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Auction: 23026 - Stamps and Covers of the World
Lot: 1560

Somaliland Field Force
Third Expedition
1903 (May-June) a series of twelve letters written by Major J.A. Houison-Crauford to his sister in Ayr, each is with its original envelope with 1a. frankings. The correspondence begin in India where he was extra-regimentally employed in a staff appointment. Much of his work at this time was concerned with the embarkation and disembarkation of troops

1903 (23 Jan.) letter from Bombay. The contents state that he is still uncertain whether or not he will be going to Somaliland.

1903 (30 Jan.) letter from Bombay. The contents state that he has heard nothing about going to Somaliland to join his regiment. He has heard from a member of the regiment that they are scattered along the road between Berbera and Bothole, busy making the road and wells.

1903 (7 Feb.) letter to Bombay. The letter refers to the despatch of troops to Aden for the Boundary Commission with Turkey.

1903 (14 Feb.) letter from Bombay. He mentions that the Duke of Connaught is due to arrive on the 19th.

1903 (28 Feb.) letter from Bombay. The letter gives news that he is to receive orders very shortly to join his regiment in Somaliland.

1903 (9 Mar.) envelope with 1a. cancelled by "B" in barred circle with Sea Post Office on the reverse. The letter is written on board the P.& O. mail steamer S.S. 'Caledonian' in the Indian Ocean

1903 (16 Mar.) from Aden; the letter that he is in quatantine on a "very small desert island half a mile from the mainland..." and with him were 30 post office sorters.

1903 (24 Mar.) letter from Upper Sheikh with 1a. cancelled by "B" in barred circle with Berbera c.d.s. on reverse, the letter gives details of his three-day journey from Berbera.

1903 (2 Apr.) letter from Olesan, a fort near Kirrit and was posted at Garrero on 3rd April. He describes his journey from Upper Sheikh via Burao, El Kadalaneh and Ber.

1903 (11 Apr.) letter written at Bothole describing the conclusion of the journey and the regiment's tasks at Bothole. In addition to construction of the fort they are providing escorts for convoys taking rations to Brigadier General Manning's column at Galadi, Dudub and a garrison at Damot.

1903 (18 Apr.) letter from Bothole mentioning that the war correspondents Bennett Burleigh and Melton Prior, "they don't seem to like General Manning at all ... they are very bitter against him"

1903 (1 May) letter from Bothole stating that he will be leaving the following day in command of an escort to a convoy of 700 camels to Brigadier General Manning's column at Galkayu.

A fascinating group of letters with a lot of information. (12 covers)

John Inglefield-Watson, October 2007

Note: Major Houison-Craufurd's regiment, the 7th Bombau Pioneers (re-designated 107th Pioneers later in 1903), had been moved to Somaliland in January 1903. He eventually re-joined his regiment in Somaliland, arriving on 17th March 1903. He was invalided from Somaliland in June 1903

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