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CAMPAIGNING IN RHODESIA, New Zealand Times, Volume LXXI, Issue 4169, 3 October 1900
CAMPAIGNING IN RHODESIA
WITH CARRINGTON’S FORCE. HOW A NEW ZEALANDER DIED. DISGRACEFUL REVELATIONS. (From Our Own Correspondent.) MAR AN DELLAS, J uly L'l. OFFERS TO SETTLERS. Some time ago I mentioned that an offer was about to bo made to induce colonial_troops to settle in Rhodesia and briefly outlined the inducements iikely to be offered. As the subject is no doubt of considerable interest to New Zealanders; I take the opportunity to send the following copy of a letter which has been received by the Staff Officer from the Administrator of Rhodesia ; "Sir the Administration understands that some of the members of the Rhodosiair Field Force are desirous of ascertaining the terns on which the British South African Company would he prepared to make grants of'land to bona lido settlers who may wish to remain in Rhodesia on conclusion of their term of service. The Administration is deeply conscious of the service which nas boon; rendered to this.country by the contingents from the Imperial Yeomanry and tho .volunteer contingents from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, ami is desirous of evincing its appreciation by meeting the wishes or those who may desire to remain here. With that view, a memorandum showing generally the conditions on which the British Soutn w.ricau Company will bo prepared to make grants of hind, of which 1 nave the honour to enclose a copy, has been drawn' up, and I shall be obliged if you will make them known among the members of the force still in Mashonaland. It is, I may -add, proposed only to consider men’s applications who arcrecommended ■by their vomniandin,_ officer as being suitable and of good character: and for the present to v mit. the number of grants to 100. A communication" to the above effect has also been addressed to the General Officer commanding at Buluwayo as regards men who have: left Mashonaland. 1 have the honour to be, “(Signed) R. R. MILTON. ; “Administrator.
Einolbsuro—‘“Farms for Australian ,Now Zealand and Canadian Volunteers and English Yeomanry who nave volunteered for the defence of Rhodesia. One hundred farms will be granted ,on the following terms: Faniii of 13 jt) morgaii, or thereabouts (say, 3000 acres!, will be granted to bona fide settlers who will personally occupy and farm • with stock and agriculture: ' “;I. For five years, subject to a quitrent of 10s per annum. “2. After five years’ occupation as above, settlers to , have full option—“(a) Of purchase at Is 6d morgan, in addition to cost of survey.
“(b) Of leasing the land .from five to seven years at a rent of 5s per annum, the quitrent in both cases to continue at 10s per annum. , “8. The British South African* Company will obtain and distribute breeding cattle up to 50 headt to each settlor, who shall have the option—
“(a) 01 purchasing outright at cost price. “(b) Of farming u with . the said cattle on the halves with the Bi’tisli South African Company, who retain the ownership of the cattle. “4. The British South African Company will pay each settler £25 per annum lor a period of nine years, in return for which the latter will agree to he Called out for service when required, and to attend to training and drill as ordered by proper authority. During period of training allowance will lie paid at the rate of 5s a day.” These terms are no doubt liberal enough in a sense, and if they were of. fared m a country worth living in, tncii as New Zealand, for instance, ' they would be “jumped, at” without hesitation. But, for the reasons stated in my previous letters hearing on jibe subject, I feel sure that very few colonials, or Englishmen either, will be found ready to embrace the opportunity.. ThesAdministrator of , Rhodesia casts his net most skilfully; but the 5000 colonial fish in his territory arc not going to rush the hundred pieces of bait he lias so cunningly thrb.wn out to make them hungry. Colonials may ho “soft,” still they have sufficient sense, of humour to appreciate his little game, The ,Administrator will have-to rise a little earlier in the morning.; 1 have not met one yet and I have been fooling ■ the colonial “pulse” for somehime who is disposed to “grab.” Nineteen Hundred mounted * police are required for the Orange River Colony ~ for _ three months, with the option of renewing the engagement for six months .at the cud of.the first term, at 10s per day., The. (hodesian- Field Force have been offerer! a chance to fill those vacancies.-and I. think it very likely that the opportunity ■'■will be largely availed "t, as - the term is short and the pay is A large number will also be required fur the Transvaal, i hut, applications have not yet been invited. RAVAGES OF DISEASE.
