An accidental death in Laingsburg

Anglo-Boer War researcher Allen Duff recently visited the graves in Laingsburg and was faced with a puzzle. The inscription on the grave of Private F Gardner, of the 5th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, stated: “Accidentally killed in the execution of his duty on 9.01.1902.” Allen wondered just how Private Gardener could have been ‘accidentally’ killed’ then he remembered Round-up and rushed to his files.  There he found a story quoting a letter written by Lieutenant Austin of C Company, Fifth Warwickshire Field Force, while stationed in Laingsburg.   On January 13, 1902, Austin wrote:  “The men are ready to blaze away at anything at night, so I sing out ‘friend’ when doing my rounds. We had a man killed at Laingsburg on Thursday, they mistook him for the enemy. Raw militia are beauties, but these men are improving, thanks to me, of course.” So there was the explanation of how poor Private F Gardner met his death and the riddle was solved!


© Rose’s Roundup, November 2010(No 202)

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