What fantastic opportunity, I did a BA dissertation on the foreign volunteers for the Boers.
I think railways would be good, but perhaps this can be expanded to communications in general. I have been reading a book called 'Khaki Letters' - the correspondence of the telegraphists of the 24th Middlesex Rifle Volunteers. It is fascinating and quite mind boggling that the telegraphy was with the advance, mobile units trailing wires across the veldt or using the railway 'air lines'. As the advance continued 'permanent' offices were set up in houses in cities and larger towns or gangers huts for the small railway stops. These guys set up networks to route traffic from the front back to Cape Town and from side to side, as it were. They worked long shifts (12 hours plus) manually processing thousands of messages.
I would love to know more about this; how was it done? Did the British Army have an established practice or was it made up on the hoof relying on the professional telegraphists in the volunteers? What happened when telegraph links failed - was any part of the British military effort hampered by a failure or significantly enhanced by telegraphy? What was the speed of communication between Cape Town and Lord Roberts' Army as it advanced across the veldt into the Transvaal, and....
Researcher. Owner: The Register of the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902. Interests: 24th Foot/South Wales Borderers/RRW/RW. South Africa generally. War memorials