See also

Llewelyn Alexander WRIGHT (1877-1902)

Name: Llewelyn Alexander WRIGHT
Sex: Male
Father: Felix Omri WRIGHT (1853- )
Mother: Martha BRELLISFORD (b.1855, bur.1913)

Individual Events and Attributes

Birth 1877
Death 5 Jan 1902 (age 24-25) Elandsfontein, South Africa

Individual Note

At 14yrs of age he was a brickyard labourer. Prior to joining the Army he was a

carpenter at Messrs. J. C. Edwards at Pen-y-bont.

 

Memorial inscription on a brass mural tablet in St. John's Parish Church,

Rhosymedre, on the east side of the north transept, close to the pulpit:

 

"To the glory of God and in memory of Pte. Llewelyn A. Wright, 'C' Co. (Ruabon)

1st. V.B. Royal Welsh Fusiliers, a faithful member of this church, who went to

the front at his country's call, and died of enteric at Elandsfontein, S.

Africa, Jan. 5th, 1902. Aged 24 years. This tablet is erected by his comrades

in arms in token of their esteem and regard. 'Be thou faithful unto death, and

I will give thee a Crown of Life.' - Rev. 11x."

 

See attached notes file for his Boer War notebook.

Diary of:

Private Llew Alexander Wright 2nd V. C. Royal Welsh Fusiliers Britstown South Africa

[Died Jan 5th 19/02 of Enteric Fever at Elanesfontein Hospital South Africa. Age 25 years. Service No. 7590]

Departure of the 2nd V C R W F for up Country.

Left Britstown five minutes past four in the afternoon of Oct 20th 19/01 for De-Aar. Arrived at Spruit-Fontein at ten minutes to ten having done the distance of seventeen miles. Stayed there for the night. Off again at seven in the morning we were within two and a half miles of De-Aar when we halted for two hours to allow our baggage wagon's to come up with us. We started the last lap at two o'clock arrived at rest Camp De-Aar by three o'clock. Here we thought we should rest for the night as we are all weary and foot sore but a soldier knows when he's resting. We had only just pulled our tackle off when the bugle sounded for us to fall in for new clothing. We packed that away and had to dress ourselves for entraining. We were then placed in two long coal wagons. Officer's, men, baggage etc., altogether packed like sardines in a tin. We started out of De-Aar five-thirty, got into Naauwport about twelve o'clock midnight. Stayed there about.... hours, of course sleep was out of the question being our first night in coal-trucks. The Gren and West Surrey Regts[?] garrison here. The blockhouses are about a mile apart and in the spaces between natives do sentry go besides alarm guns fixed in the ground, so that it is almost impossible to get near the railway without being seen. Our train started out of Naauwport at three o'clock, we passed through Rensburg about 4-45 Tuesday morning and its a wonder to me that General French ever got the Boers from the positions in this district for the place is nothing but a Fortress formed by nature, the train passing through nicks where large boulders over-hang the railway and it would only have taken one man without a crowbar to pitch them on the line. It is no wonder that the Boer's wrecked the trains so easy. Another half hours riding brings us to Bolesburg Junction. We reach Norvals Pont by 7-40 where we get breakfast and we are told that the two trucks we are in are going to be attached to the mail train which we are to escort to Bloemfontein. We start out of Norvals Pont 8-35 a.m.. Norvals Pont is situated just like a marble in the bottom of a cup with a big crack or slit down the two sides, and through that crack the Orange River runs, the bridge over the river here is a fine one. We crossed the river into O.K.Conglong at 8.38. We have traveled a good way now into O.K.C. but nothing special seen only many vacant farms. I suppose the owners are either under the Veldt or at St Helena or still fighting and the wives and families in the keep of the British Government at the concentration camps. It is now 10.55 and we are in Spring-Fontein. There is a tremendous camp here of Boer families. A dozen Boer prisoners have just been put on our trains of course they are put in carriages but poor Tommy Atkins has to ride in trucks. The Irish Fusiliers and West Surrey Regiments garrison this place. I have just been told that there is 5,000 refugees in camp here. It is a sight to see the hundreds of tents looking just like a large canvas town. We have just passed through

 

