Landspruit Transvaal                                                                                       July 27th 1900

 

Dear father and Mother – I am writing to let you know that I am in the land of the living. We left Realfontain on the 20th last and marched to Elandslaagte a distance of ten miles and then entrained for Landspruit. We got to Glencoe about 6pm and there we changed engines. The railroad runs all along the mountain side and the scenery is beautiful. As we were nearing Newcastle most of us fell asleep but we were awakened as we were going through Laing’s Nek tunnel. We arrived in Charlestown around 4am, and our company and A company had to leave the train and do two hours outpost duty before we could go any further, as there was a rumour that there were some Boars in the neighbourhood. As soon as it turned daylight we returned to the station at Charlestown and continued to the Transvaal. We had a good view of the much talked about Majuba Hill as the train was very close to it. We landed at the first little town in the Transvaal called Volkrust; it was a splendid little town. We got to Landspruit about 10:30 am on the 21st after being on the train for eighteen and a half hours. We had breakfast at the station then marched about six miles and bivouacked for the night. On Sunday the 22nd we had a day that the company will not forget for a while. We assembled at 10am and about 20,000 troops started out for an engagement with the long looked for enemy. We had about twenty 15lb guns and two 4.7 guns with us. The Dublin Fusiliers furnished the firing line, and then followed the Kings Royal Rifles, the Leicester’s the Gordon’s and the Manchester’s, At 10:40 am I heard and saw the first shots fired at the enemy. About 2pm the Gordon’s were putting in some fine work, but it was not very pleasant to see the shells dropping within a dozen yards of the Manchester’s but fortunately none of the shells burst while we were there. We (the Manchester’s) retired about two miles and then three of our companies were told off to occupy a hill about four miles away. Our company was one selected and we had to take a position on a hill for the night. We marched away quietly and never expected anyone to be near the hills, but just as we got close to the hill we were to occupy, a bullet dropped under our Captains feet. We at once got the order to extend, which we did under a terrible cross fire from the enemy. We all got cover, but I can tell you I never had such an hour in my life. We were laid down under cover for some time, then we rushed half way up the hill and started pouring shots into the enemy. When the General heard all three companies were engaged in such a fire he sent the remainder of The Manchester’s and The Kings Royal Rifles to reinforce us. Two of our 4.7 guns saw plenty action, and I can tell you the Boars soon shifted after this, but they did not go without having a terrible lot of bullets poured into them. It got dark before it quietened down, and the Adjutant came to have a look at us. The first question he asked was “how many casualties have you Captain?” but the Captain thank God answered that we had not one even injured. I can only describe it as a miracle that there was not a large number of us popped off. I am satisfied that the Boars are no good at shooting, as they could easily have put some of us out of our “mess.” They were not 200 yards from us and we were a splendid target for them for some time. Anyhow we shifted them off the hill, and we had to do no doubt what the Boars had expected to do – that was outpost duty on the hill. We had an awful night; not one blanket between the company, and it rained most of the night. However we got the night over fairly well and about 10am next morning we retired under cover of the guns. That night we got a good nights rest, but we had no tents with us. We have been out this morning, but there was only artillery fire. We have been out about twelve hours, and one of the officers has been taking photos of the company. While we were out in the firing line this morning one of our men came out with the letters, which were a day or two late this week. I got your letter and bundle of papers, and I was glad to see that you are all well. I am afraid I will not be able to write to Leigh this week, so please let them know how I am going on.

