AN ESCAPEE FROM JOHANNESBURG.
REFUSED TO FIGHT FOR THE BOERS.
AN INTERESTING INTERVIEW.
Hearing that there was on. board the Dttdhope, a ship which arrived at Lyttelton, frotn Capetown ,on Saturday, a youth who had been, at Johannesburg about the time that the war with the Transvaal began., a representative of "The Press" went on board yesterday and, by permission, of Captain , Low, interviewed the lad, who proved to be a Londoner named Harry Williams.
In answer to a question, he scud:—"l was born at Whitechapel, and went with, my parents to the Cape when I was only one year old. At Capetown my father sent mc to the best school there, the South African, College, where I was taught for about five years. About a year ago I went to Johannesburg, and was working there at a> mine till the war broke out. I was then commandeered to join the Boers, and was taken to the headquarters. I asked to be allowed to go to my lodgings, and I was given leave. When the time came for us to go ta the front, I went to the railway station, as I had been ordered. But I did not want to go, and made up my mind to run away from the war. So Jive minutes before the time when the train was to start I went tot the public offices for five minutes. When I came back I saw the officer in command and, toH. him I had missed -the train, but would go with another carps. • "He said I could go with the next lot of men. He took mc to his office, where they gave mc a gun and eighty cartridges. I took them to my lodgings,-which were at the Transvaal Hotel, a small inn. I did not return to the office, but packed up. my things and made up my mind to run away to Capetown. I could not get a ticket, and I 'jumped , tne tram. The people on it would not let mc go, because I bed bo/ticket. I had lost my luggage, too. The train was full of people getting away. On,our way, when near the •Ijorder, some Boers stopped the train, find took away. aB. the gold they could find/ "What did you do with the gun and car- 1 -
tridges?" .:• ;i : "Weil; before I le£t I sold rifle to a; Coroishmaxi at th© nVine, and the cartridges. I threw.away. I was no* going to fight against my own countrymen. I left Johannesburg on September "4th. The only man I bad any trouble with wa* a ticket collector. I told him I had lost all my luggage and my ticket, and he let mc go. "I had been working at the Simmer and Jack mine in Johannesburg. The Boer officer who asked mc to go to the war was Captain Hely, of the artillery. When I told him I did not wan* to go, he said 'You'll have to. . The gun be gave roe was a Mauser carbine. He told mc if I did not come I should be imprisoned. The f ailway etefcipn we had to go to was at Koodepoort, and we were to leave for the Free fclate border at half-pact three in the afternoon. "The quantity of gold the Boers took from the train was said to have been worth £10,000 or £12,000. It was in a van. They did not rob the passengers, but fired a few shots into the air. n "The weather was very cold and wet, continued fihe lad, **and we had no cover to the fcrucka. Wβ got into Capetown about half-past ten in the morning. We had been two days and three nights on the journey. I did not sleep a wink all the time. At Capetown I went to my father, and when I told him what had happened, he was veryvexed with, the Transvaal people, and taid I had better clear out before they could catch mc. •' I came on board this ship and stowed myself away.. I heard tha* ehe was going to New Zealand, and I thought I ■would get &ere before I got into trouble." "Were there many men at Johannesburg in tiis same position as yourself V "Yes, tihere were lots .of others commandeered—Jews and others—and they did' not like it tit all. Bat they had to go. Some I knew managed to get away, and that made mc try to ge>b away too. One day a Boer got into a rage with mc and tried to bit ma becauw I eaid the British would win, I had
a big buß dog, * fighter, wjiftog pouak X belonged to Detective Ockerman. The Boera tried to get it Away from mc, tout the dog turned upon them, and they bad to let it go. I lei* the dog ,2n charge of Mr Oofcen, with mhcta Defective Oekerman used to stay. I toad twcj dogs on the chain, two prizfe flgietors." "Be&Mwl left JobMmeeburg the prraaaswrlong imss»-4ad beeo set to-dig «ronch*s. That was about August 28tfo. They were etai ■weririag a* tfca tawtche* wiea I left, I saw building a fort too. of jToJut&nesbuig 'Were vtxy wistuu! UfiUb toe Boew sbodA get 4&.0 oest of it, end it w*fe i«itSßfeft)rany«wtosa,ybemeildnotfigl* tibeEngKA. They migto^aweshot mc ill bad dca& so. :Afc the raftway efcaticei I woe lots of women and drikkea. sitting ott the pktlbrm waiting for'the trains. After ' baying their tickets they would be unaole to get away, there was sucih a rusii. Tito trains Mb at 9 and 10 o'clock in tfee morning and ttt 8 and 9,30 at night. There wW» ttaeo eqginde to our train. I was in. •> coal truck, but the ladies were in carriages. Title Boers used to brag of how they had befiwe beaten the British, w*w>m tJiey called "t"ee- r domde Rooiook.*' They said , one Bol* was equal to ten Engjishntan. "Oα my way down to Capetown, there wW» about a dozen. Ccnustanen on the aajffle track, and they wm very tkid t<> mc <ied gave mc food. One bought plenty ofpotfod stuff at the eCatobzts, ai whaoh- we shopped evwy half hour or s>. Since I nave been on bWd CaoUtLu Low I>bs treated mc vwy fcbidly. I groined my cunHo the otier but I <hope coon. to get wofk." . The Dudlwi« left Capetown on October 12th, t]» day on vrhkh mtw was declared. A great number of Jolnamtesburg refugeee applied % passage to New- Zealand, but had to be refused. as the vessel has no pWSeager acoommodation. . ~•
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Press, Press, Volume LVI, Issue 10514, 28 November 1899
AN ESCAPEE FROM JOHANNESBURG. Press, Volume LVI, Issue 10514, 28 November 1899
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