Another of "my men"which may prove of interest. The account is a bit scrabbled but hopefully you 'll get the gist.
I have a cracking studio portrait of Cashmanbut I don't know how to submit photographs!!!
SERGEANT JAMES CASHMAN
(Special Secret Service Squadron) Steinaecker’s Horse
late Waldron’s Scouts
Queen’s South Africa Medal 1898-1902 clasps, Transvaal, South Africa 1902.
(also entitled to clasp South Africa 1901)
(impressed – Serjt. J. Cashman, Steinaecker’s Horse)
Killed in action 16th April 1902 Age 29
A Boer ambuscade at Scandinavia Reef near Haenertsberg
This unit (Steinaecker’s Horse), was once described by General Benjamin Viljoen, who commanded the Boer Republicans in the bushveldt as “ as one of the wildest corps ever known”.. He further described the unit as “a Corps formed of all the desperadoes and vagabonds to be scraped together from isolated places in the north, including Kaffir storekeepers, smugglers, spies and scoundrels, of every description”.
James Cashman was born in Port Chalmers, New Zealand in 1873, the son of Charles Cashman. He was educated at Port Chalmers School and later was employed as a clerk. In October 1899 Britain declared war on the Dutch Boer Republicans in South Africa, on which, 26 year old James chose to answer the call and volunteered to fight for King and Country, setting sail for South Africa at the earliest opportunity.
WALDRON’S SCOUTS 1901
On arrival and having no previous military experience, he enlisted, in September 1901, as a Trooper in a small, rregular mounted unit being formed by one Captain William Hugh Waldron, an Australian who had been working in South Africa for some years as a ‘Sutler’, (a purveyor of provisions to the army) and who had managed to become besieged by the Boers in Ladysmith, Natal. On the siege being lifted in February 1900, Waldron was approached, in view of his considerable experience with the Boers and the country, to form a unit of mounted horsemen to act as scouts and generally harass the enemy.
In actual fact, Waldron’s Scouts existed for a just few months. It was set up around September 1901 in Standerton, South East Transvaal. comprising some 30 odd members, who came from South African Colonials, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain etc. . Their remit was to raid and harass the Boers in this part of the Transvaal and Orange Free State.. It would appear that James Cashman showed considerable leadership qualities, because within a very short space of time he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. However his tenure in this capacity was relatively short-lived because on the 12th November 1901, Waldron and his men were caught up in an action with a large Boer Commando at Klip River, near Platrand on the Orange Free State/Eastern Transvaal border, where they found themselves heavily outnumbered. A fierce engagement ensued at the conclusion of which it was found that Waldron’s tiny command, numbering some 27 men had been severely ‘cut-up’ with one killed (Trooper J.V. Kearns) 2 died of wounds and 4 severely wounded. Cashman had managed to come through unscathed but the unit had been reduced to such an extent that six weeks later it was decided to disband it,
‘SPECIAL SECRET SERVICE’ SQUADRON’
So in January 1902 a number of Waldron’s men, including Cashman, were dispersed into other, similar units. As such, Cashman elected to volunteer for service with another even more irregular unit of mounted troops called Steinaecker’s Horse, (which had already established a somewhat notorious reputation), as part of a ‘Special Secret Squadron’,
The maverick commander of this unit was Francis Christiaan Ludwig von Steinaecker, a eccentric, flamboyant Prussian aristocratic military character, who had previously served as an Lieutenant in the Prussian Army and who in November 1899, had enlisted as a Private in the Colonial Scouts, a Natal-raised corps, with which he was almost immediately promoted to Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant. but was transferred to the British Intelligence Department in the following month.
In December he left the Scouts to command a small party serving under Captain Crowe and the Intelligence Department. In March 1900 Steinaecker, now a Lieutenant, selected six men and with this small party Steinaecker left Eshowe on 3rd April 1900, and rode or walked through Zululand and Swaziland, a distance of 500 miles. The party intended to attempt the blowing up of the great bridge at Komati Poort, but found it too strongly guarded. Steinaecker and three men now struck through the bush, swam the Komati river "when the crocodiles were off their feed", travelled all the night of 16th June, and on the 17th, after dark, placed nearly 100Ib of dynamite between the masonry and girders of a bridge at Malelane, forty miles up the line, and destroyed it.
An important British strategy was the severing of Boer re-supply from, and easy contact with, the outside world. This aim proved to be the genesis of one of the most extraordinary units in the British arsenal viz ‘Steinaeckers Horse’ This unique, 30 man unit, formed in June 1900 after Steinaecker’s return to Natal and now known as Steinaecker’s Horse was to operate under the auspicious of the British ‘Spy Master’, Captain Fritze Crowe, Royal Navy, Chief of the Intelligence Services and Consul-General at Lourenco Marques, from where he was to later master-mind raids and operations against the Boer supply routes from Mozambique and the Porugese Territories of Delagoa Bay.
