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Boer War DSOs 3 years 1 month ago #55666

  • djb
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DSO VR
Egypt (1) Tel-El-Kebir (Lieut: F. B. Lecky. 1/2. Bde. R.A.)
QSA (6) RoK Paa Drie Joh DH Belf (Major F. B. Lecky, D.S.O., T. By, R.H.A.);
KSA (2) erased;
Khedive’s Star 1882

DSO LG 19 April 1901. MID LG 16 April 1901.

Frederic Beauchamp Lecky was born in October 1858, and was the son of J. F. Lecky, DL, of Ballykealey, Tullow, County Carlow. Frederic Lecky was educated at Uppingham and R.M.A. Woolwich, and was commissioned Lieutenant into the Royal Artillery in January 1878. He served with the Royal Artillery during the Egypt campaign of 1882, and advanced to Captain in March 1886, and to Major in April 1896.

Lecky served during the Second Boer War, and was present at the Relief of Kimberley; the operations in the Orange Free State, February to May 1900, including operations at Paardeberg, 17 - 26 February; actions at Poplar Grove, Dreifontein, Vet River, 5 - 6 June May and Zand River; operations in the Transvaal in May and June 1900, including actions near Johannesburg, Pretoria and Diamond Hill, 11 - 12 June; operations in the Transvaal, east of Pretoria, July to 29 November 1900, including actions at Reitvlei and Belfast, 26 - 27 August; operations in the Transvaal, 30 November 1900 - January 1902, and March - 31 May 1902; operations in Orange River Colony, January - March 1902.

Lecky commanded ‘O’ and ‘T’ Batteries, Royal Horse Artillery, from January 1902. They were employed as part of the Royal Artillery Mounted Rifles in Colonel J. L. Keir’s column. This was the first time that the Royal Artillery Mounted Rifles took to the field. Lecky distinguished himself during the pursuit of De La Rey, in particular during the action at Boschbult in the Western Transvaal, 31 March 1902:

‘Damant had been checked on the farm lands of Boschbult, at the western limit of a wide clearing in the sea of bush. As it was essential that the whole column gain the free field of fire presented by this clearing, Keir, with the R.H.A. Mounted Rifles and Kitchener’s Horse, was sent to hold the Boers on the rising ground on the left; while Damant, with Damant’s Horse, the Yeomanry and the 28th M.I., protected the front and right. In this way the ground was easily maintained until the arrival, about midday, of the Canadians and transport....

Half-a-mile further to the east, another farmhouse, also close to the river, was occupied as a detached post by Major Lecky and 200 of the R.H.A. Mounted Rifles and a pom-pom. In the meantime, the outer screen was maintained, but in a much modified form. Keir, with Kitchener’s Horse and the rest of the R.H.A. Mounted Rifles, was drawn in close to the camp, which he protected on the south.....

Tools being few and the ground hard, the work of intrenchment went on slowly, and at 1.20pm, before it was nearly complete, the Boers made their first serious attack. Bringing up four guns and a pom-pom to the scrub-covered ground to the south-west, they began to shell the camp, with the result that some of the mule-drivers inspanned their wagons and began a stampede. The panic was quelled and the wagons rounded up, but not before a few vehicles had run amuck through the 28th M.I., causing the men of one company to lose their heads. Before this company could be rallied it was isolated by a Boer charge. Seizing what appeared to be a favourable moment, Liebenberg, with several hundred men, galloped out from behind the Boer guns, swept across the front of the laager, and charged down in the direction of farm C. Recoiling under the fire of Keir’s troops extended on the south bank, they swerved away wide to the east; then, wheeling to their left, bore down upon the farm from the north-east. It was a spirited charge on the best Boer model; but Liebenberg, it would appear, had not counted on finding the farm occupied and intrenched. Lecky’s R.H.A. Mounted Rifles, ensconced in the farm buildings and enclosure, brought the charge to an abrupt end by a steady volume of fire reserved till the enemy was at point-blank range. Swerving once again, the Boers cut off and drove from the field the broken company of M.I. to which we referred above, and disappeared in the bush to the north of the camp.’ (The Times History of the War in South Africa 1899-1902, refers)

