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Papers of James Dick relating to Southern Africa

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 193

Scope and Contents

Letters written by Dick in South Africa, 164 pages, with two maps and four photographs relating to Southern Africa. The collection is accompanied by two pieces of correspondence between Nancy Dick and D.H. Simpson, R.C.S. Librarian, 1976, regarding the presentation of the papers to the Society.


  • Creation: 1905 - 1915


Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

James Dick (1862-1926) was born at Shotts in Scotland and educated at George Watson School and Edinburgh University. He emigrated to South Africa in his twenties, and became manager of Steel Murray & Co., merchants in Durban. In December 1890 he was made Lieutenant in the C (Caledonian) Company of the Natal Royal Rifles (later the Durban Light Infantry). After serving in the Boer War, he commanded the newly-raised volunteer corps, the Natal Rangers, during the Zulu Rebellion of 1906. The forces were demobilised in July 1906, but were called out again in November 1907 following the murder of the loyal chief, Mpumela. On the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 a second battalion of the Durban Light Infantry was raised under Dick's command for the invasion of German South-West Africa. The Battalion arrived at Walfisch Bay on 29 January 1915, but was not involved in any fighting, and returned to Durban on 9 July, disbanding on the 18th. James Dick died in Edinburgh in 1926.


2 envelope(s) : paper

Language of Materials


Former / Other Reference


Other Finding Aids

MSS Addenda, vol. III.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented by Miss Nancy Dick, March 1976.

Related Materials

The RCS Manuscripts Collection includes an account by James Dick of a journey he took in East Africa in 1912, (see RCS/RCMS 154). The University of Edinburgh holds a typescript by Dick relating to his childhood in Scotland (identifier: Coll-1900)


There are numerous references to James Dick, and some portraits, in A.C. Martin, 'The Durban Light Infantry', vol. I (1969). For information on the conflict in Southern Africa in 1906-1907 see Shula Marks, 'Reluctant rebellion', 1970.


This collection level description was created by RAS using information from the original typescript catalogue.


Dick, James, 1862-1926

2003-12-03 11:34:13+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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