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Introduction 2 months 14 hours ago #77553

  • robstanton
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I have recently been informed that my grandfather ,Joseph Stanton ,served with the Dragoon Guards (Queens Bays ,as a seventeen year old ) during the Boer War and I am eager to find out all that I can regarding his time whilst serving
He went on to serve with the South Staffs Regiment during the First World War where he was wounded and sent home .He died of those wounds received in 1925
I was not born until many years after his death and I am not at the stage where I would like to find out more of his life

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Introduction 2 months 13 hours ago #77554

  • LinneyI
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Robstanton
Welcome to the Forum. I had a look on my Cavalry CD and found "5354 Pte. J.Stanton, 2DG" with clasps Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal and South Africa 1901/1902 on his QSA medal. It appears that your GF served during the Guerrilla phase of the campaign and this man does not feature in the Casualty lists. About which I am sure he was quite relieved. It is possible to see the activities of the 2DG in the Unit Information part of the Main Menu (at LHS of this panel). It may also be possible to view any remaining personal papers on one or other of the commercial sites - though you may have already done that.
Good luck with your research
IL.

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Introduction 2 months 2 hours ago #77569

  • Dave F
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Hello Robstanton
Welcome to the forum.
Below is a brief history pertaining to the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queens Bays) during the Anglo Boer War.

The regiment sailed on the Orotava on 18th November 1901, and arrived in December. In Lord Kitchener's despatch of 8th February 1902, it was stated that a brigade was being formed under Colonel the Honourable R T Lawley, consisting of this regiment and the 7th Hussars, to operate in the Winburg district. The brigade was for some time in the north of the Orange River Colony. They took part in General Elliot's great drive in the last half of February, which was the most productive of the very numerous operations of that nature. It was during this drive that Steyn and De Wet with some followers broke the line near Vrede, but the bulk of the enemy were driven back by the New Zealanders under Garratt, who held their ground with magnificent determination and inflicted very heavy loss. The drive resulted in over 800 prisoners, 25,000 cattle, 2000 horses, 200 waggons, and 50,000 rounds of ammunition.
The Queen's Bays arrived late for the Boer War and so their service in South Africa was short, but it was bloody, resulting in the death of almost 100 of them. They arrived at Capetown on 6 December 1901 with an effective strength of 24 officers and 513 men under the command of Colonel Dewar who very soon had to be invalided home. The regiment was then commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hew Dalrymple Fanshawe. The men were issued with rifles and bayonets instead of the carbines they had been used to, and handed in their swords, so it wasn't until January 1902 that they began their campaigning. They were tasked with chasing General Christiaan de Wet, and joined a column together with the 7th Hussars, under the command of Colonel the Hon Richard Lawley (later Lord Wenlock) of the 7th Hussars. They were involved in several skirmishes which resulted in the capture of hundreds of prisoners, thousands of cattle and quantities of stores. On 28 Feb 1902 Private Roberts distinguished himself when he rescued Lieutenant G H A Ing who had been wounded and thrown from his horse.
At the end of March 1902, the column was operating against Piet Viljoen's commando which, it was thought, had joined up with the Heidelburg commando under General H A Albrechts. Major Vaughan of the 7th Hussars, the intelligence officer, had gained the information needed to make an attack. On the night of 31 Mar/1 April the Bays, numbering 284 men marched to Enkeldebosch, while the 7th Hussars went to attack Steenkoolspruit. Col Fanshawe ordered a surprise attack, led by Major Vaughan, on the Boers in a laager at Holspruit which was successful, but another laager proved to be more heavily defended. The Bays retreated up a slope some 400 yards away but this was an unsatisfactory position. C Squadron was sent off to establish a better defence on a kopje a mile away with the others joining them as the opportunity arose. However, the new position was little better, and to add to the difficulties of working in the dark it was also raining. Their thin line of defence came under attack from mounted Boers firing from the saddle.
At dawn the position was almost surrounded and Fanshawe ordered them to withdraw to a new position at Leeuwkop (Lion's Head), three miles away. B Squadron moved to a ridge where they could cover the withdrawal. A Squadron moved first while C Squadron under Lieut Allfrey acted as rearguard. The Boers were outflanking them and a small party of 5 men were firing from a range of 50 yards after their squadron had left. The Boers called on them to surrender but they carried on until only Corporal F Webb was left. He became badly wounded and the position was overrun. He was captured but later freed and awarded the DCM. Two officers and 23 casualties had to be left behind. Another small party under Captain Maskelyne Smith VC became isolated and held out for another 20 minutes. They refused to surrender and Smith was the only one who managed to get away.
Leeuwkop was found to be occupied by Boers, so positions were taken up on hills near Boshof's Farm to the west. They formed a long front to prevent the large enemy force from outflanking them. B Squadron under Major John Walker and A Squadron under Captain Robert Herron made a dash for Boschmanskop but both these officers were killed. Fanshawe was with A Squadron further to the left. Relief came in the form of a charge made by the 7th Hussars who still had their swords, and guns at Boschmanskop opened up a barrage on the enemy. It was 7am when the Boers retreated towards Leeuwkop taking captured men from the Bays with them. These would only have been a hindrance to their captors and were returned the next day having been stripped of their weapons and clothes.
The regiment's losses were two officers and 13 men killed, 3 officers and 59 wounded. Eight of the wounded died later. They lost 120 horses in the action. The Boers were a combination of 10 Commandos numbering up to 1,200 men. They suffered between 35 and 75 killed, and 40 wounded. Commandant Prinsloo was among the dead.
Between 18 and 20 April the Queen's Bays took part in their last operation of the War, a drive across the veldt, which proved to be abortive except for some Boers captured at Palmiefontein on 6 May. By now peace negotiations were in hand. Between 8 April and 10 May the regiment had marched 900 miles, arriving on 20 May at Heidelburg. Peace was signed on 31 May 1902. The Bays were ordered to Middleburg in June and were present at the surrender of Louis Botha's Commando at Kraal Station on 5 June. They then went to Pretoria in August. The casualties for the war were: Two officers and 78 other ranks killed, 14 died of disease. Four officers and 51 other ranks were wounded. They had arrived in South Africa with 775 horse and lost nearly all of them, 748 throughout the campaign. The Bays remained in South Africa until January 1908 when they arrived back in the UK and were stationed at Hounslow. The Commander-in-Chief praised their service; 'The conduct of the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays) has been irreproachable in action, on trek and in camp.'
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards
Dave

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Introduction 2 months 1 hour ago #77571

  • Dave F
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With regard to your Grandfather's time in the South Staffordshire Regiment in WW1
I think I have found his service number which was 13282. He was a Lance Corporal and was awarded the WW1 trio of medals. ( Victory, British War and 1914/15 star)
Due to his wounds he was discharged on the 17th December 1917.
His pension was sent to 20 Sheepwash Lane Tipton West Midlands. His wife was called Ada Emily.
I did find another pension card which had his Dragoon Guard number 5354, 13282 and another number which was 63282.
I am pretty sure this was your Grandfather.
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards
Dave
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