. Death and disease still continue to decimate the Khodesian Field ; Force. On; tlie 12th insl. Captain Hamilton (Queensland Mounted Infantry) died of fever, and was buried on the following, day with military honours. And a few days later Lieutenant Andrews (Imperial Yeomanry) died of the same disease at Salisbury,’ at which place he had been removed a couple of weeks previously. .The unfortunate Yeomanry :.ave been by, far the greatest sufferers, their ranks having'been reduced by Id per cent. — death has claimed thirty and 120 have been invalided home, including Dr Jackson (New South Wales). Twenty-one—-six colonials and fifteen Yeomanry were invalided , home . last week, and twenty-five, more are already booked for home' this week- No section or division of the.... South African forces can show anything Ilk; this record. It is very evident tlnif tho British soldier has a more deadly enemy to face in this country than the Mauser bullet. 11 TEOOPEII S AVON'S DEATH
In a previous letter I mentioned that Trooper Saxon : (Wellington), who had been left behind bn the hospital ship, at Bcira. was reported to be dead, and stated that if the, report proved to bo correct I would have something further to say about his case. The sad nows hano doubt, long ere this been confirmed in New Zealand, though it is only within the last ten days that authentic information of the poor fellow's fate has reached me. T would that poor Saxon had lived to mpke known with nis own lips the shocking manner in which he had been treated, but as he now lies beneath the sod ' it is clearly my duty, as a conscientious ■ journalist, to speak for the aead, regardless of consequences to the living, though it causes me great pain to do So,' for I feel that what I have to say will inevitably bring discredit on some one, and, just as likely as not, on the wrong one. I heed,not no- into full particulars in connection with my association with: this case: suffice it to say that on iny re tuna to camp after an absence of two _ days 1 found the place i deserted. Calnp bad been “struck.” and the squadron to which poor Saxon belonged bad entrained for Marandellas. Knowing that _ a mmiber of New Zealanders were in the hospital—an old building which had been
re-erected at the end of the paddock—a. day or (wo previously, stretched oil, on" a heap of straw in a. more or less neglected state, I immediately proceeded to the hospital to see what hau become of the unfortunate patients, lor whom I had many times felt inclined to intercede, but, of course, would only have laid myself open to bo told to mind my own business, as it was no pa’rt Of my duty as a correspondent- to interfere with the camp arrangements. My feelings on entering the building may be more easily imagined 1 ban described, when, to my surprise, I found on_o solitary occupant the emaciated Trooper J. F. Saxon, onco a fino, strong young fellow, wnost> acquaintance I had made during the voyage. There, on the dirty floor, in the midst of swarms ut flies, fragments of semi-docomposed food and dirty utensils, the poor fellow lay as Helpless as- a child,, with nothing hut tins lilthy chaos and the dirty, dismal walk-; of the building and complete solitude to cheer his rapidly-ebbing spirits! A second glance was not necessary to convince mo that my. appearance bad interrupted the course ,of the poor man s grief, for his cye.s were still lull oi tears. find no wonder! I never ni my life saw such a scandalous state of things. If the poor man had been a common criminal he could hardly h;uo been treated iu a more brutal manuei. In reoly to my inquiries as to lus condifou. ho said: 'T am well enough, only 1 feel dreadfully weak--1 have been starved—l have bad nothing to eat. since yesterday evening (this was at -I p.iniV whou I bud a bit of hibcmt and a drop of tea. I am supposed to get beef tea and cornflour, but 1 have only had it once or twice. When I complained to the man who is supposed to attend to us, he told me to - get up aiitf: attend to myself, or go without. 1 have not been able- to walk tor some time I have been too weak. No one seems to take: any interest in us, or care whether we live or die. None ot the officers have been neiir us."' Contrauicting himself, he said ; “Well, yes, Lieutenant Collins frequently came to see visbut most of the Auckland officers called almost every day to ■ see ■ their men."
