Donald Rolfe Hunt
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Son of W.F. Hunt Esqr, M.A. of Trinity College, Cambridge, Barrister at Law, and Justice of the Peace for the County of Norfolk, and Alice Hunt daughter of William Mortimore Hunt Esqr.

I was born at 4:30 pm on Sunday May 2nd 1875 at 102 Palace Gardens Terrace, Kensington, London, and was the fourth child of my parents.

I was christened at St. Mary Abbott's, Kensington, and my birth was registered there on Jun 1st 1875.


My earliest memories are of the Afghan and Zulu wars and of an attack of measles which I had when about four years old.


In 1880 the family moved from London to Sedgeford Hall, King's Lynn, Norfolk, which my father leased from his friend and my Godfather Eustace Neville Rolfe who, when I was a little boy, gave me half a crown but unfortunately I lost it on the way to spend it at the village shop in Sedgeford.


Our family ran in pairs :-
born in London Ernest born July 14th 1871
Gilbert born July 25th 1874
Reggie born Feb 24th 1874
Donald born May 2nd 1875
Ella died as an infant
John born Dec 30th 1878

born in Sedgeford Gerald born Aug 21st 1880
Gertie born Jan 31st 1882
Nona born March 17th 1884
Frank born Aug 4th 1885
Helen born Oct 5th 1887
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At first we were taught by a governess, Miss Lewis, but when my elder brothers went to Mr. Buckland's school at Laleham near Staines, I was taught for a little while by my Mother.

I was a weakly child, said to be suffering from atrophy, so it was decided to send me to Miss Ringer's School as South Lodge, Lowestoft, instead of following my brothers at once to Laleham.

In September 1883 I was escorted to Miss Ringer's school by my Mother and by my sailor cousin James Hunt. At this school I had the hardest time in my life, at first being bullied till I asserted myself by fighting most of the other small boys. On particularly good fight stands out in my memory, that with Marmaduke Pickthall (who subsequently became a writer of books): he had the best of it at first but I wore him out and defeated him. Also I fought various small sailor boys the children of sailors round the harbour and docks.

At lessons I was not quick. It was unusual to be given a bad mark but I cut all records in that respect by getting seven of them in one week.


In 1885 I was considered strong enough to go to Laleham where my elder brother Gilbert was head boy of second head of school. He left after I had been there one term and he followed my eldest brother Ernest to Eton.

In 1888 my brother Reggie left Laleham to go to Haileybury. In due course I became head of the school at Laleham, won prizes, twelve in all, for various subjects such as they gave prizes for at private schools and also won all the events in the sports and was captain of the football eleven (association).

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I learnt to swim at Laleham and was given a cricket ball by Frank Buckland for swimming across the Thames - not a very long swim in summer.

<On the first day after our marriage in 1917 Grizel and I walked from Laleham to Chertsey Lock and I showed her the place where I first swam across the river.>


In May 1889 went to Haileybury to Mr Couchman's house Hillside, then a small house of 20 boys, whereas all the other houses were 50 boys.

I got into Remove, then the top form of the lower school.

During my first year I was frequently in the Sick House and I well remember the scorn with which the gymnasium master, Hawkins, looked on at my first feeble efforts at compulsory gymnastics.

In the holidays my father and my eldest brother Ernest had taught me to shoot and I began to shoot rabbits and the park and woods at Sedgeford Hall when I was 10 years old. I began to shoot with a sixteen-bore single barrelled gun which kicked badly and was not promoted to a twelve-bore double-barrelled gun till I was 12 years old. With a shot gun I have always shot from the left shoulder and with a rifle from the right shoulder.

One of my earliest achievements with the double-barrelled gun (which I still possess) was to shoot a woodcock on December 26th 1887, for which my father gave me half-a-crown. After the death of my eldest brother Ernest in 1889 I used to wander through the woods and park with my gun and my old spaniel Rock, alone, and taught myself to love that somewhat lonely way of life, growing fond of the animals and birds which nevertheless I shot. My brothers must have considered me somewhat silent and unsociable. Whenever they annoyed or teased me I used to fly into ungovernable tempers:

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Looking back I can now understand that this was probably due to my physical weakness, as my only way of coping with my stronger elder brothers was by an occasional burst of fury.

On rainy days, indoors, as children, my brother and I always played at soldiers and each processed his own little army of toy soldiers. I read Scott, Henty, Marryat and Kingsley but never cared for Dickens. All books about soldiers and sailors interested me. At school I was fond of history whether Greek, Roman or English, though I was very slow at my Greek and Latin Grammar and translation and bad at learning repetition in those lanquages.

As I was on the classical side at Haileybury these failings were a hindrance to my progress. I asked my father to allow me to go onto the modern side but he refused: looking back I am now of the opinion that he was right.

I first came into prominence at Haileybury in 1891 when I won all of the flat race events in the second set, i.e. under 16 years old, in the sports. In later years at school I also won many other athletic prizes including the school half-mile 100 yards and long jump when, without previous practice, I cleared 19 feet 4 inches. I represented Haileybury in the Public Schools Quarter Mile, held in those days at Stamford Bridge London and ran 4th in the final in 1894.

I was a keen member of the school Rifle Corps, went to camp at Aldershot every summer holidays for a week and eventually became the senior Cadet Lieutenant in the Corps.

My main friends in my house at Haileybury was Cyril Danks(?), Tom Purdy, Archie Debenham and [Page 5] Alec Best: Danks and Best were killed in the Boer War as Lieutenants in the Manchester and Gordons respectively. <Debenham became a Director of Shell Oil Company>

At football I was especially successful, winning my school XV colours in 1893 as three-quarter back and was an old colour 1894. I scored for Haileybury in the two first inter-school rugby matches that Haileybury ever won, namely against Sherborne and Dulwich in 1894.

I was head of Highfield house in 1894 by which time the house had increased from 20 to 31.

At cricket I never shone though I was for years in my house eleven. As a small boy I had wanted to bat left-handed but was not allowed to.

In the holidays during my later school years I used to be invited to shooting parties by our neighbour Holcombe Ingleby of Heacham Hall who had some very good partridge shooting, and if I had not acquitted myself fairly well I should not have been so repeatedly asked.

At Sedgeford, too, according to the time of year, we had cricket matches against neighbouring villages, dances, among which our own dance was a big event, plenty of riding, tobogganing, skating, association football at which we played for the Hunstanton club captained by a friend of ours Dickie Bagge. - In fact we had a care-free, active, happy existence. In spite of our daily activities all of us used to read a lot in the evenings and in those [Page 6] days I remember reading all I could of Kipling's who was just then coming into vogue, though I also read heavier stuff such as Darwin's "Human Origins", many biographies and much history.


After leaving Haileybury I found myself at a loose end; my elder brothers Gilbert and Reggie were both heading for the Army and the younger ones were still at school. Ambrose Ogle the son of our Vicar at Sedgeford was starting a preparatory school, St. Bernard's school, at St. John's near Woking in Surrey and he asked me to become his assistant master at £10 a term. This offer I readily accepted and remained there for two terms in 1895.

While there I joined the Richmond football club, then one of the leading rugby football clubs in England, and played for Richmond throughout the season against the other first class clubs including Oxford and Cambridge. At the end of the season I was informed that if I was available the next year and continued to play up to form I would be given my place in the trial game (North vs South) to choose England's international team. In the Christmas holidays of 1895 I played for Eastern Counties at Ipswich. I was asked to play twice but missed my train for the first match. <The train started from Sedgeford station before time>


At the beginning of 1896 the news of the Jameson Raid and the outbreak of the Matabele Rebellion made me anxious to get away to a more adventurous and soldierly life.

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I happened to travel with my father from London to Norfolk and, on the journey, met Sir John Willoughby and A. Weston Jarvis in the train. They advised my father to let me try my luck in South Africa and join one of the Police forces there. I did not do that but enlisted in London the the Cape Mounted Riflemen in which there were 12 vacancies and 153 applicants. I was greatly elated at being among the 12 selected, and early in March 1896 sailed for South Africa in the Harlech Castle with the 11 other chosen recruits. My brother Reggie came to Southampton to see me off. There was a very rough crowd on board including some 50 men of the Bechuanaland Border Police and Matabeleland Mounted Police returning from England after the Rhodes-Jameson trial to which some of them had been called as witnesses. I remember that a German named Maass cut his throat and that the B.B.P and M.M.P. fellows were a drunken rowdy lot on whom the ship's captain once had to turn the hose to break up a sing-along.

Before leaving England I had been given introductions to Cecil Rhodes and to Sir Alfred Milner but I never used them and have them still.

Eventually we 12 C.M.R. recruits landed at East London and went by train to King Williams Town where we were equipped with uniforms, for which we had to pay £34, & were given recruits' drills by a Sergeant named Gould. There I met a C.M.R. named Pritchard who, on hearing of my football, got me elected to the King Williamstown Pirates football club. An England football team was touring South Africa at that time and I played for King Williamstown against it and would have scored but [Page 8] as I was running past the full-back he ripped off my shorts. It felt curious playing against John Hammond and some of the same Richmond team with whom I played a few months earlier. (CGS note: This was the 1896 British Lions Tour to South Africa. The King Williams Town match was played on 4th August 1896. According to the Lions website Donald played no. 14. Pritchard played no.3. The Lions won 25-0)

Soon we were ordered away to Umtata the C.M.R. headquarters on the border of Pondoland, which country had lately been annexed by Rhodes to Cape Colony. We walked the 162 miles from King Williamstown to Umtata, accompanying a heavily loaded wagon containing ammunition and other material for the C.M.R. Except for the first night which was cold and rainy I enjoyed this first experience of the veld. On another night between Kei Bridge and Toleni we were all soaked to the skin marching by night, but we were young, strong and happy so thought nothing of it and our clothes dried on us next day.

We arrived in Umtata late one night and a Corporal H.S. Cooke lent me a couple of numnahs (horse saddle cloths made of thick felt) on which to sleep on the floor of a large empty room, and I slept well.

We were allowed to choose our horses out of a drove of ?? which had arrived; I was lucky in choosing a well-shaped dark brown bay which cost me £21 and carried me well through my three years and two month C.M.R. service.

After going through the recruits drills, mounted and dismounted, ?? and sword drills (I was passed as a "first class" but not a "marksman" with the rifle and got a "possible" with the revolver) our batch of recruits was sent out to join the H Squadron garrison at the post and camp at Libode in Western Pondoland. I lived in a tiny mud hut with [Page 9] an old Marlborough boy named Harry Clarkson Williams, though my closest friend in those days was an old Clifton boy named Anthony Godfrey Thomas. The whole camp was in a tumbledown condition, it rained incessantly and we had rather a hard time but we were a happy lot of youngsters and we loved our officer(?) Lieut Vizard. One of our main duties was herding the troop horses all day and sometimes all night on the veld and I remember walking round the mob of them nearly all one thunderstormy night singing and shouting to prevent them stampeding. If they had stampeded the horse guard was responsible for any loss.

In 1897 a rebellion broke out among the natives on the Bechuanaland side of the Cape in the Langeberg. E. Squadron C.M.R. had suffered some casualties, losing an officer and some others were killed, so we were ordered down from Libode to King Williamstown in case we might be required to reinforce.

We were not sent to the Langeberg and during our stay in K.W.T. I was elected captain of the Pirates for that season.

From there we were sent to D Squadron and I was posted to a small station of 5 men at Embokstown(?) under the steep slopes of the Drakensburg. There I learnt to cook and to make bread as we took this duty in turns.

I was not at Embokstown(?) long before two of us Scottie Lawson and myself were ordered to report to the magistrate W.C.Scully (the author) at Nqamakwe in Fingoland where rinderpest had broken out among the natives' cattle and there was considerable unrest owing to the Government [Page 10] measures to cope with the disease. Scottie Lawson and I rode through the 85 miles to Nqamakwe in one day of 24 hours and my horse stood it well. We went through a hard a difficult time at Nqamakwe on the rinderpest. The whole country stunk of the rotting corpses of dead cattle. I remember the Chief Magistrate of the Transkei, Major Elliott (after Sir Henry Elliott) coming to Nqamakwe & warning Scully to be prepared to "quite a big thing in little wars" but it never came to that. I learnt a lesson from Scully how to deal with natives in a time of disease and scare, subsequently this was useful to me when I was in charge of a similar situation elsewhere.

A good description of this period is contained in Scully's book "Further Reminiscences of a South African Pioneer" Chapter XV pages 329 to 344.

When we left, Scully gave Lawson & me each an excellent certificate to show to our Squadron Commander. I did not hand mine in but kept it and it was fortunate I did as it served me in good stead a few years later when I met Sir Godfrey Lagden.

On returning to Cula(?) our D Squadron headquarters, we found that the Squadron had been ordered away to Kokstad where 450 C.M.R. had been concentrated to cope with a rebellion among the Griquas and neighbouring natives. We had to follow on and rejoin the squadron in Kokstad. One night at the foot of the Barkly Pass near Ugie we slept in the rain and when the rain stopped it snowed hard and we were completely buried in it by morning. This was one of the hardest journeys I had, as I had no money and had to sell much [Page 11] of my raiment including the vest under my tunic in order to buy food. In those days C.M.R. had to buy their own uniforms, horses, saddlery and feed themselves and their horses. My pay as a trooper was 5/- a day or about £7-10 a month. After paying for stoppages there was never anything to draw.

We rejoined at Kokstad from whence we went on various patrols. On one occasion the rebels fired on us. but in the end the rebellion came to nothing and fizzled out. Le Fleur and the Griqua leader were caught and sentenced to 14 years penal servitude. I saw Le Fleur, talked to him and liked him.

In 1898 I went down to Umtata to join a signalling class under Captain Lukin (afterwards Major General Sir Henry Lukin). While there I heard of the death of my brother Gilbert in British Central Africa (now Nyasaland) of blackwater fever. He was buried at Fort Lister.

