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Harry Romer Lee & Guy Lee, of Llanelltyd 1 week 19 hours ago #85775

  • Smethwick
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Harry Romer Lee in the flesh - with sincere apologies for the very poor quality.

As you can just about see, Harry played at Back for the 20th Hussars in the prestigious March 1901 Meerut Inter-Regimental Polo Tournament. The 20th Hussars won the Tournament beating the 15th Hussars in the final. (An aside, the 1894 edition was won by the 4th hussars who included Winston Churchill in their side.)

As noted above, by the time of the Tournament Harry had already served in the Boer War but attached to the 16th Lancers. Also as mentioned above he was wounded near Kroonstad in May 1900. The shipping records show a Lieutenant Lee of the 20th Hussars being invalided home aboard the Nubia which left Cape Town on 4th July 1900.

The other 3 members of the team were yet to experience the Boer War as the 20th Hussars did not depart from India for South Africa until December 1901. However, as you can see from the attached medal roll they all seem to have had somewhat different wars (I have highlighted each of them with a red cross). Again as noted above, Harry must have returned to South Africa to receive the "South Africa1902" clasp but strangely did not earn the "Orange Free State" & "Transvaal" clasps along with other members of the 20th hussars. C M Dunbar must have travelled to South Africa after December 1901 as he did not receive the "South Africa 1901" clasp. J S Cawley was also apparently late in travelling to south Africa where he appears to have been seconded as a Signals Officer to Captain Lowe's column. (my head is beginning to hurt).

There is some discussion above as to why Harry's parents chose to commission a stained-glass window to commemorate his safe return but not that of his younger brother Guy. I think the answer lies in the date attached to the window - 1901. The 1901 Census shows Guy still at home with his parents with occupation "Army Candidate". I cannot discover details of Guy's Boer War service but Berenice tells us it lasted for 8 months which would mean his safe return did not occur until after 1901, in fact it is possible that the window was installed before Guy went to South Africa.

I found the photograph, which starts my contribution, hanging in the National Trust's Berrington Hall near Leominster, Shropshire. It hangs there because the parents of Mr J S Cawley, who played at No.1, once owned Berrington Hall. John Stephen Cawley, along with two of his brothers, was to make the ultimate sacrifice in WW1. (Another aside - the father of the Cawley brothers was made rich by Queen Victoria when she made prolonged mourning popular following the death of Prince Albert - Cawley senior owned the patent to a very effective black dye.)

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