Saturday, 31 December 2016

Research Puzzle: TF Adlard South African Light Horse, was he a casualty?

The Natal Field Force Casualty Roll (NFF) shows "416 Sgt Adlard TF Died wounds Natal 31-01-1900". Steve Watt's In Memoriam (University of Natal 2000) also shows this man with the additional information that there is a metal grave marker with his name at Mooi River and All Saints Church in Ladysmith.

Adlard's QSA medal has been sold on BidorBuy.co.za, a South African eBay, for R7933 (or GBP467) as died of wounds, a screenshot of the page in NFF is shown. The information from NFF and Watt has been copied uncritically onto AngloBoerwar.com and shown as evidence by the seller.

So what is the problem?

As shown clearly on the medal for sale Adlard earned bars for service after his reported death on January 31, 1900; namely Tugela Heights (February 1900), Laing's Nek (June 100), Belfast (August 1900).  The medal roll makes no indication that he was wounded, died or even discharged early. Where does the NFF record come from?

The NFF is a tertiary source, there is no indication of where it gets its information from. In discussions with other researchers we believe that is was compiled from casualty lists printed in newspapers. The casualty lists in newspapers come from the War Office which in turn forwards information received from South Africa; the lengthy chain of communication is open to errors creeping in. The NFF is full or errors and omissions, some are copied from the newspapers and others come from careless compilation and a lack of double checking.

I use the The Times to cross check casualties. On February 2, 1900 reporting on casualties from Natal for the period January 22-27, 1900 it shows Adlard as wounded and a few lines below there is the entry: "Trooper H Adlard, South African Light Horse, died of wounds January 31".


So, TF Adlard was apparently wounded - but this is not shown in the NFF, why? Who knows, perhaps they combined the two entries for Adlard on this page from the The Times (if that was their source) and recorded erroneously that TF Adlard died of wounds.

But what of "H Adlard"? This man did exist; Trooper 99 Herbert Adlard, SALH. He was reported as "Adlar" (sic) wounded in the The Times of January 26 in a report from Chieveley dated January 23, and recorded by NFF . Adlard was wounded at/near Hussar Hill during a reconnaissance, he was one of three SALH casualties that day. Adlard's whereabouts and actions that day may well be tied to the story of Cpt HW de Rougemont, SALH who was mortally wounded and his story is told in official dispatches, The Spion Kop Dispatches (HMSO, 1902). As a bugler Adlard would probably have accompanied an officer, possibly de Rougemont. When de Rougemont was wounded four men carried him out of the firing line where they were found by Cpt C Dalton RAMC, whose testimony is recorded in the dispatch:

"I dismounted, and was attending to the wounded Officer [de Rougemont], when some Boers rode up from the flank to within 100 yards. I gave my white handkerchief to one of the men, and told him to wave it, which he did. I told another to take the Geneva Cross armlet off my arm and hold it up, which he did. In spite of this they opened fire and shot two of us, myself and one of the men [Adlard?]."

Herbert Adlard may not have been with de Rougemont but there is enough evidence to show that he was the only Adlard of the SALH to die from wounds in January 1900.


Saturday, 19 November 2016

1st Life Guards and the Relief of Ladysmith

Two officers and six men of the 1st Life Guards served in the campaign in Natal to relieve Ladysmith, all earned the Relief of Ladysmith clasp but only two, Lt JS Cavendish and Trpr T Pearce, the Tugela Heights clasp. A civilian groom also earned these two clasps.

Name
Clasp
Remarks
Cpt Hugh C Keith-Fraser
CC,RoL
Adjutant SALH, died 1906
Lt Lord John S Cavendish
J,DH,W,CC,TH,RoL
1914 Star trio KiA 30-10-1914
Cpl 2051 WW Brown
P,D,J,CC,RoL

Trpr 1860 Charles W Clark
P,D,CC,RoL
1914 Star trio
Trpr 2036 Richard Collett
P,D,J,CC,RoL

Trpr 1918 Thomas M Grayson
P,D,J,CC,RoL

Trpr 999 JJ Nye
CC,RoL
Servant to Cpt HC Keith-Fraser
Trpr 1122 Robert Pearce
CC,OFS,TH,RoL

Civilian W Head
Bronze QSA (J,DH,W,CC,TH,RoL)
Groom to Lt Lord JS Cavendish

Only one squadron of the 1st Life Guards was sent fight in a composite Household Cavalry regiment composed of a squadron each from the 1st and 2nd Life Guards and the Royal Horse Guards. They arrived at the end of December 1899 and were posted to the Western Front.

What was this group of eight men doing away from their regiment on the other side of south Africa? Cpt HC Keith-Fraser was Cpt and Adjutant attached South African Light Horse (SALH) with his servant Trpr JJ Nye. Cpt Keith-Fraser was appointed assistant Press Censor at the Cape in October 1899. Obviously he wanted to fight and secured himself the adjutancy with a premier colonial unit, the SALH. However, Keith-Fraser returned, probably invalided, to England in January 1900. In April he was appointed a Special Service Officer for service in South Africa but it does not appear he returned to the front as his name does not appear in the Shipping Lists published in The Times. Keith-Fraser is on the March 1901 census at the barracks at Windsor. Trpr Nye has not been traced on the 1901 census.

Lt Lord JS Cavendish was a Special Service Officer sailing on the SS Moor with Trpr Pearce (at least) on October 21st, 1899. Cavendish had been appointed Divisional Signalling Officer, 2nd Division (Major-General CF Clery), Natal Field Force. It would seem most likely that the other troopers were involved in signalling too, but no evidence has been found to support this. Papers have been traced for Clark, Collett, Grayson and Pearce, none indicate any training in skills such as signalling for which a soldier would have been employed extra-regimentally. On Trpr Pearce’s discharge in 1903 his “Special qualifications for employment in civil life” is “Valet”, perhaps he was Lt Cavendish’s servant.

Brown, Clark, Collet, Grayson earned the Paardeberg clasp, to qualify they had to be within 7,000 yards of General Cronje's final laager, or within 7,000 yards of Koodoe's Rand Drift between 17-26th February 1900. The Household Cavalry regiment was present at Paardeberg. Meanwhile Lt Cavendish, Trpr Pearce and civilian groom W Head qualified for the Tugela Heights clasp; they were employed in the operations north of an east and west line through Chieveley Station between the 14th and 27th February. It is most likely they were present for the actual relief of Ladysmith on February 27th. Pearce probably accompanied Cavendish and Head to the Western Front, but was struck down with enteric fever and separated from Cavendish. Pearce was in hospital in Bloemfontein on March 10th, moving south to hospital in Norval’s Pont in July and invalided to England aboard the SS Gascon which arrived back in August 1900. Pearce is on the March 1901 census in the barracks at Windsor.

Lt Cavendish was mentioned in despatches (08-02-1901) and awarded the DSO (19-04-1901) for his work in South Africa. Cavendish was attached the West African Field Force from 1907 to 1910. He was killed in October 1914 in France.

Robert Pearce was born in Laleham, Middlesex, his father was an agricultural labourer which was Robert’s job before enlisting. He took his discharge in 1903 after 21 years (and no LSGC apparently). On the 1911 Census he is the landlord of the Crown Hotel, Cookham, Berkshire, the pub still operates under the name of the Crown Inn. He enlisted in 1915 at the age of 52, landlord of The Duke of Wellington, Peascod St, Windsor (near the barracks), the pub does not exist today. He enlisted in 1915 into the 1st Life Guards and served for four years, home service only.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Sgt-Major Mauchle's Missing Diary

I have in my collection an Anglo-Boere Oorlog medal to a Sergant-Major Freidrich Traugott Mauchle of the Transvaal Staatsatillerie. Mauchle was one the few professional soldiers in the Transvaal and was most likely German or Swiss. He fought on the Natal Front from October 1899 and later in the Transvaal.

