Wigan Observer and District Advertiser 1900



Friday April 13th 1900


Among those killed in the successful engagement which Lord METHUEN’S force fought on Thursday last near Boshof was Sergeant Patrick CAMPBELL of the Imperial Yeomanry, husband of the celebrated actress Mrs Patrick CAMPBELL.

It seems that BURNHAM the American scout was captured by the Boers at Thaba N’chu. He managed to escape and after wandering around for two days reached the camp of the 12th Lancers. BURNHAM says that the Boers expressed their intention to him of fighting on.

In sending his return of casualties at the battle near Reddersburg on the 3rd and 4th inst, Lord ROBERTS says the enemy were reported to be 3,200 strong with five guns, while our strength was only 167 mounted infantry and 424 infantry, We had two officers killed and two wounded, and eight non-commissioned officers and men killed and thirty three wounded. Eight officers and all the remaining rank and file were captured by the Boers.

From Aliwal North it is reported that BRABANT’S Colonial Division at Wepener has captured five prisoners and 400 rifles. The Irish Rifles are falling back on Beeste Kraal from Rouxville, and Boer commandos are reported to be moving both east and west of Rouxville.

Correspondents with Lord ROBERTS say works and trenches have been prepared in suitable positions around Bloemfontein, and that extra precautions are being taken to secure the lines of communication, particularly the railway bridges. The enemy have been seen about 1,000 strong in the vicinity of Glen station to the north east, they are known to be laagered, in considerable force, with guns near Dunkerspoort, 18 miles to the south east, another body being nearer Bloemfontein, and both places about 6 to 10 miles east of the railway. Small parties of Boers were seen on Sunday to the west of the town, towards Venters Vlei.

From Ladysmith it is reported that the Boers have mounted a big gun on Knights Hill, north of Elandslaague and another is in the vicinity of Wessels Nek station. They are also reported to be strongly entrenched at Helpmakaar.


A special correspondent of the “Times” describing Lord ROBERTS entry into Bloemfontein says, “Amid the good work done that is right to mention that carried our by two departments that night easily escape notice. The telegraph staff under Captain Godfrey FAUSETT, has wrestled successfully with a heavy demand upon it. To set up an aerial line or trail an earth wire day after day in advance of headquarters, and to keep it in efficient working order in spite or wilful interruptions, or, what is far commoner , the accidental breaks caused by wind, wandering animals, or even, as in a recent case, excessively stupid men, over 100 yards of veldt, is a great achievement, and one for which thanks are due from correspondents more than from others, especially when they have met with the utmost courtesy and consideration from all therewith connected. The other department to which reference has been made is that of the army chaplains” - Captain Godfrey FAUSETT is a nephew of Colonel FARINGTON, Wigan.


Mrs SCALLY of Low Square, Hardybutts has received a letter from her son. Tom, who is with General BULLER’S force. He says that at the time of writing they were in Pietermaritzburg, after 2mths hard fighting and marching, they were having a weeks rest. The first fight they were in was at Spion Kop, where they lost about 80. They retired from there and advanced in another place, but found by the balloon that the Boer position was too strong, Then came the retirement to Chieveley - three days marching in the burning sun. It was hard seeing the men falling in faints due to the heat. They camped at Chieveley a day, and then advanced to Colenso. They had three days hard fighting, and then the Devons charged the Boers while they were at dinner, and made them fly. The Devons sat down and ate what the Boers had cooked, as if nothing had happened. It was surprising to see the Boer trenches. They had a tunnel driven through a small hill, and rails laid, and ran their “Long Tom” in, fired, and ran it back again. The British gunners would never have found it. The Boers must have been working a long time at this position, for it was about 10 or 12 miles long, but the British shifted them. The Boers had positions all the way between Colenso and Ladysmith. They had a fine one on a green hill, and on Majuba day their regiment crept up by the river to the foot of the hill. The Boers did not see them till they got the order to charge them. Up the British went, thinking of nothing till they got up in the trenches. They took about 100 prisoners. One of them said, “For God’s sake don’t go up there. There are women in the trenches.” When they did go up they found two women in one trench, one dead, the other had her left breast blown off by a shell. There were some awful sights. That charge relieved Ladysmith - the Boers did not stop, and the British Cavalry got into the town the same night.


