zondag 3 augustus 2014

Frederick Edwards -- 2 augustus 1901

• Frederick Edwards (1887-1947) was een Australische soldaat die in de Boerenoorlog vocht. Zijn oorlogsdagboek is hier te lezen.

Friday 2 August 1901: when we reached the banks of the Vet River, not very far from its junction with the Vaal. It was breaking dawn and several fires were seen near the farm. Bayonets were fixed as we rode along, and when within about 300 metres, we were ordered to charge, and with a yell we galloped headlong down upon the enemy at the farm, who were now out of bed, some rushing to their horses, some firing madly, cries of 'Hands Up' from both sides, and a shot rapidly followed it the enemy did not reply. The enemy were now scattered everywhere, and many escaped through the gaps in the fences, which our men knew nothing about. After searching the thick scrub, which fringes the river, we gathered at the farm called 'Grootolie'. Five of the enemy were found to have been killed, and 11 captured, while we had 2 wounded, and the Major’s Indian servant killed. It was now daylight and the enemy were seen, about 300 of them, but out of range, we were now all posted at the strongest positions, breastworks etc built, as it looked as if the enemy intended to rush us. An Officer and 3 men were now despatched to hurry up the guns with 100 men, who were to leave camp at 02:00 to reinforce us, and they were chased by 15 Boers, for 10 kilometres when they joined the relief, which now started to our relief at a full gallop. All of us were indeed thankful, when we saw the dust rising, telling us they were near. They reached us at 09:00 and were joined by the column at 15:00. Major Shea ( our Commanding Officer) received the 'DSO', for conspicuous gallantry, and Corporal Kermode the DCM for bravery, both on the same occasion.

Saturday 3 August 1901: Cross the drift to a better position, about 1.5 kilometres from the farm.

Sunday 4 August 1901: Halt for the day. Church service held at 10:30, a piano being used that was found buried at the farm. While the column was proceeding to join us on Friday, the rear guard was attacked, and we had one killed, and one wounded, During the day Major Shea, OC of the South Australians received the following letter:
'Please convey to the gallant regiment under your command, mu high appreciation of the three successful night enterprises, they have lately carried out, and especially of the very dashing night attack on the Grootolie Farm, a performance worthy of the very best tradition of Australian Troops in this war.' - H deB DeLisle Colonel

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