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Letters from Herman Schoch

A.L.S. 1874 Jun. 30, Boschdal, to Uncle Alfred, in German, describing journey by ox wagon to salt pan to fetch salt. 2p.
A.L.S. Written to his wife while he was serving with the Rustenburg lager besieging Mafeking, 1899 Oct. 23 - 1900 May 20.
26th Oct. - gives news of skirmishing and fighting, says can't tell effect of bombardment on Mafeking, they have been forbidden to storm the town.
28th Oct. - describes unsuccessful attempt of English to storm three entrenched positions at once; life is monotonous and there is no discipline in Boer forces.
5th Nov. - describes how they sent twenty-six cases of dynamite on a ganger's trolley down line towards Mafeking but it blew up far from the town; so far have made little progress in investing the town, tells of disgraceful auction of looted sheep when much squabbling and cheating occurred.
23rd Nov. - much more firing coming from Mafeking and he thinks the surrender will not occur soon.
26th Nov. - war news not good; rumour of a native rising at Derdepoort has alarmed Rustenburg men and if true they will abandon siege to look after their homes.
7th Dec. - No news and all they get is from biased newspapers, he personally doesn't believe foreign powers will interfere to help Boers.
10th Dec. - strict orders from Gen. Snyman that all Kaffirs going to or coming from Mafeking be shot on sight; recounts story of exchange of Lady Sarah Wilson for jailbird Viljoen, who says garrison have had heavy casualties.
14th Jan. 1900 - many men sent to Colenso to strengthen Boer forces there.
18th Jan. - rumour that Mafeking will be relieved from North as force is at Gaberones.
21 Jan. - no order or discipline as burgers won't obey substitute officers.
26 Jan. - have shifted their lager close to Mafeking - says it should be fortified but there is such disunion and shortage of men that this won't happen.
2nd Feb. - English have been firing at their lager with little effect but forced them to move camp.
12th Fob. - firing continues; some cattle were taken into Mafeking by armed patrol.
19th Feb. - bad news about war is leaking through and all men from 16 to 60 being called up.
22nd Feb. - rumoured again that relieving force is coming from North but turns out to be false alarm.
1st March - food must be scarce in Mafeking as emaciated kaffirs try to escape but are fired upon although some burghers refuse to fire.
11th March - camp quiet as commando has ridden out to meet Plumer's column - constant alarms and excursions: Kaffir women continue to come out of Mafeking and at last, order to fire on them has been rescinded.
8th March - rumours that Plumer's men are advancing; order to sleep in trenches being widely disobeyed.
1st April - attempt by Plumer to get into Mafeking repulsed and sortie of Baden-Powell came to nothing.
5th April - President has denied English troops landed at Beira; thinks attack from South unlikely.
8th April - thinks fight of a week ago was just reconnoitring raid from Mafeking and not intended to be battle as very small force employed; 32 armed kaffirs came out of Mafeking, probably on a cattle raid, but all killed.
12th April - feels there will be developments soon; bombardment of Mafeking has had no effect; much sickness in lager but caused by men's own lack of hygiene.
15th April - big siege gun has been recalled to Pretoria; attempt by party of kaffirs from Mafeking to take cattle into town failed; Baden-Powell's intelligence system must be good as he seems to know every plan.
19th April - very short of men.
26th April - Swiss volunteer Wirz is going to try and raise a corps to storm Mafeking.
2nd May - native runner intercepted with letter from Baden-Powell to Lord Fred. Cavendish congratulating him on safe arrival; feels likely they will have to withdraw.
6th May - glad crisis is at hand to put end to boredom; news English have taken Brandfort very alarming; Mafeking has had heavy casualties and is short of food.
10th May - English relief column has taken Vryburg and is advancing; call for volunteers to storm Mafeking has had poor response - cannot but feel sorry for Mafeking garrison after their gallant stand of so long - says morale is low and determination to resist much weaker.
13th May - after orders and counter-orders, Mafeking stormed but failed with heavy casualties.
20th May - from Malmami - stampede by burgers to get far away from Mafeking; men in fort and on patrol not told to evacuate! Burgers likely to slip away to their homes.

Newsletter, No. 35/36

Containing a poster for May Day; reporting about the settlement reached between the Chemical Workers Industrial Union and Sasol; "The making of the working class" Part 11 - The ICU collapses; American protests against Apartheid; report about the unions and the motor industry in South Africa.

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