My students have come up trumps again! My sixth formers have been studying the Boer war and were asked to write a report about the state of the British Army, reflecting on the Cardwell Reforms, as if they were Winston Churchill. They were told to think about the tone of the piece and what they think Churchill would have thought about the war. One example is so good that I have decided to showcase it on the blog-do allow for a little exaggeration here as they were told to make it a biased report.
'We haven't got quite the whole world yet-but we're getting it by degrees.'
We must continue to fight in South Africa. The future of our great nation and our Empire depends upon it! To quote Lord Salisbury, Undersecretary for the Colonies; "We must be prepared to make it clear to the Boers that we are the paramount power in South Africa. The real point to be made good to South Africa is that we, not the Dutch, are Boss."
In doing so we must prevent Kruger's Boer Government in the Transvaal from becoming both independent and too powerful. We can not allow a people who are already hostile towards us to become too powerful, as it would put the security of our entire Empire at risk; if the Transvaal was left to 'blossom' in Kruger's hands then we could face losing the Cape and South Africa, then our links up to India, the jewel in our Empire's crown. If we present ourselves as pushovers then we shall be treated so and we would be left helpless as our great and noble Empire crumbles before our very eyes.
These cowardly Boers; they want their independence but as soon as they face an enemy that they can not defeat alone, from whom do they seek protection? As soon as the threat is removed and they have got what they need they see fit to call on us and expect us to cater to their every whim! We have wiped the Zulu from the face of South Africa, and stamped out their mark on our territory. This should be proof enough for the Boers that we are a nation, nay an Empire that will not tolerate such treatment!
There have been many improvements since the Crimean War that will undoubtedly strengthen our army. The new organisation of our troops, thanks to the Cardwell Reforms, has improved their ability to cope with the tasks presented to them, which will prove effective in our fight for South Africa. One such reform is the division of regiments; half serve abroad whilst the other remains in Britain to train. This will ensure that our forces, while small in comparison to other continental powers, will be fit and ready to make their mark on South Africa. Also, the new, experienced generals (a result of the abolition of buying commissions) are proving their worth; Colonel Baden-Powell is said to be holding out against the Boer Commandos in Mafeking with a small, outnumbered force. Does this not illustrate my point? Ours is one of, if not the finest force in the civilised world.
What's more, British society has been bolstered as the urban unemployed have found jobs as soldiers and are able to support their families once more. Too often our beloved Tommie's fall foul of misplaced disapproval. They may be comprised of vagabonds and louts from the poorest elements of society, but, if we are truly intent on defending our claim to South Africa, then we must, all of us, rally together for the common good and preservation of our Empire. For this, they and all of our men in South Africa command the utmost respect.
For the sake of our national pride and our Empire, we must fight on! God save the Queen and long live our glorious Empire!