3667-PRIVATE W. JECKS. 1ST BATTALION NORTHUMBERLAND FUSILIERS.
Killed in Action. Belmont. 23/11/1899.
QUEEN'S SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL
CONDITION : EF /NEF.
Private Jecks was one of the 2 officers and 12 other ranks of the Northumberland Fusiliers who were killed in action at the Battle of Belmont on 23rd November 1899 (S. Watt, 2000 and SAFF list of casualties).
Please see the unit information for NF on the ABW site for a more detailed account of their actions during the battle.
Jecks is commemorated on the Boer War Memorial located in The Haymarket, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, while he is interred at Kimberley and commemorated on monument 19.
Due to his early demise in the South African campaign the clasp Belmont was his only entitlement as detailed in WO100/169.
However, two separate medal rolls in WO100/80 inform us of his entitlement to the Khedive's Sudan medal with the clasp KHARTOUM (THE ATBARA column is ticked but crossed through). The second document entitles the Queen's Sudan medal as Jecks was part of the Khartoum Expedition of 1898.
Both documents show him with the same service number 3667 and with the 1st Battalion NF.
There is great potential for a reunite here. I should be most grateful for any information regarding the possibility of making this come to fruition.
QSA (3) Transvaal, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (4166 Dmr: S. Williams. North'd Fus:), unofficial rivets
[ 1914-15 Star Trio ]
Samuel Edward Williams was born at Berwick-upon-Tweed in 1876 and lied about his age upon his enlistment in the Northumberland Fusiliers on 17 March 1894, stating he was 14 years 10 months. He served as a Drummer in the Occupation of Crete and in South Africa during the Boer War from 23 February 1901-4 March 1907 (Queen's Medal & 3 clasps), being discharged in May 1907.
Upon the outbreak of the Great War, Williams was a removals porter living in Fulham and re-enlisted upon 14 October 1914. He served in France from 6 March 1915 and was wounded in the right thigh on 24 May 1915 at St Julien. In his evidence to the Medical Board he stated he was wounded "in a charge" and while laying out in No-Man's Land was hit twice in the head two days later. He lay for 6 days before being attended to. Evacuated home on 15 June 1915, he was discharged with a Silver War Badge to go with his 1914-15 Star Trio.
QSA (4) Belfast, Modder River, Orange Free State, Transvaal (5125 Pte. H. May. North'd: Fus:);
KSA (2) (5125 Pte. H. May. North'd Fus:)
Herbert May was born at Bradford, Yorkshire in 1879 and was a grocer before joining the Northumberland Fusiliers. He served in South Africa from 16 September 1899 to 6 April 1903 and was discharged on 1 July 1909.
May was posted missing on 25 February 1902 following the battle of Yzer Spruit.
Group of 5 to A. THORPE – 1st Northumberland Fusiliers.
Queen’s Sudan Medal – 4415 L:Sgt A. Thorpe
Khedive’s Sudan Medal 1896-1908 (bar – Khartoum) – 4415 Sergt A. Thorpe
QSA - 4 bars (Belmont, Modder River, Transvaal, Orange Free State) 4415 Clr. Serjt. A. Thorpe.
KSA – 2 bars (South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902) 4415 Clr Serjt A. Thorpe
WW1 War Medal – Corporal A.Thorpe – 4th S.A.I.
Free Masons Medal ( Albert Edward Lodge) – Presented to Wor Bro A Thorpe President Albert Edward Lodge 1917-18
Aubrey Thorpe was born on 23rd August 1877 at Hastings in Sussex, U.K. He enlisted with the Northumberland Fusiliers at Aldershot on 10th January 1895. He was appointed Lance Corporal on 13th November the same year, then promoted to Corporal on 29th February 1896. On the 30th November 1898 he was promoted to Sergeant, and on 1st September 1900 he was promoted to the rank of Colour Sergeant. Colour Sergeant was in effect what in today’s Infantry would be the Company Sergeant Major.
Late in 1896 he was posted to Gibraltar and on the 17th January 1898 being posted with the Regiment to Egypt. He was at the battle of Khartoum which took place on 2nd September 1898. He was posted to South Africa 0n the 16th September 1899, serving with the regiment until the end of hostilities. On the 23rd June 1902 he was posted to the reserves and remained there until the 9th January 1907.
During the South African War 1899-1902 he was involved with the Relief of Mafeking, and was present at the Battles of Belmont and Modder River. At the battle of Modder River the Fusiliers lost 11 men killed and 34 wounded. The Regiment was not involved in the battle of Magersfontein as they were involved in holding the camp and making a diversion along the railway to the left of the real attack.
The Regiment saw little action in the first quarter of 1900, and after the fall of Bloemfontein the Regiment occupied Hoopstad, before moving to the Kroonstad district to protect Roberts’s lines of communication. The Regiment saw action at Lindley in June 1900, before moving into the Western Transvaal in pursuit of Boer General de Wet.
Early in 1901 the Regiment was involved in a battle at Lichtenburg with the Boers where 15 men were killed and 26 wounded. Late in 1901, as part of Methuens Brigade, the Regiment were attacked by de la Rey near Zeerust where the regiment had 13 men killed and 14 wounded. Early in 1902 the Regiment was again in action against de la Rey in the Klerksdorp district where they had 12 men killed and 62 wounded.
