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azyeoman

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  1. Meritorious Service Medal, GVI, Captain & Quartermaster James Acheson, MBE, R.A.S.C. Officially impressed: “T/7978 W.O. CL. 1. J. Acheson. R.A.S.C.” James Acheson was born in Aldershot on 10 January 1873. The son of Ann & Samuel Acheson, a City Policeman. By the age of 18, on the 1891 Census he is listed as a Driver with 29 Company, A.S.C. in Chelsea London. He went to South Africa to serve in the Boer War with 29 Company, A.S.C. as Sergeant with the service number 7978. During the war he was taken as a prisoner of war on 18 February 1900 at Waterval Drift. He was later released on 6 June 1900. Following his release he joined 36th Company A.S.C. from June 1900 to August 1900, before joining 37th Company for the rest of the war. His service earned him the Q.S.A. with 2 bars for Cape Colony and Transvaal with a 2 bar K.S.A. medal/ Shortly after returning home he married Lillian Wardell at the Church of St Michael Walton in York, he was now Company Sergeant Major. In Army Order 240 of October 1906, Staff Sergeant J. Acheson was awarded the Army Long Service & Good Conduct Medal. As WW1 broke out, the London Gazette of 11 August 1914 lists First Class Sergeant Major James Acheson, 41 years old, to be commissioned as Quartermaster with the honorary rank of Lieutenant from 12 August 1914. The London Gazette of 19 September 1917 lists his promotion to Honorary Captain as of 1 July 1917. He did not serve abroad during the war, staying at home to train the soldiers, the Army List of July 1915, lists him as Quartermaster of the Army Service Corps Training Establishment at Aldershot. He continued his service after the war returning from Malta in 1926 for his final posting at Bulford. His last army list entry was in January 1928, he retired shortly afterwards aged 55. Although he did not earn any campaign medals for WW1, he was appointed as Member of the Order of the British Empire, announced in the London Gazette of 3rd June 1919. Many years after his retirement in the Army Orders of December 1952, aged 79, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. He died soon after on 5 August 1956 at the age of 82 living in Salisbury Missing MBE (Type I), QSA (Wittebergen, Trans, CC); KSA (01 & 02) and EDVII LSGC Sold; Lot 151 Dreweatts Auction Bristol on 23 August 2011 Please contact me if known as I’d like to reunite the group. Description: An M.B.E. `Boer War` Group of Four to Company Sergeant Major J. Acheson, Army Service Corps, The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire M.B.E. badge in frosted silver, Queen`s South Africa Medal, three clasps Wittebergen, Transvaal, Cape Colony (7978 Sgt,. J. Acheson. A.S.C.) King`s South Africa, two clasps South Africa 1901 South Africa 1902, (7978 C.S. Major. J. Acheson. A.S.C.) Long Service and Good Conduct Medal EDVII (7978 St. Sjt. Mjr. J. Acheson. A.S.C.), mounted for wearing with related paperwork.
  2. Thanks very much Mark, and welcome to GMIC. It's an excellent forum and a great place to learn so much about historical and contemporary issues.
