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Natal Police 9 years 1 month ago #11758

  • Brett Hendey
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The story told in the ILN is not quite correct and was repeated in this form by Bennett-Burleigh in his book. The correct version was told later by Inspector G S Mardall, who was in charge of the Estcourt District Police at the time of this incident. In a 1911 article in 'The Nongqai', the magazine of the Natal Police, he wrote as follows:
"During mid-November 1899, ..... Boer Commandos moved down East and West of Estcourt ..... and small detachments of Police on outpost duty ..... were at last forced to retire and come into Estcourt.
Gourton detachment, under Sergeant Fisher, was the next to follow the Colenso men, arriving at Estcourt on the evening of the 16th November, bringing with them two Boer prisoners of war captured by Troopers Tarrant and Elgie that day. These two troopers, armed only with their revolvers, came unexpectedly across two of the enemy's scouts. Drawing their pistols they covered the surprised Boers, who had in the distance mistaken the Police patrol for their own men. The troopers had then brought their prisoners away at a gallop to the Gourton Police Station, being fired upon for a mile or more by a strong party of the enemy, who occupied a ridge commanding the road, and had seen what had taken place. The rifles carried by these two Boers, a Mauser and a Manlicher, I sent to Headquarters as war souvenirs."

Later, the Attorney General of Natal called to attention "the plucky conduct of Troopers Elgie and Tarrant", to which the Chief Commissioner of the Natal Police, J G Dartnell (later Major-General Sir John Dartnell KCB CMG) replied:
"The plucky conduct of these men was reported to me by Insp. Mardall and I propose to recommend them along with other men who have distinguished themselves for the Colonial Medal for Meritorious Service."

In fact, Dartnell never recommended any member of the Natal Police for any award, except for the KSA for himself and favoured members of his staff, while accepting a KCB for himself. The only gallantry decorations awarded to Natal Policemen were Imperial DCM's awarded to two men after the Mahlabatini incident.

I have in my collection Elgie's Natal Rebellion Medal (Natal Police) and Prison's Faithful Service Medal (S A Prison's Service). Unfortunately, his QSA is missing. I also have Sergeant Fisher's QSA and Natal Rebellion pair.

Brett

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Natal Police 9 years 1 month ago #11760

  • Frank Kelley
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Hello Brett,
The medals to Fisher, would be really superb, but, to also have Elgie is wonderful, I like Inspector Mardall's sense of potential history, "the rifles carried by these two Boers, a Mauser and a Manlicher, I sent to Headquarters as war souvenirs! :woohoo:
I wonder where they are now? not here anyway! :sick:
Kind regards Frank

PS rather concerned at the mere thought of "Windhoek" beer, sounds a bit "German" :sick:

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Natal Police 9 years 1 month ago #11769

  • djb
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Brett,

Many thanks for the corrections to this information.

I was wondering about the medals and pleased that Fisher's are in such good hands.

Best wishes
David
Dr David Biggins

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Natal Police 9 years 1 month ago #11774

  • Brett Hendey
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Frank

The Natal Police HQ building in Pietermaritzburg is a very fine one that still exists as a S A Police station. I know of no records that reveal what became of all the NP's treasures after 1913. Initially at least, they are likely to have survived, but in time the concentration of SAP powers in Pretoria and the elimination of 'English' influences (e.g. 'The Nongqai' magazine) saw them dispersed.

A few years ago, a researcher found copies of some NP photographs in Pretoria. As far as I know, these few trifles are all that the Pretoria hierarchy preserved of what was, in my opinion, a British Colonial police force with a record that was second to none.

Regards

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Natal Police 9 years 1 month ago #11775

  • Brett Hendey
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Here are pics of the medal groups referred to in my earlier post.

Brett





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Natal Police 9 years 1 month ago #11777

  • Frank Kelley
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Good morning Brett,
That is a shame, a great pity that they do not have even a small museum of their own, even if it were just a small room in their building at PMB, I am sure that they would get a number of visitors each year.
Regards Frank

Brett Hendey wrote: Frank

The Natal Police HQ building in Pietermaritzburg is a very fine one that still exists as a S A Police station. I know of no records that reveal what became of all the NP's treasures after 1913. Initially at least, they are likely to have survived, but in time the concentration of SAP powers in Pretoria and the elimination of 'English' influences (e.g. 'The Nongqai' magazine) saw them dispersed.

A few years ago, a researcher found copies of some NP photographs in Pretoria. As far as I know, these few trifles are all that the Pretoria hierarchy preserved of what was, in my opinion, a British Colonial police force with a record that was second to none.

Regards

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