In Umtata, besides signalling, I also passed a course on First Aid under Colonel Hartley V.C the Medical Officer of the C.M.R.

Early in 1899 my parents told me to come home if I could. I sold my horse for £22 and saddlery for £5, to a new recruit, took my discharge on May 15th 1899, went by post cart to King Williamstown, by train to East London and returned to England in the Tantallon Castle. On the voyage home I won the ship's sweep on the Derby, drawing Flying Fox.

The family had left Sedgeford Hall and my father had bought a house called Hart Hill at St. Johns, Woking.

That summer my parents, sisters, Frank & I went to Salcombe in Devonshire.

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In the autumn I again played football for Richmond a few times. I had just determined to try for an Eastern Cadetship when the Boer War broke out in South Africa. My father wrote to the Earl of Leicester the Lord Lieutenant for Norfolk who arranged a Commission for me as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd Norfolk Regiment and I was duly commissioned on November 11th 1899.

On January 25th 1900 I went to Norwich and joined the Battalion, being posted to D Company under Major Eden. The Battalion, under Colonel Custance, was at once ordered to Fermoy in the south of Ireland.

We went across to England by train to Milford Haven and thence to Waterford in the S.S. Limerick. The sea was the roughest I have even known and it was the only time I have ever been sea-sick. On landing at Waterford we marched to the railway station. I was carrying the Regimenatal Colour and Reggie Bunton the King's Colour. The Irish mob sang "God save Ireland", "The Green above the Red" and other such songs while they pelted us with mud and filth. We got the Colours cased as soon as we could but our nice new tunics were spoiled and had to be replaced.


After one month in Fermoy the Battalion embarked at Cork on February 25th 1900 together with the 4th Cheshires in the P.S.N.C ship Orotava for South Africa. After a good voyage, touching at St. Vincent en route, I eventually found myself back on March 21st 1900 at East London.

On April 5th the Regiment was moved to Bethulie Bridge and encamped and dug trenches on the Free State side of the Orange River.

There were two bridges: the Boers had blown up [Page 13] the railway bridge, and the wagon bridge was being used to push across one railway truck at a time as it would not stand more. The Boers were in the neighbourhood of Smithfield and Zastron so we had to be watchful as the bridge was an important link in Lord Roberts' main army communication to Bloemfontein which he had recently occupied.

It was while we were at Bethunie that my old Regiment, the C.M.R., under Colonel Dalgety did so well and gloriously in the successful defence of Wepener against the Boer main force though the C.M.R. suffered 95 casualties out of 470 engaged. A great friend of mine Arthur Godfrey Thomas an old Clifton boy was among the C.M.R. killed. He was the best revolver shot I have ever seen and it was he who had taught me "the tricks of the trade".

Towards the end of April 1900 we marched up the railway line, D Company being left as Edenburg while the remainder of the Battalion was spread out along the line of communication to Bloenfontein with headquarters at Kaffir River Bridge. Major Eden became Commandant of Edenburg and I took over command of D Company and built a fort on a slight rise on the western side of the line overlooking the town. General W. Knox was our G.O.C.; it was through him and Pritchard thaht I got in touch with Sir Godfrey Lagden, Resident Commissioner of Basutoland.

A Mounted Infantry Company of 3rd Norfolks was formed and, as an old C.M.R. I was disappointed in not being given command of it. Capt Harbord was appointed and he was given my [Page 14] junior subaltern Reggie Bunton as his second. I bought an excellent dark(?)-coloured pony which I called Pompey as it had come from near Pompi Siding.

The Boers had been driven far north. We lived easy days, shooting springbok and hunting hares with greyhounds. The Northumberland Fusiliers Mounted Infantry officers Sandilands and Rostron had a good "bobbery(?) pack", Reggie Bunton and I had greyhounds (which used, all of them, to sleep on our blankets) so we had a great time during June and July.

On June 25th 1900 I was promoted to First Lieutenant. Occasionally Bunton Bagge and I would visit Bloemfontein, travelling by any train, on the engine, guard's van, or in a closed or open truck, or anywhere. Once Bunton and I went on the top of a loaded coal truck and arrived black.

In September 1900 the war rolled south again and our easy going days gave way to more serious times. Dewetsdorp was besieged by the Boers. I was ordered to go with six Durham M.I. and take a scotch-cart of ammunition from Edenburg to Dewetsdorp and run the ammunition through but to be well prepared to burn it rather than let it fall into the enemy hands.

I got through by the skin of my teeth, though the disselboom of the cart broke at dawn just as we were through and the Boers fired at us at close range. I handed over the ammunition and scotch-cart; then at night we rode through the Boer lines again, with despatches, and came safely back through Redensburg to Edenburg. I was mentioned in despatches for this.

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The 3rd Lancashire M.I. replaces the Northumberlanders at Edenburg, their commander Lieut Hanbury and I became great friends. More troops came down from the north and the Boers began fighting again throughout the southern Free State.

On 13th October young Hanbury was treacherously killed between Trompsburg and Jagersfontein Road. The Boers broke the line close south of Edenburg. I threw out posts along the line south but was ordered to withdraw them again till block-houses were built. Boers reoccupied Reddersburg, they were all round Edenburg and captured the Durham M.I. from Edenburg under Lieut Leather who had been sent too weak and too far by Hector MacDonald.

In November I accompanied Colonel Forbes' column to chase the Reddersburg Boers. They occupied a big hill called Butberg(?) and kept us at bay till Colonel White's column came up, then they cleared off. My horse was shot through the mane and just on the neck underneath my hand.

On my return to Edenburg I was appointed Garrison Adjutant and Assistant Provost Marshal. Columns under Colonels Basker, Pilcher, General Chales Knox, General Settle, Colonel White and Sir Charles Parsons came, went and returned with prisoners and "undesirables" who had to be sent to the coast to go to Ceylon or to the Contrentration Camps at Bloenfontein and Springfontein. I had a very busy time as I was still commanding D Company in addition to my other duties. So it went on till the end of the year, my one and only break was to go to Bloemfontein to meet Sir Godfrey Lagden at Government House. He told me that [Page 16] he would give me under him after the war. He was much impressed with the recommendation I had received from Scully at Nqamakwe in 1897 in the rinderpest days, though he said the he did not count those he had from my superior officers in the Army, as such recommendations were all the same and all too glowing, no matter who was the individual applicant.

The year 1902 opened with the fighting round Edenburg intensified, with columns using Edenburg as their centre, chasing commandoes throughout the southern Free State. The columns were clearing farms and bringing the Dutch inhabitants whom it was my duty to pack off by train to the concentration camps at Bloemfontein, Springfontein and Norvals Point. I probably sent more people to Concentration Camps than anyone now in South Africa.

The columns now round Edenburg were those of Colonels Low, Byrne, Williams, Haig, Massey, Plumer, Damant and Major Du Moulin. The later was killed and Major Gilbert (who lives at Aylsham) took over the column. Byrne, Haig and Plumer afterwards became Field Marshals in the Great War of 1914-1918. Damant and I weere subsequently closely associated in the Lydenburg District after the war.

