<p>
	…Who comforts us in all our <br />
	troubles, so that we can comfort <br />
	those in any trouble with the comfort <br />
	we ourselves receive from God.</p>
A Book Between Enemies

…Who comforts us in all our 
troubles, so that we can comfort 
those in any trouble with the comfort 
we ourselves receive from God.

2 CORINTHIANS 1:3-4


Chaplain Andrew Gillison was praised in one soldier's war diary as 'the bravest man he ever knew.' Dearly loved by the Gallipoli soldiers for whom he gave his life, Gillison's memorial still sits at Embarkation Pier, just north of Anzac Cove in Gallipoli.

A battered old Dutch Bible was handed to an Australian Sergeant  by a dying Boer Sergeant after the Battle of Paardeberg, when General Piet Cronje and his Boer troops surrendered to the British commander, Field Marshall Lord Roberts on 13th March 1900, at what is now called Surrender Hill.

The Boer War, 1899-1902, was fought between the British Empire and the Boers (or Afrikaners), the descendants of the Dutch settlers in South Africa. Parts of South Africa were under British control but the Boers had established independent republics beyond the region controlled by the British. The Boer Republics declared war on the British on 11th October 1899.


Australia at that time, prior to Federation, had no permanent military forces. Australians who volunteered to fight in the Boer War fought under the British flag as members of the British Empire. The British often called the Australians “bushmen” but in time came to admire their horse-riding and survival skills.

The Battle of Paardeberg was a decisive victory for the British, effectively marking the end of the Boer War, although hostilities dragged on, often in the form of guerilla warfare, until 31st May 1902.


The British often called the Australians 
"bushmen" but in time came to admire their 
horse-riding and survival skills.

After the battle, a contingent of British troops under the command of an Australian Sergeant were sent to clean up the battlefield, finding the wounded and removing weapons from the dead.

Among the mortally wounded, the Australian Sergeant came across an elderly Boer Sergeant, lying clinging to a large Bible. In a Sergeant-to-Sergeant gesture, the young Australian made the old Boer as comfortable as he was able, pillowing his head on some folded clothes and giving the man his own water cannister.


In return, the dying Boer handed the Australian man his battered old Dutch Bible, a huge book which he had somehow managed to carry in his knapsack throughout the long and terrible war. He asked the young Australian Sergeant not to destroy it, but to take it to where someone might read it and be comforted by it.

The young Australian man brought the Bible back to Australia. In 1911 it was donated to the Bible Society. The Bible contained a handwritten account of its story but the writer, who was probably the young Sergeant himself, chose not to reveal his name.


... the dying Boer handed the Australian man
his battered old Dutch Bible, a huge book which
he had somehow managed to carry in his knapsack ...

SHARE THIS STORY

Use the links below to share the entire story