 
ayant des colorations variables ou des decol- 
orations sont filmees deux fois afin d'obtenir la 
meilleur image possible. 














28 X 


Th« copy fllmad har* hu baan raproduead thanki 
to tha ganaroiity of: 

Otitr LItinry, 
McGill Univinlty, 

Tha imagaa appaaring hara ara ttia baM quality 
poailbia eonaidaring tha condition and lagiblllty 
of tha original copy and In kaaping with tha 
filming contract apaclflcationa. 

Original coplaa in printad papar eovar* ara fllmad 
baglnning with tha front covar and anding on 
tha laat paga with a printad or tlluatratad Impraa- 
tion. or tha back covar whan appropriata. All 
othar original copiaa ara fllmad baglnning on tha 
first paga with a printad or illuatratad impras- 
slon. and anding on tha last paga with a printad 
or illustratad impraaalon. 

Tha last racordad frama on aach microflcha 
shall contain tha symbol -•■ Imaanln^ "CON- 
TINUEO"), or tha symbol V (moaning "END"), 
whlehovor appllas. 

Maps, plataa, charts, ate., may ba fllmad at 
diffarant raduction ratios. Thosa too iarga to ba 
antiraly ineiudad in ona anpoauro ara filmed 
baglnning in tha uppar loft hand eomor. left to 
right and top to bonom. as many framaa as 
raqulrad. Tha following diagrams lllustrsta tha 

L'axampiaira fiim4 fut raproduit grica k la 
9tntro»\tt da: 

Otier Library, 
McOill Uninrtity, 

Laa imagas suivantos ont M raproduitas avsc la 
plus grsnd soin, compta tanu da is condition at 
da la nattat* da i'axamplaira film*, at »n 
oonformM avac las conditions du contrat da 

Los Mampiairss originaux dont la couvartura an 
poplar ast imprimOa sont flim«s an commanqant 
par la pramlar plat at an tarminant soit par la 
darniira paga qui comporta una amprainta 
d'Imprassion ou d'illustratlon, solt par ia second 
plat, salon lo eas. Tous las autros sxamplairos 
originaux sont fllmto an commandant par la 
promlira paga qui comporta una amprainta 
d'Imprassion ou d'illustration at an tarminant par 
la darnlira paga qui comporta una taila 

Un das symbolas sulvants tpp«raitra lur la 
darnMra imaga da chsqua microfiche, salon la 
cos: la symbols — » signifio "A SUIVRE". ia 
symbols ▼ slgnifis "FIN". 

Las cartas, planchas. tabiaaux. etc.. peuvent itre 
filmis i dee uux do rMuction dlff«rents. 
Lorsque ie document est trop grand pour ttra 
raproduit an un soul cllch*. il ost film* i partir 
do i'anglo sup4riaur gaucha. do gaucho t droits, 
et de haut on bas, en pronant la nombra 
d'imagos ntesssalra. Las dlagrammos sulvants 
illustront la mMhodo. 











(ANSI ond rSO TEST CHART No. 2) 


1653 Eait Warn Sir**) 

P(oeti«»l*r. FMm Yort U609 US* 

,'716) »8Z - 0300 - Ph=ne 

;716) :;8B - 5989 - Fo. 





K.C.V.O., LLD., Etc. 
IMiHiTui PRornnoB OF ii'Kyitllv m rH« 





The present work was written at the request of some 
of my friends who knew that 1 had kept journals of 
the campaigns which 1 had attended as surgeon. It 
aims at no more than at presenting a faithful recoid 
of my own personal experiences and of my interest in 
the medical and surgical treatment, and especially the 
nursing, of sick and wounded soldiers. 

' " Pardon my putting so many ' I's ' in my dis- 
course," said the candidate, "but when a man is 
talking of himself, 'tis the briefest and simplest way 
of talking " ' (Thackeray). 

A. O. 


If '■> 




















X. Tl 

XI. Tl 

XII. Tl 


XIV. Tl 
XV. Tl 




XIX. C, 

XX. P 


xxn. 8' 

7XIII. 8' 





TV. S.g. ' OANOEU ' . 

VIII. 1 \HAI .... 










^ .1 
























. 1(M 



. n« 



. IM 




. 138 




. »e 




, 138 





. 18S 



. 143 



. 149 




. 154 




. 158 


XXX Vli. 


. lai 




. 166 




. 186 




. 103 




. 207 




. 209 



. 215 




. 318 



. 331 



. 336 



. 338 





. 381 



. 386 



. 289 



. 341 


MALTA . . , , 

. 244 



. 247 



. 248 



. 256 



. 359 





ITU. me viun britiih ambitlanck usit ro* italy . 


ux. THE itaNio atVEii barrici 















■ i 

4 ■ 




Sib Alexander Ogston, K.C.V.O., LL.D., (Portrait) Frontupiece 
The Gobge ok Tamai 

Map of the CoimrRY amacent to Scakin 


Map of South Africa 

Bud's-eye View or the Italian Isonzo Front 



1 1 


;? ii! 


MnjTAEY SuKOEEY is a subject which has always had a fascina- 
tion for me, but I believe that, more than anything else it 
was the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 which specia'uy 
directed my attention to this branch of my profession and 
brought me into close relation with some of the most stirrina 
events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

It is well known that although in the times of Napoleon i 
something was done by his chief surgeon. Baron Larrey, iii 
introducing into the French army services the employment 
of ambulances volantes ' which were first used in 1792 
at the battle of Konigstem, while his contemporary Baron 
Percy simultaneously (in 1798) initiated the use of special 
stretcher-bearers or ' brancardiers ' for the wounded in the 
field, yet it may be justly said that military surgery, as a 
special department of medicine, had its real origin in the 
sixties and seventies of the last century. There are doubtless 
many yet living among us who can remember the impression 
made upon the world by the Swiss doctor Henri Dunant and 
his coadjutor Moynier, also a Swiss, appealing to civilisation 
for mercy to the wounded and protection to those employed 
in alleviating their sufferings. That which he had witnessed 
in the hospitals after the battle of Solferino, in 1859, first 
induced Dunant to take the initiative in agitating for 
ameliorating the condition of those overtaken by disease or 
wounds in warfare. It was to bun that the world is in- 
debted for the attention of the nations of Europe having 
been directed towards practical measures of compassion for 
these unfortunates, and nowhere did he receive more zealous 
support than in Great Britain. The outcome of the agitation 
was the signing of the famous Geneva Convention of 1864, 
whereby all civilised nations agreed to regard the wounded as 



neutrals, and to neutralise as well their medical attendants 
and even such non-combatants as were engaged in the merciAii 
work of ministering to them. The Red Cross was selected 
as the badge whereby all engaged in such dutits were to be 
distinguished. Dunant, it may be mentioned, died in poverty 
at the age of 82, in the year 1910. 

In OUT own country, sympathy with this humane institution 
was enhanced by the recollection of our calamitous experi- 
ences in the Crimean War of 18S4, by the reports of the benefits 
resulting from the introduction of an ambulance service into 
the armies of the Northern States of America in their War of 
Secession of 1861 -6S, and by the participation of many of our 
compatriots in the ambuUmce work of the Franco-Prussian 
War of 1870-71, where they took a part in the systematised 
surgical war services of the armies on both sides. It would 
be out of place here to endeavour to enumerate all the results 
to which this widespread wave of sympathy gave origin, but 
prominent among them may be mentioned the formation of 
the British National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded 
in War (usually called the National Aid Society) which later 
became the British Red Cross Society, the provision in our 
armies of bearer companies, two of which were sent out under 
comrades of my own to the Secocoeni Campaign in South 
Africa, the origination in England of the St. John's, and in 
Scotland of the St. Andrew's and the Aberdeen Ambulance 
Associations — ^the last two soon fusing into one for patriotic 
reasons — and almost everywhere to the enthusiastic study 
and instruction in first aid among the civil population. 

The north-eastern district of Scotland experienced to the 
fiill the fascination of the great philanthropic movement. 
Besides the already mentioned Aberdeen Ambulance Associa- 
tion for the succour of the injured in civil life, there were 
raised, for the wounded in war, under the encouragement of 
Surgeons-Major Evatt and Peter Shepherd, and of Dr. James 
Cantlie in London, the Volunteer Bearer Companies of the 
Aberdeen University. The activities of both of these were 
great. With the support of the late Mr. William Smith, 
advocate, classes of first aid for the police, railway officials, 
and others of the community were taught and largely attended 
in our city and surrounding districts ; while Dr. Alexander 
Macgregor and others developed the University Bearer 
Companies into large and enthusiastic units of high efficiency, 
which embraced the flower of our medical students. 

In order to foster these agencies, at least while they were in 
their earlier stages, it was incumbent on me, as a teacher of 
surgery and professor in the University, to give instruction 


in the field. Henw Xn iZ^l ^jntaess its operations 
drawn bv di«*«, ,W„ i ?PPortunity arrived, 1 was 

™»wn by degrees into the experiences which I am about to 



To Egypt 
under General Sir GemH rr.i„>.v. * ^ -2 "' ^"* °"t 

u *s eS^il?^'?^-- r Kr^ i:'^^"^^; 

« was expected to consist of 12,000 men anH »« i». ■ i 

forEgypt.andlost^otoe^X^ Cwg.„H ""' T 
27th of February 1886 * leaving London on the 

to fall in when at bieakfas^^L sS^rf^s^"^ 
me to the principal medical offl,£r ^f C^Kd S':^ 
from him a recommendation to the head of the fSl^i -^ 
Department, through whom I warable to nh^^.T??^^^'^* 

! I f iji 

* i I'i . :i li 


1 1 

ha. .'( 



tion as to how to deal with the medical staff and othen who 
were to accompany the forces. 

I may mention that Beattie was in medical command of the 
military hospital in the Citadel of Cairo, which was perched 
on the highest brow of the hills to the south of the city. The 
hospital was in many respecto an ideal one. Being one of the 
Khedive's palaces, its splendid cool marble halls had been con- 
verted into wards, each as large and airy as a cathedral, and in 
them were being treated our soldiers who had been invalided 
from the Nile Campaign. I saw no wounded there, however, 
the cases being all of typhoid fever, liver, abscess and abdominal 
complaints, with some slighter ailments, n.A everything that 
seemed to be possible in those days was being done for the 
invalids ; one could not but admire and approve ; yet even 
in this, the first actual war hospital I had visited, I felt, 
though at the time it eluded me, that there was something 
defective, and I presently realised that this was the want of 
trained women nurses which left the splendid hospital a little 
short of perfection. Its site was overpoweringly magnificent. 
At such an elevation the wards enjoyed abundance of pure 
ventilation associated with protection from the heat of the 
sun, and from the balconies there were exquisite views over 
the whole town of Cairo and of the glories of the morning sun 
reddening the splendid pyramids of Gizeh. 



EvEKYTHiNG having been satisfactorily arranged with the 
authorities in Cairo, the next thing to be done was to hurry 
on to Suez, in order to catch the hospital ship Gimge*. in 
which a passage had been, promised me to Suakin. Sir 
Gerald Graham, our commander, who had been expected to 
proceed by that or another vessel, was detained in Cairo by 
Utoess ; nothing, it was true, would happen until he reached 
Suakin ; but it was anticipated that he would soon be on the 
move, and it would not do to risk missing the beginning of the 
campaign, which was evidently not far off, for the Indian 
contingent had reached the harbour, and was reported as 
being rapidly disembarked. So I crossed the desert by rail 
to Suez without delay, across the battlefield of Te|-el-Kebip, 
of which on this occasion I got a mere glimpse, as it war uring 
the night that the journey had to be made. 

In Suez I bad to await the arrival of the Gmtget for four or 
five days, and these were utUised in exploring the town and 


showed me oX Ws hnS" ^™, Pn"o>Pal medical officer 

wooden build^^.'^^i^TlpVof fSWh ''"~^«'" °^ 
shady verandahs, a few tente for in W- **" '^"'^' "■*'' 
fortheArmvHosDitairnJrfc T.. u ""«=*'°"s cases. buiWings 

looked after, ^d had the «H«w * J^ ""^ ""^^ "e" 

four nuking sistewlrom Nrtl^^ of 'die ministration, of 
expected shortly ^'^^'^- °^ ''•»<>" fo"r more were 

defi^^rSw^'mo:^]'* '"^^'^f "^^•'•''' --^ being 
pick up an ScL and JThlt*'''."''"''''"'" "^^ool tS 
education which wa^ giten bv tl ft *""* T **" «»* "^ 
called him. I found Vh^^uL *?"^''"' •"■ '•>«■>* «« they 
on the g^>u„d^™s*:itt^L''K^^e?' ''^j:'^^'^ ^'^'°» 
passages from it writ^ro„ wooded «.if" *''^'"' °'" '^^ 
painted white which rt» l.-iTv ? ^'"*** ^^^ P'cces of tin 
«d n.bbeS^dov^^'ctfa U ,^J^ ~Pied with " ««» P«n 

Robertson Smith writiff th/ ^?5 ' ^ "*" °»y *"«>nd 
the children was c^S to re^^"**;, ^'"= ^"^t^ction of 
and passages from mmorv as^n^^ repeatmg the texU 

table ; no real imtJScUo™ ^' ^""'' *''*' multiplication 
language of the Koran dMe^s^miiTr'^^u ^°/ ^^«=« *« 
were accustomed to u« th^ ^ i" ^1P" *''^ -^-^c they 
they were all^im.Hf J!, ' . ^ ""derstood little or nothinir • 

pit4 ofThe vo rtuTtt\''^r.*l"« °"* *« '«'»« «tae 
of authority, tKd'^ro'Vb^SJ^'^tf'^^i ^-y ''''' ^'^P-*- 
and greeting the sheikh in mv fV,^ "" "^ entering 

'aleikum,' the taips teokTuTtheirn^"" t"*r* "'*'* ' «''«»•" 
heretic stranger asking fuL^r V "■ ^ '='"***'' "'""^ the 
m the way T^te ^^" '^^ °^ questions, and interested 

with my lift Cd on^heS sktes^ln t """f ' ^•'"»' ^Uah.' 
than those they were used to n.' Jf "^"^^ «»« classic 
the ' dominie • ^ve me a W ? « !?^ '•"'^ "^^^ ^ Suez 
modern Arabic S ^nd^phrase^""^ °' ""'^ ■"''*™'=*-°» « 

salle'mT^oirton^e^ tvTh^T""^*" »" «-"y " bed of 
the sun duC^ tKv^ ,t t ''*' ^^ 7?''* ""•» hardened by 
home of aSant moL'uifll^ unhealthy and makrial, the 
my blood at^anTfX^^^Th""*^ themselves with 
to their lean unfed brotb^i^wK """«? '•°"*<' '»nt'«st 

I 'l 


breeses played from the north and tempered the heat to an 
agreeable degree. Moreover, none of the sunsets I had wit- 
nessed in other parts of the world seemed to me able to sustain 
a comparison with the beautiful and singular displays over the 
desert. When the sun had disappeared, and the land, which 
at first gleamed orange-yellow and then became purple, had 
faded into dull colours, the whole sky became ruby-red, like 
a magnificent garnet, and one or two of the brightest stars 
twinkled in this beautiful bed. This colour remained for a 
long time, and nfter it had gradually disappeared the horizon 
to the west received a border of scarlet-orange-yellow, that 
girdled the town and surrounding plains like a rosy flame and 
slowly faded into the night. 


S.S. 'Ganges' 

The Ganget was at that time the latest achievement in the 
construction of British hospital ships. So complete and 
remarkable was she considered that before leaving the Thames 
for the Red Sea she was visited by the Prince and Princess of 
Wales, the Director-General of the army medical department, 
and many others, whilst at Malta, and also at Suez, where she 
presently arrived, she was crowded during the hours she stopped 
there by sightseers who came to inspect and admire. The 
Ganges was one of the newest, largest, and finest of the Penin- 
sular and Oriental Compan/'s steamers which ran between 
Britain and India, and she had just been gutted of all her 
cabin arrangements for passengers so as to be rendered suitable 
for the treatment of invalids and wounded men in the hot 
climate of the Red Sea. She bore as her flag the red Geneva 
cross on a white ground . For coolness she was entirely painted 
white externally, and her boats and a large barge with which 
she was equipped for conveying wounded on board, were 
similarly painted. The boats were provided witl. canvas 
awnings overhead and curtains at the sides to shade *hem from 
the sun, and in them the patients were transported in cots 
which were so slung as not to be shaken. When the ship's 
side was reached, the cots were attached to special tackle and 
gently lifted into openings in the side of the vessel. All 
partitions between decks had been taken away, so that from 
nearly end to end the ship was a long series of airy wards, 
fitted with iron standards sustaining, either swinging or motion- 
less as desired, whi:.e clean iron beds with sides which could 
be folded down, and with invalid apertures in the centre, for 
bathing, cleanliness and other attentions. The mattresses 


decks anri . ^.^ * *u ^'^ ''"'^' occupied two of the 


hehnete and pugarees, red shoulder capes, wrev Z.11^ H«f.. 
and wlute aprons, with, of course. th^el'^Zura^^rprt' 
There was even an interpreter who snoke AmhioT,, ^ • 
htOe man, who pi^fessJto kn^w thrSou^f ^eU .^S'to'Ef 

hills and in place of the wild Arab charces w^ K^ h J^ 

:f'r^ar,:.Ss" --^^^ ^" ^'^ ^^oS^^y tK^st 

picture under the morning^ Ouf^^L kvd^ ^ 

. .H 




wmbling the peaks of the Trolltinder in Norway, lined the 
shores where we approached them and were the only objects 
that broke the level monotony except an occasional lighthouse 
showing the position of some coial reef at a distance from the 
land, or a passing vessel, both of which made small excitements 
in the otherwise quiet days. The sun emerged dusty red 
over Arabia is he rose from his morning bath, and set at night 
over Egypt in a wonderful worM of gorgeous light, dropping 
into a fiery haze which, after he had set, flashed up into crimson 

and flame-coloured glows ; and as these slowly — very slowly 

faded, they le't a band like a sword of clear white moonbenms 
running across the heavens from the sunset point, the beautiAil 
Zodiacal Light. 

On the morning of our nearing Suakin we ran all forenoon 
at slow speed in a narrow channel inside the reefs which lined 
the coast, and thus passed for many miles quite cfose to the 
land. Inland as far as the eye could reach, and extending 
far to north and south, lay a flat diy scrubby plain, barely 
above the level of the sea, separated ♦'rom the open ocean by 
a clear greenish, almost white, belt of glassy liquid bordered 
towards the deep by a creamy line of breakers where the reef 
ended, and presently, miles inland to the west, ragged high 
mountains became visible. Continuing onwards, on the out- 
look for the town of Suakin, we perceived in the distant south 
the masts of a group of ships, and found as we approached 
them that they were those of the vessels in its harbour visible 
above the low-lying town and land. When opposite them, a 
sixty-foot gap marked oft by buoys showed itself in the reef, 
and proved to be the outer entrance to a ' Y ' shaped haven. 
After interminable signalling by flags, and cruising about of 
small boats and vessels, a little steam launch finally came off, 
left a naval officer on board to pilot us, and we sailed cautiously 
in. We crept for miles into a narrow gut, and the first object 
we beheld on land was a little cemetery with its white and black 
crosses where the English were buried, a spectacle that stilled 
the words of many of the gallant fellows on board. 

We had scarcely reachod our mooring place on the north 
bank of the channel, when we were brought to a realisation 
of the presence of war by the approach of a steam launch 
bringing out a guardsman transfixed through ar.n and chest 
by an Arab spear, and his companions reported to us that 
every night the Arabs were penetrating our lines and spearing 
our men in their tents, while sleep was also rendered difficult 
by the nocturnal rattle of the rifies and the booming of the 
cannon directec against the straggling raiders who swarmed 
round the camp. 



1^ port of Suakin aeemej as u' it had been shaped bv natim. 
for the conceaiment of a nest of pirates. iCSthe .^^ 

Zl^ "t^** "j;""" "»« almost ^visibte."an5C not 
more tEan 800 yards across, while it gave access to a h^rn 

trated for wme two miles into the land, biiureated • rSh nn . 
S'ttl ""^J:^' "^ '»"• «"'• " q^arter^f^milet dl" 

cussing the ^ir^^^T^z^'jii^'^r^,, rs 

of ouTll^ta'i'^/ndThr i^nr"*^ "'"""'• *••' P"'* »' *•" ti"' 
the a!+^^ * impressicns conveyed to a novice in 

^'tJf fu \"' ^5- "ot be uninteresting. In the B^C 

mostly to emanate from an English gunboat steWoned^^^ 
entrance mouth of the channel Farther in iTv the ^„ 
moored to the northern bank of the innJr l«^kl Gongw, 
opposite the cemetery and not ?ar ^^^ the t:v^"•^Z?? 
have called the inner harbour was the shallow f^ked^oJ 

fcatr:Xe'Z^- Z^^;^^^^^^ 

uCTie aistance from the shore, or with native dug-outs or built 
canoes rowed bv merrv lii-H» ii..k u ■ . o^"'-* or duuc 

bX?r^f K^ *'"= "^"'^ ?°"« by^ear'no^g 
oamooorods The quays were crowded with Arabs usuallv 

S«s w"h'°.U'r"'°*V"'' » «»*to° plaid. tXm^ 
^dlLr,^.i ^* .""•* ''"™ brown skins, carryine 

S E^^H^ °™;f -^ ^"^^s duties. Here and thire h^* 
S^ *=»T*'»" «>Wiers m red fez and white linen unifoms 

wt^ "^"ErK^S^T'"" or marched in squads. wWle ^ve™! 
wnere tne Jinglishman with brown linen suit anH wh;*« 
hehnet was active in the heat, dirocting^S,''"" 
Suakin was a picturesque Egyptian city^w^^shbing 



housei were conitrueted of pure white coral bloclu, re*embling 
white marble, of Moorish architecture, with finely carved 
woodwovk on doors and windows ; superficially the prettiest 
place I had yet seen in Africa. But its streets were crooked, 
narrow, dirty, hot, and fetid, and crowded with strings of 
camels plying between the town and the camps outskle, often 
ridden by an English soldier or jack tar, or occasionally by s 
turbaned and belted Arab chieftain bristling with scimetar, 
daggers, and pistols. The natives were fbte-looking people, 
whom one respected at first sight ; they were ' firiendliei. of 
course, and showed us their spears and shields with a proud 
defiant air as they chaffed the Britons. The townspeople 
appeared happy and contented ; men, women, and the beautiful 
chocolate-coloured babies who ran about with nothing on. 
In the sea between Suakin and its suburb £1-Khaf were 
merry companies of men and women bathing, laughing, and 
enjoying thr sunshine. 

El-Khaf, the suburb on the mainland, was that half-moon- 
shaped portion of land which was marked oft from ihe si irround- 
ing desert by a high enclosing wall. It was perhaps Miae six 
times the size of Suakin itself, but was only partirjly built 
upon ; the buildings resembled those in Suakin, though in a 
meaner way, and there were large open spaces beyond the 
houses. Neither the city nor its suburb had any gardens or 
trees beyond an occasional dry, dusty, ragged palm; the whole 
did not contain a bush over twelve feet in leight ; yet the 
white marble-like houses redeemed many defects and gave an 
attractive air to both Suakin and El-Kh^.f. 

The rampart which enclosed El-Khaf was high, bastioned 
and crenellated, and was pierced by several gates leading out 
to the plain beyund. Inside it swarmed with soldiers and 
native population, all unarmed except the friendlies and the 
war correspondents, among whom I met Bennett Burleigh 
busy collecting news. But outside the rampart everything 
was utter barrenness and aridness, there was not a green leaf 
visible, even in what had been Osinan Digna's garden, which 
was represented by a ruined enclosure and a single bush of 
the cotton plant. 

Looking from the ramparts of El-Khaf one saw a series of 
redoubts resembling chalets, loopholed for musketry, about 
a mile from the rampart, each of them standing solitary in 
the desert ; while a mile or two farther out towards the west, 
and about a mile apart from one another, were the two Water 
Forts, something like wedding cakes, and hence most striking 
and conspicuous constructions tis they appeared far out in 
the desert. 


•J^ i^i."^^ Pj*'" °"^'^"' El-Khaf, .t the time of my 
or.l Fn^fi P""** T- r*"**"*** ^ "" innumerable tenU 
or tne English amy, which turrounded the suburb on all sidei 
excepting on the south, where the camps were those of the 
Indian auxil«nes. The whole formed groups or villages of 
canvas rather too widely apart for safety, as It seemed to me j 
nvf,in lH"*" '" """'.'l" cavalry in another; engineers 
marine., bearer companies, and field hospitals formed yet 
n^" ; most conspicuous was the tent of the field hospital 

&t "" »'J:'" ' ^« "'*•" ''» "*■ ««"■ On« other giSup, 
and It was the least protected, though not far from the 4ntre 

JJL - . headquarters, where tb- (general and heads of 
departments were concentrated for consuJUtion and co- 
operation. One thmg particularly struck m«, as it did in 
subsequent campaigns, namely that it is usually our British 
way to locate the hospiwi contingent in the most exposed 
and dangerous quarter of the camp. 

hr^St^K " i"l! **r?' ''^^ "»* ' "I'tch with earthen 
breastwork, the latter being on the inner side, and some two 
feet only in height. Within it sentries pavioUed at night" 
m^ft^*' Jf hundred yard, beyond it were the alrSdy 
mentioned redoubts where outposts and sharpshootera 
watcn«^ during the dark hours trrepel the pr3 nr«nd 
marauding parties of the Arabs. *^ "ng ana 

^^^^ 'he lines and among the groups of tents were 

Z^ fl 'm vt i. •'°'""' ?'"''**"' '" '«»»• «»" cooking pota 
over field kitchen-trenches, officers and soldiers standtog 
about m every sort of undress, mostly in boots, shirts, and 
trousers only, with unshaven faces and pipes in their mout™ 

mSLrfi^r^^i^r;''"*"'^ "^' '^« *°o ""*''• Mounted 
orderlies of Sikh lancers rode about with messages, with their 
long spears and small pennants flying from thi points ; and 
busy men were wntmg in the tents sending or receiving orders 
while wagons stood about, and a printing press wagon was at 
"* D^.rin^P.r'"^ '"^f clusterof tents forming the he^quaAe^ 
Dunng the couple of days in which I continued to live in 
h^.Tf ''"* the <?««« I had opportunities of explorii^g 
the coast for several mUes around Suakin, and with all iti 
barrenness found ,t most attractive. The enormous plain. 
?he nn,^".? f"' cight or ten miles inland and for fifty or more t,^ 

coral. When walking along it, the foot crushed, not earth 
and stones, but stalks, bunches, fragments, and d Jst of white 
conJ of many sorts and the clear sea water that washed the 

^.^n. T/"L°/ ^"^f T'^ °^ ^^^ «""«' *hile over its 
shining white bottom played bright-coloured fishes resembling 

I- ,1 ii 


iMge perch and mMkercl, gnen eels, or bbck-qwtted imiUler 
fry. Along the shallow imugins sUlked inow-white cranes 
upon their long black legs, or lines of pink-white flamingoee 
stood, and tiny waders like sandpipers hopped about afeng 
the edges, making everything cheery with their piping twitter 
and plaintive cries. Curlews with their king curved beaks 
•oared overhead, ak)ng -vith fine hawks and seagulls, kurger 
then our home birds, more splendki, and altogether different. 
The tide, as it rose and fell for a foot or two, left a border 
where hermit crabs crept about, and a larger species of crab 
with long legs ran so fast into the rathole which it dug close 
to the water that one could not get en opportunity of securing 
it for examination. Farther inland the plain was bare, with 
sparse tufts of a short fleshy-l' ved shrub reminding one of 
a heather-dotted moor on the S, Msh uplands, but the folia^ 
had the shape of berries or smuii sausages, and was dull m 
colour, and occasionally purple. Numbers of little ants ran 
busily about, and crowned hoopoes were busied in feeding on 
the apparently sterile surface. 

It was somewhat dangerous to extend one's explorations, 
for the Arabs were said to be occupying some wells not far 
bom the town, ind we were told that it was contemplated 
to attack them there at once, and drive them if possible back 
to the fortiued town of Sinkat, where the most serious work 
of assaulting them in their stronghoW was anticipated. If 
this were the case, my arrival at Suakin was in the very nick 
of time. 

On directing my steps back to the c« mps I met and received 

a kind welcome from man> friends. Surgeon James P at 

the Marine Battalion Camp, Surgeon-Major E , D . A , 

Secretary to the Principal Medical Officer. Surgeon-BIajorW 

of the Firct Bearer Company, and the P.M.O. himself. Dr. 
Bamett, who took me along to Y -adquarters, mtroduced n - 
to most of the staff there, and promised to arrange about my 
tent, ratu>ns, etc., and to see if a hor e could be procured, 
though horses and saddlery were things uncommonly difficult 
to be got hold of in Suakin. A telegram also reached me 
from Mr. Harrington Kennett in Cairo, to say that he was 
oominK through in a couple of days and wished me to join the 
National Aid Society under him. Dr. Bamett attached me 
to the First Bearer Company, so Mohammed and I transported 
my belongings to the extreme north-west comer of the lines, 

where Surgeon-Major Wilson, with his colleagues Drs. B 

ftnd C and Quartermaster T- , gave me a friendly 

reception and shared with me their mess and tent. 

I can even now vividly recall the pure delight, such as life 


ftrthert corner of the low bre«itwork of the ounp whenaJI 

dwert on wUch we looked, w>tching the purpling «unset ikT 
wnammted by the hori*,ntally pbced SwEent of tS new 
moon Acting bo-t-lik. .bout thirty degre^i^ve the h^n 
U. convexity directed rtraight ioi^warf.. Sowfng m i! 
brUl..nt green .gainst the coloured heaven,, with tie .tu' 
Itthter green dwc of it« unilluinin.ted side .. . faint circle 
?£ «1?J' K*" »i?" """"Jl^l and the .ky d Jkened IS 
ih^rrTL ^».»»'™<» ^. *ith bUck flgutei flitting .cZ 

. T"to ~,^ '"I!f » "•'"•'t? """^ *•"= «™«1» ««»"«». till •" 
» 'torepoM. The out of sight in the north" 

Ji.To'v'li!::^"'' «•'"='? W-B' »«» «"'th«'n Scottish sky "we,; 
nght overhe.d, .nd m their accustomed place on the southeni 
honitn W.8 the Southern Cross. "outnem 

Next day promised to be a stirring one, and we were to 
.natch only a short sleep in our dothS, yrt sl~p Hng^ ^ 

l^tU^C'*' *^'»k"* '^^r'^^m the moon d^^'tte 
western hills and the stars blaze brighter, till the constant 
challenge of the sentinels m^ fainter and ibUvion s^fn "* 

■' ;jiii 


TTLK or Hashezm 

Tm next mcniing, , 'day, the 20th Jfarch. wc w( aroused 

at four o'ckMsk, wasl i and breakfasted by cTnUieriThtln 

our tent .uckled on our belts and revolvers, ^ weU as oir 

out The whole camp was m a bustle ; in the dark men w«e 
oadmg up the mules and camels, saddling the ho^s and 

Umg m to their companies and regiments in r^^nU 
snouts and bugle calls. '^Soon all was™ for tK^ '" 

hu? V "v.*""^^ *•'! f^* ^"' Company were aUmou^^ed 
but Mol«mmed and I went on foot, a^d along ?he oth*; 
bodies of men we marched out to the plain beyond thl ^»™^ 
just as it became light, and were thereKS altriZ 
before advancing towards the mountains. There must haCe 

stood m the rear we cou d see far awav on the rioht n,. .„, j 
regiments on foot, their bearer company under Dr. E— 

I . 

'I \m 


behind them with the baggage, and our own company on the left 
behind the Guards Regiments, to whom it had been attoched. 
But instead of the clean trim unifonns, handsome war array, 
and music, to which one was used at home, nearly all the 
British troops were clad in the then uncommon brown cotton 
(khaki), dirty and worn untidily as the men pleased, with 
unshaven chins and unwashed faces, set oft by OMasional 
blue spectacles. The rough men and badly groomed horses 
conveyed something of ^he impression of a lot of day-latourers 
rather than of soldiers; the only reaUy picturesque fellows 
were those of the Indian contingent, dressed m flowmg jackets, 
putties, or leggings, and turbans; and one remarked that 
the turbans of their cavalry had enwound in them the circles 
of steel as large and broad as reaping hooks. Superficially 
everything was untidy and disorderly ; but the underlying 
reality belied this appearance, for the men stood firm and 
steady in their ranks, were well armed, and behaved excellently. 

Presently the line moved forwards, and in the clear cool 
morning air walked on for many miles, halting occasionally 
to rest the men, and after some hours we approached the 
hills. As we were advancing, the plain, which was at first 
sandy and bare, became broken up by ravines and pnckly 
bushes ; then it became hard and stony, the coral giving 
place to rocks and stones, with shrubs, at first small gorse- 
iike bushes, which became higher till they were thickets of 
mimosa, flat-topped and ten feet high, among which every 
man wound his way as b^t he could, so that our ranks were 
broken, and the various companies got greatly mixed. Every 
now and then there occurred a pause to re-form in order. 

Signs of caution now began to be evident in the method of 
advance. The cavalry rode forward and passed singly or 
in small groups between the trees considerably ahead of us ; 
signalling now and then with flags from the top of small 
eminences as to what they saw or heard. According to the 
signals we followed and reached the base of the nearest of 
the hills, named Dihilbat, as I was told, about eight or ten 
miles from Suakin. It may have been a couple of hundred 
feet high, seemed isolated from the other hills, and had some 
structure resembling a rude hut on the top. A solitary 
horseman was detached, and sent up to ascertain whether any 
of the Arabs were there ; and it was a fascination for the 
whole force below to watch with breathless interest this 
one man as he climbed en his horse up the steep bare sides 
of the hill in zig-zags, so as to explore every hollow for hidden 
foes. We expected every moment to see him shot down, 
but no shot was fired and no enemy seen, and he eventually 



f,^t. f ^°l °' '•''.•''"■ Next other horsemen, to the 
number of perhaps a dozen, crept similarly up, joined him 

The Arabs had abandoned their outpost there, left the smal 
back mto the mtenor of the mountains '""ner 

«nH i^"*i'l'* jT *"?'' P'""* "••"« « company of engineers 
and camels loaded timber, went up to the top of Sai 
to construct a walled fort and strong redoubt there and 
General Graham, with some artillerymen and three^'nons 
«™'"«f temporarily to watch and direct turihe^e^Z ' 
w.t^!ft °^'"' ''J^^ ^^^ exception of the baggage which 
two ^;Z? """* if ° " Bquare-the bearer compf nies and 
two Gardner guns m the centre, the sides and front formed of 
regiments of mfantry and the Guards under Gen^lp,^ 
mantle-and it advanced into the defiles betweS^X hUls 
fur some other four miles through rather more^t^n JSuntiv 
As we marched we often started game : hares raram~»g «„; 
feet ; p.geons and larger birds fluttered overhead • and vet 
higher up circled hawks and vultures on the outT^k for fo^ 
Among the Guards one noted now, for the first time, a st^t 
old gentleman in plain clothes, on horseback, said to ^ 
J;? ^I~'.? ^°"^'"' •»'°"«' °f *•>« Guards, who had defied 
a considerations of age and prudence m order to ac^mpan v 
tas beloved regiment to the field. Meantime theTvalrv 
rode ah«»d and far out on either side, scouting and sigSaHin^ 
and in and out among the mimosa trees we walked^ r^f' 
seeing very little but the hills on all sides. E^n the inte^st' 
however, in the events which aU now felt to be im^nding^uy 
r^unS T.^ divert our minds from the attra^ive Es 
around. It was a beautiful cool forenoon, and manv Drettv 
blossoms began to bestrew our path. A yelW-floO 
shrub, with blossoms like small roL, and lar^^ff lZ« 

w^ermi^r Jiirx -z^^^^d^^ 

outspread in umbrella form, prevented ouTsilngTore^^w two hills or rather twin conical peaks, in fro^^f us 

te l^nf n r^r*^ K*""* 'H " 8°'8« *° '^' northw^rS lay ?he 
wells of Deberet, where the Arabs were lying in wait for us 
having concentrated as they fell hack.^A^ yet however' 
not an enemy was seen, the silence was absolute and we 
slowly advanced until we were halted at tl^ f^t of th^ 

S"h PP'=^ l?!i'' ^™ ^°"' ''™'J'«1 f«et hSi, which was 
called Hamob Adarob. The stony ground we%to^ on was 

'■ I'il 

. ■*> 


almost flat, with considerably less bush and more open spaces, 
in which were growing wild govuds and tniiling plants with 
large melon-like fruits. 

At this point our force was divided. A portion was sent 
to the northward to the village and wells of Deberet, which 
was found deserted ; they formed square there, but I under- 
stood they sustained no attack. Some skirmishers were 
sent out, also to the north, to occupy a little hill ; it too was 
unoccupied by the enemy ; in fact no Arabs were to be seen 
at all. Next our square moved forward to attack the double- 
pointed hill, and the Marines along with some of the Sikh 
infantry were thrown out to ascend its nearer side. Up this 
they slowly climbed in skirmishing order to the nearer summit, 
which was separated from the farther and higher one by a 
valley. They went ever upwards, without a shot being 
fired, and we watched them intently until they had reached 
the crest and began to show above it ; when all at once the 
stillness of nature and the tension of expectation were broken 
by tremendous volleys of musketry from the Remington 
rifles of the Arabs who, - > far as I could judge, in a force 
of several hundreds, occupied the farther crest beyond the 
valley which was now wreathed in clouds of smoke from the 

Dr. B had been called away from our bearer com- 
pany' to do duty somewhere else, and I had mounted his 
horse. I was riding with the other oflicers of my bearer 

company in the middle of the square ; one of them. Dr. C , 

had just dismounted, and L , a young surgeon from one 

of the field hospitals, had mounted C 's horse and ridden 

up to his place beside me, while E of the Second Bearer 

Company had, without waiting for orders, run forward to 
ascend the hill and give his services to the Marines and Sikhs 
— an act of splendid promptitude. 

The instant the firing broke out our square stopped, and 

poor I, gave a loud cry and fell backwards oft his horse. 

With a spring like a cat Sergeant H sprang forward and 

caught him ere he reached the ground ; the others of us were 
down in an instant, found he had been shot through the left 
breast, dressed his wound and transferred him to a litter beside 

which I remained to look after him, while W and the others 

hurried off to attend to the other men who had fallen by the 
same volley or by the subsequent shots which now rolled like 
loud thunder from the hill. It was fortunate that the Arabs 
fired so high that not more than a dozen men were hit in our 
square at this time. 

Hitherto our troops on the nearer summit had returned 



no reply to the Arabs' fire, but now they began to return the 
volleys from the farther peak, and the rattle of musketry 
contmued from both sides for about a quarter of an hour, by 
which time our soldiers had silenced the enemy's fire, and now 
crept down mto the valley and up the other side to where the 
enemy had been posted, drove them from their positions and 
P?"""™*™* into them as they retreated down the back of the 
u-lri. J '"* *° ***"■ opponents firing so high our men on the 
hUl had none seriously injured, but the Arabs suffered heavily 
and left many of their dead upon the mountain. 

During this engagement our cavalry, the Bengal Lancers, 
had gone round to the back or south of the hill to cut off the 
enemy, but found themselves engaged there by the Arabs 
descending from the hill and another strong body at ite foot • 
and immediately we saw our horsemen fleeing back like chaff 
before the chargmg enemy, entirely .lable to face the onset 
of these agile footmen among the ocnse thorny trees. The 
fugitives came rushing into our square, bearing some of their 

wounded, one of whom, Y - ior R , was speared through the 

right thigh, and many both men and horses bore spear 
wounds, fortunately not of great severity. The cavalry had 
no sooner entered the square than the Arabs, who were now 
being fired down upon by our soldiers on the hill, appeared in 
pursuit, and fell like a flood on the southern side of the square 
which received them with volleys from their rifles and dis- 
charges growlmg out from the Gardner guns, though the latter 
soon became choked ; but the reception was too much for the 
enemy, and they retreated without being able to break the 

I was at the north-eastern comer of the square while this 
charge took place, and did not see much of the repulse, as I 

was busied with L and Major R and attending to 

others, but when I went to see if any more of the wounded had 
not received attention, I witnessed a body of some thousands 
of Arabs come pouring towards our square from the bush on 
the north, and as the front rank of our soldiers knelt down 
to Are, one could perceive the spaces between the trees whence 
they were emerging black with dancing figures rushing on 
and leaping from bush to bush like an inky flood. Into these 
masses our men poured their fire, and the impetuosity of the 
cha^ diminished, so that by the time they had come within a 
hundred yards they were mostly mown down by the tremendous 
hail of bullets. At last only a few crouching bounding figures 
were seen, as they plunged sideways into cover ; then there 
were none at all. Our musketry ceased as they fell before the 
withering storm of balls. 

,1 :■ If 

. 1 




In the midst of the smoke of the rifles (for in this war only 
black pow er war as yet in use) and the dust raised by the 
striking bullets and the falling bodies and rushing feet, I saw 
one brave act done. A handsome Arab chief riding a beautiful 
horse dis"iounted in the thick of the slaughter, picked up a 
wounded comrade, set him behind him on his horse, and amid 
showers of balls p de up a slight eminence and disappeared 
^-ith him into the bush. Some of our men cheered him as he 
escaped, and so, very herrtily, did I. 

In these charges on the square there was very little flrinc 
by the Arabs from their rifles. Only the leaders appeared 
to carry lireurms. One Arab boy of about twenty, clearly a 
chief among them, was conspicuously mounted on a fine white 
ramel, and showed great heroism in leading them on. He was 
shot through the fleshy part of both thighs, and feU so close to 
the square that his followers did not dare to attempt to rescue 
hun. When he fell his camel bounded away at great speed, 
and was seen for some time leaping over the bushes as it made 
iu ^^y- Pr°baWy wounded like its master, along the slope of 
the hiU to the north of us. The rider was presently piaked up, 
broupht into the square, and after his Remington rifle, spear, 
shield, and a couple of cartridges had been taken from hiniand 
he had been searched for other weapons, and those he had 
conflsrated as trophies by some of his captors, his wounds 
were dressed and he was conveyed along with our own 
wounded to a military hospital in Suakin, where he recovered 
ana was eventually set free. 

When the roar of the rifles from the mountain, multiplied 
by the reverberations from the surrounding hills, broke out 
so suddenly, and one charge on the square was followed by 
the other, it was cunous to watch the behaviour of the different 
persons. Our officer^ rode about or stood quite calm and 
apparently unconcerned ; many of the soldiers ducked their 
heads when a stray bullet whizzed past them; while the 
Hindoo porters and doolie bearers (litter carriers) crouched 
flat down in rows behind the bushes or in the slight hollows of 
the ground, remmding one of figs in a box or salmon in 
a pool. 

The main attack having been repulsed, the Arabs ventured 
only now and then to re-advance, and some volleys of musketry 
were necessary to check them ; but their ' snipers ' (a term 
that had not then, I think, come into use) kept up individual 
firing from the bushes and thickets, which seemed to do more 
harm to wagons and htters than to men and horses. We had 
I™1„"?K J^^ more particularly to our wounded. especiaUy 
among the Sikhs who had been brought into our square ; and 


'eYveTrn'=S°«t4*:S° ^X' °'5-' "-«• '-«.' 
of them had se„*t to^ne ont illustr^"'''' ^°""'' "«' °"« 
sketch of myself kneelhtah^lh ■f^.?^P'^ '" ^"don a 

attending to\1m fS ^d t J th"^ fJ"^"." "« "«" 

scenes which I aftema^saw inlSe EnXh'1. »* "^^ "'' "" 
were uncommonJy faithfnlTt^th ^"^''^Vu'"''/"'"* P»Pe" 
us by their marLmen for s!me iirnP^I! ' V t*'' '^™^^«« 
charged the north-eastern coTcr ofVt.^^^^" ^ 
the positions whence they ^rcome an^ .r "*"***=^ *° 
await our attacking them irtu™ iJ^ 'i''^"' **"""* *» 
»ent out against then, and the Ap w" ""l ."^^whers were 
were tum?d upon them but th'i ^""' l"^ ""^ ^PP««'*d 
much impression beyond comnemLTlf "f^ ^""'^ *°^''''= 
distance. ^ compelling them to retire for a little 

first -t' haTbe'Tn'Sitd^alout^r P-"* °^ *"« '^^y- The 
twelve so we tho..^f o'^f^^^.^trbTt' a^ T •^'^'P-' 
visions had been fo>-otten with f^ i' ^^ ' °"'" Pro- 

there followed a t^iouThouf and a^^^f '^ ' "'^"'«'* ' «> 
broiled in the sun and envied thn^V^u"? "^'''^ «« 
thought to provide themselves witwV''°>'* *'"= f""' 
cold coffee. "emseives with a biscuit or a flask of 

Somewhere about two o'cWW t„« „i l^ 
having been completed for otupat ?n I^/"''* °" »'hilbat 
zanba of cut thorn bushed „,T surrounded by a 

The men on the h^ls a^^tC ,^'oTat°the''*T "? t^^^' 
were withdrawn ; they march^n?!f ^ ^^^ "^ Jiebttet 
our square remaned to Sthe,tr ^/^ *°*"' ^^'e 
afresh, with somecavalrvbSrerJnm^; ^"^ "'"'* ^°""«d up 
No sooner had it also _^^'^?r"'''^*=- '"'*» interior 

turbances bX out afeh the Ar2 "*'fu* *•"" *»"= di^" 
down anew on our sqvS^ 'a^d rec^t^," "!f """"^ P°"««l 
Guards faced about, dJ^" hem off^ht^,h"'"'ff^ '*• The 
continuing the withdrawal and reTe^vi^th^'^'' '**^'*"y 
renewed musketry when the n.«h^7 * , *"*'">' with 

got even in the^hiSof Se busT^L*';"* '""'^ "«^" 
yards. After experiencing thefn.rH '*'*'''°,ten or twenty 

the A«bs hung^n the^XstK^TrLt"'''' •''^^^• 
and from very close ranire keot i.n 7^. r '^^^'^'S square 
which men 4an to feff thSL a'^rfo^««''"8 "«*= fi^« under 
unpractised ^ like mine t Tgan to l^t""""* "J" '^° «" 
ugly business, for the terrific! ho^th~-T''^'"* '*« »" 
hurried forward to the »fer W of tL^""*^' r"* °*''"». 
^d. part empty, and the thinlLe of s^w4^^"~ i^^ '^s 
rearwaid side, seeing themselves unsup^m '^0^^ 

,'■ H 

m 'J 



deserted, oommenoed also to hasten their steps and bulge 
inwards, so that it appeared as if a breach in the formation 
were about to follow. The numbers of the wounded oom- 
menced to increase rapidly, and we of the bearers were speedily 
taxed to the utmost of our capacity, and all, men and officers 
alike, had to lend a hand along with other soldiers in carrying 
the stretchers. The Arabs still firing high, most of the casual- 
ties took place among the mounted men. When matters were 
really looking queer, a halt was called, the square was re- 
formed, and the field guns from a small eminence opened with 
shrapnel upon all the groups of Arabs who could be espied. 
This gained us time to look properly after our dead and wounded 
and get them transferred to the ambulance carts and litters. 
The Arabs appeared to have suffered severely on the whole 
and to have been taught a lesson, for they now desisted from 
their attempts to break the square, gave over their firing, and 
the rest of the march to Dihilbat was accomplished in quiet 
and at leisure. When Dihilbat was reached we observed that 
the smart engineers had already, in the few hours since we 
had passed, crowned it with no fewer than four forts of stone 
roofed with wood, and made a strong zariba at a distance 
round it, leaving a clear zone of fire for its defenders, for in it 
were now left a large number of troops with provisions and 
artillery. While waiting for the completioi of these arrange- 
ments we found our luncheons, and as the labours of forti- 
fication were being completed we watched some of the artillery 
below making beautiful practice on black groups of the enemy 
on the hills around, bursting their shells right over them and 
leaving sprawling masses bestrewing the ground whence the 
survivors were in flight. 

The rest of the day was less rich in military events. We 
marched slowly homewards across the dusty desert and reached 
camp just as night fell. I visited the base hospital to see 

how Dr. T and Surgeon T disposed of the wounded 

there ; I saw their reception, their being skilfully cared for 
and put into the tents by kind and gentle hands, all of which 
greatly impressed ma; and then Dr. Wilson and I walked 
home among the encampments of the tired and sleeping 
troops, challenged every now and then by the sentries, washed 
the grime and sweat off our dirty faces, had a welcome meal 
of tea and dry bread, and turned in to sleep, both of us toler- 
ably tired out by our twenty miles of walking under the 
tropical sun. 



The Plains abouhd Suakin 
DuwNO the ten days that followed the actions at Deberet 
Wells and theHamob Adarob Hills, which is generally termed 
the battle ot Hasheen, most of my time was spent in studying 
the methods of the military medical department. Every 
possible fecihty for this was affoided me by Dr. Bamett, the 
prmeipal medical officer, whose goodness I even now, after 
the lapse of more than thirty years, continue to think of with 
gratitude. He gave me a free hand. Though still attached 

to the bearer company, I was permitted to share Dr. B "s 

tent m the base hospital, where its P.M.O., Dr. T , with 

"^- *^7~T *."'* Surgeon T , received me most fraternally, 

and at all tunes access was given me to the Gangei hospital 
ship, so that I could study the arrangements from the front 

I have abeady partially described the work at the ftont. 
uurmg the fighting it chieBy consisted in the application of 
dry antiseptic dressings to the wounds, and the administra- 
tion of morphia hypodermically to reUeve the pain and permit 
of the wounded being transported. Out in the desert there 
was no water, even the water bottles Lad long been emptied, 
and as every appliance had to be carried on shoulder haver- 
sacks, dry antiseptic dressings were the only possible ones, 
and no others, it may be added, could have given better 

The transport of the wounded was a question which had 
an especial fascination for me. My own bearer company 
had only ambulance wagons, much like those of the present 

day J but the second company, under Dr. E , had in 

addition mule cacolets (a sort of sitting panniers), and camel 
litters as weU as mule litters. I tried and was personally 
transported on all of these, and the conclusion I came to was 
that though cacolets were tolerable for slightly wounded, 
and litters on mule or camel back far from uncomfortable 
under oidinary conditions, yet for such country as existed 
round Suakin, roadless, with thorny bushes and deep gullies 
the ambulance wagon was on the whole the best conveyanc^ 
tor the seriously wounded. Where the gradients were too 
t^at for the ambulance wagons, the hand stretcher was 
still possible; and where the ground was level and unen- 
cumbered, most excellent, though slow, was the Indian doolie 
ol which we had some, for the shuffling gait of the Indians 
ahnost elimuiated the unavoidable swinging and jolling of the 



i I " 


other foimi of conveyance. I felt lure that on the whole 
the wounded who were brought back ttom Haiheen in dooliea 
»n°»n>bulance wagons suffered the least. 

The doolie bearers themselves were a quaint study 
Dunng the day they squatted together in one place, made a 
small enclosure about two feet across, of mud, stones, or 
empty meat tms, resembling a child's house, built a minute 
nrq>Iacc with a semicircle of stones, tins, or such like materials, 
and baked over a few sticks laid in it tempting chupt.tties like 
the large white ' baps ' we eat at breakfast in Scotland, or made 
a stew of rice and butter. They would not eat our food, but 
cooked m their own brass pans or flasks and used their own 
leathern water-bottles. At night, before they lay down in 
a heap together, covered by a rug or two, they took off all 
their clothes, and the spaces of the camps were strewn with 
naked black bodies engaged in cleaning themselves. 

The base hospital, into which the patients from the field 
were received, was situated on a coral platform ten feet in 
, I"* , . *'~"* *^° hundred across, a mile to the north-wost 
of Suakm. On the northern end of the platform a redoubt 
liad been constructed, one of the circle of outlying defences 
beyond the bastions of El-Khaf, and hence the base hospital 
usually went by the name of the ' H ' Redoubt. Its smiical 

work was admirably conducted by Dr. T , who had been 

sent out as operator from Netley Hospital, where he had 
been Assistant Professor of Surgery. His skiU could haidly 
have been surpassed, and during the days following the fight 
at Hasheen there was much to test it in the work done in 
the operation tent, the interest of which sometimes attracted 
Ijcneral Graham as a visitor. The medical cases were under 

the charge of Its P.M.O., Dr. T and Dr. P , whose 

stall and kindness I had frequent occasion to admire. The 
comfort of the patients in the base hospital was very well 
cared for, they were lodged in large oblong Indian soldiers' 
tmts. Identical with those occupied by the chief medical 
officers ; during the day the side curtains were removed 
for coolness, so that the inmates lay under the canvas loof 
alone, beneath which the fresh breezes played over them. 
The junior medical oflicers had only bell tents. From che 
base hospital the patients were evacuated as quickly as 
possible to the Ganges, or other hospital ships ; some of these 
cruised about outside the port to refresh such men as were 
likely to return to duty ; the severer cases were taken to 
huez, on their way home to England, and the gravest only 
were retamed m the base hospital or on board the Gong^. 
aut however well affairs were managed as regards the patients 


r^^k lJ?.ilf^^^°"u.*° ^ ""'*'''''' '^"^ «>« by auction 
Nrtley, and received his commission in the army medic^ll 

siiakin my first considered impressions of the British amiv 
medical service, and because, as wUl be seen lat^ thev W 
*»me influence on oy future, I give them he« as they we« 
noted down at the time. While it was impossfbie t7,^t" 
hold an unstinted admiration of the qualitrof the m^ c«l 
officers, non-commissioned officers, an3 nui^s vet the '^ 
viction forced itself upon me that ^mewheiTthew Us some' 

t o°i;rf T *° P'*"' '^''" ^®"«"=y in Se poS Zch 
It ought to have occupied. I repeat that better work ~ 

^?Ln "^ *' circumstances, hiTve been done by any Cdv 
of men and women ; but even at that time the med^i,^! ^S 



1 1 • 1, 

-.1 Vi 


adjuited when it wai almovt too ktc, thoush in Egypt this did 
not perhapi nutter lo much si it would have done on a 
greater and more urgent field of operationi, against an enemy 
of larger powers and resources. The rank and file of the 
Army Medical Corps were not of the class whom one would 
have liked to see in a body of men sent out by Britain to save 
the lives rf its soldiers in the flekl. One could not honestly 
call them the refuse of the army, they possessed many admir- 
able non-commissioned ofBcers and others, but it was not 
difficult to detect that the best men, physically and other- 
wise, were in the other branches of the army, while it was the 
residuum only which were attracted into the ranks of the 
army medical department. 

Again, the other services of the army, the artillery, engineers, 
army service corps, and the infantry, were polished and 
organised to as near perfection as human ingenuity could 
ensure it, and were as perfect as Britain could make them, 
but the medical service fell distinctly behind, suffered con- 
sequently in its efficiency, and was regarded as the Cinderella 
of the army. Its officers were like a handfiil of rich jewels 
left neglected and uncared for in some repository until they 
should chance to be required, while the other services were 
like similar gems, valued, polished, and set in some gorgeous 
diadem where their excellence was visible to the whole world. 
I acquired the conviction that the army medical service 
could never attain its rightful position until it was put in a 
place of honour at least equal to that of any other branch, 
until it was recognised that the education and training of ito 
officers entitled them to be ranked at least equally with the 
other officers in the fighting forces, until its ranks were re- 
cruited with the very best and most highly-classed material 
the country affords, until their Director-General occupied a 
position equivalent to that of the Commander-in-Chief of 
Army, and until in fact our nation had come to understand 
that it is not less important to save the lives of its battle- 
worn men and officers than to destroy those of the enemy. 

While I was c ccupied in studying medical affairs and spend- 
ing my days between the bearer company, the base ' --pital, 
and the Ganget, there were plenty of other matters of interest 
going on. Opinions had been freely expressed by some that 
the battle of Hasheen had taught a lesson to the Arabs ; and 
that all the fight had gone out of them in consequence. But 
this was quickly proved to be by no means the case, for the 
very night after Hasheen we were kept long awake by the 
crash of rifle volleys from the redoubt which had been estab- 
lished on Dihilbat, showing that it was being subjected to a 


h«i been foiled •wh?oi,l.«?r» '"? *»"*" «» '•»* «>e ArmU 

It W8. not .gafn .^iiei f^P'T' '^'" " '" the morning. 

from the enemy on its outZd i™,™" ""''i*?*'* *» « «»«"»• 

WM mided almoit nSitlv ,m.n ™^^" V'l •*•"? '*'*'^ "'^ 
in the dark through £twLT»i\S3t! °' *5' ^"^ «'*«?'"« 
up individual, o'smau^un.^""''*""'^ ""''■«■ «"tting 
them atowst to Piec^ wiS«feirl T'' "'»•«'"«• WkinJ 
and doing their work^iT-iStlv wSh f '^.~»»-'"'ndled .words! 
whieh dS not cTduci to iuirt^Wn"r«- ^''™» ' «^'"t« 
ventured to undress, ^^^1 . n ? °f "'«5"'' »" '^at few 
might chance to o"ur ^ ' ''"P* ''"^y '"' wUtever 

ft'S«X"'oTl!'m™"'''^K!L""°"«' """^"y of the enemy 
ford^uSiTith tt^'Si'^ P'es^ntly toV elaSS 

wilway from the doS" J^! ??*T' '^*"«" °' constructing . 
was pressed^on, a'^d f^^ *•" '^•*^ *»''«= Nile at B^ 
«fctyof the wirkbV^.V.N?"'^"" " '""^ *° "»"« the 
of it which w« bSS/^L t' r* °l'*;*'°"« '*"> portion 
Ot««>. along a ^ ff ^f^J''"**"^" ''y H«ndoi^ and 
north-west Since^jJ^ tr,i!.??T'u''"* *«" """«» to the 
be Stationed at TamaU ^uTflft^,"''' -^^ ''" »*'«^«1 to 
another and stronge. ?oJ«^f^ "'"''" *° ^'"^ «'"t''-west, 

upon it and giHto & the~"15±f~''y '" '"^^''n™ 
necessary to Sinkat Tn^Thl, J^ere, proceedmg ufterwaids if 
mountal t:e^''r:Z't' ^^I'^J^"^ ''y t"^<"^ the 
this last direction was exnect^^!, k^Iw?™"'- ^"<=^s '" 
en»,y i„ this part oTthe Kn ^"^ ""' P"''" °^ 'he 

ligi^"" ^i^^'^'^Vef Lrir^ ^ " ^ <'»y = - 

al»o on the open plain where tC 1°"''' °" ^^' ^'^"' h"t 
"ted by shells flyiSg "eld tl H M Tn" °^^"^ P""'''"' 
Poups of Aiabs sDiedf.v„«kr"-^-^'''P*'"' aimed at 
»^ryice was startto^i'^^i/^^p'^ *T-, °"'' T?*' Sunday 
^siting the base hosp/tel h^^tl^™ ^"^^ """^ ' had been 
the forenoon to the Zp whL tW •""% "•«* ^™t on in 
^nch. We learned ?£t ou'f^end T*^ "' V""^ ^o^ 
gone out in the morning with a pTrti „ u ~~ ^~7-' ^"^ 
who were preparing thf wax- fJ^ a **"'''" *"^ others. 

' !i'i 

rj. I 

II ! 



oominuid of G«ncnl M'Neill, and hence the larifa* wm bv 
lome called Baker'i, by other* M'NeiU'i wrib*. I ihaU 
continue to call it by the latter name. The lervice was con- 
ducted by an army chaplain and wai approaching iti eonehi- 
(ion when an immenne bunt of firing became audible away 
to the aouth-west, while over the top of the buih there rose 
gnat cloudfi of amoke and duat, and theie continued to loud 
and long that there remained no doubt that a very lerious 
battle was taking place. Wilion hurried out of his bathroom 
and we both hastened out to the camp, where we learned 
that a considerable engagement had indeed been going on, 
that many fresh troops !<ad been ordered out to the lariba, 
and that consequently a few only were left to guard the camp. 
We were all preparing to withdraw for the night into one of 
the forts, leaving thi^ tents and baggage to take their chance, 
when we saw the reinforcements returning and learnt that 
there had been a gieat fight, but no seriou<) disaster. Their 
report was that t)ie forces at the zariba had been heavily 
attacked from the bush, but had inflicted very severe loss upon 
the enemy ; so that, when the relief column had arrived, they 
were found not tC' have been required, and returned to Suakin 
to man the camps there. 

A party which had gone to fortify Handoub, in the opposite 
direction, had simultaneously been attacked, but not so 

Straggling fugitives tiom M'Neill's zariba dribbled in during 
the evening, some of whom had barely escaped with their lives. 
An Irishman, an officer of the medical department, was un- 
armed when the onslaught happened, but contrived to possess 
himself of an axe with which the bush was being cut down, 
defended himself with it so effectually as to have killed and 
disabled the Arabs who assailed him, and succeeded in fleeing 
back to Suakin in a half-mad condition fh>m the excitement 
and perils he had undergone. Wounded were also brought 
back, and by piecing together the accounts obtained from these 
sources the following version of the battle came to be generally 
accepted in the camp as being as nearly as possible the true 
narrative of what had occurred at the zariba. The column 
which had been despatched to occupy it had reached it without 
any adventures, and a portion of the force was retained under 
arms while others were sent to cut down the surrounding 
brushwood, clear a free zone around, and pile the thorny 
bushes into a ring so as to constitute a rariba. Some were 
also employed in bringing the loaded camels and baggage into 
the interior of the enceinte which was being formed, and a gap 
was left in the ring of the defenders through which the go<ids 


impkment they could wiSd for thrir H^f.^ ' "S'""* '"^ 
who had been ^.ZIa ^ ^ "**""'' *" '"'"• The troopd 




sKle many were killed or wound^, nuXr, of th^ L °" 

fctae&ofi!"""!' \^°^ ""'• """'P't^' »«d ac "mTnied 
ineattacked force, and who witnessed the whole aetior 

Furauve quiet for some days afterwarHs w- i i ii, » 


wanT nit hot Z n K^^" ''"'*'*• ^ **"* '* '^'«' ■"'""y 

■I '; 


drops blotted out all objects more than a feet few distant, 
and it was usually some time before the sun dispelled this, 
and sent it away in trails over the distant mountains. Fine 
displays of ' mirage ' >'ers often witnessed on the plains. 
With the advent of the sunshine began the activities of the 
house flies, whose name was legion, and who were worthy of 
their historical fame as one of the plagues of Egypt I Our 
noses, eyes, lips and hands were covered with swarms, and 
an unending struggle with hand and handkerchiefs was 
required to keep them off, so that reading and writing were 
most difilcult and vexatious. At mealtimes our plates were 
blackened with them, and upon the sugar, tea, jam, etc., their 
arrays were so thick that no space existed between them, they 
were there often two or three deep on each other's backs. 
Considering whence they came, the filthy things around on 
which they had been feeding and breeding, the wounds, 
typhoid fever, and even worse, which they had deserted in 
order to visit our table, they were a most disgusting accom- 
paniment to our meals, even if the food and liquids cooked 
for us had not been already black with the dead bodies of 
those who had been stewed with our victuals. Their numbers 
sufficed to account for many diseases spreading as they were 

In this camp of ours on the shore of the Red Sea the happen- 
ings wore endlessly varied, and not wanting in fascination 
for such as myself. At one time we would be sitting in the 
sunshine or shade quietly engaged in our various occupa- 
tions, when we would feel a puff of wind from the north, and 
behold 1 on the horizon, a low bank of brown cloud on which 
the sun shone brightly ; it drew nearer and grew higher and 
blacker, till it overhung us like a wall two hundred feet in 
height, seeming to be solid and yet in motion ; the sun was 
blotted out as the wall reached us, and we then sat in what was 
reminiscent of Egyptian darkness for a few hours, when the 
wind would fall, the dust cease, and we and every object were 
half an inch deep in dry desert sand ; the sandstorm was over. 
At another time one of us would seat himself on the ground 
prepared to rest comfortably, when lo I scorpions would come 
pushing themselves up through the sand, and the intended 
repose would have to be hastily transferred elsewhere. 

The manners and customs of the soldiers fettered one's 
interest ; some of the regiments had their canvas houses put 
up in the neatest of rows ; others contented themselves with 
getting behind boxes or carts, or under a pole with a black 
woollen blanket stretched from it to a wall of their accoutre- 
ments and belongings, and so forming a house ; and happy 


a«ir„'^cS- ? ««" .:™; 

headed audien^ of Wh^h ?h^ V™^ "^ '^^y'"' *» his bare- 
a Scot brought un,^H.,fl^*f" simplicity appealed to 
Knox Wn^rj^- ^'^ *^^ Calvmistic regimen of John 

av^ion where t^eZmoTr "°"lf- ^""°^* »>''-« "-"^S 
calls and words of cLZ»ni?K '""''''!"g *«»?". their bugle 

One of these was the arrival of the Npw <5«.,fi. w i ^ 
tmgent, which was sent over by the PremTer s^r r^I^'^i^S" 
and was the first bodv nf ~.iL- i * ' "^ George Reid, 

visiting therr wa^ Z'aht^ / 1 '''T^ *'^''*- «" 
contingent was ^nt inKe fi.°M ''^'' *^* .*'^'''' "«»*«" 
VVinehLter rifles It S^ ^^hapf hf^^^Jt^r "^fT^i^ 
our own hosiitals unH K..™, "^ nardly be believed that 
totally un«™^. ^n .^ """Panies were sent to Suakin 

; 1 


•I I 

■I 'f 


il i ; i? 

11 •r''']! 


in despatching unarmed men into warfare with remorseless 
enemies, who had no regard for and probably had never even 
heard of the Geneva Convention. 

The second was my introduction to the National Aid Society 
(afterwards to become the Red Cross Society), as represented 
by its Commissioner, Mr. (afterwards Sir) Barrington Kennett, 
which had, it has already been said, sent out two medical 

men, Messrs. P and L , to do duty on board of the 

Ganges, and Mr. Kennett now invited me to join his force, 
which I willingly consented to do. He provided me with a 
good horse, of which I stood much in need, attached to his 
Society my Dongolese servant, Mohammed Achmet, and 
otherwise gave me much aid and support. There was in 
reality not much scope for the Society at Suakin ; its minis- 
trations were mostly confined to distributing some welcome 
luxuries, and assisting in whatever it was asked to do. But 
even at Suakin it could be seen that in warfare under other 
conditions than ours, its services might become of great value 
indeed, provided that no jealousy on the part of the War 
Office proved to be an obstacle. One could not but fear, 
however, that there might be a serious difficulty with the 
latter, in the tendency which besets every public department 
to regard whatever it does as perfect and complete, and that 
under no conceivable circumstances can it require any kind 
of extraneous support, an attitude which is doubtless very 
natural, but which interposes regrettable barriers to any 
suggestions for its improvement. 

The absence of newspapers,' except such as were too ancient 
to be of much mterest, favoured the cuculation in the camp 
of many rumours, often a fresh one every day. Thus one day 
a war with Russia was reported as being imminent ; next day 
it was said that our mutual differences had been arranged. 
Some would have it that a peace with Osman Digna was being 
negotiated, others asserted that Osman's forces were so 
seriously broken that only a few small skirmishes might be 
expected in the present campaign, that the Guards were to be 
sent back to England and the bearer companies broken up ; 
and the next day we were amazed to learn that Osman was 
still in strong force at Tamai, where we were to march to fight 

' Only a single newsleaf was, to my knowledge, printed for us and 
eirculated at Suakin. It was neatly typed on a slip of bine paper, Bi by 34 
inches in size, and its contents were as follows : — 

' TiLioBui.— From Zobel to General Graham. ChineM Foreign OIBce rattled peac> 
prejimmanes. Brigson declared France would iiuiBt on execution of treaty of Tientsin 
and nwotiations tailing France would carry on war vigorously. Chamlnr Danuti«> 
Toted Tonkin credit of 300 mUlious. Prince, Frinoeas Wales, Prince Victor left for 
Uublm. atli April 1886. 


to the north in oi5er to sh^tT*""*'^'' '"*'''''"« t^^'Plain 
when the tone again^l^.K"'* «"«J-«~"se ; bu? 
as the month oftwrewt aTend^r'* '"'•"'^•^'»' ""d 
dications that the oeaselesT act?vffv "'f^^'^ were plain !„. 
about to find express oTL:^'^f,°lGe""''l Gwham was 
"Kloubton Dihilbat, asefu onTv as in* k"'"'""^"*' ^°^ the 
evacuated and the troop ' H b™"StTf°" P°^*' '^'''' 
stores of provisions and esDeckll.^ * . ^^''^' "^^^ gwat 
M'Neiil-s zariba and Xl^^her'^"*,^/ "^ !f"* °"' *° 
n the base hospital were evacuated ^ 1,%'^'' "f*^ ^°""''«d 

w.commotion. Tents we^e al! dtw 1 the whole camp 
bemg demolished ; men, horses 1h T "'' "^ "•« ^^t of 
bemg loaded with materials \;r/l ^^^ "'^^ P«<^g or 
that we were to b^k u^trnp f nd "^.'^ '"^ «°"« ^"^h 
canvas town was vaniSi^r^anH i^^ "" ^«"^i- Our 
I therefore tumbled my fewVoH, T"^- " "^'^ P'am. 
my blanket down to thTbl^rhosptla^d^rV ' ' '^Vt 
the process of demolition. PreWous toft^l^' ''i, '^^•^h 

men dmed in the open, where th^ !^ ^""^ °^' '-"eersand 
stzck^, heaps of boxes aid sto4ten^""°'' ''f' ''**«'«1 '^i* 
mmiition boxes, camp lant^rTc^m"*^^' P'^'i °J "««^' ""- 
and one odds and ends tlSriron^f '"' ^'' ^''^ thousand 
own tent was the last toTe sS Tn7 ""'^ "'^'"- O"^ 
ropes were slackened, itrte^t ™- I 1 *i ^^"^ »"" set its 
waUs removed, and the L'fTnl'^^le^f^jf ?f -t, '^ T^^-^ 
The pleasant house that one had i^t . ^. * "^""^ °f dust, 
and all prepared to trave" over th^ nk^f ^r" '*«°°«''hed, 
ment. The camels were mad^to kn/nw ° ^'l' "'^ ^"«"«p. 
oaded with our goods and cl^ter'^7?' their backs were 
■ke the noise of men badly s^ckLwff T"'*^"' ""*^ms 
the last to leave Manv H J!^' ' ^ ^^^* "^^rk we started 
faihng off the camefe'lTd "°^ f" ^"^ *^« "^^ 
seeing them fairly on thefr wav for^^ ^"P''"*^'«'«fter 
and 1 wended our way on LT Z^ ./^^ "'^^^ Mohammed 
Ifts of the base h^ ^&d7wat' '^^* '^*^"^^ *» t^ 
of a tent there. Ne^xt day c^mpk^tr^'T'r'^ * ^^^ 
the entrenchments which su3d^ <!V*°.^°'™"»t of 

•■one being left garrisoned, artrwtl!'^;^^^'-^"';^ 

.1 , 


were concentrated outside the suburb of El-Khaf, on the 
south-west of the city and harbour ; and as the base hospital 
(' H ' Redoubt) was thus left open to being attacked, its plat- 
form was fortified by a four-foot wall built round it and some 
Krupp guns were added to its artillery. My bearer company 
now slept in the open, but as the cold during the nights was 
somewhat intense. Dr. Bamett arranged that 1 should spend 

them in the base hospital, where Dr. B kindly allowed 

me to share his accommodation. 

The expected advance, however, hung fire, none of us knew 
why. Some surmised, and there may possibly have been some 
truth in the conjecture, that Osman Digna had withdrawn 
from Tamai into the interior, and had even sent envoys under 
a flag of truce to trc " for terms of peace. Nearly all hoped 
that the latter might be true, for even our keenest fighters 
were wearied of seeing so many brave men, who were only 
defending their land and homes, being mown down in a hope- 
less contest with our superior weapons. In the begmnmg of 
April, however, the decision to advance was finally come to, 
and as so far I had not seen the field hospitals at their work 
during an action, I obtained Dr. Bamett's approval to my 
accompanving the forces who were to storm Tamai. Mo- 
hammed had behaved with so much courage at Hasheen, and 
begged not to be left behind when he was offered permission 
to do so, that I arranged to take him to look after the horse 
which was to carry me. 



On the first of April, hardly expecting any instant advance, 
I sallied out beyond the precincts of the camp for a stroll, 
along with one of the ^ung doctors from the base hospital, 
roamed about for thi - rtours, followed the lines of railway 
which were being laid down towards Berber, and on the way 
back called at the encampment of the First Bearer Company. 
There we were to learn that our elusive friend Osman Digna 
had really been located at Tamai, and that beyond any possi- 
bility of doubt the army was next morning to go out to fight 
him. Rather regretting that I had wearied myself by the 
long walk. I ran back to the base hospital, humedly packed 
into a Wolseley valise the requisites for an expedition of a 
few days' duration, and rode back to the company, leavmg 
Mohammed to foltew. Having, as I already said, not yet seen 
a field hospital in action, I could not miss the chance of gomg 


A°l'\u^"^ ^ '^'"^ ^"^ "" *»s bustle and activity in the 

tt\ .'/'* ''"*^*'"' ^ ^'" P"t "P ^ere down, and the 
babel of tongues and neighing of horses, the packing of mul« 

glare ot the huge fires where they were bumina all that thev 

:.^ri L"*"^ -'*•' *"-■ «"- *"» ™p-'°" o-'^ S 

li<«!l' ^ j1^ '^'*'' *••* headquarters' mess near the left Watek 

fmm ?h "^K T" """^^ ""^ °P^" "''y °" stretchers borrow^ 
from the ambulance wagons, hut it was long ere we^roT 
The shouts of the soldiers and the bugle calls, combing wfth 
an attack of sickness, the blazing camp-flies and the telms 

head o/h mI ^tn, r'P'llIJ" *''^ P"^'" '""" ""' ^a"- 
nenti ot H.M.S. Dolphin, robbed me of rest until it was lat^ 

m the evenmg, and hardly had I dropped ofT wheri wis 

awakened at one o'clock by the bugles blowing ZlilU H 

we got up. the moon rose and in i^, clear light our few amnee 

nients were completed, we mounted our horses Jnd ^™S to 

the part of the plain where the army was to muster. No long 

t^ „nf' ^'"''r' *° ^°r " ^^ '^"''«'' '^ith the infantry on 
n5 fl»n? ^"''?""« ^^^ *™"^P°^ ""'-^Is, while a screen 

formation we advanced to M'NeiU's (Baker's) zariba Ftom 

WnXThn- f'^' "f*' '."^ """ "'^ ~'al Vts. our S 
being the thm telegraph wire which ran along the irr^und 
over dusty tracks, where dead camels, horses, f nd mlTwere 
putrefying m the sun and poisoning the air. Starting Thu^ 
rir "^f '?i^°' P.*'* °^°"' ""^y thi advantage of the moon! 
ow 1"h 1V^^ "-g*" '^"'P^^t"^. which was indeed nfpSy 
low, and the zariba was reached before the sun became vfr^ 

^11^^ u "^'^ unstrained to hold their noses, an? it 
n Z '^n ^""sing to see a whole aimy in thi, ktttode 

e^entTth^tVS'- *?k°'«'=* '^' '""^^ "^^^^ '^^ the ^m 
events which had just been enacted there. * 

hehind^nV^t^*? ^"^^ "?""* sketches, and arrange to leave 
behmd all that I could not carry on my horse, when, after the 
deiay of a couple of hours, we set off again for Tama It was 
kng before we approached it. The |round we^a sed over 
became more undulating, the density of the spiny trees a^d 
bushes tesened. while the place of the coral Vas teken Sy 

Z fJ"**'?"™. ?*°"'^'' P'^™^ "f e^''^- quartz, fekpar 
and fragmenfs of jasper. The yellow rose-like flowe« the 
g^ntian-hke thistles, and deliciously scented herbs relmblS 
the tansy, were grateful to our senses, and th- varieties rf 
anmial hfe were many ; doves, sand-grouse, gazel^. I and iSrL 

I ' 

I m 

■ ,■ I 

■' • ■ 1 1 



rose before us, and among our feet were huge black ants, 
snakes two feet long, spiders with bodies an inch in length, 
and slugs with shells which plastered, like pellets of grey mud, 
the stems of the bushes. 

We had been riding thus for nearly sixteen hours, with no 
food or water beyond the biscuits in our pockets and the 
water in our bottles, and our horses, who had had neither 
forage nor water, were getting well wearied with carrying 
their riders or dragging the field guns through coppices, and 
up and down the sides of water-gullies or rather dry ravines. 
But we were leaving behind the horrid signs of the recent 
carnage, where the bodies of the Mahdi's men in their uniforms 
of white calico jackets edged and seamed with blue chevron 
trimmings at neck and shoulders, and red lozenges down the 
breast, were being torn in pieces by the vultures which had 
gathered in multitudes ; we were in a clean pure country 
where the cool evening air laved us gratefully after the heat 
of the day ; and were druwing very near to Tamai, where we 
were expecting to have a good and probably decisive fight. 

It was considered possible that we might sustain an attack 
at any moment, for the country favoured a surprise. After 
we left M'Neill's zariba, the Engineers sent up a captive 
balloon — I rather think it was the first ever used in warfare — 
which was attached to a horse wagon, and followed and 
signalled to us from a height of some two hundred feot ; but the 
rising wind so tossed it that its occupant was brought down, 
and when it was sent up again empty it rent and came down, 
so that our scouts were all we had to depend upon to give us 
the notice required to remedy the gaps in our square in case 
of an onset by the Arabs. However, we sustained no molesta- 
tion, though we continued to expect it, and when the long 
day was ending and the last light departing from the sky, 
and weariness was creeping over us all, and we espied on the 
near horizon a rugged fortress-like hill covered with the forms 
of men and horses silhouetted in black against the night sky, 
we drew the breath which preludes the battle. We arranged 
ourselves accordingly, but it was fortunately unnecessary, 
for the forms on the skyline were only our own cavalry who 
had seized the hill called Teselah, where it was intended to 
form up for the storming on the morrow of Tamai, still two 
miles distant. We were relieved not to have to encounter 
an Arab charge in the dark. 

Teselah stood out from the level of the country round like 
the ruins of a great hill fort. We proceeded to give it breast- 
works of stones, and fortified it with field pieces ; while others 
formed a large square zariba at its northern foot, protecting 


anyhow in the zariba • thSpw!~ ^ ^°'*" anywiiere and 
So long as it wasd^rk t^J no reserved places. 

an occasional shot'^toVr'oTnfXlrH't'r^^ 

sentries, though by one whirh ..fS r,°'' ''''*'>' ^""m neiVous 

a soldier was kill^ Tone of the Ich "" '^^°''^' ''»""* 
nearly blown away j in "« iLiiLnH .r'' ^'' ^^^ be'ng 
done by a comrade. But when the m J k T'- """dentall^ 
o'clock an attemptat a ni^ht a?tlck w. " ^ "'"" "' ^'^^en 
of shots came plunging tC,Khthe^ri{^'''^\''"'* »'"''"'«<»« 
hattmg such noisy thinifs « thl i^ ^^', '*''«^n« past or 
ambulance wagons, stXhek etc ^n^-^'rll^P"'*''' <=-«" 
Our guards replied by volley; I fi' ?h disturbing our sleep 
came into action, and IK' time 1''"''* °" "^^"^^^ HUl 
troubling, and all remained Qu^erLnf "''^"'y '""''^ from 
no one within the zariba was Wt '""'"'"«• ' *'«"«ve 

thou^Xetttitti^^fr^L^T-^i ■"»- ^'^ 
Marines, and Artillery, aloMwrft ^^^"de, Australians, 
names I did not leamTactmpani'^ bwH 'n*'*"™*' ^^ose 
Madras Seppers, and a bodv nf w -^ *''* ^«'"8al Cavaby 
fodian Infantry muste^'^'^utite'"' ^k"* '^'«'''"' ^^^ 
BearerCorapanyhadthehononr^fK ■ ^.^"'^- '^he First 
this force. The otherfw^rrr/ft ^ Tf'^^'='"'t<>''<=«>n,pany 
outliers. No baggage ofT„yl"criottn^ ^'^ ^"''^ -^ "^ 
be taken, and we did not foZ sou«r« T "'" P«"ni«ed to 
that so fine a force was abWtft ' ^°^ " ""^^ considered 
adopting that formation. L ^.W th^f" °^ 1*'^'^ ^^'hout 
across the undulating ground whTch wfl^'^'^^y '"^^'"><«1 
tation, but was studdfd w^h ^,™ ' ^^"'"'^ "^ ^ny vege- 
protruding here and tferrae Z^e^'T "^'""ck basa*t, 
^der the tropical sun into sl'llth*L~: a„d"l "If *''^""« 
ine heat was so creat th«f if '"*" Bra-vel and rough stones 

the hand a stonel^ch te piS'T'^ 5°f •'"' *° h°'d I'n 
"» " we marched on for an'^ho^n?;'""^ ""*.'"" ^~«bed 
entangled among barren rock^hSk Th"; ^'""'L^ «"''"«% 
we had almost ceased to eJ^e„f »"'*•• Then sudden y, when 
C^ty • (1 , ,) of Ta^i.*°S ;"oC"*f ^\T' "^" the 
finding it a second Suakin #e iT t1"' ^^ ""ticipated 
Md wretchedness of Tamai are dffflil.v'' ""*"• barrenness 
i» described on Daner h,.f difficult, if not impossible to 

^htideaofther'^ • "' ""^ ""^^ "««">?* to^ convey^ 
Coming over a low rocky crest, we unexpectedly beheld, on 

; ,'*' 

f I 

U :'i 


a flat, somewhat stony expanse beneath, what iieemed to be a 
few withered bushes or heaps of grass casually left on the 
ground ; but as we drew nzarer and saw more closely, it 
became evident that they were wretched booths arranged as 
dwellings by human hands, and that we were gazing on what 
was really Tamai. 

Dismounting, I gave my horse over to Mohammed, took 
my pencil, and made a sketch of the place, and while I was 
doing so, the column of troops formed into line, and advanced 
in a long array to sweep both the village and the hills which 
lay around and beyond it, which were now seen to be black 
and white with the forms of the enemy. This time they 
were evidently not intending to charge us ; of that they had 
had enough ; they were to stand on the defensive. The 
action commenced and bullets began to fly, so I hastily 
finished my drawing, remounted, and pressed on after our 
men, into whose ranks single shots and volleys were being 
poured, and who were returning the fire as they advanced. 
On our part the action was entirely in the open, while the 
Arabs had to a large extent the shelter of their rocks and hills, 
but their missiles flew mostly too high, while ours told upon 
them so severely that they cleared ofi before us, and we passed 
through the village and continued to advance beyond it.- 

When closely inspected, the village consisted of many 
lake-like hollows bottomed with sand, interspersed among 
the black rocks, the whole about a quarter of a mile across, 
and each hollow containing twelve to forty huts, recently 
occupied, with the embers in them hardly cold, and skins 
of cattle or bones of oxen, sheep, or goats, freshly picked, 
lying about. A description of one of the hollows or lakes 
will serve for the others as well. It might have been about 
three acres in extent, or sometimes much more, and within 
it, scattered irregularly here and there, stood huts constructed 
of leafless shrubs, afiording scarcely any shelter from sun or 
wet, barely the amount of shelter a withered bush would have 
afforded. One of the huts would perhaps appear to be better 
than the others, as if a headman lived in it, and would resemble 
a beehive or bottle-cover of straw. In the centre of each 
group of huts was a circular enclosure of prickly bushes, 
stuck in the ground, with a diameter of thirty feet ; in this 
fence was an opening, generally on the western side, and in 
the middle of the enclosure was arranged a ring, a couple of 
yards across, of stones about the size of a loaf of bread, and 
many articles were strewn around indicating a hnsty flight, 
such as swords, bayonets, scabbards, sandals, camel trappings, 
pots of earthenware, ladles and bowls of wood, water skins. 


articles of domestic , e, primSn v "J^T* "^^^- i-^V 
to the Arabs, such a» heKt, hi i,^"'''u ""'"«'' ^"'"'bte 
etc., the only objects bett^.?*' ~'''«"' bottles, headeeaT 
wn^wgsanda„rCi„^tS^^« ?''r ^i"« "">« ffi 

Our long line of armed men^n/ S^T.u^ *•"= ^°"'"- 
sweepmgfartor,ghtardlef?^'?irf^.*'^"8h the village, 
"lound. Along „1th X «ttle' f ? '^''^^"' 'he hUh 
to hill, concentrated occa^i^nH ^ !^'"^ "^'"t "« from hiH 
repeated against some ,^t defenSJf *°I°"*y* ^""^ »d 
Such resistance as was met wkh rf^ "'V ""J"'"''' obstinacy 
nor was the loss caused by Tt iUl^ ?"' '^""J' °"' «lv«n«^ 
flew over our heads anrstr^ck t&.fnH t°K- ^^ *''« ''""«t^ 
advance I did not see a s™Sl P».f?* "^ '^'""^ "*• In this 
our men .swept on. Z^^X ^'J^tVl^'' ^*« » '"-e 
as we approached the wells LI? , T^l^' "'"' Presently, 
some of our soldiers began t;>dL "^'%'?f:y°"d the villagl 
my bearer company so I fnn„. ^x.. ^^ *••" time I had lost 
assisting the wound^l^s onni J*^-.*'''' "^P' nearest to mc 
<»me to the edge of a preSr""".'^ °*"«^' ""^ shortly we 
the -bUtck ho^ibll ^SZrS ir T^nT'^" '^^"^ ■"" 

eve^he.^ preci^toZJ^^'^^:J'^ v*^ waii., nea^ 
Its bed was simply a river^W.? u-. ^ '^ ^V '^e action 
lower end was there an v » f '^'"'^ «"«J' and only at i?s 
muddy fluid, tasthg oTsaTaL" ""J"" ^U'" pool oVdark 
th'rsty horses. AloL t^ ^ "ndnnkable, even by o..r 

hidden f^msight'^thT^lXter^S' "f "" '-'''lidZ 
down on the gorge on our m.n as t W T^ H'"* "" ^°' fi« 
f«ht, crossed itatsomeof the pWswhLJr'"^ round to the 
and hnmg the cliffs, advanidT'^ T*'?'''^«*P'''<=ticable, 
f " Jf "'mpanies in the riy„ of ^sTnJ^Lf °"8 '*' ^'^^ thei; 
anothsr sketch here T litJ • "" below. After takino 

Ponied the soldier^loVg'r'^ttr'^^/""" «"«» ~ 
l^y up It, but fewer and fewer of th^- ^^^^ advanced some 
thetf firing fejj andTt 'ou H ^T'l^^'^^ to be found, 

men needlessly to ^JZe We w."^'^ ^^ 5^usted the 

-. - balls-re XZ^^, TtL^J^-,::^^ ^^ 

I It 

,': H 


seemed to oome, but cannon and rifle alike flattened their 
miuUea against the black rocks, and no advantase was per- 

Two of the Australian soMiers were wounded here, to their 
own delight and the envy of their comrades, and both of them, 
by good fortune, only slightly. 

After resting for an hour or two the troops were withdrawn, 
and as they returned to the village there were some renewed 
outbursts of firing, and many individual shots, following us 
and flattening themselves for the most part against the rocks, 
pve rise to a few more casualties, without our being able to 
locate their origin. Some shells fh)m our gum, however, put 
an end to this annoyance, and we had no further trouble. 

When we were returning through the village, the huts were 
set Are to, and the plain became thick with clouds, columns, 
and whirlwinds of dense black smoke from masses of swirling 
flames below, while the s' -. crackling explosions from stores 
of ammunition hidden away in their walls ai.d roofs, or buried 
underneath them, broke out as the huts were quickly con- 
The battle of Tamai was at an end 

We went quietly back to the zariba, which •- found like a 
swarm of bees. Word had been sent on to ;t, i r, J those who 
had remained there were busy packing up to return to Suakin. 
I gave my help in arranging the sick and wounded, furnished 
each of them with a drink of iced water and a lump of ice in 
his handkerchief, then climbed the Teselah Hill and watched 
the camp preparing to move. It was like a Derby Day. 
The plain was filled with a motley crowd of tents, canvas- 
covered ambulance wagons, field hospitals flying the red cross, 
piles of boxes and bags, rows of camels and horses, soldiers in 
their khaki suits, marines in grey serge, sailors in blue suits 
round their Gardner guns with white canvas covers, Arabs in 
white clothes, Sikhs with blue turbans and long lances, Hindoo 
doolie bearers with their black legs, field guns and their 
carriages, wagons, a mountain battery of small cannon in 
pieces on mules' backs, and the favourite regimental dogs or 
goats trotting happily about the men here and there. The 
noise and babble and shouting, the English profanity, the 
Hindoo cackle, and the hoarse roars of the Gibraltar mule 
drivers, mingled now and then with the bugle calls, sent up 
to heaven a noise that sounded weird in that otherwise silent 
land, under its tranquil heavens and among its now peaceful 
hill tops. 

At one o'clock the advance sounded, and we departed, 
leaving Tamai to its normal desolation. We marched slowly 


■'HK (iokliii UK lAMA 



I) ' • 



■t Ul 

we it 
•nd t 
and t< 


half 1; 



and al 

tea, b 

and ti 

men, ( 




We fo 

circle ( 

the an 




that w 

so, he& 

posed t 

serve a 

post Wl 


horse ; 


the hasi 


and the 

and wel 

fired du 



«^ Ki. .^ » ^^ir**" '^ "''''"> on to Su«kin •lone 

tubordinatei m oomiMnd, loon began to diipUy t^Llv« 
m laying the ch«.f in which we had been iSt lCm7„ 

t^. u'^ ^'^' *° '" *"" •" '>°"' a «»ribB of thorn bushn 

u^LTf '""" *»^ baggage, water mule,, and wagon, were 
«r^a™ fl^'" ~",^^ distributed in a rougHut fa" 
way. Camp flrei were ht, kettles put on, and cotfee made ■ 

^ b^L"" ^ « ,r "•=•' °' '•>« ^"""d^ a supptyoJtef : 
tea bread, and milk, we sat down to our dinner of St 
and tmned meat in the dusk. It was to hJa.^a .""*"'* 
men, a very good meal and ^uj Tn^y^.'"^ """ """^ 
drSj''^.r!5iY ^' c""""*^ ^'^ something to eat and 

We we^'aSr» dS^ '^Z^ ^"C^^" "'*•''" *« «"«='°»""e 
th.7 J!^ w ^? .""' begnmed from our day's marchinir 
^h^ IM ri.*^« ?f J3l»8 down on the Vou"d t^' 
J^"s^e,^l^ ' ^,j;^J^^ » » box, officers and men dU^ 

serve as a pillow, and so we passed the night. My own bed- 
P°"* ':"/ '«8on wheel, and beneath the waZ, Ty tihe 
sWwart form of Mohammed. whUe beyond hXstoS my 
horse; and outside the wagons slept a roTof s^im^ 
Khi'^J^'" ^«« theTntries and the cut bush^^f 
the hastily extemporised zariba. I fancy no one slept much 

aK,*S^";?**";' ''"* '°°'* ^y watcSiig the Lto h^^et; 
!^!^^,!:?'**«n C"". thinking over the events of th^day! 
tofj^f2^.r^ to be there in a whole skin. Two shots were 
fi»d during the night, but they came trom our own men «id 
probably were needless, for the enemy m^U^oTtiaA 

^ Vn 

II : 



i. t 

' '.'- ■ 


t ' i 



Some mules broke loose and a squad of them charged across, 
kicking and trampling us where we Jay, but every disturbance 
passed, and possibly we dozed a little, now and then, until 
the bugles blew the r^veill^ at live. 

From M'Neill's zariba we set off for Suakin at seven, in 
square as before, but soon there was a halt of two hours in the 
sun, while some reserve ammunition which had been forgotten 
was sent back for, and the opportunity of having a look about 
me at the cotmtry was irresistible. So I left the square and 
its dust and spent some time in exploring the flora and fauna 
of the land. There was, however, little new to be seen ; the 
ground was covered with hundreds of Arabs lying dead and 
rotting under the bushes everywhere, and the country was 
strewn with biscuit boxes, water barrels, pack saddles, bales 
of forage, etc., from the actions which had taken place. 
The square was again slowly moving on when I returned, and 
after accompanying it to within four miles of Suakin, I sent 
Mohammed back into it, and rode quickly on alone, no one 
disturbing me, and got to the camp at noon, dreadfully 
tired, and thankful to be back among the comforts of the 
base hospital. 


Hospital Wokk at Suakin 

Afteb the battle of Tamai, Dr. Bamett attached me per- 
manently to the base hospital at the ' H ' Redoubt, and 
there I remained during the rest of my stay in the Soudan. 