In the National Archives London amongst the papers in CO 417 - Colonial Office: High Commission for South Africa, Original Correspondence there is printed document Translations of Boer Documents by the Director of Military Intelligence, South Africa. Item 9 is the Translation of Diary of Sergeant-Major Mauchle of State Artillery, the diary is identified as Diary No. 3 pieces 1 and 2 are noted as missing. Mauchle was taken prisoner at Zusterhoek, Transvaal on 26 October, 1901. No doubt this was where the British got his diary which covers the period 15 July to 24 October, 1901. I have long wondered what happened to Diaries 1 and 2.

Reading around on a different topic I was surprised to find a direct account of  Mauchle's capture with some amusing detail. In Jim Wallace's account of the Canadian Scouts Knowing No Fear he relates that Mauchle was captured by the Canadian Scouts. When Mauchle arrived at the PoW camp in Pretoria he wrote to the camp commander complaining that he and his comrades had been robbed of their money and his diary had been taken. Mauchle maintained that a major of the Canadian Scouts took their names and amounts of money taken promising the money would be returned when they reached the PoW camp. The camp commander passed the details onto the Provost Marshall who wrote to Major CJ Ross, Canadian Scouts. Major Ross replied he would have forwarded the money "had he known the whereabouts of these men". It would be interesting to know if the Canadian Scouts had taken all three of Mauchle's diaries and parts 1 and 2 somehow got lost in transit to Military Intelligence. In January 1902 Mauchle was sent to Deadwood Camp on St Helena, it is not known when he returned to South Africa.

After the war Mauchle went to work at the Daspoort Bacteriological Institute and Laboratory in charge of the library and stock records. The Institute was led by Arnold Theiler (from Switzerland) who pre-war served as a Transvaal government veterinary surgeon. In 1898 Theiler set up the Daspoort Institute. During the war Theiler served as veterinary surgeon to the Staatsartillerie and perhaps where he first met Mauchle. In 1901 the British allowed Theiler to continue his important research at Daspoort.

Mauchle married Mathilde Henriette (nee Stohr) who died in 1925.

Nothing more is known of Mauchle.


Saturday, 8 October 2016

The unfortunate death of Private 4991 John Hood, 2nd Dragoons

The casualty rolls show Pte 4981 (sic) J Hood 2nd Dragoons died of exposure at Dorsfontein (sic) April 25th, 1902. Exposure is not an uncommon cause of death - the climate in South Africa can be harsh - not just heat and dust but rain and freezing temperatures were common place. In the field men usually did not have tents and often slept in wet clothes under a single blanket. Often the blanket was frozen solid in the morning.

Was Pte Hood a victim of the climate? Reading around we find from the most unlikely sources the circumstances of his death. Currently I am researching the Royal Artillery Mounted Rifles (RAMR). In about 1905 Colonel TS Baldock RA wrote a short history of the RAMR for the Royal Artillery Institution. Today this monograph is very scarce if not rare, there are no copies in the British Library or other lending libraries in Britain. The copy held by the RA Library is now in store. There was only one copy available to purchase.

On page 471 Baldock relates how, on April 24th,  a patrol of the RAMR came across a "naked and nearly dead" soldier in a burnt out farmhouse in the area between Pretoria, Elandsfontein and Balmoral. The soldier was "too crazy from starvation and exposure" to give a full account. However, his rescuers ascertained he was from the 2nd Dragoons and had been captured and stripped as was common. However the Boers abandoned him in the shell of the farmhouse with no food. The man the RAMR rescued was Pte Hood, the RAMR camp was at Dorstfontein. The casualty rolls do not show Pte Hood being captured. Turning to The Times they record Pte 4991 W (sic) Hood, 2nd Dragoons captured and injured by a fall from his horse at Irene April 18th. So, Hood had spent six days without food, warm clothing and decent shelter before being found.

The RAMR patrol took him back to camp where he died the following day. Soldiers' Effects show John Hood was a miner who had enlisted at Niddrie, Edinburgh on April 30th, 1900. He was unmarried his war gratuity and pay was distributed amongst his father, three sisters and a brother.


Monday, 1 August 2016

Single Source? - Check Again!

The one thing that I have learnt in over 30 years of research and particularly the ten or so that I have been compiling The Register is that a single source for information is not always good enough.

A recent post on the BMF concerning Lt CGO Harman 1st bn Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) brought this point to light. The owner of the medals had done his research and unearthed a newspaper article quoting Lord Kitchener's despatch following the battle of Rhenoster Kop on November 29, 1900. The despatch clearly states Lt Harman was slightly wounded. Who would not believe the War Office and the Commander in Chief?

In this case they were wrong.

Harman is not listed in The Register as a casualty, this always rings alarm bells; why is he not listed, surely after ten years work I have all the battle casualties? Yes and No (there is always an exception).

Going to the The Times Digital Archive (most fantastic resource) reveals the story. On December 4 The Times publish Kitchener's despatch showing Harman is wounded - this must have worried his family and friends in England. The next day they print a retraction, Lt Harman was not "wounded at all", relief all round amongst family and friends (and 116 years later myself included).

To add further proof The Times published the detailed casualty list on December 6th, Harman is not included. But, all the other officers named in Kitchener's despatch are named, so the despatch had just the one mistake. Even in the days of telegraphs linking all corners of the Empire news could travel slowly. On January 7, 1901 The New Zealand Herald printed Kitchener's original despatch - Harman is wounded "again", whether they ever printed a correction I don't know. The danger of this for modern day internet researchers is that these New Zealand papers come up on Google searches, and very useful they are too. But you still can't trust everything you read in the papers.

As a final check I looked at Harman's entry in the War Services section of the Army List - no mention of a wound.

And The Register is still the best casualty roll about.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Somme and the Anglo-Boer War

The Somme is "the battle" of World War One. Most people only know the first day - the 1st July. The battle itself lasted until 18th November, 1916.

By the 1st July, 1916 the British Expeditionary Force with many veterans of the war in South Africa had been decimated. The British forces on the Somme were composed of many thousands of new recruits - the pals battalions. So how many Anglo-Boer War veterans fought on the Somme? We won't ever get a definitive answer, but from the data collected by The Register we can hazard a guess.

The Register has recorded 3,650 men who served in WW1, of these nine were killed on the 1st July 1916:

  • Bonham Carter, AT Lt Hampshire Rgt
  • Firth, EH Lt, Kaffrarian Rifles (Captain 13th bn York & Lancaster Rgt)
  • Foy, T Pte 4886 King's Own (Royal Lancaster) Rgt (Sgt 4451 King's Own (Royal Lancaster) Rgt)
  • Goodhall, HO Pte 381 Militia Medical Staff Corps (Pte 10281 1st bn South Staffordshire Rgt)
  • Hague, K Pte 27978 Imperial Yeomanry (Pte 3/6931 East Yorkshire Regiment)
  • Lichfield, W Pte 4535 King’s Own Royal Lancaster Rgt (Sgt 3506 King’s Own Royal Lancaster Rgt, MM)
  • Shand, SW L-Cpl 4121 IY (later Loudon-Shand Mjr Yorkshire Rgt, awarded posthumous VC)
  • Ward, J Pte 7051 Manchester Rgt (Pte 10402 15th bn Lancashire Fusiliers)
  • Wright, OE L-Cpl 4834 Suffolk Rgt (Sgt 18915 11th bn Suffolk Regiment)

Killed on the Somme (02-07 to 18-11-1916):

