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35174-PTE.JOHN HARTLEY RHODES:CAPE COLONY CYCLISTS' CORPS 3 years 8 months ago #72328

  • Moranthorse1
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Queen's South Africa medal
Clasps: CAPE COLONY/SOUTH AFRICA 1901/SOUTH AFRICA 1902
Condition : NVF. Some edge knocks.

A QSA to the CCCC unit has been a target of mine for quite a while now, narrowly missing examples to the corps on several occasions.
I had the winning bid on this one to Rhodes at the October sale at DNW. It came with a wad of paperwork and a bonus CCCC badge to boot!
I hope this posting will be enjoyed by the forum members as much as I have enjoyed putting it together using both the accompanying papers from the sale and searches on Ancestry and FMP.

John Hartley Rhodes was born in Morley, Yorkshire, England on 16th November 1867. In the 1871 Census he is residing at Queen Street, Morley with parents William Sunderland Rhodes and Hannah Rhodes, along with sisters Elizabeth and Mary and brother Joseph. They employed a live in domestic servant Mary Spencer. Therefore the Rhodes family were of good means as borne out by the 1891 Census where John's father's occupation is described as a mill owner living at Victoria Terrace in Morley. John was now recorded as a woollen manufacturer.

By the time of the 1901 Census it would appear that his father had died and his mother was living on her own means. As a family of reasonable wealth who still employed a servant we can assume that John could readily serve queen and empire and he must have travelled to South Africa by his own. I have been unable to find any shipping list with his name on at this stage, perhaps a forum member could please help to plug this gap (I should be most grateful).
John's first military service during the war was with the Capetown Highlanders as Private 1966. The medal roll for CH indicates that no clasps were issued from this roll. CC/SA1901/SA1902 are crossed out with 'Remarks' column stating that they were issued from the CCCC roll.
RECORD OF SERVICE
Place of enlistment :East London
Regtl. No. 35174
Regiment :Cape Colony Cyclists' Corps
Name: John Hartley Rhodes
Age:31
Nationality: British
Trade: woollen manufacturer
Attestation date: 27/08/1901
Martied/single: single
NOK: Mrs. Hannah Rhodes (mother), 'The Lodge,' Morley, Yorkshire, England.
Discharge date: 14th January 1902 time expired at Middelburg
Character:good PBB
Length of service :141 days
Address after discharge :The Lodge, Morley, Yorkshire.
He was paid to the date of discharge the sum of 18 pounds and 5 shillings by QM Prosser and was not in possession of any equipment issued by the government. Therefore he was no longer in possession of the bicycle!
Please correct me if I am wrong, but I am sure that I read somewhere that if a small amount of pay was surrendered each week men were allowed to keep the bicycle issued at the end of their service with the corps.
However, Rhodes went home to England on discharge so maybe had no need for it. Or perhaps he'd ridden the wheels off it!
In summary of his service, it would appear that his late joining of the CCCC would mean that he was not with the unit where they did their best work during the period where every horse available was needed for combat troops and the cyclists were invaluable in their role as messengers. However, he could have been involved with some of the actions of the Capetown Highlanders. Unfortunately, the medal and nominal rolls do not detail his service dates with CH. Could I please ask the forum if anyone could enlighten me on this missing piece of the jigsaw?

A John H Rhodes is recorded as living at 101 Listing Lane, Gomersal, Yorkshire as a wool stapler in the 1911 Census and a dealer in wool mills waste and laps in the 1939 Census. Not certain if this is the same man but his businesses seem to point in that direction despite a discrepancy in birth years. If so he died in 1945 in Yorkshire.
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35174-PTE.JOHN HARTLEY RHODES:CAPE COLONY CYCLISTS' CORPS 3 years 8 months ago #72330

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Moranthorse1,

A very nice medal with a great write-up too.