I had scarcely seen the town of Suakin since my first 
arrival there, and was surprised to find it much changed for 
the better in the interval. The advent of the army had 
awakened the place from its secular lethargy, and the British 
administration had improved its sanitation and even lent 
the town a touch of the modem and occidental. The streets 
were cleaner than they used to be, more quays had been con- 
structed, and the quantity of shipping in the harbour had 
become quite considerable. The line-head for Berber started 
from the shore, and small locomotives were transporting small 
loaded trucks with water, provisions, and materials for the 
labourers on the desert end of the railway. Where formerly 
nothing was to be bought, there were now good stores kept 
by Greek merchants who had arrived, and many delicacies 
could be purchased in them. Some one had even opened a 
restaurant in which an excellent dinner could be obtained ; 
and in the markets fresh fruits, fish, and vegetables were on 
sale. The city was becoming really a nice place. After the 


coUection of miseiible booths which in the desert went h« 

observing the attentions they reSfv^ anHn <?,r''- '" 
«.e„ distribution to the tents^r?he t se hospi Jft'^tSf 
KflT^°:^' '^^ the Go«««. It would not^^Xwe 'or 
me to tad words in which to express the kindness att«>H^^ 
and assistance with which eve^ one of iSe offi;*,^„f fu ' 
e\™^"in ''Z^"^' and'^aj'thl' of te^na^J t 
fnT^t ^ Everything was shown to me ; every wi^ for 
3,1 »v '"^°™?';°" *«s gn«tified without re^rl to the 



It was also my good fortune, while at the base at Suntin 
to observe the operations of the National AM &>cietv for nn' 

sHould be un^": ^L^r^^^Sbl^l^fe^t^t/lfSr 



'4, •! 

.1 j.t' 


nation, and the profession, who should be aided by a council 
composed of officers of the services ; and an equal number of 
civilian experts of the highest standing possessing rank, pay, 
and authority equal to the service officers, theb colleajJuS 
so as to ensure their status and give weight to their opSons. 
1 atoo conduded that it was quite necessary that the officers 
or the medical services should have military rank like the 
other branches (a thing which has since been conceded): 
and that as a matter of course the medical services ought to 
be kept complete and perfect in every point, with their own 
transport and appliances, and all this in peace as weU as in 

As regarded the National Aid Society, it seemed to me. 
If Its work were to be fuUy carried out, that it also 
ought to come under the same parliamentary chief as, and 
through hun operate hand in hand with, the medical services, 
tnus dunmishmg jealousies and ensuring proper supervision 
proper responsibility, and proper continuity of policy. Mv 
views were possibly Utopian, at any rate they wert such as 
could not well be urged until the times were ripening for them, 
but I had Uttle doubt but that they must eventuaUy prevaU • 
and one of the results of the experience I gained at Suakin 
was a resolution which I formed that, if it should ever Ue in 
my power, I should strive to advocate such improvements of 
the services as might lie in the directions I have just indi- 
cated, without regard to the odium which is the sure portion 
ot every one who ventures to suggest reforms in the War 



'i)'. i; .■] 

I i 



n '\ 

ii: ' ■ 





Thi Pobtsmoutr Addbess 

a suitable opportunity Zm^ ^" ^"^ '^^^ •>«&« 

officers, an3 so acquired a toU«hi„ ^"? ?""y ""^'"l 
the conditions ofXiTseAn^ t ^ '"='="™?« k'-o^'Mge of 
ments of the mediral se^/^n r .V^'*"'*'**' *•>« «"»»««- 

withrecomme"dSs1^r£^%^to"^r^- ^"^ 
to compare these Hth our BHH.k Victoria, 1 was enabled 

of the tetding Engl sh militaJl h '^^'^'' ^^ ^^'*^« «»»« 
medical institutions and ^^^.T^''- '?'"' "^ *•"= ""val 
our navy. With her ^nrZ. 'J^^^^- °^ **'^ ™"»Wps of 
ambass^oratS?.Pete«d'«'}^ an mtr^luction to'^our 
from Count Mouravfeff Sini f *'°* ^"u"""'"' "''*»««' 
to inspect, and mide the^~. " !° "'' whatever I wanted 
patkinVnd Dr sZTert th.T""*"1^u°^ ^"'="'' K°"™- 
Sive Director-cienemT'ff the ^''7..«""«'>**"«i «nd progres- 
ment. The Russian mJlif.Jf «"''»■?" army medical depart- 

and the '^y2^LrZ7f.^^''X:^^f^r}' *'""^- 

dressmgs, and appliances fnr ««^' *"^ mstruments, 

were biing arran^Trn the mn^ T"^ Zf"" P^eP""^- and 
manner for thWsth^ed e^nl '"'"V"":^ ""d practicable 
Naval Inspector DrKo^ri^'^^'"u"*- ^= ^hief Russian 
me to visitXsS; o^wl^vin?' ^'''" "i""*"" *» P«"»it 
all dismantled foX wX^^ ■" ^"^'"dt. as they were 

^ Surgery at the ^"rri^Xg^lf tt^h ^S 





Asiociation, held in Portamouth in 1890, it seemed fitting 
to devote it to a discussion of the subject. 

Though many improvements had been introduced into the 
services in the fourteen years which had passed since my 
Soudan e]n)erience8, they had yet fallen far short of those 
which ought to have been effected, and I felt that I was 
justified in making use of the occasion to speak very plainly. 
The following extracts from my address will show the purport 
of what I then said : — 

' The destitution of the army and navy of institutions where 
surgery can be practised is very great. Netley Hospital, limited 
as it is to the treatment o( soldiers, and Haslar to that it sailors, 
do not offer such varied material as is required by surgeons and 
physicians to cultivate the piactical blanches of their art. And 
there is an almost total absence of hospitals and lazarettoes 
throughout the stations where medical officers are serving, of a 
kind fitted to afford them any of the facilities they have a right 
to expect. The provision of places of study and practice is im- 
peratively called for, where the younger and middle-aged officers, 
provided with all the appliances found in civil institutions and 
with every class of patients on whom they may be used, may fit 
themselves for the duties of attending the wounded during action 
or in field or base hospitals. 

' Had custom not dimmed our eyes, the position of matters in 
the army and navy would ere now have excited indignant surprise. 
While the calk of modem science have been heard in the surgery 
and medicine of civil life, and effected the changes to whidi I 
have alluded ; and while they have been taken to heart in the 
medical services of foreign armies and navies, they have fallen 
on unheeding ears among those responsible for the efficiency of 
our own. The contrast between the medical and other depart- 
ments makes the matter more astonishing. Such scientific corps 
as, for instance, artillery, engineering, and telegraphy, have 
undergone extensive improvements and reforms in the last few 
decades. No means of enhancing their efficiency is neglected. 
For them all the inventions of modem science are studied, ulopted 
and improved. Elaborate care is taken that every one whose 
duties in war-time will necessitate his familiarity with appliances 
or knowledge of any kind is trained in them, so that when the 
call of war is heard perfect efficiency shall have been attained. 
The hves of the officers and men of the Navy, of the Royal 
Engineers and Artillery, of the cavalry and infantry, ate devoted 
to the daily acquirement of a knowledge and familiarity with 
what they must use in war, attainable only by constant practice 
under conditions resembUng as nearly as may be those of a real 
campaign. Tactics are studied, manoeuvres held, officers and 
men practised and drilled, fleets and bodies of men are put in 
motion, and any unreadiness is observed and remedied. Yet the 
Royal Army Medical Corps and the Naval medical service, which 


t^^ Z7 "^S^" *°d mo» v«ied culture, « mo«. profound 
a^7e??*I'nn^«"!,'"" '*'«~'.°' P~«« •"'1 "PoHeSce than 

f^ll!.^ ij j"°?u*'' "'y y™" *8°' «••'» rough and ready 
wlSSTk ^Jf Vk"'* ""gh ^d """y work then'requiS.^ but 
mXi-„ ' ""Piony with the revoluUoniMd condiUoM of 

«d^ n"^77C3 ^V'^" °^ *^' """"i^ .ervicc. rf Se aH^ 
S. ^» J ■ ™'''t»ry Powers. Even the care that has 
hTl^i^*-"^ °",^* '»'=™loP«'»t of ambulance ^ only Lmh 
m wounded men bemg now brought, on the best suJcalTrin 
aples, to surgeons as unBt to treit them as it is Dos^We for a 

h^^ th"». supiH^mg that their ofBcen, "after acquiring t^ 
i^™i« '^n -"Hi'"" ""• ^^"^ «»"«'«<»' 'hit nSfita^ 
bTd^i^.Tl?.-!,"'' """• °". "btaiuing their commissions, to 

te;:^ih"::2t?'-:5s r'e^^Lti^'rsi,-^ z±i 

Hons, weapons, and manouvres t£at war wTroi^l^^f^S^ 
:S'?mJ:*^%''*"^""y "''1^'* a«.u,e'Siv:"al^erisTon,'^L*en?o.^ 
wnat we wi. ess m the medical services, where the problems dea't 
wtb are even more sdentiflc and recondite, and in S^Sit 
practiMl apphcabon is even more necessary instant 

.11 .fl^^fT" »y''^"> has had a sufficient trial.'and, in spite of 
^iin»TP5.'°J"fl°'^ '*! ^ y^'^^ unsadsfactoiir r«ults, mdnry 
^^\^A k" '^'^!"^r. ^^'^^- The Royal Army MeS 
Corps tuid Navy medical department, indeed, are at present «dst- 
mg under impossible conditions ; they cannot be subjS o s"ch 
nnpediments without their effects being felt in a himdr«l wa« 

raHnn 1« i P"'.??""' the same privileges of professional oc^- 
M.Hn^ their civil confrira,. and are seSsible that they arTnot 
equipped as they ought to be in following out the inteUectuS 
problems to which they have dedicated their Uves IWs "m^ 
oeived not only by themselves but by othe«, e^ally byfhe 
other scientiBc branches, and naturally they do'not enjoy the 
3ame appreciative esteem as is accorfed to department^^^Lged 
m the constant healthful exeidse of all their due acHvi*TSd 
possessmg the intemiU vitality and self-respect i^Sg from 

SZ^T"" '" fr ^'ihi'^Tting ^ of intellectua?prog^ 
which forms the ve^y hfe of the leading professions in the worM^s 

i«Xt h«°7; ^^ " '*^-5' "»• ^' ">e sa^e ca^:^^^ 
lies what has often been complained of, namely the cold reDarf 
psrf by th. naval and militar/authoriti^s Tthe m^iS seS 
in Jh^^'PP'*'"''"'"? °' **"• *« ™y i° which theyTre sS^^- 
Lm^ ^^'"'^ requirements, and the fashion in which^eU 
etercise and traimng during peace are overlooked and neglect 
IVy would seem to be considered as less deserving of devd^: 
mat than even such department, as the commissarilt and ImX 
port-the contemptuous belief being apparently held that tS 



i) •:• 


i; ? I 
1: ; 

'Mi'., li 
.; , ill 11'" 



•urgeon* can be summoned into the Held at a momi-nt'i nutioe 
by the expenditure ot lo much money, like the hor«r<i, mulet, and 
csmrls that an anny requires. ... j. , • 

' Let me give an example of how the army medical •ervice 
worked in an expedition ol lomc eleven thouiand men, lent under 
Sir Gerald Graham to the Extern Soudan, and landed on the Red 
Sea littoral in 1888. Following aa it did on the death of Gordon at 
Khartoum, when the country waa rouaed into excitement, many 
millions were spent upon it, and it was fu jhed with everything, 
even to hospital ihipa, at profuse expense, nothing being wanting 
to it» medical department that money could procure and nre 
provide Vet in the bearer companies the men were from Alder- 
shot, the carta and hameas from Woolwich, the mules and muleteers 
from Spain, the doolie* and doolie bearers from India, arid 
camels and camel driven from Aden. The wagons arrivnl m 
one ship, the harness in another, the mules in a third, and ^ 
at different times. When the ambulance wagons were landed, 
along with several carU, the pieces were mixed up, and the men 
had to fit them tcjether as best they could. When the mules 
and harness turned up, it was found that, while the wagons were 
made for one kind of draught, the harness was made for another, 
and so on. And the officers, non-commissioned offlcen and men 
knew nothing of one another. 

' For the medical part of the expedition generally, the stores 
came without storekeepers, and without proper outward indica- 
tion of wiiat the packagea contained. Chaos reigned, and I Mn 
assured that if there had been an engagement on the day the 
forces landed, there would not have been a bandage forthcoming 
for the wounded. And very much the same state of matters 
exists in the service to-day. . . • , „ , , ,...,« 

' So complex an organisation as the Royal Army Medical Corps 
ought to be kept in a state of high efficiency, and be vitalised by 
continual practice. It ou^t to consist of separate units, each 
complete in itself and familiar with its e<^uipment and work. 
Bach field hospital should be completely furnished and frequently 
practised in its duties. Every corps should be ready to act, as in 
other departmenU, the moment it takes the field, and not have 
to learn its duties there when the day of trial comes in a cam- 
paign. Whether stationed at home or abroad, the officers should 
be provided with all the proper means of keeping themselves in- 
formed regarding the advances that are for ever beinp introduced 
into their sciences. The literature bearing on every r v progress 
should be supplied to them at remote stations where scientific 
periodicals and books are not found ; for no medical officer can, 
from his pay, purehase and transport a Ubrary ot the newest 
medical works, even if he were aware, which he often cannot be, 
of what he ought to procure. ... 

' In the department of the navy ... as in the army, the 
fundamental error is perpetuated of adhering to a system whereby 
its officers, shut out from practising their profession as civil 
surgeons have to do, fall year by year more out of touch with the 


^r.^.,S^ 2 ""u*' •™n««ment. thmt seem ddibenteN 

rf^v^J!^?. u J'T^ ""°2«'' *" •Women, the only chj^ 

™ wL^„ l»P«n>tomy perfonned within twelve hours ; but 

«rf^n- °'i.°' ^" M'Je'ty'' fleet U there any poMiWl tv ot 

£^^^1 " "P*'?""" '■ ^" » ""ther aLSSSodaUon 

insuumenti, nor accessories. . . . •^.v<u«uuu, 

•..If*"*" *" *^*°, *""'* "" '><»«l "he smaller vessels which 

T.^ » J "!.-°° ?>*'«"'»'» 'or making spUnts, onlv a box 

to tt^ G ^ pI • *' »a.hng.master acts as doctor. . . . 
^~L '!3 -PP"* '"""y '"'*<»' m»n who has served 
possesses jied nuhtary rank, even if engaged in civil DiacHa 

;»^ • °' '^'T;*^ '" ">« «8^a' army, but are in^rivate 

wa. Office, as to whefter they are preparad to serve their Father- 
rL^ ° T- *=Y'''y.Ge™-S medicJ man who hL seri^ 
nX! ^V' *S " """""oed 'or nineteen years under miUta™ 
Ume oi ^l"- ^v P°'«^.''6x^ rank, and is allot?ed,"ven ^ 


Mikulicz have to teach these classes during the Easter hoUdam 
Um"e°r5ti« '°^1r„:^,"' the m„tor and simmer re^foSsolTe 
hTiTl™ . * Pro'e^or has his fixed mihtaiy rank assigned 

to him m case of war ; most of them rank as iieute^t-oen^ 
some a, generaU. and even higher; «,d in Se ™^' ^'5fe 
act as consulting surgeons to the medical officers of tte .r^jT^ 

' i J j j .' ' i 


the fleU or Imuc boapiUl*. They Roeive the Mine pay u the 
miUtary aurgron*, w do aliio the other luroruiu who an liable 
to be called out in caM of war ; tome of the latter have plaoei 
anignrd to them in the SaniUry Curpi, etc., so that their akill 
and experience arc utiliaed in cveiy department of the lerviee. . . . 

' All lurgioal initiumenti and appUaneei in the Qcrman army 
are provided by the SUte, and in the navy thi> it likewi»e the 
caw ; ev<!ry hoipitiU in which the medical oiBccn Krve hai iti 
complete- armamentarium provided for it, so that no unwiie 
economy hampera the moat thorough and modem practice of the 
healing art ; and the uune thing ii true in icgard to the naval 
medical nervice. 

' In the Ruuian army and navy aimilar care is taken ot the pro- 
icHional culture of the medical offioen. Russia poueuc* tix 
large and three hundred iimall honpitab connected with the army, 
besidn smaller laxarrttoes : and in some of theae the equipment 
is far in odvanci; of anything the services posteaa in thia oounlry 
Thus the military hospital of St. Petersburg, wherein are treat, a 
all medical, surgical, gynaecological, ophthalmic, and other diacaaes, 
conaisis of Ave sepaiiitr clinics or mflrmariea, each of which ia 
complete in itself and possesses dcpnrtmenta for every dasa of 
disease, and even wards for nuying pati'-nts. The wards are 
excellent and replete with appliances of t.cry kiiul i tliere are 
bandage rooms, purifying rooms, operation theatres, bacterio- 
logical departmente, rooms fo. phvei -;J leaearch, laboratories for 
teachers, and labonttories for iti.jwnts, all excellent and com- 
plete. Kach clinic possesses 8'h" iieds. . . . And about 45,000 
patients are treated per annum. . . . Russia has 8000 surgeons 
in her armv, and any of these may, if he show ability and powers 
of work, appl v for and bt' ordered to return to study in the hospitals 
for a period of two year ^ . . . The Russian naval hospitals are 
arranged like their army hospitals. . . . 

' In the French army post-graduate courses, expressly for 
medical officers, are conducted by professon at the different 
Universities throughout the republic, and the cost is borne by the 
army medical department, while a certain number of the medical 
officers of the active and reserve army are every year ordered to 
attend them, extra pay being drawr. by those who do so.' 

These extracts are perhaps somewhat lengthy for a non- 
medical reader, but they are necessary to show the lines on 
which my address was planned. They constituted a heavy 
indictment of the system on which our services were then 
conducted. None of my facts were ever challenged ; I was 
prepared indeed to prove every one of them. 

The address concluded by offering suggestions for the 
amelioration of the services. The suggestions made were 
moderate and reasonable, as is shown by the fact that 
some of them have since been brought into effect, and they 
were limited to such as suited the time. Had the address 


XWn Vh.^S'.i!:^^^'^'""- "-> -«"- -V. been ^ 

once agreed to do ^ ""' '""°"'' "Wch I at 

The Bi^ck Wuk 

doctjo^tou,. ^mu^ aut£^^^x--''irits!;s- 

• Mv n B. W'"""* CA*ri., Aowwi^ t4tt, t8g(). 

'or the purpr « of .bldJin/mnii ° °' '?'""'« SouthVifrica, 

' Ahthuh Bigqe.' 

in South Africa, l^tl^"!^„t J"^ **" "••'rt«V authorities 

«aymg that suih imJ^l^iS t'^ere^oul^"""""""" '" 
came from the head oTh^ . ™, ^" placed m my way 
While this WM so and wMu HT ""^"f" ' 1? I»rtment there^ 
of the milit Jy K I f~rii,^r "'*r^""«' ^^ behaviour 

' HI 

i 1 • ^ I 


subordinate officers of the army medical service, with the 
exception of a very few who sided with the party which 
believed itself wrongly assailed in my Portsmouth address. 
Still the result was that I did not see so much in some direc- 
tions as I had hoped, and had reason to congratulate myself 
on having gone out on my own charges and responsibihty, 
without having asked for the countenance of the then Director- 
General, for I fancy, had I done the latter, my opportunities 
might have been even fewer. As the event proved, and as good 
fortune would have it, I obtained the most valuable insight 
into matters which I might have entirely missed had I been 
able to carry out my original intentions. 

Having forecasted that there would be a long-drawn-out 
war, though not so long as proved to be the case, I had not 
intended to go out until the beginning of 1900, but the events 
which happened in Africa hastened my decision. Calamity 
followed calamity there. The inability of General Buller 
to cross the Tugela River and relieve the besieged Lady- 
smith, the serious defeat of General Gatacre at Stormberg, 
and the &ilure of General Lord Methuen to force his way 
beyond the Modder River and set Kimberley free from its 
besiegers, all of which events were attended with heavy 
losses, had brought Britain to a serious sense of the task 
which lay before it ; and it was during what was called in 
London ' The Black Week,' on the 6th of December 1899, 
that I completed my arrangements and started for the seat 
of war on board the Union Line steamer Mexican, which was 
proceeding direct from Southampton to Cape Town. 

That week I found London indeed in a serious mood ; 
gloomy apprehensions for the future were deeply impressed 
on every one, and I saw the railway terminus fill^ with 
drawn &ces and anxious eyes as the trains moved out with 
the troops and others leaving for AfHca. 


To THE Cape 

I RAD made the voyage to the Cape once before, among 
the usual crowd of tourists, groups of speculators whose dress, 
gesture, and speech spoke of diamond fields or gold mines, 
invalids going out to Madeira, and bar-haunting sots sent 
from home in the hope that the sea voyage would work 
amelioration or perhaps bring about the end. But now, 
beyond a couple of convalescents for Funchal, and a pair 
of Dutch families retiuning from their European tour, every- 


thing was for the war n... — ^' 

stores, and aoceS fo^^h?^"" 'Z?"'** ''^ -""y 
OUT passengers the soTs of the R^i '"l"*^ department ; 
where to rush into the &;hHn„ "Pu""' 8»**"ed from every 
^Ucdforormadeweit^^'^,""^ «ven ^fo« they w% 

the bar was neglected for snorts IS ~"^ ^^^ """J ™"0^. 
keep men fit, Md th«V L!^ ° "erases which would 

between tet! ^Lt^^"^" ^f^ 'T""* ''""^^^^ 
have foreseen the different f^ "^'f^s cabms. Could one 
fellows, it would have sSde,^^^ ^h«:h awaited these toe 
would have drawn iZ^ '^ "' ""' *"" ^ think no man 

P^of'^X^t^-'SZlr^'tl^'^ ^o-^hire. 
Highland regimTnt^n hi» „ T^ enhsted as a boy in a 

«d efBd«i^to a'^^^s^n'^^^t*^" '"^ "^ "^ "^-"'^ 
the Chartered ComDanvth. n^r '"**?« ""ny to manaire for 
was ahnost enteS'^*fu?^«"* *^" ^'«Ws in HSXi^' 
Matabele War ffi L^'^tfo™^'*?^"' "^^ ^^^^ 
others mto a fighting force Witt wwTh^ his workmen and 
eampaign in the MatopDoffiH,^„^'^''"t« brilliant 
most against thousandf a^'wr^M ° !""«J«d ™t 

St Ata»«.S-^"^ --o.:-^' 
the colonel in oljSn^d of ^rd RnL!^*;''^^'''^ «PPomtaJ 
veiy brave man and a W^m^H^,^' ^odygu^. a 

selves in training. Thev h«d W u^"v"*^'' •» keep th^^ 
them, and hop^ to get ™-^"«''*. *'^ ^^ alo^^h 

mojmted coTnhich*te«T2'°Srt'>,°'r''''' ^^J"' 
within a few months one of S wh!fi i ^* ^=P*- ^las I 
gettmg a commission i^ Tho^vcmft^J""* succeeded in 
was shot on the very momie SSTn th ^^"^^ ^^ntry 
Ifop on the TugelTwhile anotRiS S'/J^"?^ °'Spio„ 
about the same time ; and onlv «f» i-^-j ?y?«ntery in Natal 
survived the war. Fran! S^^ 1'''" -Musketeei?. 
suffering ftom rheumatism of hT. ^ ^^ *«° J he was 


r, ■'•} 



1(1: ■ 


the war, to share afterwards in the Hons battles, where 
he won undying fame and gained the Victoria Cross, and 
was killed shortly thereafter. 

Among the English was also B , traveller, sportsman, 

and athlete, who had left his young wife in order to take his 
share in England's battles ; more than all others, he was the 
life of the party on board. 

Hany other English were there, often in the second or third 
cabins, of all ages ftom nineteen upwards, engineers, artisans, 
and even officers, one of a mounted and another of an infantry 
regiment, all burning to take a part in the work which they 
had failed to obtain at home. Men from the Colonies were 
there as well— glorious material for the irregular mounted 
infantry. But— and sure it was a thing unique where fighting 
was in prospect — only a single Irishman, or at least but one 
with an Irish name, was among the passengers going to the war. 
The neutral or perhaps even hostile side, however, were 
represented by a couple of young American reporters with their 
wives, and the Hon. Mr. Webster Davis, Assistant Secretary 
to the Minister of the Interior of the United States, all of 
whom were on their way to join the Boers at Delagoa Bay. 
They kept themselves much in the backgroimd, but all felt 
that an atmosphere of suspicion and dislike of Britain was 
perceptible in their neighbourhood ; and no one liked their 
pretence of having no connection with one another, which was 
carried too far to be genuine. 

ad the old Metican been a sentient thing, she woukl have 
been herself surprised on this voyage to find that the usual 
bar-swilling and euchre-gambling, as well as gambling of other 
sorts, was superseded by shooting at marks, athletic exercises, 
tugs of war and strong manly games, instruction in mounted 
infantry drill, and an almost universal abstinence tcota 

None of the liners whom we met on our way to the Canaries 
responded to our signalling for news. We were eager to learn 
what had happened in Afnca, and hoped to be cheered by the 
latest reports, but were left in ignorance until we had reached 
and anchored at Madeira, where some of the passengers had 
wires of the home news, and as their contents spread men 
looked in their neighbours' faces and spoke softly. Another 
reverse for BuUer on the Tugela— over 80 killed, 600 wounded, 
and 800 missing 1 and who might not be on those lists ? for 
naturally we had no details. Lord Roberts appointed 
Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in South Africa, with 
Kitchener his Chief of the Staff! And the Militia and 
Volimteers called out! What serious anxiety and grim 



rwoluUon, It seemed to us, must be pervading the old country 
Md Its Government at home, when it had rome to^such S^ 

to have b«en sup«seded ; but Lord Roberts's appoinrmenj 
had the approval of the military men whom we hJd^^rthTs 



Cape Town 

forces under General Buller. But his repulsed onThixSella 

p«IT- ^ ^^^^ therefore was to remain there until 
S r"^"^' ^"^ ^P^^ by his movements 

r^J^^n'lf ""/l?"^' ^'''' -""1^™ additionsUund 
It. me (general and his secretary received m.. wirt. Z..u 

courtesy, and gave me such^S.^^'^fs ThJ'l^ 
fh.f ^J"'?^'^ =""* P^bable future of thfww ^ 
U.ey agreed with me that I ought on no account t^^'on to 

of the land When we had left London, thefe was Mubitably 
T^TV^^J^t' '^^ «^1'"i«ht prove too st^^t^^l 
?h. ^ ?■ ^"^ *'™^' ^""^ *•"' disasters might multinlv in 

sL^Th ■ °"*''" ^?f ""* «'^" informed^abortSS 
strength and resources. But at the Cape, where these w^^ 
known to most there was quiet confidence tkuhere was r^U^ 

^Grwt Bntam, which was familiarly known to nearly ever; 
one. TJ« Dutch population of oou«e sympathised not a uSte 


( ■ 1 

. M if 


with their feUow-countrymen ; this could not be otherwise, 

for many of them, such as my friend T)r. I , who had just 

had his brother killed fighting in thr Transvaal ranks, had 
their blood relations in arms against us. But their sjrmpathy 
was most unlikely to resolve itself into hostile deeds, for well 
they knew the advantages of British rule, and they would not 
willingly have exchanged it for that of the Transvaalers and 
the ignorant old-world Dutch farmers from the back districts. 
A few of the fiery young men would and did steal off to join 
the Boer forces, but the vast majority were not only not hostile 
but were even favourable to the British. In my journeys 
through the remoter parts of Cape Colony which were to come 
later, I was almost always received with hospitality and kind- 
ness by the Dutch settlers, but even trom the day of my 
arrival in Cape Town, I had reason to conclude that there was 
no imminent danger of a general rising of the Dutch population 
against the British rule. Among those Africanders who could 
hardly be termed British, though sympathy with the Boers 
undeniably existed, loyalty to Britain held the upper hand. 
My cousin was an instance of this. He was a native of the 
country, had before the war to some extent become a pro- 
fessed Dutch sympathiser, and joined the Dutch Ministry in 
the Cape Parluiment ; he was now suspected and misrepre- 
sented in the newspapers ; but my many conversations with 
hiiri convinced me that Ls was a loyal and conscientious man 
who, in a difficult position, was striving, while remaining a 
friend of Schreiner and other Dutchmen who had also no 
intention of becoming opponents of England, to do his duty 
to Britain. 

The Cape Dutchmen, however, were not scrupulous about 
conveying messages and information to those in the Transvaal 
and Orange Free State, and so much of this went on that Boer 
prisoners had to be isolated and sent, some to St. Helena 
and others on board ship in Simon's Bay, and while there 
visitors and correspondence were permitted only under very 
strict precautions. 

The attitude of men such as Solomon and Schreiner, and 
even of the Dutch sympathisers, was understood and respected 
by the British authorities, but the latter was not the case with 
some others who wished to stand well with both sides, while 

committing themselves to neither, such as Sir J S , 

who astutely offered his houise and estate to England as a 
hospital for convalescents, and equipped and sent out an 
ambulance to the Boers. His offer of the house was refused ; 
but the ambulance came out, and along with it two loyal 
Scots, for whom much sympathy was felt, and who were 


that time allowed to go towIrfsTh^i^.^ no nurses were at 

own department.' That volunte^ ^m •?T*fu'"* ""** 
everywhw outside Britain fcX^Kf ^'""*' ** ''"'^ 
in WM, and one tolE ™«r^ '^j^" pepressible force 
hardly find any outTet olw '^ ""^ "*"^' """'d here 

withthes%t"tleof .TeafforTl" " '^'°V'^^« ^'^' 
benevolences. Tommies and other minor 

su^";u'^^nr' H op^Smi:."""^ *•"" ^"p«'«'^"y -*» 

miperltive for me SclE^T^I!!f °°*.*°^ ^'^' ** ''»'» 
probabilities of thefotSe and^kf th""7*^' *° *?"«" *•"= 
Natal, where militar^^ekts we^ „ ^'""l ^*" ^l^" 
occurred, or were liSly to Elpp^r ^="™«' ^'^ "''^""y 

, I ■ 

1* II 

u = 


The MiuTAKY Situation 

J^^sTt^rrSus'Vnel' T '°T^'»"'<^ »'*-<='^ 
port of Dirkin to tS Tr^nW«? >" **^"^«'' ^''*^' '^'n *»><= 
Wlute had C «nt bS h^ w. ' ,f -""^ I* '^""'^' Sir George 
and besieg^"hSe by sup^oT for^'^K^"'' into Ladysmith 
General Buller, de"pZE ufS S "fJ^^ ™''^' 
siege, and met withreverse after ™ ^u^^° ""^ ^^^^ 



of the thiee by which access oould be got to the Orange Fiee 
State. By it "General Gatacre had advanced, but after hii 
serious defeat at Stormbeig was lying a few miles to the 
south of it at Sterkstrom. 

A hundred miles to the west of Gatacre was the third line, 
running from Port Elizabeth into the very centre of the Orange 
Free State, and this was occupied by a weak force under 
General French, who had been recalled from Ladysmith at 
the very last moment before the ring of the besiegers closed, 
and was now blocking the road at Colesberg by which the 
Dutch could have advanced into Cape Colony. 

The fourth line went from Cape Town in a north-westerly 
direction to Kimberley and Mafeking, important towns on the 
western border of the Orange Free State and Transvaal, both 
of them invested by the Boers. Along this line General Lord 
Methuen had been sent with picked forces, had fought a 
series of severe actions, met with a disastrous defeat at 
Hagersfontein, and was lying on the Modder River unable to 
make further progress. 

All four lines were furnished with railways, by which alone 
operations could be conducted in a land of such endless arid 
plains and sterile mountain ranges. 

Lord Roberts was on the seas, and large forces were being 
transported in haste across the ocean for the further conduct 
of the war. 

It was impracticable for me, owing to the distance and loss 
of time which would have been entailed, to proceed to Natal, 
and I therefore occupied the time, pending Roberts's arrival, 
in visiting the columns who were standing on the defensive 
on the other three routes. 



My first expedition was to Methuen's force which, lying on the 
Modder River, I judged to be waiting for reinforcements and 
orders from Lord Roberts, who was soon expected. I hoped 
to study some of Methuen's battlefields, and ascertain what 
the medical arrangements had been during these fights. A 
few days spent at Modder would also enable me to form some 
idea as to the future prospects of gaining information if I 
were to attach myself to his command. 

Leaving all my baggage in the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape 
Town, I took the train for Jfodder River on the second evening 
after arriving in the Colony. About five years previously I 


to be good-natured «dt^wme'^v7,^^r"'T *~"»''« 
This time there weieno ftJrlTf everything of interest. 
««ept wWiers and 0^0^^' "1^"^ ' **'«'« "•« none 


th^";^,!! ateruiA':X»{''.?r:jSf '^ "' ^' 
our train loyaUy ^^ *" '""^ '"ilf-breeds who cheered 

f^m iS:fe£^;fth°foiro7"r?.„"rd"sf "*'^^ "' » »«- 

Junction we S«o JimT^V * ofiBcers. and at De Aar's 

French fo^on XpL a^'SfrK ""*t'',*i\"'' ''y G""* 
with a repulse anS "a 3*0 ^oS-'s d^f "if ^^^ '"^ -"Ly- 
tween lao and 200 men W^ »«^ k! °®'*" *"'J *»- 
experience the uTiXmof^nteTat^v? """8"* '■y '''**" 
fortified kopjes held b^^X^e^ °" '"^"""^ •» 

As It was dark when we Uft ^wTSi 
occasion see the „^. wST^J.^P' JST^T ^'^ ""» on this 
which the line runs fo/ thTfll^ir^ '^l^''* "«'"" ^^^B^ 
country of agri^l?^? yfnevSS* ^'^ ""'^ t° Worcester, a 
with milk and honev Mrt of til i f *°°?''' ' '""^ Ao'^g 
the seacoast in tWs'^^.K ^eL'"'"^« "^'^ ""V* adjoin! 
climbed the Hex HiverPas<= nTf • °" mommg we had 

tableland which ffms the ^^t*o«fT/~t'' *° *•"" ^ '*«' 
our eyes on the Karoo DeLrt^e„f.T/'"'"*' ""'^ "?«"«• 
the name of a desert an^Hi;..^* "/^ ^ ^^"^ '*' '* Reserved 
»nall tufU of t^;.l^r^i^'^P'*'" °^'"/y ''tony earth with 
««tte«d mean d^^ S^''^B^t^r^ f'^ ^'^'- "'"^ &'" 
had effected many SCS^hv tK. '^ J!!J"^?"'"« ^""^ years 
pumps to utilise thrah»nH.?f \ '"t^'duction of windmill 

Siven'^etSSsofcSSon fe™"' ^fK*?' *^«°" "^^ 
had arisen, and isolatXCits' hT^*** *"*" """'* *!"="' 
esfontein, the pZertVof Mr ? ^"J* townlets. Mat- 

a few sheds in.S^K~ tXl^U^"*1 ?°'" »*"« 
owner, a Member of thrr-^jT*- ?.'P'""^' ""•* '*s capable 
enenj^ wS, .ni kI ^f'slative Council and a num of 

authorities as ThosStel and «„^f "^ "^"^ *° *»»' ■»■"*«* 
wHierB. It waTThk C r-"^"* •«""« for invalid 
Wauchone's bX H™1 J?*^ ""^ '"ought Generel 

•t Matjesfontein ^ "™' "> his own pretty oemrtery 


• '; 1 

M;'!i -^^ 


Every bridge and culvert on the line was now guarded by 
the pickets and white tents of the Cape Mounted Rifles ; jumJ 
from the Cape Town Highlanders in their picturesque kUts 
who were being drilled in the great square of Cape Town, aU 
the way onwards up the line, everything spoke eloquently of 
war ; the sword was waving over the formerly peaceful land. 
At Richmond we crossed the Nieuwefeld Mountams whi^ 
form the northern boundary of the Karoo, and thenceforw^ 
were in another great plain, less arid and more populated, 
which extends aU the way to Kimberley and far beyond it. 
During the morning, ere we reached De Aar s Junction, 1 

heard another account, from Major S , a fellow-traveller, 

of the strong feeling which was springmg up concerning the 
neglect of employment of women in the campaign. Slany of 
these, he stated, trained nurses and others, were anxious to 
assist in the hospitals, up country and at the front, but were 
not allowed the privUege ; while every day mformation was 
filtering down the line of the very urgent need for theu- services, 
of many bad cases, especially of wounds and typhoid fever, 
being attended only by men of the R.A.M.C, with merely 
'Sisters' who were not trained nurses over them. Dissatis- 
faction was felt, he affirmed, not only by the men and women 
of the Colony, but by the officers of the army as weU. 
Indeed, that this discontent with the attitude of the medical 
service towards outside help must have been widespread was 
confirmed by the fact that when we halted at De Aar at noon 
it was again voluntarily brought under my notice. 

At De Aar (Dutch, the Vein) martial law commenced, or 
at any rate was more stringent, for being the only person on 
board the train in civilian clothing, I was asked by a non- 
commissioned officer to report myself to the colonel m charge 

of the district. This proved to be Colonel R . and when 

I had authenticated myself by the production of my papers, 
we found we had mutual friends, and I met with a cordial 
reception. He likewise at once spontaneously passed some 
unfavourable criticisms of the medical regulations. A man of 
enlightened views himself, he commented on the jealousy of 
the medical department lest the perfection and adequacy of 
their arrangements should be called in question on any point, 
on the unreasonable impediments which were hem? placed in 
the way of the sick and wounded receiving all the comforts, 
indulgences, dainties, and cares that private benevolence was 
so eager to place at their disposal, so ft..' as they were not 
injurious to them, and on the fact that in bad cases the nursing 
by trained women nurses which the pubUc were only too ready 
to supply, and which would be received in pnvate life, was 


refused by the medical authorities. It was he h«M ~.r 
ticularly unjustifiable in the case of offlLJI wl.„ fif ' J^' 
one would claim that they s^o?W ^'^^i;^"' X' wa"y 

eWhSr^™^n «»uld only agree with him, that sta^ 
Z^M'JZZ^r^:,'^ " "^e^'^ that the officer shall 

in rt rtnn!^ T.°"I' ^ "°* *^°' """i"8 sisteK doing duty 
op^^kinHrof^dt.vS''"''''''^^*'"- -- ' "^--^ -t - 

ran along i„ close proximity to the^estern sMe of ?he Stet? 
3?M Ws"*;fth r "o'th^'er r •""P^ '"^ simplyihe 'ratwiy 
plainsTduTd^^ turn's ItTdt ateet ^1^1^ 
kopjes now fortified and garrisoned/and ta The^^iddle "^^ 

of the ^wr"** *^' '*^*J°" •'°"^«''' ^^^ the griupTof tents 
?o J »°M'«^' «nd a shaUow tiench and b^stwork-thp 

SdTstlnr ""^ "^^ '" *'•' Soud«n^„elos'rg\rm ^^l 

the^'ost'1^te™!r '7»n tK *'t """^^ »"y •"'* ^'-^ B«>""»'t. 
It hTd tTn the :c nf •** »t°PP">8-places of this journey, 
of advam^i^ * „!i ' °^ ""' °^ '•'^ *"'y battles on this line 
01 advance, and was now commanded bv Colonel WW.C 
whom I afterwards visited, as will be told later! But at^hat" 

'1 ". 

■■\ II ■; 



I ' 


eriwW "t Modder River and Storlutrom ; fttnek Iwd iust 
nute^ed wmething approwihing • check >t Coletberg ; and 
Koberu. on whom all the ftitute depended, was stUl on the 
high Mat. So in Britain and eliewhere doubt pravaUcd about 
the luue of the war. 

u^"^.^^ "^ "™'*' •*'• eoniniand at Belmont a irnaU 
"°°y°^ Queenilanders and Canadian*, and by the time we 
*mv«d there he had jurt carried out with the«e exiguous 
wwei an entoTiriie which wai the only one showing that 
Britam was stUfable to deal severe blow* on the enei^when 
hat troops were properly led and suitable strategy employed. 
Through hit intelligence department, PUcher had heard of a 
unall army of Boers lying at Douglas, a town on the Vaal 
Kiyer just above its junction with the Orange River, forty 
miles to the wett of him. With a body of his men he set o* 
at night for Douglas, stopped at and • sealed up ' every house 
and hut on the way, leaving small detachments so that no 
mteUigence of his movements might be carried, reached and 
surnunded the Boer commando in Douglas, and with very 
shght loss captured or killed every man of the enemy. He was 
retummg m tnumph as we reached Belmont, and the pUtfbrm 
was crowded with the prisoners he had taken. They were aU 
m civdian clothes, and were guarded by the Canadiiis in sun 
helinets and the Queenslanders in slouch hats with a bunch 
or ostnch feathers for a plume. This feat of Pilcher's was 
tolled as a great enoouragement, and relieved the prevail- 

WlS^und "'"'' *'" **" ^'^ "'' "^ '**'* °" ' **^ ^^^ 

w.,^™*ilf T"L*° Modder River we passed many ostrich farms 
Where the buds were feeding, quite tame and undisturbed by 
the war, and several stations whose names were at that time 
familiar to British ears, such as Enslin, Graspan, and Honey- 

j : *'* "«°* »"d orderly camps of tents, with breastworks 
arid trenches round them, and all provided with iield guns, 
Maxims and so forth, where bodies of infantry were assoemted 
with mounted infantry; and in the evening, as it became 
cloudy, ramy, and cool, we came to the most forward point 
occupied by our forces, on the then famous Modder River 

Everywhere the eye was met by one great, uppareutly 
boundless plam through which ran two rivers, th* Reit 

lu 'wu"* *"?,* *'°^^" (*^"^) K'^e"- <="«i"8 deep passages 
through the alluvial soil and uniting at the spot whereby the 
station of Modder. Near by on the fork stood the wooden and 
stone buildmgs of the hotel, which went bv the name of th- 
in ' J* f"?""" resort of the inhahitanta of Kimberley. 
AU around the junction of the rivers, encircled by an extensive 


one crap by faraway to^S.'l"fJ^'' ^T "'* *» '»«*• but 
•nd water .uddIv ^f m.. Jn ""'t;?"* *° P'°*^ the weUs 

andiepamnothesiSv7J?t h? h " *^ i? straightening them 

but the cannon we«,hl\^w ^*i*' numerous ant hillt. 

Methuei. ^ '^ "°"* ***' *•••" mes«age» to Lord 


MoDDZR River Camp 


t ; Tj 

^ '1 


V '■■ 

• •■ ■ 



of their medicAl arrangements. There was no pkee where I 
could deposit myself and pass the night, but the station 
authorities permitted me to Kleep in the carriage by which I 
had come, and when I turned in there at ten o'clock, the 
lightning was flashing round the eastern horizon, the search- 
light was playing over the camps and sending up into the 
sky intermittent messages to Kimberley in the north, which 
answered also by signals thrown up into the sky. On all the 
distant elevations lamps were sparking off their messages to 
their base; and the enemy's lines at Magersfontein were 
bestowing an occasional gun on our defences, which were 
responding now and then. 

The next day, after I had made a toilet at a bucket of wHtoi 
on the station platform, was devoted to an inspection of the 
water supply, and the typhoid hospital occupying the half- 
finished schoolhouse with mcompleted walls, where there was 
barely room to move among the over-crowded beds, with few 
if any comforts, no charts, and of course no nurses except the 
orderlies of the R.A.M.C. The ambulance service was in the 
form of carts of all sorts, from the regulation British cars, 
drawn by eight mules, and the Cape ambulances which were 
really the better of the two kinds, down to the buck-wagons, 
which were about the roughest means of transport for wounded 
one could possibly conceive. I was fated to see much of these 
wagons before I finally parted with the Modder River. I shall 
merely add here that, while the medical officers were of a 
quality which couM hardly have been surpassed, and had done 
everything that was humanly possible for their sick and 
wounded, the conditions they had to work under and the 
materials supplied to them were such thi.t they did not bear 
out the boast that the Royal Army Medical Corps was ' in no 
way in need of assistance in its own department.' Even the 
eyes of the non-medical officers could not fail to perceive that 
things were not as they ought to have been ; and the very 
privates saw it too. 

At that time I saw the Boer lines only from a distance, and 
shall have occasion to describe them fully later. In some 
respects their ways were peculiar; they sometimes used 
expanding bullets, though probably these were not supplied 
by their government, but were the Jeflries buUets and others 
which they employed in the game rifles to which they were 
accustomed, and were not a deliberate breach cf the inter- 
national understanding against them. Their ambulance men, 
however, worked their big guns, and used their ambulance 
cars for war work, but all agreed that they were humane to 
the wounded, and were not bad fellows afb» all. 


STsSm' - "^ •^•*' Mqu.inUaoet whom I hMd iownta 
the Soudan oampaign, u,d wme of my former puoS^ inth^ 
Unirer^y . « well .. other, with whom^l h^SeS .Wu.^tod 

I. Ji j""' f °'°"*' Townsend, who had a kind and fHendIv 

!n!f fh u^.l*^""" ""npany " 1 returned tS Modder lUrw 
th. J^y' ** """ '^^ 'i'*^'* •>• <»"» give me was to do ^.T,! 
the Bwatestprospect of seeing active work lay there nif 4« 

Sr')i?l*''*1"'2'' '"'''" Town^nd gave mTa Ih^Je " 
nuit^^'"' "•'"'' "" populated by the mort vinilenTmo^. 
Sln^v. " **?" "f^^"' '°' "ft" pacing one night th^ 
below the grove of apricot trees in the headquarters, mv E 
were covered with tlood-stained blisters WWch Vwe^L te . 
great si„, and .0 infl«„«l the ab«,r^t v^lsTf m^J^t 
""tmovement was painfiil indeed. ' 

While at Modder River I paid, with l^M . 
approval a visit .» Behnont. on^^Jo* to slf tt SlttlelSd 

CoZh Kl r*"'t' ' P"" •"'' " '«*»" of introduSon to 
Colonel Pilcher who was in command. Lord Methuen e« 
pressed himself a. being interested in my design of^SSytaa 
the condition, of hi. victory thero, and so also iS the mXI 
officer, who had taken part in it, and fh>m both I™^ 
valuable information and hints as to the special feat^I^ 
pr«|ented ; indeed, on mj return to ModdeMl^ver th^i^ 
^pected my plan, and supplemented them with many vaSLble 
detail, whicli could not otherwiw have been obtS 


.1 »*1 



te^*r»^TnJi".''^"v''y. '***'°" °f ^•^o"*' on the line 
7m JS'^D °^ *? Kimberley, some thirty miles to the south 
.f Modder River, there was fought a battle between the eS 
.nder Lord Methuen and the Boers, which to a Sm: of 
nUitary sui^geo; is one of the most instructive of the i^^ny 
perations m the Boer War. Accounts of the battleTre 
^™L. ""/'**^ *'''*•"?" e^ *" South Afncan Campai^" 
ature than the present, but an account of what I mviielf 
bserved and learned from many who had narticipated W 
^U^»^ ^ °^ some slight value and mterest.'^ My ^ t 
.ught, and I had the assistance of officers who had tato^ p^ 


in it, u well as of war comspondents who had been there. 
The Boers were still showing considerable aetirity on both 
sides of the railway line, endeavouring to cut our communica- 
tions, and their artillery was sounding in the west, where 
mounted reconnaissances were endeavouring to locate them 
and frustrate their intentions. 

The railway line at Belmont station ran from south to north 
over a vast plain which was to the eye a dead level in all 
directions excepting to the east, where there was an elevated 
group of bare hills, four miles fh)m north to south and two 
from east to west, a mile distant from the station which was 
directly opposite to them. The best description I can give 
of the grour of hills is to liken them to a huge dead rhinoceros 
lying on its side with its head to the north and its snout, 
fore-legs, and hind-legs pointing towards the railway. The 
rump, hind-feet, fore-feet, and snout were strongly fortified by 
the Boers with numerous breastworks of stone, and so also 
was a small detached eminence in firont of the snout. Behind 
the group, i.e. to the east of it, was a mile broad dry watercourse, 
and beyond that was another long group of hills, similar in 
size to the former, and also standing out in the plain. On its 
farther side or slope was the Boer laager. Three miles away 
to the north of the fortified hill, hidden by rising ground, the 
Boers had their field hospital at Bushof 's form. 

On the 28rd of November 1899, when the battle was fought, 
the British force, about 8700 in number, and consisting largely 
of the Guards Regiments, was drawn up in line opposite the 
fortified hills, at some distance to the west of and parallel to 
the railway. Our bearer companies were with this line, and 
our field hospitals on the right rear, near some buildings called 
Thomas's farm. The cavalry Were on the fianks. The attack 
was a frontal one, and when it had advanced and reached the 
railway, the artillery were established there and came into 
action. As the line advanced farther in open order across the 
plain, where there was no cover, the Boers opened fire, and the 
first casualties took place at about twelve hundred yards from 
the enemy. Owing to the height of the Boer positions, it seemed 
to me when examining the ground that the zone of their fire 
would have had a breadth of only about seventy yards, for 
their missiles must all have been directed at an angle down- 
wards. Before the hill was reached, our men had to ascend 
slopes, at first of five to ten degrees for over a thousand yards 
through short, prickly bushes ; but at the hill foot the slope 
increased to twenty degrees, or over, with scattered rounded 
stones a foot and a half in sice, giving no cover ; and finally, 
beneath the Boer breastworks, the slope increased to forty 


which decided ther^^t fi^fl* fc^" ^ ""^ ^^' »»yonet 
by carefully cut«„gl';l°'t^^%^'^"«' ^^' "^ ' «J=^ted 
twelve by twelve fet TnT .^ ! P, "* ''"'''" °''er areas of 
««rth, reach^ a sev^rit„ of nn?"^'^ examining the ha^d^ 
forty^ight squaw f^^ "°* """* **"" °"« bullet in evei^^ 

brS^sJ:fto"tt ro4s™a'rtsri:f *'^ '^y"-*- ^^ 

«»valry had made a gallaTeffort to ^^^l """^ ''«'• »" 
them, but it was a task Chari^^r tK °"*^"^ """* '"^"nd 
and men, and most ff „^aU ^f tL ft "^t^"* ''"'^''^y Worses 
farther hills were a so defenW«? a t^"^« escaped. The 
swept clear of tte fo^l^W th ' ^t^^ *° ^ '"°™«J '"d 
character of the artLn w»! ^ ■^''* :^"* »* « ™d, but the 
were not obta^blarthrtLrf^ ^^^^- """ ''^t^ils of It 

The work of thf A™J„ «^* °f o ^ observations, 
of Colonel Townstd^J Eri^^'Ct '\''^''"^ 
When the bearer comnan^ hr^Hir; .t ^^" admirable. 
fieM hospitals were S foSs t^th^' "T""'"^^' '^' 
and a ganger's hut farSerT^ S! ^i" '*l'^»y station 
•tations wer^ establL^ u„"er th^^heYtS^Af T^"'' ^''^ 
spurs of the first hills which Thflrt.."' **■* projecting 
hind feet of the recum^nf rli^o^^^i-^Xm t^ '""^ '"' 

Colonel Pilcher leadingTcol,^^!' '''l!^ *° **>' "^-tb. 
(funs, and wagons, off to thi^^S mounted men, infentry, 
PVee State boS^ and wheTl w?'* ^^IT^'' '^' ^^^ 
photographing a m^u'nt^ ot^r 1^^^'^!^™^* """^ 
■nquire what I was doinff b^Mt ^'^^?^ ^^ them to 
satisfied him. As I nZ^^ ^' exhibition of my pass 

beyond the tortmj SS^^^r^^T^ ,'^' ''"'^ ""•* ''"*^t 
the farther range I had *^~*'„*be watercourse to the top of 

distinguishable^' „ey tw^'^ir* '''J''^ ''^'^'y 
^Bt of our outposts S^n ^™'*' P»'^ *br«ugh thi 
'he Boer laager Ktj^nl^v flJ^™ "*"™"« from*where 
»kyline, and I was cartu,Jlf*^"r! conspicuous on the 
"ho had been ^nt S^ke me '"n"* "^^ '^'^ Canadians 
tet me continue, and I w^s on Z way wlT ^ 5"" '•"^^ 
"hen I was similarly arrested Ibv TnnfK V ''"^quarters 
»ho, not satisfied wit^pa^rorr^r" *^T,^'^" P'^"'**' 
™«pect. because the ci^K ^»e a'r^"^'"'=""^ '° 
*-. h.n.self an AlSSonia" tr'i:;v^^"rt"'"e„^J:^ 

•' I'.l 


f p 

' 1 


1 ■ ;^ J 




t > '''[ 




relieving the tedium of a wearisome day at outpost duty by 
the joke of marching in a fellow-Aberdonian as a prisoner, 
took me before the otBcer in command. This was Lieutenant 
(afterwards Brigadier-General) Armstrong, who later became 
a good friend of mine. He was living the life of a mole in a 
cavity which he had scratched in the ground and had covered 
over with bushes, and he seemed to appreciate the monotony 
of his existence there being broken by my having been brought 
in as a captive ttoia beyond his lines ; so I shared his hos- 
pitality before betaking myself farther. We discussed the 
Boer breastworks, for at the time of the Belmont battle they 
had not devised their system of trenches which subsequently 
proved to be so novel and effective a method of defensive 
warfare and has since revolutionised military tactics. At 
Belmont they still built their defences in the form of stone 
breastworks on the top of eminences, the height of which 
necessitated their firing downwards, and so narrowing the 
zone of fire through wUch their assailants had to pass. At 
Belmont, as I said, the zone was some seventy yards. Later 
on, at Magersfontein, for instance, after they had gained in 
the Modder River battles the added experience of firing from 
sunk banks such as the river ravines across a dead flat in 
front, where the zone of fire extended to perhaps seven him- 
died yaids, and was the more deadly, they adopted the system 
of digging deep narrow trenches at the foot of the hills they 
were defending, a method which enabled them to sweep the 
plains in front and do terrible execution on our forces as they 
came forward, thus rendering a frontal attack almost impos- 
sible of success ; and having the added advantage of causing 
our artillerymen, before they learned the trick, to waste their 
ammunition on the harmless hills behind. 

On returning to the station, which was kept by a Boer 
farmer De Kock, whose wife and five little girls and two boys 
had passed through the fight unscathed, and were happy 
among our soldiers, I had reason to congratulate myself on 
the honesty of these potential enemies, for I found a belt full 
of gold, which I had forgotten on the verandah in the dusk of 
the morning, lying where they had placed it on the top of my 
shoulder-bag, with its contents untouched. 

I may perhaps add here the result of Colonel Pilcher's 
expedition of which I hac! witnessed the departure in the 
morning, as it was afteiwards told me by Mr. Smith, 
Mr. O'Donoghue of the Doily Chronicle, and Mr. Wallace, 
Renter's representative, with whom I subsequently travelled 
down to Cape Town . Its destination was the farm of the Iocs I 
commander uf the Orange Free State troopj, a man of the 


one of them and taken a^rhrpSe"" tII""*^' '^""""^ 
was conveyed to LubW's form , ,!?^ n T^* ^"^^ded man 
attend him, but he refi.sedS A " ^'J^'"^^ sent for to 
EngJishman. On his refnXoVtSe w "" ^^J P"*'*'"* "»^ «» 
,^'.VT *!i''"" *° JoeobX a 5^e Statist "^ """^ "nwounded 
m the hands of the Boers where th^ ^" 'i" *''^ ^''""ty 
hiimaneJy treated. C^eipSlJ^^TT^'^ '°^^' ^"^ 
pn«ners had been «mov^hop^''t''"°t *'^* t"'" 

the Boers themselves. ml^^Z, "^^ *''*'" ""^ "^Pture 
to surprise and punue ^^e^^^^Zf/' I-^bW's in^iime 
managed to escape after beim, t.,!f f u '^i™' ^""^ however 
landers Some ^s w^e^ft^^^y ^f ^f* by the Queens- 
with whatever else was lik^ST u ""^ *"''^" ""ay. alonn 
Klcher.s force was thrndit^'^ the^f"'."^^ *° the^eb^l^ 
and the mounted men ren«inT^' f '"^""try returning home 

they did. bivouack"g'S'"fhl°na''°'T'"'«^ ThS 
started next morning Lin t7s*™""8bt °" the veld, and 

ascending an elevat^T^ o/^nH •~"",Vy- They were 
to the Free State border »n^ ^ "^ '" " direction i4ral]el 
Lubb^-s farm, c^nvoy1S\y\%^^«f «« -agon takeKm 

hadgottanirled imwitw^ ""*" ""der Major B 

the K wK Cy of mtr"'' "" ^'^"«" behtrde^' 
bearing down on thd^^si^irfo"' ^""t,!""" ^'"'"g' ''as ^f 
^ted wagon and itsl.S,fef^"^ ^^1^.!'^ °° '^e be 

for a fight ; Major D - hw^Loff fl'^.u'^" ""«*« ready 

temforce Major B •« .,„°ii !? °** 5?" the larger body to 

tion of the JhllT^':^^^y-^.'n^<^mJorar^i^. 
themselves to the hS, thSirT'"*: ^'^y ^ d'^nd 
feet apart, rifles were load JSthe^„°J" .'?. °P*" "^'^ eight 

given, when D - who h^n'l^ °'^ 'Ready! Present I • 

of the antagonists' Id^a^^ ^d"hT.^ ''^ *''« ^'^^ 
through his glasses, reSd that^e t^M*".''^*"* *bem 
»peaK among them, and that thev t, W* S' ~"M «* 
accordmgly rode stwight ovct to thL * * ^u ^"*"b. He 
P«.d for with his life had they b^n SUt^ ""^J". ^"""^ ^ave 
was m reality as he had sn^icfT j ^' """^ *0"nd that it 
to the Belmont me^ weariS^^chZ J rt' f^^^'"' °^^ 
to open fire on his party, whlmthev ^^ *' *'"' ^''"'' about 
to attack, and whL therhad l^e^'telS'eTl.''""^"^'^ 
Both sides were eager to feht and it i^ ?>" "'^ morning. 

I ^^^t^"'Z^^':rn.1^^^;^^. ^ «^^'r River, 
-und^lorinva Jed,Lj™tlgt'- :?;w^ad^^ 

li I 


i 1 

i : ' 

■ ■ n 

! •». 


regiments at Modder, after having been treated in the hospitals 
at De Aar and farther south, and had an opportunity of learn- 
ing trom them the opinions of non-commissioned officers and 
privates on their experiences there. All agreed in criticising 
unfavourably the army hospitals, where they had been denied 
those small luxuries which meant so much to them and would 
have relieved their sufferings and discomforts during their 
convalescence. Some had iMen treated in a hospital which 
was provided, they understood, by the Good Hope Society, and 
there, in contrast to the others, they had had daily gifts, such as 
cigars, fruit, and newspapers. I was told that when they were 
in camp in Cape Town there were many who wished to send to 
the private soldiers such things as effervescing drinks, Eno's 
fruit salt, tinned and fresh fruit, and tinned daintiej, which 
would have been very welcome and which they missed in 
these hot days, but that such things were not allowed to 
reach them. Some of them who had, during the cold weather, 
been occupying tents, longed for the simple indulgence of 
nightcaps to cover their h^ds at night, but such things were 
either not sent to them, or if sent, not issued. 


Modder to Cape Town 

Having gathered all the information which I required at 
Modder, I took the train back to Cape Town. We had a 
delay of nearly six hours at De Aar Junction, which gave 
me an opportunity of visiting the military hospitals there 
under Major Perry Marsh, containing, at that time, about 
160 patients, 85 of whom were being treated under bell tents 
and the remainder in woodoi huts, erected at a cost of 
£1500 each, forming very good wards of 100 by 25 feet or 
thereabouts. The typhoid fever pases only seemed to have 
their temperatures kept ; the arrangements for treating firac- 
tures of the thigh by extension could have been improved 
had better beds been provided ; and there were few comforts 
for the inmates. There were no antitoxin serums. I was 
shown a tent crammed with all sorts of gifts for the patients, 
such as fruits, fresh and preserved, tobacco, clothing, etc., 
which were, I was told, being distributed as seemed judi- 
cious. There was no X-ray apparatus, and the instruments, 
sterilisers, irrigators, etc., were somewhat ancient in type 
and not quite what one would have expected in the Thud 
Stationary Hospital of the Lines of Communication. There 
were, moreover, at that time no nursing sisters at De Aar. 


awaiting 81*0^4^ J^n^?^""'?"*' ^^^^ we had been 
by a r«ash out^n the line S".,,*''"''. "^^ been dela^S 
our joumey to Cape Town We^''^"''u'"^' *« eonHnued 
the night, ind when b^kfast^T^ ''"l^"^ °«*^rt *" 
I eneountered twenty-fiv^ i&tu °'"?i**'' "'''^ "noraing 
to escape f„>„ the E «^\;''?^ fl«<l f""n Vryburf 
eWdren with them, and S been ^f^tt- ^''f'f '^'""«'" »nd 
and eight weeks diwn JS^nC^" *^ne' ^'tween seven 
where they had joined ^r f™i '" ^^^ ''eaehed De Aar, 

utter destitutio„,Cd lad Lf^'S' fr^u"' *^"" ^«« « 
to breakfast, which w^ a U for whom ^^ "" "?''* °' *em 
be found, and telecraDhed In fK- T ^^"^ """^ '^""d could 
meal of bread, nim and ^,« "*** ''**'°" to have a good 
five. When Cfrriv^ tw' ^^"t^ ^°' '^' ^J""'" t*e?^ 
heard their story Thi ^^eLTu'!?" ''"J"^*"* this, and 
number sick in^he han^f the ^^'' '"i^^ '^° °' t^eir 

about thirty trat t^ad^^P^jS'IS InTr"' ' ^''°""' *»'-''• 
bemg conveyed up to 0,7^.^* sorts of munitions of war 
we arrived, there Ce ttw~f tW "" I"^'' ^y' «ben 

there would have ^1^^^: r^etl^ i;?^™" 


Cape Town TO PoBT EwzABETH 

^^^G^^i F^i^L^rTlL^r^r '^™'*^ - °'"»-« 

mission necessary for my vStinrAt'^ rn"*"'^ ">* P«'- 
lymg at Sterkstrom near si!,ri^K. "T' '^"tacre's fSrce 
membered he had met wrth « r^'*' ^^"^ '* "'" be re- 
Boers. " "'*'' " """st senous defeat from the 

^^'St'^^'Sof:'^r^'kZ''^' 'r^^' - " ^-f time 
oa board the ^«3/i^ rJ^f''''^^ ' P'«"s were ripe, f went 
b«ther,ana:aloffl"^h^':'i^',:?"8 -th Grenfe^Tand Z 
for the Daily Mail, and fo?nd T „!. P^'"" T"'«P""'l«"t 
tmveller with Mr. Webster D«vi« 7k 1?"'"*° ^ « ^^-Uo^- 
Pfthiserwithwhomlh^L" "• *^"*'""'<=^n Boer sym- 
KeUy Kenny Tnd Tis staff wT^ T ^'^ ^°«'''"''- ^^'^i 
l-y the steamer, and 1 4asinTrodu?S'?l!?« "^ ^^^* I^ndon 
-ved. XheE.lofTJ!!ltt;ll^^"irmTaf^ 

. ,. t- 

■f :| 

! 1 


' [; 

n ^ , 


1 .' 



' IliJ 



compatriot ; he was endeavouring to obtain a command, but 
had not as yet succeeded and found difficulty in doing so. 

Mr. W , who had been spoken of very highly to me, was 

also on board, and gave me a letter to his brother in Queens- 
town, in case of my requiring advice there about a plan I had 
formed of endeavouring to make a dash across disturbed 
country to French's column after I had seen Gatacre's. 

Our steamer was prevented from starting until 2.80 in the 
afternoon, when we sail«i out of the harbour and roadstead, 
winding our way among numerous vessels and through flocks 
of large black I'rds of the duck species which were swimming 
about in great companies between the vessels. We passed 
close to H.M.S. NMe, and I obtained a photograph of her and 
her steam launch, lying close to her like a baby duckling by 
its mother duck. We passed one of the hospital ships flying 
its characteristic flag near the north breakwater, and then 
rounded Sea Point, where the hotels and factories were 
heliographing their names to our steamer. 

The Dunottar Castle was a fine vessel, very well fitted up, 
and we old Mexicans congratulated ourselves on the change 
for the better. Her fine large state rooms, numerous con- 
veniences and fittings, and marble baths, appealed to our 
sense of luxury. It&ny passengers and business men were 
on board, proceeding to the various coast towns, parents and 
children were booked to similar destinations, and one passenger 
was an otBcer in Remington's Guides, who had been captured 
by the Boers in one of their flying raids. They had told him 
that they would not allow him to accompany them, and tiiat 
he must either be shot or give his parole not to serve against 
them ; he chose the latter course ; they treated him well, 
deprived him of none of his ornaments or trinkets, and on his 
pointing out that he would have to travel on foot for a journey 
of two days through disturbed country to reach British lines, 
gave him his revolver and one cartridge. 

As we sailed, the children on deck were indulging in a fight, 
the ringleader being a small maid of five. I quelled the dis- 
turbance by letting her work my firelighter, gave her a lemon 
squash with 'ots of sugar in it, took her along to the barber's 
cabin in the alleyway which was distinguished by a barber's 
pole, and left her happy consuming a big box of bonbons and 
chocolate creams. 

Next day, Sunday, the 14th January, we steamed quietly 
past Cape Agulhas, and along the coast of Cape Colony. 
There was no divine service. I had a long talk with the 
General, and with his permission introduced Mr. Webster 
Davis to him. In the evening we reached Port Elizabeth, 


whiJe the Geneiund hil^Sr!^i°'^?'^« « » t^. 
foUowing momi^. '^ "'""'^ on bo«d untU t£ 


Port Elizabbth 

of Port ESh"°'':S:t ' Vf ^'•n ^^f^^ "'" *« fw^ 
the sea, and hence is b^th L?»k "'"^!,'^ ^^tWy open to 
«« breeze blow" whi,*!? <J^ * ""? dangerous ; whS the 

m of white watoi^ti^HheT'^ 7"^ ''^*«™°°"' it « 
to and ftom the^onf m^* ■ *™"'ference of passengers 

goods da^^g to air«* "^P'T"*' """^ *'«' handli^Tf 
weU-protertS^L^Bes f^P*i"« *" strongest articles or 
from'the hold ffihS;^ 'in o L^" banged violently up 

««r.a,asthecasemayt^ Vtao^^?I "k"* '«''*«^ °' "*« 
and rough stronir wind, fn JT °1««"t'e breezes are unuiual. 

this ternVr^hf C^\'u?"t urf'!5"'\*"^°^*'«<='i^ 
two wooden piew ^jeSta^ j!^ "ts d«wbacks There we,; 
landing.plac£ on Dil« ^*. "" *"' ''"* t''^ were mere 
a-d l^e'shi^. „7wS '^T^ Tdt^J'T'^ ^'^^ 
present at one time, thousTth^rw^if .^ . ordmarily six 
our visit, had to anchor fL^s 7),.^ "^^^ "'^ ^^"^ 
much exposed to hrin»M ! ** ^^^ ^"e they woi 

battere^^e^sSw W«'T;k" r*^*? '^"°* ""^ ^ 
once met with thi? fete on ?^^ ^"j "*''"" ' six of them 
»sho» the day we L^^ ° *'"' '^' ^^^ «"«» ^^ saw one 

General Ke% Kennyra^v fni^r'v!" '''8'' «»»»««J *» 
»nk of DirictorS^^te fe *"^"1.' ~« *° *»« 
complaining of my w^T^t t^^'^7^ *» headquarters 
authorisation ; hS actT^u J? „ ^'T ' T**""" "^thout 
instance of th; attitude LCf!^ . no trouble, but it was an 

m the medical s^c^^du^K ^artltS't ^^ '°'"'' °«-« 
'ng reforms. * P°" ^ "^ taken m advocat- 


■:■(■ 11 4 

I HI . ? 


ahabby houKs and stores among its prettiest edifices. Raaeh- 
ing the shore was not onattcnded with disagreeables ; it was 
an awkward step from the accnmnK>dation ladder at the ship's 
side inti) the heaving little steam tug beneath, but the help- 
fulness of the sailors rendered it safe to most, though one man 
slipped, and fell down the ladder, and was only prevented 
from pitching into the sea by a hemp fender that lay at its 
foot. We tossed about imtil all had come aboard iie tug, 
and were drenched by spray and our feet wetted by the seas 
which kept washing inboard, while just as we were casting off 
it was so owtrived that the port side of the tug on which I and 
some othfi's sat was brought under a cascade of watrr flom an 
aperture in the steamer's side where the water esK^ped in a 
large stream ttom the condenser of the engines, or something 
else. My mackintosh saved me, but siome lad: had th«ir 
diMKs ruined by the douche. On reachii^ the jetty we had 
to nold by a swinging rope made fasit above, and jump on the 
steps when a favourable moment occurred. 

After seeing the town and malting some purchases, including 
a basket of the irresistible fhiit of the place, oranges, giapei, 
pears, peaches, grenadillas, plums, banana*, and mangoes, for 
Grenfell, who was not yet strong enough to leave the steamer 
and face the rough landing, I went to say adieu and widt good 
fortune to Gwieral Kelly Kenny. At the station, a gentle- 
man to whom he had been talking came after me and reminded 
me that he was a comrade with whom, when last we met, I 
had ridden out on the march to Tamai in the Soudan, and 
whose magnificent physique I had admired as he sat his horse 

in command of the artillery there . He was now Major W , 

Base Commandant at Port Ehzabeth, and he offered to be of 
any service to me he could, and invited me to come to visit 
him if I again passed that way. 

By the time we had to return to the Dunottar CaitU the wind, 
which had freshened, was blowing almost a gale, and the water 
m the bay was very rough indeed. The scenes when going 
out were almost indescribable. The staggering jump from 
the jetty into the heaving, splashing, and disappearing tug 
bek>w was no trifie even for an agile man, but it had to be 
taken as well by leuiies, children, and tipsy men. The women 
hung back and grew pale at the sight before them, but were 
finally in desperation coaxed to try it, and were all safely got 
into the boat by the skilful boatmen. The poor children 
screamed and ran away up the steps and had to be caught and 
carried by force by the sailors, who, however, managed to 
hand them aU safely in. But really a special providence 
seemed to watch over the drunken recruits or soldiers ; they 


Queen andXt l^ ^* P«tnotic soiiB»-God save the 

« ODod d«il of fJrrr J ■ ^ »pla«hed t stopped 
electnc lights, and most of us had long been asler . ino " 


■) m 



esbint befon mil ihook into their places, and the veHc 
■teamed once more out into the open lea and made eaatwaidf 
along the coart tor her next stoppage at East London. 


lUlT LoMDOlf 

Bast London was reached very early on the morning of 
Tuesday, the leth Januanr, and as seen from the sea had an 
entirely different aspect firom that of Port Eliiabeth. The 
latter appeared arid, treeless, grassless, and presented mostly 
sand and dry bushes, while the former was green with herbage 
and beautified with trees, looking like a piece of Old England. 
From the sea Port EUxabeth seemed to be an irregular garish 
town, while East London showed on its front a pretty and 
regular series of villas like those of a fashionable watering- 
place, constructed of cool whitish or yellowish walls with 
ornamental fronts and red painted iron roofs, embowered in 
groves and forests of trees, and beside it emerged a capacious 
river, which came winding down out of the interior in stately 
curves, flouing through deep wood-clad banks, and escaping 
between two converging breakwaters over a troubled sandbar. 
This was the Buttalo River. The breakwaters were fine 
specimens of engineering, founded on masses of concrete blocks 
of the sise of a house deposited on the sand, and finished with 
regularity above. Against them the big Antarctic rollers beat 
ceaselessly into surf, but were powerless to move them ; and 
through the opening between them glimpses were obtained up 
the river, showing peeps of ships and steamers which lay 
withm, but merely peeps, for the wharves and landing-places 
were a mile or so up stream, and East London was reached 
from the landward side, not from its sea face. Villages of 
white tents stood all along the beach, where many of the in- 
habitants came to spend the summer under canvas, and their 
numbers were then augmented by crowds of refugect from 
the interior, some of whom were even persons of wealUi who 
had fled from the troubles up country. 

The debarkation arrangements, though resembUng those at 
Port Elizabeth, differed from them in some respects. So 
fierce is the sea that landing is sometimes impossible at East 
London, hence it was less favoured and less used as a seaport 
than its rival. Most of the heavy traffic for the Orange Free 
State and Transvaal, such as heavy machinery, goes up 
country by Port Elizabeth, and wool, mohair, and ostrich 
feathers are extensively exported through it, giving it thus 


th^ «inffT* "T.^r ^°'"'' •'Wch d«U mof )y with 
It hS . !?^ f "^"^ traJe.. .. weU «s over E.«t London. 

diS^HH^fi^S^',."! **"'^''« ^'^'^ iUu.ti.ted well the 
difflcult,esof debarkation at East London. A tug was brouaht 

deSeS «tt^ been .hum down into it in greit nets by 
demcki and donkey engines, a large basket of cane shan^ 

wa'jx^iiSr " "T* .'*"'*• "'<•'*'•«» high »n:;zs 

was deposited on tlie steamer's 3eck on its flat bottom bTa 
stoim o^ane worfang overhead, and w. were toW th^t m thU 
tte pattengers were to be sent on board the tug. I w°" 

pencils into a case, when a door opened in its side an<f into 

oS^^r^?cK:S *^' P^""^" "•>° --«'«> 'hmselv^ 
on small benches fixed as seats round its sides ; the door was 

K''a"nd°th'r'l"''^'^'*''i^'' '*' inmates Washoist^'i^" 

Uy Wow ^n mv"^ ^T'"*' '^' '" '"*° **>« tug which 
«?^l«fri. "™° "y own turn came to descend, they let me 

f^ tt T ^1^ ' ''TP °» *•« '^•«'' "' the tug, reLrkW 
as I was tumbkd out. 'Oh, it's only a soWier ft won^ 

an^w^ignoSj:.'^'' "°*' *^"«'' ^'^^ ^^ ^^> '«S 

SSiTe XL^.n,f'^K "^"^ "^ "* *«" »'=''• ^°^ the wind 

th?!^- ^bI' iiy."",*"- Y't we were not splashed by 
i^uS^l«!'»!l^°'*,?''?'**' ""•* ^ 't had been smooth M 
would have been well ; but we were told we could at least 
congratulate ourselves on the fact that it was often ve,^ much 

l^A T f^** "^^'I^- 't the long last, we set off for the show 
and I waved my adieus to some of the friends I had made ™ 
the Z)u„o««- CoHle. We steamed shorewards througrrough 
waves all hurrymg to break in surf rollers on the land, direS 
^^Tnt' "■? "IV^ ^""^ "^the grey breakTat;^ wh^ 
stoetched out into the ocean like cyclopean walls, and were 

A^lr ente^*?h ^ V " *••"" ""^ *•>' '^ter became ZZ^. 
o^Zthtr^^ ' ^^"^ ".r'" ''"h its high wooded banks 
for nlitl, , t' "' "^.^ "^ '^ ^"""^ ^"^ th* centre of Africa. 
Z^tV ^T n°'J'°"« '"'« visible, but after sailing ^p 

rSdstLmTltr v/*^*! ^J^^ 8""'»''t was anchored 
^d^t^f ^'''^**;*''?^ ^"«'^'» ^*1°" moving about 
?he .^^ V ""^""t their rifles and Maxim guns One of 
the moored ships bore the name Trajan and had on bow and 

•f Hi 

•' '.'3 



1.0 !t 



■ 23 

'■1-25 11.4 iii.6 



1653 £o»l Mom Street 

Rochesltf, Nc* Tofk T4G09 USA 

(716) 48! - 0300 - Phone 

(ne) 2B8- 5989 -Fox 

stem the big red cross, the distinguishing mark of a hospital 

We went ashore at a little landing-place at a bend of the 
river, and having satisfied some easy customs formalities, I 
got mto a two-horsed hooded gig caUed a Cape cart, and was 
rattled away up a rough road, through woods which, when 
seen near at hand, consisted of strange trees and gigantic cacti, 
and wayside shrubs having flowers resembling yellow marbles 
or long scarlet trumpets, which last I was told was the Kafir 
honeysuckle. Large red and yellow butterflies hovered in the 
air and became invisible when they settled and closed their 
wings. We passed a handsome iron gate, the entrance to a 
public park, but I had no time to visit it, for my object was 
to get to the railway station to find out when the next train 
left for General Gatacre's camp at Sterkstrom. It was I 
discovered, to leave in the evening, so / had the whole day 
before me, and ample time to explore. On walking down in 
the heat for a couple of miles to the landing-place and wharves, 

1 tound out the office of the Base Commandant, Major S 

of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, met with the usual friendly 
reroption and obtained a permit to travel to Sterkstrom Camp 

and a note mtroducmg me to Major H of the R.A.M C 

who was in command of the Trojan. ' 

Major H was good enough to receive me kindly, and 

took me over the ship, which was an old Union liner that had 
been fitted up m Southampton. She had two civilian medical 

officers under Major H , and three nursing sisters wearing 

the red cape, who were all very anxious to go up to the front 
to the work there. I shall not describe the Trojan, but merely 
state that she was well adapted to her purposes as the base 
hospital for Gatacre's column, and was found so comfortable 
by the patients that they rarely went ashore. There was a 
clever adaptation of a sloping ramp to overcome the incon- 
vemences of the ship's stairways, the invention, I rather think 

of Major H- , and owing to the presence of the sisters the 

wards were homelike and filled with beautiful flowers and other 
pretty things. The operation theatre was dark, and even at 
midday required electric light. There was a want of anti- 
toxines and other medical and surgical requisites 

After lunching with Major H and his staff I returned 

to the railway station through much thunder and rain, met 
there some Aberdeen friends who had heard of my visit, and 
found that I was to have the pleasure of the company 
Ste k t '^""^'"* ^' ^ ^ Tylden camp, on the way to 




It was night when the train for Sterkstrom left East Ix>ndon 
and only a faint idea could be formed of the land w1 were 
passing through^ The carriages were arranged for s?^pTng b^ 
were unprovided with washing and dressing accom3fiion 
Stiil they were comfortable enough, and the two Grenfells 

te" rfnear T:?d» tT''" T ''""^ ^* ^°"' '" the moi^'^'g 
we were near lylden station where thev were to Icrvi. ur,A i? 

r wS""^ u'i'* '"' T '° ^ *»-* - -« pa^trCugh 

a brautiful country such as now for the first time I beheld 
m the mterior of South Africa. We were runnSg thwrnah 

^ wrnhT"^ '''"^' ^•'r '^"' ""' e»^' fields aKa^ows 
m which sheep and cattle pastured, and ploughed fields wheTe 
hens and chickens picked about as at home Groverand 
^t^ T If '"„"""" 8reen, where birds were ILZ 
thmned gradually off up the sides of the grassy hills th" tons 
of which were hidden in caps or trails of mist, and st;e;ms «n 
±Wt^**°rt °l '^' ^""^y^- H^« «"d there ~p^ 
might be found on such a morning. It looked, in fact ii^t 
hke home much resembling the fertile parts of CumSnd 
and seemed all the more familiar that a gentle drizXa ^fn' 
was falling, and the cold made it plcasf" to w^p "oS 
what ^^r * ™''^""""\^ th°"«h it was. It show^ us 
Th^L^ /''^''^"^ ""8''* ^ '^ 't ^^ enough of water 
though the trees, except a row or two of Lombardy po^C' 
were not the home trees, but were wattle trees and wU ow- 
leaved mimosas, of which picturesque aloes and cacti ?onC the 
undergrowth. The birds too had^only a shortly ter™n1hei^ 
song, and the red-coloured ant-heaps, resembling iriTnt moL 
hJls^ whichthicklydotted every fieldfaccentuateSthS^ent 
from Bntam, as morning wore on and the light increasS 

The Grenfells left at Tylden to go to the ramp there which 
was finely situated in the form of a perfert smiare nn th, 

mrim""' °'^^ ""'' ''"''.""«'^' have'contain'^'t^Csa^d 
hX T f ^•'°'?.'»«« the well-known horsemen of Colonrf 
fw, 'v '"^ °^ '"^'"" '"°""*«^ '"f''°try who did adC 
naUvrdialc^s!"""'^' ""'"^ '"°'*'^ ^"'""'^-^ -»«' '''-the 
After halting at the little city of Queenstown when- «n. 
l^^J'"^^' '"'^ '^' maLiair^or a Lsty toUet I 
t^"^ T *° Sterkstrom, along with colonL felW- 
travellers who were going in the same direction, and ^tt 

\ I- 

'I lil 

I .' ta 




» : 



whom one fell into conversation. I did not like to hear such 
comments on the brave but unfortunate General Gatacre 

as I had now to listen to from, among others, Mr. A M , 

a partner of the mercantile firm of M — — Brothers, a loyal 
Englishman wlio had been in the colony for forty years and 
knew the district thoroughly, his firm having branches at 
Aliwal, Colesberg, Bethulie, etc., and even much wider 
ramifications. But everywhere in this district the feelings 

were bitter and strong on either side. Mr. M was a 

resident in Queenstown, and was very frank and outspoken. 
He considered that our generals were much to be blamed for 
the selection of their advisers and guides in the Colony, having 
chosen them from among men who were suspected of being of 
but doubtful loyalty, and passed over in their favour true and 
good subjects who were desirous of giving them their advice 
and assistance. He and others drew graphic pictures of the 

condition of the country in and about Queenstown. Mr. M 

had suffered heavily in his business by the interruption of 
trade and the enforced closure of his various branches in the 
towns and districts occupied by the Boers, estimating his 
losses in the preceding three months at £1000 and over. 
Apart from the district being full of disloyal Dutch, the feelings 
of soreness against the English military were certainly very 
strong, even among our own countrymen. 

The force under General Gatacre was intended to operate 
against the south-easterly comer of the Orange Free State, 
and eventually advance along the railway which led to 
Bloemfontein, its capital. He had proceeded successfully as 
far as Queenstown, where he found himself face to face with 
a Boer army which had invaded the Cape Colony in that 
quarter, and had driven them back, pacifying the country as 
he went, to beyond Sterkstrom, some thirty miles to the north 
of Queenstown. There he planned to surprise the Boers by 
a night attack on their camp at Stormberg, but had not only 
failed to surprise them, but had sustained a severe repulse, 
with considerable loss of men and prestige. As a result, the 
loyalists in the Queenstown district were incensed at him 
and depressed, while the Dutch sympathisers were exultant, 
and feeling on both sides ran very high. 

No papers or passes were demanded of me when I entered 
the townlet and camp of Sterkstrom at ten in the morning of 
Wednesday, the 17th of January, and I proceeded at once to 
the headquarters just across the railway line and close to the 

station . I was received most frankly by Colonel D E , 

principal medical offictr of the force, who conducted me at 
once to the General. 



Gataere, of whom I had heai-d so much, and of appearing 
tefore whom I confess to having felt some awe, was altoKther 
the reverse of what I had expected and been led to believe 
1 had elsewhere seen generals with enormous and uncountable 
arwys of packages and boxes containing all sorts of bagmBe 
and comforts, but I found General Gataere living in a state 
or the most Spartan simplicity. His habitation was a raUwav 
carnage m a siding, and it served him for office, bedroom, and 
everything, except that he possessed in addition a simple 
bell tent pitched near at hand. After being presented to 

Colonel A , the chief of his staff, and Captain H his 

aide-de-camp, I was taken to see the General. He came out 
or his compartment to receive me, gave me a cordial welcome 
to his camp, and took me into his private retreat, where we 
had p long and mteresting conversation. I on my part told 
him all I knew about the actions and conditions on the western 
line I had just oome from, and he, on his, explained to me 
everythmg about his position and prospects at Sterkstrom 
reservmg nothing. He gave me the plans of his position there 
and personaUy walked about with me pointing them out and 
showing the fortified posts held by the fibers who were 
opposing him ; some explanatory plans he drew with his own 
hand in my notebook. I also had his freest sanction to going 
where I pleased and photographing and sketching everything 
about the camp. He finally offered, quite unsolicited, to 
place at my disposal an armoured tram in which I could 
proceed to the outlying parts of the country held by the 
torces under his command, and obtain a closer view of the 
Boera entrenchments at Stormbei^ kopjes. I need haidly 
say I was grateful for such kindness and willingly accented 
the offer of the armoured train, which he forthwith ordered 
to be in readmess for the afternoon 

Having completed my plans o. .,ie Stormberg positions 
and of the Sterkstrom camp, I was delivered over agam to 

Lolonel D— - E , and taken to the field hospital, where 

there were eight or nine cases of typhoid fever, fifteen or twenty 
or gastro-mtestinal disturbances, a few wounded or injured 
mostly from horse accidents, a couple of eye cases, and some 
mmor ailments. The hospital consisted of ten double bell 

tents under the charge of Major L . There was a fairly 

good operation tent in which there was a simple and convenient 
operation table, the invention of General Gataere himself 
U seems that during some war (? the Franco-Prussian) which 
occurred during his earhcr years, the General wished to share 
m It and could obtain no post except that of an ambulance 
driver, m which capacity he learned a good deal about the 

I '." 

J I 


■ I 

i . 

' J 

/' '1: i 

■UMiu i 


t 1 ■ 
> ♦ 



r. ' 



* L. 




medical service, and became interested in its improvement. 
His operation table was the result of this ; it was cjm- act 
and folded up into a flat board, very portable. The ins'tru- 
ments of the operation tent were the usual ones ; they included 
no X-ray apparatus, an application for one having been re- 
fused on the plea that they were not supplied to field hotpitals I 
The only lights with which to search for wounded nt night 
were candle lanterns carried in the hand. 

There were some apprehensions in the Sterkstrom camp 
lest it should be surrounded and overpowered by the superior 
tovce^ which were presumed to be occupying the country 
around ; trenches were being prepared round the field hospital, 
and an underground operation theatre wus being dug and 
made bomb-pp;of in case of such an eventua ; and a hill 
or ridpe on the west of the camp was being tu.tified in the 
strongest manner possible with all the means at the General's 
disposal as a place of final resistance. At that time Gatacre 
had a force of only 8000 men to hold a front of twenty- 
flve miles of mountainous region against a Dutch army 
which was supposed to be much more numerous, and which 
was striving to force the passes and pour down again into the 
rich and disloyal district lying between and including Queens- 
town and East London. With such an insuflicient body of 
men Gatacre was unable to undertake any important enter- 
prise, and t was rather surprising that he had been able by 
constant vigilance and activity to maintain his ground and 
even slowly to make slight advances. But it was apparently 
the intention of those then responsible for the strategy of the 
whole war to keep his forces where they were unless a move in 
some new direction threatened his rear and compelled him to 
fall back. It was a trying position for an active, ambitious, 
and brave man, who was moreover desirous of obtaining some 
success to atone for his misfortune in the Stormberg night 
attack where he lost so heavily. 

1 next visited with Colonel I) E the schoolhouse 

which was being prepared for the reception of the typhoid 
fever cases. Considering the circumstances, it was a good 
and suitable building, well isolated, and was being put under 

the charge of Sister R , an English colonial trained nurse 

from Queenstown, but who had urgent need of another nursing 
sister to relieve her in her duties. 

I then proceeded to the luncheon with General Gatacre to 
which he had invited me. It was indeed a most primitive meal, 
in his railway carriage, and as simple as every meal I had in 
Sterkstrom, consisting of a plain cupful of bovril, a plateful 
of Irish stew, and a spoonful of rice pudding, served on a not 


Xt™ ''i!?" *''^'^"^'°*h, with dingy dinner napkins. The liquids 

a small glass of port wine and a cigar. The coffee was drunk 
out of tin or enamelled mugs, the spirits and water from broken 

«™! 1 *• ^*^^'^' ""i.^ ^^^ •""'*»«•■ ^«'t' ""d P^PP" were in 
small tm canisters which seemed to have held tacks or pi ,. 

nuLilff ^ "^*"' ^"'^ '''"''"*'* °^ ^'^ °"e made all most 
pleasant and mterestmg ; the General himself took a lively 
interest m every subject discussed, and extracted all the 
details I could furnish him with concerning the plans of 

^.^^r.'^h^^" ^""- ''"'^ Magersfontfin battles and 
of all that I had seen m South Africa on my present visit. 
The busy chief of the staff. Colonel A .found time to 

SL" ^.?/-i"5,*° "" "ii** '° j°'" '" ""y jest tl^"w^ 

fn «mJi "'^"•^^■Tf- ^"P*^*" H .and I found much 

IL^ u '^^ T ^^ common friends, and one of his 
A^'^ "^ '" medicine in the University of 

By the time our cigars were finished, I was told that my 
amouMd trem was in readiness, and that the General had 
given orders that it was to be put at my disposal to go wherever 

I chose. He had also mstructed Colonel D — - E to 

tel^ph or heliograph to the outposts to look out for us and 
meet us at the places we wished to stop at. I photographed 
my new conveyance, and was introduced to Lieutenant G—- 
aoyal Irish Rifles, who had planned out and studied the train,' 

J »i." '!' ""^ ^^ *•"= "designer of the signals for working it 
and the tactics to be pursued in its management when used 

agamst the enemy. At three o'clock Lieutenant G . 

Colonel D-— E , twsnty-five armed soldiers, and I, got 

on board and steamed northwards out of Sterkstrom towards 

I^ '!!!i J^*^'..^*. u*"'™''^- ^ '<»™«* tJ^* this particular 

armoured tram had been so well managed by Lieutenant G 

that It was the only one in any of the columns which had been 
of real service in the war. and indeed was the only one in South 
Africa that was then anywhere in use. It had been constantly 
employed both for fightmg and for repairing the railway lin^ 
when they had been damaged by the Boers, who had made 
many artful attempts to wreck it at sharp curves, by throwino 
down the embankment or removing the outer raU, taking away 
the fishplates that linked the rails together, or by^sing a 
litUe asunder the lines of rails so that the train might Tlip 
down between them and be disabled ; but their artiflres had 
not, on a single occasion, been etfectual in getting the better 

?' r ^ constant vigilance and cleverness. Luckily they 

Had not used dynamite, in the opinion of the lieutenant 


I' 1 

1 i! ■ I 

"•71 1*, " 



probably because they did not happen to have among them 
any one who understood its use. 

The train consisted of two cattle trucks with an engine 
between them. Each was covered by a box of half-inch iron 
plate, enclosing all except the short stump of the funnel. 
Slits ran along the floors through which men lying down fired, 
and also below the tops hrough which men standing on little 
platforms eighteen inches high also flred ; and at both ends 
were apertures for the Maxim guns. The slits and apertures 
were closed during the cold nights by iron shutters, for both 
officers .ind men regularly .lept in the train. There were 
lateral doors for entering and smaller ones for oiling the 
wheels and machinery. The tender with the fuel formed port 
with the engine. The train had two whistles, one for ordinary 
use, and one with a lower note which was not hearr' > far and 
was therefore inaudible by the enemy, and also a t , and by 
these signals were given to the drivers and the uutposts, 
according to what was required, such as ' Go on,' ' Stop,' 
' Go back,' ' Open shutters,' ' Close shutters,' ' Fire,' ' Cease 
firing,' etc. The train weighed 120 tons. 

After crossLig level country for some distance we entered 
a region resembling the Grampians at the sources of the 
Aberdeenshire Dee, and then commenced, by a series of loops 
»nd turns, to climb the ranges in front of us, over bridges and 
through many cuttings, along a track which was a most 
creditable piece of engineering. A big homed ram got on the 
line, and the whistle sounded in vain to warn him olt. The 
train slowed down and stopped, but not until the ram had got 
a bump behind which he was not likely soon to forget, though 
his life was spared on this occasion. As we crept up, the plain 
below, with the camp in its centre, spread out map-like before 
us and we could better understand its arrangement. Yet 
higher, and we got views of lateral valleys, and some lovely 
lonely recesses in the hills, where farms nestled, shut ott from 
all the world save by a narrow portal where road and stream 
emerged side by side; and we passed groups of soldiers 
watching over the safety of gangs of platelayers and railway- 
men repairing the parts of the line that had sustained damage. 
Climbing to the skyline of the range, we stopped, got out, and 
found horses waiting for us to ride to the fortified prnk called 
the Buschmannshoek, which we had selected as our place of 
outlook. On its top we found a fort with cannon, Maxims, 

breastworks, and tents, and were met by Major A of the 

Royal Irish Rifles, who showed us the places round the 
Stormberg kopjes where the Boers lay, and the points held 
by our soldiers, of which I made a plan, and afterwards 



enjoyed a cup of tea in his mess tent. Major A •» two 

senior officer, were ^ptured by the Boers at Sl.,r,nbei». and 
.m^"" "pmmanded the regiment. He had one medical 
tiSf. Jlfh •""' ;•:; ""= Buschmannshoek, but no hotpi^ 
tent ; all the invalids or wounded on these mountain stations 
were at once sent down to Sterkstrom. After ..p^",d na an 

on board, and were back in the camp at 6.80. when I eneaBed 
a room m the Commercial Hotel, and did the General, tith 
whom I was going to dine, the compliment of putting on mv 
last clean pair of cuffs. "^ » ""^ 

At dinner the General placed me at the head of his tabic 

ects, military, medical, and scientific, in which last he greatly 
mterested himself. After the meal there came in LieuCt 
MacB— -, cousm ot one of our Gordon Highlanders in Aber- 
deen, the provost marshal, and some others. MacB wu 

killed about a year afterwards on the Maghaliesberg Mounts^ 
in the Transvaal. Our dinner was as plain a meal as lunch^n 
had been, and moderation m eating and abstemiousness in 
drmkuig were characteristic of the General and all his officers 
at Sterkstrom. We broke up at 9.80, and I went on f!^t down 
IlLit. "" w^^.V , ^^'""''nB the line there rang out the usual 
startling Halt I Who goes there ? ' and on the word ' Friend I ' 
the order Advance, friend, and give the countersign I ' The 
fnend waUced forward and spoke in a subdued voici the nass- 
word of the night. ' Bedford.- Down went the rifk Khe 
Heady, the sentinel assumed a peaceful attitude, turned on 
his walk callmg out 'Pass, friend, and all 's well!' and no 
father unpedunent was offered to my reaching the Commer- 

cial Hotel. Colonel D E , a sensible good man and 

an excellent doctor and soldier, told me I had ' dug it into 
n^^^^ '" *""'."! him my opinion that his strictness in 
ordermg the removal from his officers of all badges of rank was 
a mistake, as the experience of the battle of the Modder River 
had made it evident that some sign of rank, especially that 
on the collar and shoulder, ought to be retained, for in action 
men of dinerent regiments so frequently got mixed up, that 
they could not know, would not fully obey and follow 
strangers, wh-!n they were ignorant of their rank, or indeed 
whether they possessed any. I learned in my conversation 

with Colonel D E— - that he held advanced opinions 

*? the employment of nursing sisters in field hospitals, such 
as that at Sterkstrom, where typhoid and pneumonia had to 
De nursed. But others of the medical officers under him held 
other opinions, mamtaining that nurses usurp the functions of 


' ;;.i .1 


■ ,« 1 

*' 1 

1 ' LkL 


the trained orderliei of the R.A.M.C,, interfere with their 
training and so leiien their efficiency ; that there were diffi- 
culties about ' conservancy ' ; that their tenU could be aeen 
through at night, and that with thr young officers lounging 
about them scandals arose ; thai some of the army nurses 
were ' above ' performing certain services for the men patients, 
and that many of the officers preferred men to render these 
special services, and would not have women about them at any 
price. This rather astonished me, but I may say that these 
views were quite exceptional and seemed ti be held by those 
vho had had only limited personal experience of army and 
other trained nurses. 

