Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Part 1
 Part 2
 Part 3
 Part 4
 Part 5
 Part 6
 Part 7
 A retrospect
 Map: Southern and northern...
 Map: The Gold Coast colony and...
 Back Cover

Title: Far bugles
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00025076/00001
 Material Information
Title: Far bugles
Physical Description: 229 p.,20 p. of plates : ill., col. map ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Harding, Colin, 1863-
Publisher: Simpkin Marshal
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: [1933]
Edition: 1st ed.
Subject: British -- Rhodesia   ( lcsh )
Police -- Rhodesia   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Rhodesia   ( lcsh )
Description and travel -- Ghana   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by Colin Harding.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00025076
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002890934
oclc - 11980820
notis - APC2245

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Half Title 1
        Half Title 2
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents 1
        Table of Contents 2
    Part 1
        Page 1
        Hunting at home.
            Page 1
            Page 2
            Page 3
        Story of a devoted servant
            Page 4
            Page 5
        The ghost of Montacute Abbey
            Page 6
            Page 6a
            Page 7
        Master and man
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
        Unwelcome revelations - I sail for South Africa
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
        Arrival at Cape Town - I meet an old friend and together we proceed to Bulawayo. Bulawayo in 1894
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
        A short precis of the matabele rebellion at Bulawayo
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
        A solicitor's clerk
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
        Malarial fever
            Page 26
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
        The Jameson Raid
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
    Part 2
        Page 35
        I return to Africa - news of Matabeleland Rebellion, 1896
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
        Umtali and maoni - our first fight
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
        The matabeleland rebellion - Salisbury
            Page 44
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
        Mashonaland rebellion - Nroton's farm patrol. Witch doctors. Murder
            Page 48
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
        The use of dynamite - the maliankombe fight
            Page 54
            Page 55
            Page 56
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 59
        Police patrol to matoko - friendly allies - gallant ride of the hon. Hubert Howard
            Page 60
            Page 61
            Page 62
            Page 63
            Page 64
        I take command of native police - malarial fever - departure of the hon. Hubert Howard
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 67
        The fight at Kunzies - many casualties
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
            Page 71
            Page 72
            Page 72a
            Page 73
            Page 74
    Part 3
        Page 75
        I proceed to North-Eastern Rhodesia - conflicting insutrctions - mission work - a gruesome story
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 78a
            Page 78b
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 81
        Recruiting - a punitive fiasco
            Page 82
            Page 83
            Page 84
    Part 4
        Page 85
        I return to the Cape
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 88a
        We leave for Barotseland, i.e., north-western Rhodesia - meet Sir Robert Coryndon
            Page 89
            Page 90
        The two Rhodesias and the problem of their amalgamation
            Page 91
            Page 92
            Page 93
            Page 94
            Page 95
        Visit of Sir Arthur Lawley - meeting with king Lewanika - important treaties
            Page 96
            Page 97
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
        The phonograph - trek to Barotseland - Lewanika and his people - the long, long trail
            Page 101
            Page 102
            Page 103
            Page 104
            Page 104a
        Lions - concession - slave trade
            Page 105
            Page 106
            Page 107
            Page 108
            Page 109
            Page 110
            Page 111
        Labour commission - home - hunting
            Page 112
            Page 113
            Page 114
            Page 115
            Page 116
            Page 116a
            Page 116b
    Part 5
        Page 117
        Another journey to Cape Town - meet King Lewkania - Coronation
            Page 117
            Page 118
            Page 119
            Page 120
            Page 121
            Page 122
        Visit to Mr. Chamberlain and Sir Robert Williams - shopping in London
            Page 123
            Page 124
            Page 125
            Page 126
        Lewanika's return and reception - arrival in Barotseland and hut tax question
            Page 127
            Page 128
            Page 128a
        Death of king Lewanika - funeral rites
            Page 129
            Page 130
            Page 131
            Page 132
            Page 133
            Page 134
            Page 135
            Page 136
            Page 137
            Page 138
            Page 138a
            Page 138b
            Page 139
        A punitive expedition - hut tax defaulters - a regrettable incident
            Page 140
            Page 141
            Page 142
            Page 143
        Return to England - questions in the House of Commons
            Page 144
            Page 145
            Page 146
            Page 147
            Page 148
            Page 148a
    Part 6
        Page 149
        Voyage to West Africa - journey to Coomassie - kind hospitality of friends - duties of a district commissioner
            Page 149
            Page 150
            Page 151
            Page 152
            Page 152a
            Page 152b
            Page 153
            Page 154
            Page 154a
            Page 155
        A gruesome execution - a native fracas
            Page 156
            Page 157
            Page 158
        Home - return to West Africa
            Page 159
            Page 160
            Page 160a
            Page 160b
            Page 161
        Home on leave - prospect of war - I offer my services to Sir John Norton Griffiths
            Page 162
        The Great War
            Page 163
            Page 164
            Page 165
        "You are leaving home to fight for the safety and honour of my empire" - the king
            Page 166
            Page 167
            Page 168
            Page 169
            Page 170
            Page 171
            Page 172
            Page 173
        The 15th royal warwickshire regiment
            Page 174
            Page 174a
            Page 175
            Page 176
            Page 177
            Page 178
            Page 179
            Page 180
            Page 181
            Page 182
            Page 183
            Page 184
            Page 185
            Page 186
            Page 187
        My last battle - crocked up - many casualties
            Page 188
            Page 189
            Page 190
            Page 190a
            Page 190b
            Page 191
            Page 192
            Page 193
            Page 194
    Part 7
        Page 195
        Work of a provincial commissioner in the Gold Coast Colony - legislative council - U-Boat atrocities
            Page 195
            Page 196
            Page 197
            Page 198
            Page 199
            Page 200
        Much litigation - revenue and exports of Gold Coast colony - death of assistant-district commissioner cattley
            Page 201
            Page 202
            Page 203
            Page 204
            Page 205
        The last lap - leave and a quick return to the Gold Coast - the fia of Awunaga - presentation of the king's medal
            Page 206
            Page 207
            Page 208
            Page 209
            Page 210
        Scouts and guides - kind letter - the attorney-general, acting governor
            Page 211
            Page 212
            Page 213
            Page 214
    A retrospect
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 218a
        Page 218b
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
    Map: Southern and northern Rhodesia
        Page 232
    Map: The Gold Coast colony and northern territories
        Page 233
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
        Note 1
        Note 2
Full Text
-; I, I I kii 1. ; 1 ., : lzli!il 11M.1 '1:1 IT: 11 it! f 7
IT -,." il;zi,'Jl r-Iff
14 i'- Tip W 1 "[-; "'i Rliff,-?Fr
:i iv:,
N4 ,
7 IT ::z, r I
IT 'IT: 1",
'a "Ti`1
Z`jT T'71- -7-7 q 4!!
Tj i;T
.7 1 TTT

T-1 IT :7: il -i ` Z!; I I F.7 I il '7:1.

.:,.,I T

11 TTT



TI 1:1






C~C 1
'- <- / ^C



7p --L


Z1L~*i C

jSLCL ~~ /L*~ aCZjI

Jas.~r ~//


Blow, bugle,
And answer,


blow, set the wild echoes flying;
echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.




Late Acting Administrator of North Western Rhodesia
Provincial Commissioner and Member of the Legislative
Council of the Gold Coast Colony.




Made and Printed in Great Britain by
First edition, January, 1933.


I. Hunting at Home. Incidents of a Child ... ... ... I
II. Story of a Devoted Servant ... ... ... ... ... 4
III. The Ghost of Montacute Abbey ... ... ... ... 6
IV. Master and Man :.. ... ... ... ... ... 8
V. Unwelcome Revelations-I Sail for South Africa ... 11
VI. Arrival at Cape Town-I Meet an Old Friend and
together we Proceed to Bulawayo. Bulawayo in 1894 14
VII. A Short Precis of the Matabele Rebellion at Bulawayo ... 17
VIII. A Solicitor's Clerk ... ... ... ... ... ... 20
IX. Malarial Fever ... ... ...... ... ... 26
X. The Jameson Raid ... ... ... ... ... ... 31

XI. I Return to Africa-News of Matabeleland Rebellion,
1896 ...s ... ... ... ... ... ... 35
XII. Umtali and Makoni-Our First Fight ... ... ... 40
XIII. TheMatabeleland Rebellion-Salisbury ... ... ... 44
XIV. Mashonaland Rebellion-Norton's Farm Patrol. Witch
Doctors. Murder ... ... ... ... ... 48
XV. The Use of Dynamite-The Maliankombe Fight ... 54
XVI. Police Patrol to Matoko-Friendly Allies-Gallant Ride
of the Hon. Hubert Howard ... ... ... ... 60
XVII. I Take Command of Native Police-Malarial Fever-
Departure of the Hon. Hubert Howard ... ... 65
XVIII. The Fight at Kunzies-Many Casualties ... ... ... 68

XIX. I Proceed to North-Eastern Rhodesia-Conflicting Instruc-
tions-Mission Work-A Gruesome Story ... ... 75
XX. Recruiting-A Punitive Fiasco ... ... ... ... 82

XXI. I Return to the Cape ... ... ... ... ... 85
XXII. We Leave for Barotseland, i.e., North-Western' Rhodesia
-Meet Sir Robert Coryndon ... ... ... ... 89
XXIII. The Two Rhodesias and the Problem of their Amalgama-
tion ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 91


XXIV. Visit of Sir Arthur Lawley-Meeting with King Lewanika
-Important Treaties ... ... ... ... ... 96
XXV. The Phonograph-Trek to Barotseland-Lewanika and
his People-The Long, Long Trail ... ... ... 101
XXVI. Lions-Concession-Slave Trade ... ... ... ... 105
XXVII. Labour Commission-Home-Hunting ... ... ... 112

XXVIII. Another Journey to Cape Town-Meeting King Lewanika
-Coronation ... ... ... ... ... ... 117
XXIX. Visit to Mr. Chamberlain and Sir Robert Williams-
Shopping in London ... ... ... ... ... 123
XXX. Lewanika's Return and Reception-Arrival in Barotseland
and Hut Tax Question... ... ... ... ... 127
XXXI. Death of King Lewanika-Funeral Rites ... ... ... 129
XXXII. A Punitive Expedition-Hut Tax Defaulters-A
Regrettable Incident ... ... ... ... ... 140
XXXIII. Return to England-Questions in the House of Commons 144

XXXIV. Voyage to West Africa-Journey to Coomassie-Kind
Hospitality of Friends-Duties of a District Com-
missioner ... .. ... ... ... .. ... 149
XXXV. A Gruesome Execution-A Native Fracas ... ... 156
XXXVI. Home-Return to West Africa ... ... ... ... 159
XXXVII. Home on Leave-Prospect of War-I Offer my Services
to Sir John Norton Griffiths ... ... ... ... 162

XXXVIII. Precis on the Work of Two Units in the New Army-2nd
King Edward's Horse ... ... ... ... ... 163
XXXIX. You are Leaving Home to Fight for the Safety and
Honour of my Empire "-THE KING... ... ... 166
XL. The 15th Royal Warwickshire Regiment ... ... ... 174
XLI. My Last Battle-Crocked up-Many Casualties ... 188

XLII. Work of a Provincial Commissioner in the Gold Coast
Colony-Legislative Council-U-Boat Atrocities ... 195
XLIII. Much Litigation-Revenue and Exports of Gold Coast
Colony-Death of Assistant-District Commissioner
Cattley ... ... ... .. ... ... 201
XLIV. The Last Lap-Leave and a Quick Return to the Gold
Coast-The Fia of Awunaga-Presentation of the
King's Medal ... ... ... ... ... ... 206
XLV. Scouts and Guides-Kind Letter-The Attorney-General,
Acting Governor ... ... ... .. ... 211




My acquaintance with Colonel Harding began during the
War, when he was in command of one of the Birmingham
City Battalions. As Lord Mayor at that time I met him
frequently, until in the autumn of 1915 he took the Battalion
out to France.
These pages deal with earlier days, but I have gladly
acceded to Colonel Harding's request that I would write
a foreword to his book, for many years ago he served the
Colonial Office when my father was Colonial Secretary,
and all his work in Africa was in accord with my father's
The story of our relations with the African natives is
well illustrated by Colonel Harding's descriptions of his
*own life among them. It is typical of the British Officer
in a primitive country that he enters into the feelings of the
native, whom he treats as he would a child, often wilful,
careless and untruthful, but generally good humoured
and devotedly loyal to those whom he has learned to trust.
In early life I, myself, came into close contact with the
West Indian negroes, whose qualities are, I suspect, much
the same as their kinsmen in Africa; and, with all their
faults, I found them a lovable people, rising sometimes to
unexpected heights of character and principle.
Colonel Harding's wide experience of different parts
of Africa, and of the various races which inhabit it, makes
his reflections of special value; while his record of his
adventures in territories which have undergone rapid
changes in recent years, is full of interest. His book is a
valuable contribution to the literature of the African

This book is proudly dedicated to the

fifty-six members of White's Club

and its staff who were killed in the

Great War of 1914-1918. And 50-

per cent. of its profits will be

given to the funds of the British

Legion, as they would so desire.



December, 1932.







"W HAT the blazes are you making all that noise for when
Sounds are running, you silly young fool ? "
The above salvo was delivered by one of the hardest
riding farmers in the south of England on a November morning,
many years ago, and I was the unfortunate objective.
SThe scene of this incident was the Park which surrounds Monta-
cute House, and I, on a pony over which I had no control, had been
taken right up to the tail of hounds who had been checked by the
railway which runs through the grounds of this historic mansion.
Tom Cable, the farmer who had administered this well-merited
rebuke to my misguided exuberance, was mounted, in rat catching "
outfit, on a seventeen-hand hunter with a past which was certainly
not unblemished, and it was this disfigurement which prompted the
generous Master of Hounds to make a free gift of the mare to Tom
Cable. For many seasons he got two days a week out of this windfall,
and when hunting was over, this adaptable gee would be found
between the shafts of a horse-rake or a machine for haymaking.
She never, however, enjoyed these degrading and unsporting
occupations, and local history relates that once, when at work in a late
harvesting field, she showed her contempt for the subordinate position
to which she was relegated, by running away with the horse-rake and
joining the hounds which were cubbing in the adjacent field. There
were many casualties and a whole vocabulary of unparliamentary
language directed against the rake's progress and her unfortunate
At the time I received this vocal chastisement, I was clad in a long
pair of leather leggings which entirely enveloped the lower part of my
small body, and on my head was a cap well down over my ears. I
was mounted on a thirteen-hand shaggy pony which had cost my father
a fiver, and which he presented to me on my tenth birthday with the
remark, He will carry you wherever you want to go, and jump






"W HAT the blazes are you making all that noise for when
Sounds are running, you silly young fool ? "
The above salvo was delivered by one of the hardest
riding farmers in the south of England on a November morning,
many years ago, and I was the unfortunate objective.
SThe scene of this incident was the Park which surrounds Monta-
cute House, and I, on a pony over which I had no control, had been
taken right up to the tail of hounds who had been checked by the
railway which runs through the grounds of this historic mansion.
Tom Cable, the farmer who had administered this well-merited
rebuke to my misguided exuberance, was mounted, in rat catching "
outfit, on a seventeen-hand hunter with a past which was certainly
not unblemished, and it was this disfigurement which prompted the
generous Master of Hounds to make a free gift of the mare to Tom
Cable. For many seasons he got two days a week out of this windfall,
and when hunting was over, this adaptable gee would be found
between the shafts of a horse-rake or a machine for haymaking.
She never, however, enjoyed these degrading and unsporting
occupations, and local history relates that once, when at work in a late
harvesting field, she showed her contempt for the subordinate position
to which she was relegated, by running away with the horse-rake and
joining the hounds which were cubbing in the adjacent field. There
were many casualties and a whole vocabulary of unparliamentary
language directed against the rake's progress and her unfortunate
At the time I received this vocal chastisement, I was clad in a long
pair of leather leggings which entirely enveloped the lower part of my
small body, and on my head was a cap well down over my ears. I
was mounted on a thirteen-hand shaggy pony which had cost my father
a fiver, and which he presented to me on my tenth birthday with the
remark, He will carry you wherever you want to go, and jump

Far Bugles

anything you ask him." To a certain extent the parental recommenda-
tion which accompanied my father's gift was gospel truth, but, alas !
Glover (the name which I had bestowed on my new-found mount),
was not content with carrying me where I wished to go, or jumping
only what I wished to jump, but on occasions (and there were many)
he would go where he wished and jump far more and bigger obstacles
than either I desired or considered necessary. It was this spirit of
independence on his part that compelled me to ride over hounds and
thus provoke the wrath of my farmer friend.
The heated, one-sided argument to which I refer-it is described
as one-sided, for I took no part except to be an unwilling listener-
was suddenly terminated by the hounds picking up the line and dashing
off again at full cry, negotiating in their mad career the iron park
railings which came in their way; these they scrambled over or
through, leaving Tom Cable and myself the alternative of either
surmounting the railings or giving up the hunt. Glover soon arrived
at a decision, for on realising the condition of affairs, he again took
the bit between his teeth and at the same time jumped the iron railings.
Needless to say we both had an almighty purler, but on the right
side of the iron fence. Picking myself up more besmirched with mud
than ever, I scrambled on to my pony, careless of the shaking up
which I had sustained by the fall, and away we went, my stirrups
and legs waving in the air to the accompaniment of a string of oaths
from my irate farmer friend whose horse had refused to jump the
After negotiating the iron fence, on we raced, this time a field
or two behind the pack, and acting as a sort of rearguard, followed
the rest of the hunt, who had now arrived, and, annoyed at having
been out of the run, were riding harum-scarum through mud-trodden
gate-ways, in their endeavour to avoid the Ham Hill stone walls which
now formed the fences of the land over which we were riding.
This part of the country I knew like a book, for my father farmed
much of this sandy land, which produced many poppies but little wheat
on that picturesque but unfruitful plateau. I little thought then,
when farming acres of this land, gay with the vermilion heads of
thousands of waving poppies that later in life I should be crawling
through myriads of the same seeking cover from the eyes of the
belligerent Bosch, who had marked me down early in a summer morn
in the disputed fields of Flanders. No such thoughts could have been
in my small head as Glover and I floundered over the uneven furrows,
in pursuit of the hounds which I had viewed passing through a newly-
made gap in the wall which separated my father's land from the well-
known Ham Hill Quarries.
There is a well-known saying that fools rush in where angels
fear to tread," but in this case it was a wilful and misguided child
who did the rushing, for disregarding the yells of more experienced
riders who had given this aperture a wide berth, I nearly came to an
untimely end.

Hunting at Home

Knowing that my pony would crawl over the loose stones which
would be found on the opposite side, without checking our pace, I
galloped right up to the fallen wall, when Glover stopped dead, and I
was thrown on to his neck, which I gripped with all the strength of my
puny arms. Shaken and speechless, I was able to see, however,
that the gap in the wall through which I was riding was caused by the
ground on the landing side having given way, leaving only about
2 feet of turf to separate my pony and myself from a fall of 40 feet
into a disused quarry, and it was on that 2 feet of turf that my pony
now crept with catlike steps. So near was I to instant death that the
cap which I was wearing fell over the precipice in my frantic endeavour
to cling to my sturdy little beast who had saved my life, and when
I returned home hatless I told one of my few untruths when I informed
my mother that it had been lost in the stable.
My father, however, did not long remain ignorant of my escapade
for, visiting the broken wall on the following day with the idea of having
it repaired, he saw Glover's spoor through the gap in the wall and my
little cap reposing on the stony bottom of the quarry. It was never
retrieved and the subject was never again referred to.


Circa, 1880.

IT will be remembered that the hunting scene of my last chapter
opened in the vicinity of Montacute House, and it was near this
historical mansion, which, by the way, has recently been acquired by
the Nation, that there resided in a small cottage many years ago, a man
who did nothing of note in his blameless life but loyally and untiringly,
for the greater part of his existence, follow the avocation of an agricul-
tural labourer on my father's farm.
Officially shown in the Farmers' Day Book as James Hutchings,
this capable farm-worker was, however, known unofficially as Jim
Tut. The origin of this sobriquet was never revealed. It was
what a child might call a besurd name ; without a special meaning,
and yet somehow it seemed appropriately to describe with exactitude
the lovable disposition and cheery mannerisms of this contented
Although I have referred to Jim Tut as an agricultural labourer,
in reality he was what our Senior Service would describe as a handy
man." Jim could do a bit of carpentering, effectually soothe and milk
a kicking cow, and shear without loss of temper a refractory sheep;
in addition to the above accomplishments Jim was also useful in the
case of the accidents or sudden illnesses which occur at times to
some of the numerous animals to be found on our well-stocked
I remember, however, on one occasion, when the old proverb
of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing was undoubtedly
verified. That was at a time when Jim had to administer a strong
purgative in the shape of a horse ball," to my Father's favourite
hunter, generally known to our establishment as Rufus."
The fact that Rufus was indisposed, and that Jim Tut was going
to give it a ball," was well advertised. Jim had told the stable boy
of his intentions; the stable boy, of course, told me. I lisped the
information to my nurse, and she, being a great admirer of Jim and
his various accomplishments, then passed the news to the cook.
Consequently, when the reluctant Rufus was led from its comfortable
stall to the stable-yard, where Jim could zee her better," there was
a full house," and everyone, with the exception of Jim, was prepared
to enjoy the entertainment.
Jim started the proceedings by removing his long-sleeved waist-
coat; then, with the ready help of my nurse, turned up as far as his

Story of a Devoted Servant

shoulders, the sleeves of somewhat antiquated shirt which had formerly
been the property of his master. With dubious platitudes he then endea-
voured to assuage the ruffled demeanour of Rufus, who, not unnaturally,
viewed with some alarm the dshabille of our amateur Veterinary
Surgeon; then, telling the stable boy to hold tight to the halter,
Jim elevated the head of his patient as high as possible, grasped the
animal's tongue in his left hand, and with a sudden and unexpected
thrust placed with his right the ball, as far as possible down the throat
of the struggling Rufus.
Something or other went wrong. Rufus took a step to the rear,
and, at the same time, gave a violent cough, with the result that before
the ball could reach its intended destination, it was returned dilapidated
and moist into the face of our perspiring Jim.
An acrimonious altercation now ensued between Jim and the
stable boy, who had lost touch with the rope. In the midst of all
this I was dragged away by Jim's inamorata with the remark, I baint
going to bide here any longer, to zee Jim make a vool of hisself."
Reluctantly I was compelled to accompany my disgusted Nanny,
but not before I had seen Rufus give a final sneeze, and halterless,
without showing the least sign of alleged disability, trot off with
injured mien unattended to his accustomed stall in the adjacent stable.
This little incident came visibly into my mind when with great
amusement some time ago, I watched a somewhat similar incident in
Charlie Chaplin's film, The Circus."
In the eyes of our handy man I was a small hero, and as such,
perched in a precarious position on Jim's coatless shoulder, was often
taken round the farm buildings to inspect the sheep, pigs and cattle.
On these occasions my young brain was set in a whirl by Jim's flow
of conversation, for to my joy, he would treat me as an equal, and
explain for my benefit the merits and demerits of the animals on
All this, I felt, was so different from the attitude of the silly
nurse who, in a staccato voice, would tell me to do this, or not to do
that, and would, on the slightest provocation, tweak my small, inoffen-
sive ears.
Later, when I had learnt to enjoy what Jim would call good
food," hand in hand, both dressed in our Sunday best, we would go
to his Ivy Cottage, where Mrs. Jim Tut would regale me with her
famous griddle-cakes. After which, replete and happy, we would
meander back to my Abbey home, where I was cosseted and petted
by an anxious and fond parent, who, because I had no appetite for
a second tea, feared I was sickening for an attack of measles. It was
not till I heard my mother discussing with my unsympathetic nurse
the advisability of administering to Master Colin the well-known
and much-hated cup of senna-tea, or alternatively, the nauseous and
ill-disguised brown powder in red currant jam, that I considered it
advisable to own up, and divulge the secret of my loss of appetite.



