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QSA 1899-1902 with clasps for:  Cape colony, Wepener, Transvaal and  Wittebergen officially named to: 376 Trooper D. (Daniel)  Ballock, Brabant's Horse.  He was captured and taken PoW at Browns farm 7-2-1900.   After his release, he continued to serve and was eventually discharged on 19 February, 1901.   He has served previously as a trooper (223) and later as a corporal (1673) in Scott's Railway Guards.  He served in the 1st Brabant's Horse.  His QSA is verified on the medal rolls and he was also awarded a KSA with two clasps.  If anyone knows the where abouts of the KSA, please contact me as I'd like to reunite the pair. 

The clasp inscribed “Wepener" was granted to all troops engaged in the defence of that place between April 9th, 1900 and April 25th, 1900, both days inclusive.

The clasp inscribed "Wittebergen" was granted to all troops who were inside a line drawn from Harrismith to Bethlehem, and from Senekal and Clocolan, along the Basuto border, and back to Harrismith, between July 1st and 29th, 1900, both dates inclusive.

There were some 2,050 Wepener clasps issued. Due to the subsequent movement of troops between units, there was a wide range of primarily South African units to which the clasp was ultimately issues.  This list shows the approximate number of clasps issue by unit.

Cape Mounted Rifles - 513
2nd Brabant's Horse - 473
Kaffrarian Rifles - 422

1st Brabant's Horse - 392
Royal Scots - 83
Driscoll's Scouts - 78
South African Constabulary - 25
Royal Engineers    - 11
Prince of Wales Light Horse - 9
KFS, 2nd - 8
Scottish Horse, 1st Battalion - 7
Prince Alfred’s Own Volunteer Guard - 5
Johannesburg Mounted Rifles - 3
Royal Garrison Artillery - 3
Imperial Light Horse, 2nd Battalion - 2
Scottish Horse, 2nd Battalion - 2
Imperial Light Horse, 1st Battalion    1
Cape Medical Staff Corps - 1
Lancashire Fusiliers    1
7th Hussars    1


Brabant's Horse from Steven's The Complete History of the War

This corps was raised and took the field in the Queenstown-Dordrecht district. Major Pollock in his volume frequently refers to them in appreciative terms. On 28th November he visited their camp and saw them at drill and musketry. "The progress already made quite astonished me ... Poor De Montmorency was then adjutant, and judging by the results, both he and his predecessor, Collins of the Berkshire, had a great deal to be proud of. The shooting on the range was very good". These facts are noted to show how quickly the volunteer and irregular troops got into fighting trim. The regiment was very soon sent to hold various posts, and when General Gatacre went out to attack Stormberg, on the night of 9th December, 160 of Brabant's were intended to join the attacking force from Penhoek, but it will be remembered the telegram was not delivered. The detachment under De Montmorency did arrive at Molteno on the afternoon of the 10th, and scouted back on the line of the British retreat.

On 22nd and 23rd December De Montmorency and his men had skirmishes near Dordrecht, in which they got the better of the enemy, who had the stronger force. About this time Captain De Montmorency raised his body of scouts, all picked men, who did some very fine work. On the 28th, with some of his own scouts and some of Brabant's Horse, he was out near Dordrecht, but little was to be seen of the enemy. On the 30th, however, there was quite a stiff little fight, in which a party of the Frontier Mounted Rifles was cut off and only rescued the following day (see Cape Mounted Rifles). Captain Flanagan's company of Brabant's was said to have done very well. The corps did an immense amount of patrol work throughout January, and Captain Flanagan's company were the first troops in the Queenstown district to gain touch with the Vlth Division, then approaching the Stormberg country from Cape Town via Thebus.

Lord Roberts had in January announced the appointment of Brigadier General Brabant as Commander of the Colonial Division, which included the two regiments of this corps, and under that general they did excellent work in the clearing of the north-east of Cape Colony. In the fighting about Dordrecht, in the second half of February 1900, the corps took a very prominent part and were several times very heavily engaged. In Lord Roberts' telegram of 18th February he mentioned that Brabant "had attacked Boer position on 16th. He gradually closed in on laager during the day. Fighting lasted from 9 am till dusk. At midnight Captain Flanagan, 1st Brabant's Horse, attacked and took laager at the point of the bayonet, capturing the stores". Captain Crallen and Lieutenant Chandler and 4 non-commissioned officers and men were killed, and 5 non-commissioned officers and men wounded. On 5th March there was again severe fighting near Dordrecht, in which the Cape Mounted Rifles bore the heaviest share of the losses. At Aliwal North, on the 11th, Brabant's Horse had 3 killed and 6 wounded.

A second regiment having been raised in December, Lieutenant Colonel H M Grenfell, 1st Life Guards, was appointed to command it, and when Colonel Dalgety was besieged in Wepener (see Cape Mounted Rifles), the first and a portion of the second regiment were with him, their strength being respectively 345 and 459. One squadron of Brabant's Horse took part in the relief of Wepener. During the siege Lieutenant Thurston and 4 men were killed, and 5 officers— Surgeon Captain Perkins, Lieutenants W E Holford, Turner, and Duncan, and Quartermaster Williams— and about 30 men were wounded.

In the advance northwards, and in the operations preparatory to the surrounding of Prinsloo, the corps was very frequently engaged. In the Hammonia district they had an immense amount of difficult scouting, and several times, in the latter half of May and in June, they had encounters with superior forces and rather heavy losses. On 29th June Lieutenant J S Orr was severely wounded, and other casualties were suffered in an action in which the enemy had to be driven across the Zand River. On 3rd July Lieutenant and Adjutant A F C Williams was shot through the lung. On the 6th to 8th July at the capture of Bethlehem, on the 16th near Witnek, and on the 23rd, 24th at Slabbert's Nek, Brabant's Horse were in the forefront and gained distinction, but, as a matter of course, had to pay the price. 'The Times' historian points out that it was some "adventurous scouts" of Brabant's Horse who, by discovering on the night of the 23rd a commanding summit to be unoccupied, enabled Clements to seize the ridge at daybreak—the corps being entrusted with this task.

The 1st Regiment of the corps, now commanded by Major Henderson, 8th Hussars, accompanied Dalgety to the Reitzburg district, and thence in August across the Vaal in the pursuit of De Wet (see Cape Mounted Rifles). In his despatch of 1st September 1900 Lord Roberts said that "the enemy managed to derail another supply train south of Klip River (Johannesburg district) early this morning. Two men were killed, 1 wounded, and 35 taken prisoners. The engine was blown up, and thirteen trucks were burned. A party of Brabant's Horse on duty at Klip River Bridge followed the enemy as soon as the report of the accident reached them, drove them into the neighbouring hills, and recovered all the prisoners".

