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Title: The Chronicles of a Gay Gordon

Author: José Maria Gordon

Release Date: November 29, 2008 [EBook #27362]

Language: English

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The Chronicles of

a Gay Gordon By

Brig.-General J. M. Gordon, C.B.

With Eleven Half-tone Illustrations

Cassell and Company, Limited, London

New York, Toronto and Melbourne 1921

Photo: Lafayette, Ltd., Glasgow.


By Way of Introduction1
Genealogical Table7
Part I
1.My Scots-Spanish Origin11
2.My Schooling20
3.A Frontier Incident30
4.First War Experience35
5.My Meetings with King Alfonso42
6.With Don Carlos Again46
7.My First Engagement53
8.Soldiering in Ireland62
9.Unruly Times in Ireland71
10.Sport in Ireland77
11.A Voyage to New Zealand87
12.A Maori Meeting98
13.An Offer from the Governor of Tasmania104
14.I Become a Newspaper Proprietor109
15.A Merchant, then an Actor120
16.As Policeman in Adelaide132
Military Appointments and Promotions147
Part II
1.Soldiering in South Australia151
2.Polo, Hunting and Steeplechasing162
3.The Russian Scare and its Results175
4.The Soudan Contingent185
5.A Time of Retrenchment192
6.My Vision Fulfilled200
7.The Great Strikes209
8.The Introduction of “Universal Service,” and Two Voyages Home215
9.Military Adviser to the Australian Colonies in London224
10.Off to the South African War232
11.With Lord Roberts in South Africa238
12.In Command of a Mounted Column244
13.Some South African Reminiscences252
Part III
1.Organizing the Commonwealth of Australia263
2.Commandant of Victoria273
3.Commandant of New South Wales281
4.Lord Kitchener's Visit to Australia290
5.The American Naval Visit302
6.Chief of the General Staff308


Brigadier-General J. M. Gordon, c.b. Frontispiece
Wardhouse, Aberdeenshire 10
Kildrummy Castle, Aberdeenshire 10
Alfonso XII. 34
The Prince Imperial 34
Don Carlos 50
“Turf Tissue,” Facsimile of First Page 84
Opening of the Commonwealth Parliament, 1901 120
Lord Hopetoun 150
Viscount Kitchener 220
The Commonwealth Military Board, 1914 254




José Maria Jacobo Rafael Ramon Francisco Gabriel del Corazon de Jesus Gordon y Prendergast—to give the writer of this book the full name with which he was christened in Jeréz de la Frontera on March 19, 1856—belongs to an interesting, but unusual, type of the Scot abroad.

These virile venturers group themselves into four categories. Illustrating them by reference to the Gordons alone, there was the venturer, usually a soldier of fortune, who died in the country of his adoption, such as the well-known General Patrick Gordon, of Auchleuchries, Aberdeenshire (1635-1690), who, having spent thirty-nine years of faithful service to Peter the Great, died and was buried at Moscow. Or one might cite John Gordon, of Lord Byron’s Gight family, who, having helped to assassinate Wallenstein in the town of Eger, in 1634, turned himself into a Dutch Jonkheer, dying at Dantzig, and being buried at Delft.

Sometimes, especially in the case of merchants, the venturers settled down permanently in their new fatherland, as in the case of the Gordons of Coldwells, Aberdeenshire, who are now represented solely by the family of von Gordon-Coldwells, in Laskowitz. So rapid was the transformation of this family that when one of them, Colonel Fabian Gordon, of the Polish cavalry, turned up in Edinburgh in 1783, in connexion with the sale of the family heritage, he knew so little English that he had to be initiated a Freemason in Latin. To this day there is a family in Warsaw which, ignoring our principle of 2 primogeniture, calls itself the Marquises de Huntly-Gordon.

Occasionally the exiles returned home, either to succeed to the family heritage, or to rescue it from ruin with the wealth they had acquired abroad. Thus General Alexander Gordon (1669-1751) of the Russian army, the biographer of Peter the Great, came home to succeed his father as laird of Auchintoul, Banffshire, and managed by a legal mistake to hold it in face of forfeiture for Jacobitism. His line has long since died out, as soldier stock is apt to do—an ironic symbol of the death-dealing art. But the descendants of another ardent Jacobite, Robert Gordon, wine merchant, Bordeaux, who rescued the family estate of Hallhead, Aberdeenshire, from clamant creditors, still flourish. One of them became famous in the truest spirit of Gay Gordonism, in the person of Adam Lindsay Gordon, the beloved laureate of Australia.

The vineyard and Australia bring us to the fourth, and rarest, category, represented by the writer of this book, namely, the family which has not only retained its Scots heritage, but also flourishes in the land of its adoption, for Mr. Rafael Gordon is not only laird of Wardhouse, Aberdeenshire, but is a Spaniard by birth and education, and a citizen of Madrid: and this double citizenship has been shared by his uncles Pedro Carlos Gordon (1806-1857), Rector of Stonyhurst; and General J. M. Gordon, the writer of this book, who will long be remembered as the pioneer of national service in Australia.

The Gordons of Wardhouse, to whom he belongs, are descended (as the curious will find set forth in detail in the genealogical table) from a Churchman, Adam Gordon, Dean of Caithness (died 1528), younger son of the first Earl of Huntly, and they have remained staunch to the Church of Rome to this day: that indeed was one of the reasons for their sojourning aboard. The Dean’s son George (died 1575) acquired the lands of Beldorney, Aberdeenshire, which gradually became frittered away by 3 his senior descendants, the seventh laird parting with the property to the younger line in the person of Alexander Gordon, of Camdell, Banffshire, in 1703, while his sons vanished to America, where they are untraceable.

From this point the fortunes of the families increase. Alexander’s son James, IX of Beldorney, bought the ancient estate of Kildrummy in 1731, and Wardhouse came into his family through his marriage with Mary Gordon, heiress thereof. This reinforcement of his Gordon blood was one of the deciding causes of the strong Jacobitism of his son John, the tenth laird, who fought at Culloden, which stopped his half Russian wife, Margaret Smyth of Methven, the great grand-daughter of General Patrick Gordon of Auchleuchries, in the act of embroidering for Prince Charles a scarlet waistcoat, which came to the hammer at Aberdeen in 1898.

This Jacobite laird’s brothers were the first to go abroad. One of them, Gregory, appears to have entered the Dutch service; another, Charles, a priest, was educated at Ratisbon; and a third, Robert, settled at Cadiz. That was the first association of the Wardhouse Gordons with Spain, for, though Robert died without issue, he seems to have settled one of his nephews, Robert (son of his brother Cosmo, who had gone to Jamaica), and another, James Arthur Gordon (who was son of the twelfth laird), at Jeréz.

But the sense of adventure was also strong on the family at home, especially on Alexander, the eleventh laird, who was executed as a spy at Brest in 1769. A peculiarly handsome youth, who succeeded to the estates in 1760, he started life as an ensign in the 49th Foot in 1766. He narrowly escaped being run through in a brawl at Edinburgh, and, taking a hair of the dog that had nearly bitten him, he fatally pinked a butcher in the city of Cork in 1767. He escaped to La Rochelle, and ultimately got into touch with Lord Harcourt, our Ambassador in Paris. Harcourt sent the reckless lad to have a look at 4 the fortifications of Brest. He was caught in the act; Harcourt repudiated all knowledge of him; and he was executed November 24, 1769, gay to the end, and attracting the eyes of every pretty girl in the town. The guillotine which did its worst is still preserved in the arsenal at Brest, and the whole story is set forth with legal precision in the transactions of the Societé Academique de Brest.

Poor Alexander was succeeded as laird by his younger brother Charles Edward (1750-1832), who became an officer in the Northern Fencibles, and was not without his share of adventure, which curiously enough arose out of his brother’s regiment, the 49th. He married as his second wife Catherine Mercer, the daughter of James Mercer, the poet, who had been a major in that regiment. In 1797, his commanding officer, Colonel John Woodford, who had married his chief, the Duke of Gordon’s, sister, bolted at Hythe with the lady, from whom the laird of Wardhouse duly got a divorce. That did not satisfy Gordon, who thrashed his colonel with a stick in the streets of Ayr. Of course he was court-martialled, but Woodford’s uncle-in-law, Lord Adam Gordon, as Commander-in-Chief of North Britain, smoothed over the sentence of dismissal from the Fencibles by getting the angry husband appointed paymaster in the Royal Scots.

Gordon’s eldest son John David, by his first marriage (with the grand-daughter of the Earl of Kilmarnock, who was executed at the Tower with Lord Lovat), had wisely kept out of temptation amid the peaceful family vineyards at Jeréz, from which he returned in 1832 to Wardhouse. But John David’s half-brother stayed at home and became Admiral Sir James Alexander Gordon (1782-1869), who as the “last of Nelson’s Captains” roused the admiration of Tom Hughes in a fine appreciation in Macmillan’s Magazine. Although he had lost his leg in the capture of the Pomone in 1812, he could stump on foot even as an old man all the way from Westminster to Greenwich 5 Hospital, of which he was the last Governor, and where you can see his portrait to this day.

Although John David Gordon succeeded to Wardhouse, his family remained essentially Spanish, and his own tastes, as his grandson, General Gordon, points out, were coloured by the character of the Peninsula. The General himself, as his autobiography shows in every page, has had his inherited Gay Gordonism aided and abetted by his associations with Spain and with Australia. His whole career has been full of enterprising adventure, and, while intensely interested in big imperial problems, he has an inevitable sense of the colour and rhythm of life as soldier, as policeman, as sportsman, as actor, as journalist. He is, in short, a perfect example of a Gay Gordon. 6



Alexander (Gordon), 1st Earl of Huntly (died 1470).
Adam Gordon, Dean of Caithness (died 1528).
George Gordon (died 1575).
I of Beldorney, Aberdeenshire.
Alexander Gordon (alive 1602).
II of Beldorney.
George Gordon,
III of Beldorney.
  Alexander Gordon,
of Killyhuntly, Badenoch.
George Gordon,
IV of Beldorney.
  James Gordon (died 1642),
of Tirriesoul and Camdell.
John Gordon (died 1694),
V of Beldorney.
  Alexander Gordon,
IX of Beldorney (buying it in 1703).
John Gordon,
VI of Beldorney.
Frittered his fortune.
Died 1698.
  James Gordon,
X of Beldorney.
Bought Kildrummy.
Got Wardhouse by marriage.
John Gordon,
VII of Beldorney.
  John Gordon (died 1760),
XI of Beldorney.
James Gordon,
Went to U.S.A.
Lost sight of.
   Alexander Maria Gordon,
XII of Beldorney.
Executed at Brest, 1769.
Charles Edward Gordon
(1754-1832). Sold Beldorney.
Of Wardhouse & Kildrummy.
   John David Gordon.
(1774-1850) Went to Spain.
Inherited Wardhouse.
Admiral Sir J. A. Gordon.
One of Nelson's Captains.
Pedro Carlos Gordon,
of Wardhouse,
Carlos Pedro Gordon,
of Wardhouse.
Juan José Gordon,
of Wardhouse,
   Carlos Pedro Gordon,
José Maria Gordon,
Author of this book.
   Rafael Gordon,
of Wardhouse.
Lives in Madrid.
Born 1873.


Part I


Wardhouse, Aberdeenshire

Kildrummy Castle, Aberdeenshire






At a period in the history of Scotland, we find that a law was passed under the provisions of which every landowner who was a Catholic had either to renounce his adherence to his Church or to forfeit his landed property to the Crown. This was a severe blow to Scotsmen, and history tells that practically every Catholic laird preferred not to have his property confiscated, with the natural result that he ceased—at any rate publicly—to take part in the outward forms of the Catholic religion. Churches, which Catholic families had built and endowed, passed into the hands of other denominations. Catholic priests who—in devotion to their duty—were willing to risk their lives, had to practise their devotions in secrecy.

My great grandfather, Charles Edward Gordon (1754-1832), then quite a young man, happened to be one of those lairds who submitted to the law, preferring to remain lairds. His younger brother, James Arthur (1759-1824), who chanced to be possessed in his own right of a certain amount of hard cash, began to think seriously. It appeared to him that, if a law could be passed confiscating landed property unless the owners gave up the Catholic religion, there was no reason why another law should not be passed confiscating actual cash under similar conditions. The more he turned this over in his mind, the surer he 12 became that at any rate the passing of such a second law could not be deemed illogical. He was by no means the only one of the younger sons of Scots families who thought likewise. It seemed to him that it would be wise to leave the country—at any rate for a while.

In those days there were no Canadas, Australias and other new and beautiful countries appealing to these adventurous spirits, but there were European countries where a field was open for their enterprise. My great grand-uncle—youthful as he was—decided that the South of Spain, Andalusia, La Tierra de Santa Maria, would suit him, and he removed himself and his cash to that sunny land. It is there that the oranges flourish on the banks of the Guadalquivir. It is there that the green groves of olive trees yield their plentiful crops. It is there that the vine brings forth that rich harvest of grapes whose succulent juice becomes the nectar of the gods in the shape of sherry wine. He decided that white sherry wine offered the best commercial result and resolved to devote himself to its production. Business went well with him. It was prosperous; the wine became excellent and the drinkers many.

By this time his brother had married and the union had been blessed with two sons. When the elder was fifteen years old, it appeared to his uncle James Arthur that it would be a good thing if his brother, the laird, would send the boy to Spain, to be brought up there, with a view to his finally joining him in the business. He decided, therefore, to visit his brother in Scotland, with this object in view. He did so, but the laird did not appear to be kindly inclined to this arrangement. He was willing, however, to let his second son go to Spain, finish his education, and then take on the wine business. This was not what the uncle wanted. He wished for the elder son, the young laird, or for nobody at all. The matter fell through and the uncle returned to the Sunny South.

A couple of years later on, the laird changed his mind, 13 wrote to his brother, and offered to send his eldest son, John David (1774-1850). A short time afterwards the young laird arrived in Spain. His father, the laird, lived for many years, during which time—after the death of his uncle—his eldest son had become the head of one of the most successful sherry wine firms that existed in those days in Spain. He had married in Spain and had had a large family, who had all grown up, and had married also in that country, and it was not till he was some sixty years of age that his father, the laird, died and he succeeded to the Scots properties of Wardhouse and Kildrummy Castle.

The law with reference to the forfeiture of lands held by Catholics had become practically void, so that he duly succeeded to the estates. The old laird had driven over in his coach to the nearest Catholic place of worship and had been received back into the Church of his fathers. Afterwards he had given a great feast to his friends, at which plenty of good old port was drunk to celebrate the occasion. He drove back to his home, and on arrival at the house was found dead in the coach. So we children, when told this story, said that he had only got to Heaven by the skin of his teeth.

His successor, my grandfather, John David, died in 1850 in Spain, and my father’s elder brother, Pedro Carlos (1806-1857), became the laird and took up his residence in the old home. He broke the record in driving the mail coach from London to York without leaving the box seat. And later on, in Aberdeen, he drove his four-in-hand at full gallop into Castlehill Barracks. Anyone who knows the old gateway will appreciate the feat.

On his death in 1857, his son, my cousin, Juan José (1837-1866), succeeded to the property. He, of course, had also been brought up in Spain, and was married to a cousin, and sister of the Conde de Mirasol, but had no children. When he took up his residence as laird, most of his friends, naturally, were Spanish visitors whom he 14 amused by building a bull-fighting ring not far from the house, importing bulls from Spain and holding amateur bull-fights on Sunday afternoons. This was a sad blow indeed to the sedate Presbyterians in the neighbourhood. His life, however, was short, and, as he left no children, the properties passed to my father, Carlos Pedro (1814-1897), by entail.

It is necessary to have written this short history of the family, from my great grandfather’s time, to let you know how I came to be born in Spain, and how our branch of the family was the only one of the clan which remained Catholic in spite of the old Scots law.

I would like to tell you something now about Jeréz, the place where I was born, and where the sherry white wine comes from. Yet all the wine is not really white. There is good brown sherry, and there is just as good golden sherry, and there is Pedro Ximenez. If you haven’t tasted them, try them as soon as you get the chance. You’ll like the last two—and very much—after dinner. I am not selling any, but you’ll find plenty of firms about Mark Lane who will be quite willing to supply you if you wish.

Well, Jeréz is a town of some sixty thousand inhabitants. Don’t be afraid. This is not going to be a guidebook, for Jeréz has not a single public building worth the slightest notice, not even a church of which it can be said that it is really worth visiting compared with other cities, either from an architectural or an artistic point of view. It is wanting in the beautiful and wonderful attractions which adorn many of the Andalusian towns that surround it. In Jeréz there are no glorious edifices dating back to the occupation of the Moors (except the Alcazar—now part cinema-show). There are no royal palaces taken from the Moors by Spanish kings. There is no Seville Cathedral, no Giralda. There is no Alhambra as there is in Granada. There are only parts of the ancient walls that enclosed the old city. The Moors apparently 15 thought little of Jeréz; they evidently had not discovered the glories of sherry white wine.

Jeréz seems to have devoted all its energies to the erection of wine-cellars, the most uninteresting buildings in the world. A visitor, after a couple of days in Jeréz, would be tired of its uninteresting streets, badly kept squares and absence of any places of interest or picturesque drives. Probably he would note the presence of the stately and silent ciguenas, who make their home and build their nests upon the top of every church steeple or tower. They are not exciting, but there they have been for years, and there they are now, and it is to be presumed that there they will remain. Yet, Jeréz is a pleasant place to live in. Although there is only one decent hotel in it, there are excellent private houses, full of many comforts and works of art, though their comfort and beauty is all internal. They are mostly situated in side streets, with no attempt at any outside architectural effects.

The citizens of Jeréz are quite content with Jeréz. They love to take their ease, and have a decided objection to hustle. The womenkind dearly love big families: the bigger they are the better they like them. They are devoted to their husbands and children, and live for them. The men cannot be called ambitious, but they are perfectly satisfied with their quiet lives, and with looking after their own businesses. They love to sit in their clubs and cafés, sit either inside or at tables on the pavements in the street—and talk politics, bull-fights, and about the weather, in fact any topic which comes handy; and they are quite content, as a rule, to talk on, no matter if they are not being listened to. This habit of general talk without listeners is also common to the ladies. To be present at a re-union of ladies and listen to the babble of their sweet tongues is a pleasure which a lazy man can thoroughly enjoy.

The local Press is represented principally by three or four—mostly one-sheet—newspapers, which you can read 16 in about three minutes. Of course their all-absorbing interest, as regards sport, is centred in the bull-fights. For three months before the bull-fighting season begins—which is about Easter—people talk of nothing but bulls and matadors. The relative merits of the different studs which are to supply, not only the local corridas, but practically the tip-top ones throughout the chief cities of Spain, are discussed over and over again, while the admirers of Joselito (since killed) are as lavish in words and gestures of praise as are those of Belmonte, while, at the same time, the claims of other aspirants to championship as matadors are heard on every side.

Once the season begins—it lasts until towards the end of October—the whole of everybody’s time is, of course, mostly taken up in commenting upon the merits or demerits of each and every corrida. There does not appear to be time for much else to be talked about then; unless an election comes along, and that thoroughly rouses the people for the time being. It is of very little use for anyone to attempt to describe upon what lines elections are run in Spain. One has to be there to try and discover what principles guide them. For instance, the last time I was in Spain Parliamentary elections were to take place the very week after Easter Sunday. On that day the first bull-fight of the season was to take place at Puerto Santa Maria, a small town about ten miles from Jeréz. Of course a large number of sports, with their ladies, motored or drove over for the occasion.

There was an immense crowd at Puerto Santa Maria. In the south of Spain, especially at a bull-fight, Jack is as good as his master, and each one has to battle through the crowd as best he can. I personally was relieved of my gold watch, sovereign case and chain in the most perfect manner; so perfect that I had not the least idea when or how it was taken. I must confess I felt very sad over it; not so much over my actual loss, but, I did think it most unkind and thoughtless of my fellow townsmen to select 17 me as their victim. The next morning I reported my loss to the Mayor of Jeréz. He didn’t appear to be much concerned about it, and he informed me that he had already had some forty similar complaints of the loss of watches, pocket-books, etc., from visitors to Puerto Santa Maria from Jeréz the day previous. He had had a telegram also from the Mayor of Puerto Santa Maria to the effect that some seventy like cases had been reported to him in that town.

“So that, after all,” he said, “I don’t really see any particular reason why you should be hurt. I may tell you that you are in good company. General Primo de Rivera” (who was then Captain-General Commanding the Military District) “was with a friend when he saw a man take the latter’s pocket-book from inside his coat. He fortunately grabbed the thief before he could make off. One of the Ministers of State was successfully robbed of some thirty pounds in notes; while a friend of yours” (mentioning a business man in Jeréz who hadn’t even been to the bull-fight, but had been collecting rents at Cadiz, and was returning through Puerto Santa Maria home) “was surprised to find on his arrival there, that the large sum, which should have been in his pocket had evidently passed, somehow or other, into some other fellow’s hands.”

This, of course, somewhat cheered me up, because, after all, there is no doubt that a common affliction makes us very sympathetic. I asked him how he accounted for this wonderful display of sleight-of-hand.

“Oh,” he said, “don’t you know that the elections are on this week, and that usually, before the elections, the party in power takes the opportunity of letting out of gaol as many criminals as it dares, hoping for and counting on their votes? Of course, the responsibility falls on the heads of the police for making some effort to protect our easy-going and unsuspicious visitors at such times. The job is too big for us at the time being, with the result that these gentry make a good harvest. But yet, after all, we 18 are not really downhearted about it, because, after the elections are over, especially if the opposition party gets in, we round them all up and promptly lock them up again.”

The explanation, though quite clear, didn’t seem to me to be of much help towards getting back my goods and chattels, so I ventured to ask again whether he thought there was any chance at all of my recovering them, or of his recovering them for me. He smiled a sweet smile, and—shaking his head, I regret to say, in a negative way—answered that he thought there was not the slightest hope, as, from the description of the watch, chain, etc., which I had given him, he had no doubt that they had by that time passed through the melting pot, so that it was not even worth while to offer a reward.

The house where I was born was at that time one of the largest in the city. It is situated almost in the centre of Jeréz, and occupies a very large block of ground, for in addition to the house itself and gardens, the wine-cellars, the cooperage, stables and other accessory buildings attached to them, were all grouped round it. To-day a holy order of nuns occupies it as a convent. No longer is heard the crackling of the fires and the hammering of the iron hoops in the cooperage. No longer the teams of upstanding mules, with the music of their brass bells, are seen leaving the cellars with their load of the succulent wine. No longer is the air filled with that odour which is so well known to those whose lives are spent amidst the casks in which the wine is maturing. Instead, peace and quiet reign. Sacrificing their time to the interests of charity, the holy sisters dwell in peace.

Two recollections of some of my earliest days are somewhat vivid. I seem to remember hearing the deep sound of a bell in the streets, looking out of the window and seeing an open cart—full of dead bodies—stopping before the door of a house, from which one more dead body was added to the funeral pile. That was the year of the great 19 cholera epidemic. And again, I remember hearing bells early, very early, in the morning. We knew what that was. It was the donkey-man coming round to sell the donkeys’ milk at the front door, quite warm and frothy.

My early school days in Spain were quite uneventful. After attending a day-school at Jeréz, kept by Don José Rincon, I went into the Jesuit College at Puerto Real for a year. A new college was being built at Puerto Santa Maria, to which the school was transferred, and it has been added to since. It is now one of the best colleges in the south of Spain.

On the death of my cousin, the entailed properties—as I have said—became my father’s, and the family left Spain to take up its residence in Scotland. 20



The journey from Jeréz to Scotland must have been full of interest and excitement for my father. Our party numbered about thirty of all ages, down to a couple of babies, my sister’s children. My father found it more practicable to arrange for what was then called a family train to take us through Spain and France. We travelled during the day and got shunted at night. Sometimes we slept in the carriages; other times at hotels. In either case, as a rule, there were frequent and—for a time—hard-fought battles among us young ones of both sexes for choice of sleeping places.

At meal times there were often considerable scrambles. We all seemed to have the same tastes and we all wanted the same things. My parents (who, poor dears, had to put up with us, and the Spanish nurses and servants, who had never left their own homes before, and who, the farther we got, seemed to think that they were never going to return to them) at last came to the conclusion that any attempts at punishing us were without satisfactory results, and that appealing to our love for them (for it was no use appealing to our love for each other) and our honour paid better.

My elder sisters and brothers, who were in the party, knew English. I did not. Not a word except two, and those were “all right,” which, immediately on arrival at Dover and all the way to London, I called out to every person I met.

On reaching Charing Cross the party was to have a meal previous to starting up to Scotland. The station 21 restaurant manager was somewhat surprised when my father informed him that he wanted a table for about thirty persons, which, however, he arranged for. The Spanish nurses and women-servants were dressed after the style of their own country. They, of course, wore no hats, their hair being beautifully done with flowers at the side (which had to be provided for them whether we wished it or not), and characteristic shawls graced their shoulders. So that the little party at the table was quite an object of interest, not only to those others who were dining at the time, but also to a great many ordinary passengers who practically were blocking the entrance to the restaurant in order to obtain a glimpse of the foreigners.

All went well until the chef, with the huge sirloin of beef upon the travelling table, appeared upon the scene. No sooner did he begin to carve and the red, juicy gravy of the much under-done beef appeared, than the nurses rose in a body, dropped the babies and bolted through the door on to the platform. They thought they were going to be asked to eat raw meat. Of course, they had never seen a joint in Spain. On their leaving, we, the younger members of the family, were told to run after them and catch them if we could. So off we went, and then began such a chase through the station as I doubt if Charing Cross had ever witnessed before or has since. The station police and porters, not understanding what was going on, naturally started chasing and catching us youngsters, much to the amusement and bewilderment of those looking on. Meanwhile my father stood at the entrance of the restaurant, sad but resigned, and it was after some considerable time and after the removal of the offending joint, that the family party was again gathered together in peace and quiet, and shortly afterwards proceeded on the last stage of its journey and arrived safely at the old family home, which stands amidst some of the most beautiful woods in Scotland. It is very old, but not so old as the family itself. 22

My father decided that it would be better for me to get a little knowledge of the English language before he sent me to school, so that I might be able to look after myself when there. I was handed over to the care of the head gamekeeper, Thomas Kennedy. Dear Tom died three years ago, at a very old age; rather surprising he lived so long, as he had for years to look after me. To him, from the start, I was “Master Joseph,” and “Master Joseph” I remained until I embraced the old chap the last time I saw him before he died. It was from Tom Kennedy that I first learnt English, mixed with the broad Aberdeen-Scots, which when combined with my Spanish accent was practically a language of my own.

I wonder if Britons have any idea how difficult it is, especially for one whose native tongue is of the Latin origin, to get a thorough knowledge and grasp of their language. To my mind, the English language is not founded on any particular rules or principles. No matter how words are spelt, they have got to be pronounced just as the early Britons decided. There is no particular rule; if you want to spell properly, you pretty well have to learn to spell each word on its own. This is proved by the fact that the spelling of their own language correctly is certainly not one of the proud achievements of their own race. In the good old days before the War it may be stated without exaggeration that one of the greatest stumbling blocks in the public examinations—especially those for entrance into Woolwich and Sandhurst—was the qualification test in spelling. There must be thousands of candidates still alive who well remember receiving the foolscap blue envelopes notifying them that there was no further necessity for their presence at the examination as they had failed to qualify in spelling. As regards the pronunciation of words as you find them written, it is quite an art to hit them off right. Still, perseverance, patience and a good memory finally come to the rescue, and the result is then quite gratifying. 23

It was from Tom Kennedy that I also learnt to shoot, fish, ride and drink, for Tom always had a little flask of whisky to warm us up when we were sitting in the snow and waiting for the rabbits to bolt, or—what often took a great deal longer time—waiting for the ferrets to come out. And—last but not least—he taught me to smoke. I well remember Tom’s short black pipe and his old black twist tobacco. I shall never forget the times I had and the physical and mental agonies I endured in trying to enjoy that pipe.

So six months passed away and I was sent, with my two elder brothers, to the Oratory School in Edgware Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham. The head of the school was the celebrated Doctor, and later on Cardinal, Newman. Even to this day my recollections of that ascetic holy man are most vivid. At that time his name was a household word in religious controversy. He stood far above his contemporaries, whether they were those who agreed with or differed from his views. He was respected by all, loved by those who followed him; never hated, but somewhat feared, by those who opposed him. I remember that one of the greatest privileges to which the boys at our school at that time looked forward, was being selected to go and listen to Doctor Newman playing the violin. Five or six of us were taken to his study in the evening. In mute silence, with rapt attention, we watched the thin-featured man, whose countenance to us seemed to belong even then to a world beyond this, and we listened to what to us seemed the sweetest sounding music.

But yet there are other recollections which were not so pleasant. The head prefect was a man of very different physical qualities. Dear Father St. John Ambrose erred on the side of physical attainments. He was by no means thin or ascetic. He possessed a powerful arm, which he wielded with very considerable freedom when applying the birch in the recesses of the boot-room. I must admit that my interviews with Father St. John in the boot-room 24 were not infrequent. But, after all, the immediate effect soon passed away and the incident was forgotten. Still, to my surprise, when the school accounts were rendered at the end of the year, my father was puzzled over one item, namely, “Birches—£1 2s. 6d.” (at the rate of half a crown each)! He asked me what it meant, and I explained to him as best I could that dear Father St. John was really the responsible person in the matter, and I had no doubt my father would get a full explanation from him if he wrote. But it brought home to me the recollection of nine visits to the boot-room with that amiable and much-respected Father St. John. I have within the last few months met again, after my long absence in other countries, several of my school mates. They are all going strong and well, holding high positions in this world, and as devoted as ever to the old school at Edgbaston. One of them is now Viscount Fitzalan, Viceroy of Ireland.

When my two elder brothers left the Oratory, which I may say was a school where the boys were allowed very considerable liberty, my father must have thought, no doubt, when he remembered the twenty-two and sixpence for birches, that it would be wise to send me somewhere where the rules of the college were, in his opinion, somewhat stricter. So off I was sent, early in 1870, to dear old Beaumont College, the Jesuit school, situated in that beautiful spot on the River Thames just where the old hostelry The Bells of Ouseley still exists, at the foot of the range of hills which the glorious Burnham Beeches adorn. The original house was once the home of Warren Hastings. Four delightful years of school life followed. It was a pleasure to me to find that there was no extra charge for birches. The implement that was used to conserve discipline was not made out of the pliable birch tree, but of a very solid piece of leather with some stiffening to it—I fancy of steel—called a “ferrula.” This was applied to the palm of the hand, and not to where my old friend the birch found its billet. As the same ferrula 25 not only lasted a long time without detriment to itself, but, on the contrary, seemed rather to improve with age, the authorities were kind enough not to charge for its use.

No event of any particular interest, except perhaps being taught cricket by old John Lillywhite, with his very best top hat of those days, and battles fought on the football ground against rival colleges, occurred until the end of the third year. I happened to have come out, at the end of that year, top of my class. I had practically won most of the prizes. It was the custom of the school that the senior boys of the upper classes were permitted to study more advanced subjects than the school had actually laid down for the curriculum of that particular class for the year. These extra subjects were called “honours.” They were studied in voluntary time; the examinations therein and the marks gained in no way counted towards the result of the class examinations for the year.

These class examinations were held before the “honours” examination. A friend of mine in a higher class, who was sitting behind me in the study room, asked me if I’d like to read an English translation of “Cæsar.” I promptly said “Yes” and borrowed it, and was soon lost in its perusal, with my elbows on my desk and my head between my hands. Presently I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. I looked up to see the prefect of studies standing by me. He told me afterwards that he had thought, from the interest I was taking in my book, that I was reading some naughty and forbidden novel, which he intended to confiscate, of course, and probably read. He was surprised to find it was an old friend, “Cæsar.” Being an English translation it was considered to be a “crib.” He asked me where I had got it. I couldn’t give away my pal, just behind me, so I said I didn’t know. “Don’t add impertinence to the fact that you’ve got a ‘crib.’ Just tell me where you did get this book,” he remarked. “I don’t want to be impertinent,” I said, 26 “but I refuse to tell you.” “Very well, then,” he said, “go straight to bed.”

I heard nothing more on the subject till a few days afterwards, at the presentation of the prizes, the breaking-up day, on which occasion the parents and friends of the scholars were invited to be present. At an interval in the performance the prizes were presented. The prefect of studies would begin to read from the printed prize list, which all the visitors were supplied with, the names of all the fortunate prize winners in succession, from the highest to the lowest. As the name of each prize winner was called he stood up, walked to the table at which the prizes were presented, received his, and, after making a polite bow, returned to his seat.

When the prefect of studies reached the class to which I belonged he called out: “Grammar, first prize. Aggregate for the year, Joseph M. Gordon.” Upon which I rose from my seat, and for a moment the applause of the audience, which was freely given to all prize winners, followed. I was on the point of moving off towards the table in question, when, as the applause ceased, the voice of the prefect of studies once more made itself clearly heard. It was only one word he said, but that word was “Forfeited.” No more. I sat down again. Then he continued: “First prize in Latin, J. M. G.” I must admit I didn’t know what to do, but I stood up all right again. The audience didn’t quite appear to understand what was going on, but the prefect of studies gave them no time to commence any further applause, for that one word, “Forfeited,” came quickly out of his mouth. Down again I sat. However, I immediately made up my mind, though, of course, not knowing how many prizes I had won, to stand up every time and sit down as soon as that old word “Forfeited” came along, which actually happened about four times.

I often wonder now how I really did look on that celebrated occasion. But I remember making up my mind 27 there and then that I would remain in that school for one year more, but no more, even if I was forced to leave the country, and to win every prize I could that next year, and make sure, as the Irishman says, that they would not be “forfeited.” So I remained another year. I was fortunate enough to win the prizes—I even won the silver medal, special prize for religion—and it was a proud day for me when I got them safely into my bag, which I did as soon as possible after the ceremony, in case someone else should come along and attempt to “forfeit” them. I had taken care to order a special cab of my own and to have my portmanteau close to the front door, so that I could get away at the very earliest opportunity to Windsor Station.

But I had not forgotten that I had made up my mind to leave the school then, so on my arrival at home I duly informed my venerable father that I had made up my mind to be a soldier, and that as I was then over 17, and as candidates for the Woolwich Academy were not admitted after reaching their eighteenth birthday, it was necessary that I should leave school at once and go to a crammer. My father made no objection at all, but he said, “As your time is so short to prepare, we will at once go back to London and get a tutor.” Considering this was the first day of my well-earned holidays, it was rather rough; but I was adamant about not returning to school, so turned southwards with my few goods and chattels, except my much-cherished prizes, which I left with the family, and proceeded to London on the next day.

So I lost my holidays, but I got my way.

My father selected a man called Wolfram, who up to that time had been master at several old-fashioned crammers’, but was anxious to start an establishment of his own, and I became his first pupil at Blackheath. As I had practically only some five months odd to prepare for the only examination that would be held before I reached my eighteenth birthday, I entered into an agreement 28 with Mr. Wolfram that I would work as hard as ever he liked, and for as many hours as he wished, from each Monday morning till each Saturday at noon, and that from that hour till Sunday night I meant to enjoy myself and have a complete rest, so as to be quite fresh to tackle the next week’s work. This compact was carried out and worked admirably, at any rate from my point of view. All went quite satisfactorily, for when the results of the examination were published I had come out twenty-second on the list out of some seventeen hundred candidates, and as there were thirty-three vacancies to be filled, I was amongst the fortunate ones. As I had found it so difficult to learn the English language, I was surprised that I practically received full marks in that subject.

There was generally an interval of six weeks from the time when the actual examination was completed till the publication of the results. The examination took place late in the year, and as my people generally went to Spain for the winter, they decided to take me with them, which pleased me immensely. We arrived back at Jeréz, which I had not seen since our departure from there in the family train some seven years before, and, considering myself quite a grown-up young man, I looked forward to a lot of fun. The journey took some time. We stayed in Paris, Bayonne, Madrid, and finally reached Jeréz. The Carlist War had then been going on for three or four years (of this more anon), and caused us much delay in that part of the journey which took us across the Pyrenees, as the railways had been destroyed.

By the time we arrived in Jeréz some five weeks had elapsed, with the result that, a very few days after our arrival, just as I was beginning to enjoy myself thoroughly, a telegram arrived from the War Office, notifying me that I had been one of the successful candidates at the recent examinations and that I was to report myself at Woolwich in ten days’ time.

This telegram arrived one evening when a masked ball 29 was being held at one of the Casinos. Being carnival time, it was the custom at these balls for the ladies to go masked, but not so the men. This was a source of much amusement to all, as the women were able to know who their partners were and chaff them at pleasure, while the men had all their time cut out to recognize the gay deceivers. At the beginning of the ball I had seen a masked lady who appeared to me just perfection. She was sylph-like; her figure was slight, of medium height, feet as perfect as Spanish women’s feet can be; a head whose shape rivalled those of Murillo’s angels, blue-black tresses adorning it, and eyes—oh! what eyes—looking at you through the openings in the mask. I lost no time in asking her to dance. I did not expect she would know who I was, but she lost no time in saying “Yes,” and round we went. I found I didn’t like to leave her, so I asked her to dance again—and again. She was sweetness itself. She always said “Yes.” It was in the middle of this that I was informed by my father of the telegram to return to Woolwich. I wished Woolwich in a very hot place. Soon came the time for the ladies to unmask. She did so, and I beheld, in front of me, a married aunt of mine! Going back to Woolwich didn’t then appear to me so hard.




I was finishing my second term at Woolwich and the Christmas holidays were close at hand.

I had, during the term, been closely following the fortunes of Don Carlos and his army in the northern provinces of Spain. Year after year he had been getting a stronger and stronger hold, and the weakness of the Republican Governments in Madrid had assisted him very materially. There was no one—had been no one—for some years to lead the then so-called Government troops to any military advantage in the field against him.

General Prim, the Warwick of Spain, had been assassinated in Madrid. The Italian Prince, Asmodeus, to whom he had offered the Crown and who for just over a year had reigned as King of Spain, was glad to make himself scarce by quietly disappearing over the borders to Portugal. A further period of Republican Government was imposed upon the country, equally as inefficient as it had been before. The star of the Carlist Cause seemed to be in the ascendant. Never—up to that date—had Don Carlos’s army been so numerous or better equipped. The Carlist factories were turning out their own guns and munitions. They held excellent positions from which to strike southwards towards Madrid, and on which to fall back for protection if necessary.

Everything pointed to a successful issue of their enterprise, backed up as it was by the Church of Rome, and tired and worn out as the country was by successive revolutions, mutinies of troops, unstable Governments and hopeless bankruptcy. So I thought my chance had come 31 to see some fighting of real ding-dong nature by paying Don Carlos a personal visit. Not that I thought my military qualifications, attained by a few months’ residence at the “Shop” as a cadet, in any way qualified me to be of any real military value to Don Carlos, but rather because I thought that Don Carlos’s experience, after several years of the waging of war, would be of some considerable value to myself. Thus it came about that I decided to spend the forthcoming Christmas holidays attached to his army, being satisfied that I should be welcome, for I had a first cousin and two other relations who had been A.D.C.’s to Don Carlos from the beginning of the campaign.

I duly made application to our Governor at the “Shop,” General Sir Lintorn Simmons, R.E., for permission to proceed to Spain during the holidays and be accredited as an English officer. This, of course, was refused, as I was not an officer, only a cadet, and fairly young at that. But I was told that if I chose to proceed to Spain on my own responsibility I was at liberty to do so, provided I returned to Woolwich on the date at which the new term began.

I have my doubts whether any young fellow of eighteen ever felt so elated, so important, so contented as I did on my journey from London to Bayonne. As I had my British passport I did not feel in the least concerned as to not being allowed to cross the frontier, which happened to be at the time in the hands of the Government troops, into Spain. The railways in the north of Spain had practically ceased to exist. The journey was made along the old roads in every kind of coach that had been on the road previous to the construction of the railways across the Pyrenees. One particular coach I travelled in was practically a box on four wheels, with a very narrow seat running on each side, and very low in the roof. Going downhill the horses—such as they were—went as fast as they could, and every time we struck a hole in the road down went the box, up we banged our heads against the 32 roof, and then we collapsed quietly on to the floor, beautifully mixed up.

This little affair happened often, and it was made especially interesting by the fact that we had two apparently youthful lady travellers. They had started with us from Bayonne. They were very quietly dressed, and—so far as we could see, through the extremely thick veils which they wore about their heads, and from occasional ringlets of hair peeping out here and there—they were quite the type of the dark Spanish beauties. They had chosen the two innermost seats inside the coach, and I happened to occupy the seat on one side next to one of them.

In those days cigarette-smoking by ladies was quite uncommon, much less was the smell of a strong cigar acceptable to them. However, the journey from Bayonne to the border was somewhat long. I wanted a smoke. I had a cigar. I politely asked the ladies whether they objected to my lighting up. They did not speak, but they—as it seemed to me—gracefully nodded “Yes.” So I lit up, and presently I began to notice that the one next to me, towards whose face the smoke sometimes drifted, seemed to like it very much, and, I would almost have said that she was trying to sniff some of it herself. A little later on, when we came to an unusually big rut in the road, we all went up as usual against the roof, and all came down again, missing the narrow seat. Extracting ourselves from our awkward positions, I came across a foot which certainly seemed to me not to belong to a lady, but, as it happened, it was a foot belonging to one of the ladies. I began to think but said nothing, and I also began to watch and look. Their hands had woollen gloves on, very thick, so that it was difficult to say what the hand was like inside. I may say that the three other passengers were Frenchmen, two of whom were very young and apparently unable to speak Spanish. As we were nearing the frontier I spoke to the ladies on some trivial matter, and mentioned the fact that I was going into Spain and that I hoped to 33 see something of the fighting; that I was an Englishman, but that I had been born in Spain and that I knew personally Don Carlos and several of his officers, as well as many officers belonging to the Government troops. I noticed them interchanging looks as I told them my story, and presently we pulled up by the roadside at a little inn on the French side of the frontier. We were to wait there for some little time while the horses were changed, and we were glad to get out and stretch our limbs after our bumping experiences.

I watched them getting out of the coach, and it was quite evident to me that, considering they were ladies, they were blessed, each of them, with a very useful, handsome pair of understandings. I went inside the little inn, which boasted only, as far as I could see, one little room besides the big kitchen, and was having some tea when one of the ladies came into the room and, to my surprise, closed the door, put her back against it and said, “Will you promise not to give us away if we confide in you?” I said, “Certainly. I am not old enough yet to have given any ladies away, and I am not going to begin just now; so tell me anything you like. If I can help you I will.”

For an answer her woollen gloves were whipped off, her hands, which were a very healthy brown colour, went up to her face, and—quite in a very awkward manner for a lady—she battled with her veil. Up it went, finally. A very, very clean-shaved face, but showing that very dark complexion which many black-bearded men have, no matter how very, very cleanly they shave, was looking right at me. There was no need for much further explanation. He told me that she and her companion were two Carlist officers who were hoping to join their regiments but had to cross the belt of the Government troops to do so, and had decided to disguise themselves as women and take the risk. I suggested that the other lady should be asked to come in and hold a council of war. I told them that I myself was going to Don Carlos’s headquarters as 34 soon as I got the opportunity, and that the only trouble I foresaw was in dealing with the sentries and the guard at the frontier. Once past that it would be easy enough for them to get away unmolested. My next question was, “How much money have you ladies got? We all know the Spanish sentries, and I think their hands are always ready to receive some little douceur. There is but little luggage to be examined by them. If you two ladies remain inside the coach and be careful to cover your feet up, I’ll keep them employed as far as possible in overhauling the luggage. I’ll square, as far as I can, the driver not to leave his box, but to be ready to start as quick as I tell him to, and, by generous application of douceurs, I’ll try to so interest the guards that they will have but little time to make any inquiries as regards your two selves.” All went well. We got to the frontier, the commandant of the guard and the sentries were so taken up in counting the tips I gave them and dividing them equitably amongst themselves that they neither examined the luggage nor did they even look inside the coach. I hustled the three Frenchmen into the coach, after telling them that it was very, very important that we should proceed at once, shouted to the driver, “Anda, amigo—corre!” with the result that the horses jumped off at a bound, and I just managed to throw myself into the inside of the coach, very nearly reaching the ample laps of my two delicate lady friends.

The next day we arrived without incident at a small village, somewhat north of Elisondo, which village was then in the hands of the Carlists. Here my two lady friends changed their sex, and we passed a very pleasant evening with the Mayor of the town, who had been able for some months previously, to be a Republican of the most determined character while the town was occupied by the Government troops, and to be a Carlist, second to none in his enthusiasm for the Carlist cause, as soon as the Carlist troops took possession of it again.

Alfonso XII. (1874-1886) at the time of his accession

The Prince Imperial

His last portrait, painted from life at Woolwich by Olivier Pichat




I arrived at the headquarters of the Carlist Army, the stronghold of Estella, about the middle of January, 1875. Estella had been the seat of Government of the first Don Carlos in the earlier war.

On December 31, 1874, young Alfonso had been proclaimed King of Spain. His accession to the throne had taken place earlier than the Civil Government, then in power in Madrid, had intended. Its members were Royalists, and were preparing the way for the restoration of Alfonso to the throne, but were not anxious to hasten it until their plans were matured. Sagasta was their Civil Head; Bodega, Minister for War; Primo de Rivera, Captain-General of New Castile, all powerful with the soldiers then under his command. The man who forced their hands was General Martinez Campos, a junior general. A mile outside a place called Murviedro he harangued 2,000 officers and soldiers, then camped there, on December 24, 1874. The officers were already known to him as favourable to Alfonso. They applauded him enthusiastically, the men followed, and they there and then swore “to defend with the last drop of their blood the flag raised in face of the misfortunes of their country as a happy omen of redemption, peace and happiness.” (December 24, 1874.) The fat was in the fire. Those who were delaying the Pronunciamento had to give it their support, however much they considered it inexpedient. The Commander-in-Chief of the Army in the Field, Jovellar, and his Chief of the Staff, Arcaguarra, were also Royalists at heart. Jovellar hastened to instruct his 36 generals openly to acknowledge Alfonso as their King, as King of Spain.

One general, the Marquis del Castillo, was then commanding the Government troops in Valencia. He was a loyalist too, but he did not think it right to assist with the troops under his command in effecting a change of Government, practically to take part in a rebellion while facing the common enemy. Castillo prepared to resist the Pronunciamento and march against the troops at Murviedro. Jovellar frustrated his intentions and marched at the head of his troops against him. Castillo’s officers and soldiers fraternized with Jovellar’s troops, and Castillo was ordered back to Madrid.

Alfonso XII reached Barcelona January 9, 1875. Official functions, his entry into Madrid, the issuing of Proclamations, fully engaged his time. But he was most anxious to proceed north and place himself at the head of his troops to whom he owed so much. Amongst the Proclamations was one practically offering the Carlists complete amnesty and the confirmation of the local privileges of the Provinces where the Carlist cause was most in favour. Don Carlos rejected the offer with disdain. Alfonso then, early in February, 1875, proceeded north to the River Ebro, reviewed some 40,000 of his best troops and joined General Morriones.

Such was the political situation. The military situation was as follows: Don Carlos’s Army numbered some 30,000 men. The provinces from which they had been fed were becoming exhausted. On the other hand, Alfonso’s troops numbered about twice their strength, and their moral had been improved by the success of their Pronunciamento and the return of some of the best leaders to the command of groups of the Army. The Carlist mobile forces had been much weakened in numbers by the blockade of the old fortress of Pamplona, which had lasted a long time.

Alfonso, with the Army of General Morriones, marched 37 to the relief of Pamplona and successfully raised the blockade, February 6, 1875, forcing the Carlists backwards. The situation became most critical for the Carlists, as another Royalist Army, under General Laserta, was on the move to join Morriones in an attack on Estella. If this plan had succeeded it is probable that the war would have been finished there and then. Don Carlos, however, succeeded in inflicting a severe defeat on Laserta and completely upset the intentions of the Royalists. Alfonso returned to Madrid, having been only a fortnight with the Army. His presence was a source of embarrassment to the High Command.

I was able to be present at the retreat of the Carlist troops from the blockade of Pamplona, as well as the capture of Puente de Reina by Morriones, the defeat of Laserta, and other guerilla engagements. I had become so interested in the work in hand that I had over-stayed my leave by a very considerable period, and would either have to return at once and take my gruelling at the hands of our Governor at the “Shop,” or make up my mind to join the Carlists and become a soldier of fortune. I thought it out as best I could, and it seemed to me then that the experiences I had gained—of perhaps the most varied fighting that any similar campaign has supplied—might be considered of more advantage to my career as a soldier than a couple of extra months of mathematics, science and lectures at Woolwich, and that if I promptly returned and surrendered myself to the authorities I might perhaps be pardoned. So I collected my few goods and chattels, said good-bye to Don Carlos and my friends, and returned home by no means feeling so elated, happy and contented as I did on my outward journey.

On arriving in London I duly wrote to the Adjutant at Woolwich, informing him that I had arrived safely in England after my campaign in the North of Spain, and that the next day, which happened to be Tuesday, I would deliver myself as a prisoner, absent without leave, at the 38 Guard Room at 12 o’clock noon. This I did, and I was met by the gallant Adjutant, and a guard, and was promptly put under arrest. Some of my contemporaries may still remember the occasion of my return. Numerous had been the rumours about my doings. At times I was reported dead. At other times I was rapidly being promoted in the Carlist Army. I had also been taken prisoner by the Government troops, tried by court-martial, and sentenced to durance vile in the deep dungeons of some ancient fortress. Their sympathies for me had risen to enthusiasm or were lowered to zero, according to the rumours of the day, but they were all glad to see me back. Still they pitied me indeed, as they wondered amongst themselves what my fate was now to be.

The preliminary investigation into my disorderly conduct took place before the Colonel Commanding, and I was then remanded to be dealt with by the Governor. I was duly marched in to his august presence, under armed escort, and, after having had the charge of being absent without leave duly read to me, I was called upon by him to make any statement I wished with reference to my conduct.

As I have already said, I had learnt English only after I was thirteen years of age, and on joining at Woolwich I still spoke English with a considerable foreign accent, which perhaps had become more marked during my recent protracted visit to Don Carlos and his Army. I have always noticed that when one gets excited a foreign accent becomes more accentuated. It undoubtedly did on this occasion, especially when I endeavoured to give a description of some of the fighting in the course of my statement. I even ventured to ask that I might be given a piece of paper and a pencil to jot down the dispositions of the opposing forces which took part in one of our biggest fights. I had barely made the request when the Governor stopped me and said: “Do you mean to tell me that you have picked up a foreign accent like this during the short 39 time that you have been in Spain?” “Oh, no, sir, I have always had it. I mean, I’ve had it ever since I learnt English.”

Sir Lintorn looked serious when I said this. A smile flitted across the countenances of the Colonel Commanding and the Adjutant—and even of the escort. “When did you learn English—and where? And where do you come from?” “I learnt English,” I answered, “about five years ago at the Oratory at Edgbaston, Birmingham, and I spoke Spanish before that.” “What countryman are you, then?” “Well,” I said, “my father is Scotch, my mother is Irish, and I was born in Spain. I’m not quite sure what I am.”

This time the smile turned into suppressed laughter. General Simmons looked at me for a short instant. Then he, too, smiled and said, “Well, I am going to let you off. You must take your chance of getting through your examination, considering the time you’ve lost. I let you off because I feel that the experiences you have gained may be of good value to you.” Turning to the Adjutant he said, “March the prisoner out and release him. Tear up his crime sheet.”

I forget now the wonderful escapes from tight corners in the field, the glowing descriptions of the valour of the Carlists, the number of times that Staff Officers had asked for my advice as to the conduct of the war, and the many other extraordinary tarradiddles that I poured, night after night, into the willing ears of my astounded and bewildered fellow cadets. One curiosity, however, may be mentioned. Amongst the most energetic of Don Carlos’s officers was his sister, Princess Mercedes, who personally commanded a cavalry regiment for some considerable time during the war.

The rest of my stay at Woolwich was uneventful. I did manage to get through the examination at the end of the term, but this was chiefly owing to the generous help of those cadets in my term who personally coached me in 40 such subjects as I had missed. A year afterwards, at the end of the fourth term, the Royal Regiment of Artillery was short of officers. The numbers of cadets in the A Division leaving the “Shop” was not sufficient to fill the vacancies. Some eight extra commissions were offered to the fourth term cadets who were willing to forgo their opportunities of qualifying for the Royal Engineers by remaining for another term. A gunner was good enough for me, and I was duly gazetted to the regiment.

I am just here reminded of an incident which took place on the day on which His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge attended the Academy to bestow the commissions and present the prizes on the breaking-up day. The Prince Imperial of France had been a cadet with us. On that particular occasion he was presented with the prize for equitation, of which he was very proud. He was a good sport. He was very keen on fencing, but he had been taught on the French lines, and, as the French system was different from our English system he did not enter his name for the fencing prize. But he said that he would like to have a go with the foils against the winner of the prize. I had happened to win it. The little encounter was arranged as an interlude in the athletic exhibition forming part of the day’s function. We masked. We met. I was just starting to do the ceremonial fencing salute which generally preceded the actual hostilities, when he came to the engage, lunged, and had it not been for the button of the enemy’s foil and my leather jacket, there would have been short shrift for J. M. G. He quickly called “One to me.” Then I quickly lunged, got home, and called out, “One to me.” Next instant we both lunged again, with equal results. We would have finished each other’s earthly career if there had been no buttons and no leather jackets. The referee sharply called “Dead heat. All over.” We shook hands in the usual amicable way and had a good laugh over the bout. 41

We parted on that occasion on our different roads in life—he shortly afterwards to meet his untimely end in the wilds of South Africa. Later on I remember attending his funeral. His death was indeed a sad blow to his mother, the Empress Eugénie, whose hopes had been centred on him her only son. I well remember, as a youngster, when visiting Madrid with my mother, looking forward to be taken to see her mother, the Countess of Montijo, who, with my grandmother, had been lady-in-waiting to Her Majesty Queen Christina.

Just lately I was at Jeréz again, when the ex-Empress Eugénie motored from Gibraltar to Seville, accompanied by her nephew the Duke of Alba. They stopped for luncheon at the Hotel Cisnes. I had the honour of a conversation with her. Her brightness and her memory were quite unimpaired though in her ninety-fifth year. She recollected the incident of the fencing bout at which she had been present. Now she has passed away to her rest.

Gazetted Lieutenant, Royal Artillery, March, 1876, I was ordered to join at the Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich, in April. 42



While the exiled Prince Imperial was at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich another exiled Royal Prince, in the person of Alfonso XII, father of the present King and the successful claimant in the great Carlist struggle, who came to his own in 1875, was undergoing training in the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. I came to know him intimately during his stay in England owing to the fact that the Count of Mirasol, whose sister married my eldest brother, was his tutor and factotum.

I well remember what pleasure it was to me every time Mirasol asked me to spend the week-end with Alfonso in town. It was winter time, and one of our favourite resorts was Maskelyne and Cook’s. We were never tired of watching their wonderful tricks. One afternoon we went to their theatre, the Hall of Mysteries, with two young nephews of mine who had just come from Spain and did not know English. One of the feats we saw was that of a man standing on a platform leading from the stage to the back of the audience, and then rising when the lights were lowered towards the roof of the building. The audience were warned to keep quiet and still while this wonderful act took place. One of my young nephews, who had not understood the warning given, happened to be next the platform. When the lights were lowered and the man started on his aerial flight, my young nephew took my walking stick and struck the uprising figure. The lights went up and we were requested to leave the theatre. Alfonso protested, but Mirasol assured him that discretion was the best part of valour. 43

On the evening of December 30, I think, I was invited to dinner by Mirasol at Brown’s Hotel, Dover Street. I was surprised that the dinner-hour had been fixed at a quarter-past six p.m. I wondered where we were going afterwards. Was it a theatre, or was it one of those quiet but most enjoyable little dinners and dances which Alfonso’s friends arranged for him? In addition to the large number of wealthy Spaniards then living in London, many families whose sympathies had bound them to the monarchical cause had left Spain during the Republican régime and made London their home. I noticed when I arrived that Alfonso and Mirasol were in ordinary day dress. I again wondered how we were to finish up the evening.