The specific purpose of this new rogue British guerilla unit and its ‘Special Squadron’ was for service in the Pieterburg Low Veldt area where they were spread out throughout Swaziland and the Transvaal Lowveld and patrolled the border with Portuguese East Africa in which district they were later to be involved in much fighting under the command of Colonel Colenbrander. Sometimes they roamed with a hundred or more men but more often they were in small groups of up to four men and held lonely picquet posts on the Lebombo range from which they patrolled the border with Portuguese East Africa.
‘DESPERADOES AND VAGABONDS’
On the 29th January 1902, James Cashman, still retaining the rank of Sergeant was, together with a number of ex-Waldron’s Scouts collegues, entered onto the roll of Steinaecker’s Horse. He found that his new unit was made up of a unique mix of frontiersmen, hunters, pioneers, stock riders, miners, timbermen, transport operators, bush storekeepers and a host of others – good and bad. Most were South Africans but many others were from Australia, and like Cashman, New Zealand ,while others came from the far flung corners of the British Empire and beyond.
Their officers were every bit as colourful as the men were. Most had come up through the ranks and nearly all had been hardened to the wiles of the African Veldt. During the period between mid 1900 and 1902, in addition to their Boer enemy, these men had to contend with the worst maneaters in the wilds of Africa and the most dreaded tropical and subtropical diseases of man and beast. One source states that they lost 12 men to lions and crocodiles while their ranks were also decimated by malaria
LORD KITCHENER’S DESPATCH 1ST JUNE 1902
In his final despatch, that of 1st June 1902, Lord Kitchener reports that "in the Northern Transvaal Lieutenant Colonel Colenbrander has carried out some successful operations against General Beyers, who, on 5th April, was in camp on the southern slopes of the hills close to Malips Poort". Colenbrander, who had returned from the relief of Fort Edward on the 5th, aimed at the surrounding of the enemy.
"Two parties of 400 men each were sent out on the 6th April under General Celliers, National Scouts, and Captain McQueen, Steinaecker's Horse, to block the two roads open to the Boers to the south-east and south-west. A third party under Captain Lyle, 1st Kitchener’s Fighting Scouts, moved on the night of the 6th along the top of the hills to the west of the Poort to block all possible exits in that direction; whilst Colonel Colenbrander himself, with the 2nd Battalion Inniskilling Fusiliers and the remainder of his mounted men, left Pietersburg on the night of the 7th to make a direct attack on the Poort itself. The attack was delivered on the morning of the 8th, and after severe fighting extending over two days, in which, Lieutenant Colonel A J Murray, commanding 2nd Inniskilling Fusiliers, was dangerously wounded, resulted in the flight of the Boers in a south-easterly direction".
Unfortunately Captain McQueen had failed "to reach the exact position assigned to him, and this enabled General Beyers and the majority of his followers to make good their escape towards Haenertsburg", but the Boers left their laager, waggons, and camp equipment. Nine were killed, 11 wounded, and 108 unwounded prisoners were taken.
Colenbrander's subsequent pursuit of General Beyers in the direction of Oud Agatha after this highly successful engagement was unfortunately marred by a mishap to a small composit mounted force under Captain Blaine, 1st KFS, who, pushing on too eagerly into most difficult country, fell into an ambuscade, cleverly laid by the Boer rear-guard in an old abandoned Boer Laager at Scandinavia Reef , close by Haenertsberg. There then ensued fierce, close quarter fighting between the pursued and the pursuers.
Captain Blaine managed with great difficulty, to extricate his small force but with the considerable loss of six men killed, of which four, including Sergeant Cashman were from Steinaecker’s Horse – one officer and eleven men were wounded and 30, including Captain McQueen, taken prisoner.
The body of New Zealander, Sergeant James Cashman, together with his comrades, was buried in the tiny cemetery at Boschoff’s Farm at the foot of the mountain. (Grave No1)
He is further commemorated on the Port Chalmers (South African War 1899-1902) War
Memorial, New Zealand.
The following user(s) said Thank You: djb, Brett Hendey, QSAMIKE, jim51, iaindh, DerrickB
I have posted this excellent story to Cashman's page on
. Please contact me, [email protected], if this is an issue - or better still, if you want to put your name to the story. Thanks
Thank you so much. I assume that the article you refer to is the one at the top of this thread, #57971 by Drakewood. I just tried to find the Cashman page as well as James Cashman under casualty lists at nzwargraves.org but with no luck. Was Sgt. Cashman a New Zealander? Also, the Anglo-Boer website lists several researchers, including one resident in South Africa. Should I contact a professional researcher for further info?
The Woolmore book "Steinaecker's Horsemen" says that Pte. David Chatcuff of Spl. Sqn., SH had previous service with Colonial Scouts and the Natal Royal Rifles before enlisting in SH at East London on 15/2/02. NOK Father, Brooklyn, New York. KiA near Haenertsberg 16/4/02. Buried at foot of Iron Crown Mountain on Boschoff's Farm Grave 111. QSA medal with clasps CC/OFS/TV/01/02.
You might care to obtain a copy of Woolmore's book. ISBN 0-9584782-4-4.