1899 - 1902



Anglo Boer War
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At Kimberley on November 4 things were still cheerful, though short commons had begun to be enforced. The Transvaalers advanced on Kenilworth, and Major  Peakman with a squadron of the Kimberley Light Horse, emerging suddenly from the bush gave them a warm reception: Colonel Scott-Turner reinforced Major Peakman, and two guns were sent to support him against the enemy's guns,  which at that juncture ceased firing. The enemy's fire with one piece of artillery was on the whole poor, and fortunately little serious damage was done. Later in the afternoon came another encounter with the enemy, an  encounter which was kept up till dusk, and in which the enemy sustained considerable loss. Unfortunately Major Ayliff of the Cape Police, a brave and efficient officer, was wounded in the neck. The Boers occupied the Kampersdam  mine, some five miles distant, and shelled the Otto Kopje mine, while the manager, Mr. Chapman, like a Spartan, watched the destruction of his property and kept Colonel Kekewich informed as to the damage done. This was luckily  small. On November 6 General Cronje sent a message to Colonel Kekewich calling on him to surrender, otherwise the town would be bombarded, and on the following day a force of Free State artillery, supported by a large commando,  began further offensive operations. Captain Brown, who rode out a short distance to Alexandersfontein, was captured, and stripped by the Boers because he would reveal nothing regarding the state of the town.

According to rough calculation, the opposing forces at Kimberley early in November stood thus:

Four companies of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment; battery of Royal Garrison Artillery, consisting of six 7-pounder mountain  guns; a large party of Royal Engineers; detachment of the Army Medical Corps..... 2500

In addition to these were the following irregular troops.

One battery Diamond Fields Artillery with six 7-pounder field guns, 3 officers  and 90 non-commissioned officers and men; Diamond Fields Horse, 6 officers and 142 noncommissioned officers and men; Kimberley Regiment, 14 officers and 285 non-commissioned officers and men..... 540

Free Staters, arid  probably some Transvaal Boers, with four field-guns, 3500; on Orange River, 2000; reinforcements from Mafeking, 1000.... 6500

The disparity was not enlivening, but, though provisions were beginning to run low, pluck was  inexhaustible. And with pluck, as with faith, one may move mountains.

On the 11th of November the bombardment of the town was commenced with great vigour, the Boers firing from three positions. Little serious damage was done,  owing to the fact that many of the shells did not burst. In spite of the incessant brawling of artillery, the perpetual appearance of fog, and a stinging pall of smoke in which they lived, the inhabitants of the place kept up  an air of cheery unconcern, which naturally they were far from feeling. They also determined to disquiet the enemy by continual threats of attack from unexpected quarters. With the spirit of philosophers they at times made  small divertisements for themselves. Once when a cooking-pot was struck the debris were put up to auction, and some fun was got out of the brisk competition for the historic relics. Some of the choicest of these were knocked  down-this time not by guns-for the sum of £2 a piece. The price of a compete shell was about £5, and portions of one could be purchased at proportionate rates. Bits and fragments fetched sums varying from half a crown to half a  sovereign!

Nothing further happened, save that a cabdriver was captured, interrogated, threatened, and finally set free. Commandant Wessels, who sounded him regarding the dynamite mines round Kimberley, concluded with the  message-a typical specimen of Boer braggadocio-" TAI Rhodes I shall take Wesselton mine next Tuesday, and then he must stand whiskies!"

On the 12th Lord Methuen, on whom all had pinned their faith,. arrived with his  staff at the Orange River. This was a red-letter day. The news of British relief so close at hand was most inspiriting, and those whose patience was inclined to languish began to take heart. In Kimberley itself the weather was  fine and warm, and as yet little in consequence from the shelling was suffered. A peacock was killed, some buildings damaged, some nervous persons terrified. The military authorities issued a proclamation ordering that all  people not engaged with the defensive forces should give up arms and ammunition, a decision that was found necessary to prevent irresponsible persons from infringing the laws of civilised warfare.

On the 17th of November a  force composed of detachments of the Diamond Fields Horse, Kimberley Light Horse, and Cape Police, under Colonel Scott Turner, went out with a field-gun and two Maxims to ascertain the strength of the enemy's position at  Lazaretto Ridge. The enemy, who were posted on a rocky mound between Carter's Farm and the reservoir, opened fire on the advancing men, who, though some vigorous volleys were returned, were obliged to retire. Meanwhile the  Beaconsfield Town Guard had a tussle with the foe,. and, after much firing on either side,. he eventually retired. As usual, he hid behind rocks and, stones, and made himself generally inaccessible. On the following day some  smart engagements ensued, and so brisk was the volleying from rifles and the booming of field-buns, that the townspeople believed that some decisive battle must be taking place. There were, however, few casualties.

All eyes  were now fixed on the doings of the Kimberley relief force that was concentrating at Orange River. A few more weeks, nay, a few more days, and those patient, cheery prisoners would march out free to have their reckoning with  the Boers. Lord Methuen, once joined by the Coldstream Guards, Grenadiers, and Naval Brigade, would be able to push on, and then the first big move in the war would be made. So they hoped, and with reason, for an electric  searchlight, worked by the Naval Brigade under Colonel Ernest Rhodes, was signalling to Kimberley, whose searchlights were plainly visible to the advancing army.

To the dreary imprisoned inhabitants this mode of communication  was vastly exciting. Every day the relief column was approaching nearer and nearer, and the patient though longing besieged began to feel as if they were already almost liberated. They commenced preparing an enthusiastic  welcome for the incoming troops, and ironical farewell salutations were now levied at the Boers in acknowledgment of shells and of their 'general artillery prowess. At that time, coming events-the disasters of Majesfontein and-  Colenso-had not cast their shadows before! Mr. Rhodes was particularly cheery, and took most whimsically to the information conveyed through Kaffir sources that the enemy

was keenly desirous of exhibiting him in a cage at  Bloemfontein prior to despatching him to Pretoria! The brutal manners and customs of the Boers, however, were no subject for joke, as shown by their treatment of four "boys" who were found and captured while searching  for stray cattle. After killing a couple of them, the enemy ordered the remaining two, having first flogged them, to bury the bodies of their comrades, and then go back to Kimberley and tell their friends how they had been  treated.