IT was about this time that I had the most uncanny experience
that a child could endure. So severe was the shock to my small
mind that for days I could not sleep, and for weeks I never went
to bed without a light constantly burning in my room.
I still remember every detail of the apparition which I saw,
and which I now record for the first time with all sincerity and
With a brother five years my senior, I was returning home from
the harvest field about 8 p.m. on an August evening. We were both
mounted, my brother riding a mare about fifteen hands high and
myself on my diminutive pony Glover. My brother was delicate, but
I, thanks to Jim Tut's good food," was full of vigour and health,
in fact, quite normal.
On arriving close to our Abbey home I suddenly saw in the
barton adjoining the road on which we were riding, an apparition
standing about 20 yards away. It appeared about 6 feet high; it
was wearing a white loose night-gown, which extended to the ground
and its head was covered by a thick white veil which entirely hid
the features of the wearer. It was a spectre entirely in white.
We stopped our horses who both shied at the apparition. It
came towards us and our horses again shied. Petrified, I was unable
to speak. My brother, however, thinking it was Jim Tut dressed
up to frighten us, said: None of your larks, Jim." Unperturbed
it still advanced towards us, and gliding into the wall which separated
us from the barton, disappeared. I could not hold my pony and did
not want to, and followed by my brother I galloped along the road
to the stable door, where to our surprise Jim Tut was waiting to take the
horses. I leapt from my pony, rushed into the house, and without
speaking or noticing anyone, went direct to my bed, where a devoted
mother eventually found me in a paroxysm of tears.
I remained there for two or three days. Gradually the effect
of the shock wore off. Repeatedly I asked my brother to explain
to me what we had seen. He always evaded an answer.
The health of my brother grew more and more serious, and
within a few months of the event which I have described, there came
a sad spring day when I was taken by my mother to a dim-lit room to
bid him a last farewell. Here, under a snow-white sheet he was
seen by me peacefully resting in the unawakening sleep of death.
A loose white cloth covered his well-shaped head and obscured the
dear kind face which I knew and loved so well.



The Ghost of Montacute Abbey
Certain that it was a vision of my brother, clothed in the garb
of death, which I met on that late summer eve, I was led speechless
from the chamber where I had seen him for the last brief time.
I know now and believe, with Shakespeare, that There are more
things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your



YEARS passed, but in spite of the fact that the service of Jim
proved in every way satisfactory, there was no increase in his
emoluments, or in his status as a farm labourer, and in those times
it was not expected. Neither of these omissions caused any diminution
in the steadfast and uncomplaining fidelity of him towards my father,
until quite unexpectedly there appeared in our midst a firebrand
in the guise of two noted and zealous agitators, who considered,
with some reason, that the general wage of ten to twelve shillings
per week was an inadequate remuneration for a man who worked from
6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This, I must admit, was the usual wage paid for the ordinary
labourer on the land. However, I am not certain whether or not,
in addition to this apparently inadequate payment, a house free from
rent was included. In any case, the rent of a cottage at that time
would not be more than Is. 6d. to 2s. per week.
Further, it might be said on behalf of the farmers who paid this
wage, that wheat at that time only realized 16s. per 240 lbs., barley
was about the same proportionate value, and the straw of these crops
was not worth more than 10s. to a pound per ton. Sheep and other
stock were worth about half of what they are to-day.
Not content with agitating for an increase of wage for farm-
workers, these men also advocated manhood suffrage, and largely
attended meetings were held on Ham Hill," where these revolu-
tionary proposals were blatantly expounded.
With one or two exceptions the labourers on my father's property
took no part either directly or indirectly in this agitation. Many of
them besides Jim Tut had spent the best part of their lives under him,
they came to him when they wanted firewood ; they had free ground
in which to grow their potatoes ; they had a daily ration of cider, and
generally, as things were then, seemed satisfied.
There was, however, one exception, which was our old friend,
Jim Tut.
By this time his lantern jaw was decorated by a flimsy Nanny
Goat beard, which had grown grey in the service of his master;
he was a man, it will be observed, who would always be the first to
arrive at his labours in the morning, and the last to leave at night;
a man who shared the joys and vicissitudes of his master's varied
agricultural career, and who until this time had been quite happy
working on our well-kept farm for the small sum of 11s. per week,
with an extra shilling for the work he did on Sundays between the
morning and evening services.

Master and Man

No one who knew this personality, and there were many, could
have pictured him wearing a red rosette in the buttonhole of his
Sunday coat, and a large card displaying a caricature of a fat farmer,
in his hard and uncomfortable Sunday hat, joining the throng of
discontented agricultural labourers who on a bright Whit-Monday
afternoon were threading their way to Ham Hill, there to demand an
increase of their wage. Yet such was the case.
The reason for this defection on the part of Jim Tut from
his inherent loyalty, was unaccountable, and, as subsequent events will
show, its consequences were most lamentable, for after attending the
meeting, where Jim heard scathing and untruthful charges against
his master, he retired to the Bar Parlour of the Adjacent Inn,"
and there, assuaging his regret for having made such a vool of
himself for attending the meeting, he imbibed such an excess of alcohol
that it compelled him with devious steps to seek obscurity and repose
on the kitchen settle in my father's house.
Still wearing the hard hat with the objectionable card, and the
coat decorated with the red rosette, Jim was eventually discovered by
his master, who, with pardonable peremptoriness, ordered him out of
the kitchen. By this time Jim had sobered down, and recognizing
his humiliating condition, humbly, and without complaint, did as he
was bid.
At the back door, to which my father had followed him, Jim
came to a sudden halt, and tearing the annoying card from his hat,
and stripping the Sunday coat of its decorations, stamped with an oath
the offending paraphernalia under his feet.
This done, with head uncovered, Jim looked at my father and
in unsteady tones, ejaculated,
Measter, let not the zun go down upon thy wrath."
And it didn't. Jim was forgiven, and in the following weekly
cash statement, an increase of wage appears opposite the name of the
repentant Jim.
Very soon after this episode, my father was borne by six of his
own farm hands to his last resting-place in Montacute Churchyard.
Jim Tut was a mourner, and in his hand he carried a small home-
made wreath, to which was attached the short but suitable inscription :
To a kind master, from his servant, Jim Tut."
Jim did not long survive my father's death. Bent double by age
and labour, further work was impossible, but even in this condition,
he would hobble round to the cowsheds, taking affectionate glances
at the stock he had milked and tended, and it was during one of these
perambulations he slipped and fell.
Carried to his ivy-clad cottage, Wold Jim lingered for some
considerable time, happy and uncomplaining. The end came long after
he was prepared to face the Unknown. I arrived from South Africa
the day before he died, and my first journey from London was to the
death-bed of our old and faithful servant.
Jim Tut's feeble words of greeting and farewell are still in my

Far Bugles

memory. Like my father, he, too, faces the West in a sure and certain
hope of life eternal.
Let us think of social service as kindness between man and man,
as mutual understanding and as all those acts of unselfish devotion
done without thought of material gain or personal advancement."
Vide Prince of Wales at the Albert Hall, January 27th, 1982.



THE death of my father revealed the unwelcome fact that
neither myself nor other members of my family were as opulent
as anticipated and also that I in particular had considerably
outrun the constable "; in fact, the final settlement of our estate
proved that our financial position was not only unpromising but desper-
ate, and it left us with no option but to give up a home which
we had for many years loved to distraction and the society of a
delightful circle of friends, and start life over again.
Neither I nor my brothers had any profession, nor yet the
means to qualify for one or to acquire a business. We found ourselves
like hundreds of other young men who possessed nothing but the
advantage of a fair education to make our way. I am stating these
facts, as I wish to impress upon my readers the importance of not
only educating their children, but the desirability of seeing that in
other ways they are fully equipped for the strenuous battle
of life, by having learnt a trade or developed some business qualifi-
Hunting teaches a man a lot, much more perhaps than a non-
hunting man realises. One thing it taught me was, that if you had to
jump a five-barred gate with a bad take-off or a fifteen-foot brook with
sticky banks, the obstacle did not grow less by contemplation. I
hated leaving my home, in fact, hated it like poison, but to me it was the
only way, and having come to this decision, on one dank January morn-
ing in 1894, I, with all my earthly possessions-figuratively speaking
-jumped the objectionable gate and left my Abbey home for South
It was a depressing morning on which to ape Dick Whittington,
and there were no bells to revive my drooping spirits, if like a hare,
I thought fit to double back to the home of my ancestors. My departure
was watched by many of my old farm hands who had synchronised the
time of their arrival to commence their daily toil just as I had clambered
into the springless waggon which was to convey me to the local station.
Here they shook my proffered hand with tearful effusion, and with the
encouraging remark that as I was going to foreign parts, I should
never see them again. Their lugubrious prophecy was, alas, mainly
correct, but I have ever retained the memory of the grief-stricken
articulation with which they bade me farewell on that dank wintry
Fed up to the teeth, I duly arrived at Southampton, where I was
met by my dear Nursing Sister, who after finishing her night duty,
had journeyed down from her hospital in town to say goodbye.

Far Bugles

The ship selected to carry this budding Livingstone to Cape Town
was an intermediate boat of old design called The German, and it was as
a steerage passenger that I had decided to make this journey. I had
not informed my sister that I had decided to travel steerage, and she
showed her horror and astonishment in a very marked way when
I proceeded to escort her up the steerage gangway. As soon, however,
as the unsatisfactory state of my exchequer was realized, she promptly
offered to pay my first-class fare to Cape Town, and when it was refused
I was told not to be a fool. The offer was repeated with even more
persistency after we had encountered some of the fellow-passengers
whose intimate society would be mine for twenty days and nights.
Again the offer was refused. This time she used no hard words,
but her tears rather hampered the cheery bon voyage. After watching
the uniform of my sister fade on the vanishing pier, I endeavoured to
find my numerous articles of luggage. By the time this was accom-
plished most of the steerage passengers had been judiciously sorted out
by the third-class steward, and I found a large cabin more or less open,
which was to hold myself and about eight other males. These were
of the Jewish type, and many of them had brought on board salted fish
which they hid in close proximity to their pillows and mine. Many
children of various ages were sprawling about on the floor or in the
arms of their mothers, who very much ddcolletd were giving them
their evening meal. Feeling greatly embarrassed and very much de trop,
I strolled on deck, where I saw the pilot dropped, and soon afterwards
the last of England.
The supper bell evoked no enthusiasm on my part for already
I felt the movement of the ship and decided to take refuge in my bunk
without further delay. Some of my fellow-passengers who had done
themselves rather well also evinced a desire to seek repose in the
precincts where I was reclining, and with such precipitation that,
except the most fastidious, no one removed either boots or stockings.
The weather did not improve and tired out with a day of mental and
physical stress, I fell asleep with my head in close proximity to the feet
of a fellow-passenger and my hands in front of my face, endeavouring
to shade my eyes from the light of a hanging lamp suspended from the
ceiling of my cabin which, through the motion of the ship, was swaying
about in annoying and idiotic spasms.
My slumber was not of long duration, and I awoke in a terrific
storm to the sounds of slamming doors, breakage of crockery, moans
of women and children and heavy rolling of our groaning ship.
To make matters worse (if that were possible), all, including
myself, were suffering from mal-de-mer of the most violent and
unbecoming type. Storm pails were at a discount, the place was
reeking with nauseating stuffiness and filth. Sleep was impossible.
The storm had increased, and we were battened down; no one could
go on deck, even if he desired.
This state of affairs lasted through the whole of the night. In
the morning the storm had abated. I managed to crawl on deck,

Unwelcome Revelations

and there enveloped in a cloak which covered me from head to foot,
I crouched in the most sheltered place I could find, careless of the
wind and rain, for the remainder of that long Sabbath day.
During a life of adventure and hardship I have spent many
uncomfortable nights, but the first night on board this liner lives in
my memory as the most revolting and uncomfortable that I have
ever experienced. Not through any fault of the delightful old German,
but as a result of my exposure on deck I caught a chill, which made
me hors-de-combat till we arrived at Lisbon, a journey which took us
about four days from Southampton.
During this period I had not spoken to a fellow-passenger. Ere
dawn had stolen over the quieting sea and the wind had fallen, we had
steamed up the River Tagus, and with others I landed at Lisbon for
a few hours, and partook of the first substantial food since I had left
Southampton. This meal consisted mainly of fruit and fresh fish,
and never had I eaten a lunch which I enjoyed more or a meal which
cost less.
From Lisbon .we steered direct for Madeira, where the chief
engineer filled his bunkers with dusty coal, and the chief steward
replenished his supply of fruit and vegetables. Here again some of
us went ashore and up to the mountain's top where we drank the
wine of the country without stint and as a result of our indiscretion
made numerous and useless purchases from unfortunate beggars who
seem permanently to reside and abound in this sunny clime. Even-
tually, with arms laden with these useless articles, we proceeded on
After our visit to Madeira, life bore for me a more roseate hue.
The weather improved and on an even keel we proceeded without
incident on our last lap to Cape Town. I enjoyed my plain but whole-
some food and loved the quiet and peaceful nights which I spent alone
on deck under the warmth and comfort of a tropical sky. I made
many friends on board, but more than any single shipmate, I remember
with undiminished gratitude the kindness of the chief steward, who
from the time we left Southampton till we arrived at Cape Town,
did everything in his power to make my voyage as comfortable as



Bulawayo in 1894.

IT was not until I arrived at Cape Town that my ultimate destination
was indicated. There I received a kind letter from an old hunting-
friend named Toms, who writing from England informed me that
he was arriving at Cape Town by the next boat en route for Rhodesia,
and then and there asked me to accompany him. I met him on his
arrival, and that same day we took tickets to Johannesburg, where
after a very dusty and costly railway journey we arrived on the second
or third day after our departure from Cape Town.
Our sojourn at Johannesburg was not of long duration, and after
we had purchased numerous stores and other essential articles we
left this alluring city and in a small springless ox waggon, propelled
by six oxen en route for Bulawayo, where we arrived after about six
weeks' weary trekking. Here with dubious mien we trudged through
the streetless township of Bulawayo behind our perspiring oxen, who
for many weeks had dragged their heavy loads through sodden veldt
and ill-defined roads. Emaciated, footsore and weary, they are now
on the last lap of their strenuous task, and their journey is finished
on the arrival at the official outspan, which at a short distance now
looms ahead. With a destiny in common with my own I must here
leave them, and in so doing give a brief sketch of a land in which they
have proved indispensable, and of a people to whom their value
is beyond rubies.
Although at the time of which I write, there were at Bulawayo
many with money to squander, there were also others not so fortunate.
I was one of these, and soon after my arrival I had an unwelcome
reminder that it would be advisable for me to have an audit of my
financial position. I did so, and found that after paying for my
transport from Johannesburg to Bulawayo I had only about ten pounds
in cash to keep me until I obtained employment.
This desperate financial position hit me hard in the face. Here
was I in a strange country without a single friend or acquaintance
(except Toms), with no trade or profession, and, as I have said, with
only ten pounds in my pocket. All food was at siege prices; liquid
refreshment was nearly unprocurable except for those with unlimited
means, beer, by the way, being about 4s. per bottle.
Excepting my personal kit, the only assets I possessed were a
good constitution, a friendly disposition and (may I add) grit. Even

Arrival at Cape Town

with'a sanguine temperament the prospect was not alluring, and as
I write, I am still wondering how I made good.
Toms, however, did not share my pessimistic views. We parted
with sincere regret; he with another man, went on a prospecting tour,
whilst I remained in Bulawayo with the idea of getting some employ-
ment which would at least supply my daily wants.
To meet my urgent requirements and liabilities I sold my saddle,
bridle and more than one pair of costly breeches ; a valuable shot
gun also brought welcome funds to my exchequer. A small room
shared with a casual acquaintance served as my harbour. In every
way I avoided expenditure. Daily I interviewed storekeepers, builders
and proprietors. I was in fact, prepared to take any position inferior
or otherwise that would keep me going. The one question and the
daily question was-what can you do ? Farming at that time was
a wash-out. Gold was the cry, and the only work that which apper-
tained to its production or was the result thereof. Bricklayers were
earning 80 to 40 per month, carpenters a similar amount, whilst
experienced and reliable store-keepers could command almost any
wage they desired. Men like myself (and there were many of us)
were a drug on the market. The Matabeleland War was over, and
if there were any billets in the police force, they were given and rightly
to those civilians who had previously aided in the conquest of the
Night after night I have returned to my room both tired and
hungry. In the streets of Bulawayo I have seen bread for sale, bread
which I wanted, and I have not been in the position to make that
necessary purchase; few people knew it, but such was my plight.
Yet, as I have portrayed, at this time, when I could not afford
to purchase a loaf of bread, many miners and successful prospectors
were reeling in the streets of Bulawayo, spending the proceeds of
their farming and mining rights in debauchery and in drink.
Stories of men who had bathed in champagne were freely circulated.
Men in their misguided lavishness thought nothing of spending 20 or
30 at a liquor bar, treating pals who were worse off than themselves,
and others who never thought of returning such generosity. These
debauches were chronic with some, whilst others were unable to
purchase the bare necessities of life. Such scenes were common at
Bulawayo in 1895-6, and they were common in any other mining town
similarly situated, whether in America, Australia or the Yukon.
Dawn came at last through a noted Bulawayo builder offering
to take me on as a sawyer's mate. I was to receive 8 per week. It
is true that the sawyer in question was receiving an immense wage,
but still, 8 per week was, in the eyes of a hungry man, colossal.
There are two kinds of sawyers, viz., the top sawyer and one less
fortunate, who is the under-sawyer. He, the under-sawyer is not so
well-known either in legend or in practical life, though I can assure
you that I know from experience that it is the under-sawyer who both
in this identical case and also in every other, who has to bear the brunt

Far Bugles

of life's hardships and the want of stimulating appreciation; in other
words, gets all the kicks and none of the ha'pence.
I started my work on a Monday morning. The weather was
tropical, the shade of the tree under which we worked was as inadequate
as the tail of an elephant.
My sawyer boss, to whom I was introduced, was a man of large
proportions, and his ferocious appearance was not mitigated by a
stub beard which ought to have been removed on the previous Saturday
night. His hat was certainly not made at Locke's, and his general
appearance was arrogant and dictatorial. My own attire, demeanour and
general get-up were strictly in accordance with the work which I
intended to perform. The customary salutations were exchanged,
I was questioned as to my knowledge of the work in hand, and directions
were given. Although in more congenial surroundings I had driven
an engine which produced the poetical and enjoyable sound of a
circular saw, and had actually manipulated the play of the saw itself,
I knew nothing of pit-sawing upon which I had so readily embarked,
and candidly I never learnt, for a fall of 10 feet when I was endeavouring
to show that I knew the duties of top-sawyer, damaged my ankle and
eventually terminated my sawyer proclivities, leaving me hors-de-
combat for several days, during which I was attended and nursed
by my popular and kind master, Sandy Butters, who, sad to relate,
was killed in the Boer War.
On the termination of my appointment as under-sawyer, I next
became a second-rate bricklayer and was entrusted with the erection
of what are termed in house-agent's phraseology the usual offices."
The advantage of this particular job was that I was not overlooked
by any interfering architect, but, unfortunately, although I thus
combined the work of two separate departments, my weekly insult
(I am referring to my wage) was not increased. Alas, in an incredibly
short space of time, owing, I always contended, to white ants and
tropical thunderstorms, one of these useful buildings collapsed, with
the unfortunate result that any unsatisfactory sag in houses of this
description in Bulawayo was instantly labelled this is the house that
Harding built."
The temporary success of my building proclivities led to a
partnership with a friend who had developed a craze for painting
the shop windows and doors of the Bulawayo stores, a job in most cases
overdue, but very few of the storekeepers could be induced to see this.
Eventually we dissolved partnership and the next time we met was at
" White's," where I learnt that my would-be partner was Master of
hounds in the South of England.



ALTHOUGH in writing this book I have not set myself the
task of recording a history of Rhodesia, or of dealing minutely
with its annexation to the British Empire, I consider it may
not come amiss to give a short pr6cis of its conquest, and other notable
events prior to 1894, when first I arrived in Bulawayo.
At the time Matabeleland first came under the jurisdiction
of the Chartered Company, there were many acrimonious and con-
flicting opinions as to whether or not the means adopted in its conquest
were either legitimate or constitutional.
There is, however, one fact lifted beyond the realms of con-
troversy, and that fact is, that had not Jameson and his gallant pioneers
conquered the Matabele Chief, Lobengula, in 1893, some other
European country, whose methods of native administration do not
altogether coincide with our own, would now be in occupation.
The truism of that familiar quotation, There is a tide in the affairs
of men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune," is borne out in
this case, luckily for this country and its native inhabitants, for had
Jameson failed to take the tide in Rhodesian affairs at its flood, I doubt
whether the Empire would have ever acquired Rhodesia, a country
of over 150,000 square miles, much larger than the South African
I am informed that as far back as 1888, there existed a treaty
between Lobengula and ourselves regarding the range of British
influence both over Matabeleland and Mashonaland, and there is a
possibility that if Lobengula had adhered to that treaty, and restrained
his young and warlike Matabele subjects from making the numerous
raids of slaughter and pillage of which they were guilty against the
Mashonas, the continuance of the march of pioneers from Mashonaland
to conquer Matabeleland and the assistance of the Bechuanaland
Police to help in this country's conquest might have been avoided.
Fortunately or unfortunately, Lobengula could not or would not
restrain these young men who were out for the blood of their inferior
neighbours, and although apparently Lobengula treated the missionaries
and white men, who were residing at his kraal in Bulawayo at the
outbreak of hostilities with consideration and kindness (and also,
it is alleged, sent envoys to Jameson to treat for peace), no such concrete
proposals as would have avoided war were ever made or contemplated.
War was made, and with a speed that baffled those young Matabele
warriors, the Pioneer Force swept through the country, without
any serious opposition, to Bulawayo, their objective. But in that wild
and unprecedented gallop over the two or three hundred miles which

Far Bugles

separated Mashonaland from the King's kraal in Matabeleland, one
incident of supreme gallantry and devotion will ever remain pre-
eminently to the credit of that little band of Empire builders. The
incident I refer to is the stand and death of Major Wilson, with his
87 intrepid troopers who, to the last man, fell fighting gallantly on the
Lower Shangani River in December, 1893.
Realising the intrepidity of our Pioneers, Lobengula did not wait
for the arrival of that force at Bulawayo. Firing his village he fled
to the Zambesi, where after a reign of over 20 years, he succumbed to
fever and died ; a brave, sometimes cruel and eventually a very much
misguided native king.
It must not be supposed from this brief account that the conquest
of Matabeleland was a walk-over. This was by no means the case,
for this expeditionary force, composed mainly of settlers, was not too
well equipped ; they were fighting in a country where wheeled transport
was often impossible ; a country that had not been correctly surveyed,
and their Commissariat Department was not all that could be desired.
Furthermore, our men were fighting an enemy whose war record
was only equalled by that of Cetewayo, the Chief of the Zulu race in the
South, who only accepted our rule after many years of strenuous
fighting and much loss of life. I often wonder whether those men
who to-day hold the responsible positions of Colonial Secretaries
and Governors in our various Dependencies, men who are clamouring
for a K to their C.M.G., or others who are expecting G to their
K.C.M.G., think sufficiently of the pioneers and our missionary friends
who 80 or more years ago laid down their lives in developing the Empire
which we now are so proud to call our own.
After the Pioneers of Rhodesia had successfully achieved the down-
fall of the Matabele Chief, the majority relinquished their military
career, and bethought themselves of a more peaceful occupation in the
environs of the country which they had conquered.
Here they were joined by dubious prospectors from Johannesburg,
disappointed miners from America, and sections of the South African
community who deemed a change further north not only necessary
from their own point of view, but desirable for their old associates
and friends.
The pioneers who had borne the brunt of the Rhodesian conquest
were given loot rights, prospecting rights," and to many the right to
peg out a farm of considerable area.
These perquisites were often sold at lucrative prices to men who
had no idea of settling in Bulawayo, but who bought them as a
speculation, and later invariably sold them at great profit. The
wiser and more industrious pioneers, however, stuck to their farming
and prospecting rights, and proceeded to scour in every direction the
newly-acquired territory for the gold which the many sanguine
prospectors alleged the country to possess in abundance. Samples of
gold were brought in to Bulawayo and shown at the hotels and stores,
which were said to have been procured at Gwanda or some other part

Matabele Rebellion at Bulawayo

of Rhodesia, but which as a matter of fact, had been brought up from
Johannesburg or some other mining town with the hope of inducing
company promoters to buy bogus gold-bearing properties.
That gold did and does exist in paying quantities in Rhodesia
is abundantly proved, but not to the extent that it was so unwisely
represented in 1894.
I say unwisely, for in the early days of Bulawayo, thousands of
pounds were spent in building huge offices and palatial houses for
mining magnates that should have been spent in prospecting and
development purposes. The alleged wealth of Matabeleland was so
exaggerated in those days, that it made men careless of money, encour-
aged extravagance in every direction, and totally obliterated the mere
idea that the prosperity of Rhodesia depended more on its agricultural
resources than on its alleged gold. It is sad to relate, but it is neverthe-
less true, that 75 per cent. of the old workings and quartz reefs which
were pegged out in 1894-1895, were eventually found after develop-
ment to be useless and unpaying properties.