  • Andrews, CE Cpt Highland Light Infantry (Major commanding 10th bn HLI. Killed 25-10-1916)
  • Anthony, P Lt Hereford Rifle Volunteers (Major commanding 15th bn Welsh Rgt. Killed by a sniper 10-07-1916 at Mametz Wood)
  • Blair, AM Pte 7532 Ceylon VSC Gloucester Rgt (Cpt South Lancs Rgt, killed 03-07-1916)
  • Bru-de-Wold, WT, Trpr Natal Police (2nd Lt 2nd SA Infantry 15-07-1916 Delville Wood)
  • Burges, ET RSM Border Horse (1st SA Infantry 18-07-1916 Delville Wood)
  • Cameron, J Sgt  4943 Seaforth Highlanders (RSM 4th SA Infantry, killed 15-07-1916 Delville Wood)
  • Carden, RJW Lt 17th Lancers (Lt-Col 16th bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Killed 10-07-1916)
  • Carnegy, J Lt North Staffordshire Rgt (Major 8th bn North Staffordshire Rgt. Killed 03-07-1916)
  • Carney, M Pte 5452 West Yorkshire Rgt (L-Cpl 16233 West Yorkshire Rgt killed 23-07-1916)
  • Cave, GT Gnr 9304 RFA (Killed 20-09-1916)
  • Cheney, B Pte 4540 Leicestershire Rgt (Pte 16387 1st bn Leicestershire Rgt. Killed in action 15-09-1916)
  • Collins, WG Pte 6134 Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Pte 10449 Royal Berkshire Rgt. Killed 08-07-1916)
  • Consterdine, AE Trpr 100 Lumsden's Horse (Sgt 7520 3rd bn West Yorkshire Rgt, commissioned, Cpt 9th bn West Yorkshire Rgt. Killed 26-12-1916)
  • Cox, HE Trpr 20430 Imperial Yeomanry (3384 L-Cpl Leicestershire Yeomanry. Killed 15-07-1916)
  • Donnelly, JP Pte 3269 East Yorks Rgt (Sgt 17469 East Yorkshire Rgt. Wounded July 1916, killed 25-09-1916)
  • Halkett, P  Pte 6398 Scottish Rifles (Probably Pte 13883 2nd bn Scottish Rifles, killed in action 23-10-1916)
  • Hill, J Pte 5978 Manchester Rgt (11th bn Manchester Rgt, killed 26-09-1916)
  • Hindley, W Pte 5511 7th Hussars (Pte 2650 4th bn AIF. Killed 24-07-1916)
  • Hogg, J Pte 6794 KOSB (awarded MM as Sgt, later Sgt 34869 York & Lancaster Rgt Killed 02-10-1916)
  • Howe, H Pte 12621 RAMC (Pte G/5862 2nd bn Royal Sussex Rgt. Killed 09-09-1916 at High Wood)
  • Jameson, EL Pte 4504 Northumberland Fusiliers (Pte 8018 Northumberland Fusiliers. Twice wounded: March 1915 and 30-09-1916 during the battle of the Somme)
  • Jones, TEP Sgt 8386 Imperial Yeomanry (Captain 1st/6th Bn London Regiment. Died 15-09-1916)
  • Jones, W 4366 Royal Fusiliers (Private SR-742 9th bn Royal Fusiliers. Died 07-10-1916 at Transloy)
  • Malhanch, A Pte 4000 Border Rgt (Pte 6072 2nd bn Sherwood Foresters killed 16-09-1916)
  • Marcus, CP Conductor 86 ASC (Pte SPTS 3312 Royal Fusiliers/24th London Rgt killed 13-11-1916)
  • Marshall R, Pte Midlands Mounted Rifles (Pte 2nd SA Infantry killed 18-07-1916)
  • Metcalfe, JC Lt West Yorkshire Rgt (Mjr 13th bn Cheshire Rgt. Killed 7-7-1916)
  • Murray, E Pte 6016 Gloucester Rgt (Sgt 1st bn Gloucestershire Rgt. Killed 19-07-1916)
  • Oakey, T Pte 5148 North Staffordshire Rt (L-Cpl 3/16362 Duke of Wellington's Rgt. Killed 07-07-1916)
  • Oswald, WD Lt Railway Pioneer Rgt (Lt-Col 5th Dragoon Gds. Died of wounds 16-07-1916)
  • Porteous, WS Pte 785 Kaffrarian Rifles (Pte 6640 4 SA Infantry. Killed 12-10-1916)
  • Stevens, FC Sgt 76003 RA (BSM 60914 RFA, promoted Captain "D" Howitzer Bty. 158th Bde RFA. Killed 31-07-1916)
  • Strickland, F Pte  8696 Coldstream Guards (Killed 15-09-1916)
  • Taylor, CF Pte 4448 King's Royal Rifle Corps (Sgt 3-9842 9th bn Suffolk Rgt. Killed 16-09-1916)
  • Thomson, HG 4991 Sgt Royal Lancaster Rgt (A-Sgt 18265 Royal Lancaster Rgt. Killed 16-08-1916)
  • Toomer, JP Trmptr  2718 RGA (Gunner 1433 RGA. Killed 22-09-1916)
  • Tyler, CG Sgt 4398 Devon Rgt (Cpt Devon Rgt. Killed 11-07-1916)
  • Walton, F L-Cpl 2538 King's Royal Rifle Corps (CSM, later commissioned - Temporary Captain 2nd & 18th bn KRRC. Killed battle of Flers 15-09-1916)

  • Served on the Somme:

    • Archer, J Pte 3398 Coldstream Guards (wounded 15-09-1916 near Guinchy)
    • Arthur, E Trpr 69 Orpen's Horse (Cpl S-13414 Cameron Highlanders, wounded 15-09-1916 Martinpuich)
    • Ashbrook, CH Pte 15907 RAMC (9th Field Ambulance 2nd Guards Bde)
    • Bastard, R, Lt Lincolnshire Rgt (Lt-Col commanding 2nd bn Lincolnshire Rgt)
    • Benn, D L/Cpl 4307 2nd Essex Rgt (2nd bn Essex Rgt)
    • Bird, EJ Pte 4048 2nd Oxford. LI (Sgt 137739 237th (Reading F/Coy) RE)
    • Birdwood, WR Cpt 11th Bengal Lancers (General commander II Anzac Corps)
    • Collier, BW Lt SWB (Lt-Col 1st bn SWB)
    • Congreve VC, WN Cpt RB (Lt-General commander 13th Army Corps)
    • Cromer, GW Pte 1804 2nd Middlesex Rgt (13th bn Middlesex Rgt)
    • Dawson, AR Pte 5449 1st bn Northumberland Fusiliers (Driver 2055/461028  1/3rd Northumbrian Field Coy RE (50th Div)
    • De Lisle, HdeB L-Col Durham Light Infantry (General Commanding 29th Division)
    • Deedman, W Pte 8648 2nd bn KRRC MI (Pte 514 East Surrey Rgt and Driver T/312557 ASC)
    • Dornan, TD Sgt 6385 ASC (Company Sergeant Major TISR/513 57th Field Ambulance (19th Div.))
    • Dymond, F Pte 5463 1st bn Rifle Bde (WOII 8th bn Rifle Bde)
    • Embleton, JW Sgt 66856 RFA (BSM 51070 - awarded DCM for the Somme (LG 04-06 & 09-07-1917)
    • Evans, G Pte 343 Scots Guards (CSM 1094718th bn Manchester Rgt, awarded VC for action 30-07-1916, Guillemont, Somme)
    • Evans, J Pte 9628 3rd bn Welch Rgt (Sgt 14795 9th bn Welsh Rgt, awarded DCM La Boiselle July 1916)
    • Faulkner, E Pte 7757 4th bn Rifle Bde (1st bn Rifle Bde)
    • Fullerton, T Drmr 5059 2nd bn Northamptonshire Rgt (Sgt 3/10239 2nd bn Northamptonshire Rgt(24th Bde/8th Div))
    • Giles, H Pte 5537  1st bn Derbyshire Rgt (Sgt 6103 12th (Pioneer) Bn. Notts & Derby. Wounded 04-07-1916)
    • Gough, HdelaP, Mjr 16th Lancers (Lt-General commander 5th Army)
    • Grant, George Trpr 37203 Scottish Horse (CSM 2605 Seaforth Highlanders, DCM for 13-11-1916 Beaumont Hamel)
    • Greenleaf, EF Gnr 33808 88th Bty. RFA (Bombardier 29th Division Artillery)
    • Greenwood, A Pte 6342 2nd bn Derbyshire Rgt MI (Pte 41116 11th bn Manchester Rgt)
    • Gwilliam, W Cpl 4258 Worcestershire Rgt (Sgt 2372 Worcestershire Rgt wounded 03-07-1916)
    • Haking, RCB Mjr Hampshire Rgt (General commander 11th Army Corps)
    • Haig, D Lt-Col 17th Lancers and Staff (General commander British Forces)
    • Haynes, TW Sgt 6339 RAMC (Sgt 12th Field Ambulance (4th Div.))
    • Hunter-Weston, AG Mjr RE (Lt-Genl commanding VIII Corps)
    • Kelly, TA  Sgt 1548 Lincolnshire Rgt (Lt Royal Fusiliers awarded MC for Contalmaison on 7th - 8th July 1916 (LG 22-09-1916))
    • Lane, Charles Pte 9534 2nd bn KRRC MI (Pte A1212 2nd bn KRRC, MM LG 23/7/19)
    • Leathers, T Pte 6372 3rd bn Border Rgt attached Oxford LI (Pte 65221 18th bn Welsh Rgt)
    • Lever, George Cpl 5199 2nd bn Royal Scots Fusiliers (RSM 1st bn RSF. MSM)
    • Luxford, WJ Pte 6306 1st bn Buffs (East Kent) (6th bn Buffs. Wounded 7/10/16)
    • Maxse, FI Lt-Col Coldstream Guards (General commanding 18th Division)
    • Mitchell, A 6052 Spr 1st Aberdeenshire RE Volunteers (Sgt 58650 152/Field Coy. RE (37th Div.) MM LG 3/6/16)
    • Moult, Henry Pte 5694 1st bn Derbyshire Rgt (1/8th bn Notts and Derby. Later KIA 11-12-17)
    • Oram, A Pte 3305 West Riding Rgt (Sgt 17355 19th bn (3rd Salford Pals) Lancashire Fusiliers, wounded 01-07-1916)
    • Rawlinson, Sir HS Lt-Col Coldstream Guards & Staff (General commander 4th Army)
    • Stein W, Drmr 4571 East Yorks Rgt (Sgte 8412 East Yorks Rgt, awarded MM) 
    • Thomas J, Pte 4601 Lancashire Fusiliers (Sgt 10677 South Lancashire Rgt and ROAC S/10135. Suffered shell shock Somme 02-10-1916)

