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Medals to the Railways 4 years 4 months ago #53506

  • rdarby
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If I may, I would like to start a thread on medals to the railways in the Boer War. The war was partly caused by the desire to spread the railways through Africa. At that time the railway was a new concept, and was instrumental in opening up the country.

First is William Hoy, head of the railways in the Boer War. This group is of interest to me as Hoy more or less started the organisation that my father and his father spent their lives in. My railway interest only went as far as Lima models!

The picture and text is lifted from the DNW auction catalogue.



The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, K.C.B. (Military) Knight Commander’s set of insignia, comprising neck badge, silver-gilt and enamels, and breast star, silver with gold and enamel appliqué centre, in Garrard, London case of issue; Knight Bachelor’s Badge, 1st type breast badge, silver-gilt and enamel, hallmarks for London 1927; The Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knight of Grace’s set of insignia, comprising neck badge and breast star, by ‘JBC’, silver and enamel; Queen's South Africa 1899-1902, 3 clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal (Mr. W. W. Hoy. Imp: Mil: Rly:); 1914-15 Star (Col. W. W. Hoy. Staff.); British War and Bilingual Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaf (Col. W. W. Hoy.); Union of South Africa 1910, privately engraved (W. W. Hoy. Gen. Man. Rlys. & Harbs., S. Africa.); St John Service Medal, silver (687 Asst. Commr. Sir William Hoy. S.A.R. & H. Dis. S. Africa S.J.A.B.O. 1918); Belgian Order of the Crown, Commander’s neck badge, silver-gilt and enamels, both centres detached, the first with some chips to both wreaths, otherwise generally good very fine; together with S.A.R. badges (2), one gilt brass, one silver, and an S.A.R./S.A.S. badge in silver .

William Wilson Hoy was born at Portmoak, Kinross-shire, Scotland, on 11 March 1868, son of Robert Hoy, a Scottish farmer. He had only an elementary schooling and for the rest was self-educated. His life-long connection with with the railways began at the age of twelve, when as junior clerk he entered the service of the North British Railway Company in Edinburgh. In 1889 he joined the Cape Railways and in December 1890 he attended the opening of the Cape-Free State line at Bloemfontein. In 1892 he was appointed chief clerk to the transport manager at Kroonstad, and in June that year was transferred to Vereeniging. By March 1895 he was acting chief clerk to the general manager (Transport Section) of the Cape Railways and consequently returned to Cape Town. A few months later he was made general manager of this branch and thus became intimately involved in the tariff war between the Cape and Natal Railways and N.Z.A.S.M., a struggle which led to the temporary closing of the drifts in the Vaal River in 1895. After being appointed representative of the Cape Railway at Johannesburg in 1896, Hoy acted as assistant-manager of transport in Bulawayo and Kimberley from 1897 to 1898, going to Port Elizabeth in 1898 to take up the post of assistant-manager.

From June 1900 to June 1902, Hoy was controller of the Imperial Military Railway network in the Orange Free State and Transvaal Republic, with headquarters at Bloemfontein, creating a viable railway network from what remained of the Z.S.A.R. At the end of the war he was recommended to Lord Kitchener for an award by Lieutenant-Colonel Girouard, Director of Railways. Although his duties entailed much travelling, he nevertheless took an interest in municipal affairs and served on the Johannesburg City Council, 1901-02. When the railways were transferred back to the civil administration, Hoy acted as chief traffic manager of the Central South African Railways until 1910, introducing the section system in 1907. He represented the Railways at the international conference in Washington and was promoted assistant general manager in 1909. When he was made general manager of the South African Railways, he successfully melded the various systems into an integrated unit.