I hcd hardiv come down from my room next morning when 

Colonel D E rode up at 6 a.m., and having sent his 

horse away, took me for a walk round the interior of the camp. 
Together we visited his fever hospital, then receiving its 
finishing touches, and it was time, for on the previous night 
sixteen new cases of typhoid were admitted to it. Sister 
R-; — had been offered £40 to £M a year to take charge, but 
as in Cape Colony the usual remuneration of a .mrso was over 
three gcmeas per week, she had refused the offer, and the local 
nurse in Sterkstrom was to be installed until the sunmioning 
of a sister from Cape Town had been sanctioned and one such 
sent for. We also inspected the water supply of the camp, 
which was frrm a bored well where watei- was struck at a 
dep;h of seventy feet, and was good in quality and unlimited 
in quantity, though it had to be pumped up by steam power. 
Next v/e found the camp bakery supplying good white bread. 

In our rounds we were fortunate in meeting Montgoi .ery 
at the head of his famous Scouts, who wore the South AA-ican 
slouched hat looped up on the left side, with a skull and cross 
hones in white on the fW)nt. Montgo.nery and the orderly 
he had with him had both won the Victoria Cross in endeavour- 
ing to rescue the body of Lieutenant Grenfell in the cavalry- 
charge at Omdurman. Montgomery was a man of great 
daring ; the day before I saw him he had ridden up to a Boer 
farm, leaving the one man who accompanied him posted a 
hundred yards distant, and walked quietly into the house, where 
there were four or five hostile Boers. They had their r/omen 
and children with them, as he observed, and he concluded 
that they would not begin to shoot just then, so he addressed 
them, informing them that they were rebels and had arms 
hidden in the house with which he knew they would fire on him 
when he left, but that he would return next day and punish 
them if they did so. He asked for a drink, and though they 
civilly offered him refreshment, he would accept only water. 


h s m. ?5™"? '*^T "■' "e*spnpew that he had kept 

oftheirh \1 "■""• ""P*"""" "'*" " 'kirmish thirty 

thJ^t """' morning I obtained „ couple of ph tomnhs of 
the Sherwood Foresters advancing in open oX to^Stack a 
kopje, a. well a» a number of cha«.cteri,tic views o"™mp 

After breakfasting with General Gattcre. I returned to f,,. 

^■t sci,'^'S^^z.x SIS 

Itl^fill'K 'f^*'"^ "'*''*'" ^"""l »nd took leave of him 
Jt was with sincere regret that I said good-bye, forno one hS 

f^t "'i""" deeply than did General Gata^ I have 

?™ ~"~*'"8 -ny materials pauly from memory and nartlv 
from notes made at the timi. f#«. t u.j u ^ ' . P""'y 


gmnmg of h,s command with the calamitous attecW tt-' 


pos^ss«l immense endurance a'drii^eL-r.^rqu^o^er" 
rated the capacities of the soldiers under hL IS Th^ 
t«jops who were to carry out the ente^ris^ a?^ woru": 

StoX^u"SiL^'cS ^^aru'ttal^tv'L^^^^^^^^^ 
exiwed, and urnved at theu- destination after daylight 



inntead of before it, in an abtiolutely exhausted condition 
without h«vii,K had any food, and being ihort of water a. well! 
After they had arrived at the Boer p<»ilions they wer; them 
wive!, taken by surprise, u., it was the wrong part of the 
entrenchments which they attacked, with the result that 
ta^ numbers of then, were ouptured by fhe Dutch and the 
•^st badly routed. 
General Gatacre was a tall handsome soldierly man of about 

nnltnn 'f J^'"* *«">''•''" yuiBe"- • ^t h.d an intensely 

nervous face, and was often broodInK 'Iwply over what had 
occurred, with p,.ri.Kls of silence from ubkh he roused himself, 
and he pumfully felt h» inability to do mow than to act on the 
defensive. The statements about his suffering from ner>e 
shock xvhich had seriously told on him I hod no hesiution i„ 
setting down as being unreliable camp rumours, for I had had 
^r^j;.^'T '•^j*'^"^"" °f «■««» affecting the brain and 
nerves, and could not doubt that, though shaken bv what had 

^k!^ ^T' •"'.'■^?"'f«J only »n opportunity to "prove that 
l^r.t r^ "^P"'-;"' .hi, valour and talents as a leader of men 
.vhich had placed him m the high position to which he had 
attained. The cure for his wounded spirit would have been 
round m action and an opportunity of retrievuig his niis- 

GaUcre, and I believe he felt my sympathy. 


Stehkstrom to Cradock 
1 HAVE repeatedly mentioned that three lines of railwav 
reughly parallel to one another, ran northwards ftem t^e ^^t 
to the Orange Free State, one starting from Cape TownTne 
from Port Elizabeth, and one from East London, and on ihes^ 
f^« Hnf )i? " ^ T*'"' *" '^"'^^ *" ^^«"=h's camp, but the 
Td I had^oTS *'" '^l^^^iy^ «e« held by the enemy! 
and 1 had to find a way through the disturbed district as 
inconspicuously as possible. For this purpose I deS to 
drive across m a hired Cape cart, as being the^plan letst like v 
alnlr* °^«^t*'°.»- On going down from Stekstre^t 
Qiieenstown to obtain one, on Thursday the 18th January 
evidences of commotion were not wanting ; the press S- 

we^T4n";7.i*T'' ""i, "' "'-"l-n^e the wild^est rumo"« 
^Z.r7 ^"*' "'°?t'y,'''thout foundation, such as that 

If^rlt^K '"'"'f *' ^^"^ »i^" in Natal and that She 
Brers hod lost over 1000 men in a recent attack on Lad^th 


There were aliu ruuioiirs adveru to th. n„» i . 
become. t,ht or exuggtr^^^^^X'^,' '""■ «*'">"""B 

«!"«. kept uni„foS{:5r:?Th: ,i.^'cf ''n''"''\""y 

Queeii»town,lwenttotheBn«liu?i 1. .• ^" fraching 
it r.. the be.t bote . thouS'^?^°If ■ j^'P* V^ J"- "'-"""; 
vogue, n» General G^t«o^ k j ' ,~ — '*' *""' " (frtuter 

On the very d^y on wth he h^d ar? :::i*'at*''T;idT*.K'"'"''" 
there wa. moved on to Queenitown th.™ . J^ u '1; u*" «=""? 
to g ve him onl V « teni r^fj u 'T ' . ■ "* **'*>' bud been >le 
the'cmp to°"t!re"town' ?n"'i"„^sTw ^,1^1 ~" "-" '™m 

J •.. been bitten by buBu Tnd ™,m.^ S °' the nighl to 

h«lf expecting to find me 111^1^ u' '°,f '"f »* '*" R^y'. 

and hadThilh teSr^tU'*^-, a""vi^"i;.' t^'h"*'^ '" 
bedroom and defer ivfnmi.,™ . ' ""visea hi to share my 

night. He wished tfgoZh me ?' p ""^1?' '""* ^^^ t^at 
wouJd wiUingly have taken h^ !? '^""='' » ^'"'nn, and I 

fitted for travelling on wLtm;^t1^"*' ''"* ^^ """ P^'^'y 
bi« brothers, the^ms^d^f-n^.r"^ •""«'' "'"'' »"^ 
Hor... were temp^rab'" t tnH *•" ™''J°'- P^ B«banf 
«" to the responsibility '^ ""^ ""'*' "°* ** ""-su't' 

^ttTi^n't'h'TSt^r *^fo^^?' «r'- " ''"if *"" "^^ -- -- 
horsehirer to who?^ iL°^ / L""' ^^""^ *" ''^ ^ Crebo, 


start eaily ne^Tmomfng ' ^ "' '"'^'""^ *''»' '* should 

vi^'^^'TSuwLbfthe'edt; ^T'T'' "' '«'"'« ' -*- 
-hogot little from mV£:ytfge"„'er' li^7'!7h^-' ^-'. 


inhabitants were D^toh^nTlr'Lt'K/'ll"'"^""*^ °' "^ 

them not a single n-an ^t «: ^ to hrBrit'h'T^ 
opmion was that <ift»i. fk. " tne Uritish : his 

disarmed for othemUZt;!''''' uV^"^ ""S''* "" *« ^e 
among them labL Tnd h^ ^ T"^ ^ '"'°*'"'" ^=be"i°n 
langufge) o^tt^o longer to^'us'^l.^'S:,?''* ^^' <9"'<* 




in the country. I doubted if many students of history could 
have assented to his views. 

When I rose at half -past four next morning, it was to find 
that poor Grenfell had had but a sorry night ; yet I had to 
leave him, there was no help for it. He resolved to remain 
where he was for a few days, and secured the second bed in 
my room, which was but an outhouse with its door opening to 
the street, and as I was arranging to meet his wish to see my 
cart drive past the open door, I forgot to settle my hotel bill, 
but I afterwards remitted more than enough to cover it. On 
going out I succeeded in catching the stout Mr. Crebo only 
after much hunting, but eventually got a cart and driver, 
and got away at seven o'clock. I never met Grenfell 

For the first eight or ten miles the drive to Tarkastad was 
through a green grassy country, studded with thick bush, in 
which the mijr"-sa trees were sometimes thirty feet in height, 
with huge tho^'ns five inches long. Mr. Crebo had at my 
departure produced for me a plateful of peaches, and upon 
them and some biscuits I breakfasted as we drove along. 
The next twenty miles were over a rising plain of grass, 
absolutely devoid of any trees, its centre crowned by a large 
isolated kopje ; while ranges of mountains with the charac- 
teristic South African summits of peak and table encircled 
it many miles away. There was no made road, only a track 
formed by conveyances and horsemen ; it ran sometimes over 
level plains of soft earth, full of mud holes, sand holes, and 
ruts, and whenever these became too bad we drove over the 
likeliest bit of the veld. The last ten miles of our route were 
along a broad flat strath clothed with a sea of mimosa bush 
poorer and thinner than that around Queenstown. Occasion- 
ally we had to cross dry watercourses and rocky beds of 
flowing streams, termed ' drifts,' down to which led natural 
slopes 01. the banks by which access was obtained to a species 
of ford. It had rained heavily of late, and the dry weather 
which had followed had left the land hard and firm, with very 
little dust, and I fancy that I saw the country at its best. 
There were few if any inhabitants, and little life. An occa- 
sional bird called a ' fink ' (finch), of the size and colour of a 
thrush, with two long black tail feathers, twelve to fifteen 
inches in length, which wavered like black ribbons in the wind, 
flew overhead, and numbers of grey animals like squirrels of 
the size of guinea pigs, called ' mirkatze,' wit>i bands of white 
down the sides of their tails, ran along the ground, sat up like 
kangaroos, and ended by popping into ant-heaps or holes 
which they had burrowed into the soil ; these were, with s 



couple of springbuck which we passed within one hundred and 
dUWrt ' '*"* ""' observable of the fauna of the 

At loi^ intervals we stopped to have coffee at tiny hamlets, 
such as Lehmannsdnft and Kleinfontein, at which latter place 
I obtained from an English settler some information about 
the mhabitants. This differed from the Queenstown editor's. 
1 was now mformed that though almost exclusively Dutch 
they were as a rule not actively disloyal, in spite of the fact 
that the present war had been for years careftilly arranged, 
and every Dutchman had his arms, and knew where his station 

i!Z.r » u * *'°"^' "^'"8 "'«'* t° take place. The few 
loyalists, however, seemed to be in no fear of any outbreak 
just then, and were confident that, if armed and permitted, 
they could easily keep the peace of the country, for ttey men- 
tally dommated the Dutch fanners and beat them hollow at 
their nfle practisings. So confident were they, that they 
disagreed with the views I had heard expressed at Queenstown 
and considered that it would be perfectly safe if the Dutch 
wore allowed to retam their sporting rifles and cartridges, 
cf n ^'i">'"'^^<' last few niUes into Tarkastad. in perfectly 
still weather, there came down upon us without an instant's 
wwnmg a violent tornado of wind, sweeping along the ground 
and eanyu,g dust and stones before it. The (Wver was un- 
prepwed for it and was immediately blinded, but the horses 
^kf? to be used to such an occurrence, for they instantly 
dashed round as if they were about to run away, bit the wii 
features only wanted to turn their backs to the volley of 
stones, and havmg accompUshed this stood stock still until it 
had passed over, which it did with the same rapidity as it 
had arisen ; it was presently followed by a rainstorm, which 
we naiTowly escaped, and we reached the Molteno Hotel at 
Tarkastad, where I washed, dined, and arranged with a Mr 
Mock to hire me a cart to drive me the remaining fifty miles 
to Cradock for the sum of £4. ' 

H^T^f^.tT'" * 80od many Boers gathered in the Molteno 
Hotel; they were evidently unfriendly, some of them intoxi- 
t^I D ^ r " ^e-narks were made about me and my wearing 
the Red Cross, which though spoken in the ' Taal ' I managed 
to understand from my knowledge of European Dutch. Thev 
did not actively mterfere with me. however, and I should have 
been comfortable enough had I not, when I retired to bed, had 
to hold It like a besieged fort against strong investing cohorts 
of bugs, who stormed it and attacked me whenever n7y candle 
went out or I fell into a short nap. 
I was to have been called at 4.80, as the cart was promised 

11; ifjH 

■I ill 




! i 


to be in readiness at five o'clock, but found it was 4.45 when 
I awoke with a start. Rising hastily I dressed, washed, suaved, 
and was in readiness at the appointed hour, having swallowed 
some dry biscuits, but no cart was to be si'cn, no person was 
awake, and there was not even my bill ready. I rooted out 
the cart, left what I thought was sufficient to clear my score, 
and had just started, when one of Mr. Molteno's assistants 
came running after us to demand an ertra sum, which was 
handed to him. In the previous evening Mr. Molteno had 
spoken a good deal with me, and been profuse in his expressions 
of desire ' to do anything in the country's cause,' but he seemed 
to me to be professing too much, and I certainly could not 
admire the kind of company in his hotel. 

While to the east of Tarkastad the land was what was 
known as sweet grass veld, towards the west, on the Cradock 
side, it is Karoo Desert. The road therefore ran over great 
expanses, many miles in extent, of arid heathy levels, or 
traversed picturesque gullies through the mountains and hills 
bordering the flats, until it brought us to a high broad plateau 
from which it dipped steeply down to the pretty town of 
Cradock, nestling among trees at the bottom of a narrow 
valley that ran for a long distance from north to south through 
the country. It was a good road as compared with that from 
Queenstown to Tarkastad, being engineered and provided with 
cuttings, embankments, and bridges, so the drive, though long, 
was not tiresome or even uninteresting. The koraan, a bird 
like grouse, the mirkatze, lizards brown and green, and many 
sorts of birds, were constantly met with and gave life to the 
loneliest parts. At one time, on a great plain, we passed close 
to a herd of some fifty springbuck, and ostriches were verj' 
numerous ; indeed on one occasion a flock of more than a 
hundred of these birds, dusting themselves in the hot sand, 
blocked our road, and were so tame that some of them did not 
rise even when we drove past them within two yards. There 
were intervals for refreshment ; breakfast I got at Klipkraal, 
and midday coffee at Dwingfontein, a farm belonging to 
Mr. J. D. Duplessis— called Plessey— a kind and intelligent 
Dutchman, and at both of these stopping-places the talk ran 
much upon a giantconvoy of two hundred wagons and ox-teams 
which had passed through to an unknown destination ;' there 
was little difficulty in forming the surmise that they were the 
transport wagons furnished to General Kelly Kenny's column. 
"The drivers of these wagons, like people of that class in all 
times and lands, were behaving lawlessly. steaUng the hens 
and sucking pi^j, injuring fences and using them for fuel at 
their bivouacs, etc., and refusing the usual payment of a 


shaiing a day per wagon for the privilege of pasturiiw their 

S,"to?oW V ffl T ^* '"'y ^"' &.veCenT7a^^^ 
t™f.T/ f^ herdsman went before the district nZis- 

trate and complained that the wagoners had, durinc his 

thTt th^tthT';'"*"*'^ '°r;"y ^ S-*'""* *''«^ conviction 
tnat the Dutch residents as a whole, with the exception of the 

^°^i^^nr"/.^*-^'°^''' ^'" *"" ^«" ^'tisfi^ w"th Se 
government of the a,untry under the British rule to be ex- 
cerfmgly desirous of any change. Most of them were kind 

or other requuements, and were quite frank in expressine 
of theTT'- ^"V^^"""! tobelittledoubtthataiLjori?? 
had Z'^'T '«'"?«""y' *°"W have risen in rebellion 
had the Boers from the Transvaal and Orange Free State 

the^e"^ouV^^ W '""f^ tl'e P„.vince, though even then 
W tl,^~ have been a large minority undesirous of this; 
but there was nothmg resembling race hatred between the 

he Bri«°,rh r ' ''"'^- *'"'■'" 7\" ^'"^ ^^'^ '°"8 'n t°"<=h with 
,™,^»i w- .^'T^^^f "T °^ ^^^ advantages of their just and 
sympathetic Hile. and desired no change which might have 
been for anything but the better. 

V- i 



^l^J^'T.t'^lV^ ^'°"^^y ^"^^ «* ^™'l°«''- where I was on the 

r^^lh if ' *'"nr"''"y 'i""^ *'•''''• "^ "P *"*» the middle 
of South Africa. Its coastal end was at Port Elizabeth and 
.t went right up passing Cradock to Rensburg.Xe Reach 
was facing the Boers who were at Colesberg, and N^uwS,rt 
was half-way up this line. There had teen a bmnK 
Queenstown from Cradock through Tarkastad, and that wa^ 

was abandoned owmg to the disturbed state of the distrct. 

^InW?T"^' "^""^ "^"^ """^ '^^""ty ■""« north of 
Cradock the line gave off another branch westwards to De Aar 
on the Cape Town-Kimberiey line, and by it regular traffic 
was gomg on between Port Elizabeth and Cape To^. Alon^ 
the Cradock-Naauwport rail General KelirKenny's forc^ 
whoh r^.n "P, '° "'"^""^ °' support'^Genera^ FrenS 

rL Ki:^'^ '" «° "" *° «™^*^« *° -« *••« »*«*^ "^ 
Arriving at Cradock, inquiry elicited that there was a train 

Iri '■ 



i : ., 

■ 1 'j| 


!'1' ^ 




^,?^^°? Elizabeth to Cape Town passing about six, which 
could ttke me to Naauwport, but from there to Rensburu 
there was no certainty of transport. I therefore telegraphed 

to U>lonel G , the principal medical officer at Naauwport, 

begging hmi to give me a comer to lie down in until there was 

some tram gomg to Rensburg. Colonel G , who afterwards 

1 tnmk became director-general, was the medical officer who 
^me along with us in the steamer from Cape Town to Port 
Elizabeth, and had coldly avoided me in the company of 
General Kelly Kenny, and as I afterwaids found reason to 
believe, was he who had sent the P.M.O. at Cape Town a 
comptemt as to my wearing khaki clothing, a garb most in- 
nocently assumed on my part, as : had always worn it in the 
Soudan, and hitherto no one had seen anything unusual in 
my domg so. In ignorance that I had offended his suscepti- 
bilities, I sent my request for shelter, never doubting that he 
would be pleased to comply with it; and when it had been 
despatched, I lunched at the station, got a pass to Rensburg 

from Major K— - K and sat down to write up my notes 

I was muneduitely accosted by the Government engineer of 
the raUway Mr. MuUer, who invited me to visit his bungalow 
across the lines, and after he had given me a welcome bath, 
his wife kmdly provided me with a cup of tea. 

The town was garrisoned by the local volunteers, whose 
rommander. Captain S-—, entered into conversation and 
remmded me that he had once visited Aberdeen and attended 
some of my operations in the Aberdeen Infirmary 

There was nothing eventful in the journey to Naauwport, 
where the tram arrived at 11.80 p.m., and where I was left t<i 
nnd out that G— — had paid no attention to my request for 
accommodation. That however mattered little to me. and as 
the benches m the station were all filled with sleeping soldiers 
I lay down on the platform to pass the night, when Ueutenant 
n^~~ • ™,K°y«' Engmeers, who was the Railway Staff 

?^"^'J"l^^T™!-*° "! '^°''" '"" ^^ ™°'°' «"<! was almost 
offended when I objected to taking possession of his own bed. 
1 had to yield, and turned in to a splendid sleep from midnight 
until four, and when I awoke once or twice, there was my 
host himself lyuig on the bare boards. It was a piece of 
extraordmary kindness to have shown to an unknown 

The train for Rensburg. nominally timed to leave at five, 
did not start until half-past six; it oontaine-- only a few 
soldiers and wme newspaper correspondents its course was 
over typical Karoo desert untU, after a journey of two hours. 
It passed a large camp of the Suffolks at Arundel, and stopped 


allthe camp and the actions wKich were going on, were visAte 
and I was able to make a survey of the whole d is riet and the 







who were then busy wrecking and looting it — b proreie which 
we watched through our binoculars. 

The medical staff at Rensburg were doing excellent work. 
There were two field hospitals and two bearer companies ; 
one pair was distributed over the extensive front, a section 
being at Slingersfontein, ten miles to the east of the camp, and 
another even farther away, seven miles beyond that. The 
work was mostly surgical, only one case of typhoid being in 
hospital at the date of my visit. One dreadful case of amputa- 
tion at the hip joint, magnificently managed, was on the way 
to recovery under the care of Captain P . It was dis- 
appointing to find that such officers were so badly provided in 
some respects. They had no serums, and no operation tahli 
beyond the army panniers. The packets of first dressings 
were somewhat rude affairs, and had been coarsely made up 
by a firm in Cape Town ; ai d the two railway ambulance cars 
they possessed, though most cleverly fitted up on trucks by 

Major A , were, as may be imagined, but poor substitutes 

for properly constructed cars, for I travelled down by the 
train on which they were running, and the journey in them was 
a rough experience for invalid or injured soldiers. An ambu- 
lance train for which Colonel D had telegraphed had been 

refused to him on account of the expense. 

After I had seen all the medical arrangements, and had a 

long conversation with Colonel D , whose original distrust 

of me had worn off, about the functions of his bearer companies 
in action, and about some very interesting personal experiences 
of his own at Jan Batai in the Tirah Campaign, where he had 
safely transported and fed thirty-five cases of typhoid fever 
for five days on doolies, without a single one dying or having 
haemorrhage on the way, I saw that there was nothing further 
to detain me in Rensburg, and arranged to leave it by the 
train carrying down the patients to De Aar and Cape Town, 
■"/here the base hospitals for General French's troops were 

I witnessed the transference of the patients into their car- 
riages and obtained accommodation fo.- myself in the guard's 
van. It was a rough ride, and the van was crowded with 
newspaper correspondents, so I left it at Naauwport, and 
waited for the evening tra in from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town, 
which passed at 11.80 at night. As already said. General 
Kelly Kenny's army were now in possession of Naauwport. 
When I awoke in the morning, it was almost time to obtain 
breakfast at Victoria Road, where we were again on the 
western lii'e, running down for Cape Town. 




Medical Affairs about Cape Town 

Having thus vUited aU the cohmrns except thit which wa. 
opejatmg m Natal under General Buller. my ne"S„ ^ 

J£ al^ti^X.*"' ""1? "y ™P«»»" was that most of 

^K^K J Kimberley, I resolved to consult Lord Hoberts, 
who had now amved in Cape Town. I accordingly caUed on 
him at hui quarters in 55 Graves Stwet, and wafadTis^ by 

Mitels a^S l°tU^°K"''?*'7"'*!r« '" t''^ meant^mfth^ 
T^!?n D u J^**"" subjects of medical interest about Cane 
?h^see^°^nd\.*' '"^f"t«^ in my account of the cam^ 
tr^uS^iTih *"'"*'°" °* '•'' '"^*""^ ^""'^ I hTd 
folfow.S°" f^uni ^"^"'.^j.^hief principal medical officer. 
™i?r?' ^^ 'V™ ^"«"*iy P»''te' and though he wa^ 
quite disengaged he kept me waiting for a very teng tta^ 
before receivmg me. Ahnost his first remark was to ask tf I 
ZaftW T, """L^Kes of army rank or sel^f^ Mytp, J 
was that I claimed and wore no badges of rank hift tw 
I thought I was justified in wearing uSki aS tL rihi^ 

ment^^^Vh"'* '^'^"'"y *? » ^tudy of the medical ^n^! 
?^^!fl, f »"""? """^ °*" "^"^^ there. I shalldteX 
th^ chapter to .n description of these experiences, and foUow 
It up by another m which I shall sum up. as far as 1^^ 
the mipressions received and the conclusions dra«Ti 4m th«n' 

h^j^ • ^^^ information up to date about what 

^n^l" *n ""• • ^y °''* fellow-student Sir WiUia^ Stok^ 
of Dublm had amved to serve as one of the army mS 
consulting surgeons, and our meeting was a joyful™ e E 

av«^ Hrn« i *? Bodyguard to come and dine with me 
rX mS Dr h' 'T"^ ""^*"S """ °" experien^ 
«^C*^e^W^o.,^^l^^erS- ^J?^-"i^ 
^^^^ ^"^^ *° *•»« Boers. From them I l^rf 
the fall history of that ill.&ted expedition. sSidcsXte 
two Bnt»h members, ite male staff .insisted of^tch S 

< IH 

t'W ! 

.: « » 

fill , 



Afriouis, bU of them good fighting maUrial, but mo«tly 
incapable* t.s regarded medical aervice. When the hospital 
arrived at the Cape and had been refuged permission to pass 
through to the Transvaal, its members went round the ooast 
by steamer to endeavour to make their way by Delagoa 
Bay in Portuguese territory. At Natal the officer in com- 
mand of naval matters placed a sentry over them and per- 
mitted none of them to land. Up to then matters had on 
the whole gone harmoniously enough among them, the Dutch 

element thrusting Dr. G- into prominence as their leader ; 

though at Cape Town one of them. Dr. Nietbling, had held 
communications with the Dutch there without consulting 

Dr. G , and from that time the British members began to 

be left out in the cold. After they had left Durban K-r 
Lorenzo Marques, the Dutch members indicatec^. to Dr. G — — 
that he was only a subordinate, and when they arrived in 
Delagoa Bay it was intimated to them that the Transvaal 
declined to receive them, and that there were no woimded for 
them to attend to. Dr. Ni.:thling wrote from there to Pretoria 
and got a pass to go there to confer, and a few days later the 
Dut(£ members of the party, including one nurse of doubtful 
English nationality, also went off into the Transvaal, taking 

with them the whole ambulance outfit. G and Johnson 

returned to Natal, where they were not well received by the 
authorities and the local newspapers, the latter publishuig 
articles against them, and the former refusing their offers of 
service and dealing somewhat harshly with them. I am glad 
to add that after some delay at Cape Town they obtained their 

desire of entering the British medical service. Dr. C doing 

good work at De Aar, and Allan Johnson serving in the 
R.A.M.C, previous to his lamented death from typhoid fever 
at Bloemfoii^^in. 

On a visit to the Red Cross Depot in Parliament House, 1 
found plenty of useful stores accumulated there, but a want 
of proper organisation for their distribution ; they might almost 
as well have been left in England for all the use they were in 
Africa. I conjectured that the ideals of the Red Cross that all 
their work should be done by unpaid volunteers paralysed the 

hands of Mr. P who had charge of that department. I 

shall in my next chapter give a personal instance of how the 
usefuhiess of the Red Cross was frustrated by the army 
medical service. 

The Good Hope Society was introduced to my notice by 
Dr. David Gill, a former class-fellow, then Astronomer Royal 
at Cape Town. It was originated to provide luxuries and 
cor. brts for the sick and wounded, but I was informed that 



the attitude adopted towaids it by the Red Cross Commissioner, 

Colonel y , and by the R.A.M.C., had chilled their hopes 

of being of much service, and I found them deeply concerned 
to find their benevolent intentions being rendered futile. 
They had collected funds to the amount of £8000, of which 
they had already expe-ided half; they had many women anxious 
to nurse, though perh^s only a limited number of them were 
trained and fully qualified, and of these no use was being made 
as far as I could learn. On the afternoon of the 2'«th of 
January I attended a meeting of the Society, and heard 
addresses by members who reported upon the work of the 
association. What I there learned convinced me that, except 
in a few very important directions, their work was rendered 
of almost no avail by the unspoken but clearly shown jealousy 
and even hostility of the army medical department. It was 
plainly most galling to that body of warmly patriotic Britons 
and Colonists that their earnest efforts to place their services 
and wealth at the disposal of our country should have met 
with so cbillin^ a reception. All the best of the British resi- 
dents were oresent at the meeting and in sympathy with its 
objects, and it was deplorable to realise that their endeavours 
for the good of the motherland were being frustrated by those 
who represented the British Government. 

At a luncheon at Groote Schuur, Cecil Rhodes's country 
house, I made the ricquaintance of some of the ladies and 
gentlemen who were most a-rtively interesting themselves in 
the voluntary aid institutions connected with the war, and 
heard much about their plans and the difficulties which they 
were encountering, and on the same afternoon I visited the 
Portland Hospital, which had been originated by private 
benevolence in England, greatly aided by funds presented by 
Lord Portland, after whom it was named ; it was under the 
surgical charge of Mr. Bowlby of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, 
though an army medical officer was nominally over him. It 
would have been hard, in those days, to have imagined a more 
perfectly equipped military hospital, and its personnel was an 
ideal one ; in fact, though I made many inquiries, I could not 
discover that there was a single thing wanting to make it 
absolutely perfect, except an electric bone-drill. It served as 
a sort of annexe to the No. 8 Military Hospital at Rondebosch, 
from which it was only separated by an unfenced road. 

Not far distant was the Claremont Sanatorium, which was 
a portion of a vegetarian hydropathic establishment hired 
by the army medical department from the Seventh Advent 
Sect, and was used for convalescent or slightly wounded 
officers ; in no way did I find it particularly remarkable. 

'f I ! 

i 'M 



The district where these institutions lay vas very beautiful, 
and rich with fine woods of pine and oak, with many villas 
of the wealthy and farms and houses of the middle classes. 
It compared well with England in the size of its forest trees, 
while Scotland in this respect was nowhere in comparison. 
Cecil Rhudes's house and grounds at Groote Schuur were 
exquisite, but I had not time to do them justice. Rhodes 
was not there at the time of my visit, being one of the besieged 
in Kimberley. 

On a separate ucco sion I paid a visit to the Military Hospital 
at Wynberg, after having said my last farewell to my old 
comrade Sir William Stokes, who was to leavt at midday for 
Natal, where he soon afterwards died ; he was looking very 
ill when we parted, and I was grieved that he should go, 
but no choice was allowed to him. A train leaving Cape 
Town took me in half an hour to Wynberg station, from 
which the hospital was three-quarters of a mile distant 
The surroundings of the village and hospital of Wynberg 
were beautiful, both being pUnted down amid forests of 
fine trees resembling Scots i&s, but more naked in appear- 
ance, and around and underneath then throve thickets 
of red and white oleanders, mimosas, peaches, apricots, and 
all manner of fruit trees, often covered with the climbing 
passion-flower. The place was laden with flowers and fruit, 
and was variegated by patches of garden, grass, Indian com, 
bamboo, etc. Even here, however, aridity underlay the rich 
vegetation, giving to a British eye the idea of drought rather 
than of moist succulerce. After ralking through the village 
and climbing a slight hill, I found the hospitals situated on 
the top of the latter. There were two of them, the first, 
designated No. 1, under the charge of my old class-mate and 
friend of the Soudan, Dr. Antonisz ; the second, called No. 2, 
under Dr. Duke. I was taken over No. 1, which consisted of 
a series of wooden pavilions, and was formerly a station and 
barracks used by the troops, until it was vacated and devoted 
to medical purposes at the commencement of the war. The 
Hospital No. 2, in contact with No. 1, consisted of a number 
of square tents and lay a little to the southward. The chief 
ofQcer^> were army surgeons, and the care of the patients 
occupying the pavilions was entrusted to a number of civil 
surgeons engaged for the purpose, many of them being ex- 
ceptionally capable men, house surgeons from London, Bath, 
the Colony, etc., and their work was of a high class indeed. 
These sui'geous were employed because at that period the 
R.A.M.C. could not itself furnish the needed men, for I was 
informed that there were only eight R.A.M.C. officers remain- 


ing in BriUin. The wooden hospiUl building., formerly 
banack room., would have made g-ood airy waidt but for 
certain drawbaclu inherent in old ivooden houses in luch a 
clunate. They were kept beautifully tidy and nice by the 
•rmy nuriuig sisters, all the notes of the cases were well 
written up, the temperature charts were adequately kept, and 
so forth. A number of ladies from outside were pennitted 
to visit and look afUr the sick and wounded, to bring them 
fruit and flowers and tobacco, and to entertain them with 
concerts. The operation theatre was made of iron, n-inted 
white with Aspmall's enamel ; It was all very plain, i a the 
irrigation and sterilising arrHngeneiits were upparently rather 
msufflcient, though possibly adequate to the wVrk eaiVied on 
One couM not but miss, howev. i, in a hospital where Britain's 
best were bemg treated, el. 1 1 ic saws and drills, etc., antitoxin 
serums, and a bacteriological department. The pavUions 
were so infestfd with bugs that the feet of the beds had to be 
put in cans of kerosene, and curtains, uominallyfor mosquitoes 
.u u ?"* u ^?? P'J"""* ^''' ''"8» dropping from the roSfs int^ 
the beds, had to be used over all the patiente. I could not 
hear of any efficient attempts being made to eradicate these 
peste. but could not ask too many questions, as my position 
was a delicate one. Besides the patients, who were interestina 
from a surgeon s point of view, there were many there who 
w.;re notable on their own account, among those uhom I 
specially remember being the Boer General Pretorius, whose 
r NUr u "l"'"^ amputation for a gunshot injury. 

General Wauchope's nephew, who had been w. unded in many 
places by the side ol' his chief at Magersfoiitein, and Major 

nrT'»f!!!f™D"*"'''°^u'"^"™^ ''"^^ ^ 'wd consulted 

At « r,5'T- ^^ general impression which I formed 
of the No. 1 Wynberg Hospital was that its staff had done 
everjthingm their power to make it a flrst-class hospital, and 
had succeeded m domg so except where the department had 
failed to provide tliem sufficiently with what they required 

The Prwcm of JFofe* hospital ship, under the command 
of Major M-—, which I visited on the 80th January, was, 
1 must frankly confess, a disappointment. With the sole 
exception of the installation of electric fans, she was inferior 
m every respect, so far as I could judge, to the hospital ship 
Gar^ai which was sent out to Suakin in the Soudan War^ 
fliteen years earlier. 

I saw almost nothing personally of the operations of the 
Ketugees Committee, which administered the £160 000 sub 
scribed m London to the Lord Mayor's Refugee Fund ; but 
from several sources I learned a good deal about its work It 

I <l), 

( l! 

'i -I 

^ ■11 

• t 

: 1 


WM indeed a valuable agency, and I had myself leen how wre 
wai the need for it which exiited among the rehigeei. House*, 
campii, tents, and other Bccommodatiun were provided for these 
destituU persons ut different parts of the territories, such as 
at Sea Point and Simon's Bay near Cape Town, and at Queens- 
town. Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban, and Pietermaritx- 
burg. The distress was on the increase, in proportion as the 
exiguous resources of the refugees diminished, and the funds 
were approaching exhaustion, though the greatest economv 
was exercised in their distribution, one shilling a day only 
being granted to adults and sixpence to children. It was one 
of the few organisations which seemed to be unhampered by 
official red tape. ' 

I received authorisation to visit the Dutch prisoners of war 
at Simon's Buy. Taking the midday train ttom Cape Town 
to Simon's Town. T was carried past the fertile districts of 
Kondebosch and ' nberg, and passed into the valley on the 
eastern side of Tauic Mountain, where the wild hills with 
ragged tops and precipitous sides recalled to mind the Gram- 
pians of the Clova Valley in Forfarshire, und presently, passing 
u freshwater lake which reminded me of my own Loch Oavan, 
fringed with reeds and rushes, we emerged on the seashore at 
the head cf False Bay, where the great expanse of cobalt-blue 
woler barre<l with green of a pale hue. enclosed in a spacious 
bay, seemed to the eye some ten miles long by Ave broad. 
It was waled roimd with dry rugged mountains resembling 
enormous cinders, with the white waves breaking ut their feet 
and th> sea breezes playing on reaches of white sand as far as 
vision extended. We run along the western side of this gulf 
finding little watering-pla<es nestling here and there amonc 
shady trees, ard separated by deep bays of blue-green sea and 
broad while .sands und sandhills, which the railway crosses as 
if washing its wheels in the playing waves, until at two o'clock 
it ended at Simon's Town, the last und largest of these water- 
ing-places. Simon's Town fringed Simon's Buy, i semi-lunar 
arm of False Bay, and in the bay were lying seven cruisers 
three or four gunboats, und two or three merchantmen. Her 
Majesty's Transport No. 21, the Catalonia, wher« the Dutch 
prisoners were confined, was anchored a mile or so from the 
shore, with small two-sailed lugger-rigged boats from the 
men-of-war cruising round and round her as patrols— a dutv 
which I was informed they continued constantly to dischaiBc 
by day and night. A walk of half an hour brought me to the 
Town Pier, where I hired a sailing boat to take me to the 
Cataiania, await me there, and bring me bock, for the sum of 
seven shillings. Visits to the prisoners were permitted on 


I!l!f1f'*"'" ^ ♦•'•''••'' between the h..Mni .,f m.d i p.m 
.We n«»ni"Ji' '"" *"' '"T"' •""'" "»"" » climbed up t^ 

mHi^ur «" *.'»V~"'«« rifles „nd fixed b«y.,net?^n"il"he 
militury offlcer in charge could be «,mmnni<ited with On 
tooking round! could see that the Catalonia «n7«n „|d liner 
of po.».bly 4000 ton,, with ample room for the 440 pZoZl 

IrSI^e h/,n "■" ''""B'nK "U' f^P". 1100 pen»n. were "id 
to have been accommodated on board of her without undue 

to the offlce. and had a conversation with the offlcer in 
command and the cen«,r, after which intenx,gatory^^nd a 

™mLil J "' JP"™''- "°t". «nd papers, us well » my 
^S^m" w r'''t'"t°sh. were not takS from me, and any 

Ts relv:^''\f KP*™'"i?«u"'« ^ '^ '^' "hole of the vesL^ 
a^riJ^TX^' J' happened that I was the earliest visitor to 
arnve that day, but while we were conversing, others, friends ^f 
JTT"'- '"'?'? "P "' *«"-«ives, brothers, andSons 
t": whi^h?!.*"'' '"'"" °1" ^y ""• '"*" »P~i«l """ns on deck! 
Ind hLl5 '^\P"^?"«" they had come tS visit were brought 
and half an hour's conv-rsation was granted to each in the 

of ThT »» h'1"''°.:1"'''""~? '^' languageTmade u« 
^iol« ^ ''5'''."8 '^''" """'hed to prevent forbidden 
^d1^ le 'l^^/'^ over Amongst thcs^ were stimulants 
the Mnsor. ''*^*" '^ ^°^ *^'* ""' "*" '""""^ "^•'^ ^^X 

Dr^vrsferXr/r- W 'Jf""'*" 'h« medical attendant, 
hI" h^TL. ^'*°''?^ *° 'how me over the whole vessel 
rrin^f ^" ^ practitioner in the town of Douglas, Wwt 
^/iL'.? :]'^iv°"'l'" " '"y"' ~'°"'''* had been menafed by the 
rebels and Free Staters ; by his own account his life had even 

BelmnlTf ^tPTi "^^^ ^°'°"*' ^"'her's expedition f^,^ 
ioSo^t'^rn" mT "'""• '""«•'' "^^ ""•* '''^ °''- 

PWkP"TI" "^"^ of various nationalities, Dutch. Gennans 
French, and Swedes, with all of whom the doctor waVable to 
wlZT"?** ?**">' ^^**Pt i" *he case of thTCch, with 
adC ^ "v ^'"^?'«H™lty. Nearly all of them whom I 
addressed sD„ke English well, but there were a few of The 
Boers froiu !he remoter districts who, I found, Imew onlv 
t^ .T n^""' ' '*'''«^ °' the Dutch ton^e I ^w aU 
except the German Colonel Shiel, who was wrHing lett^s and 
whom therefore I declined to disturb. The pSe" were a 

I I ! 


I' ' *.i 

■ 11!; 

Hi it 






fine, well-built, jnlly set of men on the whole, who smiled and 
spoke freely to i..d, and seemed giants in height and strength 
alongside of the small sentries who walked among them with 
loaded rifles and fixed bayonets. One or two of the Boers, 
generally the younger ones, were sour, evil-looking fellows, 
but the others were a good set. Almost all wore beards. 
They had to rise at six in the morning and go to bed at nine, 
but some slept on deck for the greater part of the day as well. 
They had permission during the day to go up on the main-deck, 
or even on the upper deck, excepting in certain roped -off parts 
reserved for the garrisoning officers and men, of whom there 
were as I guessed only some forty. The captives sauntered 
about, conversed, played at various games, one of which was a 
sort of draughts, smoked on the upper deck ; and fishing was 
evidently a favourite occupation among them, for at every four 
feet or so on the bulwarks there were fishing lines out, and at 
the end of each was a prisoner baiting his big hook with a piece 
of mackerel flesh, and making captures of numbers of fine sport- 
ing salmon-shaped fish of four or five pounds weight, which 
they called ' yellow tails ' from the lemon tint of their slender 
terminations, the bodies being of a silvery -green colour, and 
they were said to be capital eating. The sport was evidently 
good and popular, for two of the crew were similarly engaged in 
a dinghy moored astern, and my two boatmen had caught half 
a dozen when I returned to them to go ashore. Some among 
the prisoners who had held officer's rank were accommodated in 
state-rooms, two occupying each, and such had their own little 
mess-room. The men slept in hammocks between decks. 
The table arrangements were good ; so also were the lavatories ; 
and everything rfas clean and nice. The sick bay, where there 
were twelve patients, was mostly required by the Boers who 
came from the High Veld, as these suffered from the motion 
of the sea whej it was rough, as well as from influenzas and 
coughs, and two of the iiunates whom I saw were rather 
seriously ill. No temperature records were being kept. I 
was told that it was very common for the prisoners to indulge 
in surfeits of the cakes and rich eatables which were supplied 
to them by their friends, and these along with the deprivation 
of their accustomed exercise induced much indigestion and 
stomach complaints. After everything had been shown me, 
I bade good-bye to Dr. Visser, took my boat, went ashore 
again, and as there was an hour to spare before the train left, 
I employed it in walking southwards along the coast for a 
couple of miles to see the prisoners' camp which was being 
prepared for them ashore, and into which they were to be 
transferred in a day or two. It was finely situated on a sunny 



headland projecting into the sea belo* the naval battery and 
magazines, on a cleared field of some four or five acres, where 
a square enclosure was formed by two fences, an inner one 
five feet high of wire netting, and an outer one fifteen feet 
distant of close barbed wire seven feet in height. An iron 
standard at one comer supplied the support for an arc light 
for nocturnal illumination. The enclosed area contained bell 
tents for the prisoners, as well as ample recreation space. 
Adjacent to it on the south were the tents of the military 

"Hiough it was a matter quite aside from military questions, 
1 chanced to discover that a formei pupil. Dr. Sinclair Black, 
was in charge of the Leper Community on Robben Island, 
and embraced the opportunity of an invitation from him to 
visit this interesting spot, and Mr. Allan Johnson accompanied 
me. The tiny steamer which plies to the island left the har- 
bour of Cape Town at half-past nine in the morning, and its 
deck was piled high with— of all things in the world— quan- 
tities of ginger beer for the Robben Islanders. There must 
have been ten or twelve thousand bottles there. It seemed 
that every patient received one bottle a day, and many of 
them purchased more, which accounted for the large quantity. 
An hour's rough sailing brought us near the low flat piece of 
limestone overspread with sand which constituted the island, 
and we cast anchor a few hundred yards from a wooden jetty, 
whence a whaleboat rowed by four brown boys in white suits 
all stamped over with the broad arrow, because they were 
convicts, came pulling out with a long rope trailing behind. 
We entered the boat and were rowed to the jetty, while the 
long rope was left in order that by its means a big barge should 
be drawn out to the steamer in which to land the goods and the 
rest of the passengers. 

On landing we were presented to Mr. Pearce, the Command- 
ant, and to Drs. Atherstone and Mitchell, the latter of whom 
was the pathologist of the island. 

The island was somewhat elliptical in outline, lay five miles 
distant from the shore, was about three miles long by one 
broad, and consisted of a chalky rock resembling noral, which 
was nowhere more than fifty or sixty feet above the level of 
the sea. Across its centre, at its narrowest diameter, a fence 
bisected the island and divided off the northern half on which 
the lepers lived. At our landing-place on the southern part 
we found a little townlet of houses and sheds, and behind it, 
just above the jetty, a large lighthouse. The townlet con- 
tained a convict station, like a prison, with accommodation for 
the police in charge. Both police and convicts were well 



i 1 

i'» i'f 

: i 
' ■■ i 

if ^ ;■ 

• 1 ♦ 


If' *[ 

( ■ , • 


lodged, well fed, uiid appeared to be happy and contented. 
All the convicts wore the white suit bespangled with the broad 
arrow, and the warders who watched over them carried rifles, 
which, however, I was told were not loaded ; and the discipline, 
though military, was not very hard. Indeed many of the 
convicts were hardly what one would call criminals, but only 
illicit diamond buyers and such like. The himdred convicts 
who were there at our visit were well treated, and had nice 
rooms and wards, clean sleeping quarters, good accommodation 
for the sick, good airing grounds, and open-air employment 
over all the island. 

From the village a small tramway ran along the eastern 
beach to the leper settlement, which consisted of two parts, a 
male and a female, divided from one another by a fence. Each 
of these parts possessed n scries of wooden pavilions like hos- 
pital wards, with balnmies in front. Some of the wards which 
they contained were large, 120 by 80 feet, others were small 
private rooms for the better classes. Most of the patients, of 
whom there were five or six hun>!rcd, were blacks, bi i there 
were a few Dutch and other whites, and they were believed 
to include all the lepers in Cape Colony, except a few who could 
afford to isolate themselves to the satisfoction of the authori- 
ties. It was admitted that the system of dealing with the 
lepers, however, wn . as yet a little lax. 

The lepers for the most part appeared to be happy and con- 
tented ; there was little to be seen that was loathsome or 
repulsive, and there were a good many children, even babies, 
some of whom had been born on the island of leprous parents 
and were free from disease. There were, it is tnie, maimed 
people crawling about, and deformed hands and feet were 
common, but there was little even in them to shock a visitor. 
Those who had sores, or who required dressings, were kept in 
wards by themselves, and were well and neatly dressed by 
male or female ottendants. The others, whose skin was un- 
broken, though they may have had only stumps of arms or 
legs, were given work, which they often did very cleverly. 
One woman who had no hands was sewing neat patchwork, 
holding the needle between her two stumps, and a boy with 
no hands was doing some quite tidy penmanship. Much 
useful work, such as scrubbing and cleaning, was done by the 
lepers, who were paid for their services, about £1000 a year 
being thus earned by the patients. 

The different forms of the disease were grouped into different 
wards ; the tubercular form, with knobbed checks and noses, 
by themselves ; as were, on the other hand, the paralytic forms 
with twisted £aces. A few cures were obtained. At the time 



^LTf^/"J' *'?*'*■ T"* *'«*''"" «»'" ''ho *"e cured * ,d 
awaiting dismissal, but such a result is rare. Every sort of 

wTh^ 7"' ^'"'^n'i'f' °i •""* "'""^y ^'" experimented 

the cur« rj; 7.'"f' t' '"?""""" *"' *"«»" °' non-existent : 
the cures seemed to take place quite spontaneously. 

Among my notes I find a few additional facts which may 

™XwT'' '"*r''*- ^^ '"'"'«"'' ''«'^« »"d buildings were 
presided over by an excellent matron, and many ladies from 

^^JZ" '"♦fr*«^ themselves in her work and came f« visi? 
wi?h JTv h ' It *'"^?rf" ''"8ht, tidy, and ornamented 
with gay shawls, flowers, little feminine decorations, pictures 
etc. ^ the wards of the male patients were not so attractive. 
^Ud Lit *°''lthat those of this sex were as a rule indole,^ 
and careless about keeping their rooms nicely. There were 
several churches for the lepers, pretty buildings conUin"g 
harmoniums ; and tl^re was a mortuary and a little cemetei^t^ 
where all manner of tombstones, varying from the poorest 
menjOTials up to handsome crosses and headstones, ^ked 
me graves. 

nJ!Z!^ °^ *i!f '"P"! r^ 8ood J their drinking water was 
obtnmed from the rainfall ; but four or five windmills were 
w»T.?'"i? P^ ^ ^"^ /^ '"'"''''"h water from wells, und t his 
was used for houst....ld purposes. The patients amused them- 
selves in various ways, playing games such as football, and 
nshing; and on such occasions as the New Year they had 
races and other festivities in which they took much pleasure 

wi?h"I'"„i ^''''"'1! "/'' "'..'""' ^'- »'"<=''• I ^^^ presented 
with a photograph of an object which I thought was a rude 

^^n-rJiHT" "i*^"* "'t^'' "^ fr»P"ents of drift-wood 
constructed by some lepers who on one occasion attempted to 

^f^M" 'V*^?"" ^^^ "°"^hern end of the island. It sank 
before they had got far away. 

When luncheon was over, we were conducted over the rest 
tK,I^l"j"''j visited the part where the criminal lunatics, 
!w il u"^!'" """"her, were detained, and found it admir- 
able. It had been attempted to plant the island with eucalyp- 

Z t^Jl 1- V*^'' ''" V'f '*"'"8 "^ ^'"''^ ^^--^ inimical to 
the growth of trees, and the aspect of the island was one of 
wretchea barrenness, though we were assured that when the 
rains came a few wet„s later it would become fresh and green, 
and be gay with the flowers of many spring bulbs. Even as 

^st^. " ^^^ """^ """'*' ^^""^^ *° ""^ sufficient 

stJ^mr^T'^J"/"''^ '^°'^" *" *he afternoon by the little 
steamer ; it phei four times a week to and from the mainland, 
and as the island is situated in the open Atlantic just beyond 

■' I 


; I 
i I 

I I 

P !■ ! 

' , -1 . 1 : 

i :" 




the protection of Table Bay, the traniit is often a very rough 
exper ence. 

These expeditions of which 1 have given a short account, 
embraced most of the professional observations which I was 
able to carry out during the last days of January and the first 
few days of February. I learned, of course, a good deal more 
from the conversations I had with well-informed persons, and 
was invited to visit some other medical units which were very 
unfavourably reported on to me, but they did not come 
within the lines I had marked out, and want of time prevented 
me fix>m following up the suggested visits. 

ITie condition of Cape Town during the month of January 
continually recalled to me the accounts which history has 
handed down to us of the state of Brussels in the summer of 
1816, just before the battle of Waterloo. The city simoly 
swarmed with distinguished and representative individuals. 
The nobility were almost as numerous as commoners, men of 
letters were well represented, and so were statesmen and 
politicians, and nearly all were there with the purpose of 
offering unselfish aid to our country. Volunteers from most 
parts of the Empire, who had been unable to obtain useful 
posts when applying at home in Britain, had come to Africa 
to make tender of their services ; they were there from Alaska, 
New Zealand, Australia, and from almost every place which 
it was possible to name ; numbers of them were desirous of 
entering the volunteer irregular corps which were being rapidly 
embodied and organised, and all who were physically qualified 
quickly obtained their wish and in such corps did magnificent 
service in the later stages of the war. The South African 
Colonists and Africanders, a fine set of men, who mostly knew 
the country and the tongues spoken in it, joined the forces in 
great numbei*. Troopers from Victoria arrived, other regi- 
ments were constantly being disembarked and despatched to 
their various destinations, and as I returned from my visit to 
Robben Island I counted 116 vessels in Table Bay. I was 
constantly meeting in the streets or the Mount Nelson Hotel 
comrades whom I had last seen in the Soudan, all eager, both 
soldiers and civilians, to strike another blowfor the old country. 
The consultant surgeons who had been sent out from England 
to place their unrivalled skill at the disposal of the army were 
also there in numbers, all of them such as had risen or were 
rising into the higher ranks of the profession at home. Many 
ladies, beautiful and accomplished women who at the first 
glance appeared to be butterflies come to flutter in the eyes 
of the military, were soon found out to be intent only in doing 
everything that was possible to aid the cause by voluntary 



work, influence, and money. I think it was there that I first 
fully appreciated the immense power which voluntary aid is 
capable of rendering to a nation in war time, and it was bitter 
to see how it was wasted by having to dash in vain against 
the barriers of officialdom. 

Departmental heads of army services, billeted in Ihe Mount 
Nelson Hotel, took their meals there, and I learned to know 
some of them, who were polite and even kind to me, and the 
dining-room and the lounge later in the evening were brilliant 
with people whose names and functions one was familiar with. 
Prominent South African jurists and statesmen and war 
correspondents elbowed among the crowd, and the Hotel, 
which was in a bad financial position previous to the war, was 
reaping a rich harvest of British money. There I met the 

Times correspondent, Mr. A , who later suggested that I 

should write the medical part of the History of the War which 
he was compiling for his newspaper, a task I had to decline 
as I felt that the time was not appropriate for the publication 
of the views which I held. 

Of all the wej; 'mown personalities whom I met, there were 
only one or two m whom time and circumstances permitted 
me to take a real interest, and whose characters arrested my 

particular attention. Among them was Sir J F , the 

representative of the British Red Cross, who gave me a good 
deal of information as to what was being done by his associa- 
tion ; no doubt that was its best, but it was easy to see that, 
in many respects, its best might have been bettered had its 
organisation been laid down on wider lines, better prepared 
beforehand, more energetically worked, and cordially sup- 
ported from within the army. I must not omit the mention 
of my old friend Dr. David Gill, who was active and interested 
in questions of voluntary aid to our forces, was ever over- 
flowingwith kindness to all,and in whose beautiful observatory, 
practically his own creation, furnished with instruments and 
apparatus at that time unmatched in the whole world, he 
carried out astronomical investigations which gained him a 
world-wide reputation and earned him the well-merited 
honour of Knight Commander of the Bath, as well as many 
other distinctions. But the most impressive personality with 
whom I was brought into contact, more so than even General 
Roberts, was Sir Alf^d Milner. The Queen had allowed him 
to be written to about me, and after I had called at Govern- 
ment House he invited me to lunch with him. He inquired 
into the work which I had in prospect, and was interested in 
what I had seen and learned regarding the positions at the 
front, and the state of health of th- (Toops there. After 

nft' l|M 

It' '1 

. H m 


lunoheon we had a long talk d deux on the varies subjects 
which were on every one's lips at the time, until Kitchener 
was announced, when I took my departure 'I had the m"" 
„^il'?u "•^''" Per«'"«"y t" meet I,ord Kitchener), and I left the .mpression that Sir Alfred Mihier was oni of the few 
really great men, m every sense, whom I had met, e ' was 
certamly the greatest man in South Africa 
tn h^^J't ?'' f Janya^ I had seen about everything likely 
to be of value to me in the neighbourhood of Cape Town, and 

N^so^nllltll^K '';'"''' f "^^« '" '"''"'y '" the Mount 
Si K •• ^^^ ""1^ ?^ '*»'""« indicated to me by Lord 
Roberts havmg expired, I went to his office on the 2nd of 
Fe^aiy, saw his secretary, and left with him an application 
tL^%i°^ "11° *°"'' P*!^' °^'hc forces where I could study 
the methods of bringing aid to the wounded under the modeni 
r»w C J^""^'"^- I ^°«J«1 ^y application thus becau™ 
l^vl i were surgeons enough at the bases and along 
the Imes of communication, and that the consultants were 
bemg sent to such places. The secretary promisS a riply 
to my apphca ion I could not help being somewhat anxious 
as to the result, and wondering if by any chance I should meet 
with arefusal. I felt that the influence of the army medical 

f^r/^^H* rrl^ P?l'"""y ^ unfavourable; but, T the 
other hand, I had hitherto got everything 1 want^ whSe 
many greater men had been refused, without respect of^rTons 
anythmg l*e the facilities which had been coSdto me 
However, I had been chafing, though endeavouring not to do 

^',^ t^'"*.K°J'T^'" V ^"P'' '"^"- "»«» it waf becoming 
hard to bear the delay. Lut 1 did not have to wait very Ion/ 

TZ -oxZ^^ °^ '^ 6th February, on calling at th7officf ! 
fW T^ ^ "::"' *hc military secretary, learned from him 
that I was to go the next night to Modder River, and obtained 
the necessary passes. This was precisely the arrangement 1 

^^fw^l t'T "" t*''*"' ^°' ^ »"™'^ that ^Kberts 
would strike from that quarter, and that his first blow was 
^st about to fall. When I called on General W— TtX 
medical headquarters next morning, to go through the 
foimahty of asking his sanction to my joining Methuen's 

C^Za T ^°^''^^ ^^''- ""-^ ^«l"^ti I be^atteched to 
Colonel Townsend's command, he did not readily consent 

fu ?„'?'>.'lrr''' ^1 "."u*^"* 8'°^^ campaign,' but^S l^ 
full of hardships and fighting, and that he would give me 
neither tent, service, nor transport for my baggaRe but that 

th^'diST'''' ""y rVe"^' ^°'^- «"«» ^ervanTVt one o 
these did I possess, for I had expected to receive them ■ they 
could not be obtained, if at all, in the half-dozen houTs before 


^^i!"}"^- ^".u ^ *"" ""^ ' ™" °f '"ther beds, and my 


The Akmy Medical Service 
It seems to pe appropriate to introduce here a few remarks 
eoncernmg the condition in which I found the p^pS^ 
of the Bntish forces in South Africa for dealing ^th ?he^ck 

von Bloik th!° P"'^"t,t''*^« «ith » quotation from Johann 
von Block, the great Russian writer on modem w»rSn. 
probably he greatest authority who has ^ver ?eaTt^m 
prehensively with the strife of'^nations. I quote ft«m the 
German edition, which was well known before th^ ^ ^ar 
broke out, through which his opinions came to be acSTfn 
most civhsed countries, though they did not app^^^ve 
dawned upon those who were charged with the ^^istraHon 
of the roya army medical department. The pTs^Br^ns 
as follows : ' In den Zuki-jiftskriegen durfte es l^um moi^nh 
sem ohne eine Beteiligung der Gesluschaft an der Hitfekfi 
fur Verwundete za bestehen. Wenn man aber die^ Sn? 
^nh^"'^^.'"'" ^°?^'**8 organisieren und ^e dann syiL^ 
lerSe^ -^I^." ^-"J' »^8"»f d^'en Folgen ausserst iSSh 
werden This assertion of Block's that calamity is likehTto 
ensue if the aid of the civilian population is not Jarly organTs^ 
and regularly continued on behalf of the sick and wo32dto 
warfare in supplement to the medical organisation w"thin tte 
army, was already, at this period of my connec^L with the 
wax provmg itsetf to be well founded, and the fo mutteriSs 

?or nl? r ""^'"^ ^"? ''•~"* *° •>«="'' upon our War Offlfe 
for neglectmg the wammg were already audible in Cape T^n 
and m our armies in the field. The best people in C^Se ToZ 
were almost in revolt at the conditions whfch were showZ 
themselves, and many others, who were not cTCials S 
at home and at the Cape, were expressing themXes v^ry 

SL=irtt%L--:* £fgH^- 


i ,. i -] 

i . ] 

< \ ■ 



by the W«r OfBoe, and, it muit be aMiuned, with the authority of 
the Seeictary of State lor War, it ha* never even been pretended 
that the army medical department wai organiied (or the purpoees 
of war. It was maintained on the very lowest peace footing, and 
no proper measurei were talun tor its expanaion.' 

'^ '^ (Patt MttU Giaette, »rd July \900.) 

Yet when 

'Sir Walter Foater wrote to Mr. Wyndham, propoaing the 
appointment of a small sanitary commission to proceed to South 
Africa, and offering his own services (the work of such a commis- 
sion would have been, among other things, to guard against the 
contamination of water supplies, or, when that was not possible, 
to warn the camps against the use of suppUes which were contami- 
nated). Lord Lansdowne declined his oner on the ground that the 
need of special assistance was not the same in samtary matters as 
in surgical operations. Yet it is possible that sdentinc sanitation 
directed by experts might have saved hundreds of Uves, and pre- 
vented thousands of cases of sickness.' 

{Wettmifuter Gazette, 29lh June 1900.) 

This was a straw which showed the direction of the wind. 
But at the Cape matters had moved quickly on, and people 
there showed resentment of what was occurring Thus : 

' There had been a tremendous amount of criticism. . . . There 
was a general feeling that things were not right in the hospitals 
or convalescent wards ; he had heard that the convalescent homes 
were really not properly attended to in the matter of food.' 

(Rev. J. J. M'Cluee, Daily Neat, 25th July 1900.) 


' A civilian who spent hundreds upon hundreds of pounds in 
buying common necessaries for the field hospitals told me that he 
was informed the army medical men could not purchase a ther- 
mometer except at the risk of personal pecuniary loss. It wanted 
three months, he said, for a field hospital to observe *he formula 
for getting supplies which he used to buy at an hour's notice.' 

(JuuAN Ralph, Daily Mail, 29<A June 1900.) 

And once more : 

' At a meeting of the Good Hope Society for the Aid of the Sick 
and Wounded, the Archbishop of Cape Town remarked that it 
fairly made his blood boil to think that there was such disgraceful 
neglect, particularly at Rosebank Hospital. . . . There has been a 
growing feeling of dissatisfaction on the part of both public and 
patjent£ with the way in which the miUtary hospitals and con- 
valescent wards are being managed. Grave complaints are made, 
anonymously for the most part, in the press, but the greatest 


difficulty is ezpeiienoed in obUining definite deuili, with pnwfa. 
owmg to the unwillmgnen of the men concemed to m»ltt <i«Sei 

^i-i' °"|y *»"■ to »y t>»»t the Archbishop subsequently 
modified his statements. "»«=S"™"y 

1 ^i i* P° r i'','" *•"* *''*"* '«" quotations and their dates may 
lead to a httle confusion, but 1 have thought it best to give 
the published words, as they represented the exact feelings 
which prevailed, and the remarks which were being pass^ 
from mouth to mouth nearly everywhere during the month of 
January, when I was in Cape Town. I myself was often the 
recipient of complamts as to the condition of some, particu- 
larly of one, of the hospitals, of the indifference with which 
the efforts of ladies and gentlemen to be serviceable in atten- 
tions to the sick and wounded were met, that ladies wishing 
to give voluntan^ help were refused admission to the wards! 
and ev«i t^t offers of beds for sick men lying on the ground 

.Jf ^^^^ it seemed to me that there was abundant evidence 
that the heads of the army medical department in Africa 
were out of sympathy with progressive ideas. The principal 
medical officer m especial was the usual product of the depwt- 
ment in those days. A man of ability and a good administra- 
tor, he believed, and expected others to accept, that the armv 
medical service was perfect ; he had no proper appreciation 
of the value of the civilian consultants who were sent out bv 
the authorities at home, told them that there was nothing for 
them to do, and that there were only a few minor cases of 
ailments in the hospitals (one of his staff told me personaUy 
the same story), and presumed to direct eminent metropolitan 
sw^ns exactly how they were to deal with penetrating 
abdominal wounds, and even the fashion in which they must 
dress the wourded men. He probably had good grounds for 
refusmg the offer of a hospital from Sir James Sievewriaht 
whose motives m other things were not entirely beyond the 
suspicion of being ambiguous ; but in the case of a similar 
offer from Mr. Logan of Matjesfonteiii. the refusal created a 
bad unpression in the country. He showed a spirit of dislike 
towards the Red Cross, and on one occasion questioned me in 
sharp accento concerning a request which I had forwarded 
ftom a very able army surgeon to the Red Cross for some 
specK pparatus which was urgently needed, and which the 
arm;, uid not provide. Under his persistent adherence to 
obsolete or mappropnate methods of circumlocution, too. the 
hospitals suffered ftt)m want of necessaries which were easily 


' > 

! I 


obtainable, such as those alluded to by an ofHcer of the Army 
Service Corps, who, writing from Woodstock Hospital (No. 5 
Base Hospital) in Cape Town, to the newspapers, said : 

' My official position is sufficient authority tor the truth of the 
statement that the deficiency of milk and medical eon\forU is quite 
inexcusable. The supply officers place no limit on either. The 
army doctors can have them without limit j but they refuse, for 
reasons best known to tliemselves, to avail themselves of the 
opportunities offered. The cooking is execrable. Food, as 
cooked here, is barely eatable by a sound man. The only excuse 
tne army medical authorities can otter is that it is war time. 
War time is not responsible for the site of the hospital, nor for any 
of the scandals I have detailed.' 

The spirit that pervaded the P.M.O.'s administration was 
shown in an order issued, 1 think, in February, that all applica- 
tions to the Red Cross should be submitted to the army 
principal medical officer for his approval before being sent. 
The comments of those who knew what other nations were 
doing in adapting their army medical services to the times, 
were not such as a Briton could be proud of ; one could not 
but be ashamed of the contrast between what was everywhere 
witnessed in the Cape and the standard accepted in the United 
States, that the wounded soldier is entitled to e^^ct the same 
treatment and privileges as he would have received if he had 
sustained a similar injury in civil life. 

As regards the British Red Cross Society, its attitude, as 
reported by prominent and patriotic citizens of Cape Town, 
was not altogether a satisfactory one. Some of their officials 
seemed to suffer from the arrogant idea, which elsewhere and 
often has been one of the weaknesses of that organisation, 
that no voluntary assistance to the sick and wounded can be 
rendered otherwise than through the Red Cross Society, and 
this had caused it to be regarded with some dislike and in- 
difference. Their chief officer had, by some representations 
of this sort, mano6U"red the Good Hope Society, whose good 
intentions I have aheady described, into making him its agent, 
intimating that in no other way could they render effectual 
service. My own subsequent experience of the Red Cross 
Society in Africa was by no means a favourable one. One 
instance I may cite, though it belonged to a later stage of the 
war. A certain field hospital which was . My provided had 
only a few boxes for scats ; some of its medical officers, though 
almost dropping from fatigue from their work, had to take 
their meals standing ; and among their patients it was an 
almost hourly occurrence to see wounded officers and men, just 


I' I 


urivecl after houn and dsyi of travelling in primitive carts 
which had brought them in from Paardeberg and elsewhere, 
limping out of these oonveyancea, or hopping painfully out 
of their tents, trying to sneak off with a something to sit upon, 
the many unaccommodated watching the fortunate few who 
were in possession in order to annex it when one of them left 
it unguarded for an instant. I wrote an application to the 
Red Cross officials in Cape Town for the gift or loan or purchase 
of half a dozen or twelve folding chairs, but no attention was 
paid to my request. In fact, up country, where the ministra- 
tions of the Red Cross were most needed, 1 can remember only 
one instance where a Red Cross representative was seen on 
the veld, and then he had nothing which was of any use to 
offer. The society ought to have had its own transport from 
the very beginning, and have sent up to the front, or as near to 
it as possible, suitable officers provided with well-selected 
stores for the medical units. Instead of this, which would 
have been Invaluable, they spent the funds on some hospital 
trains and such like imposing contributions, which benefited 
only a very few. Had they sent out a few capable cooks for 
the medical units, they would have done incalculable good at 
a vanishing fraction of the expense. 

Since I am dealing with the subject of the provision for the 
sick and wounded in this campaign, it is well that I should 
remind my readers of the punishment which Nemesis presently 
sent down on the army medical department, which however 
unfortunately fell on the shoulders of the able and faithful 
subordinates instead of on those who chiefly deserved it. In 
doing so I am forced to anticipate a little, for the occurrences 
to which I am about to refer happened some months later, 
wher I was lying unconscious at Bloemfontein. 

In ue month of June, Mr. Burdett-Coutts wrote to the 
newspapers at home an account of what he had witnessed in 
some of the hospitals. I quote a portion of his remarks : 

' After the occupation of Bloemfontein hundreds of men, to my 
knowledt^, were lying in the worst stages of typhoid, with only a 
blanket and a thin waterproof sheet (not even the latter for many 
of them) between their aching bodies and the hard ground, with 
no milk iwid hardly any medicines, without beds, stretehcre, or 
mattresses, without pillows, without linen of any kind, without a 
single nurse among them, with only a few private soldiers to act as 
orderlies, rough and utterly untrained to nursing, and with only 
three doctors to attend on 850 patients. . . . About the same time 
a convoy of wounded men were being subjected to nameless torture 
for want of any ambulance transport or the simplest coniforts, 
huddled together in rough, springless ox-wagons, jolted over spruit 

M- '; 

^ ' ! 'Il^ 


and drift lor forty mile* ; the road being itmtcgiialljr lafe and 
their destination being thii lame Bloemfontein, provided with 
moit thing! excsept humane appUanoei for the wounded. Bloem- 
fbntein, it may be added, wai onlv one mile diitant. Many of the 
patienti in the fleld hoipital at the lame place were leen lying in 
three incheo of mud I ' 

Two weeks later another visit disclosed the following state 
of things : 

' With no further equipment than two marquees and a few bell 
tents, no addition of staff or anything else, there were 818 patients, 
of whom half were typhoida. Their condition was almost inde- 
scribable. In many of these there were ten typhoid cases lying 
closely packed toocther, the dying against the convalescent, the 
man in bis " crisis pressed against the man hastening to it. There 
was not room to step between them. The heat of these tents in 
the midday sun was overpowering, their odours sickening. Men 
lay with their faces covered with flies in bUck clusters, too weak 
to raise a hand to brush them off, trying in vain to dislodge 'hem 
by painful twitching of their features. At night there were not 
enough to prevent those in the delirious stage from getting up and 
wandering about the camp half-naked in the bitter cold. In one 
tent, where some slept and others lay with eyes open and staring, a 
case of " perforation was groaning out his life huddled against his 
neii^bour on the ground.' {Daiiy Mail, iSth June 1900.) 


'There were 3800 enteric patients when I left Bloemfontein, 
and they were in large proportion left to He on the ground and be 
nursed by ignorant and slovenly " Tommy " attendants. They lay 
in water, they were rained on, and the sanitary arrangements were 
such that, at least in some hospitals, they had to leave their blanket 
at the risk of death.' {Wetlmimter Oazette, 2Wh June 1900.) 

Burdett-Coutts's statements were amply confirmed by 
others, but I cite only two in corroboration. Julian Ralph 

' I have no hesitation in saying that I considered the treatment 
of the sick and wounded — especially after the main advance from 
Modder River — primitive, cruel, and almost barbaric, as well as 
needless and inexcusable. And Surgeon-Captain Brownlee, who 
was with the Highland Brigade during the mareh on Bloemfontein, 
in command of the bearer company, is quoted as stating in plain 
tenns that he had not enough men or ambulances to cope with the 
heavy work to he done. At one time, it is stat^. two ambulances, 
with accommodation for four patients lying and six sitting, were all 
he had to wait on the sick and wounded of a bodv of 4000 men.' 
{Wettmiruter Gazette, WlA June 1900.) 


Ewry medioBl oiBMr who w>. in the Orange Free State at 
m^reTll^t? *^'* Burdrtt-CoutU', .t.lunenU were nothing 
«,^J^^i. t *"" unv«m.!,hed, and the sceneN ther? 
r^ ti?.^* have never left the meniorie, of tho.e who wit- 
r^ ""em- At home hi. reports created a great uusa^ion, 

but hu statement! were never denied or disproved ; they were 
notonouily too true. Hence the War Offlci had ti blTwhlte! 
wBiUed. Emment authorities replied to him that ' War is 
War. and seemed to thinlc that that solved the questiot.. 
CHhers|ed the pmnt of the matter by defending th. medica 
offlcen. whom Burdett-Coutt, had never attacked. Some 
extenuated the conditions which they could not other^Ts^ 

which don t carry beds,' as if it had been divinely oXined 
!hSuM ll°^T^'" \". Commandment, of a field hospital 
should be 'Thou Shalt carry no beds,' and were at on^ 
coimtered by Julian Ralph : 

r.Z'?!,'* " "° ,"?;"■ '*"™ "''y even " flying hospital. " cannot 
^rL^ ""^ '°"""f American beds than there wm reaJTwhy 
we correspondent, sfiould do without them; yet we .TrarrieS 
^eje or mfenor beds, which were Ught, smkll. and po^k 
nve to seven hundred American camp beds could be carried in 
one ox-wagon.' (C^-^ mm, 2W* Junt IKw!) 

Public opinion was roused and something had to be done 
IL »•■ •'«'=n^«d the War Office in Parliament. A South 
Attioan Hospitab Inquiry Commission was appointed at 
Which experts talked vaguely about the necessity of havina 
etosticity m the army medical arrangementa and laroe reserves 
; JJ?^ ^"t- ,^™ newspapers opined that ' The Commander- 
in-Chiers first thought was for his men who were to enaace the 
enemy, not for those who had fallen by the way,' as if a Bieat 
and wealthy nation like Britain hud any justification in pre- 
paring for war without as much consideration for the sick and 
wounded as for the fighting forces. The director-general of 
the urmy medical department was reported to have said : 

' All I can teU you is that, whatever has happened, the depart- 
ment has done the right thing/ "^ 
{fFatmiruter Gazette, 2nd June 1900.) 

And the following burlesque was solemnly enacted. I quote 
from the PaU Mall Gasette of the 2»th of June 1900 : 

' A FURTHZE £s BEQUiRED.— Included in the pariiamentarv 
papers to-day is a copy of the Army Supplement EsUmate, dated 

.•' I' 

• '8 

;•■ l|l: 

I • \i 


yesterday, for the nominal sum of £S for the army medical estab- 
lishment, which the Govemtnent have submitted as a vehicle for 
to-day's discussion on the charges of hospital mismanagement and 
insufficiency in South Africa. The document sets forth that it is 
an " Estimate of the further amount that will be required during 
the year ending March 81, 1901, to meet expenditure in excess of 
that provided for in the original army estimates for the year for 
medical establishment aid for medicines." The original estimate 
for medical establishment, pay, and so on, was for £S5S,000. The 
•' revised estimate " is for £5JJ,00J : additional sum required, £8.' 

And it ended in that! Who can marvel at my holding 
more strongly than ever the conviction that, whether it comes 
to pass soon or late, the army medical service will never take 
its rightful place in the nation's defence until it is made in- 
dependent of the War Office, and has its own heads directly 
responsible to Parliament ? In whatever shape, or however 
late, it must come to that. 


Lord Methlten's Column 

Having given an account of what was going on in Cape Town, 
I next propose to tell of my experiences while attached to 
Lord Methuen's column, the fortunes of which I had decided 
to follow. 

Leaving the capital on Wednesday evening, the 7th of 
February, my only luggage being a large bundle of the latest 
newspapers for distribution among the troops along the line 
and a small bag containing a few books and some changes 
of clothing, I followed the same route to Modder River as 
on the previous occasion, my companions being Dr. and Mrs. 

G , who were going to do duty at De Aar, and an old 

colonial. Captain Sissison, a man of sixty-seven years of age, 
who had seen war in battles witli the natives and was now- 
drawing his veteran sword once more in the service of the 
homehmd, which he had left half a century before. 

There was intense activity all along the line. There were 
no more comfortable breakfasts and dinners at the stations, 
but scrambles and thankfulness for anything eatable that 
could be obtained ; and morning toilets hastily performed at 
draw-wells and tubs at wayside stoppages. Orange River 
camp had increased to ten times its former size, and so busied 
was the railway there that we had to wait six hours, from eight 
in the morning until two in the afternoon, before they could 

. > 



send us on. Not only was the line blocked with trains, but the 
roads over the veld alongside it, for many miles on the north 
of Orange River, were a spectacle worth beholding owing to 
the enormous numbers of wagons with mule and oxen teams 
rolling northwards like a great river, some moving on, others 
outspanned during the heat of the day, their ox-chains 
spread out straight before them on the ground, and the oxen 
spilling themselves like out -poured water in great droves over 
the country. These masses of transport re. !:>>.-ed p. sort of 
order, with division behind division and .nter/als be^i» :en, 
squadrons of wagoni guarded by troops of c v ^ i?.y transp( r ting 
ammunition and stores to reheve the prestar'' on the n ilway 
which otherwise would have been far too iui i<-. Still 
farther north, towards Belmont and Enslin, bodies of soldiers, 
a thousand or two in each, with their bands and baggage 
carts; were marching along parallel to the railway among 
clouds of dust, all of them parts of an army being assembled 
for some great purpose near Modder River. 

No one knew what the intentions were, or what were Lord 
Roberts's movements — these were well-concealed secrets — but 
we afterwards learned that he and Kitchener had gone north 
the day before us, and were making like ourselves for Modder 
River. It was midnight before we reached it, though we came 
within sight of it at nine ; and as it was too late to disturb 
any one I got leave to sleep in the railway carriage. In the 
morning I rose and dressed at a very early hour and went in 
search of Colonel Townsend, whom I found at his former 
quarters. Though these were unchanged, yet Modder River 
had altered greatly during my abseree. Instead of about 
12,000 troops, there were now some 60,000, and instead of a 
few camps scattered about, with only two, and these small 
ones, on the southern bank of the river, the whole plain on 
the south was a huge city of canvas as far as the eye could 
reach, while far away on the surrounding eminences glittered 
the lamps of the outposts flashing their messages to the centre, 
and on the eastern horizon glowed the bush fires lit by the 
Boers to clear off the scrub which would have impeded their 
markmanship against their opponents. Day was breaking 
and these lights disappearing, and the bustle of the day was 
awakening in the great army. I received a welcome and a cup 
of coffee from Townsend, who then walked over with me to the 
First Divisional Field Hospital of Lord Methuen's column, to 
which he had decided to attach me, and it was delightful to 
find it was under the command of an old acquaintance and 

former pupil. Major C , some of whose subalterns I had 

already met when they were serving at De Aar. After break- 

:. n 


: wn 



i ' 


fasting with my friend P of the Naval Brigade, I made my 

adieus to Colonel Townsend and proceeded to what was now 
to be my permanent abode, whither my small baggage had 
preceded me. The principal medical officer at Cape Town, 
in dissuading me from going to the front, had told nie that I 

should receive nothing but food, but Major C got me a tent, 

though it was one out of which a typhoid fever pnticnt had just 
been carried ; a mess-sergeant undertook to fetch me a bucket 
of watpr every morning, and therewith was provided all the 
service I required. ' Shanks's Mare,' ns we say in Scotland, 
would furnish a means of locomotion equal at least to that of 
any foot soldier, and surely I could get my light kit-bag stuck 
away on some baggage van, and there was my transport 
provided ; or at the worst I could hire or buy at some farm 
on the way a horse, mule, or curt. Accordingly, with a thank- 
ful spirit I hung up my things in the tent, laid a mackintosh 
on a stretcher for a b«d, and was better off than many a man 
on the same plain. 

The First Divisional Field Hospital, about a mile from Lird 
Methuen's headquarters and lying to the west of the Highland 
Brigade, was the important hospital which gathered in most 
of the cases of illness, and had attached to it two enteric fever 
hospitals in buildings and a number of marquees filled with 
sufferers from the same disease. Since my former visit the 
fever had enormously increased, and was becoming a scourge 
in the camps. In place of twenty a month previously, there 
were over a hundred cases, besides many who had been sent 
down the line to De Aar or Cape Town ; they were daily 
increasing in number, and the virulence of the disease was 
augmenting, the proportion of deaths becoming very high. 
After C— ^ had disposed in the morning of the usual crowd 
of walking patients who came to consult him in the pharmacy 
tent, I accompanied him round the two fever hospitals, a 
third under two junior officers, and a fourth under Dr. Greig, 
a London physician aged sixty-two, who had come out and 
volunteered to serve the country by devoted work among the 
fever-stricken. It was a noble action, and one for which he 
shortly afterwards* paid with his life. Three nursing sisters 

were now attending the sick, one of whom. Sister G , had 

given up a nursing home of her own in order to give her skill 
to the army. It was doubtless owing to these women that 
the fever hospitals were now cleaner, and bright with pictures 
and bits of colour, charts were being more satisfactorily taken, 
and things generally better done, but there was still a great 
want of better accommodation, and of more women nurses to 
give attention to the patient's food, medicines, and cleanliness. 



Things were really being done as well as possible, but the task 
lay beyond the powers of the workers. Mosquito curtains 
were now supplied for the flies, but, whether or not the fault 
was due to their management, they wer not used, but squares 
of muslin were laid instead over the i'aces of the patients. 
Instructions were written up in the wards and tents, where 
all might read them, but it can easily be imagined how little 
they could be iiurried into effect where there were, among the 
hundred or more grave cases, but these three ladies and a set 
of orderlies who were for the most part unfitted to be in charge 
of the management of men so seriously ill. The patients had 
to assist their own purposes, infectious matters were not 
properly disinfected or properly disposed of, all from want of 
a suitable number of competent sick-ward attendants. The 
soldiers who volunteer to enlist in the Royal Army Medical 
Corps do so under the imagination that their functions will be 
to take part in battles, carry wounded under fire, and so forth, 
and when they have to do dangerous and repulsive duties in 
pest-houses, become for the most part disillusioned and in- 
efficient. The quiet heroism required for the latter work is 
beyond most men. The hospitals were a sad, sad sight. 
And the flies ! They were swarming on the faces of the in- 
sensible men, swarming even inside their mouths, and then 
conveying the poison elsewhere, and poison, traps, and papers 
were next to useless in dealing with them. Many men were 
dying, and in the evening the bagpipes were wailing the 
' Flowers of the Forest ' as small sorrow • "oups of kilted 
men went slowly and solemnly across the V :he cemetery, 

carrying the uncoffined bodi;s of some ^ „or Highlander 
comrades (for whom, alas 1 it was ' Lochaber no more ') who 
had given their lives for England and died far from home amid 
rough, though kindly strangers. One's heart grew full to 
think how many of these men might have been saved, but for 
the fact that our rich country was ready to spend its money 
on everything save in organising in peace time the proper 
care of the sick and wounded in war. 

Surely Horace had not seen all the sides of warfare when he 
wrote of the soldier's life : ' Momento cita mors venit, aut 
victoria leta.' It was the reverse of the military medal which 
one saw in these military hospitals. The sights were such 
that, had our rulers spent a few weeks in them, seen what they 
had to reveal, and compared them with our best civil fever 
hospitals, well provided and well staffed as they were at home, 
they would have carried an undying remorse with them to 
their graves. 

Some of the doctors had no stethoscope ; I myself had to 


:,; ;l 


i ' '. 






1 1 ,'_ 



supply one surgeon with some instruments for the diagnosis 
of acute ear disease ; and the operations of the Red Cross 
Society hardly reached or were even heard of up country, 
where the need of them was greatest. 

On that same morning I witnessed another and more re- 
freshing sight. On going with C , after seeing him slaving 

at his thankless duty, into some other marquees, I noticed 
that every patient's face was joyful and every eye bright. 
And why 1 Because they were all to be sent down by a 
hospital train that very du v to Cape Town. They were about 
six-and-twenty glad men, more eager to get out of the camps 
in the front thnii those in Cape Town were to get into them. 
The poor lads knew and had experienced what were the 
realities of wor ; a brief fight or two ; brief joys dearly bought 
at the price of e. tloads of dead comrades, and probably 
never a visible foe ; the malaise ; the illness ; the dread 
hospital or sick tent, crowded, hot, noisy ; food which they 
loathed ; restless days of heat and flies superadded to their 
sickness, nights of fever-tossing or snatches of rest broken by 
the groans, the sufterings, the smells, the death noises and cries 
and the passing o way of two or three daily of their companions 
in the ward, whose last agonies were hidden from them by no 
friendly screen. Then the thought whether they too must go, 
and the alternation of fear and hope the only breaks in the 
sad monotony of the long hours. No wonder they were glad 
to be going down country I To get lifted out on stretchers 
across the burning plain, to get into the crowded carriages, 
to be tossed and jolted for days down to just such another 
lazar-house, where the vermin would fall upon them all night 
and their troubles be but repeated in a new locality — even 
these changes, most of which they did not foresee, were being 
looked forward to with eager gladness, because they would 
get nearer home and farther from the war of which they had 
seen enough. I saw them shipped on their train, and after 
hours of delay forwt >^ on their long hot journey, and hardly 
were they gone thv vheir places were taken by others who 
were being hurried in &om the camps as fast as room could 
be found for them. 


Lord Roberts's Strategy 

I WAS next able to watch Lord Roberts's opening moves in 
the great game which he was playing, which ended in the 
victory of Briton over Boer. He mov^ fast and struck hard. 


He arrived at Modder River on the 9th of February, and when 
I rode round the cnmp on the morning of the 11th, the 
tents on the whole great area to the south of the river were 
as silent as death ; the tents, though standing, were empty, 
and the armies there had gone in the night ; 80,000 men 
had departed at two in the morning for a march of sixteen 
miles, and no one was left to tell whither they had gone. Next 
day the Highland Brigade had also vanished, and there re- 
mamed only the Guards, Northumberlands, and some others 
under Methuen's command. But the tents of those who had 
gone wtre left undisturbed, so that they seemed as big as ever, 
although their garrison had shrunk to a few thousiind men! 
This may have been designed to convey to the enemy the idea 
that the whole army was still there ; yet, however skilfully 
concealed, it was not likely to have been unsurniised by the 
crafty Boers, and their turning the tables upon us, by attack- 
ing m thej- turn, had become quite a probable event. The 
whole arrangement may hp vt i>een in part a ruse to induce 
them to do -o, as 1 conjectured from Lord Meihuen having said 
to me, when 1 called on him on the morning of the 12th, that 
he hoped they would venture to attack him. Orders had 
been issued that, until further instructions, every man was to 
sleep in his boots, ready for duty at a moment's notice ; 
and observation by captive balloons went on steadily every 
day so as to ascertain the dispositions and possible movements 
of the enemy. 

It was then the hottest part of the year, the temperature in 
the shade being 110 degrees, and dust storms were frequent. 
Through the heat and dust refugees kept pouring in to Modder 
River, coming from the north, twelve hundred in a day, with 
passes written in Dutch on British Government paper, and 
each refugee wearing a ribbon rosette of the four Transvaal 
colours— the ' Vierkleur '—to distinguish them as refugees. 
They were many of them from Barkly West, a-.d were in a 
miserable plight ; all classes were represented, ladies, gentle- 
men, farmers, and blacks, and of every age dorfn to babies in 
arms. Others had come ftxjm much longer distances, and 
had been travelling on foot and in carts,, in heavy rains and 
bummg heat, and were very dirty and evil-smelling, though 
some of the better class had contrived, Heaven knows how, 
to keep themselves and their children c!ean and tidy. Poor 
folks ! they felt as if the worst of their troubles were over 
when they saw the trains in which they were to be taken 
down country. 

I had a memorable interview with General Hector Mac- 
donald, who had succeeded to the command r-f the Highland 

i :! 


I ', ■ 

it >.( 





:r !t 

11 I 


Brimde. before it left, and it wus the last time I ever saw him. 
He was wandering about in the Naval Brigade camp, looking 
the simple Scot and flnc fellow he was, and had just returned 
from i.n expedition to KocKlocsberg. awny towards the west, 
and had enjoyed what he considered a satisfactory time with 
the Boers, having closed the fords of the Reit River by which 
they and the disloyal Dutch were passing, and given them a 
Kood beating, which was only prevented from being a rather 
important victory by the failure of the cavalry leader, who was. 
I believe, subsequently got rid of. 

The whole day long on the 18th of February cannonad- 
ing was going on all round us, particularly towards the 
south-east, the direction in which Lord Roberts had moved, 
and from the tops of the houses in Modder people were watch- 
ing the fight going on in the distance. Towanls evening the 
skv in that quprter was illuminated by the glare of a great 
confUigration. and a magnificent storm of thunder and light- 
ning sprang up. followed by a tremendous wind and dust 
storm, so dense that all the openings of *}>«*"''» ''8^*°.™ 
closed, and the evening meal taken amid choking dust by the 
dim light of lanterns, for no candle could be kept alight. 
When the wind had lulled f. little we crept into our tents and 
laced ourselves in, but soon the wind veered round, and trom 
the reverse direction another dust storm arose, more violent 
than the first, so that we lay with layers of dust falling on our 
clothing, beds, faces, and ears, while the wind roared, and 
guns boomed, and the tents were being blown away. Fmally. 
however, the wind fell, we rose, shook off the dust, freed our 
obstructed breathing apertures, and fell asleep hopmg that 
some great event had at last turned the tide of unending 
reverses which Britain had up to then sustained, and that 
' Bobs ' was fighting a successful battle and burning Jacobsdal. 
On the day following, the 14th of February, the f^hting 
seemed to be harder than ever, the cannon continued their 
noisy chorus all around, the war balloon was in the sky dttect- 
ing them, and this went on from daybreak until, between three 

and five in the afternoon, there came a lull of which C and 

I took advantage to go up to the outposts where the great naval 
Buns were posted in their deep concealed pits. We sustained 
no harm beyond a drenching from a thunderstorm, which 
cooled the intense heat a little, yet not so much but that we 
were dry again by the time we had walked back to afternoon 
tea No sooner were we back than the cannonadmg burst 
out afresh, this time rather more to the north-east, and now 
and again came the rattle of small arms. Evening brought 
someTnlightenment as to the result of all the fightmg. From 



the wounded who came back we learned that the glare we had 
Men was really from the burning of Jacobsdal, of which 
Roberts was ui full possession, and that he had captured the 
river fords, thus commanding the niiiin line of commimiciitions 
between the Boer army at Miigcrsfontein and the Oningc Free 
State. The fighting had been severe, and during it one of 
Lord Roberts's staff had been shot dead. We had nil by this 
time become so accustomed to adverse news that we had a 
certain mistrust of the got)d tidings, though I think we turned 
m, stdl in our boots, the happier for the accounts we had iust 


Lord Roberts's Advance 

The days that followed were eventful. It is difficult to tell 
of their happenings without an understanding of the lie of 
the country. 

It has to be grasped that from Modder River camp there 

rim to Kimberley, which was some thirty miles due north, 

1 the railway on the west ; (2) the road in the middle ; and 

(3) the boundary of the Orange Free State on the east, and 

that all three were roughly parallel to one another. 

A long range of low but steep kopjes, called the Langcberg, 
extended from west to east across the rail and road five or six 
miles north of Modder, its partially detached eastern end, 
shaped like a couching lion, with a wide saddle-shaped dip at 
I he loins, which we called Magersfontein (though Magersfontein 
was really a farm behind it), filled the interval between the 
road and the rail, and it was there that the Boers, having 
crossed theu- frontier, and occupied and fortified the range, 
u SJ. ^"^ Methuen. Their line of communication with 
the Free State, by which they drew their supplies, came from 
Bloemfontein, their capital, in a virtually straight line west- 
wards to Magersfontein, across the great plains which form 
that part of the Free State. 

■Through these plains two large rivers flowed westwards, to 
unite at Modder River camp, the more northerly being the 
Modder and the other the Reit. Both were destitute of 
bridges ; their crossings had to be negotiated by fords (drifts) ; 
and over these were the main lines for the Boers' supplies. 