Aubrey moved to South Africa after the South African War and enlisted with the 1st South African Infantry a few months before the end of WW1. When he attested on the 20th September 1918 he was married and had 6 children – aged 10, 9, 7. 6, 5 and 4 years of age. He gave his occupation as that of a Shift Boss. Including 27 Pages of research. Papers shows Victory medal not issued.
QSA (3) Belmont, Modder River, Transvaal (Capt: C. A. Armstrong, North’d Fus:);
KSA (2) (Maj. C. A. Armstrong. Nthld. Fus.);
1914-15 Star (Major C. A. Armstrong North’d Fus.);
BWM and VM (Lt. Col. C. A. Armstrong);
France, Third Republic, Legion of Honour, Chevalier’s breast badge, silver, gilt, and enamels, in Arthus Bertrand, Paris, case of issue, with note that it was conferred by President Courbet at Dover in 1910, the first two mounted as worn together with the related pair of mounted miniatures, the former being with 4 clasps including ‘Orange Free State’
Provenance: Dix Noonan Webb, December 2005.
Charles Arthur Armstrong was born in London on 5 May 1873, the only son of Major-General Charles Armstrong, Bengal Staff Corps. He was educated at Sherborne School and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst (Hon. Queen’s India Cadet), and was gazetted Second Lieutenant to the 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers on 10 October 1894. He was promoted Lieutenant in December 1895; Captain in May 1900; and Brevet Major in Lord Kitchener’s Despatch of 8 April 1902. He served throughout the South African War 1899-1902; took part in the battles of Belmont, Enslin, Modder River, Magersfontein; was Commandant at Kraipan from 27 February 1901, and Adjutant, 5th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry (16th (Worcestershire) Company), June 1901 to May 1902; he took part in the operations in the Transvaal, February 1901 to May 1902.
On 24 February 1902, a convoy commanded by Lt-Col W.C. Anderson heading for Klerksdorp, bivouacked on the farm Elandslaagte by the Yzer Spruit. Early the following morning the column set off and after a march of some three kilometres was attacked by a commando under the command of Asst. Cmdt-Gen. J.H. de la Rey. After very strong resistance, the convoy was forced to surrender. British losses were 187 killed and wounded whilst the Boers lost 51 killed and wounded. Major Armstrong was reported missing on 25 February 1902 at Elandslaagte and later re-joined. For his services in the Boer War he was Mentioned in Despatches (LG 17 June 1902).
Returning to England, at St. Paul’s, Knightsbridge, in November 1902, Armstrong married Evelyn Denison, daughter of the late Major General Charles Richards, Indian Army. He was then transferred to the 2nd Battalion, with which he served until October 1913, when he was appointed Adjutant of the Officers’ Training Corps, Queen’s University Belfast (attached General Staff), a post he held until the outbreak of war. Confirmed in the rank of Major on 14 October 1914, he was then appointed to train the 8th Service Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers. He was appointed to the command of the 2nd Battalion in June 1915, with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and immediately went out to France. After being at the front for four months, Lieutenant-Colonel Armstrong was fatally shot in the head at the battle of Loos, 1 October 1915, and is buried in the British Cemetery at Vermelles. He is also commemorated in the Sherborne School Roll of Honour and War Memorial.
The Fifth in the Great War refers:
“Dawn was just breaking, the relief was hurried through, and a party of the relieved troops (1/York & Lancs.), impatient to get back, instead of moving by communication trenches, rashly withdrew across the open. This movement, undoubtedly, was observed by the enemy, to whom it gave the clue to what was in progress. Before the relief had been fully completed, and while the men of the FIFTH were still in process of taking up their positions, the Germans, approaching unseen by South Face, suddenly attacked with bombs. The inner flanks of both "C" and "D" Companies were driven back, and the enemy secured a footing of about one hundred yards in the Hohenzollern and "Big Willie." Further progress of the enemy was checked and a barrier was constructed by each company to protect its flank and contain the enemy; but they found themselves completely separated. On report of the situation reaching Brigade Headquarters, orders were issued that the enemy was to be driven from the position at all costs; but though it was simple enough to issue such orders, the manner in which they should be carried out was quite a different matter. Major Armstrong had gone forward to the scene of the trouble before the orders from the Brigade had reached his headquarters, with the intention of organising a counter-attack, the necessity for which was, in truth, quite obvious. But to form any plan without more accurate knowledge of the general situation than could be obtained from the bottom of a trench was impossible. In order to secure a view of his surroundings, he raised himself above the parapet and was immediately shot through the head and killed. On news of this tragic event reaching Battalion Headquarters, Captain Lamb, to whom command now fell, went forward with 2nd Lieutenant Gilchrist, the Adjutant, to " D " Company's position. He found that already many casualties had been sustained; bombing and counter-bombing were in progress; and considerable confusion reigned in the trench. Any attempt to attack across the open would have been swept away by the fire of machine guns from the enemy's rear positions, and the only hope of dislodging the Germans lay in bombing them from the section of trench in which they had secured a footing.”
“During the short time he (Armstrong) was in command of the 2nd Battalion he gained the highest praise and admiration of all, and numerous letters received by his widow tell how much he was beloved, and "that his most excellent work had been appreciated and noted for due reward and promotion, had he but lived through the Battle of Loos." (Roll of Honour, Marquis de Ruvigny refers).