Jameson Raid Diary, Book and Papers belonging to Brigadier-General Hon. Robert White

Scope and Content

This collection contains:

  • Diary kept by Robert White covering the period ca. 23 March-21 December 1895.
  • Papers which were found in White's diary (now bound into one volume). Included are notes, maps, press cuttings, letters, official correspondence regarding the return of the diary, correspondence relating to the publication of Marshall Hole's book The Jameson Raid, and correspondence regarding White's subsequent exoneration from the charge of having taken his box of confidential papers into battle. Also included are cheque book counterfoils, December 1895-January 1896.
  • Book entitled The Jameson Raid by Hugh Marshall Hole (London: Philip Allan, 1930). Stuck inside the volume are newspaper cuttings about the book and particularly about the White/despatch-box incident. This book belonged to White and contains annotations made by him.

Of particular interest in this collection is a sketched map of the battlefield at Doornkop, 14 miles from Johannesburg, where Jameson and his men were forced to surrender to the Boer commandant P.A. Cronje.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert White was born on the 26 October 1861 and educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1882 he joined the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers. White served in the Nile Campaign (1884-1885) and was Aide-de-camp and Military Secretary in Cork District (1886-1889) and York District (1889-1891). After Staff College (1886-1889), White served as a Staff Officer with the Rhodesia Horse Regiment (1894) and as a Magistrate in Bechuanaland (1894). He served in the South African War in 1900 (Staff of 6th Division) and raised and commanded the 10th Battalion Royal Fusiliers in August 1914. White also served in France (1915-1918) where, from 1916-1918, he served as Brigadier-General commanding 184 Infantry Brigade. He died on the 19 November 1936.

White took part in the Jameson Raid (1895-1896), an abortive raid on the Afrikaner republic of the Transvaal led by Leander Starr Jameson and instigated by Cecil John Rhodes. Before the raid White planned to leave his despatch-box, containing his diary and other personal papers, at Pitsani from which point he joined Jameson's main column. In his absence, and unbeknownst to him, code-books, confidential letters and telegrams were placed in his despatch-box by somebody else for convenience and the box was inadvertently taken with the baggage which accompanied the column. Many of these documents, together with extracts from White's diary, were afterwards published by the official committees on the Jameson Raid; were used at the trial of Jameson and his officers in London; and supplied an important part of the evidence on which the Reformers (members of the Reform Committee in Johannesburg) were convicted at Pretoria. White himself was charged with having taken his box of confidential papers into battle although he was subsequently exonerated.

Access Information

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by Marion Lowman, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Administrative/Biographical History compiled with reference to Who Was Who(volume III).

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.

Custodial History

Robert White bequeathed the volumes to George Dawson, Editor of the Times newspaper.