  3. Another nice Franco-Prussian War bar with a very nice EK2.
  4. Love the poem, thanks for sharing!
  5. It appears to be a long service and good conduct/merit medal for around 30 years. Pretty special to the recipient...
  6. Hi Paul, I haven't a clue. Wasn't it awarded for the F-P War? Why do you think it was for WWI? Cheers,
  7. The latest acquisition; only one more bar to go for having the complete set of Franco-Prussian War Official bars. A medal bar with five medals including 1) A Kreuz des Allgemeinen Ehrenzeichens 1900-1918 (Cross of the General Honour Decoration), constructed of a silver Rupert cross, the obverse centre Gold medallion presents the crowned monogram WR (Wilhelm Rex), below this the year of foundation “1900,” the reverse presents the inscription “VERDIENST UM DEN STAAT” (“MERIT FOR THE STATE”), surrounded by an upward facing laurel wreath, maker mark on six o’clock cross arm “W” for Johann Wagner & Sohn of Berlin, measuring 39 mm (w) x 40 mm (h), arms of the cross show light contact marks, incorrectly attached to medal bar (backwards), and is in overall good condition. 2) An Allgemeines Ehrenzeichen (General Honour Medal), constructed of silver, the obverse bears the three-line inscription “VERDIENST UM DEN STAAT” (“MERIT FOR THE STATE”), which is surrounded by a laurel wreath, the reverse presents the crowned monogram “FWR III” (“FRIEDRICH WILHELM REX III”), measuring 39.20 mm, the medal shows contact marks on obverse and silver patina on the reverse, and is in overall good condition. 3) A Kriegsdenkmünze 1870/71 (War Commemorative Medal of 1870/71) constructed of bronze, the obverse shows the crowned royal cypher of Wilhelm I over the inscription “Dem siegreichen Heere” (“To the victorious army”), inscribed around the edge is “Gott war mit uns, Ihm sei die Ehre” (“God was with us, to Him be the Glory”), the reverse shows an Iron Cross with rays extending from between the arms, at the centre of the cross is a laurel wreath and the dates “1870 1871,” on the outer edge of the coin is the inscription “AUS EROBERTEM GESCHUETZ” (“FROM CONQUERED CANNON”), measuring 29 mm in diameter, with campaign clasps for Noisseville, St. Quentin, Metz, and Amiens, and in overall extremely fine condition. 4) Kaiser-Wilhelm-Erinnerungsmedaille Zentenarmedaille (Kaiser Wilhelm I. Memorial Medal), constructed of gilded bronze, the obverse presents a right-facing effigy of Wilhelm I in a military uniform wearing a mantle and Pickelhaube, the his left is the inscription “WILHELM DER GROSSE DEUTSCHE KAISER” (“WILLIAM THE GREAT GERMAN EMPEROR”), to the right the inscription “KOENIG VON PREUSSEN” (“KING OF PRUSSIA”), the reverse depicts the German State Crown, an orb, sword, and scepter placed upon a pillow surrounded by oak leaves, to the left is an upward climbing laurel branch, in the upper half is the inscription “ZUM ANDENKEN AN DEN HUNDERTSTEN GEBURTSTAG DES GROSSEN KAISERS WILHELM I. 1797 22.MAERZ 1897” (“IN MEMORY OF THE HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY THE GREAT EMPEROR WILHELM I. 1797-MARCH 22-1897”), measuring 39.96 mm in diameter, and in very fine condition. 5) A Dienstauszeichnung (Long Service Award), displaying the monogram “F.W. III” (“FRIEDRICH WILHELM III”), measuring 34 mm (w) x 20 mm (h), and in very fine condition. Mounted to medal bar with original ribbons, a red wool backing, and maker mark on reverse of medal bar for “GUSTAV UHLIG” of Halle, measuring 14.4 cm (w) x 4 cm (h)
  8. A most unusual addition to a submariner PoW. Walter Boa was born in Northumberland in 1912. He served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War aboard the submarine HMS Cachalot. He was serving with her when she sank U-51 by torpedo, and later was taken prisoner in 1941 when Cachalot was rammed and sunk by the Italian Ship, A Generale Achille Papa. Boa was repatriated to the UK in 1943 in an exchange for Italian PoWs. He was awarded the LSGC in 1949 while serving as Chief Storeman at HMS Forth the submarine depot. Boa died in 1965. He is also entitled to a the 1939 Star, Atlantic Star, the Africa Star, Defense Medal and War Medal. HMS Cachalot N83 History United Kingdom Name: HMS Cachalot Builder: Scotts, Greenock Laid down: 12 May 1936 Launched: 2 December 1937 Commissioned: 15 August 1938 Fate: sunk 30 July 1941 General characteristics Displacement: 1,810 tons surfaced 2,157 tons submerged Length: 293 ft (89 m) Beam: 25 ft 6 in (7.77 m) Draught: 16 ft 10 in (5.13 m) Propulsion: 2 shaft, Diesel (3300 hp) plus electric (1630 hp) Speed: 15.5 knots surfaced 8.75 knots submerged Complement: 59 Armament: 6 × 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes (bow) 12 torpedoes 1 × 4 inch deck gun 50 mines HMS Cachalot (N83) was one of the six-ship class of Grampus-class mine-laying submarine of the Royal Navy. She was built at Scotts, Greenock and launched 2 December 