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PT-Women_and_Children_at_mine-1900
Group of Women & Children waiting to go down into the De Beers Mine.

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 11 FEBRUARY

11 February 1898, Kgosi Galeshewe sentenced to ten years gaol for his part in the 1896 uprising.
11 February 1900, 3000 women and children lowered into the Kimberley and De Beers Mines to escape the shelling of the Boer Long Tom gun.
(Pictured is the sign inviting women and children to go down the mines, as well as a group waiting to go down into the De Beers Mine.)

PT-Invitation_for_Women_and_Children-1900

Sign inviting Women and Children to go down the mines.

DID YOU KNOW
Winifred Heberden’s Siege diary 11 and 12 February 1900:

Feb 11th. I spent a busy morning packing up clothing and odds and ends for our trek to Beaconsfield. News came through that Mr Rhodes had had a wire from Lord Roberts saying that he would be in in about four (a few?) days. This wire was handed round at the club.

After lunch the big ambulance waggon drawn by 10 mules rolled up to the door for us. Our luggage was packed in underneath, and we ourselves tucked in on the upper part of the waggon, nicely sheltered from the burning sun by the canvas cover overhead; the party consisting of four women, one old man, three children, and a servant. Jack, and one of the ambulance men as outriders.

We left very gladly, in spite of the croak of some foolish woman, who said: ‘Oh, how unlucky to go in the ambulance!’ I turned and scolded her, till she retired to her room.

It was delightful to get to a house where the children could play about instead of living in a cellar or a Smoking Room.

Bell-men were sent round Kimberley in the afternoon with a notice saying that women and children might go down the mines; and if they took food for 24 hours it would be supplied to them afterwards for nothing.

A gentleman came and tried to persuade us to go down the mine, and said that private information had come in to say that more big guns were to play on Kimberley to-morrow.

This, I knew, could hardly be true, as the Boers are known to have only four big guns altogether. One was blown up in Natal, and it was not likely that they would take the rest away from places where they were actively necessary. So we laughed at the wet blanket and stayed where we were.

Feb 12th. Major Elliott told Jack that there were terrible scenes at the mouths of De Beers and Kimberley Mines all last night. People were frantic to get down by midnight, for they were certain that as the Boers had stopped shooting on Sunday, they would begin again as soon as Sunday was over.

Only six people could go into the Cage to descend at a time and as there were hundreds of people waiting, one can imagine how awful it was. They were not allowed to take down their luggage or blankets. These were put down afterwards, and it took till 4 a.m. to get the people down first before their belongings could follow.

Shelling began to-day during breakfast. Several times the big gun turned its muzzle towards the Sanatorium. We watched where the shell pitched, after waiting for the gong which was beaten on the Conning Tower of the Sanatorium to warn people that whenever they saw the smoke of the big gun to quickly take cover before the shell reached its point. A bugle and hooter did the same service in Kimberley.

Suddenly the whirr of the 100 lb shell sounded terribly near, and Jack shouted ‘Lie down’! So we fell under the shoulder of some big boulders nearby, and down came the shell within 50 yards of us! The stones and smaller pieces rattled around us and fell on the iron roof of the house. This, though not quite as near to us as that last Wednesday in the shop by the hotel, is quite the most risky moment we have had, and must have been an overshot at the Sanatorium.

After this, we were not quite so bold, and when the gun seemed to be turning our way again, we went about 200 yards further down Beaconsfield, and sat on the verandah of the Magistrate’s house.

There has been no newspaper to-day. A leading article last Saturday spoke strongly against the unfairness of Military Secrecy in belittling our troubles here, and, so it said, they did not even mention that we are being bombarded with a 6-inch gun – seems to have been the cause of the suppression of the paper.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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