The corner of a South African field that is for ever Hampshire – Nostalgia

In a corner of a foreign field lie men and boys of the Hampshire Regiment killed in a train crash in South Africa in 1902. Picture: Tony Davis.
In a corner of a foreign field lie men and boys of the Hampshire Regiment killed in a train crash in South Africa in 1902. Picture: Tony Davis.
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We all know the verse written by Rupert Brooke: If I should die, think only this of me: That there’s some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England. The line comes from The Soldier, which he wrote in 1914.

Although it is mainly used in the context of the First World War it has come to be used in remembrance of any serviceman who dies abroad including, as here, South Africa.

A summer's day in Langstone Harbour, perhaps a century ago. Picture: Barry Cox

A summer's day in Langstone Harbour, perhaps a century ago. Picture: Barry Cox

I found this photograph, right, while looking through a collection of pictures belonging to Tony Davis who had no idea what it was or why he had it in his collection.

But after doing some research  I discovered these graves are in South Africa and all belong to members of the Hampshire Regiment after an event which happened towards the end of the second Boer War.

On Easter Sunday, March 30, 1902, a party of 105 soldiers, NCOs and officers from 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment got on a train at their base at Barberton after being ordered to Johannesburg 220 miles away.

At one point the line does a reverse curve, bending  first one way then the other. The train, travelling about 80mph, came off the rails on the second bend killing 42 soldiers,  all of the Hampshire Regiment.

The Home Stores in Bedhampton Road, Bedhampton, opened when everyone else was closed on Sundays.

The Home Stores in Bedhampton Road, Bedhampton, opened when everyone else was closed on Sundays.

• I am hoping some local sailors might be able to tell me more about the vessel in the picture below right. Small sailing craft have never been my strong point.

It was taken in Langstone Harbour at low tide and in the distance is the Royal Oak pub. To the right of it is the old water mill and to the right of that the  now famous black, former four-sail windmill. Both mills have now been turned into residential use.

The windmill was built about 1730 but by 1934 was derelict and had been turned into a home by 1939. The watermill, built in the early 1800s, operated two 10ft wheels to work on different tides. Between the two mills was the mill store.

• I wonder how many remember The Home Stores, a small grocer’s in Bedhampton Road, Bedhampton, just west of the Golden Lion pub? In the days when corner shops could only open until midday on a Sunday there was nowhere to buy groceries. It meant a trip to Bedhampton village as The Home Stores remained open, quite illegally I am told.

Steam had less than a year to run when the Flying Scotsman passed over Waterworks' Siding, near Bedhampton Halt, 1966.

Steam had less than a year to run when the Flying Scotsman passed over Waterworks' Siding, near Bedhampton Halt, 1966.

• On the facing page we see the Flying Scotsman on tour west of Bedhampton in 1966. I believe it’s Saturday, September 17, 1966, and the train had run from Victoria to Brighton before heading to Eastleigh and Salisbury. On the left, behind the trees, is Bidbury Mead recreation ground.