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Everything posted by azyeoman

  1. PoW groups are interesting and there is an enormous amount of information and photographs online. Not only did the PoWs see combat, but were also held captive and so had a entirely different story than the bulk of the troops. I thought it would be interesting to get a group for each of the large British surrenders. The first here is for Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941, which consists of a group of 5: 1939-1945 Star; Pacific Star; Defence Medal; War Medal; Regular Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, GVI 2nd type; (4685565 SJT. A. COOKE. M.P.S.C.), mounted loose style as worn. A fine and interesting Second World War Fall of Hong Kong 25 December 1941 Prisoner of War of the Japanese long service group awarded to Sergeant A. Cook, Military Provost Staff Corps, late Military Foot Police, Coldstream Guards, and one time 5th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, Territorial Army, who having been taken prisoner of war, was incarcerated at Omine in Japan and worked forced labour as a miner. Together with the following quantity of original documentation: Soldier's Service Record and Pay Book, dated 1952; Regular Army Certificate of Service, dated 12 March 1952; Discharge Certificate after his first period of engagement, dated 4 May 1931; Certificate of Proficiency from the School of Instruction Corps of Military Police - as awarded for his attendance on a course from 16 October 1933 to 7 January 1934 - he came 14th on a list of 16; War Office Letter of Appreciation on his retirement from the British Army after 21 years service, dated 1 May 1952; 4 x News of the World photographs of a group of men; Cooke is one of them; another of a group of soldiers drinking beer, taken circa 1920's to 1930's; and individual portrait photograph of recipient; another of soldiers relaxing; and an older photograph, also of a group of soldier's, this annotated but not clearly readable, possibly 1920's; a booklet titled 'Chelsea Pensioners Today; and an exceptionally rare - small print run book - titled The Last Phase at Omine, which is an official late 1940's large format printed booklet printed by The Examiner Press for the Omine Prisoner of War Camp in Japan where Cooke was incarcerated. It contains many printed sketches of the PoW camp during the war. Cooke is listed on page 2 of the British PoW list for Omine and was recorded as being in camp 26 169 and L. Cpl Alfred A. Cooke, 4685565 H. 23.1.18. Alfred Cooke was born in 1907, and originally enlisted as a Private (No.4685565) into the 5th Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, Territorial Army, at Denaby, Yorkshire, on 11th June 1925, but was then discharged at York on 4th May 1931 'in consequence of having joined the Regular Army', as he had joined the Coldstream Guards as a Guardsman. Cooke then saw home service, but pursued a career with the Military Foot Police and attend the School of Instruction for the Corps of Military Foot Police. While attached to this unit, he attended a course from 16 October 1933 to 7 January 1934. It is noted that he represented the Depot Corps of Military Police at Football. Later, he officially transferred into the Corps of Military Foot Police from 4 June 1934, he was then posted overseas to Shanghai and Hong Kong from 14 December 1938, and was still out in the Far East at the outbreak of the Second World War, and on the Japanese declaration of war. He was taken prisoner at the fall of Hong Kong on 25th December 1941, and spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner of war of the Japanese, being incarcerated at Omine Prisoner Camp, and employed on forced labour as a miner, before being liberated on 17 November 1945 after the Japanese surrender, and then posted home from 18 November 1945. Opting to continue in the service, he transferred as a Sergeant to the Military Provost Staff Corps, being awarded the Regular Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, and then being discharged after 21 years service on 16 April 1952. For more information on the mine look at: http://www.us-japandialogueonpows.org/Ominememorial.htm and more with Cooke listed under the British PoWs in http://www.mansell.com/pow_resources/camplists/fukuoka/fuku_5_omine/fuku_5_omine.html