Y ups and downs did not finish with my exploits as a bricklayer,
for my next appointment was in a Bulawayo solicitor's office
as chief clerk. That I was the only man in the office did not
in the least rob me of the importance that I was chief clerk. I was
not Juris portius as I had no previous experience.
My master was a Mr. Gatehouse. His office was a small corru-
gated house with two small rooms, one of which was allocated to the
staff. I commenced work on a Saturday morning. The piece de
resistance of our work was in transfer "-I mean by that that we
were the intermediary between the vendor and purchaser in the sales
of land, stores, etc. This was vaguely pointed out to me by Mr.
Gatehouse when he arrived about two hours after I had started work
on that notable morning. Mr. Gatehouse then told me to carry on,
saying that he would be back in the office on Monday morning.
My chief had hardly left our stuffy office before a prospector
came and asked me to collect a debt for him. The amount was 20.
He had no receipt or any evidence to support his claim. I got him
to swear an affidavit (which I have since learnt I had no right to execute),
and then, after looking through the letter book with a view to finding
some communication which would meet the case, I made a copy of
a demand note, which I gave my client, charged him two guineas
for my advice and action, and bowed him out of the shaky door. With
a black eye he returned in about an hour, paid me with great reluctance
my two guineas, and pointed with a shaky forefinger to his disfigured
eye remarked, This is the only thing I got out of the blighter,"
and honestly I was not surprised.
It was now time for lunch, and not finding any safe or cash-box
in my office, I slid the two guineas into my trouser pocket and went in
pursuit of my well-earned mid-day meal. Unfortunately, on my
way, I met a friend of mine who informed me that after lunch he was
riding in a match. The course was laid in one of the principal streets
of Bulawayo.
After a frugal meal I made for the thoroughfare selected for the
race, where again I met my friend, who was emphatic on the prospects
of his mount. Amidst much shouting and recrimination, people
were betting and arguing right and left. The grey, which my friend
was riding and which he described as a dark horse," looked
in comparison to its rival a sure winner, also I knew my pal would
ride straight. Thus convinced, I, with some misgivings, drew the
two guineas belonging to Gatehouse from the custody of my trouser

A Solicitor's Clerk

pocket, and forthwith made an even bet of that amount with a loqua-
cious bookmaker standing near. The distance to be run was half-a-
mile. Hamilton (my friend's name) made an excellent start, and
would have won hands down had not a partisan of the other horse
fired his revolver just as the favourite was passing his store. The
grey swerved, crossed a leg, and came down a most awful purler with
Hamilton underneath. I lost the two guineas, and when I explained
with much regret, to Gatehouse on Monday morning what had become
of his two guineas, he soothed my guilty conscience with the jocular
observation that I was damn smart to have ever earned it."
I stayed with Gatehouse for some months and imbibed much
legal knowledge, which assisted me to dispense Justice later in life.
I learnt the value of Equity in law and the value of strict impartiality
in everyday life, especially when dealing with the disputes between
Black and White.
Besides imparting to me the rudiments of Common Law, Gate-
house taught me the importance of being exact in small details.
I will give an instance where on one occasion I was at fault in
this respect. We had an important land case in the Court at Bulawayo
which entailed the subpoenaing of various witnesses who were residing
at a distance from Bulawayo ; these witnesses were brought in at the
expense of the Plaintiff whom Gatehouse and my humble self repre-
sented. I was given a free hand as to costs, and, determined to make
sure of winning the case, spared no expense in procuring any witness
whom I considered would be of assistance in attaining this laudable
object. When the case came on, we made our way to the Court
House on the day of hearing, laden with all papers relative to the case,
and many books of Roman law. Feeling ran high as to the merits of
the case, and numerous bets were made as to who would obtain
judgment. Gatehouse opened for the Plaintiff; he had not gone
far before the opposing counsel jumped up, and appealing to His
Worship on the bench, asked for an adjournment on the grounds of
some technical omission for which I unfortunately had been responsible.
It was granted. Although we eventually secured judgment, our
clients had to bear the additional expense of keeping all our witnesses
in Bulawayo for the time of the adjournment.
On returning with Gatehouse and all my legal paraphernalia
to our office, I apologised for my silly omission, and good chap that
he was, he never rounded on me, but suggested that we should adjourn
for a drink, where we met the opposing counsel, who gladly footed
the bill. This mixed feeling of hostility and friendship is symbolical
of the atmosphere of Bulawayo in 1895-6 You called a man a Son
of a Bitch and he either shot you or asked you to come along and
have a drink ; it depended entirely how the epithet was uttered.
I have seen men fight with ungloved hands in a secluded corner
of Bulawayo till they could hardly stand, and the victor, then leading
his opponent to the nearest store where he attended his many bruises,
bought him a clean shirt and washed out his bleeding mouth with a

Far Bugles
small bottle of Pomeroy, and two days after both would start together
the best of friends, on a prospecting trip to the Matoko District.
Things have changed since those days. The newly-surveyed streets
were then virgin soil; to-day, good broad roads flanked with luxuriant
gum trees are in evidence. Cinemas and other places of amusement
abound. Palatial hotels receive the welcome trippers; a train will
take you to the borders of the Congo Free State or to the Drummond
Castle waiting to receive you at the Cape Town Docks. A smart and
well-dressed community has taken the place of the hardy, uncouth
pioneer, and women make their afternoon calls in well-equipped and
up-to-date motor cars. Generally, all these changes are so much
to the good, but for some men the days of the pack donkeys, the go-
to-Hell atmosphere of 80 years ago, was most alluring. Possibly
the conquered native Matabele hold the same view.
There came a day towards the end of 1895 when tired of law and
endless office work, and my heart yearning for the open veldt, I said
good-bye to my genial employer, and joined forces with my friend
Hamilton, who was proceeding to a place called Manze Inyama," a
small mining camp about 50 miles south of Bulawayo, for the purpose
of developing some gold-bearing reefs which Hamilton had pre-
viously acquired for a company which he had recently floated in
England. Apparently the flotation of this company was no easy
matter, for Hamilton informed me that even parsons were getting
suspicious of Rhodesian Gold Mines. As its name would indicate,
here we found good water, and also it had the advantage of being near
to the properties which we wished to develop. The vexed question
of labour at once stared us in the face. We interviewed the local
Chief without any success. Yes, he had young men, but they refused
to work, because they were afraid of the white man.
In our case the difficulty was solved by personal contact with
native chiefs and a promise that the boys should, if they desired, return
to their kraals after a month's work. The Chief would often visit me,
and three of the native labourers whom he sent to work were his
sons; these I put in charge of the others, keeping them under my
special care. The following incident will explain how my little acts
of friendship were repaid.
There came a time when previous to his departure Hamilton
informed me that he wished to sink a prospecting shaft on one of the
properties and ascertain the size and wealth of the gold-bearing reef
40 or 50 feet under ground. It was useless for me to remind my
friend that I knew little or nothing about sinking a shaft, for he shut
me up with the observation that digging out gold was much the same
as digging out a fox. I made no further comment, but set myself
immediately to the task of learning how to sharpen drills and picks
to the correct temperature, no easy task, and to make charcoal which
was to engender the necessary heat in my small portable forge, a con-
trivance which in this instance was principally made by sewing two
goat-skins together, an invention taught me by the local Chief.

A Solicitor's Clerk

It was in the wet season when I commenced my task and unfor-
tunately I had no tent, my only shelter from the rain being an ill-built
hut thatched with grass. In these circumstances I found the
work most trying, for when getting the dirt and stones out of the
shaft, I was knee-deep in muck and water, and at night I often slept in
my wet clothes ; in fact, nothing was dry except my dynamite, fuse,
and detonator, and these valuable articles I kept in a small sack under
my pillow. Consequently I could not share Hamilton's optimistic
opinion that digging for gold was much the same as digging out foxes.
To assist me in my work, I obtained the voluntary service of the
Chief's three sons whom I have previously referred to, and, who,
irrespective of age, are, in Rhodesia, termed boys." In this instance,
the boys were about 20 years of age. They had been with me
some weeks, and were always cheerful and contented, sharing my
hardships without complaint during the rain, and rejoicing with me
when, after work, I took my gun, and brought to camp a slaughtered
buck or a brace of guinea-fowl. The head boy Peter "-was
invaluable, for he combined the duties of batman, cook and overseer.
It was Peter who brought my Dop at sundown, and it was Peter
who prepared and brought my steaming coffee at sunrise when he
usually awoke me with the remark, Boss, Boss, mainige-come-
come i.e., There is much rain."
When we first began the shaft (about the size of an ordinary
well) we dug to a depth of 6 feet in the first two days ; but then our
troubles began, for we had to rig up a windlass to haul up the dirt and
incidentally to haul up my three native boys for food and sleep. This
windlass we made on the spot, and I admit it was very shaky, and uttered
disconcerting noises when hauling up either myself or the boys. How-
ever, after a time we got used to its idiosyncracies, and although wear
and tear did not tend to improve its condition, familiarity breeds
contempt, and we ceased to criticise its prowess. Shortly after we
had fixed the creaking windlass the formation changed and we were
obliged to resort to the use of dynamite. The use of this dangerous
explosive was at first far from popular with Peter and his colleagues.
With unfeigned interest they would watch me prepare the charges,
see me insert the time fuse with detonator attached, but nothing
would induce them to lower me into the shaft to ignite it. I am not
at all certain that this exhibition of fear on the part of my employees
was totally disinterested; anyway, to assuage their pardonable
scepticism I gave an ocular demonstration by firing a small charge
of dynamite in the adjacent bush which enabled them to recognize
the value of the safety fuse, and realise that after it was lighted, both
master and man could get to a place of safety before the charge
exploded. Still dubious, they consented to lower me down the
shaft, this they did with the utmost caution, but after I had lighted the
fuse, in their anxiety to get away from the scene of operations as
quickly as possible, all caution was banished, and I was drawn to the
surface with unnecessary energy and expeditiousness, then on landing

Far Bugles

me at the mouth of the shaft, they would leave the windlass and my
irate self, seeking, in different directions, cover under some rock
or tree, and in safety watch the huge stones ascend to a height of
fifty or a hundred feet, then fall with a thud to the sodden ground.
Convincing themselves that they were not in the least bit afraid of
" dynamitey they would with assumed nonchalance return jabbering
to the shaft and with infinite zest imbibe their home-made snuff
whilst watching with a self-satisfied air the poisonous fumes of the
explosion obliterate the mid-day sun.
After three weeks' strenuous work and the expenditure of much
dynamite, we sunk the shaft to a depth of about 40 feet, when an accident
occurred which nearly cost me my life.
As usual, Peter and the two other boys had been working all day
drilling holes in the shaft, and, at sundown, I pulled them up the rickety
They had drilled five holes-one at each corner, and one in the
centre. As water was coming in, I lost no time in collecting my dyna-
mite charges, and was lowered down by Peter and the boys. On
reaching the bottom I began to clear out the holes, and to bale out and
send up in the bucket the water already accumulated-with no light
but a tallow candle stuck precariously on the side of the shaft.
After clearing out the water, I placed a charge of dynamite in
each of the five holes. They proved deeper than usual, and I found
that the fuse attached to the dynamite only just reached the top of each
hole, so that to ignite it, I held in one hand another short piece of fuse
which I lit from the candle and, after ascertaining that Peter and the
other two boys were ready at the top to haul me up, I proceeded
without undue haste to light the five fuses and I called to Peter to pull
me up. I put one foot in the bucket and grasping with both hands the
rope to which it was attached. I was hauled up quite safely for about
10 feet. At this point suddenly, and without any warning, I fell to the
bottom of the shaft.
Although more or less stunned by the fall, I was not seriously
hurt, and pulling myself together, I yelled to Peter to know what was
wrong and told him to pull me up quick.
Peter replied, The windlass is a skellum (Devil) and will not
work "
I now found myself in a serious predicament. My foot was
still in the bucket, and it was evident that the rope had broken above
my reach. There was no light, my only candle had disappeared,
the shaft was full of the smoke emitted by the burning fuses, and I was
knee deep in water. Under ordinary conditions the correct thing
to do would be instantly to cut or pull out all the fuses, but in this
instance they were too short, and it was impossible to find them. I
could, however, distinctly hear them fizzing away like small squibs,
and fully realized that in a very short space I should be blown to atoms.
Instant and terrible death seemed inevitable, and a feeling of sheer
impotence came over me. I remember hearing the far-off voice of

A Solicitor's Clerk

Peter calling to me to come up the rope. There was, however,
no rope visible. I groped madly in the dark to find the rope,
and then, when all seemed lost, I felt the end brush against my
face. I instantly grasped this; it was taut and making a spring,
I dug my feet into the side of the shaft and managed to get a
firmer grip of the dangling length. The boys on the top now com-
menced hauling me up the shaft. With the greatest difficulty I
managed to keep a firm hold of the slippery rope, but when it is a
matter of life and death it is surprising what one can do. Even now
I was not halfway up the 40-foot shaft, and the dynamite might explode
any moment when the concussion alone would have killed me. How
I wished the fuses were longer I These thoughts flew through my
brain as I was jerked upwards. Now I could see the dim daylight
above me and distinctly hear the agitated voices of my plucky boys
urging and encouraging me to make haste. I was now at the mouth
of the shaft, eager arms were held out to drag me in ; I just saw all this
and at the same time the dynamite exploded. My head and shoulders
were on the top of the shaft and Peter was dragging me to a place of
safety. We were all covered with filthy dirt, and my legs and back
were badly hit by loose stones. I was done to a turn, and lay prostrate
on the ground, the boys all jabbering and holding my hands. Though
in imminent danger, these untaught and unclothed natives had at great
personal risk stuck to the windlass and succeeded in saving my life.
We had only known each other for a few weeks, but in that short time
such a friendship of devotion and respect had matured that their own
safety was to them immaterial whilst their master was in danger.
It was here, alone in the Rhodesian Veldt, when night came
with its summer starlight and peaceful atmosphere and death was
staring me straight in the face, I first learnt to appreciate the pluck and
devotion of the African native.
That incident has never been forgotten and nothing has ever
happened during the whole of my subsequent political career to change
or lessen my regard and admiration, and I hope and believe that many
of my native friends who may read this story will say that by justice and
patience I have to some extent repaid the gallant deed of their three
untaught and unclothed Rhodesian brothers.




THE development work on which I was concentrated which
nearly ended my venturesome career was never finished, and
the next day I moved my camp to another district where I did
surface development. Unfortunately here the natives were not so
friendly, and I attribute to their hostility the burning of my camp
which I viewed from a distance, and by the time I realized that it was
not a veldt fire but my camp and nearly all my earthly goods that were
illuminating the horizon, it was too late to take any effective measures
to save either the one or the other.
That night I walked 15 miles to the nearest store, and there
in a grass hut for the next week I lay in the throes of a malignant
There was no doctor nearer than Bulawayo, a distance of about
60 miles. I remember, when in a state of coma which as a rule precedes
death, that a Dutch transport rider came to my hut. He was, I learnt
afterwards-a doctor of sorts-but his only credentials were a thermo-
meter which he found in his goat-skin waistcoat and with which he took
my temperature.
He did not tell me what it was, but I heard him murmur to the
storekeeper two words, No hope." This abrupt verdict did not
in the least disturb me, though I think it made the storekeeper wonder
who was going to pay my bill; in other words, he looked upon me as
both a bad patient and a bad debt !
I returned to health in about a fortnight, and at the same time
my candid and pessimistic Boer doctor returned from his visit to
Bulawayo. He showed surprise at my recovery but no enthusiasm,
but rather looked upon me as an impostor. Our views of each other
coincided. I convalesced at the store, and finally took temporary
charge, for the storekeeper it was who then got fever, and when the
Boer doctor man, who was still residing there, volunteered to attend
him, he was told to go to blazes He certainly went down country,
and no one was more glad than myself to see the tail of his tented and
rumbling waggon disappear in a cloud of dust on its homeward journey
to Johannesburg.
Storekeeping is no joke. I found it very trying towards evening.
I never objected to a drink or two with friends, especially in this case
when I had not to stand the racket, but it is particularly annoying when
you feel you have had quite enough, that you should be called upon by
every kind friend who entered the store to have one with him, and to
be called every uncomplimentary name under the sun if you refused.
Finally, I had a bottle of cold tea, which I made to resemble whisky

Malarial Fever

as much as possible and which I drank when not requiring anything
stronger. This led to more abuse than ever, for on one occasion it
was detected. I was accused of dishonesty, inasmuch as I had accepted
the money for a drink for myself and only drank tea. There would
have been a fight if I had been of the same mind as the other chap, but
I wasn't. I thought it wouldn't be good for the house," and I am
sure it wouldn't have been good for me. He was about 14 stone and I
only walked eleven. I was not the only one who realized the difference
in our respective weight; however, the other man kept repeating his
desire for me to come outside, and at last he made some uncompli-
mentary remarks about my relatives, which I could not take lying down,
so I vaulted over the counter and a small ring was made outside by his
supporters. He came for me like a bull at a turnip. I side-stepped and
hit what proved a triumphant coup d'dtat. When he came to, he
hiccoughed out, He must have hit me with a-crowbar I The next
day, with one or two visible exceptions, all was forgotten.
This man, whose name was Sullivan, came to me eventually as a
mining hand, and a very hard-working and cheerful employee he turned
out to be. He had a knack of looking after natives which though
rough and ready, was often appreciated by those under him. Some-
times he would give them cigarettes galore, and often tit-bits of his
scanty meal. At another time he would drop clods of earth on any
lazy urchin who would be sleeping instead of working in the 40-foot
shaft in which he was engaged at work. Then he was not quite so
popular. Sullivan made one stipulation with me, and this was that he
was to have long week-ends. That is, from every Friday night to
Tuesday early morn he was to be his own master, but, unfortunately,
not master of himself. He returned from the store on one Tuesday
morning still the worse for liquor; from his own point of view,
unluckily, he was sober. I met him at the top of the shaft, his pockets
bulging with sticks of dynamite ; in one hand a coil of fuse and in the
other a candle and a box of matches. Equipped with these com-
bustibles, he was in the act of being lowered down the shaft by his
trusty head-boy, when I asked what he thought he was doing. He
told me in drunken but caustic tones of his intended action. I
remonstrated. A hot and acrimonious argument ensued; finally,
I had to give way, and he was lowered down the shaft, where six or
seven holes were prepared to receive the sticks of dynamite which were
protruding from his coat pocket.
Sullivan, at the bottom of the shaft, cut his fuse to the approved
length, attached the detonator and inserted the dynamite now all
ready for firing in their respective holes. This work proceeded very
slowly, and with very shaky hands, as I saw to my consternation
when watching him from above. The head boy and another held
the cranks of the windlass ready to draw Sullivan up on hearing from
him that he was ready. I was powerless to do anything but watch.
He lit one, then another. Then I heard him say, I can't find the-
fuse "; the- fuse was eventually found. But by now the first one

Far Bugles

which he had lighted might at any instant explode. I yelled to him to
come up immediately. He replied in a drunken voice, Don't be
in such a hurry The shaft was now black with the smoke
of burning fuse which obliterated him from my view at the top of the
shaft. I still waited for the pull at the rope to indicate that he was
prepared to be drawn up. It came. I grabbed Sullivan's shoulder
as it appeared above the shaft and pulled him to safety amidst the shower
of stones and dirt caused by the explosion. After this, Sullivan and I
parted company. We have not met since. I am not perturbed.
After the last experience, I candidly admit that I was rather fed
up with dynamite and its valuable but somewhat nerve-racking uses, and
I shall be pardoned for exhibiting any sign of infidelity to this explosive
when I decided to give development work a miss in baulk, and to
substitute a shooting trek for a week or two as a deserved form of
With this idea in view, I went a few miles further north, and there
built myself a semi-permanent camp, where I had good water, shade
and a fair prospect of game.
I had not long been in residence before I had to take a journey
to the nearest store to purchase food and clothing. Here I learnt
from my old friend the Store-keeper that he expected a visit from
two ladies who were coming up on a shooting expedition, and he
casually suggested that I should hand my camp over to these wayward
I knew nothing of these expected visitors, and I candidly admit
I viewed the cool suggestion of my friend the Store-keeper at first
with some alarm and distaste. Eventually I acquiesced, and building
another smaller camp adjacent, left my newly-erected hut and dining-
room, and in no genial frame of mind awaited the arrival of my
The period of which I am now writing was about June, 1895, a
time when there were ominous signs that the Chartered Company
were organising an expedition for some unknown work down country.
Nearly all the mounted police had left Rhodesia for an unknown
destination, or a destination which was supposed to be unknown, and
a newly-raised body of volunteers had been formed to take their
place. The natives, too, seemed restless and aggressive. Altogether
it was a most inappropriate moment for two unprotected ladies to
travel from Johannesburg to Rhodesia in a bullock waggon, and it was
the realisation of these facts that prompted me to give up my camp
and do all I could to make their visit a success and not a tragic fiasco.
I had not spoken to a woman since I left the s.s. German at Cape
Town more than twelve months before, and I was speculating whether
the expected travelling menagerie would contain two old Dutch
frouws, or two decent Englishwomen, also old, and possibly catty.
Anyhow, I was in for it now and must see it through.
Having these pessimistic and unexhilarating prospects before me,
I was surprised and no less delighted when at sundown on a fine

