Boer War Page 70n

Trooper Moody's
Dufflebag 1

Go to Otto Moody's Dufflebag 1


Harry Macdonough (1871-1931): "God Be With You" 1902

You are listening to an original recording from 1902 featuring one of Canada's very first recording artists, Harry Macdonough and the Haydn Quartet, singing "God Be With You Till We Meet Again," a sentiment shared by Canadians as they saw their boys off at the dock, and later, as they remembered those who never came back.

(You can hear these earliest Canadian recordings on our program's soundtrack. Details on our Music Page)

Local Heroes 15

This page is dedicated with grateful thanks to Americans

Linda and Al Hutchins, of Wibaux, Montana,

for their enthusiastic sleuthing which rescued 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifle Trooper Otto Moody's personal Boer War effects for posterity, and for their public-spirited generosity, which has made it possible to keep together, this wonderful collection of a long-ago, Canadian, volunteer soldier, and thereby help illuminate a forgotten part of Canada's past.

Otto Bushnell Moody
of Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Born: Dec. 16, 1882

Mother Etta Bushnell Moody
Sisters May, Gertrude, Bess

Member 2 CMR
South African Campaign
Dec. 11, 1901 - July 28, 1902

Moved to Wibaux, Montana

Otto Moody's wife, "Muggie" (Elizabeth Reeve) Moody, died at the age of 100, in Chamblee, Georgia, on Jan. 26, 2004. She was in all likelihood the very last surviving wife of a veteran of the Great Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902.

Won't You Come and Explore !!!!!

Trooper O.B. Moody's Wondrous Dufflebag

Trooper O. B. Moody signed up, in Montreal, to join the 2 CMR in December 1901. He packed his belongings into this very dufflebag (left) and carried it aboard the Transport steamer Manhattan, leaving Halifax on Jan. 14, 1902, for the war zone in South Africa.

For the past year - since Lord Strathcona's Horse left South Africa in January 1901 - there had been no official Canadian unit in South Africa at all. But the Boers just could not be put down, so Britain called for reinforcements from the Colonies. Canada began recruiting a Fourth, a Fifth, and a Sixth contingent.

But Trooper Moody's 2 CMR, the Fourth Contingent, would be the only one to see action, before the war ended. And they saw plenty.

Trooper Moody's canvas dufflebag (above), and all it contained, was recently discovered in an old trunk where it had been stored since the early years of this century.

Trooper Moody marked his bag in huge letters with indelible ink on both sides (right) and on the bottom, because theft was a big problem. O.B. - which stood for Otto Bushnell - was taking no chances. He was a member of the 4th Troop of D Squadron of the 2nd CMR. His regimental number was 48.

From the official stamp "D CMR 48" this dufflebag was officially earmarked only for the use of Trooper #48, Otto Moody.

Found inside the bag was Otto's canvas knapsack (left), again carefully labelled on the strap with his name in indelible ink, "O.B. Moody, D Squadron."

As he rode, and as he walked around camp, he would carry his personal belongings in it. It had numerous canvas dividers in it that could be snapped shut with buttons.

The rear of the bag (below) had brass buckles.

Inside the knapsack, was Otto Moody's mess kit folding bag (below left), which had numerous pockets that were sewn in. Cutlery, combs, scissors, and personal effects could be folded up inside it.

Stamped inside the top flap of the folding bag (above), was the stamp (right), "Manufactured by James W. Woods, Ottawa, Ontario." It reminds us that the war created extremely profitable contracts for those who could provide the Canadian government with supplies, equipment, and thousands of horses needed by the war effort.
Also packed in the dufflebag, were Otto Moody's spurs (left), showing heavy use on the straps, but still complete with rowels which still turn smoothly. How many times, in panic, were these jammed into a horse's flanks to gallop them both out of danger?

Below is the name of the maker, "Withers & Son" and the date, 1901, stamped on the inside of the heel part.

We know these were Otto's personal spurs because on one of the leather straps is stamped "D 48", identifying it as the personal property of Trooper #48 of D Squadron, Otto Moody.

Explained: The mystery whip has now been explained by Otto's son-in-law. Otto often told him of being a wagon driver as he drove mules hauling water for the men of the regiment. This was then the whip he used.

Whips, some 8 feet long like this, were attached to wooden handles, were used to scare the mules by making noises like "pistol shots" over the heads of the mules and oxen, which provided most of the transport for the British army.

Explained: (below left and right) A most unusual strap, with two short buckle straps sewn piggy back onto each other, was kindly identified for us by Larry Emrick of Vancouver, BC, as used to tie the saddle wallets to the saddle as clearly shown in our Bugler litho on the Bugler page.

The end is stamped "2 CMR D 3," identifying it as belonging to the 3rd Troop of D Squadron. Otto was from the 4th Troop, as he clearly writes on all his belongings. Was this a present from a chum or an appropriation?