  2. A rare Canadian trio and memorial cross to one of 300 of 3,847 WWI Canadian PoWs who died in captivity. Canadian 1914-’15 trio officially named to 16777 Pte. H. R. Hickling, 7 Can Inf. The 1914-15 Star impressed: 16777 Pte H.R. HICKLING. 7/CAN:INF: The BWM and Victory impressed: 16777 PTE. H.R. HICKLING. 7-CAN. INF. The Canadian Memorial Cross is correctly engraved: 16777 PTE. H.R. HICKLING Horace Reginald Hickling was born on 6 March 1884 in Brockmore, Staffordshire, England. When he enlisted in the CEF at Valcartier (approx 25 km north of Quebec) on 25 Sep 1914 he was 30 years old and a piano salesman by trade. He gave his next of kin as his wife in Melton Mowbray, England. He died on 04 May 1915 while a PoW. During WWI 132 Canadian officers and 3,715 Canadian other ranks were taken prisoner. The majority of soldiers were captured in battle by German forces on the Western Front. Around 1,400, Canadians were captured following the first major engagement of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the Second Battle of Ypres in Belgium in April 1915 when the 1st Canadian Division first encountered chlorine gas released by the Germans. The 3rd Canadian Division also suffered a large number of prisoners at Mount Sorrel in June 1916 with over 500 men were captured in one day. Boredom, anxiety over the fate of friends and comrades was the greatest problems for Allied prisoners held captive in Germany. The stress of not knowing when the war would end and how many years of captivity lay ahead was also a major factor. Yet, most PoWs in Germany were treated in accordance with the revised Hague Convention of 1907. Nevertheless, there were many complaints that the “spirit” of the convention was not observed because prisoners were sometimes treated unfairly and inhumanely. By 1918, the PoWs’ diets suffered, because of the food shortages in Germany. By the war’s 300 Canadian soldiers had died in captivity along the western front. For more information see: https://cdnhistorybits.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/canadian-pows-ww1/
  3. azyeoman

    RCMP Items

    Time Left: 19 days and 2 hours

    • FOR SALE

    Original RCMP uniforms etc. for sale. Please see photos. The LSGC medal is a repro, but everything else is original RCMP issue. Red Tunic, trousers and Sam Brown etc. $750. Brown Uniform with trousers, $300; Overcoat, $250; visor cap, $150. If someone wants ALL the items, the price is $1200 + shipping.


  4. As I understand it, the general consensus is the if the number has a three as one of the digits, then it should be a flat or straight-across at the top three and NOT a rounded three like this 3. I have made sure that any bronze BWMs to the CLC that I've had, have always had a flat three. They are "traceable" and the above mentioned book is excellent. I've not come across fake bronze BWMs for other LCs, but they may be out there. They are a fascinating medal to collect and the ones from Aden and Egypt are rare.
  5. 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.
  6. Here are a few things I've gathered over the years. Not the best photos, but there are photos of the individual Riker mounts below. Hope you find this interesting and informative.
  7. 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.
  8. Another nice Franco-Prussian War bar with a very nice EK2.
  9. Love the poem, thanks for sharing!
  10. It appears to be a long service and good conduct/merit medal for around 30 years. Pretty special to the recipient...
  11. 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,
  12. Over the years, I've seen various different types of tailor labels and would like to see all the variations and the different ones that collectors have. Fellow collectors have said that only 1/10 of bars have maker's labels on them; I suspect it could be lower than that. Here are a few I've come across. Please feel free to add more. F. Sedlatzek Berlin W8 Lieprigerstr. 108 Gold letters on black 1.2 x 3. cm stitched left and right sides
  13. 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)
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. azyeoman

    Medal ID help!

    Google Romanian Medal of Maritime Virtue and then click images.
  17. Great research for an excellent historical piece!
  18. 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
  19. azyeoman

    1914--15 Star

    Quartermaster Sgt. Regt. # 113 East Kent Regt.
  20. 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.
