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Pat Ritter. Books

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:08 pm

'The Year That Never Was' - Page 40:

Chapter 6

Arriving at Pretoria Railway Station Joe’s surprise after the train stopped a distinguished dressed soldier entered his carriage. ‘Who is in charge?’ This soldier shouted.
Joe stood to salute. ‘I suppose I am.’ Joe stated. Being given the leadership before leaving on this journey.
‘You are to come with me.’ Joe followed this soldier to an awaiting carriage drawn by two magnificent black horses.
‘Can you at least tell me where we’re going?’ Joe asked his companion.
‘I’ve been instructed to escort you to Commander Lord Roberts.’
‘Who is Lord Roberts. May I ask?’ Joe queried.
‘Commanding Officer for Transvaal.’
Their carriage stopped in front of a building Joe recognised as important. After alighting, he followed the soldier into the building direct to an office. The soldier stood at attention, knocked on the close door. A loud voice called. ‘Enter’. The soldier opened the door, Joe followed to stand erect in front of a desk.
‘Are you in charge of the soldiers on the train?’ Joe nodded. The Commander stood, walked around his desk, took hold of Joe’s hand, shook hands, smiled. ‘Take a seat. What you did to those Boers who attacked your train. Remarkable. I’m Commander Lord Roberts.’
Joe couldn’t speak. Cat had his tongue. His mind raced a thousand mile a minute to take in what his Commanding Officer said. Joe sat on the seat offered by his Commanding Officer.
‘Do you drink tea?’ Lord Roberts asked in a more relaxed English accent. Joe nodded. ‘Black or white, sugar.’
‘Black……thank you.’ Joe muttered.
‘Black tea plus my usual.’ He shouted. ‘Now tell me, what is your name?’
‘Joe Gibson Sir.’ Joe expressed in a low tone.
‘You led your men into battle against the Boers who attacked the train.’ A question more than a command.
‘I suppose I did Sir. What were we to do other than shoot the enemy?’ Joe couldn’t think of anything else to tell his Commander.
‘Word reached our office yesterday. You buried the dead. Why bury the enemy?’ The Commander’s words echoed in Joe’s ears.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:24 pm

'The Year That Never Was' - Page 41:

‘Because they died in battle. We lost ten good soldiers.’ Joe told his Commander.
‘What is your rank?’
‘Trooper, Sir!’
‘From now on you will be Lieutenant Gibson. You will continue the command of your troops.’
Joe couldn’t speak. His mind riddled with doubts to carry out his duties as a Lieutenant. ‘Thank you, Sir. Do I continue with 'Colonial Mounted Rifles'?’ Joe questioned.
Another officer entered the office walked up to Commander Roberts whispered in his ear, then departed.
‘I’ve been told stock of Champagne from the train has been emptied. I don’t suppose you have any knowledge of how each bottle of Champagne is now empty.’ The Commander expressed in a voice to almost make Joe’s legs wobble.
‘No Sir. I do not.’ Joe lied. Small beads of sweet formed on his forehead.
‘Very well. Congratulations on your promotion. You and your 'Colonial Mounted Rifles' will be housed in the Military Barracks at Pretoria. Report to Captain Taylor. Take time off until I decide where I want your troops to fight the Boers.’ Joe stood, saluted his Commander.
'Commander. Can I promote men from my unit to the rank of Sergeant?' Joe asked.
'Of course. You carry out whatever duties you need. Tell my staff who they'll be.' Joe left the office after saluting his Commander.
At the entrance to the office Joe met another officer who handed him Lieutenant bars plus insignias to be exhibited on his uniform. After fastening the insignias in the appropriate places on his uniform Joe received two sets of Sergeant strips. Another soldier waited by the carriage to return him to the train.
On Joe’s arrival, his troopers stood to attention saluting their Officer-in-Charge. Joe returned the salute. ‘Thank you everyone. My journey to Lord Roberts was fruitful. His order we march to Military Barracks in Pretoria, remain until further orders. In the meantime, relax.’ Shouts from all the troopers above the sound of the whistle of the train.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:04 pm

'The Year That Never Was' - Page 42:

