^ Home
< Back
? Search
Print this page

 

Architecture

Census

Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

Directory Listings

Education

Genealogy

History

Industry

Parish Records

People

Places

Transportation

War Memorials

THE 2nd BOER WAR (1899 - 1902) - THE DEVONS WRITE HOME FROM THE FRONT

SERIES 2 

 

Light-weight khaki uniforms and cloth helmets were officially introduced by the British Army in 1896. According to the local press, in 1899, there was quite a scramble here in Devon to get the volunteers kitted out for the front with every available local tailor working flat out. Even though they creased very badly, the new garments proved their worth in a hot climate and there are records of complaints from Boer fighters to their generals that British troops wearing them were not easy to spot against the background of the plains of Africa.
British soldier in khaki uniform of the Boer War
  Courtesy: The Greenhowards website

 

(This Forward also appears with the first series of Boer War letters)

 

Anyone who received letters from military personnel on the front line during the 1939 - 1945 war will remember how heavily censored they were - words, sentences, even complete paragraphs were obliterated by impenetrable black ink, sometimes whole passages were cut out with scissors.

The troops at the front in the 2nd Boer War (1899 - 1902) wrote home about their experiences and no one thought of vetting the letters before they were loaded onto the mail ship to make the long journey back to England - in a way, these soldiers can be likened to the men and women fighting in Iraq who just hold up their cell phones to show their families exactly what is happening.

The result is an astonishing archive of first-hand accounts - not the dry, formal writing of official despatches and reports but the raw reactions of people who were there and were living through all the experiences of battle. 

 

In a way that can never have been anticipated, the Education Act of 1870  paid off an astonishing dividend - these are such good letters. For the first time in history, even the most lowly  foot soldier was able to write down his experiences and  express his own emotional reactions to them. The result is that every one of these letter writers has become a war correspondent.  

 

NAME OF THE LETTER WRITER PAGE
Private William Long of North Tawton 1
Private George Wood of Modbury 2
Private James Lucraft of Heavitree 3
Lance Corporal Frank Phare of Highhampton 4
Private John Bawden and Private Jim Bawden of North Molton 5
Private Arthur Bowden of Butterleigh 6
Lance Corporal Drake of Exeter 7
Drummer Frank Pike of Crediton 8
Private James Setherton of Bishops Nympton 9
Lieutenant Adams to the mother of Trooper Frederick Chudley 10


 

 
 
^ Home
< Back
? Search
Print this page