It was at dinner that Mirasol said to me, “José Maria, you are in the presence of the King of Spain.” I rose and bowed to His Majesty. He stood up and, taking both my hands in his, said, “At last I have attained my throne. To-night I leave for Paris. My country wants me for its king. You, José Maria, my friend, are the first in England to be told the good news. I want you, my friend, to wish me ‘todas felicidades’ (all happiness). We leave to-night. To-morrow my Army will proclaim me King of Spain. Welcomed by the Army and the Civil Government, I will be received at Barcelona with the acclamations of my subjects, and thence to my capital, Madrid. To the members of your mother’s family who, during the sad years of my exile have so zealously devoted themselves to my cause, I owe a deep debt of gratitude which I shall never forget.”

I then told Alfonso that I had leave to go to Spain, my wish being to see the fighting and to be in it; but that, quite in ignorance of the fact that his succession to the throne was imminent, I had arranged to attach myself to Don Carlos, as my cousins on my father’s side were with him. “Go, by all means,” said Alfonso; “I know well that your father’s family have been zealous supporters 44 of Don Carlos’s cause. My country has been rent for years by the devotion of our people whose sympathies have been divided between Don Carlos and myself. Please God I may be able to unite them for the future welfare of Spain. My first act as King of Spain will be to offer a complete amnesty to all and one who cease their enmity to myself and my Government and are willing to assist me in establishing law and order and ensuring the happiness and prosperity of my countrymen, of our glorious Spain. Go to Carlos, certainly, but in case you wish to leave him and get some experience of our loyalist soldiers, Mirasol will give you a letter now, which I will sign, and which will make you a welcome guest of any of my generals. Good-bye. Come and see me, if you have time, in Spain.”

Mirasol gave me the letter and, with it in my pocket, I felt more than satisfied that I had the chance of my life, a chance given to few men to be a welcome guest in the field of battle of two opponents, one a king, the other one who, for long years, had striven hard to be a king.

The carriage was waiting and we left Brown’s Hotel for Charing Cross Station. Next day, December 31, 1874, Alfonso was proclaimed King of Spain. He landed at Barcelona on January 9, 1875.

For just a moment let me tell of Mirasol’s sad end. For some time after Alfonso’s restoration to the throne mutinies of soldiers and civil disturbances occurred throughout Spain. One of these mutinies took place in the Artillery Barracks in Madrid. Mirasol was an Artillery officer, and after the Coronation of Alfonso had again taken up his regimental duties. He received a message at his home one morning that the men at the barracks had mutinied. He started at once to the barracks, telling his wife not to be anxious and by no means to leave the house till his return. As he was approaching the barracks he was met by some of the mutineers. They stabbed him to death on the pavement. His wife had not 45 paid heed to his request. She waited for a little time, and could not resist her desire to follow him in spite of his advice. As she was nearing the entrance to the barracks she met a crowd. She asked what was happening. A bystander said, “The mutineers have just murdered the Count of Mirasol. There he lies.” Poor woman. Sad world, indeed. 46



When I left Don Carlos in Spain after my visit to his Army I little thought that we were again to come into close touch and I was to spend much time with him and my cousin, Pepe Ponce de Leon, his A.D.C. It was a few days after I had received my commission and I was enjoying my leave previous to joining up at Woolwich in April (1876), when (I think it was the morning of March 8) I received a telegram from the War Office asking me to call there as soon as possible.

As, for the next four or five months, I was a great deal with Don Carlos in London and in France, I think it will be of interest to my readers if I describe shortly the validity, or otherwise, of his claim to the throne of Spain. Ferdinand VII of Spain, when an old man, married in 1830 Dona Maria Cristina, a young girl, sister of Dona Carlota, wife of his brother, Francisco de Paula. Cristina was not only young but also clever and beautiful. Contrary to expectation, it was announced later on that the Queen was about to become a mother. If the expected child was a son, then of course that son would be the heir to the throne. If it was a daughter, the question of her right to the succession would arise! In 1713 Philip V had applied the Salic Law; Carlos IV had repealed it in 1789. Now Don Carlos, brother of Ferdinand VII, had been born in 1788 and therefore claimed the succession in case his brother Ferdinand died without male issue. On October 10, 1830, Cristina gave birth to a girl, the Infanta Isabella. In March of that same year Ferdinand had made a will bequeathing the Crown of Spain to the child about to be born, whether male or female. 47

Ferdinand, who had become very ill, fell again under the influence of the clerics and of the supporters of his brother, Don Carlos, who induced him to revoke his will. However, to the surprise of everybody, Ferdinand recovered, and under the direct influence of Dona Carlota, Cristina’s sister, he tore up the document and, before a representative assembly of his Ministers of State, swore that he had repealed his will only under direct pressure while sick to death. Ferdinand’s illness had become so severe that Cristina was appointed Regent, and acted as such till January 4, 1833, when Ferdinand recovered. On June 20, 1833, Ferdinand, still most anxious to secure the throne to his offspring, whether male or female, convened a Cortes at Madrid which confirmed his wishes. On September 29 he died. Cristina became Regent and the Infanta Isabella Queen of Spain. Don Carlos refused to recognize Isabella’s rights to the throne. The enactments of Philip V and Ferdinand—no matter by whom made—could not affect his own divine rights, as all such enactments had been given effect to after he himself was born.

I must admit that it appears to be most difficult to convince the direct descendants of Don Carlos that they have not been deprived of their just rights. My readers are at full liberty to decide this difficult problem. This does not matter to us, it is an interesting episode in the history of one of the oldest reigning families, the Bourbons. The first formidable rising took place at about November 14, 1833. Estella became the seat of Government of Don Carlos during the war, which lasted till the middle of the year 1840. Our Don Carlos was the son of his grandfather’s third son, Juan.

Carlos = Francesca de Avis
(daughter of Joan VI of Portugal)
Carlos Luis Fernando  Juan 
(died on same day. No issue) Carlos Maria

If you remember, I had left Don Carlos shortly after he had frustrated Alfonso’s plans early in 1875 by the decisive defeat of the Royalist Army under General Laserta. The success he achieved there did not prove of much value, in spite of the fact that the Royalist Army were very slow in reorganizing. The result of King Alfonso’s accession caused many of the supporters of Don Carlos, who were fighting chiefly against the Republic, to become lukewarm. The war continued to drag on. Finally, weakened by the desertion of some of his chief supporters and the recantation of the famous Cabrera, and being completely outnumbered by the Royalist forces, Don Carlos, accompanied by a few of his staunchest friends and one battalion of men from Castile, crossed over the border into France. The second Carlist war was over February 29, 1876.

As they had been decreed rebels, the French Government of the day refused Don Carlos and his officers permission to remain in France. They were, however, allowed to proceed to England, provided no halt took place on the way. Don Carlos notified the British Government of his intended arrival in England, hoping he would receive the requisite permission to proceed thither. It was the receipt of this telegram from Don Carlos that was the cause of my being sent for by the War Office early in March, 1876.

On my calling at the War Office on receipt of their wire the Military Secretary informed me that it was expected that Don Carlos, accompanied by several officers, might arrive at any time in London, and instructed me to make all the necessary arrangements for his comfort and welfare. Soon after receiving these instructions I got a further telegram advising me that Don Carlos would arrive that very same evening at about 8 p.m. at Charing Cross Station, and further, that he and his party would actually arrive in the very clothes in which they had left the field of battle, for they had had no time or opportunity 49 to obtain any personal effects during their flight through France.

It was then that my mind took me back to Brown’s Hotel and Mr. Ford, its proprietor, at which hotel King Alfonso had often stayed, and Mr. Ford promised me to arrange to put up Don Carlos and his suite. My next business was to call upon tailors, hosiers, hatters and bootmakers in Bond Street, and to arrange for them to have their representatives at the hotel that evening to receive their orders.

I was at the station at the appointed time, and the travel-stained party, in their picturesque Carlist uniforms, arrived. I can well remember the impression that they made on their arrival. Such of the public as happened to be present looked on in silent wonder at the group of foreign officers. The rumour soon spread that the tall, commanding figure, erect and distinguished, whose handsome face and black beard were surmounted by the Carlist headgear, the “Boyna,” was the celebrated Don Carlos himself, of whom some of them had heard as a great leader and who was now seeking refuge in England. We were not long in reaching our carriages—there was no luggage to cause us any delay—and we were glad to arrive at Brown’s Hotel and sit down to the good dinner that awaited us.

The tradesmen who attended to the personal wants of our guests worked wonders, and, in a very few days, the visitors were all provided with complete outfits. Many thoughts went through my mind in those few days. Within a year I had been the companion of a young prince, whose mother had practically been expelled from her throne and who had himself been exiled from his country; a young prince who, for some years, had been full of hopes of succeeding to the Crown and whose hopes had seemed always to be difficult of fulfilment and not likely to be realized. Yet he was now King. On the other hand, the man who had fought for that throne and 50 had almost succeeded in attaining it was taking refuge, not only in the same country and city, but also in the same hotel where his successful antagonist had spent the last hours of his exile. The ways of Providence are certainly wonderful.

As a result of diplomatic communications, Don Carlos and those with him were permitted to reside in England until arrangements could be made for their return to France. At his request permission was granted me to be attached to his Staff during his stay. He was naturally very much run after by lion-hunters, and many were the entertainments that were given in his honour. But the hours he enjoyed best were those which he spent amongst his old supporters, not only those whose homes were in London and in the country, but also those who, after his refusal to accept the amnesty offered by Alfonso, had been compelled to leave Spain and take refuge in England. There were some seventeen thousand families then expelled from Spain. My days were fully occupied in making all the arrangements for visiting in the country, dinners, balls, theatre parties. In fact, it was a constant round of pleasure and amusement.

The visitors—especially Don Carlos himself—were most anxious to ride to hounds. It was a difficult matter to mount so large a number, as the horses had to be hired, and we all know how difficult it is to depend on hired horses in the hunting field. Perhaps the biggest problem was to find a horse suitable to Don Carlos. He stood six-foot three and must have ridden somewhere over sixteen stone. I was despairing of success when I mentioned my difficulty to Mr. Ford. He at once relieved me of all anxiety. He told me he thought he could mount Don Carlos and two or three of the others out of his own private stables. It was a right jolly good day we had. There was to be a meet of Sir Robert Harvey’s Harriers somewhere in the neighbourhood of Staines, I think, and Mr. Ford kindly arranged all the details. The party returned 51 home more than satisfied with the day’s sport. So time passed, only too quickly, and the day came for their departure. We said good-bye, and I went back to duty.


Some three months later I was agreeably surprised to receive an official letter stating that Don Carlos had written from Paris expressing the wish, if it could be granted, that, as some recompense for all the trouble and, as he put it, hard work, that had fallen to my lot while looking after him during his stay in London, I might be allowed a month’s leave to stay with him in Paris. The official letter notified me that the necessary leave had been granted. Once again I was crossing the Channel, full of contentment, as in the days when I left Woolwich to join him in Spain. But my hopes were very much brighter. I was not going to see battles fought or undergo hardships. No; I was going to enjoy myself thoroughly.

On arrival in Paris I met my cousin, Pepe Ponce de Leon, the aide-de-camp referred to before. He had, shortly after his return to Paris from England, married a very rich widow, whose husband had been one of Don Carlos’s principal supporters. They had a beautiful and magnificent house in the Champs Elysées, which, as a matter of fact, became the headquarters of the Carlist supporters in Paris, and Pepe had arranged that it should be my home during my stay. Life indeed was worth living in those days. Every luxury that one could wish for was at hand, and perhaps the most enjoyable one was the splendid stud of horses, harness and riding, which my cousin had got together.

Our usual routine was as follows: Déjeuner was served at noon, at which Don Carlos generally was present and as many of his late officers and supporters as cared to come. These déjeuners were full of interest, party affairs being discussed, but often also full of conviviality notwithstanding the evil fortunes which had fallen upon the cause. Later on in the afternoon riding and driving parties were arranged for. In the evening banquets or private dinner 52 parties were the order of the day, after which we all made our own plans to amuse ourselves. Paris was very gay and we generally managed to foregather again at midnight, or thereabouts, for supper at one or other of the many cafés, where music and dancing would be enjoyed. I soon discovered that some of our intimate friends were in the habit, instead of proceeding home to their beds after supper, of visiting the Turkish baths. After enjoying the bath they would sleep until the carriages arrived, and then, after partaking of chocolate or coffee, as they desired, they would be driven off home to sleep again until the time to appear at déjeuner should arrive once more. And so the days and nights passed, and enough for the day was the pleasure thereof.

It was about this time that a reconciliation took place between King Alfonso’s mother, Queen Isabella, and Don Carlos, of a personal but not official character. The proverb, “Blood is thicker than water,” sometimes comes true. The two were near relations. They had no personal quarrels. Her own destiny was settled and Don Carlos’s own efforts to wrest the Crown from her son had ended in failure. Why, therefore, any need for further enmity? I am reminded of a quaint conceit of Isabella’s, which amused not only her but also her friends. Isabella had grown to be a woman of large proportions—in fact, of unmistakable proportions. One of her favourite ladies-in-waiting was similarly endowed by nature, if not more so. Isabella’s hospitality was noted for its old magnificence. Her entertainments were, one might say, superb. She delighted in masked balls, and it was her pleasure to move in the crowd of guests, masked, without being recognized. As her wish in this was made known to her guests, the pleasing illusion was kept up till the hour for unmasking arrived. 53



I had been in Paris about three weeks when it came to the mind of Don Carlos that he could arrange an excellent marriage for me. Any of my readers who know how marriages are managed in France and Spain could not be surprised that his liking for me personally prompted this kind thought. Without my knowledge, but with the aid of my cousin’s wife and other feminine confederates, he had selected a charming girl, some seventeen years of age, the only daughter of a rich financier, scion of an old French family, whose wife was a Spaniard. During my visit I had met her at times. She was as desirable a partner for life as any, prince or peasant, could have wanted. Educated in one of the best convents in Paris, she spoke English and Spanish equally as well as her own language. She was tall, for a Frenchwoman, and her love for sport was equal to her personal charms. Up to this time I had, I suppose, not had time to fall in love with anyone in particular. This was probably due to the fact that I was imbued somewhat with the spirit which prompted a Spanish songster to write:

“Me gustan todas,

Me gustan todas en general.”[1]

Then came the day when I was told that practically my engagement to her had been approved by her family. This came, I need hardly say, as a considerable surprise. The future was as rosy as the rosiest sunrise in any part of the world could be—a most desirable and charming wife, 54 a life of contentment and pleasure. Who could ask for a better future? No more soldiering. On the contrary, a ready-made road to success, in whatever walk of life I chose to pursue. Some such thoughts—and many others—passed through my mind and I plucked up courage. Still, my heart was not in the affair, as you will see; but I argued to myself that, if the marriage did not finally take place, it could mean only the breaking of a family arrangement, which would not result in much grief or sorrow to my fiancée, as she certainly could not have become very devoted to me personally.

A fortnight or so passed, during which some further family affairs were discussed, and the day was at hand when the engagement was to be made public. Unfortunately a stroke of ill luck overtook me the night before that very day. It was the custom in Paris for those engaged in the theatrical profession to hold annually an Artists’ Ball in aid of the charities supported by them. This year the ball was to be held at the Grand Hotel. It was always a brilliant and picturesque pageant. The companies playing in the theatres entered the magnificent ballroom dressed in their theatrical costumes, while others appeared in fancy dresses. Remembering the fame for good taste, smartness and chic of Frenchwomen, the beauty of such a gathering is not surprising. The younger members of our party promised ourselves a thoroughly enjoyable night, while the elder ones looked forward to much pleasure too. It was about half-past twelve that the guests assembled in the ballroom to watch the arrival of the artists. Company after company entered, amidst much applause, and took up the position allotted to them. At a given signal the men approached the ladies to beg for the honour of dancing with them; it was a thoroughly Bohemian fête, and it was not necessary to obtain personal introductions. One very politely made his request of a lady for a dance. If it was granted, all was well. If it was not granted, then a polite bow—and all was not well. 55

I had been much attracted by a very sweet and charming actress. She appeared to me as the impersonation of all that was lovely. Her complexion was fair, and her hair golden—a head that Murillo would have loved to paint. She was rather petite, but, oh dear me, what a figure! What ankles! What sweetly moulded neck and arms! What delicately coloured flesh! Are you surprised that she looked all lovable? She had a companion, differing in type, but with equally as many charms of her own. One of my friends seemed to be much taken with her, and we at once decided to try our fortune and beg of them to honour us by accepting us as partners for the opening dance. As soon as the signal was given we did so, and, to our great joy, we obtained their permission. No two young men were happier than we were, for one dance followed another till supper was ready. Of course, the fact had quite escaped my mind that, in France and Spain, it is not usual for engaged men to dance with other ladies than their fiancée—and certainly outré for them to make themselves conspicuous by paying too much attention to any ladies, especially at such public functions. Still I continued to enjoy myself. My friend was equally successful with his partner.

Before going to supper Louise (my charming companion’s name) told me that she had another ball to attend that night, and that, as it was then about 2 a.m., she and her friend Estelle would take a light supper and leave immediately afterwards. Their will was, of course, law to us. We sent out a message by our footman for our carriage to be ready at the exit gateway in half an hour, and our partie carrée continued to enjoy itself. While at supper my cousin came to our table. We introduced him to Louise and Estelle. He joined us in a glass of champagne, and, as he left us, he said to me in Spanish, “Ten cuidado; tomas demasiados riesgos.”[2] But, what think you? Did I care? No. I did not even realize that 56 he was alluding to my engagement. I just thought that he had noticed that we four had passed the whole evening together, and that possibly we might be opening a friendship that might result in a liaison which might not be so judicious. We wished him good night and he passed on.

After supper we hurried to our carriage and drove to Louise’s apartments, which were only a short distance from the Grand Hotel. Arriving there, Louise suggested that my friend should drive Estelle home and return to take her to the other ball to which she was going. This we, of course, agreed to, and Louise invited me to her apartments to have a glass of champagne while she placed herself in the hands of her maid to change her costume and we awaited the arrival of my friend and the carriage. They were delightful apartments—such as one expects Parisiennes of exquisite taste to dwell in. The dining-room was a work of art in white and gold. Sky-blue draperies, deeply embroidered in Japanese fashion, with birds of the air and fishes of the seas in such bewildering colour as only the Japanese know how to depict. Louise’s dress at the ball was in the same sky-blue tone, and—as she stood in her dining-room taking a glass of champagne before handing herself over to the tender mercies of her maid—she looked almost heavenly. Anyway, so any man would have thought if he had been in my place, and of my age, during those precious moments.

But is there not a proverb that says: “All that glitters is not gold”? It applies not only to physical but also to mental condition. My mental condition was one of happiness. Louise was beautiful. Louise was kind, and the world was good and so was the champagne. But Nemesis was not far off.

Presently Louise returned to me. She wished for a cigarette and a glass of champagne before her maid robed her for her second ball. Just clad in the filmiest and most fetching of wraps (I think that is the word), she looked as bewitching as if she had just floated down from the abodes 57 of bliss and beauty. She had just sipped her glass of champagne and lit her cigarette, and leaned on the arm of the arm-chair in which I was sitting, when we heard the hall-door open and someone enter.

“Hush!” she said; “it is Gustave! Leave him to me and say little.”

“Louise, ma chèrie, où êtes vous?”

It was Gustave. He drew apart the silken curtains separating the hall from the dining-room. “Voilà, je suis retourné. Mais ... mon Dieu!”

As the curtains were drawn Louise rose from the arm of the chair (I at once rose also), and in the sweetest tones, speaking in English, Louise said: “My dear Gustave. What a pleasant surprise. No? Oh, yes, for me! I thought you would not return till the day after to-morrow. So! No? Let me introduce to you my friend, an English officer. He has been so polite to me at our fête to-night.”

Gustave and I stood facing each other; we had no need for introductions. Gustave was the bachelor brother of my prospective father-in-law. He happened also to be a particular friend of Louise’s. I knew him and he knew me. We looked calmly at each other. He was twice my age; it was not for me to speak. The piece was set as if for a dramatic scene—Louise, in her charming deshabillé; my humble self, silent but unabashed; Gustave, practically in possession of the situation. The moment was a critical one, but though Nemesis had arrived it was not the Nemesis with a flaming sword; it was the Nemesis with a somewhat more dangerous weapon, that of French politeness, which scorns to provoke personal quarrels in the presence of ladies but awaits to obtain reparation in good time in accordance with the code of honour.

Bowing low to Louise and looking at me straight in the face, Gustave politely remarked, “It happens that I am acquainted with monsieur the English lieutenant. I regret that I have intruded and disturbed your tête-à-tête 58 at such an hour of the morning. Pray forgive me, Louise. I have no doubt monsieur the lieutenant and I will meet by and by. N’est-ce pas, monsieur le lieutenant? Good night to you both.” And, as Louise moved, Gustave added, “Please, oh, please, do not bother. I know my way out quite well. Au revoir.” He drew the curtains aside and, turning towards us, made the politest of bows and was gone.

“Louise,” I said, as I took her hands in mine, “it is all my fault. Can you forgive me?”

“Mon jeune ami,” said Louise as she looked up at me. “First of all, give me one kiss. Yes, I like that; just one more. So! Ah! Good! Now you said, ‘Forgive me.’ For that I love you, because it is what a man always should say to a woman. I not only forgive you, but I think you are charmant. One more kiss—eh! ah! nice. I never allowed anyone, since I remember, even to suggest to me to ask forgiveness. Certainly not any man. Don’t be concerned; don’t be unhappy. Gustave will come by and by and will ask me to forgive him for his conduct to-night. He was rude; he was unpleasant in front of me. He suggested, by his words, things that had not happened. That was more than impolite; it was ungentlemanly, and you will see he will be very sorry and come to me and ask me to forgive him. At this moment I know not that I will forgive him. One more kiss. He is a good friend, but by no means indispensable to me. I have all I wish of my own and can please myself as to whom I choose for my friends. So don’t be concerned. Just one more kiss and I go to make ready for the ball. Ah! the hall door bell! Your friend returns. I will be with you bien vite. Silence, n’est-ce pas?” And she went to her room.

Next minute my friend was with me. He was so full of the charms of Estelle that I had not—even if I wished—an opportunity of saying anything. Another cigarette, a couple of glasses of champagne, the presence of Louise looking sweeter than ever, all in pink silks and satins, and 59 we were off in the carriage to leave her at the private house where her friends, she said, would be wondering what had become of her.

We two returned home in the early hours of the morning and retired to bed. Bed was one thing. Sleep was another. The day and evening had been crowded with unexpected events, wonderful happenings and newly inspired emotions. First and foremost, one event was certain. My engagement was doomed. Why, in all creation, had I selected Louise from all those six hundred other women who had attended the ball at the Grand Hotel? Louise, who was Gustave’s friend, and Gustave, my prospective uncle-in-law? There was only one answer—“Nemesis.”

Then I remembered my cousin’s warning at supper, “Cuidado!” Well, warnings are of no value if they are not heeded. One thing was clear. The engagement would be off. I must admit that the fault was all mine; I would not, nay, could not, offer any excuse. I had not played the game. I had failed to rise to the occasion and prove myself the correct youth that my sponsors had vouched for. So, no doubt the prospective father-in-law would soon call a family council and Gustave’s relations would be discussed—and then, an end to the affair.

Curiously enough, this did not trouble me much. I felt that the worst harm I had done was to hurt the pride of my would-be benefactors. This might be pardonable, but, as regarded my fiancée, what should I do? There seemed to me only one way to act that was honourable. I would ask that I might be given the privilege of seeing her for the last time and ask her forgiveness. If this was refused, then I would find my own way to see her. My thoughts ran on. All the pleasures of the evening recalled themselves. A new sensation coursed through my brain. Yes; it must be so. I must be in love. Love at first sight—and in love with Louise. Was she to suffer—and I the cause of her sufferings? No. I would see 60 her, tell her of my love for her, marry her. Louise, one more kiss—eh! Then I must have fallen asleep.

When I returned from the world of nod my valet had brought me my morning chocolate. My brain was anything but clear. That some happenings of a surely serious nature had taken place the night before was certain. What were they? Gradually my memory recalled them. And then I dressed. As I was just ready for déjeuner my cousin sent me word that he would like to see me. I knew what it was about. Our interview was short. He was very kind. He laid all the blame on himself for expecting that the method of making marriages by arrangement would be a success where a youthful Britisher was concerned. He, however, wished I should tell him all that had happened since he had seen me at supper, and especially about my meeting with Gustave.

I just told him—as I have told you, pointing out that the affair had been quite harmless, though appearances were certainly against me. He left the house and returned later on. He had seen Gustave. The engagement, of course, was off. My escapade was looked upon as excusable. I was young and inexperienced in the ways of the world, and permission was graciously given me to see my late fiancée. This I did, and, I am happy to say, she not only forgave me but we remained friends.

It suddenly dawned upon me that my leave was up and that I was due back to duty at home. Don Carlos, while somewhat resenting the unfortunate ending of his scheme, made allowances for me when the whole story was related to him. He smiled a kindly smile as I expressed to him all my regrets that I had failed to take advantage of his well-meaning efforts in my behalf.

But then, what about Louise? What about Gustave? What should I do? The solution came from Gustave himself. Next day I received an invitation from him to a supper party at the Café d’Helder. Naturally I accepted. We were to meet at a quarter to twelve, and my 61 friend, Estelle’s admirer, was also asked. It was a merry party; just ten of us. The hour to say “Good morning” arrived only too soon. For me it was not only “good morning” but also “good-bye.” I had to leave Paris the evening of that day. My last but one good-bye was to Louise. I kissed the hands she gave me; then she said, looking towards Gustave with smiling eyes, “One last kiss for monsieur the lieutenant. N’est-ce pas, Gustave? Mais, oui. The final. Pourquoi non?” So Louise and I kissed.

Then Gustave shook hands with me, placed his hand on my shoulder, and we left the supper-room together. He came down to see me into my carriage, and as I was stepping into it he once more shook my hand and said, “You are very young. I am old enough to be your father. Always remember your English proverb: ‘Look before you leap.’ Good night. Bonne fortune toujours.”

Thus ended my first romance and, with it, my most enjoyable visit to Paris.


“I like them all; I like them all equally well.”


Take care. You are taking too many risks.




On obtaining his commission a young officer was ordered to report himself at the Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich, to undergo six months’ further training in his regimental duties and in practical work at the Arsenal, with occasional visits to the School of Gunnery at Shoeburyness. It was a happy six months if he managed to keep out of trouble, for there were many temptations to overcome. Straight away from the strict discipline of the “Shop,” the young officer found himself—or at least considered himself—quite a gentleman at large. In his own opinion he had become a person of very considerable importance, and the orders he gave had to be implicitly obeyed. His uniform was a source of extreme pleasure to him. He was allotted a whole “Tommy” to himself as a soldier servant. He rejoiced in the possession of quite a big room for his quarters. And there was the Mess.

At that time there had been an amalgamation of the English and Indian Artillery, which were combined into one General List, so that the whole of the Artillery formed one Regiment comprising Horse, Field and Garrison Artillery. The headquarters were at Woolwich, and the Royal Artillery Mess was the Headquarters Mess, and is so still, though lately there have been further sub-divisions of the Regiment. Still, these have not as yet, so far as I know, resulted in any change as regards the Headquarters Mess. It remains to be seen what changes will or will not be made in the future.

One of the institutions attached to the Royal Artillery Mess was the Garrison Theatre. At regular intervals the 63 Royal Artillery officers gave performances at this theatre. Let me tell you that it is seldom that an Engineer or Artillery officer was not a first-rate dancer; for, at the “Shop,” two or three nights a week dancing took place in the gymnasium to the delightful music of the Royal Artillery band. On these nights ladies were not allowed to attend, so the cadets had to supply the ladies amongst themselves. But the continual practice naturally made them good dancers. Personally I took great delight in the art of dancing. I was built just for it, tall, light, thin and long-legged. I was able to pirouette and high-kick fairly well.

I was very keen on private theatricals, so that, amongst my other important duties of those days, I was appointed stage manager and producer for a week’s performance which was to take place at the Garrison Theatre. The play was the old farce, Box and Cox, which was converted into a musical comedy. Some people say to this day that this particular production was the origin of the musical comedies which have since then so amused the public. Mrs. Bouncer was most excellently performed by Lieutenant Bingham, while Lieutenants Jocelyn and Fritz, if I remember rightly, were Box and Cox. Mrs. Bouncer, assisted in the musical part of the piece by a chorus of lusty sergeants and gunners, who revelled in dances and choruses, was a great success, while a specially selected chorus of ballet-girls highly distinguished themselves. The production was quite good, and the financial results on behalf of the regimental charities were most satisfactory. In after years the theatrical experiences thus gained gave me considerable enjoyment. But of this, later on.

The end of the six months’ training at Woolwich being completed, I was appointed to a Garrison company, with its headquarters at Limerick—good old Limerick—which was then known as the paradise of hard-up subalterns. Limerick is a quaint town. There is Old Limerick and Modern Limerick. The old town is situated round the 64 castle, which is on the banks of the Shannon, and where—across the river—stands the old Treaty Stone. It is difficult to describe Old Limerick. One must really see it and live in it to appreciate its dirty houses, poor tenements, its smells and other unhealthy attributes. Yet it is a characteristic little piece of old Ireland. This part of the old town reached down to the cathedral, past which the main street—George Street—runs through the modern town, practically parallel with the River Shannon. With the exception of the old castle, Limerick does not possess any buildings of very particular interest. The best residential part was across the river, Circular Row. Limerick itself has nothing to recommend it as regards picturesqueness, but there is much beauty in the country surrounding it. From just below the castle the River Shannon has some beautiful reaches, right away up to Castle Connell; while Tervoe on the river, Adare Abbey, and many other places are well known.

When I reported myself to my commanding officer at the castle I found that our company, which then consisted of about eighty all told, was doing duty from the very North to the South of Ireland. There was a detachment of some twenty-five men at a place called Green Castle, which was an old fort at the entrance of Lough Swilly, not far off the Giant’s Causeway. Another detachment of some thirty-five men was on duty at Carlisle Fort, one of the forts guarding the entrance into Cork Harbour at Queenstown. This left us about twenty men at our headquarters at Limerick Castle. Our captain was not with the company. He was A.D.C. to a Colonial Governor, and, of course, was seconded. The two senior subalterns were in command of the detachments at Green Castle and Carlisle Fort, so that the commanding officer, our good major and myself, were left at our headquarters with the twenty men. By the time that we found the guard for the day, the major’s two orderlies, my own orderly, the cook and cook’s mate, the district gunner (who was 65 busy keeping our three very old guns, mounted in the tower, polished up), the office clerk and the barrack sweeper, the morning parade consisted usually of the sergeant-major.

At nine o’clock every morning, after first joining, I appeared on parade, when the sergeant-major reported “All present, sir,” and I said, “Carry on, sergeant-major,” and went inside to breakfast. After a time I’m afraid I got into the bad habit of letting the sergeant-major come to make his report at the window of my quarters, which faced the barrack-square. At ten o’clock the major, whose quarters were above mine, and who was the happy possessor of some eight children, appeared at the company office, and I duly reported to him, “All correct, sir, this morning.” For it was only very occasionally that we had a prisoner. The major would answer, “Very good.” I would then ask him, “Do you want me any more to-day, sir?” He would then answer, without a smile, for he was a serious-minded major, “No, thanks.” And then the joys of my day would begin for me.

The way in which my major came to be quartered in Limerick was this. He was the eldest brother of a very well-known family in Tipperary. He had many brothers, all of whom were also well known and much liked throughout the surrounding districts. They were all first-class horsemen, and, needless to say, good sportsmen all round. One of these brothers was at the time Sub-Sheriff of Limerick. It was indeed a difficult post to fill in those days. The country was exceedingly disturbed. Evictions were all too frequent, with the accompanying result of riots and murders, and it required much pluck and tact to carry out the Sub-Sheriff’s duties. My major had been, some time previous to my joining, ordered to Singapore, while another major, a bachelor, was in command of the company at Limerick. In those days officers were allowed to exchange on the payment of fees agreed upon. My major did not relish the idea of proceeding to Singapore 66 with his young family of eight, so he approached the bachelor major at Limerick with a view to an exchange, and offered a very handsome sum. The bachelor major very promptly accepted, and the exchange took place. Just before leaving Limerick the members of the club gave the bachelor major a farewell dinner, and, in proposing his health, the chairman remarked that he didn’t understand why anybody should wish to leave Limerick for such an awful place as Singapore. When answering the toast the bachelor major said he would tell them in confidence the real reason. He went on to say that a short time before he accepted the exchange he had been to dinner with friends, some nine miles away, across the Shannon, in County Clare. He was returning home with the old jarvey on an outside car, and as it was a fairly fine night, moonlight, and he had had a very good dinner, he was enjoying his pipe and now and again having a little doze. They were passing a piece of road which was bounded on one side by a somewhat thick hedge. Suddenly there was a flash and the loud report of a gun, which very promptly woke him and made the old jarvey sit up too, and pull his horse up. Immediately two heads popped up over the hedge, had a good look at the major, and then one of the men said, “Begorra, Pat, we’ve shot at the wrong man again,” and promptly disappeared. “Now, don’t you think, my friends, that it’s time I went to Singapore?”

But he never told them of the cheque he got to go to Singapore.

At that time the garrison of Limerick was fairly strong. There was a Field Artillery battery at the William Street Barracks, and there were a regiment of infantry and a squadron of cavalry at the New Barracks, so that our turn for any garrison duty didn’t come very often, and we had plenty of time to enjoy ourselves. Anyone who wished and who had sufficient horses could put in four or five days’ hunting a week during the season. The 67 Master of the Limerick Hounds at the time lived at Croome. He was a typical Irish gentleman, noted for his genial character and the forcefulness of his language in the hunting field. Limerick is a fine hunting country, and gives excellent sport. There were many good riders in those days. Our friend the Sub-Sheriff was one, but perhaps the best man there was the owner of Ballynegarde, at whose hospitable house we spent many happy days. He must have ridden quite over sixteen stone, and I well remember seeing him, on a chestnut horse, clear the wall which surrounded the park, the chestnut changing his feet on the top, just like a cat. Good horses were just as expensive in those days as they were before the war, but we subalterns did not buy expensive horses; we picked up good jumpers that had gone cronk, and trusted to the vet., occasional firing, plenty of bandages, and not too hard work to keep them going.

Riding out one morning towards Mount Shannon, the then lovely home of the Fitzgibbons, on the banks of the river, and just on leaving the old town of Limerick, I arrived at a rather long and steep hill, at the foot of which a jarvey was trying to induce his horse, a long, rakish, Irish-built bay, to go up. The horse absolutely refused to do so, and each time the old jarvey flogged him he exhibited very considerable agility in every direction except up the hill. I rode up to the jarvey and asked him what was the matter. “Shure, sir,” he said, “I bought this horse to go up this hill, for I am the mail contractor on this road. I’ve got him here these last three mornings, and I’ve never got farther than this. Now I’ll have to go back again and get another horse, and all the people will get their mails late and they’ll report me, and they’ll fine me, and the divil do I know what my ould missus’ll have to say about it. And, shure, yer honour, ’tis all the fault of this donkey-headed old quadruped.”

I asked him whether the old quadruped could jump. 68

“Shure, yer honour,” he said, “he’d jump out of his harness, traces an’ all, if I hadn’t got him by the bit.”

“Will you sell him?” says I.

“Will I sell him?” says he. “Will I find the fool that’ll buy him, yer honour?”

“Bring him up to the old castle in the morning,” says I, “and I may find the fool that’ll buy him.”

“Begorra, sir,” says he, “yer a gintleman. I’ll be there with him at nine o’clock, with a halter round his old ewe neck.”

Next morning, at nine o’clock, just as the sergeant-major was reporting as usual, “All correct,” I saw my old friend leading his quadruped into the barrack square. He was a quaint looking horse. He was particularly full of corners, for he wasn’t furnished up above at all. But he had good-boned legs. His coat was by way of being a miracle to look at. He had no particular colour to speak of. In some places he was a bit of a roan—Taffy-like; round some other corners he was a dirty bay. In some places, especially where for the last three days he had attempted to get out of his harness at the bottom of the hill, there was no hair at all. But he had a good-looking eye; he had good sound feet; good bone, though his tail was hardly up to Cocker. Most of it, no doubt, was now part and parcel of the car.

I can well remember the look of the correct and austere sergeant-major—who himself was a bit of a sport, but who still considered himself “on parade”—as he cast his eye over that noble quadruped, and wondered what his lieutenant was about. I could see that he was asking himself, “Is he going to run a circus, and is this going to be the freak horse?”

“Mick,” says I, “if I get a saddle on the horse, will you ride him; come out with me and put him over a couple of jumps?”

“Shure, yer honour,” says he, “an’ so I will.” 69

“Sergeant-major,” says I, “tell my groom to put a saddle and bridle on this Rosinante” (at the mention of which name the sergeant-major looked perplexed) “and get one of the other horses ready for me.”

In a few minutes Mick and I were riding down the old street, making for a bit of open country. We soon came to a high road, bounded on each side by fairly stiff, stone walls. Having come to a gate on one side I pulled up.

“Now,” says I, “Mick, are you game to go into that field and take the double across the road?”

“Shure, I am,” says he; “but ’tis a long day, yer honour, since I had a jump. Would you lend me your whip? The old horse’ll want it, it may be.”

I gave him the whip, jumped off my nag, opened the gate, and away went Mick into the field. It was a sight to do one good. There was Mick, what he called his hat stuck on the back of his head, and what was left of his coat-tails flying in the air behind him, heading for the first stone wall, and, before you could say “knife,” he was over it like a bird, across the road, over the wall the other side, with a “whoop-la” that you could have heard in the cathedral in Limerick.

Just as well to mention that Rosinante’s age was what is known amongst horse-copers as “uncertain,” that is, anywhere between nine years old and twenty-four.

After that (it was not long before we were again at the Castle) I asked Mick Molloy how much he wanted for the horse. He said, “Shure, I’ll just take what I gave for it. He’s no good to me.”

I asked him how much that was, and he said, “Five pounds.”

I was so surprised, that he became quite apologetic, thinking he was asking too much, and quickly began to sing the praises of his mount. I at once disabused him of the idea by telling him that I couldn’t give him less 70 than £7 10s., which might help him a little towards his getting an animal that would pull his car up the hill. The horse became mine, and the late owner left the barracks wishing me all the blessings that our good God and Ould Oireland could bestow on my humble head. The end of Mick Molloy came later on. 71



Affairs in Ireland have always been a source of wonderment to me. Ever since the days I spent there, right through to the present time, the doings—at one time or another—of some of the inhabitants of Ireland have puzzled most people. All the talent of all the Prime Ministers and Members of Parliament, within these forty years, has been unable to ensure for Ireland such political and economic conditions as would have made it the happy country which it ought to be.

When I was there in 1877-1878 the times were full of trouble, and I recall several episodes which show the temper of the people at that day. Some four miles from Limerick is a place called “Woodcock Hill,” where the rifle ranges, for the instruction in musketry of the troops quartered there, were situated. Close to the range was a small Catholic chapel, standing practically by itself. An infantry regiment was quartered in Limerick at the time. It was an English regiment; its depôt, from which the recruits fed it, was somewhere in the North of England, and the number of Catholic soldiers in its ranks was very small in proportion. One Sunday morning the priest attending the little chapel at “Woodcock Hill” found that somebody had broken into the church and stolen some of the altar fittings and—worse from the Catholic point of view—had taken the chalice used at Mass. This, of course, was nothing less than sacrilege in the eyes of the devout Catholic Irishmen.

Rumours soon began to circulate that, on the previous Saturday evening, after some rifle-shooting had taken 72 place, two red-coats had been seen in the vicinity of the chapel. These rumours were not long in being spread throughout the city, and as the regiment was looked upon as being anti-Catholic, reports went about to the effect that the sacrilege had been carried out not so much for the sake of the value of the stolen articles, but purely out of hatred for the Catholics and for the purpose of desecrating the holy place. The consequences of these rumours soon became apparent. Soldiers, returning home late at night, were set upon and hammered in the by-streets. As a result, instead of going about in ones and twos, they would congregate in bigger groups and took every opportunity of retaliating on the civilians.

On a quiet Sunday morning, a glorious day, at about eleven o’clock, red-coats in small groups rapidly began to arrive at the old Castle. I had been out riding and was returning to my quarters about twelve o’clock, and I found that there were not less than somewhere between 150 and 200 soldiers within the barrack gates. It had been the custom for members of other corps to come into the canteen at the “Castle” for a glass of beer or two, after their dismissal from church parade. But for such a number to get together was more than unusual.

In the absence of the major, my commanding officer, the responsibility of dealing with the case fell on me. I determined to send my groom with a message to the officer commanding the regiment at their barracks, which were at the other end of the main street in the town, to inform him of what was going on, and then to order the men off in small groups from the “Castle.” But there was no time, for hardly had I finished writing my message than the whole lot of red-coats left the barracks together and proceeded towards George Street. They had their waistbelts on but fortunately did not carry any side-arms. Still, the good old infantry belts, with their heavy brass buckles, were quite a formidable weapon to use about in a crowd which was unarmed. I jumped on my horse and, riding 73 by side streets, reached the police station, which was in the middle of the town, close to the main street, to inform the police of what was taking place. However, when I got there, it had become evident to the police that trouble was coming, for large numbers of civilians were congregating and showing considerable excitement in the main street and moving down towards the cathedral from which direction the red-coats were coming.

Before any steps could be taken by the police the crowd of civilians and the red-coats met. For some little time the red-coats made their way through the crowd, slashing with their belts. Some stones began to fly, heavy sticks were being used, and gradually the red-coats were separated and were getting quite the worst of the bargain.

The news of the disturbance had reached the barracks shortly after the two factions had met, and such of the soldiers as were at that time within the barrack walls were ordered to parade under arms, with a view of marching down the street to restore order. However, by the time they were ready to march out there were but few red-coats left in the streets. They had been dispersed by the crowd and had sought safety wherever they could. They were collected later on and marched up to their barracks by police and military escorts, quiet was once again restored that Sunday afternoon, and the remains of the fight collected in the shape of lost belts, broken shillelaghs, road metal and smashed glass, while a good many broken heads and bruised limbs received attention.

The sequel was this. The regiment was confined to barracks until further orders. Two nights afterwards, in the early hours of the morning, it marched quietly along to the railway station. A troop train awaited its arrival, while at another platform more troop trains landed another regiment which, in equal silence, marched off to its new quarters. So ended this episode, for as soon as, on the next day, the townspeople became aware that the offenders, as they considered them, had gone, they lost all resentment 74 and were quite ready to make friends and to welcome their successors, who soon were enjoying quite a time of popularity. We soldiers always looked forward to election time with considerable anxiety. We were generally ordered to be ready, in case our assistance was wanted in aid of the police, and we knew that long before we should be called on to use our rifles or even our swords brick-bats and other missiles would be flying about, quite indifferent as to whom they would hit. The opposing political sides had one great end in view, and that was to break each other’s heads, and they deeply resented anybody else attempting to interfere with that playful form of amusement, so that oftentimes both sides would turn their attention on the police and soldiers, causing us quite considerable inconvenience. However, I must say this, that on no occasion when I was on duty at such so-called political meetings and elections did the situation become so aggravated as to necessitate the use of their arms by the soldiers.

Still, we did go home sometimes with a sore head, and I received my first wound from a piece of road metal hurled at me from quite a short distance by a great, strapping, fine Irishwoman. This occurred at Belfast some time after the affair at Limerick. As far as I remember there was to be a Catholic procession from somewhere near the Customs House through the principal streets to the Catholic cathedral. The city authorities and the police were notified and fully expected quite high old times as regarded street fighting. They had been advised by those who were carrying out the procession that the Catholics fully intended to reach the cathedral, even if it took them a week and they had to walk over the bodies of whoever tried to stop them, They knew whom they meant all right. The Orangemen had also informed the authorities that they had very rooted objections to this procession and that they were determined that that procession was not to get to the cathedral without some efforts of resistance on their part. Consequently the authorities requested military assistance, and further stated 75 that they thought it would be necessary to have on hand, or close to, a sufficient number of soldiers to preserve the peace. So the scene was set for a pretty disputation. Many police were in attendance, and the soldiers were principally utilized out of view, as far as possible, in the side streets debouching on the route of the procession. It was hoped by these means to prevent sudden rushes by these side streets taking the procession at a disadvantage on the flank.

I was detailed to take charge of a dozen cavalrymen and was allotted my own little side street. We waited for some three or four hours before the procession as such, or what was left of it, seemed to be approaching our way. It is difficult to describe the noises that filled the air up to that time. We could not see down the main street, but we could hear the smashing of glass windows and the rattling of stones could be easily made out. And then came our surprise. Suddenly our little side street became full of men and women, rushing towards the main street, no doubt to obtain further points of advantage. I can see the women now, holding their petticoats up with both hands, in which the munitions of war in the shape of road metal were being carried, and from which the men helped themselves as they wanted. They came straight at us. What could twelve men do on horseback against such a rush? They were on us, round us, through us, before we could get our breath. I suddenly felt one of my feet had been taken out of the stirrup-iron, and the next thing was that I was pulled out of my saddle and fell, to my surprise, on something comparatively soft. It happened to be a lady who was paying me this delicate attention, and, as I fell on her, she sat down on the ground, dropped her petticoat out of her hand, and out fell her stock of munitions. It was some little time before she found breath sufficient for her to let me know just what she thought of me for coming there to “interfere with their business.” I must have hurt her and annoyed her, for as I got up and 76 was just mounting my horse, which one of the troopers was holding, the lady, a big strapping, fine Irishwoman, picked herself up off the ground, seized the handiest piece of road metal, and threw it, from about three yards away, at the back of my head.

I saw nothing more of the procession that day. I heard no more sounds of revelry. I woke up, late in the afternoon, not in my little side-street but in a very comfortable bed with my head duly bandaged and a nurse sitting alongside of me. I didn’t ask why or wherefore I was there. I felt it. All I said to her was, “One whisky and soda, please, quick!” which she brought and which I drank, and then she told me that it had been reported that the tail end of the procession had reached the cathedral at last. So all was well. I bear that honourable scar to this day. 77



Roller-skating had become the fashion in England, and three or four of us became anxious to introduce it into Ireland. We formed a small company and appointed our directors, whose business knowledge was about equal to their knowledge of the art of roller-skating at that moment. However, all went well. The rink was opened at Dublin. A club of the nicest of the nice was formed. The members practised very hard, day after day, and evening after evening, with closed doors, until we became quite artists. Then came the time to inform the public at large that the rink would be open to them every afternoon and evening, reserving Tuesday and Thursday nights for the members of the club.

From the very jump the rink was a success. The members of both sexes gave exhibitions. We played tennis on roller-skates; we danced on roller-skates; we held athletic sports on roller-skates, including steeple-chases and obstacle races. In a very short time the public at large became quite as good skaters as those who taught them, if not better. Then came the usual development that has attended similar enterprises ever since. Fancy dress balls, gymkhanas, carnivals and such like, and—what was more satisfactory to the company—money rolling in all the time. The expenses were not heavy but the dividends were, and, to our surprise, we members of our company, very few in number, found ourselves absolutely drawing a regular monthly dividend. As we were mostly poor soldiers this was highly gratifying. I remember investing my first dividend in buying a mate to “Mick 78 Molloy.” He was much more expensive, you can guess, and I named him, following upon the naming of Mick Molloy, Larry O’Keefe.

The success of our venture in Dublin led us to thirst for further triumphs, and, at an especial meeting of the company in Dublin, it was decided to repeat the success at Limerick. So it came about that the rink at Limerick was started. We followed the same methods that had been carried out in Dublin, only we had not to undergo the probationary stage of learning to roller skate. A large party arrived from Dublin, and after one week of real joy and fun soon made the rink a success. This made us bold, so we exploited Cork and Waterford and our pecuniary successes increased daily, and some of us began to think that it would be worth while to throw up our military careers and become professional roller-skating rink promoters. That was really my first business venture. Others followed later on, as you will hear by and by, but not with the same result.

Let me tell you now what happened to Mick Molloy. He was certainly a good horse and a splendid jumper, but he had one bad fault and that was that, every now and again, apparently for no reason whatever, except the same cussedness that held him when he wouldn’t go up the hill, he would hit a bank or a wall full hard and turn head over heels into the next field. As the weather, as a rule, was moist, and there was plenty of mud about when Mick Molloy performed his athletic feat and I picked myself up from the soft ground, I generally succeeded in attaching to my person a fairly considerable amount of Irish soil. At this particular time one of the great demands by Irishmen was for what they then called “fixity of tenure.” Can you wonder that, after my repeated attempts to annex as much of Irish soil as Mick Molloy could help me to, the members of the hunt christened me “Fixity of Tenure”?

I had a visit from one of the best riders in Ireland at 79 that time who was quartered at the Curragh, whose riding at Punchestown Races was always good to watch and who had come down for a few days’ stay with us. There was a meet of the hounds; he wanted a ride. I offered him Mick Molloy, who was in good form just then, and he accepted the offer. I warned him of his one peculiarity. The morning of the hunt we rode out together. It was in the direction of Ballynegarde. There was often a trap to be met in the way of a sunken ditch over-grown with gorse, and unless one knew the lay of it a horse was apt to rush through instead of jumping and find himself and the rider at the bottom of the sunken ditch. I had forgotten to warn the rider of Mick Molloy of this fact. We had a fine seven-mile run in the morning and killed one fox. My friend was delighted with Mick, for he had carried him to the kill without a fall. He was full of praises of old Mick.

The hounds had a spell and, once more, they were thrown into covert. In a short time “Gone away” was heard and the hounds streamed out, following a good scent, across a beautiful piece of country. I got into difficulties very early. Old Larry and I had a difference of opinion about a stone wall. He wouldn’t have it at any price. I had got out of the line and, unless I could get over that particular wall, I was going to be out of the run. So I made up my mind that over the wall Old Larry must go, with the result that I got over the wall all right but Old Larry didn’t. Not only that, but, after giving what I thought at the time was a very impertinent sniff, he put his head and his tail up in the air and trotted off across the field, leaving me in full possession of the wall. That run was over for me. Another belated huntsman caught Old Larry and, as it was late in the afternoon and the hounds were well out of sight, we turned our horses’ heads towards home. The hour for dinner came. It was dark. It was raining, but neither my friend nor Mick Molloy had turned up. We dined heartily and well, and 80 it was not till about ten o’clock, when the port wine was going round merrily, that my brother officer came in. Yes, he was wet and weary. He carried a saddle and a bridle in his arms, but—alas! also there was no Mick Molloy. In the second run he had come across one of these sunken ditches. Mick Molloy rushed it, fell into it, and the weight of his rider had broken his back. Such was the end of good old Mick.

The last meet of the Limerick Hounds which was held that season gave the opportunity to some bright members of the club to play off a practical joke on the members of the Hunt. If the weather was suitable after the close of the season, and the Master so wished, a few extra meets were arranged for by him. No regular notice was given for such meets; the secretary of the Hunt generally informed the members by post-card that a meet would be held at such a place next day. This particular year April Fools’ Day was on a Tuesday. The members duly received a post-card on the Monday that an extra meet of the hounds would take place at a place called Tervoe, about five miles from Limerick, on the Wednesday. Later on in the afternoon on the same day members received telegrams to say that the meet would take place on the Tuesday instead of Wednesday. On Tuesday morning members turned up and wound their ways towards Tervoe. At the barracks we had to rearrange our plans as to who could get away for this, perhaps the last meet of the year. It was finally settled, and those of us who could be spared rode off.

On the way to Tervoe we overtook a couple of other members, and after riding a little distance they said, “You fellows had better go back. This is a sell. Don’t you know it’s April Fools’ Day? Go back.” Well, we believed them and turned back, for they told us they were only going out to see the fun at Tervoe.

We were going back when we met some other members going out, so we told them, “Don’t you go. This is all a 81 sell. Don’t you know it’s April Fools’ Day?” They looked at us in surprise and said, “Well! How can you fellows have been made fools of like this? Those two chaps are just making April fools of you. Come along, let’s hurry on or we’ll be late.” It was in no pleasant mood that we trotted again towards Tervoe. We were anxious to interview our two kind friends. Then we arrived at the Meet to find that it was a sell all right, and that the whole of the members of the Hunt had been sold. We only had one satisfaction left, and that was that we had been sold twice that morning instead of once.

I must leave dear old Ireland, pass over my stay in Cork; the glorious days in Queenstown Harbour; how we dropped two fourteen-ton guns, the first of their kind, which we were to mount at Carlisle Fort, into the bottom of the sea and how we picked them out again; the late nights and the early mornings at the Cork and Queenstown clubs; the beautiful girls for whom Old Ireland is so much noted; the meetings of the South United Hunt Club at Middleton, where the Murphys, Coppingers and other splendid riders lived. And I must also pass over the six weeks of what in those days appeared to me as the term of solitary confinement right away at Greencastle Fort at the entrance to Lough Swilly. I went up there in the winter. Greencastle village was a small summer resort for the people of Londonderry. There was an hotel, which was open in the summer, and was managed by a man and his sisters. In the winter it was shut up. A few small cottages were also closed up. The population consisted of the policeman and three or four fishermen.

There was nothing to do for the men at the fort, except a little gun-drill. The nearest village was Moville, some four miles off. It was too rough as a rule to go fishing with any degree of comfort, so it was that I learnt how to play marbles. The old policeman, a couple of the fishermen and the hotel-keeper, when he was sober—which was not often—were quite experts, and taught me the 82 game. They called it Three-Hole. The idea was this: you had to make nine holes, and the one who was last in doing so had to stand drinks, and, in addition, to put his hand down on the ground, with the knuckles facing the others, each one of whom had three shots at him with a good hard marble. This may be of little interest, indeed, as far as the game is concerned, but it shows one how different were the lives of us young officers then from what they are nowadays.

After my stay at Greencastle I proceeded to take charge of our detachment at Carlisle Fort, Queenstown Harbour. Have you ever been there? If not, go when you get the opportunity. Certainly Carlisle Fort itself—it lies on the left-hand side of the exit from the harbour—is difficult to get to. Either you had to cross by sailing-boat from Queenstown—there were no motor launches—or else drive right round the long arm of the harbour, at the end of which is Rostellon Castle. In the summer either trip was, as a rule, quite enjoyable. If one wished to go to Queenstown or Cork, an hour or so with a fair wind would land you at Queenstown. If, on the other hand, time was no particular object, the drive to Middleton, the headquarters of the hunt, was a most pleasant one. You passed Aghada Hall, then Rostellon, farther on. You could rest at the Sadleir Jacksons’ hospitable home. But in the winter it was not so pleasant. The hunting country was all on the inland side of the harbour. One’s mounts had to be sent round by Rostellon the day before the meet. And then, if those of us quartered at Carlisle wished to get to the meet in time, we had to make a very early start in our garrison boat, so as to reach Queenstown for an early breakfast at the club, and then a long drive to the meet. Sitting in an open boat at 4 A.M. on a dark winter’s morning, with perhaps a head wind and four miles of a choppy sea to battle against, required a considerable amount of endurance and keenness, but we did it all right. It used to strike me as an odd circumstance 83 in those days that the Tommies who manned the boat were so pleasant over the job. They were not going to hunt. They were not out to enjoy themselves. We were. Yet there were always volunteers, who apparently found pleasure in helping their young officers, though at very considerable inconvenience to themselves. But then the right Tommy is, and always has been, a good chap.