In 1914 he was appointed director of Military Railways, with the rank of Colonel, and made an important contribution to the campaign in German South-West African campaign, which depended on the ability of the Union troops to deploy rapidly into the field and for the lines of communication to be reliable. Hoy was one of the seven men present at the meeting called by Smuts in August 1914 to plan the invasion of South-West Africa, and the speed with which the South Africans advanced during the campaign and rebuilt the damaged railways in the desert took the Germans completely by surprise. He superintended the construction of the line between Prieska and Upinton which was completed in just 82 days. For these services Hoy was knighted and was created a Companion of the Bath. He accompanied General Louis Botha and J. C. Smuts to the peace conference in Paris in 1919 when Smuts received railway materials and three ships as a gift from Britain to the Union Government. During this visit to Europe he was made a Commander of the Belgian Order of the Crown and became a Knight of Grace of St John of Jerusalem, later becoming deputy commissioner of this order in South Africa.

His promotion to K.C.B. in 1922 was the last such distinction to a South African and represents an award for a grave episode in South African history, the 1922 civil strike commonly known as the Rand Revolt. It was a strike that threatened to engulf Johannesburg in anarchy and was put down with severity by the government. Measures included parts of Johannesburg being shelled by the Transvaal Horse Artillery and bombed by the South African Air Force. Without trains being made available to the government for the transportation of troops from Durban, what nearly amounted to a fully armed uprising could not have been contained. General Hertzog, who gained power from Smuts in 1924, subsequently banned South Africans from receiving knighthoods, a ban which remains on the Statute Books to this day.

During the post-war years, Hoy successfully guided the Railways through those critical times, acted as chairman of the Civil Aeronautical Council from 1921 to 1923, and in 1922 began to steer the first railway electrification project in South Africa, the route between Glencoe and Pietermaritzburg. He was chairman of the South African section of the Empire Exhibition of 1924-25. He was succeeded as general manager of the South African Railways and Harbours in March 1928, but his great contribution to the establishment and development of South African Railways and Harbours remains his lasting memorial.

Hoy married Gertrude Mildred Price, a daughter of Sir Thomas Price, in 1901. They had no children. He died in Cape Town on 11 February 1930, and is buried on Hoy’s Kopje, near Hermanus. A bronze bust of Hoy was placed at the entrance to Johannesburg railway station.

Sold with a quantity of research and a rare original bound volume containing ‘Netherlands Railway Concession, Cape Agreements, Regulations, Tariffs, Minutes of Meetings and O.F.S. Convention’, variously dated 1892-94, apparently Hoy’s own copy.
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Medals to the Railways 4 years 4 months ago #53509

  • Adrian123456
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Hi Ryan

A lovely topic, here is my contribution:


A D.S.O. group of eight to Lieut. later Lieut Col. Francis Richard Collins of the Royal Engineers Volunteer and later S.A. Eng Corps Compr. DSO, QSA with 01, 02, Trans, OFS and CC clasps, 14-15 star, WM and Victory, Legion d’Honneur, Geo V Aux Forces Officers Dec and Union of SA 1910 medal, together with a printed press photo of Collins inspecting Ypres war graves with George V -Collins commanded the SA Railway troops in France and later Assistant Director of Light Railways, Fifth Army. Mentioned in despatches twice.

