QSA (6) Cape Colony, Tugela Heights, Orange Free State, Relief of Ladysmith, Transvaal, Laing's Nek (651 Tpr: J.Fitzgibbon. Bethune's M.I.)
Served 15 Jan 1900 - 22 Apr 1901; NOK recorded at St Vincent St, South Melbourne, Vic, Australia; RTA 04 Dec 1901 on S.S.Wilcannia which arrived at Melbourne from London via the Cape with 29 officers and men from South Africa.
BSACM, reverse Rhodesia 1896 (Troopr., M.R.F.);
QSA (6) Cape Colony, Tugela Heights, Orange Free State, Transvaal, Laing’s Nek, South Africa 1901 (214 Tpr., Bethune’s M.I.) last clasp loose;
1914-15 Star (1171 Pte., 2-Rhodesia Regt.);
British War and Victory Medals (1171 Cpl., 2-Rhodesia Regt.)
Charles Boddington served as a Trooper in the Matabeleland Relief Force during the 1896 Rebellion.
During the 2nd Boer War he served in Bethune’s Mounted Infantry, 19 October 1899 - 6 January 1901. He was unlucky enough to be injured having been struck by lightning, at Blood River, on 31 October 1900 (Note: in the published Casualty roll his service number is given as ‘224’).
Boddington attested for the 2nd Rhodesia Regiment on 21 August 1915, and left for British East Africa in a draft of 93 men on 27 September 1915. Promoted to Corporal in November 1915, he was severely wounded in action at Taveta on 12 February 1916. Boddington returned to South Africa on 5 May 1916 and was discharged as medical unfit at Wynberg on 19 July 1916.
QSA (7) Cape Colony, Tugela Heights, Orange Free State, Relief of Ladysmith, Transvaal, Laing’s Nek, South Africa 1901 (715 Corpl: F. V. W. Swanton. Bethune’s M.I.);
Together with the related miniature award
Sold for a hammer price of £550. Totals (inc VAT on the commission for the UK only): £708. R14,000. Au$1,200. Can$1,200. US$900
Colonel Bethune and about 500 men were ordered to march from Dundee to Newcastle. Although the Boers had evacuated Dundee, scattered groups remained in the vicinity and on 16 May 1900, Bethune was ordered to pursue some of these who were reported to be near Nqutu. His mounted infantry found no Boers at Nqutu but hearing of a commando in the Blood River valley, moved off northwards in pursuit. By 20 May he was in the vicinity of Scheepers Nek where a small force of Boers (Vryheid and Swaziland Commando’s under Commandant Blignaut) was concentrated in a valley behind the nek.
Capt Goff, who was in command of “E” squadron, was considerably in advance of the rest of the force and rode into Scheepers Nek. They approached the Boer position without noticing the guards, giving them the opportunity to disperse before the British could attack. The squadron found itself in an exposed position on a slope where ant heaps formed the only cover. The Boers deployed to the ridges and opened fire, creating havoc amongst the British squadron’s horses. The dismounted infantry replied as best they could and made good use of their maxim gun. However, the hot Boer fire forced the British to withdraw before the main body arrived. Very few of the men managed to escape.
British losses were 28 men killed (including Capt Goff and 2 subalterns), 30 were wounded and 6 were taken prisoner. The Boers captured a machine gun and 26 horses, while losing one burgher killed, one wounded and one taken prisoner. As a result of the action Bethune fell back on Nqutu and eventually to Dundee.
QSA (2) Tug H, RoL (645 Tpr. J. Reams. Bethune’s M.I.)
Tpr Reams (Next of Kin address Hanwell, London) enlisted in Bethune’s Mounted Infantry on 19 October 1899 and was killed in the “Goff’s Disaster”. He is buried at Scheepers Nek.
His name features on the Memorial Tablet at Scheepers Nek
A detachment of 150 mounted men and a pom-pom under Lt Col Monro set off on 10 April from Dewetsdorp in pursuit of a Boer commando. After a 3 hour chase the enemy was found, outspanned near some farm buildings and protected by a large donga in front of them. However, the surrounding kopjes were within rifle range and were speedily occupied by Monro’s men. A hot fight ensued with a large party of Boers in the donga and a smaller number in the farm buildings, but when the British charged the donga from both flanks, 53 burghers surrendered. The Boers in the farm buildings kept up their fire in spite of the capitulation of their comrades before their eyes.
Monro, seeing Boers approaching on the horizon, decided to try negotiation to make a speedy end to the skirmish and he sent in Lt Shott of Bethune's Mtd Infy (who had earlier initiated the assault on the donga) unarmed and with only a white handkerchief to the farmhouses. Shott eventually persuaded the defenders to yield and Monro returned to Dewetsdorp with the Boer convoy and 83 prisoners.
Official History, Vol IV, p162.
(Dates of 9 and 11 April are attributed to the incident in contemporary sources).
After the successful Rietspruit action Lt Col Monro set out again 2 nights later towards Ventershoek. In the Ruigtespruit vicinity the party became entangled in difficult country, and owed its escape with but seven casualties largely to its being mistaken for friends by the Boers, who were met with in considerable strength.
Official History, Vol IV, p163.
QSA (3) CC, OFS, SA01 (1287 Tpr. W. Blake. Bethune’s M.I.)
Edge knock at 10 o’clock.
William Blake enlisted in Bethune’s Mounted Infantry on 26 March 1901 and just seventeen days later he was severely wounded in the Rietspruit skirmish. He took his discharge on 30 June 1901.