It was out with the Cork South United Pack of fox-hounds that I first met with a serious accident. I was riding a ripping mare, which I had named Kate Dwyer, and which, up to the day of this accident, had not given me a fall. The hounds were running up a long gully. The fox did not seem to have made up his mind as to which side of the gully he would break. Some of us thought it would be to the right, and we were following the crest of the gully on that side. We came to a stone wall on the slope of the hill. It was a thin wall—daylight through it. One had only to give the stones a push to make a very easy gap. I walked the mare up to it quietly and was leaning forward to push the stones down with my whip, when, I presume, the mare thought I wanted her to move on. So she tried to make a standing jump of it. It was a failure. She struck it and we fell together, my right leg being crushed by her weight falling on it on some of the displaced stones. The leg was not broken, but the flesh and tissues were all torn below the knee, and the bone pretty well lacerated. I was taken to Middleton, the then home of the Murphys and the Coppingers and many other good sportsmen, and, after having my injuries patched up, went to hospital. The mare, I am happy to say, had hardly even a scratch on her. She was the best bit of horseflesh I ever threw my legs across. I sold her afterwards to a friend from Northumberland, who, having married an Irish girl, used to come every year to put in a couple of months’ hard riding in Limerick. He bought her from me at the end of the season and took her home to Northumberland. She 84 did well in the summer, but, on the opening day of their season, she fell down dead in the middle of their first run. Poor old Kate.

My accident proved more severe than I anticipated, and I was sent home to Scotland on sick leave. After two months my leg mended up and I returned to Old Ireland in the early summer. Our company’s annual training and the landing and mounting of the two first “Woolwich infants”—fat, six-inch muzzle loaders—at Carlisle Fort filled up the time till the autumn months. As I was very keen on shooting and was given three weeks’ leave, I returned to Limerick, in the neighbourhood of which sport was of the best. I never had anywhere in the world a better day’s woodcock shooting than the O’Grady family gave me in County Clare. Long narrow belts of wood in an undulating country were full of the so-called best sporting bird in the world. Hard to down; best to eat. Equally good with the woodcock shooting in Clare was the wild-duck shooting in the quaking bogs of County Limerick, and away in the loughs, westwards, towards the mouth of the Shannon.

Before proceeding further, I have to make an admission. My readers will have no doubt have discovered by this time that I am faithfully recording what comes to my mind of the old days. If the incident I record tells against me I am quite content to accept the blame. Why not? No one really knows where the hand of fate is leading one. Thank God we know not what to-morrow is going to bring forth. All pleasure and zest in life would be gone if we only knew what to-morrow was going to do for us. Yet we have to behave to-day—or should behave to-day—so as to secure a pleasurable and profitable to-morrow, in case we are permitted to be alive on the morrow. It seems to me how wonderful it is that any act on one’s part—quite unpremeditated, or only if done just by chance—can have so great an influence on all our to-morrows. It may ruin all our prospects or may make 85 us the happiest of mortals. It may bring the saddest of morrows to those dearest to us, or it may shower blessing—unintentionally, of course—on our worst enemies.

The First Issue of “Turf Tissue”

Well, no more sermons. What is the admission I was going to make? Well, I will now tell you, right off. I fell in love. Quite hopelessly, desperately in love. It was very annoying and distressing, for had I not, up to then, loved so many that I loved no one in particular, at any rate, except for short periods of time. What was coming over me, I wondered? Oh, but, whatever it was, it was indeed sweet, and, if love is freely, wholly given, and is returned, then is it not heavenly bliss on earth? Yes, no doubt. But, what about to-morrow?

There was, unfortunately, no chance of a happy to-morrow for us. Except our love, all else was against us. She was young, sweet as only a real colleen can be, her Irish blue-violet eyes set in her lovely forehead, fringing which her glorious gold chestnut hair sparkled in the sun with the richest tints. To watch her on horseback was a dream. But—and now your sympathies will, I hope, be given to me—she was married. She cared not for her husband; her husband evidently did not particularly love her. It was the old story. Two young people marrying young and then discovering that they had been too hasty and that they could not live together happily. There was nothing new in this situation. It seems to be always happening. I have come across such happenings more than several times since the days I am now writing of. The Divorce Court appears to be useful in such cases and relieves the sufferings of those affected, at times. But the Divorce Court cannot reach every one, can it? There is not enough time nor are there enough Divorce Courts to get round.

But let me get on with my affairs before I start a discussion as to what love is. Let it suffice that I was suffering from a violent attack of it. However, something else was to claim me and set me on to fresh fields. 86 Just then, as the result of the evenings and moonlight nights spent wildfowl shooting in the bogs in the cold, I got rheumatic fever, and once more returned to hospital. My illness, which became very serious, led to my being ordered the longest sea voyage I could take, in the hopes of regaining my strength. This necessitated my resigning my commission and taking my passage for a trip to New Zealand, though the doctors did not seem to think I should reach that far-off land. Thus ended my second romance. And now for fresh worlds to conquer, if Providence only gave me health. 87



It was a bright summer’s morning. Somewhere about noon the good clipper, the New Zealand Shipping Company’s Waipa, slipped her cable and was taken in tow down the old River Thames. Her skipper was a good sea salt; he was a Scotsman all right. His name was Gorn. I had been allotted my cabin. I was, of course, unable to move without help, but I did look forward to getting better as the good old ship moved to the south and worked into warmer tropical climes. The days are now past to go to the other end of the world—the farthest end, anyhow, then known—in a sailing ship. We had three months’ voyage in front of us. We were to call nowhere; we were just to sail merrily along for three solid months, till we reached our first port of call, Port Chalmers, in New Zealand.

Our passengers were not many in what we called the saloon—three New Zealanders, who had made money as shepherds and then become owners of sheep stations, and a few intending settlers in that beautiful land, retired officers and ex-clergymen, with their families, took up the available first-class accommodation. The remainder of the passengers, of whom there were a good many, were emigrants of both sexes, a happy, contented crowd, many of whom were looking forward to the better conditions of life which New Zealand offered them through her commercial agents in London.

I well remember how soon our small troubles began. Perhaps the only real trouble was our medical officer. He was the doctor in charge of the ship, and was kind 88 and attentive, but, even before we reached the Doldrums, which was about a third of the way, we were not surprised to find there were no medical comforts left. Our worthy captain was very much concerned, especially as about that time the potatoes had given out, the fresh meat had been consumed—even to the last poor fowl—and the so-called baker declared that he was absolutely unable to give us any decent bread. So we had a lively two months to look forward to. Personally I did not mind. Instead of getting better, as the weather got warmer I became worse. I was taken every day from my bunk into one of the ship’s boats, which hung on the side, and made as comfortable as I could be, and got as much fresh air as was available. Everyone was kind, and, in the absence of any pain, I was not unhappy. But I did not look forward with any degrees of pleasure to the time when, on crossing the line, we should leave the warm climates, and, picking up the south-easterly trades off the South American coast, enter the cold regions through which the rest of the voyage had to be made. But one never knows. My friend, the doctor, who had been most sanguine in promising me the full use of my limbs as the weather became warmer, was more than puzzled, so much so that I fancied he fully anticipated my final collapse as soon as the cold weather came on; and I sometimes thought, too, that he did regret that the medical comforts in his charge had been consumed so early in the voyage.

Well, we reached the tropics, and for three days the Doldrums held us. They had the usual festivities when crossing the Line, and Father Neptune visited us. Our worthy captain pleased all the passengers by the hearty way in which he entered into all their amusements. From my perch in my boat I enjoyed what I then thought were the last few days I had to live. Then came the day when a slight ripple appeared in the calm waters, which presaged a light breeze. This breeze turned into a fairly strong wind—and we had picked up the south-easterly 89 trade. To my great relief, and to the very considerable astonishment of the doctor, from that moment I began to improve. As, each day, we made to the south, the cooler became the wind and the rougher the sea. It was a fine trade wind, and we bowled along with all sail set doing our eight or nine knots an hour day and night. And each day I felt better. Before we doubled the Cape of Good Hope and entered the long stretch which, tracking along the Southern Seas, due east, was to land us in New Zealand, I was actually walking with some slight help, and from that time onwards I improved to such an extent that I was able to take my turn now and again with one of the watches as an able seaman.

It was a long weary journey across those Southern Seas. The monotony of it, day after day, with the following wind, wave after wave apparently threatening to overtake us, yet our poop deck ever avoiding them. And so on until we reached Stewart Island. We made the North Passage, and on November 4, just ninety-two days after leaving London, we entered Port Chalmers.

Port Chalmers is the Port of Dunedin, that fine city in the South Island of New Zealand. Dunedin was named after the city of Edinburgh, which was once known as Dunedin. It is just chock full of Scotsmen, and it is very much to be doubted whether a better name could have been given it by those sons of Scotland who first made their home there. The climate of Dunedin much resembles the climate of Edinburgh itself. Snow covers its streets in the winter, and the great Mount Cook, clad in snow, hovers away in the far distance. Down towards the south scenery which not even the fiords of Norway can rival extends from the bluff towards the north. Milford Sounds are well known for their great beauty to all those who have travelled in those waters. I doubt whether there is any part of the world which, within such distances, is more magnificently picturesque than that southern corner of 90 the South Island of New Zealand. Enough; this is not a guide book.

We landed at Port Chalmers and proceeded to Waine’s Hotel. It was kept, I need hardly say, by a Scotsman, and it is there still. I felt that I had started a new lease of life. I couldn’t believe it possible that I had got rid of every pain and ache and that I was as fit as fit could be. My first concern was to cable home and tell them not only of my safe arrival, but of the wonderful recovery that I had made, and that I intended to at once get to work and take advantage of the letters of introduction that I had taken with me. Two of these were to men in Dunedin, and, curiously enough, one of them was a well-known local man, who happened to be the Officer Commanding the Volunteer Artillery Company. He was most kind. He was a very keen volunteer soldier, and he informed me that the great difficulty he had to contend with was the fact that the Government would not place at his disposal a qualified instructor for his corps. “If you are going to stay here a little time,” he said, “will you give a short course of instruction to my men?” I was only too pleased, and, within two days of my arrival in Dunedin, a parade of the corps was held in their drill-hall—which, by the by, was an excellent one—and we made all arrangements to commence business. It was like old times again. Who could have told me, when I was leaving London, three months before, as I thought a cripple, that I was going to be at work again, as fresh as ever, within three months, at the other side of the world? One introduction led to another, till I found it difficult to find time to take advantage of all the kind invitations that were given me.

I had decided, however, that it was to Wellington, the seat of the New Zealand Government, that I had to make my way. It was at Wellington that the responsible head of the New Zealand defence and police force resided—good old Colonel Reader. I had letters of introduction to him, and I thought it advisable, in view of my experience in 91 Dunedin, to interview him as early as possible, as he might consider my experience as a Gunner of some value to the Government. I left my friends in Dunedin with many regrets, and full of promises to return to their hospitable city should the authorities at Wellington deem it advisable to appoint an instructor to their district. I was sorry to leave Dunedin. The town possessed, and possesses, one of the nicest clubs in the southern hemisphere—the Fernhill Club, a most comfortable residence, standing in its own grounds, quite in the centre of the city.

On reaching Wellington I called upon Colonel Reader, and apparently my luck was in. He told me that he was looking out for a Drill Instructor and that he would be pleased if I could take the appointment. The emolument seemed to me enormous. It was just four times the amount I had been receiving as a lieutenant in the artillery. In addition, it carried travelling expenses and other perquisites. I accepted at once, and was ordered to take up my duties at first in the North Island, at a place called Tauranga, not far from the scene of the fight at the Gate Pah, during the Maori War. Anyone visiting Tauranga can still trace the site of the old British camp and the remains of the old trenches.

Not far from the Gate Pah, in what was then called The King Country, lay Ohinemutu, the Maori settlement, alongside which rose the celebrated Terraces—later on, somewhere about 1885, the scene of the terrible eruptions which completely wiped out that wonderful country, submerged the terraces and mountains, and formed fresh lakes in what is now well known as the Rotorua district. How soon or how late further eruptions will take place in this district, where now a modern hotel and marble baths have taken the place of Maori whares and mud-holes, it is not for me to say.

While at Tauranga I became acquainted with the method then in vogue of settling people on the land in New Zealand. A retired officer, who had himself migrated 92 thither, and had secured a holding not far from the township of Tauranga, obtained from the Government a large area of land, north of Tauranga, on the road towards Grahamstown and the Thames Goldfield. It was reported at the time that the price he had paid the Government was ten shillings per acre, right out. This tract of country was completely covered with bracken, and bracken is a difficult growth to get rid of. Proceeding to England, he induced a good many of his friends to try their fortune on the other side of the world, offering them land at an upset price of two pounds per acre—good land, beautiful climate, great possibilities. It was a very tempting offer to those who knew no better, and he succeeded in practically disposing of the land on these terms. The greater number of these would-be pioneers were retired officers, an ex-bishop or two, retired clergymen, and others of a similar walk in life, who, one would naturally think, were the least qualified to battle at their time of life with the problems of cultivating unknown lands in far-distant colonies. The promoter, if report is correct, chartered two sailing vessels, and into these endless furniture, pianos, household goods, belonging to the settlers, were duly packed. Yet, remember, all that they were to find on their arrival was bracken—no houses, no fences, no roads, nothing but bracken. Not one of them knew which portion of the bracken was to be his own. Part of the contract was that, during the voyage out, the settlers were to draw lots for the allotment of positions, the value of which they could only judge from a map hung up in the saloon of the ship.

I rode through this settlement about one year after the arrival of the settlers. There were a certain number of huts, intended finally to be homesteads, in the course of being built. A few tracks formed the so-called roads. Some of the bracken was disappearing. But the ready money which the settlers, or some of them, had brought out with them had been spent, and the outlook was anything 93 but cheerful. Further, the necessary conditions for the survey of the allotments—as required by the Government—had not been fulfilled. Consequently the settlers were unable to borrow any funds on their property, unless they applied to the Jews. This is many years ago, and, though I have not been there lately, I believe that it is now a most prosperous district. But how many of those courageous original settlers or their families are there now?

In connexion with the eruption at Ohinemutu there was an incident which it is worth while to record. Should it occur again, the record should act as a sure warning to the residents at Rotorua. Situated some thirty miles from the coast, to the eastwards of Tauranga, there is an island. It rises in the shape of a conical hill clean out of the sea. It was then known as Sulphur Island, or perhaps better as White Island. As a matter of fact it was an old volcano, though never quite extinct. On landing at this island you would have found that the conical hill was absolutely hollow, and that on its base, in the inside, level with the sea, lay a lake, whose waters were of the dark blue hue that only sulphur lakes can show. The specific gravity of the water is very heavy, much the same as that of the blue lake in the Mount Gambier district, in South Australia, at the top edge of which Adam Lindsay Gordon made his famous jump over a high fence. From both the inner and the outer crust of this shell mountain continually poured sulphur deposits, practically pure sulphur. On the outward side of the mountain this sulphur accumulated on the base, towards the beach. It was indeed a glorious sight, on a moonlight night, to look at this peak rising majestically from amidst the waves of mid-ocean, white as a sugar-loaf, as the rays of the moon bathed it with its silvery light.

Beautiful as it looked, it was yet tainted with the saddest of histories. Though it was known that at some period or another it had been inhabited by natives, yet no fresh water could then be found within its shores. 94 The only solution that could be found for the fact that it had been inhabited was that some springs of fresh water existed between the low and high water mark of the tide which were known to the then inhabitants, but the knowledge of the situation of these springs had died with them. The sulphur, however, almost in its pure state, was there in abundance, and White Island, at the time I am speaking of, was leased by the Government to a small syndicate, which employed a certain number of hands, and exported the sulphur, chiefly to Tauranga. It was a fine paying game for that merry small syndicate. The conditions, however, under which white men were bound to labour at White Island were as sad and as deplorable as it has ever been my lot to know. Any man who decided to fill sulphur bags at White Island knew that he was going to his last home in this world. The conditions of life on the island were practically hopeless. The strong sulphur fumes ate up one’s vitality. One’s teeth fell out. Nothing but woollen clothes could withstand the ravages of the fumes. Eyesight failed. The only fresh water available was that which was landed on the Island by the schooners which carried away the sulphur bags. The spirit of those labourers was broken, and they were content to finish their lives under the influence of the strong and adulterated spirits with which those same schooners supplied them, thus helping them on their passage to another world. Sulphur (or White) Island is doubtless still there, and, no doubt, supplying many tons of that most useful product of this earth under very much happier conditions.

But, to hark back to the incident of the wonderful volcano upheaval which wrecked Ohinemutu and its terraces, its mountains and its lakes. For about a month previous to the eruptions the captains of the coastal boats plying along the eastern coast from Wellington to Auckland, making Gisborne, Napier and Tauranga their ports of call, noticed that when travelling between White Island and the main 95 coast they passed through shoals of dead fish floating on the surface of the sea. They were astonished at this, but they failed to arrive at any solution of the phenomenon. It was not till after the eruptions took place that these reports caused the Government authorities to attempt to trace a connexion between the shoals of dead fish on the waters and the eruption at Ohinemutu. The result of these investigations proved—as far as it was reported at the time—that serious volcanic disturbances had been taking place between White Island and the mainland, unknown and unseen, but the result of which was apparently proved by the presence on the surface of the waters of the dead or stunned fish. All boys know that a concussion caused in waters where there are fish, stuns them and brings them to the surface, ready to be gathered in by the enterprising but unsportsmanlike spirit who fires off the exploding charge. That a great explosion and upheaval had taken place within the deep sea was proved by the experience of the skippers in the coasting trade. I think I am making a correct statement when I say that the connexion between White Island and the District of Ohinemutu on the mainland, as volcanic centres, was established.

My duties, as I have already stated, were not onerous. My chief work, as instructor, was minimized by the small number of troopers. I had under me some thirty or forty mounted men. The Maoris were somewhat restless between the east and west, and they proved that restlessness by making raids on the working parties which were then employed on road making through the Parihaka district. Their chief delight was to raid the road-makers’ piles of broken metal and scatter it, broadcast, from their well-constructed heaps.

Before I left Tauranga an incident occurred which appealed to me very much as an instance of the curious ways of Providence. I was riding back one afternoon after visiting some of the country patrols. I had filled my pipe, but discovered that I had no matches. Presently I 96 noticed, on the right-hand side of the road amidst the bracken, a very humble abode. As a matter of fact, it was just what was then known as a “lean-to,” the preliminary stage of the farmhouses that were then being built by the settlers. These “lean-tos” were, in the first instance used for living purposes. Later on, when the front parts of the houses were built, they became the kitchens and domestic offices. The building was only some four hundred yards from the road, so I turned in to get a light for my pipe. I noticed, as I was getting near, that a man was standing on a step-ladder, apparently doing some painting. He looked down on me from his ladder as I approached. Then I saw that instead of painting he was engaged in tarring the roof of the building. He was evidently an amateur tar-man. The bucket which held the tar was tied on to the ladder below him. The roof he was tarring was a little above him, with the result that he himself was fairly covered with sprinklings of the tar. As he possessed a pair of somewhat large whiskers and his head was uncovered, he presented a quaint appearance. After greetings, I ventured to ask if he could supply me with a few matches.

As he turned and looked down on me from his perch on the ladder, I recognized an old friend at whose beautiful country house in the county of Cork in Ireland I had spent many, many happy hours when I was quartered at Carlisle Fort. I could hardly believe that he was the host who had been so kind to all of us young officers only a few months before.

“Surely you are not Colonel ——?” I said.

“Yes,” he said, “I am.”

“Well,” I said, “you probably won’t remember me, but I do remember you and all the pleasure you used to give us. Are you all out here? Where are the girls?”

I introduced myself, and he did remember me. The result was that he asked me to stay to their evening meal, which invitation I gladly accepted. 97

As he landed from the ladder he laughed, and he said, “I’m afraid I’m not much of an adept at tarring. It’s only been my second attempt, and it takes me such an awful time to get rid of the amount of the tar which I so freely distribute over myself. But I am sure you won’t mind our primitive ways, and if this abode is not as pretentious as the old castle in County Cork, still we can all give you a very hearty welcome.”

I put up my horse in the shed which did duty as a stable. He told me that the two sons were away with the milk cart, while the girls were hard at work doing the evening’s milking of the cows and feeding the poultry, and would shortly finish their day’s work. In the meantime, we would have a pipe and stroll round what he called the domain. We were a cheery party that met at that evening meal. The girls appeared, looking sweet in their very best clothes. The old man and his sons put on evening dress. The centre room was a living-room, drawing-room, dining-room, smoking-room, library, all combined in one. The table on which dinner was served was made of rough boards resting on a couple of trestles, but covered with the best of damask tablecloths and silver ornaments. The dining-room chairs consisted of empty packing cases. Such were the difficulties that the early settlers had to contend with.

Some years afterwards I was paying an official call on one of Her Majesty’s ships at Adelaide, South Australia, and the commander asked me to go into his cabin, where I saw a photograph of a sweetly pretty woman. I recognized it at once. It was one of the three sisters with whom I had dined some years before. I mentioned the fact, and asked him if she was a relation of his. “Very much so,” he said; “she is my wife.” He then told me all about the family, and that they had done well, and the farm had been a great success. 98



At this time Tauranga itself was a centre of another kind of activity. Exeter Hall had exerted its wonderful influence in attempting to settle all sorts of questions affecting the Empire and the management of Imperial interests in the colonies, the governing of which had already been handed over to the care of those who had so ably developed them. Exeter Hall had influenced the Imperial Government to call upon the New Zealand Government to make monetary compensation to the Maoris for the loss, or so-called loss, of portions of the land which had been taken from them as the result of the Maori War.

A very considerable tract of land, then known as the King Country, lay to the west of Tauranga, and included, I think, the Ohinemutu district. Riding from Tauranga towards the west, you passed through the bracken country and then arrived at the magnificent bush, which began at a place called Europe, known as “Orope” by the Maoris. Glorious and magnificent trees towered overhead, while hundreds of creepers and other semi-tropical plants grew so intensely that it was more than difficult to force a way through. Herein was the home of the supple-jack, whose branches enfolded you more and more the longer you attempted to force your way through. Here was the home of the wild boar. A large tract of this country formed part of the land for which compensation was to be paid by the Government to the Maoris in accordance with the dictates of Exeter Hall.

Courts of jurisdiction were established at several centres of the population. The courts consisted of an English 99 justice and a native assessor. One of these courts was established at Tauranga. The question for the court to decide was which Maori tribe, at the time of the close of the Maori War, were actually the rightful owners of the particular land in dispute. I was informed at the time—and I think my information was correct—that the title of ownership lay, in accordance with the Maori traditions, with the chief of a tribe who had actually killed (and eaten part of) his unsuccessful rival. The courts arranged to make duly known to all tribes that put forward a claim to any such lands, the dates on which sittings would be held to deal with each case in rotation.

I was at Tauranga when the court was sitting, and a wonderful experience it was. The value of the tract of land under consideration in this one case was some £6,500. Remember that it was not intended to restore the land to the Maoris. They were to be compensated only in cash value for the loss of the land. In this particular instance there were three tribes whose chiefs claimed to have been in possession at the time of the war, and who desired to appear before the court. The procedure was as follows: The court sat at Tauranga. The tribes declined to be represented by the chiefs, even if accompanied by a few of their elder tribesmen; they insisted upon attending the courts with the whole tribe, men, women and children. Their average number was about 380. Provision had to be made for suitable camps during the course of the trial. What a time for the furniture dealers, storekeepers, butchers, bakers, and other tradesmen, whose pleasant duty it became to make such provision! Remember that all expenses which the tribes incurred were a charge on the capital value of £6,500. The Maoris cared not. They did not realize that they were actually paying for their own subsistence. The sole aim of each tribe was to win its case. The local authorities fixed the localities for the camps and made all arrangements for their comfort on a liberal scale. The first tribe 100 to arrive found their quarters ready for them, and it then became their privilege to welcome the second tribe, which came from across the water, a small arm of the sea to the south of the town. This tribe swam across, men, women and children, to the head of the jetty to which the local steamers made fast. The Maoris who lived in close proximity to the sea were excellent swimmers.

The order of procedure was as follows: The tribe already in possession of the camp piled up a couple of trucks with barrels of beer, bottles of rum, gin, brandy and whisky. These trucks were run down the rails to the end of the jetty and were left there to await the arrival of the swimming tribe, while the others remained on the shore end to welcome them. The new-comers, tired after their long swim, greatly appreciated the kind thought of their hosts, and immediately set to work to consume as much of the good gifts as the gods, or, rather, their legal opponents, offered them. These, drawn up in battle array, impatiently awaited their arrival, the braves all in front in such a position as they considered advisable, from their military point of view, to impress their guests with a sense of their prowess. Behind the fighting line the womenfolk were drawn up. In their front line were their best-looking girls. They were specially put there to catch the eye of the leading young men among their guests. The elderly women and the youngsters formed the third line.

Thus the hosts waited for the arrival of their guests. The original idea was that the tribe arriving would take a certain amount of the drink offered to them, enough to fortify themselves so as to arrive at the end of the jetty in fairly good condition. But the hopes of the hosts were unjustified. There was nothing left on the trolley at the end of the jetty but empty beer barrels and glass bottles. Watching them as I did, from the little fort just overlooking the jetty, I was wondering how the advance of the visiting tribe down the jetty was going 101 to be carried out. I gathered, from what I had seen, that the amount of spirits consumed would produce some comical effects. I was quite disappointed. I wondered also whether the procession down the jetty was to be carried out in the clothes in which they arrived, which were nil. It would have been a quaint experience to have seen a whole naked tribe arriving at quite a respectable English settlement. But, no. Their coverings had been carefully carried by the swimmers on the top of their heads and kept dry. And while they refreshed themselves from the friendly truck they donned such garments as made them quite respectable.

The order for the advance was then formed. It was similar to that which was to receive them on the shore end of the jetty. One could not help admiring their methods. Ceremonial parades all over the world, held at coronations of kings, in commemoration of the proclamation of a country’s victories, aided by the pomp and glory of all modern accessories, failed to convey the solemnity, such as it was, of the advance of that tribe down that jetty. Led by the chief and chieftains of the tribe, followed by their “braves,” that is, their fighting men, the march down the jetty began. There was no band, and no music but their battle-cry—a battle-cry that had made them redoubtable enemies and had forced us to send a large expeditionary force, with all the then best military resources, to overcome them. Down the jetty they came, moving in complete unison that shook the structure itself as they beat it in their advance. As they came forward their hosts joined in rhythm with their advance, stamping on the shore end till the ground, too, shook. The scene became quite inspiring. I have never been present at any review or parade—and I have seen many in many parts of the world—which has so impressed me or left such a keen impression in my mind as that of the moment when the two tribes met at the shore end of that jetty. You may think this is rather 102 a far-fetched thought, but it isn’t, and you wouldn’t have thought so if you had been there.

The official meeting of the chiefs first took place. The rhythmical beating of the ground by the hundreds of feet of the hosts and guests suddenly ceased, and a friendly greeting of all, which, in the usage of the Maoris, took the form of rubbing noses, began and held full sway. The arriving tribe settled down then to the camp provided for them by the authorities. Two days afterwards the third tribe arrived, and the same ceremony took place. The ground then again shook unmistakably. It took one back—as many of the residents of Tauranga (who after fighting in the Maori War had settled in the district) remembered—to the days of that campaign and to the battle-cry of the advancing Maoris whom they had fought against. But these very men were now engaged in the pursuits of peace, and all of them welcomed with delight the presence of their late enemies. It was the source of much profit to them.

This particular case was duly settled by the court. Its decision was given in favour, if I remember rightly, of the tribe that swam across from the south. The court officials were entrusted with the settlement of the expenses incurred by the tribes. After paying all these expenses a sum of some one thousand pounds remained as the amount to be paid in compensation, in accordance with the edict of Exeter Hall, to the winners.

The final celebration had now to take place. The chief of the victorious tribe invited the losing tribes to a farewell festival. A great Maori haka was held, to which not only the natives themselves, but the whole of the English inhabitants, were invited. The braves of all the tribes took part in this. It was a wonderful scene. It took place upon a moonlight night. There was an inner circle, in the centre of which the triumphant chief and his chieftains, surrounded by the chief and chieftains of the other two tribes, stood. Around them was a palisade of sticks, 103 on which the one thousand odd pounds in notes, paid to them as a result of the court’s finding, were festooned. Immediately surrounding this circle were the braves of the losing tribes, and beyond, all round, the womenfolk and the children and European guests. Fires flared in all directions. You have no doubt read about the natives of different parts of the world, but you may not know that the Maori race was, without exception, one of the best indigenous types in our Empire.

Well, the scene was set and the war-dance started. Victors and losers joined, in complete accord with their own customs, and I doubt if a more inspiring sight, taking in view their numbers, has been seen. As their enthusiasm increased the greater became their rhythmical movements. As their vigour increased the more weird became the scene. They were fighting, in their minds, their old battles against their old foe—battles which they had fought with their native weapons against weapons of civilization. Their old war-cries leapt forth from their hearts and mouths as they had done when they fell before their enemy. They looked bewitched, and stayed not nor stopped in their wild orgy until physical distress forced them.

Next day they departed to their own settlement, and peace and quiet reigned in Tauranga, whose residents were more than grateful to Exeter Hall for the result of the great interest which the promoters of the meetings for the welfare of the poor Maori had aroused. Tauranga’s civil population revelled in profit. When the tribes left the whole of the camp equipments were left behind. The Government did not want them, and the whole concern was put up to auction. Who was going to bid? Only the local suppliers. There was no opposition, and the whole equipment was sold to the only bidders. Verbum sap. 104



My life in Tauranga was becoming every day more interesting. Fishing, both fresh water in the Wairoa, and deep sea, was excellent. Any amount of shooting could be got within easy driving distance from the township—red-legged partridges, rabbits, and any number of pheasants; as a matter of fact, these were looked upon by the farmers as vermin, they were so plentiful, and they did much damage to their grain crops. Some eighteen miles away one reached the border of the King Country, the large tract of land then in the hands of the Maoris. At this border the natural bush commenced. Wonderful timber, among which semi-tropical creeping plants revelled in forming almost impassable barriers, so luxurious were their growth. Wild boar hunting was most exciting as well as dangerous. Supple-jack was one of the most treacherous parasites of the giant forest trunks, for, notwithstanding hand axes, the deeper you cut your way, the more entangled you became. Our patrolling duties often necessitated our being away for five or six days, and enabled us to get some excellent sport. There was but little trouble with the Maoris. They somewhat objected to the making of roads, which were then being extended inland towards the west coast, and they were a source of some annoyance to the working parties; but the appearance of one of our armed patrols soon brought them to reason.

Ohinemutu was a Maori village at the foot of the wonderful hills up whose slopes rose the marvellous pink and white terraces which were, a few years later, to be 105 wiped off the face of the earth by the terrible volcanic eruptions that devastated that part of the North Island. Acting upon the advice of our doctor I decided to take a short course of the sulphur mud baths which were scattered here and there over the ground. Having obtained permission from Te-Whiti, the then king, I spent eight days at Ohinemutu. The two chief guides, Maria and Sophia, were well known in those days to all tourists who were fortunate enough to visit that wonderful region. I had been free from any rheumatic pains since my landing at Dunedin, but the doctor assured me that the sulphur baths would complete the cure. He was right, as I am thankful to say that from that day to this the old enemy has never tackled me again, though I am afraid I have sorely tempted him.

It was one day shortly after my sojourn at Ohinemutu that I received a letter from Sir Frederick Weld, the then Governor of Tasmania, offering me the position of private secretary, which had become vacant. I had taken out letters of introduction to him from some mutual friends, which I had posted on my arrival in Dunedin; hence his offer. I was naturally delighted, and cabled accepting. Without delay I tendered my resignation to the officer in command of our district, Major Swinley, who told me I could count upon its being accepted, and could make my arrangements to leave for Tasmania as soon as a steamer was available. I found there would be one leaving Auckland for Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin in a few days. This was indeed fortunate, for it would enable me to see Auckland, call upon our chief, Colonel Reader, at Wellington, thank him for his kindness in giving me the appointment at Tauranga, and say good-bye to all my old friends at Dunedin. At Auckland, a beautifully situated city with an excellent and picturesque harbour, I spent some four days, having ridden from Tauranga through the Kati-kati settlement, the old Thames Gold Fields, and finishing my most interesting journey in a 106 little steamer, the Rotomahana, sailing from Grahamstown. On arrival at Wellington I called on Colonel Reader. He expressed much surprise at seeing me, and told me that as he had no recollection of having received any application from me for leave, he failed to understand on what grounds I had come to Wellington. I was, of course, surprised myself that he had not heard from Major Swinley, and explained to him exactly what had happened. He appeared considerably annoyed, and told me that Major Swinley should not have permitted me to leave Tauranga before the application for leave had been approved by himself; but, as he had done so, he would not stand in the way of my bettering my position, and would accept my resignation. I thanked him and returned to the steamer, which sailed next morning for Christchurch.

In due course I arrived in Dunedin. Here a real surprise awaited me. It was a cable from Sir Frederick Weld to the effect that he had received instructions from the Colonial Office to proceed without delay to Singapore, where he had been appointed Governor, and where his presence was urgently required. He expressed his regret that the alteration in his plans forced him to cancel his offer, and hoped that it would not cause me much inconvenience. There was nothing for it but to bow to the inevitable, break my journey, and put my thinking-cap on.

I had wired to some of my friends in Dunedin, advising them of the fact that the steamer would be calling at the port, and that I would be glad to see them again. Two or three of them were waiting on the pier on the steamer’s arrival. They were much concerned at my bad news, did their best to cheer me up, and promised me a good time while I stayed with them. Being young, I put aside my troubles for the time and determined to take them at their word and enjoy myself. Plenty of time for worry by and by. At the end of the week the senior officer of the local garrison battery came to see me. He said his officers had asked him to apply to the Government to have me appointed 107 as artillery instructor to the district, which then included the port of Invercargill, otherwise the Bluff, and that he had that day sent on an application to that effect, supported by the local Members of Parliament, and other influential citizens. He was quite optimistic as to the result, but I had my doubts. He had not been present at my interview with Colonel Reader at Wellington. I felt convinced that the chief had been much annoyed at what he no doubt thought the cavalier way in which I had left my job at Tauranga, after his having given me the appointment to that district so quickly after my application. However, hope is the mother of cheer, and I felt more reconciled to my lot. Later on arrived Colonel Reader’s answer. It was short and to the point, but a bad point for me. He regretted he was unable to recommend the reappointment of an officer who had resigned at such short notice.

It was all over. I had fallen between two stools. Well, it could not be helped; why cry over spilt milk? After all, I had been more than fortunate in regaining my health. I had spent some six months in one of the most beautiful and interesting countries in the world, gained much experience, enjoyed endless good sport, made many friends. Why despond? Nothing in it. Life was still before me. My friends in Dunedin and Christchurch invited me to visit their stations, fish, shoot, eat, dance and play. I would put in some three months enjoying myself, and then make for home and Wardhouse again. The journey homewards would give me the opportunity of visiting Australia, India and Egypt, and on arrival home I would have been round the world. Some experience, as an American would say, for a young man who, twelve months before, had boarded a sailing vessel in the London Docks with little hope of leaving the ship alive.

One of the most thrilling experiences I have ever had occurred while I made the attempt to climb the peak of 108 that lofty mountain, Mount Cook. The time of the year was not the best to venture on such an expedition. On both occasions, when we tackled the venture, ill-luck befell us. Our first attempt was foiled by fogs, which, when driven away by a fierce, bitterly cold gale, that seemed to blow from any and every point of the compass at the same time, were succeeded by sleet and hailstorms that forced us to give up the fight and return home sadder but wiser men. The second time of asking, after a splendid start, once again the Fates were against us, and a heavy fall of snow, which lasted three days, put an end to our ambitious undertaking.

Then my round of visits came to an end, and I took my passage to Melbourne, sorry to leave so many friends, and little thinking that, in after years, I would again see them and enjoy their hospitality in those beautiful southern islands. 109



On arrival in Melbourne I took up my quarters in the old White Hart Hotel at the corner of Bourke Street and Spring Gardens, at that time one of the most comfortable hotels in Melbourne. Situated as it is just opposite the present Federal Houses of Parliament, it is well known indeed by many members both of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The topic of the day was the opening of the Exhibition, and the official representatives of the foreign nations who were taking part had by this time arrived in Melbourne. The representative of the German Empire was in residence, amongst others, at the White Hart Hotel.

I must tell you of a little incident which should have finished in someone’s death, but did not. The German Commissioner’s private secretary had just been long enough in Melbourne to fall in love with the daughter of a well-known tradesman. She was certainly a strikingly handsome girl, and her charms had completely roped in the affections of that gentleman. This girl, then about eighteen years of age, was engaged, or going to be engaged, to be married to a local man. The private secretary was so persistent in his attentions and admiration that he roused the devil in the heart of her fiancé, who challenged the private secretary to a mortal duel. It was to be a fight to the death, so he stated in the challenge, which arrived at our hotel at about 10 P.M. on a Tuesday evening, just as we were sitting down to a game of whist. The private secretary solemnly handed the written challenge to his chief. The Commissioner read it, then said: 110 “Write a note in answer stating that our under-secretary will represent you, and meet at once a representative of your opponent here at the hotel, with the view of arranging a meeting between you at five o’clock to-morrow morning.” It was summer time. “Would you prefer swords or pistols?”

“Swords,” said the private secretary.

The letter was written and sent, and swords were to be the weapons.

Our game of cards was put off for the moment, but, as I was afterwards informed, the intervening minutes while the letter was being written had been taken advantage of by the Commissioner to avoid a scandal. He sent word to the German Consul requesting his immediate presence at the hotel. On the Consul’s arrival the Commissioner met him privately, explained the situation, and requested the Consul at once to inform the Commissioner of Police of the intended duel between the two lovers, and to ask the Commissioner to prevent it. The Consul quickly left the hotel to carry out his instructions. The game of whist then proceeded. The private secretary was not playing too well. No wonder. Even a German under the circumstances could not have been but somewhat nervous. He needed not to have been nervous if he had been made aware of the Commissioner’s instructions to the Consul.

At about a quarter to twelve o’clock, as we were finishing our last rubber, the waiter brought in word that two gentlemen desired to see the Commissioner. He asked the waiter to show them into the room. On their coming in they informed the Commissioner that they were extremely sorry to disturb him at that late hour, that they were police officers, that information had been received that a breach of the peace was contemplated, that the private secretary was one of the persons concerned, and, further, that their orders were to arrest him. As, however, he was a guest of the Government, it would be more than sufficient if the Commissioner would guarantee that 111 no breach of the peace by any one of his staff would take place. I was looking at the private secretary as this statement was made. I do not think I ever saw upon anyone’s face such a look of relief as came to his.

This ended his affair, as he was made to promise by the Commissioner that the lady-love was to be forgotten and not to be spoken to again during their stay in Melbourne.

Having determined to see as much of Australia as possible before I went home, I bethought myself of the letters of introduction which I had brought out with me from home. Amongst them was one to General Sir Peter Scratchley, R.E., who had been, at the request of the Australian Colonies, sent out by the War Office to advise them as to suitable positions and type of fortifications to be erected for the protection of the chief harbours and other vulnerable localities along the Australian coast. I called on him. He was affable and kind. He gave me considerable encouragement by telling me that as some of the forts were being completed it was becoming necessary to increase the Permanent Artillery Force to man them, and that—it seemed to him—I had just arrived in time, as my qualifications were satisfactory. He undertook to introduce me personally to the Premier, Mr. Graham Berry, who advised me to send in a written application for an appointment and promised General Scratchley to give it his favourable consideration when the opportunity arose. Just about this time I received a letter from my old friend, Sir Frederick Weld, at Singapore, stating that he was reorganizing the Native Police Force in that colony and wanted to appoint a few British officers to it. He offered me the position of second in command. This offer was most alluring to me, but General Scratchley simply ridiculed it. He told me he knew Singapore only too well, and that if I went I would probably die in a few years—if I lived as long, and at any rate that I would become an old man before my time. Far better, 112 he said, stay in a glorious country like Australia than go and work in a country only fit for niggers, and poor at that. Taking his advice I declined Sir Frederick Weld’s kind offer. I wrote to him, thanking him, and pointed out that I was somewhat afraid to go and live in such a hot and moist climate after my sad experiences during my voyage out in the tropical regions, specially as since my landing in New Zealand I had not felt a twinge of rheumatism.

So I made up my mind to wait in Melbourne until I obtained my military appointment. I could not, however, afford to live in idleness, so I looked round for some suitable occupation which would bring in grist to the mill. I had always been, as you know, very fond of sport, and horse racing is the leading sport in Australia. I had been attending the meetings in and near Melbourne regularly and had become acquainted with a good many sporting men and the principal bookmakers and trainers. It struck me that it was a pity that a large city, the capital of a most thriving colony, where all kind of sport was rife, possessed no daily sporting paper. The one evening paper in Melbourne, The Herald, usually devoted some space to sport, but it was not published till too late in the day to be of any value to race-goers and punters. I determined to start a “sporting news-sheet,” to be published for the ten days covering the forthcoming Melbourne Cup Meeting. This news-sheet would be on sale at 10 A.M. in the morning, and give the latest information even up to the last morning’s gallops—if any—the scratchings, and latest betting prices. I at once set to work and got two reliable sporting men possessing good all-round racing information to join me in the venture. Then I took a set of offices, which were really much too extravagant and in too good a position. The offices were in the best part of Collins Street. But I was a very sanguine young man in those days. It was my first venture in business bar the roller-skating. As a matter 113 of fact, not one of us three had any knowledge or experience in business. We arranged that it should be my work to collect advertisements, attend to the editing and printing, do the financing, and see to the sale of the Turf Tissue, the name selected for the publication. My two partners’ business was to visit the training tracks, watch the horses at work, get all the information they could out of trainers, jockeys and stable-boys, and advise the public what horses to back.

Looking at it without prejudice, it seemed quite a good proposition on paper. So on we went. The Turf Tissue was to be sold to the public at twopence a copy, a half-penny of which was to go to the seller. It was a good commission, but by giving it we hoped to attract a very large number of the newsboys who sold the evening paper, in view of the fact that by publishing the Tissue at 10 A.M. the sale would be all finished some time before the evening papers came out.

Difficulties began early. I found that it was by no means so easy to collect advertisements, knowing, of course, nothing about it, and I tackled the job badly. Those who took up advertising space stipulated for an actual distribution of ten thousand copies of the Tissue each day, which had to be guaranteed and be carried out before they paid for the advertisements. I could see no other way out of the difficulty than to consent to their terms. Next came how to print the Tissue. We had no printing plant of our own, so we had to find what I think they called “a job printer” to pull us through. This was by no means easy, as I was unable to find one who would promise that the paper would actually be printed each day and be ready for issue at the stipulated time. Besides, the price to be charged seemed to me to be nearly ruinous. Yet if our venture was worth trying it was worth paying for at first. The Turf Tissue was to become a genuine daily newspaper. There would be more than ample profits by and by. 114

The time was near when the first issue was to take place, namely, the Thursday of the week before the day on which the Melbourne Cup was to be run, the first Tuesday in November. We decided that the first issue was to be given free to the newsvendors and sellers by way of advertisement, and notices were put up inviting all such who were willing to sell the Turf Tissue to assemble outside the offices of the paper on the Thursday morning by 10 A.M. That morning came and so did the crowds of would-be sellers to obtain their free issue for which they were to charge 2d. each. In such numbers were they that the traffic was interfered with, and the police took the matter in hand. I found out that a mistake had undoubtedly been made in fixing the main thoroughfare as a place of distribution, and that the mistake was entirely due to my inexperience as an editor and newspaper proprietor. For such I was. In a short time the first ten thousand copies of the first number of the newly-fledged sporting paper were being sold throughout Melbourne town. Looking out of the window of my office I could hear the loud cries of “Buy a Turf Tissue,” “All the tips,” “Latest gallops,” “Only twopence.” All was going well, and the firm adjourned to Scott’s Hotel. A couple of bottles of “bubbly” christened the very first sheet out of the printing press, which I have still.

To avoid the scenes in the street of that morning, I arranged for light carts to proceed next morning to convenient localities, where, under proper supervision, the regular distribution to sellers would take place, and these localities were duly and largely advertised that afternoon.

My two partners left me to ferret out what information they could, particularly to spot, if possible, the winner for the coming Saturday’s races. If we could only strike, say, three or four winners for Saturday our fortune was made. I looked forward to printing an issue of fifty thousand copies on the Tuesday morning, the Cup Day, giving the last and final and correct tip for that great race. I 115 treated myself to an excellent dinner at my club, and could hardly realize that with all the disadvantages of inexperience and want of knowledge in business matters my success had been so quickly and soundly assured. The first of the rather rude awakenings, which came to me next morning, was a message sent on to the office, where I was sitting after having supervised the departure of the delivery carts to their several distributing localities, arranged for on the previous day, to the effect that no news-sellers were available at the arranged places, and asking for instructions. I sent for a cab and started for the places where the delivery carts were waiting. What a change from the previous day! Either something had gone radically wrong with the advertising of the change in the place and mode of distribution, or else the news-sellers had been tampered with in some way or another. Not one was to be found. Then I remembered the agreement with the advertisers. Ten thousand copies had to be distributed throughout the city and suburbs. There was only one remedy. The delivery carts must deliver them, as widely as was possible, but, of course, free of charge. You will doubtless have noticed that this was the second issue of the paper which had been made without as yet one penny having been returned to the promoters.

On returning to the office I found a well-known Jew of that day, who, I had been told, was the boss of the news-sellers and who practically had them all in the palm of his hand. He informed me straight out that he had passed the word round that any vendor, man, woman or child, who sold the Turf Tissue would be struck off the list of their evening paper sellers, whom he absolutely controlled. The explanation for the morning’s failure was clear. But what was more clear was the unrelenting spirit in which my visitor absolutely refused to come to any terms which might lead to an amicable settlement. He delivered his ultimatum like a Napoleon. He would have 116 no truck with new-fangled ideas which might interfere with the sale of the old-established newspaper. He informed me he had not the slightest ill-feeling personally in the matter; in fact, he went so far as to say that if I had only conferred with him before launching my scheme he would have gladly advised me of the futility of it. Bowing himself out, he departed. I had not the least inclination to step over to Scott’s and have a glass of bubbly. I simply had to count up what our losses then amounted to. They were as follows, roughly:

(1) The cost of printing of the two issues by the job printer, in addition to the cost of the paper.

(2) The cost of a fair distribution of ten thousand copies daily, in order to keep faith with the advertisers.

(3) Our rent of the offices for three months, plus the cost of the office accessories, lighting, etc.

These were all chargeable to the debit side. On the credit side, nil. No matter how clever my sporting confrères might be in spotting winners, we could add not one penny to the credit side. I summoned my two partners to a conference that afternoon. Somewhat to my surprise they seemed cheerful. “Things are not so bad as they look,” they said. “We have a real ‘dead bird’ for the Melbourne Cup. We are going to borrow every penny we can, pledge any credit we have with the bookmakers, and on Tuesday evening, after the race, we shall have enough to pay our liabilities on the Tissue and plenty more besides. So cheer up; just raise as much money as you can, and we shall put it all on on Monday evening. On the Tuesday, the morning of the race, we will print twenty thousand copies of the Tissue with the name of the winner. We will scatter the Tissue all over the city and the race-course. The public will back him for all they are worth, for he is a good horse. He may shorten in price. If so we can lay off and stand on velvet.”

This cheered me up a good deal. Their confidence in their plan was catching. So we went to Scott’s, after 117 all, had a bottle, and I went home, calculating what my third share of our losses in the Tissue would amount to, and how much ready cash I could lay my hands on to back our tip so as to balance the account. I was not the least ambitious to make a fortune. All I wanted was to get clean clear of my journalistic enterprise and cease to be the proprietor, editor and publisher of a newspaper.

I put aside my worries for the week-end. As a matter of fact, three of our tips out of six races came off on the Saturday, which gave the public considerable confidence in our selection for the winner of the Cup on the Tuesday. Then, casting sorrows to the winds, I arranged for a quiet week-end down at Sorrento. The weather was hot; Sorrento beach was delightful. The lapping waves on the beach were fresh and briny; Nature smiled, and I put worries away.

Then came Monday. It was the evening we were to put our money on our horse, our pick, nay, our “dead bird” for the Cup. We three met at the office. Our office boy, rather a wag in his way, had decorated my office table with flowers. My two partners, who seemed to me to have spent the week-end without any sleep, visiting training stables, waiting for the first streaks of dawn to watch the early Sunday and Monday morning gallops, and doing all that is expected of racing touts, were more than convinced of the certainty of their choice. There was nothing in it but “Mata.” “Mata” could not be beaten. The race was all over. “Mata,” however, was at a short price, and I could see it would require a good deal of money to enable me to get round my share of our losses. Still, what was the use of all our exertions and hard work and financial risks if the two partners specially selected for their intimate knowledge of the true form of the horses were not to be believed? There was nothing for it but to sink or swim together. We duly published the Tissue on the Tuesday morning, the Cup morning. By a quarter past ten you could pick up a copy of the Tissue anywhere 118 in the city. We sent cabs full of them to Flemington and scattered them all over the road and the course. Every one was saying “Mata” would win all right.

The Melbourne Cup was run that afternoon, and Mata did not win. As a matter of fact, he was one of the two last horses to finish. Grand Flaneur won—our tip for a place. All was up with the Turf Tissue. Nothing was left but for myself and my two partners to try to look happy and pay our responsibilities. I attended the office on the Wednesday, but my partners did not turn up, as I expected. I found out afterwards that they had lost their all, and that, as I had undertaken the financial responsibilities of the venture, it was left to me to have the pleasure of winding up our company’s affairs. I had in this respect to stand a great deal of good-natured chaff from my friends and General Scratchley, who thought it was quite a good joke.

I am reminded that years afterwards the following amusing incident occurred in Melbourne. The Melbourne Cup of 1896 was to take place. Some two months before the race the Duke of the Abruzzi, cousin of the King of Italy, then a young man and a sailor, arrived in Adelaide on an Italian man-of-war. He was making a tour round the world. I saw a good deal of him during his stay in Adelaide. I was then Commandant of South Australia. The duke was much interested in the Cup, and he was most anxious to get a good tip. A mare called Auraria, belonging to Mr. David James, of Adelaide, was in the race. She was a good mare, and a good deal fancied for the race by the talent in Adelaide. She had, at any rate, an outside show. So I suggested to the duke and his staff to put some money on, as the odds against her at the time were about thirty to one, and if she improved before the day of the race that price was sure to shorten and they could lay off. He made me write the name “Auraria” in his notebook, so that he wouldn’t forget. He continued his tour, and I had forgotten the incident. Later on I 119 was in Melbourne, staying with Lord Hopetoun for the Cup carnival. I had backed Auraria myself, hoping to lay off. However, when the day came, nobody wanted to back her. As a matter of fact, you could get forty to one about her as the horses went to the post. The race started. Coming up the straight it was an open race. When they got to the distance the crowd yelled the names of several horses as the winners. At the half distance there came a regular roar. “Auraria, Auraria wins!” A few seconds more and Auraria was first past the post.

After the race we went to afternoon tea with their Excellencies. The room was full, but there were only one or two of us winners, when one of the A.D.C.s told His Excellency that the Duke of the Abruzzi was just outside and he had asked him to come in. In he came, with two of his staff, full of smiles, rushed towards His Excellency and said, “Look! I backed Auraria. We”—he pointed to his A.D.C.—“backed Auraria. We each win £160. Look! All here in our pockets,” which were bulging with gold and notes. And, turning round to the admiring crowd, he suddenly saw me. In a moment he was embracing me with both arms round my neck, saying, “Auraria, my friend! The beautiful Adelaide Auraria.” He then explained that it had been mere chance that he had been enabled to leave Sydney the night before, and had arrived at Flemington race-course just in time for the race, and they had backed Auraria with the cash bookmakers, obtaining the useful odds of forty to one. He then pulled out his pocket-book and said, “You see the name ‘Auraria’? You wrote it for me in Adelaide. I came to put my money on. It is splendid.” And so it was.

The Opening of the First Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, 9th May, 1901




Well, something else had to be done to recover my losses and fill in time. Having the offices on my hands—for I had taken them on a three months’ lease—it struck me that if I became a commission agent, and if I secured something good to sell, I might make some money.

So I decided to interview several firms in the exhibition with a view to becoming their agent. My first endeavours met with what I thought was considerable success. They were mostly foreign firms that I approached, as I am a good linguist, and they appeared to be delighted to have my services as their agent. Amongst them, I remember, was a German firm which had quite a wonderful turning lathe which could turn out table legs, ornamental posts, banisters for staircases, and in fact all sorts of wooden legs and posts, in marvellous quick time. Then there was an American firm with a very reliable and still cheap line of watches, and so on. But I was not made aware that these firms had already imported large stocks of their particular goods and were selling them on their own account, so that there were not many opportunities left of doing further business for the time being. In the meantime I spent quite a fair sum of money in advertising their goods, for which, no doubt, they were inwardly thankful.

Sitting in my office one day I had a visit from a gentleman, who asked me if I would act as agent for what he informed me was a sure and good line to sell. I told him it depended on what it was. To my surprise 121 he said, “Yorkshire hams.” I looked at him, wondering whether he was all right in the head. He noticed my hesitation in answering him, but said:

“All right. The position is this. I am closely in touch with many of the boats arriving in harbour from England. Most of them are now bringing certain quantities of Yorkshire hams by way of a little speculation amongst some of the ship’s company. Knowing most of them, they have asked me if I could place their hams. I have no time myself to do so, but I thought a firm like yours would take it on.”

Well, it didn’t appear to me there was any harm in selling “Yorkshire hams” and getting a good commission out of them, and, at any rate, there were always people who would eat “Yorkshire hams,” and if the market wasn’t glutted they could soon be disposed of. The terms of my commission were fixed up, and my visitor undertook to start delivering the hams at the offices in a couple of days. I may tell you that there was a back entrance to the offices from a side street, and as the offices were fairly large, one room was set aside for the storage of the hams. It was to be his business to deliver them and store them. We began operations at once, and I succeeded in getting orders fairly easily. I discovered afterwards that the reason of this was that my price was lower than the actual market price. Having no previous experience in selling hams, and, as a matter of fact, of selling anything, I had no suspicion that there might be something wrong in connexion with the business. I just kept on selling hams as long as there were any available.

Things were looking up, I thought. If I could only get people to buy a few legs for tables, and banisters for their staircases, good old-fashioned four-poster beds, and some of the other goods for which I was presumably agent, business would look up and a fair start would be made. 122

But Nemesis was again after me. I received a visit one morning from a gentleman I knew quite well. He was, as a matter of fact, one of the senior Customs officers. He was very nice, but he advised me to give up selling hams. It appeared that these very good hams were all being smuggled, and found their way up to my offices by all manner of means, sometimes in cabs, sometimes in sacks on wheelbarrows, and that consequently I was taking part in a transaction which duly qualified me for a heavy fine, in addition to a somewhat healthy term of imprisonment. So my friend the Customs House officer, who was quite aware that I was innocent of fraud and had no knowledge of what was going on, had come round to warn me. He hoped, he said, very soon to get hold of the kind gentleman who had been good enough to introduce the business to me. Well, there was nothing to be done but “Hands off hams,” and as I had been a commission agent then for some six weeks, and the only merchandise I had sold was “the hams,” I considered it high time to close the business, in case I might let myself in for something more serious.

Just about this time the notorious bushranger, Ned Kelly, who had been captured close to Benalla, Victoria, was sentenced to death, and he was to be hanged at the Melbourne Jail at eight o’clock one morning.

