Private, John Mawson 1st Btn Coldstream Guards Belmont Camp, 21st Nov 1899


Dear Father and Mother, I now take the pleasure of writing you a few lines

to let you know I am stifi alive and well after my first smell of powder. We

attacked the Boers yesterday and beat them, I daresay you will get the news

in England a month before you get this letter. We advanced on their position

at 3 o'clock yesterday morning , they were up among the rocks and we could

not see them tifi we got close to them, but we shifted them out of it when

we charged up the hill.


It made me shake a bit when the first bullets came whistling past me, I had

several narrow shaves, it was an awful sight to see the poor men laying

there dead and wounded. We lost seven killed and about twenty wounded, the

Grenadiers and Scots lost a lot more. We drove them clear out of their camp

and took possesion of all they had, we got 5 or 6 hundred cattle, as many

goats and 150 horses.


We have 51 Boer prisoners, there was one Boer showed the flag of truce and

then shot one of our officers dead after we had stopped the firing, but we

soon put that Boer to rest. It was an awful sight to see them burying the

dead , some poor men nearly blown to pieces, I shall be very glad when this

job is done, I must finish now as we are to make another move  with love to

you all from your affectionate son


Jack Mawson


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On Sunday morning Mr John Mawson, Rose Terrace, recieved an official

communication from the war office, announcing that his son was among the

wounded , in the battle for Margretfontein ", confirming the newspaper

reports of the previous day, the newspapers on Monday further announced that

the brave young fellow had, at Orange River on the 13th Dec died from his

wounds .

 

Following this ill news came a letter written by him at Belmont Camp after

the first flush of victory, and his parents have kindly permitted us to

print it, we are sure that all will sympathise with Mr & Mrs Mawson in their

great sorrow.