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Of all the ways to die......... 2 days 19 hours ago #80763

  • Dave F
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Lieutenant Norman McLean / Maclean was another casualty pertaining to being poisoned. He died on the 23rd of June 1900 at Volksrust.

Norman McLean was born on the 22nd of February 1860 at Southsea Hampshire England. He lived with his family near Portsmouth where his father William worked for Her majesty's customs. He was the youngest of 6 children. The 1881 census have the family moving from Hampshire up to Leith in Scotland, Norman was aged 21 and was a medical student at Edinburgh. By 1899 Norman must have succeeded in his medical profession as he was employed as a doctor in Johannesburg.

During the ABW Norman McLean served as 4567 Surgeon Captain MD  with Thornycrofts Mounted Infantry. He resigned on the 29th of March 1900. Three months later he was dead. Before his death at Volksrust, it is believed he served as a Lieutenant / Lieutenant Surgeon with the Imperial Light Horse and Imperial Light Infantry.
However in June 1900 he died of poisoning. On further research exact cause of death was recorded as Ptomaine poisoning.


 Four main sources of Ptomaine or food poisoning are as follows:-

Bacteria – By far the most common source.

Viruses – These do not actually grow on food but may be carried in food.

Chemicals and Metals – Food poisoning caused by chemicals is rare and is most likely to be caused through carelessness, for example allowing cleaning chemicals to contaminate food.

Poisonous Plants – Food poisoning caused by eating or handling poisonous plants, for example deadly nightshade or some fungi; however, this cause of illness is rare.

Lieutenant McLean's medal roll records his QSA with clasps for Transvaal, Tugela Heights,  Relief of Ladysmith and Laings Nek.

I'm not sure if Norman married whilst in Johannesburg,  I hope my Forum colleagues in South Africa may be able to help regarding any additional information as I cannot access the S A archives. But there may be a will or a wife I may have missed. As ever your help will be most invaluable.









You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards,
Dave
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Of all the ways to die......... 1 day 13 hours ago #80785

  • Trev
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Hi all,

It has been awhile since I have contributed on this subject and I'm glad we are starting to gain some momentum with some really great stories. I have been doing some searching online and digging for information where I can find it.


(The Evening Star, Boulder WA, Saturday 16 Nov, 1901)

I came across the above article and decided to research some more information about lightning strikes during the Boer War and in particular with regards to the story above of the supposed death of four soldiers and the serious injuries of others. Armed with the "South African Field Force Casualty List 1899-1902" which is a must-have book for any collector, I worked backwards and documented entries relatable to lightning strikes. I must also admit, thanks to Steve's research and dates provided it has made my job a little easier.

I believe that this event on the 10th November 1901 was one of the worst 24 hours in the cost of deaths and injuries in a single given period of lightning strikes during the Boer War period. See below -

The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders -1st Battalion
3409 Col-Sergt. WALSH, W. Killed Groot Oliphants Station, 12 Batt. MI
3163 Private TEARNEY, J. M. Killed Groot Oliphants Station, 12 Batt. MI
3557 Private WILSON, H. Killed Groot Oliphants Station, 12 Batt. MI

Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment)
5284 Private DOE, W. H. Killed Woolfeshu Drift

The Suffolk Regiment - 1st Battalion
5244 Private TAYLOR, R. Killed Near Senekal

The Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire) Regiment - 1st Battalion
3338 Private CANNING, J. Killed Vryheid
5264 Lce-Corpl KELLY, J. Injured Vryheid
3537 Private HUGHES, P. Injured Vryheid
3346 Private BUCKLEY, T. Injured Vryheid
1723 Private PATIENCE, D. Injured Vryheid
3080 Private MAYPOTHER, E. Injured Vryheid
3335 Private HORTON, J. Injured Vryheid
3887 Private KENNEDY, R. Injured Vryheid
4133 Private ROACH, J. Injured Vryheid

As you can see, the story undersold the real facts, that during this period in different districts at least 6 soldiers lost their lives and at least another 8 soldiers would have received various forms of injuries. During this time some of the locations mentioned above which have received lightning, causing both loss and injury were anywhere between 250-300km from one another. The only location that I wasn't able to find on a map was Woolfeshu Drift, if somebody can steer me in the right direction it would be much appreciated.