Lecky was presented with his D.S.O. by the Duke of Cornwall and York (later H.M. King George V), 17 August 1901. He advanced to Lieutenant-Colonel in August 1903; was given the Brevet of Colonel in August 1908, and retired Colonel 17 August 1908. Colonel Lecky died in November 1928.
Dr David Biggins
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Boer War DSOs 3 years 1 month ago #55674

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Lecky would have been the Commanding Officer of my man Lt A.Lascelles who died of enteric fever at Drienfontein-his QSA is also named "T" Battery RHA. If anybody can find a copy of a book called"The British Forces in South Africa" their is a good group photo of the Officers of Q and T Batteries of page 131. Unfortunately the photo does not name individuals much to my annoyance.
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Boer War DSOs 3 years 1 month ago #55681

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Thank you Georgegt351, that's one to look out for.
Dr David Biggins

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Boer War DSOs 3 years 1 month ago #55687

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If you put "T battery RHA 1900 " into Google you should be able to bring up a copy of the photo-I think this is how I found it originally.

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Boer War DSOs 3 years 1 month ago #55723

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DSO VR
QSA (3) RoM RoL Tr (3515 S.I.F. W. Jardine, 19/Hrs.) surname officially corrected;
KSA (2) (Capt. W. Jardine, Impl. Lt. Hrs.); Natal 1906, 1 clasp, 1906 (Capt. W. Jardine, D.S.O. Transvaal Mtd. Rifles.)

D.S.O. London Gazette 31 October 1902: ‘W. Jardine, Capt., 1st Imperial Light Horse. In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa.’

Captain W. Jardine was decorated for his gallantry during the Guerilla War while an officer in the crack Imperial Light Horse. He had served with the 19th Hussars throughout the Defence of Ladysmith as Sergeant-Instructor of Fencing, and was attached to the Imperial Light Horse for the Relief of Mafeking, and, taking his discharge from the 19th Hussars, accepted a commission in the 1st Imperial Light Horse. He was wounded and taken prisoner near Pretoria on 18 July 1900, and was wounded for a second time during the action with De Wet at Tyger Kloof on 18 December 1901. It was in this action that Surgeon-Captain Crean of the Imperial Light Horse gained the Victoria Cross for aiding the wounded whilst he was himself wounded and until he was hit a second time, and, as it was at first thought, mortally wounded.

Captain Jardine distinguished himself on two separate occasions which warranted mentions for gallantry from Lord Kitchener in his despatches:

8th December 1901 - ‘Capts. W. Jardine, J. Donaldson, on Sept. 27, were conspicuous for their coolness and promptitude in fighting in Reitz district.’

8th March 1902 - ‘Capts. G. T. Brierley and W. Jardine, both 1st I.L.H., for good work in holding their position against an attack at Langberg, December 18.’ It is probable that Jardine’s D.S.O. was awarded for this action at Tyger Kloof.

Jardine became Captain, Northern Mounted Rifles, Transvaal, 12 December 1902, and Adjutant, 1 July 1907. He took part in the quelling of the Natal Native Rebellion in 1906.

DNW September 2017. Hammered at £5,500.
Dr David Biggins
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Boer War DSOs 2 years 11 months ago #56739

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CMG converted b/b
DSO VRI
QSA (3) MR Paard Tr (Lt. & Adjt: W. G. Neilson, D.S.O., A & S. Hgrs.) letter 'N' of surname officially corrected;
KSA (2) (Lt. & Adjt. W. G. Neilson. D.S.O. A & S. Hgrs.);
1914-15 Star (Capt. W. G. Neilson. D.S.O. A. & S. Hghrs.);
British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaves (Lt. Col. W. G. Neilson.) VM partially officially renamed,

CMG London Gazette 3 June 1916. DSO London Gazette 27 September 1901.

Walter Gordon Neilson was born at Thankerton House, Bothwell, Glasgow, in 1876, and was educated at Merchiston Castle School and Fettes College. In 1894 he was selected to play Rugby for Scotland against England at Edinburgh in the (then) Four Nations Championship, a match which Scotland won 6-0. He was still at school when he was called up, 'in the 1890's, four brothers - the Neilsons - from Merchiston Castle School were all capped by Scotland. Both Walter and William made their debuts at the age of 17 years and five months; whereas George had to wait until he was 20 and Robert 19.'

