Ladysmith, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa
Agent: Cliff Jacobs - Managing Principal Estate Agent & CEO (Nat.Dpl.Hotel Man (UJ). M.P.R.E.)
Agent Cellphone: +27 (0) 84 413 1071 / +27 (0) 61 716 6951
Agent Office Number: +27 (0) 21 554 0283
Agent Email Address: email@example.com
Type: Heritage Guest House
Yield: Not Disclosed
The Legacy of General Sir Redvers Buller VC GCB
(7 December 1839 - 2 June 1908)
General Sir Redvers Buller was the supreme commander of the entire British force based in Natal at the inception of the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. Setting aside his failures and weaknesses in the first stages of the War, at least one historian has been kinder to General Buller's tarnished reputation and wrote the following about him:
"Buller's achievements have been obscured by his mistakes. In 1909, a French military critic, General Langlois, pointed out that it was Buller, not Roberts, who had the toughest job of the war - and it was Buller who was the innovator in countering Boer tactics. The proper use of cover, of infantry advancing in rushes, co-ordinating in turn with creeping barrages of artillery: these were the tactics of truly modern war, first evolved by Buller in Natal." (Thomas Pakenham)
Places of Interest in Ladysmith
Places of Interest Around Ladysmith
History of Ladysmith
Siege of Ladysmith
The Siege of Ladysmith was a protracted engagement in the Second Boer War, taking place between 2 November 1899 and 28 February 1900 at Ladysmith, Natal, a township founded in 1850 (population in 2011: 64,855).
As war with the Boer republics appeared likely in June 1899, the War Office in Britain dispatched a total of 15,000 troops to Natal, expecting that if war broke out they would be capable of defending the colony until reinforcements could be mobilized and sent to South Africa by steamship. Some of these troops were diverted while returning to Britain from India, others were sent from garrisons in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. Lieutenant General Sir George White was appointed to command this enlarged force. White was 64 years old and suffered from a leg injury incurred in a riding accident. Having served mainly in India, he had little previous experience in South Africa.
Outbreak of War
Contrary to the advice of several British officials such as Sir Alfred Milner, the High Commissioner for Southern Africa, the Boer governments were not over-awed by the despatch of British troops to Natal. Instead, they regarded it as evidence of Britain's determination to seize control of the Boer republics. The Transvaal government under President Paul Kruger considered launching an attack in September, but President Steyn of the Orange Free State, who would later become the spiritual heart of the Boer resistance, dissuaded them for several weeks while he tried to act as an intermediary. With the complete breakdown in negotiations, both republics declared war and attacked on 12 October.
A total of 21,000 Boers advanced into Natal from all sides. White had been advised to deploy his force far back, well clear of the area of northern Natal known as the "Natal Triangle", a wedge of land lying between the two Boer republics. Instead, White deployed his forces around the garrison town of Ladysmith, with a detachment even further forward at Dundee. The entire British force could concentrate only after fighting two battles at Talana Hill and Elandslaagte. As the Boers surrounded Ladysmith, White ordered a sortie by his entire force to capture the Boer artillery. The result was the disastrous Battle of Ladysmith, in which the British were driven back into the town having lost 1,200 men killed, wounded, or captured.
The Boers then proceeded to surround Ladysmith and cut the railway link to Durban. Major General French and his Chief of Staff, Major Douglas Haig escaped on the last train to leave, which was riddled with bullets.
This town was then besieged for 118 days. White knew that large reinforcements were arriving, and could communicate with British units south of the Tugela River by searchlight and heliograph. He expected relief soon. Meanwhile, his troops carried out several raids and sorties to sabotage Boer artillery.
Louis Botha commanded the Boer detachment which first raided Southern Natal, and then dug in north of the Tugela to hold off the relief force. On 15 December 1899, the first relief attempt was defeated at the Battle of Colenso. Temporarily unnerved, the relief force commander, General Redvers Henry Buller, suggested that White either break out or destroy his stores and ammunition and surrender. White could not break out because his horses and draught animals were weak from lack of grazing and forage but also refused to surrender.
On Christmas Day 1899, the Boers fired into Ladysmith a carrier shell without fuze, which contained a Christmas pudding, two Union Flags and the message "compliments of the season". The shell is still kept in the museum at Ladysmith.
Relax with a drink in our famous "Boer War" Pub or on our magnificent sun deck overlooking Ladysmith and watch the sun set over the majestic Drakensberg mountains.
What We Offer
We have 15 comfortable, single and double en-suite rooms which include 2 Luxury King Suites with a magnificent mountain view and 3 family rooms that sleep 2 adults and 2 children.
Our rates include a delicious breakfast served from 6:30am, Monday to Friday, and from 7:00 am on the weekends.
A scrumptious, home-cooked 2-course meal is offered for dinner on request Monday to Friday. This service needs to be booked and confirmed with reception by 10:00 am on the day that you wish to join us for dinner.
We also offer packed lunches on request.
Enjoy a drink in our captivating "Boer War" Pub and surround yourself with the fascinating collection of original battlefield artifacts.
Guests are welcome to 'bring and braai' on our deck while enjoying the magnificent view of the Drakensberg Mountains. Please contact reception for details before arrival.
Experience exceptional customer service from our attentive management and staff who always endeavour to go "the extra mile" to ensure that you enjoy your stay.