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    This excellent group belonging to Major General Sir J.G. Dartnell, K.C.B., C.M.G, was sold a few years ago on a medal auction in Cape Town, South Africa, by City Coins


    The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, K.C.B. 
    (Military) Knight Commander’s set of insignia, comprising Neck Badge in Gold (18ct) and enamel and Breast Star in gold, silver and enamel; The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, C.M.G., Companion’s Badge in gold and enamel, with integral gold riband claw buckle; Colonial Auxiliary Volunteer Forces Officers’ Decoration, Edward VII with floral pattern 
    top bar (Major General Sir J.G. Dartnell, K.C.B., C.M.G.); Indian Mutiny 1857, one clasp: Central India (Lieut. J.G. Dartnell, 86th Regt.); Indian General Service medal 1854, one clasp: Bhootan (Capt. & Bt. Majr. J.G. Dartnel, A.D.C.); South Africa medal 1877-79, one clasp: 1979 (Comdt. Major J.G. Dartnell, Natal Mtd. Police); Cape General Service medal, 1880, one clasp: Basutoland (Commdt. J.G. Dartnell, Natal M. Pce.); Queen’s South Africa medal 1899-1902, five clasps: Talana, Defence of Ladysmith, Orange Free State, Transvaal and Laing’s Nek (Bgdr, Genl. Sir J.G. Dartnell, K.C.B. Natal Pol.); King’s South Africa medal, two clasps: South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902 (Maj. Genl. Sir. J.G. Dartnell, K.C.B., C.M.G. Natl. Fcs.); Natal Rebellion 1906, no clasp (Maj. Gen. Sir 
    J.G. Dartnell, Natal Militia Staff).

    The medal group, including the CMG, is fitted with original ribbons on the original pin brooch as worn by the recipient. Slight chipping of enamel on CMG, otherwise Good Very Fine. 

    All awards and medals are correctly named and are confirmed on relevant medal rolls. 
    (KCB: LG 19 April 1901; CMG: LG 24 May 1881, CAFOD: NG 11 November 1903). 
    Major General Sir John George Dartnell, KCB, CMG was born in Penetanguishene, Simcoe in Ontario, Canada on 2 April 1838. His father, George Russell Dartnell, served as a Staff Surgeon in the British Army and it was while serving in Canada that Jack was born being the eldest son in a large 

    Jack Dartnell joined the 86th Regiment of Foot as an Ensign in 1855 being promoted Lieutenant the following year. He first saw action with his Regiment during the Indian Mutiny being present at the storming of Chanderi in March 1858 and the storming of Fort Jhansi on 3 April 1858 when he was 
    wounded while climbing the ladders to scale the walls. He was reportedly the first man to ascend the ladder and was immediately set upon by the mutineers who shot and slashed him with their sabres. 

    Although recommended for the Victoria Cross, the recommendation was not approved and he missed out on being awarded highest gallantry decoration. For his gallantry he was however promoted 
    Company Commander and was invalided back home to Britain to recover from his wounds. Promoted Captain the following year in 1859 he transferred to the 16th Regiment of Foot and in 1862 exchanged to serve with the 27th Regiment. He took part in the Bhutan War of 1865 serving as Aide-
    de-camp to Major General Sir Harry Tombs and was present at the capture of Dewngiri. 

    Remaining in India he married Clara Alicia Steer in 1865 and with her had six children, five daughters and a son. After serving for some 15 years, he retired from the Army with the rank of Captain and his medal complement comprising an Indian Mutiny and Indian General Service medal pair. 
    Following his retirement in 1869 he moved to Natal with his young family intending to become a farmer.


    Behind every good man there is a good woman and his wife soon tired of the solitary farming life and urged him to find something else to do to earn a living. In 1894 following the so called Langalibalele Rebellion the then Governor of Natal decided to raise a mounted police force and Jack Dartnell, although he had no experience in police maters decided to 
    apply for a posting. He was offered and accepted the senior position and after studying the management and operation of the Frontier Armed and Mounted Police in the Cape Colony, he set about raising the Natal Mounted Police which was to become a most respected police force in Natal. 