Boer tricks continued to be practised with little success. They served instead to sharpen the wits of the beleaguered Kimburlians-if one may be allowed to coin a word which seems to suit them. A few rifle-shots were  fired in the direction of Wright's Farm for the purpose of pretending that the long-looked-for relieving force was approaching, and thus draw out the Diamond Fields Horse; but the manoeuvre was a failure. The Boers consoled  themselves by blowing up two large culverts near the rifle butts on the line towards Spyfontein, where the bulk of the Boer forces were then supposed to be. An official estimate at that date (Nov. 25) placed the number of  shells fired by the Boers during the bombardment at 1000, while the number of shells fired by the British was 6oo. Owing to the fact that the hostile shells had so often fallen in sandy ground, their effect had been  neutralised. Experiments were made with "home-made" shells, or rather De Beers-made shells, which exploded to the general satisfaction of their manufacturers. Some of these were said to be labelled "With J. C.  Rhodes's compliments," but this was doubtless a cheery quip for the entertainment of the lugubrious, as Colonel Kekewich and the "Colossus" were too good men of business to waste their ammunition on pleasantries.  These two marvellous people were now working hand in hand, the great business brain of the one lending support to the military skill of the other. Mr. Rhodes placed at the disposal of the Colonel-one should say of his  country-the whole resources of De Beers, and worked without cessation for the welfare of the people, spending without stint, intellect, energy, and funds on their behalf When the mines ceased to work, he still paid full wages  to the 2000 white men employed on them, and laid out large vegetable gardens in the midst of Kenilworth for the purpose of supplying the inhabitants with green foods. He organised a mounted force of 6oo men, supplying them  himself with horses; and later on he instituted a service of native runners and scouts, which served to keep the garrison alert as to the whereabouts of the enemy. Indeed, space does not allow of a faithful recital of the  doings of this public benefactor, who, without display, made his influence felt in every quarter of the town.

Kimberley, as said, was now in communication by searchlight with Colonel Rhodes, and was racking its brains how an  attempt might be made from the east side to march out and assist the troops coming from Belmont. "So near and yet so far" was the general feeling in regard to these troops, and a burning desire for the hand clasp of  the gallant rescuers filled all the brave yet anxious hearts that for so long had been cut off from the outer world.

On the 25th of November there was unusual activity. The mounted troops at dawn made a strong reconnaissance  in force under Lieut. -Colonel Scott Turner. The guns were under the charge of Colonel Chamier of the Royal Artillery. Hostilities commenced with a hot fire from the Diamond Fields Artillery's guns under Captain May, in the  direction of Carter's Farm, Colonel Scott Turner with his troops marching towards Lazaretto Ridge, where the enemy was strongly entrenched. This took place at about 4.30 A.M. in the dusk of the early dawn. By good chance  the pickets were found to be asleep, and Colonel Scott Turner and his forces crept along the ridge and with marvellous energy rushed the Boer redoubts. On the instant rifles bristled-shots blazed out. But all was to no purpose;  the Boers had to surrender. They did this in their usual treacherous fashion, hoisting the white flag while they took stray pot-shots at their conquerors. This charge was one worthy of record, for few of the men who engaged in  it had ever used a bayonet in their lives. So little did they know of the weapon, that they were unable to fix it in the socket, and consequently rushed upon the enemy, rifle in one hand and naked blade in the other!

As  ill-luck would have it, there was a lack of ammunition, and the British attack could not be pressed home. Meanwhile the Royal Engineers on Otto Kopje were protecting the flanks, and a strong body of infantry with a mounted  force, field-guns and Maxims, were checking the advance of the enemy from Spyfontein. An armoured train, also, under Lieutenant Webster (North Lancashire Regiment), was reconnoitring north and south. The train (which was  supported by three half companies of the Beaconsfield Town Guard under Major Fraser) proceeded south of Kimberley, and held the enemy's reinforcements in check as they advanced from Wimbledon. Subsequently, owing to the brisk  firing of the Boer guns, it was decided to return to Kimberley, where Colonel Scott Turner, in consequence of his inability to hold the position he had stormed, was forced also to retire. But during the hot cannonade in which  our artillery was engaged with that o the enemy in all directions save Kenilworth, this gallant officer was wounded. First his horse was shot under him, then a bullet pierced the muscle of his shoulder. But he continued to  perform his duties regardless of the inconvenience caused by his wound. The Boers, as usual, paid no respect to the ambulance waggon, despite the obvious Red Cross flag which fluttered over it. They fired at it when they chose,  and, as some reported, used explosive bullets. Eight prisoners were captured, in addition to two wounded Boers.

The day's work on the whole was satisfactory, as it ably demonstrated that there was life in the garrison yet.  And this glorious activity was subsequently recognised in the following order.

"The officer commanding desires to thank all ranks who took part in to-day's engagement for their excellent behavior The garrison of  Kimberley have this day shown that they can not only defend their positions, but can sally out and drive the enemy from their entrenched positions. He deplores the loss of the brave comrades who have so honourably fallen in the  performance of their duty."