Collins, Francis Richard
Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Richard Collins, D.S.O., Officier Legion d’Honneur, President for Instn Loco. Engrs. 1937-38, was son of Rev. Richard Collins, and was born in 1873. He was educated at Almondbury Grammar School and Huddersfield Technical School. On leaving school, in 1891, he became a premium apprentice at the Crewe Works of the LNWR and, on completion of his time, a pupil of F.W. Webb. In 1896, after a term in the Drawing Office, he was appointed Locomotive Foreman at Ordsall Lane (Manchester), being transferred later to Aston Shed at Birmingham and then to Camden.
In 1901-2 he was placed in command of a section of the 2nd Cheshire R.E. (Railway Volunteers) in the South African War, attached to the 10th Company of Royal Engineers, and later to the Imperial Military Railways. From 1902-4 he was District Locomotive Supt. at Bloemfontein, on the Central South African Railways. He was appointed Works Manager at Pretoria in 1904 and Supt. Mech. and Motive Power, South African Railways, at Johannesburg in 1908.
In 1914-15 he was Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding the South African Engineer Corps, in the operations in South-West Africa, and was mentioned in despatches. He came to France in 1916, in command of the South African Railway Troops, and, later, was appointed Assistant Director of Light Railways, Fifth Army. He was again mentioned in despatches and awarded the D.S.O. and made an Officier Legion d’Honneur.
Returning to the services of the South African Railways in 1919, he visited Canada and the U.S.A. on inspection work and was appointed, in 1920, Advisory Engineer to the High Commissioner for the Union of South Africa in London. In 1922 he became Chief Mechanical Engineer of the South African Railways, residing in Pretoria. He retired in 1929. Died 19 October 1957..
He was a delegate at the International Railway Conferences at Berne in 1910; at Rome in 1922; and in London in 1925. He was elected a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1917 and a Member of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers in 1920. J. Instn Loco. Engrs, 1937, 27, 461 (obituary J. Instn Loco. Engrs, 1957, 47, 544-5) and Loco. Rly Carr. Wagon Rev., 1937, 43, 313-14.

