Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Raiders who served in the Anglo-Boer War - the Jameson Raid 31-12-1895.

The Jameson Raid is a remarkable event even in the turbulent history of southern African land grabs by Africans, Boers and Britons.

What sets the raid apart is that it was not a state operation, but a private army - mercenaries - of the British South Africa Company run by the diamond magnate Cecil Rhodes.

There is much information on the Raid on the net and particularly www.angloboerwar.com. You can get a nominal list on the "Name Search" putting "List of Jameson raiders" (no quotes) in the Notes field. A more accessible list is available here.

This post presents a list of 66 known Raiders who went on to serve in the Anglo-Boer War. There will be more as research continues. If you can add to this list please leave a comment - thanks.

Name Primary Unit Served in the Anglo-Boer War Rank No
Adames, Ernest Gribbon II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Staff Sgt-Major 539
Armstrong, James St George P Imperial Yeomanry Private 2259
Belk, Samuel Waterhouse Kimberley Town Guard Sergeant
Bowden, Frank Lake II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Captain
Bowden, Sydney Vincent Cape Police Lieutenant
Brand, William John Warren's Mounted Infantry Sergeant 64
Bruce, Stewart Hay Phillips B Squadron Protectorate Regiment FF Trooper 307
Burgess, William Robert Kimberley Horse Sergeant 249
Burnand, John Arthur Cape Railway Sharpshooters Sergeant 1239
Callanan, Henry A A Squadron Rhodesian Regiment Trooper 43
Cazalet, Alexander Phillip Louis II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Captain
Chadborn, John Arthur Cape Police Private 517
Chawner, Henry William II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Captain
Close, Percival Thomas Stephen Imperial Light Horse Corporal 1992
Cole, Mansell Lawford D Squadron Protectorate Regiment FF Lieutenant
Constable, Harry Paley II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Lieutenant
Cumming, Adam Bennett E Squadron Rhodesian Regiment Captain
Davey, Thomas William G Troop Southern Rhodesian Volunteers Corporal 571
Dewar, Arthur Robert Johnson 5 New Zealand Mounted Rifles Lt & Adjutant
Dodge, James Horsefield Rimington's Guides Sergeant
Drury, Gordon Vallancy II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Captain
Eastwood, Francis Eastwood III Mashonaland Div British South Africa Police Lieutenant
Franklin, Benjamin Charles II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Corporal 761
Frost, John 1 Imperial Light Horse Trooper 39
Gibbs, Joseph Walter C Squadron Protectorate Regiment FF Trooper 55
Gibson, William Mitchell Kimberley Horse Sergeant-Major 197
Going, Gerald H I Bechuanaland Div British South Africa Police Trooper 2412
Gosling, Audley Vaughan III Mashonaland Div British South Africa Police Major
Grenfell, Harold Maxwell 1st Life Guards Bvt Lt-Colonel
Grey, Raleigh 6th Dragoons Captain
Gunn, Angus Donald E Squadron Rhodesian Regiment Trooper
Harber, Walter Alexander 1 Imperial Light Horse Trooper 276
Harris, Reginald Oke II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Sergeant-Major 107
Harwood, Evelyn Gwynne Armoured Trains Southern Rhodesian Volunteers Trooper 745
Holden, Edward CS Protectorate Regiment FF Captain
Hore, Arthur Henry Johnstone Southern Rhodesian Volunteers Capt & Adjutant
Ibbs, Charles Henry Imperial Light Infantry Sergeant 839
Ingham, John Seager II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Lieutenant
Jupp, Richard Barry Imperial Light Horse Corporal 1181
Kennedy, Leslie Coleridge Kitchener's Horse Trooper 3324
Kincaid-Smith, Kenneth John Artillery Royal Captain
Lawson, Charles Frederick Kimberley Horse Trooper 152
Levis, James George II District Cape Police Corporal
Lindsell, Charles Frederick Reserve Of Officers Captain
Little, Hugh Mervyn 1 Imperial Light Horse Trooper 688
McMillan, Donald Bather 2 Imperial Light Horse Trooper 688
Moore, Percy Henry Evelyn Imperial Light Horse Trooper 599
Parker, George Bertie A Squadron Loch's Horse Trooper 69
Pender, John Stuart Menzies British South Africa Police Troop Sgt Major 541
Pepys, Arthur Guy Leslie Northampton Regiment Lieutenant
Pescod, William Thomas Natal Field Artillery Sergeant 105
Pomeroy, Granvill George 1 Battalion Gloucester Regiment Lieutenant
Poole, Ernest Josiah Protectorate Regiment FF Trooper
Rea, Harold George E Squadron Rhodesian Regiment Trooper
Rhodes, Charles Alfred II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Sergeant 785
Ruck, George Gordon Loch's Horse Sergeant 29
Spring, Francis Raymond C Troop Southern Rhodesian Volunteers Trooper 525
Steadmond, Edward Protectorate Regiment FF Trooper 294
Thomas, William Llewellyn Mashonaland Sqdn Rhodesian Regiment Trooper 124
Thorn, Richard Alder A Troop Southern Rhodesian Volunteers Trooper 516
Villiers, Charles Hyde Horse Guards (The Blues), Royal Captain
Weinthal, Paul Robert's Horse Sqdn QM Sgt 2211
White, Henry Frederick Reserve Of Officers Major
Wickham, Thomas Strange South African Light Horse Unknown 806
Willows, Tom Oxden Rhodesian Field Force 2nd Lieutenant
Wood, Edward Allen British South Africa Police Lieutenant

