Saturday, January 24, 2015

Souvenir Saturday: letter from Ladysmith 1900


One of the best sources of information about an ancestor is original correspondence written by him, or, failing that, by his contemporaries. Sometimes more is gleaned from the people who knew him than from the ancestor's own letters, in which he may have been reticent about the details later to be of special interest to his descendants.

Fortunately for the Smith family, a number of letters written during the siege of Ladysmith by William Dixon Smith, Lieut Quartermaster of the Border Mounted Rifles, survived and were preserved. Among them was one of which Smith was not the author. This was written by Captain W Arnott of the BMR to his wife Betsy and took the form of a long essay to which he continued to add pages for the duration of the siege, as there was no way of sending any mail out of the beleaguered town.  

From Arnott's letter, we learn more about William Dixon Smith's final few days before he died at Intombi hospital camp on 13 January 1900.





Poor Smith of Umzinto died of fever last week. His was a very peculiar case. He felt poorly for a few days and was quite indignant when the Dr sent him to hospital. They kept him there for a fortnight and as [he] got neither better nor worse they sent him out to the Neutral camp at Ntombi spruit thinking that the change of air might improve him. It wasn't to be, poor fellow.

In fact, it's likely that the change of air, far  from doing William any good, may have worsened his condition as by that stage enteric and dysentery were rife at Intombi and men were dying like flies.

Ironically, William's own last communication with his family, who were awaiting  news anxiously in Umzinto, was a telegram sent by heliograph, intending to reassure his wife with the optimistic message 'All Well'.


For a group photo of the BMR officers, including Smith and Arnott, see
molegenealogy.blogspot.com/2013/05/souvenir-saturday-natal-border-mounted.html

and of William Dixon Smith in his BMR uniform
molegenealogy.blogspot.com/2015/01/souvenir-saturday-william-dixon-smith.html


.



Friday, January 23, 2015

Intombi Cemetery Memorials, Ladysmith: Anglo-Boer War 1899 21




IN MEMORY OF THE BRITISH OFFICERS AND MEN
who died in the Intombi Camp between November 1899 and March 1900
Erected by the South African War Graves Board
'As in Adam all Die, so also in Christ all be made Alive'
1. Cor. 15: 22










Story of Alfred D Alborough

Dedicated to Alfred D Alborough born March 1872 and died at Intombi hospital outside Ladysmith on 14th March 1900 from enteric. Alfred was a Trooper with the Border Mounted Rifles.
Son of William Alborough b15th Dec 1835 Norfolk d13th April 1892. William is buried at Boston Natal. Mother was Anne Elizabeth Sleightholme b1846 Sleights York d19th August 1877. William and Anne met in Natal and married on the 9th June 1863. They had 6 children, Albert Parker, John, William, Henry, Alfred D, Walter and Charles.
Note William Alborough arrived in South Africa on the 20th May 1855 with his father William Alborough senior and a sister Jane. Jane married a Robert Bloy and the descendants of this family still live in Natal
Intombi Hospital, Ladysmith 14 March 1900. From the diary of HE Fernandez Medical Officer at the above hospital: 'To tell you the truth, this place with all its horrors and misery and worry is beginning to get on my nerves. Every one of our Staff of Doctors has gone except Buntine, who still keeps on. Ladysmith itself (4 and a half miles away) In my big marquee about the same time I lost a man named Alborough quite unexpectedly whose brother was sent away from here a few days ago with the most hopeful account of the patients condition.'
Anyone interested in the Alborough surname may contact Derek Austin for copy of scanned handwritten family tree:
dubbin_1@bigpond.com
Note: Alborough's name is among the Border Mounted Rifles on one of the large memorials shown above. As he was not buried at Intombi Cemetery there is no separate grave or Memorial Inscription for him there.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Intombi Cemetery Memorials, Ladysmith: Anglo-Boer War 1899 20


UHLMANN, W - Trooper, Border Mounted Rifles
d. 30th Jan 1900
(Note that the date of death is given as 20th January in the NMR Regimental History p 90)







VERN, P - Private, 1st Devonshire Regt.
d. 18th Feb 1900, aged 21







VYVYAN, Kenneth M - Border Mounted Rifles
d. Intombi (of enteric) March 10th 1900 aged 21 years
'Dearly Loved Son of Rev Thomas Grenfell and Edith May Vyvyan
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori'







