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Sedbergh School memorial 9 years 4 months ago #7607








This public school in the Yorkshire Dales town of Sedbergh (now in Cumbria) has a memorial cross to six old boys who died in The Boer War
It includes the first man to receive a posthumous Victoria Cross, Lieutenant Robert James Thomas DIGBY JONES, of The Royal Engineers, who died aged 23. (photo attached)
“On 6 January 1900 during the attack on Wagon Hill (Ladysmith), South Africa, Lieutenant Digby Jones and a trooper (Herman Albrecht) of the Imperial Light Horse led the force which re-occupied the top of the hill at a critical moment, just as the three foremost attacking Boers reached it. The leader was shot by Lieutenant Digby Jones and the two others by the trooper.” I cannot improve on this webpage for a description of the soldier and his action: www.northeastmedals.co.uk/vc_victoria_cr...ames_digby_jones.htm
The memorial can be glimpsed from the adjoining road (Loftus Hill) but it is on private land, (and these days it’s probably not advisable to be seen hanging around in schoolgrounds with a camera unless you have permission!)
The attached photo and following information have been provided by the school archivist who I have arranged to meet (when better weather for photography arrives!) to take some detailed pictures which I’ll add at a later date.
I’ve also attached two of my photographs of the school’s impressive 1920s memorial cloisters built for the First World War, but now also containing plaques for WW2 casualties. ( The Boer War memorial is in a different part of th school grounds, not near the cloisters)
Paul
Details from school archivist:
Captain BLAIR, Hugh Maxwell. Seaforth Highlanders - 7/2/1900- Koodoosberg.
Lieutenant DIGBY JONES, Robert James Thomas VC. Royal Engineers - 6/1/1900- Ladysmith.
Trooper JOHNSON, Wilfird Moss. 32nd Company 2nd Bn Imperial Yeomanry - 17/12/1900 – Hamelfontein.
Lieutenant MOCATTA, Ernest William. Imperial Light Horse - 6/1/1900- Ladysmith.
Trooper POLLOCK, Pollock. 19th Hussars - 26/12/1899 – Ladysmith.
Lieutenant TAIT Frederick Guthrie. Black Watch – 7/2/1900 – Koodoosberg.
Stone Memorial has the following inscription, ‘In memory of those who fell for their country in the South African War 1899 – 1902. This Cross was erected by their Friends and School-fellows.’ On the east side are the names of Captain Hugh Maxwell Blair, Seaforth Highlands and Lieut: Frederick Guthrie Tait, Black Watch. On the west side Lieut. Robert James Thomas Digby-Jones V.C, Royal Engineers and Lieut. Ernest William Mocatta, Imp. Light Horse. On the south side Wilfred Moss Johnson, Imp. Yeomanry and George William Pollock 19 Lancers.
The stone cross and pedestal were designed by W.G. Collingwood and executed by H T Miles of Ulveston.
The Memorial Window in the Chapel is in the south transepts and shows the crucifixion, with Jesus on the cross in the centre and thieves on either side. Below are through lower windows showing groups of soldiers and women with the text ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ The window was designed and executed by C. E. Kempe of London.
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Re: Sedbergh School memorial 9 years 4 months ago #7610

  • Brett Hendey
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Paul

I, and other members of this forum, have a particular interest in the Imperial Light Horse, members of which were heavily engaged during the Battle of Wagon Hill on 1/6/1900, so we are well aware of Digby Jones' gallantry and well-deserved VC during this battle. His cohort in his final action was Trooper Herman Albrecht of the ILH, and he too was 23 years old, and he too was awarded a posthumous VC.

It is good to know that Digby Jones is so impressively remembered at his old school. I suspect that the same cannot be said of Albrecht, an orphan from a rural part of the old Cape Colony, who made a living by driving a postcart and breaking in horses.

Regards
Brett

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Re: Sedbergh School memorial 9 years 4 months ago #7612

  • Frank Kelley
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Hi Brett,
A vicous fight to the finish on that day, Herman Albrecht shot Field Cornet de Villiers and then was himself shot by Field Cornet Zacharias de Jager.
Digby-Jones, in turn then shot de Jager, though, I seem to remember some sources suggest de Jager was killed by Cpl Hockaday, Digby-Jones was killed a little later on, shot in the throat!
I think both their names appeared in the London Gazette in 1901, along with a note saying that they would both have been recommeneded for the Victoria Cross, had they survived, posthumous VC's were later granted the following year.

Never mind Brett, we are remembering Trooper Albrecht here today, he was originally from the Aliwal North area, after being adopted by a couple from Barkley East, was he not?
Regards Frank

Brett Hendey wrote: Paul

I, and other members of this forum, have a particular interest in the Imperial Light Horse, members of which were heavily engaged during the Battle of Wagon Hill on 1/6/1900, so we are well aware of Digby Jones' gallantry and well-deserved VC during this battle. His cohort in his final action was Trooper Herman Albrecht of the ILH, and he too was 23 years old, and he too was awarded a posthumous VC.

It is good to know that Digby Jones is so impressively remembered at his old school. I suspect that the same cannot be said of Albrecht, an orphan from a rural part of the old Cape Colony, who made a living by driving a postcart and breaking in horses.

Regards
Brett

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Re: Sedbergh School memorial 9 years 4 months ago #7615

  • Brett Hendey
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Yes indeed, Frank. Whatever education Albrecht received, it was likely to have been limited to a village primary school with only a couple of teachers to cover all the classes. Most of my primary school education took place in two such schools and I doubt that either even has a record of alumni, never mind commemorating those that subsequently died in wars.

As we know, the ILH was highly selective in who was taken into the ranks of their "First 500". The recruiters clearly saw something in the Dutch orphan from the Cape that made him stand out amidst the 'Empire Loyalists' from the Transvaal and Natal, many of whom were well educated, wealthy men. Albrecht did not disappoint them.

Regards
Brett

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Re: Sedbergh School memorial 9 years 4 months ago #7617

  • Frank Kelley
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Good morning Brett,
As I understand, de Villiers was confronted by Colonel Hamilton, Major Miller-Wallnut and Trooper Albrecht, he shot Major Miller-Walnut in the head, then Ian Hamilton drew his revolver, whilst leaning on a sand bag parapet, fired a shot at de Villiers but missed! :( one wonders what the outcome might have been if the gallant Colonel had spent a little more time toying with his revolver! :woohoo:
Regarding Trooper Albrecht, he might well have been an attractive, but, perhaps an unlikely recruit, he is supposed to have excelled in sports while at school, I salute a very brave man!
Regards Frank





Brett Hendey wrote: Yes indeed, Frank. Whatever education Albrecht received, it was likely to have been limited to a village primary school with only a couple of teachers to cover all the classes. Most of my primary school education took place in two such schools and I doubt that either even has a record of alumni, never mind commemorating those that subsequently died in wars.

As we know, the ILH was highly selective in who was taken into the ranks of their "First 500". The recruiters clearly saw something in the Dutch orphan from the Cape that made him stand out amidst the 'Empire Loyalists' from the Transvaal and Natal, many of whom were well educated, wealthy men. Albrecht did not disappoint them.

Regards
Brett

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Re: Sedbergh School memorial 9 years 4 months ago #7619

  • JustinLDavies
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Regarding sports, Gibson's history of the I.L.H. says that some of the First 500 were internationals.

Thomas Crean VC and Robert Johnstone VC both played rugby for Ireland and the British Isles (Lions).

Does anyone know of any others?

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