A second sortie of the same kind was attempted on the 28th of November, but with more disastrous results. The troops took the same direction as before-attacked the Boers, beat them back, and  captured their laager and three works. But, on attempting to take the fourth work, the enemy fought desperately, and Lieut.Colonel Scott Turner was killed. When Colonel Scott Turner fell, Lieutenant Clifford, North Lancashire  Regiment, who had more than Once distinguished himself assumed command of the Imperial Mounted Infantry, and, though wounded in the scalp, pluckily remained on duty till all was over.1

There was terrible grief in the garrison  at the loss of this splendid officer, the principal organiser of the Town Guards and the successful leader of so many skirmishes and sorties throughout the siege. The following special order was issued

"The officer  commanding has again to congratulate the troops of the garrison who engaged the enemy yesterday on their excellent behaviour and on the capture of the enemy's laager, with his supplies, ammunition, &C It was in every  respect a most creditable performance. He has also again to deplore the loss of many brave men who have fallen at the call of duty. It was with profound sorrow he learnt that Lieut. -Colonel Scott Turner was killed while  gallantly leading his men against the last stronghold of the enemy's defences. In Lieut.-Colonel Scott Turner the garrison of Kimberley loses a brave and most distinguished comrade, and the officer commanding feels sure the  whole population of Kimberley will join with them in mourning the loss of this true British officer, to whose skill and activity in the field is so largely due the complete success of our efforts to keep the enemy at a safe  distance from this town."

Major M. C. Peakman, an excellent and most dauntless officer, succeeded to the command of the Kimberley Light Horse in consequence of Colonel Scott Turner's death.

Lieutenant Wright of the  Kimberley Light Horse was killed, and among the wounded were Lieutenant W. K. Clifford (1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment), Captain Walleck (Diamond Fields Horse), and Lieutenant Watson (Kimberley Light Horse).

On the afternoon of the 29th of November, amid feelings of universal regret, the remains of  Colonel Scott Turner and others who fell in Tuesday's sortie were interred. The ceremony, so common in those days, was yet full of deep pathos. Round the graves stood Mr. Cecil Rhodes, Dr. Smart, the Mayor of Kimberley. Mr. and  the Hon. Mrs. Rochfort Maguire, and indeed the whole mournful community of the place. Six volleys were fired over the graves, six blasts blown on the bugle, and then a last prayer being said, they left them "alone in their  glory."

' Henry Scott Turner entered the Black Watch at the age of twenty in 1887. After taking part in the operations in Matabeleland in  1893-94, he was, in the latter year, placed on the "Special Extra Regimental Employment List,~ and in 1896 served with the Matabeleland Relief Force as adjutant and paymaster. For this service he was mentioned in  despatches and received a brevet majority. After serving with the British South African Police, Major Scott Turner was, last July, reappointed as a "Special Service Officer," and in that capacity had done  excellent service in Kimberley under Colonel Kekewich.

There was little bombardment after the 25th of November, and though not living on the fat  of the land, the garrison was not short of provisions. Mr. Rhodes, with characteristic forethought, now caused the formation of a committee to inquire into the resources of those dependent on the men killed, with a view to  compensating them for their loss, and in other ways exerted himself for the welfare of sufferers in the town.

Considerable friction occurred between the civil and military authorities. The clashing of wills was inevitable in  so small an area, for Colonel Kekewich represented military power, while Mr. Rhodes could be no other than he is, and ever has been-a power in himself. It was unfortunate that two such forces should have been placed in  collision, but it remains to the credit of both that, in spite of the tension of the situation, they should have co-operated to the end to save the town from the common enemy, and protect the interests and lives of all who, but  for this co-operation, might have suffered much more intensely than they did.

Early on the morning of the 9th of December a force with a battery under Colonel Chamier to whom the efficient and mobile condition of the  artillery was due-made a reconnaissance to the north. 'The Lancashire's Mounted Infantry and two guns were posted on Otto's Kopje while the Cape Police protected the Dam Wall. The Kimberley Light Horse in the centre  extemporised some rifle-pits out of some prospectors' huts in order to cover retreat when necessary.

The enemy were screened by the debris of a wall at Kamfeens, but when the boom of the British gun burst out and a shell  roared in their midst, they hurriedly sought cover in their foremost rifle-pits, whence with great energy they "sniped" in the direction of the officers who were superintending the operations. Meanwhile tremendous  barking of cannon and pinging of rifles continued, the Boers having got the range of Otto Kopje to perfection. The troops had an exceedingly hard time, but continued their operations till dusk. They lost only one killed and  four wounded.

On the wise principle that it is safer to act early on the aggressive if you do not want to have to act late on the defensive, the smart little force indulged in more military movements.

Colonel Kekewich's  general plan for the defence of Kimberley was based on the principle of always keeping the enemy on the move and constantly in fear of attack from an unexpected quarter, but the immediate object of the numerous sorties and  demonstrations in force now made by the garrison was to assist the operations of Lord Methuen. The Colonel explained that, "when the advance of the Relief Column from the Orange River commenced, and I was put in possession  of information concerning the probable date of its arrival at Kimberley, I adopted such measures as I hoped would cause the retention of a large force of the enemy in my immediate neighbourhood, and thus enable the Relief  Column to deal with the Boer force in detail."

As the portions of mounted corps were continually employed, the work which fell on the detachment, 1st Batt. Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, Cape Police, Diamond Fields  Horse, Kimberley Light Horse, and the Diamond Fields Artillery, was very arduous; but the bravery and dash of these troops was unending. Colonel Murray, of the Loyal North Lancashire, was invaluable in many capacities, and  Captain O'Brien of the same regiment, in command of a section of the defences, was unfailing in energy and zeal. Cool as the proverbial cucumber were Major Rodger of the Diamond Fields Horse and Major May of the Diamond Fields  Artillery. The motto of these officers was the reverse of that of the notable gens d'armes, for they were "always there when wanted," and generally in the fore-front. The officers of the Kimberley Regiment, to(  were conspicuous for courage, coolness, and sagacity. They knew as by intuition what was wanted and did it. From Colonel Finlayson who commanded the regiment, to Surgeon- Major Smith, who tended the wounded in the field, there  was none who did not contribute to th( stock of efficiency which was placed at the disposal of the Colonel.