UNKNOWN SOLDIER - of 2nd Batt Rifle Brigade
who died at Intombi Camp on Feb 22nd 1900 of enteric fever
(Upper part of memorial, which would have given the name of the deceased,
is missing and, during renovating and restoring of the cemetery,  incorrectly replaced by Border Mounted Rifles cross. It is possible that this upper portion should be that attached to the memorial of William Dixon Smith.
)








Photographs: Dixon-Smith

For more information on Intombi enter the word Intombi in this blog's search facility


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Intombi Cemetery Memorials, Ladysmith: Anglo-Boer War 1899 19




STRAUSS, O - Trooper, Border Mounted Rifles
d. 17th December 1899 (of dysentery)






TAYLOR, JG - Trooper, Imperial Light Horse
d. 20 Dec 1899
(Plaque on ILH Wall of Remembrance)





TUPMAN, Kenneth Lyon - Captain, The King's Regt.
d. during the Siege of Ladysmith Feb 4th 1900, aged 30 years
'Blessed are the pure in heart'






TUPMAN, KL - Capt. The King's Regt.
d. 4 Feb 1900 during the Siege of Ladysmith aged 30 years
This stone has been erected by his brother officers
in affectionate remembrance





Photographs: Dixon-Smith

For more on Intombi enter that term in this blog's search facility

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New book on wood and iron buildings of Natal


New book highlights Natal's wood and iron architecture
Durban's prolific professor is at it again. After the publication of two major works recently - a three-volume, detailed illustrated history of the port of Durban, and an in-depth look at Durban Light Infantry and its relationship with the city since 1854 - Brian Kearney has produced another fascinating book, Stern Utility - The wood and iron architecture of Natal.


A rather grand old house on Durban's Bay, at Island View.


When I first arrived in Durban from Kimberley in the late 1970s, I was no stranger to wood and iron houses as there were still plenty of them in my home town. And during the first few decades in my adopted city I was to live in three.
They were wonderful party years and the houses were ideal for communes as landlords did not much care what was done to the property; we even built a concrete ramp at one, the "Great, Grey Battleship" in Churchill Road, so that our gleaming motorcycles could safely be ridden into the large back area where they became "portable furniture".
Kearney, who is Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of Natal, has looked at corrugated iron - a key product of the 19th century and one which made the physical fabric of the British empire possible; the way in which it became an industrialised building system driven by entrepreneurial manufacturers, symbolic of many political issues and closely bound to the social and economic history of Natal. It also tells how it became an architecture of the poor.
In his words, this is a publication about a simple and economical building system which was home-grown and used extensively in Natal from 1870 to 1930.
The system used a timber frame covered with sheets of corrugated iron or steel and had light timber trusses with corrugated roof sheeting. It was economical in that most of the parts could be prefabricated in factories and either supplied in a complete kit form or built on site from the easily available components.
The publication describes the origins of the materials; galvanised corrugated iron and steel, timber framing and nails. Local wood and iron buildings had roots in 19th century prefabrication, and by 1860 British buildings were being imported into Natal. But within 10 years, a home-grown species had evolved. Through the entrepreneurship of building material and timber merchants with carpenter-builders, the system spread throughout the Colony and into the interior of South Africa, especially the mining areas of Kimberley, Barberton and the Witwatersrand.
This is the story of that evolution, about the sternness and the utility; about its use in many building types - houses, churches, temples, barracks, industries, railway stations, and others. It tells of the geographical distribution in Natal of its physical and social problems, about its official unpopularity and social rejection, and of how the sternness was disguised within the more socially acceptable domestic forms of masonry structures. Thus it is also the story of how it came to be an architecture of the poor.
Interestingly, the two bestknown wood and iron buildings in the country have strong links to extraordinary historical personalities of the 20th century - Field Marshall Jan Smuts and Mahatma Gandhi.
Smuts's house, Doornkloof at Irene, now a Smuts museum, was initially a portion of a military mess at Middleburg for British officers - the men against whom he fought during the Anglo-Boer War.
Gandhi was also an adversary of Smuts - and his house in Phoenix is the other.
Unfortunately, these relics of the past are on the brink of extinction. In Kearney's words rust, borer and white ants take their annual toll. But even more pressure, or perhaps a growing sense of unininterest, comes from most of those who owned and lived in them who naturally seek a less stern and more socially acceptable icon of home.
The soft-covered book has 100 pages and numerous photographs and drawings. Limited copies are available at R170 from rebt-AT-telkomsa-DOT-net or on 031 2011 471.
Trevor Bruce
The Independent on Saturday