  21. Oddly, I've recently come across what I have thought to be scarce to rare PoW medals or groups to men who served in the Royal Navy or the Mercantile Marine. The following is one such group to the latter, and consists of a Mercantile Marine Medal, Victory Medal and a Death Plaque to Daniel Hanlon. It's obviously missing the BWM and if anyone knows its location, please contact me as I'd very much like to reunite the group. Daniel Hanlon was born in Bootle in 1885. He was the son of Michael and Mary Hanlon (nee Rice) who were Irish. They were married in the Dundalk district in 1878. The moved to Bootle and lived on 41 Bostock St. where Michael worked as a dock labourer. Daniel's sister Annie was born in 1881 and his brother Henry was born in 1888 and younger sister was born in 1892. By 1901, Mary Hanlon and the four children were living at 30 Pleasant View, Bootle. By then, Daniel was also a dock labourer. By 1911, Annie and Mary were the only two living in Bootle and were lodgers with the O'Toole family at 38 Kirk St. Daniel Hanlon married Esther Donohue of 73 Audley St. On 22 March, 1917, Daniel was serving as a Fireman on board S.S. Brecknockshire bound Rio de Janeiro. She was on her maiden voyage and her cargo was 7,650 tons of coal. The ship was captured and sunk in the Atlantic by S.M.S. Möwe (German for Seagull) on 15 February 1917. The captian and crew were taken prisoner and arrived in Bremerhaven, Germany on 22 March 1917. However, Daniel Hanlon died from Tuberculosis the day before on 21 March 1917. He was buried at sea. He was 28 years old. One of Hanlon's shipmates, Greaser J. Riley, aged 53, died of TB after arriving in Bremerhaven and is buried in Hamburg. Another fireman, Farley, died on 29 August 1917 and is buried in Hamburg Cemetery too. S.M.S Möwe was the most successful German merchant raider in WWI and WWII, and served in the Imperial German Navy and sank 40 ships during the Great War. She could approach her targets because she was designed as a neutral cargo ship. After the Treaty of Versailles, she went to Britain, to be operated by Elders and Fyffes as the freighter Greenbrier. In 1933 she was sold to a German shipping company. As the freighter Oldenburg, it served the route between Germany and occupied Norway in World War II. On 7 April 1945 she was attacked by Bristol Beaufighters of Coastal Command aircraft from No. 114 Squadron RAF, No. 455 Squadron RAAF, and No. 489 Squadron RNZAF at her moorings sheltering off the coast of Norway—near the village of Vadheim in Sogn og Fjordane county. Following an intense strafing and rocket attack, holed by their rockets and strafed by cannon fire, she burned and sank. see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMS_Möwe Hanlon's name is listed in Marcus Bateman's Index of British Fishermen and Merchant Seamen Taken Prisoner of War 1914-1918. His address was 73 Audley St., Bootle. He death was reported in the Bootle Times on 29 June 1917. He is commemorated on the following memorials: Tower Hill Memorial (Addenda Panel) , London; Bootle Civic Memorial, and the ST. James' Roman Catholic Church, Bootle. The First World War section of the Tower Hill Memorial commemorates almost 12,000 Mercantile Marine casualties who have no grave but the sea. It was unveiled by Queen Mary on 12 December 1928. S.S. Brecknockshire was a British steamship that was built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast. She was 8,423 tons, length 480' and could sail at 12 knots. She, along with the Titanic, were the only two H&W ships to be lost on their maiden voyages. She was launched on 12 September 1916 and was owned by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company of London. She had a 12-cm gun mounted on her stern. The captain was G. A McKenzie and he had a crew of 90. She departed Belfast, Ireland on 11 January 1917 and after a stop in Liverpool, she continued on her way to Rio. She was captured and sunk 490 miles E x N from Cape Frio, Brazil. For more information on the Brecknockshire wreck and a photo of her sinking, see https://wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?153342 https://wrecksite.eu/peopleView.aspx?5786 Hanlon's widow, Esther, was awarded a pension on 11 October 1923. According to another, dated 13 November 1936, she was awarded L69.6.8 per annum or 5 pounds, 15 shillings and seven pence per month and payable on the 13th day of each month.
