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On the Veldt: The British Army in South Africa 1899-1902
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On the Veldt: The British Army in South Africa 1899 - 1902

Introduction

This exhibition concentrates on the everyday life of British Army soldiers in South Africa during the Second Boer War of 1899 – 1902.

In these pages a narrative of the campaign can be found using the personal diaries, letters and memoirs of British service personnel held in the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives to explore what life was like on active service. Themes include being under fire in the heat of battle, camp life and the climate and landscape of South Africa.

“On the veldt” was a typical phrase used by British soldiers and officers alike to describe their surroundings on the savannah and vast plains which were dotted with steep hills, or kopjes.

Field Marshal Lord Roberts VC

Photograph of Field Marshal Lord Roberts, post-Second Boer WarField Marshal Lord RobertsField Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts (1832-1914) was Commander-in-Chief of British Forces in South Africa during the war and played a vital role in defeating the Boers early on in the conflict.

Affectionately known as “Bobs” to the men, Roberts commanded great respect and is regarded as one of the greatest generals of the nineteenth century. He was awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest gallantry medal, during the Indian Mutiny of 1857.

The photograph seen here is taken after the Second Boer War in 1907 when he was granted the title of Earl Roberts for his great war service to Britain.

This exhibition was curated by Neal Trotter, Nineteenth-Century Studies MA student.

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