Between the rivers, twelve miles distant from Modder, 
was the important town of Jacobsdal, and it, as well as the 
fords over the rivers, were occupied by the Boers in strong 


1 , i 




The Boen, acting on the supposition thnt the British could 
advance only along the railway, had their chief forces and 
defences extending along the Langeberg t« the west, moat 
concentrated at Magorsfontcin in the centre, and continuing 
thence enstwords in a line of trenches across the level plain 
to the bank of the Moddcr River. Behind them were the 
town of Kimberley clamouring to be relieved, and the 
valuable diamond mines of which it was the centre. 

Roberts hod decided that his blow wa.- to fall in an un- 
expected direction. He had got his troops together at Modder 
ond the stations on the railway south of it, collected an 
immense service of ox-wagons and other vehicles for transport- 
ing the supplies his armies would require, and gone eastwards 
to capture Jacobsdal, secure the river fords, and cut off the 
Magersfontein army under General Cronje from the Orange 
Free State. Of course, none of us were in Roberts's counsel, 
but so much could readily be surmised from what was visible, 
and it was not long before confirmation was received of its 
general correctness. On the Ifith news arrived that he had 
occupied Jacobsdal with a part of his forces, while his cavalry 
were pushing northwards from thence across the two rivers 
towards Kimberley, ond on the same afternoon we could see 
that something unusua' was stirring among the Boers at 
Magersfontein. They seemed to be moving one of their 
great guns from the lowest port of the saddle-shaped depression 
there, where we knew it had been located and where our 
ortillery had for days been endeavouring to destroy it and had 
very nearly succeeded, us we afterwards discovered. Our guns 
now concentrated their fire on that place, and our lyddite shells 
threw up huge fountains of dust, which rose all over the spot 
and slowly drifted away eastwards. As the dusk of evening 
fell we could see the convoys and guns of the Boers moving 
away from Magersfontein towards the Free .State, and our 
cannon in the camp were turned upon them, without however 
eliciting any reply. The balloons were sent up, and much 
activity prevailed, and before night had come we heard that 
French had entered Kimberley. 

The following day, Friday the 16th, was occupied in sending 
forward the balloon and the cavalry to take possession of 
Magersfontein and clear out all the Boers who stood in the 
way of our advance towards the Diamond City. They soon 
discovered that the whole army of the Boers under Cronje 
had streamed out of Magersfontein in such haste as to save 
little but their artillery ond wagons, and that instead of 
retiring on their second line of fortifications at Spytfontein, 
half-way to Kimberley, they had made tracks due eastwards 


for Blocmfontein, by bridle paths, aince their only good road 
WB8 in Roberts's hands ; und most unfortunately for us, had 
stumbled across a great convoy of 800 ox and other wagons 
conveying the supplies to our army, and captured the whole 
after a successful fi :ht with the sniall body which guarded it. 
I say most unfortunately for us, for the loss of these supplies 
altered for n time the course of the campaign, iis will immedi- 
ately be seen, necessitating short rations for the troops and 
cutting off of the transport for the sick and wounded. 

Very eariy next morning, as I had just completed my budget 
of letters for home, men began to stream .icross the camp, 
regiment after regiment, with their baggage wiigons complete, 
as if for some distant expedition, all going towards Mngers- 
fontein, and in the early afternoon we too got instructions 
that half of us, including myself, were to be ready to start 
for Kimberley at five o'clock. We packed ha.stily, took down 
all our tents, and were in readiness when, coming towards us 
over the plain from the south, we perceived the dark mist of 
a sandstorm, with its precursors of white whirlwinds of 
' sand -devils," and soon all was wind and blinding dust lasting 
for some hours, clearing off just before dark, sufficiently to 
show us our troops in possession of Magersfontein and burning 
the materials left there by the Boers. Orders came to defer 
our departure until six o'clock next morning. 

But it was not to be. Fate had decided otherwise. The 
loss of the 200 wagons had so seriously crippled Roberts's 
transport that every cart which could be spared had to be 
requisitioned for the use of his army ; even our ambulance 
cars were taken away, at least so few were left to us that we 
were rendered immovable, and all the following day we waited 
on the now bare plain, where our baggage, left standing in 
heaps, was all that remained to tell where our canvas hamlet 
had existed. As many as possible of our patients were sent 
down to De Aar hospital by train, under the charge of one of 
our officers ; the others of us got hold of a stretcher or lay 
down in the sand, and there fought the mosquitoes until eleven 
at night, when the worst sandstorm we had yet seen came 
over us, and lasted all night, burying us under inches of dust 
and robbing us of sleep save for a few snatches before the 
morning broke. 

Presently teams of wagons and ambulance carts were seen 
pouring in with wounded men from the direction of Jacobsdal, 
80 we sorrowfully put up our tentp. again, unearthing them and 
ourselves from under a thick coating of sand, like moles 
emerging trom the ground, and set to work to attend to the 

I il 










A VISIT tn the fortified Boer position at Mafiersfonteiii gave 
one a high respect fur the military ability of the enemy, when 
a comparison wns made between the tactics and fortifications 
he employed at Belmunt in the first days of the wnrand those 
he adopted a few weeks later, as the result of his experience of 
the effects which could be obtained from modern rifle fire. 
He had grasped in an instant the fact that stone breastworks 
on the top of hills were incomparably inferior for defence to 
trenches dug across the levels at their feet. Since the latter 
were almost invisible and gave little mark for artillery, while 
the flat plain in front of him yielded a broader and more 
advantageous zo of fire, he had instantly abandoned the 
former and adopted the latter method of warfare, modifying 
the trenches which were up to then customary, exchanging 
the shallow ditch and bank which afforded hardly any pro- 
tection against shrapnel fire, in favour of deep but narrow 
excavations with a hardly visible or i'rlfully concealed b^nk 
in front, with roofed-in shelters nr-i . i^-out hollows in the 
bottom of the trenches, which were almost shell proof. The 
genius which the Boer di-^iplayed in trench formation has really 
revolutionised all subsequent warfare. At Magersfontein 
battle the result was that, while our artillery were uselessly 
enveloping the tons of the hills in an overwhelming torrent 
of shell fire, the enemy, lying in safety and unsuspected in the 
plain beneath, was able to sweep off the face of the earth with 
a. flood of small-arm fire every living thing that advanced 
against him. 

In order to grasp to the full the situation, I followed the 
route by which Methuen's army had advanced at night on 
the occasion of that memorable bat;.Ie, made a survey of the 
positions occupied in it by the field hospitals and bearer 
companies, and passed over the ground across which the 
Highland Brigade had advanced and where General Wauchope 
was killed, until I reached the Boer trenches. These lay at 
some distance out in the plain from the foot of the stony 
kopjes the groups of which formed the range of hills, and thus 
were able, as I estimated, to command a zone of fire of one 
thousand yards, every foot of which would have been swept by 
the bullets of the Mauser rifles, assuming that they were laid 
nearly horizontally, sighted, say, for six or seven hundred 
yards. A few bunches of brushwood scattered over th'' low 
breastwork before the trenches rendered them invisible itil 



one wa« juit upon them, and one or two upright rough wooden 
port! with • strand or two of bwbtd w&ertretched acroti. 
were hard.y to be noticed until one camr in contact with them. 
Ihe trenches themselves were quite narrow, not more than 
two and B half feet broad, but were six feet or more deep, and 
both m front and behind were so hollowed cut below that men 
could sleep in them in almost absolute safety troxn shell fire 
They were the most artful constructions in the way of trenches 

.VfK ^!?i"'i*".u'"* *'?"• ""•* ''"y *""* P^v"! their value 
n the battle, for the result was that in the charge by the Hish- 
land Brigade only two men (Seaforths) reached them, and both 
were found dead at the barbed wire, while it is doubtful if 
the Boers lost a smgle man in the trenches. 

The Boers in their hurried evacuation of the place had left 
all save the most portable possessions ; bags of food, supplies 
of meal, dothmg. books, letters, cartridges, field classes, skins 
and even money remained. The trenches and "shelters wer^ 
ma disgustmg state of filth from refuse, mburied horses 
and so forth. ' 

I took photographs and made a survey of the whole position 
It seemed pretty clear tlmt not a single British shell hadVeached 
any of the trenches, but at the place where the Boer big guns 
had lam m a flat gorge between two of the kopjes, hidden 
away m the^ gun-pits, our lyddite shells had made holes six 
feet broad by eighteen inches deep, and had for the most 
part exploded directly upwards, leaving a greenish-yellow crust 

^1^.%^ »rf ?J'r'\"^"'- "^^^ ''"PJ" ^^°^^ similar 
eflerts from the lyddite s»-" as well as evidences of furious 
bombardment, for at onf ,. . which I measured and marked 
out three feet by three feet, and which seemed to be typical 
of the rest, there were nineteen marks of Lee-Metford bullets 
ha vmg struck, and their empty torn mantles were lying around 
everywhere; and at another spot, also three feet square, 
K n'f 17 f°"'^ favourably be counted, seven shrapne 
bullets had struck. Fragments of lyddite shells were everv- 
where, and cases of the shrapnel shells, but they were all upon 
the kopjes where none of the enemy had been with the ex- 
ception of a few artillerymen who may possibly have been 
worfang a single gun, and none were down at the trenches 
which were really occupied by the enemy. 

It would perhaps be of little interest to give a description 
of what I may call the fortress of Magersfoiitein, but I mav 
say a word about the Boer laager. It was placed in a most 
picturesque situation. From the plain which lay behind the 
range, a small level arm of sand ran like a river into the kopies 
among which it bent round to end in a circular amphitheatre 

■ m 


i I ' >J 


'hi' ill 

; S 




of .bout . hund».d y«M. bctom. the bottom "f T^Jf'' •'" 
nerfectlv Bat «nd smooth, while itt .ides were •»<«? •1°")' 
KjreJ.cJ:.inB it on .11 .ide. u, .. to .helter it •«.'"•' >^«« 
flrr Built like swallows' neitu on the slopes were urnBll 
?^,u«ti.W over with bushes, thorjw. "t«w, -nd .»nd.r 
materUls. their floors somewhat sc.«ped out ""d marginwi 
by circles of stones, while all sorts of re ics lay «»»> ■;• •''"P- 
sUns letters, meat tins, pickaxes, cartridge cases, bullets, and 
Ihe wreoDini. and Ik.xcs in which the last had been packed 
*.JrtrZm*unrti;,n be«riuK n.urks which t"ldth.a they had 
been uumufactured in Pretoria, and most of them bemi; Boxer 
c^^riZ^for Martini-Henry rifles. The bottom ofthe amph.- 
?hratre''h.d s.7?e.l to picket the Boer horses, and out from .t 
there ran two pretty little lanes of level ground, wu.dmg hke 
'll^^k entrances' thro'ugh among the >copje» and -r>Mn« Jen 
necessary as avenues for escape. On the tops of the kopjes 
hmS there were stone sangars or • schunxes.' hut they 
were not many, for the main defence was the trench which 
Wtow^ the ciive of the foot of the range, westwards across 
the railway .tnd eastwards to the Moddcr R.ver extenduig 
for iI^JeTin d?her direction, and always o., the plan, fifty or 
a hundred yards distant from the kopjes. 

Wherretummg to our camp over the plam, which was now 
bes^^';gM with ^wers, snajragon, lobelia heath, a^^^ 
and with short shrubs whose blossoms resembled Ral'um, I was 
t^rised to come upon a macadamised rou.l. one and a half 
r^r^n M^der s'tl.tion. constructed of broken stones from 
Sie vriU. the only semblance of a made road which I had 
hitherto seen, or indeed ever saw. in the district. 


KiMBESLEY Relieved 
Within an hou.- or two after the Boers had quitted Magers- 

lo iiu»c "«^" M.;„- p naid it o V sit by one of the flrst 

STntiy^^ing ^^iers It insisted only of 
trucks and a guard's van. into which we and one or two 

"t^l ;?:rSi for it to start, we heard a report 
wh^ we h^peS was trueShough we doubted, that L^^^ay.^^^^^ 

had been relieved; but we learned on gooc authority that 


Cronje'i forcei were hemmed in by KuberU'i troop- nenr 
Paarde Krul Berg (PaardebergJ.and were there beiiiKattacked 
fu **^'"'.y ™''' P'««*» •"«* "TO f^- It w«» aluo ruinoiirtd 
that, finding himwlf unable to excape, Cronje had »ent a white 
flag with iin offer to iturrender, but on beiiifr invited to i-omc 
out and give himself up had changed his mind uiid decided to 
light to the end, and it wan conjecturwl that some sly stratn- 
gem underlay the move. At any rate he refused Kr.berts'H 
offer of an armistice to send away his women uiid children 
expecting possibly to be relieved by Jouhort, from whom u 
heliographij message was intercepted to the effect that he was 
hurrying to hia assisUnce with 10,000 men, und advising him 
to read the 88rd Psalm I Consequently our attacks on him 
were going on all day iind every day, and our losses were 
becoming heavy. Only two officers of the Black Watch, it 
was Mid, had escaped unwounded, and Hector Macdonald 
had been shot in the foot, but refused to be invalided, and 
continued to accompany his men in a cart. 

With these encouraging accounts we got into the train and 
moved northwards towards the Magcrsfontein (Longcberg) 
ranjie. The range was not a chain of continuous niountuiiis, 
but a dense labyrinth of isolate*!, crowded, innumerable 
kopjes, through which the railway wound, comma tiled on 
both sides by the now empty Boer breastworks and entrench- 
ments. The line itself was not much injured, but the culverts 
had been bk ti up, and the rails displaced and converted into 
the shape of bows and corkscrews, while the telegiaph wires 
had been cut and thrown down, and the earthenware insulators 
had formed a favourite shooting mark in the pastimes of the 
Boers. The damage was being rapidly repaired by our 
engineers, and pickets were placed at intervals along the line, 
the men bivouacking ui dei U . ir brown blankets which were 
pinned on bushes as improvised shelter-tents. The kopje 
rountry continued by the railway some ten miles or more and 
^en gave place to an open grassy plain sloping down to 
Kimberley, ot which we began to see the houses and the great 
heaps of refuse where the diamond mines were. We crossed 
a tram containing the first people, a dozen or so of whites and 
blacks, who left the city after the siege. 

The fortifications of the Boer besiegers were trenches, 
breastworks, and wire entanglements, very strong, and barely 
discernible, while farther on those of the besieged were 
apparently mere rifle pits, though very numerous and well 

Knaliy, we came to the native location of booths madft of 
sacks, twigs, boards, and corrugated iron, then to Beaconsfield 


i i¥ 


station, and the semi-lunar curve by which '*^»"*»y '~»?^ 
round into Kimberley. As our tram entered t^e tovm^ta 
^burbs showed no signs of any bombardment o;; da"J?8«>^ 
the shelling ; it was unchanged from what I ^''""'7 '^• 
except that all the bustle was gone from it. Glad eyes, 
howler watched us as we passed, children grouped and 
^^^aCg the line, and every little native hut was flyujg 
rS Union Jack. Near Kimberley station ^ere was qu^te 
a town of tents where the population who had «>ine mfrom 
the vicinity to take refuge from the D"t<*7,f V "^{j., 
^rstetin, which 1 remembered as so f"" °^«Xtf to 
in former days, was desolate ; a few wagons stood about, but 
^t a™ ul was io be seen, and all its gates were locked, so that 
when we W? the train we had to find an exit through a hole 
Tn Se fence'and make our way up to the town through the 

"ExLpl'Sr'ihe unwonted solitude, the interior of the town 
prf^S^ no outward evidences of the siege to which it had 
Wn suWected. There was hardly a wrecked house, or a tree 
^ d^wn. n^; chip, nor a bullet mark. But the -^^^J^ 
Zsem aid the houses were in very many «ises ^"t "PJ"^ 
abandoned There were no signs of lootmg or disorder, 
men we reached the centre of the town, we fo«"d the tram- 
way cars still running, and we got into one of *em^°'^ 
was S drawn by three mules. We were there welcomed 
r^d^en'metwith^acquaintances; - -•^"rj^^-^ras 

oreeted me : P met some men whom he knew , ana as 

STwTwire not permitted to pay our own feres. We went 
SSfto Ae^WtoiSm.' belonging to the De Beers Com^»y' 
the residence of CecU Rhodes to whom I h'«».t„'«t^ °J 
introduction from a friend. Rhodes was at l^<=^n' ^f . J 
mSui my card and letter, and we were •» topes that he 
Sht in^t'^ "s to join him at his table, for we had lujd no food 
S^ early morning ; but though we waited for hatfMi hour, 
:^d e^f hSted tL we would likesome tfa ?r ^freshment 
nothing happened, and at last I l««»^e f ^>«!«'"1 "?" f! 
oMted leaving a message that we could wait no lon^. 
S ilSneditely we £et t-o memb«s of the crty ^^. 
both of them Scots, one from Elgm and the "ther from retK 
Wd who kindly guided us back to the town, fbr which we 
rewarf^ tC ^th a nip of whisky, a substance neither of 
thlm had seenffor many a week. Agam "'^^^.^^ 
and oroceediniTto its terminus, we discovered a pl»ce where 
we JS^Have lunch-The Creamery-a little refreshment 
^.T which we entered. Two dainty ladies w«ettere as 
attendants, but the shelves and glass cases that should have 


contained provisions were aU empty. The poor girls were 
bravely doing their best to serve their customers, who were 
numerous, with the scraps of food and refreshments that re- 
mained. Two cups of tea were brought to us, the milk so 
doled out as to produce a famt opalescence in the beverace 
and two mmute squares of bread,. without butter, remindine 
us by then- size of postage stamps, were neatly cut and placed 
before us as carefully as if they had been the finest of cakes 
and that was all. I walked round to spy. Nothing 1 But 
yes 1 T^re were seven eggs-stale ones, and of these I ordered 
t^t ?ir~' '"'•^"'•"S tl»t they should not be more tlian 
thuty shillings each, and so we dined. The cost was only 
seven shilhngs each, which I considered moderate. But I 
have omitted : as a great dainty, a small raised flour scone 
ot the siie of half an orange was cooked and produced at lone 
mtervals for the more exacting customers, as being the finest 

damty the city could produce, and P received one of 

them, most prettily served up. 

Thus refreshed, ^^e started to hunt for my missing relation 
:niough we inquu^ everywhere, we could hear of no recister 
of the inhabitants, and even at the military headquarters in 
Lennox Street our researches were fruitless. We were about 
to abandon our quest in despair, when a kind and helpful 
officer, Captam O'M-— , who overheard us, remembered 
that when he was visiting some Police Camp, he had heard of 
a volunteer whose name was he thought G , a man possess- 
ing extraordmary acuteness of vision, so that he was able to 
detect Boers at a distance of four mUes, when they were visible 
to no one else Getting into telephonic communication with 
the camp, he located our man, who was on duty far out on 
the veld, but might get off in the evening to meet us at the 
Kunberley Club or the T p.m. train for Modder Ri,--r. Captain 

O M gave himself a deal of trouble to assist us, for which 

we were grateful, and came after us to the Club to report what 
he had been able to discover ; he said that the police were 
having a rough time but he took my name and address in 
case he could help us farther. As we were leaving him, a Cane 
cart with a messenger ftom Mr. Rhodes drove up asking us to 
dme with him that evening, to which I sent a verbal reolv 
explammg why I was unable to do so. So 1 lost the onlv 
C^'^cJdes ^ ^''" ^^ °^ ""'''"* "** acquaintance of 
Our reception at the Kimberley Club was an imposing one • 
we were informed that everything was at our disposal, and an 

influential citizen, Mr. B , took us to the 1^, where we 

were to be sure to order whatever we desired. Alas 1 The 




' • il 

:,. I, 
J I 
,' H: 


i .;■ 


a I 




mogniflcence dwindled down when we came to particulars. 
There was no soda water. There was no whisky, no ginger 
ale, nothing whatever that we asked for except lime juice, 
water pumped from the mines, and tea, so we had to have tea 
and were grateful for it. We sat on the verandah or strolled 
through the town, to see it and its people just relieved from 
the siege. The shops were open, but empty. There was 
nothing, absolutely nothing, in the windows ; except in some 
a few handkerchiefs or towels, the last remnants of their stock, 
displayed where formerly exuberantly rich wares had lined the 
busy main streets, which latter now showed only a few passers- 
by and the horses of the few soldiers who had as yet entered, 
held by negro boys under the empty verandahs of the finest 
magaiines in the finest streets. Presently a few elderly 
civilians of the city strolled into the club, and in rich fat old 
voices bragged, damned, and told their tales of what they had 
said and done during the siege, or what they would yet do or 
thought ought to be done, welcomed others who turned up and 
whom they had heard were killed, and made the most of the 
situation telling or inventing tales of what had occurred, tales 
that would doubtless often be repeated with embellishments 
to wondering listeners and be handed down to children and 
grandchildren as the wonders of the times that had been, and 
of those who had lived through them. Some of these old 
fellows I had personally known in former days, and they spoke 
freely of their past hopes and fears, and of their anxieties 
for the fate of the town which, they said, would in six weeks 
more have had to surrender. But now honest gladness was 
in every eye, and even the babies and coloured children 
advertised in their very looks that their troubles were 

Evening came, but brought no G , and at length we had 

to go to catch the train. It was merely a lot of trucks for 

soldiers going down the line, but P , good liar ! had gone 

to the station people and impressed them with the idea that 
I was some great swell, and they put a carriage on in front for 
me, into which we and some ofiBcers got and had a darkling 
ride to Modder. The electric lights were still flashing out their 
messages between the two places, as they had done a month 
before, for of the wires cut by the Boers only one or two had 
been repaired by the engineers, and those were so choked by 
military and other work that it would take a month before 
any unofficial telegrams would get through from one place to 
the other. 




Conditions at Moooer 

ZH^fn^r^'^'l^i"?*^'' marched in the direction of Bloem- 
fontein Cronje had for a time escaped from Magersfontein 

northwards t« raise the investment of Kimberley. We soon 

w^^n^"- 'Tk'' " ^''P ^y, "^'"^ *"= ""^ attempting to escape 
was dosed, m the very nick of time, by a rapid dash back from 

tTetL' 7i °^ ^"'"'''- ^''?/*'"^ '»'"P''='«^ »»•« enclosu„Tf 
the Uoers in an iron ring of foes. 

of rirt^T™*".?"'" ^n^^f™"""' "Fxedily found out that eight 
C« .. "" "mbulance wagons were taken away ftSm 
us, as wen as every other available vehicle of any descriptio" 
to serve Roberts's forces, who. without tents, on half ™£" 

heavily from, wounds and disease around Paaideberir and 
Jacobsdal. These events had the result of convertingWfodder 
1T» J^ T; ''""'^y 'P'^'-e. neither a field hospiSHor 
of Zfi-T ' ""/ ",? '7'''="''t'''8 st^ition, but which partook 

Z ^ r ^''/'^^ «™y necessarily fell on Modder River, 
S«H ^^!!!^ *,°^° '^' ""*" '°"8 afterwards, when Roberts 
^tJ^^^^^S"'"'"', 8°* *'^"8'' t" Bloemfontein, and 
r!!lnnv ^-^""il"" ^"''"''y "'mmunication with the Cape 
\n^7'- ^''' *««'^»'* «« « "••«'<"■» post Modder shrank 

L"*? '"T.'?f """' "l " '"^'°'' ^*"*'°" t° "W* everything 
was sent it became of capital importance, had to adapt itself 
to aU requm>ments, and to expand and contract as the flo^s 

th^A f^"f- P°"""8 '" ^"^ "'' *he means of evacuating 
than down the line were more or less available 

T.^X ^"f*"* °i P^tie^-tS' t«>. *as not of our own men alone. 
Jacobsdal was found m a bad way with typhoid fever among 

«^^ T" '?'"'' u T" °^ '^'^ ''^""=^''' ther^ were some seven^ 
such, densely packed in beds, and many seriously ill, who were 
being attended to by German doctow and ambubncesrfor 

lu th^"* ""^.""^ "° ^" ^'^'^ *° '°°'' "^t'' them, and 
allthese came to form a proportion of the invalids in the 
Modder camp hospitals. A medical officer who had been on 
duty m the Boer camp told me that they had no surgeons or 
provision for the wounded, and that they wei« glad to send 
the injured m to be treated by us. j s " «:na 

du^^f iT*" jP^"^ ^^°^ ^y 'y^' '" *••« Modder River camp 
dunng these days, before Roberts had succeeded in compelUng 


^[ i^ >i 



the luirender of the Boen at Paardeberg, and in thence 
forcing his way to Bloemfontein, I almoat despair of giving 
an adequate account. 

Of course every possible preparation was made to cope with 
Roberts's sick and wounded ; the camps were concentrated 
and rearranged on the north of the river into a great medical 
city, in which few of the military were to be seen beyond a 
small garrison and the soldiers who were passing through. 
But it was reported that the health of the medical officer in 
charge of the lines of communication had broken down, and 
that our chief. Colonel Townsend, had been sent for to assist 
him, and this may partly account for some of the conditions 
which ensued. In truth, however, it was evident, almost 
from the very first, that the then existing army medical 
department was unfit to meet the situation. It was an obso- 
lete weapon which had been retained for economy when it 
ought to have been modernised or replaced, and it now natur- 
ally proved unsuited for the services it was called upon to 

The events at Modder, mtUalU nuOondu, bore out the 
statements of Burdett-Coutts concerning the medical con- 
ditions he found at Bloemfontein. I shall here endeavour to 
describe the state of matters, but of course can tell only what 
came under my own notice, in a limited portion of the camp ; 
there must have been nr uch more of which I had no cognisance . 
But I was sometimes, by what I personally witnessed, reminded 
of the accounts which had appeared regarding the awful 
conditions at Plevna in the Russo-Turkish War. 

There was a continual inflow of invalids, fluctuating but 
steadily increasing, and strenuous efforts were made to dispose 
adequately of them by giving them the care they needed, 
before sending them down country to Orange River and Cape 
Town. The flow was no small one. On the 20th of February 
a convoy of wounded came in from Klipdrift and Jacobsdal, 
350 in number, and to make room for them and othurs who 
were following them it was necessary to evacuate 200 sick by 
a common train, 95 of whom were ttom our hospital ; 50 went 
to Onuige River and 45 to De Aar ; while 150 were going from 
another hospital. An ambulance train was expected to take 
fever cases down country. Ifany of those who were sent away 
were cases requiring only a few days of rest and treatment to 
enable them to resume duty, which was a waste of men, time, 
and trains. It was said that ten patients of the new arrivals 
had to be put into one tent ; I think this was avoided by 
some renmingement, but I know that there were 228 in 85 bell 
tents in our hospital that night, i.e. about seven in each tent. 




The patientt had all to lie on the ground, there being neither 
•tretchers nor bedg ; no washing could be done among them, 
norany renewal of linen.etc. : all layand lived in theiruniformg. 
On one day at this time there were only three medical offlcem 
to attend to 238 patients, and one of the three had to leave for 
(^nge River to accompany a sick train which was being sent 
off. Even thus early there was nearly a breakdown. The 
night was a cold one, and there was some suffering from men 
having to sleep, if they could sleep at all, without blankets. 

It would serve no useful purpose to specify how many con- 
voys of patients were brought into Modder, or give their dates, 
even if accurate information about them were in my possession, 
but they were many, and after a short respite they began to 
pour in from farther distance-i, such as Paardeberg, continually 
by day and night, in numbeix of some 200 at a time. Thus 
on the 20th of February, 240 were brought in from Jacobsdal 
and beyond in wagons drawn by oxen, mostly open carts, and 
so heavy was the work for the draught animals that forty of 
the oxen died on the way ; on the 28th 1 noted that between 
800 and 400 were brought in from the same direction ; and 
on another occasion there were expected to arrive 800 men and 
40 officers from Paaideberg, and the medical officers were at 
their wits' end as to how to accommodate them in a field 
hospiUl intended for 100, for there were neither cooking pots, 
nor blankots, nor medicines, nor dressings, for so many, nor 
was there any one to dispense the drugs and appliances which • 
would be required. These were only some instances which 
1 happen to have made a note of, for there was much else to 
be done, and still the stream flowed on, and even at night, 
when the evenings were coming down, the black silhouettes 
of the loaded teams kept drawing in, in what seemed a never- 
ending procession. In one day alone 800 men arrived at the 
already overcrowded hospitals; another day one hospital 
had to admit 400 and another 480. 

I can only give these as a few of many instances of what 
our daily experiences were. On one occasion we received a 
sudden order to strike our camp and move down nearer to 
the bridge in case of an attack, for we had been left out in the 
waste by the departure of all the other camps. Accordingly 
tents were struck, carried over on carts, and pitched on a spot 
close to the fever hospital ; our patients were placed in ambu- 
lances and brought over, but they were so many that, though 
we began to remove at 8 p.m., only half of onr work w,is com- 
pleted when it became dark, and half of the hospital was left 
far out on the plain. The major and I shared a tent which was 
hastily put up in the dark for us. We had among our sick 


•i i' 





tv ' oer prisoners, and in the bustle of changing they were 
left unguarded ; one of them made his escape, but turned up 
again next morning, probably induced to do no by hunger. 
Presiently a convoy of between three and four hundred arri*^ 
from Jacobsdal, and on this occasion they were transported 
partly in ambulance wagons belonging to the bearer companies 
and pnrtly in buck-wngons. The lying cases with a few sitting 
were in the former, nnd from fourteen to fifteen sitting cases 
in each of the latter. After being fed and cared for as well as 
was possible, they were admitted and dressed, along with 
80 Boer wounded who required the same attention. The 
admission was runipleted in something over an hour, and the 
dressing took up the remainder of the day. Among them 
were one serious wound of the abdomen, and two other similar 
wounds where the symptoms were slight or absent, while one 
patient had suppuration of the leg and was in so serious a 
condition that I advised Cardan's amputation of the thigh, 
which was carried out. Most of this convoy, other than the 
Boers, were from the Argyll and Sutherlands, the Gordons, 
and a Welsh regiment. 

On another occasion we got orders to clear every one out of 
the field hospital so as to be ready to move on towards Kimber- 
ley in two or three days, and made every endeavour to do so, 
but found our efforts always baffled. We had to admit, for 
instance, 500 fresh cases of sick and wounded after having 
despatched two full trains. Elaborate arrangements were 
then made to clear out next morning all except about ISO, 
when we were informed that a convoy of 70 from the Guards 
regiments was on its way and would arrive that day ; while 
from Kimberley came a message to say that they were full 
there (having received their flnt convoy &om Paardeberg), 
and asking us to take over a number from them ; so the ambu- 
lance trains we had hoped to utilise were sent up there, and 
our best hope was that we might get some of our wounded 
packed into them as they passed down again, or into some 
other train that chance might send us. The railway was 
becoming choked with the sick and wounded, every place was 
filled to overflowing, and the whole military movements were 
threatened with paralysis. At that time we had still many 
fever cases who could not be sent away, there were 56 of them 
in hospital that night, and more were being brought in at our 
last visit, while so little care could be exercised that one poor 
fellow who was being treated in a tent was found wandering 
delirious on the veld, having escaped from our field hospital 
by crawling out at the back during a heavy storm of rain and 
wind. At that particular time the staff, augmented by some 



civilian doctors who had been sent up to help, consisted of 
seven, but of these one was constantly travelling with the 
patienU who were being sent down by ordinary trains, while 
another was doing duty in the fever hospiUl, so that there were 
really only five to dress BOO, and many of them were bad cases, 
such as amputations, wounds through the body, wounds 
through the thigh-bone or spine or head. 

1 quote one more instance of a convoy that came in during 
an early morning and forenoon. In it I counted twenty -Ave 
common carts as against five ambulances. The patients in it 
were complaining bitterly of the way in which they had been 
jolted i three had died on the way and had been buried where 
they died, one as it chanced at Jacobsdal. One of them had 
had a wound of the head, one a wound of the abdomen, and 
the third dysentery. A fourth, from the Nnval Brigade, had 
typhoid, and him 1 took over to the fever hospital in an almost 
monbund condition, and placed him under the care of the 
physicmn there. 

It would be hard to find in any part of the world more 
wretched contrivances for carrymg wounded men than those 
in which the patients arrived. Excepting one or two ambu- 
lances for the more fortunate, they were ox-wagons of the most 
primitive type, roughly painted with the name of the farmer 
who owned them, often verminous, only sometimes covered, 
or it might be but partially covered, with ragged canvas or 
tarpaulin held up by a stick, and on these the wounded were, 
many of them, exposed to the scorching sun and thunder 
deluges for days, provided only occasionally with a little 
steaw on which to lie. All sorts of wheeled vehicles, springless 
of course, were converted into ambulance transport, drawn 
by teams of mules, or more generally by the long slow teams 
of oxen, with black ' voorloopers ' leading them by the head, 
and black boys with long whips Bke salmon rods flogging and 
urging them on with harsh throaty yells and quackings. 
Some of the wagons were merely square unedged platforms, 
such as might have served to carry logs of wood, with broad 
lumbering wheels, and over the veld these came jolting, 
tilting, and rocking like heaving ships in a swell. Some of 
the worst conveyances had no coverings of any sort ; some- 
tunes two wagons were lashed together and drawn by the 
same team, and aU were filled with men who were sick, men 
who had dysentery, men with torn hands and limbs, men with 
nactured bones supported by rude laths of splints, or with a 
mere Imndage and no splint at all, men shot through the head, 
through the chest, through the hip, or through the shoulders 
and arms, men in fact with every injury that could be aggra- 





TBtad by movement, and yet the»e poor lads were lying on the 
bare boards, comparativety happy if they oossessed a blanket, 
some recumbent, some sitting, most without any covering, 
in clusters of suffering humanity, chilled by the night cold, 
scorched during the day by the sun, and drenched through by 
the tremendous tropical thunder rains that constantly fell, 
until their clothes dried on them again, and in this state, 
night and day, they rumbled over the rough dusty veld, 
ploughed through steep fords, and jolted over rocks. When 
at last they came to us, they had the sick, white, pinched faces 
of those in deadly pain, some of them with the grim locked 
jaw of men sternly bearing the pain that can be borne only 
by sheer pluck, and some even helping the others in any poor 
way they could. Nearly all were bra\ ,: and uncomplaining. 
Now it must be remembered that these were only the ' slighter ' 
cases who had been sent on, the severer were left in Jacobsdal 
or elsewhere, where — so we were told— there were hardly 
any blankets, tents, or other necessaries. ' SUghter cases | 
though they were, some of them, my notes say ' a great many,' 
were really atrociously bad cases, and quite unfit to have been 
so transported. 

In one convoy nearly all the men who crawled or were lifted 
out of the carts had been shot six days before, and during 
that time had been more or less ' en route,' or waiting to get 
' en route ' ; their actual travelling time in the wagons had 
been three days and three nights j some, but certainly not 
all, had had their wovmds dressed at Klipdrift, and again by 
the German surgeons at Jacobsdal. The German n aterials 
were good and their dressings well done, but though every one 
along the route had omitted nothing that it was in his power 
to do for these poor wounded, their condition was none the 
less pitiable. To add to their trials, they had but little food 
on the way. 

Never to be forgotten by any of those who witnessed them 
were the sights of these convoys, which, until it was too dark 
to see them, kept arriving, while the plain covered with the 
wagons, oxen, drivers, half-naked patients, helpers, and tents, 
formed a weird sight under the fading light of the evening 
sky. The strain to which the strong fat oxen had been sub- 
jected was so great that some of them, so soon as they stopped, 
simply lay down and died at once. The only individuals of 
the convoys not done up by fatigue were the black drivers 
and 'voorioopers' who, despite their toil over the hot veld, 
sand, and mud, for days, seemed quite fresh at the end. 
Some of the drivers were dandified by feathers in their hats 
and other bits of finery, but one did not find the heart 

•.i' M 



to ku^ at them, remembering the good work they had 

To see our poor wounded fellows eome creeping out fh>m 
the carts, hardly able to do so, almost moved one to tears. 
Some were just able to stand, others were dying, and some had 
lost comrades who had succumbed during the journey and 
been buried by the way ; and the state in which some of them 
were baffles description, for their clothes had become so foul 
from their own and their neighbours' discharges, since the 
convoys could not be stopped for their necessities, that they 
had nothing on but a blanket and helmet, having had to 
remove and throw away everything else. But it ought to 
be said that, with rare exceptions, their sufferings were most 
patiently borne. Occasionally it was difficult to remove 
them f^m vehicles, since some of the worst wounded were 
stowed away on a sort of top shelves prepared high up in 
the awning of the cart by plaiting raw bide ropes across 
under the leaky tilt which covered the back part of the wagon. 
Of baggage they had next to none, usually none, excepting 
th <r rags and possibly a knapsack. Once a smile was forced 
tioi.1 the bystanders by the appearing of a common chair, 
which the happy owner had somehow contrived to get carried 
out to Paardeberg and back, as we conjectured ; but such 
relics of civilisation, not to mention luxury, were almost 

Jacobsdal seemed to be inexhaustible ; when we were not 
receiving from it convoys of our own wounded and sick, 
numbers of wounded Boer prisoners sent from there kept us 
employed ; they were poor downcast fellows ; the older 
grey-headed men slouched about with hanging heads and 
hands in pockets, and the younger sat in their tent doors 
discussing their woes. They were a contrast to our own 
wounded, who whenever they were able hopped about among 
their comrades, glad of the respite from their toils and dangers. 

At whatever time the convoys arrived, the wounded were 
at once attended to, refreshed with bovril and Liebig, and 
their wounds and ailments dressed or prescribed for. Major 

C , his officers, and the men of the R.A.M.C. were flying 

from one wagon to another the moment they arrived, render- 
ing every possible assistance and seeing that nothing was 
omitted which care and gentleness could ensure. The slighter 
cases were taken at once to the tents, and the more necessitous 
laid on the sand until they could have their turn in the opera- 
tion tent. Those unable to help themselves were lifted out 
on stretchers by the R.A.M.C. orderlies and carried off to 
the hospital for treatment through numbers of sympathising 




?■ J 


■ » 

J 11 


byitanden who had gtthered round. A few of the mort 
lortunate or cUnuint oases were placed to » double-roofed 
Cabul tent, and somehow or other all were soon sheltered 
under cover of buildmgs, tents, or marquees, thou||h as a rule 
there were about 400 where there were only 100 mtended to 
be accommodated, and it was surpriwng how rapidly all were 
looked after, and how well it was done where there were so 
many ill and so few to help them. Then followed the bustle 
of great cooking at the car-^ fires to provide for the wants 
of the hundreds who had ...ived ; the butchers were cutting 
up the carcases ; the fires smoked ; the pots and kettles 
boiled ; and the water-carts were drawn up near at hand to 
supply the needs of the kitchens. 

The sick and wounded Boers who were brought m by the 
convoys under escort received exactly the same treatmen* 
as our own men, except that sentries were placed over them ; 
todeed, it was sometimes remarked that when Boers were sent 
down country they were commonly provided with hnt-class 
carriages to which to travel, or second-class at least, while 
our own fellows were allotted third-class carriages. In some 
other ways mdeed they came off better than our own soldiors, 
for on the convoys their fHends had often provided them with 
umbrellas agatost the sun and ram, and a comrade was even 
allowed to travel with and attend to them ; some of them I 
observed come to from Jacobsdal travelling to small light 
buck-wagons with mule teams, and well protected from heat 
and wet by white umbrellas. 

It was only late in the day, or it might be late to the night, 
when all the sick and wounded had been attended to, that the 
fires were made to provide food for the exhausted medical 
officers and give them tea. 

As the numbers of invalids mcreased other hospitals! were 
sent up to Modder, and civilian doctors arrived to give their 
aid, and a special hospiUl was established on the \Ial«nd ' 
under one of the consultants; but with all these, thtogs fell 
far short of the requirements, to various ways. Medical 
supplies were deficient ; for many days there was no brandy ; 
there was no glycerine ; and other thtogs of that sort were 
not to be had. When fresh stores wer sent up, they did not 
impress one with a high optoion of thob. who had ordered and 
supplied them. Boxes which had been ordered from private 
firms had their contents ill-assorted. One box would contam 
80 pounds of glycertoe, another only ztoc sulphate and ttoctiure 
of ginger, a third only carbolic acid crystals, a fourth Itoen 
squares, and so on. One contatoed only wanning pans 1 
There was of course no one whose function it was to arrange 



Mtd cle«l them out, make solutions, etc , and it was bewildering 
for the doctors to have to wade about amongst and select and 
prepare these supplies when their hands were ahready overftiU. 
Imagine such an offlocr coming hopefully to get something 
particularly needful, and having to wait about and open 
boxes of 80 to 80 pounds, some of which had only methylated 
spirits, some only turpentine, and some only the splints which 
would have been invsliable ten days previously, but which 
he no longer required ; it was very trying to have this addi- 
tional labour thrust on him. The lives of the medical officers 
were full of vexations. A patient, for example, required a 
saline infusion ; there were no proper means of preparing it, 
and when at last it was turned out it was like pea-soup, so 
muddy that it would have been fatal to have used it. Another 
patient with a cranial injury required instant trephining of 
the skull ; it was skilfully done by one of the officers, but 
under highly disadvantageous conditions, with a miserable 
lantern for light, and with no proper cranium forcipes, only 
the common bone forceps from the amputation case. 

One would have been very glad to see the Red Cross 
properly at work there, but I only once saw any representative 
bom it, when a Dutch-speaking Africander, adorned with a 
brassard and employed by the Red Cross Society and St. 
John's Ambulance Association, turned up and reported that 
he had brought up a trujk load of food, clothing, medical 
comforts, and such like, all of which, except clothing, were 
supposed to be furnished by the army medical department. 
' "hen he arrived it was too late ; the worst was over. He 

d no transport of his own, but was dependent on the military 

JT getting on and distributing his goods, and though the good 

man did his best, I seriously think the only service he rendered 

us at Modder, at least I heard of no other, was to distribute 

some pyjama suits. 

Typhoid fever went on rapidly increasing, and was virulent. 
The mortality from it in the camp amounted to twenty-four 
per hundred cases, though no doubt this great fatality was 
due to the milder cases having been sent away, for every one 
who could bear the transport was daily hastened down 
country in hospital or other trains, in batches of thirty or 
forty at a time. Thej were usually mustered at ten a.m., 
when the ambulance wagons turned up to convey them over 
to the station. After having been taken across in these, 
they had to wait about until one o'clock, when the work of 
putting them into carriages began. This was all right for 
those who were not severely ailing, as they could creep under 
the shade of the trees and sheds about the station, provided 

I. y 





it wcN dry, not too hot, and bee bx>m duit stoniit ; but it 
WM tiylna for thoie upon the ■tretchen who had to tie bakins 
in the anibuUnce wagonii all the time. Their dinner was lent 
over to them from the oamp, tinned beef and biicuit, and 
eventually all were put into the train. Before it moved off 
each man had food and water and a pint of milk lent with 
him, and each compartment contained nix or leven men. 
Bxcept what they carried, there wan commonly no water on 
the train, either tor lavatory purposex or for drinking, beyond 
what might be begged from the engine-driver, and not the 
least important function of the doctor who accompanied the 
train was to b^ for this supply. But it dkl sometimes happen 
that no doctor was sent with them on their k>ng journey of 
many hours, and even of days. 

The strain thrown on every one by the events cu" r h'-ww days 
was terrible, and affected both combatants and ncii combat- 
ants. One military officer whom I knew got into such a state 
of excitement, shouting out, though he was as brave a man 
as any, that ' 00,000 Boers were coming over the hill,' pointing 
and gesticulating to emphasise ' .s illusions, that he had to be 
sent down to Cape Town. A major commanding a bearer 
company went alto(,Hher r^f! uis head and became quite melan- 
ehoUcTand I heard oi' 1. <j other instances of insanity among 
officers. This, as ha< ' b<ien forecasted by Von Bkxik, was one 
of the results to be anticipated trom the fatigues and anxieties 
of the altered conditions of warfare. From the unexag^erated 
account given above of what I myself saw, an approximately 
accurate idea can be formed of what had to be endured l^ 
those serving on the Modder River. 



It was fortunate for those engaged in the gloomy work at 
Modder River that we were cheered by the progress of the 
war under the conduct of General Roberts, and that other 
things gave us variety and broke the sad monotony. 

On the last day of February we heard that at Paardeberg, 
Cronje and all his forces had surrendered, that he had come 
forth into a square formed by the Highland Brigade and given 
himself up. A room in the house at Modder called the ' Hotel,' 
belonging to a Mr. Glover, and which had been Methuen's 
headquarters, was forthwith prepared for Cronje and another 
for his wife, who had been captured ak>ng with him and was 
said to be wounded. About noon of the same day he was 


brought into Moddcr River in a four-wheeled earriuc with 
«»*«. •ccomPMiled by hi* weeping wife and a youna 
nun. The City of London Imperial Vohinteen fonned a 
guard of honour and received him with a general lalute, 
prewnting armi while the buglca played. Much coniideration 
wa. »hown to him, and loitering in the road oppoiite hii room* 
w»i forbidden, ao that hU feeling* might not be hurt by any 
diiplay of vulgar curioiity. 

fti* captured force., 8679 in number, were next brought in, 
and confined in a camp of tents enclosed in a fence of barbed 
wire, round which armed (entries were placed a! .^ost intervals. 
««" when we visited them were very jolly, well fed, and 
JWB chutered round the water-carts enjoying themselves. 
We WW no women and children among them, though there 
WMe laid to be some. I undetatood that some more men were 
tmnight in later, making the total captuK* up to 4400 On 
close acquaintance the captured Boers were not delightftil ; 
after what they had gone through it was perhaps natural that 
the *inell in their camp *hould have been bad, but their habits 
were dirty too foul to be told of here. They were inclined to 
be boastful, and mdulged in taU Ulk of fighting to the last 
and re«i«ting at the capiul*, Bk)emfontein and Pretoria, 
which accorded rather ill with so large a body of strong un- 
wounded men surrendering without at least a single desperate 
jOTtie to break through, as they themselves had just done 
Tliey told us many interesting things; one of these 1 remember, 
and it may have been true, to the effect that Cron je had always 
round hun a bodyguard of six selected marksmen, and that 
in the Magersfontein Uttle the seven were at one time cut 
01 and encireled by a body of the Black Watch who had 
•urpn»ed them while they were upon a kopje. The seven 
gave thenuelve* up for lost when the HighJanders, who had 
not noticed them, departed, and they were able to rejoin their 
comrades. When they were surrounded at Paardeberg, they 
•aid, ea^ man had to dig a pit for himself deep enough to 
conceal hun, and in it they had often to remain for three days 
on end, their sole amusements being to smoke and read their 
huge Bibles. In our prisoners' camp they seemed generally 
to be busied m theu- tents praying and singing psalms. They 
WCTe sent down country as quickly as possible in batches of 
oOO at a time. 

A few days after Cronje's capture we were also gladdened 
by the authentic news of the relief of Ladysmith and the 
evacuation of Colesberg by the Boer commando there. 

We saw many phases of African climate, and the*e not 
always kmd ones, at Modder River, and I became convinced 




1 J'- 


that though South Africa cannot rival the Soudan in the 
matter of flies, it can yet equal it in centipedes, scorpions, 
and tarantulas, and even surpass it in wind storms, thunder, 
lightning, and deluges of rain. Howling dust storms were 
fluent, during which little could be done but sit m the tents 
and await their subsidence ; reading and writing were out 
of the question; and clouds of locusts accompanied the 
storms, or intervened, the animals flitting like moths en- 
deavouring to fly against or sideways to the wind, but drifting 
before it fifteen to th=rty feet above the ground, resembli^ 
brownish snow, and casting their shadows on the tent walls 
as they passed. On the 24th and 25th of February so great 
were the wind and rain that four or five of the hospital tents 
and marquees were blown down, and the patients, some of 
them helpless and unable to move, had to be picked up out 
of the mud in the dark and conveyed into our mess or other 
tents. During these deluges, which continued all day and 
night, it became very cold, and everything was wet, including 
clothing and bedding, while the ground was saturated. One 
day we had just returned from dealing with a case of secondary 
hemorrhage from an amputation stump, where the common 
femoral artery had to be tied, and were resting at sunset, 
when we observed a thunderstorm coming up, and after looking 
to my tent ropes and pegs I had returned to the marquee, 
where we had some food, and the major and I were at the door 
which faced the west admiring the vivid lightning as it ap- 
proached, when in the space of one second a flush of hissmg, 
blinding, and soaking rain, as solid as a bucketful of water, 
dashed against us, and came flying into the door, drenching 
us instantly. A squall of wind accompanied it, tearmg up 
the whole of one side of the marquee, which fluttered and 
flapped and thundered in the gale. As we flew to the poles 
and clung to them to prevent everything from going, we 
looked through the opened side to where our camp was, 
distant a few yards, but the occasional glimpse of a tent 
through a grey sheet of water and small hail was all we could 
discern. The crashing thunder, hissing rain, and flapping 
canvas combined into one common roar in which each special 
sound could not be discriminated, and the lightning continued 
to flash every second or two in the rapidly darkening night, 
where save for its illumination nothing at all would have now 
been visible. The major heard a marquee near at hand go 
down, for he was one of those who missed nothing, and called 
for volunteers to carry the officers who were under it into 
shelter. All who were in our marquee followed him out and 
found a wetflat massflapping on the ground where the marquee 


^ "l!^' n ^' ™«»T^ «>«» pulled out the wounded officers 
who^ all been in their beds, some of them abnost nS 
heaped anythmg upon them, waterproof or othTmise t^t 
wouM cover them, and bo« them on their beds t™gh tte 
deluge into our half-d^manUed marquee. Excepting mvsSr 
haymg had the foresight to throw on a mStoSi S 
every one was drenched to the skin in the p™ xfwe 
were oirrymg over the last bed. behold I hTtfoT the^mn 
seemed to smk into the ground before our eyes ' tents 
shnveUed and sank down like tinfoil melting to a fi^.'a^L 

^fortv ^* '^"'*'' ''^« r ^*°°^ «ond«.stricto, thtty 
or forty tents were gone, and in their place were sodden Zt 
masses of writhing patients covered \riS Te^ 3es w^t 

S^Z' 1:^ """"^ °iif"* "^P**- Naked men struffi oTt 
bhnded men. wounded and helpless men. and men with 

^rr^*'!/'^"'/"""* ""^ 8««°«d, and an tosTne n^,^ 
who had been tied to a tent pole shouted and sWe^S, wUk 
down ever came the torrents of solid water. From eV^ 
quarter there seemed to rise ftom out the ground pTn^Tf 

and the thundCT stunned us at rapid internals as it ci^Jd 
overhead. Such a thunderstorm I had never i^n^ore 
but I was mimediately to see one j, ^, worse. - ' 

We gathered our wits and set to work. There was no n^H 
of lamps, the continuous and vivid flashes^r r sufficient 

we w4^ tf S °^*7 '''^'"«> '^^ P""^ ««'«' ^^ 
we wished to assist, and commg in the mud on a shatt^iwl 

and bandaged head or Umb, a! we groped for the heS 
unfortunate^ Soon others came to help^ stretchers w»^ 
got, wet^ sodden and soiled as they were evemWng w" 
welcomed that would carry a man, and we to led till the opeT 
tion and mess tents were paved with patients like slates u^n 
kTuf^- «^"y y«tjt»'''''n8 tent was filled. By the ttae 
that all this was fimshed tne rain had passed I hasten.^ f« 
get my dry Norfolk jacket and cap. peSed the maW to 
aUle fZ'.K^ •"" wet c othi g a„d ^^ „„ ^.^^ ^ ^^^ 
a little from the now chilly night air. and together we went 
over to the other officers' marquees. AU sav? one w«e ftit 
I found a cousm of mine who had been wounded at Paarde^ril 
emergmg m hu ^ual good humour, hopping on his™ l^f 

^ hi^^ ■". *' "^"^^ *° «»'•'" ** «»tte™d art^Tes 
of his kit and accoutrements which were lying in the mud 
He was an inmate of a marquee which had partly wSaS 
the storm, and finding him so content and pat^tl hKn 
good-night, went to my tent, which I foS^d^tuf ZidS^ 


' ' r 


/ 3 ;.^' 'I 


turned out all the dry clothes and stockings that I could spare, 
and when we had stripped and clothed the wet officers and 
men, had a bowl of Maggi soup and turned in. 

The lightning was still playing about, rendering the sky 
bright and the tents dark, and the tents white and the sky 
dark, alternately, and having looked once more to my tent 
pegs I lay watching these sights until I fell asleep. But it 
was not for long. Towards midnight I was awakened by a 
dash of thunder-rain against the canvas, and fouind another 
storm passing straight overhead. The lightning had become 
so continuous that it was a constant quivering light, trans- 
parent through the wet tent walls, while the wind roared 
and tossed the tents, and the thimder overhead made the 
ground shake and tremble. Then came a roar like the sea 
in full fury, and my tent pole wavered, bent over, and came 
down across my waist, pinning me to the ground on my 
stretcher, and immediately I found myself unable to move. 
The only thing to be done was to lie still until some one found 
me, so I lay with the canvas over my face smothering me, 
felt pools of water run from it down into my ears, down under 
my body, and up along my feet and legs. The thunder 
continued to shake eve^hing, the lightning every instant 
or oftener to pour out its streams of Ught, and the canvas 
flapped horribly in the gale. It seemed as if the last day 
were come. From the commotion I knew that many other 
tents were down, and that in time I should be foimd and 
rescued, if I lay still, for the ' Professor ' would be sure to 
be missed. But the time appeared to be endless, and indeed 
it seemed as if it were impossible for any one to escape the 
lightning, and I did think that perhaps my own last hour had 
come. Eventually I heard the voice of the major asking if 
any one were there ; others were with him ; and when I replied 
that a fragment of humanity still existed, the pole shook and 
was rais«i from my body to my great relief, and the good 
major somehow found his way under the canvas and struggled 
to get the pole vertical. At first I was unable to assist him, 
but presently my breath came back in gasps, I hauled on my 
boots, the tent was raised by our joint exertions and I crept 
out. M^hat a sight met me ! liie ground was streaming 
fire upwards like hundreds of torehes, at least it seemed to 
flash upwards, and in the dead of night, while the rain cas- 
caded, the thunder raved, and the lightning appeared to 
escape from every yard of ground, I beheld the ruins of our 
canvas city. The scene was beyond description, and I need 
not dilate upon it. The major had his tent blown down with 
all the othors, but he managed to struggle out and assemble 


« rejcue ]^ Soon men were sent over from the other 
camps, and tents rose up and resumed shape, and hundreds 

joimng m the hammermg and assisting others 

We put the major's tent to rights, and then repeated the 
a^Z^^t !!?r!' '° «'"*"8 the injured and^ck into 
their own restored tents or new ones which were hastUy pitched 

^ 1^"^'"°"'^ °-^°^- '" ^^^ intervals of which we 
f^H 1 I Tl^"' "** ^°^ P'*y'"8 "'°"d to their God, 
and the wails of the msane negro who, lashed to the pole, was 
lying underneath his fallen tent. ^ 

Not till aien had I time to hunt up my cousin. Lighting 
L^^'J "•"* *°- ^^J^V^'^- It lay like a newIpaiiS 
on a road on a ramy day. and from beneath it 1 CS 
hun crewlmg as cheerful as ever, to hop about on bis 
somd foot and flsh up his belongings from the mud. By the 
light of my lantern we retrieved most of them ; he Umned 
over to my tent whither we carried his things, and on the SS 
ground on one side of It he made his bed and lay down, hoping 
doubtless, as I did, that we might be able to lie ii pS^ 
there imtil the mornmg. From my portmanteau I produced 
my last tr^sured tm of Huntley and Pabner's biscuits and 
Lf.'!^ J '=^°~'"*«', ^nd .^"^ found in the mud a 
waterbottle and some lemon juice, we both, joined presently 

Bv ^.Tl°J\r^^ "'•1* r '=°»?'J"«1 " '»™rious meat 
By this tune the storm had passed over. A kind quarter- 
mastCT lent me from somewhere a damp rubber sheet and a 
wet blanket; the former I spread over my soaked bed 
having mopped up with a sponge the worst pools in it ; the 
latter I wrapped round me, and after the inevitable smoke 
we toy down and soon were so sound asleep that we did not 
awake until the sun shone into the tent, the flies began to 
settle on our heads, and a new day had begun. Our ablutions 
were done after a fashion, and like wet ■ sps we crept out 
mto the sunny air, lugged out our water-lodged clothing and 
spread it out on the tent walls and the ground to dry Mv 
cousm found somewhere a dry pair of socks which he save 
me, for which I was truly thankful, for all of mine had been 
given the evemng before to the wet invalids. The major 
mvited my cousm to mess with us during his stay, and thouah 
aJun^^iT** *^'' *** P"^^"^ °^ company to messing is 
During the alarms and discomforts of the night the be- 
haviour of the sick officers and men was magnMcent, with 
the smgle exception of an old Highland colo^ who slipped 
at us like a savage terrier dog whenever we offered to 1^ 

I m 


"■1 I 




him, and would let only his servant touch him. As he seemed 
to prefer lying all night under the fallen marquee, we propped 
up a part of it with sticks and left him ; what became of him 
I do not know, but whether or not he spent the night under 
the marquee, which was so wet and broken that we could 
not raise it in the obscurity, he had gone into some other 
shelter when we went to looii for him in the morning. But 
for the others I was fllleU with an intense admiration, as, 
besides the discomforts I have attempted to describe, some of 
them were very sorely wounded, and to be so served after 
their awful ride from Paardeberg must have tested the for- 
titude of the pluckiest of men. 

After a beautiful forenoon, in which we were able to lunch 
in the open air, we had in the afternoon the worst hailstorm 
I saw in South Africa. It began by looking black over 
Magersfontein, where heavy rain was visibly falling. We 
looked to the tent pegs and laced up the door just as the storm 
reached us. It was, however, not a monstrous repetition of 
the night before, but an interesting variation. There was 
no wind, but lightning followed by a trash of rain. The 
north side of the tent had the appearance as if showers of 
missiles were being thrown against it, and from where we stood 
in its interior it looked as if it were everywhere being struck 
by volleys of musket balls, for each spot which was struck 
emitted a spurt of spray right across the tent as if it were blown 
from the mouth of a gun. My cousin peeped through a chink 
of the door anH called to me to come and look. The ground 
was white with hailstones as big as large gooseberries, or even 
small potatoes, and these were the projectiles which bad been 
battering on our tent. When the shower began to pass and 
we could look freely out, not a soul was to be seen, only the 
horses and mules were kicking and lashing out as the hail 
struck them like whips. On examining the hailstones, their 
average measured diameter was one inch ; all were much of 
one size ; the largest were Ij by Ij by 1 inch, and their 
structure was in layers like onions, the ice being alternately 
opaque and translucent ; they weighed on an average over a 
quarter of an ounce. When melted they left on the ground 
marks of concentric crusts resembling the section of a corru- 
gated onion. 

These were specimens of the weather at Modder, and no 
doubt it was similar where Roberts's army was lying round 
Paardeberg or advancing eastwards across the Orange Free 




Trek to Kimberlxt 

°~ l^, T'^y ,^» Modder to Kimberley I gained experience 
of trekking, the sort of travelling which prevaUed in South 
A&im in the early days. On Saturday the 10th of March 
we at last got our final orders to depart at 4 p.m., and long 
before that tune our men commenced the loading of the flvl 
buck-wagons forming our transport, each of which was capable 
of carrymg easily 8000 pounds, and if necessary even SoOO. 
Une of the wagons served to carry the tents of our field hos- 
pital, a second all our medical and surgical stores, and the 
remammg three the baggage of the officers and men : the 
iMding occupied three hours, so that we were ready long before 
the appointed time, and had the usual additional delays, 
waitmg for three and a half hours, before we drew out of 
Modder^ The major, two officers, and myself accompanied 
one part of the procession, and a prolonged dust storm which 
enveloped us removed any lingering regret we might have 
otherwise had at quitting the place where we had so long been 
busied, where we had lost, moreover, by death or sickness, 
already over one third, nearly a half indeed, of our company. 
Our last view of the plain which, not many weeks previously 
had supported a populous canvas city of 80,000 inhabitants 
was over a naked, desolate expanse which showed only the 
crosses of the dead in the two little cemeteries, with the lumes 
upon them aheady half obliterated by the weather. The 
whole place was horrible, its river putrid and stinking from 
the carcases, mostly of horses, which had been washed down 
from Paardeberg and elsewhere, and stuck, bloated and 
ml ' °" *^"y **°"*' shallow, or foid. 
There were mishaps before we reached the rendezvous a 
few mUes towards the north-east. A Scotch cart, loaded at 
the last moment with odds and ends, and tacked on by its 
shafts to— of course— the most heavily loaded wagon, proved 
to be of greater weight than the oxen could draw, stuck fast 
in the d^p sand before we had gone half a mile, and had to 
be transferred to another wagon which was abeady half a 
mUe ahead. Next it was found that the water-carts had not 
their mules inspanned, and one of these broke loose and had 
to be hunted for half an hour over the veld before it could be 
<«ught, by which time the other wagons were two miles in 
aavanre. And there was riding backwards and forwards 
and stoong language, and anxiety to our chief, before all was 

^ Pi 

I ■ 


When at last we reached the rendezvoui, we found we were 
to be part of a train of over forty wagons, which had to be 
started one by one, forming a line along the road we were to 
follow. We should have bad, in addition, an armed escort of 
Ave -and -twenty of the Noithamptons, who had been detailed 
to ensure our safety, but somehow they had gone astray, 
and our sole protecton; as we marched through a part of the 
Free State territory were the three or four mounted transport 
riders who accompanied us. 

Each wagon of the procession had a pair of oxen yoked to 
its pole, and in front of them fourteen others attached in 
pairs to a long iron chain extending from the pole, the whole 
being about forty yards in length. Every wagon had two 
drivers, the front one, the ' voorlooper,' guiding the oxen by 
pulling them by the nose, the second, the driver proper, was 
usually seated on the box ; both were armed with long bam- 
boos, like salmon rods, furnished with long lashes, and heartily 
the two discharged their function of flogging, and fearful 
noises they made with the cracks of the great whips, the 
reports when they struck the sides of the animals being 
like rifle shots, and with their own harsh throaty sounds of 
'At6mm,' 'Aat,' 'SturM,' 'Gumaal,' and so forth; at least 
the sounds resembled, to my unfamiliar ears, words like these. 
The wagons started off, one behind the other, forming a line 
about a mile long, and its snaky length wound its way over 
the plains, the foremost end being visible from the rear only 
by the huge column of dust it cast up, in which r II details 
were lost. The transport riders, all of them whites and good 
horsemen, galloped from end to end and from place to place 
along the sides, keeping order and preventing the line from 
breaking into pieces, by stopping the front to await the rear 
or by hurrying the latter up. The oxen went bravely, about 
as fast as a man could leisurely walk, sometimes going at 
a run for a short space, but maintaining on the whole the 
same average speed, unless for momentary rectifications, until 
our first stopping-place was reached. When, as sometimes 
happened, an ox fell sick, it was simply detached and driven 
along with us, unless it were very ill, when it was left on the 
veld to die or feed itself well again, as the case might be. 
Having been unable at Modder to procure a horse, I accom- 
panied the march on foot, and as we passed away towards 
the north, by the eastern end of Magersfontein, the sun set, 
the light faded, the plain grew dark, and the moon and stars 
alone lit us on our way. 

We continued onwards in the weird moonlight until 9 p.m., 
when we drew up at a place[^^lled Bissett's farm, to rest 


^hput ouUpanning. and this wai done as follows: the 
leading wagon draw to one side of the road, and the next two 
cMBe up on Its outer side, forming a trio alongside one another, 
with the oxen aU in their places in the direction of our advance, 
as If pr«)ared to start_ three abreast. The three wagons which 
toUowed were suniUrly ranked on the other side of the load : 
behmd these were arranged the rest, by threes and threes, 
all symmetncally and beautiftilly done, so that they could 
easily start agam without delay and in good order. The oxen 
w«e not fed. but stood motionless and ghostly in the dark 
quiet m their harness, and rested thus, one or two of the moi^ 
weaned lymg down. 

The farmer Bissett was an honest Scot, who pronounced 
Cronjes Mme as if it were spelled ' Kronjee,' and he told us 
that Cronje was a half-breed, and that he used to bastinado 
his troops with a big whip. Bissett said he had sent word to 
Methuen advismg hun to outflank Magersfontein instead of 
attacking it frontaUy. but that his advice was not taken, 
though he had constantly sent in accounts of how the Boers 
could be circumvented. Roberts, however, acted on that 
principle. It seemed that Bissett had been taken to Jacobsdal 
on an accusafaon of having poisoned some of the Boers' horses, 
but was let on on giving a bribe of £40. 

After the halt had been properly organised the drivers 
and those of our men who had climbed upon the wagons got 
down, whites and blacks employed themselves in kindUng little 
llrra. coffee pots were put on and a meal was made by moon- 
l«lit ; then pipes were lit and aU prepared to obtain some 
sleep. We threw our coats over the barbed wire fence which 
tliere hned the road, got over it ourselves, spread out a blanket 
or coat on the pound after kicking aside all the stones we could 
reel with our feet, got something to serve us as a pillow 
wrapped something else round us, and fell asleep under the 
radiant stars which, as the night was fortunately a fine one 
blaied steadily without a twinkle, and amongst the camomile 
scent of the crushed heathery herbs we rested until Bam 
when the oxen began to stir and the men to move, and we 
roused ourselves to continue our march. The moon and Venus 
had then set in the west, but Jupiter had risen before the sun, 
and a beautiful spear of the zodiacal light went up into the 
heavens almost to the zenith, not more than 10 degrees off 
the perpendicular, its base resting on the eastern horizon 
where the day was shortly to break. 

Our first march had been for twelve miles, our second or 
mormag one was to be about six more, and in the same order 
m which they had stopped the wagons moved slowly off into 

i. I'.Jj 

r< 1^ 


:' tl 




the duk, until daylight came in at five, when we halted at 
Scholse's Nek for the day ; and thii time the oxen were out- 
spanned. No longer on a well-marked road, we were out on 
the open veld, the halt was to be for the greater part of the 
day, and the oxen were to be fed, therefore the arrangements 
differed tiotn those for a temporary halt, and were managed 
in this fashion. The wagons were drawn up close beside and 
parallel to one another, like cigars in a box, with the ox teams 
in flront of them, also parallel. There were three such cohimns 
of twelve or thirteen wagons in each. Then the cattle were 
cast loose, the chains ttom the wagon poles stretched out on 
the ground straight in front, bales of hay were shaken out in 
various places, men lit fires, made breakfast, and settled down 
to wait until the heat of the day was over and the cool of the 
evening had come. The oxen f&st greedily ate their own hay, 
then tried to make raids on that of their neighbours, which 
the negroes prevented them from doing by shouts and whips, 
and when all they could find was consumed, the beasts strayed 
away over the veld to nibble at the scanty pasture, while the 
men lay down in some shade to sleep away the day. I have 
spent many a bustling day which had less real Interest in it 
than this one which I passed underneath the buck-wagon, 
sheltered by its shadow from the hot sun, at' I lay laiily watch- 
ing the naked kopjes, the waterless plains around them with 
their few twigs of shrubs and scanty blades of herbage, ai.d 
ever the stretches of barren sand between. The dust and 
smell of Modder were hardly out of my nostrils, and I could not 
help thinking what a hopeless country it seemed for civilised 
man to dwell in. As it chanced, in turning up my little pocket 
Horace, 1 found his most appropriate description of Africa : 

' leonum arid* nutrix. 
Pone me pigris ubi nulla campis 
Arbor aestiva recreatur aura, 
Quod latus mundi nebulae malusque 

Jupiter urguet ; 
Pone iub cturra nimium propinqui 
Solis in terra domibus negata.' 

Towards four o'clock in the afternoon an indefinite bustle 
began to be perceived in the laager, negroes crept out from 
beneath the wagons, and looked arounU the veW. Then the 
cattle were seen drifting nearer to us, coming spontaneously 
closer, and, as if they realised their duty, breaking up into their 
several herds. Into these the Kafirs plunged, and by strokes 
from lusty arms each soon separated his own team of thirty - 
two cattle from the great herd of perhaps 1200 or 1800. 



Eadt teun was then driven up by iti two Kafln and TBii|ed 
in • line lacing one way, like a company of loldien, beiide it* 
own particular wagon. A noote was thrown round the bomi 
of each of the oxen, and by it they were puUed into their places 
in pairs along the ' trek tow ' or chain ; a beam was thrown 
across each pair in ftont of the shoulders and made fast to 
the horns by a flgure-of-eu[ht cord ; a prong on each side of 
the neck and a cord round the throat steadied all, and trota 
this the pull was obtained. The hinder pair of oxen was 
attached to the wagon pole, the others were coupled up in 
front of them to the chain, and all was ready. They weie 
started oft in the same order as that in which they had stopped, 
and the evening ' trek ' began. 

The experiences of the preceding evening were repeated ; 
we walked on in the sun, in the sunset, in the dusk, and in the 
dark, and the dusty line crawled on until we were well-nigh 
sick of it. Every one who could climbed on to some wagon 
or other, and I truly believe I was the only individual in the 
whole train who walked every step of the way. Those driving 
or riding eventually tired of doing so, and the major and some 
of the others walked with me for the last four miles. We were 
all weary men when we saw the foremost wagons draw up, as 
formerly, on the sides of the road, and learned that we had 
arrived at Wimbledon, where we were to bivouac for the ni^t. 
Already we had guessed that we were close to and were circling 
round the western side of Kimberley, for the electric light on 
the Bultfontein mines guided us as to the lie of the town. 
Of our escort we had seen nothing j we subsequently learned 
that instead of protecting us from the Boer raiders they had 
taken a different direction and a worse road, and the only 
evidence we had of their existence was the sight of their leader's 
baggage which we carried. 

The second night of our bivouacking was a repetition of the 
first, exc^t that we had no mosquitoes, and did not start 
again until five a.m., when we set off as before. It shortly 
became light, and in the lessening dusk we passed Beacons- 
field, a suburb of Kimberley, left its racecourse and mcestand 
on '-ir right hand, ascended a stony elevation where our 
wa, stuck by their wheels getting behind large boulders 
and ying to be prised over them by iackscrews, and reached 
the high-lying plateau of Newton Common, immediately 
outside the breastworks and sandbag redoubt by which the 
city been fortified on that side during the siMe. txmg 
as it did between the city and the surrounding hiUs heM by 
the Boers, Newton Common had been the scene of many 
combats between the besiegers and defenders, and on it, a 

* '] 





clear and brecsy xpot, we loon let up our tents, IneakCMted, 
and were rejoined by two of our eomndei, who had remained 
to flniih some duties at Modder River, and had oome on by 



Whsn our field hospital arrived in Kimfaerley, Mafeking, a 
town a couple of hundred miles to the north, was still invested 
by the enemy, and the railwoy which connected the two was 
in their hands. Forty miles trom Kimberley this line of rails 
crossed the Vaal River, which divided the Orange Free State 
trom the Transvaal. 

Methuen may have had twelve to fifteen thousand men 
under his command in Kimberley, while the Boers had perhaps 
nine thousand ranged along the Vaal. Mrthuen lost no time 
in commencing operations by moving out his forces so as to 
sweep ott all the Boers who intervened between him and the 
Vaal, and occupied with little or no resistance the small 
towns of Boshof, forty miles to the north-east, Warrenton on 
the Vaal, the same distance due northwards, and Barklay, 
just across the Vaal twenty-five miles to the north-west. 
Thus the enemy were soon driven to occupy practically the 
line of the northern bank of the great river. It was con- 
jectured by some of us that our function would be in the first 
place to relieve Mafeking, but as time went on this plan, if it 
had ever been fixed upon, was altered. 

Although Roberts, who was now advancing on Bloemfontein, 
was less dependent on having to send lick his sick and 
wounded in our direction, and Modder had no longer an 
existence as a medical centre, yet there were many invalids in 
Kimberley, and more were arriving, while there was a con- 
siderable deficiency in medical resources. Numbers of volun- 
teer civilian surgeons were sent up with the supplies which 
were required, and stationary hospitals were formed in the city, 
while the field hospitals were prepared as much as possible for 
mobile work in the field, so as to move forwards in the lightest 
order, without any tents, with a minimum of transport, each 
hospital being allowed only two buck-wagons, and each officer 
permitted to have but 8S pounds of baggage. 1 thought 
myself fortunate in bemg able to secure a small patrol tent, 
and to purchase at the cost of SM a Basuto pony and a light 
buggy which would carry myself and my few belongings, 
before we got our orders to move on the a»th of March. 

While we were at Kimberley it was a source of delight to 



•11 of lu, after the imperftet nnitetion of Modder, to hav* 
nippUet of water which we oould drink without the conttant 
thought that we might be twallowing typhoid death, that we 
were able to touch our lipt with our bathing and washing 
water in safety, and that cleansing our teeth was no longer 
done at the peril of our lives, which was ever present to all of 
us at Modder ; and it made us comparatively light-hearted 
to be fkeed bom that particuUrity of the horrid valley of 
death. Yet even in clean Kimberley the same maladministra- 
tion as rendered Modder so pestiferous sometimes threatened 
to reproduce similar conditions. The slovenliness with which 
camp sanitation was attended to was almost incredible. 
Though we arrived early on a Monday morning, with sixty 
patients, most of whom were suffering ttom dysentery or 
diarrhcea, it was Wednesday evening, three days and two 
nights later, before any latrines were properly fitted up, while 
for the first twenty-four hours there were none at all, and the 
ground around was rapidW becoming a cesspool. With an 
undermanned medical staff and no special sanitary corps, it 
could not weU be otherwise, despite the efforts made to provide 
a remedy, and the temperature, which was 8S degrees in the 
shade, favoured the dissemination of such diseases. 

Some convoys of patients, though fewer than at Modder, 
were still coming in. In one of them there was only one 
medical man to accompany 480 patients ; many of these had 
dysentery so badly that it was beyond their strength to leave 
the wagons for their necessities even had it been possible to 
stop the cimvoys for the purpose, their evacuations had to 
be made over the sides of the carts or even when lying within 
them ; the water buckets were used as closets and were fiill 
of their soil when they arrived ; and one of the worst cases 
of dysentery had his clothing covered from head to foot with 
his own defecations. Disease was rampant everywhere, and 
probably the Medical Corps suffered more ttom illness and 
deaths than any other ; in our own field hospital the com- 
mandant considered that nearly all his men had had distinct 
typhoid fever, though many of them were slight cases. 

All this was r jt the fault of the medical officers ; they were 
most indignant and outspoken about such a state of matters, 
but what could the overworked and undermanned staff do 
where no sufficient provision had been made in advance to 
meet such conditions 1 I often thought that my Portsmouth 
Address was as milk compared with their condemnatory 
remarks. One esteemed ..nd most devoted officer expressed 
openly the hope that a history of the medical aspects of the 
war in all their naked truth might some day be published. 

\ ft j- 

:> \i 




>nd lomc one meet with Mrere puniihment. Another, and 
he was pohape the ablett offloer of the R.A.M.C. whom I met, 
called it inhuman to uie men to flght our battla and then 
treat them thui when they were aick ; and a third, who had 
only recently joined ua, and had not pemonally seen half of 
what we othen had witnessed, waa itrong in hia condemnation 
of those who had neglected the reforms that had been urged 
upon the War Office for years. 

It was impossible for me to obtain an exact account of the 
numbers of the sick and wounded, but beiides those who were 
in the civil hospital, perhaps a hundred or so, there were no 
fewer than eight hospitals in the town filled with them, the 
Masonic Hall, the Catholic Charities, Drill Hall, etc., each 
containing 50 or 60, while one field hospital heki SOO and 
another lOO enterics, and so on. I incline to think that 1100 
or 1800 Would have been the lowest total estimate. 

The Red Cross here began to be of some use. The nursing 
sisters of the Public Schools Hospital assured me that it had 
been of much benefit to them in providing clothing and such 
like necessaries for the patients there, all of whom were military 
sick and wounded, and I especially noted this, as up to then 
I had not seen anything conrrniendable in its work. 

At Kimberley other voluntary aid came in. An American 
field hospital was brought up country and put together as 
its parts arrived ; it was placed nominally under the command 
of an officer of the R.A.M.C., and wau very well provided, 
though, owing tu the presence of its donor, who used it more 
as a source of comfort and adventure for himself than for the 
unrestricted good of the invalids, it was not of any great utility 
so long as it was under my observation. 

As far as time permitted, I studied the defences which had 
protected Kimberley during its sequestration. The entrench- 
ments were very shallow and open to artillery fire, and con- 
trasted badly with the efficiency of the Boer trenches beyond 
them. But I have already told of the difference when describ- 
ing Magersfontein. The major and I went out to examine 
Cuter's Ridge, which had been the scene of an action where 
Captain Scott Turner was killed. We went to the south-west 
over the veld, which was there very rough, and notwith- 
standing that clouds of locusts were so dense that it was 
difficult for us to see where we were going, succeeded in 

reaching it under the guidance of G , who had been one 

of the party from Kimberley who carried out the attack, had 
gone back later with some comrades, and during the dark 
been successful in recovering Turner's body. Of the sixty who 
formed the assaulting force, only fifteen had returned un- 


wounded. Whoi we reeehed the Boer defence*, we found 
them • nun of loophoied walk where the farmhouie had 
•tood, and a lenet of trenehei and redoubu, with a serai-lunar 
wndbag emplaoeni«nt for a great gun. The proprietor Mr 
Carter was oh^rfiiUy trying to make a habiution out of the 
rum. of what had been hu houie, and he was good enoush 
to acoompaiiy u. and show us the enemy's fortifications. 
They were skUfully placed ak>ng the crest of the ridge, facini- 
Kimberiey, and commanded its outposts at a distance <rf 
about aaoo yards. The trenches were deep and covered ,n 
front and above by sheets of corrugated iron teken from Mr 
IMters farm. Here again one could not but admit, the 
Dutch as mihtary engineers : for once more their d> ences 
were far luperiw to thoee of our own side in their adui.t^tio.i 
to modOT warfare, especiaUy as regards modem .irt.Hery 
lire; indeed, the impreesion one formed was that if th.y Hb 1 
poiMssed as much reiohition as engineering genius, they woi 1.1 
have hpd a very good chance had they boWly rushed Kimb<-r 
ley, m spite of the vakur and skill of Cotonel Kekewich and 
Its brave defenders under his command. 

We of course all paid a visit of inspection to ' Long Cecil • 
the only k>i^[-range gun Kimberiey possessed, which was 
constructed dunng the sieoe by Mr. Labram— a wonderful 
niece of work to have been done under the existing conditions 
by a civilian engmeer ; it stood before the Court House, where 
doubtless it will remain for many a generation as a memento 
of that epoch in the history of the city. 

There were some rainy days during our stay in Kimberiey 
and they completely altered the appearance of the veld' 
It buret mto gtery. Short creeping grasses sprang up 
sparsely and it was filled with flowers, inconspicuous but 
beautifiil, rose-hued oxalis, stellaria, pretty pink vetches 
small white garlic, innumerable composits; with yeltow balls' 
yeUow daisies purple Michaelmas daisies, bunches of bedstraw! 
ai^ the duU funereal asphodel which poisons the horses who 
eat it. It was a pleasure to walk over the veW, and we had 
to cross It every time we left our camp, for we were a mile or 
two outside the city. 

On the first arrival of our unit the pavemente and streets 
of Kimberiey were crowded with men in k^iki uniform 
*X?y ,*"°P contemed one or two, and the town resounded 
with the tread of mfantry. the tramp and dust of the cavalry 
were everywhere, while the rattle of the military wagons was 
pMhaps the prevailing note. The Club was for ever clustered 
with officers coming, going, eating and smoking. But before 
we left our major was ahnost the only nan in uniform to be 

;. frl 




' : ! 

M i 


seen as he and I walked through the streets ; in ten days' 
time the troops had nearly all departed, and the resulting 
silence had become impressive. 

We too struck our tents, packed our carts, and were home- 
less wanderers once more. We went to the hospital and said 
farewell to those of our unit who were in the giasp of typhoid. 
They were doing fairly well though not out of danger, and 
though it was comforting to leave them in good hands, yet 
I felt that their poor wasted faces would ever remain in my 
memory as I saw them when we said good-bye, for we were 
unlikely ever to meet again. 



1 PEAR that I owe some apology for the introduction of this 
chapter, which refers to a singular celestial sunset appearance 
witnessed by myself and others at Modder River and Kimber- 
ley, as well as elsewhere afterwards, on a good many occasions. 
It resembled somewhat the phenomenon well known as the 
' Gegenschein,' but did not correspond with anything I had 
seen, or had read of it. Once only had I seen a trace of 
something faintly resembling it on a flat moor in Scotland, 
but in no other part of the world had I met with anything 
like it, and it struck me and my comrades as being very re- 
markable. The camera entirely failed to reproduce it ii it 
I made several drawings. I may be entirely mistaken, bui it 
seems worthy of a description. 

When the sun had just set in the north-west, there some- 
times appeared in the south-east, at a point diametrically 
opposite to the sunset, an appearance as if another sun were 
rising there. There was usually a concentrated reddish glow 
in the sky at that point, and a thin stratum of cirrhus cloud 
8 or 10 degrees above the visible horizon, which on these 
great plains corresponded with the true horizon, and fiom 
the brightest point above the cloud there spread upwards 
into the sky a fan-shaped series of radiating bands of light 
and shade, precisely like those one sees thrown into the air 
by the setting sun when it shines through clouds. As we did 
not know at first what those appearances were, we styled them 
' coimter-sunsets.' 

The first one which was noticed was at Modder, on the 4th 
of March, when the sun had just set in a clear sky in the north- 
west, and Venus and the crescent moon were visible in the 
same direction. Somewhere about half an hour after sunset 



1 :i|i 

r. ■ >1 





ttaee bnad streams of soft white light resembling the beuns 
ftom ate lights were seen radinting from a point on the south- 
eastern honion, lasting for twenty minutes or thereby and 
then dMappeanng. A sketch was made. One band was 10 
or 18 degrees m breadth, radiating from about 48° to 56= 
to the north of the vertical ; the second S degrees biMd 
radiatmg between about 25° to 80° N. ; and the third about 
10 degrees broad, radiating bf tween the vertical drawn from 
the common meeting-place of all on the horizon and 10 
degrees to the north of this. The lower ends of the bands 
sprang ftom a smaU belt of cumulus or cirrho -cumulus cloud 
lymg some 15 degrees above the horizon, and their upper 
ends reached ahnost to the zenith, ending in somewj^t 
rounded extremities which, like their sides, shaded graduaUy 
away into the blue sky. This observation was not made so 
carefully as those which followed. 

The second was seen at Kimber>ey on the 18th of March. 
On coming out of my tent at a.48 p.m., whUe the setting sun 
was stall 10 degrees above the horizon, rays of light were seen 
raaerging from a point on the horizon exactly opposite the sun 
thew lower ends rising into sight at a slight bank of sunlit 
doud, cumulus m type, situated 10 degrees above the horizon, 
but the rays had they been prolonged wouW have met at a 
pomt at or just below the horizon. The moon, a day or two 
past her full, had not yet risen. The sky generaUy was dull 
with cumulus clouds. The appearance lasted for five minutes. 
,i? ™y' Z'^ *^* "* number : No. 1, 10 degrees broad. 80" to 
40 N. ; No. 2, 10 degrees broad. 10° to 20° N. ; No 8 10 
degrees broad, 5° to 15° S. ; No. 4. 5 degrees broad, 26° to 
80 is. ; and No. 5, 5 degrees broad, 40° to 46° S., all the 
measurements being taken from the vertical of the point 
of convergence. 

A third very beautiful one was seen at Kimberley on the 
Z2nd Sfarch. The sun had set in a sky which was cloudless, 
except for one white cumulus cloud far to the south, and the 
sunset showed no divergent rays. There was a thin red haze 
all round the horizon most marked on the east and west ; 
at 6.2 p.m. the phenomenon appealed, four bands converging 
to a spot on the south-eastern horizon, where they all met 
As the sun sank deeper it cast the convex shadow of the earth 
on the sky above the horizon for a depth of 10 degrees, and 
from the upper border of this the bands arose, stretehing up- 
wards 78 decrees towards the zenith, and in proportions the 
sun sank farther the shadow cut ofi the lower ends of the 
bands. On this occasion the bands had the appearance of 
dark rays or shadows on the glowing mist, leaving it bright 



1 ^ i II 


I : 





betwoen them. The meuuies of the bands were : No. 1, 10 
degrees broad, ilO° to aO° N. ; No. 2, 15 degrees broad, 85° to 
40° N. ; No. 8, 5 degrees broad, 20° to i2S° S. ; No. 4, 5 degrees 
broad, 40° to 45° S. By tiie time the phenomenon had lasted 
for ten minutes, that is at 6.12 p.m., the band of the earth's 
shadow on the horizon had climbed to IS degrees, and then 
the whole faded quickly away. . 

Though they were frequently watched for, the 'counter- 
sunsets ' were not visible every night. They created a good 
deal of interest among us, for they were previously unknown 
to any of us, and our company mustered a goodly number 
of seientiflc men, most of them accurate observers. On one 
occasion we saw at sunset the unmistakable convex shadow 
of the earth thrown on the sky while there were no beams 
observable. Now and then we saw them at other places 
than Modder and Kimberley, but always where there were 
broad unlimited plains. 

It was evident that on these expanses the lower strata of 
the atmosphere were nearly always full of dust, and when 
the sun's rays fell tangentially on them at sunset the rays, 
being practically parallel, would when made visible by passing 
through cloud or dust appear to one in the middle of the plain 
as radiat'ng divergently &om the setting sun, and converging 
behind the observer to the opposite horizon, just as on a 
straight part of a railway the rails to one standing in the 
middle of the straight part seem to converge and meet towards 
both ends. The rays, illuminating the dusty atmosphere, 
would be most evident towards the sunset and the horizon 
opposite it, as they would be seen end on, and least evident 
overhead and sideways where they would be seen across. 
Clouds at sunset would throw long shadows or bands across 
the dusty sunht atmosphere, these bands would seem to 
converge to a point opposite the true sunset, and give rise 
to the ' eounter-amset.' This seemed to be the explanation 
of the appearance, and if it were correct it was evident that 
there might be ' counter-tunrun ' as well. 

That this was really the case I was able to satisfy myself 
on the 80th of March, when the conditions were favourable. 
Dawn that morning stole in between 5.15 and 5.80 ; it was 
almost totally cloudless, but a faint dust and heat haze 
overspread the plain. The horizon remained steel-blue both 
to north and south, but the coming sun stained the east 
citron-yellow, and over against it in the west was visible the 
convex bow-like shadow of the earth seen upon the haze, 
and above that shadow the unrisen sun made the haze glow 
a fiery purple rivalling the east in brightness. As the sun 


tlie place in the east where the sun was about to rise th^ 
were no diveiRent beams proceeding, but pSiv in^ w^ 

«fnt!^!S?* ^"^ ''""«•» t» 'hoot up dSXm^ 
pomt «actly opposite to the sunrise. This wasTs^a! m 

At flwt the beams were faint, and three in number then tW 

the shadow of some peculiarly shaped kopjes which ZS 
the nmme point in the east, one of »^ch cal S the Aasvo,^ 
kopje possessed a distinctive outline and a MoaHar noM^ 

:^f^'"lL' " '*"",^'"" """""'"^ "O the wesC sky under: 
neath the beams. Above the Aasvogel shadowand b^«n 

STe^'* ""* '^y "r *"''«* a warm ^LrNgrTTr 
Mie appearances were best seen from 6.48 to^4Xt^„hen 

fell ^^. V. " '"'"; l''^ ''"" ■"«* ^i^'n *» "bout 8 delr^s 
Mou, the homon, the beams faded and vanished. The kS 

awoke. The sue and direction of the beams were as foUo^^ 
No 1 was 10 degrees broad and was directed betw^n «° 
and SO- southwards from a vertical dra,^ upwari? fi^ 
H^"! o' convergence on the horizon; No 8 was W 
degrees broad and placed 85" to «° N ■ No « T « 
degrees broad, 60° to 65" N. • and No ;' Z," « aJU^ 
bioad, 68° to 66° N Ti,» i,' if Z . . "* ^ degrees 
theWm.i^nf- \ ^•'"* elevation reached by 

the beams m this counter sunrise was 75 degrees. 



L^H °M ?? Kimberley the fmiction apparently assigned to 
lj)rd Methuen's column was that of swiepmg the toui^Ies^ 
pbms of the Orange Free State along the'^solth sid^ of the 
Vaal River, while General Sir Archibald Hunter was to do a 
hke service in the Transvaal on the north of the r'ver Thi^ 
^^JZ"a " ^""^'5' °^ P°'"'"''y '*» """"ths over a land 

»'h™.W • '* "''■'■^ ^"^ *' «*t of the world until we 
Rnl^ """.JT' "'*" •""'^"t with the forces which L«l 
Robots would be pushing up northwards from BWonte?n 
to Preterm, ftom the Free State capital to thTt ofZTran " 

B5^r^^-''ri iti 

' " ' fi 



vaal. Unless therefore, in those two hundred and fifty miles 
which We were to traverse over unbroken flats, we might 
hope for the excitement of fighting, there promised to be little 
of interest ; and since it actually turned out that there was 
little contact with the enemy, there will not be much to tell 
of here beyond the occurrences of our own petty circle, and 
the minor events which broke the daily repeated monotony. 
Our first ' trek ' was one of four days' duration to Boshof, 
forty miles away. 

At five o'clock on the evening of Monday, the tod of 
April, my comrades and I left Newton Common for the last 
time, formed procession, and rode through the city of Kim- 
berley to the public gardens, where we were to pass the night, 
and which we reached at dusk. There 1 unharnessed my pony, 
fed him and haltered him to one of the trees, pitched my small 
tent in which we placed our valuables, and went to the Club 
to dine. There were several celebrities in the room, among 
them Lord Methuen and Colonel Kekewich, the defender of 
Kimberley during the siege. We walked back to the gardens, 
examined the underground shelter to which the inlubitants 
were wont to flee for shelter when the Boer artillery was play- 
ing, and turned in to sleep. It was a hot night, but very 
clear, and as I looked out from the tent the new moon and 
Venus were shining in the west ; in the Milky Way a network 
of the black ' coal sacks ' broke its silvery band ; a breeze 
rustled at intervals through the leaves of the eucalyptus trees, 
and the beauty of nature was exquisite to behoki. But as 
usual there were drawbacks, the horses snorted and neighed, 
my pony rustled with his nosebag at my ears, and innumerable 
dogs in the town barked and yelped until long after mid- 
night, so that sleep was impossible for me or my comrades, 
who lay in their sleeping-bags round my tent. The mos- 
quitoes too were numerous and hungry, until I fell on the 
device of covering my head except my eyes and nose with a 
knitted helmet just received by parcel post, tying a hand- 
kerchief round neck and chin, and tuckijig my hands away, 
when I was able to lie in comfort and safety and listen to the 
insects as they arrived one by one with a hungry buzz, lit 
expecting to feed, and presently flew ofl disappointed to a 
more promising subject. But the protection was devised 
rather late, for sleep was broken, a cigar did not mend matters 
much, and shortly the bullock wagons with our baggage and 
forage started off after the usual chattering prelude by the 
black boys. I was not sorry to turn out at half-past four, 
harness up nnd pnck my buggy, get a cup of coffee and start 
off finally on our first day's march. 


of the di..o„d^i„«: and tt ^^uf Uytto^u^ST 

F.eld Hospital with buck-wago"s and bagBaae bi^/h?'!:^ 

:^X at d- t^w^l-L^riES 
8un rose on a glorious burning day and ZS?^ tt^M *^ 

whom. Major F-_ whn 1 !!^ °'^" ''"'*°"' °"e of 
We left Leeuwkop in the afternoon and the re«t nt n,- a 

■I : m 

' ^ 




wagons containing our provisions stuck fairly in the sand 
and had to be left behind ; one belonging to the bearer 
company broke its pole in a deep rut, and a long time elapsed 
before it could be shortened and mended, and even then it 
broke again. The American ambulance had a like mishap. 
But we went on, leaving them behind, and rested every hour 
to let the tired cuttle and footsore men recover a little. 
My small cart, which was made of the finest hickory, came 
through wonderfully, and 1 had only once to stop to repair 
the broken harness with some rope I bn d laid in in anticipa- 
tion of such a calamity. Presently a lottery of Maxim guns 
overtook and passed us. We struggled on all the afternoon ; 
then the sun set and it became quite dc k, for the young moon 
was hidden behind clouds, and still we wore onwards arattts 
a plain which seemed as broad as the ocean, passing an irirt 
of kopje at every mile or two> bii soon the darkness kid 
roads, ruts, bouklers, and kopjes entirely. I expected my 
tiny cart to become a wreck, so I left the reins loose on the 
pony's neck, who, knowing all the tricks of South African 
travel, followed some wagon in ttont which was invisible to 
me, turned and twisted in marveltous fashion, and kept me 
from being smashed in holes or on boulders and ant-hills. 
For what seemed to be endless hours we stumbled blindfold 
on, losing all touch with one another, until at last we saw, 
ever so far oB on the horizon, the gleam of bivouac fires, and 
eventually reached these as a confused mass of carts, animals, 
and men. Unharnessing among a mi\ie of mules kicking 
and rolling in the dust, I set off to find my commander, and 
when we had picketed the pony, wheeleil the buggy round 
ond set up the little tent, we lit our pipes and waited for our 
supper. Aks I it was miles and miles behind on the broken- 
down wagons. However, I had some biscuits and cheese in 
my haversack, and a bottle of chartreuse, the reKc of a dinner 
I had given in Kimberley to my comrades of the Modder ; 
others of our friends came up and made their contributions ; 
some one prowling about got hold of a tin of tomato soup and 
another of cafi au lait ; we supped not so badly, and our 
happy company turned in, some under my little shelter, 
others beneath the cart, or on the ground round it. The 
night was not a bad one, considering all things, the mos- 
quitoes were few, and contrary to Kekewich's prognostica- 
tions we were left alone by the Boer snipers ; while the wagons 
which had been delayed by their mishaps were so late of 
overtaking us that we had a long sleep and did not start 
bom Slobbetts, as the pktce was called, until half-past six 
the next morning. 