On the 20th of December, the mounted detachments under Colonel Peakman, with maxims and 7-pounders under Colonel Mav  started off in the pitch darkness of 2 A.M., and marched through Kenilworth in the direction of the wreck of Webster's Farm, and or towards Toilpan in the Free State. British cannonading then took place, the Kimberley guns  shelling Toilpan Homestead at 2500 yards' range, and the Boer gun on Klippiespan ridge returning the compliment with interest. Fortunately the hostile shells burrowed deep in the sandy soil, and consequently little damage was  done. The Boers were found to be very comfortably situated at the three corners of a six-mile triangle-at Coetzie, Scholtz, and Alex-andersfontein, commanding three separate sources of water supply. This reconnaissance was of  importance, as the positions of the enemy's guns and outposts were determined, and the garrison was enabled to be on guard against raiders and snipers, and to protect itself, its patrols, and cattle from the fire of the enemy.  In the matter of protecting the cattle from the tricks of the Dutchmen, as did splendid service. This gentleman was Mr. Rhodes's right-hand man, and as a natural consequence of the honour he enjoyed rose to every occasion that  offered, now managing a corps of scouts, now superintending the conveyance of food, now dealing with truculent natives, and always conducting his varied avocations with immense energy and tact.

On the 22nd of December a good  deal of martial activity took place. At cockcrow a detachment of mounted forces, with artillery and infantry, went west for the purpose of reconnoitring Voornitzright and part of Weldermstkuil. On the right were the Diamond  Fields Horse under Major Rodger, supported by a company of the North Lantashire Regiment under Lieutenant de Putron. Presently an animated cannonade began between the enemy's artillery from Kamferdam and the Diamond Fields  Artillery guns on Otto's Kopje. In the centre Colonel Peakman, with the Kimberley Light Horse and Cape Police, proceeded along Lazaretto Ridge. There, before retreating, he made the necessary discoveries-firstly, that the Boer  patrols were then the only occupants of the place, and secondly, that the enemy's reinforcements were advancing behind Wimbledon Ridge. Meanwhile Colonel Chamier on the left, with R.A. guns and an escort under Major Snow, was  exchanging salutations with the Boer guns posted in the earthwork in the centre of Wimbledon Ridge. This occupation was pursued for some time, during which the enemy were found to be rapidly approaching. Directly the guns were  limbered up some 500 Boers came on the scene, and began to pour a fierce fire from the earthworks at the foot of the Ridge upon the Kimberley troops, who retired to cover. The object of the reconnaissance was gained, however,  for it proved in what an inconceivably short space of time the enemy could summon his reinforcements, and, moreover, that three of his guns were yet in the neighbourhood of the town.

On Christmas Eve congratulations were  received by flashlight signals from the Military Secretary at Cape Town:

"Convey to Colonel Kekewich and all the garrison and inhabitants of Kimberley his Excellency's best wishes for their good luck on Christmas Day  arid in the coming New Year,"

Colonel Kekewich replied :-

"Kindly inform the Military Secretary that I and the garrison and inhabitants of Kimberley thank his Excellency for his Kind message. We also wish  respectfully to offer our very best wishes for Christmas and New Year."

This little interchange of compliments caused infinite pleasure to those whose days were one unvarying round of trial and suspense. The weather was  exceedingly hot; at times the thermometer registered 105 in the shade, and life without absolute necessities in torrid weather is trying even to the patience of the active. To those whose intercourse with the world was confined  to flashlight signals, it was barren in the extreme. But with much pluck they thus announced their sentiments in a journal called the Diamond Fields Advertiser, which still maintained a languishing existence:  "Excepting two or three of our inhabitants who shared the terrible privations of the siege of Paris, few of us have ever spent such a Christmas before, and few will ever care to spend such a Christmas again. The scarcity  of turkeys and plum-pudding at this time of traditional plenty need only distress the gourmand. The majority of the people of Kimberley are happily made of sterner stuff, and do not look for luxuries at a time of siege."  They were nevertheless not utterly plum-pudding. Mr. Rhodes, with characteristic forethought, had caused to be cooked in the Sanatorium some two score of these bombshells to digestion, and had distributed them in each of the  camps. Here they were devoured with much merrymaking and a general interchange of felicitations, which went on by telephone from one camp to another. From the Mounted Camp to the Royal Artillery:

"Best wishes and longer  range to your guns." From the gunners, in return, while they kept one ear open for movement in the direction of the Boers' "Susannah:" "May our range be always long enough for us to be guardian-angels to the  Mounted Corps."

On the following day the artillery was at work responding to the salutes of the Boers, who commenced to fire with great activity after their Christmas rest. They dropped some thirty-five shells in the  direction of the fort, and received nineteen well-directed replies. Two of the mines were fired by the thunderstorm of the previous night, but no one was injured. Food now was becoming more and more scarce, and those connected  with the distribution of provisions had to exercise much forethought and economy.

The task of arranging for the victualling and supply of the garrison and 4Q000 people in the town was undertaken by Major Gorle, Army Service  Corps, and the zeal and resource which he brought to bear on his onerous duties were applauded on all sides. Of course there were found persons who, on the take-everything from-everybody-else-and-give it-all-to-me principle,  thought they were badly treated, but these were the exception rather than the rule. The arrangements for milk were made by a special civil committee, consisting of Mr. Oliver, the Mayor, whose courage and energy in keeping up  the spirits of the people were wonderful, Mr. Judge, and four visiting surgeons of Kimberley Hospital, Doctors Ashe, for the untiring energy with which they devoted themselves to their incessant duties. They kept a sharp eye on  the milk, serving it out cautiously at the dep6t, and only to those who had a medical certificate that they required it. The Colonel was very appreciative of the help given by most of his civilian coadjutors, for, in reference  to the difficulties of his position, he stated in his despatch: "It will be realised that, under the peculiar circumstances in which the defence of the scattered town, containing over 40,000 inhabitants and much valuable  machinery, was entrusted in the first instance to a force consisting of about 570 Imperial troops and 630 Colonial troops, my efforts would have been of no avail had it not been for the valuable assistance and advice  which many citizens afforded me in a military as well as a civil capacity."

