George Bailey letter

Stephen England was born at Peppercorn Cottage Lambrook Rd Shepton Beauchamp in 1860 one of 8 children He enlisted at Ilminster in the Ist Somerset Regiment of Militia on July 1877. He went to the South African Zulu war with my great grandfather George Bailey who was also 16 years old.George, who lived in Martock, wrote letters for Stephen and other men who were illiterate. Here word for word is the letter which was sent after Stephens death.

Baltee Spruit,
Transvaal, S. Africa
18th Feb 1879.

Dear Friend.
I now sat down with great sorrow to......... which I now will hurt you greatly to hear the death of your dearly beloved son Stephen England which he died on the 16th of this month with the enteric fever your son was a chum of mine and he always was since he came abroad he belonged to my Company and he was liked by all the men of his Company and they was all very sorry when he died the reason I rote to you was because i used to rite all Stephens letters and he had a letter from you about a fortnight ago and he asked me to rite to you for him on but i was waiting to see which way it was going to go with him but I am sorry to say his fever turned for the worse it was the second time he had the fever on him this is a very bad country for health we have fine young fellows dying every day i think it is through the hardships we have to put up with is the cause of it since this war broke out. The reason your son and me was so great with each other was because our homes was near one another i belonged to Martock myself and my name is Bailey and if the Lord should spare me to return to Old England again i will come and visit you as our regiment will be coming......... as soon as this war is over i was along with your son 2 days before his death but he was out of his senses he nowed me but he couldn’t speak. He was a fine smart young fellow as you could wish to see but it pleased the Lord to take him out of this world which i hope he is better off.

So now i must conclude with my kindest love and remain your obedient servant. G. Bailey

The next letter dated 10th May 1879 thanks the family for their letter and says that Stephen was buried in a coffin but now the men have to be rolled in their blanket. He writes’ We have to go through a great deal of hardships since this war started but i hope please God that i shall live to see my dear native place once more.

N.60 G. Bailey,
G Company,
1/13 L.I
Zululand S.A

Submitted by Ruth