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Medals to the Royal Artillery 7 months 5 days ago #93166

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QSA (4) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, Laing’s Nek (Major C. D. Guinness. 86/Bty. R.F.A.) engraved naming;
KSA (2) (Maj. C. D. Guinness. R.F.A.) engraved naming, heavy edge bruising and contact marks, traces of restoration work, therefore fair to fine

Charles Davis Guinness was commissioned Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery on 18 February 1880, and was promoted Captain on 19 January 1888, and Major on 23 September 1897. He served in South Africa during the Boer War, and was Mentioned in Despatches.
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Royal Artillery 5 months 3 weeks ago #93774

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QSA (3) Defence of Ladysmith, Laing's Nek, Belfast (5526 Gnr: J. Hopkins, 53rd Bty: R.F.A.);
KSA (2) (5526 Gnr. J. Hopkins. R.F.A.), edge bruising

John Hopkins was born at Poutardwal, Glomorgan, Wales in 1874, the son of David Hopkins of Breacon Road, Poutardwal. Working as a Mason he joined the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, Welsh Regiment before going on to enlist with the Royal Artillery at Woolwich on 21 August 1894. Posted as a Gunner to the 79th Battery, Royal Field Artillery it appears that Hopkins did not immediately take to military life, deserted not long afterwards in May 1895. He did re-join shortly afterwards however and found himself imprisoned until December as a result.

After two years of service in Britain Hopkins was transferred to the 53rd Battery in India on 23 September 1896. The unit was to remain here for nearly three years, however as tensions rose between the British and the Boer Republics Imperial forces began to be direct to South Africa. The 53rd Battery was one of these units and Hopkins arrived there on 19 September 1899, joining the garrison of Ladysmith.

Actions before Ladysmith

They were still here upon the outbreak of war in October that same year when Boer Forces began to pour into Natal. As the British forces in the colony began to be pushed back the Battery found itself facing heavy action. They came under the command of Sir George White at Rietfontein, here a British Column under White fought an action to keep the road to Ladysmith open for Brigadier-General Yule's column. The action proved evasive with the neither side heavily engaged but rather duelling with long distance rifle fire and artillery.

Withdrawing back towards Ladysmith they fought one more action at Lombard's Kop. This abortive attempt at a night assault caused serious losses to the British and- unlike at Rietfontein- they found the Boer artillery both numerous and well emplaced. During the night march the guns were misplaced and found themselves out of position, before the Boer Lines. As the infantry withdrew it was only the artillery who remained to cover the withdrawal, duelling with the Boer guns and trying to keep their horseman from the British lines. The 53rd Battery suffered particularly heavily here, losing a gun to Boer artillery fire.

The Siege of Ladysmith

The siege started in November 1899 and the earliest days were extremely difficult for the British guns, the Boer's were hoping to use their heavy guns to force a surrender. This was not to prove a winning strategy however it did cause a number of artillery duels between the heavy guns provide a great deal of work for the 53rd Battery and their counterparts.

This period of activity soon passed however and the siege settled down to a steady routine intercut by sniping and the occasional raid. As the New Year passed pressure grew on General Piet Joubert to launch an attack and end the siege once and for all before the British reinforcements broke through on the Tugela Heights. His plan was to break through the lines over the Platrand Ridge, a long feature to the south of the defences.

The British had two defensive positions upon the ridge- Waggon Hill and Caesar's Camp- defended respectively by the Manchester Regiment and the King's Royal Rifle Corps. These men were awoken in the early hours of 6 January 1900 to find a force of 2000 Boer's scaling the feature.

The garrison rallied to drive the enemy out but not before the attackers had managed to seize the edge of the ridgeline. British counter-attacks failed but the Boer's were also halted in their positions and unable to advance further. The 53rd Battery saw heavy fighting throughout the day in support of the infantry. General White mentioned them in his dispatch for the day stating:

'These guns, most ably handled, came into action on Klip River Flats, ... and inflicted very heavy losses on the enemy'

It was during this action that Hopkins' gun came in for counter-battery fire from the Boer guns. His records note that he was 'slightly wounded' in the foot. British casualties for the engagement came to 417, with 168 of those being killed. They managed to drive the Boer forces back from the ridgeline and Ladysmith held until its relief on 28 February.

Epilogue

Hopkins' wound was fortunately not a serious one, he was soon in action again at the Battle of Bergendal- Belfast- the last real set piece of the war. Fighting at first in support of the Fourth Divisional Mounted Infantry, the 53rd Battery would later be part of the British force which cleared the Lydenburg.

