Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1868 – Hunting

Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  Below is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

This excerpt covers his time onboard The Galatea.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – 1868 – Hunting

When the Galatea was in New Zealand, Sir George Grey, who owned an island called the Kanwah, gave me permission to shoot there. He had stocked it for years with every sort of wild bird and beast. Indigenous to the island were wild boar and wild cattle, which were supposed to have been turned down there by the buccaneers. I landed early one morning to stalk the wild cattle, with my servant a pulpy, bulbous sort of rotten fellow who hated walking. He carried my second rifle. We climbed to the top of a hill with the wind against us, to get a spy round. When I came near the top, I perceived the unmistakable smell of cattle; and, on reaching the top, there, within thirty yards of me, were a great black bull and two cows.

The bull saw me. He shook his head savagely, bellowed, pawed the ground, put his head about, and charged straight for me. I was standing in a thick sort of tea scrub which was level with my shoulders, so that I could see only the beasts back as he charged. I thought it was of no use to fire at his back; and, remembering that the scrub was thin, having only stems underneath, I dropped on my knee, hoping to see his head. Fortunately, I was able to see it plainly. I fired, and he dropped within about five yards of me. I said to my man:

“Well, that was lucky; he might have got us.”

As there was no reply, I turned round, and saw my trusty second gun half-way down the hill, running like a hare. I was so angry that I felt inclined to give him my second barrel. On returning on board I dispensed with his services, and engaged a good old trusty Marine to look after me.

I killed six of these wild cattle altogether, and a landing party bringing them off to the ship, there was beef enough for the whole ship’s company.

There was a number of sheep on the island, under the care of a shepherd named Raynes, who was a sort of keeper in Sir George’s service. He said to me,

“You have not killed a boar yet. Come with me to-morrow, and I will take you where we can find one.”

 I said, “All right, I will come at four o’clock to-morrow and bring my rifle.”

 “No,” said he, “don’t bring a rifle, bring a knife. I always kill them with a knife”

 I thought he was chaffing, but I said, “All right I will bring a knife, but I shall bring my rifle as well”

In the morning he met me at the landing-stage with three dogs, one a small collie, and two heavy dogs like halfbred mastiffs, held in a leash. We walked about three miles to a thick swampy place, with rushes and tussocks. He chased the collie into the bush, and in about twenty minutes we heard the collie barking furiously. Raynes told me to follow him close, and not on any account to get in front of him. The heavy dogs fairly pulled him through the bush. We soon came up to the collie, and found him with an immense boar in a small open space.

Raynes slipped the heavy dogs, who went straight for the boar, and seized him, one by the ear and the other by the throat.  The boar cut both the dogs, one badly. When they had a firm hold, Raynes ran in from behind, seized one of the boar’s hind legs, and passing it in front of the other hind leg, gave a violent pull, and the boar fell on its side. Raynes immediately killed it with his knife, by stabbing it behind the shoulder. I never saw a quicker or a more skilful performance.

I suggested to Raynes that I should like to try it

“Well,” he said, “we will try and find a light sow to-morrow. A boar would cut you if you were not quick.”

On the following day, we got a sow, but I made an awful mess of it, and if it had not been for the heavy dogs, she would have cut me badly; as it was, she bowled me over in the mud before I killed her.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

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Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

HMS Galatea on Wikipedia