1937. She served in World War II in home waters and the Mediterranean. She was rammed and sunk by the Italian torpedo boat Generale Achille Papa on 30 July 1941. Career In August, 1940, Cachalot torpedoed and sank the German submarine U-51 in the Bay of Biscay and in September the German auxiliary minesweeper M 1604 / Österreich hit a mine laid by Cachalot and sank. Cachalot was assigned to operate in the Mediterranean in 1941. Scuttled off Benghazi to avoid capture On 9th July 1941 Cachalot had departed from Alexandria loaded with stores bound for Malta and arrived on the 16th. She left again on the 26th with personnel bound for Alexandria and instructions to look out for an escorted tanker heading for Benghazi. At 2 o’clock on the morning of 30th July a destroyer, the Generale Achille Papa was spotted heading towards Cachalot, forcing the submarine to dive. On returning to the surface the submarine was spotted and attacked by the Italian destroyer which steamed in firing it’s guns. Cachalot’s diving drill was sorely hampered when the upper hatch jammed, thereby preventing a crash dive, and the Italian destroyer rammed into her, although not at great speed as the Italian Captain had realized that the order to abandon the submarine had already been given. As the crew went into the water the main vents were opened and Cachalot sank in very deep water. All the crew, apart from a Maltese steward, were picked up by the destroyer and transported to Benghazi from where they were taken to a POW camp near Naples, until repatriation in 1943. News from Malta: https://maltagc70.wordpress.com/tag/hms-cachalot/ For more information on the wreck, see: https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?98948
  9. A fine South Africa Boer War Uitval Nek 11th July 1900 Prisoner of War Queen’s South Africa Medal 1899-1902, 5 Clasps: Relief of Kimberley, Paardeberg, Driefontein, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, awarded to Gunner E.W. Pearcey, Royal Horse Artillery, ‘O’ Battery late ‘M’ Battery, who having served with ‘M’ Battery during the relief of Kimberley and operations through to June 1900, then found himself with ‘O’ Battery as part of the force captured by De la Rey’s Commando after the successful Boer guerrilla action at Uitval Nek on 11th July 1900 when two guns of ‘O’ Battery were taken. Queen’s South Africa Medal 1899-1902, 5 Clasps: Relief of Kimberley, Paardeberg, Driefontein, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill; (72665 GNR: E.W. PEARCEY. O BTY., R.H.A.) Awarded to Gunner (No.72665) E.W. Pearcey, Royal Horse Artillery, who as a member of ‘M’ Battery, was present in action during the Boer War in South Africa and at the relief of Kimberley on 15th February 1900, in action at Paardeberg between 17th to 26th February 1900, and at Driefontein on 10th March 1900, Johannesburg on 31st May 1900, and Diamond Hill on 11th to 12th June 1900. Having then transferred to ‘O’ Battery, Pearcey was present with the two guns of ‘O’ Battery under Major H.J. Scobell, which with a squadron of the 2nd Dragoons - the Royal Scots Greys, reinforced Colonel R.S.S. Baden-Powell’s force of two squadrons of the Rhodesian Regiment and two Royal Canadian Artillery guns, which had originally occupied the pass at Silkaats Nek on 2nd July 1900. Then on 10th July five companies of the 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, under Colonel H.R. Roberts, arrived and stayed the night. It was early the next morning at dawn on 11th July 1900, that these troops were then fired upon from two unoccupied peaks above the pass. The Boer Burghers, under Assistant Commandant-General J.H. de la Rey then charge the guns and captured them in their position at Uitval Nek, another name for Silkaats Nek, it being named after a farm located just to the south of the pass. The by late afternoon the entire pass had been taken by the Boers. The squadron of Scots Greys together with the commanding officer, adjutant and 84 men of the Lincolnshire Regiment, along with all the surviving men of the artillery, were taken prisoner, and British losses numbered 24 killed and 44 wounded, and 198 taken prisoner, with Pearcey amongst that latter number. This action was one of the first successful actions which marked the beginning of the guerrilla warfare aspect of the Boer War. De le Rey’s force, had launched a three pronged attack which eventually surrounded the British force, and despite a gallant defence, the British and Colonial troops were forced to surrender. Due to the mobile nature of De la Rey’s force however, Pearcey then found himself released from captivity almost immediately. Was with General French in the Colesberg district, and there had constant fighting. Was praised by him in despatches. Took part in the expedition to Koodosberg Drift in beginning of February 1900; thereafter in the rush to Kimberley, and