Monday 15 December 2014

With the Gordon Highlanders to the Boer War and Beyond

With the Gordon Highlanders to the Boer War and Beyond Buy from Amazon
Lachlan Gordon- Duff, Hardcover (July 1998) Travis Books; ISBN: 0953216004

The book is the letters of Lt Lachlan Gordon-Duff, 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders. He joined the regiment  at the age of nineteen on October 1, 1899 and sailed for South Africa barely four weeks later. He was not to return until 1902 having fought at Paardeberg, Waterval Drift, Doornkop and Belfast. Gordon-Duff was a  well educated man from an aristocratic Scottish family which is reflected in his letters to his sister and father. He writes very well and gives a full and interesting account of war; marching, fighting, hunger,  boredom of blockhouse duty, coping with 'veldt sores', picnics with nurses and learning to play polo. In fact his only spell out of the front line was through concussion suffered playing polo. Intermingled are  letters from his sister and father telling of life at home, mostly social commentary. The whole book is hugely interesting, many officers are named and commented on; Baden-Powell "the great advertisement". However,  the most astonishing fact is that the letters are edited by his son, also called Lachlan and himself a Gordon Highlander. The commentary is brief and the editor sticks to what he knows best, family members and  events. The book finishes with a tragic twist that adds a poignant dimension to the publication, Lachlan senior was killed in France in October 1914, just three weeks before Lachlan junior was born. These letters  are all he knows about his father.

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