  22. A seemingly uninteresting lone Victory Medal to named to 198195 Samuel Folland AB RN and missing it's companion China Medal, 15" Star and BWM. (If anyone knows the location of one or all of the above, please contact me.) Folland was captured on SS Appam and held PoW in Germany until the war's end. This medal is to a man who had a very interesting story along with his ship, the SS Appam. SS Appam was a British steamship owned by the Elder Dempster Lines, and was captured at sea by the German raider SMS Mowe in 1916. The Germans took the ship to port at Hampton Roads, Virginia in the United States where the United States Supreme Court of the decided who would get ownership of the vessel. SS Appam was built in 1913 by Harland & Wolff in Belfast (H & W built the Titanic) United Kingdom. She had a gross tonnage of 7,781 and was 425 feet long with a 37 foot beam. On 11 January 1916 the ship left Dakar, Senegal for Plymouth, United Kingdom, carrying 168 passengers and 133 crew members. Among the passengers were: Sir Francis Charles Fuller, The British Chief Commissioner to the Ahanti Region and Sir Edward Merewether, the Governor of the Leeward Islands and his wife. By 15 January communication with the vessel had stopped and the vessel was thought to have sunk when an empty lifeboat was seen. In actuality, the Imperial German Navy Merchant raider SMS Mowe had captured SS Appam on 15 January 1916. The Germans put a prize crew aboard Appam, and, under German control as a prize, Appam was separated from Möwe on 17 January and made her way to the United States, where she went into port at Hampton Roads, Virginia. At the time, the United States was a neutral country so Appam′s British owners filed suit in U.S. federal court to have Appam returned to them. On 29 July 1916, U.S. Federal Judge Edmund Waddill of Virginia directed that Appam, along with the cargo remaining aboard her and the proceeds of her perishable cargo that already had been sold, be returned at once to the ship′s British owners. The German Empire appealed the decision to the US Supreme Court, which heard the case as The Steamship Appam, 243 U.S. 124 (1917), and on 6 March 1917, the Supreme Court found in favor of the British owners, handing down a decision that a belligerent nation may not bring prizes of war into a neutral port. On 28 March 1917, Appam was returned to her British owners and renamed SS Mandingo, before reverting to her original name at the end of the war. The last photo is of HMS Wallaroo on which Folland served in China. For more information see: http://waratahrevisited.blogspot.com/2015/08/waratah-and-ss-appam.html
  23. Here's an important Boer War PoW group sadly missing its companions - a QSA & KSA to a Pte. captured at Spion Kop. There were Sudan and Khedive's Sudan with Khartoum clasp named to 4655 Pte. A. Shepherd, 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers Shepherd is entitled to a QSA with OFS, RL and Trans and a KSA with SA01 and SA02 clasps. Please contact me if found as I'd like to reunite the group. All of the above medals have been confirmed on the medal rolls. His initial is shown as "J" on the QSA & KSA rolls but with the same army number 4655. John Thomas Shepherd was an alias for Albert Barlow who was born in Bradford, Manchester. He attested at Bury on 12/12/1893 when he was 18 years old. He was of pale complexion, had blue eyes and dark brown hair and was 5'4" and weighed 120 lbs. He was a chemical plumber by trade and CE by belief. He was captured in the battle of Spion Kop on 24/1//1900 and was released in Pretoria in June 1900. He continued to serve, most likely with the 14th Bn. Mounted Infantry. He was in the Army Reserve on 27/2/1902 and was discharged in Preston on 11/12/1909. His character was "good". He married Mary Ann Gilmore on 8/10/1904 in St. Aidan's Church, Manchester. The 2nd Battalion sailed on the Norman on 2nd December, arrived at the Cape about the 19th, and was sent round to Durban. Along with the 2nd King's Royal Lancaster Regiment, 1st South Lancashire Regiment, and the 1st York and Lancaster Regiment, they formed the 11th Brigade under Major General Woodgate, and part of the 5th Division under Sir Charles Warren. The work of the brigade has been sketched under the Royal Lancaster Regiment, and that of the Natal Army generally under the 2nd Queen's, Royal West Surrey. When Sir Charles Warren with three brigades was sent across at Trichard's Drift, it will be remembered that the intention of the Commander-in-Chief was that the force should push, via Acton Homes, round to the rear of the Boer position. Sir Charles