My old Norfolk skipper Major Eden went sick on January 23rd 1901 and, to my sorrow, had to return to England. He and I had been close friends and remained so till he died shortly after the Great War.

Besides being Garrison Adjutant and Assistant [Page 17] Provost Marshal I used to go out on night patrols with Reggie Bunton and his Norfolk M.I. and we had several exciting adventures. We enjoyed these trips and so did the men, especially whenever we were successful in rounding up a few Boers.

In May 1901 a Capt Wickham of the 2nd Norfolk (who had a brother in the King's Dragoon Guards which my brother Reggie afterwards joined from the 3rd Hussars) came to Edenburg as Intelligence Officer. On one occasion, on May 21st 1902, he and I took a small scouting party out to locate a Boer langer(?) east of Edenburg. Just on dawn we saw smoke coming from the chimney of a farm house supposedly cleared of inhabitants. I demanded admittance and getting no answer, kicked in the door ((bending my spur as I did so and I still have that bent spur). It was then that we found ourselves in the midst of the Boers and we rode away in a hail of bullets untouched. Later when it became quite light and the sun came up we could see Boers riding parallel to us to our right and to our left but perhaps they feared a trap and so did not close in on us and we rode home having accomplished our object of locating the enemy.

In July the 3rd Norfolk left the part of the line we had occupied so long and concentrated at Norvals Point. I remained at Edenburg at my duties. Bunton joined the South African Constabulary. The Royal Irish Fusiliers M.I. under Capt Kentish(?) (now a general) relieved our M.I. at Edenburg.

On August 11th General Bruce Hamilton sent me out west of Edenburg with LIeut Crackanthorpe (who came from Westmoreland) under a flag of truce [Page 18] with letters to various Boer leaders including one to "Commandant" Hertzog. Two other officers were also sent out east of Edenburg on the same duty. Crackanthorpe and I found no Boers but ran first into Copeman's column and then, on the third day, we were "captured" by some of Thorneycroft's M.I. scouts. Colonel Thorneycroft heliographed to Bloenfontein and we were ordered to return to Edenburg. On arrival we heard the two officers who went out east of the line ran into the Boers, were tried and sentenced to death by them but escaped and got home almost naked and quite done in, so perhaps we were lucky.

A few days later, on August 24th I received an order from Lord Kitchener through the Adjutant General, to proceed immediately to Johannesburg to join the staff of Sir Godfrey Lagden there.

Sir Godfrey had lately been appointed Commissioner of Native Affairs Transvaal and a member of the Executive Council.

On arrival in Johannesburg on Aug 26th 1901 I was met by Pritchard and found that we were expected to live with Sir Godfrey at a large house called Hohenheim in Park Town. This house had been lying empty since the military occupation of Johannesburg so Sir Godfrey had walked in and made it his temporary home, just as Lord Milner as similarly occupied Sunnyside near by. Hohenheim was the house which the Reform Committee used to meet in the Jameson Raid days at the end of 1895.

I acted for a few months as a sort of private secreary and A.D.C. to Sir Godfrey and met all of the well-known people of that day. I dined [Page 19] with Sir Godfrey at Sunnyside and sat near to Lord Milner. I remember, at dinner, raising the question of the future of Egypt; Lord Milner said that England would have to buy out the interests of the other great powers and that country one by one.

I was in close touch with Lord Milner's staff, then known as "the Kindergarten", such as John Buchan, Craig-Sellar, Rodwell, Geoffrey Robinson (later editor of the Times and Morning Post as Geoffrey Dawson) and others. Charlie Murray (now Lord Elibank) joined our Native Affairs Dept. and he and I were on the same work together. Among those who frequently came to dine were Sir Richard Solomon, Sir Percy Girouard and Baden Powell.

Of the mining people I knew Douglas Christopherson best; he was the secretary to Fricker(?) the head of the Consolidated Goldfields group; afterwards Christopherson himself became head of that group and mines and President of the Chamber of Mines; I kept in touch with him for years.

My elder brother Reggie had come from India with the 3rd Hussars, in which he was now a Captain, to take part in the war which was dragging its long and weary way to a close. He was on the big drives which really finished the war. On April 28th his column under Nixon was near Johannesburg resting so he came in to visit me. After having been on the veld so long he was rather ragged so we went shopping and he dined with us in our new quarters we had taken on recently leaving Hohenheim. After that we met several times. He left South Africa with his regiment in July 1902.

My position at this time was that I was [Page 20] seconded from my regiment for service in the Native Affairs Department Transvaal and, in November 1902, I had been promoted Captain in the 3rd Norfolks.

In Lord Kitchener's final despatch on the Boer War I was again mentioned in despatches, though I have never discovered for what particular act I gained the second mention.

Eventually I resigned my Commission in 1905.

By the beginning of 1902 the Native Affairs Department had begin to take shape. Godley came up from Natal and became secretary to Sir Godfrey Lagden. Pritchard became Chief Inspector of Natives on the mines. I became an Inspector and so did my old C.M.R. friends Cooke and Jenner. Charlie Murray went as a Sub Native Commissioner to the Northern Transvaal.

Lady Lagden and he two sons and daughters came out from England where they had been during the war.

Pritchard, George Farquharson (who had been with me in Miss Ringer's school, Lowestoft) and I went to live in a house on Hospital Hill. I never cared for the inspecting of natives on mines so I applied on December 2nd 1902 for a Sub Native Commissionership.

That same month I was appointed Sub Native Commissioner for the Lichtenburg District.

Charles Griffith with headquarters in Rustenburg was Native Commissioner for the whole Western Transvaal, with Stubbs, Stanford, Edmiston, ?? and myself as his SNCs.

I spent Christmas 1902 on the veld trekking from Potchefstroom towards Lichtenburg with Carlisle my newly appointed clerk and an excellent fellow. On Christmas night we outspanned(?) alongside a [Page 21] farm near Ventersdorp and were badly bitten by myriads of mosquitoes.

Lichtenburg was my first independent administrative post. I was 27 years old, happy keen and enthusiastic. I had to evolve a beginning of order and system out of the chaos of war which had left the district a blank. The years of fighting, more especially between Generals Methuen and Delany had emptied the district of its inhabitants. It was the job of the magistrate Rolleston and his assistant McCormick (now Judge McCormick) with the Repatriation Department to get the Boers back to their farms, and mine to get the natives back from the Bechuanaland border to their locations and farms.

On January 2nd 1903 I was made a J.P and remained one for the rest of my service.

I then disarmed all of the district natives and paid out compensation for the varied assortment of rifles, guns and pistols handed in. Some of the rifles were modern Lee Enfields and Mausers acquired duyring the war, others were Martins, old muzzle loaders and some ancient flintlocks.

The next thing to do was to get in from the natives all their claims against the military in the form of chits issued to them by officers for stock and goods commandeered during the war. I remember counting 453 golden sovereigns into the dirty, greasy hat of one ragged old native in payment for stock taken by the A.S.C. Other claims were honoured in full. One old woman had had her husband killed and could not see why she should not be paid [Page 22] compensation for a husband while others were being paid for goats and pigs.

