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When the Boer Republics invaded Natal on the north-east coast of what is now South Africa in 1899, they could have been driven out with nominal casualties. Instead, Britain was to lose nearly 9,000 men killed in action, more than 13,000 to disease and a further 75,000 wounded and sick invalided back to Britain. The war ended in 1902 with an unsatisfactory Peace Treaty. The Boer commandoes represented a new challenge to the British Army, practising a mobile form of warfare equipped with smokeless Mauser rifles and modern European field and siege artillery. The British forces did not have the training to deal with this new form of warfare. Perhaps the greatest blunder was the failure in the beginning to take advantage of local advice and capability. The organisation of locally raised Volunteers was designed to meet the threat. They soon demonstrated how the Boers might be defeated and when finally given their heads, they chased the invaders out of Natal at the gallop, while suffering only nominal casualties. When the Siege of Ladysmith was finally raised, the relieving force found the garrison and civilian population suffering from malnutrition and disease. This book uses primary source material to chronicle the experiences of the people of Natal - soldiers and civilians, black and white, men, women and children - during the Natal Campaign.
|Publication date:||15th August 2017|
|Format:||Paperback / softback|
|Categories:||Boer Wars, Battles & campaigns, African history, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,|
Hugh Rethman was born in Natal to a family descended from the early settlers there. He moved to Britain, read law at the University of Leeds, qualified as a barrister and has practised law in both Britain and South Africa. Passionate about history, Hugh has written on the Boer War for the journals of the Victorian Military History Society and the Military History Society of South Africa. He lives in Suffolk.More About Hugh Rethman