Malarial Fever

June evening two young and suitably-dressed Englishwomen rode
into my camp. Their waggon and a white man in charge turned
up later.
During a cup of tea served in my small hut, I learnt that I had
the pleasure of entertaining Miss De Trafford and Miss Amy Norton.
They had come up with introductions from Government House,
Cape Town, and similar letters from Johannesburg. The main idea
of coming to Rhodesia was a visit to Miss Norton's brother who was
farming about ten miles from Salisbury in Mashonaland. They
were in no hurry, and had decided to have a little shooting en route
to their destination. They had been about six weeks on the road
from Johannesburg to my camp, during which they seemed to have
had much enjoyment. They could tell me of a state of unrest at
Johannesburg, of Uitlanders driven to desperation by the arbitrary
policy of the Republic Government, and a possible revolution.
All these things were new to me, and I pined to be there. We
spent an enjoyable week together at my camp, and then it was decided
that they should proceed to Bulawayo.
While entertaining my guests at my camp, I received a letter
from a Bulawayo friend informing me of the unrest at Johannesburg,
and the possibility that the Mashonaland Field Force might be
involved. The letter also contained the suggestion that I should
come to Bulawayo in case anything should happen. I decided to go.
Before starting, however, I promised to find suitable quarters in
Bulawayo for my sporting friends, and also to meet them on their
arrival there.
I found on arrival at Bulawayo that suitable quarters for two
ladies were not easy to procure. There was no hotel where they
could conveniently get rooms, they could not stay in their waggon on
the veldt, and had it not been for a kind friend of mine who lent me
his bungalow, I fear Miss Norton and her friend would have had a
rotten time. As it was, they stayed at the bungalow, I at the hotel,
and we met for daily meals in the hotel dining-room.
By this time, things had come to a crisis in Johannesburg. Jameson
had taken the bit between his teeth, and with a force of about 500
troopers, composed of Mashonaland Mounted Police and Bechuanaland
Mounted Police, had made his mad, unsuccessful, but gallant attempt
to go to the help of the Johannesburg Reformers. Further, the
Rhodesian Horse, of which I was a Corporal, had received a wire from
Jameson, telling us to be ready to move to Johannesburg. I shall
never forget the excitement this telegram caused on a Sunday evening
when Spreckley and Napier read out its contents.
Eventually, however, Jameson's wire was cancelled.
With Rhodesia in a serious state of unrest and uncertainty, it
was not difficult to persuade Miss Norton and her friend to cancel
their proposed visit to Mashonaland, and return via Mafeking to
Cape Town and home. With this object in view, the waggon and
surviving horses were sold, some of the heavy luggage disposed of

Far Bugles

and seats taken on the coach for Mafeking. At the last moment I
decided to accompany them, a decision which I never for a moment
We left Bulawayo amid the good wishes of many friends, and after
paying about 80 for excess luggage, clambered on board the stage
coach with its ten mules.
In the best of circumstances, a long coach journey, for ladies
especially, is most trying. During the wet season, as was now the
case, the difficulty and discomfort is increased, for the coach was over-
crowded; often we stuck in the mud and during the five days which
elapsed from the time we left Bulawayo to the day we arrived at
Mafeking, we seldom stopped except to change mules, when we
killed two birds with one stone by also taking a snack of badly-
cooked food at a small wayside store. Sleep there was none, and any
repose we obtained during the whole journey was snatched in a sitting
position with your head resting on the shoulder of the adjacent pas-
senger. My two girl friends stood the journey with fortitude and
without complaint, until there came a time when from sheer exhaustion
and lack of exercise their legs and feet had begun to swell, then, poor
dears, they broke down and cried like pumps.
Eventually dirty, tired and bedraggled, we arrived at Mafeking,
where tubs and decent food made us more cheerful. Smart frocks,
which were produced from our excess luggage, brightened the pro-
ceedings, and wayside tears were turned to radiant smiles. The
night we spent at Mafeking I well remember, for it was the first time
for 18 months that I had slept between sheets or worn silk pyjamas.
The next day we continued our journey, during which we were
ruthlessly examined, and all our luggage was subject to the minutest
scrutiny, and I as an old Rhodesian, came in for a lot of hostile criticism,
when my revolver was confiscated, and my name was associated with
unnecessary adjectives delivered at short range by Boer officials.
On arrival at Johannesburg, we paid a visit to Krugersdorp,
where Captain Barry, a friend of mine, lay in hospital mortally wounded.
I saw him when his desperate condition was to himself unknown.
Other B.B.P's. wounded in the raid I also saw; they said little, but
sufficient to show their disgust and chagrin at the hopelessness of a
task over which someone had blundered.
We also saw the place where Jameson made his last stand and
eventually surrendered. Here, we watched the sinking sun redden
on the desolate veldt littered with the wreckage of war on that bleak
and inglorious battlefield, a battlefield, alas, where some who were not
casualties lost more than life, and where the prestige of these fair
isles was not enhanced.
I do not propose in these pages to give a minute account of the
Jameson Raid; that task has been impartially accomplished by other
writers, but for the benefit of my readers who have not been privileged
to read these works, I will now venture to set forth a few concise and
brief details.



OME time ago I heard an eminent politician describe the Jameson
Raid as an infamous and unprovoked attack on a friendly state.
With this drastic criticism I cannot concur, for whilst it.is difficult
to find sufficient evidence to expiate the entire guilt of the raid, there
is on the other hand undeniable proof that it originated and was carried
into effect under great provocation. In support of this contention
I would remind my readers that had the Transvaal Government in
early days recognized the legitimate rights of the Uitlander citizens
in Johannesburg, the majority of whom were of British origin, and
who incidentally contributed five-sixths of the revenue of that pros-
perous Republic, the history of the Raid with its tragic results would
have never been written, and I think the South African War would
have been avoided.
Unfortunately, however, the laudable plea of the Uitlanders
for more representative government and alleviation of other long
outstanding grievances was ignored by the Transvaal Government,
who, instead of making a friendly gesture towards the disgruntled
Britishers, adopted an attitude of unpardonable inertia which had
the result of converting hitherto law-abiding subjects into a dangerous
and dissatisfied community, who eventually came to the conclusion
that it was only by adopting stronger measures that a redress to their
legitimate demands could be assured.
With this object in view, the leading British residents of Johannes-
burg met, and with the approval of Rhodes and Jameson organised
a Reform Committee, whose avowed object was, as a last resort,
to capture Johannesburg and, if necessary, terminate the regime of the
Boer Republic.
To accomplish this very reprehensible aspiration, stacks of
arms and other munitions were landed in South Africa, and under
the guise of musical instruments and other inoffensive consignments
surreptitiously found their way to Johannesburg, where they were
received by agents and supporters of the Reform Committee and con-
cealed till the day of the prospective grand coup."
Cognisant of these and other sinister military preparations in
Johannesburg, Rhodes and Jameson mobilised and assembled at
Pitsani, close to the Transvaal border, an efficient and well-equipped
force of Mounted Police, as a moral and, if necessary, practical assistance
towards the realisation of the objects of the Reform Committee.
Here under the flimsy pretext that their presence was required
to protect the border, this force commanded by Dr. Jameson remained

Far Bugles

for many months waiting and watching the trend of political events in
the Transvaal.
Although it was made abundantly clear to Jameson and his senior
officers that no action of a punitive character was to be taken against
the Transvaal Government without the joint consent of Rhodes
and the Reform Committee, there came a day when, tired of inertia
and procrastination, Jameson paraded and informed his troops of his
intended march on Johannesburg.
I have no record of a single instance where a trooper refused
to follow his popular leader. Some who were present at that parade
may have treated the whole thing as a joke, others may have considered
it a gamble, but there were a few who realized the extreme gravity
of making war on a country which officially was considered on friendly
terms with the Imperial Government.
With no organised commissariat corps, with no special medical
staff, this cohort of optimistic police left Pitsani at the end of 1895,
on their unauthorised punitive expedition to Johannesburg.
Once on the move nothing could stop Jameson and his command.
The Resident Commissioner of Mafeking sent a dispatch telling
him to return, the Reform Committee sent two reliable messengers
imploring him not to proceed, whilst two distinguished Boer Generals
evidently conversant with all the movements of this so-called surprise
attack, commanded Jameson to halt. The receipt of all these messages
is admitted, yet inexplicable as it may appear, in the face of all
these protests Jameson continued his suicidal march towards its
inevitable fate.
After 84 hours in the saddle, during which they covered a journey
of about 170 miles, hungry and tired these gallant but misguided
troopers arrived at Doornkop, a spot about ten miles from Johannesburg.
Here they were called upon to fight a well-equipped Commando of
Boers about three times their strength, who had entrenched themselves
in a strong position and were supported by State Artillery, who opened
fire on our unprotected and worn-out troops at a range of about 1,500
This unequal contest was of short duration but even in that
brief time, of the many who participated in that sanguinary encounter,
not a few ever rode again, for 16 of our gallant men were killed in
action and nearly 50 of their comrades were wounded before Jameson
made his surrender.
Done to the world, the survivors of this abortive fracas were
marched to detention. Jameson and many of his senior officers
were sent to England for trial, where sentences were given and
It would appear somewhat due to the aid of a despatch-box,
which should have remained in Pitsani, and over which there had been
much controversy, that a punishment no less severe than that referred
to in the preceding paragraph, was meted out to the Reform Leaders
at Johannesburg. Here it is alleged, the accused were confronted

The Jameson Raid

by undisguised hostility from the judge who triedjthe case, who' from
the opening of the proceedings exhibited in a most pronouncedland
unprofessional manner a notable lack of impartiality. It is said as
evidence of this accusation, that one of the first things which he did
on arriving at Johannesburg for the trial of the Reform prisoners
was to obtain a black cap," and this regrettable act of indiscretion was
committed before he had read a word of the evidence for or against those
prisoners on whose fate he was deputed to pronounce.
This highly reprehensible and unprecedented act of borrowing
a black cap is attributed to no less a personage than Mr. Gregorowski,
the State Attorney of the Orange Free State, who had been imported
to the Transvaal especially to try the case against the Reformers.
I will now quote from The Jameson Raid," page 266, written
by my friend Colonel Marshal Hole, where we read as follows :-
The following refers to the State Attorney :-
His language was of the most violent nature. He demanded
that the death penalty prescribed by the old Roman Dutch laws
should be confiscated. He strode up and down the Court shouting
and brandishing his arm in a state of uncontrollable excitement.
. At the conclusion of his speech, the usual formalities were
gone through. Gregorowski put on his borrowed black cap
and sentenced Lionel Phillips, Frank Rhodes, George Farrar and
John Hayes Hammond to death."
Further comment on this subject is unnecessary.
In Johannesburg, naturally, the bitter feeling which existed
between ourselves and the Boers was manifest at every turn, but I
doubt whether this feeling of ill-will ever extended as far as Rhodesia ;
if it did, it was not of long duration for we read and remember that
during the Matabeleland Rebellion, which occurred immediately after
the Jameson Raid, and was partly the outcome of the Raid, the
Afrikander Corps fought with distinguished gallantry beside the
Bulawayo Field Force, from March till July, 1896, and on July 4th,
when the Bulawayo Field Force was disbanded, Lord Grey, who was
then Administrator of Rhodesia, and who with Major-General Carring-
ton, inspected that force, uttered the following complimentary remarks
when addressing the parade : I do not like to mention any particular
troop, as each has acted so creditably, but I would note the excellent
services rendered by the Afrikander Corps in this war, as showing
the whole world the complete brotherhood which exists between the
two races of Dutchmen and Britains in Rhodesia. I trust that an
Afrikander troop will again form part of the new Force which is now
being raised by the Government."
Whilst at Johannesburg, I developed a bad attack of malarial
fever, which might have ended seriously, but for the kind attention of
my two sporting friends. As it was, I was about in a few days and in
time to bid them au revoir at Johannesburg Station en route for
England. I did this with a mixture of joy and sorrow.

Far Bugles

I was glad to think that in spite of the hardships they had endured,
they had escaped malarial fever, and my sorrow was in bidding
farewell to two of the most charming personalities it has ever been my
privilege to meet.
After saying goodbye, I did not remain for any length of time in
Johannesburg. The place got on one's nerves. I have spoken of the
ill-feeling between Boer and Briton, but I really think that there existed
a worse feeling between the members and supporters of the Raid
and the Reform Committee at Johannesburg. The former definitely
declared that the Reformers had left them in the lurch. The supporters
of the Reform Committee argued quite as strongly, that Jameson's
impetuosity had ruined their cause.
The first available coach took me back via Tuli to my old camp
near Amanzi Mnyma, in the Gwanda district, and after remaining there
a short time, I proceeded to Bulawayo. There I again met my old friend,
Rice Hamilton, with whom a few months earlier I had gone to the
Gwanda district developing gold properties. He had helped me in
more ways than one. Besides teaching me how to sink a prospecting
shaft, he also gave me tips on acquiring gold properties, which I resold
at a profit on my return to Bulawayo. Also, I had made money by
my hard and dangerous work of development and altogether I found
myself a rising man.
But there is always a fly in the ointment, and within a week of my
arrival at Bulawayo an urgent letter compelled me to return to England
on private family affairs. I had left my trunk at one of the stores
some months before ; this I now retrieved. Luckily it was not eaten
by white ants," and also, luckily, its contents were not spoilt by
mildew. Clothed in clean and suitable garments, I spread myself
over Bulawayo viewing the small houses which I had helped to build
when I first arrived just two years earlier; I stood my old employers
drinks of the most expensive wines and gave them to eat eggs and
bacon which cost me 7s. 6d. a meal. There was one friend I could not
find, and that was George Toms. I afterwards learned with great
regret that he had died of fever contracted in the Gwelo district.
Again, I am on one of Zeederberg's Coaches; this time I have
more room. The going is good, and I arrive in Johannesburg without
mishap. The fate of the Reform prisoners is not yet decided, but a
more conciliatory atmosphere is evident. The sentences of death
have been removed. Jameson and his men have been sent to England,
and things generally are in a more normal condition. I proceed
to Cape Town, and with the aid of a first-class ticket to Southampton,
have a most enjoyable voyage.





FTER an absence of two or three years in a tropical country,
I think the most agreeable sight that meets the eye when landing
at Southampton, is the verdant and lawn-like grass of the English
pastures, and this was especially noticeable to me after seeing nothing
but the sun-burnt veldt of Rhodesia and the waterless plains of South
Africa, during my sojourn of over two years in those countries.
Now I was home again, an older and possibly a wiser man. I
had been through such testing experiences as make even the young feel
Looking back at the vicissitudes through which I had passed
during those two years, I felt that during the whole time I had been
away the dice of fate seemed loaded in my favour, and a plunge into
the Great Unknown, had been, on more than one occasion, out-
flanked by a kind and merciful Providence.
This fact I recognized on more than one occasion, and it was in
an atmosphere of sincere thankfulness to Divine Providence for staying
the hand of death that I arrived at the cottage home of my mother,
where much was said and done to assure me that the wanderer's
return was not unwelcome.
It was when staying with my mother that the morning papers
first divulged the news of the native rebellion in Matabeleland against
the Government of the Chartered Company. The first act of hostility
was the murder of a native policeman on or about March 23rd, 1896.
This was followed by the slaughter of seven white men a few days
later, and the subsequent indiscriminate massacre of men, women
and children through the whole of Rhodesia.
Here again there appeared a merciful intervention of Providence
on my behalf, for there is small reason to doubt that if I had remained
at my old camp in Matabeleland at the time of the outbreak of this
ghastly rebellion, I should have met with the same fate as befel so
many of my mining and farmer friends who were residing in the very
district where I had built my camp and entertained the two intrepid
ladies to whom I have already referred. As it was, my camp was
burnt, and alas! my hammers and picks were used by the rebel Matabele
to knock out the brains of my dearest friends.
On hearing of the Matabele rebellion one of the first things I did
was to call at the Chartered Company's Office and offer to return at




FTER an absence of two or three years in a tropical country,
I think the most agreeable sight that meets the eye when landing
at Southampton, is the verdant and lawn-like grass of the English
pastures, and this was especially noticeable to me after seeing nothing
but the sun-burnt veldt of Rhodesia and the waterless plains of South
Africa, during my sojourn of over two years in those countries.
Now I was home again, an older and possibly a wiser man. I
had been through such testing experiences as make even the young feel
Looking back at the vicissitudes through which I had passed
during those two years, I felt that during the whole time I had been
away the dice of fate seemed loaded in my favour, and a plunge into
the Great Unknown, had been, on more than one occasion, out-
flanked by a kind and merciful Providence.
This fact I recognized on more than one occasion, and it was in
an atmosphere of sincere thankfulness to Divine Providence for staying
the hand of death that I arrived at the cottage home of my mother,
where much was said and done to assure me that the wanderer's
return was not unwelcome.
It was when staying with my mother that the morning papers
first divulged the news of the native rebellion in Matabeleland against
the Government of the Chartered Company. The first act of hostility
was the murder of a native policeman on or about March 23rd, 1896.
This was followed by the slaughter of seven white men a few days
later, and the subsequent indiscriminate massacre of men, women
and children through the whole of Rhodesia.
Here again there appeared a merciful intervention of Providence
on my behalf, for there is small reason to doubt that if I had remained
at my old camp in Matabeleland at the time of the outbreak of this
ghastly rebellion, I should have met with the same fate as befel so
many of my mining and farmer friends who were residing in the very
district where I had built my camp and entertained the two intrepid
ladies to whom I have already referred. As it was, my camp was
burnt, and alas! my hammers and picks were used by the rebel Matabele
to knock out the brains of my dearest friends.
On hearing of the Matabele rebellion one of the first things I did
was to call at the Chartered Company's Office and offer to return at

Far Bugles

once and rejoin the Rhodesian Horse. My offer was appreciated, but
as the extent of the rebellion was so uncertain, I was advised to defer
my return journey till more actual facts of the rising would be
Not long after my visit to the Company's office I had the pleasure
of again meeting Miss Norton, this time in town. It was difficult
to associate the perfectly-dressed personality whom I met at a fashion-
able London hotel with the sunburnt, khaki-clad girl I had seen with
her friend in Matabeleland during those weeks of cheery and never-
to-be-forgotten comradeship.
We talked of Rhodesia and both fervently prayed that the rebellion
would not extend to Mashonaland, where Miss Norton's brother and
his family resided.
Alas I our wishes and supplications were unanswered, for when
I again met Miss Norton, she informed me that she had just heard
that her brother's farm had been sacked and all its occupants murdered.
Knowing of my contemplated return to Rhodesia, she asked me to
investigate the awful calamity which had nearly broken the heart of
her beloved mother.
Naturally a ready promise was given, and I made up my mind to
return without further delay to Cape Town, and from there go to
Mashonaland instead of to Matabeleland.
Alas, Miss Norton and I never met again. Her maid brought me
a kind farewell message when I left Waterloo en route for Southampton,
and I knew that her heart went with me on my quest after the fate
of her relatives.
From my family's point of view, my quick return to Rhodesia was
disastrous, but they soon realized that besides personal grounds I
had even greater inducements to hurry back, for daily the rebellion
news got worse and my anxiety to take a hand in its suppression was
both commendable and expedient.
I had managed, during my short stay in England, to pay a visit
to my old Somerset home, which was now occupied by those who
knew me not. Some old farm friends I saw, and, as I have mentioned
earlier in this narrative, my dear old friend Jim Tut was one of
them. My mother bore my departure with fortitude and with the
delightful remark that though God moves in a mysterious way,
it is all for the best."
This time my journey to Cape Town in one of the Union Castle
Mail Steam Ships was comfort personified. The weather was fine,
the passengers interesting. One in particular, named Robin Grey,
eventually became one of my greatest friends.
He was going to South Africa, and when I suggested that he
should come with me to Mashonaland, he thought he might as well
go there as anywhere else, so we decided to join forces. Robin Grey
was a very good-looking man; this was, I think, his greatest fault.
I told him so once and I was met with the rejoinder: D- it all,
I can't help my looks !" He was a good rider, had hunted with many

I Return to Africa

packs I knew, and altogether, as this narrative will reveal, he was one
of the best.
The journey to Cape Town was plain sailing in more ways than
one, but the prospective journey to Mashonaland proved less easy.
In the first place there was no passenger boat going to Beira, and even
if we got to Beira, we were told by Mr. Stevens, the Chartered Com-
pany's Agent at Cape Town, that it was impossible to go on from there
to Salisbury, our ultimate destination.
We were at a deadlock, and I think we should have been stuck
at Cape Town for a considerable time, had not Robin Grey casually
mentioned that he was a distant relative of Lord Grey, the Administrator
of Matabeleland. Also, I informed Stevens that I had been to Mata-
beleland and had property there which I wished to look after. He
then unbent and said that if we took all risks he would fix us up on a
coasting steamer which was taking horses and mules up the Coast
to Beira.
We were delighted. Our luggage was put on board and we
were introduced to Captain Armstrong, who was in charge of the animals
destined to Mashonaland. Slowly we steamed up the coast, and
eventually arrived at Beira.
During this trip the horsey knowledge of Grey and myself
proved to be of great use to Armstrong, and incidentally to ourselves.
It must be remembered that when we left Cape Town we were only
to be taken as far as Beira; from there Grey and I would have to
fend for ourselves, but whilst on board we worked so hard and willingly
tended and fed the animals, that on our arrival Armstrong asked us
to help him take them on to Salisbury, where they were to be used as
remounts for the Rhodesian Forces. Nothing could have suited
all parties better. Though I think Captain Armstrong will admit-
if he ever reads this narrative-that both Grey and myself proved to
be capable horse-men, and not bad mule drivers, still we both preferred
looking after the horses, for whereas a horse would generally kick
straight and bite rarely, the mule would kick at every conceivable angle
without any warning or pretext, and generally bit if there was no
possible chance of hitting you with his hind legs. Grey was the
first victim ; he was rather looking for trouble, for he was quoting
Browning, instead of mule language, at early stables, and the infuriated
mule, who evidently took a love-passage from Grey's favourite poet
for abuse, let go with both hind legs, at once knocking the manure
fork from Grey's hand and Grey into the gangway, and incidentally
spoiling a pair of Sandon's best-cut breeches. After this contretemps
the care of our wayward mule was placed in the hands of a Cape native
who understood its idiosyncrasies better than either Grey or
We duly arrived but did not linger long at Beira; it has very
few attractions, and after all, our job was to get on to Salisbury with
our horses as soon as possible. To do this we had to entrain them and
go as far as Chimoio, where at that time the Salisbury-Beira line

Far Bugles

terminated. Chimoio is about 135 miles from Beira by rail, and about
230 miles from Salisbury.
The latter 230 miles had, at this time, to be accomplished by
waggon transport and not, as to-day, by rail. One of the principal
towns between Beira and Chimoio is Fontesvilla, which was considered
(at least in 1896 when I first visited it) the most fever-stricken place
on God's earth. It is here that the railway crosses the Pungwe River,
and we were told that nearly all the carpenters employed on building
the bridge died of this malady, and also that the place was so water-
logged in the wet season that when burials took place, the graves
filled with water as soon as they were dug. In the rainy season the
railway had to have a duplicate supply of engine drivers and guards,
and then the men only worked at short intervals. In those days there
was no mosquito theory; now when the cause and prevention of
malaria fever is known and recognized, places like the Panama Canal,
and other fever-stricken lands are made healthy and possible for
both white and black to exist.
Tsetse Fly also abound at or near Fontesvilla and consequently
any animals travelling by train to Chimoio and other up country "
places had to be conveyed in trucks protected with wire gauze against
the ravages of this destructive fly.
Many stoppages occurred during our journey. The gauge of
the line was only 2 feet 6 inches and the curves and gradients were
so bad that we often had to alight and in a futile manner push behind.
There is an old saying with reference to this and possible other
up-country railways, which is as follows : There are three classes ;
the first class passenger rides in a cattle truck, the second class walks
and the third class pushes behind.
On arrival at Chimoio, the rail-head, we detrained our horses,
and with the help of good fodder improved their emaciated condition.
It was while we were at Chimoio resting and feeding our horses
that Grey developed dysentery. This is a horrible complaint and
difficult to treat even when you have the best of hospital stores and
nursing. Here we had neither, and Grey had a sorry time. He was
still weak and unable to ride except the quietest of horses, when we
decided to start for Umtali, the most important and picturesque town
on the Salisbury road.
I shall never forget the morning when Armstrong and myself
left with our 30 odd horses. We were now getting into the region
where at any time our movements might be stopped by rebel Mashonas ;
consequently, we had to carry revolvers and should have been armed
with rifles, but I defy anyone to carry a Lee Metford rifle (we had no
carbines) and effectually control a mob of 30 horses. The rifles were,
therefore, left behind. As it was, what with a revolver, water-bottle,
haversack, nose bag and great coat badly folded on the pummel of the
saddle, we looked more like an over-hung Christmas tree than two
Mounted Police.
A great discussion arose between Armstrong and myself whether

I Return to Africa

we should drive the horses in a mob altogether or whether they should
be tied in fours.
I favoured the former plan and Armstrong the latter. Of course,
I yielded to the views of my superior officer, and the horses, tethered
together in fours, were let loose. Alas no sooner were they free
from their stable where they had been fed for four or five days with the
best oats procurable than the orderly progress of fours became a wild
stampede. Galloping as hard as I could (a gallop which for a time
I thoroughly enjoyed), I managed to keep ahead but, unfortunately,
we came to a cross road and whilst I naturally took the right turn for
Umtali, the careering mob of horses, all deployed in different directions,
not one section following my lead. I was on the horns of a dilemma.
For a time Armstrong was nowhere to be seen, and when I saw his
diminutive figure in mad flight on the horizon, my thoughts flew
back to the historical ride of John Gilpin," and I wondered whether
like his wife I, too, should be passed by in the mad flight of his uncon-
trollable steed. But I had enough presence of mind to stop his
unmanageable mount, with the natural result that Armstrong, streaming
with perspiration, was thrown in the dusty road.
A heated council of war ensued. I condemned the policy of
tying the animals in fours, whilst Armstrong criticised me for giving
the horses so many oats. Eventually we agreed that instead of arguing
as to the merits or demerits of our respective views, we had better look
for the horses.
To retrieve 20 or 30 loose horses in the veldt is no easy matter,
but fortunately for us the carriers with our blankets soon appeared
on the scene, and with their help we followed the spoor and found that
the majority of the horses had doubled back by another road to
Chimoio. There we eventually found them, not in fours as they
started, but halter-less and loose as they should have been from the first.
Four, however, were missing, and these were found hung up
in the thick bush. Grey, who followed us, helped materially to secure
our wayward steeds, and, with the aid of some native boys, we tied
them up in their stables as they arrived in twos and threes at Chimoio.
The next day we all started together, minus two horses which we
recovered from a transport driver some days later.
I again led the way, leading one horse who seemed to have been
the originator of their recent escapade, firmly by the halter. The
others followed meekly and in this order we eventually reached
At Umtali, one of the principal police stations on the Salisbury
road, we got definite instructions as to the horses, which resulted in
their being handed over to the police authorities, Grey and myself
being allowed to retain one each for our own use.
Here, with many regrets we said goodbye to Armstrong, who
was a delightful companion, besides having the reputation of being
a sound Native Commissioner. He went on to Salisbury, but later
we were to meet again, as will be shown by this narrative.