Mr. Henderson, Captain Tyson of the Kimberley Club, and Dr. Smart collaborated with the ruling spirit of the place, organising relief  committees, distributing thousands of pints of soup per diem, and apportioning such fruit and vegetables as were to be had for the good of those who were most sorely in need. That green stuffs were scarce may be gathered from  the fact that the allowance for nine parsnips, and several beets (duodecimo editions). The garrison, later on, were glad of mangel-wurzels, when quantity rather than quality came to be appreciated The Boers were now beginning  to build redoubts on Dronfield Kopjes, about a mile east of the railway and in a northerly direction, showing that whatever withdrawals might be going on from besieged places elsewhere, the City of Mines would receive its due  of attention up til the last. The Boer prisoners inside the town presented quite a rejuvenated appearance owing to the delicate attentions of Mr. Rhodes. Christmas saw them provided with new outfits, and a general air of  cleanliness and health pervaded them. The invalids iii hospital, both British and Doers, were visited frequently by the Colossus, whose generosity in the matter of delicacies, which were now very' scarce, was highly appreciated.

Much of the Kimberley news was obtained through the energy and auteness, almost amounting to genius, of the despatch-runners. Of these, Mr. Lumming of Douglas succeeded in getting in and out of the town with missives for and  from Mr. Rhodes, always at tremendous risk. The Boers had offered a large reward for his capture. On one occasion, so as to evade observation in a district swarming with the enemy, he had to travel quadruped fashion on hands  and knees for some thirty- miles. Tales of the despatch runners' ingenuity in all parts of the Colony were many. One Kaffir boy, though caught by the Boers and stripped by them, carried his despatch safely, it having been  placed in a quill and hid in his nostril, while another-a canny Scot-concealed his treasure in the inmost recesses of a hard-boiled egg.

On the morning of the 27th of January the mounted troops under the indefatigable Colonel  Peak man at an early hour reconnoitred the Boer position near the Premier mine. The Boers were indulging in a last little doze, when some shells were neatly dropped into their laager. The alarum was effective. They were up and  'doing in no time, and set to work firing with the utmost vigour, but their shots were not accurate and much waste of ammunition took place. It may be remembered that Colonel Peakman, Kimberley Light Horse, after the death of  Colonel Turner was selected for the command of the mounted troops in Kimberley. A tower of strength of himself, he was surrounded by a gallant crew, among whom were Major Scott, V.C., Captains AP-Bowen and Mahoney (both  severely wounded on the 25th of November), Captains Robertson and Rickman. There were also in the corps several lieutenants conspicuous for dash and daring, notably Lieutenants Hawker (wounded 22nd November), Harris, and  Chatfield. Of the Colonel an amuslng tale was told, which, if not vero, was certainly bentrovato, and served to cheer up those who needed to salt the monotonous flavour of daily life. It fell to the duty of  Colonel Peakman to introduce horse-flesh at the officers' mess, a ticklish task, and one that required considerable tact. When the dish was served, the Colonel said, "Gentlemen, as I was unable to get the 'whole of our  ration in beef, a part of it had to be taken in horse-flesh. Here is the beef," said he, carving at the joint opposite him, "that at the other end of the table is the horse. Any one who prefers it may help  himself" No one accepted the invitation, and after there had been a great run on the beef, the Colonel suddenly said, "By Jove, I'm mistaken; of course this joint is the horse, the other is the beef!" Thus  the palates of the heroes of the Kimberley Light Horse were educated to the fare that was shortly to become unvaried.

Later on, a chunk of donkey occasionally replaced the equine morsel, and cats, it was noticed, began to be  less in evidence. There were whispers-hints, But to proceed to facts.

On the 29th a tussle took place between the foe and a man named Sheppy, who, with twelve mounted natives, was herding a thousand De Beers horses and mules.  The cattle-drivers were at work when out from the bushes rushed a hundred Boers. These at once opened fire, but the herdsmen managed to return it and effect their escape.

The transformation of diamond-diggers into warriors  was an entire novelty, of which Kimberley boasted not a little. The entire community of the De Beers Company were now soldiers of the Queen, receiving the same rate of pay as before, with food in addition. The total white  population in the town was 14,000, and of these 6ooo were employee's of the mine, men from Natal. The Company worked wonders-of course under the auspices of the ruling genius 9f Kimberley. They stuck at nothing, from assisting  with food supplies distributing soup in gallons-to providing for the employment of upwards of 4000 natives in making improvements in the town. Sanitation too they undertook when contractors failed, and, when the supply of water  was cut off at the main reservoir by the enemy, they came to the rescue by providing another source of water supply.

Owing to the excellent management and regulation of stores, the community had hitherto been enabled to live  at normal prices, and food had been within the reach of all. But now the pinch of the siege began to be felt. Luxuries such as eggs, vegetables, &c., were naturally scarce, but horse-flesh even grew to be limited, for there  was little forage left. The 'tramcars ceased to work, and Dr. Ashe predicted that presently there would be "no carts save military ones and the doctors' and the hearse!"

People had to take their meat allowance half  in beef and half in horse-flesh, and the over-fastidious were but meagrely nourished. These, however, soon came to "take their whack' of horse-flesh gladly, and some even declared that horse, by any other name, would be  quite appetising! Conversation largely consisted of speculations regarding food or its absence, and once or twice there was a rub with the military. Dr. Ashe expressed himself frankly when con fronted with red-tape  difficulties, addressed the Colonel-of course, minding p's and q's, for people had to look to the dotting of i's and crossing of t's in those days-and suggested that, "in matters which afected the health and feeding of the  people," the doctors thought that. in virtue of their knowledge of town, climate, and people, they might be consulted. The objection to the red-tape dificulty being proved sound, the Colonel at once altered the routine,  but, said Dr. Ashe, "he flatly declined to ask any opinion from the general body of Doctors, as they might have ideas which would affect the military situation."