in the subsequent advances to Bloemfontein and Pretoria. Praised by Mr Goldman for work on 28th May 1900 south-west of Johannesburg (see 'With General French and the Cavalry', p 251). On the left at Diamond Hill, where they had a prominent part in heavy fighting. A section was with a squadron of the Scots Greys and the Lincolns in the disaster at Nitral's or Uitval Nek, 11th July 1900. The guns were lost. Accompanied French in eastern advance, and was attached to the 4th Cavalry Brigade in the march to Barberton and afterwards to Heidelberg. Four guns were with Allenby in 1901 in the great sweep to the Swazi border and other operations, and two guns were with a column under Major Pine-Coffin which did much useful service in the Orange River Colony (dispatch of 8th July 1901). Two officers were mentioned by Lord Kitchener in dispatches. Early in July 1900 the post at Zilikat's Nek, Uitval's Nek, or Nitral's Nek, in the Megaliesberg Mountains, was taken over from Baden-Powell's force by a squadron of the Royal Scots Greys, five companies of the Lincolnshire Regiment, and two guns O Battery, RHA, the whole under Colonel H R Roberts. Another account states that on 11th July the enemy in great numbers attacked the position, and "owing mainly to the defective dispositions of the commanding officer, the enemy gained possession of the pass and captured the two guns, almost an entire squadron of the Scots Greys, and 90 officers and men of the Lincolnshire Regiment, including Colonel Roberts, who had been wounded early in the day". Conan Doyle’s account in Chapter 29, The Halt at Pretoria in his History of the Boer War. De la Rey's attack was delivered at break of day on July 11th at Uitval's Nek, a post some eighteen miles west of the capital. This position could not be said to be part of Lord Roberts's line, but rather to be a link to connect his army with Rustenburg. It was weakly held by three companies of the Lincolns with two others in support, one squadron of the Scots Greys, and two guns of O battery R. H. A. The attack came with the first grey light of dawn, and for many hours the small garrison bore up against a deadly fire, waiting for the help which never came. All day they held their assailants at bay, and it was not until evening that their ammunition ran short and they were forced to surrender. Nothing could have been better than the behavior of the men, both infantry, cavalry, and gunners, but their position was a hopeless one. The casualties amounted to eighty killed and wounded. Nearly two hundred were made prisoners and the two guns were taken. On the same day that De la Rey made his coup at Uitval's Nek, Grobler had shown his presence on the north side of the town by treating very roughly a couple of squadrons of the 7th Dragoon Guards which had attacked him. By the help of a section of the ubiquitous O battery and of the 14th Hussars, Colonel Lowe was able to disengage his cavalry from the trap into which they had fallen, but it was at the cost of between thirty and forty officers and men killed, wounded, or taken. The old 'Black Horse' sustained their historical reputation, and fought their way bravely out of an almost desperate situation, where they were exposed to the fire of a thousand riflemen and four guns. On this same day of skirmishes, July 11th, the Gordons had seen some hot work twenty miles or so to the south of Uitval's Nek. Orders had been given to the 19th Brigade (Smith-Dorrien's) to proceed to Krugersdorp, and thence to make their way north. The Scottish Yeomanry and a section of the 78th R. F. A. accompanied them. The idea seems to have been that they would be able to drive north any Boers in that district, who would then find the garrison of Uitval's Nek at their rear. The advance was checked, however, at a place called Dolverkrantz, which was strongly held by Boer riflemen. The two guns were insufficiently protected, and the enemy got within short range of them, killing or wounding many of the gunners. The lieutenant in charge, Mr. A. J. Turner, the famous Essex cricketer, worked the gun with his own hands until he also fell wounded in three places. The situation was now very serious, and became more so when news was flashed of the disaster at Uitval's Nek, and they were ordered to retire. They could not retire and abandon the guns, yet the fire was so hot that it was impossible to remove them. Gallant attempts were made by volunteers from the Gordons--Captain Younger and other brave men throwing away their lives in the vain effort to reach and to limber up the guns. At last, under the cover of night, the teams were harnessed and the two field-pieces successfully removed, while the Boers who rushed in to seize them were scattered by a volley. The losses in the action were thirty-six and the gain nothing. Decidedly July 11th was not a lucky day for the British arms.