FROM our landing at Beira to Umtali, our journey had been
through Portuguese territory. The relations between the
Portuguese Government and the Government of Rhodesia
were not so friendly as they are to-day, and it was with some difficulty
that Colonel Alderson (who had previously passed through this
district) had obtained a permit for his Mashonaland Field Force
to pass through Portuguese territory en route to Mashonaland, for
whilst permission had been given for troops to move through their
country, there was an objection to their marching with their arms.
With Armstrong and myself, however, the Portuguese officials had done
everything possible to assist our movements, even so, it was with no
little gratification that we stepped over the border and into British
territory at Umtali, where we handed over our wayward quadrupeds to
Major Watts.
I consider that any measure of success which I have achieved
in the course of my career has been mainly due to the help of kind
friends, and that of Major Watts, whom I met at Umtali, and who was
Officer Commanding the line of communication between Umtali and
Salisbury, is but one instance.
It had been my intention to push on as fast as possible to Salisbury
to investigate the alleged outrages at Norton's Farm," but at Umtali,
Watts informed me that he contemplated an attack on the stronghold
of Makoni and persuaded Grey and myself to chip in as gallopers.
We did not require much persuasion.
Makoni was one of the most warlike and principal Chiefs in
Mashonaland, and with others had been responsible, directly or
indirectly, for many of the murders which had been perpetrated
by the Mashonaland Rebellion of 1896. He resided about 15 miles
north of Umtali, in a huge kopje intersected by large and deep caves
where, if hard pressed by an enemy, he and his followers could com-
fortably hide for days.
It was into these caverns Makoni retreated when attacked on
August Bank Holiday by Colonel Alderson and his regular and irregular
forces of 800 men.
It proved impossible to dig him out, and so after capturing the
kraal, Colonel Alderson and his men had no alternative but to leave
Makoni and continue their march to Salisbury, where as Officer
Commanding in Mashonaland, he had much hard and important work
awaiting him and his well-organised force.
The dust of Alderson's column was still visible on the horizon
when Makoni and his unconquered followers left their caves, and

Umtali and Makoni

after congratulating each other on their supposed victory, drove
their hidden cattle out to water and grass, and then began to fire
their old and futile family guns after their enemies, who, miles ahead,
were leisurely advancing on the Salisbury Road.
It was only a few weeks after Alderson's attack that Makoni
with spirits revived, and additional warriors, boldly threatened the
lines of communication. Hence Major Watts, who was held responsible
for the safety of our transport, quickly concentrated all his available
forces for a further attack upon Makoni, and it was at this punitive
operation that Grey and myself first tasted the lust of battle.
I would ask my kind readers to imagine an irregular, miniature
mountain composed of huge boulders on which were perched hundreds
of native huts inhabited by lazy Mashona men and industrious Mashona
women. Near the base are to be found huge caves which had been
enlarged by the wily Mashonas to protect themselves against the attacks
of the Matabele who raided them before the occupation of their present
white masters. I would here remark that the Mashona still declares
that they preferred the raids of the Matabele who, when they came,
killed them and purloined their women and other cattle (the literal
interpretation of the Mashona language) and then went away, to the
occupation of their white masters who did neither, but simply remained
as irksome governors.
To attack this almost impregnable fortress, Watts had at his
command only 180 Umtali Volunteers and a detachment of the West
Riding Regiment numbering about 50 men, whilst our Artillery
consisted of one old and dilapidated seven-pounder.
It was arranged to make a night march and attack at dawn. As
is usually the case in these night attacks, whether big or small, some-
thing or the other gives the show away, and in this case it was the
seven-pounder with its rumbling wheels and long before we got to the
kraal, we heard the Mashona cry of Mawe Mawe which being
interpreted means a cry of alarm, and in this case it meant, Go to
your caves "
We now deployed and surrounding the village to prevent escape,
we made a simultaneous attack on all sides.
We captured the kraal with but few casualties. In the meantime,
Makoni and most of his followers had gone to earth. Unperturbed,
we sat for four or five days round his village, to prevent their escape.
This was easier said than done, and I will give an illustration.
When on duty early one morning, I saw a native warrior endeavouring
to slip off. He was armed with a gun and assegais. We played
hide-and-seek round many of the huge boulders. His one idea was to
halt and get a shot at me, and my idea was to keep him on the move
and thus prevent his knavish tricks-surely a very laudable idea.
Finally I got him in the open. I gave chase and eventually caught
him. A struggle now ensued, but before he had time to stab or fire I
flung him to the ground and deprived him of his arms. The unfor-
tunate native grovelled and prayed for mercy. His prayers were

Far Bugles
answered. I did not shoot him as he expected, and possibly deserved,
but instead I gave him a couple of kicks and as he got up fired a shot
at random in the air. It had the desired effect, and I have yet to see a
man, either black or white, run faster or with more incentive than my
erstwhile enemy as he made a bee line for a growing field of mealies
which he espied on the dim horizon.
Dusty, dishevelled but vastly amused, I returned to camp where
I related my experience and where I was considered a fool for not
"killing the blighter."
I still retain the arms which I captured from my antagonist and
see them as I write.
This incident happened in broad daylight.
Every night there was an incessant rifle and gun fire in all directions
from attacked and attackers.
Dynamite was used to blow up the caves and to intimidate
Makoni and his people into surrender, but although the dynamite
caused considerable damage to the caves, there was no surrender
either of Makoni or his people for the first two or three days.
Eventually, as it was recorded at the time by some writers, Makoni
did surrender or was taken prisoner. In war, there is a vast difference
between surrendering at discretion and being forced to surrender
in this case, it meant a lot to the Chief Makoni.
Between the attack made on Makoni's kraal by Colonel Alderson
on or about August Bank Holiday, and the attack made by Major
Watts, which I am describing, Makoni had made signs that he wished
to surrender on condition that his life should be spared. This
request went through to the proper authority, i.e., the High Com-
missioner, and Makoni was informed that he would have to submit
to a trial and the question of life or death would depend upon the result
of the trial.
Apparently under those conditions, Makoni, who always denied
the committal of any murders, refused to surrender, and as a result
Major Watts made his attack.
It is alleged that during the time that we were sitting round
Makoni's cave, he was informed that if he surrendered, his life should
be spared. I am not in a position to say whether or not this was the
case, but this I know, that if he did not surrender on some implied
conditions or the other, he contemplated doing so when he came to the
mouth of the cave and was captured by an officer who claimed him as
a prisoner who had unconditionally surrendered. Makoni was tried
by a court martial, he was found guilty of being a murderer and a
rebel, sentenced to be shot, and it was my unfortunate duty to be in
charge of the firing party which carried this sentence into effect.
Makoni died a brave man, whether he was a murderer, rebel or the devil
incarnate. The trial and subsequent death of Makoni was the subject
of an investigation which exonerated Major Watts, after he had been
under open arrest for some considerable time. Whether he acted
rightly or wrongly, he acted as he considered expedient, and in accord

Umtali and Makoni

with the great majority of his brother officers who were there. I leave
it at that.
When referring to the shooting of Makoni, I have used the words
" my unfortunate duty to be in charge of the firing party." I have
used that word "unfortunate advisedly, for just before Makoni
was shot and before he was blindfolded and tied to the combine, he
asked me to take charge of two small children who were his sons
and who stood quite close to their parent during the closing scene of
his life. I did so, and as this narrative will disclose, I had no reason to
regret my action.



FTER the recorded incidents in the last chapter, our appoint-
ment as gallopers to Major Watts terminated, and
accompanied by our two small protiges, we left for Salisbury,
carrying with us the good wishes of Major Watts and a letter of intro-
duction to Colonel Alderson. This letter was of the greatest value;
we presented it to the A.D.S., Major Godley, on arrival at Salisbury,
and finally we were introduced to Colonel Alderson.
Godley was one of the most kind and cheery men it has ever
been my lot to meet. Competent and tactful with all, it was he who
persuaded Grey and myself to give up the idea of joining the Rhodesian
Horse, and again it was due to the kind Godley that we were attached
to Alderson's Staff as gallopers. I saw much of this tall, brave and
efficient officer during the six months of 1896 I was with him in
Mashonaland, and then officially we said goodbye to each other,
and it was not till 1928 that we met again, this time at Ascot. Though
30 odd years had elapsed since our last meeting, we immediately
recognized each other, but it was with some trepidation I grasped his
large, kindly hand, for now he was a senior General and one who
richly deserved all the war honours which had been bestowed upon him
by a grateful King and Country. Colonel Alderson, who, alas, is no
more, will ever live in my memory as a soldier, a gentleman and a
Christian. The termination of the Mashonaland Rebellion did not
see the termination of our friendship or the end of my faithful and
enjoyable service under his command, for we met again in France
in 1915 under circumstances which I shall refer to later in these
Grey and I were gallopers and attached to the Staff of the
Mashonaland Force.
This force comprised about 12 or 15 separate units, doing garrison
duty, duty on lines of communication, etc., over various parts of
Mashonaland in August, 1896, with a total of 96 officers, 1,461 N.C.O.'s
and men and about 668 natives, altogether 2,220 men, and a force none
too large to cope with a rebellion extending over a country of about
144,000 square miles.
Although the history of the Matabele and Mashonaland Rebellion
has been written on more than one occasion, the present generation
may be ignorant of its extent and origin, and possibly of its regrettable
causes. I will make a few remarks as to the reasons which, in my
opinion, caused the natives in these countries to rebel against the
Chartered Company's rule, although that had delivered them from the
raid of their brutal Matabele overlords.

The Matabeleland Rebellion

Probably there were three main reasons. These were: (a) The
cattle question. (b) Question of Labour. (c) Jameson Raid.
Dealing with the question of cattle, it would seem that when
King Lobengula was defeated, the officials of the Chartered Company,
under the impression that all the cattle in the country belonged to the
king, told the natives that only cattle belonging to the king would be
appropriated, and cattle belonging to private owners would not be
interfered with. This impression of the Company as to the ownership
was incorrect, for it transpired that nearly every native farmer owned
cattle, and some of the Chiefs, large herds. I am informed that at one
time close on 10,000 head of cattle were branded with the Company's
brand and then left in the custody of the natives, and these branded
cattle were collected as required and sent to Bulawayo on the order of
the Government although, as I have explained, these were the cattle
which belonged to private owners. This pin-pricking annoyance of
promiscuously taking cattle from alleged private owners was eventually
stopped, and after taking two-fifths of the 70,000 head of cattle,
which at this time was privately owned, the other three-fifths were
left absolutely in the hands of the natives, to their great satisfaction.
It was a pity that this conciliatory action had been delayed, for it is
impossible to deny that next to burning the home of a native, you
cannot inflict a greater injury than to deprive him of his cattle, which
are really a part of his family. Besides this, it is a suicidal policy
to cripple a native farmer's prospects by taking for slaughter cattle
which can be and are used for breeding purposes. In addition to
this provocative policy of taking the cattle which belonged to the
native farmers, the latter were up against the rinderpest scare. Hundreds
of cattle had died from this fatal disease, and many were slaughtered
to stay the scourge. For this terrible epidemic the Europeans or the
Government were not to blame, but it happened to come soon after
the conquest of the Matabele and surely (they argued) the whites were
more or less responsible.
I have no doubt but that the question of having to labour even
though they were paid a fair wage, irritated the Matabele native as much
as anything. They had all that they wanted, food and clothing, and
why should they be compelled to put in a certain amount of work
annually for the white man ? This was their argument, and in
obtaining this labour against the will of the people, the Native Police
who were sent to round up the men for work were often guilty of
arbitrary conduct.
Both in Rhodesia and elsewhere I have always avoided sending
Native Police to make serious arrests, unless accompanied by a white
officer, either non-commissioned or otherwise, and I think in Matabele-
land the Native Police had far too much latitude in carrying out the
laws of the country. But I do not think that the white miner ill-
treated his native labour, except in very rare circumstances, even in
1896, whilst to-day in every Colony the labourer is well looked after,
fed, housed, and paid a fair wage.

Far Bugles

I have said earlier in this narrative that I consider the Jameson
Raid, more than any other single thing, responsible for the Matabele
and Mashonaland Rebellions. I still adhere to that opinion, for
owing to that mistaken gesture, not only was Matabeleland denuded
of nearly all the white police, but inasmuch as the Police were all
captured by the Boers in Johannesburg (a fact at once known to the
Matabele Chiefs) the chance of their returning to Matabeleland
immediately was impossible.
The dissatisfaction aroused by the cattle policy of the Government,
the dissatisfaction over the labour question and the general and
universal dissatisfaction of being under the Government of the
Chartered Company, or, in fact, under any sort of Government, all
came to a head when the Natives of Matabeleland knew that there
was no organised force in the country to quell a rising.
That moment was seized by the Witch Doctor Umlimo (whose
Temple or dwelling-cave is supposed to be in the Matopo Hills) to
use his great and recognized influence over the native population
and induce them to murder all the white people in the country, and
so for good and all shake off their rule. Even Lobengula firmly
believed in the magical powers of the Umlimo, and in the rebellion
which I am describing, the Witch Doctor Umlimo was applied to by
Umlugubu and other members of the late King's family. It is idle
to ignore the fact that hitherto the Witch Doctor, whether he is called
Umlimo or by some other name, has seriously influenced the native
politics in South and Central Africa. Possibly, as the native becomes
more civilised and more educated, the power of the Witch Doctor will
pass away, as witchcraft has done in civilised countries. But what-
ever the reason may have been, and that question is still open to
argument, the rebellion started on or about March 20th-80th, 1896,
by the murder of a native policeman and the subsequent massacre
of Europeans, and at that time there was no organised force existing
in the country with the exception of a few men of the Matabele Mounted
Police under Captain Southey.
To meet the onslaught of the 17,000 able-boded Matabele who
were supposed to take part in the rebellion, every white man who could
hold a rifle, whether English or Dutch, immediately volunteered
for service. These men, led by competent English and Dutch officers,
not only kept in check thousands of Matabele rebels, some of whom
were deserters from the native police armed with rifles, but inflicted
very heavy loss until General Carrington with his regular troops,
arrived in Buluwayo, the end of May or early in June, 1896.
Let it be here stated that since the outbreak of the natives in
March, a period of about two months, somewhere about 212 men,
women and children had been killed in cold blood by the insurgent
Matabele, whilst 84 officers, non-commissioned officers and men, had
fallen in action. Also be it noted that 100 officers, non-commissioned
officers and men were wounded or died of their wounds whilst in

The Matabeleland Rebellion

Most of these murders were of a ghastly character. I will give
one or two instances.
In the Filibusi District, on March 24th, 1896, the Cunningham
family comprising father, mother, and their six children, were
butchered under the most atrocious circumstances. About the same
time at or near Edkins' Store, Mr. Bentley, the native commissioner,
was killed, stabbed from behind whilst writing at his desk, whilst
Mr. Edkins and three other white men, together with their two colonial
servants and the coolie cook were killed in and around the store.
The Matabele who were guilty of this act may have had some grievance
against the white men whom they thus wantonly murdered, but it is
difficult to understand why they took the life of the two colonial
servants and the coolie who could have done them no harm.
I shall now close this short survey of the rebellion as far as
Matabeleland is concerned.
Some of those who wish to probe further into these regrettable
times in the history of the Matabele cannot do better than study
both sides of the question in the invaluable work of the greatest of
huntsmen and most competent soldier, Frederick Courtney Selous,
who eventually earned his D.S.O. in the Great War, in which he
died as he had lived, a great Imperialist.



W E now turn to the Mashonaland rising, which was an outcome
of the Matabele Rebellion and coincided with its last stages.
It was towards the end of June, 1896, that the first news
of it had reached Bulawayo, just at a time when Colonel Beale, who
had actually brought his column away from Mashonaland to Bulawayo
to assist in quelling the Matabele insurrection, was on his way back
to Salisbury, the capital of Mashonaland. At once about 60 mounted
troops from Bulawayo were sent to Mashonaland to assist in the sup-
pression of the rebels. It must be realized that whereas the Matabele
were a fighting race after the Zulu type, the Mashonas were not so
pugnacious, but rather peaceful farmers, and I have never been able
to appreciate the reason why they should suddenly rebel against the
white rule, for it was the Chartered Company who took up their
cudgels and defended them against the raids of the Matabele in 1898.
I suppose they considered it fashionable to rebel, and as I have
already said, they actually preferred the occasional raid of the Matabele,
with its results of plundering and looting for a short period, to the
everlasting domineering of the Government who always wanted some-
thing or the other; either men to work, or Hut Tax, or from their
point of view some damn thing or the other. Besides this feeling,
the poor misguided Mashonas had been told by the leaders of the
Matabele Rebellion, or their Umlimos," or both, that the white
men had all been killed in Matabeleland, including the column which
Beale had so generously taken to Matabeleland and which had not
returned. Personally I am of the opinion that had Beale been less
enthusiastic a soldier, and had he remained in Mashonaland, the
rising in that country would never have occurred. Be that as it may,
the Mashonas beat their pruning-hooks into spears, and their wood
axes into instruments of battle, and butchered every defenceless
white woman and child they could find. So successfully did the
Mashonas pursue their policy of murder and pillage, that in the space
of about four weeks, i.e., between June 17th and July 18th, no fewer
than 118 men, women and children were murdered or returned as
missing, and have never since been heard of. As in Matabeleland,
so in Mashonaland, the majority of these murders were of the most
revolting description.
The massacre at Norton's Farm was one of the worst incidents.
Thanks to the great kindness of Colonel Alderson, I was able to fulfil
my promise by being permitted to accompany a patrol of the mounted

Mashonaland Rebellion

infantry sent out to Norton's Farm, the scene of these unnecessary and
brutal murders.
The patrol which I accompanied left Salisbury on September
17th, Captain Pilson of the mounted infantry, being in charge. The
scene at Norton's Farm which met my eyes as I arrived there, I shall
never forget. Many of the dwelling-rooms were still in existence ;
some, however, had been burnt. Inside these rooms, underclothing,
sheets, hats, stockings and odd pairs of ladies' boots were strewn
about the floor. Wearing-apparel suitable for men had been taken
away as loot by the native murderers. Outside, one ran against odds
and ends of furniture, and broken farm implements. The garden
was desolation personified, and just beyond the garden I came to
three or four mounds which had been disturbed by jackals. Here
I saw a lady's shod foot protruding above the ground; close by I
discovered a heap of tumbled clothes. I can describe it in no other
words. On examination it revealed the remains of another lady,
but that was not all, for a diminutive form was huddled in close
proximity to its murdered mother.
That evening, when all was still save the crack of an occasional
rifle, assisted by one of the mounted infantry, I exhumed the bodies
of my murdered friends, and placed them in improvised coffins which
I and my fellow-soldier had made. The Burial Service was read
over all that remained of this murdered family, and I doubt whether
the virgin soil of Rhodesia rests over the earthly remains of three
British subjects who can more certainly look forward to everlasting
life, than those whom as a solemn duty I committed to God's own
keeping. In the midst of this pathetic and ever-to-be-remembered
eventide scene, a rustle was heard in the adjacent bush. Immediately
fearing armed natives, the mounted infantryman seized his rifle and
stood at the ready." It was unnecessary, for the noise we heard had
been made by two emaciated hounds who now emerged, tottering in
their gait from want of food. Faithful beasts that they were, they
had kept guard at their homes over the remains of their mistresses,
constantly, since the murders were committed, and only out of fear
had taken to the bush until they were satisfied that we were friendly
disposed. Poor starving beasts ; we took them back with us to where
Captain Pilson was laagered, but although fed with condensed milk,
they did not long survive their murdered owners.
A few months later I discovered, some distance from his late
home, the remains of Mr. Norton. The identification was established
by a gold tooth. They too lie under the shade of the same tree as
those of his family. Besides Mr. and Mrs. Norton and Dorothy
their child, Miss Fairweather, Mr. Harry Gravenor and Mr. James
Alexander are alleged to have been killed at Norton's Farm at the
same time. The remains of the two latter gentlemen were not found
by me, but I have reason to believe that the same Mashonas who
attacked the farm also slew Gravenor and Alexander. Neither of the
plucky occupants of the farm was killed without a struggle, and it is

Far Bugles

the general belief that Mrs. Norton with her revolver made a deter-
mined and prolonged resistance, to save the life of her child and its
Although Grey and myself had been attached to Alderson as
gallopers, it must not be supposed that we were constantly tied to
his stirrup leather; quite the reverse. We were always at hand ready
if required, but often we were not required and then we got off on
some patrol or other, rather like free lances.
In one of these small patrols, which was under the command of
Major Tennant, Grey and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, till Colonel
Alderson arrived on the scene; then I had a bit of his tongue, but
it was of the kindly sort, for afterwards he said that I did not appear
to pay any more attention to the Mashona bullets than if they were
Grey was a constant source of anxiety to me. He never went
about without an edition of Browning in his breeches pocket.
If he had kept it there it would have been all right, but after we had
taken a kraal and fighting was supposed to be over, and as Grey would
say, things were getting monotonous, I would suddenly lose him
and find him perched on a rock devouring his poet and simultaneously
presenting a sure mark on the skyline for any Mashona sniper who,
hidden in a cave, could take a comfortable and steady aim at Browning's
One day, however, we both nearly got it in the neck. We had taken
a kraal after some severe fighting, and thinking most of the show
was over, paraded the desolated village munching a well-earned but
badly-baked cookie. In front of a cave I saw a bunch of assegais.
The cave was not wide or apparently deep. The assegais were well
made, and thinking how well they would look in my English home,
I set about to secure them. Grey this time was my saviour. It was he
who suggested that there night be a Mashona in the cave and that the
assegias were put there as a decoy, so instead of walking straight up to
the cave and certain death, I went round on the top and bending
over proceeded to grab the spearheads. In doing so I happened to
look in the cave, and there to my horror, I saw the muzzle of a Mashona
gun not more than a yard away. I bobbed back my head and at the
same time the man behind the gun pulled the trigger. I returned to
Grey with a face black with powder, but otherwise uninjured. I was
not defeated. Two sticks of dynamite put in the cave above enabled
me, after the explosion, to secure the assegais and they, with the
Makoni relics, are still in my hall.
Robin Grey was not at all well whilst in Mashonaland. He had
never entirely recovered from the attack of dysentery which he
contracted on his way up country with our mob of horses, and although
he was eventually offered a commission in the Mashonaland Mounted
Police, he did not see his way to accept it, and when the greater part
of the operations were over, he left for England.
Except on one occasion we never met again. He did a lot of useful

