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Adin Coates
The following quotes are from the autobiography - HIGH PRESSURE - of Colonel LIONEL JAMES who became foreign correspondent of THE TIMES during the SECOND BOER WAR. They first met in Doig's hash house in Pietermaritzburg about 1900.
Transcribed by Robin Coates

Adin Coates
1. Doig's hash house was destined to serve me well: there I met Adin Coates (sic), a young English refugee from the Transvaal. Coates, who had been managing a store in the Transvaal for some years , had come to Maritzburg with the intention of enlisting with some Irregular Corps. He volunteered to come with me as interpreter, guide and servant. Coates was a great find. He was one of those young Englishmen in whose blood was a strong infusion of those subtle qualities by which the adventurous elements have acquired the Empire. He was brave, resourceful, loyal, and both The Times and I, myself, owe him a debt of gratitude. (p109)

2. 1 had arrived in Ladysmith about four days before the actual outbreak of war. Sir George White's Headquarters were established there the same day with a detached brigade at the frontier village of Dundee. The latter force was distant from Ladysmith about forty miles. Among the first duties of a competent correspondent when he joins an army is to make himself mobile. It is ideal when he can find a man like Coates to take all the troubles of commissariat and caravan off his hands ...... A supply of tinned food was laid in and Coates was entrusted with the purchase of forage for the horses. (p111)

3. The threatening rain began to fall and I undid my waterproof. Farther to the right, where the Manchester's had disappeared from view, rifles were popping incessantly. The Gordons were plodding on in silence ...... rain now fell freely and I was surprised at the constant swish of what I took to be the slack of my wet waterproof. Then a Gordon near me collapsed and I realised it was not the swish of sodden india-rubber but the song of the Mauser bullet. There was cover ahead ... and the thought uppermost in my mind when I realised the truth was whether our ponies, led by Coates, would reach it without being hit. Coates and I found good cover both for ourselves and for the animals under a split outcrop. Here Steevens ** , leading his pony, joined us. Steevens pushed his reins over to Coates, and looked cautiously through the split in the outcrop. "My God" he cried, "they have killed the lot". I pushed up beside him. The whole line of Gordons were down on their faces ... they were only taking cover. At this point James went ahead on his own". Having seen this much, I doubled back to Coates and the horses. Coates was with the dead and wounded in the ravine ..... and later I could see that the battle was over ...... I began to descend the hill where I had left Coates and the nags ...... It was almost dark .... and I could see no sign of the horses. I called and an answering holloa told me that Coates had stood his ground. (p140)
** Steevens was the correspondent of the Mail (p120/2)

Adin's permit, signed by Lord Stanley
4. "Ladysmith Relieved" When the first burst of enthusiasm had died down I returned to HQ to get a permit for myself and Coates to pass through the outpost line ....... My intention to leave immediately was delayed by the burst of a torrential thunder storm .... It was therefore dark before Coates and I, with a kaffir guide, rode down and across the flats beyond the Klip river. It would be necessary to be imprisoned in a hole like Ladysmith for four months to appreciate the sense of satisfaction that I felt to be free of that pestilential perimeter. Even though the next few hours might be replete with disaster the burden of captivity was left behind and Coates and I pushed forward into unknown difficulties of the night with as much elation as was possible in the case of those penetrating an enemy's country. In the darkness the way was often lost. The gloom in valleys was such that even the Kaffir guide was at fault and Coates and I had to dismount and feel for the patch. In this way we reached Fouries Spruit. (p150/151)

5. "Bloemfontain" Was I not representing the greatest newspaper in the world at the HQ of the greatest Army that England had ever put into the field? Coates was invaluable in getting my caravan together. This included both a first line and second line transport and the animals to establish a rearwood pony relay service between the advanced troops and the most forward telegraph office that could handle lengthy messages. I engaged another Africander named Saunders to go with Coates. I will state here that during the advance from Bloemfontain to Pretoria, including the occupation up to the battle Diamond Hill, Coates, Saunders and a third courier, a Boer called Davis, between them, employing both pony and bicycle express covered no less an aggregate than 2,463 miles, carrying the Times messages to the rearwood telegraph offices. More over in spite of De Wet and his 'franc-tireur' assaults on the communications, they never failed in a single effort. The longest for one delivery was effected by Coates; this was from Pretoria to Bloemfontain, which the record shows to have been 290 miles, (p167/8)

Adin on horseback in "The Times" camp at Kroonstad
6. At times we slept 'en plein air' ........ Our commissariat worked well, as Coates was an expert sheep slaughterer * and sheep's liver and kidneys react quickly to the elementary appliance of a camp kitchen, (p177/8)

* A note from Adin's family expresses that Adin denied ever having slaughtered a sheep in his life - he said he always got the boys to do this. His daughter, Madeline, even wrote a note in her copy of High Pressure to that effect.

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