Boer War Page 66

Picture Press 3: In Canada

More Great Canadian Anglo-Boer War lithos, pictures, and prints, salvaged for posterity from the trash heap of history by the Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum.

If you have others, please let us know.


Herbert Darnley: "God Save the King" 1901

You are listening to the very first Canadian recording ever made - on Jan. 31, 1901- of "God Save the King," only 9 days after the death of Queen Victoria. It features Herbert Darnley and was recorded in Montreal, Quebec. Since Victoria had ruled for 64 years, virtually no one could ever remember singing it before with "King" substituted for "Queen." Victoria - it seemed - had been there forever.

You can hear these earliest Canadian recordings on our program's sound track. Details on our Music Page.


Botha Surrenders to the Canadians
Another rare print that our sleuthing has discovered at an antique sale, is "Botha Surrendering to the Canadians." It names the Canadian Mounted Rifles as the unit, and shows its members riding up on the right to "Botha" who doffs his hat as the Canadians salute. (Found in Burlington, ON)

This customary politeness between opposing sides is typical of the early phase of the war, which has often been called "The Last Gentlemen's War" as a result.

Fact or Fiction? Who is Botha? Is it the supreme generalissimo of the Boers, Louis Botha, the victor of Colenso, and Spion Kop, the farmer-turned-general who repeatedly crushed General Buller's forces so badly that the British Commander-in-Chief was sacked.

Did this surrender ever take place? Or was this just a figment of the imagination of patriotic Canadian artist Arthur Henry Hider, eager to capture the spirit of the Canadian contribution to the war?

If you know the answer,
Please let us know


Canadian Heroes: Britain's Vaunted Generals
Another huge (16" x19") and magnificent Canadian litho that we recovered from an auction sale is this spectacular portrait display of Britain's four "Chiefs of Staff" during the Anglo-Boer War. It is in immaculate condition, with original bubble glass, and pristine oak frame. Because it was lovingly preserved in a good home the litho is free of wrinkles, tears or staining which are sadly often found on these 100 year old pictures. (Found in Milton, ON)
At the top is Lord Wolseley, the head of the British Army. Below left is Lord Roberts who succeeded Buller to lead the War against the Boers with his fabled March to Pretoria. Lord Kitchener, who succeeded him and orchestrated the last year and a half of the most bitter part of the war is on the right. Below is Lord Beresford of the British Navy which supplied the Army with the naval guns to counter the Boer Long Toms.
Know Your History to Find Treasures: This portrait was wrongly advertised as "World War 1 General Staff Picture," but is, in fact, an ultra-rare litho from the Anglo-Boer War. Since Wolseley is given pride of place at the top - as head of the British Army - it has to be printed between Dec. 1899 - when Roberts was appointed Commander-in-Chief in South Africa, earning him the cameo below left - and 1901, when, because of his glorious March on Pretoria, and supposed victory over the Boers, Roberts came home to succeed Wolseley at the top.
The Pride of Canada: It is wrong to assume that Anglo-Boer War lithos were British imports. In fact Canadian lithographic printing houses produced many of these prints because Canadians felt strongly that Britain's War was Canada's War and British generals and heroes were also Canadian heroes.

British Heroes: The Canadians
Another wonderful (18" x 23") litho produced in Canada, displays all of Britain's important generals and colonels from the early part of the Anglo-Boer War. It retains its original brilliant colours, has no staining, and is encased in the original glass and frame. (Found in Stayner, ON)

At the top it features a cherubic Queen Victoria looking extremely wonderful and wrinkle-free for a woman in her eighties.

Of special interest is the vignette at the top right, which notes with pride, and is labelled, "The Charge of the Canadians," (left), probably of the Royal Canadians at Paardeberg in Feb. 1900.

The British - and especially Lord Roberts - were always extremely careful to give the colonials important staff positions and key duties on the battlefield. The British wanted the colonials to feel part of this great war. So on lithos, and in books, and memorabilia of all kinds, the role of the colonials was specially centred out for praise.

Below, sharing pride of place on the litho with the Canadians, were the British naval gunners who dismounted guns from British battleships and pulled them around South Africa after the Boers who started the war with their famous "Long Toms," capable of firing bigger shells much farther than any British guns then in the field.
Above, on their own "spoke," are the Canadians, including Col. Otter (bottom) who commanded the infantrymen of the First Canadian Contingent, Col. Lessard, whose Canadian Dragoons won three of the four Canadian Victoria Crosses of the war, and Sam Steele (top) of "Mountie" fame, and whose mounted western Canadians won fame among British generals as Lord Strathcona's Horse.
The officers are easy to decipher, including Baden-Powell in his "Boy Scout" hat, and Lord Roberts, in the centre, confirming this as a 1900 production. Robert's March to Pretoria, into the heartland of the Boer Republics, was designed to make the Boers abandon the sieges of the British colonial towns and rush back to defend their capitals.

In the middle bar, from left to right are the three besieged commanders, Col. Kekewich of Kimberley, Gen. White VC, of Ladysmith, B-P of Mafeking, and General French whose cavalry played the major role in ultimately freeing them from their captivity.


The Volunteers Canadian volunteers came from all across Canada, including this trooper (left) who came from western Canada.
He was a trooper - his spurred feet below -, wearing the Canadian flat-brimmed hat, and was armed with a pistol (probably a British Webley) and the Lee-Metford Pattern 1888 bayonet. (The Mark I version.)
This rare Canadian treasure - it is the only framed Boer War soldier portrait we have ever seen - is an exquisite, full-length original portrait, in tempera on canvas, of a young western Canadian. It is in wonderful shape, immaculate in its huge 27 x 31" polished, expensive, original two-piece frame.

All point to a young man from a wealthy family who spared no expense to preserve what he looked like on the eve of leaving - perhaps it would be forever - for South Africa. (Found in Winnipeg, MB)

Could the name below left (from the back of the picture) give us the identity of this trooper? If you have any ideas, please give us a call.

This Canadian trooper would have been trained exactly according to the standard 1896 British army manual of the day.

(below) The heavily dog-eared, personal training manual of Sgt. Robert Marshall of Wolseley Barracks in London, ON, where many Boer War volunteers were instructed before going overseas in the fall of 1899. (Found in Dundas, ON)

(Wolseley Barracks was already named then, in honour of Lord Wolseley (left) who led the Red River Expedition against Canadian Métis leader Louis Riel in 1870, and was on the eve of the Boer War, the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army.

The manual makes clear why British soldiers suffered heavy reverses in the opening months of the war. They were foot soldiers sent to combat the Boers who were master hunters, and born horsemen. Canadian volunteers, taught how to "Engage, when opposed to a mounted man," (above right), never got close enough to put their bayonet drill to use, and were reduced to shooting at moving specks on the horizon from the "Kneeling Position" illustrated (above), which they had been taught,

c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 2000