University Archives


Winston Churchill TLS Re: South African Laborers at the End of WWI.

1p, measuring 10" x 7.75", Whitehall, London, England, dated July 1, 1919. A typed letter addressed by hand to General Louis Botha (1862-1919) "My dear General Botha". The letter concerns the demobilization of the Colored Corps at the conclusion of WWI, and reads in part: "The Cape Coloured Labour Corps was to have been released at the end of last month. Of the Cape Auxiliary Horse Transport men in France who now number about 3,000, 2,000 will be embarked on the 'Chepstow Castle' which is sailing shortly for South Africa. This will leave only 1,000, who will be repatriated as soon as transport can be arranged. In view of your representations I am pressing on with the return home of the remainder." Churchill has signed at the conclusion "Yours sincerely Winston S. Churchill", along with an autograph message, "All good wishes for your prosperous voyage. W." With a flattened mail fold, uneven edge toning, and minor soiling. Slightly uneven right edge. There are a few small holes at the top left corner where staples were removed. Boldly signed.

General Louis Botha was the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa. He and Churchill had been on opposing sides of the Boer War (1899-1902), during which Churchill was taken as a prisoner of war and Botha was the Commandant General of the Boer Forces. The Cape Coloured Corps was raised in 1915 for service in the First World War. There was a strict selection process, with men needing to be 20-30 years old, no shorter than 5'3", unmarried, and without any dependent family members. The Corps served and fought in East Africa, the Rufji River campaign, Kibongo, and Egypt. It was finally demobilized at Cape Town in September 1919.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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