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DCMs for the Boer War 2 months 6 days ago #85875

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Pictures courtesy of Noonan's

DCM EdVII (5781 Serjt:- Maj: W. Marsden. R.F.A.);
QSA (3) Cape Colony, Wittebergen, Transvaal (5781 S. Major. W. Marsden. R.F.A.);
KSA (2) (5781 S. Major. W. Marsden. R.F.A.) recently renamed;
Army LS&GC VR, 3rd issue, small letter reverse (5781 By Q.M. Sgt: W. Marsden. R.A.) engraved naming;
Army MSM EdVII (Serjt: Maj: W. Marsden. R.A.)

DCM LG 27 September 1901.

William Marsden was born in Sheffield in 1857 and attested for the Royal Field Artillery at Nottingham on 11 December 1877. Posted to the 3rd Brigade as a Gunner, he served with the 64th Field Battery in India from 4 February 1887 to 12 December 1888, and in South Africa during the Boer War from 6 November 1899 to 17 September 1902, with the rest of his service being at home.

He was advanced Battery Quartermaster Sergeant on 1 July 1889, and was awarded his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal per Army Order 75 of 1896. He received the Distinguished Conduct Medal for service in South Africa, and was discharged on 10 December 1903, after 26 years’ service.

He was awarded the MSM together with an annuity of £10, in January 1905, and saw further service during the Great War as an Army Pensioner Canteen Steward with the Territorial Forces.

He died on 4 October 1918, and is buried under a CWGC headstone in Ladywell Cemetery, London.

Dr David Biggins
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DCMs for the Boer War 1 month 3 weeks ago #86209

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We last discussed the group to Farmer back in 2016

From the next Kaplan auction

DCM VRI (Tpr F.C. FARMER Natal Carbineers)
QSA (5) Tugela Heights, Rel of Ladysmith, Transvaal Laings Nek; SA 1901 (Tpr F.C. FARMER Natal Carbineers);
Natal (1) 1906 (344 Sjt F.C. Farmer Natal Carbineers);
1914/15 Star (SSM F.C. Farmer 1st Mtd Rifles);
BWM (2nd C.W. F.C. Farmer);
Bilingual Victory medal (2ND C.W.O. F.C. Farmer 1st M.R.);
Col. Aux Forces Long Service GV (SQ N.S. Maj F.C. Farmer 1st M.R. (Natal Carbs)

The description states:

”Following the ‘Relief of Escourt’ the Estcourt-Weenen Squadron joined Buller’s push to relieve Ladysmith. The squadron became a component of a 450-strong Composite Regiment within Lord Dundonald’s Mounted Brigade. Much of the Composite Regiment’s subsequent success can be attributed to a successful partnership struck up at this time between McKensie and a recently arrived Major Hubert Gough, who later commanded the British 5th Army on the Western Front during world War I. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Gough was an adept student of local conditions and the mounted infantry tactics of scouting and harassment. In his memoirs he acknowledged that he had learnt more in one day with colonial mounted infantry than in 10 years with regular cavalry (5) He added that the former “moved in bounds, like wild animals carefully approaching their prey, and this has now become the classic method of advance for scouts” (6) It was some time before the British Army made serious efforts to duplicate such tactics. In fact, despite a generally busy scouting schedule during the Relief campaign, the Composite Regiment was noticeable under-utilised on two major occasions, Spioenkop-Vaalkrantz in January 1900 and the final breakthrough at Colenso a month later.

On 11 December the Carbineers escorted Dundonald on a reconnaissance of Colenso where McKenzie pointed out the Boer trench line, then under construction. Was it typical of general British Army disdain of colonials that no apparent use was made of this intelligence, with catastrophies consequences in the forthcoming battle? The disastrous progress of the Battle of Colenso on 15 December is thoroughly documented; the Carbineers role, though relatively minor, was the squadron’s first major test (their involvement in the actions at Ennerdale and Willowgrange being more on the scale of skirmished). The Composite Regiment participated in an assault on Hlangwane Hill on the British right flank. The intention was to dislodge the Boers there and subject their compatriots in the Colenso koppies to enfilade fire. Their opponents were the 800 strong Wakkerstroom and Standerton Commandos. The Carbineers contingent was temporarily under the command of Lieutenant MacKay again, after McKenzie was reluctantly attached to Dundonald’s staff for the day.

