A continuation regarding Agnes Ross. The epilogue. First draft.
“Morag Baird– C – Jean H. Watson – 23JUN2014
It is 6am, the 9th of December, 1899; approximately 50 miles south of the Orange River, South Africa.
Specific to Mycroft’s hand and insistence, I rejoined the British Army some eighteen months ago; my age and ailments cast aside. He made it clear in no uncertain terms that the lack of qualified senior medical personnel, particularly those of whom had survived previous campaigns were in great need. I suspect this extends beyond the butchers blade I wield, and into the world of intelligence. One can only speculate that mans intent.
As such, I now find myself under the command of General Sir William Gatacre, among some 3,000 troops here; our role to protect the Cape Colony against Boer raids.
In my heart of hearts, with all I have witnessed and learned, I cannot see how the allied forces can eject the Boer from this beast of a land. They possess superior tactics in the field, foreign to any we have truly encountered before. With exceptional defensive positions of their creation; the ability to cover ludicrously vast distances with small parties of mounted men, all of whom have proved repeatedly to be utterly devastating to our forces. Such an achievement is specific to their superior geographical knowledge; skills and experience at raiding combined with their resolute determination to rid us of this, their hard fought, and harder won land. Whoever had the notion that these people were merely ignorant farmers and hunters will go down as being the greatest fool in history.
Resultant, I find myself alone in my tent, no butchers list for the day.
Australian’s specifically, have taken a different view of this; the word being that they have created small units of men, tackling the boer vigorously, utilising similar tactics. The most potent of these Australians, again this being here say, are those units known as ‘Bushveldt Carbineers’. Those men see it less emotively, and more in line with the rough lives they lead in that wild southern land.
Regardless of the dashed colonials, the men within the confines of our camp are nervous beyond words, what with the Boer raids being what they are. A fine example of this is the statement made by one of my orderly’s whilst bringing me tea not half an hour ago, “the bastards will do us like swatting a fly if we go near that bloody track.” The track he refers to is actually a railway junction quite close to where I now sit.
It is with this in mind alone that I am putting pen to paper, should my demise fall upon me anytime soon. Sadly I believe it likely that my bones will not age no further.
Whilst I do not see this as a memoir, rather a short missive, my scratching’s from this point that have remained unknown to the world long enough. Some thing’s need adding to the frayed knot of my life, my soul guaranteed a special place in hell as it is.
My intention on the conclusion of all I pen today, regardless of completion, is to seal this packet in canvas and wax, placing it within outgoing regimental mail by the end of this day. It’s intended destination being my lawyer in London for safe keeping, bequeathing as appropriate on my death.
Now I will begin……………….
Surgeon Colonel John H. Watson”
Now, to the left, yet to get it right. The time, date, place, incident are all factual; I have specifically made the date of Watsons opening to his memoir/missive the day prior to Battle of Stormberg. It is here that Ihave killed Watson off, although it is not written anywhere other than Mrs. Hudson writings.
From wikipedia – “On 10 December, General Gatacre tried to recapture Stormberg railway junction about 50 miles (80 km) south of the Orange River. Gatacre’s attack was marked by administrative and tactical blunders, and the Battle of Stormberg ended in a British defeat, with 135 killed and wounded, and two guns and over 600 troops captured.”
There you go. I have attached “Breaker Morant” to the image. Click the picture to watch it. Sadly there are non-english subtitles.