Mashonaland Rebellion

diplomatic work at home, and was one of our most experienced and
daring airmen in the early part of the Great War. Unfortunately,
he was eventually shot down by the enemy and taken prisoner, and as
such remained till the termination of hostilities.
The name Grey was not too popular with the enemy, and
I believe if Robin had not been a relation of Sir Edward Grey his
treatment as a prisoner would have been less irksome. Eventually
he was released and returned to England in a very bad state of health.
His death followed soon afterwards, but he left behind the memory
of a very charming personality and one possessed of indomitable
Another Patrol which I well remember was one under the command
of Captain Horace McMahon, to the Mazoe Valley. The idea of it was,
if possible, to arrive at a peaceful understanding with a most important
insurgent Chief named Chidamba, but if he refused our peaceful
overtures, to fight him. Candidly, I was hoping for the best, i.e.,
that Chidamba would turn down the peace palaver, but, of course,
I kept my mouth shut. The strength of the Patrol was about 200 men,
a seven-pounder and machine gun. We arrived at our destination,
which was about 80 miles from our headquarters, Salisbury, on a bright
September evening and proceeded to laager at a safe distance from
Chidamba's village.
The next day McMahon, and Fairbairn, the District Commissioner,
with three of the native contingent, proceeded to get in touch with this
Chief. This was rather tricky work, neither party was anxious to come
too close and finally terms of surrender were discussed across a small
stream. Aimless talk went on for a day or two, and might have gone
on till this day, had not three of the rebels taken the law into their own
hands and with their rifles at the trail stalked McMahon from the rear.
They would undoubtedly have bagged this gallant soldier and his
peaceful adherents but for the quick eyes of a Mashonaland Native
Policeman. This policeman, knowing the ways of his own country-
men better than we did, was on the lookout for treachery, and spotted
them in time, gave the alarm and to cut matters short, negotiations
were broken off. Small wonder that McMahon, who was much more
of a fighter than an advocate of peace at any price," now retired,
leaving the patient and plucky Fairbairn to continue, if he felt so
disposed, the peace palaver with Mr. Chidamba. He did this so
successfully that after all danger was past, the two Great White Chiefs
from Salisbury, Colonel Alderson and Mr. Vincent, were asked to
come out to participate in the final settlement.
Before they had actually arrived, and whilst Fairbairn was still
parleying, a native with a rifle arrived and explained to Fairbaim that
he was formerly one of the Chartered Company's Police (Mazwe by
name) who had deserted at the commencement of the rebellion and
who since the rebellion had acted in such a way that he was suspected
of murdering the Native Commissioner of the Mazoe district. How
Mazwe had the audacity thus to make himself known and admit his

Far Bugles

crimes will always remain an enigma, but he did come forward with the
greatest assurance and posed as a representative of Chidamba and his
people, and in this capacity he was allowed to remain.
Eventually the Great White Chiefs arrived, accompanied by
many notable adherents.
The terms of surrender, which included the handing out of arms,
natives to live where they were told (a rather difficult term to enforce,
I think), all murderers and the deserters from the Police to be handed
over for trial, were dictated to and accepted by Chidamba and his
people. Also (and this was a nasty jar for Mazwe) Judge Vincent
insisted that Mazwe should then and there be handed over as a prisoner
for trial to show that they, the natives, meant to act up to their
This was done, and Mazwe was marched off to Salisbury under
arrest. Of course, no arms were surrendered, no one really expected
that, anyway I didn't, and the excuse given by the natives for not doing
it was that they thought Mazwe had been shot at Salisbury and that
they would not give up their arms till they had seen him return with their
own eyes. Next day, Mazwe was sent out to the natives to see
with their own eyes." Mounted on a horse which considerably galled
his back (a slight punishment to Mazwe which McMahon thoroughly
enjoyed), he was taken up the kopje where he was allowed to see and
converse with his wife. History does not disclose the purport of the
conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Mazwe, but this I know of his return
to camp, he left before dawn without saying goodbye, and except
by his wife and one or two intimate friends, has never since been
However, the escape of Mazwe had good result ; the peace palaver,
at least, as far as Chidamba was concerned, was finished, for on the next
day we captured his kraal, which was situated on a range of hills
so inaccessible that the attackers found it almost impossible to keep
in contact.
Of this fight, McMahon, who always praised everyone but himself,
says : The Salisbury Rifles on the right, with Harding and Ashe,
both most valuable officers, whose coolness and daring on every occasion
it would be hard to beat, came in for most of the fighting and drove
the enemy back from one position to the other until a determined stand
was made in Chidamba's kraal."
It was in Chidamba's kraal that we found the cave of the famous
witch Doctor, a lady named Nyamba," who had the reputation of
causing a lot of trouble. We had been anxious to make the close
acquaintance of this bewitching lady, but we were doomed to
disappointment, as all we captured was a lot of property which, through
her instrumentality had been looted by the natives she duped from their
murdered victims. In order to demonstrate to the natives that we had
little respect for the alleged power of Doctor Nyamba," we deter-
mined to send for mining tools (so officially described), or in other words,
dynamite and detonators.

Mashonaland Rebellion

In an unguarded moment, I informed McMahon that I knew all
about dynamite (I wasn't over-rating my knowledge, for I had been
nearly blown up on more than one occasion), consequently, I was
deputed to superintend the blasting of Nyamba's cave.
I had taken a great fancy to Lieut. Ashe, so I suggested to him
that he should help. He did not know so much about dynamite
as I did, or he would not have accepted my invitation so readily.
Anyhow, we collaborated, and after clearing everyone out of the
vicinity of the cave (a clearance which was not difficult to effect as soon
as its reason was apparent) we inserted two or three cases as far as
possible into the cave. Taking every precaution I prepared the dyna-
mite for explosion, and then deputed Ashe to put it in the cave. We
had a beautiful explosion, stones, rocks, clothing, Kaffir pots and every
portable and conceivable thing one could imagine, went flying into the
air. But the greatest joy of all was to see a human form, very much
like a windmill in a 60-mile an hour gale hurtling towards the sky,
and thinking it was the form of Nyamba whose witchcraft had done so
much harm, I was not in the least perturbed when I heard the body
pitch with a thud in the bushes near where I stood. Intending to send
up a fatigue to bury it, I with others proceeded leisurely towards our
camp. We hadn't gone far when looking back, we saw a nude form
approaching, apparently blind, covered with dirt and blood.
It was, indeed, the form which I had seen in mid-air, but,
unfortunately, not the body of the arrogant witch doctor, but that of
one of our own men who had somehow got mixed up with the explosion.
It turned out afterwards that he found a 5 bank note and was diligently
seeking for more, quite innocent of danger. He had been thrown out
of the cave and fell through a tree, which no doubt saved his life, a
distance of 80 feet. Curiously enough, he had put the 5 note in his
trousers pocket, and these garments were taken completely off him by
the explosion. Needless to say, the Witch Doctor escaped without a
scratch, and I expect ere now she has wedded Chidamba, and that
Mazwe, the native police deserter, gave her away.



N my last chapter, in a lighthearted way, I have referred to the
use and users of dynamite as an instrument of war. Let me say
now definitely that the use of dynamite was introduced under
great provocation, and those whose duty it was to insert it in the caves
did so at great risk to their own lives.
What compelled us to use dynamite was the fact that the Mashonas,
when attacked, retreated at once to these caves (refusing to come out
and surrender, even when their lives were guaranteed), and shot
down our officers and men at all times without the slightest risk to
Repeatedly I have sat for a considerable time outside the caves,
urging men, women and children to come out in safety. I have helped
many a woman from a cave which was to be blown up and not until
I was convinced that only men remained was dynamite inserted in
their strongholds.
The great risk to the people who used the dynamite was that,
unless it was placed right inside its value was negligible. To do this,
one had to go right up to the mouth of the cave, when you would
be a sure mark for any hidden armed native inside, whom you could
not see or locate.
Lieutenant Ashe, whose valour and pertinacity has been referred
to, had numerous narrow escapes of being shot in this way, and
finally his arm was blown off and, candidly, he was lucky that it was not
his head, for the man who fired the gun was not more than three yards
away from Ashe when the gun was discharged. I was helping him at
the time, and after blowing up the cave I led Ashe to the dressing
station, where an operation was performed. Ashe made light of it,
and in smoking a cigarette with the aid of his sound and only arm,
set his bedclothes on fire during the night and it was only the timely
arrival of a medical orderly that saved the tent and Ashe from destruc-
tion. He eventually recovered, but his fighting days were over, and I
missed a good and kind pal.
It was not before about 50 patrols had been sent out in various
parts of Mashonaland that there were visible signs that the native
rebels were inclined to surrender. I do not think that the number
of casualties which they had sustained had a very important bearing
on the growing signs of their discouragement, but they were hounded
from pillar to post, their women and children had to sleep in temporary
shelters instead of at a comfortable kraal, and their native farms were
bereft of food or the prospect of food for the future.

Use of Dynamite
There was one important Chief, however, who had been mainly
responsible for the Mashonaland Rebellion, and who still refused to
accept the authority of the Government or to recognize that the game
was up. His name was Maliankombe, and before closing my account
of the Mashonaland Rebellion, I will refer briefly to the Patrol or rather
attack which was made against this Chief and his rebel subordinates
under the command of the O.C., Colonel Alderson.
This operation commenced in the first week of October (1896),
and went on till the last. Including the column under Major Jenner
who co-operated with Colonel Alderson's forces, Alderson had about
500 men under his command. Everything worked out according to
plan. Alderson's junction with Jenner was well timed and the general
movement towards Maliankombe's and Chena's stronghold a complete
success, but not before we sustained many casualties. McMahon
was shot through the foot when leading his men against a very nasty
position held by many of the enemy, and poor young Coryndon,
a brother of the late Sir Robert Coryndon, was amongst the many
who were killed. Coryndon met his death through one of those
native traps set in front of a cave. As I have previously recorded,
I nearly met a similar fate.
With the capture of Maliankombe's and Chena's kraals, the main
work of the Patrol was accomplished, but as future events were to prove,
Maliankombe and his people had not yet sustained his coup de
grace. Before ringing the curtain down on the operations of the
Mashonaland Field Force under the distinguished leadership of
Colonel Alderson, I would like to refer to an incident concerning my
own conduct in the operations.
I have already referred to the shooting of Makoni, and to the
fact that I had charge of the firing party. Shortly after this incident,
I was told by a man whose opinion I always value, that had he been
in my place and knowing the circumstances of the case, he would never
have consented to the shooting of Makoni, and would certainly not have
commanded the firing party which was responsible for his execution.
He, in short, considered my act inhuman. As a proof that humanity
is not foreign to my nature, I take the perhaps egotistical course of
quoting from Colonel Alderson's well-known book, With the Mounted
Infantry and Mashonaland Field Force :
"A very brave and kindly deed was done this day by Mr. Colin
Harding, who was with us as a volunteer and was attached to my staff.
He, with several others, was outside the entrance to a cave from which
several family guns had been fired. Some of the Mounted Infantry
were ordered to fire volleys into the cave. Just before the order was
carried out a child's voice was heard crying inside. Mr. Harding
then asked leave to go in and bring it out before the volleys were
fired. Should the Mashonas be still in the cave this might mean certain
death to him, but in he went and came out with a little perfectly blind
Mashona child in his arms. This is how the brutal soldier and
volunteer treats the unfortunate native ? (Exeter Hall, please note !)

Far Bugles

I had subsequently much pleasure in bringing this act to the notice
of the Humane Society, but, unfortunately, their rules do not provide
for a case of this sort."
This was not the only occasion where fighting men had endeavoured
to save the lives of native women and children during the Mashonaland
It was about this time that Mr. Rhodes, who had done so much
in Matabeleland to secure peace, came to Mashonaland. Steps were
then being taken to dispense with the services of the Regular Troops and
to establish a Military Police in their place.
When one realises the expenses to which the Chartered Company
had committed themselves through the employment of the Regular
Troops in Matabeleland and Mashonaland to quell the rebellion,
one can readily sympathise with the Company's desire to replace them
without delay.
Besides the cost of military operations the Company had to foot the
bill of claimants for compensation to the tune of about 280,000, and
even then many of the claimants were unsatisfied.
Everything, in fact, pointed to the necessity for peace, but the
desire was not as yet mutual. However, the backbone of the rebellion
had certainly been broken, and with a strong, well-equipped Mounted
Police Force, the country could safely be left when the Regular Troops
went down country, and down they went.
Simultaneously with the departure of the Imperial Forces from
Salisbury, the capital of Mashonaland, Captain the Hon. F. W.
de Moleyns arrived at Salisbury to organise and command the
Mashonaland Police with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and Alderson
left Salisbury on December llth.
On the recommendation of the latter, I was granted a commission
in the British South African Police Force in Mashonaland. Lord
Grey, who had come across from Matabeleland with the Hon. Hubert
Howard and H. C. Lister, arrived some time previously. Lord Grey
took over the Administration duties from Mr. Milton, while Howard
acted as Grey's Private Secretary, and turned out to be one of the best.
The majority of this newly-raised British South African Police Force
came direct out from home and had little or no previous knowledge of
police work. They were strengthened, however, by about 50 of the
Mounted Infantry, who volunteered to serve in the new force and proved
a very valuable addition, for they could ride as well as shoot.
The first duty I carried out as a Police Officer was to go out with
a few Mounted Police as escort to the kraal of an important Chief
who we had reason to believe would entertain peace proposals. Lord
Grey, as already stated, had just returned from Matabeleland, where
Mr. Rhodes and others had at considerable risk to their lives entered
the remote fastnesses of the Matopos to meet and discuss terms of
surrender with the rebel Chiefs, and he was very keen to introduce the
same pacific policy in Mashonaland. In fact, Major Jenner had
visited Chiquaqua and other important rebel camps with this laudable

Use of Dynamite

object, and when I essayed to emulate his example in a smaller but not
less risky way, I was doing so with the full sanction of Lord Grey
whom I was delighted to serve.
On this, my first independent enterprise (as on many later ones)
I was accompanied by two men, I use the word men advisedly,
for neither knew fear. One was the diminutive Father Biehler, a
Jesuit missionary who could speak the native language perfectly.
When at home you would find him surrounded by Mashona children
at the Chisha-washa Mission about twelve miles from Salisbury, where
he and his colleagues were beloved by all who were conversant with
their good work. These Christian men stuck to their Mission Station
through thick and thin, and they incurred the temporary wrath of the
authorities at Salisbury when they refused to close it and take refuge
in the laager at Fort Salisbury. Hubert Howard, who was both a great
friend and competent secretary to Lord Grey, was the other member of
my staff. In person, they were a very ill-matched pair, for Father
Biehler prided himself on a magnificent flowing beard and Hubert
was no less vain over a well-shaped, clean-shaven, determined chin,
which a kind Providence had given him, and whilst Father Biehler
was of the stature of one Zaccheus of Biblical fame, Howard's physique
was of more importance, and by the way, a better mark for an unruly
We were all mounted, and although only a small party of not more
than 10 or 15 men, we were spotted by the sentinels of the Chief
posted on the top of the kopje behind the kraal long before we arrived
at our objective.
Immediately there were cries of Mawe Mawe (Danger !
danger !) and the sentinels were joined by swarms of armed natives,
jabbering and truculent and threatening on the adjacent hills.
We hardly expected this reception, for as I have indicated, we were
under the impression that these natives were at least inclined to discuss
the terms of surrender. Thinking my party had perhaps been
mistaken by the natives for the advance guard of a much larger force,
I decided to halt and dismount in the open, where, if the enemy felt
disposed, they could realise that we had not come to their village with
any hostile intention. Here we could see the natives distinctly in the
early morning sunlight, and could detect the spot where surrounded by
several armed men, the Chief evidently sat.
We waited some considerable time to see what would happen-
nothing did. We couldn't sit all day looking at each other, so finally
Father Biehler, Howard and I, leaving our horses and revolvers
behind, began walking in an assumed nonchalant manner along
a well-worn native footpath towards the kraal.
A native interpreter was also with us. I think he was more per-
turbed than any of us, and when I suggested that he should precede
us with a white handkerchief, he flatly refused and said it was his
job to talk and not to fight. We resumed our slow and uncomfortable
advance. The order of march was now Father Biehler, Howard and

Far Bugles

myself, the native interpreter bringing up the rear at a safe distance,
and in this order we continued till within three or four hundred yards
from the base of the hill. Here, finding a huge rock where in more
peaceful times the native children sat and played their native games,
we again halted and lighted our cigarettes. Now I realized the value
of our Jesuit Father, for at my request he, in the clearest of Mashona,
yelled to the restless natives in front of us, that we had not come out
to fight but to talk peace, and in proof of what we said, we pointed to
our armed troopers, whom we had left behind, and who could be
seen resting in the far distant veldt. The natives replied : Come
closer, we cannot hear what you say." Reluctantly we went nearer,
and asked them to come down from their hill and talk. There was an
ominous and sinister movement amongst our doubtful friends on the
hill. Still carrying their arms, some of them came slowly down the
hill and halted at 150 yards away. The Chief was asked to leave his
armed men and come unarmed to talk. No, the Chief would not
come, as he was afraid we should capture and take him to Salisbury.
We had shot Makoni when he surrendered, and we might also shoot
him. He would send messengers. The messengers came still armed
with assegais but not guns. I was introduced as the representative of
the Government, and with dubious platitudes I informed them that
if they surrendered their arms and handed over for trial certain impor-
tant men who were suspected of having committed murders, the Chief
and his people would be permitted to plough their lands unmolested,
and that there would be no more fighting. For hours, assuming a
nonchalance which did not exist, we sat debating these terms of peace
and gradually we got closer and closer together, and of each other less
suspicious. Eventually they promised to return to their Chief and
tell him of all the talk, after which they would send messengers to
We returned to our horses without being molested, although
it was evident by the many who threatened us from the hills as we
returned that there were people in the village less peaceably inclined
than the messengers who were sent down to us by the Chief.
We had accomplished as much as I dared to anticipate ; at least,
we had got in touch with this Chief, and other Indunas would be told
of our peaceful mission. But, alas, often it is not the Chief who has
to decide whether it is peace or war, but the Witch Doctor, and,
figuratively speaking, God help the Chief who disregards the voice of
that potentate. I have described but one of the many palavers Father
Biehler, Howard and I had with native chiefs, endeavouring
to smooth the way to a satisfactory and permanent peace. Our
interviews were not all successful, and it is even reported that the
Administrator, Lord Grey, on one occasion failed in his own personal
endeavour to obtain the arms which one Chief named Seki had pro-
mised to surrender, and so enraged was Grey that with the pluck
and disregard for personal danger for which he is so well noted, he
returned forthwith soaked by the rain and with a handful of police

Use of Dynamite
stormed and burnt Seki's kraal. Whilst Grey could emulate the
peaceful sayings of Shemaiah, he could also fight like David.
The leader of another Patrol sent out on the same peaceful mission
as mine received nothing but abuse, and was told by one named
Nyammedha that if the white man paid hut tax he would allow them
to remain in Salisbury. He wasn't particularly keen about fighting,
but neither would he pay tax nor give up his guns. I have endeavoured
to show that whilst the Authorities were anxious to give the natives
a reasonable opportunity to terminate the Mashonaland Rising, the
natives themselves showed no inclination to grasp the extended branch
of olive, consequently there was plenty of promiscuous and dangerous
fighting for the newly-raised Police Force in Mashonaland, and it was
long before the Eastern districts were really quietened down.



N December, 1896, the Police Force, which as aforesaid, had
been placed under the command of Colonel de Moleyns at Salisbury,
was only about 700 strong and was composed of 200 undrilled
police, 50 mounted infantrymen who had transferred from Alderson's
command to the South African Police and about 400 volunteers and
180 natives. The volunteers were mainly for garrison duty and
consequently there were not more than about 200 men fit for duty
on patrols or other initiative duty; indeed, so inadequate were the
police force at that time that it was thought advisable to obtain the
assistance of a local native chief named Gurupila, who lived about 90
miles North East of Salisbury, in the Matoko country.
A Patrol to interview this Chief was dispatched under my command
early in the spring of 1897, and again I had the unstinted support
and advice of Hubert Howard. Mr. Armstrong, the Native Commis-
sioner, whom I met with the horses some months previously,
accompanied the Patrol as Political Officer. We had about 50 police,
a Maxim and a few native troops, and our transport consisted of pack
mules and carriers. We had no doctor or medical orderly, and only a
small medical chest and a few hospital comforts.
We had not left Salisbury ten miles in our rear before we were
sniped by natives from the adjacent hills. The mules got restless and
some of the new police jumpy. The weather was wet and altogether
things did not look too promising. Our native guide was not reliable,
and as a result, we had to camp the first night out from Salisbury
in a place where hills dominated us right and left. Luckily we got
to the place selected by our useless guides just as it was dark, and though
the natives could not see our movements, we could see their watch
fires on both flanks.
It is a well-recognised fact that a native will stay wide awake
for the fore part of the night, but that just before dawn he sleeps like
the dead-and it was at that time, as noiselessly as possible, that we
saddled up on the following morning and continued our journey
without any serious opposition or unnecessary delay. We were fol-
lowed, however, by some Mashonas, but they were beaten off by our
rearguard. Three days later, tired out by continual trekking, walking
and leading our horses over rock-strewn ground, we arrived at
Gurupila's village. The military now stepped aside and made
room for Armstrong, the Diplomatic Officer, who knew and was
intimately known by the Chief Gurupila and his sub-chiefs. Armstrong
did his job well, and after a few days friendly natives came pouring

Police Patrol to Matoko

in, some armed with old guns, some with assegais, and some unarmed
and escorted with their wives, all carrying the essentials of life, viz.,
babies and food. Nearly all of us fighting people (including Gurupila,
our newly-found ally) have some ideal which we parade as a justification
for the resort to arms. Personally, I do not for a moment believe that
Gurupila cared a hang for either Armstrong or the Chartered Company,
but he and his people had a grudge against one or two Mashona Chiefs,
a love for Mashona cattle, and still room in his well-filled harems for
one or two young Mashona girls; so the welkin echoed with their
war cries, as they sharpened their assegais on the smooth rocks adjacent
to their insanitary home.
Never shall I forget the day of our departure from Gurupila's
village. My army had now increased from 50 to 550. We had fixed
6 a.m. for breaking camp, but it was 6 p.m. before the last Gurupilite
had filled his calabash with water and affectionately wrapped his old
flint gun in some calico rag to keep the lock dry. Meanwhile Howard
and myself were far ahead with our police and Maxim, and Armstrong,
surrounded by numerous native drummers had taken up an unenviable
position in the midst of his friendlies.
Howard and I camped in due course, but no one could sleep as the
friendlies again came dribbling in at all hours of the night singing and
dancing, with the result that when I decided to start at dawn the next
morning, some of them were still rolled up in their dirty blankets,
others huddled three or four together under their skin rugs. It was
useless to have a roll call, for no one knew to within a hundred or two
how many there should be, and we were rather like a huge snowball
which increased in size as it progressed. Finally, when things looked
promising for a start, I was informed that they refused to go forward
unless we gave them gunpowder. This eventuality had been foreseen,
and we carried a good supply of Harris's best powder in red one-pound
tins. This was issued to the sub-chiefs of the friendly army, and again
distributed to gun-holders. Orders were given by Armstrong that
no one was to open fire without instructions from him. As Armstrong
was to take up his position again in the midst of his followers, the fire
restrictions verbally issued by him were necessary and as my narrative
will shortly disclose, not out of place.
I have previously mentioned that we had a machine gun in our
column, but, alas I with the exception of a trooper named Lucas
and myself, there was no one who had the slightest idea of its manipu-
lation; even Lucas was not an expert, and when I asked him if he
knew anything about Maxims, he rather disappointed me with the reply
that he did not know much about Maxims, but he had driven a mowing-
machine. Anyhow, I made this bright youth, to a great extent, respon-
sible for our Maxim, told off permanent carriers, whom I also put
under his charge, and after a deal of trouble and instruction got him to
understand the mechanism of the gun to such effect that he could
mount it unaided on the tripod, and arrange the boxes containing the
belts adjacent to the feed block.

