Thanks to our Chairman, Maj. Darrell Hall, for arranging for the showing of
the film "BATTLE OF MIDWAY" which, I am sure, was enjoyed by all present at
the December Meeting.
Cmdt S. Bourquin, from our Durban Branch, very kindly travelled to Johannesburg to address us on "THE ZULU WAR" giving to effents leading up to the battles. A "packed house" was present.
FUTURE MEETINGS : Jhb.
Thu 8 Feb :: "SANDFONTEIN 1914-18 WAR : S.W.A." by Paul Adler
Thu 8 Mar :: "SCHARNHORST/GNEISENAU" by major Darrell Hall
BRANCH NEWS: CT
8 Feb "NEW LIGHT ON HISTORY OF THE CASTLE & COAST ARTILLERY IN THE CAPE PENINSULA" (illustrated talk by Lt WM Bisset;)
8 Mar Film show "OVER THERE", a French history of World War 1 compiled from archive material,1963.
8 Feb Cmdt Bourquin will give a talk on the effects of the Zulu War of 1879 on the opposing black populations of Natal and Zululand.
6 Mar talk on COLONEL AW DURNFORD (with particular emphasis on his role in Battle of Isandlwana), by fellow-member Robin Drooglever.
"WERE PEOPLE SANER WHEN BATTLES WERE CALLED OFF OVER THE WEEKEND?". Due to unforeseen circumstances, part 11 of this does not appear in this newsletter, but will appear in the next issue.
DATES OF INTEREST: 5 Feb 1941 "BATTLE OF BEDA FOMM" : 6 Feb 1900 BATTLE OF VAAL KRANTZ : 7 Feb 1941 CAPTURE OF BENGHAZI : 8 Feb 1661 Battle of Ingogo : 15 Feb 1900 RELIEF OF KIMBERLEY and FALL OF SINGAPORE in 1942 : 18 Feb 1900 BATTLE OF PAARDEBERG : 21 Feb 1918 CAPTURE OF JERICHO : 22 FEB 1941 BATTLE OF GELIB : 27 FEB 1881 BATTLE OF MAJUBA and BATTLE OF PIETER'S HILL 1900 AND BRUNEVAL RAID in 1942 : 26 FEB 1900 RELIEF OF LADYSMITH.
THE OL' SWEAT TELLS...
It is interesting to note that as far back as 1722 that an experiment took place near London of a contraption known as "Mr Puckle's Machine" This in fact was one of the first machine-guns, and it is reported that one man could discharge it 63 times in 7 minutes, and at each discharge it could throw off either 1 large ball or 16 musket bullets with great force. Although the bayonet was first used in 1640 it was not until 1673 that it was issued to the English Army, then withdrawn and re-issued again in 1686. The English were very conservative and were in no hurry to adopt new ideas, and continued to use the Pike long after the European Armies had changed to the bayonet.
From Vittoria to this place we have constantly passed at first stripped and
unburied dead, then baggage and animals without number, but the French have got
off to France, and march away like monkeys, scrambling over everything,
consequently there are few prisoners. Lord Wellington is in the highest spirits.
King Joseph was within 200 yards of our dragoons, and had a narrow escape. A
few more cannon have been taken. June 1813
The private journal of Judge-Advocate Larpent - Peninsular War 1854.
To the Quarter-Master. "If the soldiers complain of the bread, taste it, and say,
better men have eat much worse. Talk of the 'bompernickle', or black rye bread of
the Germans and swear you have seen the time when you would have jumped at it.Call
them a set of grumbling rascals, and threaten to confine them for mutiny. This,
if it does not convince them of the goodness of the bread, will at least frighten
them, and make them take it quietly."
Advice to Officers of the British Army etc. 1782.
