JOHN MAWSON aged 24 1st Btn Coldstream Guards, Rose Terrace, Keswick, son of John & Ann Mawson, Who fell at Magersfontein and died of his wounds at Orange River 13 December 1899
Sat 23rd Dec 1899On Sunday morning Mr. John Mawson, Rose Terrace, received an official communication from the war office, announcing that his son was among the wounded, in the battle for Magersfontein confirming the newspaper reports of the previous day, the newspapers on Monday further announced that the brave young fellow had, at Orange River on the 13th Dec died from his wounds.
Following this ill news came a letter written by him at Belmont Camp after the first flush of victory, and his parents have kindly permitted us to print it, we are sure that all will sympathize with Mr & Mrs Mawson in their great sorrow.
Private, John Mawson 1st Btn Coldstream
Belmont Camp, 24th Nov 1899
Dear Father and Mother,
I now take the
pleasure of writing you a few lines to let you know I am still
alive and well after my first smell of powder. We attacked the
Boers yesterday and beat them, I daresay you will get the news in
England a month before you get this letter. We advanced on their
position at 3 am yesterday morning, they were up among the rocks
and we could not see them till we got close to them, but we
shifted them out of it when we charged up the hill. It made me
shake a bit when the first bullets came whistling past me, I had
several narrow shaves, it was an awful sight to see the poor men
laying there dead and wounded. We lost seven killed and about
twenty wounded; the Grenadiers and Scots lost a lot
We drove them clear out of their camp and took possession of all they had, we got 5 or 6 hundred cattle, as many goats and 150 horses. We have 51 Boer prisoners, there was one Boer showed the flag of truce and then shot one of our officers dead after we had stopped the firing, but we soon put that Boer to rest. It was an awful sight to see them burying the dead, some poor men nearly blown to pieces, I shall be very glad when this job is done, I must finish now as we are to make another move.
With love to you all from your affectionate son