The 2nd Regiment was ordered to the eastern Transvaal in August, to take part under General Button in the movement from Belfast to the Portuguese border, crossing some of the most difficult country in South Africa. In November they were operating about Frederickstad in the Central Transvaal with General Barton. They had skirmishing very frequently, and on 11th December had 1 man killed and 3 wounded. A detachment of Brabant's Horse remained in the Orange River Colony in August. On the 27th of that month Sergeant Major Rutters of the 2nd Regiment was killed, and Corporal Abernethy was wounded at Winburg. During the last quarter of 1900 a portion of the corps was with Bruce Hamilton in the Orange River Colony. In the despatch of 8th March 1901, dealing with the events for the preceding four months, Lord Kitchener said that when, in November, it became apparent that De Wet was to attempt to invade Cape Colony, he (Lord Kitchener) railed certain forces from the Transvaal to the south of the Orange River Colony; these included the 2nd Regiment of Brabant's Horse. In his telegraphic despatch of 15th December 1900 Lord Kitchener said, "During the recent operations in the Zastron district, a party of Brabant's Horse became detached, and being surrounded in a defile had to surrender". The casualty list showed 3 men killed, 11 wounded, and 106 missing. The mishap was unfortunate, coming after so much good sound work; but at that time numerous small columns and patrols were then pursuing the enemy, who was in great strength in the south-east of the Orange River Colony, while to keep touch with him forces had to be greatly scattered, and there was always a chance of any little detachment being cut off. About 18th to 24th December the 2nd Brabant's had much fighting about Steynsburg, Cape Colony—the object being to prevent the Boers working south. On 28th December the 2nd Regiment had Captain Cholmondley and 5 men wounded. When it was seen that Kritzinger and Smuts, about 16th December, had effected an entrance into Cape Colony with about 2000 men, more troops were railed from the Transvaal to Naauwpoort, and in this second batch were the 1st Brabant's Horse.

In February 1901 a portion of Brabant's Horse was operating in the south-west of Cape Colony, and Lieutenant J M Grant gained mention near Lambert's Bay on 1st March. Near Jansenville on 20th March 2 men were killed and 6 wounded in an action when Colonel Scobell and Colonel Colenbrander inflicted a severe defeat on Scheepers and Malan. About this time there was fighting daily, and casualties came often. The despatch of 8th July 1901 shows that two squadrons of Brabant's Horse were in May and June, along with a squadron of the 9th Lancers and three companies of Imperial Yeomanry, operating in the Cradock and Richmond districts, chiefly against Malan's commando. On 28th June the 1st corps were heavily engaged near Richmond, and had 2 officers, Captain M Bowker and Lieutenant J R Thompson, and 6 men wounded. On 18th July Captain W J S Rundle and several men were wounded. During the remainder of the war Brabant's Horse were employed in Cape Colony, traversing almost every part of it. On 5th February 1902 they were in the sharp fight at Uitspanfontein near Beaufort West, when they had about half a dozen casualties. During the last year the work was harder than ever, and there was seldom the satisfaction of a fight, except when the enemy was confident that he had a successful trap laid.


Roll Brabant's Horse.JPG





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Recent acquisition of a WWI Victory with MID as a PoW.  Photos and info forthcoming.   It will be the second MID as a PoW in the collection. 

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Victory Medal with MID (missing) named to: 5103 Pte. A. Perrett. Wilts. R.

He was gazetted MID in the 30 January 1920 LG for gallant and distinguished service while a prisoner of war under Army Order 193 of 1919, which states, "Rewards for  officers and soldiers for services in the field and for services rendered in captivity or in attempting to escape or escaping therefrom".

Perrett is entitled to a QSA, KSA, 1914 Star and clasp trio.  If anyone knows the whereabouts of his other medals, (QSA, KSA, 14 Star and BWM) please contact me as I would like to reunit the group.

Arthur Perrett was a laborer from Gosport, Hants and enlisted when 18 years and nine months old on 10 Oct. 1898.  He was 5'5" tall, 125 lbs and had light brown hair with gray eyes.  He was C of E.

He was in the 2nd Battalion and served for a total of 21 years and 35 days.  He served in South Africa from 16/12/1899 to 15/4/02, then in India from 26/4/02 to 26/10/09. He returned to South Africa and was there from 28/10/09 to 6/2/10 and from there went to Gibraltar where he was stationed from 2/9/13 to 3/9/14 when the regiment went home and then on to Belgium.  The 2nd Wilts landed at Zeebrugge on 7 October and were in action at Reutel.  They were attacked by two entire regiments of Germans and did will, but at a terrible toll with casualties of 450 men and 18 officers captured, and 76 ORs and 70 officers were KIA and 229 WIA.  Perrett was a PoW for four years and six months in German and was released on 19/12/1918 and home on 20/12/1918 in time for Christmas.

For more information on the 2 Wilts, see:






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  • 3 weeks later...

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/


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.










Spion Kop 1.jpg

Boer War Memorial 2.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

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.






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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




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.  







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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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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




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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.

UItval PoW painting.jpg



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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

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
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)
15.5 knots surfaced
8.75 knots submerged
Complement:    59
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.

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



Boa Rocket Apparatus PoW.JPG



Generale Achille Papa (da British Submarine vs Italian Torpedo Boat-Mediterranean 1940-1943 di David Greentree).jpg

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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.

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.

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  • 4 months later...

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/










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  • 4 months later...

I recently came across a lonely BWM that is missing its partner Victory Medal.  It is officially named to: Lieut. R.E. White RAF.

Please contact if you know the whereabouts of Lt. White's Victory Medal.

At first, it may not seem like anything special, but...

Roger Eldridge White was an American Volunteer in the RAF and was shot down and captured on 17/7/1918 while flying with 19 Squadron.  He was a PoW at Karlsruhe until until liberated and finally repatriated on 5/12/1918. 

There were not many Americans flying in the RAF and very few if any others who were PoWs.  This is a rare medal.

Roger Eldridge White, was born on 29 March 1895.  He lived at 34 Somerset Avenue, Lassington, Massachusetts, USA.

His mother, Mrs. G. R. White, was listed as his next of kin.  He was a law student at North Eastern College in Boston, MA from 1915 to 1917.  He is listed on the General List of 12/12/1917 as a Temporary 2nd Lt. in the RAF.  He was qualified on: Curtis, Avro, Sopwith Pup and Dolphin.  He served with 96 Sqd., 90 Sqd. and was flying with 19 Squadron when shot down on 17/7/1918.  He was transferred to the unemployed list on 25/7/1919.

His postwar address on 11/4/1928 was 31 Couch Street; Tauton, Massachusetts, USA 

No. 19 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps was founded on 1 September 1915 training on a variety of aircraft before being deployed to France in July 1916 flying Royal Aircraft Factory B.E. 12 and re-equipping with the more suitable French-built SPAD S.VIIs.  From November 1917, the squadron started to receive Sopwith Dolphins to replace its Spads, it being fully equipped with the Dolphin during January 1918, flying its first operational patrol with the new fighter on 3 February. In 1918, the squadron was re-equipped with Sopwith Dolphins, flying escort duties. By the end of the war, 19 Squadron had had a score of flying aces among its ranks.   At least one other of 19 Sqd. fliers, a Canadian, George Robert Long, was captured on 6 October 1917 in the Lille area and spent the rest of the war in a number of POW camps, including Holzminden POW camp. It was his very first flight, in a Spad VII, B3508. He was shot down by Gefr. J. Funk, flying with Ja30. He had first been a member of the C.E.F. in the infantry and was wounded a number of times. He wasn't repatriated until 14 December 1918, to return home to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.







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Great News.  The reunited trio of 930 Pte. M. Whitaker.  (See above for more info on Whitaker and his Cape of Good Hope Medal).

930 Pte. M Whitaker served with the Cape Police District 1 and received his Cape of Good Hope medal to him as a private, but his KSA as a corporal.  He was captured and held as a PoW and later released on 6 June 1900 at Waterval.  



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I recently came across another lonely BWM, sadly without its suspension officially named to 3141 Pte. S. J. Stansbey. 21-London R.   A PoW, captured in Hong Kong and buried in Stanley Cemetery.  Having visited the cemetery a few times, it is an important part of the collection.

If anyone knows of the whereabouts of Stansbey's Victory Medal, please contact me.

Sydney John Cleave Stanesby was born ca. 1894/5 in Wandsworth, London.  In the 1911 census, he lived at 6 Quarry Rd., Wandsworth Common SW.  He was 16 at the time, single and a clerk.  His father was Sydney Ernest (45); mother Gertrude Marie Wyld (40) and he had three siblings, Charles Owen (14), Dora Gertrude Sal (6) and Harold Cecil (4).

In WWI, Stanesby served was a private in the 21 London Regt. as indicated on his BWM, but later in the Essex Regiment.  He was awarded a WWI pair for his service.

His family must have immigrated to Australia as records indicate his next of kin, parents and wife, Mary Stanesby, were located in Avalon Beach, New South Wales, Australia.  Stanesby obviously worked in Hong Kong as he was a private in the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps.  His service number was 19559.  He was captured in the Battle of Hong Kong on the 19 December, 1941 and was in one of the PoW camps in the area.  He died on Thursday, 14 May 1942 while in captivity at age 48 and is buried in grave 1.A.73 in Stanley Military Cemetery.  The inscription on his headstone is, "His duty fearlessly and nobly done. Ever remembered" . In the last photo (with the brownish grass) his grave is located in the first row and to the left of the cross.  

Hong Kong fell to the Japanese on Christmas Day 1941 following a brief but intense period of fighting. During the Japanese occupation, Stanley jail and village were used as a prisoner of war and civilian internment camp and the cemetery, which had not been used for more than 70 years, was reopened for burials from the camp. After the war, the cemetery was extended on its northern side when graves were brought in from civilian burial grounds and isolated sites in the surrounding country. Although the cemetery as a whole is laid out and maintained as a military cemetery, in the older part, service graves and the graves of civilian internees who died during the Japanese occupation are intermingled. A number of the graves in this part of the cemetery are still marked by the original headstones erected by the prisoners of war, who collected the granite from the 19th century fortifications and carved the inscriptions themselves. Nearly all casualties of the local defence forces, chiefly the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Force and the British Army Aid Group, are buried in this cemetery. The British Army Aid Group was a military establishment which came into being early in 1942 to encourage and facilitate escapes, to assist escapees and to get information and medical supplies into the camps. Attached to the establishment was a large staff of civilian employees operating in an extensive area of enemy held territory and the group gradually developed into an organisation for the collection of intelligence of military value and later into an escape and evasion organisation for the American Air Force. There are now 598 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 175 of the burials are unidentified, but a number of special memorials commemorate casualties known to be buried among them. The names of the 96 civilian internees buried in this cemetery are recorded in volume 7 of the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour. The cemetery also contains the new Hong Kong Memorial, which commemorates, by name, Chinese casualties of the two world wars who have no known grave. There are also three special memorials to First World War casualties buried in cemeteries in Kowloon and Hong Kong, whose graves have since been lost.






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  • 5 weeks later...

Queen’s South Africa Medal, 4 bars, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Belfast, SA 1901, Tpr J. Roux, French’s Scouts. Taken prisoner and released at Bethesda on 10/08/1901.

Entitlement confirmed on the roll, an unusual combination with Belfast bar.

Johannes (John) Roux served as a Scout with French’s Scouts. He joined the unit on 3rd May 1900 from the District Mounted Rifles (No. 786; WO127), and was discharged at Fort Peddie on 1 December 1901.  During the war he was taken as a prisoner of war and was released near Bethesda Road on 10 August 1901. (Source: South African Field Force Casualty Roll)

His father was P A Roux of Peddie, near King William’s Town

This corps was formed towards the close of 1899.  Its greatest strength was about three squadrons, but it afterwards fell much in numbers.  The corps was commanded by Captain Bettelheim, and was composed of men selected for knowledge of the country and its ways.

French's Scouts did fine work throughout two years' campaigning, generally in the districts in which the great cavalry leader after whom they were called was operating, but the whole of the corps was not always with General French; as, for example, while he was relieving Kimberley part of the Scouts went with him, but another portion was left in the Colesberg district with General Clements, under whom they fought and suffered some losses in February 1900.

When the advance from Bloemfontein to Pretoria was undertaken French's Scouts accompanied the cavalry, operating on the left flank.  They were present at Diamond Hill, 11th to 13th June, where they had several casualties.  After that they undertook many very daring reconnaissances north and east of Pretoria.  In July 1900 the corps was in the forefront of the advance along the Delagoa line, and afterwards in the movements to Barberton in September and to Heidelberg in October.  Having operated for a time in the central district, they took part in the great sweeping movement in the first quarter of 1901 to the eastern border of the Transvaal.  During all these months of constant fighting their losses had been wonderfully few when the extremely dangerous nature of their tasks is borne in mine the evil day was to come.  The corps had been back to Cape Colony, and near Bethesda, on August 1901, they lost Sergeant Stacey killed, the commander, Captain Bettelheim, Lieutenant C de V Duff, Sergeant Major Chiazzari, and several men wounded.

Mention in Dispatches:

LORD ROBERTS' DISPATCHES: 31st March 1900, for relief of Kimberley and advance to Bloemfontein.  Sergeant A K Green and Private W S Penny.
2nd April 1901.  Captain Bettelheim; Sergeant (now Lieutenant) A K Green, Private W S Penny.

LORD KITCHENER'S DISPATCH: 8th May 1901.  Lieutenant F Maxwell, for coolness and courage with which he extricated a patrol on 16th June.  Sergeant Major Chiazzari, at Kalabashfontein, 10th June, rendered most valuable service by holding a ridge with a small party.

