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A Stowaway with the Shropshire Yeomanry 3 weeks 6 days ago #85534

  • Neville_C
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While researching the Transport "Monteagle", I came across the following story about a thirteen-year-old boy, who, after being discovered as a stowaway, was trained as a bugler with the Shropshire Yeomanry. Unfortunately, things did not go entirely to plan ........

Newcastle Chronicle, 24th February 1900

We have received the following letters from men with A and B companies of the Northumberland and Durham contingent of the Imperial Yeomanry on board the Monteagle: –
Private Harper writes – A stowaway we found was a little boy of 14 who came on board with the Shropshire men, who joined us at Liverpool. He is a bright little fellow, and as brave as they are made. He says work is difficult to get, so he wishes to fight for his Queen and country. “There is one boy who has killed three Boers, so why should I not try to do the same thing?” The Shropshire men are going to try to train him as a bugler.

Leominster News, 23rd March 1900

Shropshire Imperial Yeomanry, H.M. Transport "Monteagle", February 18th, 1900.
We found a little stowaway on board soon after we started from Liverpool, who ran away from his home in Shrewsbury to come with us. I should think he is about nine or ten years old.

Wellington Journal, 24th March 1900

Mr William Cooke of Churncote, near Shrewsbury, sends the following interesting diary of each day’s proceedings on board the "Monteagle".
February 18th.
Today has been much cooler, which means that we are getting father now each day from the Equator. The Shropshire stowaway I referred to in a previous letter was a youth from Shrewsbury Heath, whom I discovered on board two days after we left Liverpool, and who has since been instructed as a bugler for our company, has got into disgrace. He took possession of Trooper Blower’s (Shrewsbury) watch, and was punished by having a sound flogging, which it is hoped will cure him of such habits.

Leominster News, 30th March 1900

An interesting account of the voyage of the Shropshire Imperial Yeomanry has been written by Trooper Cook, of Churncote, Shrewsbury, to his parents. He refers to a youth from Shawbury, near Wellington, who got on board the "Monteagle" at Liverpool, and was only discovered when out at sea. Major Bryan made him bugler to the Shropshire contingent, but he has disgraced himself. He stole one of the troopers’ watch, for which he was flogged.

Hereford Journal, 14th April 1900

The stowaway youth, who came with the company from Shrewsbury to Liverpool and got on board the "Monteagle", has been a source of trouble, as already announced in the Hereford Journal. Efforts were made to train him as a bugler, but he began to steal money and watches, and in consequence was left on board the steamer to be brought back to England. However, he managed to leave the ship, and was lost in Cape Town.

Ludlow Advertiser, 12th May 1900

The youth from Shrewsbury who got on board the "Monteagle", and accompanied the Shropshire Imperial Yeomanry to South Africa, has had most exciting experiences. He was first discovered under some tar sheets, and then made a bugler. He stole a trooper’s watch, and Major Bryan ordered him to return to England when the troops arrived at the Cape. The youth, however, escaped at Cape Town. Trooper W. Cooke, in a letter written home, recounts how the runaway bugler turned up again at the front. He says: – “The stowaway applied to the New Zealanders, and, as he had been taught the calls, they made him trumpeter to their contingent. Shortly after I witnessed the young rascal being marched to the guard room on a charge of stealing; but he once more escaped, and this time by some means or other got to the front. We were surprised at a subsequent date in seeing him pass Matjesfontein camp en route to Cape Town, assisting in escorting some Boer prisoners to the base. This time he was rigged out in full khaki, and armed with a sword” [The youth referred to was an errand boy in a boot shop at Shrewsbury].

Wellington Journal, 16th June 1900

The Cape Argus contains the following reference to the youth from Shrewsbury who went out to South Africa as a stowaway in the ship on which the Shropshire Yeomanry sailed: – “Yesterday’s morning train from the north brought a nice little boy bugler, named Harry Lloyd, who came out with the Shropshire Yeomanry, was at Paardeberg, and through to Bloemfontein. Having thus won his spurs in the front line of fire, this little “hero” has been promoted to a line regiment now stationed in his native town. He was questioned by the station commandant about his parents, and the little man stood to attention while Captain Wilkinson took a snapshot of him. He made no boasts, but merely told the commandant that he had seen Lord Roberts, and the rest of the generals at Bloemfontein. The little man was rather lionised by the townsfolk, who congregate at the station to see our heroes pass”.

