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Driver Osmund Handford DCM - 88th Field Battery RFA 2 months 3 weeks ago #77143

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Hello Dave S

From the Battery Digest of Service (RA Library) the battery fighting as separate units; Left, Centre and Right. To confuse matters, for an unexplained reason, Left Section was re-designated Centre Section in April 1901.

The Battery only had one battle casualty prior to Handford's MID (16-09-1901), Farr-Sgt S Spragg wounded Zeerust 22-10-1900, so no obvious battles/actions to look at.

Here are the highlights for each section up to Sept 1901.
Left Section - garrison at Kuruman Sept 1900 to April 1901 - town was surrounded by Boers, a soft siege.
April to Sept 1901 - now Centre Section, trekked between Vryburg & Kuruman, Aug 20 & 21 captured laagers of Commandant van der Venter and Van Zyl.

Right and Centre Section -
Aug 16 1900 Buffels Hoek "small engagement" - "battery's baptism of fire"
Aug 20 Ambushed at "Ottokorp" fired case at 350 yards
Aug 22 Right section in action at Lowe's Farm - complimented
Sept 8 - Centre Section becomes Left Section - trekking with Methuen and Douglas - in action "complimented ..on its excellent shooting"
Oct 24 - in action between Zeerust and Kaffir's Kraal, running fight "much complimented in orders [by Colonel Douglas] and report sent of its conduct wired to Lord Roberts" [This might be at TNA in WO108, or in LG - possible DCM action?]

Right Section
April 1901 - May 1902 detached - Ventersdorp/Potchefstroom - many small actions.

Left Section
July 1901 - Klerskdorp - column work

Hope this helps.
Meurig
Researcher & Collector
The Register of the Anglo-Boer Wars 1899-1902
theangloboerwars.blogspot.co.uk/
www.facebook.com/boerwarregister
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Driver Osmund Handford DCM - 88th Field Battery RFA 2 months 3 weeks ago #77144

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Dave, Meurig - thanks very much indeed! This is brilliant stuff.

Dave - his DCM is named to him as 88th Battery, i've assumed (and we know what assumption is the mother of) that that means that was the unit he won it with; it was how it was done in the early part of WW1, but as i say, the Boer war is new stuff for me and gallantry.

This is already opening new avenues for me, thanks so much.

David

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Driver Osmund Handford DCM - 88th Field Battery RFA 2 months 3 weeks ago #77149

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David S & Meurig

Could Sergeant Synon of the 88th Battery have been killed here?
No mention of artillery battery but shelling occurred, date and location match.

16 SEPTEMBER 1901 ZOETLIEF

“On the evening of the 15th a column numbering 250 left Vryburg and reached Zoutlief in a storm of wind and
rain. The next morning the men proceeded to Thanet and found the Boers in strength. A hot engagement then
ensued. The Boers, who comprised Van Zyl’s and Van der Merwe’s commandos and numbered 400 strong,
took up a position covering a house which appeared to be their headquarters. They were shelled vigorously,
but a number of shells failed to explode in consequence of the heavy rain of the previous night. Soon afterwards
Keeley’s scouts from Maribogo reinforced the British left flank and endeavoured to cut off the enemy’s retreat.
A company of the Fifth Imperial Yeomanry from Devondale ran the gauntlet of the enemy’s fire in grand style
while galloping to reach a kopje which it was necessary to hold. The men raced by ones and twos across the
ground under the enemy’s fire and gained their object with the loss of one killed and ten wounded. A body of
the enemy who had been fighting in trenches near the farmhouse surrendered on condition of their lives being
spared. They proved to be 14 well-known and dangerous rebels from the Vryburg district.”

“The Times”, 2 Oct 1901
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards
Dave

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Driver Osmund Handford DCM - 88th Field Battery RFA 2 months 3 weeks ago #77150

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That looks like it would make sense.

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