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Although the signs had been apparent for some time, Britain - as always - was surprised when the Boers declared War in 1899. Our troops were not in position and supplies inadequate. The Boer Forces were - of course - ready and immediately swept into action with their , smallish forces.Their main intention was to descend into Natal - capture the coal fields, which were so necessary for our coal fired ships - and , if they could, take Durban.

They would then have a base for landing supplies.

The Coast of South Africa has very few good harbours and at the time of the War commencement, all supplies for the Boers had to come through Lourenco Marques in the old Mocambique. Kruger had established a railway line between there and Pretoria. You have to remember that both The South African Republic (The Transvaal) and The Orange Vry Staat were both inland and were - and still are - some 400/500 miles (800/900kms) from the sea.

The Boer plan of action was to move quickly and take a number of strategic and important towns. Kimberley was high on the list because of it's mineral wealth; Mafeking - because of it's strategic importance and Dundee - in Natal, for the coal. Both Kimberley and Mafeking resisted and both turned into important sieges - histories for another time. The first battle of the Boer War was Talana - where if it wasn't an outright victory - then we held far superior numbers. However, the position could not be supported and we retreated towards Ladysmith and Sir George White's troops. Before our troops reached there, they had an engagement with the Boers at Elaandslaagte - which we won. When our troops had entered the town of Ladysmith the Boers - with greatly superior forces - enveloped the Town - and so, the Siege of Ladysmith commenced on 2nd. November 1899.

I recently acquired a torn and battered old copy of the official account of the Siege - published six months after the Siege was lifted on 1st. March 1900 , by the Town Council. We can then, be sure that the information and statistics are correct and accurate - which makes it important. I have selected a number of pages which I think will be both informative and interesting - bearing in mind that this type of post is providing a source of information for future writers. The booklet included burials, numbers and names of people, the full list of the Town Guard and all proclamations and orders given out by the Military Command. These I have available should anyone need that type of info..

Sieges - by their very nature - tend to be dominated by the Military, and the plight of the Civilian population overlooked. Later historians have done exacly that with Ladysmith and I hope some of these pages from the booklet will allow us - now - to realise what a difficult time they had and how food shortages impacted on everyone. Some of the food prices are horrendous - I suppose the One pound in 1900 would be worth about twenty today - possibly more. A Gold Sovereign - worth then one pound one shilling - is today worth Pounds 230 ! ($360)

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The quality is not high on some pages - and, the dreaded old sellotape has been used freely.

**Remeber Hugh's advice - press Ctrl and the Plus sign to enlarge. Ctrl and - to reduce

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Just had another comm.booklet come-in. I will not bore with thousands of old photos - however, these few are interesting, particularly those that show the battery from H.M.S. Powerful. Without the Naval Brigade it is unlikely that we could have withstood the siege.

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