Hopkins remained in South Africa until 13 December 1902 before returning to Britain. He joined the Army Reserve the same day, remaining with them for four more years before finally being discharged for good on 16 September 1906.
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Royal Artillery 5 months 3 weeks ago #93778

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IGS 1895 (3) Punjab Frontier 1897-98, Samana 1897, Tirah 1897-98 (69344 Bombdr. R. Cooper. B. By R. H. A.);
QSA (3) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, South Africa 1901 (69344 Gnr: R. Cooper. R.H.A.);
[ 1914 Star and Bar trio ]

Robert Cooper was born at Kirk Deighton, Yorkshire in 1867. Enlisting with the 1st Brigade, Northern Division, Royal Artillery at Sunderland on 2 November 1888 he was transferred to 'B' Battery, 'B' Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery. Posted to India on 2 October 1899 he was appointed Bombardier out there on 3 May 1891. He also twice suffered from injuries in undertaking his duties, the first at Meerut and the second at Rawalpindi.

Taking part in the British response to the disturbances on the Punjab Frontier in 1897 Cooper was part of the Samana expedition that same year. Posted back to Britain on 4 March 1899 he was there on the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War. Transferring to 'N' Section, Maxim Guns Cooper on 20 December 1899 Cooper was posted to South Africa two days later.

Here he served for almost two years, being on of two men 'mentioned' in Lord Robert's dispatch of 4 September 1901 (London Gazette 10 September 1901). Towards the end of the campaign he was posted back to Britain, arriving on 16 October 1901 and being discharged on 1 November 1901.

This was not to be the end of Cooper's career however, with the outbreak of the Great War he returned to the colours on 6 September 1914. Joining the 8th Divisional Ammunition Column on 11 October 1914 he entered the war in France on 5 November 1914. He was to serve there for the duration, being appointed Corporal on 22 March 1917 and Sergeant on 2 February 1918.

Unfortunately Cooper's health began to fail towards the end of the war and he was posted to the 191st Prisoner of War Company on 10 August 1918. Returning to Britain on leave on 19 December 1918 he remained there and was demobilised on 11 February 1919.
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Royal Artillery 5 months 2 weeks ago #93892

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Egypt, dated reverse (1) Tel-El-Kebir (Lieut: C. E. H. Heyman. A/1....);
QSA (1) Cape Colony (Major C. E. H. Heyman. R.A.);
KSA (2) (Major C. E. H. Heyman. R.G.A.);
Khedive’s Star, dated 1882

Charles Edward Hamilton Heyman was appointed Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery in June 1877, and subsequently Captain in December 1885, and Major in May 1895. He served with the Royal Artillery in the Egyptian war of 1882, and was present at the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir (Medal with Clasp, and Khedive’s Star). Heyman also served in South African war of 1899-1901 as Staff Officer for Prisoners of War.
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Royal Artillery 5 months 2 weeks ago #93938

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Egypt, dated reverse (1)Tel-El-Kebir (Lieut: T. W. Powles. D/1 Bde. R.A.);
QSA (1) Cape Colony (Major T. W. Powles. R.G.A.);
China (0) Major T. W. Powles. R.G.A.);
Khedive’s Star, dated 1882

QSA listed on WO100/145p55

The role was prepared in China.



Entitlement confirmed in the 1905 Army List

Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Royal Artillery 5 months 2 weeks ago #93955

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SAGS (1) 1879 (4747 GUNR W LUCKMAN 5TH BDE R.A.)

Described as:

20 year old William Luckman from Nechells Green, Birmingham attested for the Royal Artillery at Woolwich on 10th August 1875. Clearly a ‘character’ he was tried and imprisoned between May and August 1876 for an unspecified reason. He deserted in Newport on 8th June 1878 rejoining his unit on 30th September 1878 and was once again imprisoned from October to December 1878. He again deserted, this time at Potchefstroom, South Africa, on 29th November 1880 rejoining his unit the following day. Once again, he was imprisoned, this time only for 5 days with his former service being forfeited. He was later recommended for the restoration of his forfeited service ‘for gallant service in the field’, his service record recording ‘mentioned for gallant service at the siege of Potchefstroom’.

He married on 23rd March 1885 at St Giles, Colchester, Essex. William Luckman died of pneumonia on 9th March 1893 at Weedon.
Dr David Biggins
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