Battle of Bethesda:

The Derbyshire Times of Saturday, 14 September 1901 carried an article headed, “A Bolsover man with French’s Scouts – The Encounter with Theron’s Commando which shed light on what they got up to:
“The recent engagement between French’s Scouts, about 50 strong, who were proceeding to join a column near Bethesda, and Theron’s Commando was noticeable for the magnificent defense of the Scouts, although surrounded in the hills and greatly outnumbered, they offered a splendid resistance before they surrendered. Donald Spencer who is on of French’s Scouts wrote as follows:

Graaff Reinet, August 14, 1901 - We have been on the trek for these past three weeks, and being on the veld it is impossible to write. We arrived here day before yesterday. You will be sorry to ere that we were captured by the Boers, 50 miles out of this place. It was a terrible affair but could not be helped. We being only 50 strong were marching from a place called Bethesda Road Station, to the town of Bethesda, a distance of 18 miles.

Having to form a rear-guard and advance-guard, it left very few to do the scouting; however, we managed to scrape up about 20 for scouting, these going ahead by about 1 ½ miles. When we got within three miles of the town, the Boers opened fire upon us, (the advance scouts); we were just going through a nek, and the Boers were on each side of us and in front of us, and later we discovered they had surrounded us.

By this time all hands were blazing away for all they were worth. Mind you we had absolutely no cover, except our horses, being in the nek and on the road. The fight continued three hours and twenty minutes, from 1 p.m. to 4. 20 p.m., and a hot time we had. At last both carbine and revolver ammunition ran out, until the last round was fired, then down came the Boers onto us. There was nothing to do but “hands up”. There were 14 of us severely wounded, including our Commander, Captain Henry Bettelheim, and one man killed.

Seventeen Boers were wounded and 5 killed; this we learned afterwards. However, we took good care they got no ammunition, it having all been used. The Boers being in possession of the town they marched us to it, and there they put us in the gaol, and kept us there for the night. Next morning, they took all our boots, socks, leggings, coats, blankets, money and whatever they fancied and let us go to walk to Graaff Reinet, a distance of 50 miles bare-footed, no coats and no blankets for the nights, which are yet very cold, however we have arrived safely although a little foot-sore.”


Papers for ORs in French's Scouts - WO126/45-46 at Kew.


This is an extract from National Archives Ref WO 126/45 for the Boer War service records for selected names starting between L and R for the FRENCH’S SCOUTS. There were a variety of standard forms and also many sections of the forms were incomplete. As a result, the details included vary.


Johannes ROUX British subject, Previous service: French Scouts Enlisted: Johannesburg 1/V/01 Father: P A Roux, Peddie near King Williams Town


Extract from http://www.nieu-bethesda.com/about/graaff-reinet-and-the-second-anglo-boer-war-1899-1902/


On 10 August 1901 the commandos of Lotter and Cmdt J Theron captured a party (50-60 men) of French’s Scouts near Bethesda Road, stripping them of all their clothing before letting them go. In the bitterly cold month of August in the Sneeuberg these commandos were in desperate need of extra clothing. Theron moved from New Bethesda to the Camdeboo and on south where he joined up with Scheepers(18) while Lotter moved on to Rhenosterberg.








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  • 1 month later...

A new QSA to 4081 Pte. W.P. Wilson, Kitchner's Horse who was MIA, captured and later released at Pretoria on 27 May 1900.

QSA has five confirmed clasps: CC, OFS, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill and SA01 and has the original ribbon.

History of Kitchner's Horse

In the dispatch of 6th February 1900 Lord Roberts, after referring to the organization of the Colonial Division under Brigadier General Brabant, said: "Two other regiments, designated, at the particular request of the members, Roberts' Horse and Kitchener's Horse, have also been formed, chiefly from men who have found their way to South Africa from various parts of the world". These corps were at first intended to be called 'The second and third regiments of the South African Light Horse', but the names were changed as a compliment to the new Commander-in-Chief and his chief of the staff.

Both Kitchener's Horse and Roberts' Horse were employed in the operations undertaken by Lord Roberts in February 1900 for the relief of Kimberley and in his advance to Bloemfontein; but one squadron of Kitchener's Horse was left on the lines of communication, and was utilized as part of the force with which Lord Kitchener and General Settle put down the rebellion in the Prieska district, March and April.

On 9th February the Mounted Infantry Division, under Colonel Hannay, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, left Orange River station. After some fighting, the Division on the 12th reached Ramdam, where Lord Roberts was concentrating his army; but the bulk of Kitchener's Horse had preceded the rest of the Mounted Infantry, and had joined General French before midnight on the 11th. At 2 AM on the 12th they set out with French for Dekiel's Drift, on the Riet. On the 13th, General French, who had crossed the Riet River on the 12th, left a squadron of Kitchener's Horse at Blaauwbosch Pan, about eight miles north-east of Dekiel's Drift, on the Riet, in order to protect the wells until the infantry, who were following, should arrive. Unfortunately the infantry took a different course, and instead of them a large force of Boers turned up, who attacked the squadron and compelled their surrender after they had made a very creditable defense in a farmhouse for two days. Lieutenants Carstens and Buchanan were killed in action about this time. Another squadron was part of the slender escort of the convoy which was lost on the Riet on the 13th. The convoy is said to have been seven miles long, and the escort, left to see it over a most difficult drift with Boers all round, was 300 strong. The escort was not captured. Notwithstanding this bad luck, the corps did excellent work before Bloemfontein was reached. About one half of the regiment was with Colonel Hannay when Cronje was discovered to be trekking across the front of the Vlth Division on 15th February, and they took part in the pursuit and the other operations which led to his capture. On 7th March they were engaged at Poplar-Grove. Five officers and five non-commissioned officers and men gained mention in the dispatch of 31st March for good work on the way to Bloemfontein. According to the official statement, the strength of the corps when it entered Bloemfontein on 13th March was 26 officers, 402 men, 270 horses, and 2 maxims.

About the beginning of March Kitchener's Horse had been, along with the 6th and 8th Regiments of Regular Mounted Infantry, the City Imperial Volunteers Mounted Infantry, Nesbitt's Horse, and the New South Wales Mounted Infantry, put into the 2nd Brigade of Mounted Infantry under Colonel P W J Le Gallais, 8th Hussars,—a splendid officer, who led his brigade to victory on many occasions, but who afterwards fell at Bothaville, 6th November 1900, in the moment of success. The regiment fought with Le Gallais and General Tucker at the battle of Karee Siding on 29th March 1900, and they were attached to Ian Hamilton's force, which, towards the end of April, set out first to clear Thabanchu and thereafter take part in the northern advance, during which the regiment, along with the 2nd Mounted Infantry Regulars and Lovat's Scouts, was in the 6th corps under Colonel Legge, who was afterwards killed at Nooitgedacht.

Winston Churchill, in his 'Ian Hamilton's March' relates that on 26 April Kitchener's Horse and a company of regular mounted infantry were told to hold a kopje near Thabanchu for the night, but about dusk they were ordered to retire. This the Boers endeavored to prevent, attacking the force with great determination: however, the attack was driven off, and the little body got into camp during the night. Captain F J Warren was severely wounded, 1 man killed, and several wounded. On the 30th, at the battle of Houtnek, the regiment, with great boldness and skill, seized Thoba Mountain, and it was during the enemy's attempt to regain this commanding position that a party of about 12 Gordon Highlanders and 13 of Kitchener's Horse under Captain Towse of the Gordons made the famous stand and bayonet charge. The incident is admirably described in 'Ian Hamilton's March' by Churchill, who was a spectator. Captain Towse, blinded by a bullet in the hour of triumph, got the VC. Lieutenants Parker and Munro and 5 men of Kitchener's Horse were killed, and Captains Ritchie and Cheyne and 8 men were wounded at Houtnek. In his telegram of 2nd May Lord Roberts remarked: "Kitchener's Horse is spoken of in terms of praise". On 4th May Ian Hamilton was again engaged, "and succeeded in preventing a junction of two Boer forces by a well-executed movement of some of the Household Cavalry, 12th Lancers, and Kitchener's Horse, who charged a body of the enemy and inflicted serious loss. They fled leaving their dead on the field, and their wounded to be attended by our doctors" (see Lord Roberts' telegram of 2nd May). In this affair Lieutenant Patrick Cameron was mortally wounded. The 'Standard' correspondent drew attention to the good work of the regiment at the crossing of the Zand River on 10th May.

The regiment was present at Ian Hamilton's other actions on the way to Pretoria and at Diamond Hill (11th and 12th June). They started as a portion of Hunter's force designed to surround Prinsloo, but like Roberts' Horse were detached to pursue De Wet. On 24th July the regiment lost 9 men wounded at Stinkhoutboom. but about the same date they captured 5 of De Wet's wagons. When De Wet left the Reitzburg Hills Kitchener's Horse again crossed to the north of the Vaal and operated under Ridley, Hart, Clements, and other commanders in the district west of Johannesburg and Pretoria. In the dispatch of 10th October 1900 Lord Roberts mentioned that "De Lisle's corps of mounted infantry was withdrawn from Clements' column and moved by rail on 17th September to Rhenoster, where it was joined by 250 men of Kitchener's Horse from Kroonstad". The work of De Lisle's men is briefly sketched under the 1st and 2nd New South Wales Mounted Infantry. This portion of Kitchener's Horse took part in the pursuit of De Wet on the south side of the Vaal and other operations under General C Knox in the Kroonstad district during September, October, and November, and were present on 27th October when 2 guns were captured at Rensburg, and in the very successful action of Bothaville on 6th November when 6 guns, a pom-pom, a maxim, and 130 prisoners were taken.

Another portion of the corps was employed in the Eastern Transvaal, and frequently had odd casualties about Brugspruit in September and the first half of October. They took part in French's march from the Delagoa Railway to Heidelberg in October 1900,—a march which only a great leader could have brought off successfully, having regard to the strength of the enemy in the district at the time. The fighting was continuous and the strain on all most severe. In Lieutenant Colonel Watkin-Yardley's 'With the Inniskilling Dragoons', page 217, speaking of the arrival of the force at Heidelberg, he says: "Lieutenant Elphick, with his troop of Kitchener's Horse, which had requested to be attached to the Inniskillings at Machadodorp, and fought gallantly with us throughout the march, also left the column". On this march the troop lost Sergeant Hunter killed, 2 wounded, and 2 missing.

A detachment which had remained in the Gatsrand and Krugersdorp district on the north side of the Vaal operated throughout September with Clements and Ridley, and had sharp fighting under General Hart on 23rd and 24th November 1900, when they lost 2 men killed.

This portion of the regiment was with General Clements when he was attacked and met with disaster at Nooitgedacht in the Megaliesberg on 13th December 1900. It will be remembered that a high hill commanding the camp, and which was garrisoned by 4 companies of the 2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, was assaulted by the enemy in great force and was captured. Kitchener's Horse and the 2nd Battalion Mounted Infantry were on the west or left front of the camp; the enemy attacked upon this side in the most determined manner, and although some pickets were captured or wiped out entirely, the attack on the west was driven off, the enemy losing very heavily in his endeavor to push into the camp from that direction. When, however, it was seen that the high hill commanding the camp had been captured by the enemy, the General decided to retire. With difficulty General Clements got away his guns and most of his ammunition, but the camp was left standing and some stores were lost. The losses of Kitchener's Horse were severe: Lieutenant Skene and 8 men were killed, and Captain Stevenson and about 12 men wounded and about 40 taken prisoners. Some of the latter were wounded. Several mentions were gained by the corps on this occasion, and those who were present praised very highly the conduct of Kitchener's Horse and their old comrades the 2nd Battalion Regular Mounted Infantry, also the 2nd Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

The regiment, sadly reduced in numbers, operated in the second phase of the war chiefly in the Western Transvaal, and had a few casualties on various occasions. A reference in the dispatch of 8th May 1901 to a very valuable bit of work by men of Roberts' Horse and Kitchener's Horse has already been quoted under the former corps. Both regiments were for a time in a column under Colonel Hickie (dispatch of 8th July 1901), and continued to do good work in the Transvaal. On 8th and 9th July both Roberts' and Kitchener's Horse were sharply engaged and suffered casualties. They were, during the next few months, constantly in touch with the enemy, and often suffered losses, as on 4th November 1901, when Kitchener's Horse had 5 men wounded at Vaalbank.




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  • 1 month later...

Pair: QUEENS SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL 1899 four clasps "Relief of Kimberley, Paardeberg, Driefontein & Transvaal", engraved to 5542. Pte. H. Jerome 1/Oxfd. L.I. KSA two clasp impressed to 5542 Pte H. Jerome Oxford: L.I.  Medals and clasps confirmed stating “prisoner-released on 20th April 1902 at Schotland West”.

Henry Jerome was born in 1878 in St. Lukes, London. He enlisted on 28 September 1897 when he was 19 years and three months old. He was 5'4" tall and weighed 115 lbs. with brown eyes and dark brown hair. He was also C of E. He was discharged on 27 September 1909 after having served 5 years and 5 months. His older brother was John Jerome of D. Sqd. 15th Hussars




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  • 1 month later...

ABO officially named to: Burger J.M. Pretorius.  There are three J.M. Pretorius on the rolls, and at least two were PoWs who were in Ceylon and contracted measles.  Possibly , Johannes Mattheus, aged 17, captured  on 30 July 1900 at Fouriesberg / Surrender Hill, and prisoner of war in Ceylon.

Surrender Hill

Declared a South African National Monument in 1986, Surrender Hill is a reminder of the defeat the Boers (comprising of the combined forces of the South African Republic and the Republic of the Orange Free State) suffered against Great Britain and her empires during the Anglo-Boer War (1899 - 1902). On the night on 28 July 1900 the British took Slaapkrans (now known as Surrender Hill), 1500 Boers managed to escape but 2 days later 3000 Boers surrendered at Slaapkrans under Boer Commander Prinsloo. By the 9 August 1900, the British felt they had won a psychological battle, they had burnt the Boer commandos weapons on Surrender Hill, captured over 4300 men, 2800 head of cattle, seized field guns, and destroyed millions of rounds of ammunition.