On January 25 1903 Joseph Chamberlain came to Lichtenburg with his wife and a large staff and camped in the market square. I dined with them that night. Next day Chamberlain and General Delany addressed the assembly of farmers, but their speeches did not impress me much.

In those days no game laws had yet been enacted, there was little or no fencing and the district was full of springbok. I shot many springbok, steenbok and also many ?? on my various journeys through and about the district. I was always a better bird that buck shot. I have seen Barber's Pan red with flamingoes, thousands of them. There were duck and ?? geese and many of the farms.

On August 16th 1903 a cable came from my brother Gerald announcing the death of my father at Folkestone. He was only 58 1/4 when he died.

My natives were Barolong, one of the oldest South African tribes. I dug deep into their history and learnt their language. To do that I bought a Sechuana Bible and a dictionary and a grammar and went through Genesis, Exodus, Matthew and Mark in Sechuana, besides reading through from cover to cover the "Moshupatsela" a native paper published at Mafeking. In the end I became word perfect and reading and writing the language but being slightly deaf I was never good at speaking as a missed the lesser sounds and inflections. Later, when called upon to do so, I easily passed a proficiency examination in Sechuana.

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I had good horses and won a number of events in our Lichtenburg gymkhanas. Though I used to go to Mafeking races I never ran a horse there.

In 1904 the first Census of Transvaal natives was taken, The means adopted were different coloured beads for married males and females, single adult males and females, children male and female. This bead system was not a success and was not repeated at the next census im 1911. I remember Chief Moshette of the Kunana Reserve being puzzled as to what coloured bead to allot for the adult unmarried females who all had babies. During the war no lobola (dowry cattle) had been paid among the mass of non-christian natives as all stock had been swept away and also there had been no native christian marriages.

In 1904 every Department was ordered to retrench. The Lichtenburg and Potchefstroom Commissionerships were closed down but Driver(?) and I were kept on and transferred. I was ordered to the Waterberg and Driver to the Pilansberg where the commissioners had been retrenched, but as Pilansberg was said to be ferverish and as Driver was a married man I agreed to let him take Waterberg and I take Pilansberg.

In May 1904 I therefore drove with my dogs on board and a Basuto police boy riding and leading my spare horses, and travelled via Rustenberg to Pilansberg and took over.

Most of the initial work of the Pilansberg district had been done, and very well done too, by my predecessor Edminton who was retrenched. In a native district there is always plenty to [Page 24] do and mine was then a native district with scarcely any whites. The few whites were friendly but lawless characters the best of whom was a strange character named Gibbs who was a really very fine fellow. Later a few English settlers came in, among whom was Symons from near Aylsham in Norfolk (he was afterwards killed at Ypres. I formed all of these fellows into a rifle club and we used to have excellent quarterly shoots and easily beat the local South African Constabulary team every time.

Yeats a youngster from Basutoland was my clerk. At first he was very uncouth but I encouraged his reading of good books and had him meet people: he became a good keen man at his job and did well in his after service. He eventually developed into one of the most efficient Assistant Native Commissioners in the Transvaal.

The country was still free and easy and somewhat lawless in those days. I remember a man, and Australian, coming out and selling passes to the unsophisticated natives for a shilling apiece to go to heaven when they died. I had him rounded up and prosecuted by the police.

An English clergyman also came out and began baptizing the natives holus-bolus into the "King's Religion" at 2/6 a time. I also had this little game stopped though I could not see why the police would not prosecute him too, as the fraud was the same in both cases.

The Pilansberg area natives consisted of Bakhatla [Page 25] and of various other Bechuana tribes. Linchwe the Bakhatla chief lived at Mochudi in Bechuanaland so those of his tribe (about two-fifths of the tribe) who lived on my side of the border were nominally under his brother Ramono, as it would not have been possible for a Transvaal official to deal with a Bechuanaland chief under quite a different administration. Ramono was a dear old gentleman and a good chief, if somewhat lazy. Most of the other chiefs with followings of about 2000 to 3000 each were of no great account.

There was always considerable bench work. The few white cases were the usual assualts, tax default, cattle moving without permit, and such like petty cases on the criminal side; while; on the civil side, the cases were mostly about lobola. Occasionally too there was a disputed chieftainship. They paid their taxes well and generally speaking were not a difficult lot of natives to deal with.

In those days there was plenty of game in the Pilansberg hills and in the country from the north of ?? to the Crocodile and Matlabas rivers. Sometimes baboons from the hills above my office used to raid the mealie fields below: Yeats and I, lying in bed, used to shoot at them from the windows of our rondavels as they returned to the hills past our camp in the early morning.

Once when riding along the banks of the Limpopo with a native police orderly to visit a police post I was returning at dark by the same road to my camp. In the half light I noticed a large black rock alongside the path and was [Page 26] just going to say my orderly that it was strange that I had not noticed it in the morning when, just as I passed, it came to life, dashed across the path between me and the native policeman and into the river with a big splash. It was a large hippo. About twenty years later I passed this way again in my car along a fairly good road, but there were no hippos left and scarcely any water in the river. All those rivers seem to have dried up with the advance of civilization.

Another time riding in the Pilansberg hills along a very narrow pass I came upon a large troop of baboons. They did not attempt to get out of the way and I rode through them so close that I could have touched them with my stick on either side of my horse.

The guineafowl in the natives mealie and heffie(?) corn lands were so numerous as to be almost a plague. I must have shot, not hundreds, but possibly thousands of them.

In those days there were Chinese labourers on the Johannesberg mines. Sometimes some of them deserted and wandered through the country. The first chinaman that I saw was lying dead in some bushes in the Pilansberg and it was obvious that his head had been cut off. I sat on a stump upwind from the body and held the inquest. The murderer was never discovered though it was probably done by my own people who were afraid of the chinese.

In 1905 I went on six months leave to England. My sisters were all grown up and living with my mother at 15 Grimston Avenue, Folkestone. While on leave two pretty cousins Grizel and Rhoda [Page 27] Scott came to stay with us. On the journey back to South Africa in the Armadale Castle there were on board the Duke of Connaught and Princess Patricia, General Baden Powell, Rudyard Kipling and other notabilities. Rudyard Kipling after lunch used to lie in a deck chair reading Leviticus and Deuteronomy, so I read them too and found them full of native customs which hold good today.

Harland Bell had acted for me during my absence and had completed digging a 67 foot well at my camp. I had begun this well a week or two before I had left, owing to a visitor indicating the likely water spot with a divining twig. What we should subsequently have done without this well I do not know, as the spring down below, which had previously been our only source of water supply dried up.

In 1907 retrenchment was again in the air. South Africa had been handed back by Campbell-Bannerman to the Dutch and they at once began to get rid of English officials. Once again I escaped retrenchment though I was transferred to the Reef(?) as an inspector, the position I had held in 1902. At the time I thought I was lucky, but now, looking back, I am inclined to think that those who were retrenched were the more fortunate, as, in many cases, Lord Milner saw to it that they were posts elsewhere. My cousin Percy Browne from the S.A. Constabulary got a better post in East Africa.

