|H.E.Balls was my Great Granduncle, His full name was Horace Earnest Balls, Military Number 24603, Born (Sep ?) 1879.
He was killed in action at Tafelkop ( Orange River Colony )on the 20th December,1901 aged 22 years & three months.
I have copies of three letters 2 from him to his brother ( william ) and one from a F.T.Young Sergt 39th Bty R.F.A explaining how he died.
On the day of the action 20th the gun with a small escort ( about 50 men ) saw a party of men dressed in our uniforms whom they took for some of our Yeomanry and of course they were left unmolested. These men ( Boers ) took up position in a Kral ( wall Made of stones ) and opened fire on the left flank.A few minutes later another party of Boers dressed in our uniforms took up position on the right flank & opened a deadly fire on the right gun (your brothers ) These two parties of boers consisted of about 300 men each,and a very few minutes the men serving the gun were either dead or wounded.
The wounded men would not give in there, but got up and fired again at the Boers.They fired about another 7 or 8 rounds each gun, & as your brother was going back to bring up another magazine of ammunition he was hit in the back of the head with an explosive bullet which blew his face away. He linged for about five minutes & then Expired.He was not previously wounded & believe had not pain as he was unconscious.
Your brother had not been in the batterty so very long only having joined it in June of that year, but was well liked by everybody whom he came in contact with. He had not been in the battery long before got his first step to promotion & was the making of a very good & useful solder.
The loss of our men 5 killed and 7 wounded cast a deep gloom over the battery being as they were all young men & good & clean Solders. Hoping this will find you all enjoying good health & sympathysing with you all in the loss of your dear brother.
The letter was posted on the 10th April.