Dec 29th ‘00
My dearest Mother
No letter from you for a very long time now; I cannot understand it, are you unwell? I am beginning to get letters forwarded to me now but none seem to come from you. I am quite anxious about it.
What sort of Xmas did you have? Ours was a most depressing one till dinner time when under the influence of beer we began to feel better.
On Boxing Day morning a place called Benoni two miles from here was attacked by a very large number of Boers. Ten of us saddled up and went to see if we could help but on the way we were attacked by about sixty of the enemy who very nearly succeeded in surrounding us. We managed to escape under a most terrific fire but had the distance been a quarter mile more we should all have been captured as they came within sixty yards of us. We left one poor fellow in their hands but they have since released him as he was wounded in the wrist – he had a very bad horse. Two hours afterwards another fellow and I made a second attempt to get to Benoni to see what had happened there. We were caught in a trap under three fires from the enemy and none more than a hundred yards away. The other fellow’s horse was shot dead under him and I went back to let him get on behind me. My horse was shot in four places under me and we both were slightly grazed in the face by bullets. We got away however but how we did it God only knows. We came out of the mouth of hell and the fire was the hottest that I have ever been under. One good thing they could not pursue us as the Benoni Garrison would have shot them from their positions. We had to go four hundred yards at a canter before we were under cover. I lost my rifle and my hat was shot off my head. I am however quite safe and there is no need for you to worry as a column has started after these Boers in this district and I don’t suppose we shall have any more trouble from them. They burnt down three gold mines or rather the machinery in them – over half a million pounds damage.
Three men were killed one J.M.P. late Lumsden’s Horse, Walker by name, and two Tommies of the North Staffords. I hope you are all keeping well and cheerful but I wish I could hear from you. I am in the best of health and weigh 146 lbs – 10 stone 6 – not bad considering I was 135 lbs in India when I left. With love & kisses to yourself dear mother the girls and the butchas.
Your loving son
P.S. I am glad to say I recovered my rifle in the grass. W