    If you can add to any of these lists - let me know.




Saturday, 4 June 2016

The curious case of Henry Brummage

Pte H Brummage is listed on the Yorkshire Regiment memorial to it's dead for the Anglo-Boer war.

Yorkshire Regiment Memorial, York.
(Nigel Kirby/Loop Images gettyimages) 
However he is not shown in the official casualty roll or on the regiment's medal roll. It is possible he died after the end of the war and did not qualify for a campaign medal. Research shows this not to be the case and reveals a curious tale.

Born March 30,1882 in Norwich, Henry volunteered with 4th bn Norfolk Regiment. In February 1901 he enlisted for the Regular Army joining the Yorkshire Regiment, number 6502. Henry served in South Africa from April 1902 and would have qualified for the Queen's South Africa medal, but his name is not on the medal roll.

Evidence of his death comes from Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929 where he is shown as having died at Klip River on June 7, 1902, Henry's war gratuity and other monies owing were paid to his father, Christmas Brummage.

His service papers (WO97) show that a court of enquiry found that he was absent without leave "to have committed suicide or been accidentally drowned" at Klip Drift (sic). Then there is an entry for July 1907 where Henry is subject to a court martial.

Henry's case made the national newspapers in the UK when he came before civil magistrates in Norwich before being handed over to the Army for court martial. No further detail is given except that his clothes were found on the banks of the Klip and he was presumed drowned. Obviously Henry had planned his desertion and returned to the UK without being detected and managed to live in the UK until 1907. How he was found out is not known.The court martial sentenced him to one year imprisonment with hard labour and discharge with ignominy for desertion.Thirteen days after rejoining Brummage was dismissed on July 22,1907. All former service save for five days from the end of the trial to dismissal was forfeited.

The medal roll on which soldier's who arrived in South Africa in 1902 was prepared in 1903, when he had deserted. Undoubtedly the regiment did not enter his name on the roll.

In February 11, 1911 Henry married Kathleen Mabel Stone in Norwich. On the 1911 Census, taken in March, they were man and wife with a 14 month old son called Henry, presumably Henry was the father. Henry worked as a general labourer, later he woudl work as a painter. Henry and Mabel woudl have a further three children.

On the outbreak of World War I in August 1914 Henry re-enlisted in the 3rd bn Norfolk Rgt, number 8070. He declared his former service and discharge for desertion. He was discharged medically unfit after 93 days service, during which time he had four entries in the defaulter's book for being absent without leave.

In April 1915 Henry enlisted for 2/3 East Anglia Field Ambulance, RAMC. In December he transferred to the ASC, later he was posted to the Labour Corps, number 355080, then served with the 2nd, 3rd and 5th bn Bedfordshire Rgt, number 210860. Henry continued to collect numerous entries in the defaulter's book, but he did serve overseas. He was demobilised in March 1918 from the with 20% disability due to rheumatism. For his World War 1 service Henry was awarded the British War and Victory Medals and a Silver War Service Badge.

In the depressed post-war economy Henry served again with 2 East Anglia Field Ambulance, RAMC from April 1921 to May 1922. On discharge his character was "good".

Henry Brummage died in Norwich in 1960.

Source: WO97. WO363. Effects. WO100. Diss Express 19070712

Saturday, 21 May 2016

“was lost and is found” The Military Story of GTW Webb

This research was inspired by Research puzzles - "Odd" casualties from war memorials.

George Theodosius Wynne Webb was born 2 March, 1876 in Woolwich (or Charlton) Kent to Capt (retd) John H and Edith G Webb. Cpt JH Webb had served in the 11th Foot and was a Higher Division Clerk in the Admiralty. The family was comfortably off, they had one or two servants recorded in the census. George, one of three sons, was educated at Merchant Taylors School. His two brothers Andrew Henry and William Vere Brandram were commissioned into the RGA. In September 1894, aged 18, George was commissioned into the Royal Marine Light Infantry. His career came to an end just 10 months later in July 1895 when he resigned his commission. His record in ADM196 darkly notes that “confidential reports whilst studying at RN College” were written. Obviously George was in trouble while studying at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.

Determined on a military career George gets a commission in the Royal Jersey Militia RA as a route to getting a commission in the regular army. In October 1897 George secures a commission in the RGA. However, on the 12 July 1899 he leaves the Army, he did not resign or was court martialled. Records at the RA Library simply record he left, obviously by agreement and no doubt to save himself and his family from any shame for whatever transgressions occurred. There is no record in the London Gazette I can find. Having failed twice to embark on a military career George did what many troubled young men did and went overseas. George sailed to southern Africa where war clouds were gathering.

George ended up in Ladysmith by October 1899 where he unexpectedly pops up in the Digest of Service for the 10th mountain battery RGA. The 10th mountain battery were stationed in Natal before the war and formed part of Sir George White’s force defending Ladysmith. The Digest records that “Mr Webb (attached)” was among the officers captured at Nicholson’s Nek, "Mournful Monday", 30 October. A hand written marginal note adds “Mr Webb was a civilian”. This ties in with the record from The Times for “Sec Lieut GTW Webb” being released as prisoner of war. Whether George deliberately went to Natal to find former officer comrades is not known. But, he obviously knew the officers of the 10th mountain battery well enough to be allowed to accompany them on their attack. Whether he had a role beyond observer is not known. Like his previous military careers this one, albeit as a civilian, ended quickly and badly; George found himself in the officer’s prison camp in Pretoria for seven months.

