Medals to the Northumberland Fusiliers 10 months 1 week ago #68194
Picture courtesy of DNW
Queen’s Sudan (4034. Pte. J. Nicholson. 1/Northd: Fus:);
QSA (6) Belmont, Modder River, Relief of Kimberley, Paardeberg, Driefontein, Transvaal (4034 Pte. J. Nicholson. North’d Fus:);
KSA (2) (4034 Pte. J. Nicholson. North’d Fus:);
1914-15 Star, unnamed;
British War and Victory Medals (3-8913 Pte. J. Nicholson. North’d Fus.);
Khedive’s Sudan (1) Khartoum (4034. Pte. J. Nicholson. 5th. Fusers.) Regimentally engraved naming
John Nicholson attested for the Northumberland Fusiliers, and served with the 1st Battalion in the Sudan, where he was present at the Battle of Omdurman, and in South Africa during the Boer War. He was taken Prisoner of War at the Battle of Sanna’s Post on 31 March 1900, but later released.
He subsequently served during the Great War on the Western Front from 16 January 1915.
Dr David Biggins
Medals to the Northumberland Fusiliers 5 months 3 weeks ago #70737
Picture courtesy of Spink
E&W Africa 1887 (1) Sierra Leone 1898-99 (Capt. Arthur. F. Dawkins. W.A.R.);
QSA (3) Transvaal, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (Major A. F. Dawkins. North'd: Fus: M.I.)
Arthur Frederick Dawkins was born on 31 December 1865 at London and educated at Cheltenham College. Dawkins was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment from the Royal Military College on 25 August 1886. He transferred to the 1st Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers on 12 October that same year. He took on further training, passing in Riding at Woolwich in July 1891 and Mounted Infantry at Aldershot in September 1894.
Proficient in French and German, Dawkins was promoted Captain on 27 January 1895 and was seconded for special service with the West African Regiment in 1898. He is previously recorded as having been joint Acting Imperial Secretary together with Albert Browne C.M.G. from March-August 1896 (Colonial List, refers). The unit had only been formed prior to the Benin expedition in 1897, so his service must be regarded as one of the 'founding fathers' of that distinguished Regiment. It was during the operations that he cut his teeth and certainly gained plenty of fighting experience. His service was summarised by Colonel E. R. P. Woodgate, C.B., Commanding Troops, in his enclosure to the Governor and Commander-in-Chief, Sierra Leone (T.N.A. CO879/58 En.2 in No.17 refers):
'Proceeded in May to Bonthe at the commencement of the Mendi rising, and, with a few men of the 1st Battalion West India Regiment, took steps for the security of that place and of York Island, until the arrival of Lieutenant-Colonel Cunningham. He was entrusted by that Officer with the clearing, from the banks of the Jong river, rebels, whose fire had caused loss to parties going up and down the river. He afterwards remained in charge of the base and communications.
In October he proceeded with Lieutenant-Colonel Cunningham to the Karene district, and, working under Captain Goodwyn, took and active and effective part in the operations, which ended with the capture of the rebel leader.'
Lieutenant-Colonel Cunningham in his own report makes further note of the good service of Dawkins during the Mendi operations (T.N.A. CO879/54 refers):
'10. Next day the boats were sent back to Bonthe in charge of thirty men of 3rd Battalion, W.I.R. being fired on at intervals from both banks of the river Jong. Notes were taken by Captain A. F. Dawkins, of the places where the insurgents had mounted guns, with a view to capturing them on the journey up.
27. Meanwhile Captain Dawkins has been engaged in the clearing the neighbourhood of the base at Mafwe of insurgents. On 27 May, Tihung was destroyed, and a gun being captured, these operations had such good effect that Chiefs and headmen from the district round about Mafwe now began to come in and beg for peace.'
It was during those operations that Lieutenant-Colonel Cunningham submitted the following report of the engagements at Ronthe and Kissy in early 1898. The latter included a hair-raising hand-to-hand combat for Dr. Berkeley (Medal sold in these rooms, April 2019) who came face-to-face with a naked warrior brandishing a sword. The Doctor fired his pistol - which misfired - and he then slipped whilst trying to flee. It took a pair of shots from Lieutenant Steward (Second-in-Command to Dawkins) and Lance-Corporal Brimah Windai to fell the warrior who was seconds from decapitating Berkeley:
'Bonthe - 8 May 1898
I have the honour to report that in accordance with orders issued [to] him Captain Dawkins - Northumberland Fusiliers proceeded with a force as per margin (Dawkings, Lt. Steward & 25 N.C.O. + men, 1/W.I.R., Captain Wallis & 25 N.C.O. + men S.L.P.F., Surgeon Capt. F. Smith, A.M.S., Dr. Berkeley M.D., S.L.F.P.) to attack the village at Ronthe about 1pm where they were received with a hot fire from guns and a small brass cannon. The latter, which was subsequently captured, burst at the first discharge. A stockade composed of timber and corrugated iron was destroyed. The enemy was driven back and pursued into the bush, 10 being killed.