Submitted by fellow member George Tremoulet:
William Cobbett instances a typical piece of recruiting blarney, and the distressing effects of inadequate pay in the late eighteenth century:
'When I told the Captain that I had thought myself engaged in the marines, "By Jasus, my lad," said he, "and you have had a narrow escape." He told me, that the regiment into which I had been so happy as to enlist was one of the oldest and boldest in the whole army, and that it was at that time serving in that fine, flourishing and plentiful country, Nova Scotia. He dwelt long on the beauties and riches of this terrestrial paradise, and dismissed me, perfectly enchanted with the prospect of a voyage thither.
'I enlisted in 1784, and, as peace had then taken place, no great haste was made to send recruits off to their regiments. I remember well what sixpence a day was, recollecting the pangs of hunger felt by me, during the thirteen months that I was a private soldier at Chatham, previous to my embarkation for Nova Scotia. Of my sixpence, nothing like fivepence was left to purchase food for the day. Indeed not fourpence. For there was washing, mending, soap, flour for hair-powder, shoes, stockings, shirts, stocks and gaiters, pipe-clay and several other things to come out of the miserable sixpence! Judge then of the quantity of food to sustain life in a lad of sixteen, and to enable him to exercise with a musket (weighing fourteen pounds) six to eight hours every day... The best battalion I ever saw in my life was composed of men, the far greater part of whom were enlisted before they were sixteen, and who, when they were first brought up to the regiment, were cloathed in coats much too long and too large, in order to leave room for growing.
'We had several recruits from Norfolk (our regiment was the West Norfolk); and many of them deserted from sheer hunger. They were lads from the plough-tail. I remember two that went into a decline and died during the year, though when they joined us, they were fine hearty young men.
'I have seen them lay in their berths, many and many a time, actually crying on account of hunger. The whole week's food was not a bit too much for one day.'
Reasons for Enlistment in the 1840s
'1. Indigent - Embracing labourers and mechanics out of employ, who merely seek
for support 80 in 120
'2. Indigent - Respectable persons induced by misfortune or imprudence 2 in 120
'3. Idle - Who consider a soldier's life an easy one 16 in 120
'4. Bad characters - Who fall back upon the army as a last resource 8 in 120
'5. Criminals - Who seek to escape from the consequence of their offences 1 in 120
'6. Perverse sons - Who seek to grieve their parents 2 in 120
'7. Discontented and restless 8 in 120
'8. Ambitious 1 in 120
'9. Others 2 in 120'
(J. MacMullen (late Staff Sergeant of the 13th Infantry),
Camp and Barrack Room; or, the British Army as it is, 1846.)
June 1900. As regards boots, we were in a terribly bad way; the incessant marching and want of grease, which we had no means of carrying and the absence of any means of executing slight repairs had played the deuce with them. Our shoemakers were always at work in camp, whenever there was a halt for a day; but leather and other materials were not easily procurable, and we should have needed at least 25 men to cope with the work in the time available; nor is any provision made for carrying tools and leather in the wagons. On every march quite a number of men, who had no boots, had to be carried on wagons, and I have often seen men walking along with no boots at all, merely their putties twisted round their feet. Nothing could be done, either, to improve matters: boots were not to be had, although in every town a demand was at once made for all the boots in the shops.Those produced were either Bond-Street shoes, or else miners' boots, which are not intended for walking in, as a number of our officers and men, who tried them, found to their cost.
TWO YEARS ON TREK, Lt-Col. Du Moulin, 1907.
SUBS. Please note than subs are now due, R5-OO. Accounts will go out with the Journal which should follow this newsletter shortly.
30 June 1900. The biting easterly wind is still blowing, with sharp frost at
night. It took 7 hours to get the transport across the river, the battalion crossing
by a pontoon. We marched 7 miles south. The cyclists have been doing splendid work
lately, taking mails, telegrams etc, to and from Johannesburg and other places.
They have frequently taken letters 35 miles across the veldt under conditions which
were none too safe. They are always eager to go anywhere, and neither risk nor distance
is too much for them. It is a pleasure to have such men.
Journal of the C.I.V.
South African Military History Society / firstname.lastname@example.org