Churchill Captured by Boers
The 15th of November 1899 AD
These days a couple of years as a researcher are regarded as experience enough by our politicians. Contrast that with Churchill: though he became an MP in his twenties he packed a lifetime’s adventure into his earlier existence. He saw action as a war reporter in Cuba, fought in India, was in a cavalry charge in Sudan , and again served as a reporter (and subsequently soldier) in the Boer War .
On November 15 1899 the armoured train on which he was travelling was attacked by the Boers, and Winston Churchill along with 50 or so others was taken prisoner. He was held in a P.O.W. camp in Pretoria, where he studied his captors and appreciated their soldiering skills: “What men they were, these Boers! I thought of them as I had seen them in the morning riding forward through the rain—thousands of independent riflemen, thinking for themselves, possessed of beautiful weapons, led with skill, living as they rode without commissariat or transport or ammunition column, moving like the wind.”
The Morning Post’s war correspondent didn’t have too long to get to know them, as along with two others he escaped on December 12. A price was put on his head by the Boers, but Churchill escaped to Portuguese territory 300 miles distant, then rejoined the British forces both as a war reporter and with a commission in the cavalry, on hand when Ladysmith was relieved.
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