The omieh from Slobbetta to Leeuwfontein. on the «th of 

PMteMjes bustard and other game fled before our advanc^ 
^««en formed the most of what was to be seen ; but thf 
W|A were somewhat better ; we passed ' vleis ' oi pool.^ 
water and marshes, and twice were surprised by apW^S- 

KiS^ri. t'H*', *»«*«"> enginw puffing quickly towarS 
Kunbwley and dn«gmg two or three Impty tiucks. It 
^ »,4^"«' *° find the heavy monster, Veetoge^sif 
•nd merrUy over ground which we were toiling across with 
Z^wS""^ though we did encounter one wh?ch W C 
wreclced and abancToned in a deep watercourse. When we^t 
^i:^""^"''"' !* *'" *" ^^^ ^°"""« ^« there found weSs 

cn.i!L^^.^'".^'i'**"**"' "* ««•• "'clock, and our 
course still held eastwards over other wild flaU. who"onlv 

after miles of monotonous progress along a load so flat and 
smooth that we hardly had tht excitemfnt ofTv^g mte 
and soft places, a white line ahead shining on thedltenl 
ho««.n m the westering sunshine attracted our attend" 
and after another hour of moving on we could make out the 
tops and sides of houses, the outlLs of a square^h-^h wi^ 

howil'I? ff '"*'■ ^^K^"' ^'^^- As we%pproa^^ 
showed Itself emerging above a sea of green griss, whereon 

Cd^ri^r"'"^'' '"^r'f °^ •»"''• a%eemtagly'vlS 
Land of Goschen, a p«iceful and truly Dutch pastowl picture, 
a settlement of people apparently leading an ArcadUn Ufe 
undisturbed by the wars around and confident of beSg T 
molested by the British troops who were occupying their 
S°"h^- Some two or Uuee thousand cattle, in^hSds of a 
hundred or two m «jch, were being driven home for ^ even 

Z'„nH / T " I'^u"*."".* *" ^ foiRotten to behoW some 
flve-and-twenty such herds in front of their black herdsmen 
come lowmg homewards in the sunset and being wS Ci 
the great shallow - vlei ' or waterpool ouUide the town 
As we neared it over the sweet-smelling grass. Lord Methuen 

a^d te'Tn ""^'j" "'^^"^'''^ "^« ^^us'irtTtSit:^" 

and we followed hmi, halting outside at half-past five 
Twenty mmutes later orders came for us: we tumTto tl^ 
nght passed lie town or. our left, circled round the^ 

td^^ T ^' *""*'' '"*« °^ **»* *°'"' a"d brought up on 
the grass where we were to pass the night. 


In kU of thcM treki and in the many which were to follow 
the thing which perhaps itruek me most of all was that in all 
the land there was not a tingle cultivated field. Natural 
paiture, and that generally of a most arid sort, was everything ; 
of agriculture there was none. 



No sooner had we deposited ourselves on the veld at Boshof 
than we smelled the savour of the food being coolied in the 
other camps, and began to long too for our supper, but we 
learned with dismay that there wuh none for us ; our wagons 
would not arrive until the next day, if even then. Thence- 
forward I never went on trek without an nmmunition biscuit 
in ray pocket, and often it was my only meal. On this occa- 
sion all that we had was such scraps as we could find in the 
comers of our haversacks, which we divided among us. 

During the night which followed the cold was so great that 
the major was glad to creep under my tent and lie abingside 
me for warmth. I chancol to awake at dawn, looked out, 
and behold ! my pony was gone. He had worked the hide- 
rope halter oft its peg, and when I had scoured the neighbour- 
hood with my telescope in a vain search for him 1 had to admit 
to myself that he was lost. My lamentations awoke my 
companions, who could only condole, especially when, after 
hunting soundly and thoroughly through camp and town, 
inquiring everywhere and encountering nothing more helpful 
than sympathy and politeness, the Basuto was not to be heard 
of. I pictured myself stranded immovable at Boshof while 
the others of the force moved on, until relieved by the assur- 
ance of the commanders of the hospital and bearer companies 
that they would see me provided with a share of their trans- 
port. Two of their officers got on their horses and set off to 
search the plains, and returned in a couple of hours leading 
the truant — complete even to his nosebag — who had been 
discovered by some of the horse artillerymen who had been 
searching for strayed steeds of their own. 

An observer looking to the south from Boshof sees a gigantic 
plain, with slight undulations, all grass-green and unbroken 
till it is lost in the distance, and from a few cuttings made by 
the inhabitants or the military it was easily seen that it con- 
sisted of a great bed of dolerite or other impervious igneous 
rock with a surface deposit of limestone and gravel, in the 
depressions of which, between the dolerite and the limestone. 



the water of the rainy scMsuns collected it. sublerraiiei.u.N 
DMliu Mtd retervoirg. Where Bochof lay, the plain fell to 
perhapt flfty feet lower, over a step-liki ridge which extended 
the whole way from the easteni to aie western horin.ii. 
Down the northern sunny side of this ridge the town of Boshnf 
Mcmed to be sliding on to the lower level, and through the 
village poured the water from the dolcrite pools out of 11 tuniK'l 
in the ridge laboriously hollowed out by means of deep shnfls 
sunk through the limestone along its track. The shaflt, were 
four in number, in a line running from south to north, aiul in 
their profound depths could be seen the flow of water thn.iigh 
the tunnel, which emerged into «ii open cutting and ended 
beside the village in a large lake or vlei that «rved to water 
the cattle and horses and had a smaller pond bcNJde it where 
the washing of the villagers was cnrried on. Away to the 
northwards of the ridge spread the lower plain, green and un- 
broken save by a single arboured farmhouse clusc at hand, 
until the eye rested on a flat-topped hill, appurently quite 
near, but really fifty miles away, which indicated the position 
of the hamlet called ' Fourteen StreimiN ' where the enem 
lay in full force. On the west of Bishof, whence wo had come, 
the same flat plain as on the south VMnished into the distance ; 
while eastwards, broken only by two steep, very stony kupjes 
just touching our camp, one of vihu-h, pierced by the Boers 
with a deep cutting where they h; , built a magazine for 
explosives, from which we gave it the name .if M: ^azine 
Kopje, served us as a watch-tower, the same plaui a|.peared, 
occupied by flying columns of the Boers. The Transvaal 
border came close to us on the noith-enst and couM be seen, 
though there was no clear landmark indicating where it began. 
To complete the picture of the Boshof plains, it is only 
necessary to add that the lower level, that is, all north of the 
prime vertical, was dotted over with some ten kopjes which, 
however, were relatively so small that they seemed to be but 
tiny mole-hills projecting above the vast flat surface. 

The village itself I judged to have some 600 inhabitants ; it 
contained two churches, one Lutheran, the other ' Dopper ' 
(Covenanting), a small Anglican chiipel that had been used 
by the Boers as a hospital, and for the rest clean white or 
red flat-roofed houses, each standing Jipart from its neighbours 
in its own fniit garden, all overhung by eucalyptus and wattle 
trees resembling weeping and other willows, while rows of 
lombaidy poplars bordered the broad streets. There were 
a church square and a central market square, now filled with 
parks of field artillery, Maxims, and other guns, horses, 
tents, and all their belongings. From the squares the streets 

H i 




1653 Eort Main Slreet 

Rochtitir, Na-m Torti U60B US* 

(716) *82 - 0300 - Pfiont 

(716) 288-5989 -Fa. 


ran out at right angles, for the town was laid out like a chess 
board, was itself ti nearly perfect oblong, and all its buildings 
stopped suddenly in the open veld, giving it the appearance 
of a walled town, which it virtually was. There was some- 
thing oriental in its general appearance. Its most charming 
feature was that down the sides of many of its streets there 
flowed channels of running water, which the citizens were 
entitled to divert into their gardens every third day to irrigate 
them. By this water supply and that from some artesian 
wells Boshof is rendered eminently fertile, and is in summer 
time a rich orchard of fruits, such as figs, pomegranates, 
grapes, peaches, apricots, quinces, etc., and a garden of 
vegetables, melons, cucumbers, marrows, and so on. 

But a disillusionment awaited my overnight ideas of an 
Arcadian village, happy and tranquil among its herds and 
pastures, when I came to observe it by the cold light of day. 
The supposed villagers' herds were only the trains of trans- 
port bullocks belonging to our forces ; the inhabitants were 
to a man filled with the most envenomed hatred against 
the British ; even such Dutch women as had married English- 
men were looked upon as lepers and spoken to by no one ; 
and round the town swarmed within a few miles commandoes 
and guerilla bands waiting to cut ofi stragglers or small parties 
who might safely be assailed. The women were the most 
irreconcilable, and did not hesitate to show it. As an example, 
a ruinous iron stove stood near the schoolhouse hospital, and 
the soldiers asked its proprietors to give or lend it for the sick ; 
they were represented by a lady, who refused the request. 
Next night our major annexed it. The lady, after coming 
to the hospital and abusing us all round in pointed terms, 
broke, I beUeve, her way into Lord Methuen's room where 
he and four of his leading c fficers were in conference, shook 
her fist in the face of each individual, gave them an address 
of (eloquent abuse, and frightened them all. One of the bold- 
est, it was said, meekly asked if she would not rather have 
her stove doing good to sick men than uselessly rusting, and 
was answered that the sick men might rot for anything she 
cared, and that he and the other officers sitting there were 
useless, and might rot too, they ought to be out on the veld 
fighting like her husband and nephew and not loafing there 
in the town. She departed with all the honours of war, but 
did not get back her stove. This happened some days after 
our arrival. 

Evidently there was a great amount of spy work going on 
between Boshof and the enemy, for whenever our armies 
sustained anything like a reverse, even before we heard of 


foPwSS,Tth?Hi'*"'"*"' ^"''"""°» '"»°"8 the citizens 

^nH f M ^: ?' *"" «''™'y conducted back to the town 

been killed when fighting in the Boer ranks ; K^t a W 
^^i hTk ^^ "fr^^hments in the tent 'of an ^S 

Z^l 7"'' "'' ""^ ''•>«" 't '""k"! out that there w«e 

™^nr ?'" ^enences heard or saw a discou^s 
™ th.l, -'^u*^ as freely admitted too that the BoerT 
evemtorttttHH^t "' S!"*'*™'"' ^""^ -«" -'^^tly 

j:srtrd"e^. "^^^ ^.rr:i^^\r:ti 

^^"^t ^T^ *••"* *'™ "^" "°* ex^ptions on ^^^ 
ades, but certamly, on ours, unless the episode of the stove 

^T. ^^Kj ,1 ^ '^''^ "''«=«^y toW of one which occurred 
kmd. One of a couple of Boers armed with Mauser rifli. 

Bock who W w u-^^ "u"" "^""'^ '^ ^^'>^' t"™ed on the 
th™ ™°^d shot hun, who were two in number, and kill^ 

us^I«'^J n*^'?'' """^^T °t*'' ^°" "» « Boshof towards 
us were friendly enough, their storekeepers reaped a ri!^ 


i \ 


harvest by selling us the things we stood in need of, one of 
them helping me to obtain four croquet balls in order to 
extemporise a game where the other implements were tent 
mallets and hoops made from ctirt tyres : it gave us a little 
exercise and proved to be a success. All the same, these 
men were very astute in anything they thought would assist 
the war, and I shall presently have to relate how their com- 
rades were devising plans to recapture Boshof. Meanwhile 

those within the town, headed by their doctor, W , who 

was afterwards deported to Cape Town for espionage, com- 
menced an agitation to have the place of the British camp 
shifted so that it could be shelled without endangering the 
town itself. They objected to its location on the ground 
that it was near their water supply. As a matter of fact, 
their own slaughtering place and even their cemetery were 
close to the source of the water, while the tests applied by 
myself and others showed that there was no impurity ex- 
cepting where they washed their clothes. Nevertheless the 
courteous general and his staff, after going fully into the 
subject and examining my plans find sections, which showed 
everything plainly, were so conciliatory as to give instructions 
to us to shift our quarters, not out into the wilderness as 

Dr. W wished, but to a spot near the cemetery, by no 

means a good place, but still within the limits of defence. 

In Boshof we were virtually in a state of siege. Whenever 
a military force is placed, as ours was, in the midst of a hostile 
country, it is in many respects peculiarly situated. It is 
cut oft from newspapers, telegrams, and letters, and informa- 
tion is with difficulty obtainable. We knew nothing of what 
was going on beyond the reach of our eyes and ears ; events 
might be occurring far away or even near us of which we 
were unaware ; and we could not judge of the import of any 
orders that were given or movjs that were being made. 
Hence rumours of the most alarming kind were flying about, 
most of which proved to be erroneous. Each man lived in 
a strained frame of mind, perforce content to do his duty 
in his own sphere and leave all beyond it to destiny. We 
were shut off from the world, often in days of grey pouring 
rain. No one could reach Kimberley without the protection 
of a strong escort, or venture out to the detachments biv- 
ouacking a few miles off unless similarly guarded. It must, 
however, be stated that our chivalrous foes never molested 
our sick convoys, which was greatly to their honour, and it 
was chiefly from those coming and going in charge of them 
that we learned anything. Otherwise we formed a little 
world of our own, with its own interests, hopes, and fears. 


aroused by volleys of rifle fire being loosed off from the 
breasl*rorks round us. Sometimes all newspaZ, were for 
a week or two prevented from reaching us, feTt^ev mi/ht 
e^emr -formation thercontained ZisT fhe 

Dort tolViS^r "'tMa8«""« Kopje where our observation 
h?w„ .r^iJ**" '"** ^y- ""* ''«d a bird's-eye view of the 
t^^^i,!"'''^^^ 1^?P* ">>"« th« ">«*" roads emenj^ bv 
trenches and barbed wire, and surrounded by canvasTmps 

J^1°"V'''7^ '^"8*'* *« •''"'^n bUnket tents of o^u; 
«v,^l!!l%r1 P"'"'^*'; ""'' "*'" 'n°'« distant the telescope 
™ ^i^K u'"'^"' °^ *•>" ^"^'^ ^ith their men moving a3 
thefc^t" ?*""*^ themselves. CommaXfof 
Hoo^d InH ""^ «'^. towards the east which led to 
aoopstad, and a reconnoitring party which went m.f in 
that direction found itself in .^ntTct with two ^" es of the 
enemy, numbering together some 600 men, lyingTn wait on 
^?;,'t ft."^'^" Z'^J^^'' ■""«' °«' «"<! ~"W 6*t no7ariher 
railed Zwaartkoppiesfontein, with some cavalry, who \rere 

"reqi^r^ andho^e were sent out to meet and support him, 
II required. He r.sxt went out with a larger force whirh 
brvouacked for days out there, tentless in *the h^vy rah. 
the ^Z'^XT^ '™'; °"* '"'^ '"' ^''"^ ^« wereTrft to hold 
Bo^ fl^ ^, ^/'"R'^^^nn™ shot, and dislodged a few 
To secure our communications with Kimberlev half a 
vSr^l^'^' ^^"* ^'^^ f™™ Boshof to hold ftankfort 

^n^vT oT^Hi^^^r J*"! ^^^ *°^^' -"«J thus ^fst the 
convoys of different kmds which passed between them 

ambu^htThe '^"* "f '""•" ^^^'^^ "^ «-" ^"o Ly Tn 
ambush in the vanous farms, in numbers of from six to «. 

the?;.?'' ^'"'° ^";?"'^'y ^^'' »"°"ght in wo^of th^se 
n as nriUeTT"^ captured by our scouts and Uught 
hirf J? I IV ^* ''*' ^«^ that some of these skulkers 
S.tercJ^en*:rl^-"°""''' ""* "° ""« attlcheS th" 
d^fHSw-lS^aTrono-u^^bleS;.'"' ""^ ^^'* *•-* ^ -- 





' j 

£l t I 


The largest of the Boer commandoes were of only moderate 
size, for they would hardly ever venture to risk an open 
fight in the early days, though more men were coming in to 
join them, and their plans were growing more daiing. The 
commando on the north was eftimated at only 800 men, 
entrenched twelve miles away, and occupying a quarter of 
a circle from the north to the east, extending from a ' vlei ' 
on the Warrenton Road to Kalkfontein and Prispan Farms, 
and along this line shots were constantly being exchanged 
between them and our outposts, but with little effect, although 
on one occasion we learned from one of Reuter's reports that 
-* had been heard ' from a good source that the Boers pro- 
sed great indignation at the slimness of Lord Methuen's 
force engaged near Boshof the other day. The British retired 
hurriedly, and thus drew the Boers near a place from whence 
several volleys, doing much execution, were poured into them 
before they could withdraw.' At Beck's Farm, a mile or 
two out, sniping went on all day. 

As the time went on the hostile forces grew much larger 
and our scouts reported them as daily hovering about, now 
singly, now in fours, and even up to 2000 men. Captain 

H , with 50 men and native guides, marked down after 

some difficulty a body of them away on the east, who fired 
on his party, which was too weak in numbers and had to 
withdraw to Boshof. A laager of 150 men and a second with 
a much larger force were located at a short distance out from 
us, and they commenced to heUograph to our signallers f^om 
distant kopjes, sending misleading messages and chaffing 
remarks, such as that we might expect them .-^t Boshof 
that day, and inquiring whether we had whisky enough 
for them. 

In proportion as the numbers of the enemy grew, our 
precautions against an onset increased. In every way we 
strengthened ourselves. When one day I walked out in the 
afternoon to a lovely little group of hillocks, called the Green 
Kopjes, on the north-east, in a most picturesque little 
amphitheatre in the centre of them, under the wooded slopes 
which overhung it, I found a whole company of men, instead 
of a section, encamped, and new trenches being everywhere 
made below as well as on the summits, while every defensible 
spot within reach of my telescope showed our outposts 
holding it, though it also revealed numerous commandoes 
of the Boers at the farms of Brakfontein and Prispan engaged 
in throwing up formidable entrenchments on the latter to 
command the Hoopstad road, which was likely lu be the line 
of any farther advance of our army in this quarter. Others 



;L^r^r?^ :''^sii,ns. T.t ^. =^ 

.mpressed with the way in which our men «t oishTw^ 
themselves on the elevations, so that the enemy aS 

crept and slipped about and constructed their defa^Ss 
mostly dunng the hours of darkness, so that thev could h«^v 
be seen although we knew that thev were all «r^.^? n ^ 
tinuing my walk, I found that two^ Trnpal™" „lare^ 
m the north kopjes, facing the Boers wTo There disnu!^ 
our command of the road to Fourteen Streams on H^Tv 1 
River, and had strongly fortified rh^mselv^s by brelstwirk 
and schanzes; while Annerley's Kopie on the w«V 
also powerfully defended. "^^ ''''* "'"'' 

The town itself became a complete fortress everv „»ii 
bemj loopholed, even those of the gardens tnd ZfJ-f 
breastworks being placed ac„,ss evefy e:St. and ^SoubTs 
and gun emplacemento thrown up ctose to the w^s It 
was put m a condition to be held securelv hv a « Jin » 

t^l^rLr "Crv'^^ -^-necX'n'dVfrhe/ro 
taken ^ *^"'''''' ?'*«'"*'«" ^^ safety was 


2f^ out. by both sides whicrwlXer"r; haCwa 


out at half an hoik's notice and went oif with the Yeomr r^ 
that was in the afternoon j and in the evenu^ e^s^TJ2.L 
came on with thunder clouds and lightntag X ifiS W 

aesLmTtl.'?^"^'"^' ^^"^ by V^i^aJ^uX S 
thesham. with baggage, provisions for two days, and r^r 

C^'7,S! ""^^"^ .^"* ^°' '•'^ south-east, w"a l^e 
torce of Boers was sa d to be threateninir Hn«,l,„f w ^ 
supplied with maps of the coun^'T^t^/^^- m^ht^n'^f 
return, but that in that event food would ^ Int aft. 

weather became worse and worse, the thunder and liXnin^ 
were menacing us fiereely right overheaTand stS^af 
weU as m occasional wild gusts the rain and hail felTso th^t 


I ! 





no one was sorry when at 8.15 orders ciiiiie that, for a time 
at least, our departure was to be delayed. 

It was as disquieting a night as any we passed at Boshof. 
The Boers at Warrenton were sniping our men all night 
and shelling them all day ; and a report was spread that 
General Kelly Kenny in the eastern Free State had lost a 
whole regiment of the Guards. But a bright message came 
in that our yeomanry had surrounded, close to us, a commando 
of the enemy, captured, killed or wounded them all, and that 
a convoy of prisoners was on its way to us, and might arrive 
at any moment. So we put up our tents on a spot at the edge 
of th ' ill of the plain, on nice clean grassy ground, and settled 
oursi es there. After t' nothing remained to be done 
but to turn in, for tht s.torm was increasing, the ground 
beneath us was jumping wK'never the thunder crashed, 
the Magazine Kopje was blazing like a lightning conductor, 
and the rain grew into a furious deluge which penetrated 
our thin single tents, soaking everything, and across the floor 
of my tent there came a river of water pouring off the higher 
ground and spreading until no square inch remained which 
did not splash. The storm reminded me of those of Modder 
River ; as I lay on what served for a bed, the spray coming 
through the canvas poured down on my face till even 
my helmet was soaking, for the wet came through every- 
thing. One had just to lie and become saturated, there 
was no alternative. After a time the rain softened the ground 
where the tent pegs were fixed, the tent ropes became short- 
ened, and as the wind strained them the pegs came out as if 
they had been stuck into butter, and for some hours we were 
dripping objects in stockingless boots, alternately going out 
and in, struggling with the pegs, ropes, and canvas, to prevent 
the whole coming down, working in the dark, groping for 
the pegs and getting a whack at them now and then when 
a flash showed them up, or chancing a stroke when it did 
not do so. At midnight matters mitigated somewhat, and 
lying down in my clothes on a litter of the least wetted things 
I tried to get a nap. At one o'clock there came the braying, 
jingling, and trotting of mules, the calls of the Kafir drivers, 
and the voices of the officers yelling for our major and cursing 
their servants by all th>:ir gods. Rising to offer my services, 
I found that only a fc wounded had been brought in, and 
had been already well cared for, so that nothing was required. 
I returned to bed and slept soundly till six o'clock, when I 
got at my portmanteau and enjoyed the first change of cloth- 
ing I had had for four days, and while doing this the sounds 
of the awakening camp, buzzing as the sun's beams seemed 


rtveUW of the buRles. whose sounds were wet as thev w«* 
I^helH*'^"**' *'"' •*'*" ""' flJ'«» them, and UkU^g'^ 

x:^ t;' tr r: 7"^ ;SchTflr '' ^'F-^*- 

warn, and a pipe and breakfast further Tmp^vrafCT 
LJ!!,'"* t°^ '"*'"«^ *° "»« narrative of the events of iS 

men which had been sent out so suddenly had metwith a^ 
disposed of a commando of Boers so satisfartorily That the 
targer expedite, which had been ordered out to sup^rt it 
was not required TTiey had surrounded 100 Boew^Uled 
their commander Villebois de JIareuil and IS of Ws min 


f^T^^ir °' '•'« y--»"andtXr!"LdX':: 

^t down by the enemy after they had hung out the wSS 

Captain M— - had, on the previous night, brought back 
to our camp al the wounded who could be m^ved, but thi« 
of the most senous cases still remained out, and he was lo^ 
to fetch them in. WouM I accompanv him LT f "* 
regaining them, when he started inTK «me ? t" 
was but one answer possible to the invitation T would g^ 
m two mmutes, and at nine o'clock we set off w°th two 
ambulance wagons an escort of five of the Cape Mmmt^ 
Police, and a few bearers, to the farm of TweefiTte^ 
some called it, DrifonUm, the scenTof til £t Gu^:^' 
by compass and maps we struck out due souUi f^ twS-^ 
miks^ through herds of springbuck jumping befow us Hke 

tJ^^ ^^ history of the little battle had been as follows • 
the precedmg morning, some Kafirs who lived i^ a liWe 
baal among the kopjes had ridden in to Boshof to re^rt 
th«t a commando of the Dutch had arrived there dSin^C 
night. On rece.vmg the mformation the Cape Police at one^ 
proceeded out and espied a di„ve of the Boe?s' hol^s amon^ 


. '1 


K i' 


the three-ihouldered kopjei, with a single Boer driving them 
towards the laager where the enemy ' They shot the hone- 
man and captured the horses, thv 'ng the Boert of 
their mobility, and sent in word thai "ley had located the 
commando. Thereupon the Yeomani; went out to seal 
them up until the larger expedition could arrive, for their 
numbers were not exactly known. By the time that Ixird 
Methurn had arrived with the Yeomanry, some Maxims, 

and a couple of field guns. Colonel P , an officer who had 

distinguished himself in thedefence of Kimberley.had approxi- 
mately ascertained the number of men in the commando 
and n>ade a plan for their capture, which Methuen adopted. 
Reaching the spot at three in the afternoon the Yeomar.y 
and police formed a line on the east of the Boers, left their 
horses behind the shelter of n small but high kopje, and 
"dvanced in skirmishing order, gradually throwing their 
wings forward so as to envelop the enemy. When they were 
about a thousand yards distant, and the Boers had opened 
fire, the ambulances were found to bfc in the line of Are and ht d 
to be withdrawn until the t -oops had made further progress, 
whei. they were able to take the cover of some rising ground 
sufficient to shield them from the rifle fire, for the Boers had 
neither Maxims nor field guns. At first the British had no 
advantage from their own artillery, as the gunners unwisely 
delayed opening fire until they had constructed two stont 
emplacemeats for their guns on either side of the larger of 
the two sheltering kopjes, and while I. was being done an 
active but not very efficient exchange of shots was being 
maintained between the two forces, and to right and left 
the enveloping wings were drawing on, the police shielding 
themselves among the three kopjes where the horses had been 
••aptured, but the Yeomanry on the loft remainiL; too much 
exposed on the plain owing to the gunners' delay. When at 
length the artillery opened fire, made their ' bmcket ' and 
sent two shells among the Boers, Villebois recognised that 
the gun>, would render his defeat certain, and gave ordeis to 
his men, many of whom were French, Hollanders, or ether 
foreigners, that there was to be no surrender. The next 
shrapnel burst beside him, killed him by tearing his shoulder 
open, and wounded Greyer, one of his company, who after- 
wards recovered. Meanwhile the British closed in arH sur- 
rounded the Boer force which, sheltered in natural 1 con- 
structed schanzes, continued to fire on the British, whose 
superior numbers and better distribution so told on the Boers 
that they lost many of their men. They still fought on, 
however, until the British had reached the foot of the group 


It i» possible that the muider of W*^^' » j ... 

i!S?=!£^tr *" - .„ « 

from a wounded Frenchman fW Vk J^ ^ "' * -eamed 
were so numerous oi^n^r ''''' ^ "°* '"'"'^ ''^ 

were tt ; W k»i.Mo5«!t I'^f iXrd* '"h"" 

of rounded bfod" I Z^\u' .^^^"^ '"'^ 'n°«ine» 
Boer had ]ain the keapsTftwenv'^ T^'"" '^'^ 

'•ases he had expei^id L-T ti^^ '^"I'' '"P^^ cartridge 

^ ««. »/t^^1i*e^s'^;"lheX^-^%Tth^^^^^^^^^^ 



; f 

. Il 


no like thoM of the Belmont battleilfid sit to make it »uper- 
fluous to work out their >ngle& minutely. 

Proceeding next to the Kafir kra»l, 1 found the Yeomanry 
doctor, who, along with an officer and »ome men, had remained 
overnight with three severely wounded. Leaving these 
wounded there for the night had saved the life of at least one 
who had been shot through the chest ; he was now better 
atle to bear the rough joimey which was before him than 
if he had been moved at once over the rough roads amid the 
torrents of rain and in the dark. The wounded had been 
far from uncomfortable in the kraal, and had been supplied 
with milk, soup, and food cooked for them by the Kaflrs. 
The Kulir huts in which some of them lay were quaint struc- 
tures ; they resembled ant-heaps or upturned cups of red 
clay, circular, dome-topped, and roofed with pieces of tm, 
iron, paper, wood, and branches ; they had little doorways 
into which one couU just creep, and windows barely large 
enough to admit one's head. The interiors were a surprise, 
they were so nice. The floors measured about Ave feet by 
six, were laid with clay from ant-heaps beaten hard, and 
near one comer was a rounded fireplace. The walls were of 
the same clay, with, in addition to the windows mentioned, 
small recesses hung with tiny lace curtains and containing 
ornaments like a doll's house. The walls were perfectly 
clean, whitewashed, with Bushman paintings of people, 
ornaments, bars, and arabesques in blue. Though clean, 
comfortable and wann, they were hard to get wounded men 
into and out of, but .Is was arranged all right and painlessly. 
Outside each hut was a minute yard with a bamboo fence, and 
in the middle of a group of three or four such huts was a little 
central yard with a raised clay threshing-floor bordered with 
flat stones set on edge, leaving a small gateway. The whole 
was reminiscent of Lilliput, or of the houses children build 
in their play. 

Four generations inhabitated the huts ; the small withered 
old Chingachgook was seated outside the door in the sunshine, 
his paralysed hands and head shaking, but with a good in- 
telligent look in his wrinkled parchment face. Next came 
his burly elder son, broad-shouldered, farmer-like, and a 
centaur when on horseback, with his fat motherly wife. 
Then a youthful man and wife, rather good-looking than 
otherwise, while the black atoms who played about their 
knees completed as curious and interesting a settlement as 
ever I had an opportunity of seeing so closely. These were 
the good people who bad brought us word of the Boer com- 
mando, and they were now laughing and ftatomising with the 


ins them wi ' Th, Kft. '''"''*'^"' "° "•«"«• "da- 

and had tobacco an.. «fffee uh 1 fS '"""'f"' hav-rsacks 
refrc^hcd and pre^Vt^h:i^ ':^;':''tr liJt'iS S 
tenderly into our ambulances, and net of f„; u, ' k , ',"""" 
a smoother tr..k to which the Kiflrgu ided „» '"^"^"''T 
of a shower <> min and another ^r\^ ^i""™ "». "1 m spite 

demanded by the oxhfnZ.n' f fhe'^irndJ^ " '"'''^"l 
JoyftiUyback. while the Kafirs were wwLed ov ««? ^* 

al^-r "e*^^e^°Ket LT '^'''^- '"^^""d^r "v'JS! 
beio., dark Cameron ^*'°" °"' ■""«"'" '" °»' hospital 

CaJt^m^rL^^^^^X ^f^'h- P"t mto his tent when 

an impressive sigh^ Te for^ta^Tfl.r '"* '"V'^"'' *" »«« 
scenes we had bf... v°sTtfm.T},»?^ '?F '=°"«='""°n *<> the 
as we walked out r a hLndrecul^^ToV JVTr""'!!* ""'' 
camp, and we « drawn no i/?i^ ^ • """ ''°'P't«' 

a thousand soldiers, ^ch with hTsV^^I'm'"' °"« """""^ 
its muzzle resting"; t^e g^und whUe'hi/^ T'^^^X ''•"' 


and poplars and blue gum trees Dlant«5 K«i^^ '•" P""" 

eu'r„^5 ?r£S v^""""^' "'' 



-I 1 ;•! 

1 ,i,|:| 

' ' ' ' II 

!■-■'■ 1 





again among the guarded men. The body was lowered into 
^ grave and the earth ftUed in upon his corpse amid absolute 
sUe^ce on the part of the whole army and spectators while 
ttepines above them were as if etched by the blackest 
fune^link against the golden yellow patch fU 'mgenng 
n the sky where the sun had set and against the leaden 
Bloom of the rest of the horizon where the thunder clouds 
weie again gathering and the twisted streams of the lightning 
were playing. The lines of soldiers at the sharp command 
present J arms, and the bugles wailed out in unison the im- 
pressive call of ' The Last Post.' the signal which marks the 
end of every day and the beginning of night, when »" "n the 
^mps ret^ to^est. The scene, the hour, and all the sur- 
roundings fitted weU together, and formed a solemn endmg 
to a valmnt soldier's life. Then rang out Order Arms, and 
the ceremony was over. 

The Yeonmnry, who had in the meantime been drawn up 
outside the graveyard, then buried their dead <»J«?de« •" 
the dark Ix)rd Methuen afterwards, before we left Boshof, 
erected a tombstone of white marble ov-r ViUebois s p»ye 

Papers found on ViUeuois revealed plans by wtach three 
bodies of Boers were to converge to make a concerted mgnt 
attack upon us so as to recover Boshof. It was pretty certam 
that the rapture of his commando would modify this design, 
but as the forces which were to have taken part m the onset 
were led bv Boshofians who knew every house, tree, and stone, 
some anxiety remained lest it might in some form yet be 
attempted. Little information was to be extracted from their 
wounded, whom we doctors were attending in the pnvate 
houses of the citizens who gladly gave them shelter beyond 
the facts that when moving about they appeared to have had 
good times, Uving on milk, eggs, butter, mutton, beef, fowls, 
and vegetables, annexing everythmg they pleased, looting 
and stripping the farms they came across, and leavmg them 
absolutely tere ; and they complained of the beef and bis- 
cuits we gave them for food, and would not believe me when 
I told them that nobody in our camps received anything else. 
For one who was not in the counsels of our general, it was 
quite impossible to disentangle and range m due ?rder and 
SnporUn^ the various mUitary events and skinnishes that 
went on round Boshof whUe we were there, and a few, perhaps 
rather disjointed, notes of what came under my own observa- 
tion are aU that it is possible for me to give here 

It seemed that the scheme drawn up by Villebois con- 
tained the recommendation that on some nights our camp 
should be shelled and deluged with smaU-arm fire from the 


pkin around, but that the assailants should withdraw befon. 
any approach of the British, and this, thoughS addJd 
the paper 'will do more to disconcert the Enghth than^f 
the attack were carried home.' I presume thft it vm^ to 

which"fnir''T'' ""^^ "" '^^ *^' °" some oVthrda!^ 
Th^KK- "°'^'^u°.'" ™""°° ^^« firing and our Mbj^I 
throbbmg out their missUes at odd times againrt theB^ 
E™X^ «>ntjnuing to dig their trenches a^ dea^'n^^ 
Expeditions also went out, hunting up andchaSiff ^v 

tH'T^ ^"^ "^/*^ '^''*»"='^ around.'^so tha? taThe ^^ 
t^lli "•^s.onally seemed to some of us that we were left 
m rather an mdefensible condition, as when oXT^inale 
regmient of militia remained to protect both the totn^nd 
one ^fXr'PLS-.-"''''^ "• ^ "^^ '^' chance of XhiSj 
Zwa«rtln • f T^*°"' ^tn™ing on the 18th of April S 
Zwaartkopjefontem J it had proceeded four miles bewnd 

flight some of the Boers who were on watch to ™t off 

^to^nd whU- 8"?^y plains and bush, with plenty of 
water, and while we m the town were being drenched win! 

tolTtrdu^t'^a'lfH "^^ "•'*'^ ^'^ little, ju"t sufficient 
ttoe Iw he ?.^^^*^' "'«''* ^^ "°°^ «* ««• another 
tn «:« i?^u ^^' ^ ^^ 8°ne out to Magazine Kopie 

wZlt u^',"8 ^^I" *«y *"" they came quite near us 

stoppmg under the shelter of elevated grounds ti chwk the 
enemy, and agam moving forwards as opportunity pret^nted 
but It was «,rdite powder that was used as the c^™ for the 

sneus. While this action was developing, the herdsmen 
otlZt^Z^'^Tf °"*^ g-'^ere? t°«ether thf Ss 

dT^wn^r«nH With exceeding slowness the battle 

te bvXn f »,T^""*'' '* ""^ "^"^ at the camp, 
muh,.^ . """^^ *'^'"* «> «1«* that both parties, by 

mutual consent as it seemed, gave it up. Colonel TownUnd 


ij 11 

j|1 ! ; 





turned in to our mess-tent, others came later, and we were 
able to leam what had really occurred. It appeared to have 
been something as follows : Lord Methuen had on the 
previous night received intelligence that a considerable 
commando had drawn in from the north upon him, possibly 
from the Fourteen Streams district, and he had issued orders, 
at the Zwaartkopjes where he lay, to move back into Boshof 
in the afternoon. His stores were packed into the wagons 
and sent off first, while the Yeomanry and the others of his 
force gradually withdrew after them. No sooner was the 
baggage train on its way than two field guns and a pom- 
pom (Vickers-Maxim) opened file from a hill which, owing 
to a report received from some Kafirs, had been scouted 
over that very morning. This fire did little actual harm, 
but when the infantry began to withdraw in their turn 
from the posts they were holding on the hills and kopjes, 
and to follow the convoy, a force' of 2000 or more Boers 
swarmed out, occupied the abandoned elevations, and opened 
a more destructive fire of small arms. They wounded or 
killed some of the Yeomanry and others ; one if not raore 
of the Yeomanry officers were killed ; and some of the killed 
and wounded had to be left where they had fallen, though 
Methuen himself was present coolly and judiciously directing 
the steps of the retreat. The Boers were eager to secure the 
baggage, and continued to follow and shell it as well as 
the troops, and one of the R.A.M.C. officers almost lost his 
wagon containing the surgical equipment . The wagon was the 
last of the line and twice broke its pole before it was got away. 
Our men were gloomy over this and heads were shaken over 
our chances ; only good Colonel Townsend, with a fighter's 
gleam in his Irish eyes, protested that all had been right 
and that it had been ' a very pretty fight.' 

The strength and courpge of the Boers was evidently not 
to be under-rated, and orders were issued that night attacks 
were to be expected, that if these took place all tents were 
immediately to be struck and left lying on the ground, all 
the patients conveyed into the town and placed in the school- 
house hospital or in the Anglican church, horses and mules 
brought into the Market Square, all lights to be extinguished, 
and no speaking permitted. That night, however, there was 
only a little firing from the outposts. 

One afternoon a day or two later the Yeomanry outposts, 
on a ridge to the south, were attacked, when a squadron of 
mounted infantry rode out, and some of us followed to see 
whether we could be of any service. The horsemen opened 
out into a long line of pairs, went dancing out to the ridge 



bv thTS^n f ^^^ ",°" *•'' '•'^*- "^y ^""^ followed 
ensu^ ^^T " ?"^^: ?^ ambulance wagons, but no action 
ZaIz: m '^'^^^ **?'*' *'°^'y *l^"«'' *e trees, shrubs, 
and boulders, so as to draw the enemy's fire, but theThad 

a^d ZfW ^ ^^L'^T '." ""= '^'^ ^'* °"e -nan killed 
?„ V.„«^ J^°""u^- ^*"'* °"1'"^ w«« again issued as 
to how to act m the event of a night alarm, as there were 
strong grounds for expecting a nocturnal surprise, and all 

tent JJT ^ "" P^^??™*, *° J^P "P ""<• "^ek down our 
tent-poles at an mstant's notice. I rose several times 
«pecmUy at four o'ctock, the most likely hour, but the n^h 
passed over peacefully, and no sound or disturbance broke 
the tamqmllrty until our guns began to speak after daybreak 
About the latter half of April matted were fairly Hvelv 
at Boshof, for the Boers we^ reluctant to abandon hei^ 
„n^. occupymg the town, and Lord Methuen was ever 
on the watch to checkmate, or at least read them a lesson 
It was known too that the townsmen, and most of all the 
women, were communicating every possible piece of informa- 
tion regarding us so that constant vigilance was imperative 
Early on the 26th there was some stir in the camp whteh 
aroused me to dress and go out. Cavalry were alr^dy out 
on the plam and two batteries of artillery were presently 
on their track and drew up ready for action. A la?ge bjy 
of infantry manned aU the trenches and kopjes with sharp 
shooters. And the ambulances were in readiness The 
taoops were at flret mustered on the southern side of the town 
but soon changed over to that on the north. Nothine how- 
7Z ^I^H ° '*; !u' ™'='"y did not advance, thfforces 
r^ 1 "^ *° *?."■ '*'"P^' ^"^ *" tl^mes resumed their 

nonnal appearance. Possibly it had been a false alarm. 

tK ^\^*''^ day there was a real battle. Firing began at 

Knnt^'*' "" .*" """*' ""^ ^''^" I "'^•'ed the Ufagazine 
Kopje the events were spread out before my eyes. Some 
of our wagoners were out cutting wood on a ridge a short 
d«t^ce to the south of the camp, where there was a «,(S 
f^l Hw"^"' '"'1 *H ^''" "nexpectedly advancing from 
!^ •'■Tf ^!°"' "?et ''rth the Cossack posts of the YeoLnry, 
and a brisk action ensued. So numerous and daring were 
^Uo^° wl *' Yeomanry had to retreat, and 1 saw them 
^Uop back in small groups or singly to a watercourse or 
donga behmd them, where they formed up and awaited 

ndge, the Irft end of which was held by our infantly as 
far as the Hoopstad road, ind the action became geV^ral! 

!'• .i»i 







Infantry sent out to support the Yeomanry were placed in 
skirmishing order on the plain behind where the outposts 
had been, and stopped the advance of the Boers. After this 
there ensued a lull of an hour or so, when the enemy, finding 
they were held, altered their tactics and endeavoured to work 
round our left towards their own headquarters at Prispan. 
Here they held two farms and had posted their artillery at 
Spitzkop in the same direction, hoping doubtless to bring our 
men within their range. This necessitated supports with a 
couple of guns being moved against them so as to hold a low 
ridge, hardly deserving the name of a kopje, but when this 
was done the Boers withdrew before they could be shelled. 
Their final manoeuvre was an attempt from the opposite 
direction to outflank the Yeomanry who held our right, and 
a body of them endeavoured to carry this out, but a reinforce- 
ment of cavalry put an end to their hopes of succeeding. 
It was a battle of manoeuvres, resembling a game of chess, 
and was entirely one of riflemen ; ' neither side made use of 
artillery, and after the contest had fluctuated all day, it died 
gradually out towards the evening. Strange to say, though 
it was estimated that 16,000 rounds had been fired, there were 
no casualties on our side ; not a man or horse was hit ; but 
regarding the Boers' side we knew nothing. Lord Methuen 
had been out early and directed the fight, and when he re- 
turned and the scouts came in, we also came back, having 
had from various points a clear view of how near the Boers 
were to Boshof, how enterprising they were, and how easily 
they might at any time have shelled us had they possessed 
one of their long-range guns. 

By the beginning of May the plans of the Boers for captur- 
ing Boshof had been so baffled that they were evidently 
preparing to give them up as impracticable. Even at the 
end of April our scouts reported that some of them had 
moved off westwards, as if to waylay the road to Kimberley. 
At this time too our reconnaissance columns ceased to find 
them about the neighbourhood of the town, though some of 
ours went so far and for so long as to have to send back for 
f- ,sh supplies. They were seen by us in the town spread round 
ji all directions, especially towards the east and north, 
whence their heliographs were signalling in to Boshof from 
every bit of rising ground. , „ . , 

These were most of the fights which went on round Boshof 
while I was there, and after the one last mentioned there 
were no further actions, or any fighting beyond an outpost 
or two being shot at in the mornings. 

I ought to mention with gratitude that Lord Methuen 


™'[hr^^°^^?"."i*?'.°^ ''•'P'"8 ""'■' •« "'ways showed 
for I ^^ "^^ ^'"'^"^?' """^ gave me whatever I oskS 

condition, but in ho„ou?„f the eUu dl„*^^ "o„V"w'S^:^ 

^^lehr^'^ ""** '^^^^ *•""* ^ ^""^ look ekan by 
candlelight. The mess was in a small house oDDosite tn 
h« tent on the south side of Church Square^Tn tKddle 

wnt ^!^ '• "^"Vk* T' "' P'"'''^"'* «>" cvening^as I^ev« 
S ^rr* "lu^ ^^'^ ^"'"J"^* "^ t"^'"* tents, the tefk 
ffirSIverhn >V '"'"''' °^ *""*''• P^^^e hospitels. 

SmS^ t^fn.?^ T^' '"PPjy' K^™'' the wounds of the 
^S^l.' '?'^'!:'<^"a' wounded, the Yeomanry, expanding 
b li^ets, shrapnel, Vickers-Maxim guns, the R A MC T^tht 
vanous battlefields of his column^ Methuen wa; iAteres^' 
LZJIT*' "' """I '''^° ** ""=«»'«'« °f W'' stefl. and^W 
a?dThf pomV^XV *' ''*'''""* ^^""^^^ '"»- 
Lord Methuen spoke without any reserve about his battles 
M.te«r; ^"''^' Modderand his'being woundS tiere and 
P^tS^ ^S^"- ?' "^"j ^•*" *° ^S'** "Sain, and saW h^ ex 

remember rightly this was the Yeoman referred to in . uter 
elegmm fiom Kimberley which stated that 'a m. .r of 

nl„f? '^ iu^ ^^'^' ^''° t°°'' away every vestiee^ of his 
clothmg I have the best authority,' ^ntinued the telewam 
for saymg that the incident is ^ssly misrepresent'Xhe 
^unH ^r?-,'^'"'!?* exceptionaUy well, bandaging his 
The nnlt 1- *'^!";« ^^ '="'* "' » "^ ^^ '^e wound^ed Umb 
fhe only thmg taken was the wounded man's rifle, and The 

^t^'7:^^-Z^Tl' t' «"*'^'' ambulance'no? com! 
"ewa^^^^lr in^^'- . ^^ ^^ ""^ °f *« monument 
beJ™-^ ^, Villebois's grave. The conversation then 

&r! Ir™^™' T.f • *'*™'"« °" »•>« =««=«*» of lyddite shelU 
V.ckers.Max,m shells, and artillery &« in general, and on tt' 






difficulty of ejecting the enemy from trenches, such as those »t 
Faaideberg, made in soft hollow ground as compared with the 
ease with which they could be turned out of the stony kopjes. 
Curiously enough, none of these experts knew whether there 
were any bullets enclosed in the Vickers-Maxim shells, and 
none of them knew the weight of a shrapnel ball. Methuen 
had a high opinion of the utility of nursing sisters. 

After enjoying the unwonted treat of a couple of beautiful 
Havannah cigars, I took my leave. It we :, an unusual 
experience, after a dinner party, to have a soldier emerge 
from benea::h the shadow of trees, first present a glittering 
bayonet at my stomach, and then hold the muzzle of a loaded 
rifle within a yard or so of my head, while he told me to halt 
and give the countersign. However, I pacified the wanior 
by telling him that I was ' Friend,' and that the word was 
'Jacobsdal,' whereupon the unpleasant objects were tpken 
away, and I was saluted and told to 'Pass, friend,' and I 
went out into the moonlight to the camp and found all in 
bed, though it was not yet nine o'clock. 

liie only other non-professional interest I can recall con- 
cerning Boshof is that some alarmist got up a report that 
the Boers were using poisoned bullets. I believe it created 
some sensation in the home newspapers. I was questioned 
about the matter, and the bullets and loaded cartridges, of 
which we had plenty, were supplied to me. At a glance it 
was plain that tb'? whole thing was a mistake. The bullet 
and front part of the shell of the cartridge were, for lubricating 
the grooves of the rifle, dipped in fat, and after some time the 
fatty acids acting on the copper of the shell produced a green 
coating of stearate or other salt of copper, which had an alarm- 
ing appearance, but would, owing to its antiseptic properties, 
have benefited rather than harmed a wound inflicted by the 
bullet, even had the coating not been thrown off by the rapid 
revolutions (2500 to 8600 per second) of the missile as it passed 
through the air. It is probable enough that the centrifugal 
force thus developed may purge the modem small-bore 
mantled bullet of all impurities and even germs, and render 
it aseptic. 


Conditions at Boshof 

Befoke taking leave of Boshof I may add a few words re- 
garding the medical conditions there. 

During the first half of April the climate was like that of 
the Isle of Skye at its worst. Endless blankeU and rolls 



of h^ped up clouds swept over us, with no blink of blue to 
break their dullness, and each cloud did not fail to besprinkle 
us with Its exudations. Our men went about in heavy great- 
coats, our officers in cardigan waistcoats and thick jerseys 
under the^ tunics, and all were more or less miserable from the 
cold. Yet until the middle of the month was past I could 
not perauade my thermometer, even during the dark hours 
before dawn, to descend below S9 degrees, and its maximum 
durmg the day would even be 100-6 degrees. Had the wet left 
us and the sun shone we should have been pretty weU off but 
as It was the wet and chilliness kept up the number of cases of 
dysentery and diarrhoea. My recollection is that it rained at 
intervals aU night and pretty monotonously nearly every day. 
and that we were only occasionally able to dry ourselves. One 
evening I thought for a moment that peace had been declared 
or some other momentous occurrence had Uken place, for the 
whole camp broke suddenly out into loud and repeated cheer- 
ing, but on going out to inquire 1 found it was because the 
compassionate general had ordered every man a ration of 
"un against the wet and cold. 

The ridge dividing the higher from the lower plain at Boshof 
and on which our camp lay, was so strongly impregnated with 
iron that I found, by careful measurement, that the Magazine 
Kopje which was a part of it deflected the compass 25 degrees 
to the west even at a distance of 800 feet ; that the boulders 
upon It deflected it when close to them in the same direction 
for 15 d^rees ; and that even a fragment of them of the size of 
a pea, when held close to the needle, moved its nor pole west- 
wards for T degrees. Probably this was the reaso- vhy storms 
of thunder and lightning were so intense over our camp 
At aii events, the t jwn was notorious for its lightning storms, 
its cnurcn spire was twisted by them, and one of its resident 
medical men mformed me that on an average six of the in- 
habitants were annually struck by lightning. The thunder 
clouds and lightning usually came on in the afternoon, played 
around at a distance on the plain, then came over us, returnina 
two or three times after they seemed to be over, and inflicted 
great discomforts on us. The accompanying hail drove wet 
spray over everything in the tents and soaked ourselves, 
the water on the ground converted the surface into lakes 
whUe often we had to labour in vain in the dark to convey it 
away by diggmg trenches round them. The trenches filled, 
out the water remained in the tents notwithstandinc It 
was wretched, and, it must be added, even sometimes tei^- 
Mg. Experience made us more expert at protecting ourselves • 
we poised everything upon pillars of bricks stolen ftom the 







cemetery walls; we moved to a piece of slig. tly higher 
ground and encircled our dwellings with ditches over a foot 
deep to convey the water away, got some tents which were 
not so old and thin, and seized every available moment to 
lug our bedding and baggage out to dry. But our thoughts 
turned to the poor lads on the expeditions about, who were 
lying on the veld not far ftrom us, who had not even the 
protection of ,.ur leaking canvas. 

After the middle of April the rainy season seemed to be 
over, and with it the mosquitoes disappeared, and the dysen- 
tery and diarrhoea diminished. Even then, however, the 
climate was not one to be praised. In one, and perhaps more, 
of his wonderful books. Rider Haggard ( ives a description 
of a sunrise in Africa. But it seemed to me that the sun- 
rises he describes are not African. In Boshof at all events 
his ' rosy-fingered d..wps ' did not show themselves. There 
when all was still dark, ere the flr^t peep of light had come, 
the eastern sky was of a deep blue-black, dotted with the 
Southern and constellations, cloven by the zodiacal 
lance-head of white light tapering up from the horizon to 
the zenith, so faint that one doubtoJ at times whether it 
existed, yet clear and plain when one looked again, fading 
inserMbly into the rest of the sky, and paling the stars that 
shone through it. But this faded and disappeared for an 
hour before the white border of light fringed the flat horizon 
and showed that day was about to break. The white fringe 
became brighter and changed into a vermilion of deep fiery 
orange like the glow of a metal plate growing red hot, and 
above it the stars went out and the blue sky became green. 
All was usually cloudless, no rosy rays were seen, and there 
was an angry tone that told of an arid land and a burning 
day about to break. That was the usual appearance of 
sunrise in the Orange Free State ; anything like the gentle 
rose tints of an English or Scottish dawn was never visible ; 
sunrise was a hostile, not a kindly thing. The temperatures 
which had been perhaps 70 degrees at sunset, and had fa'len 
an hour later to 60 degrees, and by bedtime to about 50 
degrees, where it remained until morning, diminished to 40 
degrees as dawn was breaking, again i-eached 50 d^rees at 
sunrise, became 60 degrees when the sun had shone for an 
hour, was 95 degrees at ten o'clock, and 107 degrees at noon. 
As tie day was growing warmer, horrible things came out 
to bask, whip-snakes glided out from the kopjes, locusts 
rose as black clouds on the horizon and flew overhead in 
rustling swarms like the noise of a rushing river, or alighted 
on the ground as thick as autumn leaves in a beech forest ; 



•oorpions ran about catching the locuato in their ulawi and 

^i?"" • ""* '""thwme whitish ant», nightmare ghouls, 

r^l*^^ everywhere on the ground. ThSe *ere man,: 

wii'a H^U,'""'?* *'*'' l'"" »|?!l niPP«" tJ>»t hannoni«rf 
with a climate and a country which grew odious to us all 
peopkd by mhabitants as hostile and irreconcilable as its 
vermm. We had airo wmged pests in abundance. Thouah 
the gentle mo8<juito had gone, the house fly replaced him, 

Slill'fT^ "i^i"" T/°°^ "^ <'™''; crim«>n.headed 
bluebottle flies frequently favoured us with their attentions, 
and wasps swarmed in our tents and strove to buiM houses 
m our beddmg We had even to kill snakes in our mefs! 
tent. And we had to wage a warfare that knew no intAj. 
mission with the other creeping creatures who at one time 
rendered Pharaoh's Ufe hardly worth living. 

Life m such conditions as these did not conduce to health 
either m men or animjls, when everything in the shape of 
provisions, sudi, for mstance, as sugar, came to us bro^ in 
rolour from admixture with all the aith blown into iv with 
the dust of the camping grounds, and when such occurrences 
were to be daily witnessed as that of the cooks-^nd those 

J'h.'J?!? J^^iIT"* *°°-««'"ring their cooking-pots with 
the ^rth which lay under their feet and washing them with 

hM,K, T " ^f-^ "^^ P"'*'"'' *° save** themselves 
thetrouble of going ten paces to do so in pure running water. 
What was termed by the Boers ' Paard-siekte,' or horse- 
sickness, a species of pneumonia, ravaged the poorly-fed 
and often overworked horses; it was said that twenty-flve 
of the Yeomanry horses died from it in a single day, and a 

S I r^t^.V^P'^'^J^^i"'- ^^ *" °"e morning four 
which had died from it. There was also a plant resembling 
SSk' °?"«^,*"''P-8«s» or 'tulp,' a species of bulbous lily! 
with a double bulb, one above the other, which grew to the 
height of eighteen or twenty inches at that season, and was 
eaten by the unported horses, while the native-bred animals 
^Z- r°^^ '}'' '* S"^""*^ 8"''* '!«* "»ion and 
Wi^^rpplrfonieL"" " «°^ """"^ •"""- ''^ ^"^ ■* "* 
There was altogether great need of a special sanitarv 
corps for mdecd the camps were in most respects in .i filthy 

frl? • w?"5 '* ''** '"*" "°"'^''" *■>"* ">a"y "f the offlcere 
fell sick, that some regiments had more than half of their 
offices h«l up, and that a special hospital had to be arranged 

l^ki^ ^t" ! u*"^; °" ^r°" ''"^ ^^ '^°^ ^:th what 
koked like typhoid fever, and most of the medical officers 
were ailing, some havmg to be sent away on that account- 

I ! 



1 . (ii 


i\ \\ 



while among the men, in addition to other illncM, an epidemic 
of ' veld aoieii,' a kind of infectioui blistering of the »kin 
which attacked every little scratch and prevented it from 
healing, especially when the abrasions were upon the hands, 
and which was due to a germ acting on weakened individuals, 
broke out among them. 

But of all the scourges typhoid was the worst. It was 
already among the Boers in Boshof when we arrived there, 
we too brought it from Kimberley and Modder River with 
us, and it spread alarmingly among our troops. I had neittior 
the time nor the opportunity of obtaining full inform: .1..11 
about it, but what we all knew was certainly bad enough. 
The cases of it t hich the Boers had sent in from Magersfontein 
before our occupation were numerous and severe, and mostly 
in the later stages of the disease, some arriving wildly delirious, 
and others with perforation of the intestine. We ourselves 
had to open an hospital for it in the schoolhouse at the comer 
of the Market Square, cases came in from the troops lying 
out in the veld as well .-.s from thoie in the town, and it was 
soon filled and overflowing, and of the fifty cases it contained 
thirty were typhoid. We were sending away batches of 50 
and 60 whenever we could, of such as were able to be moved, 
but this was not always possible owing to the atrocious 
weather. By the 26th of April about 820 had been thus sent 
off to Kimberley, neariy 6 per cent, of our strength, though 
Kimberley itself was already overfilled both in its civil and 
military hospitals ; yet we always had more coming in their 
place, and ever 80, 68, and such like numbers remained, and 
we had even to put some for a time into our operation tent. 
They came pretty equally from all branches of the service, 
none was exempt, but perhaps the class most affected was the 
officers' servants ; and a large number of the mess cooks took 
it, although they ate and drank the same things as we ourselves. 
Before the middle of the month we had 257 cases of the 
disease, with a mortality of 60, or 21-8 per cent. 

More hospitals were established and a good many civilian 
doctors were brought up and with few exceptions worked 
heartily, though one of them, I regret to say, when requested 
to attend the Schoolhouse Hospital in an emergency, replied 
that there were limits to what a man is willing to do, and 
declined. This was the one black sheep whom I met: he 
openly professed that he had ' come to see what was to be 
seen,'^not to do what was to be done. The devotion of all 
the R.A.M.C. officers was beyond praise, and I never admired 
the major so much as when he was hard pressed with work 
and duty ; he complied unhesitatingly with the rp"'' un- 


NMOMble dcmandi if be could bring help to tbow who needed 

It ; he never reftiied to tdce over any other mmn'i work ; 

he WB» ahrey. about looking after ererything and every one's 
comfort ; he anticipated every requirement ; he plunged 
into the work in the operation tent ; he was never put but 

by the moit ill-timed ini*rruption ; and when everything 
lud been do and attended to, he dropped back into the 
.ilent reserve which was hi* Ufuul. When matters were at 
theu- worst our major wired fcr four nurses to be sent up to 
assist with the typhoid cases, and endeavoured to obtain 
lodgings for them in the town, but the Dutch, who were loading 
the few wounded prisoners we had in Boshof with every atten- 
tion, altogether refused to give house room to the sisters, 
even for payment. The sisters came up, however, and did 
excellently, havmg run the risk of being captured on tbt" 
"^^'n"'.^*^ '* "^^ ■* °"* *""« reported that they had 
actually beei. taiten prisoners between Kiraberley and Itoshof. 

Now and then one came across a medical officer who held 
the opinion that everything in the army medical service was 
perfection, but even these, loyal though they were to their 
corps, could hardly have been quite blind to its deficiencies 
when they saw the conditions in Boshof. We wouW want 
coverglasses to make blood flhns, there were none j micro- 
scope shdes, they did not exist ; a microscope, Boshof did 
not possess su«* a thing ; staining reagents, such things 
were never heard of. Adhesive plaster ran done ; so did 
calico bandages ; there was gypsum, but no muslin bandages 
for applymg it ; the alembroth bandages were of only one sue, 
and that was too narrow to be of much service ; there were 
no abdominal binders ; there was no proper operation table : 
there was hardly a parish doctor in all ScotUnd who would 
not have been better supplied. 

These and other defects were not due to any want of 
interest on the part of Lord Methuen. He and Lieutenant 
Ij— y wouH come in during the middle of our work, speak to 
the sick and wounded, interest themselves in them, and make 
a round among the wounded in the tents of the field hospital. 
Others too came and would have supplied our deficiencies had 

tftjy been allowed. Two oflicers' wives, Mrs. O'B and 

™; ^TT"' contrived somehow to make their way through 
to Boshof, were m possession of funds, and were most anxious 
to supply us with thinjrs required for the equipment of the 
hospital, which were ' • jds down to crockery ; they in- 
formed themselves ai • . or wants, and left along with an 
wcorted convoy for Kiu-uerley, intending to get the requisites 
R>r the village school hospital sent through by a road-engine 

, I 

I I ' 


tr»in. But I don't think th«y mat •Itowed to do >o. The 
Red Cron, too, w«» contpicuoui by its total •btenoe. 

When itending back our patients, we at flnt had no alter- 
native but to transport them in buck-wagon» drawn by ojwn, 
enUiling stow journeys. In this we were practically helpless, 
for we possessed but three ambulance wagons, canable of 
carrying four lying cases in each, while we had to despatch 
a convoy arranged for, say, 18 cases, which rose before 
departing to 68 sick (I cite actual oocurrences), and 
the -onditfons of :ir transport le^, as will readdy^ be 
imagined, much t. je desired. Things irnpioved somewhat 
in the later days ; a better route, with Frankfort midway 
in it, was presently established, so that patienta could be 
rested, refreshed, and by transport sent out from Kim- 
berley. and be met by doctors and attendanU also commg 
out from there. But what couW any service, robbed of iU 
proper vehicles, do ? A few ambuknce cars did not go far 
when batches of eighty patients had to be moved, and the 
strain on the line of communication may b» vjdged from the 
fact that ir three weeks we had to send down in the rudest 
conveyances between three and four hundred and 
wounded, without the numbers rer .ig in Boshof seeming 
to diminUh. The best that was f ole under the curcuin- 
stances was done, as each R.A.M.C. 01 er met with a difficulty 
he rose to it and overcame it, but the was, so far as I could 
hear, no fully organised h Ip from the .aedical headquarters, 
and telegraphic inquiries failed to discover that any special 
officer of the RJlJU.C. was in charge of the lines of com- 
munication. T. e military gave all the assistance they could, 
t d provided s /table escorts for the convoys of patients, 
but, as already suited, the Boers did not make war upon our 
sick, or molest in the smallest degree their convoys, so far 
bs we in Boshof ever heard. 

We had with us in Boshof a field hospital suppUed and 
accompanied by a rich American. It had a curious history, 
but I abstain &om leaking any comment on it. 


Boshof to Hoopstad 

When the month of May arrived, and the rainy season was 
fairly over, our future planii began to be the subject of camp 
rumours and of private whisperings among those who were 
supposed to be in cv- GeneraFs counsels. It had at one time 
been imagined that we might be sent to relieve Mafeking, 


•nd thii ides died hud, but whether or not this had ever 
been put of Lord RoberU'i and Lord Methufn'i desiRni, 
it eame to be pretty plain to those of us who ponderrd over 
the powibilitiet of the future that aome other deitination 
wai more probable. Brandfort on the Bloemfontein -Pretoria 
Une had Jiut been captured by the Commnnder-in-Chief, the 
British had forced the passage of the Vanl River at Windsor- 
town, and an advance into the Transvaal was bound to be 
the next phase of the war. By this tiir 00, it was seen that 
the resistance of the enemy m the Free State, and particu- 
lulf """"^ "* ** Boshof, was weakening, so that it created 
little surprise when the plan of our sweeping along the south 
of the Vaal in harmony with General Archibald Hunter's 
similarmarchalong its northern bank came to be foreshadowed, 
«id preparations were made for initiating it by an advance on 
Hoopttad, a journey of four or Bve days, which involved 
our burning our boats behind us and phinging into a region 
dMtitute of roads, railways, or other means of communication. 
When it was now seen by us that the town of Boshof, pro- 
vided with strong fortifications, was to be left with a moderate 
force to garrison it, while the others moved on, each unit 
hoped and prayed that it would not be one of those to be left 
behind, but would be among those selected to go forward. 
For by the 18th of May every one knew that Hoopstad was 
where the blow was to fall, and that fiom thence we would 
advance to join Roberts's mair army on the line between 
the capitals of the Free State anu Transvaal. 

The hum and bustle in the camps grew loud and intense. 
A large body of lancers came in, the outer world whose exist- 
ence we had almost forgotten broke in upon us, and our family 
gatherings, where each knew his neighbour, were no more. 
All day long we could espy clouds of dust from bodies of men 
approaching us fh>m several directions across the veld ; in 
the afternoons tired horses and dusty hungry men with un- 
known faces commenced to crawl into our camps, and reveal 
that they were ofBcers, medical and other, who had ridden 
on before the regiments or units which were en the way to 
complete Lord Methuen's Division to its full strength. Such 
arrivals increased in frequency, and following them came in 
bodies of foot, horsemen, mule-carts, buck-wagons, ox-wagons, 
artillery, ambulance wagons, and all the paraphernalia of 
war. Dust and tumult rose round and in Boshof, and by 
nightfall the hum of voices, shouts of men, noises of mules 
and cattle, bugle caDs, pattering of mallets driving tent-pegs, 
and other sounds, made a Babel of the quiet place, and canvas 
spires commenced to tower up all around, ghostly in the dim 

■' '1 

H j 

; ' t 

i I 


«il' : 



moonlight and the faint reflections of the blazing, smoking 
camp-ftres which gleamed in all directions about us. In came 
the Munster Fusiliers, the Scottish Rifles, a weak regiment 
with a strong band, the South Wales Borderers, the 4th 
battery of Artillery with a couple of new Vickers-Maxim field 
guns, and the Staffordshire Militia, most of them belonging 
to ova own 20th Brigade, and forthwith set to work erect- 
ing their tents and cooking their suppers. Some had come 
fhjm Kimberley, some from Windsortown, and others from 
Warrenton in the north ; it was a gathering ol the tribes. 

To these arrivak our small medical contingent endeavoured 
to show its best face, and was reviewed by the General and 
Colonel Townsend. All acquitted themselves well, the gem 

of the whole being M 's bearer company, which he had 

trained in a few weeks, out of the unpromising militiamen 
and others who had been given him, and converted into a 
capable and useful set of ambulance men ; they did better 
than any one could have believed possible, not only in ambu- 
lance and wagon drill, but in compressing arteries, extemporis- 
ing splints, and using bandages. One of them, H , gained 

renown by preparing a finger-splint out of an envelope and 
pencil he had in his pocket. 

All the regiments whom it was intended to take on the 
expedition were paraded and underwent an inspection by 
their medical officers as to their fitness for the march, in order 
to ensure, if it might be, a strong and enduring body of men. 
Each man was carefully looked over and rejected if he showed 
signs of any defect or weakness that might impair him, and 
his name was placed on the roll if he were satisfactory. In 
a force which had to carry with it the means of existing and 
fighting for perhaps thirty days without fresh supplies, and 
was to be completely isolated, the regulations of warfare, 
though ordinarily they are somewhat elastic, were insisted 
on with unusual stringency. Each man, horse, mule, bullock, 
or other item was counted in each regiment or vmit, and 
each unit drew its own rations for tMrty days from the 
commissariat stores, and carried them with it, the rations 
being exact weights of biscuit, tiimed beef, a little tea, sugar, 
salt, and pepper for the men, and oats, bran, salt, and bales 
of compressed hay for the animals. 

There were sad faces among the rejected, as those who were so 
happy as to have been chosen set to work on their preparations. 
Transport suddenly became the all-absorbing topic, every one 
looked over his kit to see what he could best spare in order 
to reduce his baggage to the required weight of 85 pounds 
for an officer, and 10 pounds for a private, for if anything 



beyond this were Uken it would be thrown out on the veM. 
Blankets were sewn up into sleeping-bags, for no tents were 
to be permitted ; even the medical contingent was allowed 
only the operation tent and a few others for wounded and sick. 
When one came to put a pair of blankets, a change of clothing, 
soap and a brush into a package and weigh it, there was little 
to spare to make up the 85 pounds, and books, paper, and 
tobacco had to be carried in very small amounts. My little 
cart carrying my bag, rugs, and tiny patrol tent, was an object 
of envy. The camps presented a new and unwonted aspect, 
with the long rows of men passing one by one through the 
operation tent for their medical examination, the horses 
being shod, the equipment of every kind looked to and 
arranged, and the stores weighed and sorted. No dogs 
were to be taken beyond the strictly regimental ones, and 
even these had to be certified by the commanding officer 
and receive a special pass ; all others were to be destroyed 
at the first halting-place. Unattached persons, like dogs, 
were not on any account to accompany the column, leave to 
do so was granted only to Press correspondents and such as 
could show legitimate business. 

The number of rejections was surprisingly large. Out 
of a batch of 880 from one militia regiment, 212 were kept 
back as unfit ; and of the total of that same regiment at 
least 827 shared the same fate. 

Unexpectedly at half -past seven on the evening of Tuesday, 
tiie 18th of May, the order came for the head of the column to 
depart, and all postal communication was put a stop to. 
Early next morning, almost before the full moon had stt 
and day began to take its place, those who were going with 
the van were riding round our tents bawling their farewells, 
as we rubbed our awaking eyes. By the time I had washed 
and sallied out, a long stream of dust extending into the east 
over the plain towards the Spitzkop Hill proclaimed that 
the foremost sections had really started and were already 
well on their way. Methuen's plans were also now fully 
revealed; he himself was to lead the way to Hoopsted 
with one half of the force, and General Paget in command 
of the other half was to follow immediately behind. Instruc- 
tions as to the march were given out ; starting every morning 
at six, we were to trek until it became too warm at nine or 
ten, rest and feed the animals until four, and then mareh 
on till seven or eight. Cavalry were to scout in front over a 
breadth of three miles ; a mile in their rear came the infantry 
and ambulance ; then followed the baggage wagons in lines 
of three abreast ; behind came more infantry and ambulance ; 

, * 




1 * , 






with still more infantry and cavalry bringing up the rear. On 
the flanks, 1000 yards distant to right and left, there marched 
bodies of infantiy to protect us, and outside them again were 
cavalry scouts. We ourselves were in Paget's column and 
were ordered to set ofl next morning at six, prepared to con- 
tinue trekking for twenty-one days. , , , , ■ 

Though the day was dull and grey, with a cold gale blowmg, 
our last tent was struck at midday, our wagons were in- 
spanned, and everything, that could be spared was packed 

upon them. The Boer clergyman, the Rev. Mr. B , agam 

turned up in the afternoon with his camera, and was busy 
ta^ig snapshots of the preparations, and on this occasion 
no one concerned himself to stop him flrom doing so. To- 
wards evening a marked ' counter-sunset ' appeared in dense 
stratus clouds, lasted from 4.80 to 5.88, and slight traces 
of it endured even until six o'clock, long after the sun 'lad 
set ; its duration being forty -five minutes, or indistinctly 
even eighty minutes. Through it rose the moon at full, 
shining over the now tentless expanse co' kl with cattle, 
horses, mules, and wagons, and dotted wiV irequent camp- 
fires ; as it climbed up behind the watery clouds it shone 
through them as through frosted glass, its bleared disk 
threw a halo around it, which gradually expanded like an 
opening pupil, wherein Jupiter and a hazy star or two showed 
here and there. The ominous appearance of the sky fascin- 
ated me, and many remarked it, auguring a bad night and 
wet weather for our mareh on the morrow ; but it was not 
to be so, as night advanced the wind changed from the north 
into the south, the sky cleared, and a glorious though bitterly 
cold night was followed by a fine day, with half a gale blowing 
at intervals. 

Punctually at the time appointed we set out and rode 
east by south-east over very fair roads until half-past eight, 
when we outspanned for the day at Spitzkop. For the first 
five miles the plain was fiat, then succeeded wooded kopjes, 
the highest of which, called the Spitzkop, was ahnost pictur- 
esque, and at its foot we halted. 

In the afternoon we had by much diligence got ourselves 
into apple-pie order for starting at four, as had been appointed, 
but our punctuality was superfuous, for though the advanced 
guard got off then, we had to stand about and sicken in the 
sun long ere the word to advance was passed backwards 
through row after row of wagons, and a long time elap^ 
before we got under weigh. When we did so, we beheld for 
a long time nothing round us but a sea of dust out of which 
emerged like masts of ships the wagoners' long bamboo 



whips, and as we made our way through it until it became 
dark, all we could discern was that we were advancing to the 
north-east at a pace of about two miles an hour. When the 
moon rose, it gave us the points of the compass, threw its 
Ught over the land, and revealed that we were emeiging 
from a district full of menacing kopjes which overhung our 
road, and that when we had got free from their frowns we 
entered on a plain marked by but few and distant examples 
of these natural fortifications. The Zwaartkopje, steep 
and forbidding, was the last which we passed, as it touched 
the very road we followed, and we were well pleased to be 
freed from the dangers such spots might have concealed. 
While we were in the region of the kopjes every care was 
taken that the disaster of Sanna's Post should not be repeated 
with our force, all dangerous spots were occupied and handed 
over from one regiment to another until we had passed out of 
their perils. Half a degree from the moon the planet Jupiter 
was in conjunction with her, and was a redeeming sight in 
the long, tedious, and dusty drive, in which our direction 
lay for several miles to the north-east, then turned eastwards, 
until finally about nine o'clock we saw to the north of us 
bivouac fires in a row for a quarter of a mile to right and 
left, where the colunm head had arrived and were setthng 
for the night at Mahemsfontein. But it was half-past ten, 
and we were ready to sink down with fatigue before we 
arrived there. It was midnight before I could pitch my little 
tent and crawl into it. 

At half-past three m the lunming the head of the column 
set off again, but we were no- warned by experience and were 
able to continue our rest until four, when we packed and in- 
spanned by the light of Jupiter and the moon and set off 
in the cold darkiiess. Soon we overtook the slow laggard 
ox-transport and the body of the column ; the sun rose on a 
pleasant bracing morning, in which we were marching to the 
north-east, intending to accomplish fourteen miles in one 
trek ; but by the time we had covered eight the sun became 
hot, oxen began to die and wagons to stick, and a few had 
to be abandoned with all their contents. It was evident 
that we should lose all that we had if we persisted ; wiser 
counsels prevailed, and we stayed our advance at Haarte- 
beestfontein, in a country park-like from scattered trees, 
where we saw game, wildebeest, koraan, and other fauna 
of the kind. All of the farms we had passed on the way were 
deserted, windowless, bare, gaunt, and naked, with only 
sometimes a few cattle and stock to be seen. All the farm 
people had gone, the men to fight in the ranks of our enemies. 





and the only human beings were the Kafirs. We touched 
nothing, and any cattle we saw were left to wander at their 
will or be annexed by the Kafirs, as generally happened. 
The latter did not fear us, but came over with supplies of 
eggs and vegetables, in scanty quantities however, for the 
first column had been before us and gleaned the most of 
such provisions. , „ ,. , 

Sickness already began to break out; the first column 
were sending back their invalids to us, our own men also fell ill, 
and as we had the means of carrying only six in our ambu- 
lances, the outlook was an evil one for whosoever collapsed. 
I mentiored that the houses where we might have left them 
were ruinous and uninhabited ; we could not send the in- 
valids back to Boshof through a hostile country even if we 
had possessed the ambulance wagons in which to send them, 
nor could an escort be spared. The only resource, seeing 
that our bearer companies had only at the most three ambu- 
lance wagons instead of their proper nun>ocr of ten, was to 
carry in these as many as we could, and place the remamder, 
whatever their condition, on the buck-wagons and ox-wagons 
as these became emptied by our consumption of the stores 

they carried. . , ., j 

When we left Haartebeestfontein m the afternoon and 

continued our forward way, it was dark before the rear goc 

started, and soon the obscurity was so great that all one could 

see was a long train of wagons moving 800 or 1000 yards off 

on the right hand, parallel to ours. As it became yet darker, 

and the moon had not appeared, all knowledge of what was 

going on around soon became lost, the only object I could 

discern being the back of the wagon in front of me, looming 

as a black mass against the sky. I followed its outline 

closely as my only guide and safeguard, for we were no longer 

on a road, but striking across the veld, and whenever I saw 

one side of the wagon heave up I knew that it was oyer an 

ant-hill, or when it went down with a crash I knew it was 

in a jackal's hole, and drew promptly to a side to save my 

slender wheels from being wrecked. I had several narrow 

escapes, especially from the holes, which were from one to 

two feet deep. My luminous compass indicated north-east, 

but the stars told me that we were really bearing almost due 

north. It seemed in the dark a long solitary drive, and it 

was eight o'clock before the moon rose and began to show that 

others beiJe myself were trekking along in silence. Against 

its red disk one saw the distant outline of men, horses, oxen, 

and wagons, minutely silhouetted, and realised that the 

oolunm was still in some kind of order. The moon also showed 



the holes and obstacles in the veld, so tkut they could be 
aToided, and I was very thankfiil for its help. Presently 
it revealed a file of wagons moving along on the left, and so 
far we had managed to preserve our order and were marching 
along in three lines, but before our halting-place was reached 
we got mixed up in much confusion. 

Our halt was at Drifontein, and towards nine we perceived 
the bivouac fires there ; our cattle seemed to recognise their 
significance as well as we, and perhaps the road, which had 
been atrocious, had mended a little, but however it was we 
seemed, contrary to the usual, to get on faster after we saw 
them glitter, and by ten o'clock we were in. What a jumble 
of our fine order I Ox-wagons, mule-wagons, soldiers, ambu- 
lances, that should have been nicely separate, were all in- 
termingled ; yet each unit stuck together somehow, or if 
separated mostly dodged through the mass of wheels and 
hoofs and got to its own again ; fer my part I stuck resolutely 
to the wagon before me where I believed I had seen my 
portmanteau deposited. For some unknown reason, un 
arriving, we found orders to quit our usual post with the 
rearguard, and to move on to the front, so we threaded our 
darkling way among bivouac fires, men, carts, mules, and 
oxen, until out heads whirled and we despaired of its ending, 
and finally settled down to outspan on what seemed to us 
in the dark to be a nice rising ground above and to the west 
of the farm of Drifontein. 

On many accounts I felt glad to have arrived. Dying 
cattle had bestrewn the latter half of our route, huge lorries 
were in consequence abandoned with all the provisions they 
contained, carts, even stout Scottish carts, with broken 
wheels, left behind, were too vivid a reminder of the fate 
that would have been mine had any similar mishap occurred 
to the spokes of my buggy wheels, which were gossamer in 
comparison with these stout vehicles. It had been with 
trembling that I had nursed it from every jolt. 

When morning came we foimd we had been sleeping on 
the garbage heap of the farm, where bones and the remains 
of slaughtered animals were shot out, but as all was dry it 
did not matter. The farm was a large and fine one, lying 
in a hollow in the midst of salt pans and vleis of sweet water, 
and surrounded with trees planted with a good deal of taste, 
far utility as well as shelter and appearance, all differing 
from the usual farmhouses in that quarter. We learned that 

it belonged to an Englishman of the name of R , who had 

N!en rrested by the Beers and removed to Bloemfontein 
or elsewhere, while his wife and daughters, who still inhabited 


1 ■! 

II ''i ' 

it ' 1 



it, were 'n ignorance of his fate. Some time afterwards I 
read in .. English newspaper that he had returned from 
captivity and appeared m Kimberley with his wife, two 
daughters, and a six-year-old son, having suffered severe 
privations at the hands of some of the Boers. The farm was 
raided by a party of the enemy under Captain Hendrik Smit ; 

Mr. R was in bed with rheumatic fever, but was made to 

get up, and was placed in a cart, while his wife and children 
were compelled to walk. They started at four in the after- 
noon and walked twelve miles, when they halted for the night. 
Next morning thty walked from six to ten miles, when the 
ladies were unable to proceed farther. Another cart was 
commandeered for the family. Two days later they arrived 
at Fetrusburg. There they were housed in a dirty room 
with a mud floor, and were given nothing to eat or drink 
until next day at noon, when they received some meaUes. 
They were in the hands of the Boers for only a fortnight, 

but during that time Mr. R became so ill that he had to 

be attended by a Boer doctor, through whose influence the 
family was released. He was still, added the newspaper, 
in ignorance of the fate of his farm and belongings. 

The daylight, beside this pretty farm, which was by far 
the most desirable we had seen in the Free State, revealed 
to us a broad and deep ravine or sluit crossing our road to 
the north, and it was the cause of a long delay, for its banks 
and bottom were of deep soft sand, so that each wagon 
required to have an extra team of sixteen oxen, in addition 
to its own, harnessed to it before it could be dragged across, 
and from the depths of the sluit resounded a pandemonium 
of roars, wails, shouts, and oaths, as down the steep nearer 
bank dipped the long bulky black train, and ascended the 
farther bank with toil, pain, and sweat, until it began to reach 
the firmer ground behind and disappear from sight across 
the wavy veld. As we stopped there, wearily waiting for 
three hours, I put the hobbles on my pony and collected the 
bulbous plants which were growing on the plain, some of 
which were beautiful enough to be cultivated in an .English 
greenhouse. But at last we got oft and struck northwards, 
passing over plains, plains, and ever more plains, desolate 
beyond description, a flat sea of land, bordered by the dome 
of heaven, where even a single low bush was a relief to the 
monotony. By eleven o'clock we had covered nine miles, 
for the going was good, and got among some threatening 
kopjes which our troops had occupied, and where, beside a 
little farm, there was a small dam or vlei, which our tired 
and thirsty horses &irly rushed if they were free to do so. 



In pity to my Basuto 1 quitted the column and drove him 
towards it, disregarding some warning shouts, and he plunged 
nght into it in his eagerness to quench his thirst. Abut 
He sank in the deep mire around it, and, entangled by the 
sinkmg cart, floundered, sank deeper, and horse and buggy 
stuck fest and were going always down. I jumped out and 
with difficulty obte-ied foothold enough to assist him, 
showed him how beut to use his strength, got him to move a 
little, then by degrees to turn sideways, and so drew him and 
the vehicle out, led hun round to a less dangerous spot where, 
with a little management, for he was very Wghtened, he went 
m far enough to reach the water and get a drink. I led him 
away to some distant grass, hobbled him, and let him graze. 
It was well I did so, for at once the orders came that we were 
to set off again in two hours, and no forage could be given 
to the other horses who had been haltered on the bare earth 
by the halting-place of the wagons. The feed he had so 
obtemed enabled him to withstand the fatigue which was 
telling sorely on all our transport animals, especially on the 
oxen, which are dependent on the long rests when they may 
wander and graze. The cause of our haste was that Lord 
Methuen, who was one march ahead, was expecting a flght 
and required our help. For two days the Boers had been 
prowlmg around us, but in the forenoon, on our way, we had 
rmde some of them prisoners, and from them we learned that 
of the commandoes about, some were becoming so discouraged 
that they were inclined to come in and give themselves up, 
and indeed that batches of fifty or thereby were on their way 
to surrender to Lord Methuen's force. Notwithstanding, we 
set off once more at one o'clock, at least the head of the 
column started then, and good progress was made, for the 
going was now good, the plains again firm, dry, and level, 
with only a few low kopjes far distant to the right and left, 
and quickly we picked up the main body. One or two 
farmhouses appeared in the distance, some vleis of sweet 
water were seen to the east and west, and the existence of 
sericulture was testified to by fences of cactus plants on the 
boundaries of &rms, or surrounding a few cultivated fields. 
The state of our cattle, however, was so serious as to makp 
It necessary to call a halt, and we pulled up at Aaronskiaal 
m the early evening, to feed and rest them a little, for now 
the orders were for us to set off again in four hours and 
march all night with short rests, covering a distance of twenty 
to twenty-four miles so as to reach Methuen and give him 
such help as he might waiit in the battle which was con- 
fidently anticipated. However, a telegram was received 

' Mil 


i !' 



that the commando in front of Methuen had surrendered to 
him and we might halt a whole day. This was a joyful re- 
prieve : we hung a lantern on n bBmboo stick, guthered round 
It, and had a good supper, u glnd evening, and a quiet night. 
In the morning we disdained to rise before seven, when every 
man seized a bucket or basin, gul » little water, and retured 
to the most secluded comer of the spacious veld, stripped 
oil and shook his dusty clothes, and had a refreshmg sponge 
down before breakfast. Luxury 1 Then came in the news 
tliat Methuen had entered Hoopstad without meeting any 
resistance, which enabled us. freed from the expectation of 
having to fight a way through, to prepare ourselves for the 
long waterless journey of fifteen or twenty mUes that Uy 
before us, and which had to be accomplished before we could 
have more than an hour or two during which to rest our 
transport animals. ab*ady dreadfully done up, and who were 
quite unable to get up a greater pace than two mU» an hour. 
The farmer at Aaronskraal was an old man, and his lout 
sons were in the field against us, but they came in and made 
their submission, and we purchased suppUes from them, 
paying by cheques which could not be cashed until the 
termination of the war, but were nevertheless readily accepted, 
which we considered a significant sign. 

In the afternoon a procession of horsemen was observed 
pacing slowly towards us across the plain, the foremost 
rider holding a white flag conspicuously before him over his 
horse's head ; they were a conunando of the Orange Free 
Staters come to make their peace, as they found, they said, 
that we were too many for them. Their advances were met 
by the olive branch. 

On other grounds than consideration for our animals we 
were glad of the interval in which to refit. The fever was 
dogging our steps ; its power of impeding us daily increaswl ! 
and at Aaronskraal we had five-and-twenty men lying under 
the shade of our operation tent, nearly all typhoids, and all 
fallen dangerously ill since we had left Boshof. It was sad 
indeed, and dreadful for those for whom no room could be 
found in the ambulances. They had to be brought along 
with us in the bullock carts his, and givmg them liquid 
food and morphia when req. .-d, was all that could be done 
for them. It was impossible to give them more than one day 
of rest, for Methuen was soon again calling to us to come 
6n with all speed. We therefore put some ammunition bis- 
cuits and a morsel of biltong in our haversacks, filled our 
water-bottles, upsaddled and set off in the evening. My 
pony was always a timid nervous creature, and had not 



noovercd from his fright at the slough ; on this oocuion he 
hjd not been wateied, and when I drove him out to one of 
the waUnng-pIaces to give him a drink before the long dry 
trek, he took fright at h white tin bucket nnd cun glittering 
in the twilight, shied at the cactus hedges we had t<i pass 
through, backed, turned, reared, and became so unmanage- 
able that he had to be petted, soothed, and led through the 
obstacles to the column. All that march he was nervous 
and jumpy, and without this it was a trying experience 
enough. It was a misty starlit night when we got on the road, 
the obscuring dust of our caravan spread far and near and 
above us, while the moon was now waning and would not rise 
for many hours. If we were reaUy following any road, it 
ooula not be seen, but we appeared to be proceeding right 
across rough country; the ant-hills and jackal-holes called 
for anxious navigation, and even when moonlight appeared 
at nme o clock it helped little. Yet it was rather picturesque 
as Its fsmt light revealed that we were passing through a 
flat strath, wmdinp our way among trees across what was 
probably the dry upper reaches of a tributary of the Vaal 
which takes its rise thereabouta, the broad depression deep 
with sand, very soft and entirely waterless. Until this stiath 
hod been reached our course had been a gradual ascent, and 
after we had crossed it the acclivities became greater j we 
had to climb up long lanes in the sand, necessitating pro- 
longed rests for the cattle, and things became greatly mixed 
The anunals grew exhausted as they laboured with silent 
footfiBlls through sand as deep and soft as on a sea beach 
above Wgh-water mark, pulling the creaking masses of the 
wagons behind them, and moving ghost-like on the right hand 
and the left. As the hours went on more wagons broke down 
and had to be abandoned, cattle dropped in their harness 
and were left lying, fresh oxen being attached in their place ; 

™S.*i ^ ^"^ *''*"' °*^"^ ^°^^ recover after a little, 
nibble grass, rise and begin to graze, and survive in the country 
until some one took possession of them. The horses and 
mules also became knocked up, some of them were dead 
beat, drivers grew reckless, and when an animal wouU &U 
the next team would drive right over it. This went on unta 
one o clock m the morning, when the worst of the ascent was 
over, the ground became firmer, and we got word to outspan 
for a couple of hours. Such a brief respite forbade aU thought 
of unshipping any rugs, and after having got a little soup 
and a fmgment of a smoke, we lay down in our greatcoate 
•mong the wheels and had an hour of repose ; but the ooU 
was too great, indeed it was bitter, and we awoke shivering, 




ii r 

'l' . 



wont to the neuMt c»mp-flre and made loroe warm ooftee, 
:wiw.^.^n5. General Methuen. W. had .till thirteen 
mile, before water could be reached, and we had to be off ra 
rjlarter of an hour. Down went the coffee, harness and 
baggage rope, wen- looked to, I .prano into mv <»rt, and in 
^^TCntSterwards wa« lo.t in the Sark c»cle beyond the 
liht of the fire. By the dim light of the moon we could see 
Xt we werTmoviAg onwards in three irregular lme«, with 

m?w Wr: four, five, and sometime. .« wagons lost them- 
Sfve.7Jid UUed on to anything that «emed to be movmg 
»nfidenSy enough to be a probable guide The overwork 
:^dwL.t of watJ was telling ever more badly on tt^anmia^ 
and when the dawn came m we could see how deadly weanea 
?£ey wS^ The oxen walked atong dragging theurlegs, with 
a sulky^ression of their mouth', the'^ Ubour^ re.Dmi- 
tion siundid like beUow. a. they moved Mongside of us, 
iw Sed and riavered and long string, of mucus hung 
dk.^ te)m their mouths, they snatched at ai:y morsel of 
!^ as?hey pushed along the road, now and the" they went 
Su^ mad and in spite of their drivers would suddenly make 
2 wrfTto a place wtere they seemed to think the road would 
Se *si«, aSd wagons int^rkKJced «"« a "ass ofheavmg 
backs, wild eyes, and long tossmg pomted horns. Then rwe 
She wild cries of the bUcks. their long heavy lashes cradted 
1^: rifles as the weighty strokes told unceasmgly on the sid^ 
and backs of the poor brutes, urgmg them °n J't » Wtte 
farther ere they feU down to die and were cut loose for others 
tol^^iS in. There they were left with their necks bleeding 
tm t^r^pe harness, obstructing the road, and round them 
and over them went the convoy. Anythmg to get on. The 
mules were the next to give in, and some of them ^o lay down 
and died. It was a heU of cruelty, which may haje t^" 
n^sary ; doubtless it was so, but it wa. an awful thm^to 
seTand I in my egg-shell of a cart was helpless m the midst 
^it Yet fearful Is was the confusion in the centre, it was 
»mforttog. when the sun rose at seven, to see the fiankmg 
3s to out on our sides in perfect order l'~P"gJ'«tch 
^r the safety of the mass from outward attack. But even 
?he« tL men were falling out tired and exhausted, and we 
wo^d pa» some of the vanguard lying with their peatcoats 
Tnd rifles dead beat in the middle of the wadway ''here they 
SLi lain down unable to advance a foot farther. No doubt 
She rearguard awoke them and brought tb-m on. In the 
SSHnd clouds of dust stalked the ""w^™JJ.tacl 
drivers, plying their long waving whips, some of them nov 



diwed up like Britith wldim, with helmeti, grrateoati. 
•nd even putteen, wld to them u discarded dren by the 
wldien when their new winter kit wai iuued. 

By the morning light we taw that the ground we were 
travenmg m an easterly direction, in the depth of a foot of 
•andy soil, was a *ttoneless plain, like a solid sea of gentle 
wavM, not a kopje showing m any direction for fifteen miles 
round. Loose though the sand was it was covered with grass 
and formed the best pastoral country I hod observed in South 
Africa. Among the grass were strange plants, long trails 
of weepers, pkints of the cucumber species, leaves of unknown 
bulbous plants, and plants with leaves resembling ivv and 
ground ivy. It was interesting, though perhaps it couM 
not be called pretty. 

Shortly after nine in the morning we had accomplished our 
forced march of fifteen miles, and reached Graspan, or Niekerk- 
skuil, even the best of us very cross and tired. We were 
glad to lie down. Each man sought out a comer, got the 
sottest thing he could lay his hands on to put under him, 
and had a few hours' sleep ; whUe the wretched animals, 
released (torn their harness, spread over the grass, prevented 
from straying too far by their native drivers, whom nothing 
seemed to tire. 

All too soon we had to stir again, for two companies were 
gomg on with a train of provisions for Lord Methuen, and we 
were to accompany them. We hardly seemed to have shut 
our eyes when the cattle, improved by the brief graze and rest, 
were bemg driven in, the mules that had employed their 
freedom in trying to eat our knapsacks, drinking up our 
loapy washmg water in preference to the clean which was 
offered to them, treading on our belongings, knocking over 
our tent, and annoying us by playing other sly mule tricks, 
were mspanned, and we were off with the sick whose disposal 
was becoming a serious question. Our interval of rest had 
seemed to be short, but it was really evening, on 19th May, 
when we again rode forwards into the darkness, and the 
succeedmg night trek, except that it was shorter, resembled 
those that had gone before. For hours we went on half 
asleep, with fewer hardships to the animals; the black 
quadrangular blocks of wagons, drawn by their sixteen 
crawhng objects, went gliding in spectral pairs silently save 
for the creaking and the wagoners' whips and cries, and in 
the deep sand ghosts of men in black greatcoats came and went 
'" w u j"* °^ **** gloom. But there was little else to note. 

