Friday, January 14, 2011

Another Boer War picture...

Another "fixed" image and a somewhat more traditional British uniform.
The colour is a better reflection of the reality.

Gentlemen, I took another picture while I was visiting Mrs. Kinch's great uncle and here it is. Donald Featherstone wrote of the Boer War in "Featherstone's Complete Book of Wargaming" as the grandfathers war, a title that I think was not particularly apt in 1991 when the book was published, though I think it was certainly a fair description of his own feelings on the war.

A strange incident occured to me some years ago, when I was still working in the Cathedral and which proved to me that events that we think of as history can still evoke powerful personal feelings in those still living.

A South African chap with what I would call a strong "Boer" accent was visiting the Cathedral and approached me to ask why there were monuments to Irishmen who had served in the British army during the First and Second Boer Wars. His point was that there were none to the Irish that had fought on the Boer side.

I had begun to frame an answer, when the situation changed rather suddenly as he had been seized by the elderly gent who was standing beside. This gentlemen who had an eighty year connection with the Cathedral and was approximately half the South African's size, took his larger opponent by the collar and said firmly, "Because we don't build monuments to traitors, Sir." The South African was then frog marched out of the Cathedral, protesting as he went and was never seen again.

It emerged that my elderly friend's grandfather had served in the First Boer War and he had been very fond of the old gent, with the result that he took any aspertions being cast on his grandfathers service as a personal affront. And that gentlemen was the only case of 21st century fisticuffs that I know of that took place over the First Boer War.

Yet another instance, I suppose, of being a handshake away from history.


  1. Heh!
    Such is the price of losing!

  2. I think of WWI as my grandfather's war but he had been called back from the reserves, his service having been during the late 19thC so while he may or may not have served, it would have been his war as well.

    More like a peppermint from the bag in his pocket than a handshake though.