Arriving at the front

Dick Morris, of Newtown, writing to his sister, Miss Nellie Morris, from Brandford, gives some interesting particulars of his journey to that place. He says:

“We saw all the places where British soldier had fought earlier in the war, De Aar, Nauwpoort, Rensburg, Colesberg, etc. Also any amount of trenches and places where lyddite shells had struck.

“We arrived at Norvals Pont about 12 o’clock and had breakfast, bully beef and biscuits. Afterwards we had to go in trucks and slept on a truck filled with potatoes. We had no blankets. It was all right in the afternoon, but at night it was cruelly cold.

“They are building a fine bridge across the Orange River in place of the one destroyed by the Boers. We arrived at Bloemfontein at 4.30 in the morning. We had been on the way three nights and two days. It is a very nice place and full of soldiers. We saw a transport in this morning with a laager of Boers which they had captured. We had never seen anything like it before.

“There was a brigade band playing in front of some fine buildings. It was just like going up street and listening to the Newtown band. Well we slept in a rest camp that night, then up at five o’clock next morning and off to the station and came on to Brandfort. We arrived here just too late by five hours; the column moved at six o’clock and we arrived at about 11. Hard lines!

“We had a look around the place and now I know what war is. There were about 20 wounded soldiers; one poor young chap had his arm blown off just above the elbow. It sickened us a bit, but they were very cheerful, talking and smoking. We captured 12 prisoners here. I had to pleasure of speaking to them and I was surprised to hear they spoke as good English as myself.

“We are going after our chaps to-morrow in charge of a convoy and we are going to walk it and catch them up; I hope we shan’t be captured. I am in good health and spirits. I slept on the open veldt last night with Ellis Jones – one blanket under us and three over us.”

Copyright - Montgomery County Times and Shropshire and Mid-Wales Advertiser (09-06-1900) - Transcribed by Kjell Hanssen

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