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 over 5,100 men who served in WW1, of these thirteen were killed on the 1st July 1916:

  • Bonham Carter, AT Lt Hampshire Rgt
  • Burge, M 13218 Trpr IY, Lt 3rd Hussars (Major 23rd bn Northumberland Fusiliers)
  • 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)
  • McQuade, JA Boy 6282 Essex Rgt, (Sgt, 2nd bn Essex Rgt MM)
  • Niven, AG 2nd Lt East Lancashire Rgt (Major 21st bn Northumberland Fusiliers)
  • 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)
  • Young, JW Pte 5865 South Wales Bord (Pte 15571 2nd bn South Wales Borderers)

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)
  • Bailey, AF Pte 6613 Royal Sussex Rgt (L-Cpl LSR/2001 7thbn Royal Sussex Rgt 07-07-1916)
  • Blair, AM Pte 7532 Ceylon VSC Gloucester Rgt (Cpt South Lancs Rgt, killed 03-07-1916)
  • Bristow FW Sgt 5166 1st bn Welch Rgt (Pte 5166 2nd bn Welch Rgt killed 18-07-1916 Mametz)
  • 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)
  • Cleary, TJ Trpr 1490 SAC (Pte 2nd SAI Killed 18-07-1916, Delville Wood)
  • 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 G, Pte 5945 West Surrey Rgt (Pte 12557 Royal Fusiliers. MM possibly for 01-07-1916)
  • Cox, HE Trpr 20430 Imperial Yeomanry (3384 L-Cpl Leicestershire Yeomanry. Killed 15-07-1916)
  • Crane, L Pte 7527 & 7691 King's Own Yorkshire LI (3/2979 Pte 7th bn King's Own Yorkshire LI. Killed 07-10-1916)
  • Dews, F Pte 5299 West Yorks Rgt (Acting RSM. Killed 20-09-1916)
  • Doggart, T Pte 6681 Border Rgt (Sgt 5113 Border Rgt. Killed 14-071-1916)
  • Donnelly, JP Pte 3269 East Yorks Rgt (Sgt 17469 East Yorkshire Rgt. Wounded July 1916, killed 25-09-1916)
  • Earnshaw, SO Pte 5336 Norfolk Rgt (WOII 9th bn Norfolk Rgt killed 15-09-1916) 
  • Gee, HHA Lt Uitenhage Volunteer Rifles (Major 2nd SA Infantry died of wounds 19-07-1916 Delville Wood)
  • Gove, HW Trpr 717 Imperial Light Horse (Lt 1st South African Infantry, killed July 1916, Delville Wood)
  • Halkett, P  Pte 6398 Scottish Rifles (Probably Pte 13883 2nd bn Scottish Rifles, killed 23-10-1916)
  • Hester FD Trpr 1798 Natal Police, etc. (Sgt 4908 3rd SA Infantry, posted missing July Delville Wood, declared dead 01-08-1916)
  • 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)
  • Hodge, H L/Cpl 4544 Manchester Rgt MI (2996 Cpl. 11th bn Manchester Rgt, killed 26-09-1916)
  • Hogg, J Pte 6794 KOSB (awarded MM as Sgt, later Sgt 34869 York & Lancaster Rgt, killed 02-10-1916)
  • Howard, LM Trpr 2360 Natal Police & Lt 2 ILH (Lt-Col 24th bn Northumberland Fusiliers, died of wounds 02-07-1916)
  • 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, FA Cpt Welch Rgt (Lt-Col 4th SA Infantry, killed 11-07-1916 Bernafay Wood)
  • 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)
  • Lawrence, JL L-Cpl 8132 Royal Scots Fusiliers (Lt RSF. Wounded 01-07-1916, died 03-07-1916)
  • 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)
  • Mason, J, Pte 5371 Kings (Liverpool) Rgt (Killed 18-08-1916)
  • 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)
  • Medlicott, CE Pte 5004 Norfolk Rgt (CSM Norfolk Rgt killed 04-09-1916)
  • 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)
  • Paul, ET Cpl 4812 Somerset LI (RSM Somerset LI, awarded DCM, later commissioned)
  • Porteous, WS Pte 785 Kaffrarian Rifles (Pte 6640 4 SA Infantry. Killed 12-10-1916)
  • Rowland, AJ Pte 5414 Essex Rgt (CSM 1st bn Essex Rgt. DoW 21-10-1916)
  • Royston-Piggott, GA Lt Northamptonshire Rgt (Lt-Col DSO killed 03-07-1916)
  • Rumbol, G Pte 4598 7th bn KRRC (Pte R-33119 12th bn KRRC. Killed 07-10-1916 Rainbow Trench)
  • 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)
    • Armstrong, JS Cpt York & Lancaster Rgt (Major 9th bn York & Lancaster Rgt)
    • 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)
    • Bowers, CD'OAC Lt 2nd VB Middlesex Rgt (Pte GS-5778 1st bn Royal West Kent Rgt, wounded 13-09-1916) 
    • Castell, W Pte 7347 2/Royal Fusiliers (SR/178 C.Q.M.S. 9/Royal Fus.)
    • Chasty, F Pte 5177 17/Lancers (4986 Pte. 2/Royal Irish Rifles) 
