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During the early part of 1899 a number of New South Wales Lancers went to England for special training - approximately 100 officers and men, with their passage paid by their own contributions and donations. Amongst these men were a number from Singleton - my grandfather and my husband's grandfather included. On the return journey the majority of the men disembarked at Capetown to help with the war which had broken out during the year; those who came back did so amidst a lot of controversy (the grandfathers included). Many others sailed direct to South Africa from Australia and the stories and experiences of the local men are related in their letter home to family and friends. Peg Richards...

******************** THE SINGLETON ARGUS

- Enselin 24/12/1899 - You must excuse me for not writing earlier. It is a difficult matter to obtain note paper. I paid 6d for one sheet and an envelope and thought myself fortunate in making such a bargain. We passed the Base of Operations on the 10th instant and were in the Front two days later, after travelling four days and nights on the train. The Australian Troops are all to be together. I have not seen Tom yet, but word came yesterday that he and a man named Moore are recommended for Victoria Crosses for rescuing an officer who was wounded and subsequently died. When the news was received her the New South Wales Troops gave me three ringing cheers in compliment of being a brother of one who had won a Victoria Cross - the officers also warmly congratulated me. We passed three battle fields on our journey and were just too late for the last battle, which was fought at Belmont, ten miles back from this place. An engagement also took place on this line, seven miles from here - when the Boars retreated we got their right flank and drove them back again. We captured 500 of them after three hours of hard fighting. It may seem incredible, but I can assure you after the first few shots are fired one takes no notice of the bullets whizzing past his head. I have captured three prisoners now while on out-post duty, I was so engaged last Monday night and met with a surprise. Two Boers were planted on my beat and as I was walking along they rushed at me. I promptly shot one of them in the right leg, and a comrade from Maitland, coming to the spot, we took them to the guard. We are going to the relief of Kimberly as soon as more re-enforcements arrive. - to his parents. ********************


Trooper Percy Morris of Singleton, who was with the column which captured Cronje and his party, writes from the spot, under date February 27th. ‘You will be surprised to learn that I was, last night, a prisoner in the Boer Camp. I had a remarkable experience. The New South Wales Mounted Infantry went out yesterday morning at 3am in a reconnoitering patrol. ********************