Rand Rifles:- John Bainbridge & Bros

  • Mark Wilkie
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5 years 6 months ago #198

I'm looking for any information on my great grandfather 29532 Pte. John Bainbridge and his two brothers 29526 Sjt. Matthew Bainbridge and 29515 Cpl. Christopher Bainbridge all of the Rand Rifles Mine Division (ranks for MB & CB differ on different rosters/rolls).

John was living in Roodepoort in the Transvaal and worked as an engine driver on the mines before the War and both Matthew and Christopher were miners and had been in the Transvaal from at least the mid 1890s. Their eldest brother, Roger Bainbridge, was also a miner and was in South Africa at this time but I've not located his name on the Rand Rifles roll or any other unit rosters/rolls.

John seems to be possibly confused (WO 100/266) with the following man/men by the same name. There are question marks on the WO100/266 for the Rand Rifles and the other rolls I’ve looked at so presumably it was being queried if these were in fact the same man rather than stating they were the same man. I’m wondering if my great grandfather could possibly be one of these other men but I have my doubts.

- 9820 J. Bainbridge, TMI? (Could that be Thorneycroft’s Mounted Infantry?)
-27665 Tpr. John Bainbridge, 1st Scottish Horse.
-2110 Pte. J Bainbridge, Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Volunteer Rifles.
-1575 Pte. J Bainbridge, Prince Alfred's Guards Mtd. Inf.

I know my great grandfather followed his older brothers to work on the mines on the Rand around the mid 1890s. He was an engine driver. He was born in 1865, the son of a horse keeper, and came from Dalton in the district of Ulverston in Lancashire, England where he had worked as a horse driver and later a stationary engine driver. He married my great grandmother, Frances Jane Fearon from Egremont, Cumberland in 1898 in Roodepoort in the Transvaal. A son, Roger was born in 1899 shortly before the War. Frances and Roger fled the Transvaal for England when the War broke out and the 1901 England census shows them as residing in Ulverston, Lancs. John served in the Rand Rifles Mine Division and was discharged on 18 June 1901.

The Scottish Horse man and the Dukes man would appear to be the same man. From what I can find on this man he was Canadian so doesn’t seem likely to be my great grandfather.
27665 Tpr. John Bainbridge, 1st Scottish Horse,
Age 38,
Nationality: Canadian.
Trade: Telegraphist.
Previous Service: 10 Months in Dukes Cape Town.
Enlisted: Maitland: 30 Jan 1901
Wife: Mrs Annie Bainbridge, Suffolk Lodge, De Villiers St, Cape Town.
Discharged: 20 March 1901, medically unfit.

I can’t find a J. Bainbridge in Thorneycroft’s Mounted Infantry but can find a T. Bainbridge. “T” and “J” are similar letters so it could just be the handwriting. I don’t see a number for T. Bainbridge so am unsure if this is the 9820 J. Bainbridge referred to on the RR WO 100/266. That said; I’m not sure that I even have the correct unit. I’m just presuming that TMI is Thorneycroft’s Mounted Infantry.

The WO 100/264 for the PAG has a reference to the TMI, RR, SH & Dukes for J. Bainbridge as do the Dukes WO 100/246, RR WO 100/266, & SH WO 100/268.

Christopher is noted on the WO 100/266 as deceased. The cause of his death is unknown to me and I've not located his name on any casualty list. Also, exactly where he died is unclear. In the Transvaal Archives Index his death is just given as 1902, presumably in the Transvaal. The England Death Index for Oct-Dec 1902 lists the district of Ulverston, Lancs for his death but gives no exact date. It is unclear if Christopher died in the Transvaal or if he was wounded/injured or fell sick and returned to England and died there. Christopher's wife and infant son had fled the Transvaal for England when the War broke out and where living in Ulverston at the time of his death.

Matthew continued mining on the Rand after the War and retired to Lancs in 1909 with his family. Both John and Roger died in 1909. Cause/s of their deaths is unknown to me. I can't help wondering if it was the result of a mine accident that killed both of them and caused Matthew, the surviving Bainbridge brother to pack it in and return to England.

Any help with trying to piece together the multiple unit mystery for John Bainbridge and any additional information about him or any of his brothers would be very much appreciated.

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5 years 6 months ago #201

Hello Mark,

I have copies of the following attestation papers to the Rand Rifles that might interest you:

25926 M.Bainbridge
29532 J.Bainbridge
28189 J.Bainbridge
29575 C.Bainbridge

If you wish me to email them to you please drop me your email details.



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  • Mark Wilkie
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5 years 6 months ago #202

Thanks, Adrian,

I'll be in touch.


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