  10. azyeoman

    Medal ID help!

    Google Romanian Medal of Maritime Virtue and then click images.
  11. Great research for an excellent historical piece!
  12. Here's another Boer War PoW pair for an interesting battle. QSA with TH, OFS, RL, Trans, LN and KSA with SA01 & SA02 clasps officially named to: 1683 Pte. T. Brown Scot Rifles Thomas Brown was a Wheelwright from Glasgow, he attested on 3rd September 1885 aged 19. During the Boer war, he served with 24th mounted infantry ( Major Gough's unit) Scottish Rifles. He was captured on the 17th September 1901 at Blood River Poort. He was released in 1902 and discharged on 11th August, after which he returned home and worked as a labourer. Brown reenlisted in the Scottish Rifles on 17th August 1914 aged 48. History and battle In August 1901, the Boer leaders determined to send forces south into Natal and the Cape Colony hoping to cause an uprising in the Dutch-majority Cape Colony or at least to gain recruits for their armies. Accordingly, a commando under Botha moved southeast toward Natal while another commando under Jan Smuts raided south into the Cape Colony. British Intelligence detected the plan, but Botha evaded the British intercepting columns. The cold spring rains made the march especially difficult for the Boers' horses. On 14 September, Botha let his 1,000-man commando camp near Utrecht to permit the horses to recover. Meanwhile, Gough's 24th Mounted Infantry (MI) made a 500-mile (800 km) move by train from Kroonstad in the Orange Free State to Dundee in Natal. Gough received intelligence that Botha and 700 Boers were nearby. Gough led his MI from Dundee to De Jaeger's Drift, a ford on the Buffalo River. Dismissing the intelligence report as exaggerated, he led three companies on a reconnaissance across the river. Through his field glasses, he spotted 300 Boers who dismounted at a farm near Blood River Poort. Leaving his colleague Lieutenant-Colonel H. K. Stewart with 450 MI in the rear, Gough moved forward into a plain in the early afternoon, planning to surprise the Boers at the farm. Unknown to Gough, Botha was moving around his right flank with 700 men. Botha's mounted attack completely swamped Gough's outnumbered force. Lieutenant Llewellyn Price-Davies of the King's Royal Rifle Corps won the Victoria Cross for valiantly defending the field guns. Gough was captured, escaped, captured again and finally escaped on foot in the darkness. On the British side, four officers and 19 other ranks were killed or mortally wounded, 2 officers and 19 men wounded, and 6 officers and 235 men captured. According to Boer policy, the captured were stripped of their weapons and any useful gear, and most of their clothing, and were allowed to walk to the nearest British post. The Boers seized two field guns, 180 rifles and a large quantity of small arms ammunition. The 200 captured horses turned out to be in poor condition and of little use to the raiders. Boer losses were light. Botha was unable to exploit his victory because he found all the crossings of the Buffalo River blocked by the British. The Boers moved to the southeast, hoping to find a place to cross into Natal. On the Zululand border, Botha attacked a British camp named Fort Itala, believing it to be weakly defended. Instead, the Boers received a bloody nose when 56 of their men were killed or wounded. When Botha realized that British forces were approaching in overwhelming strength, he turned back into the Transvaal, his raid a failure. For more information see: https://www.angloboerwar.com/forum/17-memorials-and-monuments/3007-blood-river-poort
  13. azyeoman

    1914--15 Star

    Quartermaster Sgt. Regt. # 113 East Kent Regt.