We had been insensibly ascending a plateau which shelved 
upwards towards the east, but now we came to its edge, and 






_, j,__ Mil in raadt Uke w»t«Toouwet, deep 

toon were going o"*","Il' "* "T?! Xioft land, and nrnt 

*^* T^1^''o7tS: a?c2TutediZlids wm a difilcult 

thus Vrosi-ting I <»me^ss -J„"^'^f,i,^'eSeirens. 
^Ue? in a .hallovr ^to^t^^^^^^fA^^ »rt^" Kafir <J™ 

"1 waTSter'luncheon, indeed nearly three o'cloclc befor. 
It was a«" i"Ji ' u of traffic to permit our party 



to»d rmn down and up thew ; above the ford a wall of Ioom 
•tone. croMcil the river and broke the force of the cunwit. 

III!!..H 1 T »^* '""* *"" " ^^" "'" °" "hich pedettriani. 
could pick their way acroH. Fearing for the behaviour of 
my pony on the steep bank. 1 kept a tight rein, which wh« a 
mitUke, for the creature, better BcqUHii.ted than 1 with African 
ways, relented it, shook hia head and tugged until I per- 
ceived that he desired to be left quite loose. I therefore gVve 
him hM own way. when he at once proceeded, throwing 
himself back so as to act as a drag, to walk and slide down the 
incline look to the water as if he had been used to such work 
all bis life, which was probably the case, crossed without hesita- 
tion although the water reached to his body and even into 
the cart, climbed with his whole strength up the opposite 
6«ik, and fainded me cleverly and safely at the top Pi* 

S^ !?""E-'i.'?>>''"°.'*" "*">' "" 'he oxen and mules o, 
the carts which followed, for they did not negotiate the drift 
weU. Boundered about, required much dashing in the water 
and hishing by the drivers, and there was gnat shoutins 
and excitement while many men had to put their shouklen 
to the wheels before they couW be got up the bank after 
crossing. But nothing went seriously wrong, and the major, 
who was nding, and I went on and entered Hoopstad 



?„^?r^e„"?u fJ™" P*"* °' P°""^'>' ^«" inhabitants, 
and for a South African town was rather picturesque, perched 
M It was on the brink of the plain which here terminated in 
the precipitous bank of the Vet River. Bekiw wound the 
J. ^il^'.u^ T ~""' "°"'^ •* '""d «c«>ss the country 
V I. J !3 , *' °^ *"** growing on the top of the cutting 
It had made for itself. The town was level, and its centrS 
piesentod a gigantic new church of yellow freestone built 
in good Gothic architecture, English in every inch of its design 
even to the woodwork of its windows and doors. Round 
tlie churdi was a grassy square enclosed in barbed wire fencing 
supported on rude posts. The houses and s" ets were laid 
out in regular quadrangles. Hoopstad con% yjd, in spite of 
Its regularity, something of the impression of a German 
townlet m a district which, lying remote from railways, 
«^ preserved its national features unadulterated; and in- 
deed most of thenames of the shops and stores were German 
-Hertz, Cohn, WerdmUUer, etc. The houses were good and 







clean and had an air of substantial prosperity. A few, 
S Appeared to be the most modem, possessed verandahs 
Ju^nh.8 round them, the others had merely a big step or 
^stoep^ ^circling them, constructed of stone, a yard in 
br^ad^th and half of that in height, on which were seated the 
townspeople in their family groups, enjoymg the air and 
.rfifC^ H«.«ed tidilv but without show, discussing no 
douM the mTddt d^- kha^i-clad horde who had invaded 
them ^i^y sho;ed no want of confidence m us, they had 
traW no cause, for all of our men were orderly and well 
Shtt ?nd ^n fraternised with those who were wilhng 
to do so It took no long time to see the town, for it was 
c^mpac? and everywhere round it there was but one step 
SKit and the^eld, and all the exits were blocked by 
Sd wire fences placed there by our people for niilitarj- 
re^^s ^ere was little to be seen beyond the few houses, 
reX'rch. two small hotels, the Landrost's office, and some 
s"r shops, which were closed as it was Sunday ; but there 
were s°y back doors at which the proprietors were with little 
dfflcuty persuaded to sell to our officers and others matches 
provUions" some exceedingly «.arse tobacco, and such other 
oimnle thinss as were obtainable. . , . , j 

Ts our^y gathered in, the numbers of the sick assumed 
alamLgp^i^ons. We commenced the day with seventeen 
undSowch^ge, but shoals poured in from everywhere; the 
Yortehire Light Infantry sent us thirty-two >»?«. and so 
H went^n until by evening there were somethmg like 110 
who were too ill to proceed farther; some had on^r sores on 
The f^t or such like incapacitating ailments, but there were 
m^nv who were very seriously ill with typhoid fever Large 
Z^meZs had to be made; the Landrost's judgment- 
SSrto be taken possession of (commandeered, as we 
S^d n^w learned to designate requisitioning) , and as t^ 
was not large enough, the schoolhouse as well ; and beds 
Tnd such like had to be exacted from the hotels and the 
^bSints ; stretcher beds were at once ordered to be m^e^ 
Slat a high price ; but it was done considerately and there 
was nothing which was not paid for, and well paid. For 
rts si^ the Landrost's hall made as good an hospital as codd 
^ve W found ahnost anywhere at that tune ; .the school- 
^uL was sLuer; the former held only thirty sick, but th 
r^n«e (tot into other places or into tents, and somehow it 
^s a"^compUshed before "ightfaU. The comfort » 
^^ was wonderful considering all thmgs the patients 
^^ut into clean rooms, had good beds, clean blankets 
S«n Wn, etc.. but the medical and surgical supplies were 



sadly deficient ; there was only one clinical ther nometer, and 
that was a broken one, there were few medicines, and so on. 
Two women volunteered to assist with the nursing, a whole 
clinical thermometer was procured from somewhere, every 
requisite was, through the energy of the medical corps, pro- 
vided in some fashion, and our quartermaster, invaluable 
in s-i -v. snergencies, saw that proper stores of food and other 
I cuisites v.'or. 'eft with those in charge ; while the civilian 
t iiotor remair ' u behmd to deal with what must have been 
i.) i'ght task. 

I't^r - council of war of the principal officers had been 
held in the afternoon, it was announced that our next destina- 
tion was to be Bothaville, and that we were to start for it 
in the morning. It touched us deeply to have to leave our 
soldiers and some friends who were officers alone in that 
remote and far from friendly little Dutch town, &om which 
no postal communication was possible, but it was impractic- 
able to bring on any of the sick. 


HooPBTAD TO Bothaville 

On leaving Hoopstad we were told that our waterless forced 
marches were to be at an end, and that during the next ten 
days or fortnight we would progress ^y regular treks, up the 
southern bank of the Vaal, sweeping it clear of all enemies 
as we went, starting daily at four in the morning, halting at 
nine, resting until five, and then continuing the march until 
eight, when we would bivouac for the night. 

The nights had become bitterly cold, and the morning 
treks were marked by benumbed fingers and toes, and general 
crossness or at least discomposure. 

On leaving Hoopstad we passed through a country as flat 
and unbroken as a billiard table to the very horizon ; not a 
kopje visible to suggest thoughts of Boers lying in ambush 
to pour in unexpected volleys. The few trees were so far 
apart that no bodies of men could have found concealment 
in them, even a solitary horseman would have been at once 
espied. The ground was covered with reedy grasses, growing 
in tufts, with soft deep sand between, through which our 
carts and horses struggled with more labour than if we had 
been crossing a freshly ploughed field ; there was not a stone 
in it to jolt our wheek or to throw at a marauding mule ; 
ant-hills were few, and only the jackal-holes threatened the 
integrity of my buggy wheels. 





It was now many days since we had a drop of rain, the cold 
was our chief enemy, and that was only at night, but there was 
no time to use the thermometer, and it was difficult even to 
make any notes in my journal. . , , ^ „ .... 

As we progressed, we foraged m the few stray farms withm 
sight which had not been deserted, but they were at long 
i^ervals, and our endeavours to obtain bread, butter, and 
eeas were only moderately successful. One of the farms I 
went to was flying a white flag in token ol submission, or 
to disarm enmity. Poor folks 1 They need not have feaied. 
Our first morning halt was at Wegdraai, in sight of a loop 
of the Vaal, where we obtained our first glimpse of the nver, 
and beheld on the farther bank the land of Krugerdoni, 
which we hoped to conquer. There was a great camel-thorn 
tree at our halting-place, the largest I had ^en in the Free 
State, as big as a full grown sycamore, and of sunilar outlme. 
We there captured a batch of half a dozen prisoners, whom 
we marched over to the General's bivouac to be disposed of. 
Some of us were about to bathe in the Vaal, but were warned 
against doing so, as it was dangerous from the enemy being 
so near • in fact a rifle could easily have carried not only to 
the river, but from the hostile bank even to the place where 
we were having our rest. The soil near the river appeared 
to be diamondiferous, being full of rounded pieces of olivine, 
agate, and pebble, such as are characteristic of the nver 
diamond washings. . ,_ i- f 

We were faced once more with the ever-urgent question of 
the sick Although we had seemed to have cleared out all 
of them at Hoopstad, less than twenty-four hours previously, 
there were akeady half a dozen others incapacitated, and the 
old question arose as to what was to be done with them. 
Some advised their being sent back in bullock-wagons to 
Hoopstad, but there was always the possibUity of them, 
their wagons, or their escort, being captured, and it was wisely 
decided to carry them on with us, as being less dangerous. 

Late in the evening we observed great fires at a place in 
the Transvaal to the north-east of us ; their nature could only 

be conjectured. , . , t ti.„t 

On the morning of the 22nd the dew was so heavy that 
everything was soaked through, and we had to don our wet 
clothing in the chilly morning. We had been crossing a 
peninsula of tableland that projected northwards between 
the Vet River and a loop of the Vaal, but now we were winding 
along the southern bank of the latter at distances of ftom 
half a mile to two mUes, and were ascending and descendi^ 
the undulations that ran at right angles to the nver, caused 


by water filtering from the higher ground ; they were all dry, 
and only once did we cross a shallow watercourse. Occasional 
glimpses of the river were obtained, but as it here ran between 
steep earth banks our view was mostly limited to the masses 
of bushy trees that crowned them. On the veld away &om 
the river a few fair-sized trees existed, though sparsely as 
stragglers or small groups of a dozen or so. Four miles out 
from Wegdraai the column began the ascent of a high table- 
Iand,perhaps 1000 feet in altitude, and we gradually diverged 
from the river ; the top was reached after much labour and 
crossed with more, for it was broad and everywhere deep in 
soft sand, and there was no visible road. The march was 
uneventful except for our finding some mules which had been 
shot, a few spent oxen, and wa'^ching one of the Yeomanry 
having a long chase after his horse, which had thrown him 
and went careering back towards Wedgraai with saddle and 
tin utensils rattling under its belly. Presently we got the 
guidance of a telegraph wire laid along the ground, by which 
the head of the column communicated with the rearguard, 
who in their turn reeled it in as they advanced. The coarse 
dry grass covering the veld here was relished by our animals, 
and we let them graze as much as possible as we went along. 

As we had not set out until the light of the morning was 
coming in, the riding had been pleasant for a few hours, but 
''•.5 way began to seem long as the sun and dust rose higher ; 

' *ees or other objects that might have broken the monotony 
ihed, and we were all very wearied when at eleven o'clock 
vfe came to the descent from the plateau and saw outspread 
below a vast expanse of lower plains, brown with withered 
grass and varied by only so many trees as one could count 
on their fingers and toes. At the farther edge of it, however, 
we rejoiced to perceive that the advanced guard had arrived 
and were lighting their fires, so we hasten^ to descend and 
got to our breakfasts at one o'clock. The place was named 
something like Jacobsjourdain, and the Dutch farmer who 
owned it came storming out to demand what our people 
meant by leaving a lot of cattle, some of them even witk cold*, 
on his land ; what was he to do with them ? He got the 
soft answer that he ought to collect them, and would receive 
» soverdgn for each one, when they were sent for. Truly 
the consideration and forbearance of our commanders to the 
inhabitants were everywhere something wonderftU. 

During that day the number of our sick had risen to ten, 
and the uncertainty as to our destination increased the diffi- 
culty of knowing how to dispose of them. Our impression 
was that we were going to seize one of the fords of the Vaal 

I I 


ii T g g t ! y . f n aj ' a.«>wi i' t 


■ i! ' t 



with one of oxir divisions, while the other was to make i dash 
for the Kroonstad-Klerksdorp railway and endeavour to 
obtain possession of the bridge by which it crossed the Vaal. 
We were soon to learn that no such railway existed, ad that 
though it was marked on the maps not a sod of it had been 
cut. When this fact became known, it turned our thoughts 
towards the town of BothaviUe, where we might possibly 
aet some kind of accommodation arranged for the mvalids. 

On the 28rd of May, after a night rendered sleepless by 
mules breaking loose and trampling on us. we contmued 
trekking all morning from long before daylight across the 
ridges that ran towards the Vaal. It was a hornd desert 
vaned oil- by a few rare ant-heaps, tussocks of withered 
grass, dead' or dying oxen, and the living skeleton of a horse 
of inconceivable thirmess, turned loose from the column as 
being unable to move farther. The horiion was a flat circle 
under a grey and leaden sky, across the centre of which our 
caravan was strung out in a line of insignificant blade and 
brown dots ; and it was a thing of joy. an oasis m th<i desert, 
when we unexpectedly found o« -selves on the edge of a bea,uti- 
ful crater, a mile in diameter, walled round by ndged edges 
of limestone clifl, descending ahnost perpendicuUrly to the 
flat bottom, evidently a former lake, from the middle of which 
a wooded eminence rose like a hill fort from beside three or 
four ponds of water. Trees were scattered over the oottom 
and fringed the sno.. -white limestone cliffs around, and we 
aU hailed with delight this apparition of lovelmess in the 
loathsome desert. Descending into it by a gap in the lune- 
stone rocks, we unharnessed under a large tree, lit our nres, 
had our breakfast, and warmed our chilled bodies and limbs. 
The spot deserved the pretty name of Witkraans, or White 
Crown, which the Dutch had bestowed upon it. 

When breakfast was over and our horses and cattle again 
put in, we emerged from Witkraans through another gap in 
its white walls, climbed up to a park-like country with tree^ 
and feeding cattle, thence through a dense jungle of small 
trees where one could readUy believe that a herd of elephants 
would have harboured a few years before, and had a view ol 
the river. But all tc^ soon we came once more mto the homd 
bare flats of the morning and continued crossing them unbl 
we came upon a large British encampment round a general s 
headquarters, nestling cosily in a bend of the Vaal and 
commanding the crossing known as Commando s Unit. 
Conceiving this to be our destination, we quitted the south- 
eastern direction we had been puisuing, and struck out for it, 
for we were provided with neither guide nor escort, but nao 



hardly reached within a mile of it when we received orders 
to go on farther, and returned to our former line of march, 
towards where Methuen had his camp. The dullness of the 
day had ended in rain, but when this ceased and the sun shone 
out a little, we found ourselves close to the river, beyond which 
lay the treeless Transvaal, with farmhouses widely scattered 
over it, peacefully sending up their afternoon smoke into 
the stiU heavens, and some fifteen miles away, beyond un- 
dulating levels, rose a range of low mountains, not kopjes, 
perhaps the southern edge of the High Veld. We could see 
the small clouds of dust raised by the mounted Transyaalers 
who were watching us ; but no hostilities were initiated, 
and we went on our way to Modderspruit, a low deep swamp 
marked by a line of trees and a farmhouse on its farther 
side where, on a rise three-q'iarters of a mile distant. Lord 
Methuen had encamped. 

We were not permitted to join him ; General Paget rode 
out to meet us, showed us where to outspan just short of the 
Mud Ravine (Modder Spruit), which we could not pass till 
morning, as several horses had been engulfed in the swamp 
when trying to cross it. We bivouacked therefore on the 
hither side, and found the place swarming with blesbuck, 
which frequented it as their drinking place, and in herds of 
half a dozen or more charged up to and almost through our 
camp while we were arranging o;ir shelters. 

In the early morning before the night had disappeared, 
the wagons of stores began to cross the spruit, and it was 
picturesque to see them doing so by lantern light ; but not 
until daylight did our turn come to follow. We slid down 
the steep sides of the muddy gully to where at the bottom the 
engineers had constructed a good crossing by laying earth 
over branches placed on the slough, which was thirty feet 
deep between the banks and fifty broad. After we had 
crossed we found we were quite close to the Vaal River, 
which looked even beautiful in the morning sunlight, one 
to two hundred yards in breadth, its muddy waters flowing 
in a gentle current between precipitous mud banks wooded 
with spiny trees which, only a few paces away, ceased and gave 
place to the naked veld. The trees were mostly weeping 

When we had proceeded to the rendezvous of the column 
and seen it arranged with more care than usual, our march 
along the south side of the river was continued over the 
tiresome bare expanses, the only interesting feature of which 
was that the round ant-heaps, so familiar to us, had dis- 
appeared ; a different species of ant bad taken possession of 







this district, and constructed irregular towers or chimneys, 
with hollows as large as one's forearm extending up the centre 
and opening at the top. After an easterly march of four and 
a half hours we descended to another loop of the Vaal at 
Zandfontein, and amid spreading trees that covered a sandy 
flat for a stone's-throw from the water, formed a nice bivouac 
in which to rest until next morning. A commando of Bocts, 
with two guns, was opposite to us on the other bank, but 
offered me no molestation when I went down alter luncheon 
to photograph the river, which here was large and imposmg 
for Africa. This was on the 2«h of May, Queen Victoria s 
birthday, and in the evening the major mustered all his men 
on parade and called for three cheers for Her Majesty ; we 
presently heard the other camps lustily cheering too, and a 
little later an issue of rum was made in which each man 
could drink the toast of the day. 

The ground at Zandfontein was abundantly bestrewn witn 
nests of the trap-door spider, with little hinged lids and pearly 
linings ; all those we saw were abandoned and empty, the 
occupied ones we failed to discover. . 

The next, the 2Sth, was the eleventh day of our wanderings 
with no news from the outer world, and we hoped that other 
eleven would find us in the neighbourhood of Johannesbu^, 
on our way to Pretoria ! Leaving Zandfontein in the dark, 
we pressed on, but though we used our utmost speed, we dirt 
not now lose so many cattle and mules, for, feedmg on the 
abundant dry veld grass here, which all the animals loved. 
the> could be driven along and used again when restored to 
strength. All that day we hugged the south bank of the Vaal, 
at first over wooded levels which were not devoid ot beauty 
after our experience of the naked veW, and a commando 
of twenty Boers with two pom-poms and a Maxun followed 
us on the opposite bank, coming once down to the river, 
but we took no notice of them, and they on theur part did not 
interfere with us. At seven miles from Zandfontein the river 
took a sudden bend and was no longer enclosed between 
mud banks, but flowed through a rocky wooded gorge of 
sandstone, and there at Balkfontein we bivouacked and 
breakfasted. Sitting high upon the south bank the nat 
Transvaal lay beneath us across the river, and I could easily 
have sent a rifle buUet into a large red brick farmhouse upon 
the bank. . •] 

At midday we continued our progress for more than a miie 
Btong the bend of the river, where it had cut a way through 
a deep channel among irregular banks, difis, and rodu 
fiaitas&cally scattered, foUowed on the other bank by a few 



of the enemy's scoucs watching our movements. At one 
time a large cloud of dust came streaming from the north 
towards the river, and this was at first taJken for the main 
body of the Boers, but proved, as it drew nearer, to be only 
a herd of some large antelope, probably haartebeest, a relief 
to us, since we had been ordered to go ahead with the advance, 
leaving the main body to follow with the convoy of provisions. 
Presently we turned away from the river and ascended an 
open grassy plain, the left or western bank of the Valseh 
River, a tributary of the Vaal. On a low heave of land 
across the Valseh we saw the treeless town of Bothaville, 
enlivened out of its normal deadness by the camp and cattle 
of Lord Methuen which lay scattered around it. Our journey 
was now towards the south-east, and after a couple of miles 
in that direction we came upon General Paget's ?amp and 
expected to settle down there. But no. Our sick were to 
be deposited in Bothaville, and we had two more miles of 
execrable road, rocky and filled with holes and ruts, before 
we came to the foid over the Valseh which proved to be the 
worst 'drift' we had yet encountered. And it was even 
worse than it looked. Though my pony behaved well, yet 
he would at one moment be only knee-deep, and the next 
up to his middle, while the cart followed suit and swayed 
about, ahnost capsizing. Not only this, but while the descent 
to the ford had been wisely guided obliquely down somewhat 
parallel to the stream, the ascent went straight up the other 
bank and was so wet and slippery that a fall occurred which 
damaged the cart, though fortunately the pony himself 
escaped injury. 

During the day several of the Boers in batches, some ol 
them even from the Transvaal, came in and surrendered 
their weapons. 



Since leaving Hoopstad I had been sickening with what 
afterwards developed into typhoid fever, inflammation of 
the veins and absorbents of the leg set in, so that it was with 
difficulty that I could get my boot off and on, and I had become 
so weak as to be scarcely able to walk, hftnce my notes became 
few and scanty, and indeed many things I hardly remember 
as well us I should wish. But the following are my recollec- 
tions of the next few days. 
Bothaville, which was incorrectly placed on the maps, was 


,11 -H" J 

I : 


If '. 




a group of thirty red brick or white plaster houK* with iron 
loofa, containing barely over 100 inhabitants, all told. 
Methuen was abeady encamped tnere, and on our entry we 
were met with the announcement that we had gathered on 
the way a great number of sick, who were being established 
in an overcrowded small hospital, and thrl. leaving them 
there, we were about to resume our nuj- ii, not for the 
Transvaal as we had hoped, but for Kroonstad. Time 
was precious, for our loss in baggage animals had been 
heavy, ISO having died or been left on the veld, and there 
were yet many stages to be got ov-ir before Kroonstad 

WHS reached. , ,. , . ■ i 

We were in great perplexity as to the disposal of our sick, 
most of whom were so ill as to be unable to survive a further 
journey of several days on the ox-wagons, and would have 
to be left in Bothaville at all hazards. For them the prospects 
were indeed gloomy ; twenty to thirty pints of milk a day 
was the utmost that the little town could furnish, while all 
except a few tins of our condensed milk had been exhausted ; 
the other stores which invalids would require had been packed 
at Boshof with so little method that, even assuming that we 
possessed them, no one knew where they were to be found 
in the huge army of vans ; moreover, patients with typhoid 
could not well survive on tinned beef and biscuits, while all 
we could supply of Liebig and similar foods was but a drop 
in the bucket of their requirements. Few sheds of any 
sort existed in Bothaville. and several of the houses had 
to be requisitioned for hospitals, while the church was 
the only other avaiUble shelter. There were no beds, nor 
from the absence of timber could any be made, so that 
many, if not most, would have to sleep on the ground, 
a torture to the bones of a sound man, not to mention a 

sick one. , . . ,. 

Our American field hospital had not been behavmg well, 
and was now worse than ever ; the donor himself insisted on 
occupying one of its ambulance wagons and its tortoise tent, 
though the sick needed them sorely ; it had even dismissed 
a patient seriously ill with jaundice, and another suflermg 
from a bad phlegmonous foot, on the pretext that their places 
were required ; and these men would have had to return to 
their regiments and tramp on foot for many miles of sand 
in the burning sun. The comments passed on such conduct 
were severe as they deserved to be, but our major rose as 
usual to meet the situation, ' Send in all your sick to me,' 
said he, 'and I shall see that somehow they have vihat 
attention is required ; that is what we are here for, and 



it ahall be done.' It wm a wonder to nwny of us that thii 
good officer did not receive mention in despatches or have 
the C.B. conferred on him after the war ; but he was not 
one who advertised himself or suffered others to do it 
for him. 

While we were at Bothaville I fell in with a former pupil, 
Dr. David Justice, who had settled in practice in the Free 
State. He was able to supply some delicacies, such as butter 
and tobacco, and otherwise to provide for some of the wants 
of the sick. His experiences during the war had been stirring 
ones. At its outbreak he bad been commanded to serve 1.. 
the Boer army, but refusing to fight against his own country, 
<va» put in charge of an ambulance, where those under him 
were all, or nearly all. Englishmen similarly circumstanced. 
Wn^e the Russian, German, French, and Belgian ambulances 
that came to serve the Boers were all placed very far back 
from the fighting line, he and others such as he were dealt 
with otherwise. All good and suitable vehicles, even shoot- 
ing wagons, were seized, converted into ambulance cars, 
fitted with the very best appliances and instruments, and in 
these they were sent to the front for service. While in com- 
mand of one of them. Justice was present during the invest- 
ment of Ladysmith, witnessed the Spion Kop battle, a brave 
charge by the Gordons on a hill held by the Boers, a great 
rout and destruction of Boer men and horses, and many 
other scenes, his heart rising or sinking as one or other side 
was victorious. After seeing the relief of Ladysmith and the 
nocturnal withdrawal of the Boers, he served in the Free 
State, and was at Sanna's Post and Thaba'nchu. After 
Thaba'nchu the Boers fell back so quickly that his ambulance 
fell behind and was lost, and as his house at Kaalvallei had 
l>een looted he made for Bothaville, one of the several 
towns which were included in his extensive practice, but being 
warned by the natives that the Transvaal scouts were search- 
ing for him, he left and concealed himself until he heard that 
the English had arrived. Our leaders were glad to engage 
him to assist in the care of the sick who had to be left in 
Bothaville, and to supply them with medicines, of which he 
possessed a fine stock. I think I was the last friend from 
Britain whom Justice saw. He died in Kroonstad on the 
8th of January 1901. 

I 1 











We left BothavUle for Kroonstad on Saturday afternoon the 
2eth of May. Edging gradually away eastwaidi from the 
Valsch River, we crossed bare grass plains as flat, unbroken, 
and unpleasing as those which had preceded, ond after ndiiy 
for three hours stayed for the night at an uninteresting spot 
called Nieuweiahis Spruit, where my friends, Major C-—, 

and Messrs. N , P— , L , andW ;. a« of whom 

I have ever since gratefully remembered, assisted me with 
my cart and horse. It would not be easy to say which of 
them showed me most kindness, each in his diOerent way, 
in these later treks, or to name half of what they did for me 
in the way of assistance— chair to rest in, and the best of the 
food they had, of which they denied themselves for me, day 
after day; I could not have held out otherwise. 

The roads beyond this were better, but with the usual 
want of consideration for the sick, whose numbers increased at 
every halt, t; e ambulances and field hospitals were dnven over 
the rough veld m a line parallel to the engineer and ammuni- 
tion columns, whUe they, to whon. it wouW have mattered 
little, went along the good road. Unable to endure this, 1 
forced my way into the latter, and kept it as much as possible, 
untU we halted after a three hours' journey in which we 
covered probably nine miles, in order to water the <»ttle and 
horses, and have breakfast, at Van Wieks Vlei, and shortly 
continued our course, nearly on the line which ^x'^n 

surveyed for the intended Klerksdorp railway, anJ v-.-ently 
came to cultivated fields. Hitherto what we had seen ol 
cultivation in the Free State had been a. most but a few acres 
in extent, but now we beheld hundreds of acres covered with 
ripe Kaflr com in fields with many groups of Kafir houMs 
and kraals, and through these we rode for well over a mile, 
until the Valsch River again came into sight on our right 
hand, while a single distant mountain hove its rounded top 
over the horizon, telling that we were not at a great distance 
from Kroonstad. At midday an attractive group of hne 
spreading trees, standing alone by a waterpool m the bottom 
of a dip in the ground, enticed us to stop, but those who went 
forward to inspect evidently did not approve of it. or it did 
not bear out its promise, for we went on tor a few miles more 
to another pool at a farm called Roedswal, or otherwise 
Sullivan's Fwm. where we descended for the night, having 
once mor ift the grass veld and come into Karoo Desert. 



AtUt thii my reooUection* beoune r .ucwbat conftucd, 
but from some pencil jotttniii made •■ we went along I make 
out that we efterwardi dragged ouneive* over all kindi of 
unieen otetades so bad as to smash my cart, which however 
I contrived to mend. We had got into the habit of the different 
units setting out at different times and arriving at different 
halting-places, which was much against the comfort of the sick. 
Our own field hospital was now provided with mule transport, 
and headed the oohucii behind the advanced guard, con- 
sequently we were up before daylight, and got on without 
interruption, arriving first at the halting-places, and even 
travelling in the middle of the day ; but the ox-wagons, which 
had now, in spite of our having cleared out at Bothaville all 
the invaUds, again accumulated forty -six sick, could not move 
in the heat of the day, having to outspan early, come on in 
the evening or night hours, and arrive whenever their slow 
p»ce might permit. There was no one to provide these 
sufferers with food, the want of which for such long perijds 
added much to their distress, until the major organised a 
service of cooks carrying suitable food, and cooking it on the 
way, to accompany the sick convoy. 

Our last halting-place was at Doomspruit, and on the way 
to it there was a good road which our sick men's conveyances 
could quite well have taken. But no I Their orders were to 
go straight across the intervening rough ground, and away 
went the ambulance and other wagons, wit" whips cracking, 
men racing, and beasts running, till one a. >d almost hear 
the bumps of the hips, elbows, and skulls of the sick against 
the sides and bottoms of the carts. It was reckless work, 
as we crossed the dips and rises of the plain along the north 
bonk of the Valsch River, which contained nasty crossings 
or equally formidable sluit . 

At Doomspruit we had another illustration of the careless 
system on which cur camps were selected. We reached a 
fine plain of rich grass land without a rut on it to jolt us, and 
there we expected to stop, but we had to deviate to the left 
across wheel-wrenching ruts two feet deep and settle on ground 
eaten bare, trodden down and badly soiled by the horses of 
the first column. It was really too bad. 

I believe we passed the Lace Diamond Mines on our left 
that day. 

When we awoke on the 2»th it was freezing, and my 
bedding and patrol tent were stiff, and while the others went 

on N and I remained behind thera to raise a blaze at one 

of the cooking fires, warm ourselves, aitd thaw our belongings 
until the sun rose. We found our way to the road, where we 

I !:! 



It. ,11 



came on • wagon loaded with Boer priioneni under guard, 
with a Cape cart tied behind it in which wai leated a man 
caUed Greilin ; he was suid to be a Boer who had surrendered, 
given up his armi, and •.igned a promise of allegiance, only to 
be captured a few days later in charge of a party operatmg 

''More'witche. of cultivation appeared as we approached 
Kroonstad, which we found to be a vilUge surroundwl by 
low hilli with sloping sides, and two prominent objects in it, 
namely, a disproportionally Urge churrb and a railway tram 
steaming awny southwards. 

We brought in our contingent of sick, now increased to 
sixty or thereby, and found Kroonstod aUready groaning 
under hospitals in two churches, an officers' hospital in the 
hotel, and a canvas field hospital, all of them full. And no 
provisions. Milk, eggs, bread, vegetables, beef, nmtton, and 
so forth, had been swept clean awuy by the Boers, whose 
armies had been there before us. so that there were only tmned 
foods and biscuits for the sick and sound. Every article 
■eemed to have gone ; not a pound of flour, or a box of matches, 
or a pinch of tobacco, existed in the place. I saw one man 
who had succeeded in making a purchase, but that was of the 
last pair of drawers, as I learned both from hun and the dis- 
appointed man who came after him in the hope of buying 
something useful. , , ^ , ,.1. i- 

The reports we heard at Kroonstad were that down the line 
at Brandfort they had many sick, and that at Bloenifontein 
there were 4000, who were dying at the rate of eighteen to 
twenty a day ; that many of the officers of the K.A.M.L. 
were down with typhoid fever, and that my friend Major 
Perry Marsh, who had been so friendly when I v-.itn, '.is 
hospital at De Aar. was dead ; he was a man whom the service 
could ill spare, one of the cream of the R.A.M.C. It was not 
a cheerful welcome to Kroonstad. 

Up to that time I had been keeping partially fit, by means of 
Dover's powder, bismuth, chlorodyne. and an array of other 
astringents, but in spite of all was growing so weak that I 
could do little but lie exhausted on the ground after our 
inarches ; my leg would no longer come out of its boot ; and 
I was perhaps not quite clear in the head. Therefore I decided 
to follo-v the good advice of my friends and try to go down 
to Cape Town, or. if I faUed in that, to go to some military 
hospital on the line. I was favoured with a compartment 
in a hospital train which was going part of the way ; said 
fMCweU to my good comrades, and was carted ova to the 
station in an ambulance wagon and deposited under Dr. K— s 


CMC, amon; a goodly proceMion of other incapables ; wa» 
laid down among rug« Hid dieted, believing that I had only 
to lie quiet and get well ; for we did not know that my diseane 
wai typhoid, and where «> muiiy were more seriously ill on 
the marches, I had declined to be pronounced an invalid or 
to have anything to do with clinical thermometers. 

The train puffed away from Kroonstad late in the evening 
of the 80th of May, and I remember little of the journey 
beyond photographing my old friend the Modder River 
where the railway crossed it at Glen, until I went to take a 
sponge down, when I beheld in the mirror the vision of it 
gaunt man, whose long hair, eyebrows, and moustache hung 
over a face that seemed to be the siie of a child's, and whose 
great limbs showed only bones and coils of wasted muscles, 
reminiscent of the horses we had left to their fkte on the veW, 
and the shock first suggested to me that I was seriously ill. 
When we came to Bloemfontein, there stood in the stati»n 
a carriage of a train which was to leave next morning for Cape 
Town, and I crept into it, dragged in my belonging*, and went 
fast asleep. There 1 spent the day, still in the hope of being 
able to start next morning for Cape Town. 

But it was to be otherwise. A bad night convinced me 
that there was no chance of my getting farther, and I sent a 

note to Captain S , the railway transport ofRcer, to tell 

that I was Ul ; he got Major T to see me, who arranged 

with Colonel E to have me sent to a military hospital. 

Presently an ambulance was procured and I was carted 
through the streets of Bloemfontein, of which I saw nothing 
beyond that known faces, of those who had heard of my plight, 
now and then came and looked into the rear of the wagon 
with a friendly word or nod. My destination was the Upper 
Dames Institute, which had been requisitioned as a hospital, 
and there gentle hands lifted me out, stripped me like a child, 
and put me to bed, with orders that I was to be kept re- 
cumbent, be fed on milk, and have suitable medicines. 



The recollections of the days that followed my admission 
to the hospital in Bloemfontein were somewhat confused, 
but my habit of making notes whenever I was able, enables 
me to recall some details regarding them. 

I believe that unless there be such complications as per- 
foration of the intestines, the death from typhoid is not an 


! 'I 


unpleasant one for the patient, however appalMng it may 
apLar to an onlooker. In my delirium n^ht ^d day made 
httledifierence to me. In the four-bedded ward where they 
first placed me I lay, as it seemed, in » pons**"* ?*"P°''7'^'* 
excluded the existence of any hopes or fears. Mmd and body 
seemed to be dual, and to some extent separate. I was con- 
scious of the body as an inert tumbled mass near a door ; it 
belonsed to me, but it was not /. I was conscious that my 
mentll self used regularly to leave the body, always carrying 
something soft and black, I did not know what, m my left 
hand---tiSit was invariable— and wander away from it under 
orey. sunless, moonless, and starless skies, ever onwards to 
I distant gleam on the horizon, solitary but not unhappy, 
and seeing other dark shades gliding silently by, until some- 
thing prcSuced a consciousness that the chiUy mass, which 
I then recalled was my body, was beii^ stirred ^ it Uy by 
the door. I was then drawn rapidly back to it, jomed it 
with disgust, and it became /, and was fed, spoken to. and 
cared fM. When it was again left I seemed to wander oB 
as before by the side of a sUent, dark, slowly-njwmg great 
flood through silent fields of asphodel, knowmg neither 
light nor darkness, and though I knew that death was hoven^ 
about, having no thought of religion nor dread of the end, 
and roamed on beneath the murky skies apathetic and con- 
tented, until something again disturbed the body jhere >t 
lav when I was drawn back to it afresh, and entered it with 
eveV-growmg repulsion. As the days went on, or rather I 
shouW say as time passed, all I knew of my sickness was 
that the wanderings through the dun .f P^f • fi'l"** ,^^"* 
more continual and more distant, until about the end of the 
term of high fever I was summoned back to the huddled mass 
with intense loathing, and as I drew near and heard some one 
sav ' He will live,' I remember finding the mass less cold and 
clammy, and ever after that the wanderings appeared to be 
fewer and shorter, the thing lying at the door and / 
grew more together, and ceased to be separated into two 

entities. ii. i. 

In mv wanderings there was a strange consciousness that 
T could see through the walls of the building, though I was 
aware that they were there, and that everythmg was trans- 
parent to my senses. 1 saw plainly, for mstenee, a poor 
RA M C surgeon, of whose existence I had not known, and 
who" WM in quite another part of the hospital, grow very lU 
and scream and die ; I saw them cover his corpse and canry 
him sofUy out on shoeless feet, quietly and surreptitiously. 
left we should know that he had died, and the next night— 



I thought — ^take him away to the cemetery. Afterwards, 
when I toW these happenings to the sisters, they informed me 
that all this had happened just as I had fancied. But the 
name of the poor fellow I never knew. 

Towards the middle" of June, or possibly somewhat earlier, 
before I was well conscious, there was a consultation, and one 
eklerly doctor shook his head and said, so that I could hear it, 
' He is nearly sixty, he won't recover.' Another said, ' He 
will get better,' and it confusedly amused me, for I knew 
pCTfectly that I should get well. After this I was taken to 
another ward, where 1 hi^ only one companion, to convalesce. 
The goodness of the R.A.M.C. medical men and the sisters was 
simply unsurpassable. I name here no names, but they will 
ever be in my memory. 

It may seem unkind and ungrateful, after all the care and 
attention I received, to say anything in criticism of the 
hospital, but I do so only as a part of my intention to state 
the complete truth of what I saw of the condition of the 
army medical department in those days. My criticisms 
refer mostly to the men of the R.A.M.C., and not to the 
officers, and in the Dames Institute Hospital I, as a 
patient, had unparalleled opportunities of forming correct 

The orderlies there were destitute of such training as they 
should have had to fill the posts they occupied. They had 
been taught stretcher drill, bandaging, and perhaps first aid, 
but they were unacquainted with and unpractised in the 
more common and important manipulations for the manage- 
ment of the sick. They knew next to nothing about the ordin- 
ary instruments in use in the wards, and the sick suffered in 
consequence. They had no proper supply of disinfectants, 
no thorough means of using them had they possessed them, 
no Eound and intelligent idea of what ought to have been done 
with them, or of the purification of appliance- hands, etc., 
the result being that no disinfection was really carried out. 
That hospital was one of the best managed I saw in South 
Africa, yet in it disinfection was neither understood nor 
practised in any way that, however faintly, resembled effi- 
ciency. Although it was capable of accommodating, and usually 
actually held, over fifty patients, the only means the ward 
oiderlies had of disinfecting themselves and their hands was 
a single small enamelled hand-basin containing creoline and 
water, placed on the ground in the middle of the verandah, 
where they might or might not use it as they pleased. In 
sweeping out the wards, which were saturated with the enteric 
poison, a bru^ and tea-leaves were alone empk>yed, the dust 


I '. 


wised by the brushes wa. blown about everywhere, ^ the 
«reeDin« were flnaUy thrown out in the gajden near Uie 
SS£ XdiSrf^nt was usrf to the Aoo" or oUier 
p^ of the wards. No system of dismfectuig the bod^ of 
S^atients was practised. When a patient sP«c>aUy "sked 
for it. a mackintosh sheet under the waist was us^ to keep 
the W dry while the body was being sponged, but this was 

3ble unless the patient possessed some, which must have 
?I^n?«re event indeed. The result was that on leaving the 
hTroitol the patient., still covered with entenc poison and 
KdisinfectS clothing, were put into the t~'»r-'*™«" 
ht a hospital train, but was quite as often an ordinary mail 
StSi Ssaloon c^rriage^-and sent down «=<"^"t^. PJ!?",^ 
^compartments and disseminating the virus until th^ 
l^J^ ^Thospital, hotel, private house or oaierqv«rt«s 
T^ere they might or might not obtam baths m which to 

P'^e^X'^get about a little 1 hired a carxUge and 
went to visit Allan Johnston's B~ve, and m doin^ so 
obtained the only views of Bloemfontem and itsviomty 
wUch I ever had. The foUcwing were the impressions I 

" ti'Sig to the south-west from the town to the cemetery, 
one s£w that they lay in a basin among the hills. It wm an 
awful-looking basin 1 A horizontal wavy plain of two or 
tC mitesleross, of bare deep earth whidi when dry was 
sand but now everywhere mud up to mid-leg. Upon the 
slight elevations were the various Bntash encampments,^d 
S^ond them on the west the low hJU over which General 
F^nch approached when he captured the town and. '>y 
defeyinK to shell the opposite edge, miss^ capturmg Ohm 
pluf&uger himself i sS at least I was toW, The basm wa. 
a repulsive place as 1 saw it, sterile, forbiddmg. as if intended 
by K for a monstrous ashpit 'BloemfonW means 
• Well of Flowers.' The name shocked one, asif it had been 
cSd in horrible derision. 'Hollow of Death" woiJd 
S^ve better fitted this saucer of mud and sand The towa 
Uv on a slight rise towards the eastern side, but too shght to 
Kmosl of it out of the mud. and between it and the homd 
pkS lay the cemetery, the usual Duteh 'f^^fl^l"^^ 
and tr^s, enclosed in ruinous stone walls and prosperous 
a^ hSges But. alas 1 So plentiful of late had been the 
SSnTtf for its ;helter that it 1^ been enlarged by the 
^tion of fifty acres of a slope that nm up southwards to 
w^ stood the old-fashioned looking fortress erected, but 



never defended, by the Free Staters. Entering through a 
dilapidated turnstile and a tottering gate, I was faced by an 
expanse of recently turned, absolutely bare earth covering 
a low swell of the ground, where the spade had been recently 
so busy that one's first impression was that of looking on a 
surface mine where prospectors had been throwing up mounds 
and forming pits in the search for gold. Only here the 
mounds were regular, lay in squares, row behind row, with 
walks between the squares, and the heart sickened to see this 
garden of the dead, planted with the bodies of British heroes. 
Here was a square of the Guards, there one of another regiment ; 
here lay a parterre of Roman Catholics, there a bed of Non- 
conformists; and in the nearest comer of the last was the 
oblong heap of mould which covered the ashes of poor Allan 
Johnston. There were rows upon rows, and squares upon 
squares of such moimds, all of them recent, and without a 
blade of grass or a single leaf to cover the gaunt stony gravel. 
Perhaps a little tombstone or a wooden cross, a stray in the 
waste, was put up by some comrade or friend to rescue the 
remains underneath from -oblivion ; here and there a withered 
flower was laid, or a little firitish flag of the size of one's palm 
had been stuck into the soil by some one who had nothing 
else to give, and whose heart was perhaps too full to be aware 
of anything incongruous in his ofiering of a doll's flag. It 
was only with dim eyes and constricted throat that one 
could look round this plantation of brave men in that foreign 
' Acre of God.' 

When returning from the cemetery I obtained a view of 
Bloemfontein from its western side, as also of the eastern lip 
of the hollow in which it lay. From this direction it was not 
so unattractive. The heights behind it were well shaped, 
and even handsome, and were dotted with the fortifications 
which our armies had placed there, our tents, and our signal- 
ling stations, so that where it lay on the feet of the hills on the 
eastern side of the saucer of bare ground, Bloemfontein had 
even some claim to be called picturesque. It had many 
buildings, public and private, which were architecturally 
striking as their fafades and roofs emerged from a sea of trees 
which the Dutch had wisely planted thickly within the town ; 
while the slight rise of the ground and the hilly outlines 
behind removed the impression of flatness it would otherwise 
have produced, and conferred on it a rich and leafy appeurunce, 
as seen from this side. 


; ;.!l 








XntL^ f^raU rm:Hcal sta« of the hospital and many 
glimpse of the «>uthem part of the Or^^S^^ ^«J '^^,^ 

across our route. l^Mo g ^^ j, i^^ follows 

msmuated itsell, iwistuiB »» = militery hospital 

and came to Spnngfontem "o^ ja^st mu tary ^^^.^^^ 

with rows o" ~;'f. f ,S b3 Spri^gfontein. as we 
and ""-^^nt ^*" '*$^";. we found oursllves in a most 

■'t^'nameCd t^t fa-^sl^ the wTwhere the Jway 

j^e ^vi^?^li -r rLfpStt^u^wS 

borrowed from rt a g°W«'^*^?\ tte rive? though a m««/ 
gorge severa ^^ J°,»8 Jalf the bottom the sL.m roU«i 
of pyramidal mountams. ana ai ae__™ted bv rocky islets, 
^W twchn^g^"erXdgfwhU h/d been 
high above "men imi u " i-d bv our engmeers so as 

blown up by the ^"^l 'X we were uporthe bridge 

new in the west, wu"c stream was spanned by a 

the waters were grey ard dull *e stream wa^^ ^^^ 

white curving t^.^^'S^^;Vu^ during the restora- 
the t«-?Pp«'^.^"ttSeTu^ or five hundred feet above 
tion of «*e.^°f*y f Se the railway seemed to lose itself 
^ S:^nA^tvas^^rts.a^o,^ which we slunk like pigmies 
'" " 'tSTfeet of the Tokening hills until, after a few miles, 


wh«e I transferred myself into a berth in a sleepino car that 
went through to Cape Town. '•"^ping car tnat 

.1,^^ ^ had the good fortune to find as a fellow-traveller 
sWmg my cubicle one of the best and kindest comj^IIonJ 
with whom I ever trave led. Colonel L of fhrrit,.!? 

It. where my bearer company was attached to his regiment 
and who was on his way down to Cape Town to ^S^ 
S^Llf ^1 i*^" wounded. From what I gatherj fr^ 
himself, and learned more fully from others, he had b^^ 

with General Bundle m the east of the Orenge Free Statr3 
S^^J^ "^ "^^ ^?T ^''«°e «t Senekal!^'^ S'e^ 
^.^ o^af-on of his being wounded, hiTmen had b^fn 
ordered to attack a hUl whence artillery and rifle fire was 
telhng heavily on our troops, and they were adv^nclL 
agamst it m open formation and in a first and sSS 
as was usua Bundle having sent for him^ thTcolond 

howe Md rode over to the General, from whom he receiv«l 
mrtructions to <Aange the direction of his att^^k, asSm 
was too strongly held to be taken. On returning to theGuIiSs 

fr^m';h?ir^r"?''",%''*'^/" ^'^^^ twelve hunSreSTarf; 

from the hill. Colonel L found he would have to chance 

the disposition and alter the second line, and i^e dow^ rt 
gmng his orders, being of course pelted by voUeys fCTthe 

S°en'.""tf "V*'" ^\ ^'^^ "1™'^* completJSTsSnge! 
ments when he was shot through the lower part of his bodv 
but continued to ride on and finished the work, after S 
^^^ timse f from his horse, and while doing so wasS 
wounded, this time m the hand. Even then, while IvinfS 
such cover as existed, he was still a mark for the Svs 
sharpshooters, one of whom put a buUet through hirTde 
and a non-commissioned officer, when placing an arm round 
him and endeavouring to assist him, had his ffreann^n 
m pieces by a ball and was compelled to desis^T vdd fire 
came down as he was lying there, and he and his woundS^m^ 
M to rush or be dragged through it. They lay unHl the firing had been somewhat suppressed, after wS one 

to ™^'r°* «P""=""^ " "*«*<*" and pressed to be allowS 
to carry him off, a proposal which he refused till the othLw 
had been removed, and he was assured that he was the mort 
«nously wounded man remaining, aft^r which he subS 
to be earned off and attended to. """uiiea 

his left thigh still full of masses of extravasated blood, insisted 

I j; 



'"J'^'J^W oSTrown early in the morning of Friday the 
ing spring awakening °» ^^e bdt °fj°^ g^ j^ „f t^e 



RxTUSN TO England 

t™ r«* of mv experiences in South AfHca were hardly 

^„e^ wit^thfC^. «d cWefly possess a merely 

P* w«' Srf by Sir William and Lady S into their 

Jt TS^l^SSce of B House, where I was spoiled by 

^K^^^I LSr^dom before received, met many 
"jffrS^^"nuX of the most prominent personahties 
^tKto^as we^ « distinguished individual, connected 
^^tS^^v^ent and t^war. whUe it wa^ only my 
r«kn^ tC obliged me to decline many profiered visrts 

'"Sn^TS^J^df iTr^fomed of the widespread dis^tis- 
. 5r HlfStm «drt^ with the attitude of the army medical 

?£S^ was uiSwe to verify *..e »tatementsjrtth«^ 
i^^ to be overwhehning evidence that there had been no 


SdT'Am.^tej?'?',."^' ^ the-«dmittedly over- 

t^Uv .^ Jn ' "^°"'' f?' '^ **«" committed of systenS^ 
tS7~^ ?* and excludmg those who were burning to«?ee 

uWwm^. »nd directmg it into p»per channels. It wS 

^k^S u^"^** !«>»*«"*. to find the British War Ott^. 
Z^i^ ?S ^^"^ '^ *"* questions, dragging alono.^S 
b<tod other countries, obstinate. ignorMlrnL»w°Si^.S? 
jeM^oompIaoent, and strangled in al^ent pi^^Z^' 

AJtted Milner at Government House, yet I received from hi,!, 
a kmd greeting through his aide-de-4mp, wTth memTes^f 
sympatty for my iUness and wishes for myTpeedy ^*vU 
and. a thmg Ihighly valued, his thanks for my d^c^e 
out and worked to serve the sick and wounded. ' 





II i 


' . M 

I .1 



J ' I 



FmoM Emoland to Bblobadb 

Whbn the Great War broke out in August 1»14. I offered 
mvicK to the Brmy medical department of the War Office, to 
serve anywhere and in any capacity, but beyond a courteous 
reply nothing came of it. I have no doubt that my age was 
the factor which excluded me. 

1 then volunteered to serve in the Southall Auxiliary MUitary 
HospiUl, and acted as the operating surgeon there during 
the winter of 191*-15, when I was asked to go to Belgrade in 
chaige of a hospital detachment for the British Naval Force 

on the Danube. ^ ^l ,. ..■ i. 

A number of other medical units went out at that time to 
assist the Serbians, and some half a doien of them, along with 
mine, were crowded on board the S.S. Saiduh, a small but 
clean little steamer from the Khedivial Postal Service. At 
that period, lHarch 1918, as a notorious submanne German 
boat, the ' U-28,' was ravaginp ".f shipping on the south 
coast of England, boaU • ■'•' • -'t c sUy obUinable, neither 
were stewards and pro' ■ :on.s, and ur fortnight's voyage 
direct to Salonika, our* H,th'mR!.,{o<<l of ite kind, ran woe- 
fully short, whUe as s; . '•- » . '"'i 'nly a few capable 
hands and a parcel of negroes. Th« vc.v.»ge was by no means 
an ideal one. . 

After leaving the Mersey, a tmg »«• "» expected 

convoying war-vessel which u -er arrived, we eventually 
steamed down the eastern coast of Ireland weU out of the 
supposed track of the hostUe submarine, and struck directly 
for Cape Finisterre in Spain. 

UntU we entered the Mediterranean, our intereste were 
limited to getting riu . ja-sickness and seeing Cape Samt 
Vincent, the Pillars of Hercules, and Gibraltar. We did not 
touch at Gib, but were met there by a naval launch and re- 
ceived oideri as to the rest of the voyage. 




We obtained only distant views of Algeria, Tunis, and 
Sicily, and passed Cape Matapan in the night, but we enjoyed 
a lovely sail among the Greek Islands, along the coast of 
Euboea, saw for the first time the truncated snow-dad 
summit of Mount Ossa and the white-pointed top of Pelion, 
appreciating how naturally the legend had arisen that the 
former had been piled on the top of the latter by the primeval 
race of giant Centaurs in their eflorts to storm heaven. We 
barely glimpsed the top of Mount Athos over the intervening 
land on our right, came in sight of Mount Olympus and the 
town of Salonika, and anchored opposite to it in the bay. 
The coast of Thessaly was grand, but stem and gloomy even 
in the bright sunshine, and after seeing it one seemed better 
to understand the gloom of the Greek tragedies, and inhale 
something of the spirit of Sophocles. 

As we looked at Salonika ftom the ship— this was before the 
great fire — we beheld spread out, fhjm the foot of a high, 
bare, pointed range of hills, several miles of plain, sloping 
southwards to the sea, on the margin of which lay the city, 
a shut-in, walled town of mean houses crowded together and 
pierced by the many long white candles of snowy minarets, 
each with its extinguisher-like top ; while along its quays, 
and out by the shore to the east, groves of trees broke the 
monotony and embowered the pretty suburb that extended 
coastwise along the sea. Tramways ran along the shore, 
and hundreds of small quaint antique-looking boats and ships 
lay by the quays or were anchored in the roadstead, while the 
ugly black mass of an occasional modem steamer seemed as 
much out of place in such surroundings as to suggest the 
simile of a coalheaver in the dress circle of a theatre. 

It demanded some courage on the part of nervous pasengers 
to go ashore from the steamer in one of the swarms of s»Tall 
boats that crowded round and struggled for fares, for the 
boatmen fought violently for them ; he — or preferably she- 
was seized, torn about, shouted at in a terrifying fashion, 
and puUed from boat to boat in the agitated waters, till the 
only possible issue seemed to be getting rent in pieces. 

We left the Saidieh, which was, I believe, torpedoed on her 
next voyage, and obtained quarters in the ' Olympos Hotel,' 
afterwards destroyed in the great fire. Our voyage had 
lasted for a fortnight, and we landed on the 15th of April. 

It will presently be seen that, from causes which I shall 
indicate, it was not my fortune to see almost anything of the 
campaign which was proceeding in Serbia, and that most of 
what I witnessed was connected with the medical arrangements 
of the Serbian armies, but an account of tliese, interspersed 


!ritt^^^. nusjionaiy. whose station and fenn we vbttrf 
I iS *t, ^^J""^ April, therefore, my comrade Dr.D «,d 

to DwSvi InH K ^^^ ^^"^ '""* *=^*«d the bom^dary 



^ 1 



freshly turned graves and white crosses beside the station 
told of the losses stistained in repelling it. 

After we had passed thiougb the mountains massed along 
the frontier, our course along the river was a level one, the 
Vardar winding and swirling among meadows of cultivation, 
prominent among which were large fields of white poppies 
cultivated for opium. It was late in the afternoon when the 
fields again gave way to moimtains, and the river was once 
more crushed into rocky gorges, and broken up by sharp teeth 
and pyramids of stone, and over the river, appearing from the 
railway like a cluster of swallows' nests, were the brown, 
irregular, arched-windowed houses of Keupreuli (or Veles), 
piled one above another in the ledges of the rocks high up to 
the sky-line. Then night fell, and on this occasion we did not 
see as we passed them anything of the beauties of Uskub, 
the old Serbian capital, or Skoplye as the Serbs prefer to call 
it. It was morning, and daylight, when we awoke to find 
that we were running into Nisch, the temporary capital, 
where we struck the line of the Orient Railway. 

It was a memorable welcome which we, as members of 
the ' Blission Anglaise,' received from the Serbians at Nisch. 
We had intended to pile our baggage in the station and go off 
to some hotel to pass the time until the evening in: in for 
Belgrade was due, but consuls came and greetoJ us, and 
left interpreters ; mighty men with vmiforms and sp'.ciidid 
decorations, even members of the Serbian Government, 
ahnost took us in their arms and refused to let us look after 
our luggage ! we must go and be refreshed. A special room was 
provided for us in the town, and another in the hospital with 
sterilised beds where we might take our siesta ; we were taken 

to call on the British Minister, Mr. de G , and carriages 

were put at our disposal if we had even to go across the muddy 
roads. We could hardly wash off the dust aiid brush our hair 
for kind people coming in eager to do anything for us. 

It was particularly interesting, at that time, to visit Nisch, 
for a prominent Englishman had been creating great excite- 
ment by writing to the British newspapers that typhus fever 
was so rampant there that the inhabitants were dying of it 
in the streets, and that there were not sufftcient persons left 
to bury the dead ; he called the city a ' Valley of the Shadow 
of Death.' We found it indeed true that after the then 
recent disastrous retreat of the Austrians before the victorious 
Serbians, a large number of the captured Austrians, who had 
been scourged by typhus, had been interned in northern 
Serbia, and particularly in Nisch, and that from them the 
disease had spread among the peasantry and citizens. But 



the infonnation we obtoined &om the highest medical 
auftonbes showed that the statements regarfL the dS 

sittT.^ ^V' *'=5'«^"" ^ never exceeded forty, fifty, 
A^L^J^""^^^ " ^7' ?"•' ^^'^ ""«»'«" includ^ed the 
th^ An!^^ wounds and other diseases, and embraced both 
the Austmn and Serbian sick and wounded. We wen 
informed that althe other tales of the ravageTof dLrS 
Serbia were equally exaggerated "isease m 

bv^r* Rii^*v™> '*?' "^^ ^"^'^^ •««^'*»' P«»ided over 
«hlv ;.^ A^^J^^'^ ''* '"«" «<*i^ed most hospit- 
dkSrl. 1™'"'^''^"*^ ""^ *°'^ """J "»« suiToundUig 
fh-w' ^^'~™«^ » » short time a great deal about ^ 
that was gomg on, and the impression produced on us was a 

treated J one of them was sent to wait upon us, and moved 
about m perfect freedom. In the mess-^m ^here we sS 
n^n^ai'^'^L*^"''''' '^' ^''""" Medical StaS, tterwe« 
SSTwlt /rf'",'"'8*?'°' " P"«""^' "°t even on his parol" 
who was voluntarily acting as assistant surgeon: another a 
Eto^mian. was on the same footing, a fugitive ^m AusSan 
Serbia, now an officer m the Serbian army* two Russian ladies 
acting j» ward sisters, and several Austrian prisoners of ™Z 
aU of thm m concord and good fellowship. To ourselve^ 
the hospitahty was more than generous ; we had toSS 

from swallowmg much strong, sweet, rich Serbian red ^e 
as well as more than one glass of cog^c. ' 

lefflW ^^ ^'^ ^^^^ surrounding Nisch-for we had 
^Ix^ rXw ^"""l ''t Usfaib-the broad Morava River 
coursed northwards to the Danube among fertile vaUevs 

oS?e?l"^ Z^^lt'T' °^ "^'"y- "PPle' pear pU? a^ 
n^fL*"'*.*"*'^ ** '°^ ^^ ^e'e covered with beech and 
the^uvf^r- ^°"^u *T'"^ " ^^ »"'"'■<='«> mount^Si! 
Il^nffl ^"*' "**'" '^•*'*°* mountains enclosed us, and 
along the water-courses numerous marshes gave joy to cohorts 
of frogs, whose noisy rejoicings were «, l!ud is to r^sou^ 

of?he fZ"^ °*^" °°"I' r"^"y ^^^8 even the s^^d 
of the tram as we passed through them. 

tu J„ Peasanfy wereall soldiers, but few had proper uniforms • 
mo^ rJT '^•^*'"«"'»H^le ™ly by their rifles, and we«™he 
most picturesque set of men whom one could see off the stage! 

^^S^ ^tr'-TK'*''. ^'"=^"'^ '"''' ""'•cental wo^ten 
?«^^' "»?°'''"8 the 'samplers' our ancestresses used 
J^nf ^'>ST°« "P J° *« "*^'1'« °* '•'e leg, with , piei of 
hide doubled over the foot for a shoe. The women wew 



■ I ' ^ 


span in buiW, active, hardy, fit to be the mothers of a brave 
race of mountaineers. The country and people could hardly 
fail to remind a Scot of the highland distncts of his own land. 
All was wild nature with a little agriculture, though there 
were a few, a very few, factories about Nisch, remarkable 
chiefly for their ornamental architecture, despite the inevit- 
able ugly tall chimneys. 





Between the Greek frontier and Nisch, in what I suppose 
one may call Serbian Macedonia, the only language m which 
any of us could communicate with the Serbians, exceptmg 
with the few who spoke English, was French, but at and 
beyond Nisch, German was the most useful tongue. 

In the Macedonian district the railway we bad come by, 
the only line of communication from Serbia to the sea, a 
soldier or two at intervals along the rails, or guarding the 
culverts and bridges, were the solitary signs of the war whit^ 
was going on, but on the Orient Line, between Nisch and 
Belgrade, the whole country was covered with the appurtm- 
ances of war. In every carriage of the train sat an armed 
guard of sokiiers, and tlie line wound its way, after leaving 
the Morava River, through a nuurvellous series of cuttmgs, 
tunnels, embankments, over and through ranges of wild hiUs 
and valleys, where every suitable spot of ground was occupied 
by camp after camp of cavalry, commissariat, infantry, and 
artillery, and where the hamlets, houses, and people were 
more Oriental in appearance, the dwellings being Jmost^l 
provided in their lower stories with arched colonnaded 
■ k>ggias,' minute and picturesque. 

At the station of Radoviti, three miles ftom Belgrade, 
the passengers had to descend, the baggage going on to the 
next stopping-place Topscheider, somewhat nearer to the 
city. Thence we were conveyed by motor car over the 

roughest of roads, to present ourselves to Admiral T , 

and thence to the building destined to be our hospital. 

I had never previously been in Belgrade, and was impressed 
by it. At the point where the Danube, coming fcom the 
west, out of the vast Hungarian levels, is joined ftom the 
south by the Save, also flowing through similar flats, thsrt 
heaves itself up at the eastern comer of their junction, in 
the embrace of the two rivers as it were, a mountain on 
which stands Belgrade, k)oking proudly down on the flooded 


SZ^Jl**-** '•!*' " "" ^ ""^ '*• There the Anglo- 
French contingent weie sweeping away the enemy's miies 
and opposite them, on the flooded Hungarian baXweTthe 
Austrum arni.«>. Tothe west Belgrad? overhung the lave! 

spanned it. over which the Orient Railway had run and the 
bw town of Semlin in the enemy's hands just^^i^s the 

S';he^' ?r"*' ^»'*i- '"'^ Serbian ^battS^U™ 
upon the heights around and above Belgrade, where they 
could reply to the enemy's guns, but on neither side were thev 
of heavy calibre, and there had been a sort of tnia kep^ 
between the two artiUensts, so that for a fortnight there h^ 
been no bombardment of the city. 

rfpS^^'..'"°*""jl."-,f?°^ """y ™^«d '>°"ses, partly 
fol^^ w'?^^/""* buildings, and some of the sticisS^ 
torn up by theformer cannonades, but on the whole the city 

^ ^^ > ^ *" T^^ "" "^^ ^""^ "^n anticipated, 
nor had it been much damaged by the occupation by the 
Austnans before they had been driven out by the lat^ ^bU^ 
successes. Apart even from its situation, the city waH fl^ 
one : several modem streets had been formed in its best 
quarters, Uid out with broad pavements, carriage-waTs 

nm-aiid beautified by gardens and fountains. The 
5^^*f IT """''"et-ng tteir maricets as usual, arrayed 
m wonderfully elaborately worked garments, but thereW^re 
no women of the better classes to be seen, and the men 
with exception of the officers, of whom we s^w ma^y in the 
restaurants, were of the middle class, rough, goS sOTt of 
feUows. friendly and helpful to us in our ^|l« wrtho^ 
rudimentary Serbian, but unshaven, rudely clSh^ liS 

Srthi^m" *' "*"*"* '" *•" *°"' ^ °' *°"«* »nd 

There were many really fine buUdings, indicative of pro- 
cess on modem hnes, and one of these, the Third Belimde 

hoq)ital. Outwardly it had the appearance of a palace 
^^Zj^"^t "^ "* ""^T"' P^* *"e simply splendid. It 
tJ^°^1?V"^" ^^^^ of several acres, and was entered ftt>m 
the street by a stairway of steps of noble width, flanked by 
sides of pohshed granite of a bluish-giey colour. A hand^ 
some doorway opened on a vestibule lined with coloured 
en^ustic tiles, which was occupied by a stair aseendin« 

S^^t'ilt.'^KP''^ °' blue Wnite! giving a.^^rS 
h^ haU from whose centre rose a great medial stair giving 
off corridors to the frontage and wings, ite sides of pouZd 

I ': 

» ' IB 


bi '^ 


blur granite with white marble ^anirters^nd its broad 
wide "teps were of the same smoothly dressed blue graTUte. 
From the corridors opened what had been «]» »-7"»\f "^ 
ktoratories, plain, handsome, well-lit rooms fifteen f^t high, 
twenty broad, and from twenty to fifty feet long, some of 
them conteintag stores of the most modem apphances for 
the tS« of technical science. There were exceUent 
uth^mTInd lavatories. Externally the bujUmg was 
Grecian in character, and was two stones m heigW; the 
c^Xl block had a fine facade in the Connthian style, with 
«rved stone mouldings and pilasters, and was topped by a 
weU^esigned cornice, which also ra,n round the whole of the 
wSis. The lower story was in dressed ashlar work, sm- 
mounted by a Grecian frieze, whUe the upper story apP^ 
Sw brick covered with plaster and cement work highly 
^nTmentri round the windows and in its^ntral block was 
a very large handsome hall of fine proportions and nchly 
orw^ented! Altogether it was an ideal buildmg for a 

SS" bui though Surgeon M of the Royal Navy had 

Sone CaVwork iS fitting it for our reception, yet it was m 
Zfy'^Tys in a foul state^from the Austrians bavmg occupied 
it as a barracks when they were m possession of tbe towi- 

In one of the class-rooms we three members of the unit 
enSmp^, making our beds on the floor -md «t to work 
to have every part of the buildings cleaned and washed out 
by Srbian soldiers, and to plan its arrangements for receivmg 
our sta« and the patients when they came. ,^ 

We had some visits from the professors who had been 
teaching in the Gymnasium, and I cannot say that I was 
hlehrLpressed by their qualifications, for some of them 
taew nrSnguage beyond Serbian, and it was hard to see 
^w m^em'Tcilnce ^uld have been taught efficiently by 
those who were uninstructed in German, French, EngUsh, 

°'Thfm°iitary events which occurred whUe I was in Belgrade 
at tWs tine were of minor magnitude. We had only Mty 
Brit^h naval artillerymen in the country, but they did their 
S="r^th their navaYguns, aided ^Y^'^^^J^Zt^I^^ 
ffunners. They had rigged up asmallwar vesselon the Danube, 
f^ w^h it they contrived to keep the Austnans lively ; 

™ one occasion Major E , who was afterwards killed on 

Se F^Swhen she blocked the port of Zeebrugge 
^nt uTthe Danube in the dark of the night, as he had done 
^^ K« before, passed successfuUy through the enemy s 
m"re-fields and defences, torpedoed and »"1^ °»« °^ ^^^f" 
monitors which were lying among some islands ten mUes 


up the river above Semlin, and brought back his vessel and 
crew through a heavy fire, without loSing a man '"'' 

lue Austrian guns were sometimes going, by night as well 
tL^L^' °V^^, ^""^- *•"* *•'«'' ^ ^* » not dSe^ on 
the high winds which swept over Belgrade, sailinc over 
Semlm and the territory held by the enmy, drawtaf th?iJ 

sented all the warfare which was then going on. ^ 

I .( 

, M 


Back to the Mediterranean 
b^n^niHI!"*"!? J ^^, ^•'"Pon'rily to leave Belgrade, having 

moSis '''""'' *"™"' °"*' ^ ""'"'I'sent for U 

..^•".I "as leaving Belgrade the French aeroplanes were 
still soaring over the Save, and the Austrian guns were shelto^ 
them unsuccessfully. On reaching Nisch I again mrt S 
a cordml reception, and Dr. Yeilitsch, the head "urg^n 

b^^He*^* V ""^ '^ '""*» "^ ""y relation wSCd 
h3^ V '».=''', offered to receive the patient into hU 
hospital Yeraitsch was an able surgeon, who had re^iv^ 
h^ medical education in Russia, aid knew someT^ 
friends in Petrograd well. In the Nisch hoIpiteUhere wal 

tZ^SnU,^'"'\I^'"'^ H'^' """^ gentLen an" 21 
tl^ n..^^t r ?' '"*'' ?^"y "*''" nationalities, so that in 
S,,f r i °' languages it was a veritable ' Mac«oine" 

Sve) U„d"^r"t^ ' ^ *"' '*'>^* °' seeing Uskub 
(SKoplye) Under the mommg sunshine, in the middle of 

?hr^''f "7 • l*^'- '"P'' """^ ''''""''^"t ''ate', a ««ne ^ 
the greatest richness, rose a high knoll covered with houses 
and c^wned with a fortress, with white minarets ridng 
from the town ; and all around, at a distance of a few miks 
^ 1 iS?f:^ mountains capped with glittering snlw ' 
At the SerbiMi frontier there was a strict elimination 

but 1 was permitted to pass with the simple queries as to ' who = 

wWch werl tSTr »^'°".rt u^^'iT'^ '"'° Greek ^rZge., 
wmch were better than the Serbian both in quality and cleln- 

here r/""^*^ ^J^' *^'"'"8 at Salonika. C JSi 
there was a quarantane examination, but not of a severe 
nature. A medical officer simply struck a ma?ch and iS 


at u.. and fonniOine spray was «juirted into the compartment, 
after which we were fcee to proved into the city. 

There I found my invaliTin the Greek hospital oUed. I 
do not know why/the Hflpital Fran^», ^THll of »* 
two English doctors, a Greek medico, and the ""O'e* ?' "^ 
un?t hSLng about like benevolent bees- nearly all of them 
contriving to have a finger in the pie of good deeds ; white 
Se menSf the unit, each in his different way, strove to show 
thtiT^ will ; they were like a set of sisters and brothers 
It waf^ touching. aU was so spontaneously done, and 
L« wUh^ne «.uld have formed for the invalid was already 
:;S^ »S J— had filled the room with b^ufful 
flowera and roses, and the Amencan missionary. Dr. H— -, 
aSd toi wife, sent offers to do anything they couM, and to 
suDTily fresh milk and eggs to the patient. t^„j«„ 

?t beo^ advisable to have the patient taken to London 
for atSnc^^. and there ensued a long detay in Salonika 
SforeihU "uld be arranged for. The telegraph Imes and 
^bte" had Sen requisitioned by the authorities connert^ 
wtth the war, and this made the question of finance one of 
much dSty The Banque Nationate de Grice would not 
S^^cL aS^ mon4 withoiTt being "-thorised by a »Wegam 
S,m London, while the telegram to there, ^h'«h I ^ed m 
7^A for which I oaid as much as 89 drachmai 95 lepta, at the 
S^' offlc^ wi^ever sent off and it was on^ aft«^u^ 
Hdav that I was enabled, by the kindness of Hr. W-— -. the 
ffih^nU to obtain a sum of gold from a merchant m 
f«hanfle for my cheque on Messrs. Barclay and Co. It 
wTstXioSi coUection of gold coin which I received, Fren^, 
wasacuTOiM „ ^^ " ^i Turkish pieces were there; 
^ir;e« » o/^ l^^theXy of^he Ar^Napotec^^ 
!^d some were Egyptian with Arabic charactos. Wh«i 
Sf SctirwafXmpleted I esteemed myse f fortimate 
to hS^fwld in my belt ; without it we could not have 
ScSrf froT^lonika. and there business matters were m 
S^Smort confusion, and consequently the war prices wer* 

^Xft^rtime we were in tb< onth of May, and the heat 
was g^t. &lonika stank Uk sewer and the vane^ot 
Tt^nch^was surprising: each b, se, not to ™f '"'If^i 
!l™.)i t« nosse^ ita own peculiar odour, and the HOpital 
^'SSis wrr^hf m^t <Sorifen>us quarter of the town. 
^toJ evin its operation theatre offended one^ nostrils. 

Yrt w7« it not for man and his dirty ways. Satomka might 
be a olS The inner bay of the Gulf, ten miles across 
^allS^ns, is beautiful, and the town lie. finely on its 


I ,- 


iMWtten shore, but the place waa insutferably dirty, and the 
ahabltanU, accustomed untU the other day to TurkUh wavs 

S^ J^ • ' ^'^ If^'"^ '^^»*- There were compensations 
tothe du-greeafile. Mount Olympus was one of thele It 
«ta»cted even by lU ehisiveness. In the earliest morning, 
before almost any one was awake, its snowy ridge appeareS 
^th. roll of cloud, half-way down the sid« and th^e'^i 
i«j;^l.iV*'.u •*« '°«n«>" the innumerable summits, a 
flttmg «at for the gods, gathered cumuli of clouds round Uie 
top, and permitted only ghmpses of some of the peaks to 

wifw°i • u T"""" '«"'" '** '^^ appeared/tinged 
Witt pale pmk as the sun set; but always Tits ^eTor 

O^^^^*' '*' ^*" *^ horizontal rolls of d?iu 
«rt^f~ ^^"^ every eye J it is fiiscinating to watch it. 
»tter rare appearances, for often it U not visible for many 

.^fJi ♦w;i.-^ ""? **'°P**^ *° "^ke its ascent, but wm 
aMured t^t thu wa. mipossible, since, apart from the dirtan " 
It wa. said that the inhabitants who woQ be met witlM?e« 
dangoou. and could not be trusted to abstain from atta<iS^ 
traveUtts. I had not even tte consolation of gettinTi 
suMewftil photograph of the gtorious giant. * 

ti^^t^JS^i^^ '?} ^^'^- When I was formerly 
there in the middle of Apnl winter had not lost ite grip, and 
the only flowers to be seen were the graceful, scented white 
wUd ms, but m May, a week or two later, there was profusion 
l^^J; ""T' ?^»nthemums, and many otter blossoms, 
^Itivated and wild. The vines were in flower and leaf, and 
tte foluige of the trees was fuU, even the horse -che;tnut 
candles were ateiost fully out. But tte beauty was evan- 
escent : sprmg, which laste for months in Scotland, took but a 
few days to complete ite evolution in Salonika. 

Regular direct communication with the outeide world was 
atoost entuelv cut off. A chance steamer for Malta was the 
best ejQt which could be hoped for, and even that was to take 
a roundabout course. ^^ 


^LOMtKA TO Malta 

^X* """•^•wd ourselves fortunate to find a means of escape 
^er a kmg detentfon, during which we had to And that 
-.-•oniSa *-s= But always bade in tte sunshine. After a 
few days of heat, so sweltering that one could not sleep well 
at night, we had days of thunderstorms when the wind 

( H 

■ r 


.wept over us from the northwert, Olympui hid Wmietf 
behind an impenetrable veil of miit. heavy rain and oold 
set in so that we had to hurry back into thick clothing and 
sat about with cold feet ; but they brought the comfort of 
quiet sleep and freedom from the mosquito. ,^ . 

On the tenth of May the Messageries boat Mnumd turned 
up in the bay. and the Greek authorities gave permuamn 
for the invalid to proceed direct on board from the quay m 
front of the hotel, in place of having to undergo the fiitigue 
of being conveyed by the usual circuitous and inconvenient 
rouah streets and customs house stoirs. and the VMse proved 
to be the acme of comfort, so we thankfiiUy booked our 
passages to Malta, where we could cateh one of the India 
liners: The Mououl, a boat of some TOOO tons burden, 
was exquisitely clean and sweet, with the most attentive of 
stewards, spacious state rooms, and fine baths. 

On our last day Olympus emerged ttom his veil of cloud, 
though in a gloomy mood ; but just as evenmg fell he show«i 
a line of silver snow edging one of his peaks. We had the 
stalest of seas as we proceeded down the Gulf, «id next 
morning at sunrise we were entering the harbour of Mudros 
in the island of Lemnos. then occupied by the British as a 
naval base. The harbour was a spacious one, with hills 
everywhere enclosing it, the water occupying the crater of 
a great volcano, with recesses in which were anchored numben 
of warships ; but into the inner sanctuary which contamed 
these we were not permitted to make our way, having to 
content ourselves with anchoring outside the line of buoys 
and nets which protected our valuable fleet agamst the inroads 
of submarines. There we were visited by British and French 
torpedo-boats inquiring into our business, and directing us 
as to what we were to do. Our call at Mudros appeared to 
be chiefly concerned with the mails, and during our long 
detention in awaiting them we were able to take photographs 
and sketches of what lay before our eyes. Except for the 
evidences of war, the bare and treeless Uland was devoid of 
interest. Much of it seemed to be composed of sedunentarj 
rock with basalt overlying it. 

Next morning we were in the harbour of Pireus, havmg 
passed several cruisers and men-of-war, and had views of 
numberless bare and conical Greek islands before night came 
on Years previously, when traveUers in Greece were few, 
I had traveUed through Attica, landing at the Pirseus, which 
was then a smaU port with a limited trade m figs, sponges, 
and small wares ; and we had landed on the opcm beach on 
which a small wooden sentry-box served for the customs 




which weriying WtJ or7S^rrBdi.i:r^°"'"- °PP«»'t« 
them th. chig&g aU?ttf'hLrK"".iT/ 
w« contmuou.. On thi. occasion IdM nT^Uit'llJ^// 

InT"^ ^'"«* •^ "'*"'^ »'""* '""t I h«i sailid about G~o, 

wrecked on that iron-bound headland He w^ fk!'^^ i 
survivor of the crew, and in <mIi7,X fnr h^^^ r ""^^ 

mil«i away f,t,m any habitation, hts^Uttd^^\i ""' 
produce and on contributions from p^J^T^^ which wl^!: 

SL^ti.":ri:.°LT^;.-4vEip a?i^^^^^^^ 
d^ud^ o»tlr^-t t^ot,\-:t ^-^-^^ 

whether we had seen any warships- an(^ ar^h, f^,I!!f ^ 

shght touch m ,t of the Highland Ring. wMrothe« It 
round and chanted a monotonous sonrLl d r~ IHrf -i 
anythu^ but exhilarating; and, when^ih^'welried^f'tt^'^ 
to mdulge ma game which they appear^ y^XH^^^' 
■ie essence of which was violently slam^ <^ oOk«' fi2: 
and guessing who had given the strokS^^ ^** 

I. ; 

i } 

y 1 





To enUr the htfbour or Valetta at sunria* u an experienoe 
that itamp» itaelf deep in the memory. It ii, in its way, one 
of the moit wonderful sighU in the world. From thc^^narrow 
entrance the harbour spread* out like a hand with many 
flnoers and thumbs, into endless teoesses which at our visit 
wMe packed with vesseb of all kinds, sitiall craft, grey gun- 
boaUrmenH>f-war, and hundreds of tiny boaU that poured 
out in a flood to fetch ofl the passengers. High oTerhead, on 
all sides, hung aroaded buildings asoendmg the precipitous 
slopes of theharbouT m tiers and rows ; huge palaces occu- 
pied every foot of the flat-topped plateaux above ; beneath 
stairway* quays ran round the water's edge, and along the 
skyline were interminable ramparts pierced for guns, doubtless 
now useleM, but evidences of the time, care, labour, and cost 
which had been expended for ages in heaping up these fortifica- 
tions so lavishly that scarce a single yard of the circumference 
of the main harbour was not a frowning Ui* of casemates 
and emplacements for hundreds on hundreds of cannon. 

Malta is an island which many dislike on account of its 
heat, dust, glare, and flies, and it must be conceded that 
they are tr^ng. But it has many recommendations, and 
especially to any one who is interested in antiquity. It 
aivrathe visitor the impression of being enormously old. 
Man seems to have been digging and excavating in it for 
thousands of years, until it is quite honeycombed. It re- 
minds one of an ant-heap where the ants are babiM, women, 
and men with skins of the colour of a Cochm-Chma hen s 
ess A great part of the interior of the island consists either 
ofteiraces buUt up laboriously in order that somethmg may 
be grown on soU collected on bare patches of probably ooralhne 
limestone rock, or of quarries whence the soft stone has been 
sawn out in incredible quantities to construct thehouses, towers, 
churches, walk that elbow each other all over the island, and 
villaaes and towns which are so numerous as apparently to 
runmto one another ; moisture coUects in the depth of these 
quarries, and in them are formed small kitchen gardeiis 
where onions, potatoes, and the like flourish and meet with 
a ready market. Contrasting with the green colour m these 
sunken hollows, anything which is grown on the surface level, 
such as grain crops and trees, looks withered and dry, and is 
always covered with a powdering of dust. 
The town of Valetta and the suburbs around it are crawlmg 



». till the .kvlB,* ,. Hi^^, .h ^^,, '^j "ton 

yt and covered wayi 

■ille above, gardcni 

.-aiumi, marguerites, 

mpt to the aieent of 

— J 7,., 7 "* ■" """e* on tei 
nadef, till the skyline i. fringed 
marvellously beautiftjl. Stiai-'^ 
Invite one to descend and 
glowing with the rich colou 
""■nai, broom, boi h: villiai 
the higher parts. 

Uvedintheinfan<^ofhir,;cl!^' " "'"'='' ?"»"»*«*.» man 

The men of the islands go about in oicturMfln. r.^ »i. 

r°S!?/" '" ''!?=•' «='o-k' with their h^i:?,'^v::e5^?; tt 

an hour and a half across the iuthem parto' ,be i^^nS 
we found >t on the top of a low emine^ ?^e"o V '!« 
of Krendi where it overlooks the sea on ^^/^mt '- v j!?! 
shore. There it formed an unposing . ■ jeit t" V tT^ 
»ky. The most ancient a, d most st?iVi;. pa,: *,i u *^ 
a group of five standing stones or menhii-. Iv "^r wh ', S 
unhewn slabs eleven to twelve feet hig^ w„ p • - " '..^J 
to edge, and between two ..f them wns i > ,v i " 

with its long axis vertical, through Xh! a \ ■■;'*;;:;^" 
bearmg of nine and three quarter dent^th^ i i ***^ 

strfiTin'ti.t'''-^ ^"p of Sn^rfi^h .;^n"h^': 

rac* of nature-wo^hippe^ whosL\e^'lte is „„k"own 

•^~ ?.«""* **°"«'' •>"▼« come to be designated by ftudenU 
Ha^ Si^' ^: ,*''^"*'i^ ^^•- ^^ five*2:ento"o 

tr^eSrchS:; ::. aKrL'^^cStit^^^ 

and CaUemish in Scotland, ^I^^ Tveb'u5'"ik' 


■ t 

• 'i \ 






England, and the menhirs of Camus «nd others in Brittany 
and Normandy. 

Around and between the menhirs was a mass of more recent, 
though ftiU enormously old, constructions of dressed stone, 
the work of a Neolithic people. None of them exceeded six 
feetinheight. They were a maze of ceUular structures, courts, 
chamben, passages, doorways, steps, recesses, dolmen-like 
oioups, baetyU, stone tables., stone pillars of cyhndncal or 
Miuare shape, and the whole place was full of circular, oval, 
JSd quadrangular perforations, direct and oblique, some of 
which serred as doorways ; as weU as of cup-markings, cups, 
and basins, on the walls and floors. The walls were ma 
style of masonry which was used, though not necessanly 
onginated by or confined to, the early Celtic races of Europe, 
being formed of fairly large sUbs placed edge to edge m 
somewhat parallel rows and the intervening spice fflled m 
with shapeless rubble so as to form walls, and the slabs were 
beautifully dressed and squared, and on many parts dehcately 
ornamented with tiny markings like the cells of a honeycomb, 
or even like the papillae patterned on the skin of the human 
finger tips. This ornamentation reminded one a Uttle of 
the wavy ornamentation of the interior of the Gavr Inis 
tumulus in Brittany. All the dressing and ornamentation 
si^emed to have been done with roughly pointed stone unple- 
ments. On th. fop of the slab walls were courses of stones 
which were ai • .rt certainly a yet later form of masonry, 
for they were arranged in well-laid courses, with the centre 
of each block placed over the interval between the two 
underlying blocks, a style of building which bespoke a con- 
siderable advance in the mason's art ; and in some instances 
the blocks were so dressed that their curves corresponded 
with the circular shape of the cells which they completed 
above. There was no sign of these buildings havmg ever 
had any roofing, unless of light and perishable materiaU. 

To sum up, Hagiar Kim, as I interpreted it, showed, firtt, 
the five unhewn menhirs of PaleoUthic and Megalithic maxi ; 
second, the pinaxic slab walls of an occupation by a Neolithic 
race ; and third, the additions to the tops of the walls, with 
possible temporary roofing, by a yet more rerent race who had 
attained <-onsiderable advances in the masonic art. 

The evidences of successive occupations, such as can also 
be traced in Stennis, CaUemish, and Stonehenge, were to me 
most interesting, as the authorities I had consulted had not 
prepared me to find them. 

So much of the time I eouW spare was spent at Hagiar Kim 
that I had no opportunity of visiting Unaidra, which Ues not 



S^J*r*"*' ^ ^. ~"^ * """^ "«t «~» to the island of 

Valetta Muwum, and the writings of Professor Zammit. its 
dBtrnguished curator and other authors, as also fh,m des^p! 

nriH?i.« fj"^ ^^P*"- ''") ^ ™ afterwards by naval and 
mJitary friends who vis.ted them, I conclude thkt they con- 
Un, ^o teuly Meplithic menhirs, and so far as I can d^c^er 
Hl^ Kim IS the only place where specimens of these exist 
m the Malta group of islands. 

wiS ^1? V^ *•** ?i^«!J" °^ «newing my acquamtance 
with iKjrd Methuen, the Governor of the blanS, my old 
commander m the South African War 

Malta to London 
Ik ftese last years so many have had the experience of 
^IT^ ^Zl^"^ ■•? ""-tM". that it would be out of place 
to descnbe the incidents of the voyage from Malta to London 

Wf -C^'k ?i ^^"^. ?'"'"'■ She was a rickety old 
tw!L^ . ~"'^ "°* "t^^'y 8«* "P » 8^ter speed than 
twelve knots, and was therefore a comfortable i^rk for a 

»^d'^T m"^- ^' ^ " ■"^"« °^ «" ""rts of weather" 
and in the Mediterranean some memorable sunsets, with the 
western sky all blood, and the sea in the foreground red, shot 
with peat stops of green and deepest steel blue. We were 
directed to keep a course atong the southern side of the 
SMiterxanean, until we reached the Straits of Gibraltar, 
where we learned, from a British gunboat which stopped us 
to give orders for our future course, that Italy had joiJIS in 
tr7«J'" *.^^ '!^' °^ *''' ^"tente. We were insticted to 
keep fifty miles to the west of the usual course, and hence 

nX fK I!^'. ^!" ""^ ^ """"^ "PP^^'te to the SciUy 
Istands, the ship s head was turned eastwards, and the fullest 

^J^l'I^ .?"* ""u*", «° "P ^^^ Channel. All lights were 
S!S^^ u ' the portholes were curtained up, and the steamer 

fl^f K * ""^ *,*""« "P *" ^•^""^J ^^ ""ch velocity 
that her upper works groaned and shrieked as if they were 

^Jlt^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^ '^^'''^ *'«'^ them in position. It was 
nearly full moon so that, although a collision had to be risked, 
there was very little fear of its occurrence, and an easterly 
haze on the horizon favoured our conceahnent without im- 
peding a pretty clear outlook for a couple of miles around. 
-Kif ^^"l^ T '»'««' °"^lves off Dover, and saw the great 
white hghts of the lighthouses on the Enghsh coast, but all 



iMi ■■ 



waa dark on the south where France lay. Opposite Dunkirk 
the big guns were booming, and we entered a crowd of mine- 
sweepers at work, gunboatu, torpedo-boats, cruisers, and 
merchantmen. , ^, , , . 

When passing up the Thames we witnessed the blowing-up 
of the Prineeu Irene in the Medway, and as the exptos"]" 
raised a great baUoon of smoke, becoming a column tmged 
with fire in its centre, reaching a height of several hundrea 
feet before spreading out into the form of a giant tree, we 
obtained a photograph of it. . „ , . ^ .u- 

It was afternoon on the STth of May when we reached the 
Tilbury Docks. 


Tbbouoh Unpleasant Italy 

Aftee having my patient satisfactorily attended to in London, 
I had a strange journey back to Belgrade. Both the nursing 
sister and I who had had charge of the invalid all the way 
from Salonika were anxious to return to Serbia as quickly 
as possible, and from inquiry made at Cook's office there 
apMared to be every probability of making a rapid journey 
through Italy to Brindisi, and thence by the usual steamer 
to Greece ; so it was unfortunately decided to try that route, 
as it promised to save many days, or even weeks of time. 
It did not occur to any of our advisers in London, and certamly 
not to me, that since Italy had declared war on the Central 
Powers, all the usual arrangements of railway and steamer 
lines would be altered, and that most of the Itahan ports 
would be closed. We were destined to have the misfortune 
of finding this out when it was too late. 

On arnving at the Gare de Lyon in Pans, we discovered 
that our Cook's ticket to Brindisi via the Mont Cenis Tunnel 
would involve the delay of a day in Turin ; Cook s agent 
advised us to go by the Simplon Tunnel to Milan if we wished 
to be sure of catching the Brindisi mail boat, and by doing 
this he had no doubt of our at once finding the connection 
across to Greece. The route by which we settl^ to go 1«1 
therefore, it will be observed, through neutral Switzerland, 
and the result was that when I stepped out of the tram at 
the Swiss frontier I was arrested as being in Bntish uniform 
and told I was liable to be interned. But among the sensible 
Switzers red tape does not reign absolute, and after my 
destination had been explained, my medical character attested, 
and telephonic communications exchanged between the 
frontier and headquarters, I was permitted to continue my 


journey, though I had to remain inoonspicuous in the sleepins 
^' ?^ "y exterior as civilian as might be, until we 

tua pMsed Bneg and gone through the tunnel into Italy. 

Havmg thus escaped, like a bird from the fowler's snare 
1 prepwed to enjoy the run down the Italian valleys. But 
Italy was. as we soon discovered, taking the war right seriously. 
Every carnage was searched for Swin newspapers, whose 

n!ili;if"ii'2j° ^*"'y '"" P^^^i*^- and, as under military 
orfers all the compartmer:t^ had to keep their blinds closed 

W Vln)ir f"^' T r^'^'^ly .by sun^ptitijus peeps that one 
^ffn J. ^^ H'"' M"88»™- At that time too British 

unifoms were to all appearance unknown in Italy: mine 
created a sensation, and a far from pleasant one, and it eot 

£r K l^'/'^ u* *' ^ ''^"* '° *''* refreshment rooms to 
fetch food for the sister and myself. Moreover, all the 
reeding arrangements which used to make the Brindisi route 

^m?hL''w'".,"'*y''"'=f- ^""^ ^°°^ •""• t° *>e obtained 
somehow, but whenever 1 emerged to obtain something to 
Mt ^ups of people came staring after me. Most of them 
were friendly enough, but on the trains, which were crowded 
with soldiers, the spy mania raged, and several times I was 
accusal or suspected, and had to produce my papers to satisfy 
the officers who were fetched along to interview me. At one 
station I was fonnally arrested by the bersaglieri, who were 
dischargmg the functions of the gendarmes or carabinieri 
and taken to the guard-room. There, however, the officer in 
command was most courteous, and after having seen my 
papCTs was politeness itself, saluted and shook hands, and 

SZJIwT"''^'*^*''.' ™"*^^ ^"'""l i"to hat-touching 
friendly fellows. My impression is that this occurred at 
Bolopa where there was a delay of three hours, during 
which the attention I aroused on the crowded pUtform and 
restaurant was such as I should gladly have dispensed with, 
out bad to submit to. 

When it became quite dark all the stations, as well as the 
irlT""" °!u f "'^g'^- were lit only by the dimmest of blue 
^ri!*' ^ ^ ^l^"l^ ""' °"* °^ *= question, and this along 
w^th other drawbacks caused the journey to be tedious and 
trymg Beyond Bologna much of the South Railway runs 
will ^^P'^fands of the Adriatic, parts of it being strongly 
fortified, and there the lighting was maintained darker tl^ii 
elsewhere, the stations being in absolute obscurity except 

InH H*"^-^"?', ^^^^ ""^^^ ^y ^«"" °P»q"e coverings 
and dif^smg below only a faint illumination through venr 
much obscured dark-green glass. One was impressed with 

' 'i I: 



the oare, even to the minutest detail, which characteriied 
Italy's entrance into the war. That there was need for it all 
was evident from the fact that parts of the line had alrwdy 
been bombarded from the sea by Austrian monitors, which 
I saw had laid some of the buildings by the line in ruins, on 
the 1st of June, at a pUce called Sinigaglia. 

Ban was in a state of great excitement from some cause 
which I could not discover, and when it became known thoe 
that I was a British ofBcer, a lady and her Uttle boy msuted 
on kissing my hand, ofiSoers came and shook hands, and all 
waved to me, while many saluUtions were shouted as the tram 
moved off for Brindisi. », . j- • 

We had a most unpleasant reception at Brmdisi. Up to 
tlwn we had continually received assurances that the boats 
were still running from that port to Greece, but when I pro- 
ceeded to the police ofBce in the station, I found that all the 
steamers had been discontinued, that we were to all appear- 
ance at an impasse, and must return to London. The person 

in authority, Signor A , the prefect or whatever else he 

may have been, was a most uncivil person ; he kept us waitmg 
until he had disposed of all the others, among whom wctb 
a body of recruits whose papers he went over and verified, 
and only then did he see fit to acknowledge our presence. 
After abruptly telling me that we would get no help m pro- 
secuting our journey, and snubbing one of his officers who 
suggested that there were ways of passing on, he proceeded 
to pick holes in my passport, endeavouring to make capital of 
the discrepancy between the date of its original issue and the 
existing date, and plainly betrayed a desire to make out that 
we were German or Austrian spies, though he must have 
been perfectly well aware that we were British. This fellow 
was the only Italian from whom we received actual rudeness, 
and it is right to add that an Italian officer in uniform who 
was present did his best to mitigate his discourtesy. 

