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Past Lives

Jon Bauckham delves into the bloody experiences of British soldiers, fighting for the Empire in the southern lands of Africa...

SURVIVING THE SECOND BOER WAR

HISTORY THROUGH THE EYES OF OUR ANCESTORS

READER’S STORY

Nancy Ffrench Atkinson, Middlesex

My husband Keith and I have been researching the life of my grandfather, Ernest George Ffrench, who was born in Jamaica in 1876 and, although illegitimate and of mixed race, went on to study medicine in Edinburgh.

In 1900, Ernest volunteered as a civil surgeon during the Second Boer War. He was attached to the 1st Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding) and witnessed some of the most brutal episodes of the conflict, such as the Battle of Rhenoster Kop. Decades later, he recounted the battle saying he saw British soldiers “dropping like flies under the terrific carnage wrought by native fire”.

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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

The October 2015 issue of History Revealed