I felt a certain amount of curiosity. I thought it would be an unique experience to witness his execution. I was a personal friend of the chief magistrate of the city, and besides, having arranged with one or two New Zealand papers to communicate to them any matters which might be of interest during my stay in Australia, I could obtain permission to be present at the execution as a representative of the Press. The White Hart Hotel was not far distant from the jail.

I did not feel in the least happy the afternoon before the morning of the execution, when a permit to be present was handed to me by a police officer. My dinner that 123 night seemed to disagree with me, and I went to my bed feeling that I was about to witness a scene that was more than likely to leave such impressions in my mind as I would probably regret for the rest of my life. However, it had to be done. I was up early after a sleepless and restless night, and then walked to the jail. I arrived at the big entrance gates, the sad and solemn entrance to the forbidding-looking building, about ten minutes to eight in the morning. Around those gates a large crowd had congregated.

There was not a sound to be heard from that crowd. There was dead silence. I made my way to those big entrance gates. A small wicket gate with a bell-rope attached was in front of me. I pulled the bell-rope. The little door was quietly opened. Just at the moment a cab arrived, and three men stepped out. Naturally thinking they were officials connected with the execution, I stood aside to let them pass through the little door. I noticed that one of them seemed to be somewhat under the influence of drink. They passed on into the confines of the jail. I then asked the gatekeeper who those men were. He said, “That one is the hangman.” He was the one whom I had noticed. My wish, or my intention rather, to step inside those gates vanished. I thanked the gatekeeper and told him that I would not trouble him to let me through. The little door was then shut, and I was more than glad to remain outside. I became one of that silent crowd who waited outside the gates. It was some twenty minutes afterwards that the black flag was hoisted on the building. The full penalty of the law had been paid by Ned Kelly.

I dare say many of those who read this may have seen exhibited the iron case which Kelly wore over his head at the time of his capture, and on which the dents of two or three bullets which had struck it when he had been captured were plainly visible.

I had now been, as you see, really hard at work for 124 over two months, so I thought I was entitled to a holiday; for there appeared to be no probability of the appointment for which I was waiting being made just then.

It was Christmas time, very hot, so the seaside was the place to go to, and I selected Geelong—why, I know not. I was there but a few days when I was introduced to some residents whose business was that of wool broking. We had several mutual friends.

I had told them that I had not been very successful in my business enterprises, and after two or three days they were good enough to offer me a position in their offices. I thanked them very much and left Geelong, as I was afraid that if I started business again so soon after my late experiences I might get into further difficulties.

But, as a matter of fact, the real reason of my refusing their offer was that what I almost looked upon as a divine inspiration had come to me in the meantime. Why should the experiences I had gained while managing the Royal Artillery Theatre at Woolwich for one whole week be lost to the world, and particularly to Australia? I had been manager for that week, and I had been one of the stars of the company. Why, of course, it would be criminal not to give the Melbourne public the opportunity to judge of my capabilities as an actor. So, on a Monday midday I called at the Bijou Theatre, Bourke Street, of which the lessee was Mr. Wybert Reeve, who was running his own company and playing at that time The Woman in White. He was a good, sound, old-fashioned actor. I interviewed him in his sanctum and told him that I was anxious to go on the stage.

“Have you acted before?” he asked.

“Oh, yes,” I said, quite in a lordly way; and I told him of my experiences at Woolwich. He was not in the least impressed.

“What salary do you expect?” he then asked.

“I should think that four pounds a week would be a fair commencement,” I answered. 125

You should have seen the expression on his face. He looked at me for a few moments in silence, and then exclaimed:

“Why, good gracious! Do you know that I was acting nearly five years before I earned a pound a week? And you want to begin with four pounds a week.”

“Well,” I said, “you must have begun a considerable number of years ago. Times change. Besides, I have some very excellent clothes, and they are surely worth something in their way.”

Well, he laughed, for he appeared to have been somewhat favourably impressed by what he no doubt considered my impertinence and self-conceit, and told me that at the moment his company was full, but that if I left him my address he would communicate with me as soon as an opportunity arose.

On the very next Thursday afternoon I received a note from him at the old White Hart Hotel, asking me if I would call upon him as soon as convenient. I arrived there at seven that evening, and found him waiting for me in his dressing-room, where he was preparing to make up for his part as Count Fosco, in which he had been quite a success. He opened the conversation by asking me if I was prepared to take on the part of Careless in The School for Scandal, which he had advertised to produce on the Saturday night next. He explained that the artist whom he had engaged for the part had been missing for two days, and, from what he had gathered, even if he presented himself at the theatre, it was more than doubtful if he would be in a fit condition to appear before the public.

The proposition was a difficult one. To study the part in two days, appearing in it on the evening of the second day, without an opportunity of rehearsal, would be a bold venture for one who was setting forth to earn fame and a high reputation as an actor. I thought for a moment or two. I remembered that I had seen The 126 School for Scandal played once or twice in my life. My recollections of the part of Careless were that he was a somewhat light-hearted, jovial, easy-going person, whose life was a pleasure to him, and who did not take too serious a view of the things in this world. Well, was I not, at that moment, in a position when I might with advantage take on the mantle of Careless’s temperament and chance the result? Yes; I consented. Wybert was evidently relieved. He told me afterwards, in confidence, that he so admired what he considered my consummate self-confidence that he decided to give me the opportunity, subject to an informal rehearsal to be held on the next day, Friday, in the afternoon. I then inquired whether Careless’s costume would be ready for me. A serious look came over his face.

“By Jove!” he said, “the Careless that’s missing is only about five foot nine. It’s quite impossible to put your six feet two inches into his clothes. What’s to be done? Can you get them made in time?”

I relieved his mind by telling him that, as good fortune would have it, I had been at a fancy dress ball at a friend’s house in Toorak just ten days before, and that a friend of mine, who was private secretary to one of the then Governors of Australia, and who was about my height and build, had appeared at the ball as Careless, and his costume was a particularly handsome one. I had no doubt if I asked him he would lend it to me. Once more the smile came across his face. He looked at me for a bit and then remarked:

“I’m beginning to think honestly that you’re pulling my leg all the time. Say so, if you are; otherwise I shall postpone the production of The School for Scandal and continue The Woman in White for another week.”

I felt sorry for a moment that he had considered me to have been somewhat flippant. I had no doubt he had some right to think so, so I very sincerely and seriously told him that such a thing as pulling anybody’s leg had 127 never entered my mind. Indeed, very far from it; that my experience since I had been in Melbourne was exactly the opposite, and that it was I who had suffered much from having my leg pulled by other people, especially those commercial magnates whose business I had been so anxious to promote. My explanation seemed to please him. There was one more point which required arranging, and an important point too, and that was whether my salary would be four pounds a week or not. So I asked him. He answered very readily that if he was satisfied with the results of the rehearsal next day, and in view of the fact that I was finding my own wardrobe, and that an expensive one, he would pay the four pounds a week. I at once thought to myself that I had made a mistake. I was giving myself away too cheap, but I would keep it in mind for our next business interview. I did remember, as you will see presently.

Friday afternoon came, and, as the stage was occupied in preparing the new scenery for The School for Scandal, we held a so-called rehearsal in one of the corridors. It was very informal, but I had mastered my book. Wybert closed on our bargain, and the comedy was produced on the Saturday night before a very large, select and enthusiastic audience, amongst whom there seemed to be an inordinate number of my own personal friends. All went well. I had made up my mind to succeed or go right down under. I was in a very happy mood. My friend the private secretary’s clothes fitted me to perfection, and, to the astonishment not only of Wybert Reeve himself, the company, and the professional critics in front, I introduced at times some light dancing steps, which cheered me on in my efforts and apparently highly pleased our audience. Between the acts Wybert took the opportunity, while encouraging me, to suggest that it would be an awful pity to spoil the splendid work I was putting in, as he called it, by overdoing it. I could see how anxious he was. I opened a good bottle of champagne, 128 we had a drink together, and I assured him that all would be well. And so it was; and at the end of the performance we answered repeated calls before the curtain. When we had made our last bows to the audience, the company met in what was then an old institution at the back of the scenes, namely, the green-room, where Wybert himself insisted on opening the champagne and was no longer anxious as to how many glasses we drank to the success of The School for Scandal.

Sunday was a happy day. I spent it with some friends near Point Cook, at Port Phillip Bay, which spot, years afterwards, I selected to establish the first aviation school in Australia. Most of the country in that district belonged to the Chirnside family, the first of whom had made good in the early days of the Colony of Victoria. Werribee House was their headquarters. So had the Clarkes made good, the Manifolds, the Blacks and many others whom in after years I had to thank for much kindness and hospitality.

On the Monday, which was known amongst actors as Treasury morning, I duly attended Wybert’s office to collect my first hard-earned wage. It had been arranged that, though my engagement dated only from the previous Thursday, I would be entitled to a week’s wages if all was well on the opening night. I was as contented as anyone could be, for I knew I had made good. The two leading morning papers had most favourable notices, the production was a success, and even Careless had been favourably commented on by them. I duly received four golden sovereigns. I felt this was a much better line of business than editing sporting newspapers or selling hams and table legs.

But I was remembering the fact, yes, that I had asked for too low a salary, and that having come out on top I was entitled to more money. How much was it to be? I bethought to myself that a rise of two pounds would not be an extravagant request, taking everything 129 into consideration. So, after thanking Wybert, I informed him that I could not think of continuing in the play unless he raised my salary to six pounds a week. He was cross, I could see, and he also pretended to be hurt.

“How can you make such a request after the chance I have given you? It is preposterous. I am surprised at you.”

“Well,” I said, “I agree with you as far as being surprised. I am surprised myself. And it would never do for you to lose another Careless within a week, and unless I get the extra two pounds a week I might be lost to-night myself.” The idea of such a happening seemed to strike him as possible. He hesitated; then he gave in, and my salary was fixed at six pounds a week, but, more than that, he took me on at that rate for a term of six weeks. I practically became a real live member of his company, and was to be ready to play any part from Hamlet to an imbecile old butler in a fool of a farce, if asked to do so. I was not downhearted. I felt I could play anything. The six weeks passed only too quickly. Wybert produced three other plays within that time, and then came the end of his lease and the breaking up of our company.

Our leading lady was Madame le Grand, who, I think, was (or had been) Mrs. Kyrle Bellew in private life. Mr. Ireland was one of our leading men, the father of that gifted young actress, Miss Harry Ireland. Maggie Oliver, an irrepressible and most clever soubrette, was ever happy and a source of pleasure to us all. Old Daniels, a Jew, was the funny man. He was a first-rate low comedian who never overdid his part. Then there was Hans Phillips, a polished actor, who, I think, married the daughter of Gordon, then the best scenic painter in Australia. Poor Hans Phillips unfortunately died at a comparatively early age. Then I remember those two charming sisters, Constance and Alice Deorwyn, who afterwards became, one, Mrs. Stewart, and the other Mrs. 130 Holloway, the mother of another charming young actress, Beatrice Holloway.

During this time I was introduced to, and became intimate with, many of the leading managers and actors in Australia. There was Coppin, the doyen of the profession. Maggie Moore and her husband, J. C. Williamson, had “struck oil.” The four Stewart Sisters were at their best. In a pantomime the youngest of them, Nelly, then only about sixteen, was bewitching her many admirers, singing “For he wore a penny paper collar round his throat,” and dancing like a sylph. What a favourite she became, and how for many years she continued to be at the top of her profession, all Australia knows. Who that saw her can forget her as Sweet Nell, and who that had had the pleasure of knowing her but thinks of her, not as “Sweet Nell of Old Drury,” but as Sweet Nellie Stewart herself.

The friendships I made then have lasted till death has intervened. During the many years I spent in Australia I counted many shining lights of the theatrical profession as close personal friends—and I do so now. Violet Loraine was the last. At the end of my first and short engagement we got up a benefit on behalf of the two Deorwyn sisters.

The opening piece was a farce named Turn Him Out, in which I played the leading part, Eglantine Roseleaf. This was my last public appearance as a professional actor.

An event happened which put an end to any reasons why I should stay in Victoria awaiting the military appointment which had been promised me. The finances of the colony were in a low state, retrenchment was imperative, and the Premier, Graham Berry, set to work to carry it out with a heavy hand. The public services suffered heavily, and amongst them the military vote heaviest of all. Instead of any new military appointment being made, a large percentage of the officers serving were retrenched. 131 I felt bitterly disappointed, but I could not blame my friend, General Scratchley; in fact I could not blame anybody.

My friends, or at least some of them, advised me to continue my theatrical efforts. They even offered me a tempting rise on my last salary and fairly long engagements, but I was in no way keen. I had tried it only as an experiment, and the ways of the theatre were not alluring to me, and especially after having gone through them personally. There is a good deal of fun to be got out of it, but few people know how hard one has to work, and what a slave to duty one has to become in order to rise to the top of the tree.

There was nothing for it now but to return home. I said good-bye to all my friends and left for Adelaide, South Australia, en route for Scotland. 132



On arrival at Adelaide I called on the Governor of South Australia, then Sir William Jervois, the distinguished Engineer officer, who, with General Scratchley in Melbourne, was advising the Australian Colonies with regard to the land defences. As I was shown into the private secretary’s room I was more than surprised to meet his son, Captain John Jervois, who had been a cadet at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, with me. We had a long chat. I told him of my varied experiences, some of which naturally amused him much.

His father, the Governor, happened to be away, but he said he would arrange for me to see him the next day. Next morning I received a message from him to say that his father would be glad to see me, and would I lunch with them? I did so, and after lunch His Excellency, Sir William, asked me to his study. His son had told him all about me. Sir William informed me that one of the forts which he had designed for South Australia, Fort Glanville, had just been completed, that it had become necessary to raise a small artillery unit to man it, and that he thought I was just the man to raise and command it.

I must say I couldn’t help smiling. I suggested to him whether, in view of my experiences as regarded appointments, he really thought that I ought to accept his very kind offer. He said “Certainly; go and see the commandant”—General Downes, R.A. “I have already had a chat with him about you. Talk it over with him and let me know what you decide. In the meantime go 133 and see the Chief Commissioner of Police, Mr. George Hamilton, who lives at the Adelaide Club, and who will do all he can to make you comfortable.” The result of my interview with the general was that I decided to stay on in the hopes of obtaining the appointment. He promised to recommend me for it.

Later on in the day I called upon Mr. George Hamilton at the Adelaide Club. He was a charming personality, well advanced in years. He was kindness itself to me, and put me up as an honorary member of the club. He told me that on the next day, which was the last day of the month, he would be making his usual monthly inspection of the mounted and foot police attached to the city of Adelaide. The police barracks were situated not far from the club, on the other side of North Terrace and beyond the Government House grounds. The front portion of the building was being utilized as the Military Staff Office. It was a peculiarity of the mounted police in Adelaide that they were all mounted on grey horses, Mr. George Hamilton being of the opinion that the police force was intended more to prevent crime than to punish criminals. He held that mounted policemen on grey or white horses would be seen at a greater distance, and recognized as such, better than if they were mounted on horses of other colours, and their presence being quicker recognized, would act as a deterrent to crime if such was premeditated. I accompanied him on his inspection, and that small force, mounted and foot, was a credit to South Australia.

I had been thinking seriously to myself, during the inspection, as to what I was to do while waiting for my appointment. It occurred to me that I had exhausted most means of making a livelihood that I knew of, and I recognized the fact that I could not afford to let the days go by without making some money to meet my living expenses. Walking back to the club after the inspection, I asked the Commissioner what were the pay and 134 emoluments of a mounted police trooper. “Eight shillings and sixpence a day,” he said, “is their pay, free quarters, free uniform and travelling allowance while on duty necessitating more than four hours’ absence from the barracks.” Considering that the pay of a lieutenant of the Royal Artillery was somewhere about six and fourpence a day and no emoluments, the lot of a mounted policeman seemed a happy one. I straight away asked Mr. Hamilton whether he would take me into the force. He seemed very surprised, but I assured him I was quite in earnest. “Well,” he said, “there is a vacancy, but before I can promise you anything you must talk the matter over with His Excellency the Governor, and take his advice.” His Excellency thought it was quite a good idea, and informed me that I was to tell the Commissioner that he would be very pleased if I was taken on. So it was arranged that I should join up on the seventh of the month.

By this time I had been introduced to most of the members of the club and some of their families. But it was quite evident that if I was to become a policeman I couldn’t remain at the club, nor could I be on visiting terms with the élite of Adelaide. I therefore made up my mind to be a policeman, a real policeman, and give up social festivities for the time being. This decision met with the full approval of His Excellency and the general, and, I need hardly say, of the Commissioner. The only exceptions to this rule were that I would occasionally lunch at Government House and at the General’s home when convenient. I duly joined, and, remembering my New Zealand experience, I swore to myself that I was not going to resign until after being duly appointed to my next billet.

It is not to be wondered at that not only the corporal in charge of the barracks, but the mounted troopers under his charge, were surprised to see the Commissioner’s young friend, who had been inspecting them a few days before, joining their ranks. Only the mounted police were 135 quartered at the barracks, the foot police lived privately in their respective districts and suburbs. I spent my first night in the barrack-room, and I was glad to find that amongst the twenty-five or thereabouts of the number of troopers, no less than six or seven were ex-officers or N.C. officers of the army or navy, and the remainder were men who had been selected from the pick of the many candidates who were continually offering their services to the Commissioner.

A word about the corporal in charge—Corporal Campbell, an ex-salt, a hard-headed, kind-hearted Scotsman. Corporal Campbell had to his credit some thirty-five years of mounted police work in South Australia. The greater number of those years he had spent in the northern districts of the then young colony. In those early days the duties of the mounted police in the far-off, unsettled districts were more than serious. They lived away from civilization, supervising huge tracts of country, necessitating travelling hundreds of miles at a stretch across uninhabited country, lacking in food and water. It required men of iron constitution and iron will to perform their duties. It wanted even more; it wanted self-confidence and a thorough knowledge of their work to deal equitably with the many points of dispute that from time to time arose between the settlers and the native tribes. Practically the mounted trooper was a magistrate. It was up to the mounted trooper to make all preliminary inquiries not only into criminal charges, but in many cases into civil disputes. Having done so it was up to him to prepare the cases for the justice of the peace before whose jurisdiction those cases had to be submitted.

The justices of the peace were men selected because they happened to hold some interest in the district. What knowledge had they of the law? What experience had they ever had of sitting as magistrates? Generally none. Consequently the justices of the peace leant for support on the mounted constables. It is to the credit of the 136 mounted police of Australia, right throughout the whole of it, in every colony, that within my recollection, covering many years, I do not remember a single case of any serious complaint against the force of mis-direction in advising the magistrates when asked to do so.

While I had made up my mind to give up all social festivities, I reserved to myself one privilege, so that occasionally I could be reminded of my old social days. Perhaps my choice was guided by my success in the theatrical profession. I took a seat in the theatre in what was the best part of the house, next to the club box, for every Friday night. I used to treat myself to a good dinner in one of the hotels, all alone, and then went forth to enjoy the play. Adelaide at that time possessed only one really first-class theatre, the Theatre Royal, in Hindley Street. On these Friday nights I used to meet my men friends, but I did not allow myself to have the pleasure of meeting their lady friends. I was a policeman, and a policeman I had to be. It was really quite quaint. Everybody knew me; they all knew who I was. But it was obviously up to me to play the game.

A pleasing surprise awaited me the Monday morning following the day I joined. Corporal Campbell informed me that the then drill instructor who supervised the riding school and the instruction in sword and carbine exercises, musketry and revolver practice, had sent in his resignation, as he was going to get married and had decided to open an hotel in the flourishing district on the Mount Lofty ranges, at the foot of which the city of Adelaide is situated. He further told me that I had been appointed drill instructor in his place, and that the rank of acting-corporal had been conferred on me. This was indeed quick promotion. Besides, it carried with it many privileges. In the first place I could have a room to myself instead of sleeping in one of the barrack-rooms; secondly, I was off routine duties, such as serving summonses, investigating offences against the Police Act, and doing 137 night patrol duties. My daily pay was raised to ten shillings and twopence a day, but I had to share with Corporal Campbell the responsibility of being in charge of the barracks. My short experience in the North Island of New Zealand stood me in good stead. My knowledge of military law and procedure came in most useful, as it naturally comprised an intimate acquaintance with the rules of evidence, most necessary in the preparation of police-court cases. I felt that I was fairly qualified to take on my new duties without any misgivings. Besides, Corporal Campbell kindly offered to coach me in carrying on the discipline and economic duties in connexion with the barracks, and the official correspondence with the Commissioner’s office.

One of the privileges of the drill instructor was to have his horse attended to by one of the troopers. I did not avail myself of this.

A young horse, rising four, had just been bought, one of the handsomest dappled greys I had ever seen, standing about fifteen hands three, full of breeding. I selected him for my mount, and determined to look after him myself. Cold work it was too in the early winter mornings to wash him down, groom him and keep the saddlery and accoutrements in order. I schooled him myself, and he promised to become a perfect hack and police horse. A police horse needs to be taught the best of manners. He must be thoroughly quiet, good tempered, and capable of being ridden in amongst a crowd without being frightened. I succeeded beyond my expectations in training him, and I was very pleased that he was turning out so well. After about two months, however, he rapidly developed the worst of habits. Suddenly, without any apparent reason, he would stop and refuse to move. He would do this anywhere, on a country road or in the middle of the street. It was no use plying the whip, or using a powerful spur. He would not go forward. He would rear, or lash out with his hind legs, but he would not 138 move on. This happened only very occasionally, but, when it did, it was most awkward, especially if I was in charge of an escort, or on a ceremonial parade. It turned out that he was suffering from a sort of horse-mania produced by having fed when young on a plant known in the district, where he was bred, as the Darling Pea. Feeding on this plant had this extraordinary effect upon horses. I was returning one day, after being on duty at the races at Victoria Park, to the barracks. As I was passing the Adelaide Hospital he stopped dead. After a few moments of gentle persuasion I gave him a sharp touch with my spurs. He reared straight up and fell backwards on the road. Luckily my face escaped injury, but my chest and back were nearly flattened out. A few days in hospital put me all right, and I returned to duty. He chose a fit place to hurt me.

The overland railway to Melbourne was then being constructed, and a very large railway camp was established in the Mount Lofty ranges, near a place called Aldgate. In this camp were congregated all classes and conditions of men, of several nationalities. I was in charge of the barracks one evening when a report came in from the foot police station that a girl had been nearly murdered. She had been found in the backyard of a small house in a disreputable quarter of the city, with her throat cut and a dagger wound in her breast. The nature of the wound pointed to the attempted murder being the work of a foreigner, probably an Italian, of whom there was a considerable number at the railway camp. I at once ordered all the available troopers out to make the necessary inquiries in the city and suburbs, and decided to proceed myself direct to the railway camp at Aldgate.

Having a fair knowledge of the language I thought I might pick up some valuable information on the way if I met any of the Italians. I started about 10.30 P.M., dressed as an ordinary bushman, riding an old bay horse which we kept for these occasions, and my revolver hidden 139 but handy. The distance to the camp at Aldgate was about eighteen miles, taking short cuts with which I had already become acquainted.

I pulled up at several public houses on the road in the hopes of picking up some clue. I failed till I reached a well-known hotel, the Eagle-on-the-Hill, roughly half-way to Aldgate. The landlord, whom I had to wake up, and whom I knew, told me that he had served with drinks, amongst others, two foreigners, who had ridden up on one horse, and who said they were on the way to the camp. They had evidently had a good deal of drink; he had given them some more, and they had managed to climb on to the horse again and had ridden away. He could not, however, tell me what nationality they were. This had taken place about 11 o’clock, P.M. It was now about 1 o’clock, A.M. The two men would be at the camp about this time. I could reach it comfortably about 3 A.M. I got no further information until I arrived at the camp. I had hoped to make my entry quietly at that time of the morning, but I was disappointed. I had hardly got near the tents on the left of the road when a whole troop of mongrels commenced to bark furiously. I could not get into the camp without being seen, as I had hoped. However, I found my way, after inquiries, to where the man in charge lived.

When I had satisfied him as to who I was and on what business I was bent, he put his services at my disposal at once. I told him I wanted if possible to get hold of two men who had ridden up on one horse, that they were foreigners, and I suspected Italians. To my joy he told me that he had several men he could depend on who kept an eye on the camp generally for him, both by day and night, and one of them might have noticed their arrival, as the dogs were almost certain to have greeted them in the same way as they had greeted me, especially if the horse they were riding had come up to the tents.

He asked me to go with him while he made his 140 inquiries. The first man he roused up did not know anything about the matter. The second, however, did. He had been late himself getting home, and curiously enough the two men on the horse had passed him on the road about a couple of miles before reaching the camp. It was a moonlight night, and he had noticed they were pretty drunk, hardly being able to hold on to the horse. As they passed him they called out to him, and he recognized them as two Italians who were engaged in tunnelling, bad characters, red-hot tempered, but good workers when sober. This was indeed a piece of luck. I asked him if he could guide me to their tent. That was more difficult. He was not sure; but he knew where the ganger who was in charge of the tunnelling party hung out, and he would probably know their whereabouts.

I went back to where I had left my horse, got a pair of handcuffs I had brought with me, and took one of the stirrup leathers off my saddle. When I returned the ganger had been found and took us towards the portion of the camp where the two men shared one of the dirtiest of tents I had ever seen. By this time dawn was just breaking. I arranged with the ganger—he was a good sort—that on arrival at the tent I would go inside and would hold the two of them up. As they would be most probably in a heavy sleep this would be a simple matter. Then, having handcuffed one, I would make secure the other one’s hands behind his back with the stirrup leather and march them off to Adelaide; but in case anything went wrong inside and I called out he was to rush in to my help. He agreed. I slipped out my revolver, asked the ganger to hold up the lantern he was carrying so that I could see inside the tent when I opened the tattered flap, and, raising it, slipped inside. I had to stoop nearly double, the tent being very low, and I could just see with the aid of the ganger’s lantern.

A more filthy place is difficult to imagine. On very low stretchers covered with rags by way of bedclothes 141 lay the two men, one on each side of me, with their heads towards the entrance to the tent. They were sleeping heavily. I turned first towards the man on my right and suddenly dropped heavily on him with my right knee on his chest, and before he awoke to his senses I had him handcuffed. I turned over to the other one, who was just trying to sit up, apparently dazed. I threw the stirrup leather, the end of which I had passed through the buckle, making a noose of it, over his head, and pulling at the end of it with all my might, I backed out of the tent, dragging him after me. It was all done in a minute, and I had them both bagged. The ganger was quite delighted as he took hold of the stirrup leather to make the man secure while I went in to pull out his handcuffed mate. This was easily done under the persuasion of my revolver.

By the time they were both outside the tent they were wide awake. We made them sit on the ground. I handed the revolver to the ganger and left them in his charge while I searched their filthy abode. I was quite rewarded. Underneath some rags which had served as a pillow to the handcuffed man I found a knife with a blade about five inches long by some three-quarters of an inch broad, such as is much in use amongst Italians. It was covered with blood, some of which had not quite dried up. I also picked up a dirty woollen comforter which he had evidently worn the night before and on which were blood-stains of very recent date. I was satisfied; I found nothing more of any value as evidence. My job was done; all that was left was to escort my two prisoners to Adelaide.

It was now daylight. As there had been no noise few of the early risers who came slouching out of their tents knew that any arrest had been made until we were nearly out of the camp, and they took but little notice. I thanked the man in charge and the ganger for their assistance, and, after partaking of some coffee at the little cottage where the man in charge lived, I started off with my two prisoners tied together, making for an hotel not far off 142 where I knew I could obtain a vehicle to drive them down to Adelaide. I arrived in Adelaide all well, and by two o’clock they were quickly and safely locked up in the police station. They were duly charged and tried. The girl had recovered from her injuries, and the culprit escaped with a long term of imprisonment instead of being hanged; the other received a short sentence. My first attempt to hunt down criminals had come off satisfactorily.

Shortly after I had joined the police my good friend, Mr. George Hamilton, retired from his position and Mr. Peterswald was appointed Commissioner. Mr. Peterswald, having been Mr. Hamilton’s right-hand man, was thoroughly fitted for the appointment. He held it for many years, during which time the efficiency of the police force of South Australia was well maintained. As Commissioner I personally received from him during the time I was in the force every consideration. We had become personal friends as far as it was consistent with our respective positions, and, as soon as I received my first appointment as an officer in the South Australian Military Forces, he was one of the very first to welcome me to his house.

It was just before Christmas, 1881, that General Downes, the Commandant, sent for me to see him at his office. I walked across the barrack square to the Military Offices, and in a few minutes was shown into his room. He informed me that he had been unable to arrange with the Government to raise the nucleus of the Permanent Artillery Force which was required to take charge of the lately constructed Fort Glanville, and that, as a matter of fact, the contractors had asked for an extension of the time for its final handing over to the Government. He had, however, pointed out the necessity for a duly qualified Staff Instructor to be appointed to the Volunteer Force. Several new units had been formed throughout the colony. The localities in which the units had been raised were far distant from the headquarters at Adelaide, and, unless 143 the services of some such Staff Instructor were made available, it could not be expected that they could be held together. The Government had considered his recommendation and had approved of it. He had, therefore, recommended me for the position, pending the raising of the artillery unit, and he had that morning been notified that his recommendation had met with their approval.

“I have much pleasure,” he said, “in telling you this. I have been watching your work, while you have been in the police, and instructing them, with keen interest, and, I am satisfied that you are quite capable of carrying out the duties attached to your new appointment. I have seen Mr. Peterswald, your Commissioner, and he is quite prepared to grant you your discharge from the police. Please arrange to see him, and tell him that I sent you, because I would like you to start your new duties from the first of the year.”

I have wondered, ever since that fateful interview with the general, whether there is such a thing as second sight, or—to put it another way, whether a person is permitted at times to have a glimpse into the future. While the general was talking to me, and as soon as he told me that his recommendation had been approved of, and that the appointment was actually made, I was looking at him sitting in his chair at his office desk, and I thought that I saw myself sitting in that very chair, actually in his place, as Commandant of South Australia. The vision was a passing one, but I well remember being seized with a determination to do all I could to make that vision come true. As will be seen later on, it did come true, and in much shorter time than I or anybody else could have possibly expected.

I at once, in accordance with the general’s wishes, called on Mr. Peterswald. He was delighted at the good news. He, of course, knew about it from the general. He told me I could have leave of absence up to January 1, the date on which I was to take up my work at the Military 144 Staff Office. My next business was to cable home to my father to inform him of my appointment. I knew what a pleasure it would be, most particularly to my mother, to hear the news. From the time that I had left home my only letters had been to my mother, and the only letters I had received had been from her. She always kept me fully informed of all the different doings of our large Gordon family.

Yet it is wonderful to think what a difference it makes to one’s ideas when you decide to place some 16,000 miles between all your own best friends and your solitary self. Your solitary self goes forth alone. You go into new worlds, you leave behind all the pals of your youth, all those whose friendship in after life would be an anchor to you; all those sweet girls whom you love, all those relations who always protested they were so ready and keen to help you in your troubles, but who, when the time of trouble comes, suddenly have so many troubles of their own that they really can do nothing for you; but the one whom you feel most to leave behind is your mother.

On the day following the news of my appointment I called at Government House. My Woolwich mate, Johnny Jervois, was more than delighted at the result of his advice to me to remain in Adelaide. He and I had some exciting times later on when the Russian scare occurred in Australia in 1885; of which, more presently. His Excellency the Governor, Sir William, gave me much encouragement by the kind way in which he received me, and I need hardly say that I felt somewhat overcome by what appeared to me the extraordinary kindness of my South Australian friends. With the exception of my having been at Woolwich with young Jervois, all were strangers to me on my arrival in Adelaide. My resignation having been accepted I had ceased to be a policeman, and I felt at full liberty to accept any of the many invitations which were kindly given to me for the forthcoming festive season. It was a 145 happy Christmas and New Year’s time. My Christmas Day was spent with the general and his charming wife and family, at their home at Mitcham, near Adelaide.

On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day respectively I was the guest of the Governor and the new Commissioner, Mr. Peterswald. I also obtained permission from the Commissioner to invite my late police comrades to a social evening at their barracks. That evening is one of the happiest recollections of my life. During the months I had been with them I had had no occasion, either as their instructor or while in charge of the barracks, to find any fault with their work. We had been brought closely together, and, if at times a few hard words had to be spoken as regards their duties, they fully recognized that they were merited, and they bore no personal ill-will. The South Australian Police were then, and have been since, and are now, an efficient and fine body of men.

On January 1, 1882, I took up my duties at the Military Staff Office. My mind was made up not to fail, but to give effect to the vision I had, at the time of my interview with the general, which had pointed to the Commandant’s chair as my future lot.

How it was realized you will learn as you read on.




1874—Joined Military Academy, Woolwich.
1876—Lieutenant, Royal Artillery.
1881—Police Instructor, South Australia.
1882—Staff Instructor, Military Forces, South Australia.
"  —Lieutenant Commanding South Australian Permanent Artillery.
1892—Lieutenant-Colonel on the Staff.
"  —Acting Commandant.
1893—Colonel on the Staff.
"  —Commandant, South Australian Military Forces.
1896—Re-appointed Commandant, under new Defence Act.
1898—Inspector, Warlike Stores, and Military Adviser for Australian Colonies, in England.
1899—Returned to South Australia, Commandant.
"  —Special Service Officer, South African War.
1900—Colonel, Imperial Land Forces.
"  —Chief Staff Officer to all Overseas Colonial Forces, on the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief, Lord Roberts.
"  —and commanded a Mounted Column, South Africa.
"  —Brigadier-General, Adelaide.
1901—Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath.
1902—Commandant of the State of Victoria.
1905—Commandant of the State of New South Wales.
1912—Chief of the General Staff, Commonwealth Military Forces, and First Member of the Military Board of Control, Australia.
Retired, owing to age limit, 1st August, 1914.


Part II


Lord Hopetoun, Marquis of Linlithgow




On January 2, 1882, I attended the staff office and began my new duties. The general asked me to draw up a short memorandum setting out how best to utilize my time up to the end of the financial year—June 30. My special work was the instruction of the Volunteer Companies and detachments stationed in the country, as apart from the units maintained within the metropolitan area of Adelaide. It is worth while for you to study the map of South Australia. In order to carry out these duties very large tracts of country had to be covered by rail and road.

The amount of money placed on the estimates to cover travelling expenses was by no means large, so it was very necessary to work out an itinerary for the half-year, which, while enabling the units to get as much instruction as possible, would not entail any expenditure beyond that placed at my disposal. In addition to this, I was in charge of the office work in connexion with the whole of the Volunteer branch of the military forces at that time serving in South Australia. With the assistance of a smart clerk placed at my disposal by the general I was well able to fulfil these duties to his satisfaction. By the end of the week the itinerary submitted by me received approval and a fair start was made.

The Colony of South Australia was founded upon lines that differed from those on which the rest of the Australian Colonies started their existence. The Chartered Company of South Australia was entrusted by the British Government with the development of an immense tract of country stretching right up through the centre of Australia from 152 the south to the north coast. The Northern Territory came under its administration. This tract of country approached in size nearly to one-third of the whole of Australia. South Australia has been called the “Cinderella” of the Australian Colonies, not only because she was the youngest, but also because of the character of her constitution. The original settlers had landed on virgin soil, untainted by previous settlements of convict prisoners. South Australia had not begun as a Crown Colony. The Chartered Company had been granted self government from the day that the ships conveying the original settlers cast their anchors off the shores of Glenelg, and they held their first official meeting under the spreading branches of the gum tree whose bent old trunk still marks that historic spot. It was on December 28, 1836, that the landing took place. Every year since that date the anniversary of that auspicious day has been set aside for a national holiday. The now exceedingly prosperous seaside resort of Glenelg hums each December 28 with joyous holiday makers. A banquet, presided over by the mayor, and attended by the Governor, the Premier, members of the Government and Parliament, is held to commemorate the birthday of the Colony and do honour to the few surviving veteran colonists who took part in the ceremony of the proclamation under the shade of the historic gum tree in 1836.

I have just looked up last year’s Press account of this ceremony, and I find the following names mentioned, there are only two dating from 1836—Miss Marianne Fisher and Mrs. M. A. Boneham, who were on that date still alive.

The capital of South Australia is Adelaide. I have travelled over many parts of the world, and venture to say I have seen every important city and town in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. I have no hesitation in proclaiming Adelaide the best as regards situation, laying out, and climate. The genuine hospitality of its citizens is well known. Its site was most 153 carefully selected and surveyed, and the city itself laid out and planned by a very able Engineer officer, Colonel Light. There was no hurry, no fuss, when this was done. Colonel Light was given an absolute free hand, besides ample time in which to complete his work. No better monument exists to his memory than the city of Adelaide itself. Colonel Light gave full consideration to the chief requirements of a city. He appears to have selected from different parts of the world the best characteristics of their cities and to have embodied them in his conception and plan of Adelaide. Nothing which could be of benefit in days to come seems to have been overlooked. The most important item, perhaps—namely, facility for a perfect system of drainage—had been evidently kept in view when the site was chosen. In after years, when it was deemed advisable to instal what is known as the deep drainage system, the best known up to date, it was found that it could be carried out without the slightest difficulty, not only throughout the city proper, but also in the numerous suburbs, which are steadily growing in population outside the beautiful park lands surrounding it. Practically Adelaide proper covers one square mile of ground, East Terrace being the only broken side. Around this square mile lies a belt of park lands averaging about a quarter of a mile wide. The suburbs commence beyond these park lands, the oldest and chief one, North Adelaide, being itself surrounded by a similar belt.

The park lands are indeed the lungs of the city. It is forbidden to erect any private buildings thereon. No portions of them may be alienated except for general purposes, such as public institutions, gardens, exhibitions, racecourses, cricket and football ovals. The rights of the citizens to their park lands are guarded by impenetrable legal safeguards. Adelaide has been at times called the “city of the five squares,” also the “city of the twin towers,” namely, those of the post office and Town Hall. 154 In the middle of the centre square marking the heart of the city stands the statue of Queen Victoria. What city do you know whose citizens can, after a day of heat, within a few minutes’ walk from their homes be enjoying the advantages of being in the country by visiting the park lands? I know none other.

Adelaide nestles at the foot of a beautiful range of hills, the highest point of which, “Mount Lofty,” some 2,000 feet high, rises overlooking the city. Numbers of spurs slope gracefully towards the plain, whose shores the sea washes—the sea whence the cool breezes blow over the city. What a glorious sight can be seen from Mount Lofty on a full moonlight night! Stand on Mount Lofty, look up and revel in the sight of an Australian summer night’s sky, the dark but ethereally clear bluish dome overhead, myriads of little stars, blinking at the steady brilliant light of the greater constellations. Look right and left—on all sides the spurs, covered with misty haze, lose themselves as they merge into the plains. Look west towards the city and the sea. There beneath the soft and silvery rays of the moon lies Adelaide and its suburbs, wrapt in the peace and quiet of the night. Its thousands of street lights shine so clear that they seem to lie at your feet. You see deep, dark places amongst the lights; there are the park lands. Then raise your eyes and look farther west; there is the sea. It shines as a silver mirror. The soft winds from the west are blowing, and the wavelets, dancing in the light of the moon, play with her shining rays as they leap on to break gently on the sandy beach. Many times have I revelled in this sight while staying with my friend, John Bakewell, whose beautiful home is close to the top of the mount.

Colonel Light must have also kept in mind the climatic conditions. From any part of the city a drive of less than a couple of hours will take one up some fifteen to eighteen hundred feet above the sea. The railways, 155 and afterwards the advent of the motor-cars, have brought the hills down to Adelaide and the plain, and the many and beautiful homes now adorning the crests of the ridges and nestled there might almost be suburbs. See the lovely foliage of the trees, gathered from all parts of the world. Look at the gardens, luxuriant in blooms, where the flowers revel in rivalling each other in beauty and colour and in profusion of blossoms. See the ripening fruits festooning the trees in the orchards.

It is amongst such surroundings that the fortunate citizens of Adelaide live, and there it was my privilege to spend—I say so without the slightest reservation—the happiest years of my life. Would they could come again.

You are not surprised now, are you, that the citizens of Adelaide fully recognize the debt of gratitude they owe Colonel Light? His memory they cherish. His name will ever be an honoured one. His monument, Adelaide itself, a living one which will last until the day when the last trumpet shall sound “the assembly.” His recompense, the gratitude of her citizens right up to that day.

The development of the defence system of the colony of South Australia was as follows: In its early days the British Government maintained a small garrison of regular soldiers, with their headquarters in Adelaide. This garrison was at the disposal of the local Government; the Governor was Commander-in-Chief. It was not anticipated then that troops from Australia would be required to do battle for the Empire in European wars. There was little trouble to fear from the aboriginal tribes. History repeated itself in the case of South Australia. As it had happened in the older colonies, the aborigines did not give cause for the slightest anxiety, except on a few occasions when intrepid and daring explorers went forth into the wild bush country miles and miles away from any habitation. Barracks were built for the regular garrison. On the date I started my duties the building was being utilized as an institution for the 156 poor and infirm. The military staff office and the mounted police barracks were adjacent to it.

So long as the garrison of regulars remained at Adelaide there was no particular inducement for the pioneers to burden themselves with the additional responsibilities of becoming soldiers themselves. Yet have you ever known or heard of any British settlement, no matter how small, which did not elect a mayor and raise a volunteer force? When the time came for the British Government to remove the regular garrison, the South Australian volunteer force was established. This took place on the conclusion of the Maori War, which was followed by the peaceful settlement of the native question in the north island of New Zealand. The British Government decided to withdraw all regular troops from New Zealand and Australia then, feeling assured that the colonists, who had already given the best and strongest evidence and proof of their capacity to direct the affairs and develop the resources of the immense territories entrusted into their hands, were more than capable of raising and organizing military units on lines best adapted to their own economic and political requirements. Thus it was that at the time the regulars were withdrawn fairly efficient volunteer forces had come into existence.

The South Australian Government retained the services of some of the regular non-commissioned officers as instructors, and of some of the officers for staff duties. At the time I joined the staff some of these were still going healthy and strong. Well I remember Major Williams, our staff quartermaster, Captain Powell, our cavalry instructor, Sergeant-Majors Ryan and Connell, infantry instructors, two of the best. They were with me then, they were under me for years; they never wavered in their zeal, nor had I once, in our long association together, ever to find fault with them or their work, not even in later days, when the holders of the public purse set the pruning knives clicking and the military vote suffered so severely 157 as to necessitate much extra work on the part of those who remained on the staff.

The growth of the colony steadily continued, never halting, though occasionally bad seasons checked its progress. In the ’seventies South Australia was fully established. Adelaide was becoming a rich and populous city, the capital of a great territory. A stupendous pioneer work, the overland telegraph right through the continent from Adelaide in the south to Port Darwin in the north, had been completed, some 2,000 miles through unoccupied country. The Burra-Burra copper mines had given forth their store of the copper. The Moonta and Wallaroo district was still richer in that precious metal. Even now there appears to be no end to the wealth of metal lying below the ground waiting for the pick of the miner. Millions of acres of wild bush land had been turned into rolling grass plains on which millions of sheep browsed in peace. In the settled districts along the Northern Railway line to Port Augusta paddocks after paddocks of smiling and rustling wheatfields waited for the harvesting machines each autumn time.

The question of the advisability of establishing the Defence Force of the colony on a sounder footing was taken up by the Government, which came to the decision that it would be in the best interests of the forces to appoint a regular Imperial officer, thoroughly efficient and up to date, who should be entrusted with the reorganization, administration and instruction of the Defence Department and the forces under its control. This decision met with all-round approval. Politicians, Press, members of the then existing forces and the public generally all concurred. A request was sent to the Imperial Government, asking for the services on loan for five years of an officer possessing the qualifications referred to. The selection fell on Lieut.-Colonel (now Major-General) M. F. Downes, R.A., C.M.G., who is still alive and well in Melbourne, and whose constant friendship I have had the privilege of enjoying 158 from the date I first took up my duties under him. He lost no time on his arrival in carrying out his instructions, and submitted a scheme for the Government’s approval. The general lines of his scheme were as follows: The military forces were to consist of (a) an efficient administrative and instructional staff; (b) a number of regular (permanent) artillery units to man the forts and maintain them in a state of thorough efficiency; (c) a force comprising all branches of the service, inclusive of departmental and non-combatant corps on a partially paid system; (d) the maintenance of a volunteer force to meet the requirements of outlying districts; and (e) the encouragement of rifle clubs.

The only part of this scheme which requires some little explanation is the partially paid force, the backbone of the scheme. General Downes proposed that instead of the three months’ continuous training carried out by the Militia at home, the partially paid units should be paid by the day, the maximum number of days being fixed by Act of Parliament. Eight hours a day or over constituted a full day for purposes of pay; up to four hours, half a day; and two hours or less, a quarter day. A proviso existed that a few days of continuous training in camp should take place each year. The original number of full days in the year first approved of was, I think, twenty-four, and the rate of pay 5s. a day. Whole holidays, of which there are a good many in the colonies, were available for full day, half-holidays and Saturday afternoons for half-day, and all evenings for quarter-day parades. By the time I joined the general’s staff his system had been in force for over three years, was giving satisfaction to all concerned, and similar conditions of service were later on adopted in every one of the Australian colonies.

The itinerary for the half-year ending June 30, 1882, which General Downes had approved of, kept me continually on the move. The days in between my 159 journeys in the country were fully occupied with the compilation of reports and other administrative duties. It was all a new experience to me. I travelled hundreds of miles. The residents in the outlying districts offered me every hospitality. Horses, of course, were always available. Kangaroo and wallaby hunts, shooting and fishing parties, were arranged to fill up the time in spare days. The wild turkey is indeed a wary bird; he wants a lot of stalking, especially in the open salt bush plains. An ox or cow was often made use of to approach this knowing bird. It was considered an excellent day’s sport if we bagged a brace or two.

Six months sped by. Then came the day when the general informed me that the Government had approved of the raising of the Regular (Permanent) Artillery unit. Fort Glanville had been completed, the guns mounted, and the contractors had handed over the fort to the Government. I remember the general’s kind words to me so well. He told me he was pleased with my work, that he had reported upon my success as staff instructor to the volunteer force, that he had recommended me for the position of Lieutenant Commanding the Permanent Artillery unit, and that the Government had approved.

So at last I had got appointed to my own branch of the service—once again I was a gunner. I took up my residence at the fort, where there was barrack accommodation for about thirty men and quarters for one officer. Within three weeks I had got together a first-class lot of young men, and the general came down to inspect us. An efficient gunner is not made in a day, no, nor even in a year, so that for months I had little time for play. In addition a most interesting and difficult piece of work came my way. The fixed defences, recommended by Sir William Jervois and General Scratchley, consisted of three forts, one not far from the mouth of the Port River, a second one approximately half-way between the mouth of the river and Glenelg, and the third one near Glenelg. 160 At that time there were not sufficient funds to undertake the completion of the whole scheme. The centre one, Fort Glanville, was considered the most important, and had therefore been constructed first. The plans for the other forts had been prepared at the same time as those for Fort Glanville.

The coast from Glenelg to the mouth of the Port River is very low, a continuous ridge of sandy dunes fringing a beautiful sea beach from which the waters recede far at low tide. The mail boats anchored in the open roadstead; passengers landed at the Semaphore jetty, cargo being placed in barges and towed up the river to Port Adelaide. It was a most unsatisfactory arrangement, and many have been the times that I got wet through when meeting the steamers. In particularly rough weather baskets had to be used to get on or off the ship. When it was too rough and dangerous passengers had to be taken on to the next port of call. For years the question of providing proper harbour accommodation had been before successive Governments, but the vested interests at Port Adelaide and other political reasons had successfully blocked the project. About the beginning of 1882, however, a company was formed, which acquired a large frontage to the sea from the boundaries of the Semaphore northwards to the mouth of the Port River. This company obtained the right to construct a harbour. It was called the Largs Bay Company. It built a first-class up-to-date hotel on the foreshore, constructed a fine jetty, and a railway leading into Port Adelaide, with the view of diverting the landing of the passengers from the old Semaphore Government jetty to Largs Bay. All this will probably be of little interest to you, except that it supplies a reason for the influences that were brought to bear on the Government to construct No. 2 Fort. If the outer harbour was to be constructed, its protection was necessary. Hence I was instructed by the general to revise the original plans of the Fort and adapt 161 them to the new fortress guns, which had superseded those existing at the time of the construction of Fort Glanville. To plan forts, to obtain the widest scope for the fire power of their guns, is fascinating work to a gunner. I revelled in it, and in a few weeks I was ready with the revised plans. The plans were approved of, and the contract was let for its construction. Largs Bay Hotel then became my headquarters.

The time came when the building of the Largs Fort was advanced enough to push on with the mounting of the heavy guns, which on arrival had been stored at Port Adelaide, some three miles away. The hauling of the guns and carriages and their assembling and mounting was excellent instruction to my young gunners. In revising the plans of the Fort I had made provision for barrack accommodation for a larger body of men.

Fort Glanville has now for some time past been dismantled. The proposed fort near Glenelg was never built, though two 9.2 inch B.L. guns, which were imported at great cost as the result of the Russian scare, are still lying buried in the sand hills on the proposed site. 162



While busy with my professional duties I found time to amuse myself as well. My friends at the club had put my name up as a member. I was soon elected. You will doubtless smile when I tell you what happened the first time I entered the club as a full member. It had been a very hot day. A visiting team of polo players from the western district of Victoria had battled hard in the afternoon against the Adelaide team. The good game of polo in those days was in its infancy in Australia. A few enthusiasts in Adelaide and some in the wonderfully rich western district of Victoria, the De Littles, Manifolds, Blacks and others who owned thousands of acres of as good country as there is in Australia, kept the game going. An inter-colonial match was arranged. Lance Stirling, now Sir Lancelot, and President of the Upper House, Arthur Malcolm, a thorough sportsman with a keen love for practical jokes, and the two brothers Edmund and Charlie Bowman, were playing for Adelaide. The old veteran, Dave Palmer, St. Quintin, Para Hood and one of the Manifolds represented the western district of Victoria.

It was the custom to celebrate all such occasions as polo matches, big race days, Hunt Club meetings, by holding dinner parties at the club, often attended by fifty or sixty of the younger members, with a sprinkling of the older sports, who thoroughly enjoyed the vivacity and exuberance of the younger men. These were dinners to be remembered, full of joyous spirits, where many amusing incidents used to occur. As the hours of the evening 163 grew late and the early morning approached the fun was at its height. I happened to choose this very particular night for my first visit to the club after my election as a full member. I knew what was going on, and, though I thought it better to avoid going there that night, an irresistible feeling came over me and I succumbed to it. So, at about eleven o’clock I made my appearance. It had been a long time, in fact, not since I had left Melbourne, that I had had a real jolly night. I had held the bit particularly tight between my teeth during my time in the police, and I did feel inclined for a jollification. I got it all right. I was greeted all round with the heartiest welcome. Congratulations on my appointment were showered on me, and in a few minutes I was as recklessly enjoying the fun as they were. While the large dining-room was being prepared for an obstacle race cock-fighting held sway. An amateur orchestra with improvised instruments, coal-scuttles, pots and pans, hair-combs and other similar objects was playing in the back court of the club, in the centre of which there was a fountain. Some enterprising member had offered a prize to anyone who hopped twice round the narrow parapet, surrounding its basin, without falling in, while keeping time to the music. It certainly was difficult to follow the strains of that band. From a very slow and dignified movement the music suddenly broke into the quickest time that ever any tune was played. The result was fatal to the hopper. A bath in the fountain followed. The prize was not won that night. And so the frolic ran on till the early hours of the morning.

I felt somewhat sorry for myself when I turned up next day at the office. I didn’t feel much inclined for work, and I waited patiently for noon to strike to make my way to the club and a large whisky and soda. Lunch-time approached. I began to notice that several of the older members were looking serious and were not so affable as usual. The secretary asked me to step into his office. I did so. He, too, was looking serious. He told me that 164 it had been reported to him that I had on my very first visit, as a member of the club upset the whole place, that my good old friend Mr Hamilton, who lived at the club, had complained bitterly of the noise and disturbance, and was going to ask the committee to cancel my election and practically have me turned out. He himself had been forced to call a special meeting of the committee to deal with the matter. I sat, quiet and sad, by the side of the old fountain. Every now and again one of the chief offenders of the night before would, as he passed me, sympathize with me in my trouble. My misery did not last long. Two or three members of the committee entered the secretary’s office. Presently the secretary beckoned me to his office. Round a table sat three members of the committee. In the centre of the small table was a magnum of champagne and a small bucket of ice. In silence the glasses were filled up. The oldest member of the committee, still as serious as a judge, handed me one. They each helped themselves. Then he spoke: “We have asked you to come here this morning”—and then a smile came over their faces—“to welcome you to the club and to say how happy we are that you have got your appointment.” Thus ended my anxiety, and a few minutes later on the magnum of champagne. I had certainly had my leg pulled.

In view of my duties in connexion with the construction of the new fort I moved to the Largs Bay Hotel. Standing by itself mid-way between the two forts at the shore end of the jetty, the hotel had been completed and opened with much rejoicing. Mr. Hixon was its first manager. No expense had been spared by the company in making it not only comfortable, but luxurious. The winter months were just beginning; there was no attraction to the seaside, and there were but few residents. The monotony of living there was varied two days each week by the arrival of the inward and outward bound mail steamers, that was all. But I was too busy to worry about 165 pleasure; the training of my men at Fort Glanville and the supervision of the construction of Fort Largs kept me busy five days of the week. Saturday and Sunday I devoted to sport and pleasure. The polo season ended with the autumn; hunting began with early winter.

Had anyone told me in the days when I used to be carried into the boats on the good old ship Waipa that within a couple of years I would once again be enjoying playing polo, following the hounds and steeplechasing, I would not have believed them. Yet so it was. The hunting season coming on, I at once set to work to get a couple of good mounts. Good Mother Luck was, as usual, again on my side. A friend of mine, Leonard Browne, who owned Buckland Park Station, about twenty-five miles from Adelaide, offered me one of his station horses. We named him Buckland. He was the soundest and best jumper I ever threw my legs across. He was even better than “Kate Dwyer.” For two seasons he never gave me a fall. I have, for a wager, put up a sheet of corrugated iron six feet long by two and a half feet wide, leaning it slanting against a rest, in the middle of a paddock, and, jumping on Buckland’s back, I would ride him straight at it. He never bothered to go to the right or left of it. The old horse would take it in his stride and sail over it without rapping it. Wire fences were child’s play to him; he got over them just as easily as he negotiated post and rails.

Satan, a thoroughbred I bought after a selling race at Morphetville, was my second string. He had broken down in his near foreleg during the race. He was only three years old, jet black, sixteen hands one, and as handsome as paint. I had named him Satan. I had by this time been asked by the general on several occasions to accompany him as his staff officer at such times as he was making his inspections, and I thought it would be well for me to have a decent charger. The general liked a good horse. Satan was just the horse. I had him for 166 some twelve years. I schooled him to jump, and he took to it very kindly. Many are the miles of road travelling he saved me when later on we were busy with field manœuvres, by his jumping capacities. Satan was not a “Buckland,” but he seldom failed me. So it came to pass that I was able to enjoy many a good day with the hounds on Saturday afternoons; then a good dinner, the theatre, and afterwards a little fun and light-hearted supper and frolic at the club till the early hours of Sunday morning.