Private ARROWSMITH of the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade was in Ladysmith during the siege, writing to his brother, Harvey Lane, Golborne, he says he had shed many a tear during the night when he was thinking of his friends back home. Not that he was afraid of the Boers, but thinking of the good old times he had, had, with them at home. It seems he was not born to have a bullet or a shell from this big cannon. He was not boasting about being alive, as he had been shot once through the sleeve of his jacket, only just rubbing the skin off his arm. He was very lucky, and could keep on with the fighting. This was on the 6th of January. They had one of the biggest fights in February which lasted over 17hrs, and it would not had ended then if it had kept daylight. He prayed for darkness to come. The British losses were 300 killed and wounded. It took place on Saturday and on Sunday the Boers came with a flag of truce to bury their dead. They allowed them to do so, but, during the night they [the British] gathered the dead Boers and stacked them up as large as haystacks at the foot of the hill they had been fighting on. They mounted sentries during the night and the rest of the men got a few hours sleep the best they could, but, it was not so comfortable, as they had to be down among dead Boers, and being hot during the day they began to stink a little. He did not mind it, for they had given the Boers a severe slaughtering that day. He had been In Ladysmith four months in siege and for the last two months it had been a case of starvation, as they had lived chiefly on horse and mule beef, and 4oz of meal bread a day. He had never had a clean shirt on or a wash for over two months, as water as scarce as food. But, thank God, they had got relieved at last, and he thought the Boers were nearly finished with at last, the cowards. They are sending the troops of Ladysmith down the country for their health, and gain strength back, as they look a lot of restless carcases they have scarcely got the strength to walk about, but they were getting good food since they were relieved. On one occasion he happened to be firing close to a dead Boer, and he noticed he had on a new pair of kid boots on, so he took them off him and put them on his own feet, as his were very old ones, and he could not get any more any other way, so they in England could see he had not much pity for a dead Dutchman. When he came home he would have a fine breast of medals. He had three now, and one he had been fighting for. The commanding officer told them that their battalion was coming home to England when they were restored to health and strength, and they hoped that would be in a month or two.


Mrs FOWLE, of 97 Hampton Rd, Southport, formerly of Parbold, has received another letter from her son, Will, who is serving with the Canadian contingent in South Africa. He writes from Bloemfontein as follows :-

Bloemfontein, March 16th 1900

It is with a good deal of pride that I write the above address. We have been aiming for here ever since we left Graspan a month ago, and all that time we have had extraordinary hard work, hard fighting, hard marching, bivouacking every night on the open veldt, or doing outpost duty on the kopjes, some nights sleeping with the blankets only, some with great coats only, and sometimes without either, in which case we should have to keep on fires all night and pass a miserable time as pleasantly as possible, then, to make the matter worse, we have been short of rations all that time.. So after our hardships you can easily understand how glad we were to arrive here, where we can get enough to eat and have a rest for a few days. We commenced our last move last Sunday morning, marching 22 miles and on Wednesday noon we struck the railroad five miles south of Bloemfontein, having marched over 60 miles in four days, and yesterday morning marched in here. We did not get the honour of being first on the scene, as General FRENCH took the town a few days ago. I have not been in town as yet, as only five percent of the regiment is allowed to pass at one time. But I believe the people are nearly all English that are in there now, and, of course, are very jubilant, and use our fellows very well. It is also a very pretty little town, but shall be able to describe it better later. I wrote you a short note about a week ago saying I had received a batch of letters from you and elsewhere, but don’t know whether you would get it or not. The news from here for the past few weeks might have been very cheering for you people in England after such a long suspense. For my part, I believe the war is just about ended. The Free State, anyway, is out of it any time, so taking everything into consideration, I think that we won’t have much longer to stay here. I am looking forward to being at home on my birthday, although that would only be by chance. Anyway the quicker we get out of here the better. That last march was a killer. I, as well as many others had boots that were altogether worn out and therefore suffering from sore feet. I am not going to write a long letter this time. I am too tired and shall have lots of other chances before I leave here, although I am orderly sergeant next week, and shall be going all the time.

Misc snippets

In the Boer trenches immediately after the trek from Magersfontein, the Senior Chaplain, The Rev E. P. LOWRY, writes :-

He found tons of stale biltong, English mustard was there - “good old English, with the famous Bull’s Head on the tin” i,e, Colmans Mustard - and every kind of dainty luxury from England that could be supplied in tins.