Wellington Journal, 30th June 1900

Harry Lloyd of Water Lane, Shrewsbury, the youth who was found stowed away on the transport in which the Shropshire Imperial Yeomanry sailed to the Cape, and was subsequently taken over by the army authorities, has returned to Shrewsbury on two months’ furlough, and is now at the Copthorne Barracks.


The three articles below at first appear to refer to a different boy, who stowed away with the Shropshire Light Infantry at London's Albert Dock. There are, however, similarities, such as the surname Lloyd, the fact that he came from Shrewsbury, and his story that he had seen Lord Roberts at Bloemfontein...

Ludlow Advertiser, 22nd September 1900

Around the adventures of William Lloyd, whose age is only 14, and who comes from Shrewsbury, a romantic story is woven. His story, as told at Southampton Police Court to an admiring group of magistrates, shows that the lad is of real grit.
Some ten days ago a youthful looking bugler, dressed in the uniform of the Lancasters, was stranded at Eastleigh Station, near Southampton, on his way to Portsmouth. He was handed over to the Sergeant-Major in charge of the Transport Corps at Southampton.
Then it transpired that the lad was not a soldier. He had run away from home at Shrewsbury four or five times to fulfil his life’s ambition of joining the Army.
The last occasion he stowed himself away was with the Shropshire Light Infantry. He sailed with them from Albert Docks, London, and accompanied them to the front. He fought at Bloemfontein, where he was wounded in the left heel, and later suffered from an attack of dysentery, and was invalided home. After being at Woolwich Hospital he left for Portsmouth.
He wanted to be a soldier, he told the Bench, and intended to be. At Bloemfontein he was refused as medically unfit. “Bobs himself”, Lloyd said proudly, “shook hands with me at Bloemfontein, and promised to help me”.
All this was corroborated by soldiers returned from the war.
Inspector Boggein has taken charge of Lloyd, who is to be helped to realise his ambition, and he feels confident he can pass the doctor. His only desire is to try.

Chard and Ilminster News, 22nd September 1900

Going out to South Africa as a stowaway, when the Shropshire Light Infantry embarked last year, William Lloyd, only fourteen years old, has had a singular adventure. He went to the front with the regiment, was wounded in action, recovered, contracted dysentery, and has now been invalided home, arriving at Southampton in the uniform of the Lancaster Regiment. It has only just been discovered that the boy has not formally enlisted, and the Southampton magistrates on Manday promised him they would make arrangements for him to join the ranks in earnest.

Cheltenham Chronicle, 22nd September 1900

The right kind of a sham soldier is young William Lloyd, the fourteen-year-old son of a postal employee at Shrewsbury. He managed to get off to South Africa as a stowaway last year with the Shropshire Light Infantry. He made his way to the front, was wounded, shaken hands with by Lord Roberts, and invalided home with dysentery. Not until he arrived home in the uniform of the Lancaster Regiment did the authorities discover that he was not a soldier at all. On Friday he was brought before the Southampton magistrates, but instead of punishment he will receive every assistance to enable him to join the ranks, for which he has shown himself more than fitted.

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A Stowaway with the Shropshire Yeomanry 3 weeks 6 days ago #85538

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An interview with Harry Lloyd was published in the Wellington Journal on 19th May 1900, giving his version of events. He states that he was helped onto the "Monteagle" by members of the Shropshire Yeomanry, and hidden by them. This should perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt as he makes no mention of the thefts or the fact that he was flogged....