What a crowd of real good sportsmen lived in Adelaide in those days! Perhaps the oldest and most respected of the professional sports was Mr. Filgate. Then there was Seth Ferry, who had ridden many a hard race in his life; Saville, as clever with his pencil as he was as a trainer—brother-in-law, I think, of Leslie Macdonald, who afterwards managed Wilson’s stud at St. Albans, Victoria, and on Wilson’s death became an owner himself, and a successful one, too. Revenue won the Melbourne Cup for him, and several other good horses have in late years carried his colours to the front in first-class races. Leslie Macdonald is still a very well-preserved man, a first-class sport, and a good companion. Tom Power was another good trainer, and Johnny Hill, who trained Auraria, the Melbourne Cup winner. The pride of place amongst breeders was then taken by Sir Thomas Elder. The stud farm at Morphetville left nothing to be desired. The renowned chestnut, Gang Forward, and a big-boned bay horse named Neckesgat were the lords of the harem. Some twenty brood mares, descendants of the best strains of thoroughbred stock, had been brought together, and many a good horse which played about as a foal at Morphetville’s beautiful paddocks afterwards won classical races.

Sir Thomas Elder was at this time fairly on the wrong side of fifty. He was a bachelor. He and his brother-in-law, Mr. Barr Smith, were the heads of that well-known 167 firm, Elder, Smith and Co., which was interested in many important concerns, and, inter alia, represented the P. & O. S. N. Co., mail contractors to Australia. This company’s ships called in at Adelaide once a week, the incoming and outgoing mail in turn. Sir Thomas usually invited the captain to his house during the steamer’s stay in the roadstead.

They used to tell of him that though he took the greatest pleasure in the Morphetville stud, he knew but little about horses. Sir Thomas delighted in taking his guests through the paddocks, his manager close beside him. “Now there,” Sir Thomas would say, “isn’t that a fine horse? Now, Mr. Ellworthy, just tell us all about him.” It was generally a her. But when he came to White Arab stallion Mr. Ellworthy’s services were not required. Sir Thomas’s partner, Mr. Robert Barr Smith, might well be named the Grand Old Man of South Australia. He died at a very ripe old age—a charming personality, a shrewd man of business, a most generous citizen whose gifts were munificent, and equalled only by those of his brother-in-law, Sir Thomas. Mr. Barr Smith’s principal home, Torrens Park, some six miles from Adelaide, situated at the foot of the hills, was always open house to his friends. I can never forget the many happy days I spent there, and who, of the many who were privileged to be their friends, can ever forget the charming personality, the sweet ways, and the generous nature of Mrs. Barr Smith?

My pen runs away with me when I think of all my kind friends in those happy days. But let me not forget one family, the Bakers of Morialta. The Hon. John Baker was one of the first citizens of Adelaide to appreciate the value of the Mount Lofty ranges as a home during the summer months. He took up some hundreds of acres in what was at that time bush country up the heights to the north of Mount Lofty. I do not know whether Norton’s Summit, in the neighbourhood of which he purchased the 168 land, was so named when he built his comfortable home at Morialta. The entrance gates into that beautiful domain are just past the village which bears the name Norton’s Summit. The Hon. John Baker was a politician, but he was also a sportsman and a horse breeder. I think I am right in stating that he bred that good horse Don Juan, which started the “King” of Australian bookmakers, Joe Thompson, in his triumphant career. Not to know Joe Thompson in those days in Australia meant not to know Australia. He was the leviathan of the turf, or at least, he became so, and a keen sportsman he was, too. Of all sports horse racing has always the pride of place in Australia, though others flourish there.

To Mrs. John Baker, Mr. Baker’s widow, I owe a deep debt of gratitude. From the time I first arrived in Adelaide she made me welcome at Morialta. Her eldest son, who later on became Sir Richard Baker, President of the Legislative Council of South Australia, was a good sport and a true friend of mine up to the time of his death.

I believe that it was his father who established the first pack of hounds in South Australia. The kennels were at Morialta. At the time I am writing of, Allen Baker, a younger brother of Sir Richard, was Master. I was his best man on his marriage day. I remember it so well, though it was so long ago. He was quite nervous about the whole thing, as he called it, the evening before. I tried to cheer him up. He told me that he particularly wished the clergyman to cut the service as short as possible, and I was on no account to let him “make a speech.” I duly warned the clergyman in the morning, and he took the hint. I fortified Allen with a small bottle of champagne just before the ceremony, which took place at the church at Mitcham. He just got through it, and, as soon as he got out of the church, he jumped up into the four-wheeled dogcart that was waiting for him and, taking hold of the reins, with his pretty bride beside him, drove away as happy as a bird. His nervousness had disappeared. 169

Perhaps the most enjoyable event of the year in Adelaide was the occasion when the Hunt Club Races took place. The meeting was held at the close of the season, and a right merry meeting it was too. It was a huge picnic, winding up with dinner and theatre parties, dances, and good old suppers. I had nothing good enough to win any race. Buckland was a sure jumper, but not fast enough. Satan’s foreleg would not stand training. However, one never knows one’s luck in steeplechasing, so I sent Buckland to Leslie Macdonald to be trained, and promised myself a real ding-dong jumping day over the big sticks at Morphetville—and I had it, too. The two principal races were the Drag Cup and the Hunt Club Cup—the former about two miles and three-quarters, the latter about four miles. A maiden steeple, a hurdle race and a hunters’ flat race filling up the programme. The best horse at the meeting that year was named Albatross, a jet black, curiously enough, and the property of a good sport, Mick Morris, a Government stock inspector. Albatross had been heavily backed to win the double, the Drag and Hunt Club Cups. I think it was Bob Turner who rode him in the Hunt Club Cup. He had bad luck opposite the grand stand, for he struck the wall hard the second time round and unseated Bob. The race was over as far as Albatross was concerned, and so were the double wagers as far as Mick Morris and his friends were concerned. But Mick and his pals meant to get their money again by backing Albatross straight out for the Drag Cup. Bob Turner had been badly shaken by his fall, and was unable to ride again. Morris asked me to ride him. I had already ridden old Buckland in the Maiden Steeple and Hunt Club Cups some six miles, without being near winning, so I thought I would oblige Morris.

Unfortunately, Albatross being top-weight had a heavy impost to carry, some 13 st. 4 lb. I rode only about 11 st. 6 lb. in those days, so I had to put up some two stones dead weight. The saddle was a heavy, old-fashioned 170 hunting one, and taking it for granted all was well I jumped on Albatross’s back in the saddling paddock and jogged quietly down to the starting point. There were some eight starters. Down went the flag, away we went, and I took Albatross to the front. He was a fine jumper, but he had one fault; he was inclined to run down his fences, and squirm a little when jumping. We went once round the course. We were coming to the wall for the second time just in front of the grand stand and Albatross was moving like a bird. I let him just “gang his ain gait”; nothing behind me could force the pace. He led the field easily, and I felt more than confident that the race was mine. But you never can tell. He came to the wall. He had to shorten his stride in taking it, which made him squirm more than usual. I felt something go; it was my left stirrup leather. The clip holding it to the saddle had been left open, and the wrench of my left leg as Albatross jumped had pulled the leather out. I managed to keep the stirrup iron hanging on to my foot with the end of the leather trailing on the ground as we galloped on. I had hopes I might recover the leather, and by holding on to it with my left hand make some use of it. It was not to be. In my efforts to pick up the leather I had to slow Albatross down. This enabled the other horses to close up to me. There was only one thing to do—let the stirrup go and set Albatross sailing again. This I did. At the next fence—a stiff log one—I was nearly jerked clean off. I had forgotten I was riding with only one stirrup, and, as Albatross swerved in jumping, I all but fell off on the near side. It struck me that if I did not get rid of the other stirrup I would probably be thrown soon, so I got rid of it. I now found myself with about a mile and a half to go, some ten real stiff fences to negotiate, and riding without stirrups. I quite well remember my memory harking back for a moment to the old days of the riding school at Woolwich when old Dan, our riding master, used to call out, “Cross 171 stirrups,” and “Take care” and “’Old on.” Well, it was a case of “’olding on” on Albatross for the rest of that journey. It was soon over. Albatross sailed along. I couldn’t hold him, but kept in on the course. Young Farr on Peter came after me. We raced together at the last fence. Over we went; both landed safely, but I was beat. Farr, sitting comfortably on Peter, led me past the post. The only consolation I had was that I had not been responsible for saddling Albatross. My good old friend Michael Morris, though he had lost his money, thought I had put up a real good fight, and gave me a present of a handsome hunting-crop to remind me of my ride on that good horse Albatross. We had a glorious winding up to that day. The Hunt dinner at the club, a large theatre party, and a dance. Indeed, I was glad when I got to bed at the end of it all.

On the close of the hunting season followed the polo season. It was arduous work to play polo in the heat of the summer, but it could not be helped. The first polo ground was in the park lands inside the Victoria race-course. Now the Polo Club owns a clubhouse and a tip-top ground not far from the city. Ponies were rather difficult to get in those days, and when you did get them there was very little opportunity to train them. It was with difficulty we managed to get one practice game a week with full sides. Several of the members of the Polo Club lived in the country, and it was difficult for them to spare the time to come into town for a game; besides, it was a fairly expensive game. Still, we battled away against all difficulties, and the game of polo was kept going in South Australia while the richer and older colonies of New South Wales and Victoria practically dropped it.

Of recent years polo has become a favourite pastime throughout Australia, especially in many country districts, and after the War will doubtless become one of its national games. At the close of the hunting season I had turned out Buckland and Satan for a long spell, and picked up 172 four or five ponies. I got some stables put up at Fort Glanville. The splendid beach at low tide afforded an excellent practice ground. The season moved along all well; we had only one severe accident. The game in those days began by placing the ball on the ground half-way between the goals. A player from each side was selected to gallop at a given signal from the goal posts to the ball. On the particular afternoon of the accident the two players selected were Tom Barr Smith and George Hawker. By some accident the two rode straight at each other; the ponies met head to head. There was quite a loud report. It was the cracking of the skull of one of the ponies. The pony had to be shot, but no particular harm was done to the riders. As a result of this accident it was decided to alter the rules of the game. This was done, and there was no more wild galloping to start the game. After trying several ponies, I was successful in getting hold of two real good ones. One was a light, cream-coloured mare, descended from a Welsh Taffy imported sire. I called her “Creamie.” She was a flyer. The other, a well-bred little bay, which I named “Kitty,” I bought from the Governor’s A.D.C., Captain Williams.

The polo season closed with a race meeting, just as the hunting season did. The chief event was the Polo Club Cup. I felt fairly confident that I had that year’s cup in my pocket. For some six weeks before the races I had sent Creamie and Kitty to Mr. Ellworthy at Morphetville, who had kindly undertaken to supervise their training. As the result of trials Creamie proved much the faster. Not only that, but she started breaking watch-records. The day of the races came. I had promised Allen Baker, the Master of the Hounds, to have the mount on Creamie. A real good sportsman, Stephen Ralli, was to ride Kitty. I was too heavy myself to tackle the weights. Creamie was made favourite at even money. Kitty started at 20 to 1. Off they went to the post. I think Lance Stirling was starter. There were about 173 eighteen starters. Creamie was next but two to the rails. I had backed her for quite a lot of money, and had told all my friends that I could not see what other pony could beat her. They all put their money on. I had not a sixpence on Kitty. Well, down went the flag. I was in the grand stand with my glasses fixed on the starting point. The first thing I saw was one of the riders turning a somersault in the air. It was Allen Baker. I of course at once lost all interest in the race. I put down my glasses. Down the course came Creamie leading the field riderless. Then I heard the shouting: “Kitty! Kitty wins!” and before I realized it, she had won. Yes, Stephen Ralli had won the cup on Kitty for me. I had lost £300.

My recollections of the introduction of cash betting, as opposed to the system of booking bets “on the nod” in the betting ring on Australian race-courses, are as follows: Not long after my first appointment in Adelaide the annual big racing meeting was held by the Adelaide Racing Club at their course in the park lands, east of the city. Large numbers of the best-known bookmakers from the other colonies were as usual in attendance. Their voices were hardly what could be called musical. As a rule each one gave his own voice some peculiar note, so that their would-be clients could spot their whereabouts in the ring. The result of this chorus was unique as a musical phenomenon.

I think it was the Cup Day. It was fine overhead and hot, yet a charming day. The race for the Cup was next, and the ring was settling down to business. Suddenly, amidst the general uproar, a fine-sounding voice, true and melodious, was heard intoning what at first sounded to most people a church hymn. But it was not a church hymn. It was a new method of shouting out the odds, attracting attention to an exceedingly well-got-up gentleman in a grey frock suit, patent leather boots, white spats, grey gloves, tall white hat, and a flower in his buttonhole. 174 A new bookmaker had made his appearance. He informed the crowds in song that he betted “only for cash,” not “on the nod”—“I pay on the winner, immediately after the race.” It only wanted an organ to accompany him. It was quite amusing to watch the remainder of his brethren in the ring. At first they looked about for the songster; then they laughed; and then set to work fairly to howl him down. It was no use; he managed somehow to make his dulcet notes heard. The new arrival before the end of the day was well known. His experiment had succeeded; it had been a first-class advertisement, and he gathered in many clients.

He left Adelaide for the sister States. Some time afterwards an amusing story went the round of sporting circles. Whether true or not I know not. Here it is. The committee of one of the most important bookmakers’ clubs in Australia had occasion to adjudicate on a charge laid against him for conduct which it was stated rendered him an undesirable member of the club, to the honorary membership of which he had been admitted. The committee, after inquiry, decided to request him to see them, inform him of the charge that had been made against him, ask him if he wished to refute it; if not, it was their intention to cancel his membership. His answer was reported to be as follows: “The charges made against me practically accuse me of behaving like a blackguard. Well, I can be a blackguard—probably a bigger one than any of you are or can be, but however that may be, there is one thing I can be, if I like, but which none of you can ever be, and that is a gentleman. Good morning; I am returning to England to-morrow.” 175



Sir Frederick Sargood had been appointed Minister of Defence in Victoria. He had evidently been impressed with the success that had attended the experiment made by the South Australian Government when they had decided to ask the Imperial Government to lend them the services of a regular officer to command their local troops. He decided upon a similar course of action, but he went a good deal further than the South Australian Government had done. He was determined to do the thing well, and he did it. He asked the Imperial Government for the loan of officers to fill the following positions: (a) Commandant; (b) Adjutant-General; (c) D.A.G. for Cavalry and Infantry; (d) D.A.G. for Artillery; (e) O.C. Engineers; (f) Chief Instructors for Cavalry, Infantry, Artillery and Engineers.

Amongst the senior officers selected by the War Office for these posts were the following: Colonel Disney, R.A., Lieutenant-Colonel Brownrigg, Lieutenant-Colonel Walker, R.A., Major Fellowes and Captain Ernest Rhodes, R.E., brother of Cecil Rhodes.

It was rumoured at the time that Sir Frederick had come to the conclusion that he had undertaken rather a serious contract in importing such a lot of officers. How was he to protect himself against such an array of military talent? He was a most enthusiastic volunteer. He was besides a very able business man. All Australians know the firm of which he was one of the partners, Butler, Sargood and Co. His military knowledge, however, was naturally very limited, and no doubt he felt it would be difficult for him to battle 176 against the more than heavy demands which the new military directorate would probably make upon the Government. It happened, however, that General Downes’ period of service with the South Australian Government was approaching its end, and Sir Frederick hit upon the happy idea of securing him for the position of Secretary to his Department. The general’s ripe experience in the conduct of the South Australian forces and the success that had attended his efforts in that respect rendered him well qualified to give good advice to the Minister in charge of the Department. General Downes accepted the appointment.

At the time of the Imperial officers’ arrival in Melbourne a Charity ball was being held. The wives of the new officers bought tickets, not with the intention of going themselves, as they thought it was just an ordinary charity affair which would not be patronized by the best people. So, instead of going, they gave their tickets to their servants and sent them. If they had taken the trouble to ask about the ball they would have been told that these charity balls were attended by the nicest of the nice—and they would, of course, have been there themselves. The lady correspondents of the society journals were naturally awaiting their arrival as excellent subjects for their pens, and were not slow in discovering the absence of the good ladies as well as the presence of their servants. Naturally they felt indignant. The fact was soon whispered among the guests, and some were unkind enough to look upon the incident almost in the light of a personal insult. Society was quite disturbed, and hints of boycotting the offenders were spread about. However, full explanations were quickly made, and the incident was forgotten.

Amongst the recommendations made by Sir William Jervois, who had left South Australia early in 1882, and had been succeeded by Sir William Robertson, brother of Sir Hercules Robinson, was the acquisition of an up-to-date gunboat as a beginning of a limited but efficient naval 177 unit for the defence of South Australia. At this time the Colonies of Victoria and Queensland had started naval units of their own. Victoria had quite, for those days, an imposing little fleet, the flagship of which was the old Cerberus. The Colony of New South Wales had not deemed it necessary to start a fleet on its own. Sydney was the base and headquarters of the Imperial warships then attached to the Australian station. Consequently they felt more than fully protected from the point of view of naval defence. The South Australian Government gave effect to Sir William Jervois’s recommendation, and a gunboat, christened the Protector, built by the firm of Sir William Armstrong, Newcastle-on-Tyne, was selected, and left England on its outward-bound voyage. The citizens of Adelaide were much interested in its arrival. This vessel, which was still in commission two years ago, served for many years as a training ship for the members of the Naval Reserve. On the occasion of the taking over of the Defence Forces of the several colonies by the Commonwealth Government, the captain of the Protector became the senior naval officer of the Naval Defence Forces. Captain William Cresswell was afterwards appointed First Member of the Naval Board of Control in the Commonwealth, promoted to admiral, and knighted. Curiously enough, he spoke Spanish. He had been born in Gibraltar, not far from Jeréz. His sister was for many years head of the Post Office, in fact, Postmistress-General at the Rock.

Sir William Jervois’s son, my Woolwich mate, had taken on the duties of Adjutant-General on the departure of his father. He was completing the term of his engagement at the time when General Downes left for Melbourne. Pending the arrival of Lieut.-Colonel J. F. Owen, R.A., he was acting Commandant, and I became, for the time being, acting Adjutant-General.

It was then we had a surprise. One morning the look-out station people at Glenelg sighted columns of heavy 178 smoke, evidently issuing from large craft making towards Glenelg from the entrance to the Gulf. The fact was communicated to the shipping and customs authorities at Port Adelaide. They replied that they had no notification of the intended arrival of any steamers, and none were expected. The people at Glenelg became quite interested, if not excited, and flocked to the jetty and the Esplanade. The excitement spread to Adelaide, and many curious people took train for the seaside suburb. After a time the hulls of three large vessels gradually appeared above the horizon. Many were the telescopes directed at them, and very considerable the surprise when it was seen that the vessels in question were men-of-war, but not British. There was nothing to be done but to await their arrival. In due time they arrived off Glenelg and anchored close where the mail steamers usually lay when calling there. They were flying the Russian flag. All was bustle and excitement when they were seen lowering their boats.

In the meantime the customs authorities had reached Glenelg in their steamboat from Port Adelaide, and were awaiting instructions from the Government as to what action they were to take. They were instructed to carry on as usual, in the same way as when any foreign men-of-war visited the port. The Customs House officials, accompanied by the Port Health Officer, proceeded to the flagship. They were met on board with all due courtesy, and the admiral expressed his wish for permission to land and pay his respects to the Governor and the Government of South Australia at such time as it would be convenient to them to receive him. On the return of the Customs House boat the Health Officer reported that all was well with the ships, and that he had granted them pratique. The admiral’s message was as soon as possible conveyed to the Government. His request was, of course, acceded to, and a representative from the Premier’s office sent on board to place himself in touch with the admiral. The official visits duly took place during the afternoon. What 179 reasons, if any, were given by the admiral for his sudden appearance off the coast of South Australia I never was told. As far as I know they were never made public, if given. Where had they come from?

It soon became evident that the officers and crews were to be treated with the ceremony and courtesy it was customary to offer to distinguished visitors. The admiral had given it out that the visit would be a short one. There was to be an official dinner at Government House, the usual reception by the Premier and members of the Government, and official calls; and the residents of Glenelg decided to hold a ball in their honour. Great was the excitement, especially amongst the young ladies, at the prospect of meeting such a large number of naval officers. Previous to their departure the admiral and officers of the ship gave an official dinner and an afternoon reception to the chief residents. Then up went the anchors and away they steamed. Where they were going was not made known to the public, as far as I know. This unusual event took place early in 1885.

While the visit lasted the excitement attending it had kept the people’s minds fully occupied, but after the departure of the ships people began to think what would happen if, instead of coming in a friendly capacity, the men-of-war had arrived with hostile intentions. To put it very shortly and to the point, it would have meant practically the surrender of Adelaide. There were no fortifications at Glenelg. Though the guns on board the ships had not sufficient range to shell the city itself, the distance being too great, yet they could in a short time have played havoc with Glenelg, and it may be doubted whether in those days the Government and people would have preferred the destruction of Glenelg to coming to some terms with the enemy. This gave rise to much thought.

Immediately afterwards what became popularly known as “the Russian Scare” took place in Australia. Our Government instructed the acting Commandant, Major 180 Jervois, to mobilize our military forces and to take up their war positions without delay. They further gave instructions to make a final selection of the site for the construction of the Fort near Glenelg, the immediate preparation of the plans, and the acquisition of the land required. A cable was dispatched to our military adviser in London, then General Harding-Stewart, to place at once on order the armament for the fort, which it had been decided should consist of two 9.2 and two 6-inch breech-loading guns, mounted on hydro-pneumatic gun-carriages, the latest up-to-date ordnance approved of by the home government for coastal defence purposes throughout the Empire.

The mobilization was duly carried out. A couple of days after the concentration of the forces had been completed, and the night before the arrival of our new Commandant, I met with a severe accident. An infantry camp had been formed at Glenelg to protect the main road to Adelaide. Major Jervois had arranged for an alarm to take place early the next morning with a view of testing how far the commanding officers of the several zones of the defence had grasped their respective duties. The Governor had paid a visit to the infantry camp at Glenelg that afternoon, and had remained to take a light evening meal at the officers’ mess. It was a stirring time. Jervois and myself were the only two staff officers available. We had the assistance of three or four of the instructional officers. Within three days the whole of the members of our forces were assembled at the war stations as provided for in our Defence Scheme, covering the probable enemy landing places from Glenelg along the coast to the mouth of the Port River and the approaches to the city.

After satisfying myself that the officers entrusted with the defence of the Glenelg zone understood their instructions for the alarm, I started off riding down the coast towards Fort Glanville, intending to visit the commanding officers in charge of the other sections, with the same object in view. Our horses, my own and those of my orderly 181 officer, had been put up at the Old Pier Hotel at Glenelg. It was dark when we mounted, and, knowing the townships well, I cut across several vacant allotments instead of following the road. Suddenly I felt—as I was cantering across one of these allotments—as if the devil himself had gripped my face. I remembered no more till about a couple of hours afterwards my senses came back to me. My face was quite a picture. Some person had put up a clothes-line during the afternoon across the vacant allotment. The clothes-line happened to be a piece of fencing wire. I had cantered right into it and it caught me just above the upper lip and below my nose. That I have, since that day, been blessed with a nose of my own is quite a miracle. I can assure you that when I got hold of the tip of it I could lift it quite easily from my face.

Some kind doctor attended to it at the Pier Hotel, and, with the aid of many stitches and good old sticking-plaster, dressed the wound temporarily. The rest of my face was swollen and I was sore all over from bumping the hard ground, as I fell, when I was dragged backwards off my horse by the wire. However, I was much too anxious to get on with my work to cry “Halt.” I couldn’t ride, but I ordered a buggy from the hotel and moved on. As I reached the commanding officers of the successive sections along the coast I created somewhat of a sensation. I was not surprised. I presented a sorry figure, at any rate as far as my face was concerned. However, I satisfied myself that they had mastered their instructions, and that they would carry them out to the best of their ability.

When nearing Fort Glanville I left the main road, which ran just inside the sand-dunes and was in a very bad condition, for the beach. The beach was good going. Arriving close to the fort I struck inland by a track between the dunes. I felt happier; in a few minutes I would reach the Fort. But my troubles were not over by any means. The young fellow who was driving me was a stranger to those parts. I was not sure myself of the track we were 182 taking. It was the custom to spread seaweed on the track over places where the sand was too loose and the going too heavy. As we moved along it we came to a particularly dark spot. The lad hesitated to drive on. I couldn’t see very well. I took the dark spot to be a patch of seaweed, and told him to go on. We had taken the wrong track. It was not a patch of seaweed, but a big dark hole, and into it horse, buggy and our precious selves fell. Extricating ourselves from the mess, satisfying ourselves that no bones were broken, shaking out the sand from our ears and hair and off my poor nose and face, I walked off to the Fort to get assistance for my mate and the horse and buggy. I hadn’t been long in my quarters when the bugles sounded the alarm, and the commanding officer of the troops attached to the Fort, who had been kindly attending to my numerous bruises, left me to carry out his duty. I got my old Irish servant to mix me a strong whisky toddy (I don’t remember ever in my life having a drink which I enjoyed so much) and went to bed.

I was glad to hear next morning from Major Jervois, who came to see me, that the commanding officers had successfully carried out the task set them. He was much amused at my personal appearance. Two days afterwards Colonel Owen arrived. I was patched up enough to be able to ride, and accompanied him on his first tour of inspection. He had the unique experience of arriving in his command and finding the whole of the forces of the colony assembled together in the vicinity of his headquarters, Adelaide. Two more days and the scare was over. The troops dispersed to their respective districts.

It was about this time that an event happened which greatly agitated the social life of Adelaide. The wife of a Victorian country resident had arrived in Adelaide and had taken a house in the city. She was good-looking and charming. She appeared to be quite well off. Her house became a pleasant resort. She entertained well. She delighted in giving excellent supper parties. She was 183 quite a Bohemian. Her invitations included young and old, married and single. After a short time she told her friends that she had got divorced from her husband and that she intended to make Adelaide her home for a time.

One of the leading young men fell in love with her—or at least thought he did—and went so far, she gave out, as to ask her to be his wife. It was evident to those who knew him well that if he had asked her to be his wife it had probably been after one of the jolly supper parties. At any rate, if he had done so, he soon repented and told her so. She was not to be denied, so she took steps to bring a breach of promise action against him. Not content with this, she set to work to worry him and his friends as well. In fact, she succeeded in worrying him so much that one day, in an ill-advised moment, he made a complaint to the police to the effect that the lady in question really kept a house to which they should pay special attention. The police had to take the matter up, but they found it difficult to get sufficient evidence to prove their case. Finally, one night, after one of the supper-parties, a hansom cab driver who had been ordered to call for one of the guests arrived at the house drunk and created a scene. It was the opportunity for the police and they laid a charge against her.

The case came on before the court. Evidence was given against her, and she was called upon for her defence. She quietly told the magistrate that as she had been charged with keeping a certain house she would ask for time to prepare her defence. She further said she was preparing a list of names of the married men, well known in Adelaide, who had often been her guests at her supper-parties, and that she felt sure that when the magistrate read the names on the list he would never convict her. We bachelors had a joyful time at the expense of the married men. As the case had been adjourned for three days, there was a long interval of suspense for many of them, wondering whether their name would appear in that 184 “black list.” The morning came when the case was to be resumed. To the surprise of all and the extreme joy of the married men in particular, she failed to appear in court. Inquiries were made by the police, and it was found that she had left Adelaide the previous evening. Who had made it worth her while to disappear was never known. She had, however, made out the list, which the Police Commissioner received that afternoon by post. I got a look at it myself afterwards privately, and I was wicked enough, I suppose, to be sorry that it wasn’t published. 185



A few months later Mrs. Barr Smith proposed to open the new theatre and ballroom which had been added to Torrens Park. Private theatricals and dances were to be the chief attraction. She wished me to take the leading part in the opening play and coach the others. I knew that I would have to give more time, than I could really spare, to make it a success. Further, there was always the possibility of some untoward event happening which at the last moment might prevent me from taking my part and probably breaking up the show. My scruples were, however, overcome by my hostess’s kind insistence. We set to work, and all went happily until three nights before the date on which The Jacobite was to make its first appearance. The first dress rehearsal was to take place. Clothed in our beautiful garments we had sat down, a merry party, to dinner. On the whole I was fairly satisfied with my company, and felt that with a couple more dress rehearsals it was probable that the show would be a success.

At that very moment Nemesis was ringing the hall bell. In a few minutes the butler informed me that an orderly wished to see me. In the hall he handed me an official letter, marked “Urgent and Confidential.” I opened it. I have never had such a surprise in all my life. The document was a dispatch from Lieutenant Hawker, the officer in charge of the men at the Fort Largs, stating that he had given some orders to the men that afternoon and that the majority of them had refused to obey.

Here was a pretty kettle of fish! From the very day 186 of the raising of the force some three years before there had not been a single instance of insubordination of any sort. Occasional cases of overstaying leave had been about the most serious offence that had taken place. And, lo and behold! without any warning, without the slightest suspicion that anything was wrong, here was actually a “mutiny.” To leave Torrens Park at once and say good-bye to The Jacobite was my duty. I gave the butler a message for Mrs. Barr Smith, and she kindly came out of the dining-room into one of the drawing-rooms. Then I showed her the dispatch. I tried to convince her that it would be better not to postpone the performance, but to get somebody else to take up my part. As all arrangements had been completed, and the opening night was so close at hand, she thought we would get on all right if I only promised to turn up on the opening night.

There was a feeling at the back of my head that I had been devoting more time than I should have done to play. Had I not made up my mind when General Downes had told me of my first appointment to the staff that nothing should divert my thoughts from my work? The fact that the social obligations I had undertaken would necessitate frequent absences from my command should have weighed with me more. Such were my thoughts. Then there came back vividly to my mind some words of advice which my kinsman General Gordon, of Khartoum fame, had given me when I first joined at Woolwich. Talking to me one day, he told me that there were three golden rules of life which if adhered to would lead on to success. These rules were, first: “Never allow your pleasure to interfere with your duty.” Second: “Never allow your duty to interfere with your pleasure.” Third: “Never try to force a woman to give you anything more than she wishes.” I thought of these things and decided that no matter how much annoyance I caused my good friends, there was to be no more playtime for me till I could indulge in it without any qualms of conscience as to the fulfilment 187 of my duties. I succeeded in inducing one of the professors of the university to come to the rescue, which he bravely did, and the performance took place without me.

I reached Fort Largs late that night after a twenty-mile drive. I had made up my mind to leave the men alone till the early morning, when as soon as the time came for the early morning parade I would order them myself to fall in. They were all in the large barrack-room ready dressed when the time came for the usual early parade. I walked into the room accompanied by the lieutenant and the sergeant-major, and called out “Fall in, men”; they went straight out on to the parade ground and fell in. The back of the trouble was broken straightway. It was evident to me that its cause was in a misunderstanding, probably of a personal character, between the lieutenant and some of the older men, who had induced the younger soldiers to join them in the action they had taken, as they afterwards informed me, so as to bring matters to a head. The incident was inquired into and the evidence fully convicted the two ringleaders. They were tried by court-martial, sent to prison and dismissed from the force. So ended the first and last case of insubordination that took place during the many years that I commanded the Permanent Artillery. However, the event had been of use to me, as it had reminded me of General Gordon’s golden rules.

The action taken by Sir Frederick Sargood in importing the Imperial officers to Victoria was resulting in a very considerable improvement in the military forces of that colony. They were following on the same lines as South Australia as regarded their constitution; a very much higher standard of instruction, a better supervision of detail, and competent inspection contributed to this much-desired result.

Let us see what was going on in New South Wales. The Officer Commanding the Forces was Major-General 188 Richardson, who had been in the regular forces, had retired, and had been appointed Commandant some years previously. The organization of the military forces of “the Mother Colony” was being brought into line with that of Victoria and South Australia. The other three colonies, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania, had been gradually following the lead given by the others, though, as in New South Wales, they had not as yet imported Imperial officers to take command.

Towards the close of 1884 the course of our campaign in Egypt was running anything but smoothly; in fact, the military situation was very serious and critical. Throughout the Empire a strong feeling of apprehension was rife, but it was left to New South Wales, the Mother State, to be the first of England’s children to make an offer of material help. Who first conceived the idea is not recorded, but the credit of crystallizing and giving it effect belongs to the late the Hon. John B. Dalley. This was not actually the first occasion on which Australians had offered to fight alongside English regular troops, for, at the time of the Maori War in New Zealand, volunteers from New South Wales and Victoria had raised units and joined in the fighting. But such action on their part had been looked upon as only natural. New Zealand was their next-door neighbour, really a sister colony, and it was to the best interests of Australia that she should be freed from the native menace.

The offer to send troops from the southern to the northern hemisphere was quite another affair. The thought which inspired that offer could not have arisen from any feeling of selfish interest. It was really the outward sign of the affection and love for the Old Country and home inherited by the colonists. Indeed, the rising Australian generation realized what a glorious and magnificent heritage the Mother Country had so generously and freely entrusted to the care of the early pioneers, their forbears. From the day when the first Englishman set 189 foot in Australia and the first settlement was founded, right up to the year 1884, when the offer was made, no enemy had ever threatened Australia’s shores.

Australians rejoice that theirs is the only “virgin” continent in this world. From the day of its birth there had not been a drop of blood shed on its soil in the strife of war. No other country can make so glorious a boast. Yet it is true. It is not to be wondered at when, for the first time for a considerable number of years, a British army was reported to be in peril, Australia offered to share with them the burden and heat of the day. The British Government received the offer in the spirit in which it was made. It conveyed to Australians that it fully recognized the feelings of patriotism and unselfishness which had prompted the offer, and accepted it. A contingent composed of one battery of field artillery, one battalion of infantry and a field ambulance, was organized and equipped, and left Sydney Harbour in white troopships, carrying with them the best wishes of all.

As a result of communications between the South Australian and the New South Wales Governments it was decided to send two of the transports via Melbourne and Albany, with a promise that they would call at Adelaide if time permitted. Later on we heard that the troops would divert from the direct route, Melbourne to Albany, and would pass through Backstairs Passage into the Gulf of St. Vincent, continuing their journey through Investigator’s Straits. They would have no time to steam up St. Vincent’s Gulf to Adelaide, but they would “cry a halt” for a couple of hours, taking shelter in the smooth waters of Hogg’s Bay on the north shores of Kangaroo Island.

This was as much as they could do to fulfil their promise within their scheduled time. We arranged to proceed to Hogg’s Bay in the Protector to wish them good speed. The Government issued invitations for this historic trip. Then the news arrived that the troopships were 190 timed to reach Hogg’s Bay at one o’clock in the morning. Fortunately the moon was nearly at its full. The Protector, with its valuable cargo on board, including myself, left Port Adelaide in the afternoon. The Government had taken on board several tons of fruits then in season, as well as a plentiful supply of fireworks. The worthy commander of the Protector arranged the speed of the ship so as to reach Hogg’s Bay just prior to the hour at which the troopships were expected. It was a glorious night, a calm sea. Presently the two white troopships loomed up in the offing, entered the shelter of the bay, and dropped anchor. There were no gun salutes, of course, but from the decks of the Protector soared hundreds of rockets. With bands playing the Protector made a tour round the anchored troopships. Cheers upon cheers rose from her decks, and, before their echoes could be heard, a thousand voices on the troopships cheered in response. Immense flares on shore lit up the sky, and the calm surface of the sea seemed as if on fire. It was an inspiring sight, and one not to be forgotten. The tour round the ships being concluded, boats were lowered from the Protector and visitors conveyed to the troopships.

Farewells took place. Though tempered by the personal regrets of those who were being left behind, their good wishes for their more fortunate comrades were genuine and straight from their hearts. One last toast, “Her Majesty the Queen”; one last song, “Auld Lang Syne.” Back to our boats and on board the Protector. The noise of the windlasses weighing the anchors was heard as the last of us reached the Protector’s decks. The troopships’ whistles resounded deep on the midnight air. The engines pulsed; the troopships moved and gathered speed. The strains of “Rule Britannia” filled our ears, then ceased, as the white ships, phantom-like in the haze, gradually disappeared. We arrived back at Port Adelaide in time for breakfast. 191

We will not follow the contingent’s history and its doings in Egypt, but I will quote a passage from Lord Wolseley’s dispatch dated June 15, 1885:—

“The Contingent’s work has been so satisfactory that I trust that the noble and patriotic example set by New South Wales may, should occasion arise, be followed by other colonies.”

Lord Wolseley’s hopes have been fully realized. 192



The term of office of General Owen began with the passing of the “Russian scare.” The finances of the colony were for the time being undergoing a period of depression. Economy had to be enforced, and General Owen’s first instructions from the Government were to recommend ways and means of effecting reductions to meet the decrease in the military vote. Major Jervois’s period of service as adjutant-general came to an end about this time, and the Commandant was informed that it was not proposed to have him replaced by another officer from England.

It was not practicable to carry on the administration without some qualified officer to assist the Commandant with his duties. The inspections of the country units by the Commandant at least once a year were necessary under the provisions of the Defence Act. During the periods of his absence on inspection tours the presence of a qualified deputy at headquarters was necessary. To overcome this difficulty he asked me if I would undertake the duties of adjutant-general in addition to those as Officer Commanding the Permanent Artillery. My answer was that I would do my best. So it came about that in some three years from my first appointment I had reached the position of practically Second-in-Command. The fulfilment of my vision seemed to be coming more quickly than my wildest dreams ever expected.

To carry out retrenchment is ever an unpleasant and thankless job, and the first six months of our new régime was no exception to the rule. If you remember, the 193 military forces of the colony comprised no less than four separate systems—the Regulars or Permanent Artillery, the partially paid force, the Volunteers, and the rifle clubs. Each of them was serving under different regulations. Each also had its own interests to safeguard, and each its staunch supporters. As the pruning knife began its work, so, violent opposition arose from those to whom it was being applied. Presently, as the knife kept on moving, dissatisfaction became general. The supporters of each system wished for the retrenchment of the others and the maintenance of their own. This, of course, was specially the case with the partially paid and the volunteer forces. The first claimed that, with their greater efficiency, if the numbers were somewhat increased the colony would have a more reliable force than if the Volunteers were retained. On the other hand, the Volunteers claimed that, with more instruction and drill, they could be depended on to fight all right if the necessity arose, and the saving made by abolishing the pay of the partially paid forces would accomplish all the economy desired by the Government.

Shortly afterwards the annual session of Parliament opened, with the usual “floods of talk.” Members who were really concerned for the forces were up and fighting in the interests of the special system of retrenchment they advocated; the Government were disinclined to stick to their guns and insist upon the question being one for the Government to deal with. The result was the common one in such cases—the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into and report upon the conduct of the forces for the past year, and make such recommendations for retrenchment as the Commission should deem advisable. With the very limited staff at my disposal the strain became very severe. In addition the Commandant’s temper did not improve with these happenings. He was a bachelor, and had not the opportunities a married man has of forgetting official troubles when enjoying the 194 comfort and happiness of his home. However, we pulled through, though the Commission sat for some considerable time, during which no amount of returns seemed to satisfy its cravings for information. The report of the Commission was by-and-by duly printed and submitted to the Government, which promised to lay it before Parliament on a suitable date for the information of Members, and after that the Government would make the opportunity for the fullest discussion by the House.

With the close of the year 1888 would come the completion of General Owen’s three years’ agreement with the Government. This agreement set out that at the end of three years the term of service could be further extended by two years by mutual consent.

Month after month passed away. The Commission sent in its report. When it was discussed in the House no final conclusion was arrived at. A second Commission was appointed, and by the time its report was presented to the Government and the House met, General Owen’s term of three years was coming to a close. It is not to be wondered that the condition of the forces was unsatisfactory, their numbers reduced, recruiting stopped, equipment wearing out, schools of instruction held only at rare intervals. It was a disheartening time for all of us. Enthusiasm lacked, and the officers and men were sick at heart.

As it was expedient for General Owen to notify the Imperial Government as to his future movements, he thought it advisable to approach Mr. Playford, then Minister of Defence, on the subject of the two years’ extension. The Hon. Thomas Playford, popularly known as “Honest Tom,” had been brought up working on his father’s market garden, which was situated in the hills not far from Morialta, the home of the Bakers. He was a great, tall, powerful, heavy man, much above the average size. At their interview General Owen referred to the terms of his agreement and diplomatically sought to 195 discover whether the Government were agreeable to the two years’ extension. As I have pointed out, the general’s term of office had not been too happy a one. The report of the Commissions and the discussions in Parliament had given rise to a considerable amount of friction and many adverse comments in the Press. Mr. Playford pointed out to him that as Parliament was to be prorogued before Christmas he thought it advisable not to settle the question for the time being. He suggested that the general should reopen it after the prorogation. The Government would then be in recess, and as the House would not be sitting, no disagreeable questions could be raised by members. By making no final decision before the prorogation he, as Minister, was in a position, in case questions were asked, to reply that nothing had been decided, and that the matter was under the consideration of the Government. The general told me about this interview, and, talking it over, we came to the conclusion—especially as Mr. Playford had suggested to the general not to press for an answer just then—that he wished to reopen negotiations after the prorogation of the House, and that it was his intention to agree to the extension.

Parliament was prorogued. The general then sent an official letter to Mr. Playford, reopening the matter, concluding with a statement to the effect that if the Government were agreeable he, on his part, was prepared to carry on. He received no acknowledgment of his letter, but he did read next morning in the papers a statement, evidently inspired, to the effect that “the Commandant, General Owen, had notified the Ministerial head of the Department that he was willing to continue his duties for two years if the Government so desired. The Government, however, did not see their way to meet the general’s wishes.” I shall never forget that morning. The general came to the office in his uniform. As a rule he wore plain clothes unless he was on some special duty. I was 196 not surprised at the state of mind he was in. The paragraph, on the face of it, and in the absence of any acknowledgment of the general’s letter, and considering the tenor of their interview early in December, appeared to be in the nature of a direct insult, almost premeditated. I sent off an orderly to the Government offices with a letter from the general requesting an interview with Mr. Playford as soon as possible.

The answer came back that the Minister was ready to see General Owen at once. Off went the general. I returned to my room, sat down, lit a pipe and began to think. It was not long before I heard him return. I didn’t wait to be sent for. I walked straight into his room. He was in such a temper that he could hardly speak. I felt that his interview must have been a very painful one. So it had. It had not been long. He told me the only few words that had taken place. The general appeared to have made some remark to the effect that it seemed to him that if the paragraph in the newspapers had been supplied by the Minister, or with his approval, such action was a direct insult, not only to himself personally, but also to the uniform he had the honour to wear.

The answer the general received from Mr. Playford fairly astonished me. It was something to the effect that “if the general had asked to see him to insult him, the sooner he left the room the better, or he would kick him out.” Nothing would suit the general for the moment but to send for the representatives of the Press and give them an account of the interview. I succeeded in altering his mind, and suggested that he should see the Chief Justice and the Governor first, and obtain their advice as to what action he should take.

This he did, and, as far as I remember, the unfortunate incident was never made public.

The general made his plans for returning to England at once. General Owen subsequently filled many important 197 appointments. He was selected some years afterwards as Commandant of the Colony of Queensland. He was determined to get back on the South Australians and show them that there were other people in the world who appreciated his services, even if Mr. Playford and Co. had not done so. He afterwards commanded the artillery at Malta, and for a time was Acting-Governor of the island. Later on he held the position of president of the Ordnance Committee, the most scientific committee that I know of in our service.

Years later on it fell to me to have a tussle with Honest Tom when he was Minister for Defence in the Federal Government. About this more anon.

Immediately the general informed me of his decision to leave for England, the first thought that naturally came to my mind was, “Who is going to succeed him as Commandant?” I took steps to find out whether the Government had communicated by cable to England for a successor. They had not done so. That they had not taken any action in the matter seemed to me to point to the fact that the unfortunate words uttered in the interview which had ended so unhappily had not been premeditated by the Government; otherwise, one would think, they would have taken some steps to secure a successor. I bethought myself of our old Commandant, General Downes, then secretary to Sir Frederick Sargood in Victoria. I knew personally, from conversations that I had had with him during my visits to Melbourne, that the duties he was performing were not congenial to him. I at once wrote to him confidentially, told him of the catastrophe that had overtaken us, and asked him straight whether he was willing to take up the command in South Australia again if it was offered to him. He answered, “Yes, certainly, if it is offered.” I couldn’t possibly approach Playford in the matter. Playford, according to the general’s account, had been much too rude to my Commandant. 198

But there are always ways—quite straight, not crooked—of approaching those in power. Sufficient to say that the Government decided to offer the appointment to General Downes. During my conversations with those who had at the time the reins of Government in their hands it was suggested to me that I should be a candidate for the position. What an alluring prospect! Was my vision to come true so quickly? Though my work under General Owen had given him full satisfaction, and I had a good hold of all the senior commanding officers, I felt that it was too early in the day for me to accept so heavy a responsibility. I could afford to wait. Hence my suggestion to the Government to reappoint General Downes.

An interval of some two months took place from the time of General Owen’s departure and the arrival of General Downes from Melbourne. During this period I was appointed Acting Commandant, and I took my seat in that very chair in which General Downes had sat on the day he told me of my first appointment. The vision had been temporarily fulfilled. It was to be confirmed later on.

The first task I set to myself as Acting Commandant was to make a very close examination into the state of our finances. The official financial year closed on June 30.

The annual continuous camps of training were held during the Easter holidays. I determined to strain every effort to hold a record camp, at which every member of the force should be present. As soon as I was satisfied that I could carry out my wishes I wrote to General Downes, asking him to arrive in Adelaide, if suitable, the day after the troops had assembled in camp for their annual training, when I would hand over the command to him. All went well. I selected a site at a place called Keswick, near the Black Forest, just west of Adelaide. It was the locality that had been fixed upon in the local defence scheme for the assembly of the troops in case 199 of invasion. We had a full muster. The general arrived and took command. He was welcomed by the officers and men alike. My responsibilities for the time being were over.

The success of General Downes’s previous term of command was a big factor in assisting him to obtain support from the Government and the public at large, and a somewhat generous increase in the military vote was made available. His first request to the Government was for the assistance of an Imperial officer as adjutant-general to relieve me from the onerous double duties I had fulfilled for three years during Owen’s term of office. The Government concurred at once. A cable was sent home. Within a few days the general was notified that Major Lovett, Somersetshire Light Infantry, had been appointed and was sailing at once from London for Adelaide. On his arrival I handed over to him my duties as adjutant-general.

General Downes was fully aware of the six years’ work that had fallen to my lot since the fateful January 2, 1882, the day on which he had notified me of my first appointment. He had, of course, watched from Victoria with keen interest our difficult and troublous times for the three years past.

With his usual forethought and kindness he suggested I should apply for six months’ leave. I thanked him heartily and sent in my application.

It was approved.

Oh, what joy! 200



My voyage homewards on the Valetta was indeed a contrast to the three months spent on the good old clipper, the Waipa, on my way to New Zealand.

I had arrived in New Zealand in November, 1879, as you know, with practically nothing before me but a determined and firm resolve to make good somehow, without any assistance except that which I could give myself. Within ten years I was returning home, with a record of service of which I could be proud.

Within those ten years I had held the position of Acting Commandant of an important colony, with the temporary rank of full colonel, and was going home with the rank of major. If I had remained in the good old regiment I would have been fortunate if I had got my captaincy within that period. But what about the knowledge and experience I had gained, not only as a gunner, but as a staff officer, and, yet more, as an officer charged with grave responsibilities in the administration and command of troops, organized and maintained on lines differing totally from the hard and fast methods governing our Regular Army, but eminently suitable to the economic conditions of the healthy young colonies whose citizens were true to the core at heart in their patriotism and were ready to make many sacrifices to maintain the might of the Motherland?

For seven years my home had been in Adelaide. My friends had always cheered me on in my work. If the exuberance of youth, good health and the happiest of surroundings—all friends, and no foes that I knew 201 of—had not made my life happy, the fault would have been my own. I am moralizing—the one thing I have been trying to avoid all through my tale. What really is in my mind is to point out to any youngster who reads this, and whose future suddenly becomes blurred and may appear hopeless, that if he relies on his own self, gives his truest instincts fair play, and determines to beat his bad luck and give to himself his best, he will more than likely succeed, as it was my good fortune to do.

Now let us get back on board the ss. Valetta, on the moonlight night when she weighed anchor off Largs Bay and I bade “adios” to the many friends who had accompanied me on board, and who, re-embarking on the Customs launch, followed the vessel down the gulf till the evening shades hid them from our sight. The five weeks spent on the Valetta on the homeward trip were indeed enjoyable. First, the weather was fine all the way. I do not think we had one really rough day. The ship was full; not an empty berth. A “land boom” was on at the time; there was plenty of money about, and most of the passengers were well-to-do men taking their families home to have a good time. Land booms I have heard described as speculations in land, owing to which men with, say, a few hundred pounds quickly become possessed of as many thousands (on paper, not in land). Presently the boom cracks, the thousands disappear. I am sorry to say that this actually happened later on to several of our passengers.

We arrived at Brindisi, and thence went overland to Calais; then Dover and good old London. What a pleasure it was to get back to the old club, stay at the old hotel, sit in the little balcony at Morley’s, gaze at Nelson’s monument, and walk round the old haunts! After a few days’ stay in London I went home to Wardhouse.

I had undertaken only one official matter to inquire 202 into during my absence on leave. It was to report upon the method then in vogue for the supply of warlike material to the colonies. This method was as follows. An officer, at that time General Harding-Stewart, retired, was acting as military adviser and inspector of warlike stores to the several colonies. When any of the colonies ordered rifles, guns or other requirements, he procured them in London, working on commission. No doubt he meant well, but at the time I left Adelaide there were hardly two heavy guns alike in any of the colonies. A climax had been reached when New South Wales ordered two 10-inch muzzle-loaders similar to the two which South Australia had mounted at Fort Glanville. The New South Wales guns were supplied by the same firm. They arrived in Sydney and were mounted at Middle Head Fort. I visited Sydney at the time they were being mounted, and found that their calibre differed from the South Australian guns by a fraction of an inch, so that the ammunition was not interchangeable. As a matter of fact, there were but few guns of Imperial pattern in the whole of Australia; we were armed mostly with experimental guns of private firms.

As a result of my inquiries I came to the conclusion that it would be more satisfactory if a senior officer on the active list of the Royal Regiment of Artillery was appointed at a fixed salary for a term of years, who would be instructed, at any rate in the case of heavy ordnance, field guns and rifles, to supply none except of a pattern passed into the Imperial Service itself. This recommendation was submitted by me to my Premier at Adelaide on my return, passed on by him to the other Premiers concerned, and finally given effect to, and Lieut. Colonel King-Harman, R.A., was appointed. Little did I think that, within ten years, I myself was to receive the appointment.

I had also intended to pay a visit to the Expeditionary Force at that time operating up the Nile. But the relief 203 or fall of Khartoum was imminent, and the time at my disposal was not sufficient. Khartoum fell and General Gordon was murdered. Who was to blame? I wonder. Have you ever been to see and studied the statue raised to his memory in Trafalgar Square, a replica of which stands in Spring Gardens, Melbourne? If not, do so some day, and look well into his face. Its expression is one of sad thought. So might he have looked as he stood in Khartoum facing death.

I must pass over the glorious days I spent at home; they were the last I spent with my father and mother.

Taking my passage by the Massilia, a sister ship to the Valetta, I set out once more for the fair lands of the South, happy and contented, mentally and physically refreshed, and determined to rise still higher in my profession. On my arrival at Adelaide I received a right royal welcome. I found General Downes going strong. There had been no more talk of Royal Commissions. Major Lovett had settled down to his work and was a general favourite; he himself liked Adelaide immensely. More funds had been made available; my own Permanent Artillery had behaved well during my absence and were doing well. For the next two years nothing occurred out of the usual, either in South Australia or the other colonies, from a military point of view. The end of 1891 was approaching; the general decided to retire. Major Lovett had completed his term as adjutant-general and was returning home. I was asked to step into the breach once more and take up his duties as well as my own. I, of course, agreed, and I was promoted to lieutenant-colonel early in 1892.

The Premier of South Australia was then Charles Cameron Kingston, or, to give him his full title, which he dearly loved, Sergeant Charles Cameron Kingston, B Company, 1st Regiment, Adelaide Rifles. Kingston possessed a charming personality. He was a most able 204 lawyer, could see through most things and most people, could analyse a difficult subject, select what was good, discard what was bad, quicker than most men. As a politician he was highly successful. Rough old Seddon of New Zealand might be reckoned as his closest rival. As a lawyer he was sound as a bell, a most eminent draftsman, and a mighty quick worker when he liked, though he was not a model of industry. As a sergeant he was tip-top. B Company was the best company in the regiment; he seldom missed a parade. As a “sport” he was loved by old and young. They spoke of him as “Good old Charlie.”

General Downes, when leaving, made up his mind to recommend to the Government to secure the services of another Imperial officer on the active list to succeed him who should take over the command before the actual date of his own retirement. Personally I must say I was rather surprised at the general’s action, for by this time I had full confidence that I could carry out the duties myself. I had not by any means wasted all my time during my leave two years before; I had got much information. Then I had been instrumental in obtaining for him his second term of command, notwithstanding that he had retired from the active list himself when he had taken up the duties of secretary to Sir Frederick Sargood. So I had hoped that, while he might express his opinion to the Government, he would not insist on it too much. I must admit that he was quite frank with me as to the attitude he was taking up. His argument was to this effect. It had been found necessary before to supersede local officers. “Surely,” he said, “the same considerations that held good then hold good now. I do not say that you are not qualified to fill the position, but if you are appointed it will form a precedent, and, on the expiry of the terms of the engagements of the Imperial officers in the other colonies the claims of local officers will again naturally be put forward. Then good-bye to 205 the system of obtaining the services of thoroughly experienced officers who have no local interests and no axes to grind.” Meantime, the senior commanding officers of several branches of our forces were, without my knowledge, beginning to interest themselves to have me appointed as successor to the general.

To return to Sergeant Charles Cameron Kingston, let me tell of an incident which may give you some insight into the personal character of a remarkable man. It is one which, except for an accident, might have had fatal results. Kingston was leading the Government at the time; Sir Richard Baker of Morialta was President of the Upper House. Kingston had introduced a Bill in the House of Representatives dealing with arbitration in industrial disputes. Sir Richard Baker was the father of a Bill introduced into the Senate on the same subject. While the aims of the two were identical, the methods by which those results were to be obtained were by no means analogous. Each Bill had its supporters in each House. As the debates proceeded considerable bitterness arose, ending in correspondence in the daily Press. Finally, Kingston and Baker commenced to abuse each other in print. Kingston’s temper gave out. He wrote a letter to Sir Richard which he had delivered at the latter’s office in Victoria Square, together with a case containing a pistol and some cartridges. He could no longer stand what he considered the insults Sir Richard had thought fit to level at him. The letter stated that he would be on the pavement on the opposite side of the street to the entrance to Sir Richard’s office at five minutes to twelve o’clock, noon, next day, Saturday, and asked Sir Richard to take up a position on the pavement outside his offices at that hour, bringing his pistol with him. As soon as the post office clock, which was close to the office, began to strike twelve, each would step into the roadway and shoot at his leisure. A quaint duel, was it not?

The accident which saved the situation was the fact 206 that Sir Richard was not in the habit of attending his office on Saturday morning. His son, or someone in the office, opened Kingston’s letter, and the police were informed. Shortly before noon Kingston was seen walking across from the Government Offices towards Baker’s offices. Two constables in plain clothes followed him and watched him as he coolly took up his stand on the pavement. The hands of the post office clock pointed at three minutes to twelve. The two constables walked up to Mr. Kingston. They politely asked him what his business was. “I am just waiting for Baker to come out of his office,” he answered; “then you will see some sport. I advise you to move a bit to one side. I don’t think he is much of a shot. He might get one of you two.” The constables, who were well known to Kingston, informed him that Sir Richard had not been to his office that morning, so that there would be no sport, but they had instructions from the Commissioner of Police to arrest him for attempting to commit a breach of the peace, and to take him at once before a magistrate. Within half an hour he appeared before a police magistrate, had his pistol taken from him, and was bound over to keep the peace for six months.

