QUEEN'S SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL
CLASPS :CAPE COLONY /ORANGE FREE STATE /TRANSVAAL/SA01/SA02 (entitlement confirmed on two Medal Roll documents in WO100/292, signed off by Major Edward Lovegrove, O. C. Discharge Depot at Cape Town 03/11/1903).
This is my first QSA to any Australian and I would like to share my research with the forum.
Albert Charles Webster was born on 23rd of May 1879 along with his twin brother Arthur Edward at Auburn, near Adelaide, South Australia to parents Joseph (aged 45) and Eliza ( nee Harwood aged 35). Joseph was born in England and his family can be traced back through ancestry to Illogan, Cornwall right back to Thomas Webster born in 1652! Twins have also occurred in previous generations. Albert and Arthur were first generation Australians.
I found Websters attestation paper (please see above image for information thereon) online at the National Australian Archives, the site was very user friendly and holds a large amount of accessible documents from Australian contingents who served in South Africa.
I was mildly surprised to find that his profession was that of Salesman. Not the Stockman, Ring barker, Kangaroo Shooter I had expected! A look at other volunteers also revealed more urban professions.
Webster attested for 5th SAIB in Adelaide on 27th January 1901 and landed along with 24 officers and 299 other ranks (300 including himself) at Port Elizabeth on the 23rd March 1901.
The Medal Roll is headed by the unit title - DeLisles 5th South Australian Imperial Bushmen', So we can venture to say that Webster had a very busy time with DeLisle as C. O., who never made a mistake and was one of the better leaders of the campaign.
The men under DeLisle were kept constantly on the move, never staying in one place for more than three days. Their great mobility was in no small part due to the men being prolific horsebreakers. They caught and broke in 867 veldt ponies for their own use which would have been far hardier than the 'unsalted' imported animals.
I have checked the relevant casualty lists and find that Trooper Webster not listed. However, he was invalided back to Australia in 1902 arriving there on 31st January along with other comrades also invalided home:
327 Tpr. Albert Bruce Cleveland
420 Tpr. Charles de Longville
299 Tpr. Arthur Murray Lee
443 Tpr. Edward Duncan McPhee
645 Tpr. Joseph Prentice Thorpe
No details are given for the cause of Webster s invalidity.
After discharge and recovery, he married Asceneth Matilda Harwood (aged 22) of East Adelaide on 19th June 1902. They lived at Torrens ville, Adelaide.
They went on to have 5 children : Asceneth Doris, Vera Ellen, Albert Arthur Joseph, Frederick Harwood and Albany Feist
The Adelaide Advertiser published a death notice on 25th February 1948 informing that Albert Charles Webster died on 23/02/1948 aged 68 years.
In the same edition the reader is informed of the burial taking place on the 24th.
Asceneth died in 1960 and rests with her husband in the North Road Cemetery.
And what of twin brother Arthur?
I have found an Arthur Edward Webster who stands a very strong possibility of being Albert's twin sibling and who attested to the 6th contingent South Australian imperial Bushmen and served as 570 Farrier Arthur Edward Webster. The Medal Roll for the 6th contingent shows entitlement to QSA with clasps SA01 and SA02. I have been unable to raise any other medal rolls for him through the usual sources but feel sure he would qualify for at least a couple of state clasps. I do not know if his medal is still extant.
Along with the other volunteers of the 6th contingent he would have arrived in South Africa on April 1st and soon joined up with the 5th contingent to form one regiment in theatre.
Please see unit information on this website for more information.
I will end this biography with the following thought, were there any other sets of twins who served in the Australian contingents in the boer war? Or maybe any triplets?
Maybe this could be another new thread.
Nice medal and nice write up. You did well finding the attestation paper/s, usually only the Australian Commonwealth Horse one are available. I’ll have to check again as I couldn’t locate the Queensland Contingents when I tried. Noble’s have another auction next month so keep an eye out for the Australian QSA’s.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Moranthorse1
I could only find the attestation papers for the 5th contingent S.A.I.B. Nothing for the 6th for Arthur Edward. If I could have done, and the place of birth was the same for both men, then that would pretty much be definitive proof that they were twin brothers!
I think there were some links for the Queens land men, but definitely worth you checking it out.
Many thanks for the tip on Noble next sale I will have a look.
"A Jam Tin of Mosquitoes" by Haggett and Smith shows both of the Websters mentioned in your post as being born 23/5/1879 (upper Wakefield District). 570 Arthur Edward Webster is shown as Corporal Farrier. Medal Roll WO100/292 page 88 shows "570 A.E.Webster" as entitled to clasps "Orange Free State" and "Transvaal".
The following user(s) said Thank You: Moranthorse1
Many thanks for your confirmation of the Webster twins. That has made my night!
I have found the book online and thankfully I can get it shipped to the UK directly from Haggett and Smith themselves. Definitely one for the bookshelf.
Over the years I have run across a couple of South Australian QSAs. Quite a while ago, I ran into that of Mundy of the 6th SAIB (he served on the War Production Dept. in WW1 and ended up as an Industrial Advocate) and the Father and Son Mullins pair of QSAs to the South Aust. Bushmen.
"Mosquitoes" is quite a good book and I am glad I added a copy. Not a lot of bio info - but some of the letters included are very interesting.