Neilson was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1897. He served with distinction during the Boer War in South Africa, 1899-1902. He was present during the advance on Kimberley, and the regimental history records his part in the Battle of Modder River, 28 November 1899, 'At the battle of Modder River, about midday, a man of "G" Company, lying in advance of the general line, was badly wounded, bleeding to death, and unable to crawl back to a small depression in the ground, where Captain Shanahan, R.A.M.C., was attending to the wounded. 2nd Lieut. Neilson seeing this ran out and carried the man to the medical officer, thus saving his life. On returning to the firing line 2nd Lieut. Neilson was shot through the arm....

The total casualties during the day were Lieutenant Baker-Carr and 2nd Lieut. Neilson wounded, and 19 non-commissioned officers and men killed and 101 wounded, of whom 11 subsequently died of wounds, not to mention various slight wounds which did not necessitate men leaving the ranks, making a total of 122 casualties out of 478 for the whole force engaged.' (History of the 91st Argyllshire Highlanders, R.P. Dunn Pattison refers)

It was at Magersfontein on 11 December 1899, when Neilson's leadership came to the fore, 'It seems that Colonel Goff was almost killed at the first discharge. The command therefore devolved on Major Wolrige-Gordon. He went back to where the mass of the battalion had rallied and shaken out into open order. Wolrige-Gordon at once ordered an advance; the right of the line was entrusted to 2nd Lieut. Neilson. Very soon after this, about 4.30, the guns opened fire and relieved the strain on the brigade. Neilson, who had most of his own company well in hand, and a mixture of men from the other battalions of the brigade, kept bearing away to the right. Soon he came under a very heavy fire from the mimosa and scrub on his right flank. This fire came from the outpost of Scandinavians, who were stationed there to cover the gap between the trenches on Magersfontein Hill and the underfeature. Neilson at once developed an attack on this position, and after some considerable time, about 6am, he got to within charging distance. He then gave the word, and, aided by mixed detachments under 2nd Lieuts. Sceales, King, and Lang who had joined him sometime before, either captured or bayoneted the whole detachment....' (ibid).

Neilson's account of the action included in the regimental history adds the following:
'Major Gordon came along to my end of the line and said that he was going to advance, and that I was to take command of the right of the line. I did so, and we had not gone far before we were subjected to a very heavy fire from our right flank, where mimosa and scrub were growing. I made my part of the line change direction and we made for this fire: very soon I could discern men retiring and lying behind bushes. Against these bushes fire was directed, and we gradually closed and finally charged, and what was left of these Scandinavians (for it turned out to be the advanced post of Scandinavians, some 60 or 70), held up (each) a little white flag. It was impossible to stop the bayonet being used in all cases, as these fellows had fired on us up to the last; but the men were very good, and gave quarter in almost every case. We found that we had made sore havoc of this post. Behind one bush I counted six dead. The wounded were scattered about, the uninjured we collected, some 25 or 30, and I sent them back under an escort.... I found the officer in command of this post mortally wounded through the body.'

Neilson also took part in the action at Koodoosberg, the battles of Paardeburg and Poplar Grove, and the actions at Waternal, Houtnek, Bloemberg, Roodeport and Heilbron. He served under Major General Hamilton during the operations in the Transvaal and was present during the actions at De Wagen Drift, Zilikats Nek and Olifant's Nek. For his services in South Africa he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and was twice Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazettes 10 September 1901 and 29 July 1902).



Neilson served as Adjutant with the regiment from 1902 until 1905. He was appointed Brigade Major, Lothian Infantry Brigade, Scottish Command in 1912. He served in the same capacity with 1/1st Lothian Infantry Brigade, Central Force, Home Defence, during the Great War from 5 August 1914 until 19 March 1915, before joining the 1st Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at Ypres in March 1915. Posted as Brigade Major, 139th Infantry Brigade, he served in the French theatre of war from 1 June 1915 until 21 July 1916. For the remainder of the war he served in a number of Staff positions on the Western Front including with the 34th Division, the 15th Army Corps, the 63rd Division, and Headquarters 4th Army. For his services in the Great War he was created a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, was promoted Brevet Lieuteant-Colonel on 3 June 1918, and was four times Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazettes 1 January 1916, 15 June 1916, 4 January 1917, and 15 May 1917).

Neilson was appointed to the command of the 2nd Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Aldershot, in 1922. He held this command until his death, as a result of a riding accident, on 29 April 1927.
Dr David Biggins
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