In the meantime the news had spread throughout Adelaide like wildfire, and had reached Sir Richard at the Adelaide Club. Kingston’s letter and the revolver which accompanied it had been sent down to the club from Sir Richard’s office after twelve o’clock. No sooner had Sir Richard been told of what had happened than he put the revolver Kingston had sent him into his pocket, borrowed another at the club, and started off to look for his challenger, who, he knew, usually lunched at Parliament House and would at this time probably be walking down King William Street from the Government Offices in Victoria Square. He was not mistaken, for after proceeding a short way up King William Street he came face to face with Kingston. “I am sorry,” he said, “I was not at my office this morning, but here I am now. Stand 207 off, and the first one who counts five aloud can shoot away.”

“I am sorry,” said Kingston, “but I can’t oblige you; the police have taken away my revolver.”

“Never mind,” said Baker, “here is the one you sent me,” handing it over to him. “I don’t believe it will go off. I have one of my own.”

It was now time to interfere. Three of us who had followed Sir Richard out from the club stepped in and good counsels prevailed. As Kingston had been bound over to keep the peace for six months no duel could take place. As a matter of fact, it was not long before the two redoubtable belligerents shook hands and had a friendly laugh over the incident.

Now comes the sequel. By the Regulations under the Military Act, any member of the forces convicted of an offence in a civil court was liable to dismissal. On the Monday morning a full report of the case appeared in the newspapers. Before this took place General Downes had retired and I was once more acting Commandant. The officer who was acting Adjutant-General brought the newspaper report under my notice officially. There was no other course but to order Sergeant Kingston to be put under arrest and called upon to make a statement, if he so wished, before he was dismissed from the forces, in accordance with the Regulations. This order I gave. The Attorney-General at the time, Mr. Homburgh, was very much concerned at my order. A doubt then entered my mind as to whether being bound over to keep the peace amounted to a conviction under the provisions of the Defence Act Regulations. I immediately referred the question to the Crown Solicitor, who said it was a difficult question I had raised, but ruled finally that being bound over to keep the peace was not tantamount to a conviction within the meaning of the Regulations. Whether this was sound law or not I cannot say, but it gave me the opportunity to let Sergeant Kingston off easily. I at once 208 sent orders to his commanding officer to warn the sergeant to appear before me at the Staff Office the next morning, so that I could deal with the case.

I thought the incident was over, and got ready for my dinner. As I was entering the dining-room at the Club Sir Jenkin Coles, the Speaker of the House, a close friend of Kingston’s, spoke to me about it. I told him the decision of the Crown Solicitor left the matter in Kingston’s favour; he had been ordered to appear before me in accordance with the usual custom of the Service to be finally dealt with. Sir Jenkin asked me if this was necessary. “No,” I answered; “if Sergeant Kingston signs a statement to the effect that he is satisfied with the cause of his being placed under arrest and the action taken in this matter by the military authorities I don’t want to see him at the office.” No sooner had I said this than Sir Jenkin rose from the dinner table to return in ten minutes with a written statement, signed by Kingston, to the effect that he was quite satisfied with the action taken by the authorities. So ended this extraordinary episode, but I was told by a good many friends that I had driven a nail in my coffin as regarded the Commandantship. The appointment was practically in Kingston’s hand. But those friends of mine did not know him.

General Downes left Adelaide. The Government gave no indication of their intentions re the appointment of his successor. The mayor’s official ball took place. Charles Cameron Kingston was talking to the Governor. He beckoned me and said: “I have just informed His Excellency that the Government have appointed you a colonel and Commandant of our forces.” His Excellency warmly congratulated me. I thanked Kingston.

My vision was fulfilled. 209



In 1890 the great maritime strike had its birth in Sydney. The original strikers were the wharf labourers, who paralysed all business. The strike spread rapidly to practically all the chief ports of Australia. The Government at Sydney trusted more to the support of the merchants and producers, whose interests were being so assailed, than to the power that lay in their hands to tackle the strikers by the aid of the military forces. The police, under the able guidance of Mr. Fosberry, then Chief Commissioner, did their work splendidly, but the situation became too critical. Bank managers, insurance agents, squatters, architects and others took off their coats and waistcoats, loaded and unloaded the trolleys, and worked like common labourers. The farthest point that the Government would go towards assisting the police in keeping order was to detail a restricted number of mounted riflemen to protect the willing volunteer workers from the assaults of the strikers.

In sympathy with the action taken in Sydney the Wharfmen’s Unions in all the other chief ports of Australia joined their comrades, and Port Adelaide became a head centre. Previous to this the South Australian Government had entered into an agreement with the Government of Western Australia to train some fifty Permanent Force Artillerymen to garrison the newly constructed forts at Albany. This detachment were just completing their time at Largs Fort, so that the little Permanent Force under my command in South Australia numbered some 130, of all ranks. The strikers at Port Adelaide set to work with a good will. Every vessel in 210 the harbour was picketed, every approach to the wharves guarded. Business was at an absolute standstill. Large mass meetings of strikers were held morning and afternoon. The police, under Mr. Peterswald, reinforced by a large draft from the country districts, could do no more than just maintain order. The situation was more than serious. Mr. Peterswald ventured to appear at a mass meeting one afternoon, hoping that he might cast a little oil on the troubled waters. He came out on the balcony of a hotel, facing the huge crowd of strikers. A quaint scene followed. Some wags called out, “Take off your hat, Peter.” They wanted to get authority—as personified by the Commissioner—to bow to them. Peterswald quickly recognized the position and, lifting his hat, said to them: “I am glad to meet you, men. I hope you will go back to your work and put an end to this serious trouble,” and quickly left the balcony. The majority cheered and laughed. But their leaders were on the job. The word was passed on to the strikers that, about twelve o’clock that night, they would receive definite instructions from their section leaders as to their future action. All their pickets and guards were doubled that night, and specially the guard on the railway bridge across the Port River, which connected Port Adelaide with the shore and the forts.

During that afternoon I had given instructions that every available man of our Permanent Force was to assemble at Fort Glanville, with a view to a gun competition next day. Parliament was sitting. I was at Fort Glanville, much occupied in laying down the conditions for next day’s gun practice. In the course of the evening Mr. Playford, the Defence Minister, telephoned me from Parliament House to be ready to march with my men under arms to Port Adelaide. As this was the first time that—as far as I knew—an order had been issued by any Australian Government to its permanent troops to march under arms to assist the police in quelling civil riots, I 211 asked that the instructions should be sent to me in writing. The final words I heard on the telephone were, “Your instructions will reach you by a mounted orderly in plenty of time for you to act.”

At about eleven o’clock that evening the mounted orderly arrived, and at three in the morning—it was summer time, a moonlight night, practically as clear as day—we marched out of the fort on our way to Port Adelaide, where I found close on 400 police, mounted and foot, all armed. The Government had, therefore, some 500 armed men to cope with the strikers if they persisted in carrying out their threats. Half-past five came. It was daylight. The inspector in charge of the police patrols which had been posted the previous evening at all important bridges and approaches to the wharves suggested that I should accompany him to view the situation. We rode out together. Nobody was to be seen; the port was as quiet as if it were Sunday morning. The strike leaders had become fully aware of the determination of the Government to deal firmly with any attempt on their part to disturb the public peace, and had deemed discretion the better part of valour. The strike was virtually over, and, after providing a good breakfast for my men, we marched back to Fort Glanville in peace and quiet. This was the only instance that I am aware of in the history of the Australian colonies when the members of the Permanent Forces were actually called out and marched under arms to the assistance of the civil power. Let us hope it will be the last.

Hardly were these troubles over when another large body of Australian workers held up one of Australia’s chief industries. The shearers, the clippers of the fleeces, struck work. The shearers are a roving crowd, who move from north to south of Australia’s vast territory and back again. Most of them are well known to the squatters who employ them. The same old story—more wages, better conditions of living. My own opinions as to the rights 212 and wrongs of the shearers’ claims may be of no value, but my sympathies were certainly on their side as regarded, at least, the conditions of living at the sheds.

I had had personal experience of how quickly utter ruin falls upon the squatter. It is a question often of living in affluence one day and having not a penny left within nine months. To record the names of the squatters personally known to myself who had thus suffered would be a sad task. They were many. However, their failure was not brought about by the demands of the shearers. The granting of these demands in prosperous times could not have much hurt the interests of their employers. Providence has a special gift of casting ruin at times broadcast, without, as far as we mortals can tell, any reason or rhyme. A few inches of rain, falling at the right time of the year in any part of Australia, ensures a plentiful supply of green feed and prevents the enormous ravages amongst stock of all kinds which a drought causes.

The squatters fought their battle hard against the shearers in 1891. In Queensland they had a sympathetic Government at the time. The maritime strike had left a nasty taste in the mouths of the producers. The export trade had been held up, and the necessaries of life imported from abroad had been denied to the country districts. It was decided to adopt hard, repressive measures.

The Government summoned to their aid the Mounted Rifles. These were chiefly recruited in the country districts, and most of them were producers themselves, and the strike broke down.

It was just about this time that I accompanied His Excellency Lord Kintore, an old friend and neighbour from Aberdeenshire—then our Governor in South Australia—as far as Brisbane. Lord Kintore had, some time previously, arranged to proceed by sea to Port Darwin and undertake the overland journey from there to Adelaide through the northern territory, which was then under the 213 administration of the South Australian Government. It was a big undertaking, and by no means a pleasure trip. We arrived in Brisbane, but, owing to the breaking down of the ss. Chingtu, we had a delay of some days in that fair capital of what will undoubtedly be in the future one of the richest of the Australian States.

We rather taxed the splendid efforts of our hospitable friends by the length of our stay. But they were not to be beaten. Strike or no strike, they laid themselves out to give us as much joy as it was possible to do in the time. I laid the foundation of many lasting friendships within those few days. Then the Chingtu, with Lord Kintore on board, left for Port Darwin, and I made my way backward to Adelaide.

The Melbourne Cup Meeting of 1891 was a fateful one for me, for I had the happiness of becoming engaged to be married. I had known my future wife for several years. She had been born in Victoria. Her father hailed from County Galway, having emigrated to South Australia with his brother, the late Hon. Nicholas Fitzgerald, than whom no public man in Australia was ever held in higher esteem by all classes. The brothers made Burra Burra, then a prosperous copper field to the north of Adelaide, their first hunting-ground. From there they moved on to Victoria, in the days of the discovery of the goldfields—Ballarat, Castlemaine, Kyneton and Bendigo. At the time I married they had prospered well enough. Later on they lost—for want of food and water—some 400,000 sheep on the various stations they were interested in. My wife and I had hopes of buying old Wardhouse, in Aberdeenshire, from my Spanish nephew. These hopes went by the board. Ours was by no means a singular experience in the history of Australian pioneers in the back country. I know of many friends who—if possible—fared worse.

I was married on February 29, 1892. At the conclusion of our honeymoon, which we spent at Gracedale House, 214 close to the Blackspur range of hills, Victoria, we returned to Adelaide, and once again I became a resident at the Largs Bay Hotel.

When I look back to those happy days I feel thankful that my term of office cost me but small worry. I happened to be successful in maintaining quite cordial relations with the successive occupants of the ministerial chair. I was not hampered by any serious reduction in our financial vote. I was not troubled by any especially adverse criticisms on the conduct of the forces, either in Parliament or in the Press. I was able to carry out reforms which led the way to the adoption of the “Universal Service System” now in vogue in the great Commonwealth of Australia. 215



From the very time that I took over the duties of my first appointment I had thought that a considerable improvement could be made in the organization of the existing forces. I had encouraged the formation of cadet corps, as far as lay in my power, and I had been splendidly supported by the Education Department in my efforts, with the result that, when I assumed the command, the cadet system was a flourishing institution. The success that attended the cadet movement, the support given to it by the parents, and the keen enthusiasm of the youngsters in their work, led me to think that the time was ripe for the introduction of a universal system of National Service, the ultimate aim of which was to ensure that every youth should, by the time that he had reached the age of manhood, twenty-five years, have undergone a course of training, which, without interfering with his civil avocation, would render him a desirable asset as a soldier. With this object in view I submitted a scheme to the Government.

General Hutton, who had by this time been appointed Commandant of New South Wales, arranged a conference of the Commandants of the States in Sydney to discuss several important matters in connexion with the defence of Australia as a whole. Two very important agenda were: (a) the necessity for determining the nature of the heavy armaments of the forts, in point of uniformity and efficiency, and (b) the co-ordination of the several systems of enlistment then in vogue throughout the States.

I informed my brother Commandants that I intended 216 to recommend my Government to merge our Volunteers into the partially paid force, which would be a substantial move towards the simplification of the conditions of service. Further, I suggested that if the South Australian Government carried out the proposed change it would assist them materially towards effecting a similar change in their own colonies.

I did not, however, deem it advisable to mention the plans I had with reference to the introduction of universal service, for the change was a radical one. I knew that if any suspicion arose that it was proposed to introduce a form of military service compelling citizens by law to devote no matter how small a portion of their own time to military training, such proposals would at once be looked upon as simply an insidious way of creating conscription, a compulsory system of service—a form of service absolutely distasteful and foreign to us British, and even more so to British colonists. It was therefore necessary for me to take the greatest care very gradually to prepare and school the public mind so that the term “National Service,” which I had adopted for my scheme, should in no way be misunderstood for conscription, but rather that it should be looked upon simply as a personal responsibility on the part of every youth to fit himself to take part in the defence of his country, just in the same way as it was his duty to attend school or submit to any other laws governing his civil and economic life.

Kingston, with whom I had many conversations, was a most keen supporter of the Universal Service system. He agreed at once with the proposition as regarded the amalgamation of the Volunteers with the partially paid forces, and, what was more to the point, promised to find the funds required. He was very anxious to introduce and carry through Parliament, while he was Premier of South Australia, a system of National Service, which, he foresaw, would sooner or later find its way into the statutes of Federated Australia. Even so early as this Kingston 217 was paving the way for a united Australia. He was at that time considered, notwithstanding his personal foibles, one of the ablest of the Australian Premiers.

He gave me instructions, confidentially, to draft two Bills, one embodying the provision for the adoption of the universal service, the other simply dealing with the proposed changes in organization. When the time arrived to place the proposals before Parliament Kingston had come to the conclusion that the expenditure involved in initiating National Service was greater than he could ask Parliament to vote at the time. He determined, therefore, to pigeon-hole it. The Re-organization Bill was promptly carried by both Houses and became law. The Act of Parliament fixed a date for the carrying out of the change. To avoid the clerical work involved by the carrying out of the re-attesting of the whole of the citizen forces, partially paid and Volunteer, under the new Act it was provided that every officer, non-commissioned officer and man who did not, in writing, notify his intention to sever his connexion with the forces owing to the new conditions, would continue in the service, and the date for the beginning of his period of service under the new Act, namely, three years, would be entered in his existing attestation papers by the respective commanding officers. If I remember rightly, not one and a half per cent. withdrew.

The eventful day arrived on which every member of the force ceased to be a soldier. The next day all willing to do so would be soldiers again. That night we were dining at Government House. After dinner it happened to strike the Governor that there were no soldiers in South Australia that evening with the exception of myself. So lifting up his glass he said, “Behold our army! Every soldier except one has been disbanded to-day. He is our army. Good luck to him.” And “The Army” I became to all my friends in Adelaide, and, later on, right throughout Australia.

Jubilee Year, 1897, was now close at hand. I had been 218 steadily at work since my trip home in 1889, and was now finishing my fifth year as Commandant. Everything was working smoothly, and I was asked by Kingston if I would like to take a trip home and attend officially the Jubilee celebrations in London. I talked it over with my wife. Our two children were then just four and three years old. My wife thought that it would be more enjoyable for her and for the children if we let alone the Jubilee festivities and got six months’ leave, reaching London later on in the early summer, so that we could enjoy the autumn in Scotland and return to Australia at the end of the year. Kingston fell in with this suggestion, and I was granted six months’ leave of absence and reappointed Commandant for a further period of five years.

We sailed in the Damascus, myself and wife, little Eileen and Carlos, my youngest sister-in-law, Geraldine, and my wife’s companion, Miss Ryan, who was specially in charge of the children. The Damascus, an Aberdeen liner, was a comfortable boat; she had been a short time before fitted up to take Sir Henry Loch to South Africa. We had chosen the Cape route to avoid the Red Sea in the very hot weather. We spent a couple of days at Durban and another two at Capetown, and reached London about the middle of September. My mother and father had both passed away, and the family properties had gone to my nephew, Rafael, who was living in Spain. Wardhouse and Kildrummy Castle were let. My sister, Magda, Mrs. Lumsden of Clova, which marches with Kildrummy, had asked us to stay with her. Our plans were to go to Clova on our arrival in London, put in a couple of months shooting, visit our old friends, then move up to London, where my wife and the others would stay while I went to Egypt. There I hoped to see as much as the time at my disposal would allow of Kitchener’s campaign along the Nile.

All went well, and I left Clova for London, on my way to Egypt. I arrived at Morley’s Hotel on a Saturday. 219 Next afternoon I received an urgent telegram to return at once, as my wife had been taken suddenly very ill. I took the first train. The telegrams I received on the journey north were very disquieting. The news on arriving at Aberdeen made me lose all hope of seeing her alive again. Providence was, however, kind. The crisis passed, and the doctors assured me she would recover in time. My plans, of course, had to be altered. I gave up my intended visit to Egypt. My wife’s recovery was very slow. We had to make our journey south in stages.

One of our stopping-places was Newcastle-on-Tyne. An amusing incident happened there. Both my wife and myself had met in Australia that charming and graceful actress, Grace Palotta. On our arrival at the hotel on a cold, dark, winter’s afternoon, I left my wife in a sitting-room and went off to attend to the rest of the family. On my return she said, “Who do you think came in just now? Grace Palotta. She is looking as pretty as ever. She quite astonished me by telling me she is staying here with her friend, the prince. Do try and find out who he is. It is quite exciting.” I thought surely there was some mistake, and told her so. “No,” she said, “that is just what she said. Do go to the theatre to-night, find out and let me know all about it.” So, after an early dinner, I went off to the theatre. As I arrived there, I noticed the big posters announcing the name of the play. The name of the play was My Friend the Prince. After the performance Grace had some supper with us and a real hearty laugh when we told her, and, in her pretty foreign way, said: “Oh, I am afraid, Mrs. Gordon, you thought I was a very naughty girl.” We met Palotta afterwards in Australia, where she had often told this little story to her friends, much to their amusement.

On arrival in London I took a house close to South Kensington Station. As time passed it became evident I would have to return to Australia alone. My wife’s health still caused me grave anxiety. My leave being up, 220 I was obliged to depart and leave the family to follow me. I took my passage by the P. & O. ss. Himalaya, Captain Bruen, and left London at the end of 1899, once again bound for Australia and returning to my old command in Adelaide. This was my third voyage to the other end of the world. It was, as usual, full of pleasant memories. Once again I was elected president of the sports and amusement committee. With a good ship, a good captain, a full passenger list, the hearty co-operation of all, and right good weather, it was almost a record passage for comfort and enjoyment. Up to schedule time we arrived at Albany in Western Australia.

I went ashore to call upon some of my old friends, bought an evening paper, and went into the club. Whilst enjoying a pipe I glanced at one of the headings: “Death of Colonel King-Harman, Military Adviser and Inspector of Warlike Stores in London for the Australian Colonies.” You may remember that he had been appointed as a result of my visit home in 1889. He was an old Gunner friend of mine, and I had seen a good deal of him before I left London. Only the day before my departure he had written me a note to say that he was sorry he had taken a severe chill and would be unable to come and see me off the next evening. Poor Harman never recovered from that chill. It was something more serious that carried him off in five weeks.

The possibility of my succeeding him temporarily struck me. What a chance to return home to my sick wife at once! It was the opportunity of a lifetime. A convention of delegates from all the colonies was at the time sitting in Melbourne. Every Premier was attending the convention. I hastened to the post office and wired to my old friend, Charles Cameron Kingston, still South Australia’s Premier, notifying him of King-Harman’s death, and asking him to arrange with the other Premiers to postpone the appointment of King-Harman’s successor 221 until the Himalaya reached Melbourne, requesting permission at the same time to continue my journey in her to Melbourne, instead of landing at Adelaide. Our steamer sailed from Albany before I could receive an answer, so I also asked him to wire to me at Adelaide. I felt somehow that another streak of good fortune was coming my way. Sure enough, on arrival at Adelaide, a telegram awaited me from Kingston, instructing me to proceed to Melbourne.

On arrival at Melbourne I at once went to Parliament House to see him, and told him of my wife’s severe illness, which had compelled her to remain with the children in England, and I asked him to assist me in getting Harman’s appointment. He handed me a copy of my own report of 1890, recommending that an officer on the active list of the Royal Artillery should hold the position, on which recommendation the Premiers had acted. “Now,” he said, “you are not on the ‘active list of the Royal Artillery’; how can I possibly assist you?” I had had plenty of time on the way from Albany to Melbourne to think over this difficult point, which I had foreseen. I had my answer ready. I suggested to him that I should be appointed on loan, as it were, from Australia, for a term of one year, during which time I should be granted leave of absence from my appointment of Commandant of South Australia, to which position I would return at the end of the twelve months, and then an officer of the Royal Artillery on the active list could be selected. It was a big concession I was asking for, and I knew it. I said no more. I knew my man. Kingston grasped a point quicker than any man I have ever known, except perhaps Kitchener. Both disliked superfluous words. Well, Kingston just smiled and said: “Come and lunch with me to-morrow. Good morning.”

At lunch next day there were four of us—Kingston, Sir Edward Braddon, Premier of Tasmania, Sir John Forrest, Premier of Western Australia, and your humble servant. Both Sir Edward and Sir John were old friends 222 of mine. After lunch Kingston asked me if I knew the Premiers of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland well. I told him I knew George Reid (New South Wales) very well, but I knew nothing much about the Premiers of Victoria or Queensland personally. “Well,” he said, “see George Reid at once, tell him what you want and the reason why, and let me know what he says about it.” I saw George Reid during the afternoon, explained the situation to him, and asked him for his support. He informed me that he had already been approached on behalf of another officer by some of his supporters, but had not given a definite answer, and he felt that he could not very well support me, who was in no way connected with New South Wales. “You see,” he added, “there are six colonies concerned. Now, have you got three Premiers to support you?” I said “Yes.” (My three friends at lunch.) “Well, then,” he went on, “if I remain neutral and decline to vote you will have three votes to two in your favour, and thus carry the day, even if the other two vote against you.” With a hearty shake of his hand and grateful feelings I left him. In the evening I reported to Kingston the result of my interview with George Reid. I felt I had succeeded as regarded the inspectorship of stores. But what about retaining my appointment as Commandant of South Australia while I was away? I had just returned after an absence of six months. Was it likely that the important position of Commandant was to continue to be filled by a locum tenens for a further period of one whole year? Kingston did not keep me long in suspense. “Well done, Reid!” he said. “That settles your going. I will see that you do not lose your appointment of Commandant as long as I am Premier. Get straight back to Adelaide and say absolutely nothing to anyone. Act as if you were going to stay, but be ready to get on a steamer homeward bound as soon as you hear from me. Good-bye and good luck.” So we parted, and I found my way back to Adelaide by the first coastal boat. 223

The day after my arrival there the mail steamer Victoria was due to leave, homeward bound, at midnight. In the afternoon of that day I got an official letter from the office of the South Australian Premier notifying me that I had been appointed Military Adviser and Inspector of Warlike Stores for the Australian Colonies, Queensland being the only objector. You can imagine the surprise my departure caused, but I was away in the ss. Victoria, well into the Australian Bight, making westwards, when the news of my new appointment appeared in next day’s morning papers. This was now my sixth voyage to and from Australia, and was as pleasant as its predecessors. 224



On my arrival in London I found that my wife was not well. As a matter of fact, she was anything but well. I at once removed her and the children to Richmond Hill and set to work at my new duties. I was not prepared for the consternation which my arrival in London caused amongst the Agents-General of the Colonies which I was to represent. Kingston had evidently thought it advisable not to cable, with the result that the official notification arrived by post practically at the same time as myself. Not having any idea that their Governments in Australia intended to send anyone home to fill the appointment, the Agents-General had accepted the services of another Royal Artillery officer on the Active List to carry on pending a definite appointment being made, in accordance with the conditions which had held when Colonel Harman was appointed. This officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Baker, was as much surprised as anybody when I arrived to take up the duties which he naturally thought would devolve upon himself. My position therefore was not a very pleasant one, but I saw no reason why, with tact and care, the unpleasantness should not be removed. I was right in my forecast, and, before two months had passed, my official relations with all concerned became quite satisfactory.

There is no need, nor would it be of any special interest, to enter into details of the many and varied duties which appertained to the appointment. I had to buy anything, from a submarine or destroyer to brass instruments for 225 bands, and from the largest of guns to carbines and bayonets and officers’ whistles. The question of advising the Government on making inquiries as to inventions was not part of my duties, but yet hardly a week or a fortnight passed that some persistent inventor did not find his way into my offices. The question of getting new inventions fully considered and tested by the War Office was always a difficult one to those who did not know the ropes, and there seemed to be a general idea amongst these clever gentlemen that, if they could get some of the Colonies to accept what they had to offer, it would be an easy road to the War Office. During my time in London, however, I must say that while several clever and very ingenious devices were brought to me, none proved good enough to enable me to recommend their adoption.

It had been decreed by the War Office that manœuvres on a much larger scale than had as yet been held in England should take place during the summer, and I looked forward with a great deal of interest to being present thereat. There appeared to be three principal objects in carrying them out, to give senior officers an opportunity of handling large bodies of men actually in the field; secondly, to test the departmental services; and thirdly, to test the possibilities and reliability of a system of hired transport.

The invited visiting officers were quartered at the Counties Hotel, Salisbury. Its situation was fairly convenient and it was quite a comfortable hotel. There were to be two armies, the Northern and the Southern, the two together numbering somewhere between 80,000 and 100,000 men and commanded respectively by the Duke of Connaught and General Sir Redvers Buller. The period of manœuvres lasted some eight days. Salisbury Plain and the surrounding country was the headquarters of the Northern Army, while the Southern Army was camped beyond the Downs to the south-west.

From the very start of the concentration of the troops 226 the weather promised to be of a very trying character. The sun shone with almost tropical force. The large bodies of troops, moving through the narrow roadways and lanes, hemmed in by the high hedges, churned up clouds of dust. Moving in the rear of the troops thousands of wagons of the hired transport made matters worse. I doubt if ever a more extraordinary collection of vehicles and beasts of burden was ever got together anywhere in the world. Big furniture vans, drawn by four or three wretched-looking horses, would be seen just in front of two-wheeled carts drawn by a couple of powerful Clydesdales. The majority of the drivers, being civilians, did much as they pleased. Once a section of the transport was committed to a long piece of road or narrow lane without cross-roads it simply had to go on; it couldn’t turn round; it trusted to Providence to reach its destination. I think it was the third or fourth day that the task set to the armies was the occupation of a long ridge of the Downs, some eight or ten miles south-west from Salisbury.

Operations were to begin at six in the morning and cease at two p.m., and the visiting officers were attached that day to the Northern Army. The starting points of the two armies were at about equal distances from the objective. The point at issue was—who was to occupy the long ridge position first? It was frightfully hot; I have never known it hotter in England. I was glad of my Australian hat and light khaki uniform as I rode along the ranks of the sweltering infantry; the Scotch in their small glengarrys, the artillery with their old-fashioned forage caps, all were smothered in dust.

As the Northern Army advanced commanding officers anxiously sought for news of the enemy. About half-past twelve the visiting officers decided to ask permission to push forward to the head of the advance guard and see what was happening, for the hour to stop the battle was getting close at hand and no enemy was in sight. We 227 pushed forward right to the slopes of the rising downs. Still no signs of the enemy beyond a few small cavalry patrols, which promptly retired before those of the Northern Army. We were taken up to the crown of the ridges.

On arrival there we could plainly see large bodies of the enemy, evidently resting, and camping in some beautifully wooded, shady country about three or four miles away. Apparently something had gone wrong somewhere. While the Northern Army marched some nine or ten miles in that awful heat, their enemies had probably not done more than three or four miles. But the Northern Army had won the day. It had also been arranged that—no matter which side did win the battle that day, on the next morning the Northern Army was to retire again, fighting a rear-guard action. Lord Wolseley was by no means pleased with the day’s work. It was reported that after listening at the usual pow-wow to what the officer commanding the Southern Army, Buller, had to say about the movements of his troops during the day, he expressed his opinions in fairly forcible terms.

Operations were to commence again at six o’clock the next morning. A few captive balloons were being used for observation purposes by both sides. It was presumed that the Southern Army would take the opportunity, after the comparative rest of the day before, of showing their mettle, and a fairly ding-dong fight was expected. So we were early in the field, back to the old ridge on the Downs, where the battle had ceased the day before. We were not disappointed.

I personally spent some unprofitable hours up in the air. One of the captive balloons, in charge of an engineer officer, was just being prepared ready to ascend when the officer, whom I knew well, invited me to go up with him. I handed my horse to the orderly and jumped into the basket, and we were soon up some hundreds of feet in the air. It 228 was an interesting sight to see the southern force making its way to the attack through the valleys between the ridges. It was not pleasing to notice a half-squadron of cavalry suddenly emerge from under cover of a farm near by and charge straight for the wagon of our captive balloon. I wondered what was going to happen. Could the wagon get away out of reach in time? It didn’t seem possible. My host had no intention of being captured; he cut off the balloon from the wagon, which was duly taken. The day turned out as hot as the day before. There was hardly a breath of air and our balloon hung poised over the enemy’s troops now passing under it. If we came down we would, of course, fall into their hands as prisoners. My host was determined not to be caught and refused to come down. A couple of batteries of the enemy’s artillery quite enjoyed themselves firing at us. I suggested to him that, if it was real business, we were in a very awkward position, but he didn’t mind. He thought his balloon was good enough for anything except to go down, and he didn’t intend to do that until the fighting for the day was over, two o’clock in the afternoon. And up in the air we stayed. As I had neither pipe nor tobacco and we had nothing to eat or drink with us, I was not sorry when we set foot on Mother Earth again. I think it was that night, if not the next, a Saturday night, that we received a message from the headquarters of the Duke telling us of the defeat of the Khalifa at Omdurman by the forces in Egypt under Kitchener. It was welcome news.

Everyone knows the plight our War Office was in re the supply of small arms ammunition at the beginning of the South African War. Early in 1899 I received two orders, large in their way, totalling some five million rounds, for the .303 magazine rifle, from Sydney and Melbourne. The rifle ammunition Mark V was then in use, and very good ammunition it was too. The introduction of Mark VI was under consideration, and there was a 229 probability of its replacing Mark V at an early date. I had been watching with considerable interest the experiments that had been taking place with the Mark VI, and I was personally far from satisfied that it would be a success. I decided to supply the order with Mark V, notwithstanding my general instructions that all stores were to be of the latest up-to-date pattern introduced into the Service at home. As the first consignments of the Mark V were shipped, I notified the Victorian and New South Wales Governments of the steps I was taking. I did not hear anything further in the matter for some two or three months when, to my surprise, I received a cable from Victoria, asking me upon what grounds I was sending out Mark V ammunition and not Mark VI, which, they pointed out, they understood had been adopted at home. At the same time a member of one of the firms which were supplying the ammunition called and informed me that his firm had received an order direct from the Government of Victoria for two million rounds of Mark VI ammunition, requesting them to cease forwarding any more Mark V. I immediately cabled to Victoria that I was not satisfied with the Mark VI ammunition, that I expected it to be withdrawn at an early date, and that, if they chose to place orders direct with the contractors on their own, I would accept no responsibility of any kind in the matter. In the meantime, what was to be done with the still very large balance of Mark V ammunition which was ready for shipment? My friend, the member of the firm, was just as aware as I was that Mark VI ammunition which they had then begun to supply to the War Office was not by any means likely to prove satisfactory. He actually seemed rather pleased that the large balance of Mark V was now practically left on his hands and would be replaced by the Mark VI. As the inspection of the Mark VI would naturally take some considerable time before it could be passed and dispatched to Australia, there was no hurry, as far as I could see, to communicate further by cable with 230 Victoria. I may mention that the Government of New South Wales had accepted the situation and were content to receive their regular supplies of Mark V, having accepted my suggestion.

Then my day came. The National Rifle Meeting was held in Scotland. I voyaged up to watch for myself. It was not long before serious complaints began to be made, not only as regards the actual results of the shooting on the targets, but, what was much more serious, the bursting of two or three barrels and the blowing out of several breech-blocks. I was quite satisfied and returned to London. Courts of Inquiry were ordered by the Government, but, what was more important, similar happenings occurred later at the Bisley Meeting. The Council immediately took up the matter with the Government. Result: Mark VI ammunition condemned. Then went a cable to Australia through the Press Association:

“Mark VI ammunition condemned by Government.—The information sent to the Colonies by the Inspector of Warlike Stores confidentially has proved correct.”

Next day I received the following from Melbourne: “Is the cable published here to-day with reference to Mark VI ammunition true? If so, please rescind as soon as possible the order for two million rounds placed with the contractors.” There was nothing more to be done but to try to induce the contractors to forgo their order for two million Mark VI and let us have the Mark V. I think it is to their credit to state that they at once met my wishes in this respect, and an awkward situation was saved. This happened only some two months before the declaration of war against South Africa. The War Office, having decided earlier in the year on the adoption of the Mark VI, had placed very large orders with the contractors, probably for some forty to fifty million rounds, and these orders had been, to a large extent, executed, while, naturally, the stocks of Mark V had been practically depleted. 231 The result was that the War Office found itself in the critical position of entering upon a war with actually a shortage of rifle ammunition. It will be remembered that the Government of India came to the rescue.

I had now been in London over a year. The question of my return had not been raised. Kingston was still Premier, and my locum tenens, a Colonel Stuart, continued acting for me as Commandant in South Australia. 232



Towards the middle of September, 1899, rumours of war began to spread. Early in October war was declared. At that time a squadron of the New South Wales Lancers, which had been sent home by voluntary subscription, was undergoing a course of training in England under the command of Captain Cox. The officers and men volunteered, and they were the first Australian mounted troops to land in South Africa.

I was naturally very anxious to go out myself, so I cabled to the Governments of the several colonies for the necessary leave. They refused, for the very good reason that as war had been declared it was just the very time when they required the services of their military adviser in England. I could not quarrel with their decision. I thought once more of my old friend, Charles Cameron Kingston, cabled to him explaining the position, and suggested that I should resign my appointment as Inspector of Warlike Stores, return to my dormant appointment as Commandant of South Australia, and on my arrival in Adelaide obtain permission to proceed to South Africa as a special service officer, if this could be arranged without my having to give up the Commandantship. I felt fairly certain of securing a position on the staff of the Commander-in-Chief in connexion with the mounted contingents of the Australian colonies, which were being so freely offered by all of them to the Mother Country. Kingston once again met my wishes. I cabled my resignation to the Governments I was serving, and, being fortunate enough to secure first-rate accommodation for 233 the wife and family, set sail for Australia a few days after war was declared, in the middle of October, in what was then the finest passenger boat to Australia, the German ship the ss. Bremen. And so began my seventh journey across the world.

Our passage in the Bremen was as usual a fair weather one, but it was fraught with much anxiety as regarded the progress of the war. The ports of call of our ship were Genoa, Port Said and Aden, Colombo, and then Western Australia. As we arrived at each of these ports the news from South Africa became graver and graver. Siege of Ladysmith, siege of Mafeking, siege of Kimberley. Rebellion in Cape Colony. Then Colenso and Spion Kop. We felt somewhat relieved on arrival at Freemantle, where the news met us that General Buller was to be superseded in the command by Lord Roberts. On reaching Adelaide I saw Kingston, my friendly Premier, and told him that it was my intention, if he approved, to take my family on to my wife’s relations in Melbourne, return at once to Adelaide, raise the first mounted contingent, and sail with it for South Africa. Once again Kingston fell in with my views. I took the family to Melbourne and returned to Adelaide.

The excitement throughout the Australian colonies at that time, the middle of December, 1899, was intense. Just previous to leaving England by the Bremen I had been informed by the War Office, and by the Australian Governments I then represented, that they had offered contingents for service in South Africa to the Home Government. I had called at the War Office and had been told that the offer had been accepted, but that it had been decided to accept infantry and not mounted units. I pointed out to those in authority at the time that they had quite failed to appreciate the temper of the offer of the Australian colonies. The men who wished to volunteer were not in the least anxious, in fact, they really had the strongest objection, to walk about South Africa; they 234 and their horses were one, and even if they couldn’t shoot or be drilled in time to fulfil the conditions of a trained cavalryman, at any rate they could ride like hell and shoot straight.

The War Office people thought I was rather romancing. I tried to disabuse them of this idea and ventured a step farther. I said that I almost believed that the refusal of the War Office to accept mounted troops might be taken absolutely as an insult. I was told that they valued my opinions and wished they had heard them before their final decision had been cabled out, but it could not be altered. The War Office had its way. The first contingent, therefore, raised in the colonies were trained as infantrymen, dispatched to South Africa, and on arrival there were formed into one regiment, every member of which was a first-class rider but a bad walker. They were shifted about hither and thither, gained no particular laurels, and rested not until the day came when they were turned into a mounted regiment, shortly before the arrival at Cape Town of the first mounted units. No more infantry units were dispatched from the colonies. The War Office had repented.

One of the reasons given to me for their preference for infantry had been that it had been considered inadvisable to put upon the Australians the extra expenditure that would be incurred in equipping mounted corps. To say the least of it, a very childish one.

I found on reaching Adelaide that there were enough applications already handed in at the military staff office to organize five or six squadrons, instead of one. It became a question simply of selecting the best. Married men were at once barred. Our unit was one squadron, a hundred and twenty officers and men. The remark which had been made to me in the War Office, previous to my leaving London, with reference to putting the colonies to extra expenditure in sending mounted troops, came back to my mind. I called on my old friend, Mr. Barr Smith, 235 and I suggested to him that it would be patriotic on his part if he permitted me to notify to the Government that he was willing to bear the expense of supplying some of the horses required for the contingent. “Most certainly,” he answered. “You can tell the Government that they can draw upon me for the amount required for the purchase of the whole of the horses.” This was a winning card in my hand. I called upon Kingston next morning and told him of the offer. I further told him that I had already heard whispers of probable opposition to my so soon relinquishing my position as Commandant after my long absence from Adelaide. “Don’t bother,” said Kingston. “You are now going to fight for us; leave it to me. I am announcing to the House this afternoon the Government’s decision to send this first mounted contingent. You have put in my hands a trump card—Mr. Barr Smith’s generous offer. It will be received with the greatest enthusiasm by the members. I shall tell them your part in it and then immediately announce that I have selected you to proceed at once to South Africa as a special service officer, representing South Australia.”

It all happened that afternoon just as he had told me. The House cheered and cheered as Mr. Barr Smith’s offer—following on the notification to members that it was the decision of the Government to send the mounted contingent—was announced. Then followed the singing of “God Save the Queen.” Before they had time to settle down Kingston told them I had been selected as a special service officer for duty in South Africa. More cheers. All was well. My long absence was forgotten. All were glad to see me back. All pleased that the opportunity was being given me to go on active service. I was presented with two splendid chargers, a bay and a blue roan, a sword, revolver, binoculars, and enough knitted mufflers, Crimean helmets, housewives and the like to last me a lifetime. The only thing to be done was to select the men, purchase the horses, and get ready to embark as soon as a transport 236 could be secured. Those selected were first-class riders accustomed to the care of horses—most of them members of the Mounted Rifles, and men who could shoot straight. Within three or four weeks we should be on board the transport, and could polish up a little their drill and discipline during the voyage.

We arranged with the New South Wales and Western Australian Governments for the ss. Surrey to convey our three contingents to Cape Town. We totalled some three hundred and eighty officers and men and four hundred horses. One squadron from a New South Wales cavalry regiment, one South Australian Mounted Rifles squadron, and a similar one from Western Australia. The Surrey, with the full complement on board, left Fremantle, in Western Australia, in January, 1900. I can still shut my eyes and see the immense crowds that wished us “God speed,” and hear the continuous cheers of the people of Adelaide on the day when we marched through the principal streets of the city on our way to embarkation. It was one of those events that one does not forget. Once more I was on my way across the seas to the other side of the world. My eighth voyage.

Fine weather across the Indian Ocean. I was not in charge of the troops on board the ship. I was merely a passenger, as a special service officer. Lieut.-Colonel Parrott, a New South Wales engineer officer, was in command. I had particularly arranged for this, as I had heard of the difficulties that had arisen in connexion with the transport of the first infantry units, and had considered it more advisable to act as a sort of support to the officer commanding than to be actually in command myself. This plan turned out quite successful.

A finer lot of sports I shall probably never travel with again. Among them we had men of all classes—judges’ sons, doctors’ sons, squatters’ sons, bootmakers’ sons, butchers’ sons, all happy together, and all more than ready for their job. Amongst our South Australian lot was one 237 Jack Morant. He was not an Australian born, but had come out from the old country a few years before, and had an uncle at a place called Renmark, up the River Murray, where the Chaffey brothers, the irrigation experts from California, had established a fruit colony and had induced several retired officers from the old country to settle. Amongst these was Lieut.-Colonel Morant, Jack’s uncle. The latter had been promoted to the rank of corporal, and had been christened by his comrades “Corporal Buller,” from the somewhat extraordinary likeness he bore to General Sir Redvers. I will tell you more about Jack Morant and his unfortunate end later on. Those of you who read the Sydney Bulletin in the days before the South African War may remember several typical Australian poems that appeared in that clever journal over the name of “The Breaker.” “The Breaker” was Jack Morant. 238



It was on February 25, 1900, that the Surrey anchored in Cape Town Bay. As soon as the usual formalities were completed I was taken off in a special launch, and on landing proceeded to report myself to General Forestier Walker, at the time G.O.C. Lines of Communication.

Lord Roberts, who had superseded General Sir Redvers Buller as Commander-in-Chief, was, I think, at that very date hammering Cronje at Paardeberg. On the voyage over in the Surrey I had prepared a scheme to submit to Lord Roberts for the organization and employment of the numerous mounted contingents that had been offered by Australia and New Zealand. We little thought then that over 16,000 officers and men and horses would land in South Africa from Australia alone before the end of the war. General Forestier Walker, after talking over with me the details of the scheme, thought that it would fit in with Lord Roberts’ future plans, as confidentially known to him, and he at once telegraphed to the Commander-in-Chief, notifying him of my arrival, as well as of the fact that I had an important proposition to put before him. We were not long awaiting the answer. It came that evening. It was short and to the point: “Chief will gladly see Colonel Gordon at Bloemfontein as soon as railway opens.”

A few days afterwards a further telegram arrived to the following effect: “Colonel Gordon will proceed to Naauport as soon as possible en route for Bloemfontein. Four horses for the above-named officer and two grooms to be sent on after him the very first opportunity.” I at 239 once left Capetown and, passing through Naauport, reached Norval’s Pont, where the railway crossed from the Cape Colony to the Orange Free State. A really magnificent railway bridge had been completed a few years before, but just previous to my arrival the Boers, retreating northwards across the river, had blown up the fine piers supporting the two centre spans. The bridge was useless. However, the South African Railway Pioneer Corps had with extraordinary rapidity thrown a pontoon bridge across the river.

Though Lord Roberts had by this time taken Bloemfontein, having marched across and fought his way from the west at Paardeberg to the east at Bloemfontein, the southern portion of the Orange River State from the bridge-head at Norval’s Pont to Bloemfontein was still in the hands of the Boers, and it was through this country that the railway line made its way northwards to Bloemfontein. On my arrival at Norval’s Pont the railway officer in charge informed me that I would have to wait until a train came to the other side of the river from Bloemfontein. I had to wait two days only. In the meantime, Lord Kitchener, accompanied by the general manager of the Bank of South Africa at Capetown, reached Norval’s Pont, and crossed the river. A fourth passenger turned up. It was Rudyard Kipling, if I remember rightly.

The journey to Bloemfontein did not occupy many hours. We arrived in the evening, just before dark. I made my way to one of the hotels. Curiously enough, somehow, I caught sight of a flagstaff over the hotel. It had a flag on it but it was evidently tied down to the pole. After arranging for my room at the hotel I got on to the roof to see what the flag was, and found it to be an Orange River Colony flag, which had evidently been overlooked by the authorities. I took possession of it.

Next morning I reported myself at headquarters. In the train journey from Norval’s Pont I had had an opportunity of describing my proposition to Lord Kitchener and 240 talking it over with him. As a result, when by appointment I saw Lord Roberts, he had had the matter put before him and had agreed to its being carried out, with a few alterations as regards detail. The chief points of the scheme were as follows:—

(1). That it was desirable to concentrate the strongest possible force of mounted men then available in South Africa at Bloemfontein.

(2). That all further arrivals of mounted units from over the seas, or raised locally in South Africa, should be sent on to Bloemfontein without delay.

(3). That these units should be equipped as mounted infantry—that is to say, that their chief arm should be the service rifle.

(4). That to each corps formed a strong unit of Imperial Mounted Infantry should be attached.

(5). That these corps should be of sufficient numerical strength to act as independent columns if desired.

(6). That whatever might be the strength of the contribution of any individual Dominion or Colony, it would form one unit, under the command of its own senior officer.

(7). That, in grouping together the units of the Colonies, care should be exercised in their selection, so as to avoid any possible likelihood of friction.

(8). That the officers selected to the commands should be the most experienced in mounted infantry work, and young enough.

(9). That a special staff officer should be appointed to organize the proposed mounted corps.

(10). That such a staff officer should be charged with the provision and maintenance of the horses required and deal directly with the officers in charge of remount depots.

(11). That such staff officer should be entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the units in an efficient state as regarded arms, equipment, saddlery and clothing, and that, in order to successfully carry out these duties, 241 he should be permitted to draw all supplies necessary in bulk direct from the Ordnance Depots at Capetown.

(12). That, in order to carry out this last suggestion as to supplies, etc., the staff officer in question should have authority to arrange with the General Officer Commanding the main Line of Communications for such train services as might be required and establish his own depôts wherever necessary, and detail the personnel for the efficient service thereof.

Lord Kitchener recommended the propositions. Lord Roberts gave them his approval and requested me to see him again on the next day, when he desired me to submit to him in writing all details of the proposed organization for his future consideration. In the meantime it was necessary to find some suitable premises to be the headquarter offices of the new corps. In the afternoon I looked round Bloemfontein and was fortunate to secure quite a large residence belonging to a near relation of President Steyn.

In preparing the tables of personnel as desired by the Commander-in-Chief, I restricted myself to the contingents that had already arrived and those on their way from the Australian Colonies. Next day I submitted the details I had worked out. They were approved, and I was asked if I had sufficient knowledge of the units already in South Africa and those expected to arrive from Canada and New Zealand. If so they were to be included in the scheme. I had not any particular difficulty in carrying out Lord Roberts’ wishes in this respect as, during my few days’ stay in Capetown, while I was waiting to proceed to Bloemfontein, I had asked for and had been supplied with that very information by General Forestier Walker’s staff officers.

There were sufficient companies of the Imperial Mounted Infantry scattered about in the country to form four regiments of four companies each. So that, by forming four separate corps, a regiment of Imperial troops was 242 available for each. In working out the distribution of the Overseas Contingents it was found that by allotting (a) to the First Corps the whole of the Canadians; (b) to the second the New South Wales and Western Australian contingents; (c) to the third the Victorian, South Australian and Tasmanian contingents, and (d) to the fourth the Queenslanders and New Zealanders, each corps would number some fifteen hundred officers and men without the departmental troops attached.

The above distribution was approved. I was then appointed Chief Staff Officer for Overseas Colonials on Lord Roberts’ Staff, and ordered to assemble all the units concerned and organize them at Bloemfontein with as little delay as possible into corps as above. Distinguished mounted infantry officers were selected to command the four corps which were to be known as a brigade, namely, Alderson, Henry, Pilcher and De Lisle. Shortly afterwards orders were issued for a similar organization to be carried out in the case of the mounted units raised in South Africa to be likewise called a brigade, the two brigades forming a division. General Hutton was selected for the command of the Overseas Brigade, General Ridley for the South African, and General Ian Hamilton for Divisional Commander.

Quite three-fourths of the proposed strength of the Overseas Brigade was encamped on the lower slopes of Signal Hill within four weeks of my receiving my instructions.

By May 7 I had established my depôts at Capetown and Bloemfontein and had succeeded in re-equipping our brigade as well as obtaining the greater portion of the horses required. The remainder were arriving in batches each day, and I had accumulated sufficient stores of all kinds to attend to their wants on arrival.

Hutton arrived and took command of his brigade; a real fine lot of men they were, too. The horses were good and in fine fettle. When on parade it was quite difficult 243 to differentiate between the four corps. They were an equally strong, hardy lot of men, clear-eyed, sitting their horses as only the Colonials can.

I had known Hutton well, as you know, during his period of command in New South Wales. After leaving New South Wales he had put in three years as General Officer Commanding in Canada. If there was one branch of the Service which he dearly loved, it was the mounted rifles. I don’t remember any general ever looking so happy and contented as he did on the day he took command, and I was not surprised. I was proud enough of them myself. What valuable work they did afterwards in the field was fully appreciated by the Commander-in-Chief and the other troops alongside of whom they fought during the campaign.

During our stay at Bloemfontein I had several opportunities of discussing with Lord Roberts and Kitchener the scheme for universal service which I had years before prepared at Adelaide. They were both very keenly interested in it, and we talked it over from every point of view. Lord Roberts considered it eminently suitable and most desirable, especially when remembering the deep-rooted objection that existed to military conscription at home and in the Colonies. 244



On the day before he left Bloemfontein Lord Roberts sent for me and asked me how many of the Overseas Brigade had been unable to march out of Bloemfontein. I informed him that taking into account the sick and convalescent, two or three units which had only just arrived, and some for whom I was awaiting delivery of horses from the Remount Depôt, in all somewhere between seven and eight hundred men. He also asked me to ascertain as soon as possible how many had been left behind belonging to General Ridley’s brigade. I did so, and found that they had left behind somewhere about a thousand. He said: “Very well. I now want you to put all those details together, organize them into a mounted column, equip them, and get the requisite number of horses within a week or ten days if practicable. I have given instructions that your wants are to be attended to by all the parties concerned as early as possible. You will then leave Bloemfontein; the column will march, passing to the westward of Karee Siding, to Brandfort. Then, with a wide sweep to the westward, returning to the railway line at Small Deel. You will receive further orders at Small Deel as to what route to take from that place to Kroonstad. I shall be looking for your arrival, if all goes well with you, and I am counting upon your arriving with between twelve and fifteen hundred horses, in good condition, to replace the losses in horseflesh amongst the mounted troops in my advance. I fully anticipate that as we drive the Boers northwards on our broad front—the centre of which will be practically the main railway line—numbers of them will 245 break away to our flanks, clear them, and then close in backwards in our rear to attack our lines of communications. I don’t think that they’ll be expecting any mounted columns of any strength to be following up behind. So that you have got to watch for them and deal them a nasty blow if you come across them.

“So you understand. Your two special duties are: first, to watch the lines of communications, and secondly, so to nurse your horses that they may arrive as fit as possible. By the by, I don’t think I have told you that I have appointed you to command the column. I don’t think it will interfere with your other duties, as I know you’ve got them well in hand.”

I thanked him, but I pointed out that my greatest difficulty in equipping the brigade had undoubtedly been to obtain suitable transport. I very much doubted if, after the general advance from Bloemfontein, there remained a single decent wagon or cart behind.

“Well,” he said, “I know that. You must travel as light as you can. Make use of the railway line as much as possible, and collar whatever vehicles you can get. Good luck! I’ll see you at Kroonstad.”

My column altogether numbered about seventeen hundred. The night we arrived at Brandfort the officer commanding was glad to see us. He was expecting a surprise attack that night, but nothing happened. No doubt the news of our arrival had reached the Boers and they had thought better of it. On our sweep from Brandfort to Small Deel we met a good many small parties of Boers as we went through the ranges, but they gave us no trouble except a lot of sniping. We got a good many surrenders, and arrived at Small Deel hale and hearty. There I received my orders to march on to Welgelegen and thence to Kroonstad, watching the country to the left of the railway line. As we were camped at Welgelegen two nights afterwards I received a message from Lord Kitchener to the effect that it had been reported that some 246 five hundred Boers and four guns had been seen moving in the direction of Welgelegen and that I was to do my best to intercept them, and, in any case, in moving on to Kroonstad to proceed on both sides of the railway line on as broad a front as the numbers at my disposal would allow. We could hear nothing of the five hundred Boers and four guns, so after a thorough search of the country round Welgelegen we marched on to Kroonstad.

On arriving there I reported at headquarters. Lord Roberts informed me that he would inspect the column next morning at 10 A.M. The Commander-in-Chief arrived up to time. His inspection was a very short one, his chief anxiety being the condition of the horses. Fortunately they were in good fettle, and their condition met with his approval. He thanked me and gave instructions to his staff officers for the future disposition of the several units.

Before 4 P.M. that afternoon the bivouac ground was empty and my composite column dispersed. I at once set to work to gather up the threads of my own especial work. The first thing was to establish a depôt at Kroonstad for my brigade supplies. The next, to bespeak horses at the Remount Depôt, just established at Kroonstad. I was busy at this work the next day when I received a message to report myself at headquarters. On arrival there General Grierson, the Quartermaster-General, told me that he wanted me to take up a special job at once. He added that the arrival of my horses in good condition had enabled the Commander-in-Chief to move on, and that he had decided to advance to Pretoria straight away. It had been anticipated that there would not be any great opposition on the part of the Boers, at any rate as far as the Vaal River. The advance would be a very rapid one, especially on the part of the mounted troops forming the two enveloping wings on both sides of the railway line.

It was therefore necessary that the transport for their 247 supplies should not fail during their advance. It had been arranged that General French’s cavalry, with Hutton’s mounted riflemen, should advance to the westward of the railway, and that he wanted me to take charge of their combined transport and supply columns. I told Grierson that I was doubtful whether I had enough experience for that sort of work. Didn’t he think that someone better fitted should be selected? Grierson told me that Lord Roberts had suggested my name, and that he thought that was quite enough. There was nothing more to be said.

I asked for instructions. He said “Go and see Ward and you will get them.” I went across to Colonel Ward, at the D.A.Q.M.G.’s quarters, and saw him. He told me that the troops were advancing early next morning, that General French’s supply column was last heard of as about to leave Welgelegen, and he had no intimation of any kind as to Hutton’s supply column.

The situation, then, was shortly this. The two mounted brigades were leaving early in the morning of the 22nd, and expected to advance during the day somewhere between twenty and thirty miles. One of the two supply columns was timed to reach Kroonstad, the starting point of the two troops, on the evening of the day of the departure of the brigades, and required a rest, and there was no information available as to the whereabouts of the second supply column. The outlook was not cheerful. Having gathered a small staff I dispatched a party to hunt up Hutton’s column, with orders that they were to be hustled up to Kroonstad without delay.

I spent the rest of the day making the necessary arrangements for the provision of escorts for the columns, which, owing to the existing circumstances, would be unable to move on together. It was quite evident that French’s column would have to leave Kroonstad before Hutton’s, and that owing to the rapid advance of the troops in front it would be impossible for the two supply 248 columns to join up en route. The only practical solution that came to my mind was to hurry on French’s column, feed Hutton from it, and trust to be able to push forward Hutton’s column, when I got hold of it, in time to make up French’s deficiencies before he actually fell short.

