QSA (4) CC Rhod OFS Tr (Lt Sir. A. Armstrong. Bt. 61. Co. 17/Imp. Yeo.)
Sir Andrew Harvey Armstrong was born on 23rd May 1866, the son of Reverend Sir Edmund Frederick Armstrong, 2nd Baronet and Alice Fisher.
Shortly before the Boer War, his father died leading him to become the 3rd Baronet of the Armstrongs of Gallen Priory, Kings County.
Gallen Priory also known as Gallen Abbey is a medieval monastery and now National Monument in Ireland, it was first established in AD 492, it has had a long and colourful history, the first Protestants to reside in Gallen Priory were the Armstrongs, of Scottish descent, their family name was originally Fairbairn, until one of the family, while hunting with William III of England, saved the King’s life by uprooting a tree and with it killing a boar which was attacking the king.
The Priory was held by the Armstrongs for many years, being made Baronet in 1841 until it was sold following the death of Sir Andrew Harvey Armstrong in 1923, due to the troubles in Ireland and the deterioration of position of Anglo-Irish landowners in the early 20th century, Sir Armstrong chose to join the exodus from Ireland and in 1912, leased Gallen Priory to a convent, he then divided his time between England, mostly in London, Australia & New Zealand.
When it came time to do his Military Duty during the Boer War, he joined the 61st Company, 17th Battalion of Imperial Yeomanry, the South Irish Horse Company, it was raised on 7th March 1900 at Dublin.
He sailed from Southampton aboard the Galeka with 63 Officers, 1019 men and 53 horses for service in Rhodesia on 6th April 1900.
Following his service with the Rhodesia Field Force he returned back to England aboard the Pinemore on 15th March 1901, retiring from the army as an Honorary Lieutenant in July 1901.
He served once more in WW1, joining the Connaught Ranger as a Captain at the Depot, relinquishing his commission after the war as Temporary Captain, returning to his rank of Honorary Lieutenant in the Army as of 10th December 1918.
The Armstrongs were popular members of the community, Sir A.H. Armstrong became a Justice of the Peace (J.P.) and in 1914 was High Sheriff of King’s County.
Sir Armstrong was cousin to Dame Nellie Melba GBE, a famous Australian Opera singer, who was one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian era and early 20th century, she had married at the age of 17 to Sir Armstrong’s brother and Sir Armstrong spent a lot of time over in Australia with them.
By the time of his death, Sir Armstrong was well known in the Commonwealth, he was in Australia over Christmas 1921, the guest of Nellie Melba, when after the new year he went to New Zealand for some fishing.
He was in failing health and passed away on 3rd June 1922 in a private nursing home in Auckland, he is buried in Waikaraka Cemetery, Onehunga, Auckland, New Zealand.
He was 56 years old but was unmarried and had no heir, it was quite the surprise when a scruffy man claiming to be “Nesbitt William Armstrong” who had appeared before Sir Andrew’s solicitors “clad in clothes that had braved many a storm on vessels among the New Zealand coast”, he was indeed the younger brother of Sir Armstrong born in 1875 and then became Sir William Nesbitt Armstrong, 4th Baronet, the next year he sold the freehold to the family estate to the convent.
New Zealand Herald 15th June 1922:
LATE SIR A ARMSTRONG, MANY VISITS TO AUCKLAND
The laste SIr Andrew Armstrong, Bart., who died in Auckland this month, and whose successor in the title is a younger brother, Mr Nesbitt Armstrong, seamen, of Napier, was an enthusiastic Angler, and had for many years been a frequent visitor to New Zealand in pursuit of this favourite sport. His last stay in Auckland began soon after Christmas, and when in the city he made his home at the Grand Hotel. While there, Sir Andrew became seriously ill, and had to be admitted to a private hospital, where he passed away on June 3, his burial taking place at the Waikaraka Cemetery. Sir Andrew was a gentleman of genial disposition, and made many friends in the Auckland province.”