decided that this was not feasible, and he set about clearing the hills on his right front. On the 20th January he proceeded to put his new plan into execution. The IIth Brigade were on the British right, to the west of Spion Kop. The Lancashire Fusiliers on the right, and York and Lancaster on their left, were ordered to attack a strong position, being assisted by the other infantry, notably the Irish Brigade in the centre, and by six batteries of artillery—7th, 19th, 28th, 63rd, 73rd, and 78th—massed at Three-Tree Hill, and the naval guns at Spearman's. The ground was very difficult, and the Fusiliers were at times greatly cramped for space. About three o'clock the visible crest was stormed by a grand rush, but the troops on reaching the top found themselves in face of another and stronger position. They could do nothing but hold on like flies on a wall, as one writer says. That day cost the battalion 4 officers wounded, 18 men killed and about 90 wounded. On the 21st the fighting was carried on chiefly at the left flank by Hildyard's brigade. On the night of the 23rd Spion Kop was taken, the Lancashire Fusiliers being part of Woodgate's force and remaining on the summit all the 24th. An account of the Spion Kop combat is given under the 2nd Royal Lancaster. The Lancashire Fusiliers along with the other troops on the summit earned the praises of General Buller. The losses of the battalion were very severe—3 officers killed, 5 wounded, about 40 men killed, 100 wounded, and some missing. At Vaal Krantz the brigade was ordered to make a feint attack on the British left; this was carried out satisfactorily. The battalion did not take part in the fighting between 13th and 27th February, being left along with other troops under Colonel Burn-Murdoch to hold an intrenched post near the bridge over the little Tugela at Springfield, and other positions on the left and rear. The Lancashire Fusiliers, now reduced to about 500 men, held Frere till the 26th February, when they were moved to Gun Hill and Chieveley. Nine officers and 16 men were mentioned in General Buller's despatch of 30th March 1900, chiefly for exceptional gallantry at Spion Kop, 5 being recommended for the distinguished conduct medal. In his final despatch of 9th November 1900 General Buller mentioned 7 officers and 2 non-commissioned officers; and in Lord Roberts' final despatch 10 officers and 19 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned. When General Buller moved into the Transvaal the 5th Division remained about the railway, and then operated in the south-east of that country, the Utrecht-Vryheid district, and frequently saw tough fighting. The Mounted Infantry of the Lancashire Fusiliers formed part of the garrison of Vryheid when that town was attacked on 10th-11th December 1900. After very severe fighting the enemy was driven off with a loss of 100 killed and wounded. The men of the battalion had about 10 casualties. At Fort Itala on 26th September 1901, the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers were represented in the little force which made one of the finest stands recorded in the campaign. One man of the battalion was killed and 5 wounded. In January 1901 the battalion entrained at Dundee for the Pretoria district. On arriving about Elandsfontein five companies were put into the column of Colonel Allenby, and three companies, under Major Tidswell, into the column of Colonel E C Knox; these columns being two of those then commencing the great sweep under General French to the Piet Retief district. In the beginning of May the battalion got together again at Middelburg and relieved the 2nd Berkshire Regiment on the railway line. Headquarters were at Wonderfontein. The battalion remained in the Eastern Transvaal till peace was declared. Some Mounted Infantry of the battalion were present at Kaffir's Spruit on 19th December 1901, when 1 non-commissioned officer and 2 privates gained mention in despatches by Lord Kitchener. In the final despatch 5 officers and 8 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned. For more information see: http://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/military-history/an-acre-of-massacre-the-second-boer-wars-battle-of-spion-kop/ https://www.britishbattles.com/great-boer-war/battle-of-spion-kop/ A summery of the battle: Spion Kop, just northeast of Warren's force, was the largest hill in the region, being over 430 metres (1,410 ft) in height (relative height from its base). It lay almost exactly at the centre of the Boer line. If the British could capture this position and bring artillery to the hill then they would command the flanks of the surrounding Boer positions.