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Medals to the Royal Irish Regiment 2 years 2 months ago #73168

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From the next City Coins auction, November 2020

Machadodorp and Belfast, 7-8 January 1901

The night of January 7th exhibited every circumstance of vileness which is prejudicial to defence. It was intensely dark; a fine cold rain fell persistently, and a piercing easterly gale, which deadened the ears of sentries, did nothing to dissipate the driving mist which blinded their eyes. With everything in their favour, the various Boer detachments gathered, and at midnight each hurled itself upon its appointed victim.

Machadodorp, the headquarters of Reeves’s section of the line, was attacked by Viljoen’s Lydenburgers from the north, and on the other side by the Ermelo men, under Smuts. The garrison consisted of the 2nd Royal Irish Fusiliers, with guns and cavalry, disposed on three heights, Rocky Hill, Natal Hill, and Signal Hill, all of which were separately engaged by the enemy and stoutly defended. On the first-named where a remarkable combat in which ninety-three men of the Fusiliers and six artillerymen withstood and finally repulsed the onset of nearly seven times as many burghers. Natal Hill and Signal Hill though closely beset, were in little danger from smaller commandos, and by 3am on the 8th the whole attack, decisively defeated, was withdrawn. Belfast, the key of the line, and Smith-Dorrien’s Headquarters had a far more severe trial. Monument Hill, to the north-east of Belfast, and about one and a half miles from it, was crowned by a fort containing a company of the Royal Irish Regiment.

The first and heaviest stroke fell upon Monument Hill. Nowhere were the fog and drizzle thicker than here, so dense, indeed, that not only did the sentries fail to detect the approach of an enemy, but the Boers themselves, about 500 Johannesburgers and Boksburgers under Muller, saw nothing until they were through the outlying posts, which, in consequence, fell into their hands. They then broke through the entanglement… and rushed upon the fort calling upon the garrison to surrender. The soldiers, unable to stop them with their rifles, answered with defiant shouts as they met them at the parapet, and a fierce melee ensued in which bayonets and butts of rifles were freely used, some even fighting with their fists, whilst others wrestled upon the ground… Amongst so much valour as was displayed… the most conspicuous was shown by Private J. Barry (No. 3733). Seeing the regimental Maxim gun surrounded by the enemy, this brave soldier burst into the group and proceeded to smash the lock in order to render the trophy useless; and this, in spite of threats, he persisted in doing, until one of the Boers, less chivalrous than the rest, shot him dead.

For half an hour the struggle continued before the garrison, having lost 38 of its number, was overpowered.
Official History, Vol IV, p35-8

QSA (4) CC, Witt, Belf, SA01 (5808 Dmr. C. Abbott, 1st Rl. Irish Regt)
Edge bruising.

Drummer Abbott was severely wounded in the Monument Hill attack.
Dr David Biggins

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Medals to the Royal Irish Regiment 2 years 2 months ago #73297

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From today's City Coins auction, 27 November 2020

Near Lydenburg, Ben Tor Blockhouse, 19 March 1902

“The Campaigns and History of the Royal Irish Regiment from 1684 to 1902”, p360-1:
The dynamite episode occurred two months later. Among the blockhouses held by the Royal Irish was one, named by the troops Ben Tor, which stood on a kopje so thickly covered with big boulders that the sentries could not watch all the approaches to it. The building was of stone, roofed with sheets of galvanised iron; and on the night of the 18th of March it was held by a non-commissioned officer – Sergeant M’Grath – and nine private soldiers. About two o’clock in the morning of the 19th, the two men on sentry outside the blockhouse heard sounds which they rightly interpreted to be those of approaching feet.

While one remained on the look¬out, the other crawled into the blockhouse and reported to Sergeant M’Grath, who immediately stood to arms and manned his loopholes, but almost before the men were in their places, a bomb was hurled on the roof, which un¬fortunately being flat, not sloping, afforded the missile a secure lodgement. In a second there was a tremendous explosion: the blockhouse was wrecked and every man of the garrison dangerously or severely wounded, except the sentry outside who escaped all injury.

After capturing this man the Boers waited for some minutes to see if anyone was still on foot; then, satisfied that no resistance was to be expected, they rapidly looted the blockhouse and decamped, fortunately without finding the boxes of reserve ammunition hidden under the sheets of galvanized iron which formed the beds of the garrison. Beyond stripping some of the wounded, the burghers did their victims no harm, and sent off the uninjured soldier to summon medical aid from Lydenburg.

By dawn a detachment of troops, a doctor, and an ambulance were on the way to Ben Tor, where, says one of the officers, “the place was like a shambles – too horrible to describe.” As soon as the wounded men had been removed, the blockhouse was rebuilt and greatly strengthened.

QSA (3) CC, Witt, Belf (6469 Pte T Connors 1st Rl Irish Regt)

Pte Connors and 6 of his comrades were severely wounded and an 8th man was dangerously wounded.

In the SAFF Casualty Roll the event is described as “Explosion, bomb thrown by Boers”.

Schikkerling, in his published Boer War diary Commando Courageous p370, recalled the event as seen from the Boer side:
March 19th, 1902. Our Field Cornet tells me that Mellema and Jordaan, with John Goodman and one or two others, took a blockhouse last night, containing fourteen soldiers.

The party armed with home-made hand-bombs stole through the wet grass towards the blockhouse.