  14. A QSA with four clasps: CC. OFS, Trans, SA01 to 908 CORPL: T. Edan. RLY: PNR: REGT Thomas Eden was a British mechanical engineer in No. 6 Co. He served as an older man; he was 41 when discharged on 28 February 1901 after having served one year and 38 days in the Railway Pioneer Regiment. He was marred to Maud Eden of 5 Rochdale Terrace, Observatory Rd, Cape Town. He joined as a Lance Corporal on 12 February 1900 and was promoted to Corporal on 30 March 1900. The Battle of Roodewal took place on,7 June 1900. The British vulnerability to Boer attacks on their lines of communication and supply was demonstrated by Chief-commandant Christiaan De Wet early in June 1900. The garrison at Roodewal Station, on the Bloemfontein to Vereeniging line, was overcome and the mail and supplies stored there looted. De Wet had considerable difficulty in diverting his men’s attention from the booty in order to carry away the large quantities of .303 ammunition suited for use in captured Lee-Enfield rifles. Although the British had taken Pretoria two days earlier, the Orange Free State forces remained very active, blowing up bridges and ambushing supply convoys. As a result Roodewal Station, which had been taken by the British on 23 May and garrisoned with men of the 4th Derbyshires, was the temporary railhead and goods were off-loaded there until the railway to the north could be brought back into commission. De Wet captured a wagon train en route to Heilbron from Vredefort Road Station at Zwavelkrans, near the Rhenoster River on 5 June. It surrendered without resistance as the 200 men on board were outnumbered three to one and fifty-six wagons of supplies were taken. On 6 June, still undetected, De Wet returned to the railway line where he divided his force into three. The first, 300 men and one 75mm Krupp, was sent to deal with Vredefort Road Station at sunrise the next day; the second, with another 300 men, two Krupps and a Pom-Pom, were ordered north to attack the British camp; and De Wet himself, with eighty men and one Krupp, headed for the station at Roodewal itself. The British, who were attacked at dawn, resisted fiercely and De Wet’s men were pinned down until the northern party had succeeded at the camp and brought two more 75mm Krupps south to help. The increased artillery fire forced a British surrender. De Wet observed that their fortifications were constructed of bales of clothing and blankets, which kept British fatalities down to twenty-seven men, while 200 or so were captured. The richness of the prize was beyond Boer powers to exploit, for they lacked the transport to carry it away. The post-bags were opened and looted by Boer and British alike and what the commando could not carry off was to be burnt. De Wet had to work hard to ensure a place for rifle ammunition among the goods his men took, then, according to De Wet: “When the sun set, the burghers were again on the march. But what a curious spectacle they presented! Each man had loaded his horse so heavily with goods that there was no room for himself on the saddle; he had, therefore, to walk, leading his horse by the bridle.” The Railway Pioneer Regiment Around 18 December 1899 recruiting for this corps was opened at Cape Town; and before Lord Roberts commenced his advance from Bloemfontein to Pretoria the first regiment was organised, its work being to assist in protecting the railways and to repair bridges, culverts, and lines when broken. Without outside assistance the corps of Royal Engineers could not have faced the enormous amount of work naturally falling to their department. From the Railway Pioneer Regiment they received very valuable help. On the other hand, the Railway Pioneers were leavened by officers and non - commissioned officers of the Royal Engineers, who are always so efficient that they can infect all those who serve with them with esprit de corps in a marvellously short space of time. Of such value was the work of the Railway Pioneer Regiment that before the close of the war a fourth battalion had been organised. The battalions were employed chiefly on the Cape-Pretoria railway, but they were also on the Krugersdorp line, and sometimes operated as a fighting force a considerable distance from railways. The regiment also did admirable service on the armoured trains which did so much to make railway traffic possible during the guerilla