The dawn assault was an immediate disaster. The small force, exposed on open ground, was swept with volleys from short range. Four Carbineers died instantly and six were wounded – the severest casualties of the Relief campaign. The dead were Troopers B.W. Warren, Peter Adie, H.N. Jenner and David Gray. Gray was a cousin of the celebrated William Park Gray, and also his half-section. With the exception of Gray, who had enrolled in 1895, the Carbineer careers of these men was brief; Warren having joined scarcely a week earlier, on 4 December. Among the severly wounded was Lieut Mackay, struck by a bullet that passed through his cheeks just below the eyes. Nineteen-year-old Trooper Frederick Charles Farmer, of the Weenen Troop, rescued his officer under heavy fire, earning a Victoria Cross recommendation from Buller. This application was unsuccessful, as had been a previous application, for Trooper W.W. Berker, during the Anglo-Zulu war. Sergeant Quentin Smythe was finally secure the coveted decoration for the regiment during WW II. According to Farmer’s service record he did receive the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for his action. This was apparently the only such award to a Natal colonial during the Victorian period.

Estimate R40,000
Dr David Biggins

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DCMs for the Boer War 1 month 3 weeks ago #86217

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Noonan's sold the DCM group to Sergeant Marsden for a hammer price of £1,400 this morning. Totals (inc VAT for UK only): £1,803. R34,800. Au$3,060. Can$2,640. US$1,910
Dr David Biggins

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DCMs for the Boer War 1 month 1 week ago #86328

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Picture courtesy of City Coins

DCM Ed VII (E. P. Robinson Natal Guides);
BSACM Rhodesia 1896 (0) (Troopr. E.P. Robinson, “F” Troop B. F. F.);
QSA (5) Talana, Defence of Ladysmith, Orange Free State, Laing’s Nek, Belfast (E. P. Robinson Natal Guides); 1914-15 Star (Lt. E.P. Robinson Hartigans Hse.);
BWM;
AVM (bilingual) (Lt E.P. Robinson).

Accompanied by a very detailed write-up

ROBINSON, Edward Albert Perciville “Digger” DCM, JP (1873 to 1955)

Trooper. ''F '' troop – Bulawayo Field Force; guide (honorary sergeant) – Natal Guides; sergeant – lieutenant – 4th D.M.R. (Southern Rifles); lieutenant – No. 2 troop, "A" squadron, Hartigan's Horse; lieutenant – South African Native Labour Corps.

Medal entitlement: Distinguished Conduct Medal Edward VII. Named to E.P. Robinson, Natal Guides. London Gazette of 27 September 1901. 2 096 Distinguished Conduct Medals were awarded during the Boer War, of which 9 were awarded to the Natal Guides

Mentioned in Despatches by Sir George White (London Gazette 08 February 1901): “I would Specifically elude to the work done by the Corps of Guides - these gentlemen rendered the greatest possible assistance. Foremost in every fight, always ready to undertake difficult or dangerous duties, they helped me equally in field operations, with Supply and Transport, and in dealing with the Dutch inhabitants ... I must mention Mr. F. Knight; the brothers Loxton; the brothers Alison; the brothers Whipp; the brothers Robinson…”

Percy's brother George Robinson was a Trooper in the Colonial Scouts.

Percy Robinson was mentioned in despatches again by Lord Roberts on 4 September 1901 (London Gazette dated 10 September 1901) and awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Natal Guides. Messrs. A.F. Henderson, W.A. Knight, T.J.M. Macfarlane, W.M. Struben, A.B. Allison, M. Allison, G.G. Godson, S. Loxton, T. Loxton, E.P. Robinson, A. Russell, C.S. Whipp, R.T. Whipp.

The family believed that he was awarded his DCM for operating behind enemy lines prior to the battle of Talana. However, the citation is not specific on this point.

B.S.A. COMPANY MEDAL reverse ''RHODESIA 1896 Trooper, "F" Troop, Bulawayo Field Force (under Captain Dawson). Named to P. Robinson both on the medal and Roll. According to Ian Johnstone, information contained in the Zimbabwe Archives indicates that Robinson applied for his medal in May 1902 to the Governor of Natal and again in August – this time to the Military Secretary, Cape Town. The medal was presented to him at the family farm Ellerton. Riet Vlei, Mooi River on 22 May 1903.

Percy Robinson was the nephew of Sir John Robinson KCMG the first Prime Minister of Natal. He was born on the farm Ellerton.

It is uncertain exactly when Robinson went to Rhodesia. While there, he contracted malaria, so his Native servants carried him on an improvised pole stretcher for 130 miles to seek treatment in Bulawayo.

