Delighted that over the next three weeks, author Robbie Cheadle will be sharing the rest of The York Chocolate story with us, following her recent trip to the UK.. And I will be featuring a different Sir Chocolate Story and Cookbook each week. You can find part two HERE
The York Chocolate Series – Part Three – Chocolate in wartime Second Anglo Boer War 1899 – 1902
In 1899, war broke out for the second time between the British Empire and the two Boer Republics in South Africa. In advance of Christmas 1899, Queen Victoria asked Cadbury, which held a Royal Warrant as suppliers of cocoa and chocolate products, to produce tins of chocolate to send to the British men fighting in South Africa as a gift. This would be the first time during a British war that chocolate, a great comfort food and an excellent source of energy, would be sent to soldiers in large quantities.
This request posed an ethical conundrum for George and Richard Cadbury who were Quakers and pacifists and opposed the war. They did not want to appear to be profiting from a conflict situation, but they did not want to say no to the Queen.
The Cadbury’s formed a temporary alliance with their rivals, Fry’s and Rountree’s, who were also Quakers, whereby they agreed to produce the chocolate in special unbranded tins and donate them free of charge to the war effort. Queen Victoria was not happy with the lack of branding as she wanted the soldiers to know that she was sending them the finest quality British chocolate. It was then agreed that the chocolate itself would be branded but the tins would not.
The above photograph is from an article in the Express on-line news website and features one of these chocolate bars that was found intact. The article is from June 2018 and you can read the full article here: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/984377/Queen-Victoria-chocolate-bar-british-soldiers-Boer-War-sale-auction-south-africa
The chocolate tin containing Queen Victoria’s chocolate gift was ornate. This is a photograph of it from York360.co.uk:
The Second Anglo Boer War degenerated into guerrilla warfare when the Burghers [citizens of the two Boer Republics] refused to accept defeat after the British Empire annexed the two Boer states.
The Burghers implemented a plan to use hit and run guerrilla tactics to cause as much damage as possible to the British administration with great success and the war dragged on, causing the British administration, under Lord Kitchener, to respond with their controversial scorched earth policy. This policy was a military strategy aimed at destroying anything which might be useful to the Boer commandos in the bushveld and devastating the rural population which supported them. The Boer farms were burned to the ground, the livestock killed and the crops burned and the wives and children living on the farms were interned in concentration camps.
A ghost and his gold
I am finalising a novella about the Second Anglo Boer War, told from the perspective on one Afrikaaner family called A ghost and his gold.
This is a short extract from my current WIP:
“Mrs van Tonder, her snow white hair and deeply lined face defying her indefatigable spirit and faith in God, helped Marta to obtain a couple of extra British military blankets from the supplies tent to supplement the blankets they had brought with them. The blankets were old and thin and the two women and four children, as well as Ardrina and Dorthea, would have to share them but her success in wrangling them from the camp staff, with the help of Mrs van Tonder, felt like a small victory to Marta.
Mrs van Tonder, or Ouma* Lettie, was seventy five years old and had been living in a women’s laager@ before it was attacked by the Khakis. “I was with my husband, who was one of twenty men, too old to undertake military duty, who had been appointed to protect the women and children.
“We were travelling with thirty wagons and carts and two hundred cattle and had been living on the veld for seven months before the attack that landed me here. Various Boer commandos had been providing us with weapons, tents, food and clothing.
“About a month ago, a convoy of Khakis# came across our laager and attacked it. They burned all the wagons, food and tents and we were forced to watch.”
A distant look came into the older woman’s eyes as she remembered that day. The soldiers had set fire to the wagons first. The yellow and orange flames had fanned out delicately, tasting the dry tinder of the frames. Bright sparks flew upwards, fanned by puffs of the bitter wind, and settled on the canvas wagon covers which instantly burst into flames. As the wagons and tents burned, black smoke billowed upwards, rising upwards to a tremendous height where it was whipped to shreds by the wind.
“What happened next?” asked Marta, forcing Mrs van Tonder to return her wandering mind to the present time. “When they destruction was complete, they marched our elderly guards and the few boys of twelve years and older away as prisoners of war. The women and the rest of the children were brought here.”
“Were you scared?” Marta asked.
“No,” Mrs van Tonder’s lips formed a thin, straight line and she pushed back her shoulders as if in defiance. “The Lord has always preserved me until now and He will continue to do so.””
* – Grandmother in Afrikaans
@ – ox wagons in a circle formation
# – name used by the Boer’s for the British soldiers in the Second Anglo Boer War
©Robbie Cheadle 2019
If you are visiting York then you cannot miss a visit to museum: https://www.yorkschocolatestory.com/
Robbie and her son Michael put chocolate to excellent use in their Sir Chocolate Series including in Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five Story and Cookbook.
About the book
Number 6 in the Sir Chocolate series: Five zoo animals go missing and Sir Chocolate needs to find them. Includes five lovely new recipes.
One of the reviews for the book
Miriam HurdleBeautiful book to read with engaging parent-children activity May 27, 2019
Robbie Cheadle and her son Michael, in the delightful book Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five Story and Cookbook, combine children’s story, poetry and recipes together. The story is about a zoo in Chocolate Land with Fondant Five, namely the lion, king of the jungle, the gentle elephant, the elegant leopard, the bulky rhino, and the buffalo. Sir Chocolate cares for them. One day, these five fondant animals disappeared. Sir Chocolate found Fondant Cat who could help to find Fondant Five.
This fun story book includes recipes for Lady Sweet Rusks, Buffalo Coconut Cake, Rhino Soetkoekies, Cheetah Cheese Scones, and Sir Chocolate Peppermint Caramel Pudding.
The book has beautiful photograph of the fondant animals and desserts. Students in the classrooms will enjoy the story, poems and photos in this book. I will read this to my granddaughter. I also love the idea of parents doing the cooking with their children using these recipes.
A selection of other Sir Chocolate stories co-written with Michael Cheadle and other books by Robbie Cheadle
Read all the reviews and buy the books:https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ
And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ
Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle
About Robbie Cheadle
Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.
I have been drawn to the horror and supernatural genres of books all my life. At the age of ten years old I embarked on reading Stephen King’s books including The Shining and Salem’s Lot. These books scared me so much I had to put them aside by 6P.M. in the evening in order to get a good night’s sleep but they also fascinated me. I subsequently worked my way through all of Stephen King’s earlier books as well as those of Dean R. Koontz.
I have read a large number of classics, in particular, I enjoy Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Charles Dickens and the works of the Bronte sisters.
I am hugely interested in the history of the United Kingdom as well as the mythology and tales of the paranormal that are abundant on this intriguing European island.
Connect to Robbie Cheadle
Website/Blog Roberta Writes: https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/
My thanks to Robbie for sharing this series with us and please join us again next Monday for Part Four of York’s Chocolate Story..