At the village of Kissy which was then attacked, further opposition was encountered. Here also a gun was captured, missiles from which struck Lieut. Steward's boat. Dr. Berkeley had a narrow escape here in a hand-to-hand encounter, owing to his revolver missing fire three times in succession.
No casualties on our side. The party returned to Bonthe at 8pm having inflicted considerable damage on the enemy.'
Dawkins was duly mentioned in Colonel Woodgates' despatch of 9 January 1899 having been 'brought to notice at various times for good services performed in suppression of the recent rebellion' (T.N.A. CO267/451 refers). His name appears on the nominal Medal roll dated 17 October 1899 as being on extension of sick leave from Africa - no doubt on account of the sapping tour of action - with him resident at his mother's address, 60 Pont Street, London.
Further campaigns - journey's end
Recovered from his sickness and returned to the Active List, Dawkins served with the 18th Battalion, Mounted Infantry in the Transvaal from March 1901-February 1902 (Medal & 3 clasps). His Medal is inscribed as the senior rank to the unit. Having been promoted Major, Dawkins married Lady Bertha Mabel Bootle-Wilbraham, third daughter of the 1st Earl of Lathom in 1903. With issue of a daughter, Dawkins died at Vaccar, Mauritius on 27 March 1905. She survied him and lived at Kensington Palace as a Woman of the Bedchamber to The Queen. Dawkins is commemorated with a plaque in Newcastle Cathedral; sold together with copied service record, campaign reports and research, besides email correspondence with the great-nephew, Professor Richard Dawkins.
Dawkins is mentioned on three occasions in The Advance of Our West African Empire.
Dr David Biggins
Medals to the Northumberland Fusiliers 1 month 3 weeks ago #73185
From the next City Coins auction, November 2020
Lichtenburg, 3 March 1901
The town of Lichtenburg and the district surrounding it furnished two Boer commandos, under Commandant H C W Vermaas and Commandant J G Celliers respectively. The town was occupied by the British for a few days in June 1900 and then on a permanent basis from late November 1900. It became an important supply depot and the British garrison of 620 men comprised infantry, artillery and Yeomanry, specifically the 10th Company, 3rd Battalion, IY, and two companies of Paget’s Horse, or the 19th Battalion, IY.
On 3 March 1901, Lichtenburg was attacked in a three-pronged assault on the town by an estimated 300 Boers. From the west, Commandant Vermaas assailed the fortified British redoubt in the market square, while the second and third attacks from the east and west were directed against the British pickets on the edge of the town. After facing determined resistance for 24 hours, the Boers were forced to withdraw, General de la Rey coming to the assistance of Vermaas.
An Imperial Yeomanry man recounts the action as the Boers rushed the British trenches: ‘How those pickets did fight! The picket trenches never contained more than 7 men, and in one trench only two were left, the others being killed or wounded. When relief arrived, a sergeant was just saying to one comrade “Fix bayonets, we’ll keep the ... back”. The defenders lost 21 men killed and died of wounds (two of them Yeomanry men), and 24 wounded. The Boers lost fourteen men killed and forty wounded.
QSA (3) CC, OFS, Tvl (5551 Pte. A. McGuire, North’d. Fus.);
KSA (2) (5551 Pte. A. McGuire, North’d Fus.)
Pte McGuire was severely wounded in the attack on Lichtenburg.
Just under a year later, on 25 Feb 1902, he was slightly wounded in the Yzerspruit/Elandslaagte convoy attack near Klerksdorp.
QSA (4) Belm, ModR, OFS, Tvl (637 1st Cl. Armr.Sjt. J.A. Hitchins. North’d. Fus.)
Armourer Sergeant Hitchins (Army Ordnance Corps, attached Northumberland Fusiliers) was killed during the defence of Lichtenburg.
He is also entitled to a SA’01 clasp.
Dr David Biggins
Medals to the Northumberland Fusiliers 1 month 3 weeks ago #73261
From today's City Coins auction, 27 November 2020
Kleinfontein, 24 October 1901
Two British columns under Methuen and Von Donop had left Zeerust on 17 October 1901 in order to sweep the surrounding country, the one working in the direction of Elands River and the other towards Rustenburg.
