Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC:

Balloonists in (2nd) Boer & 1914-18 Wars 2 weeks 3 days ago #85678

  • Colm Moran
  • Colm Moran's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Fresh recruit
  • Fresh recruit
  • Posts: 7
  • Thank you received: 4
Hello,
Searching details of grandfather's service in Boer & Great wars.
Michael J O'Rourke (b.1880 or1882),
Boer War: Regimental no 3258, Sapper, later 3rd Balloon Section QSA 1July 1903.

DCM gazetted 1918, following service 1914-1918.
DCM inscribed: 386964 SJT MJ O'ROURKE No.5 F Coy R.Mon R.E. -S.R.
Star medal inscribed 6964 CPL MJ O'ROUKE
Campaign & Victory medals inscribed 6964 SJT MJ O'ROUKE
(Note same mis-spelling of "O'Rourke" on all except DCM medals)

Hoping to learn much more detail of his experiences. He never spoke of it afterwards, except to insist his 4 medals be kept together after his death.
Any advice/guidance on deployment/locations of Balloon battalions (especially 3rd) would be very much appreciated, please.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Balloonists in (2nd) Boer & 1914-18 Wars 2 weeks 3 days ago #85680

  • Neville_C
  • Neville_C's Avatar
  • Online
  • Senior Member
  • Senior Member
  • Posts: 655
  • Thank you received: 677
Hello Colm,

My great grandfather was commanding officer of the 2nd Balloon Section, and was besieged in Ladysmith. I have his diaries and photographs from that time.






The commander of the 3rd Balloon Section was Major Robert Byron Drury BLAKENEY. The watercolour below was painted while he was on his way out to South Africa, on board the Kildonan Castle, during March 1900. On his return to England after service in South Africa and Egypt there was a rather messy and public divorce case, where Blakeney's comrade and friend Captain Stevenson was found to have started a relationship with his (Blakeney's) wife after being invalided from South Africa.

When he finally retired from military service Blakeney became the first President of the British Union of Fascists and was involved in a number of "scrapes"......



..
Attachments:
The following user(s) said Thank You: Dave F, Moranthorse1, Colm Moran

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Balloonists in (2nd) Boer & 1914-18 Wars 2 weeks 3 days ago #85681

  • Colm Moran
  • Colm Moran's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Fresh recruit
  • Fresh recruit
  • Posts: 7
  • Thank you received: 4
Hello Neville - many thanks indeed for your very prompt reply, & the wonderful pictures!
Other than the medals & DCM citation, we have up to now had little idea of where & how he was actually deployed. Your information is going to help enormously.
Colm

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Balloonists in (2nd) Boer & 1914-18 Wars 2 weeks 3 days ago #85683

  • Neville_C
  • Neville_C's Avatar
  • Online
  • Senior Member
  • Senior Member
  • Posts: 655
  • Thank you received: 677
The 3rd Balloon Section saw limited service in South Africa before being employed on more general engineer duties. By the time Blakeney arrived at the Cape the 2nd Section had already been disbanded and redeployed as a Field Troop. It had been decided that balloon work was not well-suited to the South African terrain or the nature of the unfolding guerrilla war. Indeed, given these issues, it is difficult to understand why a third troop was deployed at all.

Amery (Times History, Vol. VI, p. 345) says this:

"The 3rd section, on its arrival at Warrenton, proved of considerable service in locating the enemy's positions at Fourteen Streams, and in directing the fire of the howitzers and of the 6-inch gun. No more observation being required, the section then took over railway duties and ran the railway from Potchefstroom to Klerksdorp for seventeen days. Subsequently it was amalgamated with the 1st section into one unit, which proceeded a certain distance on the eastern advance, but, owing to lack of transport was sent back to Pretoria without being utilized. In July it ceased its existence as a balloon unit and was employed on various engineer duties".

"Once the mountainous Eastern Transvaal was entered their employment was abandoned. Afterwards there was practically no scope for the use of captive balloons. It needs a fight between fairly large masses, and one of some duration in one spot, to give time for an ascent to be made, for the observer to grasp the situation sufficiently to send down useful information to the general, and for the general to act upon it. A running fight between comparatively small numbers scattered over a large area is too kaleidoscopic for this form of reconnaissance".


..
The following user(s) said Thank You: Colm Moran

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Balloonists in (2nd) Boer & 1914-18 Wars 2 weeks 3 days ago #85684

  • Dave F
  • Dave F's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Senior Member
  • Senior Member
  • Posts: 943
  • Thank you received: 735
Hello Colm
Welcome to the forum.
Your Grandfather's medal rolls for your records, if you do not have them?
Also, could you provide a few details of your Grandfather's place of birth and parents? It may help the forum to find out more details regarding his military service.





Dave........
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards,
Dave
Attachments:
The following user(s) said Thank You: Neville_C, Colm Moran

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Balloonists in (2nd) Boer & 1914-18 Wars 2 weeks 3 days ago #85685

  • Neville_C
  • Neville_C's Avatar
  • Online
  • Senior Member
  • Senior Member
  • Posts: 655
  • Thank you received: 677
Okay, Dave's research changes things a lot ....

If your grandfather was in the 3rd Field Troop, he served under my great grandfather.

The 3rd Field Troop was made up of men who arrived in South Africa with the 2nd Balloon Section, and served through the siege of Ladysmith. However, O'Rourke's clasp entitlement on the QSA roll does not include "Siege of Ladysmith", so he must have joined afterwards. It is possible that he was one of the sappers of the 2nd Section who were left behind at Durban to man the gas factory that was set up there, and who caught up with their comrades after the lifting of the siege.


...
The following user(s) said Thank You: Dave F, Colm Moran

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Moderators: djb
Time to create page: 1.572 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum