Back home in Cuckfield: Mr Herrington's Lantern Lecture for locals includes Frank Bleach image

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 30 October 1900

The War in South Africa : Lantern Lecture. —Men of all classes, rich and poor, filled the Parish Room on Wednesday last, to hear Mr. Herrington give a lecture on the Boer War. Major Maberly presided, and said he was glad the subject had been postponed until the election was over, then no one could say the Lecturer was influenced by political motives in giving it.



At the commencement, Mr. Herrington pointed out the difficulty in giving a lecture on the war before it was actually over, there was much misunderstanding here at home, and a clear, accurate account could not be given until peace was proclaimed, and official despatches published.


For convenience he divided the war into stages, and illustrated each stage separately with maps and photographs, being careful to distinguish between drawings (which might or might not be accurate) and photographs, many of which had been loaned to him by the wife of an officer at the front. The various stages were—the Invasion of Natal, and the Siege, Defence and Relief of Ladysmith; the Invasion by us of the Free State, with the Relief of Kimberley and the Capture of General Cronje; the March to Bloemfontein; the Advance to Pretoria, via Kroonstad, the Vaal, and Johannesburg; and, lastly, the March of the Natal Field Force to Lydenburg and the capture of the Netherlands Railway between Pretoria and Komati Poort. Very clear maps, prepared expressly for the lecture, made it possible for even the most illiterate to follow the advance of the Forces of the Empire over the Republics.


Towards the end, after the familiar features of all the leading officers at the front had been shown, came a surprise as the faces of men well-known in Cuckfield—Alfred Attwater, Ernest Bleach, Frank Bleach, Edgar Hazeldean, Jonathan Gasson—were projected on the screen.

With a slide shewing the huge crowds at Melbourne giving a hearty send-off to the Australian contingent, the Lecturer concluded, regretting that time prevented him showing the Canadian and New Zealand troops also.

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