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Medals to Dennison's Scouts 3 years 3 months ago #65427

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A very fitting way to start this thread:


Major Dennison
Picture courtesy of Spink

A Superb Boer War D.S.O. Group of Five to Major C.G. Dennison, One of the Most Famous South African Irregular Commanders, the Only Officer of the Border Horse to Survive the Hlobane Mountain Engagement

DSO VR reverse centre loose, minor green enamel damage',
SAGS (1) 1879 (Commandt. Border Horse);
CGHGSM (1) Bechuanaland (Capt., Stellaland Hse);
QSA (3) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal (Major D.S.O., Dennison's Scouts);
KSA (2) (Major Western L.H.).

Accompanied by a Kimberley Star ('A' Hallmark), and the DSO bestowal document signed by King Edward VII.

Major Charles George Dennison, DSO was described in Men of the Times (1906) as having "probably seen more active service in South Africa than any other man living". Born in Craddock in 1844, he went to the Orange Free State in 1864 and became leader of a Commando prior: to the outbreak of the Basuto War. He joined the Bloemfontein Rangers the following year and fought in the war of 1865-66 as a Free State burgher. In 1876 he accompanied President Burgers to Sekukuni's country as Captain of his Bodyguard and commanded the Rustenburg Volunteers in the Basuto rebellion which then broke out. During the Zulu War, as Second-in-Command of the Border Horse under Colonel Weatherley, he fought in the disastrous engagement of Hlobane and was the only Officer of the Regiment to escape alive and was subsequently appointed Commandant. He played an active part in the operations against Sekukuni. During the Boer rebellion of 1880-81, Dennison distinguished himself by keeping open the communications between Headquarters, Rustenburg and Pretoria "with an utter disregard for his own life, which has been characteristic of his loyalty all through."

In the 1896 Bechuanaland campaign, he raised the Stellaland Horse and took part in the attack on Pokwane. He defeated rebels at Kabogo and later raised another force at the request of the Cape Government and captured the rebel chief Galishwe in the Kalahari! desert.

Prior to the Boer War he was in charge of the Intelligence Department at Vryburg and, during the war, he defended the town of Kuruman with 63 men against 1,000 Boers for seven weeks. When over a third of the defending force had been put out of action, and with Dennison wounded, Kuruman was forced to surrender and Dennison became a prisoner, spending five months in Pretoria. After his release, he became Assistant Native Commissioner of Rustenburg and Zeerust when he raised and led the famous Dennison's Scouts, serving with this Regiment as part of the Kimberley Flying Column. It was for this work that he was Mentioned in Despatches and was awarded the DSO (London Gazette 31.10.1902, Captain, South African Irregular Mounted Forces). At the request of Lord Kitchener, he later raised a composite force with a nucleus of 50 British troops augmented with surrendered Boer rebels. This unit was eventually superceded by the Western Light Horse, of which he became Second-in-Command.

Spink, 5 December 2002
Dr David Biggins
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