Below, a very worn out cinch belt that passed under the belly of Otto's horse and held his saddle in place. It is terribly ripped and worn, and long past any possible use. Why did Otto keep it? Did it remind him of a favourite horse? Or the hard campaign as the 2 CMR chased Generals De Wet and de la Rey west across the Magaliesberg in the final months of the war?
Explained: Also from the bag is Otto Moody's "running martingale", kindly identified for us by Larry Emrick of Vancouver, BC, and Fred Goldi of Toronto, ON, as a strap attached at one end to the girth under the horse's belly, coming up between it's forelegs and ending with the two loops shown below clipped on the bit. It would prevent an unruly horse from snapping its head back beyond the rider's control.

Wonderful corroborative evidence comes from young Otto's letters. He says his horse was stolen so the men played a joke on him by providing him with a new one that was wildly unruly and threw him to great peals of laughter. But he became great friends with it over time, probably courtesy of the martingale below.

The CMR trooper above, shows how Otto Moody would have looked in his campaign uniform.

He wears the same "Snake Belt" that was packed in Otto Moody's dufflebag (right).

The snake belt was an ingenious British invention which could be hooked up in an instant, and unbuckled just as fast, but was hard to fall open accidentally.

Even if the belt had not come from his dufflebag, we still know this is Otto's personal belt because it was officially stamped on the inside (right) with "48 D CMR," identifying it as belonging to Trooper #48 of D Squadron, CMR, that is, the one and only Otto Moody.

The bag also contained personal papers dealing with Otto Moody's war service.

The Bloody Bayonet of Otto Moody

Found among his effects, and showing signs of extremely heavy usage during the struggle against the Boers, is the bloodied and battered bayonet of Otto Moody (right and below). He had the Mark I version of the standard 1888 Pattern Lee-Metford bayonet issued to all British soldiers fighting in the Boer War. Otto's bayonet was manufactured in "I '93", January, 1893.

Otto would be in hearty agreement with British Trooper and Poet PT Ross (below), about this wonderful weapon of war.

The Ballad of the Bayonet

Did I ever use the bay'nit, sir?
In the far off Transvaal War,
Where I fought for Queen and country, sir,
Against the wily Boer.
Aye, many a time and oft, sir,
I've bared the trusty blade,
And blessed the dear old Homeland, sir,
Where it was carefully made.

  • Chorus
    Then here's to the British bay'nit
    Made of Sheffield steel,
    And here's to the men who bore it -
    Stalwart men and leal.

You notice the dents on the edge, sir
At Bronkhurst Spruit they were done;
I was getting a door for a fire,
For out of wood we had run.
I was smiting hard at the door, sir,
Or rafter, I'm not sure which,
When I struck on an iron screw, sir,
And the bay'nit got this niche.

'Tis my mighty Excalibur, sir,
I've use it in joy and grief,
For digging up many a tater,
Or opening bully beef.
I have used it for breaking wire,
Making tents 'gainst rain and sun;
I have used it as a hoof-pick,
In a hundred ways and one.

Oh, how did the point get blunted, sir?
I was driving it home
As a picketing peg for my horse,
So that he should not roam.
I drove it in a little, sir,
And then in my haste, alas,
I stubbed the point on a rock, sir,
Some inches below the grass.

You ask if it e'er took a life, sir?
Aye, I mind the time full well;
I had spotted him by a farm, sir,
And went for him with a yell.
He tried to escape me hard, sir,
But I plunged it in his side,
And there by his own backyard, sir,
A healthy porker died.

But did I draw it in action?
You ask me roughly now.
Yes, we were taking a kopje,
The foe were on the brow.
We drew and fixed our bay'nits,
The sun shone on the steel:
Death to the sniping beggars
We were about to deal.

Then, sweating and a-puffing,
We scaled the rocky heights,
But when we reaches the top, sir,
The foe was out of sight.

Has it e'er drawn human blood?
Yes once, I grieve to say;
It was not in a battle,
Or any bloody fray;
Twas just outside Pretoria,
The deed was never meant,
I slipped and fell on the point, sir,
Twas quite by accident.

  • Chorus
    Then here's to the British bay'nit
    Made of Sheffield steel,
    And here's to the men who bore it -
    Stalwart men and leal.
    And here's to the Millennium,
    The time of peaceful peace,
    When neighbours shall love each other,
    And wicked wars shall cease.

From "A Yeoman's Letters," PT Ross, 1901

Peacetime: Glad to see peace once more, and his bayonet - which he had never sharpened - and his other war memorabilia now safely locked into a trunk, Otto Moody (left) returned to Canadian shores, and relaxes at the beach with friends.
The Moody Search Continues: Do you have memorabilia from Otto Moody or information about his descendants, subsequent life, and death? Please give us a call.

c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 2000