On release from POW camp George “Left battery on occupation of Pretoria” as recorded on the medal roll. I cannot help think that in the enthusiasm for the first battles against “mere farmers”, George’s participation was evidence that some British officers did not take the war seriously. By June 1900, officers knew they were in a serious fight and there was no place for civilian hangers-on. Perhaps put off by his experiences George appears to get a job with the customs office in Utrecht, eastern Transvaal (National Archives of South Africa). How long he stuck at this is not known, but the lure of a soldier’s life was too strong. On 9 May, 1901 he enlists as Trooper 3783 Steinaecker’s Horse, claiming 5 ½ years’ service in the Royal Artillery. It is very unlikely he saw any active service as his fourth attempt at a military career came to an end just 20 days later. George died of pneumonia in Fort Napier, Pietermaritzburg and lies in the St George’s Garrison Church cemetery with a fine marble cross over his grave “Erected by his Sorrowing Parents”. The epitaph they chose is, I think, emblematic of a troubled soul, “was lost and is found”; from the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

George Webb’s QSA is correctly engraved to “Lieut. G.T. Wynne-Webb R.G.A.”, the surname an unfortunate error. His name as “Webb, GT Wynne” is found on the roll for the 10th mountain battery (WO100/146p66) appended in a different hand at the bottom of the list of Lieutenants, he has no rank. The medal with two clasps (Transvaal and Natal) was issued 9 April, 1902 with a note to correspondence “93883/19”. What it would be to find that correspondence, undoubtedly his parents and/or brothers petitioned the War Office for a medal engraved as an officer, which of course he was not entitled to. George appears on an Extra Clasp roll for Steinaecker’s Horse (WO100/276p168) and again there is some evidence of correspondence. His entry is crossed out and then re-entered with entitlement to the ‘South Africa 1901’ clasp no reference is made to his previous service or the issue of the clasp, which is not on the medal. There is a large asterisk against his name which is unexplained.

Not only did George’s family secure a campaign medal but they also got his name entered on the corp's war memorial with the rank he did not hold when he “won” his medal. Perhaps securing these recognitions was justice for the family regarding George’s troubles with the RMLI and RGA.

George’s two brothers were Andrew Henry (older) and Willam Vere Brandram (younger) who were both commissioned into the RGA. Andrew served in South Africa on the Western Front and also in WW1 as a Lt-Col. William did not see in any campaign service and emigrated to Canada, he enlisted in the CEF in 1916 for overseas service. I don’t know if he actually served abroad.

In the Spink April 2016 sale a number of Webb family medals were sold dating from the Peninsula to WWII. All the groups have research apart from the QSA and miniature to Lt GT Wynne-Webb RGA which simply states he was the great great nephew of Sir John Webb whose medals are first in the Webb family lots. Andrew’s CMG, DSO group was amongst the Webb family medals sold at Spink.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

A Russian Fighting For The Boer Cause

Yevgeny Avgustus
A Russian Fighting For The Boer Cause
Translated and edited by Boris Gorelik
The South African Military History Society
2016
52 pages, illustrations
ISBN 978-0-620-70253-9

This booklet is the first translation into English of part of the memoirs of Russian Army officer Lieutenant Yvengeny Avgustus. He traveled to South Africa in early 1900. Choosing the Natal front Avgustus relates with clarity his impressions of the Boer army, its leaders, burghers and other volunteers. Seeking action his group joined the Krugersdorp Commando shunning foreign volunteer groups riven with dissent.

As part of the Krugersdorp Commando Avgustus fought at Spion Kop - the battle was as hard and terrifying for the Boers as the British and Tugela Heights in February. Three days in a trench subject to artillery, machine gun and rifle fire he marvels at the tenacity of the British infantry, advancing into Boer machine gun fire to close with the bayonet; a weapon the Boers didn't possess and feared. With the British troops upon them Avgustus and a comrade managed to escape leaving many dead and wounded behind.

This well written, and well translated tale, ends with Avgustus negotiating the crush of fleeing Boers at Elandslaagte station heading north for safety. There is much of interest in this slim volume and is a good read.








Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Loxton's Horse - The Forty Thieves

Loxton's Horse was a small and little known unit on the British side during the Anglo-Boer War. They were raised for the duration of the war only like many other colonial units. But, Loxton's Horse was one of what were known as “loot corps”, whose purpose was to loot Boer farms – an extension of the concentration camp policy and farm burning. “Loot corps” were authorised by Lord Kitchener, the Commander-in-Chief of British forces in south Africa.

Loxton's Horse was raised in early 1901 at Newcastle, Natal by Samuel Loxton who with his two brothers all won Distinguished Conduct Medals in the war. They were all in the Natal Corps of Guides and later the Field Intelligence Department. The Loxton's are an early settler family in the eastern Cape. The men were allowed to keep and sell the livestock they captured, but later were paid 1s 6d per day and allowed 75% of the livestock along with forage for one horse. The use of "loot corps" was raised in Parliament but more from the fact the public purse was receiving money from this unorthodox source rather than the morality of "loot corps" in the first place. [House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, House of Commons and Command, Volume 38] 

Contemporary documentary evidence is scarce. The raising of the unit was reported by British newspapers in February 1901. The unit was to operate in the south-eastern Transvaal assisting the troops “by carrying off the enemy's stock and and supplying information of the Boer's movements”. Composed of “mostly young colonists possessing a thorough knowledge of the country...They are splendidly mounted, each man having a mounted native servant, leading two horses. They have dubbed themselves “The Forty Thieves”. [Aberdeen Journal 25-02-1901] 

From a diary entry written by a colonial soldier on 26 February 1901:
Utrecht district. Today we saw for the first time in this war a looting corps of 28 men called Loxton's Horse. They keep 75% of all they can loot, receiving no pay. This is a big shame as we who have been out 17 months cannot keep a horse, even if we catch them, and these men only follow us when we have cleared the country, like a lot of jackals."
[Coghlan, M. 2004. From the very beginning to the very end. The diary and letters of J B Nicholson, Natal Carbineers. Part 2. Natalia 34: 17-49.]

Loxton's Horse were reported returning to Newcastle on 17 March, 1901 from Utrecht district (Transvaal) “with a large quantity of stock” [Lancashire Evening Post 19-03-1901] In August 1901 they were in the Orange Free State and on the 20th they suffered their only recorded casualty, Cpl CW Abel killed at Nooitgedacht. Abel is not in the official casualty rolls, nor in The Times newspaper, the information comes from the medal rolls and Steve Watt's In Memoriam. The following month Loxton's Horse were on the Orange Free State border with Basutoland (Lesotho) apparently surrounded by a party of Boers. Pte P Mangnall, 3rd volunteer battalion Manchester Rgt wrote that they and some “Irregular Horse” were sent to rescue Loxton's Horse. However, on the march they met Loxton's Horse who had managed to extricate themselves only losing their “pack horses”. [Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 07-11-1901]

There is a medal roll (WO100/268p26) for Loxton's Horse with just two names, Troopers G Tustin and HH Tod. Apparent from the handwriting is that the roll was originally submitted with Tustin's name in 1906 and the medal issued in 1908, no clasps are indicated. The roll was signed by one Sidney W Reynolds “late OC Loxton's Horse” in Newcastle, Natal on 21 June, 1906. Reynolds, like Loxton's Horse, is mystery too – he does not appear on a medal roll, but there are civilian records for him in the National Archives of South Africa as a farmer in Newcastle. Todd's name was added in the same hand that wrote the note that his medal was issued in 1957, unfortunately there is no address shown. Neither Todd nor Tustin appear on any other medal roll for the war.

Other member's of Loxton's Horse are known, and a nominal roll has been constructed primarily from the medal rolls where, fortuitously, service in Loxton's Horse has been noted by an assiduous clerk. There are 19 names, perhaps 1/2 of the total who served with the unit.

