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My Grandfather, AB A.J.Holland served on HMS Terrible during the 2nd Boer War in the battles in the relief of Ladysmith and I was also led to believe he was attached to the ship when the ship was active on the China Station in the Boxer Rebellion at the relief of Peking.

I know that his duties in South Africa were based on transporting ships guns to Ladysmith. He was awarded the Queens South Africa Medal with R of L bar. I am custodian of the afore mentioned medal. The medal appears to be silver and is engraved around its circumference with his number, name and ship. The type face or font appears to be a different style compared to those medals I have viewed on other websites but I'm informed that it's the genuine item with ribbon and 2 clasps, Natal and Orange Free State.

Additionally, as mentioned earlier, I believe he served as part of a gun crew in the battles of the relief of Peking. However, I cannot find any information to show whether he was awarded or should have been awarded a China War Medal. I recently read a book about the activities of HMS Terrible during this time, written by the ships Master at Arms. In the book, my Grandfather is listed as being part of a crew responsible for the operation of a gun. It is only from this information that I ascertain his role in the Relief of Peking.

My question is; Is there a member knowledgeable in the field of the 2nd Boer War/Boxer Rebellion that could point me in the right direction to check out these two points or help in finding further information?

I have been advised that there were two people by the name Holland on the ship at that time, AB AJ Holland and an Ordinary Seaman FJ Holland, who appears to have been awarded a Boxer Rebellion Medal. However, this Ord Seamen is referred to as AB FJ Holland. I just wonder if there was a mix up somewhere and that my grandfather should have been awarded the medal? How do I find out?

Any ideas?

Thank you in anticipation,

John Holland


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I am willing to purchase any literature, reference book or the like to learn more about this subject. Can any member make any recommendations to steer me in the right direction?

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John - welcome to GMIC. I am sorry that - so far - no one has been able to help you with your enquiry.

There have been a number of books on the exploits of HMS Terrible and it is great that he was with the unshipped guns

so necessary to help relieve Ladysmith. With the relief of Peking - if you can establish that it was him, you would have

a valuable pair.

My ref. books are packed away at present, - however, if any members can help John, please let him know your information. Mervyn

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Thanks for your post Mervyn,

I'd like to investigate all avenues where possible. I'm currently investigating Royal Navy history at my local Library. However, detailed information appears to be very limited as books on the subject of HMS Terrible 1899 to 1910 are not readily available. As you may have guessed, it's crew details, ships logs, role call etc., that may reveal exactly what activity or action my grandfather saw.

I greatly welcome and appreciate all the help I can get.

Many thanks again to you and your fellows.

John Holland.

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Although this post is over a month old, I'll take a chance and offer two suggestions; The National Archives and the Royal Museums Greenwich have some useful information on looking up relatives in the archives held in the PRO at Kew. It may be possible to check some of the documents on line on the internet as there is an on-going digital project going on. Hope this helps. It is a fascinating period.(2nd Boer War/ Relief of the Legations, Peking)

The National Archives
The Royal Museums Greenwich

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