There are some pictures in this thread to show how he would have looked: www.angloboerwar.com/forum/5-medals-and-...t-corps-cccc?start=0

Best wishes
David
Dr David Biggins
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35174-PTE.JOHN HARTLEY RHODES:CAPE COLONY CYCLISTS' CORPS 3 years 8 months ago #72335

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Hi David,
Many thanks for the excellent link.
This really helps with the bigger picture of Rhodes and his corps.
I note with interest the different custom handlebars and the rifle holster, I've always wondered how they would sling their rifles! Perhaps each man was left to his own devices and ingenuity with regard to carriage of arms.
And no suspension forks in those days. I would imagine being saddle sore on the rough tracks etc between duties!
Cheers,
Steve

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35174-PTE.JOHN HARTLEY RHODES:CAPE COLONY CYCLISTS' CORPS 3 years 8 months ago #72336

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onlinebicyclemuseum.co.uk/tour/boer-war-bicycles/

Hi Steve
Another link for ABW cycles...The BSA museum also has a web page relating to this subject.

Dave
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards,
Dave
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35174-PTE.JOHN HARTLEY RHODES:CAPE COLONY CYCLISTS' CORPS 3 years 8 months ago #72337

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A few interesting snippets from the BSA Museum site.

The Boer War was the first campaign where bicycles were used by British troops. It became a testing ground for them, and they proved an extremely useful auxiliary to the horse. In fact, this was really the only war where they featured with little competition from other means of transport because, by The Great War of 1914, motorized vehicles had developed sufficiently to be used too.

British bicycle troops in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War numbered several hundred. There was much resentment against their use by the cavalry and, officially, they were mostly used for carrying despatches. But the cyclists were always ready for other tasks; they were particularly effective for scouting and spying missions.

An account of a cyclist published in the Bath Cycling Club Gazette tells of a narrow escape. N.C. Harbutt was given a despatch to take the next post 27 miles (43 km) away. The officer told him to ‘… take the machine – it’s quieter than a horse’ and also told him that he was to travel light, taking a Mauser pistol rather than a rifle. He got onto his khaki-coloured Raleigh and was off. Travelling without a light, he had several spills before he approached a drift in the Renoster Spruit which he avoided by going downstream and then crossing, getting thoroughly wet in the process. Hardly thirty yards had been covered when several shots from a Mauser rifle were fired in his direction. He answered with his pistol and rode off at top speed. When camp was reached, he discovered that he had covered several miles with a flat front tyre. The next morning a patrol discovered the footprints of at least three Boers in a spot covering the drift where he would normally have crossed.

The only official cyclists on the Boer side were the 108 members of the Wielrijders Rapportgangers Corps. Cyclists were used a lot by the Boers, and with particular success in various battles.

Extraordinary tasks were sometimes given to cyclists, one of which was to transport carrier pigeons, as it was found that carrying them on horseback upset them, whereas they took more kindly to cycle transportation. Scout Callister of the Cape Cycle Corps achieved great fame by ‘cycling 120 miles, gaining a vantage point, lying perdu (hidden) for several days, and then releasing birds whenever he saw Boer activity.’ Maj B.F.S. Baden-Powell of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards even had a collapsible bicycle which carried a kite. The kite was used at first for taking photographs of the camp by a remotely controlled camera, and later for raising an aerial for experiments in wireless telegraphy between Modder River Station and Belmont.

A special ‘War Cycle’ was built for use on railway lines (below). It was introduced into South Africa by the Royal Australian Cycle Corps and had a detachable rim which was fitted to the pneumatic tyres, enabling it to be used on rails. When the rim was removed the bicycle could be used on normal roads. These cycles were used for reconnaissance, for carrying despatches, checking the railway line for demolition charges, and also for removing the wounded from a skirmish taking pace near a railway.

regards
Dave
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards,
Dave
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35174-PTE.JOHN HARTLEY RHODES:CAPE COLONY CYCLISTS' CORPS 3 years 8 months ago #72341

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Dave,
Those links are fantastic. Especially the BSA museum one.
I can imagine the cavalry regiments looking down their noses at the CCCC men with their new fangled transport. But just move on another forty years and look at how the Japanese used them across their invasions of Malaya etc.

Learning so much from the forum!
Thanks to everyone.
Cheers,
Steve

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