stages. In his evidence before the War Commission, vol i p 445, Lord Roberts said: "An enormous amount of reconstruction was carried out by the Railway Pioneer Regiment and the Railway Companies Royal Engineers. The Pioneer Regiment consisted almost entirely of civilian refugees, mostly mechanics from Johannesburg, and it rendered excellent service. To its aid and that of the Royal Engineer officers and men we were indebted for the fact that the railways very seldom lost touch with the fighting portion of the army, and that we were able to seize Johannesburg and Pretoria, distant about 1000 miles from our base upon the coast, and 260 miles from Bloemfontein, our advanced depot, with such rapidity that the enemy were unable to concentrate their resources and offer a strongly organised resistance". When the 4th Derbyshire Regiment was attacked at Roodewal, Kroonstad district, on 7 June 1900, a detachment about 70 strong of the Railway Pioneer Regiment was present and in the fighting, which ended in the capture of the post. They lost Captain Gale and 4 men killed and about 16 wounded. In the published despatches there is one from Major General Charles E Knox to Lieutenant General Kelly-Kenny forwarding a report by Lieutenant Colonel Capper, RE, commanding Railway Pioneers at Virginia, Kroonstad district, Orange River Colony, as to an attack delivered by the commandos of Muller and Boerman at daybreak on 14th June 1900. The enemy was "said to be about 800 strong, with one or two pom-poms, a maxim, and, I think, one field-gun, but this is uncertain. We had to hold rather an extended position, our left being in trenches on very broken ground and in thick scrub which there was no time to clear. The enemy got into this scrub and gave some trouble by sniping. The garrison consisted of four companies 3rd Battalion Royal Lancasters under Colonel North, about 250 fit for duty, and four companies Railway Pioneer Regiment under Major Seymour, about 300 fit for duty, together with 25 men Royal Irish (Rifles) Mounted Infantry under Lieutenant Davenport, 16 fit for duty. The attack was most pressed on our left, and was held most steadily by No 3 company Railway Pioneer Regiment, under Lieutenant Mitchell of that regiment: fighting was continued on all sides until about 11 am, when it quieted down, and the enemy had practically retired by the time a body of 170 Yeomanry, under Lieutenant Crane, arrived from the south at about noon ... The troops behaved very well and steadily. The Railway Pioneer Regiment in the advanced trenches, on the left especially, were most cool and collected, engaging the enemy at very close quarters. They were for part of the morning surrounded by the enemy in the scrub, but never lost their heads, and the enemy were ultimately driven out of the scrub by the advance through it of a line of reserve Railway Pioneer Regiment aided by half a company of militia". The losses of the regiment were Major Seymour and Lieutenant Clements and 5 non-commissioned officers and men killed; Lieutenant Mitchell and 2 non - commissioned officers and men wounded. Colonel Capper added that he could not "speak too highly of Lieutenant Mitchell, a young officer who was wounded in both thighs about 6 am in going from one trench to another to encourage the men, and remaining throughout the day in the most exposed trench, keeping his men, 22 in number, scattered in several small trenches, calm, ordering them not to waste ammunition, etc. I attribute to his example, and the very steady conduct of the men of his company in the advanced trenches, who suffered severely—one holding three men had one killed, and one holding five men had two killed,—the fact that our losses were so comparatively small. I especially deplore the loss of Major Seymour, whose loss will not only be felt by us as a regiment but by the whole of South Africa. He was killed while advancing with the extended line through the bush to clear out the snipers". Six dead Boers were found, four of them within 40 yards of Mitchell's trenches. The regiment continued to do most excellent work, chiefly on the lines of communication between Bloemfontein and Pretoria, and their posts had constantly to be on the alert. In his telegram of 26th November 1900 Lord Roberts said: "Barton reports that Brakpan was attacked at 3 am on the 24th, and was defended against a fierce attack