Far Bugles
In these circumstances it was not surprising that I marched
close to the Maxim by day and at night my blankets were arranged
within reaching distance of its muzzle. Just after we had commenced
our second day's trek we were compelled to cross a very steep range of
hills, which my native scouts informed me contained a large number of
Mashona rebels, and this close proximity of the enemy was no doubt
responsible for the demand for gunpowder by my allies.
As much of the nature of the ground would permit, my column,
including the native allies, deployed, whilst Lucas and I remained
in the centre of our badly extended line with the Maxim. Howard
was looking after the police, and Armstrong was endeavouring to get
Gurupila's men into some sort of extended formation.
About half way up this formidable position, fire was suddenly
opened on us by native warriors in my immediate front, who, apparently,
had concentrated their fire on the only possible footpath by which
we could advance. With the help of Lucas we got the Maxim on the
tripod, sprinkled the surrounding bush with a well-directed fire.
We got through one belt with the greatest ease and with excellent
results, for the enemy's fire died away and with the exception of one
casualty, no damage was done to any of the Gun Detachment. In the
meantime, there was a lot of firing on both flanks from our allies.
Again the order for advance was given and again with Lucas and the
Maxim we crept up this never-ending hill. Howard was working
like a Trojan to keep his little lot in some sort of formation, and using
a considerable amount of language appropriate to the occasion and an
equal amount of ammunition. We again brought the Maxim into
action, but this time after we had fired about ten shots a cartridge
broke off in the chamber and we were put out of action.
To remedy this would have been easy, but, unfortunately, the
native who carried the tool chest was nowhere to be found, nor was
another carrier who seemingly had taken fright and cleared with one
of the boxes containing an unused belt. Howard, seeing that some-
thing was wrong, reduced the extent of his front. Handing over the
now useless Maxim to Lucas, Howard and myself finally fought
our way to the summit of the hill, where we took up a position
awaiting the arrival of Armstrong and his men. We waited a
considerable time. Finally, Armstrong arrived but minus the majority
of his friendlies, who had got entirely out of hand and after nearly
shooting Armstrong by their indiscriminate firing, had decamped
goodness knew where. I am glad to record that the Chief Gurupila
and many of his principal sub-chiefs stuck to Mr. Armstrong, who
deserved and received many congratulations for the way in which,
in difficult circumstances, he obtained and retained the respect and
fidelity of that Chief and many of his people.
We were now in desperate straits. Our friendlies had proved
unreliable; many of my men were down with fever, provisions were
short, and with only about 20 reliable white troopers, we were out-
numbered fifty to one by the hostile native warriors who daily threatened

Police Patrol to Matoko

attack. To proceed was impossible, so selecting the best possible
place to make a stand, I halted, and at nightfall despatched Hubert
Howard to Salisbury to seek reinforcements.
Howard, who had volunteered for this dangerous and important
ride, was far from well when shaking hands I bid him adieu. The
distance from my selected position to Salisbury was between 40 and 50
miles. Hubert Howard got through all right and as quickly as possible
my beloved Colonel hastened out with the necessary reinforcements,
ammunition and provisions. Even then, with all his despatch,
de Moleyns did not arrive an hour too soon.
After Colonel de Moleyns arrived with reinforcements, we made
an attack on a very formidable hill on the summit of which a noted
Mashona rebel named Shangwe had built his village. Gurupila
and those of his loyal men who had not deserted formed part of the
attacking force, and indeed they were allotted a strenuous task. To
walk quietly to its summit would tax the strength and patience of any
ordinary man, but to go up carrying a rifle and ammunition in the face
of a concealed enemy who would take well-aimed pot-shots at one was
beyond ajoke either for black or white. It was not unnatural, therefore,
that Gurupila and his men were not enthusiastic over the enterprise,
and ascended with steps reluctant and heart in mouth, to meet a
foe ensconced and secure 500 feet above.
None of us liked it, but personally, I feared more from the erratic
fire of my would-be friends than from my avowed enemies. It had
its comic side, however, and it was no uncommon occurrence to see a
friendly Matoko hurled backwards by the recoil of his family
gun." The reason was not far to seek, for when using the gunpowder
which I issued to them, the friendly natives inserted the same pro-
miscuous handful into the muzzle of their guns as they were in the habit
of using when loading with their own rotten stuff. On the top of this
liberal supply of Harris's gunpowder, they would ram a mass of dried
bark crumpled up into the shape of a wad," then would come the
" missile which would be little bits of iron or small stones (lead was
hard to get) and finally more dried bark would be inserted, consequently
the completed charge would extend at least three inches up the breach.
Behind him and in safe cover I watched one of these sportsmen load
up; he did it with some trouble, for his arm was tender with the
results of the last discharge. He zealously went through the process
I have indicated, but this time, instead of putting his gun to his
shoulder in the ordinary way, he rested the butt on the ground, pointed
the muzzle at an elevation of about 45 degrees and pulled the trigger
with his great toe. I admired his discretion and ingenuity. After
this demonstration, I proceeded reluctantly up the hill, keeping
well behind the man with the gun. Before long I met another warrior
retreating very much faster than he had advanced. I suggested that he
was going the wrong way, and ordered him right about turn. He then
pointed first to his arm which was bleeding with a compound fracture,
and then to the gun which he was carrying in his sound hand, which,

Far Bugles
upon examination, revealed the fact that it had burst about half
way up the barrel and was nearly in two pieces. Whilst I tied up the
arm of the injured man with great sympathy, the other sportsman who
had fired his gun with his toe, roaring with laughter, proceeded to show
his wounded compatriot that the correct way to discharge a gun with
the white man's powder was to pull the trigger not with the finger
but with the toe.
Clearly the misuse of the gunpowder which I had issued in good
faith was causing more disastrous effect to the moral of our allies than
the fire of the Mashonas, and the number of sympathisers and others
who clambered around the wounded man to help him down the hill
to the dressing station weakened considerably the force of the attack
at this point.
We eventually gained our objective, and Shaungwe," the hill
of 850 feet in height was captured, but not before the Chief Gurupila
was mortally wounded through the lungs by the fire of the enemy
and died within a few hours. His body was carried away by his people
to be buried in his own country; they would not permit anyone to
touch it or to go near it. Their devotion to their Chief was remarkable.
When he lay dying, they crowded round him and many of them spat
on his wound in the hope of making it heal (the Kaffirs chew a certain
herb and spray the juice over a wounded place with their mouths)
but Gurupila told them that his time was come and that he was going
to join his fathers. When he was dead, his body was swathed in matting
and borne away on his followers' shoulders.
After this calamity, and it certainly was a calamity, especially
in the eyes of his people, our friendly allies returned to their homes,
but the police hostilities had not ceased, for though we had captured
the hill, the actual Chief and many of his important sub-chiefs retired
into their caves and we had to sit round them for days before they came
out and surrendered.
Thus ended the Matoko Patrol and the career of the Chief



T O me the result of the Matoko Patrol was that on my return
to Salisbury with Colonel de Moleyns, I immediately went
into hospital with a bad go of malarial fever. De Moleyns
came to see me there, and asked me to take over the Command of the
native contingent which numbered about 200. He wished them
better organised, armed, clothed and housed. I was to have N.C.O.
instructors, and it was to be a recognized force. I consented, more to
please de Moleyns for whom I had a great regard than for my own
benefit or kudos. Anyhow, I should have my own command and a free
One of my first agreeable duties after leaving hospital was to look
up Hubert Howard. I found him very much better, but his general
health had not improved through his recent attack of fever caused by the
hardships of the Matoko Patrol. Howard was previously wounded in the
foot in the Matabeleland Rebellion, and I am sure that he was feeling the
effect of his wound during the time he was with me on the Matoko
and other Patrols. Like the rest of us, Hubert was devoted to his
Chief, Lord Grey, and it was often amusing to watch him manoeuvre
Grey out of the danger of the Mashona bullets, when much against
the wishes of Howard and myself, Grey would not only accompany
us on patrol, but would needlessly expose himself to danger. Grey
" cramped Howard's style as a fighter, for when without Grey,
Howard would be rushing hither and thither into every kind of danger
having, as he would term it, a damn good time ; with Grey about,
he had to take a sort of back seat for the sake of his Chief's safety.
Howard's history deserves mention and his all-too-short life is worthy
of emulation and I would remind my kind readers that even before
arriving in Matabeleland, he had some very alarming experiences
in the Cuban Insurrection. From there he came to Matabeleland
where, as I have previously mentioned, he was wounded. From
Matabeleland, he came to Mashonaland, where he took part in every
available patrol, and from Mashonaland he went to Egypt, where,
in the capacity of Times correspondent he went through the
" Lancer charge," and was shot down at Omdurman. Generous,
unassuming and brave, Hubert Howard was a true representative
of his illustrious family, and when on his leaving for Egypt we parted
for the last time, I bid adieu to a man whom I was proud to think, as I
ever shall, that he was my friend.
In spite of the fact that I was to have an independent command,
it was with some reluctance that I left my white police to take charge of

Far Bugles

the natives. I had many friends with me in the former, both troopers
and officers to whom I was much attached, and they were men who in
other stages of my career I was to meet again. One of the officers
to whom I refer was Lieutenant John Norton-Griffiths. I first met
Griffiths when as a Sergeant in The Natal Troop," he was well
to the fore at the Maliankombe's and other Patrols, under the command
of Colonel Alderson, and was eventually given a commission in the
British South African Police about the same time as myself. As a
Subaltern in this Force, he was not happy, neither did he remain long.
Candidly, I thought he made a mistake when he sent in his resignation,
and I told him so, but he had other views and his career justified his
own decision for the next time we met, Griffiths was M.P. for the
Wednesbury Division of Birmingham, and was entertaining a large and
distinguished house party (including Mr. Balfour, his political leader)
in most lavish style at his well-known house on the Thames. Another
whose career was not less creditable than Norton-Griffiths was a lad
named Hardwick, a trooper who was formerly under my command
when I was stationed at a fort named Chiquaqua. Hardwick was a
typical Londoner, a type of man very hard to beat. He left a com-
fortable home in the North of London and joined the British South
African Police, as he informed me to see life. I do not think he was
disappointed, for everything he had to do, whether rough or smooth,
he thoroughly enjoyed, and he was heard to exclaim to a fellow-trooper
who was raving about the Devil's Pass," one of the most beautiful
sights on the picturesque journey between Umtali and Salisbury,
" You may keep your' view but give me Hampstead I have
seen Hardwick clambering over a stockade far ahead of anyone else,
and then with a captured Mashona gun much older than himself,
return dirty and glorious to dream of fleeing Mashonas, in his service
blanket under the starry canopy. A great lad was Hardwick. I was
to see many such some years later in the fields of Flanders. He, too,
died young, for after a bellyful of police work, he returned to England,
and, alas, was one of the first among the many who lost their lives
learning to fly for England. Though he died so young, Hardwick's life
was not trivial or spent in vain. He wrote an excellent book on
travel not long before his death, and in doing so kindly thought of me,
for in it I find these words: To Colonel Colin Harding, C.M.G.,
of the British South African Police, to whose kind encouragement
when in command of Fort Chiquaqua, Mashonaland, the author
owes his later efforts to gain Colonial experience, this work is dedicated."
In this simple dedication I was fully repaid for any little help I had
given or any small act of kindness shown to my young and grateful
Shortly after I had taken over the Command of the Mashonaland
Native Police, Sir Alfred Milner made an extended tour through
Matabeleland and Mashonaland. This was his first visit to Rhodesia
since his appointment as High Commissioner of South Africa.
Naturally, Salisbury, which was and is still, the capital of Rhodesia,

I Take Command of Native Police

was en fete and all arms," including my Native Police, were detailed
for inspection.
This inspection was satisfactory, for we had really got them clean,
and after the parade we were complimented by the High Commissioner
and henceforth recognized as a permanent force. An impromptu
inspection of my Army, which I held some time after the official one,
was not quite so successful. Rhodes and Sir Charles Metcalf were then
in Salisbury. Rhodes, who had heard of the improvement in the Native
Police, was anxious to see them on parade. I, of course, was delighted
to show off. Rhodes fixed a Sunday morning. I held the parade :
we did the bayonet and manual exercises which they had been taught.
Rhodes was delighted with the entire show; he was most affable, and
at lunch the same day he fully discussed the possibility of increasing
the Native Police Force and decreasing the white police who, of course,
were paid about four times as much as my native soldiers.
It leaked out the next day that I had been holding a ceremonial
parade without the consent of the O.C., and the second-in-command
wrote me a snotty letter asking for an explanation. Anyway, I had
a friend at court who, with a wink, assured me it would be all right,
and so it was although technically I was in the wrong.



T must not be imagined that I spent my time and the time of
the Native Police in ceremonial parades. Such was not the case;
we were constantly at work on some patrol or the other, and I
would now refer shortly to one which took place in the early part
of June, 1897.
Colonel de Moleyns was down with fever at this time, and with
him in hospital, the Patrol was commanded by the second-in-
command, Major Gosling, and consisted of about 150 white police,
three seven-pounders, some Maxims and about 100 of my own native
police. Our objective was Mashanganyika's kraal. My kind reader
will agree with me that a man with a name like that ought to be attacked,
and attacked he was, and so great was the surprise that we lost only
three men in outing him (I shall not repeat the name again) from his
Elated with our success, we moved on without any unnecessary
delay to Kunzi's Village," which was on a hill nearly impregnable.
This kraal was about 50 or 60 miles from Salisbury, and had been
visited by Major Jenner some months previously with the laudable
idea of obtaining Kunzi's surrender. If Jenner's visit had any effect
whatsoever, it resulted in making Kunzi and his people more conceited
and pugnacious than ever, for the attack as I shall show, was no
walk over.
We assaulted at daybreak, or, at least, we left the place where
we slept at that time, but marching in close formation on narrow
paths not well defined we did not get near our objective, Kunzi's
kraal, before daylight. In the meantime, one of my police had been
shot. The kraal was quite visible from where we halted to deploy,
and one saw at once that it would take a lot of getting into. The
stockade was high and well built and only at certain points was it
at all possible to scale the hill to reach the kraal which was on its
My Native Police were ordered to get into the kraal over the
stockade, which would be more or less damaged by the fire of the
seven-pounder. The White Police on either flank would attack
simultaneously and so support my attack. I have said that I halted
and deployed, and lying down, waited for the dawn. It came at
last and disclosed the disconcerting fact that on the side where we
had to attack, the formidable stockade was intact and not the least
bit damaged by the fire of our seven-pounder. Also it was obvious
that through the fault of our guides, the White Police had over-flanked

The Fight at Kunzies

my native troops and in the rear were firing over my prostrate natives
who were waiting for the word to attack. My little native servant,
Paris (to whom I shall refer again later) was shot down by my side
by the gun fire from our own White Police while thus waiting. The
natives now opened fire from the kraal. I had, therefore, no alternative
but to go forward, which I did, followed closely by a Cape Colonial
Sergeant and my other natives well up. We got to the stockade,
which was at least 10 feet high, with the poles firmly planted in the
ground. In vain we searched for an entrance. The fire from the
kraal was more intense and things generally looked none too well
for I had several casualties. At last I found a weak place in the stockade.
With the united strength of my Sergeant Cape Boy and myself, we
forced ourselves in and both fell to the ground. My Sergeant was
shot and I fell through a sudden break of the stockade and so saved my
life. For a time we two alone held the enemy at bay. More troops,
however, soon fought their way to our support, and together eventually
cleared the kraal of its native warriors.
In spite of our success, it was obvious that things had not entirely
worked out according to plan, for had the village been adequately
shelled by our seven-pounders, we should have killed many more
of the rebels and our casualties would have been considerably less.
It was at Kunzi's that for the first and only time during the
Mashonaland operations I received a wound, and on this occasion,
it was nothing in comparison to the desperate wound received by
my small servant Paris, who was one of the two sons of the Chief
Makoni, whom he committed to my care at the time of his execution.
Since then, Paris, the elder of the two, had accompanied me in nearly
all my patrols, in fact, we were so constantly together that he became
more of a comrade than a servant and at the time he was shot at the
Kunzi fight, he was as ever in close attendance, carrying my water
bottle and food, and not the least bit afraid of the continuous fire from
the stockade, which as quickly as possible we were approaching.
It was impossible for me to go to the assistance of Paris who now
lay moaning and motionless, shot through his thigh, but as soon
as possible after we had captured the kraal I returned, and with the
help of a stretcher-bearer carried him to the field dressing station
where it was found on examination that the bullet had caused a
compound fracture of the thigh, which necessitated his dispatch
without delay to the Salisbury Hospital. Here I will leave Paris for a
time whilst I will relate an incident which will illustrate the simple
and adorable character of my small wounded prot6g6.
Ever on the move with Paris in my wake, carrying my small
personal belongings we, on one occasion, lost touch with our carriers,
and at sundown found ourselves alone without food or water, and with
the exception of a Jaeger blanket which I had previously presented
to Paris, without any bedding or cover against the cold and inclement
night of a Rhodesian autumn. There were no native villages near,
either hostile or friendly, and we had no alternative but to make the best

Far Bugles
of things and sleep where we were. Having no coat, I spent the greater
part of the night walking and stamping in the vicinity of the fire which
we had kindled to keep ourselves warm, at the same time casting
envious eyes at an old blanket which now covered the comfortable
and sleeping form of my small servant. My movements eventually
disturbed his rest, a woolly head appeared from beneath the blanket
and in the language of its country, a small Mashona voice, somewhat
unnecessarily, I thought, enquired why the chief was not asleep."
Eventually, tired out and fed up with the cold, I dozed and then slept
to wake up at dawn warm and refreshed under my old friend the
Jaeger blanket, to find Paris shivering with the cold endeavouring to
coax a flame from the half-dead embers. When asked why he had
given me his blanket, he replied, How could I sleep when my father
was cold ? "
In the hospital at Salisbury, where figuratively speaking, I left
my narrative to relate this small incident of unselfish devotion, Paris,
although attended by the most kind and competent matrons,
eventually passed away. I saw him often, and on the last occasion,
when illness had stripped his usually rotund, sturdy body of every
ounce of flesh, he remarked in a pathetic voice, as I took his withered
hand, You cannot call me' Mafuta '(i.e., fat) now, chief "
Although only a native, Paris had so endeared himself to all who
knew him, that at the request of the Native Police Force, he was buried
with military honours, and more than one European police officer
attended the funeral besides myself.
Such is a brief and imperfect sketch of a short life and as I pen it,
I think of that wonderful story of a somewhat similar life told by
Mrs. Orr-Ewing.


There were few men I met during the arduous times of the
Mashonaland Rebellion whose friendship I valued more than that of
H. C. Thomson. We, in Salisbury, had heard of him when miles
away, and he was described as a man from Exeter Hall (whatever
that may mean) who had been sent out by a London journal to extol
the virtues of the rebel Mashona and damn the methods used by the
military in quashing the rebellion. One method in particular was
his bite noire, i.e., the use of dynamite to blow up the Mashona caves.
I suppose that, as much or more than any other officer who took part
in the Mashona campaign, I had used and been responsible for the use
of dynamite, and I make this admission without the vestige of a blush.
Consequently, I was rather surprised when Colonel de Moleyns said
to me in the Orderly Room one day, Here is this chap Thomson
coming up to-day and you had better look after him."
Thomson arrived, and after taking charge of his scanty luggage
and showing him his diminutive room, we went round to the Club

The Fight at Kunzies

where, meeting de Moleyns, we all,. of course, had a drink together.
The first discovery which I made of the many virtues which Thomson
possessed was the one of grit." He had been through a campaign
in India of which I believe he wrote with distinction, and suffered
the usual hardships of a minor war, and on arrival at Umtali he had
trudged many miles with very few carriers and less provisions in divers
circuitous routes to Salisbury, where, as I say, I first met him, looking
thin with work but full of humour and vitality, two assets of far more
value for a tiring journey than waggons and pack-mules.
A few days after Thomson's arrival, de Moleyns, who had recovered
from his fever, decided to attack a village named Chesumba, which was
within easy reach of Salisbury. I would here remark that Chesumba's
kraal was the village where with Hubert Howard and Father Biehler,
I had ventured some few months earlier, with the idea of obtaining
his surrender. The Chief of this village had had many months in
which to consider the favourable proposals which I then submitted
to his people and himself as terms of surrender, but instead of accepting
them, as in my presence he promised to think of doing, he strengthened
his stockade, increased the number of his fighting men, concentrated
more food in his caves and generally exhibited an attitude towards the
Government which could only bear one interpretation. Of course,
my Native Police formed part of this Patrol, also my personal knowledge
of the village and its surrounding country, which I had obtained
at the time of our last visit, would be of considerable value in the con-
templated attack. Altogether, our little force numbered about 250
police, two seven-pounders, Captain Roach, and two Maxims. The
Patrol left Salisbury about the first week in July.
According to plan we started about 2 a.m., got to Chesumba's
as quietly as possible and rushed the main stockade just as it was
De Moleyns on this occasion did not show much sign of malarial
fever, for he was first over or through the stockade, and was very nearly
shot through his impetuosity, whilst my police and self were good
seconds. We were all over the village in no time, white and black
police vying with each other to be first arrivals in any nasty places.
Two or three of the police were shot and many of the natives
killed before they had time to go to ground ; Roach in the meantime
doing good shooting and killing many native rebels as they attempted
to escape from the back of the kraal. As soon as we could stop Roach's
firing, pickets were set all round the village to stop the further escape
of the rebels, and by noon we were eating a well-earned sandwich
whilst contemplating our next move.
We had good reason to think that the Chief Maramombo had
gone to ground with his people, and his capture was of the greatest
importance. Messages were sent to the cave where it was said he
and his principal chiefs were hidden telling them to come out and
surrender. The answer was a shower of bullets from various quarters
which rather disconcerted the unfortunate messenger, who assailed me

Far Bugles

with the remark that he preferred to interpret in the Court rather
than to Mashonas who shot at one from a cave. My views would have
been similar in the same circumstances. After a time, Roach
joined the sandwich party, also one of our subalterns who was in charge
of a picket somewhat in Roach's line of fire. They had different
stories to tell. The subaltern declared that there was a group of
Mashonas in the open, who Roach thought were his picket, and his
picket more or less under cover, which Roach mistook for the enemy
with disastrous results to the picket. The argument ended by the
observation, Roach, you are impossible So as a gunner I think
Roach was, but as a man-well, God bless him, for he was one of the
Fast in their caves which had previously been filled with food and
water, rebels, women and children remained until shaken nigh to death
by the explosion of dynamite. But at last the women and children
voluntarily, though reluctantly, came out of the caves, dusty and weary
of eye, each woman carrying either her child or basket, but in no
other way suffering from the shocks which our dynamite had caused.
Seeing their women kindly treated, 200 of the men also surrendered
and they also were treated humanely.
There was none of the shooting of prisoners of which we had read,
and I say now and advisedly that never have I seen a Mashona prisoner
shot without a fair trial.
The Chief did not surrender, and the person who was responsible
for his capture was myself, for one night on duty I saw a Mashona
trying to escape. I challenged and told him to stop; he failed to do
so, so I shot at him with my revolver. The light was bad, and the
same applies to my shooting, for I had three shots before I hit him
in the arm and then made him a prisoner. My prisoner turned out
to be the Chief Maramomba." He was wearing a large deep bracelet
of wire which my bullet penetrated, but which saved a compound
We were quite friends after he had surrendered and I was rather
sorry for his arm, which was jagged and lacerated both by the bullet
and his wire bracelet. He was very plucky; the doctor advised
amputation. He would have none of that and eventually it
An unsuccessful effort to capture the Witch Doctoress Nyamba
was the last important Patrol I commanded in the Mashona Rebellion,
and on my return to Salisbury, I devoted myself to less strenuous
duties in the parade ground. Although I spared neither time nor
energy in endeavouring to make my Native Force as competent as
possible, I found the work irksome. My thoughts turned towards
Egypt, where Hubert Howard had migrated, and with the idea of going
to that delightful country, I had already asked Rhodes to give me
a letter of introduction to Lord Milner. I had lunch with the
Rhodesian potentate; he was as charming and fascinating as was his
usual wont, when approached in a conciliatory manner.