    His first call to military duty was during
    the Anglo Zulu War when members of his 
    Natal Police were attached to the British 
    Army in the Central Column under Lord 
    Chelmsford. Tragically 25 of their 
    number were killed during the massacre 
    at Isandlwana on 22 January 1879 – Jack
    Dartnell was lucky to escape having been 
    attached to Chelmsford’s Staff and had 
    therefore not remained in camp during 
    that fateful day. His message sent to 
    Chelmsford about the sighting of the main
    Zulu War still evokes much discussion 
    amongst Zulu War historians. 
    With Dartnell at the helm the Natal 
    Mounted Police also served during the 
    Gun War in Basutoland in 1881 and 
    played a role during the First Anglo Boer 

    Jack Dartnell was soon placed in 
    command of all the Volunteer Forces in 
    Natal and was promoted Colonel in 1885. 
    He was a member of the Colony’s Defence Committee and when all the various police and prison service merged into a single force to becoming the Natal Police in 1894, he was appointed as the Chief Commissioner of the new force. He was appointed as a Justice of the Peace, acted on occasion as the Secretary for Native Affairs, as the Commissioner of Mines and the Inspector of Prisons. He was a very well-respected member of the Natal Establishment. 


    The new police force expanded 
    significantly. Establishing 11 police
    districts the number of “out stations” more than doubled and in 1898 the native police in Zululand amalgamated with the Natal Police with a further 10 police stations being set up in Zululand. In all of this Jack Dartnell was at the helm. With the commencement of hostilities during the Anglo Boer War he was placed on the Staff of Major General Sir William Penn Symon at Dundee. After the fighting at Talana the police under his command retired to Ladysmith. He played a leading role during the defence and was lucky to escape 
    serious injury when his empty tent received a direct hit from a Boer shell destroying its contents.


    When the guerrilla phase of the War began Dartnell was promoted local Brigadier-General and placed in command of the Volunteer Brigade being given the task of forcing the Boer invaders out of Natal. 
    He served under General Buller in 1900 and commanded the Imperial Light Horse Brigade in the Orange River Colony in 1901.
    In his official despatches of April 1901 Lord Roberts recorded the following of Dartnell : 
    “Col. Dartnell, as G.O.C. Natal Colonists, has maintained the best traditions of the regular forces. 

    His name stands very high in the estimation of the colonists, and he possesses the greatest influence over the natives. His advice was of much assistance in the earliest actions of the war, afterwards 
    during the siege of Ladysmith, and finally in the general advance through the Biggarsberg to Laing’s Nek, when Natal was cleared of the enemies of the Queen.” In recognition of his service during the Anglo Boer War, he was appointed as a Knight of the Order of the Bath. 

    After 30 years of service to the Colony of Natal honorary Major General John Dartnell retired from the Natal Police and with his wife moved to Rochester in Kent where he had first lived as a young boy. He later moved to Folkstone in the Shepway District where he died on 7 August 1913 aged 76 

    Sir John’s medals and miniatures where previously sold at Glendinings in July 1983. His miniatures were subsequently sold by DNW / Noonans in June 2005. 
    The archive include with this lot includes the following: 
    1. An album containing approximately 40 newspaper obituaries. (some duplicated). 
    2. A copy of the book “Wreck of the Transport Premier”, published by Jeremiah How, 1895 which includes 6 full page engravings of sketches by his father George R. Dartnell.
    3. A fine monogrammed album with leather covers and faced with silk leaves containing two illuminated testimonials attesting to the services he rendered to the Colony of Natal. The first from the Legislative Assembly of Natal dated 2 April 1902 and signed by the Speaker 
    Liege Hulett. The second testimonial from the Office of the Prime Minister’s Office 
    Pietermaritzburg, dated 14 May 1902 and signed by the Prime Minister of Natal, Sir Albert Henry Hime. 
    4. A typescript of “Short Stories” (These not being of a police or military nature) written by Major General Sir John Dartnell.







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