Nominal Roll:
  1. Abel, CW – Natal Carbineers
  2. Berg, Arthur - 1st Scottish Horse
  3. Berg, John – previous service unknown
  4. Cooper, HF - Natal Corps of Guides, Field Intelligence Department
  5. de Jager, LP - Field Intelligence Department
  6. Dorey, LA - Natal Police, Field Intelligence Department, Reynold's Scouts
  7. Harris, William de Montmorency – Natal Corps of Guides, Field Intelligence Department, died Newcastle, Natal July 1902
  8. Hester, Francis Danby – Natal Police, Utrecht-Vryheid Mounted Police, Steinaecker's Horse
  9. Loxton, Samuel – founder and commander, Natal Corps of Guides and Field Intelligence Department
  10. Malandaine (or Mallandain), R – Field Intelligence Department, Army Service Corps
  11. Miller (or Millar), Hugh – Natal Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Imperial Hospital Corps, subsequently Bethune's Mounted Infantry, died of wounds March 1902
  12. Pocket, Arthur A - South African Light Horse
  13. Reynolds, Sidney W – sometime commander, previous service unknown, possibly commander of Reynold's Scouts
  14. Short, William Kirk - Natal Transport, Field Intelligence Department
  15. Taylor, Leonard – Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry, Rand Rifles
  16. Thomas, Llewellyn Hartly – Brabant's Horse, Natal Corps of Guides, Newcastle Town Guard
  17. Tod, HH - previous service unknown
  18. Tustin,G Trooper - previous service unknown
  19. Wood, H – South African Light Horse, Field Intelligence Department, shown as number 39 Loxton's Horse on the FID KSA roll

The Bergs were brothers and are noted as “served with the Methuen’s Regiment and later Loxton’s Horse” [‘The Norwegian Settlers – Marburg, Natal 1882’ (Marburg Norwegian Lutheran Church, Port Shepstone, 1932), was translated into English in 1967 by A H E Andreasen.]

If you come across anymore references to Loxton's Horse, please let me know.

 Many thanks to Brett Hendey for the references from Coghlan and Andreasen; Ian Linney for references to Cooper, Dorey and Short from Field Intelligence Department 1899-1902 Honours and Awards & Casualties & Medal Rolls - compiled by David Buxton (2004), both via www.angloboerwar.com, Elne Watson for the House of Commons and JM Wasserman's DPhil thesis references from Facebook

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Silver QSA to Indians

In the late Victorian era the "followers" in a military campaign were awarded medals, but in bronze not silver as a cost saving exercise. These men performed non-military menial duties such grass cutting (for forage), ward sweepers, transport drivers, water carriers and so on.  Most commonly seen is the India General Service medal 1854-1895 in bronze for the campaigns of the 1890s covered by clasps such as Punjab Frontier 1897-98, Relief of Chitral 1895 and Tirah 1897-98.

This practice continued into the Second Anglo-Boer war and bronze medals were awarded to an officer's servant (irrespective of colour). The most bronze medals were awarded to Indians who came across with the very large numbers of white troops stationed in India. No official medals were awarded to the indigenous africans and other non-whites who performed a similar role to the Indian followers and many even bore arms; their story is for another post.

Collectors may see on the market a silver QSA named to an Indian in typical flowing script but on the medal roll it is clearly marked they were issued with a bronze medal. Is this a piece of fakery or not?

After the war in 1903 the Indian government decided to allow attested followers (except ward sweepers) silver medals. Un-attested and authorised followers ("private followers") were still awarded bronze medals.  This change of policy had its roots in the Anglo-Boer War, in May 1902 the Indian government allowed men to exchange their bronze medals for silver ones at their own expense when they enlisted as soldier. The date 1903 is critical as many medals to Indian followers had not yet been issued, therefore technically the new rules could apply to QSAs even though the campaign pre-dated the rule change. Whether this happened is not actually clear.

Here is an example of a silver QSA to an Indian who should have bronze QSA:

This medal is to M46 Dafadar Pat Ram I(ndian). P(ack). Mule Train.





The medal roll was prepared in Cape Town in September 1901, four men, all (Indian) Veterinary Assistants were to receive silver medals with clasps, these were issued in December 1904. For Pat Ram and the remainder it is clearly shown they were to be issued bronze medals without clasps (unlike the issue of the bronze IGS). These medals were sent to India for distribution, no date is shown.

One can assume then that Pat Ram received a bronze medal without clasps. So, how did his silver QSA come about? Under the 1903 rules it would appear he enlisted as a regular soldier and purchased a silver QSA.

However, the naming is an issue. The great collector and researcher into QSAs and KSAs to Indians, David Grant, has only seen verified exchange medals with impressed naming not engraved. David surmises that Ram's medal with engraved naming might then be a replacement medal, issued after 1903 according to the rules then in force. The Mint in Calcutta did not issue a replacement bronze medal. A number of blank silver QSAs were sent to India, an impressing machine was not sent until 1908. There is clearly more research to be done in this area.

If Ram had been issued clasps they would have been Transvaal, Defence of Ladysmith and Laing's Nek. However, he wasn't and his QSA (bronze or silver) without clasps illustrates the joy of collecting QSAs; the hidden facts that come with a bit of research.

David Grant has published on this topic in the journal of the OMRS and online on the Anglo-Boer War forum, see:

http://www.angloboerwar.com/forum/5-medals-and-awards/71-the-indian-contingent?start=54
http://www.angloboerwar.com/forum/5-medals-and-awards/71-the-indian-contingent?start=168#45827



Kakul POW Camp

Many thousands of Boer POWs were sent overseas to camps remote from South Africa, in places like Bermuda, Sri Lanka, St Helena, Portugal and India (and now Pakistan). One of the smallest and short-lived camp was in Kakul near Abbottabad in north-west India, what is now Pakistan.

The camp was set up in 1902 and existed for just a few months. One of the noted past-times of the Boer POW was to create handicrafts from whatever local materials they could find, wood, stone, bone and on Bermuda they wove neckties too. These items are highly collectible today. Handicrafts from the bigger camps such as on Bermuda and St Helena are not hard to find, those from smaller camps are rare and Kakul items must rank amongst the rarest due to it's small size and short life. In Pieter Oosthuizen's fabulous book Boer War Memorabilia: The Collectors' Guide (The Alderman Press, 1987) none of the items featured are from Kakul. The War Museum of the Boer Republics in Bloemfontein only have a handful of examples.

The items illustrated below come from a collection of 16 Boer POW handicrafts collected by a British soldier who guarded the camp at Kakul. Eight of the items are marked 'Kakul'

 

Monday, 14 March 2016

Research Puzzles: "Odd" casualties from war memorials

War memorials are a great source of information and supplement the official casualty rolls, they can provide first names, biographical details, exact cause of death and a clue as to where a man came from.

However, there are names on war memorials that just don't make sense, they are casualties but just cannot be found in the usual sources. I will write about three examples that I recently resolved as they reveal interesting stories and illustrate the need to "keep digging".

After the war the Royal Artillery erected a large memorial on The Mall in London - just down the road from Buckingham Palace. On the plaques arranged by battery are the names of all the gunners who died during the war. There are two that, until, recently were a mystery: Lts FC Fox and GTW Webb. Neither man in the official casualty roll nor in the November 1899 Army List which implies they weren't serving officers during the war, why then are they on the memorial?

FC Fox:
On the casualty rolls there is an entry for a Trooper Francis Charles Fox, Border Mounted Rifles, the only similar record to Lt FC Fox RA; what if any is the connection. This research was resolved quickly by contacting the Library of the Royal Artillery. There records show Lt FC Fox was killed while serving as Captain with the Border Mounted Rifles. He was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1869 and resigned his commission in 1879. When he was killed at Caesar's Camp on January 6th, 1900 he was quite old for a trooper, fifty perhaps? I double checked his rank with a Border Mounted Rifles collector in South Africa and he was not a captain. Exactly how his name was added to the RA memorial is not known, but he had not served with the regiment for 20 years on his death. There must be other ex-gunners killed in the war who are not included. There is certainly a story to be uncovered on what Fox did between 1879 and 1900.

