The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

 
 
Trooper Edgar Clarence Spender

Edgar Clarence Spender (Spendor in Murray) was 25 years of age when he enlisted in the 3rd South Australian Citizens’ Bushmen to fight in South Africa a Trooper, No 16. That contingent sailed from Adelaide on 7 March 1900 on the Maplemore and saw service from April 1900 until April 1901 in Rhodesia and west Transvaal; it was part of the Composite Australian Bushmen Regiment from August 1900 until April 1901. Murray notes that he was taken prisoner on 18 August 1900.

He was a "rough diamond" literate, and like many of his compatriots wrote a detailed diary of his experiences. His living family, the Collins of Meadows, South Australia, have scanned the pages and allowed us to publish it. The first book, has unfortunately been lost.  The diary is raw; the writing fine copperplate script, however, the spelling and grammar are acceptable but not perfect.  The text reflects the attitudes and moral values of 1900 not 2012. Monetary values and measurements are also those of a past age.  It is a fascinating read.  Great descriptions of combat from a trooper’s point of view; confronting verbal images of what conditions were like in a wartime hospital in 1900; the antics of larrikins and an attitude to authority that was to become legendary in WW1.

The Collins family also provided some great photo illustrations of Edgar’s life, they appear below.

Just use the buttons to access the diary. There is no bookmark system, however, if you reach a certain page and need a break, simply note the number and jump to it when next you have time to continue reading.

Choose page number then select "GO"