Jagers-fontein station and are now going in over a small bridge that was blown up by the Boers last Thursday, the wagons are all strewed on the side of the railway. I believe the stream is called Van-Zyl Spruit. Have just passed through Bethany. Sad evidence is the dark side of this war is the large number of graves we see as we go along done up with white stone or two form a cross etc., put on I expect by their Comrades. We are speeding along it is now ten minutes past four and Bloemfontein is in sight, 4-30 .... We are in Bloemfontein there must be thousands of soldiers here according to the tents we can see right around for miles, there is also a large refugee camp here. We disentrain and have taken all our kits and bedding out of the wagons but no sooner taken out than we have orders to put everything back in again as we are to start out again at 10 p.m.. We are told not to go out of the station but the first thing everyone wants is a wash as we are all as black as niggers from the smoke of the engine, then we got something to eat. By this time darkness creeps on us and one at a time our lot commence to dodge into town and I was one of them. I went up St Andrew Street and bought a few curios and went to have a look at the government buildings, the majority of us were back in the wagons by eight o'clock, we settled ourselves in the wagons and began to sing Welsh airs, next to us in station was the mail train for the north, of course the passengers not many came to the windows to hear us sing and one kind Gentleman gave the whole lot of us a splendid cigar each, and a kind nursing sister gave us some butter and a tin of condensed milk between a few of us in our end of the wagon, that was a bit of alright. We started out of Bloemfontein at twelve o'clock midnight attached to a luggage train with 100 horses on for up country. I soon went to sleep despite the discomforts as I had not slept the night before.

Wednesday October 23rd.

I woke up at day break and found it raining, naturally we were all miserable but it soon gave over. We crossed Reit River at seven o'clock. The country here is splendid just like England nice and open for miles round and the Veldt is fresh and green after recent rains. It is now eight o'clock and we have passed through Ventersburg and we must have passed through Branfort some time in the night. 9-45 a.m. and we are in Kroonstad the place President Steyn made his capital after the fall of Blomfontein. Its a typical African town and we get breakfast here. There is a large refugee camp here and there is also a native population here. 12-05 p.m. and we leave Kroonstad behind. The country in the immediate vicinity is rather hilly and that accounts for the Boers making a stand there after the fall of Bloemfontein. Two o'clock and we have just passed the now famous Honing-Spruit, just here we saw a large swarm of locusts, there must have been millions of them for the sky was black with them passing over our heads like a cloud. Evidence of the Boer's ability as train wreckers appear in many places along the railway such as broken bridges, bent rails etc., also many graves of railway men and soldiers here and there alongside of the railway. It is now 4-30 p.m. and we are passing Vredefort station another refugee camp here also. Another spin and we are in Viljoens Drift station by seven o'clock. We stay here an hour, then off again. We cross the Vaal river into Transvaal at five minutes past eight. Its a fine bridge over it with an electric light apparatus connected to it and the light is on all night so that they can see anyone approaching it. We are about a mile in Transvaal and in Verunaring-Station. This is the place that the Rev. J. W. Thomas told me in a letter that Herbert Evans was stationed. I saw a khaki clad fellow on the platform so I shout here Chummy half a mo, up he comes and he turns out to be an Officer or a

 

Captain, so I say "Beg your pardon Sir" but he proves to be a gentleman and a hail fellow well met. We have a good chat with him. Before we came into this station it had been raining in torrents and we were all soaking wet. Sleep was out of the question with the truck a pool of water, so we were all singing, so this officer told us that a brother officer had remarked when they heard us singing, that he didn't think there was a nation under the sun, no matter what sort they were, like the Welsh. I asked him if there was a fellow of the name of Herbert Evans stationed here. He said there in the station, but that there was a Military Telegraph Station half a mile away and if he was there he would mention my name which I had given him. We have to wish him good bye and we are once more speeding along. We arrive at Elandsfontein by eleven o'clock, of course it is dark but it looks a fine place as it is all lighted up with electricity.

Thursday October 24th.