The new gun, " Long Cecil," manufactured in  De Peers, was greatly prized. It distinguished itself on its debut by plumping a shell in the centre of the Kamfersdam headlaager exactly over the position of the Dutchmen's gun. Bombardment continued spasmodically, sometimes  at night, the shells entering several houses and attack by day" of the furniture; but wantonly barbarous was the attack on the laager containing the women and children, which took place on the 23rd of January. One of the  little innocents was killed and another probably maimed for life. On the 24th more bombardment began as early as four in the morning, and firing continued all day. The worst feature in the affair was the attack-deliberate and  premeditated it appeared-on the hospital, which caused general grief and indignation. There was no excuse for such inhumanity, as the place was distinguished by two Red Cross flags.

Very lamentable was this habit of the Boers  to violate the sacred rules of the Geneva Convention, for it alienated even those who were ivy sympathy with their cause. They could not plead ignorance of the rules of warfare, for at one time they ignored these rules to play  the barbarian, while at another they utilised them to act the poltroon. The history of the Convention may not be generally known. It was promoted in 1864 and subsequently signed by all the Continental Powers. It was decided  that-

I. Ambulances and military hospitals were to be recognised as neutral, and as such to be protected and respected by all belligerents.

2. The personnel of these hospitals and ambulances, including the intendance, the sanitary officers, officers of the administration, as well as military and civil chaplains, were to be benefited by the neutrality.

3. The inhabitants of the country rendering help to the sick and wounded  were to be respected and free from capture.

4. The sick and wounded were to be attended to without distinction of nation.

5. A flag and a uniform were to be adopted for the hospitals, ambulances, and convoys of invalids; an  armlet or badge for the personnel? of the ambulances and hospitals.

6. The badge was to consist of a red cross on a white ground.

Committees were formed throughout Europe and America to carry out this convention, and  the Society worked under the title of the "International Society of Aid for the Sick and Wounded." It played its first important part in 1870 in the Franco-German War, before which time battlefields had been scenes of  almost inhuman torture.

Now, in consequence of the brutal disregard of a world-appreciated agreement, the Boers-in many ways men of fine character-were placing themselves beneath contempt. Their conduct also to the loyalists  and non-belligerents was also causing exasperation.

The ministers of all denominations-Wesleyan, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregational, and Jewish-all united in condemning the Doer Government and its methods. They were  especially scandalised at the inhumanity of the Dutch commandoes, who intermittently poured shells not only into the heart of the town, but into the suburbs, where women and children were known to congregate, while leaving for  the most part unmolested the forts occupied by the citizen-soldiers. Homes were destroyed mothers and children stricken down, and some killed. These might have been looked upon as the accidents of war had it not been confessed  in Boer papers that such acts were deliberately committed and vaunted.

Spasmodic bombardment took place during the evening of the 24th, and continued through the night striking some buildings-the hospital and other  defenceless positions-and maiming a woman and her child. Another child was killed. Profound admiration was expressed by all in the achievements of "Long Cecil," and the utiIity of the new long-range weapon was highly  appreciated. Indeed, Mr. Rhodes viewed.this licimberley masterpiece with quite a paternal eye, and his pleasure in firing it was considerable.

Enough could not be said of the splendid valour and pertinacity of the  townspeople, who co-operated in the warlike proceedings as though they had been to the manner born. Though the fortification belt was some twelve miles in circumference, at all points it was protected by these amateurs of the  sword, who, under no military obligations whatever till sworn in on the immediate emergency, rose to the occasion with a chivalric warmth that was as perfectly amazing as it was admirable. Devotion to the Sovereign Lady who  rules the Empire was never more steadfastly shown and more ardently maintained.

The zeal and the "go " of the Cape Police was notable. Among the most prominent of the corps were Colonel Robinson, gallant Major  Elliot and Major Ayliff (wounded on December 3), who was brave as he was tactful. Perpetually useful and conspicuously gallant were Captains Colvin, Crozier, White, and Cummings Their duties, most difficult, were almost  interminable.

Life was monotonous in the extreme. From the town it was possible on clear days to view the Modder River balloon; and the occasional sight of it afforded a stimulus to the drooping spirits of the inhabitants,  Its rotund form floating so peacefully high in air seemed like a harbinger of hope promising and consoling, and teaching the lesson of patience and perseverance that overcome all things! Of course, it was only the  sentimentalists of the community who thus interpreted the language of the aerial monster, but these, like the people who find sermons in stones, promptly took heart, and bore their trials with renewed dignity and pluck. Both  these qualities were in great demand, for the Boers and their tactics were exhausting to the patience of the most forbearing. Their pertinacity was great. At one moment they would pour shells into the town, making hearts  palpitate or stand still in horror at the gruesome fracas; at others they would persistently "snipe" from bidden corners and bushes, and render movements in the open, to say the least of it-inconvenient.

Sniping  always continued, though, for a day or two, no serious bombardment took place. Indeed, there was reason to believe that a Boer gun was hors decombat The report came in that "Susaiinah" had burst. There  was general jubilation. Later on it filtered out that "Susannah" was 6'all serene1" but this was doubted. The sanguine hoped against hope. We are ready enough to believe what we wish to be true, and finally, for  want of something to discuss, the question of "~Has she burst, or has she not burst?" was bandied about in the tone of a popular riddle. Unfortunately "Susannah" was intact, as subsequent experience proved.  Not only was "Susannah" herself again, but it was reported that a considerable Boer reinforcement had arrived in the neighbourhood, and that three guns from Spyfontein were being ranged in attitude to defy "Long  Cecil," whose prowess was more decided than pleasant. Still the inhabitants bore up very creditably, and enlivened themselves continually with concerts or entertainments of some kind. The programmes, it must be noted, were  always marked "weather and Boers permitting "-a modern adaptation of the customary D.V.

