It was printed in Preston, chiefly covered Preston and district, but included items from much of the north-west of England.
Private Joseph Albert Brierley, 1st West Yorkshire Regiment
A NELSONIAN IN LADYSMITH.
Writing to his mother, who lives at 57, George-street, Nelson, Private Jos. Albert Brierley, 1st West Yorks Regiment, who has been imprisoned in Ladysmith, says, "they had two or three funerals nearly every day owing to the spread of enteric and dysentery." The writer says he has not been seized with either of the illnesses, and thanks God for it. He describes the privations that the defenders of Ladysmith endured, and in a very brief letter says "he wishes he was out of this hole." Lancashire Daily Post, Friday 25th May 1900
Our portraits are of two young Australians serving in South Africa, who have received commissions in the British army.Lieutenant Pritchett has been appointed to the 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, and Lieutenant J. M. Dougall to the 1st Battalion Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. Lancashire Daily Post, Wednesday 23rd May 1900
Noting a couple of OZs and a lad in one of IL's favourite Regiments (West Yorks), here goes -
Private Joseph Albert Brierley (1WYorks) Wo100/175 page 198 shows "5105 Pte. A(?) J(?) Brierley" with clasp entitlement Tugela Heights, Relief of Ladysmith, Laings Nek, Orange Free State and Transvaal. Bit difficult to read the initial on the roll. Clearly, he was not actually in Ladysmith according to the roll (assuming that the editor of the LDP got it right) and he may have described the plight of the defenders once the siege was lifted.
Lt. Pritchett. Oz-Boer says Lt. Walter Penrose Pritchett was one of five Victorian officers commissioned in SA for the Gloucestershire Regt. around 3/1900. Ops in Natal, 1900, ORC 1900, Queen's medal with two clasps. Later, he remained with the Regiment, served in India and Died of Wounds in France, 26/12/14 aged 35 years.
Lt. J.M.Dougall. Services of Officers says Lt. John Mitchell Dougall, of QOCH, a native Scot, emigrated to Victoria, Australia in 1882. Commissioned in QOCH 3/00. Ops in the Transvaal, May/June 1900, ops in the Transvaal October to May 02, ops in Cape Colony 5/02. Queen's Medal with six clasps. Oz-Boer refines that somewhat; four clasps on his QSA (CC, OFS, Joh, DH) and SA01/02 on his KSA. Reported by family to have been an ADC to Lord Kitchener. Extensive service in WW1. Died 1926 and buried at South Head cemetery, Sydney. Next time I am there, I will post a pic.
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Lance Corporal George Nash, 1st King's Own Scottish Borderers
Lance-Corporal George Nash, of the 1st King's Own Scottish Borderers, a native of Lancaster, and son of the late Mr. James Nash, and of Mrs. Nash, Green Ayre, Lancaster, is another of the old boys of the National School doing duty for the Queen and country in South Africa. His home is in Hull, where he was engaged as a warder in Hedon Gaol*, when called upon as a Reservist to rejoin the colours; leaving behind him a wife and four children. He has had some 15 years' service, and went through the campaign in Upper Burmah. Besides being a fighting man he is skilled in the military telegraphic service. At the time of writing he was doing duty with the Military Hospital Police, at the base hospital, Woodstock. He describes his experiences as follow (part of the letter being on the special notepaper adorned with the Canadian crest, which shows how admirably our colonies look to the wants of our soldiers): - "We sailed from Southampton on the 4th January, and arrived out here on the 26th. I was sent in charge of six men as policemen to a place called Woodstock. Six more have joined us from the Highland Brigade, who were all wounded at Magersfontein, but now, happily, recovered. A few weeks ago we had no less than 70 sick Boer prisoners in this hospital; we have now 46. I was on duty at the station when Cronje landed. I was close to him; there was a cordon of sentries all round the station. Two days after 4,000 prisoners arrived - a bright looking lot, and no mistake. The majority has gone to St. Helena. My regiment has done some severe fighting, being specially praised by Lord Roberts in one engagement - Karee. We lost 72 men killed and wounded and four officers. It was a few miles outside Bloemfontein. 'Cocker' (another Lancastrian) was in it, and will tell you all about it. I expect going up again any day. Out of 1,140 of us that came out with the regiment there are only 720 left, the remainder being killed, wounded, and invalided home. I saw Billy McMullen (1st East Lancashire Regiment, another Lancastrian), he was invalided down from the front, and stayed here about a month. He got a job as policeman at Green point, but he volunteered for the front to get out of it. I was sorry when he went, because his presence made it like old times again. We shall all be glad when it is over, and we get back to old England. They can all stop in Africa that wants, but not me. There is a scheme on board for allowing reservists to settle down after the war, and a fine lot have given in their names. They tell me they can't get a bit of tobacco at the front, and are smoking tea leaves. Don't send me anything out in the way of parcels; it is all waste money."
Captain L. Head, East Lancashire Regiment. Died of wounds received at the Zand River.
