IGS 1895 (2) Punjab Frontier 1897-98, Tirah 1897-98 (Capt. W. Wreford-Brown, 2nd. Essex. Regt.) naming engraved in the style particular to the D.C.L.I. with which regiment he served in India;
QSA (3) CC OFS SA02 (Capt. W. H. Wreford-Brown, Essex Rgt:)
Provenance: Jack Webb Collection, Dix Noonan Webb, March 2000.
William Henry Wreford-Brown was born on 10 September 1865, the eldest son of William Wreford Brown, Esq., of Clifton, Bristol, and was educated at Charterhouse School. He was commissioned as Lieutenant in the Essex Regiment on 30 January 1886, and served as Adjutant from 1891 to 1895. Promoted Captain on 14 August 1897, he served in India with the Tirah Expeditionary and Khyber Forces 1897-98 on attachment to the 1st Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, and in South Africa with the 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment. Appointed Adjutant of the 4th Battalion on 22 November 1902, he was promoted Major on 16 May 1906, before transferring to the Reserve of Officers on 8 January 1908. He served during the Great War on a special appointment as G.S.O., 3rd Grade, Staff, from 31 August 1914, and by 1916 was working at the Press Bureau in Whitehall. His younger brother, Charles Wreford-Brown, was a famous sportsman who played first class cricket for Gloucestershire and twice captained England at football in the 1890s, before becoming involved for a very long period in the administration of the game with the Football Association.
Note: Only 6 Officers from the Essex Regiment received the India General Service Medal. Wreford-Brown’s combination of awards is unique to an officer from the Regiment.
I purchased here in Adelaide South Australia on Monday a 5 clasp QSA clasps CC, OFS, J, DH SA01 to 6920 Pte Alfred Genn 1st Essex Regt -it would appear he was from the Volunteer Brigade and was one of 112 men who made up the 1st Special service Company.
From a quick read of the roll all these men had service numbers in the 6900 range so the numbers must have been issued in a block as the men joined the company.
Egypt (1) The Nile 1884-85 (2256 Pte. J. Rogers. 1st. R.W.K. Regt.) re-engraved naming;
Khedive’s Star 1882, unnamed as issued;
QSA (2) CC SA02 (3649. Pte. J. Rogers. Essex Regt.);
Special Reserve LS&GC, GV (8709 Cpl. J. Rogers. 3/ Essex Regt.)
John Rogers was born in the parish of St Clements, Ipswich, Suffolk, in 1861, and enlisted into the 40th Brigade at Colchester Camp on 10 January 1881, having previously served in the Essex Rifles. Posted to the 50th Foot (later 1st Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment), he served with the Regiment in Egypt from 3 August 1882 to 8 January 1883, and then in Egypt and the Sudan from 4 September 1884 to 16 June 1886, and was present during both the Egyptian campaign of 1882 and the Nile expedition of 1884-85, taking part during the latter campaign in the battle of Ginnis. The following description of the part played by the 1st Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment during the battle of Ginnis is taken from the Regimental History:
‘The Dervishes had assembled on the south bank of the Nile, which here ran from west to east. They were occupying a fortified village (Kosheh) about a mile west of Kosheh Fort. Their main camp was at Ginnis, some two miles farther west. Between the two villages were groups of mud houses surrounded by palm trees. Stephenson's plan of attack was for the 1st and part of the 2nd Brigade to make a detour and seize a rocky ridge which overlooked Kosheh and Ginnis from the south. The Cameron Highlanders would then sweep westwards from Kosheh Fort along the river bank, and, together with the rest of the 2nd Brigade, drive out the Dervishes at the point of the bayonet. The stern-wheeler "Lotus", manned by a detachment of the 1st Battalion under Lieutenant A. Wood Martyn, was to move up river slightly in advance of The Cameron Highlanders and engage the fortified houses at Kosheh. The mounted troops were to operate on the left flank. On December 29, the Frontier Force advanced to a bivouac 700 yards north of Kosheh Fort. Opinions were divided as to whether the Dervishes would fight or not, but at nightfall several bullets fell amongst the outposts and all doubts were dispelled. Breakfasts were issued at 4 a.m. on the 30th. Blankets and greatcoats were stacked. Reserve