GTW Webb:
The Register, being an agglomeration of records from many sources, had a record for a GT (George Theodosius) Wynne-Webb, 2nd Lt RGA and Trooper Steinaecker's Horse who died May 28th, 1901 at Pietermaritzburg, previously a prisoner released June 6th, 1900 at Waterval. This last record comes from The Times and is not in the official casualty roll, he is described as "attached" to the RGA. Obviously there is a great similarity between GTW Webb and GT Wynne-Webb, but what is the connection between the two records?

A name like "George Theodosius Wynne-Webb" is ripe for internet searching, and so it proved. GTW Webb was born in 1876, educated at Merchant Taylors. He was first commissioned into the Royal Marines in 1894, resigned at his own request in 1895. His service record (ADM196/62/304) refers to "confidential reports". He then joined a militia unit, the Royal Jersey Artillery from which he was commissioned into the RGA in 1897. He left the RGA in July 1899, circumstances unknown. Almost immediately he sailed for southern Africa and on the outbreak of war was in or near Ladysmith where he became attached to the 10th mountain battery RGA. The Digest of Service for the battery describes him as "Mr Webb", hence The Times describing him as "attached". How this relationship came about is not known, perhaps he had pals in the battery who invited him along. Whatever the nature of the relationship "Mr Webb" accompanied the battery into battle on "Mournful Monday" and was captured in the ensuing debacle on October 30th, 1899. On his release from POW camp Mr Webb did not re-join the battery but instead turns up in Utrecht, eastern Transvaal employed at the customs office. On May 9th, 1901 he enlists with Steinaecker's Horse as Trooper 3783 but dies three weeks later of pneumonia. The connections that saw him attached as a civilian to the 10th mountain battery RGA persist after his death, his name is included on the RA memorial despite him not being a serving officer at the time of his death and his brief, and perhaps chequered, career when he was commissioned. As ever, "worthy of further research" - see this blog.

QM & Hon Captain EJ Piper:
The third example is Quartermaster & Honorary Captain EJ Piper 1st volunteer battalion King's Shropshire Light Infantry (KSLI). He is named on the Devonshire county memorial in Exeter Cathedral, but not the (KSLI) memorial in Shrewsbury which implies Piper did not die on active service with the KSLI. On the medal roll there is a record for a Lieutenant & Quartermaster EJ Piper 5th bn Imperial Yeomanry (IY), roll marked "deceased". His name is not in the official casualty rolls suggesting he died in the UK, but what are the connection between a man from Devon, the IY and the KSLI?

With no first names and a surname like 'Piper' there is not much to search on. Fortunately FindmyPast have uploaded a huge archive of British newspapers which are treasure trove for researchers. Experimenting with different first names "Edwin Piper" drew a direct hit. His obituary was published in the Western Times (Devon) on December 21st, 1900, and full obituary it is too.

Edwin Piper was born about 1841 in (or about) Exeter. He served for 30 years with the volunteers, the last 16 with the 1st vb KSLI and as Supply and Transport Officer, Welsh Border Brigade. On the otubreak of war he was offered the role of Supply and Transport Officer for the 5th bn Imperial Yeomanry, one company of which came from Shropshire. In South Africa he fell ill with dysentery and enteric and was invalided home. He had two operations in July, but never recovered. He left a widow and six children. He was a deacon in the United Methodist Free Church, Albert St.

I will continue to work through the "odd" casualties on war memorials, one that I am working on know is Lt SP Knowles, formerly 2nd Life Guards. So far I cannot find any likely casualties with which to work on; one day all will be revealed.


International History Conference 2014 - Talana

In October 2014 Meurig presented a paper on war memorials at the
International History Conference: From the Anglo-Boer War to the Great War at Talana Museum, Dundee, Kwazulu-Natal October 2014. Research for this paper has added 200 memorials to The Register - with more to come.

The proceedings of the Conference can be downloaded here

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Research Puzzles: NL Hawkyard

Another example of conflicting casualty information but this one is plain weird as the two pieces of information are wildly different. Norman Lewis Hawkyard served as Trooper 26371 Commander-in-Chief’s Bodygaurd (he had previous service with the Cape Mounted Rifles, discharged “worthless character” and as a Corporal Herschel Native Police).

The South African Field Force casualty roll shows he died of disease at Charlestown, Natal on May 6th, 1901. The Times (surname spelt Hawkeyard) confirms this adding that he succumbed to enteric fever. The medal roll and the nominal roll (WO127) show very clearly that he was killed in action at Aliwal North, Cape Colony on May 6th, 1901. Which is correct? The two locations are a seven hour drive apart, so the location and cause really are in conflict.

To resolve this we have one other source to consult: In Memoriam (Steve Watt, University of Natal, 2000). This is a marvellous reference work showing the burial location of thousands of Anglo-Boer War fatalities. The entry for Hawkyard show he is buried in Newcastle, Natal just 45 minutes away from Charlestown. With this evidence it is more likely Hawkyard died in Natal rather than the Cape Colony, and he succumbed to disease. There was no fighting in this part of Natal in May 1901 (or in Aliwal North for that matter). Where does the killed in action information come from? It is impossible to tell.


Hawkyard’s QSA medal is currently for sale with LiverpoolMedals, who may have acquired it from eBay where it was offered for sale in December 2015. Worryingly Liverpool Medals choose to state that Hawkyard was killed in action and ignore the died of disease stated in the casualty roll. I did write to them with this information, which they have ignored. The premium for a killed in action is higher than that for a died of disease. 

Caveat Emptor!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

The Last Post - a major revision

The Last Post was compiled in 1903 by Mildred Dooner to commemorate the officers who died during the Anglo-Boer War. These officers “died heroic deaths” and it was her aim that their memory should not “fade into oblivion”. Dooner, the daughter of Colonel WT Dooner, compiled her information from a variety of sources; casualty lists, memorials and correspondence. Dooner recognises her list may not be entirely accurate. There has been no revision to The Last Post until now using the updated casualty roll in The Register.

Dooner also included two appendices one for nurses and the other for war correspondents. Nurses are an obvious choice and were beloved by the officers and men, it was the nurses who endeavoured to keep the sick and wounded alive. The war correspondent is a somewhat odd choice as these men (and one woman) merely reported the war, they did not fight or help the sick and wounded. Indeed many officers did not like war correspondents, they resented their quest for information and many thought their reports biased and unhelpful. Although some senior officers manipulated the press. However, this information exists nowhere else, modern day researchers must be thankful to Dooner for this anomaly.

To revise Dooner I have checked every entry in her book against the casualty rolls and a variety of other sources but primarily the medal rolls, war memorials and The Times newspaper.  I have verified 1,159 entries, these include 14 war correspondents and 10 nurses. Unfortunately a number of errors and inaccuracies have crept in. 

There are three duplicate entries: Betty/Kemmis-Betty, Birch/Burch, Chapman/Clapham. Dooner has included four officers who died after the war but not from related illness or wounds. Another, FE Hancock, was not apparently serving when he died of enteric fever in 1902. The Official Casualty Roll shows him as a civilian and the medal roll indicate he was entitled to the “South Africa 1902” clasp. It is not clear if Hancock was serving the military in a civilian capacity. Dooner does include one civilian, Mr F Chapman, a farmer, was a guide to the British forces attacking Willow Grange (23-11-1899) when he was shot dead. Two men were not commissioned officers when they were killed, G Falcon and A Spencer (Cape Medical Staff Corps) and there is no indication they were about to be commissioned. The unit for Lt AG Warren is incorrect, he was in the Cape Police not the Cape Mounted Rifles.

