This article is from Hamilton Advertiser, 27/2/1903 page 5 and tells the story of Colour Sergeant Joseph Wilson , home on leave after the Boer War. The date means that Joseph would perhaps have witnessed the tram lanes being laid on Glasgow Road when back and I’m sure he must have felt a sense of progression in Blantyre. The article states,
“A somewhat interesting presentation took place last Friday night in the Priory Bar, the recipient being Colour-Sergeant Joseph Wilson, who is at present home on furlough from South Africa.
Major Ness (V.D.) presided, and there were a number of Sergt. Wilson’s old friends present. In the course of the evening, the Chairman in a few appropriate words welcomed Sergt. Wilson back to Blantyre, his native place, and was pleased to see him looking so well after the arduous duties which he had passed through during the late war, and remarked that the Scottish Rifles (Cameronians) to which corp the sergeant belonged, they had come through the most trying times, they having been with General Buller at the Tufela. The Major, on behalf of a few intimate friends, then presented Sergt. Wilson with a beautiful gold albert. Sergeant Wilson made a feeling reply, and related many interesting incidents which took place during the war. A pleasant hour or so was afterwards spent in song and sentiment.”
When the Second Boer War broke out on 11 October 1899, the Boers had a numeric superiority within Southern Africa. They quickly invaded the British territory and laid siege to Ladysmith, Kimberley and Mafeking. Britain meanwhile transported thousands of troops both from the United Kingdom itself and from elsewhere in the Empire and by the time the siege of Ladysmith had been lifted, had a huge numeric superiority. Pictured is a scene of the liberation of Ladysmith.
Oh to have been a fly on the wall listening to those war stories with a pint in the Priory Bar!
With thanks to Wilma Bolton