The following is taken from the lot description in the catalogue.
23 DECEMBER 1901 FISH RIVER STATION
A marginal note on the QSA roll page opposite the name of Ganger A. Ferrier, Cape Government Railways :
'Patrolling line within zone of fire, also special services rendered upon the occasion of the attack by boers on Fish River Station on 23/12/1901 for which he was publicly presented with a silver watch (with suitable inscription) on the 21st March 1902.'
The incident is not mentioned in any of the standard Boer War reference works. However, Rodney Constantine, whose MA Thesis covered the Guerilla War in the Cape, is of the opinion that the attack was carried out by a small Rebel Commando under Lieut. G. Bester, who subsequently moved 15 miles NNW and attacked Conway Station on the night of 28 December.
Worthy of further research!
Indeed! I hope to be successful with my research into this incident and will add to this post if and when my efforts bear fruit.
Sorry no pics, medals are on their way from Cape Town.
CIVILIAN CLERK, MR. T. HOLT.
IMPERIAL MILITARY RAILWAYS.
QSA. No clasps.
This QSA, which has just arrived in my collection, is my only casualty to the railways.
WO100/252 tells us that Holt is recorded as deceased on 06/03/1902. Referring to 'In Memoriam' (S. Watt 2000) and Hayward (1982) we find that Holt, sadly, committed suicide in Johannesburg on that date.
The medal roll also shows 'yes' to the clasps for Cape Colony and Orange Free State, but with the usual cross through for civilians having no entitlement.
COACHBUILDER, MR. S. THOMAS.
IMPERIAL MILITARY RAILWAYS.
Clasp: CAPE COLONY
NEF with one edge knock.
WO100/252 confirms entitlement to the CC clasp as evidenced by the relevant column being initialled 'JHT' and dated 02/00 by the officer of the Royal Engineers (J. H. Truss I think his signature says). Orange Free State and Transvaal are both crossed through.
It is tempting to think/hope that in order to be entitled to the CC clasp he must have been involved in something outside of the depot and workshops that he would normally have plied his trade as a Coachbuilder.
Trains and carriages must have required repair work when damaged on the line during train movements so the skills of these tradesmen would have been essential to get everything running again quickly.
After all, the railway network was the main artery of the transport system which was a priority for the boers to sever this vital line of communication and supply.
Very little could have been achieved by the Imperial forces without the pluck of the front line drivers and staff and protection of the line.
I have a great interest in QSAs to the railways, as you may have gathered!
If anyone on the forum would like to part with any from their collections, please do send me a private email. I am interested in anything from the teaboy upwards.