For the vast majority Dooner has given the exact cause of death, “enteric” instead of “disease” as often seen in the Official Casualty Roll. However, for some the exact cause is not shown which may be to protect the sensibilities of the family. Lt HG Berghuys, Kitchener’s Horse “died of wounds..in Feb., 1901”, in fact he was murdered by Trooper F Carpenter in a row over leave in November 1900. Trooper Carpenter was executed. Four officers committed suicide (as per Official Casualty Roll), others died of self-inflicted wounds. Cpt MMD Morrison according to Dooner died of asthma, the Official Casualty Roll shows “Died of wounds Revolver, self inflicted”.

There is one man listed who I cannot trace in any source as a fatal casualty: Captain EB Muller, Kaffrarian Rifles killed at Ramathlabana 31-03-1900 with Colonel Plumer’s column during the relief of Mafeking. There was a Captain EB Muller, Kaffrarian Rifles who survived the war, he was not involved in the relief of Mafeking neither were the Kaffrarian Rifles. Then there is the case of Lt WBM Carruthers, Canadian Mounted Rifles. Carruthers was widely reported as being killed at Brakspruit March, 3rd 1901, naturally Dooner picked this up and included him in The Last Post. Carruthers was not killed in the war, but died in 1910 from tuberculosis apparently contracted on service in South Africa.

As to the omissions from the The Last Post I have traced 22 officers, one war correspondent and 20 nurses who died in South Africa during the war. Of the 22 officers 16 are from colonial units, a group Dooner admitted having difficulty finding information about. I have also included in this group Captain HH Morant, Bushveldt Carbineers, who was executed by the British for murdering Boer civilians. Dooner may have deliberately left him out. The additional war correspondent turns out to be the most interesting WH Mackay. Mackay, from Scotland, was a newspaper editor in Pretoria and Reuters agent at the outbreak of war. He remained in Pretoria and handled the telegraph communications between Winston Churchill when he was a prisoner and his mother, Lady Randolph Churchill. Mackay is also credited with breaking the news of the relief of Mafeking to Britain. News of the relief reached Pretoria on the same day, May 17th, Mackay bribed an engine driver to take his despatch to Lourenco Marques in Portuguese East Africa where it was sent on reaching Britain the next day. He died suddenly in Pretoria in July 1900. I have traced information on his death to a notice in the Dundee Evening Post, July 21st. Mackay is on the War Correspondents memorial in St Paul's Cathedral, London and on the War Correspondents medal roll, but is not shown as deceased. A further 25 officers and two nurses died outside of South Africa or after the war in South Africa.

Other revisions to Dooner include adding first names, correcting minor errors in the biographical information, and these records also have medal entitlements, memorials and gazetteer information. Biographical information has been added where possible to the "new" records. Having revised Dooner the numbers of officer, nurse and war correspondent fatalities directly attributable to the war can now be stated as:

Officers: 1,187 (plus 25 died outside South Africa or after the war in South Africa)
War Correspondents: 14
Nurses: 30 (plus two died after the war)

Dooner has been re-printed in book form and electronically (for free), one version can be found here. Dooner's text has also been included uncritically on various websites which will only serve to mislead the unwary.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

11th Hussars: a rare QSA?

Whenever I read the words "rare QSA", I ask "How do they know?"; "they" usually being a dealer.

I may be too cynical, but there is much about the QSA for which is there is no hard evidence, no facts and figures upon which to judge such a statement. Most dealers never cite a source for what is an inducement to the buyer to purchase the medal now, "fools rush in......."

As I create The Register of the Anglo-Boer War I am building up the data upon which we can answer with a great degree of certainty that a QSA is truly rare based upon a host of factors; unit, sub-unit, clasps, rank and if you want surname, place of origin, casualty details; anything you fancy really.

This article was prompted by the offer for purchase of the QSA group to Pte 4208 AE Eltringham 11th Hussars, described as a "rare QSA" and "QSA possibly unique to regiment with this clasp combination.". No sources cited, most dealers are experienced so they may be correct, but it could be Dealer X just hasn't seen as many QSAs to the 11th Hussars as another dealer.

The only way to certify such statements is to look at the facts. Published information states between 108 (National Army Museum and British Empire),  110 (angloboerwar.com), 114 (North East Medals)  and 315 (DNW) men served in the war. The 11th Hussars did not serve in the war as a unit, they were stationed in Egypt, therefore it is likely not many men served and those that did would be attached to other units. Most of these sources quoted are just looking at the medal roll for the 11th Hussars itself, the detachment sent to Natal that became besieged in Ladysmith. The medal rolls show five officers and 99 men (104 in total) served in the Defence of Ladysmith attached to a variety of units; 5th Lancers, 5th Dragoon Guards, 18th Hussars, 19th Hussars and Army Veterinary Department. What most ignore that DNW alludes to with its figure of 315 is that many more 11th Hussars serving in South Africa are found on other unit rolls. 

How many men of the 11th Hussars served in South Africa? The Register shows 304 (18 officers and 286 men), about 40% of a typical cavalry regiment, which is a large number for a unit that did not go overseas. However, not all of these men were serving with the regiment in Egypt in 1899. An analysis of the service numbers and enlistments dates shows that 178 men had served between 5 years and 11 years 11 months; these men had served the minimum term of five years and were eligible to go on the reserve. Eleven men had served 12 years or more. Ninety-seven men had served 5 years or less, the majority of these (80) served in the Defence of Ladysmith. The contingent besieged in Ladysmith would have mostly come from the regiment in Egypt. Therefore the vast majority of the 11th Hussars who served were reservists called up in England and allotted to other units serving in at the front.

The men of the 11th Hussars served with a total of 34 units including a number of colonial units. DNW stated that most were attached to the "5th Lancers and 8th Hussars." The figures do not bear this out:

Attached Units (largest contingents):
  • Remounts:                  145
  • 6th Dragoon Guards:   70
  • 5th Dragoon Guards:   49
  • 5th Lancers:                 21
  • 19th Hussars:               20
  • 18th Hussars:               14
  • 8th Hussars:                 14
Many served in both the 6th Dragoon Guards and the Remounts.

The number of 11th Hussars that served in South Africa is three times greater than widely believed, but how many medals are named to the 11th Hussars, how rare is that QSA?

When men served on attachment it is not always obvious which unit is on the QSA. Looking at medals on the market for the 11th Hussars it appears that "11th Hussars" is on all QSAs except for the men who served with the 6th Dragoon Guards and 19th Hussars (Defence of Ladysmith clasp).

Attached Remounts only: Ptes 2992 Stannard, 3088 Warne, 2971 Ainsworth
Attached AVD: Sgt 3627 J McElhinney 
Attached 5th Dragoon Guards: Pte 3451 J Moore 
Attached 5th Lancers: Pte 2639 WAL Lewis 

Pte 3239 CA Cook, 11th Hussar reservist, served with the 6th Dragoon Guards and the Remounts. His QSA and KSA are named to the "6th Dragoon Guards". However, a number of men are not on the 6th Dragoon Guards roll, but are marked as "attached 6th Dragoon Guards" on the Remounts roll. Their medals may be named 11th Hussars and not 6th Dragoon Guards like Cook's medals.

Pte 4231 J Wood, 11th Hussar reservist, served with the 19th Hussars in the defence of Ladysmith. His QSA is named to the 19th Hussars and his KSA is named to the 11th Hussars.

This straw poll would seem to indicate that the majority about 250 of QSAs issued to the 11th Hussars are named "11th Hussars". In the scheme of things 250 is a small number of QSAs, but not rare as such; frequency of 11th Hussars medals on the market is a different consideration, they do not appear often.

What then of Pte Eltringham's clasp combination of  "Johannesburg,Diamond Hill,CC,OFS", is that unique? Yes, it is and only two others have that combination with other clasps.

This research has shown that significant numbers of men from cavalry regiments served with the Remounts. What needs to be established is how many of these men are not on the regimental rolls, and are "new" as such increasing the numbers served as we have seen for the 11th Hussars.