The Fight at Kunzies

After lunch he wrote me the letter I requested, and gave it to me
in an unsealed envelope addressed to Milner, with the remark, Don't
give this note to Milner till you have seen me again, I may have more
work for you to do." In the course of a few months he gave me more
work, to which I shall refer later on. The letter to Milner remained
in my possession for nearly two years after it had been written. Such
a long period had elapsed and so many things had happened, that the
contents of the latter would be of no value. I decided, however,
to send it to Milner's secretary, but rightly or wrongly, I read it first.
I took no copy, but its principal contents are still in my memory.
The letter ran as follows :-

This letter will introduce to you Major Harding, who wants
to go to Egypt. Please do all you can to further his wishes.
Yours sincerely,
P.S.-Don't think that we want to get rid of Harding-it is Harding
who wants to get rid of us.-C.R.
From my point of view, the postscript was the core of the whole
letter, and this kindly expression was, I think, characteristic of the man
Although, as this narrative shows, I had had a very stiff time in
Mashonaland, I now look back to it as the most enjoyable period of
a strenuous life. I had made many dear friends : Howard, Hardwick,
and other brother officers, and besides these, I had the pleasure of
meeting and enjoying the confidence of Lord Grey and my dear Irish
Colonel, de Moleyns. To this day, I never go to a race meeting
without wearing a pair of field glasses which Lord Grey kindly gave
me when we were together at Chiquaqua. Assuredly, however,
it is not the field glasses which keep his personality green in my
memory, but the fact that Grey never asked or expected a man to do
a thing which he himself shirked doing, strenuous or hazardous as
that action may have appeared. A strange thing happened to me years
after my association with Grey in Rhodesia. I was in West Africa
at a place called Salt Pound "; there I had a most vivid dream that
Lord Grey had died. I saw him as I had seen him in Mashonaland.
In the morning I told the Assistant Commissioner of my dream.
Two days after Reuter's Telegram contained the news of Grey's
sad death, and the date of his death coincided with the time of my dream.
This is not the first time in my life that I have dreamt dreams which have
had a startling and unbelievable coincidence with actual facts which
have happened to myself and people deep in my thoughts.
Colonel de Moleyns, who was not so physically strong as he
often pretended to be, returned to England much the worse for wear.
He had had a lot of fever and dysentery in Mashonaland and, as I have
indicated, he was often on Patrol looking after the welfare of us all,
caring little for his own, when he should have been in hospital.

Far Bugles

It was through de Moleyns that Lord Hopetoun first presented
me at Court. This presentation had an amusing side. The difficulty
arose as to dress." The Lord Chamberlain was consulted, and I
was told to wear the same uniform that I should wear on a dress parade
in Mashonaland. I did, but I confess there was no one with a similar
dress present on that important occasion. I never had the opportunity
of seeing de Moleyns after that visit to England, but, alas, I am told
he never entirely recovered from the effects of the Mashonaland
campaign, and eventually died as Lord Ventry, beloved by all in his
delightful Irish home.




AT the close of 1897 or early in 1898, I received the long-looked-
for instructions which were hinted at in the conversation
previously recorded between Mr. Rhodes and myself. These
were handed to me by Colonel Rivett Carnac; they informed me
that I was to proceed to North-Eastern Rhodesia, and there raise and
command a Native Police Force for its protection. This part of
Rhodesia is situated on the Southern side of Lake Nyassa, and is now
known as an outlying portion of Northern Rhodesia. My instructions
were vague. The numercial strength of the contemplated force was
not stated, and no mention of the officers who were to help me to raise
and command the force were given; their ambiguity, however, did not
deter me from leaving Salisbury as soon as possible, and with a
competent white sergeant and my native police orderly we, in the
parlance of transport riders, pushed off without any delay.
To reach North-Eastern Rhodesia, we trained to Beira, and from
there proceeded to Chindi, Blantyre and Kota-Kota, a town on the
Western Coast of Lake Nyassa.
It was during my journey to Beira that I received an official
letter from the Colonial Office informing me that I was the recipient
of the C.M.G. There was also enclosed a very charming letter from
Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, thanking me for my services in the Mashona-
land Rebellion, a gesture which I appreciated almost as much as the
" Order which Her Majesty the Queen had so graciously bestowed.
The sealed package containing the C.M.G. was not then opened by
me, and for safe keeping I sent it to White's," where I found it some
considerable time later hobnobbing with many unpaid bills and
innocent-looking letters in feminine hands, which, upon closer perusal,
turned out to be communications from money-lenders who were anxious
to lend me sums from ten pounds to ten thousand, without the slightest
security. Nothing doing.
The journey from Beira via Chindi to Blantyre was both dull
and tiring, and this in spite of the company of a cheery doctor who was
bound for the same part of the country to which I was travelling and to
whom I shall again refer.
Blantyre, even at the time I visited it, was a most interesting town,
and it possessed one of the most striking buildings, in the shape of a
church, ever built by native hands in the heart of Africa. I attended




AT the close of 1897 or early in 1898, I received the long-looked-
for instructions which were hinted at in the conversation
previously recorded between Mr. Rhodes and myself. These
were handed to me by Colonel Rivett Carnac; they informed me
that I was to proceed to North-Eastern Rhodesia, and there raise and
command a Native Police Force for its protection. This part of
Rhodesia is situated on the Southern side of Lake Nyassa, and is now
known as an outlying portion of Northern Rhodesia. My instructions
were vague. The numercial strength of the contemplated force was
not stated, and no mention of the officers who were to help me to raise
and command the force were given; their ambiguity, however, did not
deter me from leaving Salisbury as soon as possible, and with a
competent white sergeant and my native police orderly we, in the
parlance of transport riders, pushed off without any delay.
To reach North-Eastern Rhodesia, we trained to Beira, and from
there proceeded to Chindi, Blantyre and Kota-Kota, a town on the
Western Coast of Lake Nyassa.
It was during my journey to Beira that I received an official
letter from the Colonial Office informing me that I was the recipient
of the C.M.G. There was also enclosed a very charming letter from
Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, thanking me for my services in the Mashona-
land Rebellion, a gesture which I appreciated almost as much as the
" Order which Her Majesty the Queen had so graciously bestowed.
The sealed package containing the C.M.G. was not then opened by
me, and for safe keeping I sent it to White's," where I found it some
considerable time later hobnobbing with many unpaid bills and
innocent-looking letters in feminine hands, which, upon closer perusal,
turned out to be communications from money-lenders who were anxious
to lend me sums from ten pounds to ten thousand, without the slightest
security. Nothing doing.
The journey from Beira via Chindi to Blantyre was both dull
and tiring, and this in spite of the company of a cheery doctor who was
bound for the same part of the country to which I was travelling and to
whom I shall again refer.
Blantyre, even at the time I visited it, was a most interesting town,
and it possessed one of the most striking buildings, in the shape of a
church, ever built by native hands in the heart of Africa. I attended

Far Bugles

here one of its first race meetings, and acted with no conspicuous
success as a starter. I couldn't get the horses away together, and I
remember the man who started last, flinging the somewhat rude though
possibly true remark at my head : This is no ruddy race It was
at Blantyre that I first had the pleasure of meeting Captain Manning,
who is better known as Brigadier-General Sir William Manning,
who owing to the absence of Sir Alfred Sharp on leave at the time of
my visit was acting Governor of the British Central African Protectorate.
It was from Captain Manning I first learnt that the Chartered
Company, apparently without the knowledge of Colonel Carnac,
were considering the advisability of placing the Military defences
of North-Eastern Rhodesia under the control of the War Office. This
startling arrangement entirely Stellenbosched the work which I
had been especially deputed by Carnac to perform, and not unnaturally
caused me great disappointment and much annoyance. I complained
to Captain Manning re this change of front," and Sir Alfred Sharp,
who had now returned from leave, at once wired to Mr. Rhodes.
Although the instructions which I had received from Colonel Carnac
were admitted by all concerned to be in order, I was dropped and offered
as a sort of compromise junior rank in the British Central African
Rifles. Now, inasmuch as I was at this time holding the rank of a local
Major in the British South African Police, and had also been recently
decorated for war services, it was both inconsistent and unfair to expect
me to accept this position in the B.C.A.R. In fairness to Mr. Sharp,
I must say that he did not expect me to accept his offer, and besides
denied responsibility and expressed regret for the invidious position
in which I had been placed. Finally I was asked to proceed to North
Eastern Rhodesia, and there to raise a force of natives, more or less
train them and then send or take them to Southern Rhodesia for service
in that country. Manning was asked and agreed to lend me some of
his Sikh non-commissioned officers for this purpose, but my recruiting
in British Central Africa was restricted to certain parts although,
of course, I could recruit where I wished in North Eastern Rhodesia.
Before dealing with my task of obtaining police recruits for
Southern Rhodesia, I should like to record my appreciation of the
religious and practical work of the various Missions in this part of
Central Africa. I have already referred to the marvellous building
erected mainly by native artisans at Blantyre, but besides teaching the
natives to perform the duties of brick makers and carpenters, our
missionary friends instilled into the minds of the native population
the desirability of being good citizens as well as being devout Christians.
In referring to the origin of missionary work in the district of which
I write, I would remind my readers that the word Blantyre, which was
given to this inland town originated from the birthplace of Livingstone,
Blantyre on the Clyde, and the architect of the famous church to which
I have previously referred was the Reverend Clement Scott, a disciple
of David Livingstone. This building took three years to complete,
and it was, I understand, opened in 1891. The making of the bricks,

I Proceed to North-Eastern Rhodesia

and, in fact, the whole work of the building was done by native labour,
and with the exception of the glass windows and some other fittings,
no other part of the building were imported. It is a credit to our
silent arm, the Navy, that it was one of their Lieutenants who had been
in Africa, one of Livingstone's companions, who a short time after the
latter's death was selected to take charge of the Missionaries from
the Free Church of Scotland, who set out in 1875 to establish a Mission
in Blantyre. I understand that the Church of Scotland Mission was
inaugurated at that time as a memorial to Livingstone, and I know
of no memorial more fitting or more adequate. But there is another
Mission in the Nyassa Territory, which inspired by the work of Doctor
Livingstone took root and bore fruit in the land where their notable
leader had finished his last great task. The Mission to which I refer
is the Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and its inspiration was
given to Doctor Livingstone at a representative assembly from Oxford
and Cambridge on December 4th, 1857, in these words: "I go
back to Africa to make an open path for Christianity and Commerce,
I leave it to you to carry out the work which I have begun."
Although it is a pleasure briefly to refer to the excellent work
of the Missions in Central Africa, I fear I have made rather a digression
from the theme of my story, to which I must now return. As aforesaid,
Manning had given me permission to recruit a certain number in the
Nyassa Government Territory which bordered Lake Nyassa on the
Southern side, but there were naturally certain restrictions which I
had to observe when recruiting. In the first place, I was not to offer
a greater wage for service in Rhodesia than was given by the O.C.
British Central African Rifles for service in Nyassaland.
In Southern Rhodesia, however, a fowl was worth several
shillings, the same bird in Nyassaland could be bought for as many
pence, and other food was much cheaper in Nyassaland than in
Rhodesia. Consequently, the strict observance of the wishes of the
authorities of the Nyassaland Administration, in this respect to wage
led to much dissatisfaction amongst the recruits when on arrival at
Mashonaland they learnt to their cost the difference between the
general expenses of living in Nyassaland and Southern Rhodesia.
The difficulty, however, was amicably solved by raising the rate of
wage on the arrival of the recruits in Mashonaland.
Whilst recruiting on the borders of Lake Nyassa, we ran into
Major Close, R.E., who was in charge of a Boundary Commission.
In the short time we were together, Close and I became friends, a
friendship which ripened and developed in after years. We were
both members of the Royal Geographical Society, but in importance
I was not in the same street as Close, and the same remark, I think,
applies to brains. I think it was to Pa Close (a sobriquet by which he
was affectionately known) that we Battalion Commanders in France
were more or less indebted for the excellent maps which as a Brigadier-
General he and his staff prepared, and which gave us the most
minute and trustworthy information. At the time of our meeting

Far Bugles

in Africa, neither had known of the other, or his whereabouts. We
hobnobbed and talked a lot, or at least I did, and I still remember
that my sergeant, when asked by Close to show his rough sketch map,
positively refused, for fear as he told me afterwards, of giving the show
away. Close and I parted the next morning, to meet again on more
than one occasion.
My recruiting was eminently successful. The Chiefs, without the
slightest coercion, gave me all the assistance they could, and by the
time I returned to Kota-Kota I had obtained the full quota of recruits
allowed by Captain Manning. From Kota-Kota I took a machila,
and with my small army proceeded to Fort Jameson, the capital of
North-Eastern Rhodesia. At the time of my visit, the township
of Fort Jameson was in its infancy, and the word Fort was a misnomer ;
anyhow, I was in my beloved Rhodesia again and was entertained by a
rare sportsman named Selby.
A camp was formed, grass huts built and everything possible
done to make myself and recruits comfortable. My Sikh instructors
had arrived, and drilling proceeded without delay. Previously, I
have referred to a doctor whom I met at Beira, and whom I shall
describe as Doctor X. Doctor X came over to see me whilst I was at
Fort Jameson. He was suffering from an inflamed hand, brought about
by a cut whilst holding what I consider was an unnecessary and useless
post-mortem examination on a white man who had recently succumbed
to fever at a station near by.
I dressed the wound, as instructed by Doctor X, and after receiving
food and refreshment, he returned to his camp.
Two or three days after his visit, I received a frantic message
from him, conveyed in a cleft stick by a perspiring native runner,
asking me to come over at once as gangrene had developed in his arm.
I immediately got in a machila and-as fast as my machila boys could
carry me-set off for the camp of Doctor X.
I arrived there about noon (it was a journey of about ten or twelve
miles) and dimly saw the doctor in a badly-furnished grass hut, sur-
rounded by a halo of smoke, reposing on his small uninviting bed and
generally looking very sorry for himself, his hand covered by blood-
stained bandages. He greeted me with the lugubrious words,
" You have come too late, I have just blown my finger off with my
Snider rifle I undid the mass of bandages and in doing so disclosed
the blackened stump of the middle finger.
What had happened was this-Doctor X, with the fear of gangrene
hanging over his head had taken the Snider rifle from his orderly,
and resting the butt on the ground, placed the finger he wished to
amputate over the muzzle of the rifle and with some difficulty pulled
the trigger with his other hand and blew his finger partly off. With
great presence of mind, seeing that his finger was not entirely severed
by his first shot, he immediately placed another cartridge in the rifle
and proceeded to have another go. This time the offending finger
dropped to the ground and the orderly ran for bush. Doctor X



N. ,



I Proceed to North-Eastern Rhodesia

gave me these gruesome particulars in a depressed tone of voice, and
with the same woeful demeanour, said, Gangrene has set in and
unless you amputate my arm I am a dead man." I had a strong
suspicion that if I did amputate, his demise might be possible if not
probable. My thoughts, however, I did not express, though I
informed him without ambiguity that I had never amputated a limb
and knew nothing about suppressing the bleeding which must come
from such an operation.
To make matters more complicated, he was determined that the
arm should be severed above the elbow. My confessed ignorance
of surgery did not in the least deter him from his considered opinion
that this serious amputation could alone save his life. I now took
the matter very seriously and consented to do as he bid, but stipulated
that I must have help and suggested that Captain St. Hill, whom
we both knew and who was living near should be called in. I sent
a message for St. Hill who, considering himself as a sort of specialist,
arrived full of importance and without delay on the scene of operation.
Before seeing the patient he would like to see me alone. Without
demur, I acquiesced to this pompous request, after which, meekly
followed by myself, St. Hill proceeded with dignified mien to the bed-
side of the feverish sufferer, who with unassumed resignation uncovered
and displayed the gruesome stump of his discoloured finger to St.
Hill, who as a result of this disclosure immediately fainted, and when
sufficiently recovered, said in words which I dare not repeat that he
would have nothing to do with killing the doctor.
I was on the horns of a dilemma; here was Doctor X, a calm,
competent medical practitioner, and I learnt afterwards an extremely
clever man, imploring me to commit what he termed a kindly action,
with the odds in favour of this contemplated kindly action terminating
in a ghastly tragedy. With equivocal acquiescence I enquired for the
surgical chest. As in most up-country stations, the people who send
them out expect you to die of fever (generally they are right) and the
necessity of amputation is never foreseen. In this case, the knives and
forceps which were produced were inclined to be rusty, and apparently
the saw had formerly been used for domestic purposes.
At Fort Jameson (which was under the administration of the
Chartered Company) there reposed a brand new surgical chest, also my
friend Selby when interviewed said I could have the surgical chest,
and with pleasure he (Selby) would come and help amputate the arm.
With surgical appliances on the head of a native, I pushed on for all
I was worth to the doctor's camp, found him more depressed than ever
and most irate at the delay I was causing. By the side of his bed,
on a clean napkin, I now found the old forceps, the domestic saw and
a large knife. All had been sterilised in the boiling water standing
on a smoky paraffin lamp by the bedside of the pale-faced doctor.
Everything for the approaching operation had been put in order with
scrupulous and professional zeal by the patient. The question of an
anaesthetic was not considered, for it would tax the powers of the most

Far Bugles
efficient Harley Street surgeons to administer an anesthetic and at the
same time amputate successfully a gangrened limb.
With the air of a man who knows what he wants and will get it,
I swept aside the stain-marked operation knives and doubtful meat-saw
that rested on the napkin-covered stool, and informed the doctor
that I would defer the operation till the other expected surgical chest
should arrive. In the meantime I informed Doctor X that I should
require him to write me a letter declaring that in case of accidents
during the operation I should not be held responsible, further that what
I did was done at his request and with full knowledge of my inadequate
surgical capabilities. With some difficulty the doctor wrote the letter,
and possessed of this document, I partook of some light refreshment
and waited the arrival of the native runner and his surgical burden.
In vain I waited an hour, then two hours elapsed but no runner appeared.
It was now growing dusk, the only available paraffin lamp did its best,
without any marked success, to give sufficient light for me to see across
the hut where the anxious doctor lay. I washed my hands diligently,
and in my shirt sleeves removed from the head of the carrier who at
last arrived the long-expected and overdue load of operating para-
By now it was quite dark, the only lamp apparently short
of the necessary oil was emitting evil-smelling smoke and soot. After
due consideration, I decided to defer the operation till the following
morning. The native carrier expressed regret at his delay, but from the
time I saw the outline of the distorted face of my friend the doctor
through that ill-lighted room till now, I am convinced that the loitering
carrier arriving too late for me to operate saved the life of that medical
That night I placed the remaining part of the doctor's hand
in a strong carbolic mixture, and taking turn and turn about, the hand
and arm were continually bathed by two natives during the whole anxious
night. I went in to see the doctor early the next morning; at six
he was sleeping, and again at seven when I paid my second visit he was
still slumbering. I consumed a hearty breakfast and again visited
the doctor and with a professional air informed him that everything
was ready for the operation. To my surprise he was less inclined for
the drastic measure. I took a normal temperature of my patient, and
now, at his own request, I decided definitely not to amputate. Another
medical man whom I had previously summoned by telegram arrived
in the course of a few days. He found Doctor X convalescent and
removed the stump with great care and skill. When I next met the
patient the hand was healed, and I hope the craze for unnecessary
post-mortems vanished with the wound.
Selby, who eventually turned up, was indignant that he had been
brought over on what he described as a fool's errand, whilst my friend
St. Hill never spoke of the subject without roars of laughter, and when
I saw him for the last time in St. James's Street emerging from a highly
respectable club which is noted for its old and distinguished members,

I Proceed to North-Eastern Rhodesia
rather than for the young and frivolous lot, he suddenly hit me on the
back and yelled in my ear, Do you remember Doctor X ? Like
so many of my friends, Captain St. Hill was killed in France. He was
a strange mixture, for whilst he nearly fainted at the sight of the
blackened stump of the doctor's finger, in Flanders, he fought with
distinguished gallantry, and so doing, died.



PREVIOUS to my arrival in North Eastern Rhodesia, there
had occurred what, in an exaggerated mood, one might describe
as a native war; it is true that no medals were bestowed, but I
was told that one ambitious subaltern had applied for one.
The difficulty, I think, arose over a highly strung official mistaking
an ordinary native dance for an act of hostility towards the Administra-
tion. A Company of the B.C.A. Rifles were dispatched at once to
quell this rebellion. Simultaneously with the departure of this punitive
force from Zomba or wherever they were stationed, the hectic official
became less hectic and countermanded his application for military
assistance or endeavoured to do so. Alas, the order came when troops
were on the move. It was ignored. A pitched battle ensued, when
on one side there certainly were no casualties, whilst on the other
many were killed. In this case, the Chief and many of his cattle
were made prisoners and the country of the Agoni where this absurd
but highly reprehensible occurrence took place was for a time in a
state of despair and desolation, and all due to the incapacity of an over-
wrought Civil official. The captured cattle were eventually sent to
Fort Jameson where I saw hundreds of them on my arrival, and as I
saw this unhappy lot bleating for their native homes and their native
masters, I wondered why it is that, the first thing we do after subduing
a native enemy is to deprive him of his means of living and his country
of its most valuable product.
After the incident of Doctor X, I again returned to Fort Jameson
and there decided to enlist more natives and so bring the number of
recruits up to the strength authorised in my instructions. I could not,
against the wishes of Captain Manning, recruit more in the Nyassaland
Protectorate, so I had to look elsewhere for the additional number
which I required. To do this, I decided in spite of their alleged
hostile attitude to pay a visit to the Angoni district. The Angoni
tribe are an offshoot of the Zulu, and their ancestors are alleged to
have broken away from Tchaka," a Zulu Chief, early in the nine-
teenth century.
Although at the time of my visit to Angoni, the Chief Mpeezene
was in prison as a result of his alleged hostile attitude towards the
Northern Rhodesian Administration, I was received in the most friendly
manner by the Chief in charge who gave an ocular demonstration
of his loyalty by voluntarily and immediately handing over to my
charge 200 of his young men for my newly-formed Police Force which
already I had commenced to drill at Fort Jameson. These Angoni

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs