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South African Constabulary


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This is a picture of my Great Uncle James Henry Galt/Gatt (born in Scotland 1883) in his police uniform.  This photo was taken in Canada 1913 so unsure which uniform it is although believe it is his South African one.  Also attached is a picture of his medal.  I know he joined the South African Police Constabulary in 1906 from his Ayrshire Police record.  Plus on his Canadian Expeditionary service record he states he served 6 years 7 months with the South African Constabulary.  I cannot find any service records for him either before 1902 or after 1906.  Any help greatly appreciated.

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Hello PistolPat.........

First welcome to the forum.......

1.  Can you please provide what is written on the edge of the medal, Number - Rank - Name - Unit, It will help in tracking......

2.  I have checked the roll of The Canadians in the South African Constabulary and there is no listing......

3.  I have checked Fink my Past and also there is no listing but that does not mean anything......

4.  The South African Constabulary was disbanded on June 2nd 1908 so therefore he would or should not be wearing uniform in 1913.....

He may have enlisted in England for service in South Africa.....   Some of these records are available at Kew and some in South Africa.....   Researcher in (Audrey Portman) SA I suggest is:    rhinoresearch@icon.co.za 

Mike

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694 TPR JAS.H.GALT. S.A.COSTBY is what is indented on the rim.  He wasn't Canadian, he was Scottish.  He emigrated to Canada in 1913. He enlisted in 1906 from Scotland. I have just recently found his Ayrshire Police service record which shows that he resigned from them to join the S A Constabularyin 1906.  I'm assuming that as he had a 1902 bar on his medal ribbon he had served twice with the S A Constabulary,

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If his medal is named 694. TPR JAS. H. Galt S. A. COSTBY, then I am afraid that this medal was not officially awarded to him.....  They never used first names (JAS.) and the unit name was always S.A.C. not S.A. COSTBY.....   I have a number of medals issued to men from the founding of the unit right up until the end of the Boer War and they are all named S.A.C., including one where the man did not get his medal till 1910 .....  If he had resigned from the Ayrshire Police to join the SAC in 1906 the war had been over for 4 years and the SAC folded in 1908.....   A clue to look at is since you have the Ayrshire Police records, when did he join them?????    The medal on its edge should have all of the information Impressed and not engraved, is there a chance to see a photo of the edge.....   Can you get hold of Census information that may also give you a clue.....  Oh yes using that number I also again checked FMP nothing there, maybe if you have Ancestry there may be something there......

Sorry he may have served at the end of the SAC period but from the information that you have provided it seems that he may have given himself the medal......

Mike

Edited by QSAMIKE
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Thanks for this info.  I don't have the medal but his great,great grandson in Canada has it.  I will ask him if he can send a photo of the edge.  I did suspect that this medal may not be genuine as James seemed to have a habit of being 'economical with the truth'.

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Please see Ancestry - Passenger Lists.  A number of references to men of this name Gatt/Galt,departing to Canada ( one in  March 1900 ) from Glasgow, and returning therefrom ( Nov 1914 - to enlist ?). Cannot positively identify him but may be worth further checking.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 9/7/2017 at 20:06, QSAMIKE said:

 I have a number of medals issued to men from the founding of the unit right up until the end of the Boer War and they are all named S.A.C., including one where the man did not get his medal till 1910 .

Mike

Something that I've always found curious about the South African Constabulary is why the used the rank Trooper and not Constable? I think I'm right in thinking that they were formed as a police force to take over from the army once the war was won (and it was assumed the war would be over quickly). When this wasn't the case, their role changed to a para-military outfit. Which I assume is where the rank Trooper comes from. When the unit was first founded did they use the rank Constable? 

 

 

 

Are any medal groups know to exist, whereby a British bobby left to join the SAC and then returned to his previous role afterwards? Perhaps 1897 Jubilee Medal, Boer War Medal(s) and a 1911 medal perhaps? 

 

 

Edited by bigjarofwasps
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The SAC was raised during the Boer War, and, in spite of their name, they functioned as mounted infantry, hence the use of 'Trooper' for the lowest rank.  Even in peacetime in South Africa, there was a need for mounted police, and many of the SAC men deployed in the Orange Free State and Transvaal were mounted.  The same applied to the police  in the Cape Colony and Natal, and the tradition of using 'Trooper' continued.  In the case of Natal, 'Constable' referred to policemen employed in court duties, and their rank was equivalent to that of Sergeant in other branches of the force.

Brett

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1 hour ago, Brett Hendey said:

The SAC was raised during the Boer War, and, in spite of their name, they functioned as mounted infantry, hence the use of 'Trooper' for the lowest rank.  Even in peacetime in South Africa, there was a need for mounted police, and many of the SAC men deployed in the Orange Free State and Transvaal were mounted.  The same applied to the police  in the Cape Colony and Natal, and the tradition of using 'Trooper' continued.  In the case of Natal, 'Constable' referred to policemen employed in court duties, and their rank was equivalent to that of Sergeant in other branches of the force.

Brett

Very interesting!!! One wonders why they chose to incorporate the word Constabulary at all? All very misleading:wacky:. That Baden Powell had a lot to answer for ;).

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Saw this on another forum, thought it might be of interest. It appears that the East Africa Police, during WW1 used the rank of Constable.

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/topic/253940-constable-david-marsh-east-african-police/

I don't know anything about the EAP, but I assume they were along the same lines as the NWMP & SAC? 

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