Sold with a rare and fascinating series of original correspondence spanning the period November 1900 until just after the recipient's death in March 1902, six of the letters being from Crowther to his father and/or mother:
6.11.1900: '... The food and living on board is a bit rough but you have to stick to it, one day we were on bread and the next biscuit as hard as lead ... [P.S.] At the time I posted this letter we are at Maitland Camp just outside Capetown but we leave for the front in a day or two. The war is not over by a long way.'
25.12.1900: '... For the last month we have been on the move and had a fight near every day and we have had one or two big ones ... On Dec. 6th, our Edith's birthday, I had a very narrow escape. We was (sic) advance guard and the Boers fired on us and they flew past me right and left and the fellow's horse next to me was shot through the neck ...'
24.1.1901: '... I hope you have had a good Christmas and new year. I have had a bad one out on the veldt chasing the Boers. I would like to hang them all ... You may think it hard of me not sending you any money but I cannot get it to send...'
11.3.1901: '... The convoy could not get it. I am at present with Col. Pultney (sic) and General French is with us. I think we have done (sic) fighting ... I don't mean to say the war is over...'
12.5.1901: '... The regiment is having a rest from tracking ... You should see me in my new clothes. I have a pair of blousairs for riding pants and I don't half look like a toff ...'
17.5.1901: 'Just a few lines hoping you are quiet (sic) well but sorry to tell you that I have been in hospital for over three weeks with enteric fever, and I am nothing but skin and bone. I have been on milk and six oz. of brandy. That is all. I have not had a letter from you while I have been in hospital ... I will not be able to write again while I am in hospital. I have no money and cannot get any in here. I may be sent to England when I get better and I may not. I have no more to say so I will close with best wishes to you all at home.'
The correspondence ends with three letters from Sister Francoise Donald of 14th General Hospital at Newcastle, Natal, to Crowther's mother, some seven months later, following his initial recovery, leave home and return to active duty:
30.1.1902: 'I am sorry to have to tell you that your son is in the above hospital suffering from enteric fever ... Within the past few days his condition has not been quite so favourable and I consider it my duty to let you know ...'
7.2.1902: 'I am exceedingly sorry that I have been powerless to avert the great shock that the news of your son's death must have given you. Letters take so long to travel and the telegram must have reached you long ere this. He had been doing very nicely with his progress, but one morning when I came on duty I saw there was a great change. He seemed very dull and could not answer me at all clearly. When the Doctor saw him he said there must be an internal haemorrhage. He became unconscious soon after and seldom was clear up to the time of his death ... He slipped quietly away and suffered no pain at the end ...'
28.3.1902: 'I received your very kind letter last mail. It grieves me very much that I am unable to give you a last message from your dear son ... I tried once to rouse him to see if I could get a message when I was writing to you but the attempt was useless. He never once regained consciousness ...'
Lieutenant W.R. Campbell, Acting Adjutant of the 14th Hussars, also wrote to his mother from Newcastle, Natal:
3.2.1902: '...He was a very promising young soldier and his loss is deeply felt by all his numerous friends. I am sending by the same mail a small packet of photos. and a few letters which he had in his possession ...'
The correspondence also includes letters from family and friends to Crowther in South Africa, including his 'sincere friend', B. Goodyear, an ex-serviceman re-employed as a Telegraphist at Bloemfontein:
11.11.1901: '...Do you know old man, when I was on on the veldt, I often prayed to get shot, so that I would get sent home, and it used to be awful doing night marches in torrents of rain and getting sniped at as you were passing different kopjes and not being able to see the men who were firing at you.'
Together with those from his 'old Camp Chum', Paul Goodstadt (from Manchester, dated 9.12.1901); and his friend from A Squadron, 14th Hussars, 4232 Private A."Spiff" Rutherford (from Acton Homes, dated 3.1.1902).