Tuesday, 17 March 2020

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

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

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

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

This post presents a list of 67 known Raiders who went on to serve in the Anglo-Boer War. There will be more as research continues. If you can add to this list please leave a comment - thanks.

Name Primary Unit Served in the Anglo-Boer War Rank No
Adames, Ernest Gribbon II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Staff Sgt-Major 539
Armstrong, James St George P

Imperial Yeomanry Private 2259
Belk, Samuel Waterhouse

Kimberley Town Guard Sergeant
Bowden, Frank Lake II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Captain
Bowden, Sydney Vincent

Cape Police Lieutenant
Brand, William John

Warren's Mounted Infantry Sergeant 64
Bruce, Stewart Hay Phillips B Squadron Protectorate Regiment FF Trooper 307
Burgess, William Robert

Kimberley Horse Sergeant 249
Burnand, John Arthur

Cape Railway Sharpshooters Sergeant 1239
Callanan, Henry A A Squadron Rhodesian Regiment Trooper 43
Cazalet, Alexander Phillip Louis II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Captain
Chadborn, John Arthur

Cape Police Private 517
Chawner, Henry William II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Captain
Close, Percival Thomas Stephen

Imperial Light Horse Corporal 1992
Cole, Mansell Lawford D Squadron Protectorate Regiment FF Lieutenant
Constable, Harry Paley II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Lieutenant
Cumming, Adam Bennett E Squadron Rhodesian Regiment Captain
Davey, Thomas William G Troop Southern Rhodesian Volunteers Corporal 571
Dewar, Arthur Robert Johnson 5
New Zealand Mounted Rifles Lt & Adjutant
Dodge, James Horsefield

Rimington's Guides Sergeant
Drury, Gordon Vallancy II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Captain
Eastwood, Francis Eastwood III Mashonaland Div British South Africa Police Lieutenant
Franklin, Benjamin Charles II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Corporal 761
Frost, John 1
Imperial Light Horse Trooper 39
Gibbs, Joseph Walter C Squadron Protectorate Regiment FF Trooper 55
Gibson, William Mitchell

Kimberley Horse Sergeant-Major 197
Going, Gerald H I Bechuanaland Div British South Africa Police Trooper 2412
Gosling, Audley Vaughan III Mashonaland Div British South Africa Police Major
Grenfell, Harold Maxwell

1st Life Guards Bvt Lt-Colonel
Grey, Raleigh

6th Dragoons Captain
Gunn, Angus Donald E Squadron Rhodesian Regiment Trooper
Harber, Walter Alexander 1
Imperial Light Horse Trooper 276
Harris, Reginald Oke II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Sergeant-Major 107
Harwood, Evelyn Gwynne
Armoured Trains Southern Rhodesian Volunteers Trooper 745
Holden, Edward CS

Protectorate Regiment FF Captain
Hore, Arthur Henry Johnstone

Southern Rhodesian Volunteers Capt & Adjutant
Ibbs, Charles Henry

Imperial Light Infantry Sergeant 839
Ingham, John Seager II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Lieutenant
Jupp, Richard Barry

Imperial Light Horse Corporal 1181
Kennedy, Leslie Coleridge

Kitchener's Horse Trooper 3324
Kincaid-Smith, Kenneth John

Artillery Royal Captain
Lawson, Charles Frederick

Kimberley Horse Trooper 152
Levis, James George II District Cape Police Corporal
Lindsell, Charles Frederick

Reserve Of Officers Captain
Little, Hugh Mervyn 1
Imperial Light Horse Trooper 688
McMillan, Donald Bather 2
Imperial Light Horse Trooper 688
Moore, Percy Henry Evelyn

Imperial Light Horse Trooper 599
Parker, George Bertie A Squadron Loch's Horse Trooper 69
Pender, John Stuart Menzies

British South Africa Police Troop Sgt Major 541
Pepys, Arthur Guy Leslie

Northampton Regiment Lieutenant
Pescod, William Thomas

Natal Field Artillery Sergeant 105
Pomeroy, Granvill George 1 Battalion Gloucester Regiment Lieutenant
Poole, Ernest Josiah

Protectorate Regiment FF Trooper
Rea, Harold George E Squadron Rhodesian Regiment Trooper
Rhodes, Charles Alfred II Bulawayo Div British South Africa Police Sergeant 785
Ruck, George Gordon

Loch's Horse Sergeant 29
Spring, Francis Raymond C Troop Southern Rhodesian Volunteers Trooper 525
Steadmond, Edward

Protectorate Regiment FF Trooper 294
Thomas, William Llewellyn
Mashonaland Sqdn Rhodesian Regiment Trooper 124
Thorn, Richard Alder A Troop Southern Rhodesian Volunteers Trooper 516
Villiers, Charles Hyde

Horse Guards (The Blues), Royal Captain
Webb, Ben William

Commander-in-Chief's Bodyguard Trooper 6
Weinthal, Paul

Robert's Horse Sqdn QM Sgt 2211
White, Henry Frederick

Reserve Of Officers Major
Wickham, Thomas Strange

South African Light Horse Unknown 806
Willows, Tom Oxden

Rhodesian Field Force 2nd Lieutenant
Wood, Edward Allen

British South Africa Police Lieutenant

Monday, 2 March 2020

Queen's South Africa medal: multi clasp medals

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

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

The number of clasps on a QSA is one collecting facet. As I build a new QSA medal roll index, the table below shows the numbers of clasps issued on the QSA drawn from the current 124,948 QSA clasp entitlement on The Register. As more data is added these numbers will change.

Clasps No Date Clasps All Including Date Clasps
0 12178  12178
1 12098 12374
2 12808 20827
3 23504 26316
4 10368 33208
5 6203 26305
6 3583 4828
7 396 846
8 146 207
9 0 37
10 0 0
Total QSA 69106 124948

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

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


Sunday, 1 March 2020

Mellors & Kirk: Caveat Emptor

Mellors & Kirk 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caveat Emptor

Thursday, 9 January 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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