Intombi Cemetery Memorials, Ladysmith: Anglo-Boer War 1899 18




SAUNDERS, WGB - Trooper, Imperial Light Horse
d. 10 Jan 1900 from wounds received at Wagon Hill
(Plaque on ILH Wall of Remembrance)





SHAW, Eustace Herbert - Natal Carbineers
of Talavera Umgeni County; rejoined on the outbreak of war;
one of the defenders of Ladysmith who died near this spot 19th February 1900, aged 36 years
'True Soldier: True Son: True Brother'







SMITH, David Guthrie - Trooper, ILH
died of wounds 12th Nov 1899, aged 23 years





Photographs: Dixon-Smith

For more on Intombi enter that term in this blog's search facility


Monday, January 19, 2015

Intombi Cemetery Memorials, Ladysmith: Anglo-Boer War 1899 17


RAW, SW - Trooper, Natal Carbineers
d. Intombi Jan 11th 1900 aged 23
'Not gone from memory, not gone from love, but gone to his father's home above'






1st & 2nd Battn. King's Royal Rifles
Obelisk in memory of N.C.O's and Riflemen who died of wounds or disease during the Siege of Ladysmith between 2nd November 1899 and 28th February 1900; this stone is erected as a token of affection and regard by their Comrades
Arm. Sgt, Cr. Sgt and Sergeants:

DELANEY, D
BOXALL, H
POCOCK, H
TURNER, W
LUCAS, C
Corporals:
HOPE, T
WHITE, H
STACEY, W
JACKSON, J
LITTLEBOY, C
YOUNG, W
PRIESTLEY, J
Lance Corporals:
AYRES, F
HARTE, T
HODSON, T
CHOUFFOTT, A
SCOTT, T
PEPPER, F
MASKELL, W
SOWDEN, T
Riflemen:
SPARSHOTT, H
ETHERINGTON, J
THOMAS, E
BUTLER, J
HULSE, W
BAXTER, C
SMITH, C
GOOCH, H
KIMPSON C
FENTON, R
CARNEY, J
SAUNDERS, E
SMITH, E
SMITH, T
SPENCER, A
THOMPSON, J
WALLIS, A
WHITEHEAD, J
WREAKS, W
BEEMAN, J
HERBERT, G
TAYLOR, C
BROGDEN, J
NEVILLE, H
BENNETT, R
AHERN, M
LONG, W
SILVEY, J
TAYLOR, E
MATTHEWSON, A
MUNN, A
CUNNINGHAM, W
ANDERSON, W
CONNOLLY, J
BARTON, FT
LEATHERBARROW, H
HALL, T
DOBBINS, A
BROWN, C
DONEGAN, T
NASON, W
KITCHING, T
ALLSOPP, H
O'HEARN, M
KNEE, W
CLARKE, F
WESTGATE, A
IGGLEDON, S














The Queen's South Africa Medal
(QSA) would have been awarded to all the
men mentioned in these memorials at Intombi.



Photographs: Dixon-Smith

For more on Intombi enter that tern in this blog's search facility




Sunday, January 18, 2015

Intombi Cemetery Memorials, Ladysmith: Anglo-Boer War 1899 16





PRICE-DENT, PH (or F?) - Captain, Devonshire Regt.
d. of wounds received in action Jan 1st 1900
Siege of Ladysmith
Aged 30 years
'R.I.P.'




Royal Army Medical Corps, Natal Army
killed in action or died from wounds or disease
Boer War 1899-1902 'R.I.P.'

