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Uniform identity and verification of Boer War participation 3 months 1 week ago #85395

  • duffydavis
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I understand from prior postings that the more information I submit the easier you can research so here goes: GG's name is Walter Slater (middle initial may or may not be "R"). He was born April 16, 1864 at St. Andrew Cees, Cambridgeshire. He was living in Wrexham, Denbigh, Wales, showing up on the census in 1881 in Cambridge, then by 1891 and 1901 in Wrexham, Wales. He was married to Millicent Ann "Anne or Annie" Cragg in 1893. She was born in Lincolnshire in 1868 or 1870. They remained in Wales until he immigrated to the USA in January 1907, at which point he drops off the census information there and shows up here in the US. At some point he graduated from Oxford and his occupation was architect/contractor. I believe his father's name was George and mother Anne. He had 2 brothers, Albert (1866) and Charles Edward (1877)

My interest is to find out all that I can about whether he was in the Boer War. The photo shows a relatively older man so guessing the 2nd.His participation in the Boer War was introduced to me by my grandmother. Other than the photo attached we have no other information in our keepsakes.

On the photo there are letters or numbers on his collar. On his right it says "CAL 5B" or "CAL 58". On his left collar it reads "56__" with the 3rd number possibly being a zero. As I looked through some of the site I found a W Slater who may have been a private and then a Lance Corporal with the number 5600 in the Leicestershire Regiment. Is this my Walter Slater? Another document shows a check in these categories for W Slater Number 5600: orange free state, Transvaal, Tugela Heights, Defense of Ladysmith, Relief of Ladysmith and Laing's Nek. I am totally unfamiliar with this war so need all the help I can get. Also, in addition to telling me about the uniform, can you enlighten me as to the medals he is wearing? I cannot find these on the internet or on your site, although I think the top one looks similar to a few on the site. Excited to learn about what you find! Thanks so much, Kathy
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Uniform identity and verification of Boer War participation 3 months 1 week ago #85398

  • Arthur R
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Welcome to the forum, Kathy. While I can't answer many of your questions, I can say that the garment this gentleman is wearing isn't a British military uniform (and probably not an American one either).

I read the right side of collar as 'CAL 5B', and expect that the left side reads '5B CAL'. The inscriptions appear to have been embroidered on strips of fabric that were stitched onto the collar. The medal is not military : it looks rather like a freemason's 'jewel', with a very elaborate suspender, or perhaps the badge of some American friendly society. 'CAL 5B' might be the registration number of a society, say in California.

As Walter Slater was born in April 1864, he would have been 16 when the 1st Anglo-Boer War began in December 1880, and 35 (and married and, presumably, established in his profession) when the 2nd began in October 1899. If he did serve in the latter, he was evidently back home again by the time the census was taken in April 1901.
Regards
Arthur

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Uniform identity and verification of Boer War participation 3 months 1 week ago #85399

  • duffydavis
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Arthur, thank you for your input.I am gathering he still might have been in the Boer War as reported but that this is not a military uniform. It could indeed be something to do with the Masons (another area of interest to me to be pursued elsewhere). Hopefully we can figure out if there are records of him in the Boer War. I so appreciate your response Regards, Kathy

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Uniform identity and verification of Boer War participation 3 months 1 week ago #85401

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Arthur, upon further searching the uniform does look typical for the 1900’s Knights Templar and the bottom Medal/badge appears to be a variation of the Maltese cross. His obituary in the newspaper indicates he was a mason and received a Masonic ceremony at the graveside. They also indicate he was involved in the Shriners. I have his lodge in Wales with his initiation in 1900. So I think you are on to something. Thanks for the lead. I know very little about any of this. -Kathy

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Uniform identity and verification of Boer War participation 3 months 1 week ago #85411

  • Arthur R
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Glad to help, Kathy. If he was initiated into the freemasons in Wales in 1900, and living in Wales at the time of the census in 1901, then it doesn't leave much time for him to have served in the war.

As this is an American uniform and medal, you might find the Orders & Medals Society of America forum helpful for identifying them. You don't need to join the society in order to join the forum. Their website is : www.omsa.org .
Regards
Arthur

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Uniform identity and verification of Boer War participation 3 months 1 week ago #85412

  • Dave F
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Hello Kathy
Have you any documentation pertaining to your Great Grandfather and the Boer War?
Or is it information passed down through the generations?
The image you posted , as Arthur has commented on looks certainly a Masonic uniform as does the Knights Templar award. Looking at some of info on Ancestry, your G Grandfather was recorded as an employer on the 1901 census, his initiation into the Wrexham Masonic lodge was 1900 and his daughters christening was also 1900. So if he did serve in the Boer war it may have been early 1899. I found an entry for Oxford for a Walter Slater ref 1880.

PS... It is also possible that your G Grandfather never served in the Boer War 1899 to 1902.
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
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Dave

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