Wellington Journal, 19th May 1900

The youth from Shrewsbury who accompanied the Imperial Yeomanry to South Africa, as already stated in the Journal, has had some remarkable experiences. When interviewed by a journalist at the front the stowaway said his name was Harry Lloyd, that he was 14 years of age, and that he came from Shrewsbury. He added: – My father belonged to the 2nd Shropshire Light Infantry. I was head of a Boys’ Brigade at home. Hearing of the war in South Africa, I felt very anxious to serve my Queen and country. I tried to join the regiment in which my father had served. I thought they would take me on as a bugler, but to my disappointment I was told that there was no vacancy. A few men in the town where I lived had joined the Shropshire Yeomanry, and they felt keen on taking me with them. They got me on the train, and took me to Liverpool. Thence they helped me on to the ship “Monteagle”. The colonel did not like the idea of my going to the front, and wanted to send me home, but fortunately some of the men took me on to the troop deck and hid me away behind an overcoat until the ship sailed. I was taken as far as the Cape, where they handed me over to the New Zealand Hotchkiss Battery. When they left I begged them to take me along, but they could not, and handed me over to the Shropshires. I was put in the guard tent, and while there overheard that they intended sending me home, so I thought it advisable to make my escape while they were making arrangements. At midnight I made my way out of the tent and cleared to Simon’s Town, where I tried to join the Warwicks. They kept me for a week, making me bugle guard amongst the Boer prisoners. The Warwicks could not do anything more for me. By this time I had discovered that an aunt of mine lived in Cape Town, so I made my way to her. Then I heard of a chance to go to Bloemfontein; I took the first train and travelled on the engine, but I had bad luck again, being stopped at Victoria Road for travelling without the required pass. I was handed over to some authorities, and put in some office – I think this was done for my own safety. At night the mosquitoes worried me; a bat also came into the room. I did not like this, so got out through the window as quietly as possible. The guard woke up, but could not see me, as I lay down. I walked along afterwards on stockinged feet. This was not nice; I did not like it; the sharp stones hurt my feet. In the morning, early, I tried to board a military train, but was re-captured and taken to the guard tent. I was then handed over to the civil authorities, who treated me with the utmost kindness. Mr Street especially was very good to me. I am now obliged to go back to Cape Town, where I shall again try my best to join some regiment, because I feel anxious, small as I am, to serve my Queen and country. I have written a letter to her Majesty, and I hope I shall at last succeed.

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A Stowaway with the Shropshire Yeomanry 3 weeks 6 days ago #85539

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Hello Neville
Many thanks for posting this thread.
As a Shropshire Lad myself, I take my hat off to William / Harry Lloyd :)

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards,
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A Stowaway with the Shropshire Yeomanry 3 weeks 6 days ago #85540

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The lad in question was William Henry Lloyd, born 10 Jul 1886 (hence the Harry/William confusion in the press).
He was only 13 when he stowed away on the "Monteagle".

Parents: William David Lloyd & Emma Evans (1901 Census shows them living at St Mary's, Water Lane, Shrewsbury).
Known as "Henry" (1891 Census).

His father was a Post Office Mail Porter, which fits in with the later "William Lloyd" reports.

He got his wish, in that he joined the Hampshire Regiment at Southampton on 8 Oct 1900, just two weeks after his appearance at Southampton Police Court. However, he did not return to South Africa with the Hampshires.

Attested 6008 "Boy" William Henry LLOYD, Hampshire Regiment (age: 14 yrs, 3 months).
Discharged five months later, on 7 Mar 1901, "in consequence of his services no longer being required". During that period he remained at Aldershot.

The 1911 Census appears to show him in Cairo, Egypt, serving as a Driver with "T" Battery, Royal Horse Artillery.

He later emigrated to Canada, and served with the C.E.F. during WWI. His Canadian attestation papers state that he had served four years with the Middlesex Regiment and two years with the 11th Hussars.

His 6 Apr 1923 Toronto marriage registration shows his profession as "school master".

.6008 "Boy" LLOYD's March 1900 attestation papers, showing his age as 14 yrs & 3 months, and height 4 ft 8 in

. Harry Lloyd's father's name and address, which matches that given in the 30/06/1900 Wellington Journal article

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A Stowaway with the Shropshire Yeomanry 3 weeks 6 days ago #85545

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William Henry Lloyd continued his "adventures" in 1909 when he deserted from the Middlesex Regiment (where he had used the given name "David", serving as 10530 Pte David Lloyd). He then made his way to Egypt in 1911, where he fraudulently enlisted with "T" Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, at Abbassia.

His service records for his time with "T" Battery make for interesting reading:

Name: William Henry LLOYD
Number: 64762
Rank: Driver
Born: St Marys', Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Age on 11/08/1911: 24 years, 6 months
Born: 10 Jul 1886

Calling: Teacher

Address: 14 Queen Street, Rhyl, North Wales

Previous Service: stated as NONE, although he had served with the Hampshire Regt. and was still serving with the Middlesex Regt.

Corps: "T" Battery, Royal Horse Artillery

Attested, Abbassia, Egypt for 12 yrs’ service: 28/11/1911
Discharged (Misconduct): 10/08/1908

Egypt: 28/01/1911 to 17/11/1911
Home: 18/11/1911 to 25/11/1911

Next of kin: David LLOYD (father), 14 Queen Street, Rhyl, North Wales

Court Martial

"Tried by District Court Martial on 28/8/11 & sentenced to 112 days detention and to undergo stoppages until his kit is paid for.
I. Deserting His Majesty's Service.
II. Losing by neglect his clothing & Regimental necessaries.
III. Fraudulent enlistment.

All former service forfeited on conviction of (a) desertion & (b) fraudulent enlistment. Found to have fraudulently enlisted as above whilst belonging to the 1st Battalion Middlesex Regiment, wherein he served as No. 10530 Private David Lloyd. Deserted therefrom 30-10-1909".


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A Stowaway with the Shropshire Yeomanry 3 weeks 6 days ago #85546

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And so his antics continued ...

On 9 Jul 1912 he "improperly" enlisted with the Army Service Corps at Bristol as 31601 William Benedict Lloyd.
After transferring to the 11th Hussars on 26 Aug 1912 as 9233 William Benedict Lloyd, he was again tried by Court Martial, when he was
"Convicted & sentenced to 112 days imprisonment with Hard Labour & discharged with ignominy".

His 11th Hussars Service Papers read:

30/12/1912 - Deserted
24/2/1913 - Surrendered to civil power
11/3/1913 - Tried by District Court Martial

"Sentenced to 112 days Imprisonment with Hard Labour, and to be discharged with ignominy.
I. After having been discharged with disgrace
II. Desertion
III. Loss of kit
All former service forfeited on conviction of Desertion"

Lloyd therefore served, or attempted to serve, with:

Shropshire Imperial Yeomanry (S. Africa, 1900; rejected due to misconduct)
New Zealand Contingent (S, Africa, 1900; rejected)
Warwickshire Regiment (S. Africa, 1900; rejected)
Oxfordshire Light Infantry, "F" Company (S. Africa; Lloyd claimed to be attached as Bugler)
Hampshire Regiment (1900; discharged after 5 months)
South African Constabulary (1901; claimed by Lloyd but probably not true)
Middlesex Regiment (1905? - 1909; deserted)
Royal Horse Artillery (1911; dismissed for fraudulent enlistment)
Army Service Corps (1912; transferred)
11th Hussars (1912; deserted)
Canadian Expeditionary Force, 12th Reserve Bn. (1915; discharged with ignominy)
Canadian Expeditionary Force, 199th Bn. (1916; deserted)
Canadian Expeditionary Force, Signal Training Depot, Canadian Engineers (1918; discharged due to "mental deficiency")

In 1914 (C.E.F. Attestation Papers) he declared his occupation as "Soldier and Student".
He joined "F" Company, 12th Bn. as 23221 William Henry Benedict Lloyd, later transferring to the Canadian Engineers and Signal Training Depot.
Served in France for one month in 1915 but was discharged with ignominy (later reported as being due to depression and nervousness). Rejoined in 1917, but after arriving in England he was declared medically unfit due to schizophrenia (altered to "melancholia"), and sent back to Canada.

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