Sold with the recipient's original pocket diary, the pencilled entries covering the period December 1900 until March 1901, his Mate's Certificate of Competency (dated 8.11.1883 in New Zealand), and a portrait photograph taken in later life.
Bearer Charles Christie was born in Nyborg, Denmark in 1859 but settled in New Zealand where he obtained a Mate's Certificate of Competency in late 1883. The advent of hostilities in South Africa found him resident in Tasmania and he sailed for Durban at the end of 1899, where he enlisted into the Natal Volunteer Ambulance Corps as a Bearer. Subsequently present in the operations to relieve Ladysmith, he was able to make a number of interesting entries in the above described diary, not least those concerning the advance of the Natal Field Force to the Tugela, via the carnage at Spion Kop:
'Wednesday Janr. 24th : A heavy battle raging ... Our Artillery started shelling Boer positions at 2 a.m. and kept up a constant fire until 5 p.m. Boers slowly retreating ... pleased to say not many dead or wounded on our side ... Later p.m. severe battle on Spion Kop, heavy loss of killed and wounded, all night employed in picking up wounded.'
'Sat. Febr. 17th : Advanced to the front at 7 a.m. Heavy firing on both sides both small arms and guns. Shells bursting all around me at present close to river this side. Boers retreating, our loss about 25 wounded. Camped in open near Tugela.'
'Thurs. Febr. 22nd : A terrific battle raging all day, our side steadily advancing with very few casualties. Boers position strong but our Lyddite shells cutting them up frightfully. Most of our troops have crossed the Tugela, also convoy and large transport ready to start for Ladysmith. Weather fine and clear throughout.'
'Sat. Febr. 24th : Crossed Tugela at 7 a.m. under a heavy shell fire from Boers. They are trying hard to destroy pontoon bridge but so far without success. 8.30 a.m. Started out to firing line, all day employed picking up wounded under a heavy shell and rifle fire, a perfect hell bullets flying around like hailstone. Returned to camp at 8 p.m.'
Further details on the Natal Volunteer Ambulance Corps may be found in the footnotes to Lot 368.