The sentry, oblivious of danger, marched round and round, with measured tread. Every time he was on the farther side the men crawled a few yards nearer with two heavy bombs. Twice the sentry stared in their direction, and they had to flatten themselves against the ground until he appeared re-assured.

A long time passed ere they were against the blockhouse. The sentry became fidgety and told his com¬panions inside he was sure something was approaching; they merely shouted “Rats!”

A bomb was tied in a grain bag so that it would not hop off the roof. Eventually everything was in readiness, and the moment the sentry passed to the farther side of the building, Jordaan jumped up and flung the engine. When it struck the roof the inmates immediately seemed to know its deadly errand, and one shrieked “Oh God!”, and then came the explosion.

The terrified sentry shrieked “I surrender! I surrender!”

He was unscathed, but of the others some were killed and the remainder wounded. The men brought up their horses and every scrap of food and clothing was carried off, including a telephone and a telescope.

Connors recovered from his injuries. He was also awarded a KSA, now separated from his QSA.
Dr David Biggins

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Medals to the Royal Irish Regiment 1 year 5 months ago #77815

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Picture courtesy of DNW

IGS 1895 (2) Punjab Frontier 1897-98, Samana 1897 (3454 Pte. T. Power. 2nd. Bn. Ryl. Ir. Regt.) renamed;
QSA (4) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901, unofficial rivets between state and date clasps (3454 Pte. T. Power. 2nd. Bn. Ryl. Ir. Regt.) renamed;
1914-15 Star (6-12964 Pte. T. Power, R. Ir. Fus.);
BWM and VM (6-12964 Pte. T. Power. R. Ir. Fus.)

Thomas Power served with the 6th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers in the Gallipoli theatre of War from 12 July 1915.
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Royal Irish Regiment 1 year 3 months ago #79029

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Picture courtesy of Spink

QSA (4) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1902 (6965 Pte. W. Sexton Rl: Irish Regt.);
[ 1914 Star ]
[ BWM ]
Victory Medal 1914-19 (6965 Pte. W. Sexton R. Ir. Regt.).

William Sexton was born on 23 August 1885 in Manchester and served during the Boer War and thence in France with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles from 14 August 1914. He was taken Prisoner of War on 26 August 1914 when the Battalion was decimated.
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Royal Irish Regiment 1 year 1 month ago #80208

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Egypt, undated reverse, (1) The Nile 1884-85 (2471 Pte. F. Sherwin. 1/R.... Regt.);
QSA (4) Cape Colony, Wittebergen, Belfast, South Africa 1901, unofficial rivets between third and fourth clasps (3576 Pte. F. Sherwin, 1st Rl: Irish Regt.);
Army LS&GC VR, small letter reverse (3576 L/Corp: F. Sherwin. R. Ir: R.);
Khedive's Star 1884-6, reverse impressed ‘2471 RIR’

Frank Sherwin was born in London and enlisted for the 69th Brigade of Infantry at Westminster 16 December 1879, aged 14 years 6 months, a musician by trade. He was posted to the 2nd Battalion, 18th Regiment, on the same day and transferred to the 1st Battalion at Hyderabad on 6 October 1881. He served overseas in India, October 1881 to September 1884; Egypt, September 1884 to September 1885; and South Africa, December 1899 to November 1901. He was appointed a Bandsman from 13 July 1885, was promoted to Band Corporal on 13 May 1900, and discharged on termination of his 2nd period of service on 31 December 1901.
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Royal Irish Regiment 5 months 6 days ago #85250

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Picture courtesy of Baldwin's

CBE (Mil, 1st);
QSA (3) Transvaal, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902, (Capt. W.E.S. Burch. R. Irish Rgt:), engraved naming;
British War Medal (Major W.E.S. Burch. R.F.C.);
[ VM ]

Victory Medal, (D.M. Burch. V.A.D.

CBE Military London Gazette 10th of October 1918.
Class B Mention in Despatches London Gazette 13th of March 1918.

William Edward Scarth Burch was born in Sheffield in 1863, educated at Poulton House School, Hampton, Richmond Upon Thames, he joined the Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1880 received his Commission to the Middlesex Regiment on the 7th of July 1886, Promoted Captain on transfer to the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment on the 31st of July 1895. Served Transvaal June 1901 to the 31st of May 1902 (QSA 3 Bars) served as Adjutant to the 5th Battalion the Leinster Regiment from the 9th of May 1903 to the 19th of April 1905, appointed Major, Royal Irish Regiment, 19th of February 1905, Retired 13th of August 1910. Appointed Assistant to Officer In Charge Records, Royal Flying Corps, on the 24th of June 1912 making him one of the original officers of the Royal Flying Corps, served in Flanders as a Major RFC from the 22nd of September 1916 to the 28th of September 1916, 6 Days overseas service!, Rewarded with a Brevet Lieutenant Colonel, 23rd of January 1917, “Class B” Mention in Despatches, the London Gazette 13th of March 1918, (also mentioned in Flight Magazine of the 21st of March 1918)

CBE (Mily) London Gazette 10th of October 1919, as Lieutenant Colonel Royal Irish Regiment, Secretary of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Association, 1919‑1934.

Residence – 41, Emperor’s Gate, South Kensington, London.

The Victory Medal belongs to his Daughter, Miss Dorothy M. Burch who served in France & Flanders with the Voluntary Aid Detachment, perhaps her mounted group contained her father’s Victory Medal.
Dr David Biggins
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