The Boer spies took a lively interest in all that concerned Mr. Rhodes, and hopes were entertained that before long some one  would receive the price of his capture. But this gentleman pursued his avocations in the town and its suburbs with unabated interest, arranging for the comfort of the refugees, and evincing paternal solicitude in the laying out  of new suburbs, and the construction of a regular row of bomb-proof shelters, which were being excavated at Kenilworth. People now became great connoisseurs on the virtue of brick, old and new, and began to mistrust corrugated  iron as affording less protection from the artillery fire of the enemy. They became judges also of shell-of the peculiarities of shrapnel and ring shells-and sapiently discussed the merits of time fuses and percussion fuses.  Food, however, was the prime subject of conversation-a subject of "devouring" interest, some one said. The refugee fund now amounted to £3000, owing to the united subscriptions of Mr. Rhodes and the De Beers Company.  It was none too much, as the demand on its resources was some 4600 weekly.

The Colossus, regardless. of the fate that hung over the town, continued to make plans and projects for the development of the place. On a high  plateau he purposed to create a new suburb, and the name will doubtless bear a relationship to the great events of 1900. A column was in course of erection to commemorate the siege, but the tale of bombardment, writ large on  many of the buildings, is one that will scarcely be forgotten, and forms memorial enough. Some curious damage was done, a shrapnel shell electing to penetrate the wall of a draper's shop and wound a feminine dummy and smash a  wax effigy of a boy used as a clothes model. Fortunately few human beings suffered. Great precautions were taken for the safety of the inhabitants, and a look-out was kept, so as t6 give warning by whistle whenever the smoke of  the enemy's guns breathed a hint of coming destruction. A calculation was made as to the sum total expended by guns, British and Dutch, and it was discovered that Kimberley had fired 1005 shells, while the besiegers had three  times that number. The total loss of life attributable to shell fire amounted at this date to about twelve killed.

Affairs within the town were now growing almost as bellicose as Affairs without it. Continued friction  generates heat, and of this throughout the siege there had been more and more as time went on. It was quite evident that Kimberley was not sufficiently large to afford an arena for the combat of brains versus military  discipline, and that the patience of the besieged was nearing the snapping-point. Indeed there was doubt as to whether operations for the relief of Kimberley would be pursued, and it is averred that the Commander in-Chief sent  a message to Mr. Rhodes, saying, "Hope I shall not be compelled to leave you in the lurch." Naturally the Kimberley barometer fell to zero. Then came rumours of the coming of Lord Roberts, but these scarcely served to  allay the general impatience.

A curious incident occurred on the 29th. Some thirty-five Zulus took their departure. They had been ordered by their chief to leave the town, but when they obeyed they had promptly to return, as  they encountered the Doers, who threatened to shoot them.

At this time food was becoming more and more scarce; even horse-flesh was distributed with caution. Milk was obtainable only by the invalids, and some four hundred  babes died for want of proper nourishment. It was pathetic to see people standing at the Town Flail waiting eagerly to take their turn for the scanty portion of meat that could be provided for them. The ceremony of the drawing  of meat rations had an aspect almost comic in its desperate seriousness. Matutinally at 5.30 A.M. might be seen a vast concourse of persons scampering in hot haste to gain a front place. So animated was the early bird to catch  its morning worm, that it was up and doing before the regulated hour, 5.30 (fixed by proclamation), before which time people were forbidden to leave their houses. The police put a stop to this superactivity, and hungry persons  were seen from five to the half-hour waiting patiently at their gates till the exact moment should arrive when they could make a dash for a place in the tremendous crush which, two by two, gathered outside the market.

Marvellous was the rapidity with which this vast crowd, at hint of a shell, would drop to earth. As by some mechanical process there would come a bang, and then, like a card castle, the whole procession would drop flat. The  Boers, knowing, most probably, that this was an eventful period of the morning, would invariably start off about six with a boisterous "good-morrow."

Gradually the rations grew shorter and shorter and shorten They  now consisted mainly of horse-meat, served out every second day, mealie meal, stamped mealies, with a sparse allowance of tea, coffee, and bread. For those who had children under three years of age one

tin of milk was  allowed. With this strong children could get along well, but there were many weakly ones, and these waned and waned till the baby funerals became pathetically frequent.

The Dutchmen were exceedingly ingenious in the invention  of tricks and traps. One of these was to move a waggon with sixteen fat oxen in charge of but two men into the open Vlei below Tarantaal Ridge, and there to leave it, apparently unguarded, for two hours. They thought that this  bait would lure forth the cattle-guard, but they were disappointed, for the authorities were too acute to allow them to get "a bite." They knew that in rear of the Vlei was a deep sand-drift, behind which a large body  of men might be comfortably concealed, and consequently left waggon and cattle severely alone.

After this began the bombardment by a new Boer gun, a diabolical instrument, whose perfections were hymned by an artillery expert,  who declared it to be one of the most perfect pieces of ordnance ever made! A correspondent in the Daily Telegraph described the terrifying effect produced on the nerves of the sick and the weakly. He went on: "The shock  caused by the firing of this gun was distinctly perceptible five feet under ground at a distance of five miles, and the miniature earthquake thus created was clearly registered by the new seismograph at Kenilworth1 the pendulum  of which remained perfectly stationary during the firing of the smaller guns, or the passage of the most heavily laden trains or vehicles at very close quarters."

The 9th of February was a terrible day. There was  crashing and booming from morning till night, and no one dared venture abroad. One inhabitant had his child killed under his very eyes and his wife mortally stricken down. Towards sundown a shell struck the Grand Hotel, killing  Mr. Labram, the De Beers chief engineer, whose valuable brains had been the salvation of the place. He had constructed armoured engines, armoured trains, and had completed his ingenious labours by constructing the huge 4.  i-inch gun, with carriage and shells complete-a triumph of science considering the conditions under which the achievement was attempted. Now he was gone, and Kimberley was vastly the poorer.

