Persistent identifier:
image: of 414
April'10. 1919
. |B* W. A. CLEAVE.]
Tho Outbreak of Hostilities In South Africa.—How Hampshire responded to the Nation's Call.—" Fifty Thousand Horse and Foot."—The Blast of War.—Kruger's \ Oepartura of General Bulier.—Scenes at the Docks and Waterloo.—Mr. Winston Churchill as War Correspondent.
*erm somewhot Isle—,ome ten yeara Jkr peace waa declared in I'^tcria—to at empt to ret on reomd the pan that Hamp. mw, and naaiscuiirly Southampton, played n the revolution which swept over South \friai and culmino/ed in the dissalmua war whidh for a period of nearly three years con-vulaed Ac s«*-oontinsnt, bat :f excuse be needed it may be sought in the belief that the itory is well worth the telling. Hw only surpris-ng oircunktanoo in that it luu not been told before, for probably new again will am* epochal times rocur so close to our threshold as those which marked the close of tho nineteenth and dawn of the twentieth centuries. Scenes ro memorable, so pregnant with humdn internet itnd pulsating with life and animation, bo , tilended with glitter and gaiety, glory and j gloom, to soul-tarring and so supreme, surely deeerve to bo writ in large letters in tho pages of Southampton's stirring story, that the of the shire may know and appreciate— and knowing and appreciating hand down to ■ their mona—tl&e significance of the historic hap I penings which it will be the writer's aim to j ♦hroniqle.
In the ensuing narrative it will be my endeavour to iccell how gloriously Hampshire re- | •ponded to tlie demands, in the hour of national j danger, that were made upon her. to re picture ! the thrilling scent** almost daily enacted at our
triumph and page* of tribulation, but fhey will bo glorious page* unbesrairched with stain «or
Into the causes which precipitated the terrible • and long-drawn, agonising conflict it is not ncoeesary now to enter, ouffioe it to say that Southampton, by reason of her close maritime associations with South Africa, followed the trend oi. events with tense and peculiar personal ^interest. Her mail boat a were the great bind-I ing linkx^— passing weekly to and fro like ! ' huttlem in the weaver's loom—between Great Britain ami the great South -African colonies. : Cope Town and Duibon were to hundreds of j her citizens quite familiar places. We were in
| only of everyone at home, but of those resident I in the distant outpceta of Empire—in snow-clad Canadian forest', in far away Australia and New Zealand, in run bathed Indian cilia*, and a hundred scattered tropic settlements and seagirt Lies. No one dreamt of disaster. Duller would see tilings through—Duller the Drave— the hero of a score of famous exploits—Duller the soldiers' idol—Duller the lion-hearted— Duller the man of iron nerve, on whose breast the Quran had pinned the Victoria Cross. Poor Duller I That is the phrase which instinctively ri«* to the lipa to-day sa one pauses by him carven e@gy in the tolemn shadow of Winchester Cathedral. It is as well that we oan-not peer into the myttery of the future, and draw aside the veil to see what Fate haa

:ount the mingled j
joys and agonies masocia'ed with and inccparablo from the great struggle so long and drearily aged between Briton and Doer for supremacy -tho pomp and pain and pageantry, the sad ess and the gladness of modern martial strife. The theme is feaneome as ll Is fascinating— full of brilliant lights and corresponding shadows. On both in the lucowding chapters A we shall dwell. <
\1 In this introductory note it may not be out j sf place, just by way of a reminder, to men-j *ioh that daring the South African campaign | some three hundred thousand soldiers, more or \ lea—true and loyal subjects of Wie Throne— /embarked and landed at Uiia port. It was , from hew brave Dwlkr sailed to esaay hia / "almost hopeless task to hold Natal fur the (' Empire in the face of overwhelming odds, that the first army corps,
Fifty thousand horse and foot Ordered to Table Day,'
. miled full of pluck and pride to avenge Majuba and the wnmge of their oompatriola, to be fol lowed by a ceaseless stream of combatanta— many, alas, destined never to return-all im-bued with the eame patriotio purpom. To Bnherts and Kilfhsner, too, we bade farewell in England's darkwt hour, following the dire disatWa of &(age«fontein and Cnlenso. Thou-aandm of yeomen and volunteers carried as their last recollection of dear old England mighty Southampton cheers, and the old town followed their fluctuating fortunes with vivid personal Wtemet. and mingled joy and sympathy, to the glorious but bitter end. As Southampton saw the Empire's rone depart, so, sadly, did d&e gas all too many of them return-shattered b health and limb. Of all &hb *«
very much more. Thsre wiU be pages of
The ,
es of the gallant British Soldiers who fell in the first Boer War (1881).
closer—more intimate—touch with South Africa than any other port of the Empire. If war broke out—aa unhappily it did—Southampton would he the flrjt to receive the shock.
