A Rain of Lead: The Seige and Surrender of the British at Potchefstroom by Ian Bennett

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A Rain of Lead tells the dramatic story of the 95-day siege of Potchefstroom, which helped to shape a century of South African history. At the end of 1880, some 200 British soldiers and a handful of civilians began the defence of a makeshift fort the size of a tennis court. Although heavily outnumbered, and suffering from lack of food, tremendous heat, the wettest summer for 30 years and no shelter save a few bullet-holed leaking tents, they were to hold out under constant fire for 95 days. When finally forced by starvation to surrender, with more than one third of the garrison killed, wounded or dead of disease, one of the officers remarked 'We can scarcely understand the perfect peace which has so suddenly fallen on us after three months' rain of lead'. The place was the Boer capital of Potchefstroom in the Transvaal, annexed and occupied by the British, and the siege marked the start of the first Anglo-Boer War. The original reports and eyewitness accounts give a vivid insight into the day-by-day progress of the siege. Ian Bennett has investigated and evaluated the contemporary evidence to produce this first in-depth history of the British and Boers at the siege of Potchefstroom.


 Greenhill Books

Date published



 Hardback with dust jacket