Majors:
WALKER, CP
MINNIEGE, J
GRAY, EW
HILLIARD, G (C.M.G.)
Captains:
HUGHES, MI
HOLT, RHE
WALKER, GS
Lieuts:
JONES, GWG
ONRAET, HB
WARING, W Major, Militia M.S.C.
HALL-OWEN, J, Capt. Vict. M.M.S.
HALL, AW, V.M.C. Lieut
STOKES, W, Consulting Surgeon
Civil Surgeons:
IRVINE, R
PRESTWICK, J
SMITH, E
WICKER, S
Nursing Sisters:
CALCLEIGH, J
CHOWN, SC
FATHERS, L
GARDINER, EM
TRERESA (?)
WATKEN, WH, Sgt Maj
2nd Class Staff Sergeants:
BARRY, R
BLACKFORD, J
JARVIS, CW
WILMOT, J
Sergeants:
BRIGHT, J
BRINGESS, H
MURRAY, R
Corporals:
BISHOP, A
GRAY, H
READ, A
SCARLETT, WA
UNDERWOOD, H
Privates:
AYRIS, S
BEESTON, AH
BINNS, H
CHEETHAM, S
COTTON, D
COWLAND, R
FISHER, I
FOSTER, J
FROST, H
GALE, EH
GIBSON, W
GREENOW, J
HAROLD, HW
HAYNES, M
HEWLETT, W
HORTON, ES
HORTON, J
LAMB, WF
MAPLEY, AH
MAPKLEY, W
MARSH, S
MOON, A
PHILLIPS, T
RODWELL, J
SIBERRY, J
SOUTHAM, A
SPENCE, A
SWAIN, WI
THRUSH, F
VANDRILL, H
WHARTON, T
WILLIAMSON, G
WILSON, D
WOOD, FG










Note: The Royal Army Medical Corps was formed in 1898 by amalgamating the Medical Staff (officers) and Medical Staff Corps (men). A surgeon, with a small staff, was attached to every unit. At his disposal were trained ambulance men (2 for each company). Every brigade of infantry or cavalry had a medical company, each in action being divided into an ambulance section, a collection station, the ambulances and a dressing station. Wounded were brought to the dressing stations by the ambulances and ambulance men, and after being treated were passed on, if necessary, to field hospitals. A field hospital was attached to every division, and to the corps troops. In all, an army corps had 10 field hospitals, each of which had room for 100 sick or wounded. The war was to highlight inadequacies of the medical corps.
Apart from caring for the wounded and sick, RAMC responsibilities included hygiene, sanitation, monitoring water supplies, etc. It was in this area that the army was found wanting. Sickness was to cause more deaths than military action in the Anglo-Boer War.


Photographs: Dixon-Smith

For more on Intombi enter that term in this blog's search facility


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Souvenir Saturday: the barque Priscilla and Thomas Alfred Gadsden





The clipper barque Priscilla which brought my great great grandfather, Thomas Alfred  Gadsden, to Natal in June 1863. The Priscilla, one of the earliest of the White Cross clippers (others were the Silvery Wave, the Verulam, Isabella Hartley and Burton Stather) was a frequent visitor to the Colony during the 1860s and 70s.

Advertisements in The Natal Mercury reveal that the Priscilla in November 1863 made the fastest passage then on record from Natal to England, i.e. 52 days.



For more on her captain, Brown, see
http://molegenealogy.blogspot.com/2013/04/souvenir-saturday-captain-george-brown.html

.For more on Thomas Alfred Gadsden and Priscilla see Keeper of the Bluff Light:
http://molegenealogy.blogspot.com/2014/08/keeper-of-bluff-light-thomas-alfred.html


Acknowledgement: Tom Chivers


Intombi Cemetery Memorials, Ladysmith: Anglo-Boer War 1899 15




PEARCE, FW - Trooper, Imperial Light Horse
d. 1 Feb 1900
(Plaque on ILH Wall of Remembrance)





PEARSON, Reginald W - Lieut. 2nd Batt Rifle Brigade
d. 22 Feb 1900 aged 23 years
'Rest in peace, Beloved, Until the day break, and the shadows flee away'





PLATT, Cecil Sherman - 2nd Lieut. 5th Dragoon Guards
of Barnby Manor, Nottinghamshire
d. at Ladysmith on January 8th 1900 serving with his regiment during the Siege of Ladysmith, aged 22 years








Photographs: Dixon-Smith

For more on Intombi enter that term in this blog's search facility