The number of British and Colonial casualties created by the Boer War was too many for the Royal Army Medical Corps to manage so additional staff were recruited to assist. In addition to private hospitals that donated equipment and staff and other provision, a unit called the Imperial Hospital Corps was raised in Natal. I believe the many of the staff would have been locally recruited but it would have also included people displaced during the war.
The Imperial forces organised hospitals throughout the war zones and referred to these by number hence the No 15 General Hospital.
djb wrote: You're right. It is a Port Sunlight box so might it contain soap from their Wirral factory (established 11 years before)?
Interesting piece taken from 'Advertising Today and Tomorrow,' by W. A. Evans, which shows that Sunlight Soap was available in South Africa from the 1890s: - "William Hesketh Lever (the first Lord Leverhulme), in 1891, sent a pavement artist to advertise Sunlight Soap, appoint new agents and carry out sampling operations. The artist's name was Carroll, and, after an initial setback when he failed to get permission to have 'Sunlight Soap' written on Table Mountain in letters large enough to be read by everyone in the city of Cape Town, he reached Port Elizabeth determined to cause a sensation rather than risk a second refusal, he acted without asking for permission for what he was doing. Thus it was that two days after Carroll's arrival Port Elizabeth woke up to find the words 'Sunlight Soap' stencilled neatly at regular intervals on both pavements of its main street. Naturally enough, the publicity was immense, and Carroll coolly answered the mayor's answer by promising that, if he had offended any of the city's bye-laws, he would pay for the removal of the signs: 'Mr Mayor, buy a case of Sunlight Soap, and set your men to work.' The mayor was mollified, and the signs were scrubbed out - by the very product they advertised."
From 'Consuming Traditions: Modernity, Modernism, and the Commodified Authentic,' by Elizabeth Outka: - "In a letter published in Progress[the company magazine], a soldier in the Boer War writes 'I was on patrol the other day in the direction of Colesburg, riding by myself. I was thinking about dear old England, and the old folks at home. Suddenly I came across the remains of a Boer laager, and being a Lancashire lad hailing from the birthplace of Sunlight Soap I was astonished at seeing an empty Sunlight box. I cannot describe the feeling that came over me. It brought with it recollections of old times and of the old home.' "
"Modder River, South Africa, 21, 12, 99.
Dear Father and Mother, - ………..We live very well out here, but if we want to buy anything in the town it costs a bit. Fancy Sunlight soap 1s. a tablet, matches 3d. a box, and condensed milk 1s. 6d. a tin...…" The Hampshire Advertiser, Wednesday 24th January 1900
From a letter by Private J. E. Brown, 2nd West Yorkshires, to his parents, at Copmanthorpe, York: - "We are only about six miles from Majuba, and yesterday we had quite a picnic there. About 300 of us went up to the top and were well rewarded for the toil of climbing by the magnificent panorama we could see from the top. One man with a sense of the humorous strong within him planted a board on the topmost point, 'Use Sunlight Soap.' " The Yorkshire Herald, Saturday 21st July 1900
From a letter by a lady living in Blaauwbank, North Western Transvaal, to her brother in Manchester: -
"It would amuse some of our friends to hear of a valuable present I had the other day; Mr. _____ brought me a pat of Sunlight soap and a candle! How we rejoiced in that soap. I cut it into quarters so that we might all have a refreshing wash. We have now plenty of Boer soap, but it makes no lather and smells a good deal of butter." Manchester Courier, Saturday 2nd November 1901