The History of the South African Forces in France by John Buchan
Pages 333-336
APPENDIX IV.
THE RAILWAYS COMPANIES AND MISCELLANEOUS
TRADES COMPANY.
IN 1916 the railways, roads, canals, and docks in the British zone in France were brought under the control of Transportation, which was under the command of Sir Eric Geddes. The War Office appealed to the Dominions for Railway Operating Sections, or Companies, each consisting of three officers and 266 men. In South Africa the position was such that the railways could, at the time, only spare sufficient men to form one company, but it was arranged to form a second from those not actually in the railway service but who had railway experience, or were in other ways fitted for the particular work required of them.
The first company assembled at Potchefstroom in November 1916, under Captain H. L. Pybus, and the second at Robert s Heights, Pretoria, under Captain W. Mel. Robinson. Fifty locomotive drivers and a similar number of firemen and guards formed the backbone of each company, the balance being composed of traffic controllers, blockmen, signalmen, with the necessary mechanics and clerical staff to enable each company to operate as a separate and a complete unit.
Lieutenant-Colonel F. R. Collins—a mechanical superintendent in the South African Railways—was appointed in command, and left for England in December 1916, the companies following later under the command of Captain (Acting Major) Robinson, and arriving at Bordon, Hampshire, in March 1917, at which place the depot was formed.
Both companies arrived in France at the end of March 1917 and were detailed for light railway work, which was then in its initial stage. The first section was renumbered "No. 7, South African Light Railway Operating Company,” and the second, “No. 8, South African Light Railway Operating Company,” the former being sent to Romarin on the Belgian border, while the latter proceeded to Savy, in the Arras district. Twenty-five drivers and a like number of firemen from each company were transferred to the Broad Gauge, and remained on that work throughout the war. No. 7 Company stayed at Romarin until the operations in connection with the taking of Messines Village and Ridge were completed in June 1917, during which time the Ploegsteert Light Railway system was built, over which the company was responsible for all traffic, the bulk being ammunition with delivery points at the different batteries. The 8th Company took over the Light Railway work from Marcoeuil to the north and north-east of Arras, whence lines were extended after the Vimy Ridge operations. In June 1917 both companies proceeded to Audruicq preparatory to taking up Broad Gauge work, and were designated No. 92 and No. 93 Companies respectively.
During most of this period Lieutenant-Colonel Collins was attached to Transportation Headquarters, and in May 1917 was appointed Assistant-Director of Light Railways, Fifth Army, which was then operating in the Bapaume sector. On the transfer of this Army to Belgium to take part in the series of operation:, known as the Third Battle of Ypres, light railways, in addition to serving batteries and Royal Engineers, were now required to prepare to follow up any advance. For this purpose the services of the 92nd and 93rd South African Companies were loaned to Light Railways, and took their place with five Imperial Operating Companies in the Fifth Army area. They shared in the operations up to November 1917, when the offensive ceased.
During this time the 92nd Company was employed on the system north-east of Ypres, eleven of the members being awarded Military Medals for individual acts of gallantry and devotion to duty. The 93rd Company worked from Elverdinghe through Boesinghe to Langemarck, and among other duties was responsible for the placing of field gun ammunition in position in front of the field guns on the eastern slopes of the Pilckem Ridge and in the Steenbecque Valley prior to the attacks during September and October 1917, which led to the front being advanced to the edge of the Houthulst Forest. Seven members received the Military Medal during this time.
In January 1918 the Fifth Army took over the sector of forty-five miles on the extreme south of the British front, and, in anticipation of an enemy offensive, light railway construction on a considerable scale was undertaken under Lieutenant-Colonel F. Newell. ; Later, on the division of this system, Lieutenant-Colonel Collins took over the northern area—the 92nd and 93rd Companies being ordered south from Belgium. The 93rd arrived early in March and was sent to Noyon, where it remained until the 23rd, when, retirement being forced by the enemy advance, the company proceeded by route march to Flexicourt, west of Amiens, and was employed on the construction of defence works in company with '] many other transportation units whose usual employment had been suspended for a like reason. Later, they were employed on railway construction necessitated by the altered conditions. In July [918 the Company Headquarters were established at Ligny, east of St. Pol, and the operation of the main trunk lines to Arras was undertaken. The German retreat caused a forward move, and the company, since November, operated over the section Douai to Mons inclusive, with headquarters at Somain.
The 92nd Company, after concentrating in Belgium in March for its projected move south, subsequently cancelled owing to the enemy’s advance, went to Crombeke and from there assisted in railway construction and other duties, until in September, when, with Berguette as headquarters, the operation of the newly- constructed line towards Merville and later towards Armentiêres was undertaken. In November the Company moved forward to Lille, and with headquarters at Tourcoing worked the section from Tourcoing to Tournai.
In 1917 the South African Union Government consented to the formation of a Miscellaneous Trades Company for service in Prance. This company began to assemble at Potchefstroom in I une, and, as recruiting was brisk, it was able to embark fully organized at Cape Town as early as 25th July, under the command of Captain C. E. Mason, S.A.E.
Arriving at Bordon on 28th August, the company was given a short course of training at the Royal Engineers’ Depot there, and sent to France on 14th October. Here the company was renumbered the 84th Miscellaneous Trades Company, R.E. (South African), and sent to the Director-General of Transportation, Chief Mechanical Engineer Department, Locomotive Workshops, situated at St. Etienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen, where five companies of the Royal Engineers, under the command of Lieutenant- Colonei Cole, R.E., were already stationed.
These were the largest locomotive workshops attached to the British Armies in France, and, by reason of its large percentage of skilled personnel, the 84th Company was enabled to take a very considerable share in the activities of the shops, Captain Mason being appointed Erecting Works’ Manager, and the N.C O's of the Company in many instances being entrusted with positions of responsibility. On the recall of Captain Mason to South Africa Captain N. S. Weatherley, S.A.E., succeeded to the command of the Company. When the armistice was signed in November 1918 Lieutenant-Colonel Cole ordered a special parade of the Company' m order to express to all ranks his high appreciation of their services’ which he characterized in the most complimentary terms.
A depot for the companies in France was originally established at Bordon, and was temporarily under the charge of Lieutenant Arthur, of the 1st section. Advantage was taken of the Instructional Establishment at Longmoor to train as many men as possible m the operation of petrol tractors, which were largely used in place of steam locomotives in the forward areas on light railways. In June 1917 the depot was taken over by Captain M. J. Byrne, who on his transfer to France in July 1918 to command the 93rd Company, was succeeded by Captain H. E. Greaves, M.C., R.E., the depot about the same time being transferred from Bordon to Longmoor.
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Medals to the Railways 9 months 5 days ago #73764

