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Page was buried under a thorn tree about yards from a Boer trench! The Guild of Loyal Women was formed towards the end of the war to locate graves, compile registers and mark the graves with metal crosses.


Their work continued until Unfortunately few records were kept by this volunteer organization. Since then they have been succeeded by no less than 5 organizations adding to the complexity of research.

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Meanwhile Cameron rests in the tranquility of a beautiful nature preserve surrounded by the wonder of nature as birds and antelope keep company. I was fortunate to have a lively crowd with plenty of thought provoking questions, and thank you to David Judd who facilitated the event. I belong to a committee called Norfolk Remembers who through books published by our members, fund remembrance programs in Norfolk County. Recently our organization was awarded by Norfolk Cou I am proud to belong to Norfolk Remembers. Currently our group is working on a book on the soldiers from Norfolk County who made the ultimate sacrifice in WW2.

Of special interest are the students of local High Schools who have each " adopted" a soldier and will write a chapter on their " adopted" fallen soldier. It is great to see the next generation picking up the mantle to never forget those who gave up their lives in all Canada's wars.

The Royal Canadian Regiment

Some 6, Americans fought on the British side and over joined the Boer cause. Most that fought on the British side were veterans of the Spanish- America War and fighting on the Plains against the Indians. Many came from the South West and Texas. There were about 7, Americans living in South Africa in the late 19th Century,many working on the gold mines of the Transvaal. Others cross In the same unit was "Arizona Kid" John Foster, who came over as a horse handler and promptly deserte d to join the Boer side.

The Irish Brigade was noted as a notorious outfit,renowned for their lawless ways. John King would gain infamy when after The Battle of Spion Kop captured an old friend and by all accounts embraced and shared yarns as any old friends do. However to the horror of all onlookers John then pulled out his pistol and shot his fellow countryman dead! With friends like that who needs enemies?

Battle Lines: Last Boer War Veteran

Most Americans fought on the side of Britain mostly as scouts in irregular units. The Boer War was one of the most wasteful wars for horses and some , died in a war for their service to their human masters.

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The Boers were all mounted, and used their horses as mounted infantry, switching their attack constantly and thus achieving local superiority and surprise. The British and colonial forces were mostly infantry and were no match for the highly mobile Boer forces as they appeared and disappeared at will, creating havoc with the Brit The British did have big magnificent horses that were used as cavalry that rode into battle making easy target for Boer artillery, machine guns and rifle fire.

Those that survived died anyway from poor husbandry and poor forage. Eventually Britain requested it's colonies to send mounted infantry which did a lot to rectify the situation. Britain did experiment in converting their infantry to mounted infantry. Unfortunately they made poor horsemen and with scant knowledge on how to care for their poor horses, their horses died leaving the British soldiers infantry again. With so many horses meeting an untimely end horses were procured from all over the world, some 55, were imported from America, along with hundreds of Texas cowboys who decided to join in a good fight.

The British persevered with their beloved cavalry into the Great War with no less success, and it would appear that horses had fought their last battle. Northern Afghanistan is mountainous with narrow switchback trails, with a drop of over feet in many instances. The objective for American and Northern Alliance fighters was the capture of the vital communications center of Mazar-i-Sharif. However a surprise awaited the American special forces.

The only means of quick transport was horses! Most of the Americans had never ridden a horse,however there was no option. The Afghanistan horses were all evil tempered beasts, kicking, biting and rearing. Afghani saddles were wooden boards hinged by goat skin, small to accommodate much smaller Afghani men. All Afghani horses were stallions as no Afghani man would ride a mare! Eventually McClellen and Australian saddles were airdropped to the American special forces. Some 21 Boer War veterans rose in rank to become Generals in World War One, however thousands of other Boer War veterans volunteered for World War One, imparting vital experience to " green" soldiers entering the ranks for the Great War.

