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Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries

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More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has preserved.
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A Confounding Mystery: Who is this man? Is it really - as someone wrote on the back - young Andrew Wauchope, the celebrated British Victorian soldier who would win fame, and immortality, as one of the three heroic British generals to be killed during the opening months of the Boer War?

Admittedly the likeness is astonishing! The arched and hooded eyes, the nose, mouth, and ears, and the broad forehead. Even the hair still looks the same. And the pose, and set of the head, are identical. Clearly this is an early photo of the celebrated general.

But if it is, then how can this photo have been taken by T. Rodgers, in Saint Andrews, NB - for New Brunswick, Canada? We have no record of Andrew Wauchope ever doing service in Canada... West Africa, Egypt, the Sudan, South Africa, but not Canada. Is there anyone who knows if he did?

Andrew Wauchope (pronounced Whah - cope) was a Scottish officer who joined the Black Watch and served in the Ashanti Wars in Africa. In what some may see as a bad omen, he was severely wounded there because he was a vigorous leader in the noble Victorian British Army tradition of officers who led from the front with bravura. He served later in the Sudan where he was also severely wounded. During the Nile Expedition he was severely wounded again. By 1894 Wauchope was a Colonel in the Black Watch, and had both a CMG and a CB.

In 1898,Wauchope led a column in Kitchener's March on Khartoum. He fought at Omdurman - where Winston Churchill fought as a young Lieutenant - and was made a Major General.

Sheet Music, Siege of Ladysmith - 1900
Orig. plate - Image Size - 23 cm
Found - Eugene, OR

The Mystery of General Andrew Wauchope - 1899

Copyright Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996-1999-2005

When the Boer War broke out Wauchope was put in command of the Highland Brigade and sent north to Modder River, to join Lord Methuen's Army which was trying to push the Boers along the railway and out of British territory.

Here a few days later he would win immortality, his name forever engraved on this monument at Magersfontein, on the spot he died, while leading his men in a night attack on the Boers in the hills beyond.

Thanks to Richard Dickens, probably in the UK the mystery is solved. Wauchope never was in Canada... Richard writes:

"The Photographer in question is Thomas Rodger of St. Andrews Fife, Scotland. The N.B. stands for North Britain and is shown on all his cards of this period. Thomas Rodger was the first commercial photographer in Scotland and quite well regarded. There is a little bit of information on the web and St Andrew University has several of his photos available to view online via their special collections website. A lot of Black Watch officers were also from Fife."







Won't you help us solve ..... A New Boer War Mystery ?

Can you help us identify this Canadian trooper photographed in Kelso, New Brunswick, probably on the eve of leaving to go on a tour of duty in South Africa.

Was he CMR? Strathconas? Canadian Scouts? or South African Constabulary?

Kelso must be a good clue. How many men - sergeants at that - came from Kelso, NB. And the footwear is unusual, no strings on the front like the Strathconas had? And whoever heard of Kelso, NB?

Richard has solved another Great Canadian Mystery, that came with a cabinet card with a similar NB location, right.

We now know Kelso is in Scotland, not New Brunswick, and the soldier is likely a Scot.

It begs the question, what is he doing wearing a Canadian slouch hat that is virtually a carbon copy of what the Canadian mounted troops wore in South Africa?

Boer War Discovery of the Month (May 2002)

A Soldier's Dream at Magersfontein
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Boer War "The Soldier's Dream" calendar 1901
Orig. calendar - Size - 18.5" x 26.5"
Found - St. Georges, ON
Signed to Elliott, Marr, & Co. Grocers, London, ON
"Black Week" Rediscovered: This wonderfully huge, chromolithograph was produced in December 1900 for a grocer in London, Ontario and features the calender for 1901.

December, 1900 was an extremely emotional time throughout the British Empire, and no less so in Canada as proven by this wonderful Canadian calendar memorabilia item. It was found rolled up in the attic of an old house in Brantford, ON.

The Disasters of Black Week: "Black Week" of December 10-15, saw a trio of terrible British reverses suffered by the world's most powerful army at the hands of militarily untrained Boer farmers: Stormberg, where General Gattacre, in trying to attack the Boers at night, lost hundreds of his men in the dark. The Boers found and captured the lot. Magersfontein, where General Wauchope died in another disastrous night attack, resulting in another British retreat, and Colenso, where General Buller, the British commander-in-chief himself, had to retreat with heavy losses and suffered a fate worse than death itself, the loss of ten artillery guns to the Boers.

Honouring the Sacrifices of Black Week. A grocery store in London, Ontario wanted its customers to remember the heroes of Black Week for the entire year, by making this litho "The Soldier's Dream" the centerpiece of its calender for 1901.

"The Soldier's Dream" was especially inspired by the slaughterhouse at Magersfontein, where the Highland Brigade under Maj.Gen. Wauchope, stumbled into an ambush at night.

Right, standing at the spot where the flower of a nation was cut down, historian John Goldi points to the Boer trenches, cannily dug in the middle distance, from which an ambuscade of rifle fire cut down the British Highland Brigade, as in tight formation, it was silently marching, in the dead of night, to surprise the Boers, supposedly waiting on the Magersfontein hills in the background. Major Benson, with his night compass, had been leading the way...

Among the first to fall at the front of his men, walking beside Major Benson, was the gallant General Wauchope who is celebrated in this rare Stevengraph, woven in silk (below).

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Stevengraph of Maj. Gen. Wauchope 1900
Woven silk - Size - 2.5" x 4"
Found - Toronto, ON
In orig. mount.
The ground above, littered, when dawn broke, with hundreds of dead and dying Highlanders, inspired the Soldier's Dream - a dying soldier's last kiss from a ghostly daughter.

This scene must have been especially evocative for the citizens of London, Ontario which was heavily settled by immigrants from Scotland many of whom must have had relatives that died during the Boer War.

OK, show me more Canadian Boer War Stevengraphs...
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