With Lieutenant Gibson riding Spartan leading his troops they marched to Military Barracks to be confronted by a guard at the front gate to the barracks. This soldier welcomed the troopers by stepping aside directing Joe with his men to Captain Taylor in charge of the Military Barracks. ‘Stand down men. I’ll speak with Captain Taylor.’ Joe entered the front entrance to the barracks. Another soldier directed him to Captain Taylor's office.
Joe stood to attention, saluted. 'Take a seat Lieutenant.' Came the instruction from a distinguished soldier seated behind the desk who stood to return the salute. He extended his hand to Joe who shook the hand and sat opposite. 'Congratulations on your promotion.' His leader offered in an inviting voice.
'Thank you Sir. Bit of a surprise.' Joe remarked. Having never served in any Armed Forces. Worked with shearers, ringers in the bush. Joe understood when speaking with superior officers or cockies to let them speak. He listened to his Captain explain news of the killing of the Boers when they attacked the train on their journey to Pretoria.
Joe sat silent listening to praise of what his troopers did. Burying the dead including Boer soldiers.
'You wouldn't be aware about the Boers attacking the trains before you stopped them. We've suffered many causalities over the past few months. This is the first time anyone returned fire to stop them from attacking the train. You are a born leader Lieutenant Gibson.' Captain Taylor admonished.
'Thank you Captain. Was the right thing to do when we were attacked. Burying the dead seemed right at the time. Couldn't let them roast in the sun.' Joe questioned.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:04 pm

'The Year That Never Was' - Page 43:

'You are right. We have an unwritten policy to take no prisoners. Too much to handle. Better off dead.' Captain Taylor finished.
Joe's stomach dropped as if a huge weight landed to push all of the wind from his stomach. 'Do you mean we kill all Boers on sight Captain?' Joe asked.
'Once you've identified they are Boers. Lieutenant Gibson. I mean you don't need to take prisoners. Do you understand?' Captain Taylor wanted Joe to understand the unwritten policy of 'take no prisoners.'
'Yes Captain. I do understand.' Joe's face flushed red whilst trying to understand his orders. 'Anything else I need to understand?' Joe asked.
'You and your troops will rest through to New Year at the barracks. You instruct your men they have leave until the first week in January 1900. By then I will have orders for you. Anything you wish at this stage?' Captain Taylor asked.
'Yes. One thing. Lord Roberts mentioned; promote two of my troopers to the rank of sergeant.' Joe explained.
'By all means. Tell my staff sergeant the names so the appropriate records can be recorded. That will be all. You're excused.' Captain Taylor expressed.
Joe stood, saluted, turned, left the captain's office.
After he joined his men who were standing at attention, Joe commanded. 'At ease men. I'll bring you up-to-date with everything.' Joe explained his promotion to the rank of Lieutenant called on Troopers Campbell with another trooper to approach him. Joe handed each their sergeant strips explained their duties. More or less his right hand men. All shook hands. Other troopers appeared pleased with the selection. One called on celebration by three cheers to promoted sergeants.
Joe asked to speak with his two sergeants in his quarters as soon as they had their sergeant strips fixed to their uniforms.
'Break up men. You are all on leave until first week of 1900. Merry Christmas to you all. Enjoy yourselves.' Joe saluted his troops retired to his quarters.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:55 pm

'The Year That Never Was' - Page 44:

Hearing a knock on his office door Joe called. 'Enter.' Two sergeants entered his office stood erect, saluted. Joe returned the salute. 'Have a seat gentlemen. Let me congratulate you both on your promotion.' All three sat around Joe's desk. A couple of issues Joe mentioned about leave until first week in 1900 after which he excused his sergeants. Before taking his leave Billy wanted to stay at the barracks to assist Joe with his tasks.
'Very kind of you Billy. Just because I'm your senior officer you don't need to nurse maid me.' Joe explained; however with the extra responsibility on his shoulders he needed someone who he trusted to speak with to bounce ideas off from time to time. With the present unwritten policy of 'to take no prisoners'. Joe worried about this unwritten policy. He understood the cost to house the prisoners until the end of the war. However to murder them is another matter.
'Thank you Lieutenant.' Billy stood, saluted to leave.
'Billy, when we're here alone, you continue to call me Joe. I'm not up-to-date with this new position nor what I need to do. I appreciate your support.' Joe's humble words stopped Billy in his tracks. He turned to face Joe.
'I'm here for you anytime day or night. If you need to discuss anything, I mean anything at all. I'm here for you. Anything you tell me will be kept between us.' Billy smiled, left the office.
'Thank you Billy.' Joe's words faded when Billy left.
Joe's first task to write letters of condolences to the relatives of the fallen soldiers killed on their way to Pretoria. He hated this role. After completing this task his next a letter to Hannah. She must have received the letter he wrote before leaving Brisbane. Being Christmas Day 1899 Joe whispered into the atmosphere.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:02 pm

'The Year That Never Was' - Page 45:

'Happy Anniversary My Dearest Darling Hannah.' Whispering a small prayer to keep her safe. He missed her more than anything in the world. Thoughts of 'why' he volunteered his services to fight in this war puzzled his mind.

