Home' Army News : March 17th 2011 Contents I HAVE just finished reading your lat-
est edition (Army, March 3) and, as
always, it is an interesting paper to
read. However, I could find no refer-
ence to the Boer War in your 110th
Army birthday liftout.
We may have left these shores as con-
tingents from each state, but this country
federated while these soldiers were still
fighting the Boers.
While overseas, they were known
as Australians, not soldiers from each
individual state even though the name
of their contingents did not reflect this,
for example, the Queensland Mounted
Infantry etc. Then came the Australian
Commonwealth Horse, the forerunner for
all mounted infantry in future wars.
My uncle fought in the Boer War
and returned home and enlisted again in
World War I and fought at Gallipoli as
did many of the soldiers who fought in
South Africa. He, like every other soldier
who have left these shores to fight a war,
would be a very disappointed man to
think he was forgotten.
In researching the Elands River
Battle, you will read about the first sol-
diers who dug in to save their lives and
fought and won against a massive force
compared to their numbers. A wonder-
ful poem was written by George Essex
Evans from Toowoomba about that battle
named Elands River.
In the words of Conan Doyle, "The
Australians have been so split up during
Australian Army now working for
the Wilderness Society in NSW.
Every year our organisation hosts
an event called Wild Endurance,
a 36-hour, 100km race in the Blue
The event is scheduled to take place
on the weekend of April 30 to May 1,
and we are looking to recruit teams
who will will fundraise and participate
in the event.
Given the nature of the event,
I think it is an ideal team building
exercise for soldiers, enlisted or com-
missioned, regular or reserve, either as
part of a unit or a broader group. We
have had military participation in the
past but we would like to increase it, as
we see a natural synergy between an
organisation such as ours, which seeks
to protect the Australian wilderness
for all Australians to enjoy, and the
military, whose mission it is to protect
You can learn more about the event
Wilderness Society, NSW
our first war
Excerpt from Eland's River
by George Essex Evans
They called us to surrender, and they
let their cannon lag,
They offered us our freedom for the
striking of the flag.
Army stores were there in mounds
Worth a hundred thousand pounds,
And we lay battered round them
behind trench and sconce and crag.
But we sent the answer in,
They would take what they could win.
We hadn't come five thousand miles
to fly the coward's rag.
We saw the guns of Carrington come
on and fall away;
We say the ranks of Kitchener across
the kopje grey.
For the sun was shining then
Upon twenty thousand men
And we laughed, because we knew,
in spite of hell-fire and delay,
On Australia's page forever
We had written Eland's River.
We had written it forever and a day.
the campaign, that through their valour
and efficiency were universally recog-
nised, they had no single large exploit
which they could call their own. But now
they can point to Elands River ... when
the ballad-makers of Australia seek for a
subject, let them turn to Elands River, for
there was no finer fighting in the war."
Ms Colleen O'Leary
A natural challenge
Army March 17, 2011
A hard war: Australian soldiers were fighting in the Boer War as the colony
became a nation.
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