[9] On the night of 23 January, Warren sent the larger part of his force under Major General Edward Woodgate to secure Spion Kop. Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Thorneycroft was selected to lead the initial assault. (Thorneycroft was one of six "special service" officers, among whom were also Robert Baden-Powell and Herbert Plumer, despatched to South Africa shortly before the war to recruit local irregular corps. Thorneycroft's mounted infantry were raised in Natal and numbered 360.) The British climbed up the hill at night and in dense mist. They surprised the small Boer piquet and drove them off the kop at bayonet point. Of the 15 men in the Boer piquet, one was mortally wounded and his grave lies on the hill to this day. Ten British soldiers were wounded in the charge. The surviving Boers retreated down the hill to their camp waking up their fellow Boers by screaming "Die Engelse is op die kop." (The English are on the hill.). A half-company of British sappers began to entrench the position with a mere 20 picks and 20 shovels (while almost 1,000 soldiers stood around idle) and Woodgate notified Warren of the successful capture of the hilltop. As dawn broke, the British discovered that they held only the smaller and lower part of the hilltop of Spion Kop, while the Boers occupied higher ground on three sides of the British position. The British had no direct knowledge of the topography of the summit and the darkness and fog had compounded the problem. Furthermore, the British trenches were inadequate for all defensive purposes. Because the summit of the kop was mostly hard rock, the trenches were at most 40 centimetres (16 in) deep and provided an exceptionally poor defensive position – the British infantry in the trenches could not see over the crest of the plateau and the Boers were able to fire down the length of the crescent-shaped trench from the adjacent peaks. The Boer generals were not unduly concerned by the news that the British had taken the kop. They knew that their artillery on Tabanyama could be brought to bear on the British position and that rifle fire could be brought to bear from parts of the kop not yet occupied by the British. However, the Boer generals also knew that sniping and artillery alone would not be sufficient to dislodge the British – and the Boer position was desperately vulnerable. If the British immediately established positions on Conical Hill and Aloe Knoll (the two unoccupied kopjes on the kop itself) they could bring their artillery to bear on Tabanyama, threatening the key Boer positions there. More importantly, there was a risk that the British would storm Twin Peaks (Drielingkoppe) to the eastern end of Spion Kop. If Twin Peaks fell, the British would be able to turn the Boers' left flank and annihilate the main Boer encampment. The Boer generals realised that Spion Kop would have to be stormed quickly if certain defeat were to be averted. The Boers began to bombard the British position, dropping shells from the adjacent plateau of Tabanyama at a rate of ten rounds per minute. Meanwhile, Commandant Hendrik Prinsloo of the Carolina Commando captured Aloe Knoll and Conical Hill with some 88 men, while around 300 burghers, mainly of the Pretoria Commando, climbed the kop to launch a frontal assault on the British position. Prinsloo told his men: "Burghers, we're now going in to attack the enemy and we shan't all be coming back. Do your duty and trust in the Lord." Minutes later, hundreds of Boers swarmed in to attack the British positions at the Spion Kop crestline, much to the surprise of the British. It was very unusual for the Boers to launch a daytime massed attack quickly resulting in vicious, close-quarters combat. This was not a custom of the Boers' style of warfare. The British Lee–Metford and Lee–Enfield rifles were no less deadly than the Boer Mauser rifles. However, both sides exchanged fire at close range and engaged in hand-to-hand combat, with the British wielding fixed bayonets and the Boers wielding hunting knives and their own rifles used as bludgeons. After suffering serious losses, the Boer assault carried the crest line after several minutes of brutal hand-to-hand combat, but could advance no further. A kind of stalemate now settled over the kop. The Boers had failed to drive the British off the kop, but the surviving men of the Pretoria and Carolina commando now held a firing line on Aloe Knoll from where they could enfilade the British position and the British were now under sustained