To My Dearest Darling Hannah

First, Happy Anniversary My Dearest Darling Hannah. Sorry I'm not with you to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. Instead, I'm stuck behind a desk in Pretoria writing letters of condolences to families of ten fallen soldiers fatally injured on the journey to here. I don't want to bore you with what happened. Boer soldiers attacked the train. We needed to defend ourselves.
Some good news. I've been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. How this came about. I don't have a clue. Perhaps the actions of how we fought the Boers on the train attack. Both the Commanding Officer and Captain were pleased with our efforts. I've promoted Billy and another soldier Sergeants to assist me. Haven't a clue what I'd do without Billy as my right hand man.
Enough about me. How're you going? Have you visited our property 'Tilbaroo Station'? How're Daisy, Keith, Desi, Little Daisy? Didn't have time to catch up with anyone in Brisbane when Billy and I stayed with The Honourable Joseph Ryan, Esquire, M.L.A. during our stay in Brisbane. Say a big hello to your parents. Your Dad would be up to his hind teeth in the Federation of Australia.
Hannah, I think The Honourable Joseph Ryan, Esquire, M.L.A has swindled me again. You'd think I'd be smart enough to realise by now I'm a puppet on a string for him to pull and push me anywhere. Like for instance volunteering to fight in this war. Anyway, got to carry out my duty for the British Empire to do my bit. I intend to keep my head down whilst I'm here, also Billy to keep his head down.
Billy and I are remaining in barracks to celebrate Christmas. Other troops are on leave until first week in January 1900. I didn't want to leave, neither does Billy. We'll enjoy our break together as we always have. Pleased he decided to come with me.
My Dearest Darling Hannah, I love you so much. Can't wait for your letters.
Love you.
Your Darling Husband, Joe.
PS. Here is the address to send any correspondence: Lieutenant J Gibson, Army Barracks, Pretoria, South Africa.
Joe signed the letter, folded, placed the letter into an envelope completed the address on the front.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:39 pm

'The Year That Never Was' - Page 46:

A knock on his office door returned his mind to the present. Thinking Billy stood outside his office he called, 'come in Billy.' When the door open Captain Taylor's Sergeant stood alert saluting.
'Captain Taylor requires your presence.' The Sergeant shouted.
'Tell him I'll be right there.' Joe replied to the Sergeant who did an about turn, left the office. Joe wondered why Captain Taylor needed to meet with him. Placing his tunic on, he walked to Captain Taylor's office. Knocked on the door, he opened after hearing the word 'enter'.
Joe stood to attention, saluted Captain Taylor who rose from his chair, returned the salute. 'Take a seat Lieutenant Gibson.' Joe sat opposite Captain Taylor. In Joe's mind he didn't trust Captain Taylor. For some reason each time the Captain spoke, hairs rose on the back of Joe's neck indicating he should be careful with the Captain. Show respect for his rank, by all means, instead take whatever he says with a grain of salt.
'Have you settled in yet Lieutenant Gibson?' Captain Taylor asked in an inviting tone.
'Yes Sir. I've written to all the families of the deceased soldiers killed on the train on the journey here. Also wrote to my wife.' Joe remarked.
'I understand yourself with your Sergeant have remained in barracks instead of joining your troops.'
'Yes, Sergeant Campbell with myself wanted to remain.' Joe answered.
'Would you with your Sergeant do me the honour of joining my staff Sergeant and I for Christmas Dinner?' Captain Taylor asked.
'Sir. Would be our pleasure.' Joe smiled.
'Good. Christmas Dinner will be served in my quarters at two o'clock this afternoon.' Captain Taylor said.
'Do we need to bring anything?' Joe asked.
'A pity all the champagne bottles were empty from the train. A bottle of champagne would've quenched our thirst.' Captain Taylor passed on an invisible message to Joe.
'Cup-of-tea will do myself and Sergeant Campbell instead.' Joe finished. Standing he saluted, left the office.
Joe found Billy in his quarters resting. Entering his quarters Billy jumped to attention to salute his Officer-in-Charge. 'Easy, Billy. You and I have received an invitation to attend Christmas Dinner with Captain Taylor with his staff Sergeant at two o'clock.' Joe explained.
'Does this mean we're to be in full uniform?' Billy asked.
'Yes. I think appropriate to dress for the occasion. Don't you think.' Joe finished.
'If that's the case. We can't leave the Captain waiting.' Billy ended with a smile.
At two o'clock sharp Joe with Billy stood in front of Captain Taylor's quarters. When the door opened staff Sergeant in full dress ushered the two soldiers into the dining room. Captain Taylor invited them to partake in a drink which both wanted beer.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:33 pm

'The Year That Never Was' - Page 47:

