Boer War – Letter from a Denaby Ambulance man

July 1900

Mexborough and Swinton Times, July 6.

The War

Letter from a Denaby Ambulance Man.

Sgt J.W.Beal, St John Ambulance Brigade, sent the following letter to his parents at Denaby. The letter is dated from Captain Camp, Ladysmith, May 24th 1900.

Dear mother and father.

I am in the best of health, and like the work I have to do, which is to look after three wards, see that they are kept clean, but do none of the work myself. They are all surgical patients, and I have all their wounds to dress.

If you saw the hills and mountains that Gen Buller had to fight over you would wonder how he got to Ladysmith at all; and if you saw the hills round here where the Boers had their guns, you would wonder how it was there were any buildings left standing, or anyone left to tell the tale of the siege.

The railways are laid on the top of the hills in parts rising and falling as much as 1 in 26 and 1 in 30 being a common gradient.

I met Dr Gilchrist at Pietermaritzburg. I have been offered a situation after the war is over at Johannesburg in the gold mines at £30 a month. I think I shall accept it if my health remains as it is.

There are some pretty sights travelling up the country, which is very barren just here, but in some places of the country you can see almost any kind of fruit you can mention growing in small plantations .