Sir Godfrey Lagden was among those who left at this time, the close of the Milnet regime.

Before leaving the Pilansberg, in July 1907, I held a pitso and advised my chiefs to [Page 28] buy land, which hitherto they had not done since the war. Most of them, especially the Bakhatla, took my advice and have gradually bought up a considerable portion of that country.

On arriving in Johannesberg I lived first at the then quite new, Country Club, for a few months. About September 1907 I was transferred to Germiston where the chinese were gradually being repatriated and being replaced in large numbers by Cape Colony natives who were found difficult at first to manage on the mines.

I lived at the Germiston Hotel and shared a sitting room between our bedrooms with Patten-Bethune of the Cameron Highlanders who was chinese inspector for that part of the Reef. ?? was the other Native Affairs Inspector.

My brother Reggie was at this time stationed at Roberts Heights Pretoria with the 3rd Hussars and we often met.

I never liked the inspecting job on the Reef and was delighted when I was recommended for the Sekukuniland Sub Native Commissionership from which first Harries then Armstrong had later been transferred.

Having sent on my horses and spider(?) I went by train to Machadodorp which was at that time the nearest railway station to Sekukuniland 120 miles away. I drove myself from Machadodorp through the Lydenburg to Schoonoord, arriving on July 28th 1908.

Armstrong left a few days later and I found the district in a more chaotic state than Lichtenburg had been after the war. The subordinate officials were at sixes and [Page 29] sevens, the natives were quarrelling chief against chief and headman against headman, the cattle had East Coast Fever, the small stock scab and there was no discipline, obedience or any kind of order. My district then included Lydenburg, Ohrigstad, Machadodorp and Belfast the two latter being white farming areas. Dodd a good quick worker was my only white clerk. Peregrine was the native clerk-interpreter but he died of fever that summer as did three of my native police. The post came from Lydenburg whenever I chose to send for it, generally once a week.

I found it necessary to get rid of Coctrer(?) the cattle branding supervisor, Lillywhite the stock inspector and one white Dutch policeman who had hung a native up by his thumbs and then sjambokked him to make him give a statement in a case. The native police had to be thoroughly weeded out and reorganized. Ther numbers were increased to 53 but as Head Office in Pretoria had sent me a large batch of zulus who were totally unsuitable from that district and who could not speak Sepedi I had to offload them again and replace them with Basutoland recruits who proved an exceptionally fine lot.

One night I received an urgent message from Sekukuni that two sub-chiefs of his, Nkome(?) and Maukopane(?), were about to fight each other and he (Sekukuni) could not stop them. Nkome could muster about 700 ?? and Maukopane 400. I went down quickly to the spot with three native police boys, one of whom was kyobalala(?) a splendid fellow. I outspanned between the rival parties who [Page 30] were just about to join battle. I sent for both chiefs and said I was glad to see them both with their men as I had come for a big shoot. Then I sent both parties as beaters round and over the neighbouring high hills and shot as many poor-shebuck(?) as I could of those driven past me. The hills were full of buck and it was as easy as shooting goats coming out of a kraal. The hills were also very rough and high so, by evening, all were tired out and footsore.

Next day I settled their dispute which had been caused by a small river which formed the mutual boundary changing its course when in spate and one had therefore siezed garden lands belonging to the other. I made them work all the second day diverting the river back to its old course and was successful in doing so. The bucks I had shot were divided between the two chiefs (not forgetting the three native police I had brought with me) and in the end everybody was tired, happy and satisfied.

Things were not always so easy as this, and it took more than a year to straighten things out. The white farming area was cut off, Dodd was transferred, I got Yeats back and was allowed to engage a junior clerk named Garnet King, a young Natal boy, who was ?? in 1917, killed at the Arras, while under my command in the South African Scottish. The native quarrel calmed down and only East Coast Fever remained as a serious problem.

By 1910 I was fairly worn out, so took another six months leave. Cooke and I went home in a ?? liner, the Princession(?), up the East Coast, calling at all ports [Page 31] till we came to Naples. We landed there, visited Pompeii, climbed Vesuvius and looked down into the crater, visited Rome, Florence, Venice, thence via Switzerland to Paris and so to London.

This time I found my Mother and my sisters Gertie and Helen established at Lovell's Hall, Terrington St. Clements, near King's Lynn. My sister Nona had married Tom Purdy in 1908. My brother Gerald and I saw King Edward's funeral a few days before I sailed again to South Africa.

Harries from Pokwani had relieved me during my absence and had made a tennis court at Schoonoord and afterwards proved a great boon.

By 1911 East Coast Fever had been brought under control by shooting out 10,700 head of cattle and placing the rest in concentration camps.

My Native Affairs police were reduced to 14; the white police were reduced in numbers, I deposed a useless chief named Marisam(?) who was the second biggest chief in my district, and was able to induce my Head Office in Pretoria to relieve me of a further small area including Lydenburg town, so that I could concentrate on the purely native area both(?) of Sekukuniland proper and of a stretch of country east and southeast of the Steelpoort river.

After that it was plain sailing. As soon as the country settled down Dutch farmers had begin to come and occupy farms along the right bank of the Steelpoort.

Myers and Barnard my two cattle supervisors worked well and so did my scab inspector [Page 32] Nicwanhinge who after ward became M.P. for the Lydenburg District. Farms were well paid. By 1913 fortnightly cattle dipping was established throughout Sekukuniland and Barnard and Hans Winter as dipping superintendents. Certain fraudulent native recruiting agents for the mines were eliminated, leaving only three, Harley, Marshall and Kuhlmann operating in the district. Marshall was later drowned in the Olifants, so eventually only the other two remained.

The shooting in Sekukuniland in those days was probably the best in the Transvaal, so we could get as many buck or birds as we chose to kill. There were kudu, bushbuck, poor rhebuck, duiku, stembuck, klipspringer; the birds were mainly guineafowl, red-headed pheasants and namaqua partridge, shrimpie(?) and quail there. There were hares and rock rabbits in the hills. Among other animals I have shot are lynx, wild dogs, baboons and jackals. There were also leopards but, in Sekukuniland, though they were plentiful I have never shot one there.

I sent wild dog pups, porcupines and other animals to the Pretoria Zoo.

A young swazi police recruit was killed by a leopard about 300 yards from my office, he killed the leopard with an axe but it ripped out his stomach.

I had some curious cases to decide. There was one in which an old witch-doctor on going away on a doctoring expedition had sewn up with thin wire the private parts of his three wives. They found it most painful and after [Page 33] their husband had departed, complained to their mothers they they could not walk about without pain, so their mothers removed the three wire stitches from each. They came in to me to claim divorce and I made Yeats examine them to see if their story was true. I divorced the lot without return of lobola cattle, but subsequently two out of the three returned to their husband.