Boar War Veteran

 

Landspruit Transvaal                                                                                       July 27th 1900

 

Dear father and Mother – I am writing to let you know that I am in the land of the living. We left Realfontain on the 20th last and marched to Elandslaagte a distance of ten miles and then entrained for Landspruit. We got to Glencoe about 6pm and there we changed engines. The railroad runs all along the mountain side and the scenery is beautiful. As we were nearing Newcastle most of us fell asleep but we were awakened as we were going through Laing’s Nek tunnel. We arrived in Charlestown around 4am, and our company and A company had to leave the train and do two hours outpost duty before we could go any further, as there was a rumour that there were some Boars in the neighbourhood. As soon as it turned daylight we returned to the station at Charlestown and continued to the Transvaal. We had a good view of the much talked about Majuba Hill as the train was very close to it. We landed at the first little town in the Transvaal called Volkrust; it was a splendid little town. We got to Landspruit about 10:30 am on the 21st after being on the train for eighteen and a half hours. We had breakfast at the station then marched about six miles and bivouacked for the night. On Sunday the 22nd we had a day that the company will not forget for a while. We assembled at 10am and about 20,000 troops started out for an engagement with the long looked for enemy. We had about twenty 15lb guns and two 4.7 guns with us. The Dublin Fusiliers furnished the firing line, and then followed the Kings Royal Rifles, the Leicester’s the Gordon’s and the Manchester’s, At 10:40 am I heard and saw the first shots fired at the enemy. About 2pm the Gordon’s were putting in some fine work, but it was not very pleasant to see the shells dropping within a dozen yards of the Manchester’s but fortunately none of the shells burst while we were there. We (the Manchester’s) retired about two miles and then three of our companies were told off to occupy a hill about four miles away. Our company was one selected and we had to take a position on a hill for the night. We marched away quietly and never expected anyone to be near the hills, but just as we got close to the hill we were to occupy, a bullet dropped under our Captains feet. We at once got the order to extend, which we did under a terrible cross fire from the enemy. We all got cover, but I can tell you I never had such an hour in my life. We were laid down under cover for some time, then we rushed half way up the hill and started pouring shots into the enemy. When the General heard all three companies were engaged in such a fire he sent the remainder of The Manchester’s and The Kings Royal Rifles to reinforce us. Two of our 4.7 guns saw plenty action, and I can tell you the Boars soon shifted after this, but they did not go without having a terrible lot of bullets poured into them. It got dark before it quietened down, and the Adjutant came to have a look at us. The first question he asked was “how many casualties have you Captain?” but the Captain thank God answered that we had not one even injured. I can only describe it as a miracle that there was not a large number of us popped off. I am satisfied that the Boars are no good at shooting, as they could easily have put some of us out of our “mess.” They were not 200 yards from us and we were a splendid target for them for some time. Anyhow we shifted them off the hill, and we had to do no doubt what the Boars had expected to do – that was outpost duty on the hill. We had an awful night; not one blanket between the company, and it rained most of the night. However we got the night over fairly well and about 10am next morning we retired under cover of the guns. That night we got a good nights rest, but we had no tents with us. We have been out this morning, but there was only artillery fire. We have been out about twelve hours, and one of the officers has been taking photos of the company. While we were out in the firing line this morning one of our men came out with the letters, which were a day or two late this week. I got your letter and bundle of papers, and I was glad to see that you are all well. I am afraid I will not be able to write to Leigh this week, so please let them know how I am going on.

 

Richard Bates

 

Richard Bates 39 Lilford Street, Howe bridge, Atherton was buried on the 5th May in Atherton cemetery . He joined the 91st Regiment of Foot on the 22 April 1865, after a time he transferred to the 36th Regiment of Foot and during 21 years and 82 days with the colours saw 10 years service in India, 5 years in Greece and 3 in Jamaica. On receiving his discharge he was in possession of 4 good conduct badges and a long service medal, he was buried with full military honours by the 5th Manchester Territorial’s

 

Thomas Patterson Boar War Veteran

 

Thomas Patterson served with distinction in the Boar War with the Newton Yeomanry and in the Army Service Corps in the Great War, he served in Egypt, Palestine and Mesopotamia. Returning home from leave his ship was torpedoed and he only survived by clinging to a raft. Thomas who lived at 16 Noble Street, Leigh died in 1922 age 48 years.