John, forever restless, joined a British unit the 25th Royal Fusiliers, better known as the Frontiersmen for service in German East Africa, today known as Tanzania. John was back in Africa surrounded by many veterans of the Boer War including his battalion commander Colonel Driscoll. The 25th Royal Fusilliers were known as the "Old and the bold" as they were mainly older. Sadly John was killed by a German sniper near Bukoba and buried near where he fell. The account of John's death was recorded by his platoon commander the famous big game hunter Fredrick Courtney Selous, himself a Boer War veteran and a not so young 68 year old.

At some point in time John's remains were exhumed and reburied in the military war cemetery in Dar -Es - Salaam.


Unlike the famous battlefields of France John's last resting place is seldom if ever visited in an equally little known battle of The Great War. John's wife Mary never remarried. When researching my chapter on Francis "Frank" Coombs, I was privileged to meet his Grand daughters, Judy and Lynn who traveled a few hours to meet with me. Frank died in and is buried in Pinecrest Cemetery in Ottawa.

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  • Judy and Lynn both had living memories of their Grandfather. With them they brought many photographs and more importantly Frank's diary from his time in the Boer War. The diary was very small, not more than 5 inches square and written in pencil. With the pas In his diary Frank mentioned on a number of occasions, Church parade on Sundays when the Hymn " Onward Christian Soldiers" was always performed. Frank found this tiresome and irksome. Sometimes he would write," oh no, not again". In his own way Frank was pushing back, as many soldiers do against the military establishment.

    Any army, then and now try to impose their ways on the lowly soldier and stifle individualism. Frank's little act of rebellion against conformity made him that much more human, and his diary and letters released the essence of Frank the individual human being. Frank went on later to author and publish a number of books. One of his books was titled " Runaway Train". One of the questions asked was who were the Boers? The Boers is the Dutch name for farmers. The farmers or Boers are of obviously Dutch descent from the Dutch settlement at the tip of Africa in Many thanks to Donna Stewart a friend and neighbor who has posted articles, photo's and set up the Boer War face book page.

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    Many thanks to the Port Dover Maple Leaf for the article informing their readers, and for publishing of my article. Also to the Norfolk Historical Society for the poster that promoted my talk on Oct.

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    Painted horses was a name used to camouflage horses to make them more difficult to spot on the veldt. Not sure what dye they used, perhaps tea which was used to stain clothing or other colored accoutrements that would attract the attention of Boer snipers. In writing my book I tried to reach descendants of those Canadians who fought in Canada's first war of the 20th Century. I was very fortunate to interview the daughter of a soldier who fought in the Boer War. When his first wife died of cancer he remarried and a daughter was born in She had first hand memories of her father as he eventually passed on in I was pleased to incorporate her memories in my book.

    It would be in accordance with the fitness of things if the townspeople were given an opportunity of publicly welcoming Corporal Hull back to his native town. Mr Smith Bell was struck by the simplicity and humanity of the party, and speaks in high terms of the King's great interest in the men. Corporal Hull, who was also present with his parents, is now a policeman at Leeds. His mother was delighted that His Majesty should remember the circumstances under which her boy won his VC, and speaks highly of the welcome they received. On 12th March at Neuve Chapelle, France, his unit was ordered into an advance on the German trenches across no-man's land which was covered by machine guns and strewn with barbed wire.

    For further activities on the Western Front he was awarded the Military Cross. He later achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. On 16th August at Langemarck, Belgium, when all the company officers were lost, Private Edwards, without hesitation and under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire from a strong concrete fort, dashed forward at great personal risk, bombed through the loopholes, surmounted the fort and waved to his company to advance.

    On 10th April at Erquinghem Lys, France, Private Poulter, who was acting as a stretcher-bearer, on 10 occasions carried badly wounded men on his back through particularly heavy artillery and machine-gun fire. Nowadays,the Band has 34 musicians and within its ranks there are many fine soloists. Most of the members play two instruments and have very varied repertoire from Johann Sebastin Bach to music from the latest top West End shows. They regularly perform in prestigious London hotels as both a cabaret and display marching band,or dance and rock band.

    The Band can also provide a String Quarte,a Brass Quintet as well as a spectacular in demand at home and abroad. Musicians are drawn from academies,famous brass bands and technical colleges.