Colonel W. WOODS has presented each of the men of the 1st Volunteer Battalion Manchester Regiment, to which the Wigan companies belong, with khaki jerseys, the same as are worn by the Hants Carabineers, and which have elicited great approval.


It will be interesting to our Lower Ince friends to hear that Lieut BANNER of the Bury Militia and son of Mr J. S. Harmood BANNER, J.P, chairman of the PEARSON and KNOWLES Coal and Iron Co, Ltd, has been called out for active service in South Africa. He has been given a commission to the Princess Charlotte of Wales, Dragoon Guards and will leave for Natal. We are sure he will have the good wishes of the Lower Ince people with whom he is so popular.


Progress as to the formation of this corps was reported at the City Hall, Liverpool on Friday evening last week, when a numerous coterie of Caledonians responded to the committees invitation to attend a smoking concert. Among those present was Mr Hugh ROSS of the Clarence Hotel, Wigan. It was reported that it was to be a kilted regiment, and subsequently, Major General Hector MACDONALD was to be appointed honorary colonel. Some 800 had signified their intention of joining the corps.

Local men who lost their lives mentioned in newspaper obituaries

Local men who lost their lives mentioned in newspaper obituaries


Liverpool Mercury, Tuesday, November 7, 1899

LEVY, Oct 22nd at Mafeking, South Africa, from wounds received in his country’s cause, aged 33, Henry Julius, 6th son of Bernard and Rose Levy, this city and 20 Cresent Rd, Birkdale.

Liverpool Mercury, Tuesday, January 16, 1900

LYONS, Jan 9th Ladysmith, South Africa, 6006 Private Albert LYONS, 1st Liverpool Regiment, aged 23, only son of Walter Lyons, Old Swan, and grandson of the late John Lyons, rope manufacturer, Liverpool and Ditton.

Liverpool Mercury, Thursday, June 7, 1900

REW, May 30th, killed in action at Douglas, South Africa, aged 34, David REW, only son of the late John REW, Heathlands, Sefton Park

ROGERS, May 31st, Cairo, Col John ROGERS, C.B, Army Service Corps, a Pasha in the Eygyptian Army, 2nd son of the late William ROGERS of Chester and St Asaph.

Liverpool Mercury, Saturday, June 16, 1900

NICHOLLS, May 14th, Ladysmith, Natal, South Africa, of enteric fever, aged 23, Ernest Louis, youngest son of Elizabeth and the late John Nicholls. Of Liverpool

Liverpool Mercury, Thursday, June 21, 1900

BARRY, May 30th, killed in action at Douglas, South Africa, aged 31, George Ernest Muir BARRY, Lance Corpl 8th Bat, 23rd Company, Imperial Yeomanry [Lance Sgt Duke of Lancasters Own] only son of David Muir Barry, Carl Villa Roby.

BARRY, May 30th, killed in action at Douglas, South Africa, aged 31, George Ernest Muir BARRY, [Ernie] dear brother of E. M. Pilkington, 60 Albemarle Rd, Seacombe.

Liverpool Mercury, Thursday, July 26, 1900

KENYON, July 30th, Stationary Hospital, Newcastle, Natal, South Africa of Enteric fever, aged 28, Lieut William Henry KENYON, 2nd Vol Batt, Kings Liverpool Regt, attached to 1st Liverpool Regt, eldest son of T.R and S. H. Kenyon, West Derby

QUACK, July 8th, Dundee, Natal, South Africa, from enteric fever aged 25, Reginald Walter Quack of the Natal Police Field Force, son of Emil Quack this city.

Liverpool Mercury, Friday, November 9, 1900

SIMPSON, killed in this cruel war Oct 20th, at Frederickstad, Isidor Danby, aged 25, only son of Margaret Louisa and the late William Simpson of the Landing Stage

Liverpool Mercury, Tuesday, November 13, 1900

KERR, Nov 2nd, Kimberley S.A, aged 32, Trooper Thomas M. KERR [Pagets Horse I.Y] 2nd son of Catherine KERR, Mount Pleasant, Waterloo and the late Thiomas KERR this city.


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