'Thank you for accepting my invitation, gentlemen. Better to have four instead of two to celebrate this time of the year.' Captain Taylor handed both men a tumbler of beer.
'Merry Christmas Captain, also staff Sergeant.' Raising his arm in celebration, drawing the tumbler to his mouth sipping the contents. Different to our beer back home he thought.
'Same to you gentlemen.' Captain Taylor did the same; drank from his tumbler. 'Lunch will be served. Take a seat.'
Whilst staff Sergeant served each dish of pheasant with roast vegetables all four sat down.
'Would you do us the honour of saying Grace, Lieutenant Gibson. Like you would if you were home in your colony.' Captain Taylor requested.
Joe thought of his father-in-law giving Grace the previous year at his new home on 'Tilbaroo Station'.
'Be my pleasure.' Joe stood. 'Please God bless this food we are about to partake, bless also these fine friends present.' Joe leaned across to shake Captain Taylor's hand who returned his hand shake likewise with staff Sergeant and Billy. After everyone shook hands they seated to commence their meals.
After the dish finished Captain Taylor asked. 'What food do you have in your country for Christmas Dinner?' He queried.
Joe hesitated to think about his Christmas Dinner in 1898 eating goanna. 'Last year we ate goanna.' Joe smiled.
'Goanna.' Captain Taylor asked in astonishment. 'I thought goanna - a wild lizard.'
'You're correct. A goanna is a wild lizard. We have aborigine friends back home who killed and cooked the goanna for Christmas Dinner. A bit like this food.' Joe countered showing a slight grin.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:23 pm

'The Year That Never Was' - Page 48:

Chapter 7

Hannah's hand shook holding an envelope addressed to her from Joe. She placed the envelope into her carrying bag waiting to sit in a quiet place on the front verandah of her home to soak up Joe's words. She missed him more than one ever imagined.
Arriving home she prepared a cup of hot tea for herself, walked to the swing on the front verandah, sat on the swing, opened her carrying bag removed the envelope. Opening the envelope, her fingers trembled to hold the sheets of folded paper. Removing the sheets of paper, she breathed in a deep breath to tell her mind everything was okay to enjoy this moment reading Joe's letter.
Sipping her tea she replaced the cup on the small table beside the swing. Hannah started reading his words. Tears of joy filled her eyes. With her left hand she removed a small handkerchief from her sleeve, placed the handkerchief to her eyes, sobbing out of control.
Opening her eyes, blurred with tears she dried her eyes to identify the words written by her husband. 'To My Dearest Darling Hannah' entered her mind. She loved her husband more than life itself. Continuing to read; her mind relaxed taking in each of his words. After a long train trip they arrived in Brisbane to be greeted by Joseph Ryan. Her imagination drawn on the home Joe explained in the letter imagining the sight of the city lights.
After reading the letter almost ten times she refolded the letter to replace into the envelope. This letter marked an occasion in their lives to show their deepest love they held for each other in their time of separation. Over the following couple of weeks she sat on the swing on the front veranda re-read Joe's letter until the writing almost faded from the pages.
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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:49 pm

'The Year That Never Was' - Page 49:

Nat and Martha arrived at Hannah's home to stay before boarding their train to Brisbane. Hannah prepared breakfast for her parents. Nat's selection by The Honourable Joseph Ryan Esquire, M.L.A. to represent Queensland at a meeting in Melbourne Victoria to determine how the Nation of Australia would be established.
'Pa, I'm so proud of you to be representing Queensland. This is something you have been hoping to be a part of for many years.' Hannah placed a plate filled with bacon and eggs in front of her father seated at the kitchen table.
'Hannah, I've got to thank your friend The Honourable Joseph Ryan, Esquire, M.L.A., for this opportunity. Through his encouragement with Parliament to have me represent the State of Queensland. Strange as this may sound I think Joe cleared his bad name with me. I look forward to working with the Founding Fathers.' Nat filled his fork with bacon, pushing the food into his mouth.
'Mother. You must be proud of Pa.' Hannah asked her mother.
'Yes dear I am. Your father has been working on this idea since he decided to purchase all those properties years ago. Of course I'm proud of your father, plus to be accompanying him on his endeavours is something I look forward to.' Martha answered with a smile in her voice.
'Your train is scheduled to leave at eleven o'clock this morning. Before you go I have prepared some information which may assist you.' Hannah handed her father several sheets of paper she recorded information to help him.
'Thank you Hannah. Why would I need to have this information. All my knowledge is up here in my head.' Nat pointed to his right temple.
'You never realise when you may need this information. For instance Pa. Who named Australia?' Hannah asked in her school teacher voice.
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