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sabrigade

A Military Cross medal group to a WW1 South African Chaplain

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The Reverend Roberts was educated at St Augustine’s College in Canterbury from 1903 to 1906. He became Deacon in 1906 and Priest of Pretoria in 1908. At the same time, he was also the Curate of St Albans in Pretoria from 1906 to 1912. He then became Vicar of Pietersburg from 1912 to 1915.

The Reverend then attested in the Chaplain Services and was temporary commissioned in 1917 as a Chaplain to the Forces, 4th Class. He was attached to the 1st South African Infantry Regiment and was awarded the Military Cross for his participation in the operations that took place on 8 and 9 October 1918.

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Military Cross citation:

"SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 4 OCTOBER 1919

Rev, Noel Roberts, T./C.F., 4th Class, R.A.C.D., attd. 1st Bn., S. Afr.Infy.

During the operations from the 8th/9th October, 1918, east of Beaurevoir, and at Le Cateau, he showed great energy and devotion to duty in organising strectcher-bearer parties and bringing in wounded under very heavy fire to a place of safety. His contempt of danger was most marked, and through his gallant efforts all wounded and dead were brought back with very little delay."

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http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_01_2012/post-3034-0-47480500-1325850521.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_01_2012/post-3034-0-02301500-1325850562.jpg

Naming on the WW1 British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal

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Naming on the Africa Service Medal. This was awarded to Union service volunteer personnel who served at home and abroad during World War 2 for at least 30 days. "ACF" prefix stands for Active Citizen Force. Recipients had signed an oath to voluntary serve anywhere in Africa and this was later extended to other areas outside the Union of South Africa.

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I agree with Brian: a brave man indeed! I'd have trouble doing what he did if I were wearing armour and carrying a howitzer, but to gol out armed only with compassion and prayer beads, multiple times... contempt for damger indeed!

Thanks for sharing.

Peter

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http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_01_2012/post-3034-0-92587100-1325905511.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_01_2012/post-3034-0-19000800-1325905537.jpg

OBVERSE OF THE MEDAL

The group also includes four 9ct gold and enamel badges from the England Friendly Society.

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This appears to be gold and enamel badge of office.

“The ‘Sons of England’ were a patriotic and benevolent society for British ex-patriots living in Canada and South Africa. The Society’s first lodge was founded in Toronto, 1874 and other lodges were soon established throughout Canada and later in South Africa. Their organisation was modeled on freemasonry so their regalia and customs reflect this. It was quite usual for Benevolent and Mutual Societies of the time to model their organisational structures on the Freemasons. The last ‘Sons of England’ lodge closed in Canada during 1971.

As a mutual benefit society members would pay their weekly subscriptions and in return they and their families could benefit in times of need, such as unemployment assistance, disability benefits, medical fees and funeral costs. Social evenings amongst member’s families and travel outings were also an important aspect of membership that helped engender a strong sense of camaraderie. The ethos of the Society was to keep alive the old traditions of ‘home ‘and celebrate ‘England’s Greatness’.”

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Nice group! The only other MC to a SA Chaplain that I can recall is "Doompie" Cloete (WR/DLR padre in WWII, later 2 Sqn SAAF in Korea and eventually Chaplain-General of the SA Police).

Interesting naming on the Africa Service Medal. I do wonder whether in this case ACF does not stand for Acting (or Asst) Chaplain to the Forces rather than Active Citizen Force. Medals to relatives who were in the Active Citizen Force only have their number followed by a "V" (for Volunteer). It is intersting to see his has no regimental number. I assume the 39-45 War Medal is missing?

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There are at least 3 known WW1 MC groups awarded to WW1 South African chaplains.

One of the better known decorated WW1 South African recipients was Padre Eustace Hill.

The study of the Africa Service Medal and its prefixes is a specialised subject or topic.

No number and the name only on a Africa Service Medal indicates that the recipient was an officer in the ACF or Active Citizen Force.

Your comment regarding the V prefix is therefore not correct.

" ACF Other Ranks serving in the part-time Active Citizen Force (The units listed in the Register include NVB, R&H Bde, MEB, UTC, SACS, SANF®, MTC, CDC, SAGA. SAEC, SAA, MOTA, and others)"

Edited by sabrigade

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I was mainly thinking WWII. I have heard of Hill. Who were the others?

Africa Service Medal naming might be a good topic to start as a new discussion as I'm sure there will be some unusual namings out there. My relative in question was a Lieutenant (I have copies of his service records confirming this) yet his medals are named only with his sevice number, V, initials and surname. Perhaps it depends on when/by whom the medals were issued? Another relative was a major in the Permanent Force. His War & Africa Service medals are simmilarly named but his number is prefixxed with a P for Permanent Force.

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There has been a lot of research done on the AWM and its prefixes.

Not my field of expertise but I have some scarce examples within medal groups, one to a member of Hartigan's Horse.

I do have some excellent references to research that has been done.

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Captain Roberts attested at the age of 36 with the rank of temporary sergeant.

His previous service indicated 3 months duty as a member of the Civic Guard during the 1914 rebellion in South Africa.

He was "discharged" on 31 July 1917, the reason was for the good reverend to be appointed as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st South African Infantry Brigade.

It was noted that his military character was "Very Good" and that his profession was that of a "Clerk in Holy Orders".

Appointed a Drafts Escorting Officer on 7 August 1917, he then joined the 1st South African Infantry Brigade as part of the 2nd Reserve Battalion of the South African Infantry.

On the 31st of October 1917, Captain Roberts was appointed as the Chaplain of the 1st South African Infantry Regiment.

During the Geman offensive of April 1918, the 1st South African Infantry Brigade was heavily involved and committed. Due to losses, the "Brigade" was reformed and consisted of 39 officers and 1473 men. From 9 to 9 April 1918, the Brigade held the positions between Messines Ridge and Lumm's Farm. On the 10th of April at 17H45, the Brigade launched an assault on the Messines Ridge. The 1st Regiment, with their chaplain being present, carried out a bayonet charge and was involved in hand-to -hand combat. During this engagement, Captain Roberts was "slightly wounded in the right shoulder". He recieved treatment and was discharged back to duty on 19 April 1918. Over the period 10 to 13 April 1918, the Brigade suffered 639 casualties during the intense fighting. Captain Roberts's wife was informed of his wound on 12 April 1918.

As the First World War quickly drew to a conclusion, Captain Roberts was appointed as the Brigade Educational Officer on 25 October 1918.

The war ended 17 days later.

On 13 June 1919, he was released from service and at the same time relinquished his temporary Imperial Commission. He then resumed his normal status as a temporary second lieutenant on the supernumary list of the Active Citizen Force.

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A great group to a very brave man.

Thanks for posting it and the background surrounding its award.

Regards

Brian

Saddens me to think that very soon, the last of the wars generation will pass away, and the streets are filled with kids with no regard for what they achieved, what they sacrificed.

Brave soldiers going into battle every day but that generation - unique.

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