DCM VR (3640 Pte. A. Thompson, 1st Rl: Innis: Fus:);
IGS 1895 (2) Punjab Frontier 1897-98, Tirah 1897-98 (3640 Pte. A. Thompson, 2d. Bn. Ryl Innis: Fus:);
QSA (5) Cape Colony, Tugela Heights, Relief of Ladysmith, Belmont, Orange Free State (3640 Pte A. Thompson, I: Rl: Innis: Fus:);
KSA (2) (3640 Pte. A. Thompson. Innis: Fus:)
DCM LG 19 April 1901 - Recommendation in General Buller’s Despatch of 30 March 1900 LG 8 February 1901: ‘Private Thompson, 23rd February - He volunteered to rescue Private Nesbitt, a heavy wounded man, and laboriously brought him to cover through hot fire.’
Arthur Thompson was born in Shankhill, Belfast in 1873 and attested for the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers at Omagh on 28 August 1891. Embarking with the 2nd Battalion for India in September 1893, he served there until January 1899 being present during the operations on the North-West Frontier 1897-98 and with the Tirah Expeditionary Force 1897-98.
Proceeding to South Africa with the 1st Battalion on 5 November 1899, following the outbreak of war with the Boers, Thomson was wounded at the Battle of Colenso on 15 December 1899 when Major-General Fitzroy Hart’s 5th Irish Brigade, of which the 1st Inniskilling comprised one of four battalions, were misled into a loop of the River with no means of crossing and, becoming exposed to heavy enemy fire, suffered over 500 casualties in under an hour before they were extricated.
On 23 February 1900, the Brigade, still before the Tugela Heights, was tasked with storming a fortress-like steep hill, later dubbed ‘Inniskilling Hill’ or ‘Hart’s Hill’, with little cover. Approaching under heavy fire, the Brigade, with the Inniskillings in front, hugged the bank of the Onderbrook Spruit for safety until required to cross using the railway bridge:
‘This was at no time a pleasant place to walk over. It was sixty feet in length; it had no decking, the rails being supported by girders, with spaces between them large enough for a man to fall through into the water below. Now the Boers had concentrated the fire of a pom-pom upon it, and the bullets of their rifleman were tapping like riveters’ hammers on every piece of metal-work in the structure. The bridge looked like a perfect death-trap, but at it the Inniskillings rushed one by one, and once over it, turned to the right and dashed back to the cover of the river bank...Private Thompson showed great courage on this occasion. He was running over the bridge when he noticed that a comrade had fallen upon it, hard hit. He stopped, coolly picked him up and carried him into comparative safety.’ (The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers from December 1688 to July 1914 refers.)
Thompson returned to England on 25 June 1902, having served in South Africa to the conclusion of hostilities, and re-engaged for a further 4 years service in August 1903. He was discharged on 26 August 1907.
Interestingly, his papers show him court martialed for drunkenness and striking a superior officer and sentenced to 28 days "Field Imprisonment No.1" (presumably Field Punishment No.1) on 31/1/1900. Either way he must have had his sentence remitted for him to have taken part in the Hart's Hill battle on 23/2/1900.
DCM VR (16787 Serjt: A. J. Spurdle. R.E.);
Egypt (1) Suakin 1885, undated reverse (16787 Sapr. A. J. Spurdle. 17th Co. R.E.);
QSA (6) Cape Colony, Tugela Heights, Orange Free State, Relief of Ladysmith, Transvaal, Laing’s Nek (16789. Serjt: A. J. Spurdle. R.E.);
KSA (2) (16787 Serjt: A. J. Spurdle. R.E.);
Army LS&GC VR (16787. Sgt. A. J. Spurdle. R.E.);
Khedives’ Star, 1884-6, unnamed as issued;
MID: London Gazette: 17 June 1902
DCM: London Gazette: 26 June, 1902
Sergeant A J Spurdle served with the 17th Field Company, Royal Engineers during the Egypt & Sudan campaign, and was present at Suakin between 26th March 1884 and 28 February 1885. He also served during the Boer War with the same unit, and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. While citations for this award are not available, we know that the 17th Field Company was engaged at Tugela Heights, and performed good work during operations in and around Ladysmith. They are recorded as having prepared gun positions, repaired bridges, dug trenches, and repaired damaged railway line. Sergeant Spurdle served for long enough (and with sufficient good behaviour) to also receive his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.
MBE HM 1916;
DCM Ed VII (3469 Serjt. J.H. Ashton. Seaforth Hdrs:);
Sudan (3468. Sgt. J. Ashton. 1/Sea Hrs.);
Khedive’s Sudan (2) The Atbara, Khartoum (3468 Sergt J. Ashton 1st Sea. Highrs.);
QSA (3) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal (3468 Serjt. J. Ashton, 2: Sea: Highrs:);
KSA (2) (3468 Serjt: J. Ashton . Seaforth Highrs:);
British War and Victory Medals (Q.M. & Lieut J. H. Ashton.);
Coronation 1911, in silver;
Army LS&GC Ed VII (60 S. Mjr: J. H. Ashton. A.V.C.).
MBE: London Gazette: 1 January 1918 – ‘Superintending Officer, Army Veterinary Corps’
DCM: London Gazette: 31 October 1902
Captain John Herbert Ashton, of Wood Street, Derby, joined the Seaforth Highlanders and served in the Sudan Campaign of 1896-7, and was present at the Atbara and at Khartoum. Reaching the rank of Sergeant, he also served in the Boer War, on attachment to the 12th (Highland) Mounted Infantry. It was with this unit that he was awarded the DCM in the Boer War.
He later transferred to the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, serving again during the Great War and reaching the rank of Quarter-Master and Captain.
He died in March 1945, and was interred at Golders Green Crematorium.
DCM VR (4896 L.Corpl. D. Fraser. 1st Highland L.I:) “1ST” in DCM naming corrected unofficially;
QSA (3) Mod R, Witt, SA01 (4896 Cpl. D. Fraser, 1st Highland Lt. Infy.)
DCM: LG 27 September 1901 (p6318). Awarded for Magersfontein with details in London Gazette of 16 March 1900 (p1788): ‘Lance-Corporal Fraser… Specially brought to notice for cheery conduct under fire and helping to rally men’.
The HLI Chronicle for July 1900 reported that ‘Lance-Corporal D. Fraser was conspicuous by his coolness during the advance and his cheery remarks of encouragement to all around him’.
Fraser joined the Highland Light Infantry in 1893. He served with the regiment in Crete and was slightly wounded in the chest at the hospital during rioting at Kandia on 6 September 1898.