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Thirty men from the 2nd Volunteer Battalion joined others from East Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Cambridge University to train at Bury. At 5.30 am, in a blinding snowstorm, they were cheered off at Bury train station by hundreds of local people. Rural life was however, in decline as foreign food imports undermined agricultural prices and thus wages.On May 12th they joined the 1st Battalion The Suffolk Regiment, at the Vet River. Most people lived in the 500 villages and towns of under 5000 people. Also in decline was the use of water for transport as well as power.In 1900 some 10 carrier's wagons used it as the base to and from the villages on market days.The Castle was an inn next to Moyse's Hall, with a sizeable yard in Brentgovel Street.This token of goodwill is well known from the First World War, but it was also a feature of the South African War.The Suffolks' first battle was to assault Red Hill near Colesburg in January 1900 with heavy losses.Meanwhile on 23rd March, the 2nd Volunteer Company left Bury for Capetown, where they arrived on April 14th. By September 1900 it was clear that the Receiver who was managing the Eastern Counties Navigation and Transport Company Limited, had decided to throw in the towel.He had been unable to raise more capital, and began to sell off the assets.
Things had not being going well in South Africa since Mafeking had been under siege since 13th October 1899, the day after the independent Boer Republic declared war.The Boers gave the area the name of Suffolk Hill in recognition of their courage.Back in Bury, January saw a rush to raise a Volunteer Company to go to the Cape.Walter Greene had been defeated when he tried to become MP for North West Suffolk in 1891, but this time he was unopposed.
This was fortunate for him, as he was not to prove much of a politician. At Bury the locals were proud to say that the streets and public buildings would soon be lit by electricity as the works, which belonged to the corporation, were completed in 1900.The White Lion on the corner of Short Brackland was removed to make way for the Cornhill Walk shopping development. This very long established inn stood on the Cornhill at the top of St Johns Street.