Apologies if this has already been covered somewhere else.
I recent acquired my Great Great Grandfathers service records, he served with the 1st Gordon Highlanders during the Second Boer War. On his service record there is an entry stating “Promoted to Cpl after gallantry in the field” dated 12 July 1900.
Does anyone know what would merit a field promotion? Or even if a record of this event would be recorded anywhere?
My opinion is that your GGF performed some duty in a gallant manner - but which did not merit a formal "mention" in despatches, In many cases, such an entry and field promotion meant an increase in pay (and responsibility!). The recorded date of 12th July 1900 may refer to an action on 10th July 1900 outside Krugersdorp where the Gordons were involved in a desperate effort to recover some guns. The slight discrepancy in dates could be the time it took to record details of men who came to notice.
I would imagine that the Gordons produced a book of their doings during 1899-1902 and if you can find a copy, you ,may learn more from it.
Good luck with your research.
Below is report of the engagement that your GGF may have won his promotion from lance Corporal to full Corporal. The date was 11th July and as Linneyl has mentioned looks to be the action Richard performed his gallant duty. I have checked the casualty rolls for the Gordon's and no mention of your GGF being wounded in any actions pertaining to his regiment. However, there were wounded comrades he may of helped . I notice in his records he was awarded best of proficiency in recconnaissance which may have contributed to his act of gallantry in the field, especially to ascertain strategic features. I couldn't find any details of his action in the local newspapers but in my humble opinion it was the Krugersdorp action.
The Battle of Dwarsvlei, 11 July 1900- (Krugersdorp)
It was mid-Winter on the Highveld, Pretoria had fallen to the British, and General de la Rey had gathered the Burghers North of the Magaliesberg for the start of the guerrilla phase of the war. On that day, 11 July 1900, the British were engaged at four Places: Witpoort, East of Pretoria; Onderstepoort to the North; and Zilikat's Nek (Silkaatsnek) and Dwarsvlei in the West. The results of the actions at the last three sites was disastrous. The Gordon Highlanders and Shropshire Regiment under the Command of Major-General Smith-Dorrien were to leave Krugersdorp for Hekpoort in order to join the Scots Greys from Pretoria and link up with Baden-Powell at Olifantsnek, South of Rustenburg. The Force consisted of about 1 335 men, 597 Gordon Highlanders, 680 Shropshires, 34 Imperial Yeomanry with a Colt Gun, two Guns of the 78th Battery, three Ambulances and forty Wagons.
The track they followed topped a rise after about 15 km before dropping through an open hollow and rising again to cross the Witwatersberg beyond. Here the Boers, mainly from the Krugersdorp Commando under Sarel Oosthuizen, opened fire on them from the high ground.
The guns advanced between the two Kopjes to the open ground and opened fire on the opposing Ridges while the Gordons took up positions on the Kopjes. As at Colenso, the Horse-Drawn Artillery, in their eagerness to come into action, had left the Infantry behind and found themselves in an exposed Position. They sent the limbers 600 Yards (548 metres) to the Rear, instead of taking advantage of the perfect cover provided by the Kopjes. The deadly Boer fire, from only 800 Yards (731 metres) away, soon took its toll and within half an hour, fourteen of the seventeen Gunners had been hit and the guns had been silenced. The section commander, Lieutenant Turner, although wounded three times, continued for some time to fire one of the guns himself. One of the limber teams, in endeavouring to remove a gun, had four horses shot and gave up the attempt, while the horses of the other had taken fright and bolted. Captain W E Gordon, with some Gordon Highlanders, then made a gallant but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to manhandle the guns. Captain D R Younger and three men were killed and seventeen were wounded in the attempt.
Your Great Great Grandfather served with distinction and that's reflected in his QSA with 5 clasps which include Paardeberg, Driefontein and Belfast, Johannesburg and Cape Colony. Plus his KSA . A professional soldier who went through the conflict and served in the reserve in 1914. I do hope you have his medals?
PS these books may have some extra details regarding your GGF regiment. ... Gardyne, A D C, History of the Gordon Highlanders, (Cooper, London, 1971) 5 volumes, I think volume 3 covers the ABW.
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Moranthorse1, Redcap0006, Dalemac91
That’s awesome information, thanks for that.
I only found out about him a week or two ago, I believe a family member does have his medals so it will be good to get a hold of them.
Thanks again for your efforts