A memorial watercolour commemorates Lieut Col Robert Loyd Lindsay's service during the Franco-Prussian War. Straight-backed, golden-haired and imposing, Loyd Lindsay strides away from a gutted house, his soldierly bearing conferred by long and distinguished service in the British army. Established on the day that war was declared between Prussia and France, the British National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War (NAS) claimed allegiance to the newly signed Geneva Convention of 1864. For Sir Thomas Longmore, leading military surgeon of the day and the British government's delegate to the conferences at which the Geneva Convention was negotiated, these deficiencies had stimulated a lifelong interest in improving medico-military efficiency. A red cross emblem was to be worn on an armband by all those caring for the wounded and displayed prominently on all medical vehicles, hospitals and private homes containing injured soldiers.
Relief, reconstruction and disputes over civilian suffering in the Anglo-Boer War, 1899–1902
This chapter discusses the English visitors to South Africa, examining disputes over Emily Hobhouse's portrayal of abject Boer suffering and some of the ramifications of British efforts at relief and reconstruction at this tumultuous juncture in South African history. Emily Hobhouse, smarting at her exclusion from the government committee, also departed for South Africa, intent on resuming her work for the South African Women's and Children's Distress Fund. The Boer women and children internees of British concentration camps became the subject of considerable investigation and intervention. The three women affiliated to the Friends South African Relief Fund Committee began to report back their impressions of the camps. The years following the Peace of Vereeniging in May 1902 are known as the period of 'reconstruction' in South African history.
This chapter focuses on how the politics of humanity and relief reverberated in 'progressive' circles in Britain, including those championing political representation for women. L. T. Hobhouse provides an instructive example of one who undertook a serious scholarly attempt to bridge science and ethics. He is of particular interest as leader writer for the anti-war Manchester Guardian during the South African War. Many of those opposed to war in South Africa were veteran campaigners against the Ottoman treatment of Christians, as well as against British conduct in Afghanistan, and many would reunite after the war to protest the plight of the Macedonians. Concern for the freedom of the Boer Republics did not, as a rule, extend to the freedoms of the 'native races' in South Africa. Threat of war in South Africa brought many of the progressives together in a new campaigning organisation, the South African Conciliation Committee (SACC).