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Medals to the Natal Police 5 years 11 months ago #50867

  • Frank Kelley
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Okay, I shall have a look at that in due course.

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Medals to the Natal Police 5 years 11 months ago #50868

  • Brett Hendey
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Thank you, David. I was holding up a Pensioner's Day shopping expedition earlier, so I had to rush through my post. It is very irritating when people ignore the priorities in my life.
Regards
Brett

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Medals to the Natal Police 5 years 11 months ago #50871

  • Brett Hendey
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I made a comment in Rory's thread on Major West, NP & SAMR, about the lack of any award for those officers of the Natal Police and SAMR with long service, whereas non-commissioned men qualified for such medals, i.e. Colonial Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Natal) (MYB 248), and Permanent Forces of the Empire Beyond the Seas Long Service And Good Conduct Medal (MYB 249). The long-serving men who misbehaved were not awarded such medals, so their medal groups match those of long-servicing officers with impeccable records, which seems unfair and which could be misinterpreted by the ill-informed.

Below are the medals of an other ranks policeman and an officer with similar exemplary service, followed by that of an other ranks policeman with some blots on his copybook. I have excluded a group to which I added an unnamed Natal LS&GC Medal to a Natal Policeman who qualified, but I hope that someone will post a group with a named example.

Brett
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Medals to the Natal Police 5 years 11 months ago #50873

  • Frank Kelley
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Hello Brett,
Very nice and very scarce groups perhaps you might add a little detail for each man please?
Regards Frank

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Medals to the Natal Police 5 years 11 months ago #50876

  • Brett Hendey
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Frank, I did not post some of my biographies, since I believed they were too long for this forum. However, since you asked, I will try one with this post, and another in a later one. Apart from being colleagues in the NP and SAMR, Hamilton and Belcher were linked by their widows in a surprising way.

Beatty's biography is much shorter, so I suspect I must have already posted it, I will try to find the link and post it later.

LIEUTENANT J HAMILTON, SOUTH AFRICAN MOUNTED RIFLES
(FORMERLY SUB-INSPECTOR, ZULULAND POLICE & NATAL POLICE)

Queen’s South Africa Medal with two clasps (Natal, Transvaal) &
King’s South Africa Medal with two clasps (South Africa 1901 & 1902)
(Sub-Inspector, Natal Police).
Natal Rebellion Medal with 1906 clasp (Captain, Natal Police).
1914/15 Star trio (Lieutenant, S A Mounted Rifles).
Silver War Badge (replacement).

During the Anglo-Boer War, Hamilton was one of only seven members of the Natal Police to be Mentioned in Despatches, and one of only 11 to be awarded the KSA.


James Hamilton was born on 30/3/1869 in Stoke, Devonshire, the son of Thomas Bramstone Hamilton and Margaret Cragg Hamilton.

Hamilton was appointed a Sub-Inspector in the Zululand Police at Eshowe on 7/5/1896. Nothing is known of his former occupation but, in a Report by Medical Board dated 11/11/1915, it was given as “Gentleman”.

When Zululand was absorbed into Natal in 1897, officers in the Zululand Police, including Hamilton, “became members of the Natal Police, with seniority according to the date of appointment” (Holt 1913: 182). The date of the transfer was 30/12/1897. Hamilton’s Zululand experience was to result in several postings to this part of the Colony during his service with the Natal Police (NP).

During the first phase of the Anglo-Boer War (1899 – 1900), Hamilton was a member of the Melmoth Field Force that was charged with the “Defence of Stations and Outposts” (Anon. 1900: 91).

Holt (1913: 175,176) records that in 1901 a “detachment of Natal Police was constantly patrolling and searching the farms in the Babanango district and a portion of the Vryheid district, sometimes by themselves and sometimes with the 5th Mounted Infantry. A post was established at Emtonjaneni (sic), and there a considerable number of police remained for over a year until peace was declared.” The detachment at Mtonjaneni was commanded by Hamilton and it was encamped in the Transvaal and was on active service until the end of the War, facts that were to be significant in Hamilton’s later claim for the KSA. His service at Mtonjaneni, one of the most elevated and wettest places in Zululand, had an adverse effect on his health, a fact that was to emerge during his service in World War I.

Hamilton was Mentioned in Despatches by Kitchener (23/6/1902).

The eligibility of members of the NP for the award of the KSA was the subject of much controversy and the cause of much dissatisfaction amongst the men who believed they had earned the Medal.

Holt (1913: 177) dealt with the matter as follows:
“A good deal of disappoinment was created amongst the police on account of the fact that though many of them were in the field until the close of the war, only one or two, attached to General Dartnell’s Staff, received the King’s Medal. The conditions laid down for this decoration were that men must have completed eighteen months’ service in the field, some portion of which must have been outside the colony in the year 1902, and that they must have been under the command of a General Officer. The medal was given to the Cape Police and the Cape Volunteers; and the volunteer staff in Natal also received it, although they did not complete eighteen months’ service, and saw no service after September 1901. The detachment under Sub-Inspector Hamilton at Emtonjaneni were actually encamped within the Transvaal border, but the General Officer Commanding in Pretoria contended that these men were not under a General Officer. A great deal of correspondence passed on the subject of the medals, but without avail.”

