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New book tells little know story of lives saved by brave Welsh during Boer War

12 Jul 2023 2 minute read
Gallant Little Wales by David Jones

A new book will tell the little known story of the lives that were saved by the Welsh during the Boer War.

Gallant Little Wales – published by Y Lolfa – tells how the patriotic Welsh made selfless sacrifices and led the way in medicine during the Boer War in South Africa.

The conflict was fought between the British Empire and the two Boer Republics over the Empire’s influence in Southern Africa between 1899 and 1902.

At the beginning of the war, the fledgling Royal Army Medical Corps could not cope with the sick and wounded, so civilian forces had to be mobilised.

Among these, the Welsh Hospital, a 150-bedded tented hospital funded by public subscription, travelled to South Africa.

In difficult and inhospitable conditions the hospital delivered outstanding medical, surgical and nursing care, regardless of nationality.

The brave staff involved suffered hardship and sadly six people died in service.

By example and advocacy, their achievements made a significant contribution to standards of military medicine in the conflicts to come.


The book is an inspiring, informative and compassionate account of events at that time, and the highly-readable narrative and modern image enhancement bring life and colour to the story.

Author David Jones said: “I was fortunate in my research. Not only were medical and nursing aspects available in their respective literature, but copious, albeit unstructured records of the activities and people involved are held in boxes, files, scrapbooks and notebooks at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.

“Their letters and telegrams, financial and administrative papers, newspaper cuttings and other documents all contribute to give life and personality to the story.”

David Jones is a retired orthopaedic surgeon with a long-time interest in medical history. He is past President of the History of Medicine Society of Wales and lives on Anglesey with his wife, Una.

Gallant Little Wales by David Jones will be released on the 14th of July 2023 by Y Lolfa, priced at £9.99

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