The prisoners captured at Surrender hill were exiled to Ceylon, Bermuda and St Helena and were only allowed to return to South Africa when they promised their allegiance to the British Crown.

The plaque at the site on Surrender Hill reads as follows:

"In July 1990 a large part of the Free State armed forces were surrounded by British troops in the Brandwater Basin. Gen CR De Wet and about 2 000 men escaped over Slabbert's Nek. In the basin, Chief Comdt Marthinus Prinsloo assumed command and on 31 July agreed to surrender. More than 4 300 Boers laid down their arms. Most of them at Surrender Hill, where the British destroyed the captured arms and ammunition. The bare patches caused by the fire and exploding ammunition serve as a reminder of one of the most serious setbacks suffered by the Boers during the Anglo-Boer War."


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  • 4 months later...

Another PoW QSA for Reddersburg 4 April 1900.  This one is named to 1750 Pte. T Simpson who is listed as 1750 "J" Simpson on the Medal Roll.  He served with the 2nd Battalion.  He was later released and subsequently invalided to England.  The QSA and clasps are confirmed on WO 100/169.



Mostert's Hoek was a farm in the Orange Free State (Reddersburg district; Free State), six km east of Reddersburg*. Three companies of the 2nd The Royal Irish Rifles (424 men) and two companies of mounted infantry, which were men in the Northumberland Fusiliers.  (167 men, Capt W.P. Dimsdale, Royal Irish Rifles) left Dewetsdorp* on 2 April 1900 for Reddersburg under Capt W.J. McWhinnie, Royal Irish Rifles. In heavy rain the column made slow progress, the horses were not fit and needed resting. The column halted at 5:45 p.m. Early the next morning the column started out, at about 10 a.m. the advance scouts reached a ridge on the farm Mostert's Hoek (Mostertshoek) and came under fire. McWhinnie occupied three kopjes, a front of 3/4 mile which was too long for his force. Immediately, Chief-Cmdt C.R. de Wet called on McWhinnie to surrender because he was seriously outnumbered; this was turned down. Four guns were brought into action to shell the British troops. Surrounded and without water the British positions were rushed on the morning of 4 April, the Boers had crept to within 30 yards of the MI. As McWhinnie consulted with his officers one infantry company on a kopje waved white handkerchiefs and two men near McWhinnie also waved white handkerchiefs. McWhinnie was compelled to surrender; losses were ten killed, 35 wounded and 540 taken prisoner. Lt-Gen Sir W.F. Gatacre was sent to assist, but arrived too late and after a short occupation of Reddersburg retired to Bethanie*. Courts of Inquiry into the conduct of Capt W.J. McWhinnie and other officers and a number of NCOs and soldiers exonerated all concerned. However, for Lt-Gen Sir W.F. Gatacre this debacle led to Lord Roberts sending him home, Gatacre had been criticized for the earlier large surrender at Stormberg.

Here's another account...

Mostertshoek (Reddersburg), Battle of,3–4 April 1900

After his victory at Sannaspos on 31 March 1900, Commandant-general Christiaan De Wet scouted

towards his home town of Dewetsdorp to see what forces the British had there. Meanwhile Lord Roberts, becoming aware that his forces were too scattered, ordered Major-general Sir William Gatacre to pull his forces back closer to the railway south of Bloemfontein. A force of some 600 men of the Royal Irish Rifles and Mounted Infantry were caught by De Wet at Mostertshoek and, as the Boers had gathered about 2,000 men and three 75mm Krupp guns, the British surrendered after a full day's fight. Gatacre, who had made little effort to come to their aid, was relieved of his command. De Wet had further demonstrated that he knew how best to use his commandos. In the rear of the army's advance to Bloemfontein British forces had spread out across the country in small formations to hold the towns, thereby making themselves vulnerable to Boer commandos. The experience of Sannaspos made Roberts realize his error and he turned his attention to securing his lines of supply – the long and vulnerable railways. The order to retire from Dewetsdorp to Reddersburg reached Captain W. J. McWhinnie at midnight on 1/2 April and he had his force on the move at 5 a.m. With only a small force, De Wet shadowed them while sending frantic messages to General C. C. Froneman to hurry from Sannaspos with men and guns. Progress on both sides was hampered by the heavy rain and muddy conditions. That night the two forces camped only a few miles apart from each other and at dawn Froneman and General J. H. De Villiers came up. As the British moved on, De Wet had to accept that the guns would have to follow slowly over the difficult ground and the pursuit was continued by the mounted men only. McWhinnie's men were fired on as they passed Mostershoek, only about four miles (6km) east of Reddersburg, and they took position on a line of hills. De Wet invited McWhinnie to surrender, but the latter declined. By the end of the day Krupp shellfire was added to the rifle fire the British endured, and the next day, after a cold night, it all started again. At 9 a.m. the Boers surprised the Mounted Infantry (The Northumberland Fusiliers) on the west of the line by charging and taking the ridge. Enfilading fire was now brought to bear on the Irish Rifles. At 11 a.m. the British surrendered. On the British side, ten were killed, thirty-four wounded and 460 taken prisoner. De Wet wrote: "I have never been able to understand why the great force, stationed at Reddersburg, made no attempt to come. . .". He went on to point out that swift movement and a readiness to flee if necessary were attributes required of the Boers, as well as a willingness to fight.



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  • 2 months later...

Merseyside Far Eastern ex-prisoner of war association badge

A scarce original post war period 'The Merseyside Far Eastern Ex-prisoner of War Association" badge, gilded brass with blue enamel title surround, the centre depicting a highly coloured rural scene consisting of a pagoda style building and liver bird in the foreground resting on a Japanese flag. The reverse is impressed with maker's details 'H.W.Miller Ltd Branston St. B'Ham.18' (a pattern used up to 1958). The diameter is 25mm.



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  • 4 weeks later...

Trio to 1191 Pte. J. Riley Rifle Brigade PoW at Oceana Mine on 26 December, 1900.

India General Service Medal (1895) clasp Punjab Frontier 1897-98: 1191 Pte J Riley 3rd Bn Rif Bde

Queen’s South Africa Medal with CC, TH, RL, Tr, LN and OFS : 1191 Pte J Riley Rifle Brigade

King’s South Africa Medal with SA 1901 & SA 1902:  1191 Pte J Riley Rifle Brigade

Medal roll entries confirm all medals and clasps and that he was taken Prisoner of war at the Oceana Mine near Grootvlei, 26th December 1900.  Riley was released from captivity 30th December 1900, and went on to serve in South Africa until the end of hostilities, the King’s South Africa Medal roll entry records he was discharged to the Army Reserve.