Hamilton did eventually receive the KSA, a fact recounted by Drooglever (1993: 22, 23), who repeats Holt’s observations and goes on to record:
“Sub Inspector J. Hamilton received a K.S.A. finally in 1927, though his men who had served with him in the Transvaal appear not to have been granted the same concession.”
Droogleever goes on:
“I therefore have record of only 11 recipients of the Natal Police who received the K.S.A. with two bars. Claimants who had perhaps received the 1901 and 1902 clasps with their Q.S.As, had to return them to the War Office to be reissued on their K.S.A. I have seen only one K.S.A. to the Natal Police and the naming is according to the normal impress, even though he was a Sub-Inspector.”

Two points emerge from the above comments:

Firstly, although Hamilton was on active service until the end of the War, his QSA had, in addition to the Natal and Transvaal clasps, only a single date clasp (South Africa 1901) to return to the War Office. His KSA was nevertheless issued with both South Africa 1901 and 1902 clasps. This anomaly was due to the fact that Hamilton and almost all other Natal Police who had served throughout the War, were issued with only the South Africa 1901 clasp in addition to state and/or battle clasps issued earlier (Medal Roll WO 100/261, dated 8/9/1901), the entry for the 1902 clasp having been deleted from the supplementary Medal Roll (dated 9/7/1908). This deletion is made more curious by the allocation of both date clasps in another earlier supplementary Roll (dated 14/1/1907), which was compiled mainly to accommodate those men who enlisted after 8/9/1901 and who did not qualify for the Natal and battle clasps. The confusion is compounded by the fact that a few men on this Roll (e.g. 1929 Tpr O W Pritchard) received the QSA with Natal clasp and both the South Africa 1901 and 1902 clasps, because their names were “Omitted on previous Roll” (i.e. the one dated 8/9/1901). These men thus gained an extra clasp simply because of their chance omission from an earlier Roll. Like those denied the KSA, members of the NP who were unfairly denied the South Africa 1902 clasp also had reason to feel aggrieved with the arbitrary decisions made in the allocation of Anglo-Boer War medals and clasps. It is worth noting here that members of the Zululand Police received no medals, in spite of loyal and sometimes gallant service (e.g. Sgt Gumbi of the ZP was Mentioned in Despatches by Kitchener [8/10/1901], “For gallantry and good service in defence of Fort Prospect”.)

Returning to Droogleever’s observations, it can be recorded that Hamilton’s KSA also has impressed naming, rather than the engraving that is usual for officers. This also applies to the KSA of Sub-Inspector A G Abraham and, probably, all others issued to the Natal Police officers. However, the lettering on Hamilton’s KSA is smaller than that on his QSA and all those QSA’s and KSA’s issued before about 1920. Another difference that is ascribed to the late date of issue (1927) is the fixed, rather than swivelling suspender on Hamilton’s medal.

These facts combine to make Hamilton’s KSA a medallic rarity.

Holt (1913) records that at the end of the War, Hamilton and his men moved from Mtonjaneni to Dundee and then, together with the Natal Border Police, to Vryheid, where they remained until October 1902. Thereafter, they moved to various centres in southern Natal to quell faction fights and other disturbances and later “they were engaged far away in the northern districts, the natives there being in a very unsettled state” (Holt 1913: 179). Hamilton’s detachment returned to Pietermaritzburg in December 1903, having been on active service for four years and four months without a break, a claim that can probably not be made for any other military unit serving in South Africa at that time. It is no wonder that Hamilton persisted in his claim for the KSA for so long; it was well-deserved.

In 1904, Hamilton served in Utrecht and in 1905 he was back in Zululand at Nongoma. It was while he was stationed at Nongoma that he married Elizabeth Mary Stewart Beatson (vide infra).

When the Natal Rebellion broke out in 1906, Hamilton was given the military rank of Captain and he served throughout the campaign and was awarded the Natal Rebellion Medal with 1906 clasp.

He continued to serve in Zululand after the Rebellion ended and in 1907 he was based at Nkandla.

In 1908, while on leave in England he gave his address as the Old Manor House, Hythe, Kent.

Following the disbandment of the NP in 1913, Hamilton was appointed a Lieutenant in the 2nd South African Mounted Rifles. On 10/3/1914 he was recommended for promotion to Captain by the Inspector-General of the Union Defence Force but, after a lengthy correspondence, the promotion was not granted.