Brindisi was in utter blackness. Every window was 
hermetically sealed from showing light, and the streets had 
to be groped through in the feeble starlight. But we found 
a hotel close to the station, ahnost the only one not convert«i 
to military purposes, knocked up the inhabitants at mid- 
night, and secured some vile rooms insufferable from heat, 
flies, and mosquitoes, and in the morning called on the 
British Consul. At first he knew of nothing that we could do 
but return to England, but this I was determined if possible 
not to do, and on further inquiries it emerged that a former 

British Consul of the place, Mr. C , had a connection with 

a Greek oil boat trading in the Mediterranean which was 


•xpeet^to touch next day at GaUipoli, a unaU leaDort on 
theextreme tip of the heel of Italy ^^ '^ 

The harljour of Brindisi was given up to the war Thr^ 
^ge rrondads w«e lyii« ii, it. and notfces w^ put" u7^ 
the port was cloMd and mined, while anti-aircraft giZ were 
busy pracUsmg and bursting their shells ovCThiT T^ 

raaeiy, while the poUce contemptuously sent me a verbal 
X^I.'T*'' ""• ^"ke<P«' that I had Tp, to the S 
office ; I took no notice of this, with the resultihat pwSv 
my passports were returned to me through the ConsTwSh 

wmcn 1 learned that immediately before Italy's declaration 
of war a penon calBng himself J , whidb name I was 

drlj^ln"" ^ PTP"" '^^ ""^ by him, had ^^ne ab^ut 
dressed m semi-uniform, and he and a female comMntoniad 
» Jt^a. sarf, cheated several people in Italy'^XfTi^of 

When we left Brindisi at four o'clock on the su«»«lin» 
mornmg it was with the full expectati^t^t m a fe^^ 

v^'°"cfe^oMtaIv^ h'^'' '^t' °° *^' deckof a neu3 
vessel. Clear of Italy and its maddening suspicions and snv 

sSktar^.'"'' ""\ ' •^ ^t7wea^"LKtffi 
sleep in fear that we might miss the early start, and the hours 

a^ ^rdfn '%'" ^^<' r«l">toe., »unttag?he miS 
a^vS rri^"^?" "l^™5tely. But at last the hoS 
amved, I packed and earned down my baggage, paid the 
^'n1t°c^^^' to the ' d^ndance ' where ttfs^ ^ 
been accommodated, and got oureelves and our beloniri^ 
mto the tram, not however without being stopp^T^ 
sentry whom we had some difficulty in passfaB 
Cunosi^ and suspicion were rampant on our way across 

^k^Z^- P'"°"\>^ <"! P-^f the corridor t^S 
talked and cross-questioned, armed soldiers came demanding 
our passports at their own wUl, and we madeT mueh^nT 

T^tfJ r"^ *'J?.^ '""'^ ^''"'^ »^^« been a"l''„S 
"Igpt out at any of the stoppages. 

ti^T "-^ ""'^hed GaUipoli ^e were in the happy expeeta- 
^^ fln^"« '*",;«^°" ^"^ the Epir« which weS- 
ri^uW T """''"r* '" ^^^ ^y' ''"t the news met us that 
It wouU not arrive for a couole of hours. I therefore after 

^'i^' t'tr "* "^^ f •* ^ *^ ' I°"ike Atmo;j;i:'en 
reiraiei, to place ourselves beyond suspicion oroceeded 
with an escort of sokliew and foUow«i byth^rabbTe^the 
town, to the quarters of the Commissary of PolLe to ai^« 








{'') 1 

L'l IIp 




OUT preienoe and ayoid another arrest, and found he had 
lying before him a telegram of some twenty lines concemmg 
us. He was perfectly courteous, took down the particulars 
demanded by his duty, and dismissed us after a brief visit. 

A wire which I presented at the telegraph offtce for trans- 
mission to the Olympos Hotel at Salonika to meet the boat 
and reserve rooms was refused point-blank. 

While wiiting for the steamer I explored the place. Ualli- 
poh has a fine large bay, in the bottom of which the town bes 
on a rocky island, surrounded by narrow reaches of the sea, 
and united to the mainland by a handsome bridge, aooss 
which the road ftom the station runs. At the town end of 
tht bridge rise the towering btaok bastions of an old Italian 
fortress, and under its shadow are the crowded mass of narrow 
lanes and medieval buUdings constituting the town, a jumble 
of alleys, stairways, comers, covered passages, recesses, towers, 
and roofs, like a small Valetta. 

At ten in the forenoon we gazed hopefuUy out to sea, round 
the point to the south where the smoke of the coming steamer 
was, we were confidently assured, every instant expected to 
appear. But minutes passed, hours passed, and at length 
it dawned upon us that it might not arrive until night, and 
finally, when night came, we despairingly realised that it 
might not arrive at aU. Our straits were becoming desperate ; 
for there was only one miserable, dirty hotel in Gallipoli— a 
less desirable one could not be conceived— and the proposal 
I made that we should sleep on the floor of the steamer 
company's office was negatived. But by the good offices ot 

Mr and the clerks of the Ionian line I got m touch with 

one of the boatmen I had been talking to, Salvadore Cavallere, 
a rough but kindly soul, who undertook to do somethmg for 
me and thesisterwassimilarlyattendedto,Idonotknowhow. 
Seizing a brush, comb, and toothbrush, I set off to get some 
food and a ptce to spend the night in, though without any 
expectation of being able to sleep in such dirty-lookmg sur- 
romidings. Cavallere guided me first to a little unpretentious 
restaurant, where we had a decent dinner, chiefly of red 
mullet, and then took me up steep narrow covered lanes, 
through courtyards, and up broken flights of steps, to the 
house of his brother-in-law. A marvel 1 A clean bedroom, 
with clean linen, plenty of towels, plenty of cold water, and 
conveniences al) astounding in such a place. Never had there 
been a better investment than I had made when early m the 
morning of that day I had chanced to gain the good-will of 
CavaUere by presenting him with a couple of pipefuls ot 
English tobacco: this had procured me these desirable 



quarters. I made friends with the brother-in-Uw and hi* 
swarm of httle children, and with the old mother with white 
hair who must m her youth have been a most beautiftil 
ojeature, and mdecd was so still, with her angel-like face. 
Theu: house had evidently long ago been some sort of palace ; 
Its entrance was like that of a fortress, its rooms, thrown 
together m every direction and at many levels, like boxes 
tumbled out of a cart ; each room with many windows and 
many doors leading to mysterious places, openings to stairs 
leading up and down, and recesses leading into other rooms 
and passages, like the Castle of Udolpho. But all as cleaa 
as a new pin. No suspicion of the presence of a bun, nor 
even of a flea. 

We dreamed of walking on board the steamer in the mominc. 
But It was a sad delusion. Even the excellent and unexpected 
good night's rest did not suffice to fortify one to take philoso- 
phieaUy the news with which my host greeted me on opening 
my door m the morning, that the boat had not come— wm 
not coming at all. Were we ever to get out of the horrible 
country? Making a hasty breakfast, I hurried to the 
steamer office and found that it was too true. At midnight 
word had been received that the Epiros was not coming to 
GalUpoh, but was to touch at Cotrone instead, and that we 
should have to hurry round to that port if we wished to catch 
It. It was disgusting to contemplate returning to the hateful 
Brmdisi, receiving perhaps move official insolence, and to 
crawl m dow Italian local railways for fifty miles, stopping 
at every httle station for five, or ten minutes, or very commonly 
for half an hour ; to have to change carriages and shift baggage 
amid rapacious porters, and everywhere have the unpleasing 
traffic with the police once more. Moreover, my stock of 
money was — not ebbing, but — streaming away, and I was 
almost at the last of the stock of French Louis d'ors which I 
had provided for the journey. Also there was the sister to 
be thought of. She had throughout behaved splendidly, as 
an English lady does, but she was getting knocked up by 
the perpetual travelling, want of sleep, and mosquitoes. 
And I was myself in a somewhat similar condition. If she 
(or I) were to fall ill I I could not have left her without money 
enough to carry her through, or to enable her to go back to 
England and find another route to Serbia. My purse was 
growing too lean for all this. 

It was a fix, but the situation had to be faced. I decided 
to risk going to Cotrone ; went to the Chief of the Police and 
asked him to wiie to Cotrone that we were coming there, so 
as to obviate trouble, for it was reported that the Duke of 


:>'■% I'l! 



• had hitt been arrested there M a tpf- W* Ttfdui 


our bag! in the steamer office, said a gratatftil forewell to the 
kind young men there, had another meal of the debcioui 
red mullet, at the Ristoratoria Vittoria, and departed ftom 
Gallipoli a little after midday. 

It took us thirteen hours to oo round the instep of Italy 
from Gallipoli to Cotrone, which is situated on the ball of 
the great toe, in Calabria, and they were hours of fresh 
exhibitions of the spy waBia fitom staring, jostling crowds, 
most of whom w«» iMibed to be rude, though there were 
some who became ^uiite fhitemal when they realised that we 
were allies horn Ei«h>nd. The carriages being corridor, and 
no order kept in Ac trains, every one who chose got into the 
first-class c»rm(?e or came into it out of the others, and most 
of the trav«>tters were soldiers whom the spectators at the 
stations oheend mightily. 

I was inteitsted, on the way between OaUipoh and Lecce 
to oberave that the country showed a good many farm buiW- 
inos which were repUcas on a small scale of the prehistoric 
'Nuraghe' of Sardinia, beehive structures of uneemented 
stones, with a ledge halt-way up, consisting of a lower trun- 
cated cone with a small cone resting on it, a single doorway 
on the ground level, and no windows. Some of them seoned 
to be implement sheds or stores, but others were inhabited. 
The persistence there of this primeval Mediterranean type 
was remarkable. . j u 

At Brindisi, where trains had to be changed, and where 
the officials now knew me, there was a repetition of the 
former incivility, but after passing it the disagreeables were 
confined to a tedious dark night journey, which we made 
along with two reticent Englishmen who were in a fix sunilar 
to ours, and who appeared to be groping a way through to 
Roumania or Russia via Greece. 

It was two o'clock on the morning of Friday the 11th before 
we got to Cotrone, and we had to hunt for a cart from some- 
where, pile our baggage on it, and walk for a mile or two along 
a road deep in white dust, in the starlight, before we airived 
at the Hotel Pitagora, where we found the padrone awake 
and expecting us. Pythagoras is said to have lived in Cotrone. 
and what purports to have been his house is still shown on 
the western side of its bay. 

The information we received from the mnkeeper was bad ; 
the EpiriM had been there but had left again, and we were 
once more stranded, though there was an uncertam chance 
of another boat passing the next day. The hotel, however, 
was really a very good one ; it was clean, the cuisme was 



SS^^ ooBvenieaM. wew fairly up to <Ute ; but th« 
S*™* :*• .«MlM»ui and unlMiJthy ; bin .Min the .tten- 

JS. J.f 1±°!!:.""^ 2" *•>• •*»««» "d even in tlic hotel 
mpectabhr dre»ed mhabrtant. did the «une, .fthoi^h I 

. J^^^i^*^ CaUteijn mountwn. which encircle the town 
we no longer haunted by brigand., and I wa. invited to 
Sf^ ? ^X ""^"B them m pursuit of bear and fallow deer, 
r.^ \i.'"'' *J! ^f**"' *'*•• «8™*' •• a boat was possibly 
expected on the Saturday. But a visit to the flnrS 
d«c^«rf no boat ; the stoppage of all telegnuns by iTbto 
left t uncertain whether it would come at aufand it warnot 
unt.1 Swday afternoon that the smaU waiter came to ?he 
room where I was sitting in despair, and made thrweltom! 

^!^:rl: ^°" " '"F" * •"'vato.' {rZ 

mmutes the baggage was packej. the bill was paid in ten 
more, and ma <art and omnibus we and our poss^ions were 
tianqjorted to the quay, hardly able to believe that even^ 
somethang would not turn up to disappoint us, and sna^ 
away our promised freedom. The MykaU. Hyi^ SheS 
fl«g, Uy a ^long distent on the water; we pifed our aoS, 
on the wharf, and wondered if the officers and soIdKho 
lurked suspiaously round would not after all interpose some 

oSLfTA*" •'i^""^" "" "^'P^""- However.T.LX 
officer of hjgh rank came presently along ; I addressed mysetf 
to hun. and by his good offices we settled matters up, paid the 

n^i? « "^J- " "l^ P^"'^' '•"* °"^ t*^*" «t° a boat! 
pulled off, and m a ftew mmutes vere standing on Greek pUnks 
to which in gratitude I almost took off my hat. and w™ 
ft*e from hateful Italy We got each a good c^bSTto ou«eN^ 
a cup-three cups-of good tea, a deck chair, and a dai tv 
dinner under an awning on deck, olives, pickles, bx,i. „.d 
r^ K J u ?°V' '^"Y*^ *•»•'» ' Then fblkiwed a cau 

f^^"!''"''*. **'" PW'fc*""- B . the final belts and 

siien blasts, and we were off. 

In the cool of the evening we swung eastwards into tbo 
gk)aming saw the orange of the west darken over the rugged 
hills of Calabna the lightless coast of Italy fMe andl~ 
appear m the darkness, and could hardly realise our happiness 
to have seen the last of it and the troubles we had undSgone 
tnere. To have cast the burden of care, to filly undreu tot 

M^u"^'" "'«*'*' *° ^""^ » '^° 'P^nae <l'>wn. and lie in 
a berth at sea once more, over the pulsings of the engines I 

I I 

1, 1 1 ' 

i ' 





—it WM good. What though »ome new specimen of marine 
mosquito bit my fingers and dosed up my left eye ; the 
creature was welcome to it. and I slept untU eight o clock 
the next morning. 


Thx Levant 

Although we had left behind the disagreeable things of 
Italy, and the delays there, we found that we should still have 
to spend some time saUmg about Greece before arriving at 
Salonika. We made the best, however, of this additional loss 
of time, and though nothing of great moment occurred, we 
saw a good many places whose names were famihar, bu which 
otherwise we should never have had an opportunity of visiting, 
and the voyage, with a few exceptions, sped pleasantly 

enough along. ... ^ j * u _i 

On the morning after leaving Italy we anchored for a short 
time at Santi Quaranto on the Albanian coast, afterwards 
used at a base by the Italian forces. It was a mere dot of 
a place, surrounded by medieval walls, then utterly rumous 
and much too big for the shrunken size of the modem town, 
which lay minutely in a cup of hills with its battered houses 
below and ruinous Turkish forts on the heights above, 
evidences of the recent wars between the Balkan States. 

Corfu was the next place to be reached, and there, by the 
advice of the captain of the MykaU, I got mto ordinary 
traveller's clothing, so as to diminish the probability of 
being captured should we meet with an Austrian submarme 
or other vessel. Greece was of course at that time neutral, 
and our boat, belonging to the Hellenic Steamship Company, 
would have been exempt, as would ite neutral passengers, 
but it might have been otherwise with myself. 

It was interesting to a North Briton to decipher on the 
steamer ite owner's name, painted in large Greek <»pital 
letters, ' TZON MAKDOVALL BAKBOVR,' John Jlacdowall 
Barbour, who has his office in the Pirwis, where I had re- 
peatedly seen his firm's name, and interviewed his clerks, 
all of them Greeks, and not one among them understanding 


After a detention of six hours in Corfu harbour, we arrived 
next morning at Patras, remained there a couple of hours, 
and sailed along the Gulf of Corinth, watching the mountains 
of the Morea, high, even yet snow-clad, pointed, in massive 
crowded groups, and well wooded, the bulwarks of a hidden 
land. On this occasion Mount Parnassus, at the end of the 



on board of the Daphne, which l^aftKr's ^» 
wat an annoyance, and involved a great lea of frn-Aj 

".d that meanwhneZL :^„:1<^''o™,^Krf ?"r^^ 

a sliceof bread, a morXf Lt ov^S"he^"anT 't*'' 
of water, we had tu satisfy our anp^e ■?^.' I" " *""?" 
the harbour was gay with bLun/Kwct o^tht r"*.'" 
elect ons, but when night came I my^Twaf ,^hf„"'"w 

were overflowing, so that we we« Z^l^f T\'}^^' ^°^^ 
in starting and'moreover"? rafthen te tetl'a^^^S'th'J 

at &Uo„ika which s^So^^^^^XZ^r^^^:: 


jodo. ^atone could have sho'? Zl^Z t^^^^^'^^l 

Son^'treLCrsid? wlcl lJ^Tai«~'°n? 
^'^f^"'^.""*, ^"^ ^'' fertikvali:;' ^tween'^'hi k 



^ >tPPLtED IM/OE Ini 

jK (653 Eait Main StrMt 

Kb flocht»l«r, Nn roili 14609 US* 

'-S (716) *82 - 0300 - Phone 

^B (716) 286- 5969 -Fa> 

1^ 'i 


down, and we saw but few ships, one of which was a French 
armed patrol steamer which came up as if to pounce upon 
us, but soon tailed off satisfied with our appearance. In 
the middle of the eastern side of the island we halted at the 
town of Chios (Scio), lying in a lovely bay of calm sunny 
water, with a belt of gieen fertility behind it, and a mile 
or so inland, in contrast, was the bumt-up range of moun- 
tains we had seen from the western side. The town itself 
was a pretty picture, and &om the water looked clean and 
prosperous, with a good roadstead enclosed in two break- 
waters, within which were lying two steamers and half a dozen 
ships. Two imposing windmUls were pointed out as serving 
to pump up the water supply of the town from some wells 
near the shore. Chios had a Grecian look about it ; only 
one minaret was visible, and, with its maritime foreground, 
and good quays round the harbour, had a faint resemblance 
to Cape Town on a minute scale. The ship was speedily 
invaded by pedlars of Chian turpentine, used as chewing 
gum by ladies, and other local sweetmeats which were curious 
and interesting. 

In the afternoon of the same day our course was along the 
dry coast of Asia Minor, in the rough seas which characterise 
the gulfs of Chardonlik and Adramytium ; there our vessel 
was spied at by the periscope of a submarine whose nationality 
we had not the means of discovering ; and in the evening 
we anchored in the harbour of Mitylene, on the eastern side 
of the island of the same name. It had, though Turkish, 
the same peculiar prosperous appearance as most of the 
towns on the Greek islands. Its general aspect was not unlike 
Corfu, the island being well wooded, well cultivated, and fertile, 
hilly inland, and along the coast indented with mnnerous 
bays. The harbour was in a bustle of busy trade, we our- 
selves had much discharging and loading of the ship, while 
an English torpedo-boat lay with a watching eye on every- 
thing that was going on. 

As we sailed northwards in the night after leaving Mitylene 
we were stopped by a British cruiser which made inquiries 
regarding our cargo and the nationality of the passengers, 
but did not otherwise interfere with us. It gave us orders, 
however, to direct our course along the western side of the 
island of Lemnos — ^thus still further delaying us — ^because 
the floating mines on the eastern side were dangerous. 

Next morning the outline of Mount Athos, fifty miles away, 
detached itself through the haze ; we drew up towards it. 
and coasted along the west of the island of Phasos, dry but 
fertile, mountainous in outline, with one or two small towns 

bi^ Z ^i^^.^^^:^ on,, st«teh Of ^, 


mto the sea, crowned with Tm^^JJf^^ "^^^ projecting 
m crenellated bastions with T W "H''^'' ""'* ^"''"^^d 
with the interior of thi knd T^ "I""'""* connecting it 
the slopes of the coast and r^f J v. w"""*""? *''^'" '«y «l^'"g 
brook flowing past it «^!^^ refreshed us with the sight of f 

There in I^vaCw 'unWre^V^T" r'^^"" ''^^^ by 
and Mitylene, and took on ^^d^^rint ""T ^'°"' ^^ios 
tobacco. This part of the B^tk,nV • ","'"*'*'' "^ ''"'es of 
species of tobacco which k^^ZTT-^ ^°^' ^^'^ finest 
ported, mostly, w^ "to W to '^/^ ""t" '"'.'"^ '^"'^ «" 
factored into the so-called E^Han&tT^" "* "^ """•"■ 
g;^;s=ltrgl^-£^^^^^^^^ np the 


Serbian Hospitals 

rt had been created Its pu™o^L*5'^'="°"''^°^^l>ich 
pat-ents belonging to the Bnfflrrcif f„ ^L\ *T?* t^e 
't had prescribed for about «!vpn 1, j i^^c! ''"* ^oug*" 
patients, all of them onfy sLhtTailto» JTl f'^'^l ""t" 
occupying its wards. '"Bn^X aumg. it had no British 

of these were doS? r^^nfe^t woV'^^r ' ^^^ '■ «»"« 
officials of the vervhirfi^tn^, .J 'f^ ''^" staffed by 
there were othl^ W^SL j^t " """^ u^"""fi'=ations ; but 
able could not be C™^tere r„t M^"'' ^''^°'"- 
^uch as cannot be written ^wranT?L'''2j'^"« ^"""dals 
were of a kind that ought never to hav^ ^ "^"'^^ °^ «"»«' 



bringing the name of Britain into disrepute. The comments 
to which I had to Ibten concerning them in some of the caffa 
in the country were most unpleasant, and I fear they were 

mostly true. . •^. ..u o i.- 

I was, on the other hand, much pleased with the Serbian 
hospitals proper, and formed a high opinion of their medical 
military officers. The buildings which I saw used as hos- 
pitals were extremely suitable ; the wards well kept ; and the 
operative work equal to that in any other civilised country. 
A very large proportion of the patients on the surgical side 
were suflering from frost gangrene as the result of tyvhus 
fever. It was exceedingly common in those who had suflered 
from the fever, and all degrees of it, from minor congelations 
to mortification of considerable portions of the extremities, 
were to be met with. Conservative treatment, with avo'd- 
ance of premature operation, was the most successful method, 
and was the one generally practised. 

As is commonly the practice in many contmentol hospitals, 
the dressings were not changed in the wards, but the patients 
were brought, on stretchers when necessary, into the large 
dressing hall, where a numerous stafl of skilful and humane 
surgeons awaited them, aided by a body of efficient nursing 
sisters, and there, with abundance of the best and most 
modem materials, and with every other appliance, the dress- 
ings were removed, the injuries attended to, and when fresh 
dressings had been applied the patients were reconveyed to 
their wards. Open air for the patients played a large part 
in their r^me. I had an opportunity in many instances 
of privately conversing with several of these sufferers, some 
of whom were men of position, such as university professors, 
and their appreciation of the care which was bestowed upon 
them and the skill and humanity of their attendants stiU 
further enhanced the high estimate I had formed of the Serbian 
Army Medical Department. 

I left Serbia before the Great Retreat began, and hence 
missed that experience. 


The First Bsitish Ambulance Unit foe Italy 

w™and^Zf?r**'".''"r^ """^it''" connected with the 
flS^ish W mSs^ obtain permission to serve in the 

'me Of nuhtary operations on any of the fighting feonte. 


ii I 



The Ambulance Department was Mr. G. M. Trevelyan, 
and Lid a large fleet of ambulance and other cars, with en- 
gineering and other workshops for repairing and maintaining 
them. The hospital department was in charge of Dr. G. S. 
Brock, a well-known physician from Rome. Mr. Trevelyan 
wus styled the ' Commandante,' and Dr. Brock the ' Direttore.' 
It is rather important to note that it was Mr. Trevelyan who 
was in official command of the whole, and was responsible 
for all decisions affecting the management and policy of the 
combined unit. 

The hospital possessed good wards, some indeed excellent, 
others extemporised out "* granary and annexes, and these 
latter were less good, ' very well adapted, considering 
their unavoidable defects of construction. The pharmacy 
was run by an Italian pharmacist officer. There was a good 
X-ray installation, which at the time of my arrival was 
inadequately housed, but later on I had a special building 
constructed for it. 

The Villa Trento Hospital was situated at ten minutes' 
walking distance from the foot-hills of the Alps, on the level 
plain beneath them, amid gardens and grounds laid out in 
Italian style, with many beautiful and rare trees, but was 
swampy and cut up by sluggish watercourses and ditches, 
so that it was not in a salubrious locality. It possessed, 
however, a good water supply, recently introduced, from an 
aqueduct that descended from the hills ; though this was not 
always to be relied on or sufficient, and had to be supplemented 
by pumped-up subsoil water, the consequence being that 
dysenteric and intestinal troubles were somewhat rife, par- 
ticularly among new-comers, who all suffered until they had 
become acclimatised. 

The unit consisted of some fifty members, about a fourth 
of whom were women, and besides these there was a large 
staff of Italian orderlies, washerwomtn, cooks, and general 
servants. The members, who were almost all young and 
British, did the responsible work, driving and cleaning the 
cars, doing repairs, carrying on the office work, and only 
one or two of the men were occupied in connection with the 
wards. Most of the men were gentlemen of education, who 
for one cause or another, such as medical rejection, Quakerism, 
conscientious objections, and the like, had been exempted 
from military service at home. One or two were over the 
military age, others were of Colonial birth, and there was a 
Belgian student of medicine who had been wounded in the wMr 
in Flanders. The unit had been at first largely recruited from 
the Quaker persuasion, and the fine clement which this hiiii 

f I 



introduced pervaded the whole, so that it embraced a picked 
Bet of active, fearless, dean-minded, bright feUows with 

stt^^ 'ln7' " P"^'"" *° •"^^ "^ O"' Thfwom rofflcTaL 
^wLi S^^"""'" r" " well-trained, well-educated, well 
behaved body, nearly all of whom wer. ladies of staSn and 
culture whose conduct entitled one to be p^ud of them and 
the nation to which they belonged. 

In the hospital I found every one busy, ooine about his or 
her work and making duty the sole objw^ There lere of 
course «>metimes incompatibles among them, but t^e^ were 
weU and firmly handled by Dr. Breck and Jfr. Trevef^n 

No horses or mules were kept; all transport was done bv 
motor ambulances or cars, and, from the hard work Lse 
ms mtT"' '""*.*'•' ''°* '"'» ^*"ted in September 

From the nearest of the foot-hills, behind the hosoital 
the present and recent battle-fields we^ to be seen spS o^t 
byThm^'burtL'iL' town of Goritzia being howerhiddcu 
Dy a nm, but the raountams and the trenches upon them 
for possession of which the contest was then beiSg wae^' 
l'^J'?'''\"°"°''' '^^ caterpillar-like captTve ins for 
observation hung m a chain romid a third of the circumference 
extendmg from north-east t» south; and everywhere were 
fc^ss 'treXn TtK°' "V™^ '"^ niilitaryTorks! wwS 
Wtween Udme and Gontzia. poured eternally trains of miUtarv 
wagons, ambu ances, bodies of horse and foot, greaTgun^ 
^d brXf labourers going forwards to make new S 
and bridges, and repair old ones. The road-makine was 

well-s^ed, hard, macadamised roads, which they conceal J 

iXf^K '"T^ ' T^ ^y ""*"»' '"^'' natu™7eWat1^nt 
o?^s t tW ""' °^«*ead screens of brushwood and mat 
tivH^f;^ M»nv" ^"1™""'"°°^ *«"t fo"vard in compara- 
of th? 4^;,- L!?f ^^^ ""^^ "^'^ ^*'" w'thin easy range 
™ft „ "• '"*'"^'^' ""'' ""^^'y "^^^ night their air- 

craft were commg over and dropping strings of bombs on 

On the day of my amval there was a heavy bombardment 
going on for some 90° round us, from Az. nTsO" K, to Az S 
16 E., and at rightfall two aeroplanes dropped a series of 

home, and settled down to work. I gradually nJde the 


■I I 
I* 'i 



acquaintance of the leading medical and other military Italian 
officers, and found them most friendly ; they proved me 
with a pass enabling me to go everywhere within the zone of 
war, a privilege of which I availed myself to the utmost 
possil le extent, so as to familiarise myself with everything 
concerning the medical arrangements, and incidentally with 
much else that was of interest. 

The relations between the British and Italians were marked 
by sincere cordiality ; the heads of departments were generous 
in conceding every facility asked from them, and a constant 
interchange of visits and courtesies went on with always in- 
creasing appreciation on both sides. There was a certain 
amount of hospitality exercise >y the ladies whn presided 
over the household departmen. and Italian offlccT^:.. both 
medical and military, were constantly dropping in, fiven 
without invitation, to luncheon or dinner or to spend an hcur 
or two in the evening ; and to such Italians as had not travelled 
in Britain or the United States, it was soon perceptible that 
the way in which our young men and women hved in the same 
buildings, and engaged in the same work, in unrestricted 
intercourse, like a family of brothers and sisters, and without 
a single breath of scandal, was a new experience, and an object 
lesson which they were not likely ever to forget. The part 
played by the unit in cementing the mutual relations of 
friendship and respect was one of its most important functions, 
affecting as it did both the upper and lower classes of our 
allies. Of the influence of the hospital section of the unit, 
and of its purely professional side, on the soldiery of the 
Italians, I may have to say something later. 

We had, at different times, two most admirable Italian 

medical officers attached to our imit. Major de L and 

Captain V , both of whom gained the esteem of all who 

knew them. 


GoBiTziA (Austrian G6bz) 

It was not long before I had an oriportunity of using my free 
pass — ^which as a matter of fact was seldom asked for, since 
the British uniform was itself a passport everywhere in 
Northern Italy — in order to visit Goritzia, and s< e the work 
which the ambulance section of our unit was uoing there. 
I may mention that, when the city was captured by the 
Italians, uurs were the first ambulances to enter, and they 
obtained high credit from the Italian staff for having done so. 
One day in September, after operations and ward visit were 



The last three of theJ»™^ ?"?* °' *•»* ^"'^ Rj^"- 

after its Srthquak?' '^ """'""' '''^* ^ '^'^ " ^^^ 

much reply **'' *""' *•« Austnans were making 

west and north byTSi^ ^JLd W i^ 71^ ''"""'^ ''" **"= 
Podannt PM™ u *' , P' oog-oacked range cal ed the 

entrenehmeX^erfes and^^M ""^ ""*" " '"''y^*^ "^ 
t^e rCS r" ^"^'^ ' <^^^^^ 

shock Xh.^^- " °"! s ears were almost burst by the 




of wooden beami, and both to right and left a hand-rail 
facilitated the asce > in the darkness. At intervals a unall 
wooden hatch in t „e ruof admitted a feeble light into these 
couloin, which were iibuut Ave feet bruad and seven high, 
and which possessed at very long intervals lateral exits 
giving on to the mountain side. There were many such 
stairways and tunnels, all of which osrendcd the hill to the 
residences of the soldiers defending the trenches that crowned 
the top and the gun eniijlacements which also studded the 
crest. In addition to these underground passages there were 
also well-graded open roads, along which led great electric 
cables and telegraph and telephone wires, running obliquely 
up the hill and defended by entanglements of barbed wire 
so well placed that it was a matter of difficulty, half destroyed 
as they v/ere, to force a way through them. The upper end 
of the tunnels brought us to three or four burrow-like apart- 
ments, one of them containing beiths like a steeping car; 
another was an electricity r'xjm with switch-board and trans- 
former for the currents v/hicn had been sent up from Goritiia 
by the great cables ; and a third was the mess-room with a 
table for meals, and three stout metol pots, eight by thirty 
inches in size, in which food was cooked by electricity. There 
was electric lighting everywhere in the apartments, and along 
the tunnels were many notice boords with directions, especi- 
ally ' Zur Kiiche,' affixed at the needful places. All these 
labyrinthine defences had been left untouched since they 
came into the hand;: of the Italians. 

Between the ridge and Goritzir. ran .ne Isonzo River, which 
came pouring down through the Alps in a series of gorges 
deep and narrow, leaving room beside it only for a single 
slender road and the railway from Klagenfurt, which latter 
had to twist over bridges and through tunnels to find a 
precarious way ; and at the place where the river escaped 
on the opening plain the "-raall town of Goritzia was built. 
Before the war it must have been a very pretty townlet, 
with its old-woiH castle upon a rock in its centre, and beneath 
it groups of houses ind squares with trees and public gardens, 
forming a lovely summer resort, and a spot where retired 
Austrian officers and others lovpd to take up their abode. 
But as I saw it, it was crumbling under shell fire ; hardly a 
house was undamaged, and many were in ruins ; one or 
two tiny shops were open for petty trade, with their iron blinds 
drawn down ; and the names upon the signboards above 
were all Slav or Slovene. Not a single woman or child was 
visible in the streets. The intensity of the bombardment 
it had imdergone was shown by the fact that rot one street 

1:1 i 



Ump was left unbti.t or unbroken, while the ho -se. were .11 

^w .i. I^ "'""'' *•"" "'■" ">■'"« hurtling through the aS 
? h1^ > «"'r "'"^ "^"""f "'"1 ""^hi"!. but u? th" tinT,; 
wa« con mg apparently fron, the summits of Ma™. 
San Damele, San Gabriele. und perhaps from Mo.^e Santo a 
range of mountains higher tha, yC^hur's Seat, which overt u'n^ 
the town at a d.stanc-e of a mile or two, like a pack of "oTv« 

^^^ ^ ** vomitmg cannon shot. The town and girdens 
around it were a network of trenches, wire entanglimenU 
and emplacements for machine gnns, with frequent^Lmates 
or concealments for the greater guns. "^"""^ casemates 

Hud It :.ot been for the noise of the firing, my first impression 
of,a would have been that I was l^king^n aloTand 
^rTV^Z'u"^'^' '«'"««' ""P'y ""d abandoned, s^^ 
fn o,L A .If* K^ "TL ^* '='*''*"''" °"« " feeling o?^^ 
m our Allies when it became apparent that there had Wn 
no lootmg o: breaking into the Kses, as was b=7ng7onV!n 
»tswruS''Ti**^''''=^r"''"^-''"'^ '»•"* the*i„S 

The bridges over the Isonzo had all been destrov<>H h„t 

::^elfZ^^.'"''"V;^ P""*-- or trese7hth.'rn' 
^nVf f! u "L« carefully screened from the enemy, were 

fromTLl'"^ ^""^""^ "'■ ^'''"'y'" "y '"^ Austr^n^S: 

wh^' Tch^^T, department haa two stations in the town. 
Where a cheerful and courageous company of some fifteen 
drivers were assembled, and where by dky or n ghtThev were 

wo* d^'fCtVe*:.' "" ^^^"^ ^ «° °"* anf pickVt^" 
hn.^; 1 /? ' dressing stations and convey them to the 
aSlmn. ' 'T /'l'^ ^"^ themselves, as time went o„ 

but I^n nnfr.. i'tt'*''"' ^^^y •»"'<* "^^^ fo""d shelter 
but I do not think they ever troubled to use it, and I never 

Wn """i'f }^ ^^^"'- «='''" «hen the builoi^g which hTd 
been assigned to them in the middle of the town by the Italians 
and m which they lived , d slept, was later shattered by 
ni!hf 'k*°u t""'' °^ ^^" """"^"^ "•'verely wounded. iT one 
n^ht which I, there I counted the fr^uency^ he firin/ 

^ttT^ ^' 'Y"^ ^'"= ""'y °"'' twc^and three seS 
between -ch explosion, on rare occasions nine seconds, a^ 

IfV^ kT -^ '"tr"' °^ ^^-*^n secoids, ever^- one 



I* I 




The Isonzo Rivcb Bakbim 

At the time of my joining the Italian AmbuUnee, the following 
wa« the pofition of the campaign. Italy wai the only one 
of the Entente Power* who had lucceeded in getting foot 
acTou the borden of the Central Powen, with exception of 
a small part of Alnce which had been captured by the French 
under General Joltre at the outbreak of hostilitiet ; and 
Goritsia wai the only city of capital importance which had 
been taken firom the enemy. 

Italy wa« by fierce fighting overrunning the Austrian 
provinces of Gdrz and Gradisca which beloi^ed to Austria, 
and of which Goritzia (Gdrz) was the chief town ; and the 
Italian nation and armies were much elated by the 
feat which had gained for them a part of the hitherto Un- 
redeemed Italy (Italia Irredenta). It was an important 
thing to have done, particularly at a time when things were 
going rather unhupefully for the Entente Allies, and in a 
region, as I shall presently show, which was one of the most 
difficult for an assailant. 

Having progressed so far, however, Italy was faced by 
almost insurmountable obstacles. On their left, and in front, 
extended the high, snow-clad Camlc and Julian Alps, prac- 
tically unscalable, pierced only by the railway coming 
tluough a narrow portal from Klagenfurt in Austrian Car- 
inthia ; and where the mountains terminate near the Adriatic, 
on the right of thi Italian front, there lay the d^'^cult region 
of the Carso, a sterile undulating plateau, ian~iy inhabited, 
waterless, almost roadless, pieced by numberless caverns 
and ' doline,' which offered the defenders immense advantages. 
Beyond the Carso, however, were the coveted province of 
Istria and the city of Triest;, almost purely Italian, and 
acknowledged parts of Italia Irredenta, and all the aspirations 
of the army and nation were turned to the conquest of these. 
The most hopeful line of further advance therefore lay over 
the Carso, extending from south of Goritzia, beyond the 
Isonzo River. Moreover, the upper part of the enemy's 
position, corrcbponding with the ravine of the Isonzo and 
running along the foot of the Alpine range, was far more 
difficult to assail than the portion south of Goritzia, which 
is only hilly, not mountainous. The expectation that they 
could capture Trieste and relieve their fellow-countrymen 
from the Austrian yoke was a bait which was irresistible, 
and Italy was bracing itself for the endeavour. 




UHT of these ««ds was wondell. ^ut t'inSuit^S 

• ■:' 







avoid their having the sharpest turns at every few paces ; 
and to meet, pass, or overtake another wheeled conveyance 
at such places was an interesting experience. Imagine 
having to turn on a swiftly moving motor car round such a 
comer, beyond which nothing but the sky and an abyss 
was visible, and coming suddenly on another motor, likely 
a great baggage car, charging in the reverse direction, and 
having to take the outer side on a road some fifteen feet 
only in breadth, with but a foot to spare between the wheels 
and the precipice, and this too at a turn of much less than 
half a right angle. Such wbs the territory the Italians had 
wrested from Austria, and were then holding on the Isonzo 
above Goritzia, and this was the character of the Italian 
front through which my journey of inspection lay. These, 
moreover, were the sort of roads along which our drivers 
had had to bring the wounded back, and on which, though 
the enemy did not usually single out the cars for their aim, 
yet there were occasions where they deliberately shelled 
our ambulances upon them, while they were transporting 
the wounded. Of this there was no manner of doubt. 

To follow the upper course of the Isonzo through these 
hills we left Goritzia in an exceptionally suitable car, for it 
was not every one that would have been capable of sur- 
mounting the roads, with Mr. John A , a driver who had 

no nerves, or it would be better to say, whose nerves were 
under perfect control, on a morning which could not be 
termed fine, for the clouds overhead were in many strata, 
but which yet promised to develop into a fairly dry day 
without much wind beyond a cold breeze blowing oft the 
snow on the Alps to the north, and with just that amount 
of haze in the atmosphere which shows off the mountain 
distances so well. Matters that morning were quiet in 
Goritzia, for while one or two of the Austrian guns were 
speaking out, there were but stray replies from the Italian 

As we crossed the river on one of the frail bridges, it was 
impossible to avoid being struck by the aspect of the Podgora 
Ridge abeady mentioned, which lay as a mass of fortifica- 
tions opposite the city on the western bank, dominating 
the crossings and commanding every foot of the town. It 
recalled the position of the Janiculum at Rome, inasmuch 
as it was the bulwark of Goritzia, and after it had been taken 
by the Italians, nothing could have saved the town. Its 
capture was an affair of the utmost bravery, since it bristled 
with artillery and riflemen in concealed batteries and trenches, 
while the Italians were in the open and their artillery was not 



As we rounded the north-eastern end of the ridge towairfs 
OslaviB, the fierceness of the strumle was ^aJ^^ 
there being no house left which ^f tot TrruM^.'^aTle^ 

ZtZ ^"^ r'Vt"-'*'^' "^^ «>««= '"'^ not a sbgleTr^ 
but was broken ofi by the artillerv fiiv fr«.« " >"igie tree 

the one hand and Sa^ FIorr„S7he^ea^q"a&? th^ 
Italians at that time, on the other San r]nr^^^vZ. 

pbteau whereon it lies; there for a long time X Cli»n! 
advancmg towards the Podgora were held T check The 
carimge dunng the fighting there had been gre^t, l„d to Jke 
matters worse cholera broke out. Our ambulan.^ wJ^nZ^! 

Tl^^' ^'*""' '^' '=''°'«'» Patien" in t^ir 'S 

^J^^ '^t ""^ sometimes even fell dead as thev 

succeeded m gaming a place in them. Into oneTf oV^l 

mne men entered and were driven off, but when th^y a" JvJ^ 

oLl^n' ardritet^LTlJ^runrhn "^l"^^ 
a^up of eighteen S^.?d^'iLTct^rwKr 
had been overlooked. He was only a younc bov bi.f nf h!= ^ 
initiative he tackled the situationVand byS^ LulZ" 

All of these and similar transactions were carried out uX^ 
heavy fire; and the Italians gave the detacSient a S 
of honour m recognition of its work • it was h»i,1 t^ 7. u 

^^r^Tf I""''' '*' -^^ ** -- eveZa'Sfg^erL"': 
Commandant, who was present through it aU 

o^SvL" ^'"^P'ace we meandered downwards into vallevs 
and then agam ascended to Quisca, which at an ^li^ S 
of the same struggle had been the station of one ofW ambS 
lance sections. Quisca lies on the western slope of tte^"; 
ndge which overhangs the right bank of the IsX and S 
tself somewhat sheltered from the Austrian art ilSy' when 
the fight was going on. had the drawback that thel^undS 
could be conveyed away from it only by an exnosed rn«H 
runnmg north-westwanls, which was perfectV^bfe ^ 
the Austrian batteries, and Mr. Y— 1- who h^H ll. • 
meT "i ''"'^'^- "-^''^'--"^ at the' tTme, ^eLtS t" 
Zy7X''"^ *° "*r '^' *'=™'* '^''"- lookingTv^ the 
valley at his <«rs as they passed along the road above for 
the distance of about half a mile, an easy mark foTthI 
Austrian gunners, who followed each car with hXe^Tos ve 


shells. Wonderful to say, they all came through the storm 
in safety. 

To get a better idea of the positions which the two com- 
batants were occupyin<;, we Uft the car a little beyond 
Quisca and climbed the ridge, so as to look down on the 
Austrian positions, the aquamarine coloured Isonzo flowing 
in front of them, and the Italian lines on its hither side. 
The Monte Sabotino, whose name had been in every mouth 
at a certain stage of the struggle, lay before us to the south, 
and was an impressive sight. It lay on the western bank of 
the river, shaped like a great wave advancing &om Italy 
and breaking on the bank of the stream, for towards Italy, 
where it was seamed by lines of trenches, it rose in a gradual 
bare slope which the Italian troops bad had to storm, and 
on the other side was so steeply scarped as to be precipitous, 
even overhanging shell-like as it descended to the river. 
Its capture was costly in lives, but once its slope had been 
stormed the rest was easy, and it now formed a valuable 
position &om which to reply to the artillery of the enemy. 

For the rest of the way we held a course along the ridge, 
and, looking backwards on the confusion of hills and valleys 
which I have endeavoured to describe, it required no special 
military knowledge to realise what a difficult country it was 
trom which to have driven the Austrians, as almost every 
mile of it was a natural, nearly impregnable fortress had 
it been properly prepared and defended. It gave one a 
full sense of the bravery of the Italian soldiers, and the 
marvellous feat they had performed in overrunning that 
contorted territory. Our route plunged us into a vortex 
of tortuous roads, ridges, valleys, and corrugations, along 
ways and tracks with steep gradients, overhanging almost 
precipitous slopes, with hairpin turns and ' Devil's elbows ' 
in abundance, and always on our right hand stood the ranges 
of great guns, one at about every hundred yards, covered 
by turf-roofed sheds to conceal them from the Austrian 
batteries and aircraft, though easily visible &om the rear 
where we were passing them. Behind and among the guns 
were interminable trenches, and wire entanglements forty 
or fifty yards in breadth, with covered ways leading towards 
them from our road, approached often by covered stairways. 
Everything possible had been done to render these defences 
invisible from above and trom the front. 

The men who manned the batteries and trenches on the 
crest of the ridge lived among the clifis and precipices, some 
in burrows holk>wed out like sand-martins' nests in the soft 
rock, and some in wooden structiires resembling bird cages 



ladders or stairs. PeeoL^V^ \h ^^ 7^^"^ '*°«'«n 
towards Austria Zi^vZVt? '^8' °^ **"= "'^K* here 
little town of Tohnl^n %^J^'°* "' °" *•>« ">'«' the 
Austrian. "'"°' ''''"* ''"^ "«" held by the 

ele^dol^rlt'trJrtw'^/^ir^ *° ■''""y" higher 
the Alps, a^ we ZsLi W^h "'^ ^^""=1 *" ^l^' north into 
count.?;p"„e^tK t^e «^-?*'°"°f *"'*' "*° " ""''«» 
of mist which had for some ^nn» ^^ "'*° " '^*"^"' ^*'»t«'n 

in a^ey ^Unl^S, b^ ^''*' °,°, '^"°">-'t '"^t itsTlf 

^.iuM ^A^ ?c* ^.£r^ ;c-i 

I r 




Luico, and another, a little farther off, our destination, 

Now began the descent. With every brake hard on, 
down mile after mile of a most winding road, so steep that 
we had the sensation of diving, while the Italian Alpini 
regiments who passed us going up, carrying their batteries 
of mountain guns in pieces on their backs, seemed to be a 
picturesque feather-plumed group floating upwards past us 
as in an elevator. We had our mishaps — ^burst a tyre at one 
nasty place, and at another the car skidded backwards with 
us at an uncommonly sharp turn and fortunately ran us 
into a bank in ^^afety, but we had all to jump out, prop the 
wheels with stones, and set our shoulders to the body till 
we had got it to resume a position of safety in the right 

We eventually reached the bottom where, as in all these 
Alpine valleys, the ground was flat, passed through the un- 
interesting hamlet of Luico, and a turn in the narrow den 
farther on brought us to Caporetto. 

We had thus been along the whole of the Austro-Italian 
front north ofGoritzia, as far as there was any, or the possibility 
of any, activity eventuating, and our whole course had been 
in wlmt formerly was Austrian territory. The chief impres- 
sion which one carried away was that the whole of that part 
of the line of the Isonzo was now so strongly fortified by 
nature aud art that it would be a hard task indeed for 
Austria to reconquer it by a frontal attack. 

Caporetto was one of the most charming Alpine villages 
I had ever seen, and recalled the pictures of Innsbruck in 
the Tirol. On its western side the Isonzo came boiling out 
of a chink in the Alps into a flat -bottomed pit perhaps a 
quarter of a mile broad, and on the flat Caporetto was built, 
its crowded houses and winding streetlets speaking of want 
of space to expand. As one looked up, the mountains were 
seen towering above it on all sides ; to the south that one 
which we had just crossed reared its rounded head 3000 feet 
into the air, and on the north the Monte Nero (Slavonic, 
Monte Km), 7500 feet high, had its snow-white top almost 
concealed by an upper layer of cloud, while on the other 
sides lower hills overhung the town so near that a land- 
sUp from them would have buried the whole place, and 
one instinctively thought of the likelihood of such a 

We were received ac our ambulance station by Messrs. 

R T , and O , the two men in charge, who thawed 

and fed us and told about the nature of their work. They 




and fonned the ktmoSe/ette o^e Tl ""-"8 "bout 
^vage scenery. Yet I adml ^hlv' °i* **** '"1°^ such 

«>ad by which w7were to rehi^ rr'v??"^"'^''*^* 
tYitwasagoodand^syone *° ''^ ^'''» ^rento, and 

the^so^thi'S;"?.^^ cZXTo r""^^',"'^?!' '^"-l** to 
the Isonzo may onTe Ce Sl^ ^^''f^^t'- °°*" ^^^ «='=" 
had been elevat^ 'or blocked tt « '*' ''^'^ *« '»"«* 
another river nam^ th-. m !?•' . <=anyon now catches 

our road k!^' "^^ a fcwlir"' "^^'^^^ '»"'"' "^ "^ich 
glen, its naLw strh, of WtoS a?n,o t ^* y^e entered the 
the steep slopins Xs „nwT.^°'*.u""''^'"« "^'"een 
clothed them When f; S^^^°?.t '"*'' ^^ "'•^s that 
of thrcanZ.' a^the^^ *»u ^""i^'ne AH^ the who^e 
along the C o/tht s^e^U ^f"" '^"^^ " ""^^ '"'y 
as there is not room fo^Un Kttem ^ v T*^ '»"''• 
than 200 yards across ThP ^„ ^^ '''"** '« °°t more 

^'Kei^* - 9<^^ a„T?;^^r rhat*s:id^^^ °^ 

eve''^ tdrw^rrbv'ir"t"^« '•-''Sily hid 
Cividar^From th^ onwLS^ we Z" T "^"^ *'«'"8h 

blindfold, all lights ^ingforbidde?.^ k *^P^ "•" ""y 
main road between ^>,J? j ttJ? ** *^"' "« struek the 
with me^ h^B^r nSlf^r'* ™"«=' ^« fowd ^ choked 
slow and ofteTikt^^ot^"'' uT''^' «* *^t P^-gress was 
collision. Mterrupted. But all passed off without a 

front was enorCst fortifl^ tt^^^' "i"'" ^"^ ^»»«' 

which it appeared no v^ f J^*' ftr S!">'=^ '*°°^ tJ«'"8h 
so turn the whole ItalianTosS?^ r . '^ *^ Penetrate and 
this proved to b^ tKak part of tX7 •","*' """"^"^ 
which an energetic anJmpid tl^st^n t^'"'"i"^'' "^"8'' 
trians deprived Italv of th^ J,^ r ". *¥ P"* °^ *h« Aus- 
quests, aSd drove rtWkwlh" "^ '*' ^^'^^ '^"8''t «»n- 


but I have often wondered since whether Gineral Cadoma, 
in the desire to push on south of Goritzia so as to capture 
Trieste, did not overlook the weakness of the Caporetto 
position, towards which it was comparatively easy for the 
enemy, holding a good railway approach to it, to convey 
quickly and unexp^edly a strong attacking force. 







The Italian Base Hospitals 

I VISITED a good nimiber of the base and other hospitals in 
the Italian war zone, and a few sketches of their condition 
may be acceptable to medical readers. 

The largest was the * Ospedale Contumaciale ' at Udine. 
The term ' splendid ' was the best to apply to this fine in- 
stitution, adapted from a great cavalry bcuTOcks through the 
energy of General Santucci, the principal medical officer of 
the 6th Italian Army Corps, and those under him. It was 
perfectly clean, very spacious, and had accommodation for 
over 2000 patients. The walls, roofs, and floors were white 
as snow, and the bedding and ward furnishings were admir- 
able. Electric lighting was everywhere. The radiography 
department was of the finest ; there was shown me a new 
and most ingenious localisation apparatus on an entirely 
new principle by Signor Baese, a Milanese engineer. 

Another hospital not far distant, designated 'No. 0.22,' 
had been converted from a villa residence not unlike our 
Villa Trento, and was under the charge of Dr. Camera, who 
advocated an efficient and very radical treatment for gas 
gangrene. The hospital was of course not to be compared 
with the ' Contumaciale,' but was very good in its way, 
with two sisters, luale nurses, and a staff of efficient surgeons 
and physicians. The baths would have been considered 
defective on an English standard, but they met the more 
modest needs of tLe Italian soldiers. 

On another occttsion I accompanied Major Andreini to 
see his extemporised ' Ospedale, No. 228,' which had been 
formed out of a villa at Premariaco, about an hour's drive 
to the north of the Villa Trento, and was received most 
courteously by his officers, who showed me over everything, 
down to the smallest details. Though inferior to a specially 
constructed hospital, it was nevertheless very good and 
practical, even to the provision of a store of tents in case 
expansion or removal were necessary. All essentials had 
been foreseen and provided, and every possible drawback 



never smokeJIn fhTh -i^' ^I'° '''^ °®~" » command 

nificent work Ti ».o . • ^^ showed us some mag- 
head chls" and Vw P""^' ''"'P**"' ^°' '°j™es to the 

town, 'No O TO^i^d^* """*''" ^?'P'^^ •" the same 

question to ae^^'urieo^V^^riM C" "C^* 
mortalitvas 1000/ ;„?kj '".'^g* 01 «, and he gave his 

62% inTho^'^JeS'^itrotS'' ''P*"*'^' °"' ''«''-* 

whttdTernli^ed^'upX^Te fc^ed^^ " t^^' 
which I «nH „ t^^^A? j' ilntish Red Cross Society. 

for show than anythfag ell^^,' i,« ''u*' ^^^ ^P."'"'* 


annexes and through every corner of the eitablishmsnt. 
Its kernel was a smell school building, with additional 
wooden barracks, and a group of canvas tents, in a small 
village destitute of almost any resources, and its title was 
'Ospedale di Campo, No. 216.' There were two sisters 
employed in it, both belonging to the Italian Red Cross, 
of whom one was Signorina Italia Garibaldi, daughter of 
Ricciotto Garibaldi, and granddaughter of Giuseppe Gari- 
baldi, the Liberator of Italy. Signorina Garibaldi was a 
fitting coadjutor to the energetic medical officers. She and 
her comrade managed the nursing of the 800 patients it 
contained in a way that words are inadequate to express, 
and many of their patients were bad surgical cases. It was 
most touching. In the wards these iwo women bad only 
two — I think that later th-.-y obtained six — basins in which to 
wash those multitudes, and they were asking as a favour 
for some more. There were no bathrooms ; only the usual 
Italian closets, which however were clean and kept as well 
as wa!> possible. The patients in the wards were sleeping 
on stray: stuffed into mattress bags, and there were no pillows 
beyond those which they had themselves extemporised. 
Beyond the beds there was almost nothing in the wards, 
only a long central table, with one large Florence oil-flask 
which supplied the drinking water fir all. Each patient 
had one metal cup which served him for everything — for 
food, for drink, etc. There were no invalid appliances 
except the temperature charts, which hung on the walls 
and were well kept. The wards in short were bare except 
for the charts, beds, table, an^' Florence flask, and what else 
the patients brought with them from the field. For the whole 
there were four copper bed-pans. One found it difficult to 
draw even a feeble mental picture of what these two ladies 
had to do in the way of attending to so many sick and wounded 
men with such inadequate means, but somehow — God knows 
how — ^they did it well. They had none to relieve them, no 
night nurses, only male orderlies, and they themselves had 
to sleep in a place some hundreds of yards distant, and to 
get their meals in a shabby little eating booth near at hand. 
Those who know the ways of male orderlies can perhaps 
imagine the tasks which the two ladies had to discharge. 
In common with all Italian Red Cross Sisters, the two ladies 
had to be clothed entirely in white, even to their shoes and 
stockings ; in these they had to wade through the wet and mud 
when it rained, and neither the rain nor the mud on the 
Venetian plains is a thing to be made light of. The cooking 
for the hospital was carried out in what had been, and in 




•ppearance still was, a blacksmith's smithy, in two m Br«f 

S^J'^erT*'^'" the food and whici;' l"^ h//i,''~i 
camea over to the wards e ghty yaids awav »K.» fK- 
food was Udled out into the S,ldU' cups^^he^ w"s no 
poMibility of invalid foods or special diet. The ^k slen? 
^smjthy under the benchWh ser;ed for Tkit^S^ 
dlT^An T.V °Pf^*'°° «»™ "«» " »»re closet, ^ell lirby 

5!.i rt. ^«'* common basin, ^ssibly two, a common 
o^for ''\''"^' «"y ««ri'i«'J;°' instruments, and aTa"«r 
?he fnLr*r*u'' ''"' '* """' '""""J ''"«<="" to w^rk them wkh 
the spmt which was supplied. The ,t«ck of ether for an^- 

wWch Z" TJ^'l- ^ i'""'' ^ •'"^^ mentioned all the th"^ 
which they had at my first visit, and where I have not namS 
an^hmg ,t may be held as having been abs^^ Yet "S 
good work was bemg done in that hospital by these pTd 
Z^ K . !!!!"!" '"*•' *•"> "'*'"'* °f applUn,is. I w^at 

t^ Utt^r"^!-*^"," ~">P?»i°" •'nd admiration, buTLfn 
the latter feehng replaced all else, particularly when I mm- 

s'hr ji^t':''''*^ '''•"=•> •»" »-" «*«i "p 'xpTn'sLVx 

I must mention one more of the ordinary base hosoitaU 

vS;:'l?.Z*f w*^"" '^^^''^ througHur handsT^he 
h.™ tH i'" f^ '^•'°^ treatment seemed to me to 
hrve been conducted with much skill and hP.jtlihood, and on 

^ /o6"^"f'^"- ^ ^°""i ?"y '»'"'' ^«"" » hospital s"yl^ 
li^^;jj. ?**!'«=»' /nd that the surgeon there was Captain 

at Home. I telegraphed to him and found that he was still 

7^ ,*""' ?"'' '■""''^ '^«=1<»"'« "^ visit frSm me I 
accordingly spent most of the 27th of February with him 

??.e f :"""* ,"jr '^ ^'~"' *''« -hole of his wo^and system: 
The ^sence of them was as follows : Immediately a woundS 
man was admitted, his wounds were laid open by lonffitudinTl 
mcjsions s« to ten inches in length (JbridJJ^.^^Z. 

and all that was infected or crushed clipped away by scissoK 
Wrr'' ^'"« '^'^P""^ "S''* througg^the limb to'^a^S; 

^^^,^ "w"°P?u"8 ,"." *' "PP"^'*' «id«- Only sound 
stouctures bemg thus left, the great wounds were plugged 
w^th gauze soaked m eusol, left unsecured by sutures fnd 
widely open and the part supported by pkster of Paris 

ffi' wtu tVr ^"-l,.^- ,t»« tost few^ ,^ys the wound 
looked well and the patient's temperature fell But the 

JhwS.Ttb^^*" '"^ " ''°™' *° '-•^ «t A^ut t£e 
third day the enormous wounds in the broken flaccid limb 



were retracted by large steel koolu whoM iharp poinU were 
dug into the living fleih, the plugi were drawn out, the iciHon 
again uied to clip off all luipicMUi parti, the phigi of etuol 
gauie again drawn through and packed in, no drain* being 
Uied and no lutureg to narrow the openings, and 'he denuded 
neui and muscles left to protrude and consolidate into great 
cicatrices, which might perhaps much impair the subsequent 
functions of the limb. These dressings were done without 
the use of an anesthetic, but I must add that they did not 
seem to cause the patients much pain, or were at any rate 
most uncomplainingly supported. The after management of 
Captain Baggio's cases which came into the ViU Trento 
gave us much trouble; and, owing to the great siie and the 
situation of the debridement openings, and the flaccidity 
of the limbs at the site of ftecture, their evacuation to other 
hospitels down country was attended in the graver cases 
with extreme difBcukies. I rather think that we obtained 
equally good if not better results witU more conservative 
measures, while the patients were spared much suffering 
and the functions of the limbs rather better conserved. But 
Bagpo's surgery was certainly brilliant, and was generally 
speakmg the type ol the surgery of the younger ItalUn 

At the risk of beiug tedious I shall add a word or two 
about the hospitals for special cases in the Italian war mne. 
So far as care and foresight could provide special fomiu of 
toeatment, luly had done well by its soldiers. The ' Ospcdale 
Marco Volpe' in Udine, for instance, wac an institution 
5"*"«ly fo' ii .'iries to the jaws, under Major Pema and Dr. 
Webb, an American dental surgeon ftom Rome, and had at 
least severtl hundred beds. Some very good work was being 
done there in restoring and replacing defects of the jaws, 
but from the absence of women nurses the mouths of the 
patients and the appliances employed to flx the jaws were 
in a state of uncleanness which contrasted badly with 
similar cases which I saw treated in our British hospitals at 

I^ the ' No. 4 • Italian Red Cross Hospital in Manzano, 
CapUm Pipemo, an eminent dentist from Rome, who among 
other qualifications had studied his science in the United 
States, had a small out-patient clinic for attention to the 
dentistry of such soldiers as were able to walk, and verv fine 
work was being done there, quite equal to high-class 'work 
at home ; and in Caporetto too I found a surprisingly good 
dental station for the troops in the front lines. In these 
dental duucs there was almost no extraction done; all treat- 



iriyCtJ:° """"" "«• terth unl«. thqr w« .b«. 

Hi.^i?!L^*'"^ ^y ^•**^ P'tatod initruetiont wen 
iittabuted among tlw loldien «. to how to p.*ct21 IdJ 

From the above ihort outlines it will he ■««. »k.» u 

.mpoMible to form other thUS . v;S"wJh^i,S^* of ThJ 

been conceived, and there wa. a marked aSenc-ofThe^ 
Upe and circumlocution which clinTT 'Sy I ouihS 

IriS .^ "'LT"** ""t^*" '="^) to oJrown Wr Sffl^ 
wth lu „ obatinacy j thu waa pouibhr due to the fcct 

W w,3.:l'i" "^i*' mcdiiTXr. of the ItaSS 
Army were drawn bom the ranks of the civil nractitinn^^ 

♦K°°L""'* ^*'**''' '^ *•»•<=•' I Jwve already aUuded w.. 

JtelilS^°» r "« "'• ~'"P'*«"* women Su^"^i:v:^ 
Italian, man an-i woman, to whom I gpoke of this subWt 

me^t^^f wo^en'"*'""'*'^"'' '" Italy^SaSlVthe^^SS: 
ment ol women nurses, and even wnHcw/l *i..* _» C ' 

the wtperiMce ^med in the war may induce altera^M • 


pomt of the service as I saw it ^^^ ~„ tliiii. T 
options among the nursing sist^, ^'^^^^^t^ j^" 

c™«H tw. J^- ■ ~ °' "'"'^ ^^°«= influence had pro- 

roiS^^«n^K ^" J "'^*'">'' *''= case of one poor feUow- 
coimtryman who had received extensive bums lying in one 

^.S^it^^ i'T*^^ "°'*^'' ^^^ ««*' """onB others, ^f one 
such attendant who was unable properly to dress his twmT,!. 
m,unes or to give him the att^tS^ V 1^ ^^^^.S^ 



•nd of another, wounded and amputated, lying in a imall 
ward abng with two other wounded men, with no one to 
■Donge and clean him, no oomforti about him, paMing a miier- 
able night disturbed by the moaning of hit neighbour!, one 
of whom had ain lott a limb and been otherwiie wuunded, 
in deadly pain himtclf, and with the eternal roar of the heavy 
artillery which wai craahing on every tide and only a few 
yatdtaway. I could multiply intUncet. Yet thii wae in very 
good Italian hotpitalt, where the beds were comparatively 
good, with spring mattreese*, and no vermin, where tne offldala 
were of the very highest class. It went to the heart of one 
accustomed to the comforts with which our women nurses 
can surround the injured under almost any circumstances, 
to note the deficiencies which their absence occasioned under 
conditions such as those. 

There was one cheerful th..ig about mo* ,t the Italian 
' <ase hospitals, namely, their whiteness. Whenever a building 

id to be converted into a temporary hospital, the ceilings, 
walls, and floors were covered with white paint ind white- 
wasu, which gave an appearance of purity to the eye, even 
though it might leave things little altered in reality. 

I shall have something to say afterwards concerning the 
dressing stations and Lazarettos of the fighting tines. 



The Wtnteb Campaion or 19ie-l7 

The events which happened in Italy during the year I was 
there are historical, but I do not profess to give an accurate 
histoTinal account of them — merely a series of recollections, 
an atti inpt to set forth general impressions. In or^er that 
these may be intellig.ble, I must repeat to some extent what 
I have already said as to the general situation during the late 
autumn and winter months. 

After Italy had swept Ai stria back as r as the line of 
the Isonzo, and gained possession of the town of Goritzia 
with a -ouple of miles on every side of it, the barriers to 
farther advance remained most formidable. Beyond the 
Isonzo Austria held the (almost) inexpugnable barrier of the 
Julian Alps, which extended firom the north down behind 
Goritzia as a series of heights of which the most important 
were Monte Kuk (Cucco), the Vodice, Monte Santo, San 
Gabriele, and San Marco, the last four of which, averaging 
perhaps 2000 feet in height, overhung the city at a distance 
of two miles, and Goritzia could not be safe or ttte from bom- 



huinmA until at leut thcM four bud been eaptured. That 
WM one of the heavy UU. which hy before the .rniie. of 

tJ^ *«»«xl P^ ot the problem they had to deal with wai 
. »'^u?^ *^?'^ *!" "'°"' """therly «pur> of the Alpi, 
?h. AI«^L*?k"^ .'*" ,^S2"- "hich intervened betwJS 
il^iS^ K the Ita i«n» were flxed. The Cano i. well 
•r^^ ^ n" f"""" *"*" '" '*»• following temii!- 
Laltoplano Canico . . * noto come un vasto pianoro 
•aiioio, perfettamente arido. wtto da buche e (iveme, 
qua e It ncoperto da fltte boacaRlie tutte lenia nome j pove^ 

Bli abiUnti. In addition to these natural diiadvantage!.. 

entrenchment., and riddled with faitnesiet in the shape 

of cave, and 'dohne* which had long and carefully been 

converted into hidden strongholds and concealed fortification.. 

In the autumn of IBie vast preparations were being made 

-h-!'^r?"'""&'«""/*u*''^"* P'*"*'- There were many day. 
when the surface of the Und was entirely hidden by trail., 
maMe., and thigment. of mist from the Alp., which them- 
selve. were concealed by slabs and Ubies of cloud and piled- 
up heap, of white vapour descending on the low-_r ground 
airf keepmg all things soaking, when rain storms beginning 
without warning ended m heavy dadies of water and si^denly 
pass^ over; but whenever « rtray glimpK of sunshini 
br. e through, it revealed the whole country, bom Udine 
to the IsoMo, converted into a great camp, wherein flve-and- 
twenty soldiers were met with for one civilian man, woman, 
or child, and studded with huge dep.rts of fodder and oD-r 
stores, with rows on rows of magazines of provis-ons and 
material, of the army service corps, and lines in endless 
T™^ u^l^ ""?, picketed horses, while behind each 

eminence which eou'd be hidden ftom the enemy were the 
groups of tent, of the vedettes with picturesque Uttle patrol 
shelters peeping through the brushwood, and in all available 
spots the wooden and other barracks of the soWicrs 
. u ^ it popularly supposed to be a land of sunny skies, 
where the flower of the orange blows, and fireflies dance 
through the myrtle boughs,' but in that part where the cam- 
paign was going on it surpassed in cold, rain, fog, and mud 
anything that ig uinial in the so-called sunless England, 
and the weather m which the Italians had to press their 
struggle with Auctra was simply atrocious. Amid snow, 
deluges of ram, thunder and lightning, the sufferings of their 




troops were great, inducing pneiunonias, frost-bites, gangrene 
of the feet, and every species of discomfort. Yet they still 
continued pressing the enemy whenever it was possible. 
The elements, however, seemed to be against them, for they 
had no sooner planned and entered upon an advance, than 
the tempestuous days and nights frustrated and put an end 
to their efforts. Their artillery would blaze up, the small 
arms rattle, the ambulances be busy bringing us the wounded 
into the wards whence we had been instructed to evacuate 
all possible cases so as to leave room for the anticipated losses, 
but the elements were usually too much antagonistic, and 
the attacks had to fade out and die away for the time. Only 
the determination to conquer held doggedly out. Bombard- 
ment was commenced nearly every day, but generally had 
to be broken off for the mist, discontinued for a time, and the 
troops drawn back, considerable losses being sustained in 
doing so. Again the mist would perhaps clear and the guns 
would speak out furiously. I counted the number of cannon 
shots, on an average 4820 per hour, many being from such 
heavy artillery as to make our house shake. I filled a tumbler 
with water, placed it on a chair, threw the electric light on 
its surface, and watched every heavy gun's discharge shake 
the water and cause it to quiver, and of such shots I counted 
840 in the hour, while the smaller guns failed to agitate the 
surface. Hours of such bombardment were followed by the 
infantry attack, but always again the mist seemed to come 
down so dense that objects a hundred yards off were in- 
visible, and the fight collapsed. The wounded came streaming 
back into the hospitals; in batches up to 800, Austrian 
prisoners were henled along the roads ; and the Italian 
losses were admittedly heavy. They sometimes lost a couple 
of brigades, say 6000 men, at a time. The territory gained 
was then consolidated, and a fresh opportunity awaited. 

The spectacle of the bombardments was magnificent at 
night. In the foreground the camions dashed along the 
roads ; and beyond, the horizon on the crests of the hills 
was lit up by the sparkle of the exploding shells which threw 
up fountains of earth and rocks h^h into the air ; the more 
prolonged glitter of the star-shells and the searchlights, 
which at one time looked like a rising moon, at another 
showed as a broad band of illumination, white as an aurora 
borealis or tinted like the early streaks of a summer's dawn ; 
the sky fringing the hills steadily glowing with the flashes of 
the lesser guns, too rapid to be counted, but so clear that the 
belts of leafless trees stood distinct against them now per- 
fectly plain, now fading somewhat. When the greater guns 



rS;<,*''w?^'"' '?'^"8 "P '*« *»>« effects of summer 
I^Mnmg, but the regularity and rhythm neoativ«1 tH^i^ 

tatsr^^i^T The lig^t from Swr^'^^l^s 

i^i A .^ ^^^^^ °f the night one's watch ^^ImI 
and the hour could atoiost be read, and whm th^Jlw 

7^ ^^r *^ 't^:T'^ for fortT del«?s uj into X* 

a^ the^^^sh^teCrpie'^ ^ZVt^. X'^ 

tne front of the houses and the window panes caused ever^ 
thmg to quiver as .f they had been strudk by h^Tv ZVL 
Byron's expression, ' As if the clouds its echoes w^Wrr,!!?; 
suggested itself, for indeed the clouds musT^^ve^vtSd 
the echoes smce each great gun made, not a ^h"r ^^ 
as when one is close to it.but a long roar which co^ be J^S 
to last for two or even three belts of the puk^ Th^^^ 

^d\ttrr.piU"'*^ ""='*''"^"* '^' *^ ''^^^ 

t"S Cbs'"'•,''"^^ "^^ °^ prison'^r^me d^gS 
itolL T» K "*. *''' ""'^'' "'^^y^ '^e" treated. for^"f 

^^e c'^^crsesi o«r;r foi^^^r^hirhr 

ald°Li! """*%,""' ^y ^"^ "'«»•* "'""tless wago^S^s S 
and carts, as well as convoys of forage on mule-back or dmv^ 
with huge casks of wine, crowded the roar^ith sup^i^f^r 
Td the W^n""^ "r '*'^"'' ^<" *«= «""««- and rTflemen 

•J, n^r., ,, ^'^^ *^^ prisoners were well treated. I never 
saw any harshness or trace of cruelty on the oart of thp ™«^ 

to t%r "'•*'!! '"P""^"' ^ <^-^ many of Pfaom ApearS 

thri|tl^^^et-rtKt.r„ oLts rv^ri-- 

of bi^gmg or undue elation. We all quickly le^ed ?^ 
respect the Italians, both officers and men tL aHhtu^h 
they were well aware of the formidable undSkiM thit 
lay before them, showed themselves calmly rS^^f, a °d 





quietly and steadily made ready to deal ever heavier 

As there were days and weeks of heavy engagements 
which did not seem to lead to much, and then intervals of 
quiet when nothing could be done ; so there were periods 
of much surgery and crowded wards alternating with times 
when they were almost empty and our patients were reduced 
in number from a hundred or two to ten or twelve. 

In this fashion the winter months passed over. During 
them the strategy of Cadoma's armies was to push chiefly 
by way of the Carso towards the coveted Trieste, attacking 
with vast expenditure of ammunition, gaining ground and 
consolidating themselves on it, and after these fierce spells 
of bombardment and onset, resting and preparing for a 
suitable moment for the culminating offensive which was 
always expected and talked of and as constantly deferred, 
though not abandoned, while from the orders which were 
issued that none of the Italian staff was to have holidays 
or leave, it was evident that tic storm was expected moment- 
arily to break. 

But whether matters had the appearance of being stagnant 
or the reverse, no one could possibly mistake that Italy was 
preparing always more strenuously, converting her factories 
into mimition works, and utilising all her resources to the 
utmost and in the best and most economical way ; looking 
sedulously after the comfort and well-being of her armies, 
even to providing them with occupations and relaxations, 
and interesting their hours of rest by open-air concerts and 
the like, and especially by preparing new roads for the strain 
about to come, and repairing the wear and tear the old ones 
had imdergone. The manner in which the roads were planned, 
laid down anew, widened and graded and kept in the finest 
Older, was the admiration of all who visited the zone of war. 
No time was wasted, nothing was overlooked, nothing left 
undone, and none of us who were in Italy that year failed to 
acquire a respect for our Allies of the Italian Peninsula. 

At one time, about the beginning of November, we thought 
that this great off ensive which was being prepared for had come . 
They had piled up power of all kinds, men and munitions, 
behind the lines they had laboriously won with so much 
bravery in the Austrian territory, and the accumulation 
had gone on steadily and persistently all along the Isonzo 
River and round Goritzia, till at length it burst on the 
Austrian lines and overwhelmed them in a hurricane of 
shell-fiie, in masses tremendous and unceasing, that pounded 
the strongest fortifications on the rocky exposed Carso into 




Oim iTauAN Patients 
It wUl be evident that these nreat tntlte. .«a h. 

e wments continually going ^L ^"u's the f^ , '^Z 
gangrenes, trench feet, and diseases occurring amon^ soirfi,« 

terTir'*"! *"'"'' *» P'-^'' outsMe t~^ote for' 
D^enL^ ■"*?* °' r™*"''' ^'''^^^ &»M the army C^r 
^tients were of all classes, from privates to office™ of hiah 

mto Bntish ways ; our women nurses were hugel/a^precl^tej 

i 'I 


1 lit 



by them, and theirs was an influence which will have left a 
lasting impression and may result in helping to modify the 
practice of nursing in the Italian Military Hospitals of the 
future. To bring about such a result as this was the great 
object which our principal medical officer had set before him- 
self in instituting the hospital part of our unit, while all of 
us who served under him earnestly shared his anticipations 
and hopes and loyally did our best to further his views. 

One thing was very plain, namely, that those officers of 
high rank in the Italian Army who visited or officially inspected 
us greatly approved of and admired our system of woman 
nursing, and many favoiuttble comments were made and 
written concerning us, by every one who knew anything of 
hospitals and the management of sick and wounded. A 
book was kept in which visitors and inspectors entered their 
remarks and criticisms ; it gave eloquent testimony to the 
good work we were doing, and it is a subject of very great 
regret that this mass of appreciative verdicts was afterwards 
lost in the debacle which ensued on the great Austrian advance 
in November 1917. 

So high did our reputation stand that persons unconnected 
with the army, even those in high positions, chose to avail 
themselves of our services, and openly expressed their grati- 
tude and appreciation. It even came in time to be a not 
unusual thing for injured men and officers to be brought or 
sent to us by the Italian army medical officers belonging to 
other hospitals for consultation or treatment in difficult 
and obscure cases, and the results were pleasing to both 

The Italian soldiers were a fine class of men, strong, well 
made, and mature, mostly of the age of twenty-flve to thirty- 
five, and they made admirable patients. Their manners 
were better than those of a similar class in our own country, 
and their docility and patient endurance commanded our 
respect. At all times they were grateful and appreciative, 
and one felt that under the roughest externals most of the men 
were of lovable character and attractive dispositions. The 
Italian peasant soldier is innately a gentleman. 

Of the officers — ^and we had many of them as patients — I 
cannot write too highly. Their courtesy was a thing to be 
admired, and tmder their external polish thire also lay the 
minds and hearts of true gentlemen. 

Most of the wounds we haJ to treat were from shell and 
grenades, and multiple and dangerous many of them were ; 
the minority were fiim shrapnel and rifle bullets ; and there 
was not a single case of bayonet wound among those which 



came under my own personal observaUon. But there was 
aJso much disease, typhoid fever, dysentery, abdominal 
troubles, rheumatism, and so forth. ' ■" "' 

There were some curious names among the Italian soldiers : 
Napoleone. Marco Polo, Ferrara, and Orlando had a historical 
Kiund ; some smacked of literature, as Naso, Caracco, and 
ralestnni j others of natural objects, as Cannone, Palafitto, 
Ucata, Persico, and Pozzo ; there were names that sounded 
S!? • n".ff'^°"'' "' P»P*' Angelantonio, Mirandolo, 
Pnncigalh, jUlegrmi, Fratepietro, Cerini, and Magogo; while 
°"J2 ?"*^^ "•*** "^^^ * Germanic surname, MuUeri 

Mahngermg was not unknown among the privates, thoueh 
It was rare. It could not be said that they whined, but 
certamly m not a few instances they made much of their 
slight pams and discomforts when they came {torn the field 
into hospital ; perhaps unconsciously the poor fellows were 
glad to make themselves out unfit to return to the fleht 
More childlike than our men, there were fewer among them' 
of the ftitish type, eager and unafraid to go back to serve. 
JUiunently brave in action when well led and confident in 
tfiett commanders, their courage was of a different kind— 
not so spontaneous and exuberant as that of the British 
in the matter of maUngering there seemed to be a species of 
treemasonry ; they possessed a knowledge of various plants 
such as the Spurges (Euphorbias), of which they applied or 
injected the juices so as to cause inflammation and disease 
in additior to this, they probably had other plans for pro- 
ducmg artificial illness. Several times, when I had to take 

charge of the medical wards in the absence of Dr B a 

number of mysterious ilhiesses broke out in such a fashion 
that I had to suspect some deception of the kind, and the 
unexpected patience with which they submitted unmurmur- 
mgly to strong and unpleasant treatment rather confirmed 
the suspicion. In the case of the surgical diseases the con- 
fessions which the cappellano managed to extract completed 
the proof, but I never quite fathomed the means used or its 
mode of application. In the Italian army such simulation 
IS, I believe, punished with a few years of penal senritude 
though It IS deferred until the termination of the war. 
• ^"^ °^ *^ convoys of cars bringing our patients arrived 
m the dark hours. This was to spare the patients from the 
shellmg and bombing by aircraft. It was hard upon the 
drivers, especially when there was no moon, and the darkness 
ahnost pitch-like, for no lights were permitted on the roads • 
and under these conditions the eyes lost the power of dis- 
cnmmating distances and avoiding obstacles, as the aecom- 


j ■ 




modating muscles of the eyes hod no standard by which to 
judge, everything appea'.ing equally indistinct and equally 
distant. The polarisation, moreover, of such light as passed 
through the glass of the wind -screens increased the obscurity, 
and the strain of endeavouring to avoid collisions told on the 
nerves, and led to big smashes or Ting. Even by day the 
ambulance driver's work was sometimes no light one ; they 
had to bring their freights of wounded, during the winter 
months, through veils of fine driving snow which penetrated 
every cranny and article of clothing and powdered every 
surface, over expanses of sncwy roads and fields, with bending 
trees bowing before the violence of the hurricane, which 
would last sometimes for twelve hours at a stretch and 
scourged all living things from the open into shelter. Those 
were days when up in the Alps the conditic!;s were far worse 
than down in the plains ; when the soldiers, clad in white 
cloaks so as to be less conspicuous, were living and fighting 
in snow which in some places was thirty metres deep or more, 
where they had to abandon their buried fortifications, dig 
tunnels and trenches and gun emplacements in the surface 
of the hardening snow, which sometimes overwhelmed them 
in avalanches, or froze them to death, and furnished us with 
relays of sufferers from frost gangrene resulting in loss of a 
portion of a limb. 

It was a not unconunon event for us, in pursuance of orders, 
to have to evacuate the patients in our wards until perhaps 
only three I'memovable cases remained, and in a couple of 
days later two or three hundred would be sent in, so that all 
our beds were again filled with privates and officers, and the 
sheds and outside shelters, spread with mattresses filed with 
wheat straw, were employed for the lighter cases. Even our 
men's barracks were requisitioned, while such as could walk 
and go farther were given rest and refteshment on tables 
and trestles under some cover or under the trees if the hour 
and weather made such a resource possible, till they were able 
to proceed to their destination. Regulations were thrown 
aside for the time under such circumstances. 

Whenever the three whistles that signalled the arrival of 
a convoy of wounded soundr^d through the hospital, every 
man and woman who was on duty rushed to his place ; down- 
stairs came the orderly officer of the day, a duty which we 
alternately took ; the patients allotted to our hospital were 
sifted out, their papers and injuries verified, and their des- 
tined wards signified. Each patient was borne into the 
warmed hall, the nurses clustend round him, his soiled and 
torn clothing was gently removed and clean warm linen 


W ~?.l!^.'"'*"i"*?'.- ^. "•• "™«J tato « comfortable 
w^;hh.i^ •i'^'^lf*'"*' *° counteract the shock from 

^f hU h^^'°" ,°' !i""-*«t^""» serum-if there weri dSubt 
of his having already received it at the dressing station- 
and It waa repeated at the end of the week. After »me hours 

»^'^ ''".""i" "^'^ examined, the dressings removed and 
renewed, and the proper treatment decided upon. After 
his case had been recorded, he was in all save Vxceptional 
instances brought to the radiography toon <, and^thn^t 

It was a good thmg to see the collapsed men blossom int<; 
new life and spmts under the cares thev received 

Asaruleourpatientswerebathedandsponged; anddressed 
daily, or twice, or even three times a d^. When naU^ 
as sometimes happened, came to the Villa TWo &^ 
Itahan hospital, an event that even befeU some of our o^ 
countrymen, they compared the comfort of such attendance 
as our nurses surrounded them with, with that of the other 

evZ^iji^" *•"•" rT**" "^"^ 8""'"'"y ""ended to 

eveiy third day, owing to the want of capable women nurses 

One must wedit our orderUes, stretcher-bearers, and nurses 

i" theV^lK*^'' °'/Ji" "* '""^ "^^P^'°" °^ *^« "°"^"S 
r. if t1 ■ J^v' ^"^ *' ''"y "> '''''* they handled them 

^\^Z- ^'' '"/''L.^' **"y """"^ »"y manifestation 
of suflermg or even fretfulness among the brave fellows who 
were admitted, it might have been a flrst-aid^SiSas an 
exhibition to the public. All was so tenderly donTthlt iS 
%JJ^ a'^ i^f, "Jt'T'^'^s °"e <»"M waUc through the 
7h^Jr^ ^"^.t" ^'^ ^^y ''°"»''«' "^leeP with every 
^Oitrml^r.'"'' ""' ''"^'^« "'"■^«» - *' --t 
Owing to the anti-tetanic injections, ^hich in the Italian 
army were compulsory we had only one case of lockjaw 
that I can recall, and so beneficial were they found to be that 
an injection was made as a preliminary to every operation 
un^r the mstructions of the Italian military mSical TuZ'- 

..^Z^^^ the Villa Trento also an out-patient department 
wh«^ unattached soldiers, and indeed all who hadTcIaim 
^Ji- ? m ' "*" "^"^y ^" ''"^ prescribed for by the Italian 
medical officers attached to us, under the supervision of our 

SSrXt.'"^"" Oneoftheseofflcerswasanaccom- 

t ill 




Thx Suma* Omvtm or 1917 

DuBiNO the winter of lOie-17 matters on the Italian front 
dragged somewhat during the perpetual mist, rain, cold, and 
sticky mud. But towards the end of February the evanescent 
Italian spring began to show itself, and our hopes rose with 
its advent. A few snowdrops appeared by the banks of the 
muddy streams, followed in quick succession by purple and 
white crocuses, green hellebores, and primroses, which passed, 
all except the primroses, in so fleeting a procession that they 
were seen one week and gone the next in their rapid and 
unsatisfactory sequence. There is no abiding satisfaction 
in an Italian spring ; it hurries so. 

About the same time, after periods of long silence, during 
which millions of shells were being daily sent forwards, and 
great preparations made, the guns began to bark once more 
at intervals, and a detachment from the myriads of cannon 
on the British front in France, consisting, it was said, of forty 
heavy pieces and British gunners, made their appearance, 
all in anticipation of a fierce attack upon the Carso. But for 
a long time, during which we waited alternately hoping 
and being disappointed, both sides faced one another, strUung 
small blows, and sparring rather than fighting went on. 
The mud dried and returned, and when April came we got 
rather despondent amid snowstorms and hurricanes of wind. 
The hills of the Carso were whitened with snow, and the Alps 
were permanently and entirely covered with it. Military 
operations seemed hardly possible, but every chance was 
taken ; the guns sometimes boomeid out, and rose at night 
into a perfect inferno, but the actions were short-lived ; 
though occasionally reaching an intensity of 7620 ^hots from 
the great artillery per hour, they died down towards ten at 
night. The end of that month found us still despondent. 

When May came in the activity behind the front became 
positively delirious. It was hardly possible to sleep of nights 
for the passage of troops in the dark, the rattling and whist- 
ling of despatch riders on their motor bicycles, the flapping 
of the caterpillar cars, the grinding of armoured turrets 
and gun carriages, the hooting and shrilling of the lorries 
carrying the heavy artillery shells, the sirens of the auto- 
mobiles, the whistling oi the railway trains, and the tread of 
the mule convoys, carts, and feet of the soldiers, while their 
raucous voices were mixed all night long with the whirring 
of the aeroplanes and the explosions of the bombs which 



lll7, dwppniB. The army w.i awakening from iu 

letharKr; mtmuttion reached us that great evenU w<m 
»on hkely to take pUce. and our commJSdant wS da^SJ 
about amongst his stations like a lightning flash. We wm 

thing with the forces which were humming all around us • 
In^ Th- Z"Z '^•*" ""* •»»«<*«"'• '""ting only for the word 
o^r their nU^"»' Z"' tPP'^n^'y '""B^ing at us, sendin,^ 
^^r i^-^ "J" ^"'^ ^""^ '*""d »» '"d kill a few me* 
M Ti.?~ ' n* *° '"'"/ °»- ''^«* " *e days slipped away 
of h^ZT^\^^, °' ^<f^^^ ""^ *-^' rattling offof a to 
rt.„* 'T' if" J*"^ forenoon about the luncheon hour, and 
then a drop back m the afternoon for a sort of siesta, a, if 
en«^es were exhausted. There seemed to be something 
Z^'h.^/^L"";^" *"',"? <l"««t'on«l their neighbours if aU 
h»TJ^S iLr'*'' G«"«™l«"mo Cadoma, whom none of us 
had seen looking after things in this quarter. 

"^Uo^set seriously to work, and oft and on continued and 
th^^K i' '*?" ."P°° *'«' Austrians for days, keeping 
the most part cut ott the view of everything, but even bv dav- 

about the trenches m the neighbourhood of the Monte Santo 
in ft II °"^ ""i^ the operations on the less elevated Carso 
m full energy, but the Italians had found it necessary™ 
f!^Z ^, T"«;heir left flank of the Carso advanST^u" 
mSL ?^1f'^''«' the perilous business of stomping the 

wSr?H.f'''"'''L'"^"!"' ^"*^' """l ^ commenced 
with a detemiined attack on the Monte Santo. We soon 
discovered this from the streams of wounded who^mH 
^n^ i""^^ ""*•' every one of our beds was full. Shell 
and buUet wounds almost exclusively ; not at close grips as 
«t (iv A' *l u ° "'^u'' '" ""* "°"''"8 a convoy would cSmVin ; 
t^JJ' i ""fu*"*^ ' "* *•*<* " *•'•"' •• «"<J the day brought 
Lw^ ^iT = 1^7 S'^P"^ *••« «=«?*"« of the top of the 
"y th^enem """^ ■" '^^ *"' '*"' ™*'' *° ^ ~""P'«J 

commJX'^ ''^'''''* *''** ** ^*"* °*'""^' ""* »* J^^t 
fij^^- "*°"*^£^"tP' *'"' '^'Rhest of the hiUs dominating 

&tb^tin„^n,,"i '''^?- *^' "^y- "8M opposite Monte 
1^ Th,^'ntS 'VT. " ^'« *'°8 *° '^v^ got ^ssession of 
rLJi " ,'""//' *'•' "'"*•' °f it, called Monte San 

Gabrwle, a couple of hundred feet lower, and only two and a 

"I I 


half miles (torn the city, had been atonned >t the lame time, 
but the Bssault was unsuccessful. It was hoped, however, 
that the superior elevation of Monte Santo wouUl enable it 
to command the latter when once the guns had been estab- 
lished on it. 

As it proved, however, this was not all the success. In 
the afternoon news came in that Monte Kuk (Cucco), another 
8000 feet mountain six and a half miles up the river, and which 
practically dominated its middle reaches and the Temova 
plateau behind it, had fallen into our hands. The casualties 
were stated as having been quite moderate, a thing which 
seemed almost incredible to one who bad seen the entrench- 
ments on those heights. 

Oiu* jubilations were somewhat premature, however, for 
indeed the capture of Monte Santo was not completed until 
three months later, so enormously strong were its defences, 
and so bravely was it held. The taking of Monte Kuk, how- 
ever, proved to be of great importance and enabled a con- 
siderable extent of territory farther up tiie river to be overrun. 

It was a titanic struggle which went on along the Isonzo 
and on the Carso day after day, and one beyond my powers 
to describe, even had I fully witnessed it. There was a 
correspondent to the Italian Corriere delta Sera, Luigi Barzini, 
whose pen described in the columns of that newspaper in 
the most lively manner the scenes which occurred, and so 
well did his sketches portray the wild contest between the two 
contending nations that they would well repay translation 
by some one. 

Nignt and day the advance went on to the north of Goritzia 
in the Isonzo defile, where the Kuk, Vodice, and Monte Santo 
overhung the valley and river the Italians had to cross, and 
also on the east of the town and on the Carso south of it. 
Again and again our allies, slow as we had sometimes thought 
them, performed wonders of bravery, and so well had they 
foreseen and prepared everything that they were able to dash 
forward at obstacles that seemed insuperable, against heavy 
odds and vast preparations, to scale the Austrian heights, 
capture positions and peaks one after another, take prisoners 
in batches of 12,000 at a time, and daily appear to be resist- 
lessly going on in one direction or another, but especially 
on the Carso, towards the coveted Trieste. It was a sur- 
passing triumph, and they were right generous in acknowledg- 
mg the assistance that had been rendered by the 2000 British 
and their forty howii. ■«. We never thought more of the 
Italians than in their hour of triumph. 

As the Austrians fell back nearly everywhere, though not 



SS^l^^i. drtemuned retuUnoe, they did not to 
better wone than ever the city of Goritiia, hudly • rood of 
ground ..caping their .hell, .'nd .hrapnel. One of olHin 
while di«!h«rgmg It. ambubnce duty wa. de.troyed, for- 
tunately with no injury to our men, and the garden of our 

^"bS" '" *°*" ""''"*' ' """^'y '"PP'y °' •^*"» 
Such effort, could not be long sustained, and won on both 
side, there were indications that ammunition for the bis 
guns had to be conserved, so that there ensued periods of 
wmpwative quiet, alternating with other, of activity, and 
these went on for the first half of the summer, during which 
Austrian ampjanes showed considerable enterprise, particu- 
^1» Ji* ;J" ^'^^^ the pUces about, and destroying, 
among other things, a fine muwum of antiquities at Cividale. 
We assumed that a cause-and there may have been others 
-of the sUckening off of the May offensive, which had at 
first proir.;sed to overwhehn the Austrian., was the difficulty 
of maintammg the immense supplies of ammunition for the 
great guns which its tactics involved. Vet strenuous 
efTorts were being made to push on, and the advance was 
contmued. partly m the riainsitz« Plateau behind the Monte 
si r K y u .""f"' sti^nely against Monte Santo and 
San Gabnele, but most of all in the Carso in the direction of 
ineste. All the same, to an onlooker it was evident that, 
m spite of many spurts, the strength of the propulsion was 
dymg out notwithstandmg the desperate valour of the 
assaultmg soldiers, and the conclusion was that there was a 
want m the supplies to the artillery. Gradually ' September 
activities began to be spoken of, and the probabilities settled 
down to some great preparation being made for striking a 
crownmg blow towards that time. More gigantic prepara- 
tions than ever were seen to be going on week after week, 
more mtense accumulations of men and munitions became 
visible, the whole Und was an ant-hill of military energy, 
and there was hardly a field which did not contain crowds 
or mfentry, horses, encampments, huts, stores, and guns. 
And the war correspondents, those sure precursors of events 
began to drop from the skies into our Villa to be fed and 

refreshed, the gmnt M-C . Mr. H , and even ladies 

of the same calling, enlivened us by their presence, their 
hmts pf thmgs about to happen, and tales of what was being 
done m the United States and elsewhere to help on the war 
fleets of aeroplanes, in such numbers as we had not hitherto 
seen, began to appear on our side, great aerodromes and vast 
hangars for larger aircraft were put up, and as our Villa lay 




! and the ( 

I they wiled 

directly i 

over ui at all hour* ; thoie going into aotion dying high, with 
■ gentle miuioal hum, glittering like (Urcr diurafliet when 
the lun fell on their poUihed sur&oe*, floating In oompaniea 
maiettically high above the clouds till they dwindled m liae 
and diiappeared at they reached the fight ; thoee returning 
fipom it flying lower, showing the green, white, and red Italian 
colours on the wings and body, and passing overhead with a 
deep groaning wavering purr as if in agony to get home for 
further supplies of Aiel and ammunition. By August these 
aerial monsters became so numerous that their noise was so 
loud and constant as to interfere with the proper stetho- 
scopic examinations of our patients' chests and the dick of 
the telephone probes when exploring for bullets. Their 
clamour was constant, and so loud as to resemble somewhat 
the deep bass notes of a great organ ; it filled the land with 
its wailmg quivering roars, disputing for pre-eminence with 
the sounds of the passing motors and motor-tiansport 
machines. The country indeed revcberated with the sounds 
of war, and the great guns punctiuted the seconds with their 
reports. Day after day this went on in the hot August days, 
while we, stripped to shirt and trousers, continued our work 
among the wounded, soothing the shell-shattered forms, 
arranging ease to the broken limbs, and anxiously watching 
the joints which had been perforated by rifle bullets or firag- 
ments of shell, for evil symptoms to arise. It was warm 
and anxious work in the middle and end of that month, but 
a joy to be able to do so great things for those who:n *':• war 
had mutilated and lacerated. 

