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Death of Trooper Saxon.

AN ASTONISHING REVELATION. Writing under date Marandellas, July 24th, tbe special correspondent of the New Zealand Times, recorded as follows the disgraceful circumstances under which Trooper Saxon, of Feilding, went to his death in South Africa: — la a previous letter I men tioned that Trooper Saxon who had been left behind on the hospital ship at Beira, was reported to be dead, and stated that if the report proved to be correct, I would have something further to say about bis case. I would that poor Saxon bad lived to make known with his own lips the chocking manner in which he had been treated, but us he now lies beueath the sod it is clearly my duty as a conscientious journalist to speak for tho dead, regardless of consequences to the living, though it causes me great paia to do 90, for I feel that what I have to say will inevitably bring di.-credit on someone, and just as likely as not on the wrong one. On my return to caaip after au absence of two days, I found the place deserted. Camp had been " struck," and tho squadron to which poor Saxon belonged had entrained for Marandellas. Kuowing that a number of New Zealanders were in the hospital, an old building which had been re erected at the end of the paddock a day or two previously, stretch ed out on a heap of straw in a more or Jess neglected state, I immediately proceeded to the hospital to ccc wlv»t had become of the unfortunate patients for whom I had miuy times felt in dined to intercede but of course would only have laid myself open to be told to mind my own business, as it was no part of my business as a correspondent to interfere with camp arrangements My feelings on en'ering the building may be more easily imugined than described when to my surprise I found one solitary occupant, tha emaciated form of Trooper F. Saxony on^e a fine, strong young fellow, whose acquaintance I had made during the voyage. There, on the dirty floor, in ths midst of swarms of flies, fragments of some decomposed food and dirty utenbils, the poor fellow lay a3 helpless as a child, with nothing but this filthy chaos and the dirty, dismal walta of the building and complete soli'ude to cheer his rapidly expiring spirits. " A second glance was not necessary to convince me that my appearance hid intensified tin cause of the poor man's grief, for his eyes were still full of tears, and no wonder. I never in my life saw such a scandalous state of things, Tf the poor man had been a common criminal he conld not have been treated in a more brutal mauner In reply to my inquiry as to his condition he said, " I am well enough, only 1 feel dreadfully weak. I have been starved. I have had nothing to eat since evening, this wa3 at 4 p m yesterday, when I had a bit of biscuit and a drop of tea lam supposed to get beef tea and cornflour, but I have only had it once or twice. When I complained to tbe man who is supposed to attend to us he told me to get up and attend to myself or go without. I have not been able to walk for Gome time, 1 have been too weak. No one seems to take any interest in us or care whether we live or die. None of the officers have been near U3." Contradicting himself, he said, " Well, yes, Lieutenant Collins frequent y came to see us, but most of the Auckland officers called almost every day to see their men." These statements, of course, were not made exactly in the or ler in which they are given, and injustice to the dead I may add that they were not made io a vindictive tone or spirit. Far from it. The poor fellow was too much overcome to entertain ill feeling towards anyone even though it was certainly deserved. I felt very indignant to learn that a helpless fellow countryman had been treated in such a heartless manner, and expressed my determination to let the New Zealand public know bow the field hospital was being conducted. But poor Saxon burst into tears and Eaid, " Ob, please don't say anything about it just now. It would kill my poor mother if she knew how I was being treated." It was most affecting. I shall never forget the incident- -to see an unfortunate young fellow, once strong and active, crying and sobbing as though his heart would break, evidently conscious that bis end was near and that he would see his agpd mother no more. T, of course, did my best to pacify bim, and went immediately to the stall' officer to see what could be done for the poor fellow. I explained that he was in a dying condition with out food, attendance or necessaries of any kind, and that he had been in that condition for 24 hours The offi cer sent two stretcher bearers away for the invalid at once, with instructions to remove him to the hospital ship without delay. Nine days later poor Saxon breathed his last, and on the following day (June 17th), he was buried at Beira with full military honors, E squadron, Victorian Imperial Regiment, forming the firing party. For reasons which will be appreciated by all intelligent readers, % bave ro onained silent up to present moment, but I have do hesitation in saying that poor Saxon's death was largely, if not entirely, due to neglect, and T say this fully conscious of the serious ness of the statement.

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Bibliographic details

Death of Trooper Saxon., Feilding Star, Volume XXII, Issue 83, 5 October 1900

Word Count

Death of Trooper Saxon. Feilding Star, Volume XXII, Issue 83, 5 October 1900

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