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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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Letter from Private William ("Bill") Satterford who was mentioned in a letter home by Private Fred Leonard and who was photographed with a group of Torquay men in 1895. This was written to Bill's parents who were then living in Newton Abbot, having recently moved there from Torquay where, clearly, they were acquainted with the Leonard family.

Bill Satterford was writing from the Transvaal on 6 March 1900. He had been trapped in Ladysmith throughout the siege and was just enjoying the first days of its relief which had occurred  on 28 February 1900.


Dear Parents,

How very delighted I am to be able once more to let you know that I am still in "the land of the living". Thank God! I know that you all have been very anxious to hear from me, and I trust that this will relieve you. I have not had any chance of writing before, as you know that we have been cut off from the outside world for four months. Still, you can imagine that we are all right now that we are free again, and the line from here to Durban is clear for communications, and hence my writing at the first opportunity.

Yesterday, we received a part of the mail and it was a "bumper", there being 11 tons of letters for the troops that have been besieged in Ladysmith. I have plenty of news, but you must not expect it all this time as I am very busy, and we are on the point of leaving here for down-country - either Maritzburg or Mool River. We know very little as yet about when we are going, but I hope to tell you more in my next.

Now, I cannot conclude without referring to the sad event which has occurred amongst us, we having lost one of our very best comrades in poor Fred Leonard who died at our hospital here on February 13th from enteric fever. I expect this sad news will be sent home to you all before this reaches you, as it was sent by cablegram. Still, I suppose it was ordained for him. Poor fellow! He was not very ill before going to hospital. It came on worse after his admission. It grieves me rather to think about him, and I deeply sympathise with his people, to whom I shall write soon.

So I must now conclude with fondest love,

Believe me, your affectionate son,



There is more information about the Satterford family on the page containing the Torquay photograph.


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