Picture courtesy of DNW
DCM VR (Pte., Queenstown Vols.), initials given as ‘P. P.’;
QSA (2) Cape Colony, Wittebergen (450 Pte., Queensland R.V. (sic));
1914-15 Star (Lt., Brands F.S. Rfls.);
British War and Bilingual Victory Medals (Lt.);
Africa Service Medal 1939-45 (N.R.V. P. G. Stillwell);
Coronation 1902, bronze
DCM London Gazette 19 April 1901.
Percy George Stillwell was born in the Cape Province in 1880. In later years he farmed at Foxhill in Ermelo. During the Boer war he served with the Queenstown Rifle Volunteers. Stillwell was one of eight men of the unit to be awarded the DCM for the capture of General Olivier and 25 men after Olivier had attacked Winburg on 26 August 1900.
An account of the action, taken from After Pretoria: The Guerilla War reads: ‘At dawn of the 26th all were awakened by the rattle of rifles and the boom of guns. Olivier and his men were audaciously attempting to rush the town. After two hours heavy firing the Boers were repulsed, and the mounted men among the British were ordered to follow them up. The Queenstown Volunteers pressed close on the enemey’s extreme left. Sladdin .... with seven others found himself, in the heat of the chase, a long way in advance of the British and right in the midst of the enemy. Reaching a small eminence, this little band halted there, when one after another burghers rode up to them, taking them for Boers, and were compelled by their levelled rifles to surrender. “Among the first we took” says Sladdin, “were General Olivier and his three sons. We had captured 24 prisoners by now, and they were being taken over the eminence to a kraal on the other side, where they were dismounted and sent on on foot. I was riding up in the rear, when I turned round and saw another man coming towards me. I rode towards him, and ordered him to give up his gun. He said he was dammed if he would. He had his rifle loaded, but was uncertain whether to fire or not. The instant I saw him hesitate he was lost, for I was only a couple of yards from him, and I dug the spurs into my horse, bounded on to him, and caught the muzzle of his rifle in my hand. At the same time I called to one of our fellows to shoot him.... As soon as he had been secured, the captors returned to the summit of the kopje, and were startled to see 200 Boers galloping towards them. There were now only five of the British left, as two messengers had been despatched to beg assistance. But these five put on a bold face, and opened a hot magazine fire. The Boers were so surprised at this unexpected shower of bullets that they bolted incontinently. Three were killed, the rest made good their escape. As for the Queenstown Volunteers, they brought their prisoners back in safety to the British lines, and were received as heroes. They deserved all the credit they obtained, as their pluck and presence of mind were extraordinary’.
During the Great War he served as a Lieutenant with the 5th Mounted Brigade in Southwest Africa, and in the Second World War was with the National Reserve Volunteers. Stillwell died in Pretoria on 15 May 1951 after a distinguished military career spanning three wars.