Field-Marshal French is best known for his military services during the First World War; however, his military service stretches back through to his commands in the Boer War. In his campaigns with the newly formed cavalry division he was to receive much acclaim and praise for his adroit handling of his troops and their effectiveness against the largely irregular Boers. He won the battle of Elanslaagte and, having escaped the encirclement of Ladysmith, led his troops on to the capture of Bloemfontain and the relief of Kimberley. Tough and uncompromising, he became a celebrity with the papers back home, his character summed up by the verse:
“E’s so tough and terse
‘E don’t want no bloomin’ nurse
and ‘E ain’t had one reverse
Ave yer, French?”
This book charts Colonel French’s adventurous division across the vledts and kops of the South African landscape with pace and verve.
The author, John George Maydon, was a prominent member of the Natal parliament that accompanied Colonel French on his cavalry campaign and writes from this unique perspective combining local South African knowledge with a loyalist viewpoint.