Three a.m. and we are in Johannesburg, but just as it comes daylight we are off again, but what a fine place, there aren't many places in England to beat it and gold mines extending for miles right up to Krugersdorp so I am told. Just after leaving Johannesburg we find we are two men short, they must have got into a covered van for shelter and got left behind, nothing of interest to relate now. Have just passed through Manasburg also Koodeport, another half hours riding brings us to Luipaards-Ulei. Now we are in Krugersdorp and its quite true that I was told that the gold mines extend from Johannesburg to Krugersdorp. Another large refugee camp here. It is quarter past nine and we are in Randfontein, we get breakfast here. We start off again at 5 minutes past one after a wait of four hours. A company of Dublin Fusiliers and company of S. W. Border's join us here for Fredrick-Staad. 3-40 p.m. and we are at Fredrick-Staad. This is the place where our regiment and 1st Vol. Company were fighting just the station and a few houses with a Scotch Regiment garrison. This is the place where W. Williams Fron was killed, a brother to Ronalds the painter. His grave is close to the side of the railway with a wooden cross and his name on it to mark the spot where he is laid to rest. Potchefstroom at last, we got in a few minutes before five o'clock in the evening having been in the open trucks from four o'clock Monday 21st of October until 5 o'clock Thursday 24th of October, a period of 73 hours, but we find when landing that our regiment has been shifted from here to a P.S. place 26 miles away from the railway. We are sent to a rest camp for the night to wait for orders. 12 hours out of the 73 hours it was raining. The Cheshire's and Border Regiment garrison here. It is a nice place only scattered, it used to be the capital of the Transvaal one time.

Friday October 25th.

Have had breakfast and are still waiting for orders. Have been for a walk around the town. There is plenty of fruit here, peaches etc. overhanging the hedges into the road. Saw the old Government Building and a surrendered Boer Office. There are many houses empty their tenants out fighting and a few houses destroyed, I suppose by the Boers. I also went as far as the refugee camp, some of the children are in a fearful state as far as clothes and shoes are concerned but they are in a dirty lot taken on the whole. I get back to our camp and we are told we are moving out in the morning.

Saturday 26th.

 

Eight o'clock and we start out on our journey. Just outside Potchefstroom we pass some of the Cheshire Volunteers guarding a roadway bridge across a stream, they came out on the Dratava with us and went on to Durban. We arrive at Scandivear Drift on the Vaal River by half past five in the evening. We cross the river in pontoons and are once more in the O.K. Colony. Here is a company of our Regiment guarding the Drift. We camp here for the night.

Sunday 27th.

Half past five and we are off again, we land at the regimental Head-quarters by nine o'clock. We are miles away from any habitation out on the lonely Veldt on the bank of Rhenoster River. The regulars seem a nice lot of fellows in fact some of our company have brothers and relations amongst them. I haven't seen anyone I know yet. I forgot to mention that six fellows of the 26th Coy. L.Y. acted as guards for us and that we escorted a convoy from Scandinavia Drift to here. We get told off to our tents, 14 men to a tent and get the rest of the day off.

Monday 28th.

We start out at six o'clock on a march, two Companies of the Line, half of ours also the Pom Pom Gun and Maxin Gun. We are split up into two parties at the river, one party on each side. It was our luck in not having to cross the river as it was four feet deep at the drift. It was a treat to see them crossing, Officers first, men afterwards. We marched seven miles along the river side until we came to where they left off block-house buildings, the two parties were acting as covering parties while the engineers and kaffirs were building the block-house. We were posted into a sheep kraal which afforded us good cover if the Boers had put in an appearance. During the afternoon one of the niggers that was with us told us to listen that there was firing going on, we could hear it quite plain too. When we got back to camp at night we learnt that the cause of the firing was that the Boer had attacked a Post at which some of our regiment was stationed, but they cleared away before any harm was done.

Tuesday 29th.

We rested from military duties, had a game of football in the afternoon.

Wednesday 30th.

We start out at six o'clock again to the same place and same purpose as Monday. We started back at four o'clock and it started to rain in torrents. In a very short time we were like drowned rats and it was still pouring when all of a sudden something whistled through the air and spent itself in the veldt 2 yards at the rear of us, it was a shot. Our Officer extended us out straight away and we marched in extended order until nearing camp but nothing further occurred.

Thursday Oct 31st.

Fatigues etc. about the camp and rifle and bayonet inspection.