Knowing that the supplies of a commanding officer in the field are always looked upon as actually his own property, I deemed it most advisable to obtain a written order from headquarters to carry out this plan, if necessary. I saw Colonel Ward, and he was good enough to give me a written order to that effect. This relieved my mind. As a matter of fact, when we picked up the mounted brigades it did become necessary for me to supply Hutton from French’s supply column. Lieut.-Colonel Johnson, an artillery officer, who was in command of this column, protested most strongly against parting with any of his supplies, but, on my handing him a copy of the D.A.Q.M.G.’s order to me, he, of course, complied. But I knew right well what to expect next morning. I was not disappointed. I had camped down that night between French’s and Hutton’s Brigades. Up to that I had had no news of the whereabouts of Hutton’s supply column, but I knew that French would send for me very early in the morning. About four in the morning I got news of Hutton’s column. It had reached Kroonstad from Welgelegen the evening before, and would move on as per orders.

I need not say that it was a great relief, as it enabled me to look forward to my forthcoming interview with French with less concern. Just at daylight I saw a couple of lancer troopers galloping along towards my little camp. I rode out to meet them. I knew what they wanted. They told me they came from General French, who wished to see the officer who had borrowed his supplies the evening before. Could I tell him where they would find him? I told them it was all right, that I was the officer they 249 wanted, and they could lead the way. I shall not forget that morning. We were in the vicinity of a place called Essenbosch. It was a typical South African fine weather morning. The frost was on the ground. The sun was just rising, but not a cloud in the sky. A big plain. Not a tree; all clear veldt for miles. The two brigades were on the move. It was as pretty a sight as any soldier could wish to see.

After three or four miles’ ride I reached General French and his staff. Our conversation was brief but to the point.

“Are you the officer by whose orders supplies were taken from my column last evening?”

“I am, sir.” And, pulling out my pocket-book, I produced Colonel Ward’s written order.

“Just understand that I allow nobody to borrow or take my supplies in the field. If my troops go one hour short of supplies you will hear from me again. Good morning.”

“Good morning, sir,” I said, and rode back to my camp.

I had noticed a staff officer looking hard at me under his helmet. I suddenly recognized him. It was my old school chum at the Oratory, Edmund Talbot, the Duke of Norfolk’s brother. I had not seen him since I had left school. We were glad to meet again. The world is small. Then off they went, and I was left behind to work out my problem.

At the time Hutton’s column was some forty miles in the rear. I had two days’ more supplies left in French’s column. The question was whether I would succeed in hurrying up Hutton’s column sufficiently fast in four days to pick up the advancing troops.

I had information from headquarters that Lord Roberts intended to get at any rate some of his troops across the River Vaal from the Orange Free State into the Transvaal on May 24, Queen Victoria’s birthday, as he particularly 250 wished to cable to her, on that day, the news of the complete occupation of the Orange Free State and the entry of his troops into the Transvaal. This meant an advance at the rate of some twenty-five miles a day on the part of French’s and Hutton’s brigades. Fortunately Hutton’s column was enabled, but, indeed, at very heavy loss in oxen and mules, to reach French’s as it emptied its last wagon.

By selecting the fittest of the draught animals left belonging to the emptied column, and the fittest of those in Hutton’s column, we were able to push on, and, four days afterwards, on the evening of May 24, when a few cavalry actually did cross the River Vaal, at a place called Parisj to the westward of the railway line, the last two days’ rations reached French’s brigade headquarters half an hour before scheduled time. The job was over. I should be sorry to say how many animals were left on the road and how long it took the empty wagons, of which there were some eight hundred, to return to the base with their sorely depleted teams. For the previous four days and nights I just rested and slept when and where I could, sometimes for an hour, sometimes for two or three, but you may imagine what a good night’s rest myself and my much harried and worried staff enjoyed that night after drinking the toast of the day, “God bless our Queen.” I didn’t think it necessary to go and see General French again.

Next morning I started across country towards Vereeniken, the border station of the Transvaal. I reached there in safety, though I had to cross a portion of the country in advance of our own troops. I reported myself at headquarters, saw Grierson and asked him, as a special favour, not to give me the charge of any more supply columns in the near future. He was kind enough to give me a short note from Lord Roberts, personally thanking me for the good result of the two special jobs he entrusted to my care from the time he had left Bloemfontein.


Viscount Kitchener in Field-Marshal’s Uniform


After the Battle of Belfast, about August 25, the organization of the brigade was practically broken up, and there was no further necessity for the special post to which I had been appointed as Chief of the Staff for Overseas Colonials. On Lord Roberts’ departure for England I left in the ss. Moravian for Adelaide, making my ninth voyage across the world. 253



I never enjoyed better health than I did during the twelve months when the hard veldt was my bed and the deep, dark, starry night was the roof over my head. No one can wish for a more healthy climate than that of the Orange River Colony during the dry season. I was only twice hit; once near Karree Siding when a pom-pom shell burst just under my horse and took off the heel of one of my boots; the second time a sniper’s bullet went through my coat sleeve without touching me. But I was unfortunate otherwise. One night I was riding along the veldt on a horse which had been presented to me when I left Adelaide by a friend of mine, one of the best horsemen in South Australia, Stephen Ralli, which we had christened Bismarck. We suddenly came to the edge of a dry donga with, of course, rotten sides. Down we had to go, and down we went. For a moment I had no idea whether we were being flung into a river or into a dry channel. It happened to be a dry channel, some sixteen feet deep and about the same width. We hit the bottom hard. I was sent rolling off, Bismarck fell on his head and broke his neck, turning over on his side. I picked myself up and could find no bones broken, and I called out to some of my men who had seen us disappear and had halted on the edge. They were glad to hear me call out. The question was then, how to get out of the donga. The banks were steep. So, unhooking the horses out of one of the Cape carts, they joined up the traces and I was safely hauled up. I did not for some time afterwards really feel any ill results from my fall. In fact I had forgotten all 254 about it. But, later on, I found that I suffered a good deal when riding and that I had received an internal injury which afterwards caused me considerable trouble.

I shall never forget the constant and uniform kindness which I met at the hands of Lord Kitchener. Many and very different opinions of Lord Kitchener’s capabilities as a soldier and of his temperament as a man have been expressed. I formed my own opinion in both capacities from actual and continuous contact with him in his work. He was a silent man. Talk was of no value to him when it wasn’t to the point. He possessed a peculiar but very useful gift of getting at the kernel of a subject, seizing its meaning and promptly making up his mind what action he was going to take. If he wanted any further information on any point he asked you for it. If he didn’t want it, he did not thank you for volunteering to give it. He was a master of detail. He was forceful in his opinions—too forceful for those who disagreed with him. He may not have been too generous in giving open praise, but he never forgot those who had done him good service. As to whether he was a great general I have no opinion to offer, but he could always be depended upon to carry out whatever he took in hand.

During his trip to Tasmania, years later on, at the time of his inspection of the Forces of the Australian Colonies, a Light Horse Camp was being held at a place called Mona Vale belonging to Major Eustace Cameron who commanded the Light Horse. The homestead was a fine modern house. Mrs. Cameron had arranged for a large party of young people during the period of the camp. Lord Kitchener was the guest of Cameron for the day and night of his inspection. After dinner that evening a small dance was held. Songs with choruses were sung between the dances, and perhaps nobody enjoyed himself so much as Lord Kitchener. Later on in the evening, or rather in the early hours of the morning, he told us several good 255 stories and much hearty laughter filled the smoking-room. Lord Kitchener was no woman-hater.

War has not always a grave side. Interesting events, and sometimes even amusing ones, intervene. Some of them now come to my mind. In the early part of the war Capetown had become overrun with men in officers’ uniforms and many ladies, most of whom were by way of being attached to voluntary and other hospitals. Most of these ladies were amateur, not qualified nurses. Mount Nelson Hotel was their chief resort. While a very large building it was unable to house the majority of them. They were scattered about throughout the city in other hotels and boarding-houses. Yet Mount Nelson was the place where all met.

Each night the resources of the Mount Nelson were strained. Dinner parties, music and dancing were the order of the day. Tables had to be engaged for days previously. A night arrived when the festivities were at their height. Dinner had begun. The large dining-room was full to overflowing, with the exception of one small table set for two in the middle of the room. The entreés were being served and the band had just finished a spirited selection.

The babble of tongues was all over the room when in walked two gentlemen in uniform, preceded by the manager of the hotel, making their way to the empty table set for two. The babble of tongues began to subside. The first officer following the manager was a tall man with rather a severe look in his eyes. It happened to be Lord Kitchener, followed by his personal private secretary. For a moment there came a dead silence, immediately relieved by the strains of the band beginning an operatic overture and the dinner proceeded. At the end of dinner all officers in uniform were notified to interview a staff officer previous to leaving the hotel. Within two days the number of officers frequenting the Mount Nelson Hotel was reduced to a minimum. A couple of days afterwards the manager 256 informed me that he had been instructed the night of the fateful dinner to give notice to all officers in uniform then staying at the hotel who could not produce a permit to vacate their rooms. Steps were also taken to inquire into the positions held by many of the amateur lady nurses, and those whose services were deemed to be superfluous were provided with return passages to Europe. Thus ended this episode.

Photo: Shier, Melbourne


Standing: Colonel Wallace, R.A.A., Master of Ordnance; Colonel Selheim, C.B., Quartermaster-General; Colonel Chauvel, C.B., Adjutant-General.
Seated: Brigadier-General J. M. Gordon, C.B., Chief of the General Staff; Mr. Laing, Financial Member.

An amusing incident occurred at a place called Derdepoort, some ten miles outside Pretoria, where one of our columns, under General Hutton, was holding a section of the defences of the capital. I had dispatched their supplies of winter clothing to them, and it was decided to issue them on a Sunday afternoon. Amongst the thousands of cases that my depôts were handling were many containing presents of tobacco, pipes, books, and so on, to the men of the contingents. When the unpacking of those that had arrived at Derdepoort had taken place on the Sunday afternoon it was discovered that several very large ones contained women’s and children’s garments of all kinds and descriptions. The Tommies were not slow in appreciating the situation. The sounds of hearty laughter were soon ringing throughout the camp. I heard it in my tent, where I was taking a quiet afternoon nap. I went out to see what was happening. It was indeed a quaint sight. An amateur fancy dress ball was being held, and anything more comical it is difficult to imagine. The explanation of the arrival of the costumes was soon made clear. An association of ladies had been formed in New Zealand with the object of supplying clothing for the Boer women and children in the refugee camps that had been established by us for them in South Africa. The cases containing the clothing had been forwarded to Derdepoort by mistake.

During Lord Roberts’s stay in Pretoria it was discovered that a plot was set on foot to kidnap the Commander-in-Chief. It was, however, nipped in the bud. 257 One of the leaders was an officer of the Transvaal State Permanent Artillery. The plot, of course, failed and the officer was brought to trial and duly shot. Tommy enjoyed his bit of fun over the attempt to kidnap Lord Roberts. At that time Lady Roberts and her daughters were at Pretoria, and the Tommies thought that it wouldn’t be so bad if they kidnapped Lady Roberts, but they had the strongest objection to losing Bobs.

Previous to the Battle of Diamond Hill a short armistice was arranged for. The commanding officer of the Boers opposed to us at the time was General Louis Botha. The military situation then was a difficult one. Had it not been that just then General De Wet, in the north-eastern part of the Orange River Colony, had become suddenly and successfully aggressive, it was probable that General Botha would have come to terms. However, as the result of De Wet’s action he decided to carry on. The interesting point in the incident was the fact that General Botha’s wife was selected as our emissary. Probably it was the first time, and the last, that the wife of an enemy’s general acted in such a capacity.

On our arrival in Pretoria the whole of the conditions appertaining to the civil life of the town had to be reorganized. Previous to its occupation by us Kruger had ordered that all Boer families who had members serving in their forces and who occupied leased houses could do so free of rent, while men in business with relatives fighting could occupy their leased premises at half the usual rents. This disability on the part of the property owners to obtain their rents was at once removed by Lord Roberts. In order to give effect to this decision it was necessary to appoint officials. Practically what was really required was a sort of glorified bum-bailiff, with the necessary assistance, the bum-bailiff holding a position similar to that of a magistrate. I was asked to suggest the name of a senior officer of the Australians who would be suitable. I did so. But the point arose by what name was the appointment to be 258 designated? I don’t remember who was the happy originator of the name, but it shortly appeared in General Orders that Colonel Ricardo, of the Queensland Forces, had been appointed “High Commissioner of Ejectments” at Pretoria. Surely a name worthy of Gilbert and Sullivan.

I was lunching one day at the Pretoria Club when Bennet Burleigh, the well-known war correspondent, told me that he had just lost the services of his dispatch rider and asked me to recommend him a good daring rider and first-class bushman to take his place. All through life I have found that trifles often have serious consequences. I just happened, on my way to the club, to have seen crossing the square Morant, otherwise Corporal Buller, of the South Australian Contingent. I had not seen him for some considerable time. I bethought myself at once that Morant would be just the man to fit the billet. If I had not happened to see him I should certainly not have thought of him and Morant’s career might have been a very different one. I told Burleigh that Morant was a gentleman, a good rider and bushman, and I didn’t think he personally feared anything. Burleigh thanked me and offered to take him at once. Next morning Morant became his dispatch rider.

Occasionally, after this, during the advance to Koomatipoort, Morant would turn up and pay me a visit. He usually arrived with a bundle of any old newspapers he could get, which he very gravely and without a smile handed over to me, hoping that they would be very welcome. But there was a look in his eye that I knew well. “Have a whisky and soda, Morant?” I’d say. “Well, sir, I don’t think it would be so bad. I would like one very much.” He would then settle himself down comfortably, light his pipe and start to tell me all sorts of bits of news that had come his way. I often had but a few minutes to give him and had to leave him in possession, telling him to look after himself and be happy. Which he did. 259

He was well pleased with his job, looked a typical war correspondent himself, and was making good money. I heard no more until, some months later, I received a note from him from England telling me that he had been taking a short holiday and was returning to South Africa. He was joining a friend of his, Major Hunt, and they proposed to raise an irregular corps on their arrival. The corps was raised, the “Bushveldt Carabiniers.” This corps had nothing whatever to do with Australia. Nor could Morant himself lay any claim to being Australian. The corps was raised from Colonials and British, chiefly out of a job, then in South Africa. They appear to have had somewhat of a free hand in the operations which marked the latter portion of the campaign. Drives were taking place. Units were scattered, and to a certain extent had to be left to their own devices. The Bushveldt Carabiniers occupied for some time a wild region called The Splonken. While dealing with the Boers in that locality Major Hunt had, so it was officially reported, been murdered by the Boers, having been induced to approach a farm house on which a white flag was flying. The story goes that he was found lying dead on the stoep of the farm and that his body had been mutilated. Morant swore to avenge his friend’s untimely end—it was reported that he had become engaged to Hunt’s sister during his visit to England. He determined to give no quarter, and several prisoners who fell into his hands were promptly shot there and then. He and four other officers were, later on, in January, 1902, court-martialled on the charge of having personally committed or been accessory to the murder of twelve Boers. The five were found guilty, in different degrees. Handcock, Wilton and Morant were sentenced to death, and Morant was shot at Pretoria.

I am in a position to give a short account of Morant’s last hours. When crossing over in the ss. Surrey from South Australia a man called John Morrow, who had been my groom for a couple of years in Adelaide, had become 260 a close friend of Morant’s. It was difficult to say why. Practically the only thing they had in common was their love for horseflesh. Morrow was quite an uneducated man. Morant was the opposite. Still, friends they were. When the Police Force for the protection of Pretoria was raised the majority of the men selected came from the Australians, and Morrow was one of them. Later on he had been appointed one of the warders at the jail. As bad fortune would have it, he was given charge of Morant and was with him the evening before he was shot. I had a long letter from Morrow, later on, enclosing a photograph of the officers concerned, which had been taken, evidently, about the time that the corps was raised. On the back of it was written in pencil: “Dear Jack. To-morrow morning I die. My love to my pals in Australia.—Morant.” It was probable that these were the last words that Morant wrote. Morant died as he had lived. He faced his end bravely. 261


Part III




On my arrival at Adelaide I at last resumed my duties as Commandant after three and a half years’ absence. The Government of South Australia did me the honour to promote me to the rank of brigadier-general, and the Governor informed me that I had received the Companionship of the Order of the Bath for my services in South Africa.

The Act to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia received the Royal assent on June 10, 1900. The provisions that had been considered in framing it had received lengthy and most careful consideration on the part of the colonies concerned. There had been no hurry and no unnecessary speeding up. The history of each of the colonies tells us that they had always worked on constitutional lines, and that they had not been slow in adopting measures which had proved of benefit and a credit to those who first put them on the statute books. No point that might create serious discussion, or mar the initial success of the Commonwealth had been overlooked. The ablest brains of all the colonies had worked in unison, a great achievement in these days of selfishness and personal greed.

Everything was in readiness. The elections for the Commonwealth Parliament took place, and the first Government was formed. Sir William Lyne was then Premier of the Mother State. He was charged with the formation of the first Ministry, but was not successful in his task. The responsibility then fell upon the shoulders of Sir Edmund Barton, who gathered round him what 264 was at the time called “the Ministry of all the Talents.” The Premier of practically every State was included. Then came March 1, 1901, when the actual constitutional functions of the Commonwealth started. For some time previously, in fact even before the Act had received Royal assent, the question who was to hold the all-important appointment of Governor-General had been exercising the public mind. In Australia itself there seemed to be only one opinion. The Earl of Hopetoun was easily favourite.

It may be safely said that no Governor of any of the Australian colonies up to that time had so successfully represented the Throne. Those who were in Melbourne on his arrival when he became Governor of Victoria well remember a man of somewhat light build, middle height, pale, clean-shaven, youthful in appearance. A few minutes’ conversation with him satisfied one of his affable ways and genial disposition. There was nothing hard in his features, but the lines about the lower part of his face would set firmly and resolutely when required, while his eyes, when looking at you straight in the face, left no doubt of his strength of character. A man of parts, a keen sportsman and a reliable personal friend. From the very first day of his arrival both his charming countess and himself won the hearts of the people. One may almost say that it was love at first sight, if this phrase can be applied to popular feeling. The outward signs of the approval spontaneously given to the appointment ripened during his term of office into personal affection, which was returned by both the holders of the high office, and became deeper with each year of their stay in Melbourne. The sister colonies were not slow in appreciating the good opinion formed of him by the Victorians. Whenever he visited the neighbouring Governors he received splendid welcome. When his term of office expired and he returned home he carried with him the good wishes of all. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that his appointment 265 as the first Governor-General was looked upon as a most desirable one.

The Government had decided that the Governor-General’s first landing in Australia should be at the capital of the Mother Colony, New South Wales, and it had been arranged that the then flagship of the naval squadron in Australia, the Orlando, should meet the mail steamer on which Their Excellencies were travelling, at Adelaide, and convey them to Sydney Harbour. I remember well the morning the steamer arrived at Adelaide. We had heard by cable from Western Australia that His Excellency was anything but well, but we were not prepared to see him looking so ill. It was with difficulty that he was transferred to the Orlando, and we wondered whether he would recover sufficiently to take his part in the arduous functions ahead of him. However, though always somewhat on the delicate side, he was full of grit and determination, and, when the time came, he was able to fulfil all his obligations, much to the delight of everybody.

Sydney had surpassed itself in the arrangements to celebrate the unique occasion. I don’t remember ever seeing decorations so profuse or in such good taste. The whole of the principal streets were a mass of colour. Venetian masts lined the pavements at short intervals. Endless festoons of evergreens and flowers crossed overhead. Balconies and windows were swathed in bunting and flags; thousands of electric lamps lit up the decorations and made the city a blaze of light. What shall I say for the Harbour? Looking towards this from the roof garden of a club in Macquarie Street it was a sight to be remembered but difficult to describe. The surface of the water, smooth as oil, dark as the overhanging sky, reflected every one of the myriad lights on the ships resting on its surface, and the houses lining the foreshores. Endless ferry-boats, like things of fire alive, rushed hither and thither. And when the great display of fireworks began, and hundreds of rockets rose from ship and shore, 266 there seemed to be no harbour water, for the reflections of the roaring rockets were seen apparently to dive into the earth.

The day of the “Proclamation” came. A bright and sunny morning, followed by a real hot day. The route of the procession was over four miles long. Immense crowds lined the streets, and all available space in the great Centennial Park was covered with people. What a day to remember! The Commonwealth of Australia became an actual fact. All the aspirations and all the desires of the colonies to be one and united were consummated on that day. What a future lies before it! Before its twentieth birthday it has made history of which any young nation may well be proud.

The next and most important function, namely, the opening of the first Commonwealth Parliament by H.R.H. the Duke of York, accompanied by the Duchess (their present Majesties), took place in Melbourne. Their Royal Highnesses, as may be remembered, travelled to Australia in the Ophir. Melbourne was not to be outdone in enthusiasm or loyalty. She vied hard with Sydney to make herself worthy of the occasion, and well she did it. But, somehow, she seemed to lack variety in effect. This I put down—I may be wrong—to the fact that Melbourne is a newer city than picturesque old Sydney, and that, of course, Melbourne does not possess Sydney’s harbour. The whole of the royal functions in Melbourne, as well as those that took place in the individual States, during the visits of their Royal Highnesses, were carried out with complete success.

The Duke took the keenest interest in everything, and insisted on getting information on manifold points of detail. I may refer to a case in point. At that time the South African War was still on, but numbers of soldiers had returned to Australia, amongst them many who had been granted commissions while serving in South Africa. Some of the men were members of the Permanent Forces 267 before the war. As these forces were limited in number, there were no vacancies to employ them as officers on their return, so it had been decided by the Government that if they chose they could rejoin, reverting to the rank of non-commissioned officers they had held previously, and be granted the honorary rank of their grade on relinquishing their appointment. The men concerned were by no means satisfied, and the matter came before the notice of His Royal Highness.

Just before the Ophir left Adelaide on the return journey to Western Australia I was sent for on board. His Royal Highness asked me to explain to him the position of these men. He strongly objected to the action that had been taken, with the obvious result that the question was adjusted by the Government quite satisfactorily. The chief officials of the Commonwealth had been appointed, namely, the Governor-General, the Prime Minister and the members of the Government. The Members of both Houses of Parliament had been elected, had taken the oath of allegiance, and were in session. The three chief departments, which were automatically to be taken over by the Government from the States were: first, the Defence Forces; secondly, the Customs Department; thirdly, the postal services. As regarded the customs and the post office, these services had been, in each State, under the able administration of competent civil servants. The task set for the Government was simply the selection of chiefs from amongst the officials of the existing State departments considered best fitted for the position.

The selection of an officer for the position of Commander-in-Chief of the Commonwealth forces was quite a different matter. While the general organization of the forces of the individual colonies had been run on somewhat similar lines, there were many anomalies to be eradicated and many difficult problems to be solved. The seniority and other claims of the whole of the officers employed on 268 the permanent staffs of the different States had first to be taken into consideration in the military reorganization. This task alone necessitated much care and thought in view of the many fairly well paid positions that would be at the disposal of the Commander-in-Chief. Then the inauguration and organization of the central administrative offices and State commands. Further, and all-important, the preparation of the estimates for the yearly expenditure at the disposal of the Commander-in-Chief, for on this naturally depended the establishment to be maintained. Last and not least, a man possessing the thorough confidence of the Government, an officer of high repute, with much tact, was required. At times when I had been riding across the veldt in South Africa with General Hutton we had spoken of the coming Federation of the Australian colonies. He was always watching the news from Australia. When it was evident that the Act of Parliament initiating the Commonwealth would receive the Royal assent I became quite satisfied that Hutton had settled in his own mind to be the first Commander-in-Chief. As far as I remember Hutton first came to the front in the operations in Egypt, when he made a special study of mounted infantry. He was a firm believer in the usefulness of this—then—new branch of the service. Later on, when he was appointed Commandant in New South Wales, he found at hand the very material to train as mounted riflemen. Australians, as we all know, are excellent horsemen and first-class shots. The nature of the country, with the probable forms of attack to which it might be subjected, lends itself to their use as mounted riflemen rather than as cavalry. While Commandant in New South Wales he devoted much of his energy towards the training of the mounted troops in this direction. An able soldier, firm in purpose—somewhat too firm sometimes—he did not spare himself in the interests of his men. Fortunately for him he was the happy possessor of considerable private means, which, needless to say, helps 269 towards independence. But what about tact? During his term as Commandant in Sydney he had several differences with those in power. That he did not always succeed in getting his own way goes without saying. But at any rate when he left New South Wales the forces of that State were certainly more efficient than when he took over the command. His experiences afterwards in Canada were undoubtedly of value to him, though it would appear that an unfortunate disagreement between himself and the Ministers there led to his resignation of that appointment. Owing to these two former appointments, and to his having had the command of the Overseas Brigade in South Africa, it was evident that his claims to be the first Commander-in-Chief in Australia would receive consideration. The first Minister of Defence appointed by the Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton, was the Hon. Mr. Dickson, a Queenslander, who unfortunately died within ten days of his appointment.

Sir John Forrest, who was afterwards raised to the peerage, and who since died while on his way home to take his seat in the House of Lords, took Mr. Dickson’s place as Minister of Defence. I remember quite well dining with him one night in Melbourne when he asked me what would I think if Hutton were appointed Commander-in-Chief. I told him that it wasn’t so much what I thought, rather that, as he knew him personally pretty well himself, what did he think? He answered that he thought it would be all right. “Well,” I said, “you know best. It’s you, as Minister, that’ll have to battle with him.”

“I won’t quarrel with him. It takes two to make a quarrel.”

“All right,” I said. “I presume, from what you’ve told me, that the appointment is practically made. Time alone will tell.” General Hutton was appointed, and within nine months the relations between him and Sir John became, to say the least of it, more than strained. 270

Next in order of importance as regarded appointments was, to my mind, that of private secretary to the Governor-General. If there is an office that requires consummate tact, knowledge and even-minded temperament, commend me to that of private secretary to a Governor-General. In his case Lord Hopetoun was fully satisfied to avail himself of the services of Captain Wallington, with whom he was already intimately acquainted. Captain Wallington had served in the capacity of private secretary to several Governors. I wonder, if he happens to read these lines, whether he will agree with me that perhaps during his long term of office he enjoyed the quiet days he spent in Adelaide with Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, who was then Governor, as much as any of his time in other colonies. Captain Wallington, now Sir Edward, must forgive me if I remind him of the soubriquet by which his personal friends knew him—“Better not.” All his friends rejoice in the fact that he is now filling a very high position of trust and enjoying the best of health.

I have been following, if you have noticed, the sequence of appointments which it devolved upon the Government to make in initiating the Commonwealth. I will continue this plan as regards the senior positions under the Commander-in-Chief. At the time of General Hutton’s arrival the commands in the several States were held by the following officers:

New South Wales: Major-General French (late) Royal Artillery.

Victoria: Sir Charles Holled Smith’s term of office as Commandant had expired shortly before the inauguration of Federation, and the post was held by my old friend General Downes, who, on his retirement finally from the South Australian Command, had settled in Melbourne, and had been requested by the Victorian Government to take on the duties of Commandant temporarily. 271

Queensland: Major-General Finn, seconded from the 21st Hussars.

South Australia: I was still Commandant.

Western Australia: Colonel Francis.

Tasmania: Colonel Legge, (late) Royal Artillery.

Pending the expiration of the terms of service of Generals French and Finn in New South Wales and Queensland the first important vacancy to be filled was that of Commandant of Victoria, held temporarily by General Downes. This was offered to me and I accepted it. When the appointment was announced Kingston was the first to send for me to congratulate me. I felt, indeed, short of words to thank him for what he had done for me. I owed so much of my success to him. He was kind enough to say “that he could honestly assure me that if my work had not been satisfactory I would not have had his support and that of his colleagues and Parliament; that he was sorry I was leaving South Australia, and he would prophesy still higher promotion for me in the future.”

These words, coupled with the fact that I was once more to follow my old friend General Downes’s footsteps and occupy his chair as Commandant of Victoria, set me thinking.

I certainly could not follow General Downes again to higher positions; his retirement from active military work was final. It was useless to seek for a second “vision,” but it was in my power to renew the resolution I made years previously, and, remembering Gordon of Khartoum’s maxim, “Never allow your pleasure to interfere with your duty,” I fully determined there and then not to rest until I had reached the highest position in the military forces of the Commonwealth, and justified Kingston’s prophecy.

On being elected to the Federal Parliament Kingston severed his connexion with the South Australian Government. It was not long before he made his mark as a 272 member of the Federal Cabinet. The influence of his strong personality, his high attainments and sincere belief in the splendid future of the young Commonwealth, marked him as a coming Prime Minister. When this reward seemed to be within his grasp a serious illness overtook him. After a long spell of enforced idleness he returned to Parliament. He was a changed man. His constitution had been impaired beyond recovery. A relapse followed which resulted fatally. A great man cut off in the prime of his life—regretted by all—a loss to the Commonwealth. 273



My wife and I took up our residence in Melbourne, securing a comfortable house not far from “The Grange,” which had been the official home of the Commandant of Melbourne in the earlier days and was then occupied by General Hutton.

Four years of steady, solid work followed, during which General Hutton laid the foundations for a sound organization of the future forces of the Commonwealth. Contingents of Federal Troops were raised, trained and dispatched to South Africa. It was a time worth living for from an official point of view.

Two special occasions are worth noting: one the presentation of colours to the units which had taken part in the South African War, and the other the visit of the Japanese Fleet. With regard to the former, King Edward, ever ready to recognize the services of those who had joined the armies to fight for the Empire, presented Colours to such units of the mounted Commonwealth Forces which had sent volunteers to the war. The Colours had arrived in Melbourne, and Colour parties from the units concerned throughout the Commonwealth were ordered to assemble in Melbourne for the presentation ceremony. A parade of the metropolitan troops took place at Albert Park. It was an inspiring sight, the first practical recognition the troops had received of the services they and their comrades had so well and so readily given for the Empire. This occasion marked only the beginning of the enthusiasm which the thoughtful action of His Majesty created throughout the Commonwealth. The 274 Colours, so dearly valued by the recipients, were welcomed not only by the soldiers but also by the residents of the districts to which they belonged.

I hardly feel inclined to enter into the question of the visit of the Japanese Fleet, either from a political or from a diplomatic point of view. At the time when it took place there was no Anglo-Japanese Treaty. The naval German base in north-eastern Papua was not established. Unquestionably the peril to Australia of attack by Japan existed. Upon what grounds the Japanese decided to send their fleet in force to Australia it is difficult to imagine. The Japanese Government must have been fully aware of the fact that Japan was a menace to Australia. What was their object in proposing to pay a visit which was to bring them within the territorial waters of a country which naturally looked upon them as a possible enemy nation? I have failed to get any information on this subject.

Whether the Japanese Government approached the Government of Australia in the matter has never been made public. The fact remains that their fleet did arrive in Australian waters, that all possible courtesy was tendered to them, and that they were given every opportunity to learn much about Australia and its social and economic conditions, and to become personally acquainted with its ports and harbours. The visit of the Japanese Fleet was not popular with the public at large. The Japanese have never been personæ gratæ to Australians. Still, when they arrived they were received in an honest, friendly way.

A very interesting point arose with reference to their visit. We were at the time about to hold a review of the metropolitan military forces in Melbourne by the Governor-General, and it was suggested to me, as Commandant, that the Japanese admiral should be invited to send units under his command to take part thereat. It was my duty to point out to the Commander-in-Chief that there existed 275 an international custom that no troops of a foreign nation were allowed to land under arms on British soil. As a matter of fact, I believe this rule applies to all European nations.

In my mind I doubted whether an invitation to the Japanese Admiral to send units to take part in the review under the command of—to them—an alien officer, and to appear without arms, would be acceptable. The invitation, however, was sent, and an answer was received to the effect that the Admiral would be glad to avail himself of it, provided his men would be allowed to carry their arms. It then became necessary to obtain the approval of the home authorities to permit them to do so. Approval was given. The review duly took place, and some four thousand Japanese sailors and marines took part in it. I think I am right in stating that this was the first time that a British officer commanded troops of a foreign country under arms in time of peace on British soil.

General Hutton’s term of office was nearing its end. For some time previously a movement had been started to make a radical alteration in the organization of the forces. Its object was to do away with the position of Commander-in-Chief and substitute a small Army Council, assisted by a Military Board. This was following in the footsteps of what had already taken place at home, where the post of Commander-in-Chief had been abolished on the expiration of Lord Wolseley’s term of office and the Army Council constituted.

Personally I was against the proposed change. From my point of view I looked upon it as a risky experiment. The reorganization of the military forces was still in progress and a master-mind with full responsibility was necessary to complete it. Further, the proposed constitution of a small Army Council and Military Board did not seem to me to be advisable. My objections were chiefly with reference to the constitution and duties laid down 276 for the Military Board. I submitted a memorandum on the subject.

The experience I had gained while I held the appointment of Military Adviser to the Australian Colonies, 1897-99, had taught me how impossible it would be in time of war, or even in anticipation of a war, to obtain supplies of warlike stores for Australia, not only from the Continent of Europe (whence at that time even the Home Government had to import many essential requirements, such as searchlights), but from England itself. No further example of this need be quoted than the one given by me with reference to the scarcity of small-arm ammunition at the time of the declaration of war against South Africa.

I had determined therefore that on my return to Australia I would set myself the task of establishing an Australian arsenal and an explosive factory.

The advent of the Boer War and afterwards the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia necessarily postponed any practical action. However, on taking up my duties as Commandant of Victoria under the Commonwealth Government, I commenced to school public opinion in favour of becoming self-supporting in a matter so intimately and seriously affecting the material interests and welfare of its people. As regarded the arsenal, Australia possessed every ingredient required for the manufacture of every nature of gun, from a 9.2 to a maxim, from .303 rifle and bayonet to a service revolver. Coal, iron ore, copper, wood, tin, zinc were there in plenty.

Railway engines, agricultural implements, mining machinery were all being manufactured locally. Why not guns, mountings, rifles, and so on? Practically similar conditions applied to explosives.

The change from the Martini-Henry to the .303 Lee-Metford, and later on from the long to the short Lee-Metford, left Australia in a sad plight. It was some years before the Home Government were able to supply the orders sent from Australia. All through that time the 277 local forces and rifle club members suffered from inability to obtain up-to-date rifles. As a few thousands of the new rifles arrived they were issued to the partially-paid force, and their discarded ones were passed on to the volunteers, and finally, when actually worn out, to the members of the rifle clubs, who mostly hung them up as trophies of a past era over their mantle-pieces at their homes, and bought up-to-date match rifles at their own expense.

The situation was becoming grave; discontent was rife; interest in rifle shooting was waning fast. The time had come for a determined effort to force the Government to take action.

One of many curious facts which it is difficult to account for is the apathy which often takes hold of a Government when a plain businesslike proposition is put before them. My long experience in dealing with Colonial Governments had taught me that the surest way of achieving one’s object was to take into one’s confidence the leaders of the Opposition for the time being, convince them of the soundness and merits of the proposal, and induce them to adopt the scheme as a plank of their own policy. Those in power generally resented the Opposition’s interference, and at times just out of “sheer cussedness,” refused to move in the matter at issue, forgetting that more than probably in a few months they themselves would be sitting disconsolate and minus their Ministerial salaries on the Opposition benches, while their late opponents scored heavily by quickly giving effect to the proposals they themselves had, through that “sheer cussedness,” failed to adopt in the interests of the country. Considering how short-lived Cabinets were in the early years of Federation, there was little risk, if any, in carrying out the above plan.

As a very heavy expenditure would have to be incurred in establishing an arsenal, small arms and explosives factory, it was incumbent on me to prove to the Government that such an expenditure was not only justifiable from a 278 national insurance point of view but that it could be made actually a money-saving proposition, apart from the fact that, by utilizing Australian products and labour, as well as local inventive talent, all the money spent would remain in the country instead of passing on into the hands of strangers.

In order to ascertain the probable expenditure of a plant capable of turning out from thirty to forty thousand rifles per annum, I personally arranged for confidential agents to make thorough inquiries in England, America and Germany, and while awaiting their report to me I gave my attention to the selection of a suitable site.

The coal mining town of Lithgow, situated some eighty miles west of Sydney, possessed so many advantages that my choice was soon made. Leaving Sydney, the plain extends as far as Penrith, which lies at the foot of a high range happily named the Blue Mountains. The train which serves the western districts climbs its way to Katoomba and Mount Victoria, the highest point, through wonderfully picturesque scenery, and then descends rapidly to low levels, emerging at the town of Lithgow, a branch line connecting it with the southern railways system via Blayney and Young. The coal deposits at Lithgow are extensive; large fields of iron ore are available at no great distance further west. Iron and steel works on a big scale were in process of being established. Every consideration pointed to the suitability of the site, and, as a matter of fact, no voice was raised against it.

Later on I received the reports of my agents. Those from Germany were unsatisfactory. A close examination of the English and American estimates of cost showed that the English prices were exorbitant, and, in addition, the time-limit I had set for the delivery of and setting up the machinery at Lithgow, namely, eighteen months, could not be guaranteed by the English firms.

Armed now with full information, I submitted the proposal to the Government, the Minister for Defence at the 279 time being my old acquaintance, Mr. Playford, from South Australia.

The Press and the leaders of the Opposition supported the proposal, and the Government went so far as to approve of inquiries being instituted by the Defence Department as to the probable cost and other points of importance. Mr. Playford appointed one of our officers then in England to co-operate with the High Commissioner for the purpose. I had not deemed it necessary to inform Mr. Playford of my private inquiries, simply pointing out to him that in my opinion the factory could be established at a satisfactory figure.

Probably through lack of sufficient experience, the result of the inquiries by the officer selected was a report as to cost which practically damned the proposition. Mr. Playford was annoyed that I had so insistently expressed my opinion that the cost would not be prohibitory, and, as he put it in his curt way, he told me I had practically made a fool of him. I did not allow myself to be put out by his rudeness, as General Owen had done, but smiled and asked him if the Government had decided to turn the proposal down definitely. If so I would be obliged if he could let me have an official minute to that effect, as I had another course to suggest for his consideration. On receipt of his minute I requested a further interview with him. My new proposal was that I was prepared to give up my appointment and establish the factory myself, provided the Government agreed to take 20,000 rifles a year for seven years at the price which we were then paying the War Office, and that at the end of the seven years the Government could take the concern over at a valuation if they so desired. This offer I put in writing and I let it be widely known that I had made it.

Mr. Playford was once more annoyed. He could not understand how it could pay me to throw up my career to undertake a job which his advisers had reported upon so adversely. If he had been let down by them, my offer 280 accepted, and I scored a success, what opinion would the public form of him? In order to avoid falling between two stools he decided to recommend to the Government to call for tenders throughout the world. I had impressed upon him that this was essential in order to test the bona fides of the tenderers. Tenders were called for. I had gained my point, for I knew that if the confidential reports of my agents were fairly correct, the amount of the American tenders would be close on 50 per cent. lower than any others, as no European country, bar England and Germany, was in a position to undertake the order. I accordingly then informed Mr. Playford of my views on the matter and patiently waited for the day when the tenders were due. I shall not forget Mr. Playford’s chagrin when he found that my forecast had been verified to the letter. If I remember correctly the American lowest tender was some £97,000, the lowest English one some £140,000. As the tenderers were a well-known firm of high standing in the United States (contractors to their Government) their offer was accepted and the factory was established at Lithgow.

I had been successful all round, and scored at last off Playford.

General Hutton left Australia; the Army Council and Military Board were established. General Finn, a cavalry officer, who, at the time of the inauguration of the Commonwealth in 1901 was Commandant of Queensland, and had afterwards succeeded General French as Commandant in New South Wales, was appointed Inspector-General. General Hoad became Chief of the General Staff and Senior Member of the Military Board.

My term of office as Commandant of Victoria expired. I was offered the command of “The Mother State,” New South Wales, which became vacant on the appointment of General Finn as Inspector-General. I accepted. It was one more step to my final goal. 281



Shortly after I took up the command in New South Wales an incident occurred which gave the first real impetus to the serious consideration and final adoption by the Government of the system of universal service as proposed by me eleven years before when Commandant in Adelaide. I had arranged to read a paper to my officers in New South Wales. Owing to the fact that our own military institute was not sufficiently large to accommodate them we had made arrangements to hire one of the big public halls, and we had decided to ask the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Alderman Allan Taylor, to take the chair and to send invitations to many of the chief citizens to be present. My object in reading this paper was to push on the question of universal service. The title I had selected for the lecturette was, “What has Australia done for the Australians, and What are Australians doing for Australia?” After I had finished the Lord Mayor made a few remarks with reference to the subject at issue and concluded by moving a vote of thanks. This was really outside our practice at the institute. I thanked the Lord Mayor for his kind remarks, and in quite a colloquial way said that it was distressing to go round the public parks about Sydney on holidays and Saturday afternoons and see thousands of young men sitting on fences smoking cigarettes, content to loaf and look on while a few men played games. It happened that the previous Saturday had been the last day of one of the cricket Test Matches, against England played at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The attendance thereat had been enormous, as usual—some 282 thirty-five thousand people. The next morning I was astonished when I got the morning papers to see the following headings: “The Citizens of Sydney insulted.... Forty thousand loafers at the Sydney Cricket Ground. So says our new Commandant, General Gordon.”

Then followed a statement to the effect that while addressing the officers under his command and many eminent citizens the evening before, the general had stated that on the previous Saturday he had been present at the Sydney Cricket Ground and had seen thousands of loafers whose time would have been far better taken up if they had been devoting it to fitting themselves for the defence of their country, and that they (the newspaper reporters) considered it a very undeserved reflection on the thousands who were watching the big tussle at the Test Match.

Knowing full well that these headings would have been telegraphed to the Press throughout Australia and have appeared therein that same morning, I at once wired to the Military Board, for the information of the Minister, to the effect that the newspaper reports were inaccurate. I was reported also to have stated that I had ready for the consideration of the Government a scheme which would form the basis upon which to found a system of universal service. This latter part of their report was correct. I had made that statement. I had prepared the scheme in Adelaide eleven years before.

Shortly after sending my wire to the Military Board I received one from them drawing my attention to the Press reports and requesting an explanation as to their correctness as regarded the “thousands of loafers,” and further desiring to be informed if the statement as to the scheme for universal service was accurate, and, if so, instructing me to forward it for the information of the Minister by the first post. My own telegram, which had crossed theirs, had answered their first question. With reference to the second I notified them that the scheme 283 would be posted that afternoon. I can reproduce here the actual document which I sent down. It read as follows:

SCHEME for the defence of the Commonwealth of Australia, based on the recognition by the citizens of the Commonwealth of the personal responsibility on the part of one and all to prepare themselves in time of peace so as to enable them to bear their share of the burden of the protection of the Commonwealth and Empire in time of war.



It is submitted that:

(a) The national growth of a nation depends on the recognition of the personal responsibility of that nation’s citizens to develop her industrial and commercial interests and the integrity thereof.

(b) In the present economic conditions of a young nation such as Australia (an island continent containing an area of practically one-third of the British Empire whose population totals only some five millions of inhabitants), it is not considered advisable or even practicable to establish and maintain a standing army of sufficient strength to enable the nation to put its trust for its protection on such a standing army and, thereby, relieve the rest of its male inhabitants from the responsibility of service in case of an invasion.

The maintenance of such a standing army would, it is urged, be a direct loss, as it would severely cripple the best interests of the economic development of the nation in time of peace, specially in the early years of the nation’s growth, and it would entail an expenditure not justifiable under such circumstances.

(c) On the other hand, it is contested that, if a system of training every young man can be devised:

1stly, To have a sound mind in a sound body;

2ndly, To submit to military discipline;

3rdly, To shoot straight;


4thly, To learn sufficient drill to enable him to fulfil his duties in the ranks with such knowledge and intelligence as will give him the necessary confidence in himself; 284 and that system is so carried out that it does not interfere in any way with the industrial, professional, or commercial avocations of such young men, then the foundation will be laid of a national defence force based on the highest principles of citizenship which will be of the greatest value for home defence or to fight away from her shores in the interests of the Empire.



The system aims at securing for every young man:

1st, A sound mind in a sound body;

2nd, A disciplined mind;

3rd, The ability to shoot straight;


4th, A sufficient knowledge of drill to give him confidence in the field.

The first requirement—that of securing “a sound mind in a sound body”—can only be successfully accomplished by a very carefully thought out and progressive method of training the mental and physical qualities of our boys from the time when they first go to school. The training of the youthful minds may be safely left to the Education Departments; it is necessarily commensurate with the individual capabilities of the boys.

The physical training can be accomplished, and is already so accomplished in certain schools, by a progressive system of physical culture. There is no difficulty in providing a manual of physical culture for boys which shall be progressive and uniform in character, and which can be taught in all schools by the teachers themselves; in fact, one has been already prepared at my suggestion by Mr. Weber, Melbourne.

The second requirement—that of securing “a disciplined mind.” Here again it is essential to commence to instil the principles which form a disciplined mind as early as possible in the boy’s early youth. Self-denial, obedience to the orders of their superiors, and respect and affection for their elders, are perhaps the most important of these principles.

This task may again be safely left to the officers of the Education Department.

It will be seen, therefore, that the first two requirements may be obtained by a system, as advocated above, to be imparted to all boys in their early youth by those who are charged with their elementary education, and it is urged that such system should be 285 uniform and form part of the school curriculum, the teachers being required to qualify to impart the necessary instruction.

The third requirement—“the ability to shoot straight.” Here again the earlier in life a boy is taught to handle firearms safely the more probable it will be that he will become a straight shot in his manhood.

In this respect it is pointed out that such instruction could not be expected, except, in some cases, to be given by the teachers, who could not reasonably be called upon to qualify themselves to teach the use of the rifle as experts. It therefore becomes necessary that qualified instructors should be provided to attend all schools and superintend personally the training of such boys as shall prove their capabilities to be trusted in the actual use of the rifle with ball cartridge.

It will be seen that it is only in the attainment of this third requirement that an extra expenditure to that now incurred is required by the employment of expert instructors.

Now for the fourth requirement—“a sufficient knowledge of drill to give a man confidence in the field.”

In this respect it is well to give such statistics as are available in order to grasp thoroughly the nature of difficulties that have to be encountered in achieving the object aimed at.

It is submitted that the statistics available for the State of New South Wales apply equally to the other States of the Commonwealth pro rata of their population.

In New South Wales in December, 1904, there were:

17,467 male children between the ages of 12 and 13

Of the above number of male children the following were attending schools:

Total.Out of
12 and 13 years12,6503,16015,81017,467

It is evident that the falling off of 50 per cent. at the age of 14-15 years and of 75 per cent. at 15-16 years proves that the schools cannot and are not to be depended upon as the training ground of the nation’s boyhood beyond the age of 14-15 years; and 286 that at the very time when that training would be naturally expected, if continued, to reach the most satisfactory results, namely, from 15 to 18 years of age, the boys are removed from the schools, in natural compliance with the demands of the economic conditions of citizenship in the nation, and that unless some satisfactory means is devised to compulsorily compel those boys who have left school to continue to be trained up to the age of at least 19 years, the earliest age at which young men may be considered capable of undergoing the bodily fatigue necessary to give them sufficient knowledge of such drill as will ensure that confidence in the field so essential to success as a fighting unit, it would appear evident that the foundation previously laid by the attainment of the first and second requirements as a whole, and the third requirement in part, will remain a foundation only, and the superstructure thereon will not be completed.

It is on the above grounds that it is contested that the cadet system, as popularly understood, is not considered to be reliable as a solution to the fulfilment of the requirements laid down for the training of a citizen soldier.

It is now pointed out that it is reasonable to argue that:

1st. It may be considered equally undesirable to compel boys from 15 to 19 years of age as to compel young men from 18 to 23 years of age to be partially trained.

2ndly. It will hardly be denied that the partial training of young men from 18 to 25 years of age in the field will give better results than the training of boys from 15 to 19 years of age, and on these premises it is urged that, to attain the fourth requirement, all young men from 18 to 25 should be partially trained, and thereby build on the foundation laid down by the attainment of the 1st and 2nd requirements and part of the third.

But, can some practical means be suggested which will maintain the boys’ interest in their work during the gap made by the period taken from the time that a boy leaves school and that when he reaches the age of 18, without interfering with the performance of those duties of his civil life for which he may be preparing himself?

The following suggestion is submitted, namely, the establishment in all centres of population of public gymnasia for the training in physical culture, and that rifle shooting by means of miniature ranges, and, further, the imposing upon those who employ lads up to 18 years of age, the obligation of enabling such lads to 287 attend a course of instruction during each year at these gymnasia at such times as may be deemed advisable, provided such training is not made irksome to the lads themselves or detrimental to their employers’ interests or their own.



The scheme proposed therefore comprises:

1st. A general uniform system of mental and physical culture in all schools up to the time when the boy leaves school.

2ndly. The scientific training necessary to develop a disciplined mind in all schools.

The above to be under the direct supervision of the Education Departments.

3rdly. The teaching of schoolboys to shoot straight under expert supervision.

4thly. The establishment of public gymnasia for the training in physical culture and rifle shooting up to 18 years for lads who have left school.

5thly. Universal annual partial training in drill, also the special encouragement of all manly sports without interference with their civil occupations.

And finally, the formation of rifle clubs for all citizens between 25 and 60 years of age throughout the Commonwealth, with the fullest facilities for the encouragement of rifle shooting.

This my scheme was adopted in its entirety. A study of the Act of Parliament instituting it will show that the whole of the provisions suggested above were fully met.

But to return to the consequences of the Press reports. I had called upon the editors to contradict the statements attributed to me as regarded the loafing on the cricket ground, but pointed out at the same time that I had fully meant what I had said with reference to the great waste of time and the failure on the part of thousands of young men to fit themselves for the defence of their country, owing to the absence of some form of legislation which would make it necessary for them to devote some of their time to the development of their physical and moral welfare. 288 The Press, as a whole, fully acquitted me of any intentional desire to call those who had attended the Test Match loafers. They also assured me that they were in full agreement with my remarks otherwise, and with the end such remarks had in view, that they fully intended to start a campaign with a view of bringing about the necessary legislation for universal service on the lines suggested by me, and would not rest until that object was achieved. This they accomplished.

As is now well known, by an Act of Parliament in 1909 the principle of the universal liability for all males from 12 to 25 years of age to be trained for military service was made law for the first time in any English-speaking community, and I was more than satisfied that my personal views which I had held for so many years, ever since in South Australia, in 1895, I had prepared the first scheme for the approval of Charles Cameron Kingston, had actually become the law of the land.

Before leaving this subject I must give praise to those officers and citizens who, taking up the question at issue after the reading of my lecturette and the events which followed, formed the Defence League of Australia, and published a paper named The Call, which never once failed in unhesitatingly and most strenuously calling on Parliament, the citizens, and the Government of Australia to bring about the introduction of the Universal Service system. Its leading spirit was Colonel Gerald Campbell, of Moss Vale, a most energetic Volunteer officer.

An amusing incident occurred the night that I was entertained by some of my friends at the Union Club on taking up the command at Sydney. After dinner we played bridge. Mr. X, who had not been long married and had got into the habit of ’phoning home in the evenings that his business kept him in town, was asked to play at my table. His wife did not relish his rather constant absences and sternly refused to go to sleep until he returned home at night. This annoyed him much. Result, 289 some arguments when he reached home. On the night in question we played till about 3 A.M. “Surely,” thought Mr. X as he drove home, “the wife will be asleep to-night.” Very silently he entered his house, undressed, and opened the door of their bedroom. It was all lighted and his charming partner very much awake. Tableau!

“Now,” she said, “look at the clock—4 A.M. I am full up. You can leave this room, please.”

“No, my dear,” he answered her; “to-night was not my fault at all. You see, we gave a dinner to our new Commandant, General Gordon, and then we played bridge. I was asked to play at his table. The old man [sic!] would not go to bed, so I had to stay. So you see, I could not help myself.”

“That will do,” she answered. “You have told me many tarradiddles before; now you want to make an ignorant fool of me. Well, I am not one. I do happen to know that General Gordon is dead! Go away.” 290



Shortly after the initiation of the Universal Service system, the Government was met with the difficulty of providing the necessarily increasing cost. On the estimates being framed for the ensuing year it was found that the expenditure was somewhat heavier than had been anticipated. The Government had followed my advice so far and were quite prepared to urge Parliament to find the money, but they considered it would be most desirable to get the highest military opinion procurable to support them in doing so. How was this to be done? There was only one solution. I advised the Commonwealth Government to approach the Imperial Government with a view to their sending an Imperial officer of highest standing to report, whose opinion, if favourable to the system as inaugurated, would be of the greatest possible value in backing their demands for sufficient funds to meet all its requirements.

Lord Kitchener was selected by the War Office, instructed to visit Australia, make a thorough inspection, inquire fully into the progress made with the initiation of the system, report whether it was sound in principle and practice, and, if it met with his approval, suggest such modifications as he considered advisable.

Lord Kitchener arrived at Port Darwin on December 21, 1910. Advantage was taken of his visit by the Commonwealth Government, not only to obtain his opinion as to the merits or otherwise of the Universal Service scheme, but also a report upon the efficiency and the standard of training existing at the time in the Commonwealth 291 Forces. I was at the time Commandant of New South Wales.

I arranged for a camp of continuous training for the whole of our States’ field forces, to be held at the Liverpool Area from January 5-12 inclusive, and for the Garrison troops at their respective war stations.

As it may interest soldiers to see the nature of the work carried out during the camp, I quote from the “general idea” of the exercises the programmes of two days’ work:

Thursday, 6th January, 1910.

Field Force

1st Light Horse Brigade

(Manœuvre and Tactical Exercise)


BrigadierColonel J. M. Onslow.
Orderly OfficerCaptain E. W. R. Soane, V.D.
Brigade-MajorCaptain J. M. Arnott.
Instl. Staff Officer attachedCaptain R. C. Holman, D.S.O.
Intelligence Officers{Captain T. H. Kelly.
{Lieutenant Nordmann.


UnitsCommanding Officers
1st A.L.H. RegimentLieut.-Colonel C. F. Cox, C.B.
2nd A.L.H. RegimentMajor A. J. O. Thompson.
3rd A.L.H. RegimentLieut.-Colonel G. De. L. Ryrie.
No. 3 Battery, A.F.A.Major C. F. Warren.
No. 1 Field Troops, Corps of A.E.Captain E. V. T. Rowe.
Half No. 2 Company A.C. of SignallersLieutenant E. G. Donkin.
No. 1 Light Horse T. and S. ColumnMajor J. G. Tedder, V.D.
No. 1 Light Horse Field AmbulanceMajor W. M. Helsham.


UnitsCommanding Officer
No. 5 Squadron 1st A.L.H. Regt.}
No. 5 Squadron 2nd A.L.H. Regt.}
Captain C. D. Fuller


No. 3 Battery, A.F.A.5 rounds per gun, shrapnel.
10 rounds per gun, blank.
Pom-pom Guns25 rounds per gun.
Colt Machine Guns250 rounds per gun.
Small-Arm Ammunition25 rounds per rifle.


2nd L.H. Brigade—At disposal of Brigadier for Drill and Manœuvre.

1st Infantry Brigade—Brigade Drill and instruction in Manœuvre under Brigadier.


1st Light Horse Brigade

General Idea

A Northern Force (Brown), consisting of one L.H. Brigade, covering the detrainment of Troops at PARRAMATTA, reach LIVERPOOL at 10 P.M. on the night of the 5th January.

A Southern Hostile Force (White) of all arms is reported to have occupied APPIN.

Special Idea

(Reference-map of Liverpool Manœuvre Area)

During the night of 5th-6th January, the O.C. Brown L.H. Brigade received order to march at 9 A.M. on the 6th January by the right bank of the GEORGE’S RIVER and reconnoitre towards APPIN.


1. Reconnaissance and Screening Duties by the Light Horse.

2. Use of Artillery in checking the advance of hostile Infantry by long-range fire. (See Map No. 1—Target, Infantry advancing, marked 1.)

“Light Horse Manual,” '07, Sec. 299 et seq.
“F.S.R.,” Part 1, Chap. VI. and Chap. VII.
“F.A.T.,” '08, Chap. VIII.