He was prospecting in Matabeleland at the time of the uprising in 1896, and consequently saw active service with the Bulawayo Field Force for some 2½ months before he was forced to return home because of a “family bereavement”. In his application for his BSA Company medal Robinson stated that his discharge papers, as well as newspaper cuttings of his exploits in Rhodesia, had been looted when the Boers took Dundee at the beginning of the Boer War in October 1899.

Frederick Courteney Selous in Sunshine and Storm in Rhodesia page 96 mentions that two small patrols were sent out from the Shangani laager on Thursday 26 March 1896 in an attempt to ascertain the whereabouts of settlers with whom they had lost contact.

‘Mr. Mowbray Farquhar and two companions visited a mine where a white man was known to have been working a day or two previously, whilst the other, consisting of Mr. Robinson and two others, visited the Pongo Store and the Eagle Mine. A careful search was made ... all round the store. and the bodies of two out of three men who had been murdered there two days previously were discovered and covered with blankets'
They failed to find the third corpse as it was lying some distance from the store.

In support of his application for his medal Robinson stated that he was attached to Col. Hon. Maurice Gifford on all his first expeditions and at Shiloh. His work was acknowledged by Captain Lumsden before Lumsden was mortally wounded at Fonseca's farm on 6 April 1896.

Selous takes up the story from page 127 onwards:

“The patrol under Lieutenant Colonel Gifford - now commonly known as the Shiloh Patrol consisted of Gifford's Horse, with thirty-one men of “F” Troop under Captain Dawson, and eleven men of Grey’s Scouts under Lieutenant F. Crewe - one hundred and eighteen Europeans in all, with one Maxim gun and forty-nine Colonial Boys under Captain Bisset. Captain J. W. Lumsden accompanied the patrol as Chief of Staff and second in command.”

The patrol left Bulawayo on Saturday morning, 4 April. Colonel Gilford obtained information that a body of the enemy was to be found on Holm's farm on the Umguza. The column was attacked by two or three hundred Matabele:

“coming down from a ridge on our right, and the rear-guard – “B” Troop under Captain Fynn - were soon engaged with them… Col. Gifford sent back Captain Dawson's troop and the Colonial Boys to support Captain Fynn, and after about an hour's heavy firing the Matabele withdrew into the hills close by.
In the meantime, the rest of the column had drawn out into an open space and laagered up. The next morning ... our advance guard, “A” Troop under Captain Meikle, were attacked, and at the same time a party of two or three hundred came down on our right and attacked the column”.

The attacking force was reluctant to close, having to first cross the Umguza River under Maxim fire. In the meantime, “A” Troop had beaten off the attack on the advance guard, and the retreating warriors were mauled by Captain Bisset’s Troop, resulting in 20 or so casualties. The column then made its way to Fonseca’s farm and laagered.

The following day, a scouting patrol under Lieutenant Rorke opened fire on an impi but were forced to retire under heavy pressure. Col. Gifford ordered Captain Dawson's troop out in support. The main body took cover in a donga and set up a laager. The outlying troops were then recalled - not a moment too soon - as Captain Fynn’s troop had already lost Trooper Kenneth McKenzie, shot through the head. Trooper Fielding was wounded in the leg and Captain Lumsden’s horse was shot out from underneath him. Captain Dawson and the Colonial Boys also retired in good order.

The Matabele then attacked the laager, directing their fire mainly at the wagon and Maxim. Cpl. Ernest Reynolds (Gifford's Horse) was mortally wounded, shot through the arm and lungs. Col Gifford was wounded in the shoulder and handed over command to Captain Lumsden.

Troopers J. Walker (Gifford's Horse) and W.J. Eatwell (“F” Troop) were wounded shortly afterwards.

Captain Lumsden sent two of what Selous describes as “Bisset’s boys” - actually Percy Robinson and Trooper J. Hurst “under heavy fire from enemy at very short range” to contact Captain Macfarlane’s relief column and also to fetch a doctor to come and attend to Col. Gifford and the remainder of the wounded, as well as to bring food and ammunition.

The enemy attacked again on the following morning. Captain Lumsden was wounded in the leg while walking about the laager and directing the Maxim. Command passed to Captain Bissett. Lieutenant J.H. Hulbert (Gifford's Horse) was shot in the leg soon afterwards. That afternoon a party was sent out to retrieve McKenzie's body and he was buried alongside Corpora Reynolds in the centre of the laager.

In the meantime, Robinson and Hurst had contacted Captain Macfarlane’s relieving column, which finally reached Gifford’s position and effectively brought the action to an end. The whole body returned to Bulawayo the following day. Unfortunately, Captain Lumsden died the day after the column returned, while Col. Gifford had to have his arm amputated.