Friday Nov 1st.

More fatigue duties, also an orderly for our tent for the day. I was put on guard with three others over some of the men of the regiment who were prisoners for different offences, also three Boer prisoners who had been captured.

 

Saturday Nov 2nd.

Slept amongst Boer prisoners for the first time, still on guard, came off at six in the

evening.

Sunday 3rd Nov.

We had a Church Parade on the camp ground, and a good preacher, his sermon was short and sweet. The reason I say it was short is because the service on the whole must necessarily be short because it is killing work, the men standing up for an hour under a blazing sun.

Monday Nov 4th.

Nothing of importance only our company are served out with helmets in place of the slouch hats, and we are told that the other part of our company that were left at Britstown were on their way up, and we are warned to stand to arms at four o'clock in the morning and to be ready by seven for another march.

Tuesday Nov 5th.

The kids at home will be enjoying themselves to-day, Guy Fawkes day. We stood to arms at four a.m. in pouring rain, our march was canceled. In the afternoon the rest of our company arrived and with them Pryce Jones who I forgot to mention we left behind sick at Potchefstroom when we left that place, glad I was to see him again for we had been staunch chums since coming out.

Wednesday Nov 6th.

We start out at six o'clock on a march, two Companies of Line, our Company, the Pom Pom Gun, and a few empty wagons, also the Mounted Infantry Company. None of us knew where we were going at first (bar the Officers), but we found out when we had gone 13 miles what the object of our journey was, it was to unearth buried mealies [maize/corn-cobs]. We had a Boer prisoner with us who knew where the mealies was buried, and he was going to show us. We came to the spot directed by him and took two feet of earth off when we came across a large shut iron tank 7 feet square and about 8 feet deep with a man-hole on the top and a piece of sheeting covering to prevent the soil going in. We took the piece of sheeting off and there was the tank full of mealies. We had to break the top off the tank for the purpose of emptying it quicker. The prisoner estimated the tank to contain 14 sacks full. We emptied the tank into wagons we had with us, and the prisoner told Colonel Lyle D.S.O. who was standing near, that he knew where there was 10 more tanks of the same size and full, buried about four miles further on. However the Colonel decided to retrace his steps back towards camp as it was getting late in the day and the M. is reported Boers on the Kopjies [small hills] at the rear of us. We got back to camp alright about six o'clock without much trouble. The only discomforts we suffered was crossing the Rhenoster River at Drift and being without food all day with the exception of what we had before starting in the morning having done about 24 miles that day. When we had finished our tea we had orders to fall in again and we were to parade full at six a.m. next morning, and that we were to put a change of clothing in our bed and leave the rest of our kit behind us in the kit bags. Bad news that for me, for I had a nice lot of curios I would have to leave behind and its ten to one we don't see our kit bags again.

 

Thursday Nov 7th.

Six a.m. and we start out with a large convoy, our Company, two Coys of the Line and the Pom Pom Gun, moving in the direction of a place called Machavie. We got to Vaal River by ten o'clock having done about 13 miles, here the Vaal River is very deep and swift. We watched the convoy crossing at the drift and rare fun it was to watch the wagons crossing. The river is about 200 yards wide here and the water was up to the wagon bottoms at the drift, and if the mules were a little stupid and take the wagons off the drift, the result was the wagons would be partly immersed in the water, some would get stuck and such things as Officers chairs etc. would be sailing down the river. It took the convoy two hours and a half to cross, we crossed in pontoons twenty at a time. We stopped the other side of the river such as it was, bully beef biscuits at two o'clock. Colleton came up to our Company and spoke a few words to us, told us we were leaving them for a time, and also told us to stick it out on march and remember that we belonged to the R.W.F.. The convoy and the rest of the troops went along the riverside and we trekked on in the direction of Machavie a station on the railway. We reached Machavie about five o'clock and camped there for the night, of course we hadn't tents, do the best one can on the bare Veldt.

