This cover is one of a series mailed from O’Okiep, a mining town in N.W. Cape Colony, to Mr. John Mills, Woodbine Cottage near Perranwell Station R.S.G., Cornwall, England. The first miners at the O’Okiep copper mines were Cornish, and brought with them the expertise of centuries of tin-mining in Cornwall. This letter to Cornwall may have been written home by someone providing mining expertise to the mine, or may have been written by a soldier stationed in O’Okiep.
From Wikipedia, “Okiep’s mine saw action on 4 April 1902 during the Anglo-Boer war when some 700 officers and men of the 3rd Battalion Queen's Royal Regiment, 5th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Namaqualand Border Scouts, the Town Guard and the Cape Garrison Artillery, withstood a 30-day siege by Jan Smuts’ forces. The village of Concordia with a garrison of 100 men, surrendered a day after the siege started. On 4 May 1902 a British relief column arrived from Port Nolloth and ended the siege. A ruined blockhouse is still visible on a hill north-east of the town.”
In his book, The Postal History of the Canadian Contingents, Anglo-Boer War, 1899–1902, Kenneth Rowe lists only one example known to him of a J.C. Wilson Anglo-Saxon cover mailed from the Boer War.
Today, Port Nolloth is a town and domestic seaport in the Namaqualand region on the northwestern coast of South Africa. The port was previously a port in northern Cape Colony, a transshipment point for copper from the Okiep (formerly spelled O’Okiep) mines, served by a 96-mile long narrow gauge railway between the mine and the port. By 1910 most Okiep ore was being carried by truck to the railhead at Bitterfontein.
At right, the reverse of the cover, showing a Port Nolloth transit cancel dated January 21, a True February 16 transit, and a February 17, 1901 Perranwell Station receiver.