Johannesburg with its gold mines was the cause of the war, yet it suffered little military action. The impact fell mainly on the civilian population. Its polyglot inhabitants were divided in their loyalties so when war was declared on 11th October 1899 thousands had to decide whether to go or to stay; whether to volunteer and fight for the side they supported or sit tight and hope all would be over quickly. British subjects could only remain if granted a permit so refugees crowded into trains and cattle trucks heading for the coastal towns.
With Howitzer and Maxim guns ranged down on the town the ZARPs
and the Staatsartillerie had kept a sharp eye on developments
from The Fort, high on Hospital Hill. Now they too were leaving
for the front.
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