Monday, 2 March 2020

Queen's South Africa medal: multi clasp medals

The Register is a large database with many types of data that can be interrogated in ways not yet done to provide new and unique views of the British Empire in the Anglo-Boer War.

The Queen's South Africa (QSA) medal could be issued with zero to 26 clasps in a variety of combinations. These combinations are of great interest to many medal collectors.

The number of clasps on a QSA is one collecting facet. The table below shows the numbers of clasps issued on the QSA drawn from the current 127,700 QSAs on The Register. As more data is added these numbers will change.

Clasps No Date Clasps With Date Clasps
0 14008 14028
1 12261 12695
2 10143 17282
3 17983 26316
4 9708 27350
5 5494 24631
6 3322 4372
7 387 789
8 145 200
9 0 37
10 0 0
Total QSA 73451 127700

There are no 10 clasp QSAs, but I have included this number as some may believe 10 clasp QSAs were issued. The June 1972 issue of the Military History Journal published an article entitled Queen's South Africa Medal with 10 Bars by GR Duxbury. I had another look at the medal in question, a 10 clasp medal named to Trooper M(oses) Wilson Damant's Horse. The medal was part of the Ronnie Hunt collection on permanent loan to the SA National War Museum, now the Ditsong National Museum of Military History. I wrote a reply, The ten-clasp QSA mystery resolved
Military History Journal (South African Military History Society) vol 125 No 5 June 2012.

I established that Trooper Wilson's 10 clasp QSA Belmont, Modder River, Paardeberg, Driefontein, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Wittebergen, Relief of Kimberley, South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902 should be an eight clasp QSA with the two date clasps on the King's South Africa medal.


Sunday, 1 March 2020

Mellors & Kirk: Caveat Emptor

Mellors & Kirk 

Offering a “professional service” and “fully researched and expertly catalogued” medals.
Sale January 22, 2020 Lot 714


When received it was discovered that on the obverse of each medal there was a large blob of solder on Queen Victoria's face. Additional solder was on the post of the QSA suspender, the rods used to attach the clasps to each other had been removed. Solder had been roughly applied to the rivets to prevent the clasps falling apart. There are obvious drops of solder on the top of the clasp ears on the Cape of Good Hope medal.

The auction house was advised by e-mail on February 1st asking how the "very important defects on each medal" were missed. The response was that the medals could not be accepted back and I could have requested further photographs.          

Further email communication failed to draw Mellors & Kirk on the question whether the cataloguing of this lot represented the standard of cataloguing or this was a simple mistake.

A Signed For letter was sent to Mellors & Kirk restating the case and questions regarding Mellors and Kirk's standard of cataloguing.

This letter drew an offer of a refund of hammer price plus premium, which has been accepted and promptly processed.

It took 24 days, numerous emails and a Signed For letter to bring this case to a suitable conclusion.
Throughout Mellors & Kirk refuse to explain how these clear and obvious defects were not stated in the catalogue description.

"In conclusion, I think it for the best that Mellors & Kirk Ltd does not accept bids from you in the future."

Caveat Emptor

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Who was Magersfontein's 'Young Unknown Scottish Bugler'? Part II

An article with this title was published in the South African Military History journal in December 1979, you can read the full article here.

This blog, the "Part II", brings the story up to date using information not available to the author, Fiona Barbour, in 1979. I will also show how this soldier has been erroneously turned into a romantic fictional character in more recent years.

