Boer War Page 92t
Rare Boer War Discoveries
Below are some of the key items the Canadian Boer War Museum has added to its collections
in its ongoing efforts to preserve important Canadian heritage memorabilia from this period.

Rare Great Boer War Discoveries ( Jan. 2006)

Photos & Autographs of Basil & Dot Lubbock

A Remarkable Treasure from the Past

British Boer War Veteran with Canadian Experience
Found in rural Ontario!

How often while browsing through an out of the way auction do you come upon a truly wonderful find?

It happened to us recently, at a small Niagara, Ontario auction, that was truly bereft of quality items, until we picked up a discarded volume, in a box of books.

We got it cheap because no one knew or cared for this large and heavy book and what was inside...

Amazingly we had stumbled on nothing less than the private family photo and autograph album of Dot and Basil Lubbock, British imperial adventurers of a century ago. How this precious book, which had once been the repository of the private memories of this remarkable couple, had ended up on the junk heap of history, will never be known. But it has been reclaimed to its rightful place in the history of the British Empire by the Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum.

Capt. A. Basil Lubbock MC (1872-1944) was:

- the world famous sailor and writer (from 1902-1938) of some 20 acclaimed books on sailing ships of the 19th century

- a founder, & the first Commodore, of the Hamble Sailing Club, 1919 -1931, in southern England.

- the founder of the Sunbeam class of sailing dinghy. The Solent Sunbeam Class was based at the Hamble River Sailing Club from 1922-1930, Bembridge Sailing Club (1930-1939), and since the war, at Itchenor Sailing Club. See details at:

Capt. A. Basil Lubbock, MC, (1872 - 1944) served in the Anglo-Boer War in the Royal Field Artillery and in Menne's Scouts. He was Mentioned in Despatches for helping rescue a comrade while under heavy fire.

When World War I broke out, he, and wife Dot, left to serve in India. This album contains the photos, sketches, watercolours, and autographs they gathered during their tour there from 1914-15.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Photo & Autograph Album, 1914-1915
Dot & Basil Lubbock, Oct. 4, 1914, Hamble, UK
Orig. album - Size - 9.25 x 11 x 2"
Found - St. Catharines, ON

A truly stunningly handsome couple, typical of the Best of Britain, which was once sent out to administer peace and prosperity to the far-flung reaches of Empire.

Dot and Basil were married in 1912, and remained childless. They died within weeks of each other, Dot following Basil, on Nov. 15, 1944.

Basil in Canada

Basil Lubbock came to Canada for the Gold Rush of 1898. He climbed the Chilkoot Trail and went on to Dawson. He was probably one who went for adventure rather than to strike it rich. He returned to Vancouver Island later, intending to prospect for copper, but the Boer War intervened and Basil went to serve there.

It is believed he returned to Canada again afterwards via New York in 1903. In 1912, back in England, he married Dot.

It is a mystery how, a century later, their photo album for the years 1914-15 would turn up in the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario, Canada.

At Tilbury Dock, where they boarded the P&O steamer Caledonia, Dot collected signatures from all the other upper class adventurers bound for service in India, including, at the top, Sir Harold Edward Snagge, 1872-1949, and Sir Elliot Graham Colvin, 1861-1940, Chief Commissioner of Ajmer-Merwara province.
At Port Said, while crossing the Suez Canal, Basil took several pictures of HMS Hampshire which had a special guest on board - the captain of the German Auxiliary Cruiser Emden that had been sunk only days before, in the Far East, by the Australian Cruiser HMAS Sydney, after having wreaked havoc with Allied shipping in the area.

Within months the Hampshire would be even more famous; she was on her way to her own date with destiny. With Lord Kitchener, the British War Minister aboard, she struck a mine, and was lost with all hands north of Britain, while on a voyage to Russia. The British Empire was in mourning, but not the Boers and their sympathizers around the world, who never forgave K of Chaos for instituting the concentration camp system in South Africa, that cost some 26,000 Boer women, children, and men, their lives.