On Wednesday, October 11th, 1899, as Mr. Joseph Chamberlain too truly stated, " the sand* were running out." Kruger recognised it too, for in hia memorable me*sage to America he hinted that in ths event of hostilities breaking out a price would have to be paid that would " stagger humanity." Little did he reck what that price would be, but his prophecy proved true enough. The next day the first rifle shot* were e%changed. The Boers surg«xl over tiio mountainous Natal frontier like ants on a summer's day. The blast of war had l>eeti sounded I The same day came the official announcement that "a number of distinguished military officers would embark in the Donald Ourrio liner Dunottar Castle, which would leave Southampton on Saturday." Heading the list was the name of General the Right Hon. Sir R H. Duller, V.C.
Those who saw Duller's departure will never forget the scene—a scene still vividly engraved on the writer's memory. Hours before the Castle liner was due to sail townspeople and visitors surged in an unceasing stream to the Docks to catch a farewell glimpse of the nation's hero, to cheer him in the Titanic task he was about to essay, and to wish him godspeed in hie mission. He carried the confidence not
in store for us. The day that Duller sailed was tho triumphant climax to a prolonged period of pent up anxiety and suspense. Kruger had thrown down the gauge of battle. Kruger had defied the might of Drit^in, and Duller was Britain's chosen champion. There was no carping over the choice. Even tho armchair critics admitted that Duller was the man. Two brief hours before he reached Southampton he had left Waterloo" Station with the good wishes of our late King, I/ord Wolseley, and Lord Iiunehenn before he sailed, but the General, thmugh his military secretary (Colonel Stop-ford), had wired to say that owing to the Menace of his departure from London be would he unable to accept the Mayer's howpiUliiy, though "he would be highly honoured if the Mayor could see him on board thlp." It thus followed that Alderman Huascy was foremoet amongst the townspeople to greet him.
As one glances down the Dunottar Castle's passenger list today, one cannot help ruminating over the changee wrought by the inexorable band of Time. Duller haa gone, and, ales, many of those who now nearly fourteen years ago went oul with him. Rome returned with military reputations tarnished—not through lack of grit, but rather through force of sinister • circumstance, dame fortune had frowned on them—others came back with laurels newly and honourably won. , The dioe of chance had turned up in their favour. \..i-•}
In addition to the military contingent there warn a little lent A of Special correspondent* on board Duller's ehip. Amongst the# number was Mr. Win ton Churchill, now First Lord of the Admiralty, who was going out to represent the " Morning Post." He was practically unknown then. Yet he waa destined to play a by no meana incowpiououa part in "the great game of war." It will be j'toalled how he figured in the armoured train disaster, how hswas taken prisoner by the Boers, how he eecsped, and that sfter the war was over he lectured (c the Southampton Philharmonic Hall on his experiences of the campaign. Amongst hia fellow war correspondsnta was Earl de la Warr, who sent vivid deapatchea to "The Globe," and many other* whose painful duty It was for a very long time not to send home cheering news of victory, but tidings of disaster.
The Docks were black with people aa Duller left. Snapshot tens wern much in evidence, and even in thoee day. the ubiqUitoua biograph operator was collecting film Impressions for the edification of London audisnoee by night. • It was a veritable day of triumph—it waa IkUlsr'a ' day I Yet, as one watched him on the upper deck he wta outwardly, at any rate, the meet unconcerned personage in that great multitude —a multitude that shouted itself hoars* aa It * frantically waved a thcwsual hats and handkerchiefs. That was before Colsnso, before Btorm berg, before the blSxiy days of Magersfontein I
The Dunottar Caatle was moored at the Ex tension Qusy. Soon after four o'clock, with the mails safely on board, ths visitors went aihore, the gangways were withdrawn, and as the vessel was slowly pioneered by tugs into the open waterway, the crowd surged to the end of the quay to renew their glad and aed goodbyes—the gladness born of hope of coming victory, the sadness of—farewell. Not until the stately liner had disappeared La to the gathering gloom of a misty autumn afternoon did the vast crowd dispense, and as they wended their way homeward* they with almost ummi-mous voice exclaimed, "Good old Bailer!"
(To be continued )
Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Delicious Digg RSS