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Boer War Letters to Canada - June 1900

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flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure A very unusual Boer War letter sent by Pvt. James G White, on June 7, 1900 from South Africa to a pal in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.

James had once lived in Stratford, from 1889 till 1895, and formed close friendships.

He had also joined the 28th Perth Regiment of Canadian Militia.

He had worked for the Grand Trunk Railway and finally returned to England in 1895, to join the Royal Berkshire Regiment.

Though he was now, in the British Army, in the Royal Berkshire Regiment, he sent the letter via the "Canadian Contingent South Africa" stamped mail.

James was already in South Africa when war there broke out in 1899. He fought in numerous actions, and then in 1901 he became quite ill.

An infection spread to his mouth and most of his teeth fell out.

In the summer of 1901 he was admitted to the 9th General Hospital at Bloemfontein. He was there for several months before it was determined that his condition had affected his heart, and it was decided to ship him back to England.

He arrived in England on Christmas Day 1901, after which he spent the next few months in hospital, during which time he appeared before various medical boards.

He was released from hospital in late March 1902, and discharged from the army with a pension, pending a review of his condition after one year.

 

Boer War Letters - Pvt. James Smith to Canada - June 7 & 9, 1900
Orig. letters - Size - 23 cm
Found - Waterloo, ON
Two days later James wrote another letter to Stratford.

In it he refers to the famous chicken stealing incident by a Canadian, which the morally upright Lord Roberts punished strongly.

The reference to General Cronje is because the Battle of Paardeberg where he was captured just happened at the end of Feburary.

The two letters went out in the same mail and have been together, for 110 years, ever since...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only a few weeks after being released from the hospital, in March 1902, James' heart failed and he was found dead at his place of work.

He had made plans to be married in October 1902...