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H. W. PENN OF THE IMPERIAL MILITARY RAILWAYS

QUEEN'S SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL
CLASPS: CAPE COLONY
CONDITION: NEF, PLEASANT DARK TONING WITH ORIGINAL RIBBON

Mr. H. W. PENN was an engine driver for the IMR during the Boer War.
When I purchased the medal it was accompanied by the copy of a couple of pages from the July 1969 issue of SASSAR. These are shown above in the image for reference.
Of particular interest is the fact that Mr. Penn appears to have continued in his career as a railwaymen for many years after the conflict.
He was invited along to the 30th anniversary of the Blue Train in 1969 as evidenced by a quote from the above-mentioned article :

"What memories must have come rushing through their minds as they saw a steam locomotive once again at the head of South Africa's crack express. Among the sea of faces, I saw some of the men I remember so well from the days when steam still reigned supreme at Braamfontein Locomotive Shed. Crack pensioner drivers like Joe White, Bill Thackeray, Morry Wood, Phillip Boardman and Charlie McLean were amongst the party present. Even 84 year old Mr. H. W. PENN and 82 year old Mr. P. C. Swanepoel, both veteran drivers, turned out on the platform on this historic occasion. "

It is highly likely that he was a former driver of the prestigious Blue Train which travels the 1600km journey between Pretoria and Cape Town, one of the most famous train journeys in the world.

He would have qualified as a driver at a very young age assuming that the article is correct quoting his age at 84 in 1969. To receive the CC clasp to his.QSA I would have thought that he would have driven trains in some pretty hot areas and experienced attempts by the boer to attack the locos he was driving. I have other QSAs to drivers who received no clasps despite driving trains in a theatre of war(reports on these men to follow).

A very pleasing medal to the railways.
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Medals to the Railways 9 months 5 days ago #73767

  • Moranthorse1
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W. CARLYON AND W. WARD, ENGINE DRIVERS ON THE IMPERIAL MILITARY RAILWAYS

W. CARLYON (SURNAME SPELT 'OARLYON' ON MEDAL)
QUEEN'S SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL
CONDITION :EF, SILVER TONING.
CLASPS: NONE
According to the CGR medal roll (WO100/279) Mr. Carlyon is reported to have also served previously with the Beaufort West Town Guard.
From the Remarks column of the roll I quote:'Working trains in theatre of war. Resigned 30-04-02'

W. WARD
QUEEN'S SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL
CONDITION : NEF, DARK TONING
CLASPS: NONE
The CGR medal roll states in the Remarks column that Ward served previously as Private, number 88 in the Alice Dale Town Guard.

I now arrive at the point where I refer to the comments regarding clasps in my previous posting on this thread. Driver H. W. Penn was entitled to and received the clasp Cape Colony. Carlyon and Ward both originally had -'yes' to Cape Colony, but as civilians were not entitled to a clasp issue this was crossed through.

Is it likely that Penn was involved in an incident in which he earned his clasp?
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Medals to the Railways 9 months 5 days ago #73782

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There were some very nice Railway medals in the City Coins auction 71, 27 November 2020.

The very first lot in the sale:

QSA (0) (R. Booth, C.G.R.)

Booth was the driver of the armoured train Mosquito in the Kraaipan incident.

He qualified for the dubious honour of being one of the first men to be wounded in the War (according to the QSA medal roll he lost one finger and was wounded in the leg) and also being in the first group of Prisoners of War taken by the Boers.

After his release, probably in June 1900, he again worked armoured trains.
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Railways 9 months 5 days ago #73783

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A strong interest in Elandslaagte made this a very tempting medal.

QSA (0) (Mr. D.H. Mellors. Natal Govt. Rlys.)

A marginal note against Mellors’ name on the QSA roll reads “Guard of Armoured Train at Elandslaagte Battle” and the caption to a photo in the “Black and White Budget”, Dec 9, 1899, p25 reads “The guard who took the armoured train into action at Elandslaagte”.
Dr David Biggins
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