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    The first shots of the Boer War were fired at Kraaipan, 65 km south of Mafeking.
    “Another strong force of Lichtenburgers under De la Rey crossed the border twenty-five miles south of Mafeking and made a rapid dash on Kraaipan in order to catch the police. In this they were disappointed, but 
    they had not long to wait for their first success. Meanwhile they spent the day in damaging the railway for some distance to north and south of the station. Late in the evening the Mosquito, coming back from Vryburg with the two guns and a quantity of ammunition, ran over the gap in the track and ploughed its way to a standstill across the open veld. The Boers surrounded it, and a desultory fight was kept up all night. But De la Rey had in the meantime sent up for his artillery under Van der Merwe, and when it arrived in the morning the fate of the handful of men in the train was sealed.


    After the first few shells Nesbitt, who, with eight or nine of his men, was wounded, raised a white flag and surrendered."

    A.S. Hickman in "Rhodesia Served the Queen", Vol I supply much more detail:
    "An armoured locomotive was travelling ahead of the train and, without lights, had to move slowly; its driver was Flowerday. It was followed by the train at a stated interval on 40 yards, drawn by an ordinary engine, driven by R Booth, also without lights. The result was that driver Flowerday, in the pitch darkness, reached the point where the railway line was destroyed. Here he ploughed into the ground, after which he hurriedly jumped out with a red lantern to warn the approaching Mosquito. Nesbitt, however, proceeded slowly until he reached 
    the derailed engine, and because there was no sign noticeable of any Boers he cut off steam and instructed the railway workers to repair the breach and put the derailed engine back on the line.


    For over an hour the rail workers were busy while the soldiers kept watch. The Boers, however, were busy assessing the position and preparing to move to better positions.
    Suddenly, the stillness of the night was broken by a volley of Mauser shots when Veldkornet Coetzee's men opened fire. This was immediately followed by the heavy boom from Nesbitt's cannon, augmented by a terrific Lee-Metford gunfire from the men of the Mosquito. It suddenly became evident to Nesbitt that nobody was safe outside the train. He therefore ordered that everybody had to seek shelter in the armoured truck. 


    Immediately after this he was struck by a bullet in the mouth. After all of them had fled head over heels into the armoured truck Cpl Williams took over command and ordered that the train should retreat full steam. Booth, the driver, climbed out of the armoured truck, but was hardly outside when a bullet struck him in the hand so that his comrades had to help him back into safety. After that Trooper Collins volunteered to act as driver. He reached the engine, but a bullet had already damaged the steam pipe so that he could not release the brakes to get the train in motion.


    Amongst the captured were 13 Bantu of whom four were wounded. Further there were 28 white prisoners, including Lieut R N Nesbitt (wounded in the mouth), Fireman J Jooste (scalded by the steam), A Collins 
    (scalded by the steam and wounded), A Rossiter (wounded in the leg, and who later died at Vryburg) and R Booth (wounded in the hand). On the Boer side there were no casualties."


    Lady Sarah Wilson later visited the site and recorded her impressions in "South African Memories”: "There was not much to see, after all - merely a pilot armoured engine, firmly embedded its whole length in the gravel. Next to this an ordinary locomotive, still on the rails, riddled on one side with bullets, and on the other displaying a gaping aperture into the boiler, which told its tale.


    Then came an armoured truck: His 
    Majesty's Mosquito that had been leaving Mafeking so trim and smart, but now battered with shot; and lastly 
    another truck which had been carrying the guns. This had been pushed back into a culvert, and presented a 
    dilapidated appearance, with its front wheels in the air. The whole spectacle was forlorn and eerie."


    Nicholas John Walsh enlisted on 18 Aug 1899 as Trooper in the Protectorate Regiment. He was with Fitzclarence in D Squadron in the Armoured Train skirmish and killed at an early stage.
    “Fitzclarence’s party dismounted short of the train and left their horses behind a cluster of deserted Barolong huts. As Fitzclarence advanced the Boers fell back. Spurred on by the ease with which the 
    Boers were being driven off, he sped up. 
    The Boers, unbeknown to Fitzclarence, were sucking him into a trap. They were manoeuvring in such a way that Fitzclarence was brought between them and the train thus cutting off the fire from Williams, who feared hitting British soldiers. 


    The Boers were now able to concentrate their fire on Fitzclarence. Particularly effective were Boer snipers concealed in the branches of trees scattered round the Boer position. First to fall, shot through their heads, were two Irish cousins, Corporals Parland and Walshe...”
    “The Boy” by Hopkins & Dugmore (p 84).


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