At Port Said, (watercolour right), Basil also practiced his painting skills. British officers of the period were trained to sketch and paint in the era before cameras were in general use. We know Basil painted the watercolour because on one of the other paintings, of a girl, his artistic initials ABL are on the bottom.
Right, the houses of the elite British colonial administrators on the hills at Simla (Shimla). Simla, with its cool temperatures and lush green pastures, was the summer captial of the British Empire in India. In the centre of the photo is Jako Hill from which Basil painted his watercolours of the distant Himalayas (below right).

However the world was at war, and to upgrade his skills, Basil attended the signalling school at Poona in April 1915, right.

Within months he would leave the idyllic life in India and return to the slaughterhouse in Europe to join the Royal Horse Artillery. He served nobly, once again, being awarded the Military Cross.

Basil was fortunate; he survived the war, which claimed many of his brother officers.

After the war Captain Basil Lubbock MC returned to his career as a writer - which he had begun after the Boer War - basing his books on the wonderful days he had spent, while single, in sailing the square riggers in the Pacific and Round the Horn.

And he started a sailing club at Hamble, and invented the Sunbeam class of sailing boat, being single-handedly responsible for spreading to generations of Brits his love and joy of sailing.

Basil had done his duty for his Queen, his King, his Country, and during the Boer War, risked his life to save a comrade, who was black...

Lord Kitchener's Mentions in Dispatches, of Aug. 8, 1901 read:

Lieutenant A B Lubbock; at Jonberfs Nek, July 15, assisted Sergeant Cima to save a native scout whose horse had been killed, Boers at time being within 150 yards and firing heavily.

But Basil Lubbock did far more than that.

Few men there are, anywhere in the world, who have left to mankind both a rich intellectual legacy, and an enduring outdoor recreational sports heritage, that can still both be enjoyed by people of all races around the globe.

The Best of Britain! Is there a finer example than Basil Lubbock?

And the book of memories of India? It dribbled off into empty pages. There is nothing of late 1915, or the latter years of the war. No other photos were ever added from Europe. One gets the feeling that both Dot and Basil lost heart.

No more gay photos of excursions with rickshaws or picnic outings with friends. The slaughter that Basil witnessed, and reported back to Dot, must have ended thoughts of all that. So frivolous the time in India; so long ago! And so many of Basil's friends, all gone, and ground into the mud of France.

Not a good time for family albums, but a time for mourning that would go on for years.

How and why the India album ended up in Canada, will never be known.

From his vantage point atop Jako Hill in central Simla, Basil painted the distant Himalayas, combining his artistry with the trained eye of a keen British engineering officer. He noted ever mountain peak and valley, and wrote down the elevations.

The page's autographs include plain Aubrey Metcalfe, later Sir Herbert Aubrey Francis Metcalfe (1883 - 1943), and Chief Commissioner of Baluchistan. Among the 150 autographs of the colonial personalities that were among the ruling class in India during World War I, are ones of The Earl and Lady Suffolk, Sir Harold Edward Snagge (1872 - 1949), and Henry Duffield Craik, (1876-1955), Registrar of Lahore High Court, and later Governor of the Punjab.

Other notables whose autographs are found in the book include Sir Harcourt Spencer Butler G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E., C.S.I., C.I.E., I.C.S., Hon. D.C.L. (Oxon); D. Litt. D.L., F.R.G.S., F.R.S.A., F.R.A.S., F.Z.S., Knight of Justice, St. John of Jerusalem, Governor of Burma, and Ist Governor of United Provinces, (1869-1938).

Below, at the Bhopal Regatta, Basil and Dot front right. The marvellous sights of India beckoned and Dot and Basil toured whenever they could, singly, together, or with friends.
Below, Basil and Dot on the left, probably with the Duboulays, Freda and her husband, Sir James Houssemayne Duboulay, longtime private secretary to Lord Hardinge, the Viceroy of India, taking time off to see the exotic sights of India.

Left is the Pride of Britain, trim and fit, and proud of their mission in life, playing their part in administering the British Empire in India, Reginald Barker, signature right, and STB, posing beside Basil for Dot and her camera.

From time to time, Basil would head off on excursions to the distant frontier regions, like Shaziabad, above right.

And paint the wonders of the Basba River Valley and the peaks beyond, then little known to the outside world, but today, a prime tourist destination.

c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 2000