    • Clarke, A Pte 4659 Worcester Rgt MI (76484 Pte. RAMC, 77 Field Ambulance, 25th Div.)
    • 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)
    • Curtis, H Pte 6506 Thorneycroft's MI (2nd South African Infantry)
    • 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)
    • Donohue, J Pte 5440 K.O.R. Lancs (3858 Sjt. 7/ K.O.R.L. Wounded 1/9/16, GSW R. Leg)
    • 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)
    • Fake, AC Pte 3236 Royal Fusiliers (WO1 823 Royal Fusiliers, awarded MM Ovilliers 07-07-1916 and DCM 1917 for Arras)
    • 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))
    • Gardener, S Pte 3594 2/Norfolk (3174 Pte. 11/Essex)
    • Gilbert, F S/Sjt 10658 ASC (QM/Captain W. Riding Regt.)
    • Giles, H Pte 5537  1st bn Derbyshire Rgt (Sgt 6103 12th (Pioneer) Bn. Notts & Derby. Wounded 04-07-1916)
    • Goodwyn, PCW Lt DSO East Lancashire Rgt (Lt-Col 7th bn East Lancashire Rgt)
    • 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.)
    • Holwill, WJ Sgt 3266 Devonshire Rgt (CSM 10281 8th bn Devonshire Rgt, wounded, died 22-07-1916,awarded MC)
    • Hunter-Weston, AG Mjr RE (Lt-Genl commanding VIII Corps)
    • Jones, G Pte 95 Welch Rgt (served as Pte 56613 G Ellery 1st bn RWF, wounded Delville Wood 26-08-1916)
    • Jones, SR Spr 8051 RE (Captain 179th Tunnelling Company RE)
    • 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)
    • Langley, J Pte 5402 2/East Surrey (169 A/Cpl. 8/East Surrey, wounded 1/7/16 foot amputated).
    • Leathers, T Pte 6372 3rd bn Border Rgt attached Oxford LI (Pte 65221 18th bn Welsh Rgt)
    • Lee, Sgt E (Topsy) 4456 (MSM) 1/Essex (To Somme 9/9/16 with rank of
    • Leigh, JH Gnr 78990 X2 Pom-Pom section, RFA (24764 Gnr. 39th D.A.C.)
    • Leland, LTH Lt IY (Lt 4th bn Worcestershire Rgt, wounded 01-07-1916 Beaumont Hamel)
    • Lever, George Cpl 5199 2nd bn Royal Scots Fusiliers (RSM 1st bn RSF. MSM)
    • Loud, C Pte 5545 1/Welsh and 6th Bn MI "B" Coy. (2038 Sjt. 9/Welsh)
    • 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)
    • Mayman, WA Bugler 12618 RAMC (4th Cavalry Field Ambulance, MM 11/10/16 Somme).
    • Mitchell, A 6052 Spr 1st Aberdeenshire RE Volunteers (Sgt 58650 152/Field Coy. RE (37th Div.) MM LG 03-06-1916)
    • Morris, J 4529 Pte 20th Hussars (wounded 01-07-1916 attached 26th Service Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (3rd Tyneside Irish))
    • Moult, Henry Pte 5694 1st bn Derbyshire Rgt (1/8th bn Notts and Derby. Later KIA 11-12-17)
    • Mulligan, J Pte 9205 1/Scots Guards (12086 Pte. 1/Scots Gds)
    • O'Brien, T Pte. 6473 1/West Riding Regt (3/9934 Pte 1/West Yorks.)
    • O'Rourke, J Bmdr 32819 15th W.D. RGA (32819 Sjt. commissioned in the Field, 18th D.A.C.)
    • Ogilvie, A Pte 5542 2/Royal Scots Fusiliers (12755 Pte. 2/R.S.Fus.)
    • Oram, A Pte 3305 West Riding Rgt (Sgt 17355 19th bn (3rd Salford Pals) Lancashire Fusiliers, wounded 01-07-1916)
    • Pettafor, A Gnr 13708 RFA (93627 Gnr. 15th D.A.C.) 
    • Poller (also Pollard), HT Sgt 2699 2/Warwicks (1849 C.S.M. 1/8th Warwicks wounded 27-07-1916 La Boisselle)
    • Pring, Pte J 5818 2/Rifle Bde (6492 Pte. 3/Rif. Bde.)
    • Rawlinson, Sir HS Lt-Col Coldstream Guards & Staff (General commander 4th Army)
    • Riley, T Pte 9596 1/Scots Gds (9635 Pte. 1/Scots Gds)
    • Roberts, JE Pte 4833 1/Loyal Nth Lancs (S-7233 Pte. 8/E. Lancs)
    • Routh PG, Sgt 314 Strathcona's Horse DCM (Major 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles (British Columbia Horse) awarded MC)
    • Rowe, J Pte 3300 1/Rifle Bde (S-7633 Pte. 7/Rifle Bde)
    • Stein W, Drmr 4571 East Yorks Rgt (Sgte 8412 East Yorks Rgt, awarded MM) 
    • Thomas, F Pte 6068 2/DCLI (3-6076 Pte. 1/DCLI MM killed Arras 08-05-1917)
    • Thomas J, Pte 4601 Lancashire Fusiliers (Sgt 10677 South Lancashire Rgt and ROAC S/10135. Suffered shell shock Somme 02-10-1916)
    • Watkins JE, Lt IY (Lt 4th SA Infantry wounded Delville Wood, 18-07-1916)
    • Whitbread, Cpl WB 5017 3/Middx. (G1165 Sjt. 12/Middx.)

