|About the Book|
The Royal Dublin Fusiliers (RDF) was formed in 1881, as a result of the Cardwell reforms, by the linking of the 102nd Royal Madras Fusiliers with the 103rd Royal Bombay Fusiliers, which became respectively the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the regiment. Both battalions traced their origins back to the Honourable British East India Company, the 2nd Battalion being descended from the Bombay Regiment, formed in 1661, the first of the Companys European regiments. When the South African War broke out in 1899 the battalion was already in the country, having arrived in Natal from India in 1897, and so it had had time to get acclimatised and learn the topography of that colony. It remained in South Africa till the end of January 1902 and took part in the actions at Talana Hill, Colenso, Venters Spruit, Ladysmith, Harts and Pieter Hills and elsewhere. This book claims only to be a plain soldiers narrative of the part taken by 2nd RDF - the fighting, the long and weary marches across the Transvaal and the monotonous life of constant vigil in fort, blockhouse and on escort duty. The appendices contain, among extracts from Battalion Orders, letters, telegrams etc, a detailed breakdown of casualties and this will be of great interest to medallists. There is also a description of the armoured train in which Winston Churchill was a passenger as a war correspondent just before he was captured by the Boers. The long list of those who died from disease gives place and date of death as well as the cause of death, e.g. dysentry, enteric fever and, interestingly enough, one struck by lightning and one suicide. The long list of the wounded not only gives date and place where wounded but also in most cases details of the wound- (in every case bar two shell splinter casualties, the wounds were caused by gunshot, which is a truibute to the accurate Boer marksmanship). There are lists of missing, reported at various dates, including 43 missing following the attack on the armoured train.