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Born 1928 in Bethehem, Orange Free State, South Africa. My parents were also born there. I schooled at St Henry's, Durban. I then attended Rhodes University in Grahamstown from 1945 to mid year 1946. Having been accepted by Oxford University, I sailed through Suez on a converted troopship full of young people going to study in Europe.
I lived in Worcester College for two years before having to live in digs with friends. I then stdied retailing and textiles in London, visiting cotton and woollen mills in Manchester and other northern England cities.
During this period I was able to visit western Euopean countries as the Cold War settled in. I made many friends in Scandinavia and the Netherlands,although many Dutch mocked my "kinder taal" of Afrikaans.
In 1951 I journeyed home by boat Naples to Alexandria and then by train, bus and paddle steamer, up the Nile, ever southwards to my home in Westville, KwaZulu-Natal.
I worked for the family business established by my grandfather, George Walter Ross. I did not see much of him but my Campbell grandparents were much closer and I loved them. To me the words "oupa" always hads a ring of kindness to it.
I married and had many children, enjoying playing with them and telling stories I made up depending on what sort of tale they seemed to like.
When my wife of 46 years died the three daughters who were now living in Australia invited me to move abroad, to Western Australia, which I did in 2005.
Researched and wrote Boer War books from 2001. In Western Australia my three daughters had to go on with their lives, coping with families and the sudden appearance of an old man. Fortunately for me I met an Australian woman younger than me. Anne had a grown family. There was a happy wedding with many children and grandchildren from both sides in attendance. Reared in country WA Anne stands no nonsense and speaks her mind on many committees where she is sometimes treasurer of the outfit. I enjoy a skilled cook who is a voracious reader. How lucky is that?
on Nov. 16, 2016 :
What a great read... the author writes dialogue so well! Francis O'Driscoll works as a nurse on the side of the British when she discovers her brother Arthur is on the opposing side - a leader of a Boer Commando. The author has written a companion book titled The Irish Boer which is the war written from the brother's perspective - it's well worth reading these books one after the other.
(reviewed 5 years after purchase)
on Aug. 25, 2013 :
An Irish Nurse in Africa and its companion novel The Irish Boer (both available on Smashwords) were originally written as one novel. The publishers refused it as it was over 300,000 words which is apparently forbidden for a first time author. So Brian Ross tried to split the book and in my opinion ruined it (hence only three stars) as unless you read them both at the same time as the author suggests, everything seems out of sync. I wish he would put it back together and re-publish it under another title. I would read it again.
Having said that, the books are still a good read. The author writes dialogue well and realistically. His battle scenes make one feel part of the fight. The stories occur in roughly the first year of the Second Anglo-Boer War(1899-1902) and follow actual historical events quite closely. Francis O'Driscoll is an Irish nurse who finds herself on the side of the British while the Irish Boer is her brother Arthur who leads a Boer Commando fighting for his adopted homeland.
Full disclosure: Arthur and Francis were my Great Grandmother Ross's brother and sister. The Irish background details in the book are true as are SOME of their adventures. Francis was indeed a nurse with the British army and Arthur did lead a Boer Commando which participated in some of the battles described in the book.
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)
on Jan. 14, 2012 :
I loved the story about the nurse, she was definitely a Ross! (as I am.)
However, not too far into the book I wondered if I was reading a novel or history. Not that the history wasn't well-written and fascinating, because it was. But I wanted to read a novel.
I love historical fiction, but most writers of that genre weave the history into the story in such a way that you are scarcely aware that you are being taught history.
I was glad when, closer to the end of the book, we returned to the story. That is really the only criticism I would offer.
I have downloaded The Irish Boer and am looking forward to reading it also.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
on Sep. 05, 2011 :
I have just finished reading this most engaging novel! It definitely holds the readers interest and it appears obvious to me that the author loves his homeland and is certainly a student of its' history. At first some of the language seemed unfamiliar but as I read on it all fell into place as if I had known some of the characters and the settings first-hand! I can certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a great read!
(reviewed 70 days after purchase)