Sunday, 19 November 2017

The Stebbing Brothers - a military family

I came across this article while researching another man, published in the Birmingham Daily Gazette, November 19th, 1915.


What caught my eye was the five words "nineteen clasps for South Africa" - who were the Stebbings?

"Mr E. R. Stebbing of Rugby" was Edwin Robert (1847-1933) a soldier, in the 1891 census he listed as Bandmaster 1st Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The census lists five sons, three of whom served in the Anglo-Boer War:

Edwin Armstrong - born Poona, East Indies 1878. Served Devonshire Rgt. DCM, QSA (5) KSA (2)
Benjamin Charles - born Aden 1879/1881. Served Devonshire Rgt 1894-1906. QSA (6)
William Samuel - born Twickenham, Mssx 1878/1879. Served Devonshire Rgt 1892-1912 (transferred to Rifle Brigade, 1912-1913) QSA (5) KSA (2)

Papers exist for Benjamin and William which confirm the family connection. No papers exist for Edwin. These boys provide the tally of medals and clasps (20 actually), except the Long Service & Good Conduct which could belong to the father or Edwin, no papers exist for either.

All three boys served together in the 2nd battalion Devonshire Rgt in the Relief of Ladysmith campaign earning the clasps: Orange Free State, Transvaal, Tugela Heights, Relief of Ladysmith and Laing's Nek. Benjamin was invalided in 1901 earning the "South Africa 1901" clasp - perhaps this clasp was not counted by the newspaper.

Edwin was awarded the DCM for the action on Tugela Heights February 23rd, 1900.


Saturday, 30 September 2017

British Empire Casualties of the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902 exhibit, OMRS 2017 Gold Medal winner

At the 2017 OMRS Convention I presented an exhibit:

"British Empire Casualties of the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902" 




                                         

I was fortunate to be awarded a Gold Medal in the Research Class and also the "Henry Pownall Trophy for the Best First Time Exhibit.

The contents of the exhibit are in the following three pdfs:

1. The Main Display
2. Additional Notes & Sources
3. Blog Articles on casualties





























Monday, 19 June 2017

Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles and the South African Light Horse.

One feature of the Second Anglo-Boer War was the fervor among civilians (men and women) to volunteer for the forces of the British Empire. Many civilian units are well known that were raised in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka and Canada . Volunteers from the UK arrived in 1900 with the Imperial Yeomanry, but a small number were determined to join the fray before then.

Calls in the UK in 1899 to raise a civilian volunteer force were rejected by the War Office. One of those calling for this force was Sir George Canning, Lord Harris, a man with interests in South African mining businesses. Lord Harris was also Honorary Colonel of the Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles, rebuffed by the War Office he encouraged his own men to go to South Africa and join one of the many units being raised there. Eleven men came forward and traveled in November 1899 to enlist in the Imperial Light Horse. They, or Lord Harris, paid their passage and they took out their own kit. Lord Harris was a noted cricket player and this group were soon nicknamed "Harris' Eleven", their departure did not go unnoticed by the newspapers:

"It is impossible to estimate the far-reaching effects of the patriotism of the dozen (sic) men of the East Kent Yeomanry.." [The Globe 21-12-1899]

When they arrived in Cape Town they learned that the ILH had been besieged in Ladysmith, so they decided to join the South African Light Horse being raised in Cape Town.

The 11 men are:

822 Sergeant-Major Charles Tilleard Mudford
823 Trooper A Monckton
824 Sergeant HH Clarke
825 Trooper AD Butcher
826 Trooper A Goodhew
827 Trooper George Percy Tice
828 Lance-Sergeant H Foster
829 Trooper Ernest Albert Sole
830 Trooper TO Robinson
831 Trooper Thomas Morgan Deveson
832 Trooper Thomas Banbury Palmer


They served through the Relief of Ladysmith campaign and the clearance of Natal. It did not take long for them to draw praise from their Army commander, Maj-Gen Sir Redvers Buller, VC, himself a noted leader of irregular cavalry: 

"Among the best irregulars I have here are a party of the East Kent Yeomanry Cavalry" [The Globe 21-12-1899] 

Buller was an advocate of raising a large force of irregular cavalry and was undoubtedly using these 11 men as an example to further his agenda. One newspaper report labels these men as "pioneers of the Imperial Yeomanry". [London Evening Standard 27-07-1901]

This group suffered just one casualty, Ernest Sole died of enteric fever at Standerton on July 21st, 1900. He is remembered with a memorial in St Mary's Church, Stodmarsh, Kent and the Kent units memorial in Dane John Park, Canterbury, Kent. 

Sgt-Major Mudford was MID and awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (London Gazette 08-02, 27-09-1901). Sgt HH Clarke was MID (London Gazette 08-02-1901).

Of the remaining 10 they all returned home in 1900 apart from GP Tice who was commissioned into Robert's Horse and later served with the Prince of Wales Light Horse, South African Mounted Irregular Forces and finally 9th bn Imperial Yeomanry. Tice remained in South Africa taking part in the 1906 Natal Rebellion (L-Cpl Transvaal Mounted Rifles). He fought in World War I as a Major in the Lancashire Fusiliers. 

The 10 received their medals from King Edward VII on July 26th, 1901 in a large parade. The weather was foul, rain delaying the start. When the men received their medals, they were without clasps, these were issued later. I have recorded five of the eleven QSAs: Clarke, Butcher, Deveson and Mudford and Tice. The medals to Clarke, Butcher and Deveson are named to the "RL: E. KENT M.R.".


Tice's QSA, because he was commissioned, is named to the SAMIF, not the unit he first served as when he was an other rank.

Main image is from The Transvaal in War and Peace, N Edwards, H Virtue & Co, 1900 page 201. The picture was taken before they left for South Africa. Sgt-Major Carlisle did not go to South Africa.



Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Tribute Medals - Norton

Tribute Medals are a particular feature of the Second Anglo-Boer War, not being a common item for previous or subsequent wars. They are well documented in MG "Bill" Hibbard's excellent Boer War Tribute Medals (Constantia Classics, Sandton, 1982), and Canadian Welcome Home Medals 1899-1945 (George A Brown, Douglas Ferguson Historical Research Foundation, BC 1991). Tribute medals for the Second Anglo-Boer are uncommon at best and some are simply unique. The medals are often made from gold or silver and were expensive in their day. Not surprisingly, they are highly collected today.

More common examples include Birmingham (left) and the Montgomeryshire Imperial Yeomanry (right).


















The medal I want show today is one rated by Bill Hibbard as R3 (two to four known) and second only to R4 "only example known" - the tribute medal issued by Norton (or Norton Malton) in North Yorkshire.

This medal was issued named which makes it great for research. The decision to issue a tribute medal was made at a town meeting on 16th October 1903. Local resident Colonel Sir James Legard and his wife of Welham Hall had placed a window in St Peter's Church in memory "of those who fell in war and those who returned in peace". Their son, Captain AD Legard, 1st bn King's Royal Rifle Corps, was one who returned safely. Additionally a dinner was to be held for the veterans when the window was unveiled on 12th November 1903. At the meeting Col Legard said that 43 men from the village served in the war representing 13% of the population. Memorials were also erected for five men who died and 40 who survived (it is not known the reason for the discrepancy between Col Legard's 43 men and the 40 named on the memorial). When these memorials were erected is not known, but must coincide with the award of the tribute medal. There is a further memorial to 2nd Lt FH Raikes 2nd bn KRRC who was killed 6th January, 1900 at Wagon Hill defending Ladysmith. Cpt Legard was at the siege of Ladysmith.

The medal is silver, 36mm in diameter and made by JR Gaunt & Sons, Birmingham. The medal contain hallmarks for 1903. Hibbard indicates 2-4 were issued - on what basis is not known. Judging from the meorial to the survivors there must be 40 medals, which on Hibbard's scale rates as common - survival of the medals today is another matter. Hibbard only identifies one recipient: Trooper 12309 CP Benson (Yorkshire) Imperial Yeomanry. From my searches only two are known to exist.

The medal illustrated was given to Gunner 51107 H Kilvington 82nd btty Royal Field Artillery. Herbert Kilvington was born in "Malton" in 1868, he enlisted into the RFA at "New Malton" in 1885. Herbert served in Burma (IGS medal and clasp Burma 1889-92). In South Africa he served from January 1900 to August 1902. In 1901 he transferred from the 82nd btty to LL section pom-poms. For his service he was awarded the QSA with clasps for Cape Colony Orange Free State, Transvaal and Laing's Nek and the KSA with two date clasps. After the war he worked at the North-Eastern Railway dockyard as a labourer. In 1896 he married Elizabeth, they had no children on the 1911 census. In 1914 on the outbreak of World War 1 he re-enlisted for the Military Police but only served 27 days. Herbert died in Hull in 1942, aged 74.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Ward, William - Army Form B2077 Discharge Parchment

This is a parchment certificate issued to each soldier on discharge from the Army or on transfer to the Reserves. The parchment was a form of identity and could be used to show employers proof identity, character and why they had not been civilian employ. These are not common at all.

This certificate was issued to William Ward who had served with the 8th Hussars and was discharged at Leeds on 8th October 1896 to the Reserves. While on the Reserves Ward was liable for call up for the period remaining of his 12 year enlistment.

Ward's service papers exist on FindmyPast. They show he was born in Banbury, Oxfordshire and enlisted age 18 in 1889, he was a servant.

He was recalled for active service in the Anglo-Boer War on 28th December, 1899. He served twice in South Africa, probably being invalided due to illness. He earned the QSA with clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State and King's South Africa with two date clasps. He was finally discharged in August 1902.



Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Boer POW Handicraft: medal box

Handicrafts made by Boer prisoners of war are well known and well collected. Less well known examples are boxes made for the medals of British soldiers guarding the Boer POWs.

The example shown here was made in Trinchinopoly (now Tiruchirappalli),  Tamil Nadu, southern India. This was the location of the largest POW camp in India (and Pakistan). The box was made for Pte 4307 JH Stocks, 1st bn Lincolnshire Rgt. The 1st bn had fought in the 1898 Sudan campaign at The Atbara and Khartoum. After the successful conclusion of the campaign the battalion was sent to India, when the Boer POWs arrived they became the camp guards. The 1st bn did not fight in South Africa but became intimately involved in one of the most unusual aspects of the war; guarding POWS in areas on the British Empire remote from the scene of fighting.



Inside the box are Stocks' two Sudan Campaign medals.

The box maker's name is 'J Viviers'. The only ‘J Viviers’ I have traced at Trichinopoly is a JPW Viviers who was wounded and POW at Dewetsdorp (December 15th, 1900), he died of his wounds in India on April 2nd, 1902. A similar box to a Pte 4349 W Breeze Lincolnshire Rgt was sold at auction in the UK in November 2011.

John Stocks was discharged from the Army in 1903 when he returned to the UK. He married in 1904 and settled in Hemsworth, Yorkshire where he became a postman. There is splendid picture of John (Jack) with his wife, Myra, and young niece on an Ancestry family tree.

John re-enlisted in September 1914 into the Lincolnshire Rgt. He served with the 6th bn at Gallipoli, Somme in July 1916 (but not the first day), Flers-Courcelette and Thiepval. John was transferred to the 8th bn and took part in the battle of Arras 9-12 April 1917. He was presumed dead on April 20th. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial and the Dewsbury Memorial in Yorkshire.

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.