He is mentioned in Marvellous Melba: The Extraordinary Life of a Great Diva:
“At the start of July, Nellie was obliged to put aside her ambitious plans for a few days and join Charlie in Ireland, where he had become a part-time lieutenant in the Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment.
When his Military Duties ended, he and Nellie visited his brother, Sir Andrew Armstrong, at Gallen Priory.
Nellie found it exciting to have an Irish Baronet for a Brother-in-law and to have an assured place in Anglo-Irish life. She felt surprisingly at ease with Sir Andrew and his friends, and would have stayed longer had Charlie not left abruptly for England, taking their money with him.”
QSA (3) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Belfast (4817 Pte. J. Allen, Impl: Yeomanry) note incorrect spelling of surname;
BWM and VM (205004 W.O. Cl. 2. J. W. Allin. Leic. Yeo.);
Imperial Yeomanry LS&GC EdVII. (814 Sjt: J. W. Allin. Bucks: (R.B.H.) I.Y.);
TFEM GV (H-205004 W.O. Cl. II. J. W. Allin. Bucks. Yeo.)
John William Allin served with the 37th Company (Buckinghamshire), 10th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry, in South Africa. His QSA is confirmed on the roll of the Divisional Headquarters I.Y. where he is shown as servant to Captain W. de Winton. He was awarded the Imperial Yeomanry LS&GC in AO of February 1908, and the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal in AO 369 of 1920. He served during the Great War with the Buckinghamshire Yeomanry and later the Leicestershire Yeomanry.
“Yorkshire Hussars were in the saddle at 05.30 in order to reconnoitre a Boer position. Most of the Yorkshire Hussars went out on piquet duty on a high rugged kopje about a mile and a half toward Boshof. The 3rd Imperial Yeomanry convoy was attacked while returning to Boshof and faced the brunt of the following attack. The units were not marching regiment, and when descending from a kopje to the road, the Boers attacked from one of the kopjes to the east of the road. The South Nottingham Yeomanry and the Yorkshire Hussars drove off the attack and were supported by the Kimberly Light Horse.
They held their ground until the convoy was out of danger, and then retired. Casualties for number 2 troop of the Yorkshire Hussars were the highest: 2 killed in action, 5 wounded and 11 were taken prisoner. The Boers shelled the convoy, but without effect. The convoy reached Boshof about 19:30.”
“With Methuen’s Column 1901”: Illingworth.
[ QSA (2) CC OFS ]
Yorkshire Imperial Yeomanry Medal (Obverse 3/1900-1901) (524 O. Jackson)
Trooper Omri Jackson was killed in the Zwartkoppiesfontein skirmish.
On 4 May 1900 some 150 men of the 5th Battalion Imp Yeo under Col Meyrick, including a Maxim detachment under Lieut Vaux, were sent forward from Windsorton to reconnoitre the hilly country in the vicinity of the farm Rooidam some 20 km south-west of Warrenton. After coming under fire from two Boer guns, they withdrew, covered by their own Maxim guns. The Boer fire slackened after 3pm and finally ceased after 5 hours. The next morning, Meyrick was reinforced by Gen Hunter with the 2nd Royal Fusiliers, 1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers and artillery. At noon they moved against the Boer positions on Rooidam. The Boers repulsed several British advances, but by 3 pm their resistance faltered when they could not get reinforcements from Gen A P J Cronje’s forces and they retreated towards Fourteen Streams, pursued by the Yeomanry for some 5 km.
The Boers lost 11 killed and 17 wounded, while the British casualties were 7 killed and 38 wounded.
QSA (1) CC (9994 Cpl. C. MacDonald, 15th Coy 5th Impl. Yeo.)
The Maxim Gun Detachment played a very active role on both days of the action, as described in detail by K B Spurgin in “On Active Service with the Northumberland and Durham Yeomen”, p27-33. “We much regretted the death of Sergeant McDonald of the Maxim gun detachment, who was mortally wounded whilst gallantly working the gun under a heavy fire”.
MacDonald died the next day (6 May) and is buried in the West End Graveyard in Kimberley.