by 7 of the Railway Pioneer Regiment and 10 mounted infantry. Our men behaved splendidly, and drove off the enemy, who left 3 dead. A Transvaal flag was captured". On 27th March 1901 the 1st Battalion had 1 man killed and Captain Mitchell, mentioned above, severely wounded near Boksburg. In a telegraphic despatch of 21st November 1901 Lord Kitchener stated that Commandant Buys had been captured, after attacking a patrol of about 100 of the Railway Pioneer Regiment on the Vaal near Villiersdorp; and in the telegram of 23rd November he stated: "Further report of Major Fisher's engagement near Villiersdorp, 20th November, shows that during the night of 19th patrols sent from his post at Rietfontein, slightly in advance of South African Constabulary, on Kalkspruit, to seize ridge overlooking Landsdrift, found enemy in possession. At dawn Major Fisher moved forward towards ridge, and was attacked both from north and south, but gradually took up a position giving good cover to his small force. At 9 am his horses near south end of position stampeded, and in confusion enemy effected a lodgment. Major Fisher and Captain Langmore were both dangerously wounded, and the small parties taken in detail by the enemy, about 300 strong, were all forced to surrender by 10 am Colonel Rimington's column came up about 11 am, but enemy, except small rearguard, had gone off, releasing prisoners. Rimington's men captured Commandant Buys, who was wounded". The casualties of the Railway Pioneer Regiment were about 6 killed and 6 wounded. Captain A B Inglis was returned as severely wounded in addition to the officers named above. The regiment continued its good work, chiefly on the railways, down to the close of the war. Captain H C Thorold (Leicester Regiment, attached) was killed at Rietfontein on 18th February 1902. The Mentions gained were as follows:— LIEUTENANT GENERAL KELLY-KENNY's DESPATCH.—Lieutenant Mitchell deserves special recognition. Previous to the attack on post, during the action, and since, Lieutenant Colonel Capper has been untiring in his duties. LORD ROBERTS' DESPATCHES; 2nd April 1901.—Majors Q H Goodwin, awarded CMG, N Wilson, Captain W E C Mitchell, Quartermaster Sergeant W Cartledge, Company Sergeant Major S Beaton, Sergeant (now Captain) C E Marchant, Corporals T M'Meekan, G M Smythe, Privates S Stafford, W Tire. 9th September 1901.—Corporals W J Thomas, R Mackie, S Richards, J R Shipley, J W Roach, Lance Corporal C Goulding, Privates J Holmes, W Doons, G Kramert. LORD KITCHENER'S DESPATCHES: 8th March 1901.—Lieutenant Evans. 8th July 1901.—Sergeant J A Anderson with 3 men, on railway patrol, surprised 50 Boers at Doornkop, killed 2, wounded several, and took 5 horses. Sergeant Grainger, with 5 men, kept off a strong party of Boers all night. Sergeant Major M C Jameson, surprised by enemy, behaved with great steadiness, and extricated his patrol; mentioned in AO Corporal J R Shipley, in command of 7 men, was heavily attacked by enemy, repulsed them, and, though severely wounded, remained in charge. 8th August 1901.—Captain A W Stockett, 1st Battalion, for continuous good work in command of armoured train, and before that of corps of cyclists, and especially at Baatman's Siding, when he was largely instrumental in capture of De Wet's convoy. 8th March 1902.—1st Batallion.—Private Creak, promoted corporal; distinguished conduct defence of post at Brakpan, 5th February 1902, when 5 men repulsed 49 Boers. 3rd Battalion —Lieutenant W D Oswald, for rescue of native scout, January 31, enemy being close to him and pursuing for some miles. Corporal E C Baker, promoted Sergeant, Privates Murphy, J M'Arthy, J M'Knight, on 30th January, formed a lying-out post between two blockhouses in Vereeniging attacked by 50 Boers, 2 wounded, refused to surrender, and eventually drove enemy off. 4th Battalion —Private W Lowes, at Schoeman's Drift, December 30, returned under close fire to rescue a wounded comrade. Army promotion: To be Honorary Captain, Quartermaster and Honourable Lieutenant G Taylor, RE, Adjutant Railway Pioneer Regiment. 23rd June 1902.—Captains W Roe, A E Page, Lieutenant J C Rouse, Regimental Sergeant Major Reid, RE; Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant D R Stuart, Sergeant E P Simmons, H A Lawrence, Sergeant G Salter, RE; Private H A Lawrence.
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