After a quiet Christmas based at the Oceana Mine near Grootvlei, Lieutenant-Colonel A Colville, 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade, proceeded on a farm-clearing expedition, with a small column consisting of six companies of the 1st Battalion, a squadron of the 13th Hussars, four guns of 63 Battery, Royal Field Artillery, as well as one ‘pom-pom’. Colville left ‘F’ Company under the command of Captain Radclyffe, as well as some artillerymen, to guard the baggage wagons based at the mine. The Column moved out in the direction of Roddewal, where after five miles they became involved in a small skirmish at the first of the target farms. During the skirmish a large party of approximately 450 Boers were spotted heading towards the Oceana Mine. A signal was sent to Captain Radclyffe informing him of this development, and he at once set about disposing his small force in an attempt to protect the baggage, with the pom-pom located near a small hollow. After a couple of hours had passed a number of mounted Boers appeared on a ridge a thousand yards away. As Radclyffe’s men opened fire the Boers dismounted, pushed forward, and sent out small parties to the left and right in an encircling movement against the Rifle Brigade position. Under heavy and accurate fire the pompom was moved down towards the hollow and back towards the compound- of the nine men who assisted in moving the pom-pom one was killed and the other eight all wounded.

Seeing that the enemy were now advancing in considerable force, Radclyffe decided to send the baggage back to the Column, whilst attempting to hold the Boers in check for as long as possible. Under cover of heavy Rifle Brigade fire from behind the wagons, the native teams began inspanning the oxen. When they were ready to move the native teams started off the wagons in the direction of Colville’s column and, as they did so, the small Rifle Brigade covering party came under very severe fire and had to retire, as the Boers saw that they were losing their target. During this time, Radclyffe and his sections continued their holding action but suffered a number of casualties, with their ammunition running out fast. With the baggage now well on its way, Radclyffe, who was lying wounded, ordered those in advanced positions who could do so to retire to the compound so as to avoid capture. No.1 section provided covering fire until their ammunition ran out, at which point the Boers advanced rapidly, forcing their surrender, along with the wounded soldiers. Fortunately, at this point, the main column appeared on the horizon, forcing the Boers to withdraw, leaving their wounded prisoners behind. For some time the wounded on the ridge were exposed to fire from both the returning column and the Boers, and a corporal was seen to make a valiant attempt to carry the wounded Radclyffe to safety. Total losses that day were heavy, with 13 Officers and men killed, 44 wounded, and 19 taken prisoner. For his gallantry in defending the position, Captain Radclyffe was awarded the DSO.


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A most interesting and important WWII PoW group for the collection.

A Second War M.B.E. group of six awarded to Captain J. N. White-Abbott, Royal Devon Yeomanry and Royal Artillery, who was Mentioned in Dispatches and was taken Prisoner of War in North Africa in 1942. He was later recognized for his services as Intelligence Officer at prisoner of war camp Oflag 79.

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, M.B.E. (Military) Member’s 2nd type breast badge, silverprivately engraved on reverse of the crown ‘Capt. J. N. White-Abbott R.D.Y.A.; 1939-45 Star; Africa Star; Defense and War Medals 1939-45, with M.I.D. oak leaf; Efficiency Decoration, G.VI.R., 2nd issue, reverse officially dated 1950, with integral top ‘Territorial’ riband bar, very fine 

Footnote M.B.E. London Gazette 18 April 1946:
‘In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the field.’

The original recommendation states: ‘Capt. Abbott was captured in the Western Desert on 30 June 1942 and as a result was imprisoned in Italy and Germany.
Throughout the whole of his captivity he took a keen and active interest in Intelligence work and from June 1944 until the collapse of Germany he was responsible for the collection and collation of information at Oflag 79. He carried out these duties with such efficiency and enthusiasm that he has received the commendation of the Senior British Officer and five of his colleagues.

M.I.D. London Gazette 24 June 1943:
‘In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East during the period 1st May, 1942 to 22nd October 1942.’

Territorial Decoration, London Gazette 21 April 1950

John Nesbitt White-Abbott was born in 1914, the son of Edward John White Abbott, a literary agent who was killed serving in France in 1915. He was educated at Eton College and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery (Territorial Army) on 12 May 1939. He served with the 142 (Royal Devon Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery in the Second World War and was a Lieutenant in the 384th Battery on 1 September 1939 at the time of its embodiment. 
White-Abbott was Mentioned in Dispatches and taken prisoner-of-war in the Western Desert in June 1942. It appears that he was attached to 50th Division H.Q. in North Africa at this time. His original M.B.E. recommendation in WO 373 gives his unit as Royal Devon Yeomanry, H.Q. 50 Div. Both his London Gazette entries simply list his unit as Royal Regiment of Artillery. It should be noted that the Royal Devon Yeomanry saw no overseas action as a regiment until the Sicily landings in July 1943.  He married Romaney K. Rawlins in the Westminster District in (12?) 1949. 

2nd Lt. 05/07/1939 (92085)

WS/Lt. 27/04/1941

T/Capt. 27/04/1941 … 06/07/1945

Late Cadet, Eton College Contingent, Jr. Division OTC

Commissioned, Royal Regt. Of Artillery, TA 05/07/1939

Mobilized TA 24/08/1939

Oflag 79 was a German WWII PoW camp for Allied officers. The camp was located at Waggum near Braunschweig, Germany also known by the English name of Brunswick. It was located in a three-story brick building that had previously been the home of a German parachute regiment, near the Hermann Göring aircraft engine factory. Offizierslager 79 ("Officers Camp 79") was established in December 1943 with men transferred from camps in Italy, mainly British Commonwealth officers from the Battle of Crete and the North African Campaign. More prisoners arrived in July 1944 transferred from Oflag VIII-F. On 24 August 1944 the camp was strafed by American and British aircraft. Three men were killed, and 14 seriously wounded. The camp was liberated by the US Ninth Army on 12 April 1945

White-Abbot is indicated by the red arrow in the photograph below.

Internet Image 1.jpg






Edited by azyeoman
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  • 3 weeks later...

A new QSA to 468 Trooper H. E. Burrowes, Bethune's Mounted Infantry

Harold Edwin Burrowes (*note spelling) Enlisted on 24/10/1899 served in “E” Squadron, Bethune’s Mounted Infantry. Prisoner of war on 17/07/1900 at “WATERVAL ONDER”, and released on 05/09/1900 at NOOITGEDACHT; discharged on 22/04/1901.  (number on medal matches all references on roll, surname missing “e” on medal.)






