Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries
More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has preserved.
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It was only through his medical skill - he removed the bullet - that General Penn-Symons - the first British General to be fatally shot in the Boer War, at Dundee in October, 1899 - lived as long as he did, languishing for several days. In 1902 he married Aileen Roberts, Freddy Roberts' older sister, the daughter of Lord Roberts.
The good doctor would become knighted as Sir Kendal Franks by King Edward VII in 1904, for his outstanding public and military service.
The top doctor in the British Army also signed the book below , none other than the Surgeon General (Major General) Sir WD Wilson photo right
Signatures of other leading surgeons, who tended to the sick in the hospitals of South Africa, included: Sir CA Kilkelly, CMG, far right, and Alfred Keogh, far right, who became Lieut-General Sir Alfred Keogh CMG, and was brought out of retirement by Lord Kitchener to become Director of Medical Services in WWI. Today Keogh Barracks, the British Defence Service's Medical Training complex, near Aldershot, is named in his honour.
AT Sloggett signed right.
Photo near right, as he looked when he signed the book for Emily at Bloemfontein, and far right below 1 as he looked during World War I, when he became Surgeon-General, Lieut-General Sir Arthur Thomas Sloggett CMG, the top doc in the British Army.
Ultra Rare Great Boer War Discoveries - Jan 2006
Featured at the top is the signature of Lord Methuen CMG, above, who modestly signed as Lg, for Lieutenant-General. He was the only British general to serve during the entire war, and was also the only one ever captured by the Boers, in 1902. He signed his autograph at Mafeking on Sept 2, 1900, only four months after his columns had liberated Baden-Powell from the encircling Boers.
Below his is the stunning autograph - probably the only one in existence -
of Sgt. GE Nurse VC, of the 66th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, below, the hero of Colenso, where seven Victoria Crosses were won, in Dec. 1899, most for trying to rescue the abandoned British guns amid a hail of Boer gun and rifle fire.
Under his brash scrawl - testifying to an assertive personality - is the shy, surgeonly signature of William Babtie, Major, below, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, who signed off with a most modest VC.
But the shy major would not take a back seat to anyone in the saving of lives. He also won his VC at Colenso for twice riding into a deadly Boer fire storm, not to save guns but to help the wounded gunners and bring back the badly shot up Frederick Roberts, left, son of fabled Lord Roberts, below, who would be given command of the war in South Africa exactly because of the disastrous defeat that Colenso proved to be. In spite of Babtie's heroics, young Freddy Roberts died of his wounds.
By World War I Babtie became Lieutenant General Sir William Babtie VC, CMG.
Below, the director of the Pretoria Hospital during the Boer War.
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Page, Boer War Autograph Book of Emily Henrietta Hay 1900-1902
Orig. autograph book - Size - 6.5"
Found - Hastings, UK
Fabulous: This book is extremely rare, because, though autographs of a number of these personalities exist elsewhere, most of them are not Boer War period but from their later declining years when they wrote letters to their admirers, book publishers, or building contractors on their estates when they were usually back in Britain. Often only a lonely, disembodied name signature remains, snipped off some irrelevant document or letter bottom.
But the autographs in this book were all made while the actors were caught up in important historic events, and in the throes of a terrible war. These are all genuine battlefield signatures! And in true British style, virtually all are autographs of officers, most being Colonels, Majors, or Captains - nary a Tommy Atkins among them, unless he won a VC, like Sgt. Nurse! An added bounty is that these signatures are almost all embellished, by their authors, with the date, the place, and the status each had at the time. And they are all bound up in a book as a thematic grouping of leading Boer War actors, captured together forever, in the midst of a terrible conflict. Historic signatures do not get better than this.
He had been given the command after the disaster at Colenso, in which his only son was killed. He got news of the appointment he had cherished on the same day he learned of his son's death.
Left, over the flag, is the signature of JDP French, the Lieutenant-General in charge of the (Cav)alry (Div)ision, photo right below 3, who would later become Field Marshall Sir John French CMG, and head of the British Army at the outbreak of World War I. He signed at Middelburg, Cape Colony when he was engaged in chasing Boer Commandants Lotter and Scheepers in 1901 (see story below).
Above, is Lt. Arnold J Marten (photo below) of the Highland Light Infantry who was detailed to guard trains and was wounded.
Trains played a major role in the defeat of the Boers as well as in saving the lives of British Tommies by getting them to hospitals faster.
Trains were a frequent target for Boer commandoes.
Below is Bron Herbert, the London Times Correspondent during the Boer War. He followed General Buller's advance on Ladysmith and witnessed the action at Colenso where Nurse and Babtie won their VCs.
A few months later Herbert was so badly wounded in the leg that it had to be amputated below the knee. He was probably convalescing when he signed the book for Emily. (Herbert left among correspondents.)
Among other soldiers who became famous were Sir Robert Vaughan Wynn CMG, right and Arthur O'Neill, right, a Lieutenant in the Life Guards, who became an MP and, tragically later, the first British Member of Parliament to be killed at the Front in World War I.
One can almost see the gun powder stains on the page left, on the souvenir signatures Emily Hay collected when she was with those aboard #5 Ambulance Train with "Boers sniping round us" near Smaldeel on June 15, 1900.
All were officers who were wounded and being taken on a hospital train to Cape Town. The shipping manifests show that they were put aboard steamers and hospital ships and taken back to England to recuperate.
This was only a week after Lord Roberts occupied Pretoria, and while everyone generally thought that the war was now over. Apparently the Boers at Smaldeel did not think so.
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