Notes from the Boer War. By Llewelyn Alexander WRIGHT. 1st. (Volunteer) Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

foot sore but a soldier knows when he's resting. We had only just pulled our tackle off when the bugle sounded for us to fall in for new clothing. We packed that away and had to dress ourselves for entraining. We were then placed in two long coal wagons. Officer's, men, baggage etc., altogether packed like sardines in a tin. We started out of De-Aar five-thirty, got into Naauwport about twelve o'clock midnight. Stayed there about .... hours, of course sleep was out of the question being our first night in coal­ trucks. The Gren and West Surrey Regts[?] garrison here. The blockhouses are about a mile apart and in the spaces between natives do sentry go besides alarm guns fixed in the ground, so that it is almost impossible to get near the railway without being seen. Our train started out of Naauwport at three o'clock, we passed through Rensburg about 4-45 Tuesday morning and its a wonder to me that General French ever got the Boers from the positions in this district for the place is nothing but a Fortress formed by nature, the train passing through nicks where large boulders over-hang the railway and it would only have taken one man without a crowbar to pitch them on the line. It is no wonder that the Boer's wrecked the trains so easy. Another half hours riding brings us to Bolesburg lunction. We reach Norvals Pont by 7-40 where we get breakfast and we are told that the two trucks we are in are going to be attached to the mail train which we are to escort to Bloemfontein. We start out of Norvals Pont 8-35 a.m .. Norvals Pont is situated just like a marble in the bottom of a cup with a big crack or slit down the two sides, and through that crack the Orange River runs, the bridge over the river here is a fine one. We crossed the river Into O.K.Conglong at 8.38. We have traveled a good way now into O.K.C. but nothing special seen only many vacant farms. I suppose the owners are either under the Veldt or at St Helena or still fighting and the wives and families in the keep of the British Government at the concentration camps. It is now 10.55 and we are in Spring-Fontein. There is a tremendous camp here of Boer families. A dozen Boer prisoners have just been put on our trains of course they are put in carriages but poor Tommy Atkins has to ride in trucks. The Irish Fusiliers and West Surrey Regiments garrison this place. I have just been told that there is 5,000 refugees in camp here. It is a sight to see the hundreds of tents looking just like a large canvas town. We have just passed through lagers-fontein station and are now going in over a small bridge that was blown up by the Boers last Thursday, the wagons are all strewed on the side of the railway. I believe the stream is called Van-Zyl Spruit. Have just passed through Bethany. Sad evidence is the dark side of this war is the large number of graves we see as we go along done up with white stone or two form a cross etc., put on I expect by their Comrades. We are speeding along it is now ten minutes past four and Bloemfontein is in sight, 4-30 .... We are in Bloemfontein there must be thousands of soldiers here according to the tents we can see right around for miles, there is also a large refugee camp here. We disentrain and have taken all our kits and bedding out of the wagons but no sooner taken out than we have orders to put everything back in again as we are to start out again at 10 p.m .. We are told not to go out of the station but the first thing everyone wants is a wash as we are a" as black as niggers from the smoke of the engine, then we got something to eat. By this time darkness creeps on us and one at a time our lot commence to dodge into town and I was one of them. I went up St Andrew Street and bought a few curios and went to have a look at the government buildings, the majority of us were back in the wagons by eight o'clock, we settled ourselves in the wagons and began to sing Welsh airs, next to us in station was the mail train for the north, of course the passengers not many came to the windows to hear us sing and one kind Gentleman gave the whole lot of us a splendid cigar each, and a kind nursing sister gave us some butter and a tin of condensed milk between a few of us in our end of the wagon, that was a bit of alright. We started out of Bloemfontein at twelve o'clock midnight attached to a luggage train with 100 horses on for up country. I soon went to sleep despite the discomforts as I had not slept the night before.
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