Prisoner - released at Waterval Onder. 17 Jul 1900.
Source: Natal Field Force Casualty Roll, page 216 line 25





Served 24/10/1899 to 22 Apr 01 NOK: Mr T Burrows Reboth House Circular Rd Durban. Discharged No 1 Transport Blomfontein
Source: Nominal roll in WO127





Slightly wounded. Rietpan, 6 January 1901
Source: South African Field Force Casualty Roll

This corps was raised at Durban in October 1899 by Major E C Bethune, 16th Lancers, an officer who was to do well throughout the whole war, like several others who undertook the raising and command of irregular corps before the value of these was fully appreciated at home. The regiment was present at General Hildyard's action at Willow Grange on the night of 22nd November 1899, and did good service (see the General's report, dated 24th November). At Colenso, 15th December 1899, the regiment, 500 strong, was present (see General Buller's dispatch of 17th December and list of troops appended), but was detailed as portion of the baggage-guard.

When General Buller commenced the movement by which he attempted to turn the right of the Boer positions between himself and Ladysmith, Bethune's Mounted Infantry was split up, a squadron being left under General Barton at Frere and Chieveley, in which district they were constantly employed on reconnaissance duties, and had some sharp casualties. The remainder of the corps accompanied their commander to Potgieter's Drift, where they were attached to General Lyttelton's Brigade, and had skirmishing on various occasions. On the 24th January, when the awful combat was going on upon the summit of Spion Kop, General Lyttelton sent the 2nd Scottish Rifles, the 3rd King's Royal Rifles, and Colonel Bethune, with two of his squadrons, to assist. The 3rd King's Royal Rifles seized the Twin Peaks, north-east of the Spion; the Scottish Rifles ascended the latter mountain and were put into the firing-line on the summit, where they did very fine work, but although Colonel Bethune offered to lead his men on to the plateau1, they were kept in reserve by General Talbot Coke, probably because the role of lining the trenches was rather that of the infantry present.

During the Vaal Krantz operations the corps continued to do patrol work, chiefly on General Buller's right and rear. On 11th February Colonel Bethune was ordered to take his men to Greytown2, in order to watch the Boers near the Zululand border, and also with the view of ultimately co-operating from Greytown in any movement towards Dundee. The regiment thus missed the fierce fighting which took place near Colenso between 13th and 27th February.

In his dispatch of 30th March, General Buller, in mentioning Colonel Bethune, said: "He proved himself to be an excellent commander of irregular horse. He has acted with great skill and judgment when in command of a detached force".

It will be remembered that the Natal Army lay chiefly to the north of Ladysmith during March and April. On 7th May General Buller commenced his movement to turn the Boer position on the Biggarsberg. In his despatch of 24th May 1900, para. 10, General Buller said: "While we were at Ladysmith a force under Colonel Bethune had been holding Greytown and the line of the Tugela, that force being five squadrons Bethune's Mounted Infantry, one squadron Umvoti Mounted Rifles, two 12-pounders, RGA, two 7-pounders, Natal Field Artillery, two Hotchkiss, Natal Field Artillery, six companies Imperial Light Infantry. This force I had directed to advance concurrently with our advance on Vermaak's Kraal, and we established connection with it at eleven o'clock (on the 13th). Colonel Bethune's arrangements had been very good. He had seized during the night, with his left, the hills which commanded the southern sides of the pass up which we had to approach. At 11.20 we advanced up the pass". The enemy made a poor defense and fled, pursued by the Colonial mounted troops. Natal was, almost without loss, cleared of the enemy, and Laing's Nek was turned by the battle of Alleman's Nek on 11th June.

Lieutenant J M Dalrymple was severely wounded in a skirmish on 10th May near Helpmakaar.

Before Laing's Nek was turned Bethune's Mounted Infantry were to suffer a grievous mishap. In his telegram of 21st May 1900 General Buller said that he had detached Colonel Bethune with about 500 men from Dundee on the 19th, to march to N'qutu, and to rejoin at Newcastle. On the 20th one squadron was ambushed about six miles south of Vryheid, very few escaping. Captain Goff, 3rd Dragoon Guards, Lieutenants Lanham and M'Lachlan, and about 26 non-commissioned officers and men, were killed. Captain Lord de la Warr, Lieutenant De Lasalle, Sergeant-Major Hadler, and about 30 non-commissioned officers and men, were wounded.

Bethune's Mounted Infantry was, during the remainder of 1900, mainly employed on patrol work in the south of the Transvaal and in the Utrecht district, with the view of protecting our posts and the railway line, and frequently they had some skirmishing and much very dangerous work. When Vryheid was occupied by General Hildyard on 19th September the strong position of the enemy was turned by the skillful work of Gough's and Bethune's Mounted Infantry3.

In his final dispatch of 9th November 1900, General Buller complimented the troops left to protect his rear: "In the area commanded by General Hildyard the mounted work of guarding the communications was performed by Bethune's Mounted Infantry and the composite regiment of Mounted Infantry" and he made numerous mentions. bOf Colonel Bethune he said "Raised this regiment and commanded it most efficiently throughout the campaign. I strongly recommend him to your favorable consideration".

About the end of November 1900 Colonel Bethune left the regiment, having been given a command in the Clanwilliam district of Cape Colony, from which, in a few weeks, he was promoted to the command of a cavalry brigade — a compliment to the high order of the work done in the first stage of the war by himself and his corps.

The corps was, in December 1900, taken to the Lindley district of the Orange River Colony, and Lieutenant-Colonel S C H Monro was appointed to succeed Colonel Bethune. Captain L M Boddam and 5 men were wounded on 31st December near Lindley. The regiment was frequently engaged in that district, and in other parts of the Orange River Colony. Captain G 0 Webster was killed in a railway accident at Bethulie on 1st February, and on the 6th 1 man was killed and several wounded. In Lord Kitchener's dispatch of 8th May 1901, para. 5, it is mentioned that on 9th April at Dewetsdorp, in the south-east of the Orange River Colony, Lieutenant Colonel Monro, with a detachment of 150 mounted men and a pom-pom, after two hours' fighting cleverly effected the capture of a Boer convoy and 83 prisoners, including Commandant Bresler and Lieutenant Lindique of the Staats Artillery. Colonel Monro's casualties were 1 man killed and 4 wounded. Private G E Duffey was killed; Sergeant Major Goulding and Private Rosevean died of wounds.

Colonel Monro's column, consisting of Bethune's Mounted Infantry, about 275 strong, and the 56th, 57th, 58th, and 59th Companies Imperial Yeomanry, with 2 guns of the 39th Battery Royal Field Artillery, was, on 19th May 1901, taken to Cape Colony (see despatch of 8th July), where, down to the close of the war, they were everlastingly pursuing commandos under Kritzinger, Myburg, and other leaders. On 12th September the force was heavily engaged with Commandant Smuts at Stavelberg, in the eastern part of Cape Colony, and lost 7 killed and 6 wounded, the latter including Lieutenant Pollard. On 27th March 1902 Captain Collopy and 4 men were wounded at Mointje's Nek, and a few days later there were further casualties at Maraisburg, Cape Colony.

Like the other troops in Cape Colony, Bethune's Mounted Infantry had few opportunities of gaining distinction in the latter phases of the war, but the work of Colonel Monro's column was very often referred to in terms of approval by Lord Kitchener.





Bethune's MI Burrowes .jpg




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