The Boer War took place between 1899 and 1902, just 15 years before the start of the First World War. Some 180,00 Britons , mainly volunteers , traveled 6,000 miles to fight and die in boiling conditions on the veld and atop ‘kopjes’. Of the over 20,000 who died more than half suffered enteric, an illness consequent on insanitary water.
This book will act as an informative research guide for those seeking to discover and uncover the stories of the men who fought and the families they left behind. It will look in particular at the kind of support the men received if they were war injured and that offered to the families of the bereaved. Some pensions were available to regular soldiers and the Patriotic Fund, a charitable organization , had been resurrected at the beginning of the conflict. However for those who did not fit these categories the Poor Law was the only support available at the time.
The book will explore a variety of research materials such as: contemporary national and local newspapers; military records via websites and directly through regimental archives; census, electoral, marriage and death records; records at the National Archives including the Book of Wounds from the Boer War, the Transvaal Widows’ Fund and others.
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About the Author
After graduating in Economic and Social History Jane Marchese Robinson spent some thirty years working as an advocate for marginalised groups, including the homeless, people with disabilities and mental health problems and asylum seekers. This work gave her an insight into many aspects of human experience. In 2005 she rekindled her childhood passion for writing at Adult Education classes. She followed this by undertaking the MA in Creative Writing at Plymouth University where she honed her skills writing short stories, poetry, a screenplay and began work on her novel, which is also set at the time of the Boer War. She graduated with Merit in 2011 and has been writing full time since then.
Table of Contents
List of Plates vi
Chapter 1 A Tale of Two Wars 4
Chapter 2 'It'll All Be Over by Christmas' 11
Chapter 3 The Call for Volunteers and the Besieged Towns 33
Chapter 4 The War at Home 65
Chapter 5 The Sickness Took Them 74
Chapter 6 And the Boys Went Too 83
Chapter 7 The Bitter End 89
Chapter 8 'A Land Fit for Heroes'? 101
Chapter 9 Suffer Little Children 121
Chapter 10 They Served and Many Served Again 137
Looking For Your Boer War Ancestor 156