The British employed significant numbers of indigenous Africans during the 2nd Boer War, both from within South Africa as well as from other Empire nations.
Part of the Major Coleridge collection, here we see Solomon, a Despatch Rider, posing in front of a staged backdrop, for a photograph taken by C Dickinson.
Despatch riders would have carried everything from requests for reinforcements or rations, through intelligence reports, to orders and any number of other official documents. Carrier pigeons were also used although, as a prized food item, their use came with a threat that the despatch riders did not face!
Often travelling alone to avoid attention, despatch riders are always at great risk of capture and subsequent interrogation.
The modern descendants of Solomon and his compatriots, mounted on motorcycles, have continued to play a key role in the passage of information.