Majors Altham (Royal Scots), A. J. Murray (Inns. Fus,), and Henderson (Argyll and South, Highlanders), with guides and scouts of Intelligence Department.

THE BOER WAR

On the outbreak of the Boer War Percy Robinson attested as Guide and Honorary Sergeant, Natal Guides. Amery in his monumental Times History of the War Volume 2, page 131 describes them as “an excellent little corps of Natal Guides under Major D. Henderson of the Intelligence.”

Percy Robinson was sent to Dundee prior to the battle of Talana to scout out enemy movements. Once again, Amery describes “the excellent work of the Natal Guides, assisted by Basuto scouts ... General Symons was kept fully informed of every movement of the Boer forces.”

Percy Robinson married Winifred Skottowe of Rensburg, Mooi River and Mahon Lodge, Cheshire, in January 1901. However, his obituary states that he married Murphie, nee Williamson, of Yorkshire presumably a second marriage? They had no children. He started a small stud farm outside Harrysmith after the Boer War. He was a foundation member of the Harrysmith Polo Club and was reputed to have been the finest steeplechase rider in the country. At the opening of the railway to Harrysmith in 1891, he won all three 3-mile steeplechase events on "Rex", beating the Natal Champion ridden by Oliver Davis. He was also a fine tennis player.

Appointed as Sergeant in the 4th D.M.R. Southern Rifles on 19 October 1914, he was promoted Lieutenant on 1 November 1914 and served until 9 January 1915. He was appointed Lieutenant in Number 2 Troop, “A” Squadron, Hartigan's Horse, the following day. His next of kin at that time is noted as Mrs. M. Robinson, c/o 278 Bulwer Street, Pietermaritzburg. The Regiment served with the Southern Force during the invasion of German South- West Africa. Percy Robinson's service with Hartigan's Horse ended on 30 August 1915. He then joined the South African Native Labour Corps and was Gazetted as a Temporary Captain w.e.f. 14 May 1917 (London Gazette 23 August 1917). He served on the Western Front from 30 July 1917 to 17 February 1919. He was finally demobbed in Rosebank on 6 August 1919. His address at that time was given as c/o P.O. Box 39, Ladysmith.

Percy Robinson farmed at Mkuze in Zululand for a number of years, before retiring to Greytown with his wife. He farmed there for approximately three years before he died at the Plough Hotel, Greytown, in about 1955, well into his 80’s. His funeral was held at St. James' Church. The Rev. J. Mountford conducted the service.
Dr David Biggins
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DCMs for the Boer War 1 month 4 days ago #86569

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The family group including the DCM to Private Servey, 13th Hussars ( www.angloboerwar.com/forum/5-medals-and-...-war?start=372#85259 ) sold last month is now available for the London Medal Company for £2,950. It hammered at Baldwin's for £1,400.
Dr David Biggins

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DCMs for the Boer War 3 days 16 hours ago #87358

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Picture courtesy of Noonan's

DCM VR (22671 Serjt: W. J. Wellman. R.E.);
QSA (4) Cape Colony, Paardeberg, Driefontein, Johannesburg (22671 Serjt: W. J. Wellman R.E.) engraved naming;
Army LS&GC Ed VII (22671 Coy. Q.M. Sjt. W. J. Wellman. R.E.)

Sotheby’s July 1981 and Spink, April 2000.

One of only 2 Distinguished Conduct Medals awarded to the Balloon Section during the Boer War.

DCM London Gazette 26 June 1902.

W. J. Wellman was decorated for services with the 1st Balloon Section, Royal Engineers (Army Order 10/03 refers). In addition to his DCM, he was also Mentioned in Lord Roberts’ Despatch of 1 March 1902 (a continuation of Roberts’ Despatch of 4 September 1901), for services during the period up to 29 November 1900 (London Gazette 17 June 1902).

The 1st Balloon Section joined Lord Methuen’s advance on the Modder River and at the battle of Magersfontein, 11 December 1899, observing the enemy and directing the artillery with great effect. In 1900 they provided vital information on the Boer’s positions at Paardeberg, February 1900, even though the 12,000 cubic foot Duchess of Connaught was holed and leaking badly. The gas was transferred to the Bristol which flew at the Battle of Poplar Grove, 7 March 1900, and in the advance from Bloemfontein. This balloon was kept inflated for 22 days on the 165 mile march. They then took part in the engagements at Vet River and Zand River in May 1900.

Note: The diary of No. 1 Balloon Section, Royal Engineers during the South African War is held by the RAF Museum, Hendon.
Dr David Biggins
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