Captain J S Cayzer

Captain John Saunders Cayzer, known as Jack, was Director of Signalling in Buller's Natal Field Force during the Boer War. He was the first man to make contact with the besieged garrison of Ladysmith. He came from Perthshire, the son of Sir Charles, a ship-owner and Conservative MP, and was commissioned into the 4th DG at the age of 20. He transferred to the 7th as a lieutenant in 1893 and was promoted to Captain in 1898. He was on Buller's staff and sent to Mukalombo Mountain to communicate with Ladysmith. Under very trying conditions, miles from water, he transmitted messages by heliograph, and at night used limelight.

At first he was unsure whether the messages he was receiving were from the British in Ladysmith or from Boer tricksters so he sent a message asking a question of a friend of his called Captain Armitage who was inside the town. He asked the name of his father's house in Perthshire and the correct answer came back: Ralston. Armitage was reported to have said, "What the deuce is he asking me that for? He must be losing his memory."

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by Stephen Luscombe