Development of Attack

1. The advance to within long-range rifle fire.

2. The further advance to decisive fire positions.

3. The struggle for fire supremacy.

4. The assault.

(Map No. 1 for 2, Infantry entrenched, Target marked II.; for 3, Infantry on ridge, Target marked III.)

“F.S.R.,” Part 1, Chap. VII.
“Musketry Regs.,” '05, Sec. 110 et seq.
“F.A.T.,” '08, Chap. VIII.


The Pursuit

(Map No. 1, Infantry retreating. Target marked IV.)

“F.S.R.,” Part 1, Chap. VII.
“F.A.T.,” '08, Chap. VIII.

N.B.—Information as to the positions of the enemy (represented by targets) is to be gained by the patrols and scouts of the Brigade. No other information will be given.

Friday, 7th January, 1910.

Field Force



BrigadierColonel C. M. Ranclaud, V.D.
Orderly OfficerCaptain A. C. Muhs.
Brigade MajorMajor J. P. McGlinn.
Instl. Staff Officers attached{Major F. B. Heritage.
{Lieutenant W. J. Smith.
Intelligence Officers{Lieutenant A. J. Gibson.
{Lieutenant J. M. C. Corlette.
{Lieutenant A. W. Jose.


UnitsCommanding Officers
Brigade of Field Artillery
No. 1 Battery, A.F.A.}
No. 2 Battery, A.F.A.}
No. 5 (Howitzer) Battery, A.F.A. }Lieut.-Colonel R. M. S. Wells, V.D.
No. 6 Squadron, 1st A.L.H. Regt.Lieutenant P. Connolly.
No. 1 Field Company, Corps of A.E.Captain A. W. Warden.
1st Battalion, 1st A.1 Regt.Lieut.-Colonel W. Holmes, D.S.O., V.D.
1st Battalion, 2nd A.1 Regt.Lieut.-Colonel G. Ramaciotti, V.D.
1st Battalion, 3rd A.1 Regt.Colonel C. S. Guest, V.D.
1st Battalion, 4th A.1 Regt.Lieut.-Colonel J. Paton, V.D.
Half No. 1 Company, A.C. of SignallersLieutenant J. E. Fraser.
No. 1 Infantry T. and S. ColumnCaptain P. W. Smith.
No. 1 Field AmbulanceLieut.-Colonel T. M. Martin.


UnitsCommanding Officers
No. 1 Telegraph Company, C. of A.E.Lieutenant J. S. Fitzmaurice.
Half No. 1 Company, A.C. of Signallers2nd Lieutenant G. K. Davenport.


Nos. 1 and 2 Batteries, A.F.A.5 rounds per gun, shrapnel.
10 rounds, blank.
No. 5 (Howitzer) Battery5 rounds common.
10 rounds, blank.
Machine Guns250 rounds.
Small-Arm Ammunition25 rounds per rifle.


1st L.H. Brigade—Regimental and Brigade Drill, Macquarie Fields.

2nd L.H. Brigade—Brigade Tactical Exercises, Macquarie Fields.


1st Infantry Brigade

General Idea

(Reference Map—1/2 in. Map, County of Cumberland)

A force (Brown) consisting of one Infantry Brigade, covering the approaches to PARRAMATTA from the South, is camped at LIVERPOOL.

A hostile force (White) of all arms is known to be at HELENSBURGH.

During the night of the 6th-7th January, reliable information was received that the White force had advanced along the OLD ILLAWARRA ROAD, and was bivouacked at DARK’S FOREST.

Special Idea

(Reference Map.—Map of Liverpool Manœuvre Area)

On the morning of the 7th January the O.C. Brown Brigade was informed by his patrols that the White Advanced Guard had occupied ECKERSLEY at 8 A.M.

On the receipt of this information the O.C. Brown Brigade decides to advance and attack the White force.


1. Reconnaissance and Screening Duties by the Light Horse.

2. Use of Artillery in checking the advance of hostile Infantry by long-range fire.

(Map No. 2—Infantry advancing, Target marked No. 1.) 295

“Light Horse Manual,” '07, Sec. 299 et seq.
“F.S.R.,” Part 1, Chap. VI and Chap. VII.
“F.A.T.,” '08, Chap. VIII.


Development of Attack

1. The advance to within long-range rifle fire.

2. The further advance to decisive fire positions.

3. High-angle fire by Howitzers on enemy’s position—Targets marked III and IV.

4. The struggle for fire supremacy.

5. The assault.

(Map No. 2 for 2, Infantry entrenched, Target marked II; for 4, Infantry on ridge, Target marked III. Enemy’s reserves behind hill marked IV.)

“F.S.R.,” Part 1, Chap. VII.
“Musketry Regs.,” '05, Sec. 110 et seq.
“F.A.T.,” '08, Chap. VIII.
“L.T.,” '05, Sec. 129 et seq.


The Pursuit

(Map No. 2.—Infantry retreating—Target marked V.)

“F.S.R.,” Part 1, Chap. VII.
“F.A.T.,” '08, Chap. VIII.
“L.T.,” '05, Sec. 129 et seq.

N.B.—Information as to the positions of the enemy (represented by targets) is to be gained by the patrols and scouts of the Brigade. No other information will be given.

On the morning of January 5, 1910, Lord Kitchener and his staff arrived by train from Brisbane at Newcastle, New South Wales. Only the local garrison troops were in camp there, the local units of the Field Forces having proceeded to the general camp at Liverpool.

The question of the fixed defences at Newcastle was at the time causing considerable anxiety owing to disturbances in the ground due to the coal mines. The construction of a new fort had been decided upon and its position 296 selected. The whole day was spent in making a most careful examination of the harbour, the coast line and the existing forts. Lord Kitchener in his report approved of the site chosen.

He arrived at the Liverpool camp on the next morning, Thursday the 6th, at 7.15 A.M. Early morning parades were being held by all corps. He watched some units at work and then went to the quarters prepared for him. After breakfast he at once began his inspection, and from that time until he left the camp, three days afterwards, there was practically not an idle moment.

When we were inspecting the camp lines Kitchener was rather interested in the incinerators I had ordered to be used for the first time. An old Irish ex-soldier employed as a camp policeman was asked by the general how they were working. “Fine, sir,” he said. “And what are they called?” “Well, sir,” said Pat, “I am not quite sure, but I think they call them insinuators.” Kitchener had a hearty laugh.

On the Thursday evening I was ordered to arrange for a certain small portion of the troops to leave camp at two o’clock next morning under the command of an officer specially selected. Their destination was not divulged. The remainder of the troops under my command were to bivouac at a place called Signal Hill, some three miles from the camp, at 7 A.M. next day and await instructions. These orders were carried out. Sharp at half-past seven Lord Kitchener and his staff rode up to Signal Hill. I was not aware of the whereabouts of the small force that had left the camp at 2 A.M.

He sent for me and informed me that he had prepared me a task to be carried out at once. The idea was that an enemy’s convoy and escort—which was composed of the troops we had detached the night before—were marching along certain roads following up an enemy column. The position of the column of the enemy’s troops and convoy were roughly given. My business was to capture 297 the convoy with the troops at my disposal, and he wished me to at once give my orders to my commanding officers for carrying out my plans. The commanding officers were assembled without delay. My own mind was soon made up as to my plans. The orders were given, and within a quarter of an hour of the time when I had left Lord Kitchener my troops were on the move.

An amusing incident happened afterwards. One of my cavalry brigades had been ordered to cut off the convoy. It had done so and was moving rapidly to close in on it. I myself was riding with them; it was the last phase of the attack. Knowing that the manœuvre was over, for we had captured the convoy, and seeing Lord Kitchener and his staff not very far away, I rode up to him to report. With something of a smile on his face he said to me when I reached him, “Have you come to surrender yourself? Because, if not, I am going to make you a prisoner. I am here with your enemy, who has four guns at this point” (they were imaginary), “you must stay here with me.” So I was taken prisoner. He then asked me to explain to him the position of my troops at that moment. In doing so I told him that, on our right, along the crest of the hill on which the convoy was travelling, I had an infantry brigade. The edge of this hill, right along, was covered with fairly thick bush, some three to four feet high; I had ordered the infantry to creep right up, keeping under cover to within some sixty yards of the top of the ridge without showing themselves, lie down, and keep as quiet as possible until such time a certain whistle signal was given, when they were to rise and collar the convoy.

When I explained to Lord Kitchener that the infantry were quite handy, he said, “Well, I want to see them.” I gave the whistle signal agreed upon, and immediately, for a distance of some three-quarters of a mile along the ridge, on the flank of the convoy, up jumped a couple of thousand infantry. It was my opportunity now, so I ventured to tell him that, as the convoy and the four guns 298 were now in my hands, I took it that my troops had rescued me and that I was afraid he was my prisoner. He laughed and said, “Well, I’m going to order the ‘Cease fire’ to sound, which puts an end to the morning’s work, and then I am free.”

It was an inspiring morning, that morning, a fine day. Everyone was most keen and anxious in his work. All knew that Kitchener’s critical eye had been upon them all the morning. He had ridden from place to place watching their work. They had been on the march for some eight hours and were now assembled for the return to their camp, six miles off. He took up his stand on the side of the road and watched them as they marched past homewards. Practically every man at the time serving in the Field Forces in New South Wales was present. They came from every part of the State. The attendance reached the very high average of close on 97 per cent.

After his inspection of the Field Forces the garrison troops and the fortress defences had to be inspected. The garrison troops, the units detailed for the defence of the forts and harbour, were inspected on Saturday afternoon, having taken up their positions in accordance with the local scheme of defence. Afterwards visits to the forts occupied the time till late at night. Finally we embarked on board the submarine mine-layer, the Miner, to watch the working of the searchlights protecting the mine fields and navigable channels. Close on midnight the inspection was finished and we returned to Government House.

Before we reached the landing-stage Lord Kitchener asked me to get him a sheet of paper. I did so. He then said, “I wish you to publish this Order to-morrow.” Taking his pencil, he wrote as follows:

“To General Gordon. Be good enough to inform the officers, non-commissioned officers and men under your command of my appreciation of the keen interest and great zeal they have shown in carrying out their duties 299 during my lengthy inspection. They are doing well, and it has been a pleasure to me to have been present with them during their period of continuous training.

“(Signed) Kitchener.”

This Order, I knew, of course, would be most acceptable to all concerned. Next day, just previous to their leaving for Melbourne, Captain Fitzgerald, his personal secretary and close friend—who later on, unfortunately, was drowned with him—told me that I should be proud to receive that Order, as he had never known “the Chief” to have issued one in a similar manner before. During his visit he reminded me of the conversation we had in South Africa when I asked Lord Roberts’s and his opinions on my scheme for the Universal Service. He heartily congratulated me on having achieved what then he thought my too ambitious hopes, and assured me he would support the movement heart and soul. This he did, as his report proved.

I think it only fair to the Government of that day to say that they did carry out the whole of his recommendations, and that every one of his suggestions was in force within three years after his visit.

Practically all men of any importance, politicians, business men, working men, one and all enthusiastically helped. A considerable improvement was noticed, not only in the general bearing of the trainees, but what was much more important, in their physical and moral development. The keenness of the lads themselves was proved by the extra time voluntarily devoted by them to receiving instruction to qualify as officers and non-commissioned officers, attending courses of lectures, special parades and rifle matches. The police authorities throughout the Commonwealth were asked to watch carefully and report as to whether, in their opinion, the system was influencing the character of the boys generally, and if so in what directions. 300

In 1914 reports were received from the police in all the States. They were unanimous in stating that, “in their opinion, the behaviour of the youths who were subjected to the training had vastly improved, and that the principal effects of a beneficial nature were increased self-respect, diminution of juvenile cigarette smoking, ‘larrikinism,’ and generally a tendency towards a sense of responsibility and a desire to become good citizens.”

Wherefore it is seen that the chief aims as laid down in my scheme have been fully realized, namely, to secure:—

(1). A sound mind in a sound body;

(2). A disciplined mind;

(3). Ability to shoot straight; and

(4). Sufficient knowledge of drill to secure self-confidence in the field.

Some time after Lord Kitchener’s tour of inspection the first flying machine arrived in Sydney. It was sent out by the Bristol Company—a biplane of the most primitive kind, where the pilot sat on the front of the lower plane with his feet resting on a board, and the passenger squatted behind him with the engine racing at his back. There was, of course, considerable excitement in Sydney and much curiosity to see it in the air. We were holding a camp of instruction for the mounted troops at Liverpool, and the proprietors of the aeroplane suggested a flight from Sydney to the camp, some twenty miles, and asked permission to carry it out. I naturally agreed.

It was a perfect summer’s morning when, at about 7 A.M., a small black spot was seen high up in the air; it was the flying machine rapidly approaching the camp at a height of some 3,000 feet. It landed safely on a spot previously selected, much to the delight of the men in camp, most of whom came from the country districts. The Governor-General, Lord Dudley, was in camp with us, and was anxious to be taken up, and I personally also 301 intended to arrange likewise. Something, however, intervened, with the result that the pilot left the camp before we returned to lunch after the morning’s work.

At the conclusion of the camp I returned to the barracks. The morning after I was going into breakfast when a messenger arrived from the manager of the Bristol Company with a letter inviting me to be the first to fly over Sydney, and asking me to go out to the Ascot Race Course at about eleven o’clock, where the machine was quartered. I drove out, and on my arrival I was told that the pilot was away but that the mechanic, a young Scotsman of about twenty years of age, who had a pilot’s certificate, was available if I wished to trust myself to him. I certainly felt rather doubtful on the point when I looked at the youth, especially as he had not been up in it himself since his arrival in Australia. However, I took courage, said, “Right you are,” and scrambled up behind him. The engines were started, she sped along the grass, and before I could realize it we were some 500 feet high up in the air, still rising and sailing over Botany Bay. As the manager had told Macdonald to go wherever I directed him, I decided to fly over Sydney and the harbour, so that I should pass over the barracks, the forts, Government House, the Post Office and the principal streets of Sydney and give the public a fair opportunity of watching us.

It was a lovely day; the machine behaved splendidly. Young Macdonald was as cool as a cucumber, and we returned and landed at the Ascot Race Course after two hours of a delightful experience. I regret to say that my youthful pilot was killed during the early days of the war; his machine dived into the Thames and he was drowned.

Some years later I selected the site for and established at Point Cook near Melbourne the first Flying School in Australia. 302



The next big event of importance after Lord Kitchener’s tour of inspection was the arrival of the American Fleet. Whether the visit of this fleet, which comprised practically the full strength of the American Navy, had any connexion with the visit of the Japanese Fleet which I have already told you about, I do not know. Was it by way of a demonstration in force in the waters of the Pacific in answer to the display made by the Japanese? Had it a political aspect in other ways? Or was it purely a pleasure trip, arranged by the American Government to give their naval officers and men an extended tour for purposes of instruction and pleasure? Who can tell? I cannot. But I can testify to the pleasurable times they had during their lengthy stay at the several ports they visited.

Sydney woke up again. The occasion had arrived to remember the great days of the inauguration of the Commonwealth. Sydney wanted to decorate herself again and to look her best, and she certainly succeeded. Though somewhat different in detail, the decorations of the city and streets were as gorgeous as those of 1901, on the inauguration of the Commonwealth, and everyone was determined to give the Americans (and incidentally himself) a real good time. It is doubtful if the foreshores of the great harbour of Sydney will ever hold again so many thousands of spectators as they did on that glorious morning when, at 11 A.M., the leading warship of the American fleet entered the Heads, and, clearing the inner point of the South Heads, made direct for the anchorage up the harbour, followed by the remaining fifteen men-of-war. 303

Previous to the arrival of the fleet a question had arisen which had much exercised the Government and civic authorities of Sydney. It was understood that during the stay of the fleet in Sydney Harbour—about ten days—there would be, daily, visiting the city anywhere from six to ten thousand officers and men on liberty leave. The authorities thought that it would be advisable to make some provision for military picquets and extra police in case of disturbances, and they approached me with a view to our supplying the wished-for military assistance. I pointed out that there was positively no precedent for such action, especially in the case of visiting guests. It was the privilege of the guests to look after the behaviour of their own men and to land their own picquets if they considered them necessary. At the same time I ventured to suggest that it might be thought advisable to enrol a number of special constables—who, of course, would be in plain clothes and unknown—to assist the police if required. It is to the credit of the officers and men of the American Fleet that during their stay in Sydney, though thousands landed daily and many were allowed over-night leave, no disturbances of any kind occurred, and to see any one of them the worse for drink was the exception.

Naturally, throughout the whole of the State of New South Wales, right to the very backblocks, there was an earnest wish on the part of the members of the New South Wales military forces to be in Sydney at the time of the fleet’s visit. So I had arranged to hold the annual camp of Continuous Training at that period. The attendance in this camp almost beat the record of the one we had held at the time of Lord Kitchener’s visit.

As usual the public were very anxious for a review to be held, and the matter was freely aired in the Press. The Government of New South Wales was only too glad to meet their wishes, and requested me to make the necessary arrangements. Here then was a repetition of what had occurred in Melbourne at the time of the visit of the 304 Japanese Fleet. The same difficulty was in the way—that no troops of a foreign country were permitted to land under arms on British soil. I pointed this out to the Government, but drew their attention to the fact that a precedent had been established in the case of the Japanese Fleet at the time of their visit to Melbourne, and that an application to the Imperial Government to permit the Americans to do so would doubtless receive a favourable answer. The application was sent and approval given. I then put the arrangements for the review in hand. I had an interview with the American Commander-in-Chief, who informed me that he would land a contingent, representing the fleet, of somewhere between six and seven thousand men. Our own fleet was, of course, in Sydney Harbour at the time, and our admiral told me that he would land somewhere over three thousand ratings. My own troops mustered about some twelve thousand, with the typical and favourite arm of the service in Australia, the Mounted Rifles, in full strength.

The morning of the review arrived. Once again it was a glorious day. On all occasions throughout my many years of command when “functions,” reviews, or camps of training took place, “Queen’s weather” had always been my good fortune. The crowd that gathered at Centennial Park to witness the review rivalled that which had witnessed the arrival of the fleet. It was put down at some three hundred and fifty thousand people. The actual number of troops on parade was over twenty-one thousand, of which some four thousand were mounted troops. It was no easy task to manœuvre this number of troops on the restricted space at Centennial Park, especially as I had arranged, much to the delight of the people, for the mounted troops to gallop past the saluting point as a final tour de force before the last advance in review order. However, with the assistance of an able staff and preliminary conferences with my commanding officers, the review passed off without the slightest hitch. Just as the 305 presence of the Japanese sailors under arms at the review had established a record in Melbourne, so did that of the Americans establish one in Sydney, and, for the second time, I had the honour of commanding armed forces of a Foreign Nation on parade on British soil.

One more incident of the review. There had been thousands of the inhabitants of Sydney who were naturally unable to witness it but were most anxious to see the foreign sailors. I had arranged with their naval Commander-in-Chief that he should land at different landing-stages on the several quays of the harbour. By this means residents in many parts of Sydney would see them marching past their homes. The distances from these landing-stages to Centennial Park were somewhat long, and as the review was a rather trying one, occupying close upon four hours, I had arranged to transport the whole of the Americans back from the review ground to their different quays by tram, utilizing the tram system attached to the Sydney Show Ground, which lies adjacent to Centennial Park, and, further, to give them a good feed previous to boarding the trams on the return home. My Quartermaster-General’s Department quite surpassed themselves in their efforts in this direction. They arranged for the units of the American Fleet, on completion of the review, to march in succession straight on to the Royal Agricultural Society’s Grounds, and in doing so to pass through some of the big buildings used for purposes of exhibits at the show time. Long, narrow tables were set up in these buildings, parallel to each other. On these tables, right down each side, were placed packets containing each four healthy sandwiches, a large piece of cake, an apple and an orange, a big bun and cheese. On passing through the building the men of each company marched in two files, dividing on each side of the table, and each man picked up his parcel and moved on to the open Oval. As the tables were cleared they were immediately replenished by a large staff of assistants, ready for the succeeding companies. In this 306 manner the six thousand Americans received their rations within half an hour.

Once reaching the Oval and other open spaces of the society’s grounds each company was directed to what my Quartermaster-General called “a fountain” (which meant that piled up around a small beer barrel were plenty of bottles of all kinds of aerated waters), on reaching which each company sat down around it, ate the contents of their packets and drank to their hearts’ content. The return journey to the ships was accomplished without any accident, and a day never to be forgotten by those who witnessed it was past and gone. The enthusiasm of the immense crowd was raised to the highest pitch when squadron after squadron of Light Horse galloped past the saluting point at fairly close intervals, riding hard, as only Australians can ride, forty squadrons, some 100 strong each.

Previous to my leaving Sydney I held another great review at Centennial Park. I had promised that I would give the parents and relations and friends of the lads serving under the universal service system an opportunity of seeing for themselves how well the youngsters were doing, how keen they were, and also the state of efficiency that they had reached. So I decided to hold a review of those from 16 to 18 years of age serving in the Metropolitan area. The day of the review arrived. Over twenty-two thousand lads were on parade. The Governor-General, Lord Denman, took the salute. The crowd was certainly not so large as that which was present at the time of the visit of the American Fleet, but still it was enormous. At a certain stage of the review the order was given for “Hats off. Three cheers for the King.” The rule is on such ceremonial occasions to take the time for the three cheers from the general officer commanding the parade, who, riding in front of the line of troops, faces the saluting point. The three cheers were duly given when, to my surprise, I heard a shrill cry of “Tiger!” and, following 307 it, “One more cheer.” I looked round just in time to see some thousands of hats in the air. The lads provided this extra entertainment on their own.

The way the boys marched, their soldierly bearing, their smart appearance and their enthusiasm were the best answer that the Government, Parliament and the people of Australia could have had as to the success of the universal service system which they had brought into force. Many, indeed, were the proud fathers and mothers on that day.

One last record. I had commanded the first review of trainees.

In 1912, on General Hoad’s death, I was appointed Chief of the General Staff and First Member of the Military Board, the highest position in the military forces of the Commonwealth.

For the constant and willing co-operation of the Australian officers and men who served under me with such zeal for so many years I give my sincerest thanks. They have since proved themselves heroic soldiers in the field.

To Gordon of Khartoum for his three golden rules of life; to General Downes for the excellent example he gave of what an upright soldier should be; and to Sergeant Charles Cameron Kingston for his appreciation of my work and ever-ready assistance I owe the deepest debt of gratitude. 308



When General Hoad, my predecessor as Chief of the General Staff, fell ill, the Government decided to grant him six months’ leave of absence on full pay, and his duties were to be carried out temporarily by Major Wilson, R.F.A., p.s.c., who was the only qualified staff officer at the time attached to the Headquarters Staff of the Commonwealth Forces. During these six months Major Wilson had an exceedingly difficult task. It is needless to say that all he was able to do was to carry on ordinary routine work. There was practically no organization of the department of the Chief of the Staff. As, on my taking on the duties, Major Wilson’s period of service as a loan officer expired and he was due to return home, I found myself all alone in my glory. A word of acknowledgment is due to Major Wilson for the able way in which he battled against the long odds he had to face.

My first request to the Minister was for the recall of Captain White, a local officer, who, having been sent home to the Staff College, had taken high honours, was attached after completing his staff course to one of the Directorates of the Army Council, and was earning for himself an excellent reputation, which he has proved by his success in the war. He is now Major-General Sir Brudnel White and Chief of the Staff himself of the Australian Forces.

My second request was for the loan of another p.s.c. officer from home. The Minister approved, and within a short time Captain White and Captain Glasford joined me. 309 Later on the Minister approved of two more p.s.c. officers from home on the understanding that each year two local officers would be selected and sent to Camberley; by doing so we would in time avoid the necessity of further borrowing.

A great task was before us. My colleagues on the Military Board were each faced with somewhat similar difficulties, but by working together and mutually assisting each other we managed to make good progress.

Perhaps our most serious problem was to consolidate the organization of our universal service system. Each battalion area—and there were several hundreds, required an officer and at least one sergeant-major as duly qualified administrators and instructors; each brigade area wanted a reliable staff. Our finances would not allow us to import them; we had to train them locally. The establishment of local schools of instruction achieved this object in due course with satisfactory results.

The next and all-important task was the preparation of sound general and local schemes of defence for the whole of the Commonwealth—a far-reaching problem. It not only required endless care and attention in its conception and construction, but needed to be so thoroughly set out as to be easily grasped by all concerned. With the assistance of Captain White, whose special work this was, the schemes were completed, and I satisfied myself of their efficacy and thoroughness some ten months before war began. No better proof of this is necessary than the rapidity and ease with which Australia mobilized on the receipt of the news of the outbreak of war. I am proud to quote one fact. As an adjunct to the general scheme of defence I had been most anxious that our Government should offer the War Office the services of an Australian division complete in personnel and materiel for service anywhere in the Empire or out of it if required, and to be maintained while on service at full strength at the expence of the Commonwealth for whatever length of 310 time it might be wanted. After several months of persistent effort the Minister obtained the consent of the Cabinet. The offer was made and accepted by the Home Government. All details of organization were worked out. When war was declared the details for mobilizing the first division were all cut and dried. Who could have guessed in those days that finally Australia would contribute somewhere about half a million men to assist the Mother Country?

In connexion with the preparation of the schemes of defence a most intricate and perplexing question was the defence of the northern littoral of the immense island continent. It would be out of place to attempt to discuss the matter here. Suffice it to point out that I was instructed to visit the northern littoral of Australia and submit a report. Choosing the most suitable season of the year to make the tour, I left Brisbane in the company of the then Government Resident of the Northern Territory, Doctor Gilruth. The voyage along the coast of Queensland, sailing within the Great Barrier Reef northwards to Torres Straits, is one of the most interesting voyages in the world. After leaving the Reef and clearing Cape York, you enter the Torres Straits and make for a group of islands, the most important of which is Thursday Island. It is the headquarters of the pearl fishing industry and an Imperial coaling station for the Navy, protected by forts manned by Australian artillery. The opportunity was given me during my tour to witness the wonderful diving feats of the coloured crews. Pearl fishing is a paying business, especially since the great advance in the price of the mother-of-pearl shells, but one which demands much nautical skill and the surmounting of many perils.

One of my duties was the selection of a site for the construction of the highest power wireless station to be erected in the southern hemisphere. An entertaining incident occurred in connexion therewith. Some thirty miles 311 inland from Port Darwin, in the neighbourhood of the railway line to Pine Creek, lay an extensive lake, the waters of which were an important adjunct to the requirements of the site. Accompanied by Doctor Gilruth and other officials we proceeded to visit the locality. Leaving the train we trekked through the bush to find the lake. By some means I became detached from our guides and found myself alone with the representative of our Naval Board. We were “bushed”—had no idea which way to turn. I knew enough of bush life to remember that the best thing to do when bushed is to remain quiet and not attempt to walk far, light a fire and await the arrival of the rescue party. This we did, and when, after waiting about an hour, our friends found us, we were actually only about a quarter of a mile from the railway line and our train, where a good luncheon was awaiting us. “Much ado about nothing.”

On the return journey to Melbourne we visited New Guinea. What a wonderful country! I would advise those who delight in good reading to purchase Miss Grimshaw’s books. Not only are they of overpowering interest, but they are a living picture of the customs and habits of the Papuan race.

On our arrival at Port Moresby, the seat of Government, Colonel Murray, the High Commissioner, invited us to be his guests. Miss Grimshaw was at the time Colonel Murray’s guest also, and I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of the charming person whose intrepid and adventurous nature had made us acquainted with the fascination of that hitherto hardly-known island and its mysteries. Its orchids and butterflies alone are sought for with the greatest zeal by the collectors of the world.

On my return to Melbourne I found that the inevitable was approaching. Time, which has but little respect for persons, had moved on, and I was close up to the age when the regulations demanded my retirement. On March 18, 312 1914, I would overtake my fifty-eighth birthday, and my active career would close.

Our Government, however, had invited General Ian Hamilton, at the time holding the appointment of Inspector-General of Oversea Forces, to make a tour of inspection of the Commonwealth. As Hamilton was due to arrive in February of that year I was requested to carry on till his tour was completed, and it was arranged that I should retire on August 1, instead of March 18, 1914. The general left in May. He was specially interested in the success of the universal service, and his report was a highly satisfactory one.

Nothing was left to me but to make my last visits of inspection to the several States and satisfy myself that the schemes of defence were up to date and in thorough working order. This I did, and was well pleased with the results.

I booked my passage by the Orient steamer Orama, which was leaving Fremantle on July 26, 1914. A fateful date for me. I had said my last good-byes, and as the Orama left port we heard of the declaration of war by Austria against Serbia. Wireless messages reached us later of Germany’s declaration against Russia. Then we got no more news till we were reaching Colombo, about August 6. The Great World War had commenced on August 4.

By four days I had missed the opportunity of organizing and commanding the division which, through my efforts, Australia had offered to the Home Government a few months before. General Bridges, my successor, raised it and led it to Gallipoli, where, unfortunately, he fell mortally wounded. I have often thought his end would have been a fitting crown to my life’s work. 313


Abruzzi, Duke of the, in Melbourne, 118, 119

Adelaide, author appointed Police Instructor at, 136;
   author joins Police of, 134;
   author’s arrival at, 132;
   cash betting introduced at, 173, 174;
   development of, 152, 153;
   early method of landing at, 160;
   Hunt Club Races at, 169;
   Largs Bay Company and, 160;
   Military Staff Office at, 133, 143, 145;
   Polo Club Cup race at, 172;
   Polo team of, 162, 171-173;
   Protector at, 177;
   Racing Club of, 173;
   Russian Naval officers at, 179;
   situation of, 154;
   social scandal at, 183, 184;
   sportsmen of, 166;
   Theatre Royal at, 136

Adjutant-General, author’s appointment as, 192, 193, 203

Aeroplane, first, at Sydney, 300, 301;
   author’s flight in, 301

Agents-General of the Colonies, and author’s appointment as Military Adviser, 224

“Albatross” ridden by author in Drag Cup race, 169

Aldgate, author captures murderer at railway camp at, 138-142

Alfonso XII at Royal Military College, Sandhurst, 42;
   author and, 42-45;
   entry into Barcelona of, 36;
   offers amnesty to Carlists, 36, 44;
   on Don Carlos, 43, 44;
   proclaimed King of Spain, 35, 44;
   result of accession of, 48

American Fleet at Sydney, 302 et seq.

Ammunition, small arms, 228, 229, 230

Army Council, Australian, establishment of, 280

Arsenals, establishment of, in Australia, 276 et seq.

Artillery Force of South Australia, author appointed Lieutenant Commanding Permanent Unit of, 159;
   Staff Instructor of, 142, 143;
   work with, 151 et seq.

Asmodeus, Prince, as King of Spain, 30

Auckland, author at, 105

“Auraria” and race for Melbourne Cup, 118, 119;
   trainer of, 166

Australia, Gordons in, 2;
   great strikes in, 209 et seq.;
   “Russian Scare” in, 179, 180;
   South African War and, 232 et seq.;
   Universal Service System of, 214, 281 et seq., 290, 299, 300, 309;
   withdrawal of British troops from, 156

Australian Contingent in South Africa, 242

Baker, Allen, wedding of, 168;
   Master of Morialta Hounds, 168;
   rides “Creamie” at Polo Club Cup race, 172, 173

Baker, Hon. John, 167, 168

Baker, Lieut.-Colonel, 224

Baker, Mrs. John, 168

Baker, Sir Richard, 168, 205;
   and Charles C. Kingston, 205, 208

Balloon, at manœuvres, 227, 228

Barcelona, entry of Alfonso XII into, 36

Barton, Sir Edmund, 263

Bath, Order of, author receives Companionship of, 263

Bayonne, author’s journey from, 32

Beaumont College, 24 et seq.

Belfast, author wounded in disturbance at, 74, 75, 76

Belfast (South Africa), Battle of, 251

Bellew, Mrs. Kyrle (Mdme. le Grand), 129

Berry, Mr. Graham, 111, 130, 131

Bijou Theatre, Melbourne, engagement at, 124

Bloemfontein, author at, 242;
   meets Lord Roberts at, 239, 240, 243, 244

Bodega, 35

Boer War, 232 et seq.

Botha, General Louis, 256

Box and Cox, Royal Artillery performance of, 63

Braddon, Sir Edward, 221

Brandfort, 245

Bremen, ss., 233

Bridges, General, 312

Brisbane, Lord Kintore in, 213

Brownrigg, Lieut.-Colonel, 175

Buller, General Sir Redvers, at manœuvres, 225, 227;
   superseded by Lord Roberts in South Africa, 233, 238

Bullfights at Jeréz, 16;
   at Puerto Santa Maria, 16;
   at Wardhouse, 14

Burleigh, Bennet, 257

Burra-Burra, copper mines, 157, 213

“Bushveldt Carabiniers,” 258

Buxton, Sir Thomas Fowell, 270

Cabrera, recantation of, 48

Cadet system in South Australia, 215

Cambridge, Duke of, presents prizes at Woolwich, 40

Cameron, Major Eustace, Kitchener as guest of, 253

Campbell, Colonel Gerald, 288

Campbell, Corporal, 135, 137

Campos, General Martinez, and King Alfonso, 35

Canada, troops from, in South Africa, 241, 242

“Cape Dwyer,” accident with, 83;
   death of, 84

Carlisle, Fort, Queenstown, experiences at, 82, 83, 84

Carlist Army, 35;
   strength of, 36

Carlist officers, disguised, 33

Carlist War, 28, 30 et seq.

Cash betting introduced at Adelaide, 173, 174

Castillo, Marquis del, decides against Alfonso, 36

Catholics, disabilities of, in Scotland, 11, 13

Cerberus, 177

Chartered Company of South Australia, 151, 152

Chief of the General Staff, appointment as, 307;
   work of, 308 et seq.

Chingtu, 213

Christchurch, 106

Clova, Mrs. Gordon’s illness at, 218, 219

Coles, Sir Jenkin and Baker—Kingston dispute, 208

Commandant of South Australia, 208;
   author’s work as, 263, et seq.

Commander-in-Chief of Commonwealth Forces, General Hutton as, 269;
   importance of, 267, 268

Commonwealth of Australia, Army Council of, 280;
   camp of Field Forces of, 291-295;
   constitution of, 263;
   defence scheme of, 309-310;
   Government of, and Lord Kitchener, 290;
   King Edward and, 273;
   Military Board of, 280, 309;
   Proclamation of, 266;
   reorganization of Military Forces of, 275 et seq.

Commonwealth Parliament, first elections for, 263;
   opening of, 266

Connaught, Duke of, and Army manœuvres, 225

Connell, Sergeant-Major, 156

Cork, author’s experiences at, 81

“Corporal Buller,” 237, 257, 258;
   execution of, 258, 259

Cresswell, Captain William, 177

Dalley, Hon. John B., 188

Damascus, 218

De Wet, General, 256

Defence Force of South Australia, establishment of, 156;
   General Downes’ reorganization scheme for, 158;
   reorganization of, 157

Defence League of Australia, 288

Deorwyn, Alice, 129, 130

Deorwyn, Constance, 129, 130

Derdepoort, curious incident at, 255

Disney, Colonel, 175

Doldrums, the, 88

Don Carlos, arrival in London of, 49;
   author and, 46, 48, 49, 50;
   author joins, 30, 31;
   flees to France, 48;
   in Paris, 51, 52, 53;
   in the hunting field, 50;
   reconciliation with Queen Isabella, 52;
   rejects Alfonso’s amnesty, 36;
   story of claim to Spanish throne, 46, 47;
   success of, 30

Downes, Major-General, appointed Secretary to Ministry of Defence, Victoria, 176;
   appointed to reorganize South Australian Defence Force, 157;
   author and, 132, 142, 143, 186, 197, 198, 203, 204;
   Commandant of Victoria, 270, 271;
   leaves Adelaide, 208

Drill instructor, author appointed, in New Zealand, 91;
   work as, 95

Dudley, Lord, and first aeroplane in Sydney, 300-301

Dunedin, 89, 106;
   Fern Hill Club at, 91

Edgbaston, Oratory school at, 23

Education Department, South Australia, and cadet system, 214

Edward, King, and Commonwealth Forces, 273

Elder, Sir Thomas, 166, 167

Elder, Smith and Co., 167

English language, difficulties of, 22

Estella, as seat of Carlist government, 47;
   author joins Carlists at, 35

Eugénie, Empress, and death of Prince Imperial, 41;
   author meets, at Jeréz, 41

Fellowes, Major, 175

Ferdinand VI, 46, 47

Fern Hill Club, 91

Filgate, Mr., 166

Finn, Major-General, Commandant of Queensland, 271, 280;
   Inspector-General, Australia, 280

Fitzalan, Viscount, pupil of Oratory School, Edgbaston, 24

Fitzgerald, Captain, 299

Fitzgerald, Hon. Nicholas, 213

Fitzgerald, Miss, author marries, 213-214

Forrest, Sir John, 221;
   author and, 269

Fort Glanville, 132, 142, 159, 160, 161, 165, 180, 181, 202, 210, 211

Fort Largs, 161, 164, 165;
   insubordination at, 185, 186, 187;
   Permanent Force Artillery at, 209

Fosberry, Mr., and Great Strike, 209

Francis, Colonel, Commandant of Western Australia, 271

French, General, 249;
   in South Africa, 247, 248

French, Major-General, as Commandant, New South Wales, 270

Gate Pah, 91

Geelong, 124

Gilruth, Doctor, 310, 311

Glasford, Captain, 308

Glenelg, author’s accident at, 180;
   construction of fort at, 180;
   excitement at, on arrival of Russian Fleet, 178;
   landing of first settlers at, 152

Gordon, Adam, Dean of Caithness, 2

Gordon, Adam Lindsay, 2;
   famous jump of, 94

Gordon, Admiral Sir James Alexander, 4

Gordon, Alexander, of Camdell, 3

Gordon, Alexander, of Wardhouse, 3;
   guillotined at Brest, 4

Gordon, Brigadier-General, J. M. (author), military appointments and promotions of, 147;
   pedigree of, 7

Gordon, Carlos Pedro (author’s father), becomes Laird of Wardhouse, 14, 19

Gordon, Charles, 3

Gordon, Charles Edward (of Wardhouse), 4, 11, 12;
   death of, 13;
   sends his eldest son to Spain, 13

Gordon, Colonel Fabian, 1

Gordon, General (of Khartoum), author and, 186, 187, 271;
   death of, 203;
   statue of, 203

Gordon, General Alexander, 2

Gordon, General Patrick, 1

Gordon, General Patrick, of Auchleuchries, 1, 3

Gordon, George, 2

Gordon, Gregory, 3

Gordon, James, of Beldorney, 3

Gordon, James Arthur (of Jeréz), 3, 11;
   goes to Spain, 12

Gordon, John, 1

Gordon, John, of Beldorney, 3

Gordon, John David (of Wardhouse), goes to Spain, 4, 13;
   death of, 13

Gordon, Juan José, becomes Laird of Wardhouse, 13, 14

Gordon, Lord Adam, 4

Gordon, Mrs. Rafael, 2

Gordon, Pedro Carlos, 2, 13

Gordon, Robert, 2

Gordon, Robert (Cadiz), 3

Gordon-Coldwells, son, 1

Gordons of Coldwells, 1

Gorn, Captain, 87

Greencastle Fort, author at, 81, 82

Grierson, General, author and, 247, 250;
   in South Africa, 246

Grimshaw, Miss, 311

Hamilton, General Ian, in South Africa, 247;
   tour of Australia of, 312

Hamilton, Mr. George, 133, 134, 142

Harcourt, Lord, and Alexander Gordon, 3, 4

Harding-Stewart, General, 180, 202

Hawker, Lieutenant, 185

“High Commissioner of Ejectments,” 257

Hill, John, 166

Himalaya, 220, 221

Hoad, General, Chief of General Staff of Australia, 280;
   death of, 307

Holloway, Beatrice, 130

Homburgh, Mr., and Baker—Kingston dispute, 207

Hopetoun, Earl of, as Governor-General of Australia, 265 et seq.;
   as Governor of Victoria, 264

Hunt Club Races at Adelaide, 169

Hunt, Major, murder of, 258

Hunters, author’s, in Adelaide, 165, 166

Huntly-Gordon, Marquises of, 2

Hutton, General, and Overseas Troops in South Africa, 242, 243, 247, 255;
   author and, 268;
   Commandant in New South Wales, 215, 268;
   Commander-in-Chief of Commonwealth, 269, 272, 275;
   leaves Australia, 280

Imperial Mounted Infantry in South Africa, 24

Invercargill (The Bluff), 107

Ireland, Miss Harry, 129

Ireland, Mr., 129

Ireland, service in, 62 et seq.;
   sport in, 77 et seq.;
   unruly times in, 71 et seq.

Isabella, Queen, reconciliation of, with Don Carlos, 52

Japanese Fleet, visit to Melbourne of, 273, 274, 275, 302, 303, 304

Jeréz, author’s birthplace in, 18;
   author christened at, 1;
   author meets Empress Eugénie at, 41;
   author revisits, 28;
   bull-fighting at, 16;
   cholera epidemic in, 18, 19;
   description of, 14, 15, 16;
   Gordons at, 3, 4;
   schooldays at, 19

Jervois, Captain John, as Adjutant-General, 177;
   author and, 132, 144

Jervois, Major, and “Russian Scare,” 179, 180, 192;
   author and, 182

Jervois, Sir William, 132, 144, 159, 176

Johnson, Lieut.-Colonel, in South Africa, 248

Jovellar, Commander-in-Chief of Spanish Army, and Alfonso, 35, 36

Jubilee Celebrations, author represents South Australia at, 218

Karree Siding, author wounded at, 252

Kati-kati Settlement, 105

Kelly, Ned, execution of, 122

Kennedy, Thomas, 22, 23

Khartoum, fall of, 203

King Country, the, 91, 98, 104

King-Harman, Lieut.-Colonel, 202;
   death of, 220

Kingston, Charles Cameron, Premier of South Australia, 203, 204, 205, 231;
   and Sir Richard Baker, 205, 208;
   author and, 208, 220, 221, 232, 233, 235, 271;
   death of, 272;
   Federation and, 217, 271, 288;
   “National Service” and, 216, 217

Kintore, Lord, 212, 213

Kipling, Rudyard, at Norval’s Pont, 239

Kitchener, Lord, at Mount Temple, Capetown, 254, 255;
   author and, 239, 240, 241, 243, 245, 253, 296, 297;
   in Australia, 290 et seq.;
   in Tasmania, 253;
   victory of, at Omdurman, 228

Kroonstad, Lord Roberts at, 246

Kruger, President, 256

“Land Boom,” 201

Largs Bay Company and Port Adelaide, 160

Largs Bay Hotel, 161, 164, 214

“Larry O’Keefe” as hunter, 79;
   author purchases, 78

Laserta, General, defeated by Carlists, 37, 48

Le Grand, Mdme. (Mrs. Kyrle Bellew), 129

Legge, Colonel, Commandant of Tasmania, 271

Light, Colonel, development of Adelaide and, 153-155

Lillywhite, John, author taught cricket by, 25

Limerick Hounds, meet of, on April 1, 80, 81

Limerick, hunting experiences at, 67, 68, 69;
   stationed at, 63 et seq.;
   Sunday disturbances at, 72, 73

Line, crossing the, 88

Lithgow as site of arsenal, 280

London, author in, as Military Adviser of Australian Colonies, 224 et seq.

Loraine, Violet, 130

Lovett, Major, 199, 203

Lyne, Sir William, first Premier of Australian Commonwealth, 263

Macdonald, Leslie, 166, 169

Madrid, mutiny in artillery barracks at, 44

Maori settlement in the King Country, 91

Maori War, Australian troops in, 188

Maoris as swimmers, 100;
   ceremonials of, 100 et seq.;
   New Zealand Government and, 98, 99;
   raid roadmakers, 95, 104;
   war dance of, 103

Massilia, 203

Melbourne, author at, 109 et seq., 120 et seq.;
   author’s newspaper in, 112-118;
   Bijou Theatre, 124;
   charity ball at, 176;
   Duke and Duchess of York at, 266;
   Inter-Colonial Convention at, 220;
   Japanese Fleet at, 273, 274, 275, 302, 303, 304;
   Kingston at, 221;
   review of Commonwealth Forces at, 273, 274;
   White Hart Hotel at, 109, 125

Melbourne Cup, 113 et seq.;
   of 1913, 213

Mercedes, Princess, 39

Mercer, Catherine, wife of Charles Edward Gordon, 4

“Mick Molloy,” author purchases, 69, 70, 78;
   death of, 79, 80

Middle Head Fort, Sydney, 202

Milford Sounds, 89

Military Adviser and Inspector of Warlike Stores for Australia, author’s appointment as, 223;
   work in London as, 223, 224 et seq.

Military Board, Australian, author appointed First Member of, 307;
   establishment of, 277;
   problems of, 309

Military Staff Office, Adelaide, 133, 143, 145

“Ministry of all the Talents,” 264

Mirasol, Count of, tutor to Alfonso XII, 42, 45;
   death of, 44, 45

Molloy, Mick, 67, 70

Montijo, Countess of, 41

Moonta, copper mines of, 157

Moore, Maggie (Mrs. J. C. Williamson), 130

Morant, Jack (“The Breaker”), 237

Morant, Lieut.-Colonel (“Corporal Buller”), 257, 258;
   execution of, 258, 259

Moravian, 251

Morialta, kennels at, 168

Morphetville, stud farm at, 166, 167

Morriones, General, and Alfonso, 36, 37

Mount Cook, 89, 108

Mount Gambia, Blue Lake at, 93

Mount Lofty, 136;
   Adelaide from, 154;
   Hon. John Baker’s home at, 167, 168;
   railway construction camp at, 138-142

Mount Nelson, Capetown, wartime reminiscences of, 254, 255

Murray, Colonel, High Commissioner, New Guinea, 311

National Rifle Meeting, 230

“National Service” Scheme, author’s, 216 et seq.;
   Kingston and, 216-217

New Guinea, visit to, 311

New South Wales, author appointed Commandant of, 280, 281 et seq.;
   Naval Defence Scheme of, 177;
   troops for Egypt from, 188, 189;
   volunteers for Maori War, 188

New South Wales Defence Scheme, 187;
   guns for, 202

New South Wales Lancers sent to South Africa, 232;
   squadron of, in England, 232

New Zealand, 87 et seq.;
   force in South Africa, 241, 242;
   system of land settlement, 91, 92;
   withdrawal of British troops from, 156

New Zealand Government and Maoris, 98, 99

Newcastle (N.S.W.), defences of, 295, 296

Newcastle-on-Tyne, 219

Newman, Dr. (afterwards Cardinal), headmaster at Edgbaston Oratory School, 23

Northern Territory and South Australia, 152, 213;
   defence of, 310

Norton Summit, 167, 168

Norval’s Pont, destruction of bridge at, 239;
   Lord Kitchener at, 239;
   Rudyard Kipling at, 239

Ohinemutu, 105;
   eruptions at, 91, 93, 94, 104;
   Maori settlement, 91

Oliver, Maggie, 129

Omdurman, Kitchener’s victory at, 228

Ophir, Duke and Duchess of York’s voyage on, 266, 267

Orama, 312

Oratory School, Edgbaston, 23;
   Cardinal Newman, headmaster at, 23;
   head prefect of, 23, 24

Orlando, 265

Overseas Brigade in South Africa, command of, 242, 244

Owen, Lieut.-Colonel, J. F. (General), 177;
   arrival at Adelaide, 182;
   at Malta, 197;
   author and, 193, 195, 196;
   Commandant of Queensland, 197;
   economies and, 192;
   Hon. T. Playford and, 194, 195, 196

Paardeberg, Battle of, 238

Palotta, Grace, 219

Pamplona, author with Carlist troops at, 37

Paris, Artists’ Ball at Grand Hotel in, 54, 55;
   author and Don Carlos in, 51, 52, 53;
   love affair in, 53-61

Parrott, Lieut.-Colonel, 236

Peterswald, Mr., 142, 143, 145;
   and strikers, 210

Phillips, Hans, 129

Playford, Hon. Thomas (“Honest Tom”), 194, 195;
   and General Owen, 194-197;
   and strikers, 210, 211;
   author and, 197, 276, 280;
   Commonwealth Minister of Defence, 278, 279

Point Cook, first aviation school at, 128, 301

Police, South Australian, author appointed instructor in, 136;
   author joins, 134

Polo at Adelaide, 162, 163, 171, 173

Ponce de Leon, Pepe, 46, 51, 52

Port Adelaide, arrival of Russian Fleet at, 178;
   building of, 160;
   forts at, 160, 161;
   strikes at, 209, 210, 211

Port Augusta, 157

Port Chalmers, 87, 89, 90

Port Darwin, 157

Powell, Captain, 156

Power, Tom, 166

Pretoria, author at, 256, 257;
   Lady Roberts at, 256;
   plot to kidnap Lord Roberts at, 255-256

Prim, General, assassination of, 30

Primo de Rivera and King Alfonso, 35

Prince Imperial (France) at Woolwich, 40, 42;
   death and funeral of, 41

Protector, 177, 189, 190

Puerto Santa Maria, school at, 19;
   bull-fight at, 16;
   robbed at, 16, 17

Queensland, General Owen as Commandant of, 197;
   strikes in, 212

Queenstown, 81

Ralli, Stephen (“Bismarck”), 252

Reader, Colonel, 90, 91, 105, 106, 107

Reeve, Mr. Wybert, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128

Reid, Sir George, 222

Re-organization Bill of South Australia, 217

Retirement of author, 312

Rhodes, Captain Ernest, 175

Ricardo, Colonel, as “High Commissioner of Ejectments,” 257

Richardson, Major-General, and Victorian Defence Scheme, 187, 188

Ridley, General, 242, 244

Roberts, Lady, at Pretoria, 256

Roberts, Lord, at Kroonstad, 246;
   author with, in South Africa, 238 et seq., 245;
   plot to kidnap, at Pretoria, 255, 256;
   supersedes Buller in South Africa, 233, 238

Robinson, Sir William, 176

Roller skating, author introduces in Dublin, 77;
   in Limerick, Cork and Waterford, 78

Rome supports Don Carlos, 30

Rotomahana, 106

Rotorua district, 91, 93

Royal Artillery at Limerick, 66, 67;
   author gazetted to, 40, 41;
   Headquarters’ Mess at Woolwich, 62

Russia, Gordons in, 1, 2

Russian Fleet, arrival at Adelaide, 178

“Russian Scare,” the, in Australia, 179, 192

Ryan, Sergeant-Major, 156

Sagasta and Alfonso, 35

St. John Ambrose, Father, head prefect of Edgbaston Oratory School, 23, 24

Salisbury Plain, manœuvres on, 225-228

Sandhurst, Alfonso XII at, 42

Sargood, Sir Frederick, appointed Minister of Defence, Victoria, 175, 187, 197, 204

Saville, Mr., 166

Scotland, author’s first journey to, 20-22;
   Catholic disabilities in, 11, 13

Scratchley, General Sir Peter, author and, 111, 131, 159

Seth Ferry, 166

Shearers, strike of, 211, 212

Simmons, General Sir Linton, author and, 31, 39

Smith, Mr. Barr, 166, 167;
   South African War and, 235

Smith, Mrs. Barr, 185

Smith, Sir Charles Holled, 270

Soudan Campaign, Australian troops in, 188, 189

South Africa, author in, as Special Service Officer, 232 et seq.

South African War, Australia and, 232 et seq.

South Australia, author and police of, 134-145;
   author appointed Commandant of, 118, 143, 208, 209, 263;
   author appointed Staff Instructor to Artillery Force of, 142, 143;
   author as Acting-Commandant in, 198, 207;
   author’s work as Staff Instructor in, 151 et seq.;
   Cadet System in, 215;
   Defence System of, 155, 159;
   development of, 151, 152, 157;
   guns for, 202;
   Re-organization Bill of, 217;
   Volunteer Force, establishment of, 156

Spain, Alfonso proclaimed king, 35, 44;
   elections in, 16, 17;
   Republican Government of, 30;
   Wardhouse Gordons and, 3, 12, 13

Staff Instructor of Artillery, author’s work as, in South Australia, 151 et seq.

Stewart Island, 89

Stewart, Nellie, as “Sweet Nell,” 130

Stewart Sisters, the, 130

Stuart, Colonel, 231

Sulphur at White Island, 94

Sulphur Islands, 94

Surrey takes Australian troops to South Africa, 236, 238, 258

Swinley, Major, 105, 106

Sydney, American Fleet at, 302 et seq.;
   Australian Defence Conference at, 215;
   first aeroplane at, 300;
   great maritime strike in, 209 et seq.;
   Great Review at, 304;
   Imperial Naval Base, 177;
   Union Club, author at, 288, 289;
   welcome to Lord Hopetoun at, 264

Talbot, Edmund, in South Africa, 249

Tasmania, author offered post in, 105;
   Kitchener in, 253

Tauranga, author’s life at, 104;
   author meets old friend at, 95, 96;
   author stationed at, 91, 92;
   compensation court at, 98, 99

Taylor, Alderman Allan, 281

Terraces, The, eruptions at, 91;
   (Ohinemutu), 94, 104

Thames goldfield, 92, 105

Theatre Royal, Adelaide, 136

“The Breaker” (Jack Morant), 237

The Call, 288

The Jacobite, 185, 186

The School for Scandal, author engaged as Careless in, 125, 126

The Woman in White, 124, 126

Thompson, Joe, 168

Torrens Park, 167;
   private theatricals at, 185, 186

Turf Tissue, 113-118

Turn Him Out, author takes leading part in, 130

Union Club, Sydney, 288, 289

Universal Service system of Australia, 214, 282;
   author and Melbourne Press and, 281, 287, 288;
   author’s scheme for, 283-287;
   consolidation of, 309;
   General Ian Hamilton on, 312;
   increased cost of, 290;
   introduction of, 215;
   Lord Kitchener and, 290 et seq.;
   police report on effect of, 299, 300

Vaal River, crossing of, 250

Valetta, 200, 201

Victoria, 223

Victoria, author as commandant of, 271, 273 et seq.;
   defence scheme for, 175, 187;
   goldfields of, 213;
   naval units of, 177;
   volunteers for Maori War from, 188

Waipa, author’s voyage to New Zealand on, 87, 165, 200

Wairoa River, 104

Walker, General Forestier, 238, 241

Wallaroo, copper mines of, 157

Wallington, Captain (Sir Edward), as private secretary to Lord Hopetoun, 270

Ward, Colonel, in South Africa, 247, 248, 249

Wardhouse, author at, 201;
   Gordons of, 2, 3, 4

Weld, Sir Frederick, 105, 106, 111, 112

Wellington, 90;
   author at, 106

Werribee House, 128

Western Australia, and permanent artillery force, 209

Wharfmen’s union, strike of, 209-211

White, Captain, 308, 309

White Island, 93, 94, 95;
   sulphur at, 94

Williams, Major, 156

Wilson, Major, 308

Wireless station, selecting site for, 310, 311

Wolseley, Lord, and army manœuvres, 227;
   and New South Wales troops, 191

Woodcock Hill, Limerick, robbery at chapel at, 71, 72

Woodford, Colonel John, and wife of Laird of Wardhouse, 4

Woolwich Academy, author at, 30, 31;
   author coached for, 27;
   author leaves, 40;
   author’s return to, from Spain, 37, 38;
   author successful candidate for, 28, 29;
   Prince Imperial at, 40, 42

Woolwich, author joins Royal Artillery at, 42;
   Garrison Theatre, author in performances at, 63;
   R.A. headquarters mess at, 62

York, Duke and Duchess of, at Adelaide, 267;
   at Melbourne, 266;
   at opening of Commonwealth Parliament, 266;
   author and, 267

Printed by Cassell & Company, Limited, La Belle Sauvage, London, E.C.4
F 20.821

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