The premise of the original article was to identify an unknown Scottish bugler who died at the battle of Magersfontein, December 11, 1899. After the battle the soldiers were buried largely where they fell, there were 20 burial sites. In 1905 the British dead were concentrated into one grave site. It was not until 1931, when the Burgher Monument was erected, that the Boer (and Scandinavian) dead were consolidated. One grave stone, erected in 1963, at the Burgher Monument stood out, the inscription read "In Memory of a Young Unknown Scottish Bugler...". It is presumed this stone replaced one made earlier, this first grave stone is lost. In 1969 the grave was given a new stone:

The 1969 stone, photographed in 2020. Courtesy Phil Gibson
By a process of deduction Fiona Barbour concluded that the most likely candidate for this grave was Drummer 3543 W Milne, 2 battalion, The Seaforth Highlanders. The official casualty roll records him as "Missing - Court of Enquiry states killed" at Magersfontein on December 11, 1899. The headstone records he was wounded and buried by the Boers. This would explain why Milne was posted as "Missing" by the British - they had not recovered and buried his body after the battle.

The "traditional" story on the Boer side is that "a young bugler", badly wounded, was taken by the Boers to their hospital where he died. He was buried with the other Boer dead, and presumably his grave was marked. Other British dead who died in Boer hands were found when the consolidation occurred.

Satisfied, Barbour concludes the article, but notes that Milne's age was not known at the time; even "the Regiment was unable to give me" his age. Some may be surprised the regiment does not know about its own soldiers. However, we now know that many regiments do not hold biographical details. Any attestation books they may have kept were destroyed in a fit of housekeeping or sent to a central archive, such as the National Army Museum or The National Archives. The service papers we know and love could, in 1979, only be searched manually at the The National Archives. Thanks to digitisation we know no papers survive for Milne, as is common for fatalities.

In recent years the 'Young Unknown Scottish Bugler' has in certain circles transformed into "The little Drummer Boy of Magersfontein." Working under the misapprehension that all Drummers in the British Army were "boys" (children) Milne is stated to be aged 15. In 1979 Barbour called this notion "a romantic nonsense". And, history tells us that it is indeed untrue; Drummers, Buglers and Trumpeters may well have once been boys, but they grew up into young men retaining their rank and role. Research from The Register shows 148 Drummers, Trumpeters and Buglers died during the war. The age is known for eight; the eldest was 32, the youngest 16, the average age 21.6. More research will add more data to improve the quality of the result. But,this further proves the  "a romantic nonsense" of the "little drummer boy".

However advances in research material allow us to make an educated guess at Milne's age from the work by Paul Nixon on Army Service Numbers. Milne's service number, 3543, was allocated between January 1891 and May 1892. A search of the British Newspaper Archive found a report in The Scotsman (December 18, 1899)  relating to casualties at Magersfontein supplied by the regiment that "Drummer W Milne, Edinburgh; enlisted March 1891". Between 1899 and 1979 the relevant source the regiment had as to his age seems to have disappeared.

With an enlistment date of March 1891 and assuming an enlistment age between 14 and 18 (he might have been older), Milne was between 22 and 26 years old when he died.

If Milne is the 'Young Unknown Scottish Bugler', and the evidence is strong then he was definitely not the romanticised "little drummer boy" as some would like to make out.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

The QSA named to a cruise ship: HMS Ophir

In June 1901 HMS Ophir took the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (the future King George V and Queen Mary) on a tour of the Empire. Their route included South Africa - the war was still raging.

From EF Knight, With The Royal Tour

The ship named 'HMS Ophir' was a civilian ship of the Orient Steam Navigation Company. It only received the prefix 'His Majesty's Ship' for the duration of the Royal tour. One of the functions carried out by the Royals was the presentation of QSA medals to Australian and New Zealand recipients. These, known as "Ophir presentation medals", were issued unnamed and engraved locally, thus they have a different and distinctive naming style to other QSAs.

From EF Knight, With the Royal Tour

Example of naming on a QSA presented on HMS Ophir and named locally in Australia. Ryan Darby
To supplement the civilian crew 53 Royal Navy officers and men were seconded to the ship. Most of the sailors had served during the war, so they were correctly entitled to a Queen's South Africa medal.

The curiosity is that a number of these men received QSAs named to 'HMS Ophir', a ship that never served in a war-like capacity during the war.

From the table below it will be seen that only seven of the 53 of the HMS Ophir QSAs are known, and only three are named to HMS Ophir.

