London, South Kensington
22 May 1998
J. W. PHILLIPS ("TROOPER JOHNTY") (B. 19TH CENTURY)
Twenty-five autograph letters signed ("Jack"), ("Johnty"), or ("Trooper Johnty"), approximately 130 pages together, mostly 8°, between February 1900 and 27 April 1901 to his mother and one to a sibling from Bloemfontein, Vrede, Harrismith and others, describing his experiences in the Imperial Yeomanry in the last phase of the Boer War in South Africa, 2 incomplete, paper discolouration, scuffing to edges throughout.
The first, entitled "On the march", indicates optimism: "What a time old Kruger is going to have." (n.d. but before March 1900) The war progresses and the British triumph of 29 July 1900 when Prinsloo and 4000 Free Staters were captured and herded into the Brandwater Basin is proudly recounted: "We have had two splendid sights on our way up. Two gangs of prisoners, Prinsloo and his lot. Over 3000 in the first and 1500 in the second. All sorts and all sizes, simply the scum of the earth and as dirty as the devil himself." (14 August 1900) After De Wet escaped from Brandwater and President Kruger deserted his countrymen for Europe: "Poor old Kruger - turned out from home and country. Isn't De Wet a knockout." (5 October 1900), Lord Kitchener devised a scheme of clearing the south-eastern districts of the Transvaal and bringing the non-combatant inhabitants together: "We have been out now nearly 10 weeks trotting round the country all ways and collecting specimens of Dutch women and kids from all farms until now we have quite a large 'women's laarger'..." (29 October 1900). Phillips comments too on "the more than bad news of the Queen's death..." (25 January 1901).
With two military orders, Private Jack Phillips's copy of a printed address to Lieutenant-Colonel W. Bromley-Davenport and his Men from the City of Lichfield and a collection of black and white photographs documenting Private Phillips's time in South Africa.
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