ammunition, water and rations for one day were loaded on to camels. At five the 1st Brigade was on the march in a southerly direction. Just before daybreak it wheeled to its right. The going was bad - mainly rocky spurs and loose sand. As the leading companies of battalions approached the ridge from the south, they deployed into line. On reaching the top they took cover, while the supporting companies halted on the reverse slope. The 1st Battalion was on the right, The Royal Berkshires and the guns in the centre, The Durham Light Infantry on the left. Part of the 2nd Brigade with its screw guns was already in position to the right. At 6.10 the screw guns opened fire. The Dervishes, taken by surprise, streamed out of their camp towards the ridge. The ground was undulating and afforded them excellent cover, from which their riflemen poured in a hot but ill-directed fire on to the 1st Brigade. Their spearmen attempted to charge the left of the line, but they were checked by some well-aimed shells from the Egyptian battery and steady volley firing by the infantry. The 1st Battalion was then ordered to prolong the line to the left. As the men moved off, fixing bayonets as they went, the British and Egyptian Camel Corps rode over the ridge. The Dervishes met them hand-to-hand and fought bravely until their right flank was turned by The 20th Hussars. They made good their retreat in the gullies. By this time The Cameron Highlanders had captured Kosheh village, The Green Howards and the 9th Egyptian Battalion had joined them, and the whole of the 2nd Brigade, advancing west along the river bank, was in sight of the main camp. The 1st Brigade now moved down the slope to attack Ginnis. The enemy abandoned their camp without a fight and were pursued by the mounted troops in the direction of Abri. Two guns, a large amount of ammunition and a dozen banners were captured in Ginnis. The enemy's losses were estimated at 600 killed. British casualties were eight killed and 33 wounded, none of them Queen's Own.’
Rogers returned to the U.K. from Gibraltar on 10 January 1887, and transferred to the Army Reserve on 13 January of that year. He was discharged on 9 January 1893, after 12 years’ service. He subsequently served with the 3rd Battalion, Essex Regiment, in South Africa during the latter stages of the Boer War, before enlisting in the Special Reserve, and was promoted Corporal. He was awarded his Special Reserve Long Service and Good Conduct Medal per Army Order 204 of July 1912, the first Special Reserve L.S. & G.C. awarded to the Essex Regiment, and may have seen home service during the Great War.
Note: Rogers’ entitlement to the dated Egypt Medal and subsequent clasp for ‘The Nile 1884-85’, and the Khedive’s Star are confirmed in the medal rolls for the 1st Battalion The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment. It is likely that he sold or otherwise disposed of his original medals after leaving the Army, and acquired the contemporarily named ‘replacement’ after re-enlisting in the Essex Regiment.
Only five Special Reserve Long Service and Good Conduct Medals were awarded to the Essex Regiment, four to the 3rd Battalion and one to the 1st Garrison Battalion; Rogers’ award was the first to the Regiment, and being the only recipient not to serve overseas during the Great War his combination of awards is unique.
I'm lucky enough to have the first fatality to the 1st Btn Essex Regiment for the Boer War, Pte. Henry Houchin; died of enteric fever at De Aar on 13th Jan 1900. I didn't know he was the first when i bought the single bar QSA so it was a pleasant surprise!
Early on the morning of 11 February Lt Col de Lisle attacked a party of some 300 Boers (mainly Fauresmith Commando) under Commandants Hertzog and Jacobsz, who were in a position on hills on the farms Windpomp and Wolwekraal, 20km north-west of Luckhoff.
They succeeded in beating off De Lisle advances repeatedly, even after Col Hannay sent strong reinforcements with 2 machine-guns and by nightfall the British retired.
British losses in this skirmish were 4 killed and 25 wounded. The Boers had no losses.
QSA (2) CC, OFS (3031 Pte. J. Harris. Essex Regt.)
Pte Harris was one of the 25 men wounded. He was invalided home and discharged on 30 September 1900: “Permanent unfitness. Gunshot wound in action at Relief of Kimberley”.