These 'statements, of course, were not made exactly in the order in which they are git on, and, in justice to the dead, 1 may add that they 1 were not made In a vindictive tone or spirit. Far from it, the poor follow was too much oveicome to entertain ill-feeling towards. anyone, even though.it was certainly, deserved. I naturally felt very indignant to learn that a helpless fellow countryman had bgeii treated in such a, heartless.manner, and expressed my determination to lot the New Zealand public know how the field Hospital was being conducted. But poor Saxon burst into tears,; and said, “Oh,‘ please don b say. anything about .it just l -now. It. would kill ray ; poor mother if she knew how l was being treated." It was most affecting. I shall never forget the incident to see iih ’unfortunate young fellow, once strong and active, crying and sobbing as though -his heart would break, evidently conscious that his end was near, and" that lie would see his aged mother no. more. I. of course,- did iiiy best to pacify him, and wont -immediately to the Staff Officer to see what could be done lor the poor fellow. I explained that he was in a dying-con-dition > without food, attendance, or necessaries cl any-kind, and that lie h.aa. been in that condition for twenty-tour hours. The officer sent two stretenerbearers- away ‘Tor the invalid at once, fwith-instruction'- to remove him to the hospital ship without delay.- Nine days later poor Saxoni breathed his last, and on the following clay (June 17th) ho .was buried at Beira with - full-.military honours, :E. Squadrony - Victorian Imperial Regiment, forming the firing party. - For reasons ■ which will be appreciated bv all intelligent r< ader;;,l have remained silent; up to the _ present .moment. But I have no hesitation in saying that poor Saxon’s death was largely—li not entirely—due to neglect, and 1 say: this fully conscious of the seriousness of the statement. The hours of solitary■ confinement and starvation which, ho endured prior to - his removal to the hospital ship, ! where 1 ho would no doubt receive' every attention, as ■ there, were female nurses on hqard to attend to patients, 1 were sufficient to lay theToun-dn-tibu lor the death of any man in a place like Beira, and morej particularly of a man in the weak, debilitated condition ini wdrich'poor Saxon was- We all know how important a contented mind and cheerful surroundings arc in sickness, but howk-ould a- man be contented or cheerful under the painful circumstances above described? -There' is- ample scope hero for the charitable, ■ sympathetic -women of Now Zealand, anu 1 would strongly recommend the Government tosend a- number of nurses , with each . contingent - despatched in future, as the majority on- men are ;naturally as, incompetent and helpless, i n tlie ; sick . chamber.as they are impale nt and unsympathetic.. They-dp not- take kindly to,hospital work, and the result is.,a .deplorable neglect of..the qick, .My oxperiences in this country have, convinced. me that a few practical women, (rained or untrained, would be infinitely more successful in tlie treatment cl. ,lhe sick than an army, of doctors, and their, drugs. For what is the use of ( lie hitler in the absence of.ordinary: comforts, sympathy and care? Any man would much rather trust his life to good nursing than to scientific drugging, and it does not require a s,nn wlluitv of brains (o discover which .would ‘ give tlie best ree'.of . the medical officers have oxure-sed themselves very strongly i-gainst the employment of nurses in the field hoMiilals. lint t have sren Miffieient to convince mo tl-d iltere is uion; or loss motive in . their object unis—the women are probably too syinnathelic and exacting for the comfort of indifferent medicos. The subject, however, is too wide for treatment here, so T.will leave it for a. future occasion.
In accordance with , the army regulations the into Trooper Saxon’s kit was -old at auction a lew days ago, your cbiTespondent being called upon to act as auctioneer,-and although (hero was no overcoat, (lie being buried in these) or blanket-,, it realised the sum of !£9 4s Gd," which will, of course, ■be forwarded to bis -ivirents. Before beginning the sale the auctioneer made a few appropriate and' feeling remarks concerning the. late owner of the goods about to bo offered, and an a sequel to the end circumstances which necessitated the sale, it passed oh satisfaciymly, every article offered 4)ringing -a very good price. It was, of course, a, purely commercial function, 1 but- there was an air of solemnity present not usually observable during tie:* course of business transactions. " r The unfortunate young fellow’s money heir, realised £l. and a pair of bis-regimental letters (N.Z.8..51.) were sold at the sa mo furore. New Zealanders being the principal buyers. ' Personally, I think it would have been much better to have sent the whole of the kit to the bereaved parents, who would, no doubt, have appreciated it more than’ the money realised. I suggested this course to the officer in charge, but he was obliged to carry out his instructions.
CAMPAIGNING IN RHODESIA, New Zealand Times, Volume LXXI, Issue 4169, 3 October 1900
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