    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
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. Tod'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 Tod nor Tustin appear on any other medal roll for the war.

Other members 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 22 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. Chalmers, William McM - Trpr 672 Natal Carbineers, Sgt 2212 SALH
  5. Clark, Alexander Stewart, Natal Government Railways (later Umvoti MR and SA Heavy Artillery)
  6. Cooper, HF - Natal Corps of Guides, Field Intelligence Department
  7. de Jager, LP - Field Intelligence Department
  8. Dorey, LA - Natal Police, Field Intelligence Department, Reynold's Scouts
  9. Harris, William de Montmorency – Natal Corps of Guides, Field Intelligence Department, died Newcastle, Natal July 1902
  10. Hester, Francis Danby – Natal Police, Utrecht-Vryheid Mounted Police, Steinaecker's Horse
  11. Loxton, Samuel – founder and commander, Natal Corps of Guides and Field Intelligence Department
  12. Malandaine (or Mallandain), R – Field Intelligence Department, Army Service Corps
  13. MacDonald, J - Newcastle Town Guard
  14. Miller (or Millar), Hugh – Natal Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Imperial Hospital Corps, subsequently Bethune's Mounted Infantry, died of wounds March 1902
  15. Pocket, Arthur A - South African Light Horse
  16. Reynolds, Sidney W – sometime commander, previous service unknown, possibly commander of Reynold's Scouts
  17. Short, William Kirk - Natal Transport, Field Intelligence Department
  18. Taylor, Leonard – Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry, Rand Rifles
  19. Thomas, Llewellyn Hartly – Brabant's Horse, Natal Corps of Guides, Newcastle Town Guard
  20. Tod, HH - previous service unknown
  21. Tustin,G Trooper - previous service unknown
  22. 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 any more 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, 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:

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'