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  ― ix ―

Preface

To so great an extent has the market been flooded with all sorts and conditions of books relative to the war in South Africa that the author feels constrained to introduce his with a few words of apology and explanation, in the hope that he may perhaps justify himself for seeking to inflict yet another upon a long-suffering public.

War Correspondents, Doctors, Members of Parliament, Lords and Lookers-on have, all and sundry, had their say in book form as to what they have seen and what they have thought about it. Battles, strategy, transport, hospitals—all the varied features of both campaigns have been most thoroughly discussed and debated in their diversity of light and shade from almost every possible point of view. So that there would seem at first very little left to write


  ― x ―
about. But the Australian soldier, though frequently the subject of much literary effort, has not yet had his say. Therefore, in these pages the author has striven to show other Australians, who had not the good fortune to serve in Africa, what some phases of campaigning were like, as viewed from the standpoint of the Australian ranks, and has occasionally ventured to say, as an Australian, how things have impressed him.

With regard to the two “Battle” chapters, it is perhaps necessary to explain that, though the incidents and setting are actual facts, the whole is not intended to represent any particular engagement, but is rather a kind of composite portrait of half a dozen or more.

In conclusion, the author wishes to acknowledge the kindly assistance and advice for which he is indebted to Mr. John Arthur Barry in the making of this book.

SYDNEY, 1902.

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