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Date: March 2nd 1902

2 March 1902 Newcastle, Natal My dear Mother, I suppose you expected a letter from us before this; we expected to land in Capetown, but were rushed right through to Durban, where, instead of going into camp there, we were sent right through to Newcastle, in sight of Majuba Hill where the Boers are at present concentrating. The other half of the regiment that sailed on the Manhattan were here when we arrived, but have gone to the front now. We will be here in quarantine (on account of the smallpox) until the 7th & then we will likely follow the others. We are all well & have stood the long journey well. There were 400 Boers captured within five miles of our camp yesterday & if only our horses had been fit, we would have had a hand in it. The journey from Durban to here (a distance of 200 miles) took us 36 hours in which we did not get a wink of sleep as we only had sitting room. The scenery through that part of Natal is the prettiest I have ever seen; pineapples, oranges & grapes & bananas growing all along the railway. We were buying pineapples for a penny each, & at nearly every station the boys would get off the train & pick their pockets full of peaches off the trees. Newcastle is not the same kind of country at all. All around us are great big mountains & not a tree of any description in sight. On our way up, we passed through Colenso & saw Lieut. Roberts Monument, and also Ladysmith where stayed & made our tea. We were inspected by Lord Kitchener yesterday & he said we were a fine looking outfit. We are having terribly hot weather now, almost hotter than when we crossed the equator. Bert was the only one of us seasick coming over & Charlie had a slight attack of the measles, but I did not miss a meal coming over, although I am a little bit off my food just now with a bad headache. We have to take our horses 2 miles to the river to water, & have to take with us in case of an attack, our rifles & bondoliers holding 50 rounds of ammunition. Both Charlie & Bert had letters from England yesterday, but I don't suppose we will get any Canadian mail for a couple of weeks yet. We have to get up & stand to arms at 4.30 every morning in case of a dawn attack, which is the time the Boers generally attack small camps. Well Mother, I think I have told you all about our trip now. Well, what do you think, Bert is a Regimental Mail Orderlie & he has just brought some Canadian mail & there is one from Don for Charlie. Remember me to Mr. & Mrs. Mugford & the Blakes & Kirkhams. With heaps of love to you & the boys, I remain your affec son, Geo. C. Rooke Trooper 554, 3rd Troop, C Squadron, 1 C.M.R., S.A.