Debbie De Louise from Ruff Drafts hosted a post for my Great Escapes virtual book tour about the Siege of Ladysmith which took place at the beginning of the Second Anglo Boer War. Thank you Debbie.
Guest Post: The Siege of Ladysmith by Roberta Eaton Cheadle
The siege of Ladysmith, a town in British controlled Natal, was a lengthily engagement between the British and the Boers during the Great South African War (Second Anglo Boer War).
When the negotiations between the two Boer republics and Britain broke down and war was declared on the 11th of October 1899, 21,000 Boers advanced into Natal from all sides. By way of a countermeasure, Lieutenant Sir George White deployed his British troops around the garrison town of Ladysmith. As the Boers surrounded Ladysmith, White engaged in the Battle of Ladysmith with ended in disaster for the British with 1,200 men killed, wounded or captured.
The town was then besieged for 118 days from 2 November 1899 to 28 February 1900. On the 15th of December 1899 the first British relief force under General Redvers Henry Buller was defeated at the Battle of Colenso.
On Christmas Day 1899, the Boers fired into Ladysmith a carrier shell without a fuse. It contained a Christmas pudding, two Union Flags and the message ‘compliments of the season’.
Following repeated attempts by Buller to fight his way across the Tugela River, he finally broke through the Boer positions on the 27th of February 1900. On the evening of the 28th of February, the first party of the relief column, under Major Hubert Gough and including Winston Churchill, rode into Ladysmith.