bombardment from the Boer artillery. The British had failed to exploit their initial success, and the initiative now passed to the Boers. Morale began to sag on both sides as the extreme heat, exhaustion and thirst took hold. On one hand the Boers on the kop could see large numbers of burghers on the plains below them who refused to join the fight. The sense of betrayal, the bloody failure of the frontal assault, the indiscipline inherent in a civilian army and the apparent security of the British position proved too much for some Boers, who began to abandon their hard-won positions. On the other hand, the bombardment began to take its toll on the British. Woodgate fell at about 08:30, mortally wounded by a shell splinter. In quick succession, Colonel Blomfield of the Lancashire Fusiliers took command but was wounded soon after Woodgate's death, while the sappers' officer, Major H.H.Massy, and Woodgate's brigade major, Captain N.H. Vertue, were killed. Officers and men from different units were intermingled, and the British were now leaderless, confused and pinned down by the heavy Boer artillery and rifle fire. The British artillery, positioned lower down the slopes of Spion Kop, were unable to hit back at the Boer guns.[1] The British artillery was also missing their marks causing one soldier to remark in his diary of the events "our gunners, by the inaccuracy of their fire did far more damage to our front line of infantry than to the Boers!" Colonel Malby Crofton of the Royal Lancasters took charge and semaphored a plea for help, "Reinforce at once or all is lost. General dead." After that the stunned colonel failed to exercise any leadership. Thorneycroft seems to have taken charge, leading a spirited counterattack that failed in the face of withering fire. Warren had already dispatched Major General John Talbot Coke's brigade of two regular battalions and the Imperial Light Infantry (raised in Durban) to reinforce the summit. However, he refused to launch an attack on Tabanyama and barred his guns from firing on Aloe Knoll, believing this to be part of the British position. At 11:40, Buller, who could see that things were not going well, suggested to Warren that Thorneycroft be appointed commander on the kop. The first runner to Thorneycroft was shot dead before he could utter a word. Finally, a second runner brought the news, "You are a general." Winston Churchill was a journalist stationed in South Africa and he had also been commissioned as a lieutenant in the South African Light Horse by General Buller after his well-publicized escape from Boer captivity. Churchill acted as a courier to and from Spion Kop and Buller's headquarters and made a statement about the scene: "Corpses lay here and there. Many of the wounds were of a horrible nature. The splinters and fragments of the shells had torn and mutilated them. The shallow trenches were choked with dead and wounded." About 13:00, the situation proved too much for some men of the Lancashire Fusiliers who attempted to surrender. Thorneycroft personally intervened and shouted at the Boers who advanced to round up prisoners, "I'm the commandant here; take your men back to hell sir. I allow no surrenders." Luckily for Thorneycroft, the first of the British reinforcements arrived at this moment. A vicious point-blank firefight ensued but the British line had been saved. At 14:30, Thorneycroft sent Warren a plea for reinforcements and water. Meanwhile, Coke never reached the summit. He saw Thorneycroft's message for help but then did nothing to assure the lieutenant colonel of his nearby presence or support. The Middlesex Regiment and the Imperial Light Infantry, under Colonel Hill, who was senior to Thorneycroft in the army list and who also believed he was overall commander on the kop, held the British right for two and a half hours until a second crisis occurred when they too began to give way. The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) arrived at this point, and drove the Boers back with a bayonet charge. The fighting on the British right now became a stalemate. In the morning, Warren had asked for reinforcements from Lyttelton's division, even though he had eleven battalions of his own to draw upon. Without asking Buller, Lyttelton sent two battalions toward Spion Kop. One battalion, the King's Royal Rifle Corps turned aside to attack Twin Peaks. After losing Lieutenant Colonel Riddell killed and 100 other casualties, the rifles cracked the thin Boer line and carried the double summit at 17:00.
  24. azyeoman

    Kimberley Star group

    Excellent group! Thanks for sharing.