Friday Nov 8th

We expected to leave Machavie at two p.m. for Klerksdorp but the train did not arrive until five o'clock, we were put in three of Old Kruger's horse trucks which the British captured in the earlier stages of the war. The bottoms of the trucks were covered with manure. It was a shame that any human being should be put to ride in a wagon in the state they were and to make matters worse it had started to rain in torrents, and thundering and lightening with an awfulness that was grand for those who like to the awful in nature. We arrived at Klerksdorp about seven o'clock in the evening all soaking wet. The railway finishes here, we disentrained and was taken to the camp ground. We got all baggage out of the trucks in the dark and pitched two tents for the Officers. We were told to parade at four A.M. next morning and as we were all wet and tired out it was decided not to pitch tents for ourselves. It was not raining now but the sky was black with clouds, so J.K. Jones, Pryce Jones and myself decided to put a shelter up out of two blankets and two rifles for poles. We put one up then fell in for our coffee and then returned to look for our shelter, but alas what luck; someone had knocked it down in the dark. It started to rain again, so someone shouts, "Hands up for pitching a tent". So six of us put one up and as soon as we had put it up others who had been sitting around the camp fire supping their coffee came wanting to come in, we let in as many as the tent would allow. It was now about ten o'clock so it was time to make shape towards sleeping; which everyone did.

Saturday Nov 9th

Up at four o'clock and packed everything we'd got ready to go to occupy Block Houses along the Schoon Spruit from Klerksdorp to the Vaal, all mates were told to get together so that they would be together in the same Block House, the six of us Ruabon lads left got together, two Rhos lads and a Coedpoeth lad J.K. Jones, we were put together under Sergeant Rigden of Coedpoeth. We had just finished congratulating ourselves on being lucky to get together when the captain appears with a list of something in his hand, and reads out that the following names he calls out are

 

to stay behind for further orders, 8 men in all and amongst that list Wright and Woodfines. Just my luck, my name was always one of those that was picked out for some special duties or fatigues. Pryce Jones will bear me out in this statement. I might have in for a better place, but I would prefer going with pals. They marched off to their respective B-Houses some near some far and we who were left got our breakfast, we were soon reminded of the fact that there was a public holiday in town it being the Kings birthday. No orders were given us as to where and what we was to do so we took a walk into town, which we found gaily decorated with bunting flags etc. for the occasion. Another typical S. A. town with its large market square and another large refugee camp. The day passes away with another heavy thunderstorm and hailstones as large as dandy eggs.

Sunday Nov 10th

Still no orders. We saw the South Wales Borders going to church headed by their band. We went to church at night, not a bad service or preacher. When we got back to camp two of us were told to be ready in the morning to go to two B-Houses, one to sergeant Rigden's B-H where the Ruabon lads were and the other to Corporal Harley's Block House. I was again unlucky in not being picked for Sergt Rigden's B-H but its the next one to it about a mile separating the two.

Monday Nov 11th

Six o'clock, hearing firing is beyond the Kopjies that surround the town, and our Captain tells us afterwards that it was Colonel Hickie chasing Delarey. We start out for Block Houses at half past seven in company with the Royal Engineers and our Captain, we arrive at Corporal Harley's B-H by ten o'clock a distance of about 8 miles from Klerksdorp. In the afternoon I go in company with three others from the Block House to destroy a wooden bridge across the river which was supposed the Boers were utilizing under cover of darkness to cross.

Tuesday Nov 12th

Morning passes nothing fresh, but just on the stroke of twelve Colonel Collenton, his adjutant and orderly all mounted came to our B-House paying a visit to each. They spoke a few words and resumed their journey in the direction of Klerksdorp, two of our Company also left at the same time for the next B-House with our letters for home. There is a distance of three miles between the two B-Hs. They got as far as the bridge I've mentioned, a quarter of an hours walk away when all of a sudden we heard five shots go off in rapid succession. We look in the direction of where the firing came from and we could see the Colonel and party gallop away from the bridge for dear life, they were soon out of sight behind a rise in the ground, but where were the two men of our company with our letters? At last we could see them coming as fast as their legs could carry them towards our B-H. They appeared to be in a warm shop, firing was still going and we could see the dust flying in front and rear of them caused by bullets but no enemy could we see. At last we could see them following our two men up, only on the opposite side of the river. We were all outside the Block House watching the course of events. Ping, Pong, bullets came whizzing over our heads, we soon made shift inside for safety, but what of the two men who are still out, they would surely be hurt. At last one of them, J.T. Bushel of Ruthin crept through the small doorway and fell on the B-H floor exhausted. However he soon came round and we enquired off him where the other was, "I think he is shot" he said "I saw him fall".

