Ch. 20: The Mines Besieged

Ch. 19: An Uplifting Power Page of 396 Ch. 20: The Mines Besieged Text size:minus plus Restore normal size   Mail page  Print this page
HE siege of Kimberley was one of the striking episodes of the late war. As an interruption to the peaceful progress of diamond mining in the South African Fields, it has a place apart from the industrial story. Yet no history of the Diamond Fields would be complete with­out some account of its course, and my personal view may be of interest in the possible emphasis of the part taken by De Beers in the maintenance of the defence. I would mark, too, precisely how the war affected the working of the mines, and tell from my own observation how the call to arms made soldiers of men accustomed to the use of drill, pick, and shovel, and caused our mechanics to turn their hands to the making of ordnance.
For some time previous to the actual outbreak of the war (October n, 1899), it was apparent to us who were living upon the border of the Orange Free State that both the South African Republic and the Orange Free State were making preparations for war with England, and that the invasion of the Cape Colony was but a matter of a short time. These preparations had been going on for many years until the magazines and arsenals of the Transvaal were filled with the finest munitions of war that the works of Schneider at Creusot or of Krupp at Essen could pro­duce. The Mauser with which the Boers were armed was as good as the small arms of any Continental power, and better than the Lee-Metford which the British brought against them.
In July, 1899, Major Scott-Turner came to Kimberley, and Lieutenant Mclnnes, Royal Engineers, followed him shortly after. Colonel Trotter, R. A., Chief Staff Officer, also came to
Ch. 19: An Uplifting Power Page of 396 Ch. 20: The Mines Besieged
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