Following the outbreak of World War I, Hamilton served with the SAMR during the early part of the German South West Africa campaign, but was invalided home because of rheumatism contracted during his Anglo-Boer War service. His withdrawal from active service resulted in him being awarded the Silver War Badge, in addition the 1914/15 Star trio of medals.

After his return, Hamilton was appointed Officer Commanding No. 47 S A Police District at Kokstad. He applied for a transfer to the S A Police, but in fact continued to serve in the SAMR and on 21/12/1916 he was transferred to the 3rd SAMR.

He was retired as medically unfit on 14/10/1917.

Hamilton and his wife settled in Pietermaritzburg. They had no children. During World War I, Mrs Hamilton is recorded as having lived at, firstly, 290 Prince Albert Street and then at 328 Longmarket Street in Pietermaritzburg. Hamilton also gave the Victoria Club in Pietermaritzburg as his address in 1909 and 1918. The Hamilton’s were living at 21 King Edward Avenue when he died on 27/7/1939, aged 70 years.


ELIZABETH MARY STEWART HAMILTON (nee BEATSON)

Elizabeth Beatson was a Scottish spinster of independent means when she married James Hamilton in 1905. Her family had their origins around the town of Campbeltown at the southern end of the Kintyre Peninsula on the west coast of Scotland (Davidson 2001).

Elizabeth was the daughter of Surgeon-General George Stewart Beatson CB MD (1814 – 1874), who, amongst other achievements, was Honorary Physician to Queen Victoria, and an ally of Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War, when he was an army Staff Surgeon 1st Class. According to Chichester (2004), Beatson “was considered one of the ablest officers in the Army Medical Service and [was] highly regarded throughout his profession.” Chichester records that his military career started in 1838 when he joined the Army Medical Service as an Assistant Surgeon. He served on the staff in Ceylon from 1839 to 1851. There he married his first wife, the daughter of Colonel Cochrane of the Ceylon Rifles. He was Surgeon to the 51st Regiment in the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852-3, before going on to serve in the Crimean War. After appointments as Deputy Inspector-General in the Ionian Islands and in Madras, he became Surgeon-General in 1863. He became Principal Medical Officer of European troops in India for the customary five years and then took charge of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Netley. In March 1866 he was appointed Honorary Physician to Queen Victoria. He was gazetted a CB on 2 June 1869. In 1871 he returned to India for a second term as Principal Medical Officer. He died at the age of 60 years in India on 7 June1874, two years after Elizabeth’s birth. He is buried in Simla.

Elizabeth’s mother was Beatson’s second wife, also Elizabeth, who was the eldest daughter of Alexander Hoyes of Bitterne Grove, Southampton.

One of Elizabeth’s brothers was Sir George Thomas Beatson, a pioneer surgeon and a major figure in the history of Scottish medicine (Davidson 2002). After qualifying with an MD in 1878, George Beatson became house surgeon to Lord Lister, Professor of Clinical Surgery at the University of Edinburgh, and the “father of antiseptic surgery”, who had a great influence on his career.

In 1893, George was appointed consulting surgeon at the Glasgow Cancer Hospital, where he dedicated his research to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, especially in women. His work led to the building of a new hospital and research department, which was opened in 1912 by HRH Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, possibly because of Beatson’s family connections.

Apart from his medical achievements, George was famed for his work with the Territorial Army, the founding of the Scottish branch of the Red Cross, and the provision of an effective ambulance service in Scotland through the St Andrew’s Ambulance Association.

He was gazetted CB in 1902 and knighted in 1907. In recognition of his work with the Royal Army Medical Corps and Red Cross during World War I, he was enrolled as a KBE, and he also received the French Legion of Honour.

His name is perpetuated in the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Bearsden, and the Beatson Oncology Centre in the Western Infirmary.

Elizabeth Hamilton outlived her husband by 19 years and died in Pietermaritzburg on 10/4/1958, aged 86 years. She made generous bequests to family and friends.


REFERENCES

Anon. 1900. Natal Volunteer Record. Durban, Robinson & Co.

Chichester, H M. 2004. Beatson, George Steward (1814-1874). Oxford
Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.

Davidson, M. 2001. George Thomas Beatson, KCB, KBE, MD, DL.
www.kintyremag.co.uk/2002/52 .

Drooglever, R W F. 1993. The Q.S.A. and K.S.A. to the Natal Police: some
facts and figures. Journal of the Orders and Medals Research Society.
Spring 1993: 22-23.

Holt, H P. 1913. The Mounted Police of Natal. London, John Murray.

Medal Rolls under WO 100 for the QSA and KSA to the Natal Police. National
Archives, London.

Natal Medal Roll 1906. Uckfield, England: The Naval & Military Press.

Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository of the National Archives of South Africa –
Various papers indexed under ‘Natal Police’, Hamilton and Beatson.
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Medals to the Natal Police 5 years 11 months ago #50877

  • Rory
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A wonderful group Brett and one which does the topic proud.

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