The bombardment was growing daily  more severe. Each time the Boers fired their 100-pounder gun a bugle was blown from the conning tower and all ran to cover. There would be an interval of seven minutes between every shell, and the bombardment would last for  about two hours. Then the Boers would take a rest, and, after a breathing spell, begin again. By the kindness of Mr. Rhodes the mines now became harbours of refuge for thousands of women (and children, who, huddled together in  the I 200-feet level, were thus protected from the shells which were launched in the midst of the town. Those days in dark diamondiferous caverns were full of strange experiences. There, over a thousand shrinking Leings found  asylum, bedding, food, and such comfort as could be secured for them. There, babes were born into the world-human diamonds brought into the daylight from the grottoes of the million-(tires-babes which surely should take some  strange part in the drama of the century. It was an underground village swarming with the weak and the distressed, a feminine populace kept from panic and despair by the man who, large enough to take empires, yet proved himself  capable of sympathy with the small sorrows and quakings of the sick and the fearful.

The experiences of a lady who enjoyed the hospitality of the mine were scarcely exhilarating. She said: "We went down the mine, but  only stayed one day. Of course, one felt safe, but it was so miserable; still, it was another siege experience, the crowds of people down there. On the 1000-feet level were 500 persons alone, and the buzz of tongues, and the  children crying, and the noise altogether, besides the damp, were horrible; although Mr. Rhodes and those working under him did all in their power to make things as comfortable as possible. Hot coffee, soup, bread, milk for the  children, everything obtainable was sent down; and some thousands of people were fed free of charge from the Saturday night till the following Fri day morning. . . . Those people who run down M. Rhodes should have been here  during the four months of the siege. The soup-kitchen was another of his institutions, three pence a pint for good soup, and those who had no money got it free."

Now that the nerve-destroying capabilities of the Boers'  100-pounder gun were proved, arid Mr. Rhodes and other citizens were conscious of the immense amount of danger to town and life that must result from the bombardment, the Colossus, in conjunction with the Mayor and others,  forwarded to Colonel Kekewich a letter which he begged might be heliographed to headquarters. The letter ran

"KIMBERLEY, February 10.

"On behalf of the inhabitants of this town, we respectfully desire to be  informed whether there is an intention on your part to make an immediate effort for our relief. Your troops have been for more than two months within a distance of little over twenty miles from Kimberley, and if the Spytfontein  hills are too strong for them, there is an easy approach over a level at. This town, with a population of over 45,000 people, has been besieged for 120 days, and a large portion of the inhabitants has been enduring great  hardships. Scurvy is rampant among the natives; children, owing to lack of proper food, are dying in great numbers, and dysentery and typhoid are very prevalent. The chief food of the whites have been bread and horse-flesh for  a long time past, and of the blacks meal and malt only. These hardships, we think you will agree, have been borne patiently and without complaint by the people. During the last few days the enemy have brought into action from a  position within three miles of us a 6-inch gun throwing a 200-lb. shell, which is setting fire to our buildings and is daily causing death among the population. As you are aware, the military guns here are totally inadequate to  cope with this new gun. The only weapon which gives any help is one of local manufacture. Under these circumstances, as representing this community, we feel that we are justified in asking whether you have any immediate  intention of instructing your troops to advance to our relief. We understand large reinforcements have recently arrived in Cape Town, and we feel sure that your men at Modder River have at the outside 10,000 Boers opposed to  them. You must be the judge as to what number of British troops would be required to deal with this body of men, but it is absolutely necessary that relief should be afforded to this place."

To this Lord Roberts replied

"I beg you represent to the Mayor and Mr. Rhodes as strongly as you possibly can the disastrous and humiliating effect of surrender after so prolonged and glorious a defence. Many days cannot possibly pass before Kimberley  will be relieved, as we commence active operations to-morrow. Future military operations depend in a large measure on your maintaining your position a very short time longer"

A great deal o gossip hung round the suppression of the Diamond Fields Advertiser; but the whole affair was merely a storm in the ink-pot resulting from the clashing of opinions civil and military. After the publication  of a leading article on the 10th of February, an article with which Mr. Rhodes was entirely in accord, the military censor addressed the following letter to the editor :-" ARMY HEADQUARTERS,

KIMBERLEY, February 10, 1900.

"SIR,-Since the Diamond Fields Advertiser has now on two occasions printed leading articles on the military situation which are extremely injurious to the interests of the army and the defence of this town, without previously

submitting the same to the military  censor, 1 am directed to inform you that from this date the proof of the Diamond Fields Advertiser must be submitted to me before the copies of any daily number, leaflet, or other form of publication is issued to the  public.

"I am further requested to inform you, in your own interests, that on the two occasions referred to you have committed the most serious offences dealt with by the Army Act, under which Act you are liable to be  tried.-Yours faithfully,

W. A. O'MEARA, Major, Military Censor"

The military censor was within his rights. The editor, after the manner of editors, did not care to be muzzled, so the Diamond Fields Advertiser was temporarily suspended.

The editorial chair at the time was not an enviable berth, owing to the invasion of shells from the  100-pounder gun, therefore the holiday may have been beneficial in more ways than one.

The new gun, mounted on the kopje at Kamferdam, was determined to make life hideous, and so incessantly swept the neighbourhood that a  state of panic began to prevail even among those who had hitherto borne themselves with unconcerned front. In addition to this perpetual tornado of horror the pinch of famine was becoming sharper, and the question of relief  seemed to be growing into one of "now or never" Despair seized on many. They began to count the days, and wonder when it would all end, and whether indeed it would ever end at all! Two days-three days-five days-the  15th of February! Then, dramatically, as in a fairy tale or a stage play, came the rumour of help, the whisper that French, the gallant, the energetic, the invincible, was coming, as on the wings of the wind, coming to restore  freedom to those who, in their tedious imprisonment, were fainting with hope deferred. In an instant all was changed. The rumour became reality.