Lancashire Daily Post, Friday 18th May 1900
Acting Bombardier W. P. Charnley, Royal Field Artillery
BOMBARDIER W. P. CHARNLEY.
To the list of Prestonians who have laid down their lives in the cause of their country has been added the name of Acting-Bombardier W. P. Charnley, son of the late Mr. W. E. Charnley. Enteric fever, which has lately been working such great execution among our troops in South Africa, claimed him, along with many other victims, and the sad news of his death at Bloemfontein on the 4th inst., conveyed to his mother at Dove-avenue, Penwortham, by a War Office telegram, came as a terrible blow to the household. Although only in his 20th year at the time of his death, the young soldier lived long enough in Preston to win the esteem of a large circle of friends, who, while feeling the loss themselves, will sympathise deeply with those most deeply concerned. Joining the Militia in January, 1899, young Mr. Charnley sailed for the seat of war on the 21st of the corresponding month of the present year. Out there he has been engaged as acting bombardier with the 2nd Battery Royal Field Artillery, and though fever cut short his active service, he experienced some of the hardships and dangers of warfare, as will be seen from the following letter, which did not reach his mother until after the news of his death, and in which he remarks that he would be quite prepared to go through a long campaign so long as he had good health. Unhappily his health, unlike his courage, failed.
The letter mentioned, which he remarks is written 20 miles north of Bloemfontein, says: - "You will have seen by the papers about the Battery being in action at Arundel, and it was an engagement, too. We started that morning about three o'clock, and found the Boers about 10 miles away. They commenced banging away at us before we had time to look round, and it was very uncomfortable having shells and bullets whizzing about. One of them burst very near our gun, and it was a wonder it did not kill the lot of us. It is now, I should say, about 1 30, and we have just had dinner - at least dinner by name. We have had boiled mutton - not the boiled mutton that you have, with boiled potatoes, &c. - but dirty, greasy looking stuff. There are about 9,000 Boers around this camp where we are at present, but they are not strong enough to attack us, but I believe there will be a big battle here shortly. It has done nothing but rain for the last three days, which makes it very hard for us, as we have no tents, but only a blanket and waterproof sheet. I am wet through now. I am writing this letter underneath a gun. I cannot change because I have only one lot of clothes. I shall have to wait until the sun dries them, and if it does not come out to-day, then of course they will remain wet. Everything is wet through, saddles, horses, and men. We have no tobacco, hardly enough to eat, and are wet through to the skin. We have plenty of money, but cannot spend it, and I am covered with mud, and there you see all that is left of me. Sounds nice doesn't it? We have never had a chance to spend any money at all. I expect in about two weeks we shall march to relieve Mafeking with Lord Roberts, whom we are with at the present, but I don't think he will make any further move just now. I can assure you that we do not know half the news that the people do in England. We had a very hard march to Bloemfontein, and the horses were properly done up. We had to shoot several on the way. We never saw a white man for three weeks; all n______, and such little ugly beggars too. They live in little round huts, and about 20 in a hut, and what they live on I cannot possibly tell you. The Boers are about four miles from us at the present time, and our outposts keep capturing Boer prisoners, and they are glad to be captured, for the simple reason they can get more to eat when they are with us. We have such a lot of sickness in the Battery, enteric fever and dysentery being rife, and one or two have pegged out. According to the opinion of the officers the war will not be over for some months, but I do not care in the least how long it is if I only have good health. There is nothing that jiggers a chap up so much as being sick. I have not received any tobacco or pipes. Please send everything registered, then I shall be sure to get them. It is a shame, and everybody says so, how poor Tommy is treated. You should see how the people cheer us at the towns we pass through. We passed through Jagersfontein, where are the De Beers and several other diamond mines, and saw them sorting out the diamonds. We captured two guns and about 1½ tons of ammunition down one of these mines. I cannot say more at present, but will write again, as it is now raining in torrents." Lancashire Daily Post, Wednesday 16th May 1900
No record of a W. P. Charnley, but a William Rendell Charnley's birth in the second quarter of 1880 was recorded in the Preston registration district.
Palmer has it that Capt. Leonard Head died 11/5/1900 at Bloemfontein of wounds received the previous day at Zand River. Entered East Lancs. Regt. 2/88, served as Captain with Chitral Relief Force and in South Africa was with the 7th Div. in the advance to Bloemfontein. Stirling comments that at the crossing of the Zand River, the Regiment "did their portion of their task well".
Further, same source has "33930 Bdr. W.P.Charnley of 2 Bty., RFA" died of disease at Bloemfontein 4/5/00. 2Bty. RFA roll confirms clasps Cape Colony and Orange Free State and "Acting/Bombardier".
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Prompted by the picture of Private Brierley, I went though the roll for the West Yorkshire Regiment to double check there were no Defence of Ladysmth clasps. As IL shows, the WYR were involved in the relief and not the defence of Ladysmith and no one from that regiment participated in the defence.