Name Number Rank Unit served ABW Medal Named To
Amos JE 4.197 Gunner Royal Marine Artillery, HMS Monarch
Banbury W Carpenter HMS Niobe
Bath E 5509 Gunner Royal Marine Artillery
Blackler ER 138.978 Petty Officer 1st Class HMS Niobe
Brooks AJ 355.853 Domestic HMS Niobe
Bryer SMG Engineer HMS Niobe
Coak G 114.036 Petty Officer 1st Class HMS Niobe
Collins AD 341.209 Shipwright HMS Partridge
Crichton-Maitland CM Lieutenant HMS Niobe
Dilton WJ 165.933 Stoker HMS Powerful
Dingle A 182.842 Able Seaman HMS Fearless
Elmes H 5719 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry
Farnley AH 147.391 Acting Chief Yeoman of Signals HMS Diadem HMS Diadem
Fraser R 5.265 Gunner HMS Monarch
Fuggle WJ 139.794 Petty Officer 2nd Class HMS Powerful
Game J Ply6.451 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Powerful
Gosling JS 158.692 Able Seaman HMS Niobe
Gregson J 278.345 Stoker HMS Powerful
Guyatt F Po7.816 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Powerful
Harvey E 5.641 Gunner Royal Marine Artillery, HMS Powerful
Herring CR 4.540 Gunner HMS Monarch
Hogan AJ 180.318 Able Seaman HMS Niobe HMS Niobe
Holdway W 151.709 Leading Stoker HMS Fearless HMS Ophir
Hutchings F Ply5.808 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Niobe
Killan T 284177 Stoker HMS Powerful HMS Ophir
Knight DJ 130.376 Petty Officer 1st Class HMS Niobe
Land CE 167.357 Able Seaman HMS Powerful
Lee WR 183.137 Able Seaman HMS Fearless
Livingstone J 3396 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry
Martin JF 142.963 Stoker HMS Fearless
McCormack C 109.665 Master At Arms HMS Niobe
Millington J Ply6.742 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Niobe
Musk W 161.890 2/Yeoman of Signals HMS Niobe
Norris J 4367 Gunner Royal Marine Artillery
Raikes GL Lieutenant Royal Marine Artillery, HMS Monarch HMS Monarch
Read WG 182.574 Able Seaman HMS Monarch
Ridgway F 4.260 Gunner Royal Marine Artillery, HMS Monarch
Saurin GL Midshipman HMS Diadem HMS Diadem
Smith AE 282.946 Stoker HMS Powerful
Spencer E 158.713 Stoker HMS Powerful
Stockley HHF Lieutenant Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Niobe
Stone RJ 124.598 Petty Officer 1st Class HMS Niobe
Stumbles GE 163.303 Able Seaman HMS Niobe
Taylor E 153866 Leading Stoker HMS Fearless HMS Ophir
Tildesley JH Po7.134 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Powerful
Tillman W 8266 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry
Toms E 133.659 Petty Officer 1st Class HMS Niobe
Tye AC Ch4.569 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Monarch
Walker FS 186.955 Able Seaman HMS Tartar
Wemyss RE Commander HMS Niobe
Winsloe AL Captain HMS Niobe
Wreford FA 112.186 Petty Officer 1st Class HMS Niobe
Wright H 179.875 Able Seaman HMS Tartar

The tour received much press coverage. At least two accounts were published:

HMS Ophir was escorted by two Royal Navy Ships HMS Juno (7 QSA medals) and HMS St George (12 QSA medals). None of these medals are known to be extant.

HMS St George
Name Number Rank Ship served ABW
Bunker S 174.718 Able Seaman HMS Niobe
Carpenter AA 187.102 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Chichester EG Midshipman HMS Powerful
Clarke F 166.379 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Claxton AA 145.559 Leading Carpenter's Crew HMS Powerful
Coate JJ 183.468 Stoker HMS Powerful
Jacobs W 180.568 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Johncox EA 190.774 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Read WCC 162.263 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Stannard WP 173.522 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Terry FG Midshipman HMS Niobe
Walker BC Midshipman HMS Niobe

HMS Juno
Name Number Rank Ship served ABW
Barwell W Po9.471 Private Royal Marine Light Infantry, HMS Monarch
Bowes J 153.881 Stoker HMS Powerful
Chant FG 193.151 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Dowden F 175.472 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Gooch JA 159.697 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Le Quelenac JA 172057 Ordinary Seaman HMS Powerful
Spicer JG 125137 Yeoman of Signals HMS Monarch, HMS Philomel