In another instance an old native complained that a certain white man had swindled him in some deal (which, from experience of the ways of that white man, I knew was quite likely). After the altercation with the white man the old native had returned home late in the evening and found that his aged wife was missing from his kraal. He shouted and searched but could not find her in the dark. Next day he found her blanket, bones and head, with hyena spoor all round. In my office he undid an old rag and rolled the head on the floor as proof of his statement, and said he was sure the the white man had sent the hyena to kill her on purpose to worry him. He did not grieve over the wife as she was old and half blind but he was greatly concerned over the feeling that the white man was troubling him and his household in this way. The matter of the deal was adjustable but nothing could be done about the wife.

The Native Affairs history of the district for this period is contained in the last chapter of the pamphlet I wrote called "An account of the Bapedi tribe".

Early in 1914 I went on four months leave to England. This time I found the family at Heighington Manor near Lincoln. In May 1914 I returned to Sekukuniland and had just carried [Page 34] through the annual tax tour when the Great War broke out.


To write my war experiences in full would require reams of paper and a whole chapter to itself. Briefly it was :-

I joined the 2nd Battalion of the Transvaal Scottish as Captain of "F" company and went through the Rebellion in South Africa and the German South West Africa campaign under General Louis Botha being present at the action at Trekkoppies.

In August 1915 at the end of the latter campaign I returned to the Union and Sekukuniland where I held a big pitso and told the Bapedi that they must all of turn out if called upon for military service. Later (after I had left) they were called out and supplied more men for overseas service with the S.A. Native Labour Corps than any other district in the whole union.

On the formation of the 1st South African Brigade of overseas service I joined the South African Scottish (4th S.A. Infantry) at Potchefstroom on being offered command of "C" Company in that regiment.

I was gazetted Captain in the S.A. Scottish as the from November 9th 1915 and, on arrival in England, was gazetted Major as from December 6th 1915.

Early in 1916 I served with my Battalion against the Senussi in Western Egypt towards the Tripoli border. It was in this campaign that an old friend of ours was wounded, Major Mills, who afterwards became Godfather to my youngest daughter Jean.

After a few months the Brigade went to France.

[Page 35]

I was present at the battle of the Somme which included Delville Wood where I was among the few South African survivors (July 1916) and the Butte de Warlencourt where I commanded my Battalion, (Oct 1916).

Arras (in April and May 1917) where I reverted to Second-in-Command on the return of Colonel MacLeod on his recovery from his Delville wounds.

The third battle of Ypres (Sept and Oct 1917), MacLeod commanding in September. I in October while he rested.

I was in many places in the trench line, taking my turn with Colonel MacLeod alternately in the front line or back in charge of details, during the whole time I was in France. Then I was in trenches at Armentieres, Vimy Ridge, Arras many times, Har??, Gou?? and other places.

Early in 1918 I was sent on special duty to join a force under General Dunsterville in the Middle East. I went through Mesopotamia into Persia thence via Kermanshah, Hamadan, Kasvin(?) to Resht where for a short while I was Military Governor. Thence to the Caspian Sea and, via Leukoran(?), to the Mugan Steppe in charge of a British Military Mission to keep the Russians and the Armenians fighting against the Turks and Tartars.

I was in those parts when on Nov 11th 1918 the end of the war came, though I did not hear of this till later. I was then recalled to Persia and was fortunate in getting quickly back to England arriving in January 1919, but soon afterwards had to go to the South African Military hospital at Richmond Park.

This war period covering 1914 to 1919 was a time of great strain and turned me from a comfortably young man into one prematurely old and [Page 36] I was never again so active as I had been in the pre-war years.

During the time I was in France I was twice mentioned in despatches, this making four mentions in all during my varied military service.

During the war I had married Grizel Marion Guillum Scott at St. Stephens Church, Gloucester Road, London on March 17th 1917. My brother Frank and the Revd Lord Victor Symons officiated at the ceremony. My wife was the daughter of the late Sir Guillum Scott and of Lady Scott, formerly of 41 Lexham Gardens, Kensington. When we were married my wife and I first leased a pretty little furnished flat at 19 Emperor's Gate from a friend of Major Eden's and it was there that my eldest daughter Anne was born on August 20th 1918 while I was in Russia and in the time when London was being frequently air-raided. Thus I did not see my eldest daughter till she was over five months old.

We returned to South Africa in the Edinburgh Castle which was full of troops and General Smuts was on board. I was O.C. Troops during the voyage.

On August 20th 1919, Anne's first birthday, we arrived at Schoonoord Sekukuniland.

It is curious that the senior clerk sent to me after my return was Dalgety the eldest son of my C.M.R. Colonel. This son had been a Private in my original C Company of the Scottish, had been commissioned shortly before Delville and he and I had been two of the four unwounded officers of our Regiment [Page 37] surviving that fight and we had walked out of the Wood together on being relieved by a Norfolk Battalion. Dalgety died in 1934.

Prior to the war I had always used horse and mule transport in Sekukuniland: on my return I bought a Ford car and never again used mules though till my transfer in 1923 still kept horses.

On July 26th 1920 our second daughter Ella was born at the Victoria Nursing Home in Pretoria.

Very soon afterwards my eldest sister Gertie came from England to stay with us and remained until March 1922.

In 1912 and on other occasions I had been down in the low country in the eastern Transvaal, near the Game Reserve, big game shooting with Colonel Damant and Hugh Griffith the Sub Native Commissioner for that part. I had shot waterbuck, kudu, roan antelope, bushbuck, reedbuck and warthog there.

I liked that country and in 1920 I bought, as a speculation, in conjuntion with Colonel Damant, a farm named Moriah in the low veld on the Blyde River below Pilgrims Rest. It was a glorious place, the farm had much irrigable land and it appeared to be a good speculation with rising prices and a good prospect of that country being opened up for farming. There were lions there, hippo and crocodiles in the river and the country was teeming with game.

The speculation however did not turn out well and was a great source of worry for many years. I was lucky to sell it eventually fairly well, and just before a great slump in land values came over all South Africa.

[Page 38]

At the end of April 1923 we were transferred to Rustenberg when difficulties had arisen with the Bafokeng tribe. It took time and several Supreme Court cases before that affair was closed up. The Rustenberg District now included the Pilansberg area but it was all very much changed from the 1904-1907 days and it had all been opened up for farming.

Towards the end of 1923 we went on leave to England, taking Anne and Ella with us. We rented a small house in Stanford Road close to Lexham Gardens and were very comfortable This time my mother was living as Felmingham near North Walsham in Norfolk. Thus, since I had left home at Sedgeford in 1896, I had never, on any of my visits, found the family established in the same home, always a different one.

In November 1925 we left Rustenberg owing to Dutch political intrigue and were transferred back again to Sekukuniland.

On March 4th 1926 our youngest daughter Jean was born at the Jane Furse Memorial Hospital in Sekukuniland.

In June of the same year, 1926, came the news of the death of my mother, 82 years old.

My main Native Affairs activity during the last years of my service was the establishment, ?? and arrangement of a Bapedi Land purchasing system. In spite of ups and downs and in a time of depression this resulted in the purchase for the tribe of about 110 square miles of country to add to their location ground before I left.