On 24 October, during the march back to Zeerust, the column under Colonel von Donop, was surprised by De la Rey at Kleinfontein, 6km west of Groot Marico. The column, accompanied by a procession of 100 wagons, was marching along a bad road. Patrols were working on either flank; but Yeomanry scouts were powerless.
At 7 am, some Boers having showed themselves on high ground to the front, the advance-guard guns halted and opened fire. Then, without a moment’s warning, some 500 Boers under Kemp, Steenekamp, Oosthuizen and other leaders charged down from the heights on the left in three ordered lines, struck the centre of the mule-convoy, shot down numbers of the native drivers and threw the whole into confusion.
While some Boers endeavoured to drive off the wagons, the rest whirled away to their right and fell upon the rear-guard, consisting of two guns of the 4th Battery, a company of the 1st Northumberland Fusiliers and a company of the 5th Yeomanry.
The troops, resisting with bravery, received severe punishment. Both gun detachments were cut, the Fusiliers lost half their number in killed and wounded; the Yeomanry a quarter of their number and half their horses, and the guns for a considerable time were in Boer hands; but, the teams having been shot down, there was no means of removing them.
Meanwhile the column was cut in two, and fully two hours elapsed before von Donop was able to get back to the relief of the rear-guard. Then the Boers, who had succeeded in driving away 12 wagons with supplies and in burning one limber, were beaten off.
The British losses were 38 killed or died of wounds, 46 wounded and six missing in action.
The Boers lost 20 men killed and 31 wounded.
[ QSA (4) ]
KSA (2) (1548 Serjt: J. Miller, North’d Fus.)
Sgt. Miller was Mentioned (LG 17 Jan 1902, p379) for the action at Kleinfontein: “Collected men and took them to hold an important position. Has several times done most excellent service in action.”
He is also mentioned by name “for exceptional gallantry on this occasion” in a footnote on p385 of the “Times History” Vol V. Miller received a QSA with clasps Belm, ModRi, OFS & Tvl.
QSA (4) Belm, ModR, OFS, Tvl (3878 Pte. J. Gallon. North’d. Fus.)
Pte Gallon was killed at Kleinfontein and is buried in Zeerust.
He was also entitled to a SA’01 clasp, but this was only issued in 1903 and not attached to the QSA.
Dr David Biggins
Medals to the Northumberland Fusiliers 1 month 3 weeks ago #73293
From today's City Coins auction, 27 November 2020
Yzerspruit / Elandslaagte, 25 February 1902
On 24 February 1902, a convoy heading for Klerksdorp bivouacked on the farm, Elandslaagte, between the Yzer and Jagd Spruits, 25km south-west of Klerksdorp. The convoy was escorted by 230 Imperial Yeomanry of the 5th Bn, 9th Bn and 10th Bn as well as regular soldiers, mounted infantry and artillery.
Early the following morning, the march resumed, with both the advance guard and the rear guard, including Yeomanry and infantry, covering the movement. Some 3km further on, 250 Boers under Gen Liebenberg attacked the front of the convoy, while Gen J Kemp, with 250 men, attacked its left flank. This assault was beaten off with artillery and rifle fire. A second attack was met with the same result.
A third assault, by Gen J G Celliers with 100 men, came from the rear, the Boers charging through the defensive ring of infantry. Some of Celliers’ men then attacked on the right flank, while Kemp renewed his attack. This broke the outer defensive ring and, shortly afterwards, resistance collapsed on every side.
The wagons were stampeded towards the Jagd Spruit, where they became stuck in the muddy waters of the stream and were captured. Some mounted infantry escaped to Klerksdorp, where the alarm was raised, and reinforcements gathered. They hurried to the scene, but, on arrival, confronted by Kemp and his men, they could only report back that the disaster had been complete.
British losses were 73 men killed or mortally wounded, 110 wounded, 270 taken prisoner. Thirty-two men of the Imperial Yeomanry lost their lives. Of greater importance for the Boers was the capture of 156 wagons, 1500 mules, four artillery pieces, 2000 rifles and half-a-million rounds of ammunition. The Boer casualties were twelve dead and 42 wounded.
QSA (3) CC, OFS, Tvl (7063 Pte. W. Griffiths, North’d Fus.);
KSA (2) (7063 Pte. W. Griffiths, North’d Fus.)
KSA with some rim nicks.
Pte Griffiths was killed in the Elandslaagte ambush and is buried in Klerksdorp.
Dr David Biggins
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