 

By this time the Boers, a dozen of them had crept into a sheep Kraal a fortress in itself built of stones a distance of 600 yards and another five behind a ridge. Then two of them began waving with their hats, motioning us out of the B-House. We took no notice of them then, and I and another fellow R.M. Jones of Wrexham crept out of the B-House and out along the Veldt in search of the missing fellow W Smith of the Moss near Wrexham who we thought was shot. We went a 100 yards away from the B-House and looked up to see where the fellow could be but they (the Boers) as soon as they saw our heads, fired at us, luckily the shots were high so we lay flat and shouted the fellows name, but no answer, the firing ceased for a few minutes so the fellow that was with me crept back to the B-H for his rifle and bandolier. I had mine with me so I stayed where I was. The Boers began to motion us out again and one of the fellows stood up outside and looked through the field glasses, but he soon jumped down into the trench for no sooner did he show himself than he was fired at. I was still by myself on the Veldt and once more had a peep but had to be low again getting a shot in now and again. Those in the B-House made the place too warm for them at last for they crept to their Houses and got out of sight behind a rise of ground running parallel with the river. Then myself and another fellow named W Denson went to look for W Smith. At last we found him about 400 yards away lying flat on the ground, he was alright, he had deemed it the safest plan to lie flat, than risk running through a shower of bullets. Nothing further was seen of the enemy, but we heard Sergeant Fielden's B-House having a to do with them. They were evidently feeling for an opening to cross the river, thus passed Tuesday Nov 12th with our baptism of fire.

Wednesday Nov 13th

Nothing of importance only Lieutenant Griffiths gave us a call.

Thursday Nov 14th

Saw six Boers on the sky line coming in the direction of our Block House, we got ready to give them a warm reception, but they turned off in the direction of Klerksdorp. Two parcels landed up for me one from home and one from Aunt Annie [Brellisford] of Liverpool with smokes etc. for which I was exceedingly grateful.

Friday Nov 15th

There is a vacant farm close to our B-House with plenty of petition and flooring

boards, we decided to put a wooden floor in our B-H out of these boards and acted on

the decision without more ado, by evening we had put a decent floor in our little

home.

Saturday Nov 16th

Went up to No. 1 B-H with a letter for the Captain, came back and had a tasty

breakfast of fish which our fellows had caught in the river.

Sunday Nov 17th

Passed the greater day in reading a book, should have liked a bible to read, but

unfortunately I had left the one Father gave in my kit bag at the Regimental

Headquarters.

Monday Nov 18th

 

Went fishing in the river and caught two nice fish, the first I believe I have ever caught. Expected letters from home, but the afternoon turned out stormy, raining, thundering and lightning, the lightning the most awful I have yet seen in S. Africa.

Tuesday Nov 19th

Letters from England arrive, I receive two, one from home with the welcome news that grandmothers eyesight is alright again, I also posted five letters for the old country. In the afternoon another storm breaks out and lasts well into the evening.

Wednesday Nov 20th

Captain M. Jones comes to see for us, and more letters and papers arrive, I receive

two papers.

Thursday Nov 21 st

Nothing of importance only we hear that Methuen's, Hekewick and Kick's columns are in Klerksdorp refitting. I and another fellow get leave to go down the following day to see if we can drop across any Townies as the Welsh Yeomanry are supposed to be with Methuen.

Friday Nov 22nd

We start for Klerksdorp half past seven in the morning. We call at Corpl Davies B-House and Tom Ellis of Chirk joins us, and a Mold fellow from Corporal Evan's B-H comes as well. We had left Corpl Evans B-H a mile behind when we met General Wilson, Staff, and escort going round the B-H to inspect them. He told his Brigade Major to enquire of us where we were going. To "Klerksdorp" we replied, "For what" says the Major, "For groceries to the Field Force Canteen" we replied again. The last two fellows that joined us were without rifles and bandoliers as they were in the B-H