[Page 39]

During these last years Sekukuniland had become well-known as a leading centre of native life. University professors, scientists and ethnological students students frequently visited the district to study the natives. <with the result that, to my astonishment, I found myself regarded as a leading authority on South African natives, a reputation which has followed me into retirement>

The geological formation had also been studied. Platinum was found and so was asbestos. The platinum mines did not survive the slump in the price of that metal, and even before we finally left Sekukuniland the derelict mining machinery of the platinum mines was being overgrown with weeds and the returning thorn bush.

On October 31st 1931 I retired from the Service on pension, visited England once more, in 1932, with Grizel and Jean, leaving Anne and Ella at school in Pretoria, and finally we as a fanily, came to Blackridge near Pietermaritzburg in Natal to live - and here we are.

Anne and Ella have gone to the Girls's Collegiate School in Maritzburg and Jean to Uplands School on Blackridge.

We have a pretty little home named White Gables. Of the future all I can say is "Creduntibus Nil Difficile".

D.R. Hunt
April 1935

I was appointed Justice of the Peace, Ward Blackridge, Pietermaritzbrug in 1937.

[Page 40]


Eleven years ago I had thought to have closed this record for good & all but since then the world has passed through another Great War 1939-1945, out children have grown up & there are further familt incidents to jot down :-

On the closure of Mr. Calpin's school at Uplands on Blackridge Jean joined her sisters at the Girls' Collegiate School in Maritzburg in October 1935.

Anne left school at the end of 1936. My brother Gerald, on his way home from Ceylon to England via the Cape, visited us in May 1937 - a very happy visit though all too short.

On November 5th 1937 I was appointed Justice of the Peace for Ward 74 subsequently called Ward Blackridge.

Grizel's mother Lady Scott died in London in December 1937 aged 93.

Anne went to Ceylon to visit her Uncle Gerald in Colombo in November 1937 & returned in March 1938. She went to Grey's Hospital in Maritzburg on August 15th 1938 as a probation nurse & passed her final examinations as a full trained nurse (including midwifery) in February 1942.

After leaving Grey's she went as a Sister to Utrecht Hospital for a year, then to Morningside Nursing Home in Maritzburg & after that for a year at the Red Cross Hospital for Plastic Surgery at Hurlingham north of Johannesburg.

On May 1st 1946 she began work at the Dental & Oral Hospital under the aegis of Witwatersrand University.

[Page 41]

Ella passed her matriculation examination & left school in December 1937. Almost immediately afterwards, that is early in 1938, whe began learning shorthand & typing in Maritzburg. After passing her Government examinations in these subjects she was employed by the firm of Franklin & Taylor, estate agents & auctioneers, in Maritzburg & remained with them till Sept 30th 1942.

In October 1942 she joined the Meteorological section of the South African Air Force & soon became a sergeant. She was staioned at No 22 Air School Vereeniging for a considerable time, a little while at Randfontein, then Pretoria Meteorological Headquarters, after that at Kimberley where she did a lot of Met. flying, finally back to Pretoria Meteorological Headquarters. Eventually she was demobilized & discharged in May 1946. Since then she has attended the Technical College in Maritzburg to regain her proficiency in commerce, typing, shorthand & bookkeeping.

It was in March 1942 that Anne & Ella went on a visit to Rhodesia together. The visited Bulawayo, the Matoppos, Victoria Falls & stayed with Huntly Wilkinson on his farm near Marandillas. He was an old friend of Gerald's in Ceylon.

Jean passed her matriculation examination in December 1943 & left school.

During 1944 she was at home & did war work for the Navy League in Maritzburg most of the year. In 1945 she went to the University of Cape Town as an undergraduate & now (1946) is still there.

To hack back a few years - In June 1940 I was offered the post of war time temporary [Page 42] Magistrate & Native Commissioner at Ingwavuma the most northerly district of Natal & was about to accept when I was requested by the Military authorities in Pretoria to take over command, as Lieut Colonel, of a Battalion of Native Military Corps which was to be formed, I accepted this & went to Pretoria & thus on July 1st 1940 in my old age (65) became a soldier again.

A Brigade of four Battalions was to be raised under the command of Colonel Martin with Lieut. Colonels Lugg, Lyle, Hunt & Nicholson commanding the 1st 2nd 3rd & 4th Battalions respectively. During the remainder of 1940 my 3rd Battalion took shape under my command & was gradually recruited up to its original establishment of about 80 Europeans & 1000 natives. Half the original natives came from the Transkei & half from the Northern Transvaal. It became a well-trained, smart & efficient Battalion & was very well reported upon by Generals, Inspecting Officers & all who saw it.

It was during this period 1940 that our home at Blackridge was burgled by a native. Grizel very pluckily tackled the burglar & though she was badly bruized in the struggle she drove him off though he got away with some goods. The same native made a second attempt to break in a few months later but luckily failed. Eventually he was caught & sent to prison. It had been a terrible experience for Grizel & a nerve-wracking time for her without protection at home.

In March 1941 my 3rd Battalion N.M.C. was sent to the Cape Peninsular guarding Wingfield [Page 43] and Youngsfield aerodromes, the Simonstown area, the dynamite factory at Somerset West, Steenbras Dam & various smaller centres. Five hundred of my trained natives were drafted away & sent to the Libyan battlefield; these were replaced to 786 Transvaal native recruits & the European staff was increased thus bringing the strength establishment of the Battalion up to about 100 Europeans & 1286 natives.

The Cape Peninsular command at that time was under General W. Tanner an old friend of mine who formerly commanded the 2nd South African Infantry in France in the First World War at which time I had temporally commanded or was 2nd in Command of the 4th South African Infantry.

On March 31st 1942 General Tanner & I, much to our disappointment, were released from Military Service on account of being over the age limit of 65. We were therefore retired on June 14th 1942 & I returned to Blackridge. The 3rd Battalion N.M.C. was an efficient happy Battalion & had won for itself a very good name at the Cape.

My elder brother Reggie died at Walcott-on-Sea Norfolk on April 1st 1942 & is buried there.

In October 1942 I took over a temporary job on petrol control for Pietermaritzburg District. This gave me a good insight into the business side of the town & district as I had not previously realized how dependant all are on petrol. It also opened my eyes into some phases of human nature. Petrol control ceased in March 1946.

In March 1944 I was elected president [Page 44] of the Maritzburg branch of the British Empire Service League but resigned in March 1946 owing to increasing deafness.

During all these war years Grizel had bravely kept the home going lonely as she was & always with the threat of burglars to face alone. On several occasions she visited me when I was soldiering in the Transvaal & at the Cape.

At the time of writing this I am now 71 and Grizel 62 1/2. I am probably considered past taking on any active job.

Anne & Ella are earning their living.

Jean's future on leaving the University is not yet determined upon.

Thus our record up to the middle of 1946.

What of the future?

Again I say - Creduntibus Nil Difficile.

D.R Hunt
June 1946. White Gables, Blackridge