Report said that the enemy was burning their stores on 
the Bainsitza and Temova Plateaux, and falling back, and 
this was corroborated by the news that some of their Red 
Cross nurses, whom they had not found time to withdraw, 
had fallen into our hands. But for this I cannot vouch, 
and I never learned whether it were true or not. 

On the 29th of August the noise of immense guns, of a 
calibre we had never before heard, broke out. One might 
have thought the sounds due to explosions of ammunition 
magazines, but this supposition was negatived by their 
rhythmical regularity. Alter lasting for about an hour there 
was added to them a prolonged, though not very severe, 
thunderstorm which continued without intermission until 
the next morning. It was accompanied by a fairly heavy 
rainfiall which, as the weather was not cold, was a godsend 
to the troops lying out on the tablelands, and especially to 
the wounded there, as it provided them with some water. 



Many of the poor fallowi had bMB tnoMd wouixlaii far 

pound Md the abMnce of ro«b. Our cMt could tod OMMble 

totet aod boulden, up which • t,.r oouU be taken only by 
tremendou. efforU, but down which it was not praetioabfe 

work thercjcollected the wounded in wme protects hollow 
aoo yards from the fighting line, lifted them on board and 
conveyed them along the top of the UblcUnd. a. fJrS^ibte 
They wm then tomrferre/ to .tretcher. and carri«l ^^„i 
down the nde of the mountain, until they reached a place 

^^^o:;^.."*^ ""• ■"•' "y "*»»' «=-"«• *— oVS 

fnS '''?™''y r" •"«**'»•' by the lUlian. in armnging 
for food and water bemg Uken up to the troopi on the heK 

M th'/ r^^fl^::!^ ""'' '"^^ mM? to^^ 
fnLmt "^'««"'t'e?-thfir engmeers. for instance, rapidly 

vaUey, and at once settmg about making passable roads, 
ine actions at this time continued unbroken for seveni 

The appearances at night, when one had leisure to attend 
™i^Vr"' ""^""Bettable. From the Carsc n„ the south- 

this str^tP^'f *"*■"/"* "^f" «°^« °"' »"^ the whole of 

this stretch of country formed a wall of hUls, humped and 

tT, ^-U' /■. f h""""!. black against the light^ sky. 
nie moon at its full shone brightly over the whole, and in 
the now cooler night the hazy mists were filling up the valleys 
throwing every eminence into dark relief. Few fixed Ii«hts 
1!^ w *?" ' """^ " '*" ^'"hle appeared to be signaUing 
posts, but It was remarkable how r^Sdy the ItalialTu^ 
light signals by night or heliography by day : irutead^ 

otherr^l r^<' °' **"?"• «°^--e^l a f^tHl^^ the 
other wars 1 had seen, no signaUing at all was visible during 
the day, wWe at night the occasional and rather rare appear- 

fh,^ y. •■' I? °' f '^" ^^^^ ^"^ ''" that caught the eyVas 
they showed up for a few seconds. On the other hand, the 
hills on the honzon were brilliant with the starred red flashes 
of the burstmg shells, and the flames of the guns illumina^ 

I! I > 


the skyline over a complete quarter of the view, particularly 
over San Gabriele. 

Still the contest went on. Ten days passed, twenty-four days 
passed, and there was no sign of its coming to an end . By that 
time the expenditure of ammunition must have been enormous. 
I tried to form an estimate of it, but it was probably quite an 
erroneous one. I reckoned that on the Carso aloTte the heavy 
artillery — that is, the great guns whose explosions could be 
counted above the rolling of the smaller pieces — were on the 
11th of September firing night and day at the rate of 48 shots 
per minute, which would amoimt to 1,486,000 in the 24 
days. It was probably an under-esti.iiate. Moreover, it 
took no account of the smaller pieces, nor did it include the 
battle going on round Goritzia and on the middle Isonzo. 
The surprise at the stores of ammunution which must have 
been accumulated was followed by marvelling how long it 
would last without one side or the other becoming exhausted. 

So strenuously were they engaged, on our side at least, 
tnat we could get few accounts of how the fight was succeeding ; 
nobody came to tell us ; only the woimded, who were being 
brought in in large numbers, could say anything, and their 
statements were usually limited to telling that they were 
wounded on such a day and hour, and at such a place. As 
a rule they did not even know what caused their wounds, 
whether rifle shot, machine gun, shell, grenade, or flying 
fhigments of rock. 

I was not sorry to have the opportunity of seeing what 
modem war was like. It was all very different from my 
former experiences. Up to that time there had been no harder 
fighting anywhere than that going on at the Italian fhint, 
and its intensity seemed almost incredible. It was a war of 
desperadoes. Hourly the mountains, honeycombed by the 
Austrian fortified recesses, were being pulverised by the 
enormous showers of explosives hurled upon them. Hourly 
the Italians were pressing on. Amid huge losses on both sides 
they poured into the dens where the enemy were still con- 
cealed, and there, man to man, they drove them out or killed 
them, or were killed themselves. Foot by foot and yard by 
yard the ground was in this manner being won, and from the 
Isonzo to the sea it never ceased for an instant. 

The Austrians were no less resolute ; their bravest picked 
regiments of Hungarians, Croats, etc., were hurled in counter- 
attacks upon the pits, galleries, and trenches which had 
been won by our side, and with the most desperate valour 
they strove to retake their lost positions. 

Few troops in the world could have done what Italy was 



^»™! 77'" ^^"^ *''' impossible. They were gaming a 
name equal to any before won, and their valour was matched 
by their chivalrous kindness to the captured and wounded 
fK.Ai,*"""^- ^^^y ""* """^ ™°r« proving to the world 
Sly^m^" """^^ '"'' ''"'^' P"°P''' "''°'" ""' ™""°* *°° 

th^^L"'] *r- ^^"""^ ^^^ '"'^*'**y °^ 'he Italians. In 
the midst of theu- great ach-vements I did not hear a boast, 
nor a word of se^-app-:.,raiior> or self -laudation. Neither 

t W iZ^LT? It "''"'^r ^ " *'"''* "* "'"'■' e^^' t''°"«h they knew 
that the rest of the worl.l ^":,s looking m and admiring. Their 

S^nF^^r r?""*?* Y''"' P"^^ t '« appreciations in the 
*^nch, English, and oth.. pubi.^tions, but their own com- 

fiSw T^^J^^u^ ^''* ^'°'" ''■•«ggi"g; they were digni- 
fiedly pleased to be appreciated, and that was all. These 
observations were not mine alone; the British, Americans, 
and others who visited the zone of war noticed and admired 
the same thmgs, and all admitted that those only who had 
fX ™i.r";f ^ where the victories were being gained could 
fully value the valour the victors had displayed. 

To most It was something of a revelation to find feats of 
arms bemg done daily here which fully paralleled those of 
the heroes of Manchuria and Port Arthur. 



Italian Dressing Stations 

^""^1?^ "i"^ i^J^^y ^ ^'^ " 8ood many opportunities, 
m the intervals of duty at the Villa Trento, ofTsiting the 

un&i?h*.^\™r.1 °^ """' """^ observing the conditions 
under which the battles went on and the maiTner in which the 
Italian surgeons dealt with the wounded. I now propose to 
describe some of those visits and what I saw 

There was one occasion on which we had cleared out so 
many of those patients who were considered able to be evacu- 
w»*r,^'"' fl° }^^^ *••"* ^^^ °""»^'' °f ^'^^ "nder my care 
Zit^„"''T^ *™'u"f ^ ^^ *••' opportunity to nm over to 
Gorrtzia. The sun had set before we left the hospital, so the 

ihh? \T T'^' '" ^^^ ^'^^^' *1'°"8'» "°t in the dark, for 
^i^^^^K f^^.'^'f °^"cast the moon gave sufficient light 
behmd the clouds for us to see our way. Lights were of 
course not permitted lest they should draw the Austrian Arc 
When we arnved at Mosso village it was as dark as it was going 
to be all night, and it was surprising to notice how the flashes 
from the cannon not only lit up, as if they had been lightning. 



the distant hills they were playing upon, the Austrian artillery 
beyond the horizon bringing out marvellously the perspective 
of each mountain and peak, but also illuminated the ghost-like 
ruins of the villages of Mosso, Lucinico, and Podgora as we 
passed through them. All round, as we neared the city, 
across the Isonzo towards the south and eastwards in front 
of us, the star shells, rising like rosy rockets, changed into the 
brilliant white magnesium light, climbed upwwls, making 
all beneath visible, curved over, and fell downwards, dropping 
a trail of red sparks as they came towards the ground. The 
batteries at the foot of the Podgora Ridge on the left of our 
road were firing over oui heads across the river, and were 
deafening, but hardly more so than those across the river, or 
even than the Austrian guns, still more distant in our front, 
from San Marco, and beyond Goritzia, for their muzzles, 
being directed towards us, gave us the full benefit of their 
noise. The tumult was immense. The ceaseless march of 
bodies of infantry, the convoys of stores, and especially on 
this occasion the trains of ambulances, were like an ever- 
fiowing river, as we wound our way through and past them, 
crossed the Isonzo by the lower bridge on which alone the 
forward traffic was permitted, and drew up at the gate of 
our first ambulance station in the northern part of the town, 
just in time for dinner. But there was no time to dine, for 
I met George B going out in his car to post his ambu- 
lances for the night, and the chance of accompanying him was 
too fortunate to be missed. I jumped into his car, and we 
sped away in the dark along the south road which runs parallel 
to the left bank of the river. There the press was not so dense. 
Bows of soldiers sitting along the roads, under the shelter 
of walls and hedges, waiting the orders to attack, horses, 
pioneers, and tmgainly tower-like armoured motor-cars, 
impeded us somewhat, as did also the ammunition carts and 
provision lorries, which, more italiano, were usually on the 
wrong, or left hand, side of the road. 

The roaring of the artillery, much of which came from the 
fields which we were ;>assing, and the duller thud of the 
bursting shells, became continuous, while an occasional 
bullet would sing past, and it was strange to reflect how small 
a loss of life such an enormous amount of firing caused. 
But the din was deafening, and when we reached Savogna 
dressing station we were in the middle of it. The star shells, 
which rose on every side except behind, went straight over- 
head high into the air, and for the moment made objects 
almost as bright as by day, and they flew upwards every few 

ITALY 3„, 

good operation table, an abundant store of nnti t I 
irh^rl^'*'""'^'^ "' medicines"^ tab kidl™ 'aSl« 

^5^/a\-orKtel-^t tlf d^norC- 


forw«^h^ had a good operation table. The sup^y of wate; 
OBve Deen otherwise at so exposed a station where th,. ^!. 
cupation was accidental and tempore^, and whfres^r^r 
Umes the pressure of work was so ^tThat theT^oXd" 



to do several emergency operations in such haste that he had 
to dispense with the use or aneesthetics. 

When I had said adieu to my Italian confrire and he had 
accepted the gift of a good cigar, we returned to Goritzia 
by a short cut through a series of deserted villages and southern 
suburbs of the town. I cannot now remember whether the 
sky had cleared as we rode back, or whether it wis the star 
shells that lit up the houses which we passed, but I recollect 
being struck by the way in which those houses which had 
been abandoned in the enemy's flight had been spared by the 
entering Italians. They were simply closed and sealed up, 
hardly a window was broken, and any damage that was done 
was the unavoidable result of the cannonade during the 
actions. I may mention too that this care of enemy's pro- 
perty was the same everywhere in tfce war so far as I saw. 
There was no looting by the Italians ; even the ruined 
factories blown down by shells showed all the machinery 
untouched excepting for the artillery damage and that caused 
by exposure to the elements. Nothing was carried away. 
In the houses also which I entered the furniture of the former 
inmates which they had not had time to carry off, and which 
was often piled up ready to have been removed, some of it 
being valuable, was always left intact, and never were there 
any signs of wanton damage. The ornamental gardens of 
the residences were as perfect as when they had been left, 
statues and fountains were uninjured, and in the case of the 
poor, their houses, huts, buildings, petty industries, and pos- 
sessions were never interfered with except for vilid military 
reasons. A house in Goritzia where I spent the night was an 
instance of the same. It had been occupied in flats, aban- 
doned, taken possession of by the Italians, and handed over 
to our unit to be used as one of their ambulance stations. 
All its furniture was left in good condition, some articles were 
used and transported as convenient, but no damage was done, 
and everything was respected. Some of the articles were 
valuable, such as the piano and larger objects. The flat 

where my bed was had been the habitation of a Madame C , 

wife of a music teacher, and it remained as she had left it, 
with her litt'e pictures, small trinkets, books of devotion, 
private letters, a few pieces of women's finery, and her little 
child's crib, standing as when she went away. It was all an 
astonishing contrast to what was reported of the behaviour 
of the Germans in Belgium and France. 

All through the night the cannon thundered, and the shells, 
each with its own peculiar sound, flew overhead, often in 
salvos, but more usually in independent firing, but they did 



not interfere with my having a good night's rest. Every one 
was not so fortunate ; for later on a shdl shattered the hou^ 
at a rc< m where one of our drivers was sleeping, and he su^ 
tamed a compound frncture of the thigh and imW to the 
knee jomt, which, though he made a%onderfT%c^veS 
was long m bemg cured, and rendered him permanen%^^ J' 



More Itauan Dbessino Stations 
Another region which I visited was the middle Isonzo at 
the tm,e when the advance on the Monte Kuk and the 
Bamsitza Plateau behmd it was going on. My fhend Dr! 
a—— lent rae his excellent camera and a supply of fihns 
.^nd armed with these I set off with the design of e=^mS 
as many as possible of the dressing stations along tt^rivef 

fn/ fi. ' J"""y minutes to get out of the plain and 

wWh^""™!^*?^ ■""'''' of valleys, ridges, and inequalities 
which rose speedily into ranges of hills and cliffs, alternating 
with deep gorges, whiJi became more and more acceXai^ 

side of the Isonzo glen. If I could have had half a dozen 
cameras, all day in which to use them, and could havettS 
thecar at will and avoided the searching eyes of theLrSri 
who were namg m pairs at every few hundred yards to watch 
that no strangers or suspicious persons got through and that 
nothmg was done m contravention of military rSie, I couM 
have placed on the sensitised collodion a graphic ^cort of 
the mass of encampments, shelter tents, patrol tents, wZlen 
huts, barracks, Imes of picketed horses and mules, h^ps 
of forage and other stores, convoys of firewood, food and 
mumtions men advancing to the fighting lines, gigant"c 

r^oL "^Z/""" ^*'^^°' consumption in tne bftteries! 
trendies, and dug-outs, and other constructions for offence 
or protection which l^d to be lined by troops day and nigh? 
The most prominent features on the roads, and by a long way 
the ughest, were the sf.ings of motor lorries-here M 
camions-each transporting several tons' weight, wS 

nn^„P.l'P^*"*J'y "*.* "i*!* •"■ °^e^t«ken spinning furiously 
along the roads, and raising choking clouds of dust which 
hung about and powdered the wayside trees, vines, shrubs 

fifteen yards on either side. These motor vehicles form a 
vulgar but most essential phase of modem warfare. It was 


a restful contrast to turn one's eyes to the clifls and reefs of 
rock to right and left, and mark hivr their reverse sides— 
those that were turned away from the missiles, observation 
posts, and aeroplanes of the enemy — on every eminence, 
were lined with attractive rows of little tents, or booths, 
concealed in the brushwood. Each small peak had its tiny 
shelter or excavation hidden beneath it, each clifflet its nice 
little stairs, steps, or ladder, leading up to it, and every 
possible nook and comer contained some comfortable little 
bivouac, bell tent, or arbour, so cool and homelike that one 
would have been enchanted to explore them and take up one's 
abode there in the warm summer days. Jolly little paths 
led up or down to them, the very sight of which was enough 
to make one long to stop and follow them to the gypsy dwell- 
ings they led to. It would have been some compensation for 
the inability to get them into the camera under the carabinieri's 

By extraordinary windings, twists, bends, and heavy 
upward ^wlients, none other being possible in that rugged 
land, we groaned our ascending way towards a ruined and 
abandoned campanile and church that stood on the skyline, 
a spot to which I hod before gone in order to get a stolen peep 
of the Isonzo gorge and the Austrian lines, when the valley was 
still in Teutonic hands. The churches in Friuli, being by pre- 
ference built on the highest available points, were often used 
as observation posts by the side which held them, and were 
therefore shelled, destroyed, and abandoned, though the 
campanili frequently escaped wonderfully. It was a long and 
heavy climb to reach the height where the church stood. 
From where we commenced to ascend, though the distance 
was really short, there were such endless serpentine turns of 
the road that out would almost have thought the way had 
been planned in an endeavour not to reach the church at all ; 
the road darted to right and left, dodged behind hillocks and 
hills, peeped round sly comers, sneaked round cones, hid 
itself away again, and seemed in an agony to keep out of sight 
of the church. Eventually we found ourselves skimming 
along just below the church, and suddenly came out upon the 
crest, when there lay before us, right opposite, the Monte Kuk, 
the Vodice peak, and the plateau of Temova, where the struggle 
was going on, and we looked down the precipices of the 
Monte Sabotino overhanging the lucent strip of »;reen water 
at the bottom of the narrow defile, and were gazing on the 
Isonzo. We had reached the battle-field. 

But here, if we could see, we were also visible. For some 
time the crack of shrapnel shells exploding had been a 



r^rW *" ■«; the litUe patches of black smoke in the skv 
above ug, ard the .howering down of their deadly little balk 

o^h^Oirstir^rr'r^ *".'" ■»«'"'' ^we e"ct^^' 

vaLv w! i^ S^'J"**'' "'^.'""t °" to descend into the 
valley. We wound down roads all carefully screened with 
mau of reeds and branches of trees, slidi^^oKely down 
the slopmg sides of the gorge, and twistin7thena7almost 
parallel to the nver which flowed beneath, 8™?!^ Xi 
degrees and many turns to the lower levels The Austrkn 
guns from the top of Monte Santo, which was at tl^t tine sUl" 
heW by the enemy, and from the Temova Plateau, commanded 
the fa«s we were n.nning along, and though these^ h^ f^ 
a considerable time been held by the ItalL the^emy 
^H K *^^,""8ts to a yard and kept searching the S 
aad heights with their artiUery in ho^ of doin£,femaK to 
the roads and the traffic along the^or to catch a c&n« 
detachment or individual in the wo^s that s^reen^?^ 
ways and positions ftom their direct observation 

but ItM^vlf""" "L**!.* f^'l"''"'* ''' P^'^P^ not accurate, 
side ,^^ V h'"" *^"* *•"' P°"' *•"* we Lne to a rough 
^Zf^^ ? "« ^'°"8 ™= '""«*" °f ^ 8""y; and with 
k^l^ "** ?"" '*r^8 ^- ^ guided his^r^to 

^.. j!!f 1^ '■''^ * ^^ °n *•>« cU« side, and in another 
hundred yards rushed down a jumble of loose ston«^?ij^ 
round a corner, to a shelf overhanging a gTe^ Mow 'a^^^ 
found ourselves m a little cluster of ^oodln buUdiT^ adh«' 
ing like swallows' nests to a hollow in the rock^ind thL 
was Visnjevik one of our temporary ambu wtTstetioi^ 
It was manned by three of our unit, a couple of iS 
sodiers, and had three or four cars ready when 4C for W 
telephone to be employed in bearing back The w^"?edfroi^ 

tll^"^ "^^-I^ ^^"rT *° «""« °f tl'^ numerous field hospitek 
behmd the ndge. On the reverse side of the ridgeTverv 
buildmg of any size had been converted into' a S 

traTreiot°e^ Tlf'' *" ^'^"J^^ikr departed by the rough 

d^t^Thf m«J '""I"' T*' """^ ^commenced the 
aescent. ine road was long, but well amAni off„,ji„ 
mteresting peeps through L scr^n ^ SmSf 
aquamanne-coloured Isonzo rushing through Lvprecf 
pices and gi^n banks, and of the fuined^ vmag^f Pava 

Ts we„TsTl^*h •^""''^ "' *^ ^^"^ '^^ a'sharp tu™! ' 
as well as a good bridge connecting the two banks while 

.bove them rose the steep Plava Hill gained by thTl Jiins 

early m the war. and the possession of which on the eaJtem 



bank alone enabled them to maintain their fooJng in the 

From Plava the road to Goritzia, still disputed by the two 
armies, ran close and parallel to the eastern bank of the river, 
and as there was not space iii the gorge for both road and 
railway, the latter bored a way down the western bank by 
a series of cuttings and long tunnels through the precipitous 
sides of the Monte Sabotino. 

A rough glen, scooped out by a mountain stream, comes out 
of the west to join the Isonzo gorge at Plava, and is crossed 
by the five or six arches of the railway bridge, and when we 
had turned up under <^he bridge we came to another of our 
ambulance posts, the Plava out-station. It lay open to 
the Austrian gunners, who did not spare it ; on the previous 
evening they bad made unusually good practice, and one of 
their shells landed within a stone-throw of the station, and 
sent a rock into one of our tents. The station contained a 
wooden shed and a few tents with three or four ambulance cars, 
was under the charge of two of our officers, and they were at 
the service of the Italians when demanded. It was a dangerous 
little settlement. Shrapnel was cracking and pufBng over 
it while we were there, and though our men worked and messed 
in the shed and tents by day, they retreated at night into a 
cave in the limestone cliff which impended over the northern 
side. After inspecting the station we set off to cross the river. 

Across the Plava Bridge, a mile or two down stream, was the 
farthest outpost of the Italians, at a place called Zagomila or 
Dolganiva, under the shadow of the rocky Vodice and Monte 
Kuk, on the road above the stream. So vertically did the 
mountains rise there that there was room alongside the road 
only for a line of sheds, each about three feet in depth, to serve 
as stores and shelters for the Italian troops. The place was 
densely crowded with men, animals, and cars, so as to impede 
our passing. But the engineers had made the road good, and 
it presented otherwise no difficulties. At the end of the pass- 
able road we found the dressing station, and were welcomed 
by Captain Germina, with whom I spent some time. His 
station was simply a ' lean to ' of wood and blanches, five 
feet deep, placed against the side of the rock, which was 
slightly hollowed out for the purpose. But it was in excellent 
working order, with an operation table and all manner of 
splints and dressings, and fit for doing first-class work. 

From Captain Germina I obtained samples of the Italian 
field dressings. He told me his men were careful to preserve 
their dressings in the small pocket of their tunics, and did not 
destroy them or convert the pocket into receptacles for 



tobacco and matche. a. our loklien. do. or used to do. He 
had known them skUfuUy employ them on one another when 
they were wounded. 

„r^* "T '".''"'y exchangitg information that we neither 
saw nor heard even the shells that were dropping into the 
river not many yards distent and raising display" of water 
columns, and were told of them only when we rame ouTand 
had completed our visit by photographing the station. 
„.i;l^?* ^ u • ^"'^'"8 station at Zagomila there was an 
aenal (telepheric) railway. Two strands of wire rope led down 
from Ae hejghts of the Vodice to the bottom of The vaSI^ 
and along these high air Imes aU sorte of materials were sent 
up to those above, and the wounded cases which could not 
otherwise be brough- down were sent into the vaUey. The 

«^nMn r K» "'"• *" P'"~5 *^ "**«? ^°' ^'^en stretchers, 
except m slighter injuries, and any other means of transport 
offered great difficulties, but the telepheric was not foundto 
i>e a success, and was used for patients as little as possible 
smce men under the shock of having been wounded had not 
the nerve for Wring the voyage of a mile or so suspended 
many hundred feet high up in the air. 'penoea 

When returning from the dressing station I also visited 
what was surely the strangest field hospital in the world 
about a mile to the south of Plava. There the cliffs of friable 
hmestone on the roadside had b«!n driUed by an electric (?) 
dnU, or scooped out, until a cave six or seven feet broad and 
forty or fifty in length was formed, so as to run parallel to 
the roadway ; it was lined with bunks like those in a steamer's 
cabms, in tiers about ten feet high along one side ; it was 
lit by acetylene, and in cold weather warmed by hot-water 
pipes. One chamber served for an operation theatre, and the 
drill was at work preparing a larger and better one. It was 
quite dry and comforta le. I believe that later on, when the 
Austnans had been driven so far back that they were un- 
able to shell the Isonzo valley, the railway tunnels were lit 
heated, and converted mto field hospitals, but these I did not 


The Carso 

The Carao was the scene of some of the severest flffhtinj? 
dunng the summer months of 1017. We in Friuli were 
witnesses to the fierce determination of the Italians to hew 
their way across it and liberate Trieste, and how their in.sistent 
eflorts were opposed by the equally strong resolution of the 


Austrianf to withstand them. Day by day tht fcporti came 
back to ui of the enormous difflculties which were being 
met with, of the tremendous defences piled up in that hopeless 
region, and how the persistence of our allies was overcoming 
them inch by inch and hour by hour. A great deal of our 
attentbn was directed towards the conditions of the Carsic 
tableland, and we were naturally desirous of seeing for 
ourselves the territory which was being won by such a pro- 
fusion of bloodshed, and why the armies which could capture 
the heights of Monte Kuk and the Vodice were able to make 
only such slow advances on that fur less elevated plateau. 
I therefore considered myself very fortunate in being able 
to make more than one visit to these battle-fields. 

My first expedition was to the northern half, where our 
recently arrived British artillery was fighting side by side 
with their Italian comrades. 

Where the Julian Alps sink down and cease to be mountains, 
on the south-east of Goritzia, their termination is marked 
by a deep valley in which the Frigido (Vipacco) River comes 
irom the east to flow into the Isonzo ; and on the south of 
that valley, where the northern half of the Carso begins, a 
barrier of hills runs across the plain and is pierced by a long 
glen called the Vallone, containing the only road into the 
southern half of the Carso. To penc'rate this range of hills 
the Italians had 1 <'ain possession of the Vallone, and this 
entailed a prolon^<.J series of ^nguinary actions, conductea 
with great bravery and eventually attended with success. 

One day when work permitted 1 went over in the forenoon 
to see the northern part of the plateau. We started after 
breakfast at eight o'clock, and went down to the lower 
Isonzo by Cormons and Mariano to Gradisca, to meet one 
of the British artillery ofiBcers who was to accompany us, 
but, finding he had already left for his guns, we followed, 
crossing the Isonzo by a wooden bridge near Farra, and 
gained the left bank. On the hither side of the bridge almost 
every yard was filled with the military, their tents, stores, 
horses, and corveyances ; it was a never-ending camp, and 
notwithstanding the attempts which were being made at 
concealment by branches of trees and other devices, it could 
only have been at night that hostile aviotors could have 
failed to discover what was going on. But once the Isonzo 
was crossed, we were seemingly in another set of conditions. 
There were, it is true, soldiers passing along the roads now and 
again, and the carabinieri were watching at every five 
hundred yards, while at each fork or crossing there were 
pickets of men, and steel helmets were the only headdresses. 



Yet otherwi,e the country, to miperflcial observiition, wu . 

hill tracks and lanes, the lilent abandoned ruins of houKs. 
chnteBux, and buildings were still and motionless ; and it 
required a penetrating inspection to discover that every 
shelter, every thicket, crowded with implemenU of wa7 
nmre » than on the other bank, only he^e they were so 
artfully concealed that nothing would have been detected 
obsenTeilT '"'*'""« 'y™ ^^ cameras of the aeroplane 

V.tiln' P'"*"* 'h^"8h Rubbia. at the norther end of the 
Vallone. where the broken bridge of the Trieste railway hun. 

«^f.r^?' k" "fu • r,P«""*d the Frigido and followed it. 
course to where the Italians cea!>ed to hoU the mastery and 
the Austnans came in It was all a land of medium-sixed 
hills two to five hundred feet high, with narrow valleys 
»k T": "'""JS which the tracks, well watered to neutralise 
the dust which might have betrayed movements, twisted 

un^^/T'^;,J^^ ^r '° "" "" occasional British 
uniform and slouched Boer hat. mingled with the blue-grey 
Italian coats, and tiom them we obtained our direction. 

on f^m the fairly good main road there presently branched 
a wheelbarrow track, running in the bottom of a naii«w ravine 

If!!"^!'"* f ^1"°"^ •"'"' ^y » 8««t ploughshare, almost 
straight up to the top of a three hundred feet high bare hill, 
and a third of the way along the furrow was the British 
(Sapnisca) howitzer battery. 900 yards from the Austrian 
defences There were no nicely constructed walls, parapets, 
and embrasures The eye only saw some small irreiula; 
deepish quarry-holes cut in the eastern bank of the nwrow 
revinp .hapeless as those from which road ballast is extracted 
■•-en of the holes lay a British howitzer, so artfuUy 
arronged that just sufficient of its muzzle protruded to enable 
It to be freely worked, and all the shining metal pc ts were 
either covered with natural-looking greenery or dark canvas 

hiln^°l, '".rt^",""* ^l f""= """position. The gunners, 
helped by the Italians, had managed to pick out for them- 
selves, in the limestone rock which walled the ravine, a small 
kitchen, sleepmg closets, and a chart-room, while a heap 
ol sand bags, looking like a wagon-load of grain sacks, covered 
a small dug-out and, I think, a small magazine. 

The country about the Vallone reminded one of the West- 
inorland hills, and seemed as peaceful. Though we were 
close to them, there were no enemies to be seen ; it appeared 
a difficult country to be fighting in. and one of the difflSes 
was that there was nothing visible to fight with. The only 


object that we law from the bkttcry t'j»t wm not the work 
of nature wai a church ipire half a mil : or more away. That 
wai the only mark for the gum. 

But it wai not used as a Urget. In the small chart-room 
which had been formed close to the battery stood a table on 
which was sprenL a Inrge-scale map ; a pin stuck in it repre- 
sented the exact position of the guns ; on the pin was pivoted 
a strip of transparent celluloid giving the direction in angles 
(the Italians graduate the circle in 1000° in place of the British 
8«0°) on a ten-inch circle on the map, by which the gun is 
laid ; the strip was ruled with the distances ; while a separate 
table indicated the allowances to be made for variations in 
temperature, barometric pressure of the nir, and direction 
and force of the wind. The gunnery was all done from the 
map and the church spire. When it was wished to hit any 
mark, as it was invisible from the battery, which was so deeply 
sunk that the gun had to be elevated for 18° to clear the ground 
in front of it, the angle of the mark from the spire was worked 
out on the map, the distance ascertained from the celluloid, 
and the sights of the gun laid on the spire, while the barrel was 
shifted to the required angle, and therefore pointed to the 
true mark when the shot was fired. The gunner never saw 
his mark, but an observer on the hill behind telephoned 
down to him the result of his aim and the desired correction. 
It was by this sort of work that the howitzers pulverised the 
enemy's trenches and defences, and when this had been 
done the infantry charged on them and completed the 

We returned from the northern Carso by Sagrado, a charm- 
ing town where the Isonzo, more beautiful than ever, had 
entirely shaken off its connection with the hills, and wound 
and forked and reunited its blue streams and arms among 
beds of snowy stones and white islets, on its last journey to 
the Adriatic Sea. 

On another occasion I went to visit the southern Carso, 
to see its condition and, among other things. And out what 
the ' doline ' were. We had been intrigued as to what these 
mysterious hiding places in the Carso were. 

That the doline were hollows in the plateau, some of them 
having caves below them, every one was aware, but how they 
came to be there and to be such a feature of the southern 
Carso, was a matter on which no one could throw any light. 
I welcomed the opportunity of adding to my information, 
by seeing the nature of the diffl'^ilties in campaigning on so 
famous a region and solving the puzzle of the doline. 
After having seen my patients, who were then reduced 



to four or fire, dretMd and doing weU, we ict off in the morning 
on a line windleu day, though very hot even at that early 
hour. On the way through San Urenio, aeroM a new bridge 
which wai being oonitructed over the lioi zo below itn 
junction with the Frigido, all the villagei we passed through 
were lunply knocked into pieces, and mere shattered frag- 
menti of rooflew walls remained. We followed the rond 
along the Vallone to near its end, and then turned somewhat 
westwards so at to cross the lower Carso tableland until we 
«me to the heaps of stone marking where the villase of 
Dobeido had stood. 

This part of the Carso has some resemblance to the island 
I J I'A*" P"*"?* '* ">'«'"* "''"er be likened to the table- 
land of Dartmoor. It was a series of low undulations not to 
be thought of as hills, with faint broad depressions between 
them, forming a dry plain, with never a stream even of the 
tiniest, where grey stones and ridges of rock bestrewed it, 
covered with an inch or two of mould or quite bare, which 
could give pasture only to goats and sheep, though these 
would have thriven well enough upon it. In this respect its 
surface reminded me of the Aran IsUnds ofl the coast of 
Galway. The whole southern Carso was a bed of limestone, 
stratified nearly horiaintally, but with a slight dip from north 
to south, made up of water-rounded stones without ice 
strw, cemented by a matrix of lime whose crystalline struc- 
ture was arranged in agate-like layers between the strata us 
the lune had been deposited fiom solution. On the surface 
crevices grew numbers of pretty little flowers, but in contrast 
to their beauty one was impressed with the knowledge that 
It was dreadful ground to fight upon, for even the smallest 
projectiles when striking must have shattered off numberless 
fragments to form secondary projectiles, adding much to 
theu' devastating effects, especially in the case of exploding 
sh. :b t'enches in such a region were difficult to make; 
they had to be drilled or blasted, involving great expenditure 
of time and labour. Hence as the Italians advanced they 
had mostly formed loop-holed walls of stone or, where practic- 
able, made use of sand bags, to protect themselves and main- 
tain the territory they had gained, firom the enemy's showers 
of missiles emanating from the elaborately excavated trenches, 
covered ways, and fortified doline which they had had abundant 
time to construct. 

That the victory had been hardly won was evidenced by 
the countless graves, where friend and foe were alike buried, 
though in separate compartments, with distinct sorts of head- 
crosses ; all these cemeteries were neatly kept, and were met 


1 ■' ' f'h 



with in every ^.pace where graves could be dug in the ground, 
along the road leading through the Vallone. 

Beyond Doberdo we found the headquarters of the British, 
in a, dolina which had also been occupied by the Austrians. 
From that point we had a good view of the Italian lines at 
Jamiano, on the famous hill No. 208, where so much blood 
had been poured out, and of the Hermada Hill which stood 
as the chief remaining obstacle to the advance on Trieste ; 
it was still in Austrian hands, as was shown by the shelling 
going on around it, and by a stray bullet which would sing past. 

After having grasped fully the nature of the military 
operation, I turned my attention to the doline, and made a 
careful examination, along with photographs, of several of 
these structures. Dolina is not a word which appears in any 
of my Italian dictionaries, and its meaning and derivation 
I cannot even guess at. They may be described as punch- 
bowl-shaped depressions in the level of the general plain. 
They were circular, varied from a quarter of an acre to an 
acre in extent, or even more ; were sometimes shallow and 
shaped like a saucer, in other instances larger and resembled 
an inverted cone or funnel, their bottoms showing a level 
meadow-like floor, at a depth of perhaps fifty to a hundred 
feet, and very commonly there existed irregular caverns 
or grottos underneath their depths. They were thickly 
dotted over the southern Carso. 

Doline formed magnificent retreats and fastnesses for the 
Austrian defenders ; they possessed step-like sides and margins, 
which were natural trenches and gun emplacements which 
did not appear above the level of the plain ; and large bodies 
of troops could be concealed invisibly to those approaching, 
and well sheltered from hostile fire, especially when shell- 
proof hollows were excavated under their edges, but they 
were suitable for riflemen, machine guns, and cannon with 
little or even no preparation. In the caverns which lay 
beneath some of them, which were enlarged and shaped for 
the purpose, there had been formed store-rooms, dwelling- 
rooms, and other chambers, Ut sometimes by electric light 
and Aimished with various conveniences and luxuries. Down 
the steep sides of the doline had been formed stairways and 
sloping roads which furnished convenient accesses for infantry, 
horsemen, and even guns and wheeled vehicles. The signs 
of their having been occupied during long periods of comfort- 
able non-disturbance were plainly to be read in the elaborate 
cement montmients and inscriptions with which some of the 
doline were provided, giving the designations of the corps 
and the dates when they had occupied them. 



finl ^"°r ^"y/"®""'* to >*ad the riddle of their forma- 
«^;ifl^!i£"T '^'"8 ^-rtually a level pkin of horizontally 
steatifled lunestone with no streams or water-channels, the 
^1^^^**^^^ y deposits on it by tremendous thunderstorms 
collects in every dip and depression and forms pools. The 
water sinks mto the porous rock, and dissolves the limestone 
as It filters through it mto the depths. Every fresh rainfaU 
makes the pool somewhat larger and deeped and wTn i 
Has sunk mto the ground leaves a greater hoUow, capable of 
conteming more, so that the solvent action beneath is acceler' 
ated, and a ftinnel results, mto the apex of which rush torrents 

subterranean channels and caverns in the soluble rock. The 
doline take theu- origin, as may be seen in many places, 
^sha low depressions where herbage and bushes gii,w more 
tteely than elsewhere, usuaUy circular and shaped like a dew 
pond, a few feet deeper in the centi« than at the edoes. As 
nfrtfT *''?,d«P/es?ion deepens into bowls and funnels, 
on the steep sides of which are the step-like edges of the strata 

™r'Si°"j'''T T^"^ *' «'*»^* "*«"'' °f having been 
gradually dissolved by water action. The grottos l^neath 

n»if f t^T '*°^L- P*"* "^"^ numerous doline about the 
part of the Carao which we visited, and all of them confirmed 
^m^l7 *''"1 ongm-indeed no other supposition 
^n^J 5 '"°'"*"* ?°'''"^- "^^ P""^^ demaiXagesi 
IthT^ ^T^ "K'^^t ^"^^ ^'^ "« «<l"i«^ t° produce 
!«mi^ff "^f^: F"''*'™^*'' °'"' "f t»>^ "JoKne which I 
exammed we found the grotto, into which it was necessary 
to descend by windmg passages, on planks and steps roughly 

^mf. •" T''' ^ " ^'^^ °' ^^^y °' *°'*y fcetf when we 
came to a chamber of about ten yards across and eight feet 
m height, with damp, rough, irregular, water-worn walls 
contammg quite a pure air a good many degrees lower in 
traiperature than on the surface. Several of the doline had 
been converted by the AustrL:ns into vegetable gardens, pot 
herbs havmg been cultivated in their level bottoms 

■ i 


A Field Hospital in the Carnic Alps 

The Camic Alps bound the northern side of the Friuli plains 

framimg a bamer between Italy and Austria, and I made an 

ei^Jdition to see how matters were conducted there 

1 cLf^A*^"?." "^ ^^ ^^ <»**'ed ™°"n<l rising out of the 
labyrmth of dmgy streets that form the quaint old town of 



Udine, his eye may range to the north for eight or ten miles 
over the plains as flat and unrelieved as a billiard table. 
Beyond them, without warning or intermediary, rise the Alps, 
forming a wall of precipices emerging fenceiike out of ti»e 
ground. From a few rifts in the wall rivers rush out on the 
plains, emerging so suddenly that one mile they are swirling 
in deep wild savage gorges, and in the next mile meandering 
quietly through a stagnant plain. Our route into the Camic 
Alps lay up one of these rivers, the Tagliamento (or Cutting), 
whose name exactly describes its character among the hills 
before it has been converted to placidity in the plains below. 
The place of its escape is at the town of Gemona, a curious 
old city jammed between a spire of rock on the west and a 
hump on the east which remind one of the eye teeth of a 
dog. Gemona has of course, in common with so many 
Italian towns, a bastioned hillock in its centre crowned with 
a fortress and tower, the usual high square featureless tower 
with windows near the top, the only possible purpose of which 
could have been outlook over the country. 

There was a church in Gemona which was like most of the 
Friulian churches in being a mixture of the beautiful and 
the ludicrous : the intricate rose windows with interplated 
muUions, the most exquisite and delicate imaginable ; the 
comic stone figure, twenty feet high, of Saint Christopher 
hokling in his left hand the infant Jesus and in his right a 
stone olive tree, built into the wall on the west of the door- 
way ; the ugly quaint sculptures of the Magi, and the hideous 
images of the Trinity carved in stone above the doorways. 
The church is said to date from the thirteenth century, and 
surely it must have been some outer barbarian who made the 
sculptures, while some Italian inspired poet made the rose 

Above Gemona we ascended the glen down which boiled 
the Tagliamento, where there was room for our road, a small 
railway, and a few little farms and vineyards. The rocks 
which lined it rose sheer from the margins of the fields ; the 
cleft in the mountains deepened as we went along, and the 
bounding clifis grew more precipitous and became tipped 
with snow, until, five miles farther up, the river, as it came 
in from the west by a sudden right-angled turn, occupied 
the whole bottom of the valley with its bed, a huge stony 
expanse, the moraine of a retreating glacier of former 

Before we turned to strike up the river bend we passed 
a tovely little group of villas and cottages, evidently forming 
a favourite summer resort, called I think Vensone, clean 



and tidy, in contrast with some other old dark nanow- 
streeted and verminous-looking villages which lay near at 
hand. But the war had scared the visitors away, all the 
houses stood empty and solitary, and the little railway had 
ceased to run. Following now the road, which led for eight 
miles across the scree that had been brought down from the 
cliffs and deposited at the edge of the stream, we came to the 
mountain town of Tolmezzo, where there was one of the British 

Red Cross ambulance stations under the charge of Mr. S , 

who I think had been an artist in Rome, and, like seveiai 
others who were under his orders in Tolmezzo, had gratuit- 
ously given his services to the sick and wounded in that wild 
region. After a visit to his station we continued onwards 
tiU we reached a tributary of the Talgiamento, the Degano 
River, which descends from the boundary where Italy and 
Austria join in the snow. The scenery became more en- 
trancing than ever, to right and left were precipices, with 
great triangular fans of white scree descending from them, 
and at mtervals fertile little farms filling the bottoms of the 
glens, with small fields of maize, vines, and abundant wabiut 
trees. Up along the Degano River the track climbed past 
minute hamlets and busy water-mills, until wt arrived at 
our destination, Comegliano, where there was the field 
hospital we had come to see. It was a small summer house 
gifted by an English-Italian lady in Rome, and was under 
the charge of Lieutenant Dr. Giovanni Giglio. In a region 
where there was nothing but hills, probably not a quarter 
of an acre of perfectly level ground anywhere, the little 
hospital was perched up on a mound of its own, looking down 
on a winding country road with which it communicated by 
rustic stairs, and in its turn looked down upon by fhiwning 
mountains on every side, in a land of trees and pines and 
resinous scents, with alpine flowers waving in fresh alpine 

Internally it was a fine little hospital for its size, furnished 
with all requiremente, everything within and without repose- 
ful, and in short a model of what such an Alpine lazaretto 
ought to be. 

The patients were mostly medical, for there was not a great 
deal of fighting going on in that quarter. One had indeed 
only to look rovmd to see that warfare on an extensive scale 
was next door to an impossibility in such a coimtry, for it 
was a chaos of pointed eminences, the lowest of which were 
wooded spires of rock, above which towered other spires and 
bare ridges, and over them again were tie snows of the Atos, 
the highest summit being Mount Crostis, over 7000 feet in 

i i 


height, a saw-edge of white excepting the darker tracks of 
the ice roads by which men and munitions were sent up 
to the fortifications of Crostis and the giants about him. 
On heights like these it was no easy matter to attend to 
wounded men ; usually enough, no transport in the ordinary 
acceptation of the term was possible ; the wounded had to be 
carried down declivities in any rude fashion that was possible, 
being slid if need were, or lowered by ropes down precipices, 
and carried by hand to the bottoms of the valleys, where 
ordinary transport was obtainable. 

Here and there the Austrian lines were visible behind the 
Italian ones, but the fighting was for the time a stalemate, 
since neither side could do more than hold its own sets of 

When we had seen all that we wished at Comegliano, we 
turned away to the east among the lower Alps, over the 
eastern rim of the Degano valley, up and down extraordinary 
winding ways among alpine recesses with their little churches, 
until we were on the watershed, when we found a place 
where there was something distantly resembling a level, 
and stopped for luncheon, propping the car's wheels with 
stoi' :«, near a swampy hollow filled with the most exquisite 
flo\v^rs in rich profusion. The ground was a carpet of butter- 
cup:,, cotton grass, campion, lychnis, globe flowers, sweet- 
williams, columbines, pinks, violet-coloured campanulas, 
orchis, purple stacbys, and geraniums. Presently we went 
on over a series of spurs, and dropped down, by ways so steep 
that the brakes became over-heated and had to be cooled 
by douches of water before we could venture to proceed, 
ir to the valley of the But River, crossed it at the Suttrio 
Bridge, and returned to Tolmezzo. 

On the way back from Tolmezzo to Udine, we varied our 
route by cutting off the angle of the Tagliamento, going by 
the mountain lake Cavazzo, resembling the upper end of 
Loch Lomond, with a strong fort on a mountain situated 
like the Ben, and it may l^ worth noting that the Lake 
Cavazzo fort, when the Austrians afterwards overran this 
part of Italy, was the site of a memorable defence by the men 
of the 86th (?) Division, who for twelve days successfully 
withstood the overwhelming forces who sturounded them. 
It was the one bright spot in the Italian retreat. 




LiPE IK ouE Unit 
Amowo the forty or fifty ladies and gentlemen who fn™-u 
our unit the« were many talente. M^ Sdid scfef 

tllT/ ^ «>*fts and sciences, and the Villa T^nSw^ 
the headquarters and rendezvous of all. In less busv timt! 
and on special occasions, therefore, we were nof ^ifr^ 
amusements and relaxations. ThLe w^al^ ~,'''?°"* 
services regularly conducted on Sun^Jthoie <,f us*^h„' 

act representing members and V.A D •TLl^^l'l, ■ ■ 
admission to the unit by bribed "; fte Ih^n^ „f^"""« 

»^; the second taking^ffthej^LnaritLoXUmS 
ofRcials, sparmg not even the Commandant: theS w« 
a really pathetic act wherein, sirty suppo J yj^UiteT 
the war was finished and only four grev-hea^ H^^-Jt ' 

put them to bed and managed them like infentT TheS 
was entirely written, composed, and st^ed by ind^^^k 
of the unit, and was remarkably clever maiviauals 

New Year's evening was celebrated by a dress ball in th. 
t^™^ '"?"'''' ^^^'^^^"Tri^ngly wondLfuT^ tS^L „lre 
turned out, cowboys. Chinamen, Indians a ladv 3 ™^1 
man in Highland costume, and iu.ny othei, hJ'^Wcl. one of 
our most esteemed ladies, in simnle pv*nm„ .J^ f 

by h^^c^ftilness MiWs". '^S^' tnTh^ fcf cS^ 

for those confined to Wa"d a'^iCpTo^sle ^fTh"^' 
having constructed a very' attractive^ry', ^^nveS 
a gmaU room into a representation of the N;ti4ntH 
khem, where the three Magi were offering their gaftTthe 
Virgin and mfant Saviour in the stable, wgile on Sis a^^d 


the shepherds were guarding their flocks and gazing on the 
Star in the East, ft was astonishing how t^y succeeded 
in finding the materials for all the dressed figures, hilb, grass, 
trees, sheep, and other accessories. 

Lastly, when weather permitted, there were some garden 
parties given by the lady housekeepers in the grounds of the 
Villa, where, when they were not riined by rain, we for- 
gathered with Italian friends and members of other British 
services, and cultivated good-fellowship. They were most 
beneficial from an international point of view. 

To tell the truth, we had need of these alleviations. I am 
not an admirer of the climate of northern Italy, or indeed 
of any part, from Sicily to the Alps. Friuli at any rate is 
incomparably worse in point of climate than Britain, and has 
far more dbcomforts. It is emblematic of the district that 
most of the peasants constantly carry huge black umbrellas 
such as at home one sees only as coverings of market stalls. 

In the early winter there were some brilliant days, but 
as midwinter approached the weather became anytlung but 
exhilarating ; morning after morning rose on a desolate flat 
landscape loaded down by heavy grey skies, and over it swept 
eternally misty veils of rain which dripped and dripped and 
dripped. The mist concealed the hills and mountains, 
which otherwise would have given variety to the eye and 
imagination, and shut out the hope that these would have 
inspired, so that one felt, despite oneself, the depressing 
sensation that the dull wet was to be eternal. People moped, 
tended to be rather firetful with their neighbours, had a 
somewhat resentful feeling at any attempts to be cheerful, 
little peculiarities of others grew annoying, and even tobacco 
brought but a momentary solace. One had to keep a tight 
rein to avoid thinking and saying nasty things, and preferred 
to get into a lonely comer to brood over recollections of warm 
rooms, with sea-coal fires, nice old friends, libraries, and home 
comforts. Our only fuel was wet logs, whicn would hardly 
be persuaded to bum, and in spite of the stoves we introduced 
into rooms where no such provision had been contemplated, 
it was miserably cold in the winter months. The world 
seemed to be sinking into a lethargy ; even the guns ceased 
their thunder, and one wondered irritably. Why? It was 
hopeless to don waterproofs and walk ; the clay was every- 
where so tenacious, even in the grass of the fields and vine- 
yards, that the feet at once got clogged, and slipped, while 
to climb a slight slope was a slithering process that was apt 
to land one on hands and knees. Daylight came in about 
eight o'clock and departed about four, and the artificial lights 



were preferable to the giey-buided skies whose only relief 
war a russet edge of funereal colour along the horizon at 
sunnse and sunset. The cold deepened as the winter solstice 
amroached. snow fell, avalanches occurred in the mountains 
"r^^* "*• *°° °" °"' occasion buried near Tobnezzo a barrack 
of Italian soldiers, killing leo of them. Between the solstice 
and the New Year there was little to be seen beyond the 
creepmg mist, so dense as to produce a most unnatural silence : 
tne land was still.' 

Towards the middle of January, after a short interval of 
dry, cold, and frosty days, it feU back again into the dark 
diMnal days we had had in December— it was perpetually 
wet. There is more fine weather in England durina the 
wmter, and less rainfaU, than in Friuli. Even as r^ards 
!»cottond, which is to some a byword for iu climate, I 
should be highly surprised if the rainfaU on ite maligned 
east coast exceeded the faU we experienced in Italy. Tot^s 
the end of January the mists cleared off, the glorious white 
range of the Alps on the north became visible, the Belds 
about us became white with untrodden snow, and the bitter 
north wmd, the 'Bora,' blew over them— blew also over the 
hard Itozen roads and carried the dust from the traffic over 
the hedges, trees, and fields on the southern sides, raakine 
a broad nbbon of grey dust along all the lines of communi- 
cation. The Bora dried up the sources of the rivers, the 
stoeams shrank to nothing, and we drove across them instead 
of going by the bridges. For weeks the snow, frost, and wind 
were of the most biting kind, gales blew over the plains 
sweepmg the dust from their cheerless surfaces and carryinil 
It before it, driving nearly every one to shelter, and almost 
arrestmg the war traffic on the roads. 

As the iron frost continued, our water pipes became frozen 
except where they were kept thawed by paraffin stoves 
sanitary arrangements were for days partly suspended, and 
baths were entirely so. Nearly every one became more or 
less 111, even our strongest-looking men suffered, and thoush 
on the last day of January the bitter, intensely cold gale 
had faUen, and a yellow sun was struggling to cheer us with 
some heat through the fog and high clouds, and the winter 
was domg its feeble best to part from us with a wan smile 
yet no one felt any confidence in the success of its efforts' 
Some were senously ill, and the unspoken question read on 
most faces was, ' Who will next go down ill ? ' 

Well on towards the middle of February the hiUs ard valleys 
lay bare and brown, as if burnt ; the brooks were frozen over 
and sohd, there was no sign of spring, but a piercing half 


gale blew down from the mounUini and chilled out hand*, 
eart, and bones, and almost blistered our &oes as we moved 

The second week in March was reached before we got the 
nice spring mornings, with their long blinks of sunshine, as 
the sun peeped at us from behind small floating cumulus 
clouds and wandered into big spaces in the blue sky. The 
tiniest of brown buds, with a &int dot of green at their points, 
began to show on the vines, hawthorns, hazels, and roses, 
though all the other trees and shrubs were lazy and could 
not be said to move. Purple and white crocuses were now 
evenly scattered over the ground, like the stars of the Milky 
Way as seen through a telescope ; they were in ali ihe coppices 
with stray ones .n the waste grounds, and shy groups of 
creamy primroses snuggled away in half-hidden nooks and 
hollows, and were so charming that it was hard to tear oneself 
away from them. As the days advanced the air became 
warm, the south-west wind had no bitterness, and those of 
our nurses who were off duty hastened out to gather the 
flowers into baskets and boxes, and lie in sun-baths > -^ the 
greening fields below the rows of vine stems. 

These joys did not last. April saw a return of the cold, 
so that we might have imagmed ourselves back again in 
January, for there was generally a wet fog, with billows of 
mist and cloud rolling up overhead from t*e Adriatic, borne 
by the south-west wind j it constantly rained, sometimes 
a thunderstorm came over with heavy showers, and the days 
varied between gales, hail, wet, i>ad now and then a transient 
half-hour of feeble sunshine. As late as the 32nd of April 
it snowed now and then. 

Punctually on the first of May the E^rth Spirit awoke, and 
everything burst into leaf and even flower. The most pofect 
weather was in the middle of May, when it suddenly became 
warm, with an occasional cloud coming down from the north- 
west and bringing a slight shower to lay the dust and temper 
the glare. The vineyards were then in full leaf, with tiny 
fish-roe-like clusters of grapes commencing to be visible, 
and fresh varieties of blossoms appearing every day ; vetches 
predominated, and elegant spirseas shook their snowy balls 
among the grass and herbs. Alas that one should have to 
tell it: scorpions began to make themselves impleasant, 
tarantulas swept like shadows across the walls of our roonu, 
and the shrill mosquito's pipe began to sound. 

June brought thunderstorms, ijod these became very violent 
in July, with a moist heat that was enervating. The rain 
was often cataractous, flooding the country, submerging the 



low-lying roads, and even holding up traffic The h«t r 
for instance, ^i^^^VngT^^'C^'^'ty^: °"^^' 
exe^djt. and we th^w'operouKS.'^ti'^r tr, 

Hjlrunlr^^derKt*'^? SsK'i ^ -« 
better situation should be brouaht E »nH T *^ " 

granted respite from work »^^ w-f^ had frequently to be 
Solidays in^R^mrCapri Mita^ Zm ^J" ^^^^ '^"^ 
most salutary and satiffakf^ mWsu^e mV1^«1- " 
complete restoration to health Xvirth^L'^ resultmg m 
we« invalided home to Engft a^rSi::n«?ie?t 'Z 

Jl^^itlfbett^ta^tlheX" tLtLX-^''^'". 
the cars escaped without bemg st4fc by shel^o^^hr' "! 
and some of the men themselves were st^ck L^yif'''"^'' 

'u^'wor/s*^^ tt;^t 'T'^ ^^^- ^- -= 

thigh, aS L.'^er%'1a^:riy"es'i^^^^^ 




Thx Coixafsk or thk Hospital 
I BAD some hesiUtion as to whether 1 should try to tell whjt 
1 know about the collapse of the hospital department of the 
unit, since much of it was learned only from hearsay, gathered 
in franment« at different times, and must therefore be given 
in a rath confused order. But as some day it may have 
a hUtorical value, I have resolved to set down, m conclusion, 
what I saw and ascertained regarding it. ... 

After I had completed more than a year of service, missmg 
only three days trom illness or any other cau^, I obtamed 
six weeks' leave from the unit on purpose to reoxuit my strength 
before returning to implement my promise u> serve untU the 
«)nclusion of the war. I left it on the 17th of September 
1917, and returned to Scotland. My leave had almost ex- 
pired when I heard that the Austrians had made their sudden 
victorious sweep through Friuli, recapturing Gontzia, dnvmg 
the Italian armies before them, pushing forward through 
Udine, and were still advancing westwards in the direction 
of Venetia. Business prevented my immediate return to 
Italy, and it was the evening of the 2nd November before 1 
was free to leave Aberdeen to rejoin. 

After having hurried through to France with the utmost 
oossible speed by Southampton and Havre, I was waitmg in 
the lounge of the St. James's Hotel in Pans, when there 
poured into it a crowd of refugees from the unit, along w'h 
another straggler whom they had picked up on the \ >. 

They were headed and shepherded by Mr. D oi or 

Irish members who had obtained leave from a Goveri-.ent 
post in Dublin to act as an ambulance dnver m our Gont^ 
detachment, and were now on their way home to England. 
They had no baggage, not even handbags or retjculesj they 
stood there just in the clothes they wore, save that one of 
the ladies carried in a basket her favourite fatten which she 
had brought away. Among Inem was Mr. S——. whose 
thigh had been amputated two months before, and who had 
been promoted from ?d to crutches since last we had met ; 
he h^ had the misfortune to lose the two Italian medals 
' For Vatour ' which had been conferred upon hun— they 
had been in his baggage and had to be abandoned. 

Miss W described their experiences to me. On the 

advance of the Austrians at Caporetto, a couple of days 
before the unit flnaUy left the Villa Trento. oidors had bera 
received to prepare for evacuating the place. They killed 



^^t^ JI^^^J'^'^ *•'?' ^ •*•» ««^ fo' their 
wtoto food, but failed to otch and saeriflce thS peaoodc 

B«rt i«uly uid pMked m the corridor., and every patient W. 

oe«» done than fiesh initructions came to admit other 

to^d on the following day sent on, as none were very «v«» 

STfi ^1 ^ .P"?''''y "^"y thou«nd .ick and wounded 
h^to be left in the hospkal. in Udine when the Austriaw 

2r^„!J T !r? ''^"* ^*»'"'" s'lrgeons having renmined 
wwS. I „t'''!:i patients „ Udine, but later informati^ 

to ^ve b^S^ '^•' w" '* '~'* «<««Jin8'y unlikely 
TO nave been true. Miss W cent nued :— As no further 

£'vo"^V°i'?' 7l!\'^' Commandant at last wenTto 
wS^TS; H^ffl^H "*' ''""^"frten, found the heads absent, 
l^e th^ difficulty procured from a subordinate an orfer to 
a^V K\^^- ""u "t* "^' ° "'"^ m the morning they left 
the hospital stores behind and carried o« in cars sud, bJtnm 
M was available along with the inmates. Thirty orTrt^ 
^^trf""^'l':r'"^ *° ^"^' *^ Udine. but on thta 
WW roads with refugees and country people in iriin and 

^t'^'^ ^t^'^ '^' ^'y soils'^ V^^tte 
MtUtery and troops fhim getting through. The retreatine 
tafcnt^r consequently threw away thei? rifles and wSuv« 
m^ed them, and rushed on in complete disorder. The 
Sf!l'V?t!l^";u'""'":.*'~'P'' Pe»»ntry, women, and children 
ttus dhoked the road and there were no officers to regulate 
tte soMiers, nor carabmieri to direct the traffic, or oi^r the 
peopleto move aside and let the quick cars and ^t guns get 
h^r.^ \*^u ^r"^" ?•"= "''"*»^ »cramblrfintoet^ 
t^ZZ A *° ^^^ ""I' ''^^ *•»«« "8«m « they thought rt 
d?e^L^ "dT'tage, and the confusion pew alway mo« 
«~~ ;i. ■" f"' 2?='" "««' " «»8er to obtain ' a lift ' 
to ^^ir^^^i- ^"I^^ matters worse, it commenced 
I^i^f t^''^'"''^ '•"= "^* '»^*' "'<' m the crowding 
th^Hi? I. ^A"** •'""^ =*™'°"^ ''«"t over the s.des into 

theditches, and the stoies and baggage in them were lost. 

the^n„-'H.^Sr'* '.'''P°^iH^ to get the unit's cars forwud, 
ttey ana the belongings of the members had also to be aban' 

n^w 1!. ^ ?^y °' """" from the Villa could save 
r?^'^^°'"' *''* '^^^ they were wearing ; Miss W— - 
hjd about ftlOin her baggage, ihich of couisl ;he^v« saw 
agam, and most of the others were in a like plight. Even on 


foot the progms wm nlow ; they had only their thin •!»«» with 
which to walk in the mud. and they were drenched to the 
ikin ijefore they reached any sort of shelter. 

They made for Conegliano (t), a small town m firont of them, 
to which the Direttore of the hospital had gone forward the 
day before with a few articles of furniture to secure quaitert. 
This had been before the greatness of the rout had been taWy 
realised, and though he atUmpted to return to help the othm 
he found this was impossible flrom the blocking of the roads. 
The fiigitives went on, sometimes in a car, but for the most 
part on foot, until they came to the bridge o--r the Taglia- 
imnto River, which it took them just four hoa.oi to cross, and 
it was still a good many miles short of Pordenone, where it 
had been agreed that they shouVi ftiid a rendeivous. »Vn«n 
they had eventually succeeded ii. g';tting across, by the help 
of Cotonel H of the British ArtiUer)-, they finally aban- 
doned the last of their cars, and walked on for eight or ten 
miles, soaked and covered with mud. No shelter oouW be 

found at Pon? lone (T Conegliano) until Colonel H went 

to the authorities and insisted on their havmg a biUet, which 
eribled Visa to secure them an empty fireless room where 
twtH' i' the ladies slept all night, wet and cold, on the floor. 
Ti.e men drivers, who stuck as far as possible to their cars, 
and either slept in them or took refuge in some other <»r» 
when they lost their own or had them disabled, found no other 
refuge They had no food, but got a few biscuits from the 
Italian soldiers, and were thankful for them. They had 
many adventures. Cars got overturned and had to be left, 
and, after their contents had been looted by the passera+y, 
they fell into the hands of the Auslrians or were otherwise 
lost. A few of the cars were saved, added my informantf, 
but nany were seen no more. . 

The women refugees of the unit at Conegliano were picked 
up, and proceeded by car or railway to Mantua. The tram 
services were disorganised, and progress was sometimes made 
at the rate of a kilometre in the hour. 

Before the Paris group left Mantua, all the members had 
been accounted for and were in safety. They themselves 
had been dismissed under an engagement to wait for ten days 
previous to re-engaging themselves elsewhere, in case of the 
hospital being reorganised, which they all ardently hoped 
would be effected. . . u 

I presently received other accounts, which agreed in show- 
ing the extraordinary condition of matters during theretr^t- 
The railway station at Udine and the square in ftont of it 
had been nearly impassable from crowds of people of all ages. 



««^mg .^1 «,rU of belongtiig., who wen in • sUte of great 

Ammunition store, were being blown up round the dty, »ii 

KnT "^'* ""* *•" ^"•'^"* ""'^^ 

tion that General H—- . m command of the BritUh ArtiUer 
I^in^Mi;^"^ helpful to every one, and had succeeded n 
whiu^.S" r «"■?»' .'^vmg'.leverly got them loaded on tr»i..., 
r^^Ji CommiMioner, from whom much might have been 

never Dcen seen. 

Ai to the Villa Trento, some of my comrades gave the 
following additional details. A few bids and bedLg had 
been brought away, having been sent to the new uJality 
r..'^ W" proposed to reassemble ; but these were few, and 
nearly everything had been abandoned. This wa. not from 
want of organiMtion in the hospital department, but it had 
no transport of its own, and, moreover, the instructions of 
the Italian authorities were that the Villa Hospital was to be 
the last one to leave. During the night of their departure 
many weary officers and men kept dropping in, so feotsore 
that they could go no farther; they coujd not be admitted. 
_"»!. /!!!i'"°7*^ *° "'* '" *''" entrance hall, and supplied 
J^ Li^f -u ""J? "^T"" "^"^ "^^^ **»em eventually 
to crawl farther Our detachment in Goritzia was imported 
to have done well ; its cars there took out of the city the last 
of the wounded who were fit to be moved, and were indeed 
the last occupied cars to cross the Isonzo bridges, one of « ! .-h 
had already been demolished by the Austrian ' .ir^ U 
OontMa the bombardment wai the heaviest t i ' iiad t' • 
experienced. Also the British military hosr >( a) V.r.a 
near t>radisca had made a safe retreat with ,- • t«^r of 

men and nurses. 

Only one camera had been saved by the contingent f :n 
I met in Pans, but they understood that the radiogra 
photographer had saved his fine collection of neg..-.,es. 
and another rjember had preserved the most of his. 

there had been some cases of illness among the men of 
the unit. 

I may add one or two other curious experiences. Mr. 
ti V"A ,*'* of our drivers, was able to • "- to his car 
through the debacle although he had to pa;„ three days 
and night, without rest or food, and eventually brought it 

safejy through. Another, Mr. C , found his ioad blocked 

by ten baggage wagons which had been deserted by their 


drivers; he dismounted, drove the leading one for some 
400 yards till he found a suitable place, tumbled it into a 
ditch there, dealt in similar manner with all the others, and 
was enabled himself to proceed. A third tale of resource- 
fulness was that a heavy Italian tractor for dragging the 
great guns had been left obstructing the road, when one of 
our men proceeded to it, studied its mechanism until he 
understood it, set it in motion and succeeded in running it 
ott the road into the ditch. 

Having exchanged good wishes with my friends in Paris 
I went on, and, when travelling down from Modane to Turin, 

fell in with Colonel H of the British ArtUlery in Italy, 

whom I had known on the Carso. He had been informed 
that for two days before the debacle it was well known to 
the Italians that there was a concentration of troops by 
the enemy on the upper Isonzo. When the advance began 
100,000 of the Italians, seduced by agitators among them- 
selves, threw down their weapons, shouting ' The war is over,* 
in the expectation that their doing so would at once put an 
end to it, and were promptly taken prisoners by the enemy. 

In Turin a former member of the unit, then serving under 
the British Red Cross, gave me information which decided 
me to go to Milan, where he believed I should find some 
others of our people. Prom him I picked up a few more 
details, but could hear nothing of our Commandant. 

On arriving in Milan I came across some others of the 
dispersed fragments, some in broken health, and received 
a telegram announcing that the kernel of the imit, along 
with the Commandant, was in Castelbelforte, a village not 
for from Mantua. 

I also learned that all the papers and registers of the 
hospital had been lost, with all the case records except those 
of my own patients which I had myself preserved. 
To Mantua I accordingly proceeded, and was met at the 

station by my friend Mr. Y , with his car, which had 

escaped capture or damage, as it was undergoing repairs at 
the moment of the retreat. 

At Castelbelforte I obtained some further particulars of 
the catastrophe to the Italian forces. The enemy's aeroplanes 
had, it seemed, so complete a mastery over the Italians that 
the confusion in the retreat and the terror inspired were so 
great as to have broken all bonds of discipline, and of this 

many instances were given me. Mr. T himself had seen, 

he told me, the intoxicated Itelian soldiery breaking the shops 
as he was passing through Udine. No one whom I asked 
seemed to have any doubt of the truth of the reports that the 



and Army had behaved very badly, and that such of them as 
remained had been sent back out of the fighting line. It 
was even current that three of the generals had been con- 
demned and shot for treason. 

The remnants of the unit, now transferred to the 8rd Army, 
were scattered about the village, where they were in a pretty 
destitute state, especially in the matter of clothing. Some 
were reduced to purchasing new shirts at the price of £l 
each, and none of them had a change of clothing. Practically 
everything had gone in the retreat ; even a car-load of pro- 
visions, which the thoughtful Mr. P had loaded up and 

brought off to supply the men on the route, had to be aban- 
doned in the crush ; when he returned next day to seek for 
it, he found all the provisions gone, and the car too, I think, 
could not be retrieved. 

I believe I am stating a fiact in saying that when I found 
my comrades they did not possess a single scrap of literature, 
not even an old newspaper; fortunately I had brought 
with me a box of novels for them, which I had succeeded 
in getting through. It was a godsend to them ; they were 
starving for something to read in the long dark winter 
evenings, and they flew on the box before I had even seen it 
arrive, haled it off to the common room, opened and distri- 
buted its contents, and next morning I received a messago 
of grateful thanks, which I sent on to the friend in Aberdeen 
who had contributed half the books as a gift to the unit. 

Of the forty-four cars which had left on the night of 
the withdrawal, only twenty-two remained, and these were 
mostly in a bad state. The mechanics were busy repairing 
them on the threshing-floor of a farm outside the village. 
I counted thirteen ambulances among them, the rest being 
touring cars or lorries, more or less wrecked. I believe 
that oi.e or perhaps two more were afterwards salvaged 
from the roads, towed away, and sent to be re-made. 

There were five of our people sick in Castelbelforte, with 

no medical attendant except Lieutenant V who spoke no 

Einglish, and who indeed was soon sent off on some duty. 
There were no medical or surgical requisites in the place, 
no commode, no bed-pan for the sick, no enenu, no chloro- 
form, no hypodermic syringe, no scalpel or bistoury, not 
even a dressing forceps, and no one could inform me about 
what hospitals there were in or near Mantua to which any 
serious case might be sent. 

I went to Mantua to procure a few disinfectents and bed 
requisites, and a few packets of invalid food for those who 
required it, for in the village there was none but coarse food. 


Mantua lay beautiful on the two great lakes fbnned by tiie 
expansion of the Uincio River, on whose side the city, its 
spires, domes, bastions, and crenellntions, rose out of the 
waters, with its ancient long Maria Theresa causeway and 
drawbridge forming a picturesque approach ; a town filled 
with quaint arcades and good shops, and streets crowded 
with dense bodies of men in dark cloaks and hats, with many 
British officers and men moving about among them. It was 
then the headquarters of the armies, and all the warlike 
operations of the Italian, French, and British forces, gathering 
along the Fiave River from the Adriatic to the mountains 
of the Trentino, were being directed from there, in prepara- 
tion for another great struggle. 

From Mantua to Castelbelforte was a sodden, rice-growing 
plain, full of malaria and mosquitoes, alternately soaking 
in rainfall or iron-bound in bitter frost; and when in the 
latter condition the trees and shrubs were crusted with rime 
as if made of white sugar, with at night an arctic sky glittering 
with stars, and before the windless dawn a sharply drawn 
zodiacal light extending from the horizon to the constella- 
tion of Leo. 

City and country were in disquietude. The people were 
in a state of profound discouragement at the rapid and 
successful invasion of the Friuli province. Yet they were 
beginning to pluck up a little heart at seeing the Allied troops 
pouring in to their aid, and the many military camps with 
thousands of men collecting in the neighbourhood of Mantua. 
They could see, however, that in the army all was not as it 
should have been. A body of troops were being brought 
to the town to be reorganised, and, on arriving too late at 
night to be admitted, were encamped across the bridge near 
the 8rd British Red Cross Unit, who sheltered as many of 
them as possible ; but it was a night of intense frost, and the 
remainder broke into the houses, destroying them to provide 
themselves with firewood, and looting &om the inhabitants 
around, while their officers seemed a£raid or unable to control 
them. These and similar occurrences kept up the alarm of 
the peasantry, and a stream of refugees poured out to the 
west, passing through Castelbelforte with colunms of carts 
bearing their poor belongings, mostly clothes, straw, bags of 
rubbish, and stray bits of machinery. The host in one of the 
houses where we were billeted told me that he himself, one 
of the principal inhabitants, had all his possessions packed in 
readiness to flee if the Austrians advanced any farther. 

The Italian hospitals, too, were in many cases pieparing 
for withdrawal, and it is haidly to be wondered at tliat in 



them atoo there ahouH have been a certain amount of dis- 
oiganisation. The staff were unable to attend properly to 
the uck; suppbes were deficient; pUlows and cleaiT Unen 
WW! non-existent; and the patients were lying with laroe 
bed-sores where tiie bones projected, unattended to in any- 
tlung like pr^r fashion. Food was scanty, and the patients 
when It was brouffht fought as to who should get a part of it. 
In one hospital four patients went insane from the neglect 
they expmenced. In some military hospitals the dirty 
condition m which the patienta were kept was repubive. 
Uunng the absence of nurses and attendants the most ordinary 
sick-room cares were neglected. The patients had to take 
their own medicmes, or to give them to each other, and to 
administer to one another the subcutaneous and other injec- 
tions, where theoretically it should have faUen to the nurses 

^.fVl '^*^«="»"' "nd f«"inB them to the Piantoni 
<male attendants). 

*t^* ..^T "* '','*f'«ie shock to me to find that the report 
that the hospital department of the unit was to be disbaiSed 
was unquestionably true. I could hardly credit this when 
so many of our own members and other British were liable 
to be taken senously ill, at experience had proved and even 
ther.^hoaed, and that in the known stete of the Italian hos- 
pitals such a step should for a moment have been contem- 
plated_ Not Imvmg been present at the time I was not taken 
mto the confidence of those with whom the decision had 
rested, and I could only conclude that those who were re- 
qwnsible were unable to appreciate the splendid work that 
had been done by the hospital, and the great benefit its 
contmuance would have conferred on the armies of both 

-kS* wf l*""*. ^J^"* °^y ^"^ "^n. the decision to 
abolish the hospital s.'jions seemed so deplorable that I 
ventured to suggest that, at least as a small movable hospital. 
It should be conserved m order to accommodate the unit 
members and others of British nationality who might require 

!^..^- ~Mu"'^' J" "**«»^ <» »i"^- I could not with 
equanimity thmk of any one of those admirable individuals 
whom I knew and valued as members of the unit, ladies as 
well as gentlemen, persons who at home would in ilbiess have 
benefited by the best nursing and professional attendance, 
being seat to one of the hospitals of the country, above all in 
their then condition of disorganisation. My proposal was 
to oontmue a small weU-equipped hospital with proper staff 
^™n ^**'' ™^18 ■* ?« required, but my suggestion was not 
given the consideration it deserved. 


An illustration of the necessity for such a hospital chanced 
to occur at that very time. One of the drivers was seized 
with an attack of obstruction of the bowels. On his symptoma 
growing urgent, inquiry elicited that the only resource was 
to motor him to a hospital in Cremona, fifty or sixty miles 
away. Fortunately for the patient the symptoms subsided 
tmder treatment, but for some days they caused me no little 

Seeing that the decbion to abolish the hospital was not to 
be recalled, I offered myself to the British Red Cross Com- 
missioner, but my services were not accepted. 

I remained at Castelbelforte until the sick whom I found 
there on my arrival were otherwise provided for, and left 
Bfantua tor England on the 17th November 1917. 






Al>erd«en Ambaluice Auoctation, a. 

Aeroplanes, 205. 

African Hospitals Inquiry, ii< 

Agriculture, Africwi. 166. 

Ambulance, i. 

Ambulance, American, 156. 

insufficient, 133, 137. 

■ Driven, strain on, 321. 

driving, difficulties of, 29a 

Ambulances, 6a. 

American Hospital, 163, 164, 192. 

Andreini, Major, 276. 

Annerley*s Kopje, 173. 

Antooist, Dr., 98. 

Arab scbool, 4. 

Archbishop of Cape Town, 1 10. 

Armoured train, 81. 

Armstrong, Lieut., 66. 

Army Medical Service, 23, 44. 

Arrival of convoys of wounded. 290 

Arundel, 92. 

Athos, Mount, 232, 258, 359. 

Australian troops, 29, 38. 

Austrian lines on the Alps, 316. 

Basse, Signor, 276. 
Baggage for march, 195. 
Baggia, Captain, 279. 
Bainsitia Plateau, 259, tot. 
Balfour, A. J., 115. 
Balkfontein, 214. 
Balloon, military, 34. 
Baratrion-MorgaflT, Prince, 177. 
Bamett, Dr., 12, 40. 
Barriti^on Kennett, Mr., la. 
Bai^ni, Luigi, 294. 
Bastianelli, Professor, 377. 
Beaconsfield, 153. 
Bearer Company review, 194. 
Beattie, Dr. J. F., 3. 
Belgrade, 231, 336, 359. 
Belgrade Hospital 237. 
htflmont, 63. 

battle of, 64. 

BisM^t'tf Fan.:, 15a 
Bipck, Dr. Sinclair. lor 
— Week, 5a 

Blesbuck, 313. 
Block, Johann von, 109. 
Bloemfontein, 221, 334. 
Boer Chivalry. 169. 

Enmity. 168. 

Humanity, 183. 

Boers, captive, 143. 

medical concJitions, iji. 

Bologna, 349. 
Bora, the, 319. 
Boshof, 165, 166. 

climate, 186. 

Bothaville, 209, 215. 

Bowlty, Mr., 97. 

Brand fort, 330. 

Brindisi, 350. 

British Medical Atsociation, 49. 

Red Cross Society, 113. 

Brock, Dr. G. S., 362, 363 and/oj««,. 
Buller, General, 49. 
Buschmannshoek, 83. 
But River, 316. 

Cadorna, Gkseral, 376. 
I Cairo, Citadel, 4. 
' Camera, Dr., 376. 
; Campaign, winter, 1916-17, 283, 

— summer. 1917, 393. 
I Cann.wade, 267, 284. 
j Cantlie, Dr. James, 3. 
; Cape of Good Hope, 5a 

— ---Society, VV*»- 
j Cape Police, \f\ 
; Cape T»mn, $3. 

Ca^teUo, 274, 283. 

t^arnjc Alps, 26^. 

~ VV\d hospital in, 313. 

I Cwt Ktti and abandoned, 327. 

Carso, 265, 283, 287, 307. 311. 

fighting, 298. 

Cnittt's Kif^e, 156. 

Costelbelforte. 326. 

Cataicnia, transport, loa 

CaliSc. collapse of iraiiiipurl, 201-4. 

Cavajuo, Lake, 316. 

Cemetery at Modd» River, 119. 

Cerigo, 243. 

Chesharn, Lord, 173. 

Chios, 357. 



€hriitiMi It Villm Trcnto, J17. 

Church** in Kriuli, 304. 

Cividalt, Mumm, 193. 

Civilian doctors, 190. 

CUuenumt SAnatorium, 97. 

Climate of Friuli. 383. 318. 

<!olctberg, 91, 91. 

ColUpw of luMpiul, J». 

Co'.nwndo'f Drift, 312. 

r^mus (Milton's), J17. 

ContunMciftlc llonpital, 376. 

Convoyi of patientt, bud eonditiont, 

Convcm of tick und wounded, 134. 

Corinth. Isthmiu, 257- 

ComeBliuo, 315. 

Conespwulmti, 359. 

Carritr* tkUm Stra, 394. 

Cotronc, 354. 

Counter- Sunriie, 169. 

Counter- Sunsets, 159. 169. 

Coutta, Mr. Buidett-, 113. 

Coutts, Mb}ot, /ojf I w. 

Cradock, 91. 

Cremona, 330. 

Cronjc. General. 134, 143, and/ofjiw. 

Crostts, Mount, 315. 


, IIS- 

Daily Mail t no, 1 14, 

Dotty Ntwst iia 

Dames Institute, Bloemfontein, 333. 

Danube, 336. 

Dawn in Orange Free State, 188. 

De Aar, ^9. 

Deficiencies at Boshof, 191. 

Degano River, 315. 

Destitution of unit, 337. 

Disbandment of Hospital, 339. 

Disease among BrittHt), 319, 331. 

in Friuli, 289. 

Disinfection, 223. 

Diiornnisation after Italian Retreat, 

Djevjelyi, 233. 
Doberdo, 3:3. 
Dolganiva, 306. 
Doline, 310, 313. 
Doomspruit, 319. 
Douglas, General, 
Dress Ball, 317. 
Drifoatein, 175, 199. 
Duke, Dr., 98. 
Dunant, Henri, i. 
Duplenis, J. D., 9a 
Dwingfonteint 90. 

East London, 74. 
Egyptian War, 3. 


Engagements round Boshof, 177, it(i, 

1S3, 183. 
Englishman, treatment by Boers, 199. 
Entrenchments, Austrian, 363. 
Evatt, Surgeon-Major, 3. 
Expandiim bullets, 63, 177* 


Farms, South African, 3ia 

Farra, 308. 

Fint British Ambulance Unit for Italy, 

Fleming, Surgeon-Major, 37. 
ForcaticrW'alkcT, General, 53. 
F*ostcr, Sir Walter. 1 lO. 
F'ourteen streanm, 167, 173. 
Frankfort, 171. 
Frigido (Vipacco) River, 308. 

GALLtroLi (Italy), 351. 

Gangts, S.S.. 4, 6. 

Garden parties, 318. 

Garibaldi, Signorina Italia, 378. 

Gatacre, General, 78, 79. 

Gemona. 314. 

Geneva Convention, i. 

Germina. Captain. 306. 

Giglio, Lieutenant, 315. 

Gill. Dr. David. 107. 

Glen, 331. 

Good Hope Society, lis. 

Gontzia, 26 1, 264, %nA fassim, 

Gradisca, 277. 

Graham, Sir Gerald, 3. 

Grant, Bey, Dr., 3. 

Greek Volunteers. 343. 

Green Kopjes, 172. 

Gr^gio, Captain, 277. 

Grenfetl, Francis, 51, 57, 69, 76. 77. 

Groote Schuur, 97, 98. 
Gunnery, 310. 

Haartebkkstfontbin, 197. 

Hagiar Kim, 245. 

HaHstorm, 148. 

Hasheen, ir 

Hermada Hill. 313. 

Hoopstad, 207, 309. 

Hospital, First Divisional Field, 117, 

Hospitals at Kimberley, 156. 

Italian, 276. 

Howitzers, British, 394. 
Hunter, Sir Archibald, 161. 193. 

Insanity, 142. 

Inspection for a march, 194* 


Invaljdi, coodilionft of, 134. 
Iron Gfttn (Vardar Kivcr). jij. 
ulsnd llcwpiul it Modder. 140. 
Isonio River. 366, and /trim. 
lUlian character, aH^. 

!>remnK Sutioni, 299, 303. 

■■■■'■ Modetty, 390. 

Red CtoM Shrteni, 178, 381. 

Italiana n^ paticmH, 2S7. 

[ACOHOAI.. ia», 133, 

fMoUjourdsin, 311. 

fohnion, Allan, 95, 334. 

^oultert, 139. 

ulian Alps, 368. 383, 308. 

up»t«r, 197. 

UMicc, Dr. David, aiy. 

Kakir hcHiset and fields, 3ib 

kraal, 178, 306. 

Kalkfontein, 173. 

Karoo Desert. 57. 

Kavallu, 359. 

Kekewich, Colonel. 157, 163, 163 

w?'Le?r"*'' ^'««™'' ^' 72. 174- 
Khaf ( El), 9. 

Khor at Tamat, 37. 

KiDiberley, <i, 130. 

cnnditions in, 157. 

trek to, 149. 

Kitchener, Lord, 108, 117. 

Klagenfurt, 268. 

Kleinfontein, 89. 

Kterksdorp Railway, ai8. 

Klipltraat, 90. 

Kominitza, 333. 

Koodoesbei^, las. 

Knx>nstad, 316, 32a 

Kuk, Monte, 373 ; capture of, 394. 

Lace Dianiond Mines, 319. 

L«ng, Colonel Tyrie, 51, 57, 95. 

I-Angeberg, 133. 

LarudoH7)e, Lord 110. 

Lawson, Dr. Robert, 3. 

Leeuwfontein, 165. 

Leeuwkop, 163. 

I^hniannsdrift, S9. 

Lemnos, 343. 

Levant, 256. 

Lightning storms, 145, 146. '187. 

Lc^n, Mr., Matjesfontein. 57, m. 

Looting, absence of, 303. 

Lord Mayor's Refugee Fund, 99. 

M'Clurb, Rev. J. J., no. 
Macdonald, General Hector, 131. 


Macedonia, 336. 

Macptfor. Dr. Alewindvr. 3. 

MackemitandCo,, 109. 

M'Neill'i /ari»Ki, jfi. 31, 30 

M-RMint Kopje, 167, 17,. ,7. 

M«(ter,foniein. 136. 139, and Aim*. 

MoKi, the, 317. 

Mafcnctic deflection. 187. 

Mabcm»fontein, 197 

Maica, Cape, 343. 

Mahncerinx, 389. 

Malta, 344, 

Mantua, 334, 338. 

March, order of, 195. 

Marco Voipe llospit.-il. 380. 

Matjctfontein, 57. 

May Day in Italy, 330. 

Medal Utr Valour, 333. 

Medical ofRcers' criticism!), lec. 

Medilemuiean. 347. 

Melhuen, I^(, 61. 165. iSo. i8<, lai 

Methuen's Column. 116. 
MixieaM, b.)i,, jo. 
Milner, Sir Alfred. 107, 339 
Mincio Rirer, 338. 
Mitylenc. 358. 
Modder River, 56. 

camp, 61. 

impurities, 149. 

Modderspruit. 213. 

Mohammed Achmet, 3. 

Molteno'i Hotel, Tarkastad. 89. 

Montgomery, 84. ' 

Montgomery's Scouts, 84. 

Morava River, 335, 336. 

>foTca, 356, 

Mount Nelson Hotel, 106. 

Mudrot. 343. 

Muller, Mr.. Cradock, 93. 

Naauw»rt, 93. 
Names of Italian soldiers, 389. 
Natiomil Aid Society, 3, «, a\ 
Nattiaone River, 275. 
Nero, Monte, 374. 
Newton Common, i e 1 
Niekerkskuil. 205. 
Niethling, Dr., 96. 
Nieuwejahn Spruit, 218. 
Nisch, 334. 
Norval's Pont, 336. 
Noto, Major, 377. 
Nuraghe, 354. 
Nurses, British, 388. 

Olvmpus, Mount, 341, 242 
Orange River, 59, 1 16. 226. 
Orient Line, 236. 


OtkvU, 171. 
Otmu Digna, 30. 
OiH, Moufit, ajx. 


/W/ AMI Cmuiit^ HI, 115. 

PanuuMut, Mount. 356. 

Fdion, Mount, 333. 

Perry Manh, Major, 68, 330. 

PhaKM Iftland, 358. 

Piave, 375. 

Pitcher, Colonel, 60, 65, 67. 

Pipemo, Captain, 380. 

Pirseui, 343. 357. 

Plaini of Orange Free State, 3ii, 3i3. 

Plava, 303, 305, 306. 

Plevna, 134. 

Pdioncd bullcti, 186. 

I*(»dcnonc, 334. 

Port EUiabeth. 71. 

Portland Hotpiul, 97. 

I'ortsmouth Addieu, 43. 

PrcMpio, 3i7> 

PretoriuK, General, 99. 

Princ«st Irttu^ ■.■., 384. 

Primtts ef IVaitt, hotpiUl ihip, 99. 

Priioncra, Dutch, 100. 

Priioneri of Italiani, 185. 

Pritpan, 172. 

Podgora Kidge, 365, 370. 

Pythagorai, 354. 

QUAKKRS, 363. 

Queen Victoria, 49. 
QueenstowQ, 77, 87. 
Qtutmttmm Frti Prtss, 87. 
Quika, 371. 

Radovitz, 336. 
Rainstorma, 145, 146. 
Ralph, Julian, 110, 114. 115- 
Ro)ral Army Medical Corpa, 55, 193. 
Red Cross, 3. 

Depot, 96. 

Society, 141. 

Red Sea, 7. 

Refugees, II3. 

Refugees Committee, 99. 

Refugees from Ho«(Hta) Unit, 333. 

Rhodes, Cecil, 130, 131. 

Reid, Sir George, 39. 

Rejection of unfit, 195. 

Rensburg, 93. 

Retreat horn Villa Trento, 333. 

Retreat, incidenU of, 324, 335, 336. 

Roadmaking, Italian, 336, 369, 386. 

Robben liUnd, 103. 

Robartih Lord, 56, II7, liO,aiid/«ij/iW. 

Rocdewal, 3 18. 

Ruhljia, 309. 


Sabotino. Mount, 374, 304. 

Sagrado, 310. 

S^diik, %.%,, 131-3. 

St. Andrew's Ambulance AssoctatioB, a. 

Salonika, 33, 340. 

San Floriano, 371. 

San Giovanni di Maniano, 361. 

Sftnilation at Boihof, 189. 

Sanitation at Newton Common, 155, 

Santi (^Aranta, 356. 

Santo, Monte, capture of, 363, 

Santucci, General, 376. 

Sapninca Howitzer Battery, 309. 

Save River, 336. 

Savoxna, loo. 

Serbian ifoipitaU, 359. 

Serbian People, 335. 

Shepherd, Surgeon-Major Peter, S. 

Khiel, Colonel, 101. 

Sickness, 3ii, 316, 330. 

Sickness, hcnies, 189. 

Sickness on march, 198, 303, 3o8. 

Sinigaglia, 35a 

Siisison, Captain, 116. 

Skodo Vacca. Hospital, 371. 

Slobbetts, 164. 

Smith, Mr. Wm., advocate, Abefd«eB« a. 

Smyrna, 357. 

SolomcH), Sir Richard, 53. 

Spiders, trap-door, 314. 

SsHitskop, 1^7. 

Springfontein, 336. 

Springtime in Italy, 39a. 

Stamfordham, Lord (Sir Arthur B^gc), 

Sterkstrom, 77. 
Stokes, Sir William, 95. 
Stores, defective, 14a 
Storms, 144. 
Strumnitza, 33^. 
Summer offensive of 1917, 393. 
Suakin, 9, 40. 
Sun, 4. 

Sunday services, 317. 
Supplies, deficiency, 135. 
Supplies to advanced posts, 397. 
Surrender of Boers, 303. 
Suttrio Bridge, 316. 
Suva Planina, 335. 
Switierland, 348. 

Taoliambnto Rivu, 314. 
Tamai, 30, «, 35. 
Tarkastad, 88. 
Telepheric Railway, 307. 


Tmpnuan tt VtuM, lU. 
ToliMno, 315. 
Tolnjno, tfj. 
Top«hei<l«r, lj6. 
Towiumd, GmanJ Sii E, 

TnliH, luiuijr, 141, 
Tnuwpoct, SI. 
Tiuiipon of wouiKlnl, 397, 
Traiuvul. aij, 
Tnumulm, 113, 114. 
Tnvdyu, Mi. G«org« M., 

Trinu, jM. 
TVtfmH, 1.1., 75, ^ 
Twtflfmtcin, 175. 
Tyldm, Jj. 
Typhoid f em, liS. 

at Boihof, 190.19a. 

••iMtioBt in, m. 

Udini, 161, taifuslm. 
Unihiiroiiiid Fierd Hoipiul, wi. 
Uikub, J34. 

Vaal Rivu, 173, ao9, an. 

VllMU, 144. 

Vallone, 163, 308. 

VaiKh Rivw, jij ai« aio. 

V«n Wieki Vlei, ait. 

VdUone, 314. 

Veimin in Onnge Fret Sute, lU. 

Vet Kivei, lai, aia 

Vni» Tiaito, a6l nifuim. 


61 u4 

a6a, uid 

Villthato da Munil, 17], j}*.,. 
VlMiJavili, ,05. ' ' 

Viiaai, Dr., 101. 
Vodica, IMoaiM, jol, 107. 
Volamaiy Aid, 191. 
Vrytnig IMacaaa, 69. 


Waooni, and diitt. j 

Wabn'at Davia, Hon. M 


Wagdraai, yiQ. 

iy*t/mi'i...r '/oMit/e, no, 114, i|f, 
Whit. Hub. mcMMoJ, 177 
Wilion, Surgcon-Ganciml, 9j. 

Sui^r-oQ. Major, la. 

WimWed'Mi, 1^3. 

Win cf Can pslgn o( I9161;. l(a. 

^^ kniiii, in. 

Wou-i.lfc Mi. 

W\nln;i,,', .\o. I Ifuan'tnl, tjf. 

Wyii.iham. M,., 1 in. 

>JI. '. 
5«. «9. JO, 

Vbo»ianrv, I* J, 176. 
VetaitKii, hi., 735, t^t) 

Zaoomila, 306. 
Zandfontein, ai4. 
Zodiacal Light, 8, 151. i«3, 318. 
Zwaartliople, 197. 
Zwaaitliopteifontein, 171, 18a. 
Zwaankopjei Mountaini, aa6. 

PHawd la Oreal Brilaia !>, T. u«l *. CowTAiia, Piian,. 1, HU Mrtuj 
u ika UiaWf b UUnnii, Pio.