Sunday 21st of April 2002 06:53 PM 
Letters of the Boer War [Andrews]

Letter from Captain Ryrie, A Squadron, Imperial Bushmen: - Otto's Hoop, South Africa, to Mrs. Andrews, of Wollongong - September 3rd, 1900.

Dear Mrs. Andrews

It grieves me very much to have to write to you to tell you of the death of your son; no doubt you have already learned of the sad occurrence. It took place the other day while we were out patrolling. The poor fellow was shot in the back when we were retiring from a position. I know that nothing I can say can lighten the burden of your sorrow, but it will be some solace to you to know that I as his captain can truthfully say that there was not a better man in my command; that he was respected by all his comrades and died like a true soldier.

I had him buried here in the cemetery by Mr. Reynolds, our Church of England Chaplain, and he was taken there on a gun carriage attended by a large crowd of his regiment. I am sincerely sorry and only wish I could do something to lighten your grief. I will see the disposal of his personal effects, and his pay which amounts to some £15 will be forwarded to you in due course.

Again expressing my regret and hoping that God will give you strength to bear bravely the bereavement of loosing such a good son as I know he must have been.


From the Bushmens' chaplain, the Reverend J. Reynolds to Mrs Andrews:

My Dear Mrs. Andrews

As Church of England Chaplain to the Imperial Bushmen, under Col. Mackay, it is only right that I should let you know that your son, F. Andrews, who was shot by the Boers, was decently and properly buried. Let me assure you of my sincere sympathy in your sad affliction. May God himself grant you comfort in your loss.

It will console you to know that your son did not suffer pain and agony, as he died immediately. Our colonel, officers, and troops, attended the funeral. The grave is in Ottoshoop cemetery; and the burial party, troopers from your son's squadron, have cut out the name on a stone, and placed it at the head of the grave.


Letter from Trooper Ross Willmot, 20 October 1900 to Mrs Andrews:

The news I have for you is not very welcome, though I suppose you have heard it already; it is the news of poor Frank's death. I am very sorry to say that Frank was shot by the Boers, on the 26th instant, while taking a message to the captain of A Squadron to retire.

Well, Mrs. Andrews, you have the sympathy of myself and the whole of A Squadron. He was loved by all who knew him. He went out in the morning in good spirits and in good health, and it gave me a great surprise when the sad news came in that poor Frank Andrews had been shot. But you know that God can see further than we can, and we are taught to say in our prayers "Thy will be done," and I trust that God will comfort you in your sad bereavement, is the prayer of Frank's true friend and comrade, who feels his loss very much. But God only knows who will be next, "We know not the hour when the son of Man cometh," it may be me or it may be some other of my comrades, but I trust that whoever it is that we may be prepared to meet our God and Maker.

I must tell you that I have a ring and a few little things of Frank's that I will keep for you until I return to Sydney, if I am spared to return, and I pray that the war will soon be over. I must now conclude with my deepest sympathy.


Letter from Trooper A.A. Graham, Imperial Bushmen to Mr. E.A. Graham, Woonona, 24 November 1900:

Since my last writing to you we have reached Ottoshoop, and have had a days' fighting with the Boers; there were about a dozen of our chaps captured. The first Imperial Bushman to be killed on the field was young Andrews, from Wollongong. He was riding my horse that afternoon, while I was signalling. Young Charlie Bode got a bullet in his wrist. I have had a few narrow squeaks; for instance, four of us went out on patrol. We were to go about two miles and the corporal in charge went about 4 or 5 miles; the consequence was we were surrounded by the Boers, who started firing at us from all sides. We made desperate tracks for home. The corporal was shot through the ankle and shoulder, and his mate had his horse shot from under him. The other fellow and myself arrived home safe and sound. I call this a bit of luck; the bullets were whizzing all around us making the dust fly. I can tell you sincerely it puts the fear of God in you. A great number of our chaps are badly wounded, generally through patrol duty...



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Further Reading

New Australian book containing letters home from the Boer War released.
Click here to read more.