Below are some images that I was able to locate online of the final resting places for some of the above mentioned soldiers. The first three images are for Col-Sgt. W. Walsh and Privates J. M. Tearney, H. Wilson of the The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders who were all interred at the now renamed, Old Middelburg Municipal Cemetery, South Africa.






The first thing that I noticed about these metal crosses is that they have either been reused, refurbished maybe with the correct information or both. The added plate on all three crosses made it quite clear that there have been some sought of disturbance to them over the years.

The only family memorial that I was able to locate for all the deceased soldiers who were killed in this lightning strike was for 5244 Private Robert Taylor of The Suffolk Regiment which is located at St. Peter's Churchyard West Row, Forest Heath District, Suffolk, England.



Image is courtesy of Find a Grave

Trev
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Of all the ways to die......... 1 day 2 hours ago #80795

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This post is regarding 1 of 3 casualties shot by a comrade.
Plus a suicide. Which  took place on Thursday 20th March 1902.
This tragic event involves 2 soldiers of the Imperial Yeomanry 25th Battalion (118th Company)

Private 18020 Albert John Henry Houslop.
Private 18027 Richard  John Hodges.

Albert Houslop was born in 1873 at Tottenham, Middlesex,
He was of fair complexion, with blue eyes and brown hair, approximately 5ft 7 inches tall and 11.14 stone in weight.
His trade was recorded as a Seaman. Before joining the Imperial Yeomanry, Albert had already served with the Imperial Light Horse and Dennisons Scouts. Imperial Yeomanry papers record he was posted on October 31st 1901. Aged 30.

Richard Hodges was born in 1874 at Maker / Antony Cornwall
He was also of fair complexion with blue/ grey eyes,  light brown hair, approximately 5ft 10 inches tall and weighed around 10.5 stone.
It appears that as a boy he served with the Royal Navy as a ships steward up until 1892. Richard also served before he joined the Imperial Yeomanry, with Kitcheners Horse. Imperial Yeomanry papers record he was posted on the 6th November 1901. Aged 29.

The following account of their demise is recorded below

An account of the incident is told in a letter from Trooper Tom Price, Rhosymadre, Ruabon, who joined Sir Watkin Wynn's Welsh Yeomanry, and then joined the 18th Company. It happened on March 19th at Picquetburg ( SAFF records the 20th March)
. Price says: - "I and five others were allowed to ride into Picquetburg to buy some stores. When we got there we separated and agreed to meet in the evening to return together. This we did. It happened that three - Hodges, Houslopps, and Phillips - had been larking about in a merry mood. We went on together half the way, and then we three cantered on and left Hodges, Houslopps, and Phillips to come on by themselves. We had just arrived in camp when Phillips came galloping in and said that Hodges had killed Houslopps. A troop of men were at once despatched to the spot, and found both men dead. Hodges had blown his own brains out as well. It appears that Hodges said he could hit Houslopp's hat off at a distance of twenty yards. He tried, with fatal result. Both were brought into camp and buried next day. I was bearer for each of them."

It is possible this tragic hijinx may have been fuelled by alcohol as was the merry mood but that is only supposition again on my part. However, I believe that the 2 casualties were probably the best of friends, with very much in common. Ironically the 118th Company were Sharpshooters, on this occasion the bravado of rifleman Private Hodge went catastrophically wrong. The shame of his actions regarding his tragic error with Houslop and the consequences of what was to happen to him after the event was obviously too much to bear.

Both soldiers were entitled to their QSA with Cape Colony, Orange Free State and Transvaal. Their personal effects were returned to their mothers , Sarah Houslop & Mary Hodges.

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards,
Dave
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Of all the ways to die......... 1 day 1 hour ago #80796

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Of all the ways to die......... 1 day 1 hour ago #80797

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Thanks for the link Berenice
Looking at the dates on the personal effects paper work, it looks like Private Hodges could have held on until the 20th March, so there is some truth that he was alive when returned to camp.
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards,
Dave
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Of all the ways to die......... 1 day 17 minutes ago #80798

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Hodges might never have regained consciousness after (probably) shooting himself, which might explain why some in camp may have thought he was dead when found.

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