Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
  • Page:
  • 1

TOPIC:

Lt. Reginald N. Woolf - MiD for Tontelboschkolk with the W.P.M.R. 1 week 3 days ago #84822

  • Rory
  • Rory's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Senior Member
  • Senior Member
  • Posts: 2788
  • Thank you received: 1430
Reginald Nunes Woolf(Mentioned in Dispatches)

Trooper, Western Province Mounted Rifles.
Lieutenant, Western Province Mounted Rifles – Anglo Boer War


- Queens South Africa Medal with clasp Cape Colony to Lt. R. N. Woolf, W. Prov. M. R.

Reginald Nunes Woolf, was born in 1866 in Knottingley, West Yorkshire the son of Sydney Woolf, MP, Liberal Member of Parliament for Pontefract, Yorkshire, and his wife Isabella Nunes Bevenuta Carvalho, the daughter of David Nunes Carvalho of London. The Woolf’s were a prominent Jewish family in Victorian England; Mr Woolf senior being recorded in the New Synagogue Records with the Hebrew name Tsadok Yehuda. He was also a member of the Anglo Jewish Association and a successful pottery manufacturer. His father, Lewis Woolf, was first a China Merchant who expanded into Pottery and took over Ferrybridge, Knottingley, Pottery in Pontefract during 1851.

The Woolf’s prospered - Sidney and his brothers ran the Potteries at Knottingley and he became one of the leading citizens of the town, being instrumental in forming the Knottingley Town Hall and Mechanics Institute Company Limited, of which body he became chairman.

The first glimpse we have of young Reg was courtesy of the 1871 England census where, aged 5, he was at home at The Potteries in Knottingley along with his parents and siblings David Lewis (9); Henry Alban (7); Herbert Carvalle (6); Esther Rosalie (3) and Percy Stanhope (1). Mr Woolf was recorded as being an Earthenware Manufacturer. As befitted a family of their pecuniary means, there were servants in abundance with Marianne Walker (Governess); Margaret Ann Horridge; Clara Emma Gill and Ellen Askam all on hand to minister to their every need.

It wasn’t only in the sphere of business that Mr Woolf excelled – in the 1880 Election he was elected as the Member of Parliament for Pontefract, a seat which he held until 1885 as a member of the Liberal Party. According to the 1881 England census, the family still resided at The Potteries. The household had grown exponentially since the last census and now consisted of nineteen souls. Mr Woolf, it must be presumed, was away representing his constituents in the House of Commons leaving his wife to run the house. Now 15, Reg Woolf was a Scholar who did not lack for company – being joined at home by David and Henry, now both in the business as Earthenware Manufacturers; Herbert, Esther and Percy – all at school – and new arrivals in the form of Rachel Hannah Florence (9); Mabel Sara (7); Gerald Houghton (6); Lizzie Ranee (5) and Sybil Louisa (1) - Once again an army of servants were on hand – Mary Hope (Governess); Margaret Ann Horridge (Nurse); William Broadley (Butler); Margaret Elders (Cook); Mary Hannah Hopwood (Housemaid); Elizabeth Ann Vehd (Under housemaid) and Rose Cushing (Under Nurse) making up the numbers.

The household expenses must have been exorbitant with the salary bill alone making up a large part of what proved to be ruinous to Mr Woolf – with having to divide his time between his Parliamentary duties and running a pottery, he was obliged to bring in a series of managers to assist with the business. Things started to unravel and he declared bankruptcy on 17 March 1884, as per the London Gazette of 21 March 1884. This prompted a move to South Africa and a fresh start.

Having arrived on South African shores, the family initially based itself in Cape Town, the Mother City, which is where Reg Woolf attested for service in the Anglo Boer War. This conflict, the product of a long simmering animosity between Great Britain on the one hand and two Dutch-speaking Boer Republics, the Transvaal, and the Orange Free State on the other; burst onto the international stage on 11 October 1899 and Woolf, a 33 year old Share Broker living in Cape Town, attested as a Trooper, No. 208 with the Western Province Mounted Rifles on 11th January 1901 – some 13 months after its commencement. His attestation form confirmed his private address as 1 Glencoe Villas, Camp Street, Cape Town (the same address as his father’s) whilst his business address was provided as the City Club, Cape Town.

The W.P.M.R. came into existence when the second invasion of Cape Colony took place in December 1900. Several new bodies of volunteers or irregulars were raised at Cape Town, among others this corps, which reached an eventual strength of over 500. As soon as a squadron was ready it took the field because the enemy in the first week of January 1901 had reached within a day's ride of Cape Town – hence the necessity for urgent mobilisation. During January and February the corps was constantly in action. In a telegram from Clanwilliam, dated 31st January, the Press Association correspondent remarked that a detachment under Lieutenant Hellawell had driven 150 Boers from the Pakhuis Pass.

Patrols were frequently attacked and often captured by marauding Boer Commandos. So much so that the W.P.M.R. earned the nickname of 'Will Provide Maritz with Rifles'.

Near Calvinia on 21 April 1901, the aforementioned Commandant Manie Maritz with 10 mounted men surprised a 15-man patrol of the Western Province Mounted Rifles who were on their way to the farm Nelskop, some 40 km south of Brandvlei in the direction of Calvinia.

After a short skirmish, the majority of the WPMR men remounted and made for a nearby hill, Swartkop. Maritz and five men charged in parallel and ascended Swartkop on the opposite side to the British. As Maritz dismounted near the summit, he received a flesh wound in the arm. One of his men helped him to get up and as he started a charge up-hill he received two further light wounds in the arm and back. He again got up and stormed the WPMR men. At this stage he was joined by the rest of his party and after a short exchange of fire the WPMR party surrendered.

The British losses were two men killed, Lt Tidmarsh and 2 men wounded, and 9 men taken prisoner.

The Boers gained 13 horses and 13 rifles with ammunition. Maritz was the only casualty on the Boer side, and he was nursed on a nearby farm T’Boop by the owner’s wife, Mrs Hessie Nel. Later in the war the farm was to become a hospital for wounded Boer rebels. (Translated from Memoirs of Commandant Manie Maritz.)

Woolf, his leadership qualities speedily recognised, was appointed Lieutenant on 18 May 1901 – he had been a Trooper until 11 April of that year.

Throughout 1901 and 1902 the corps did an immense amount of arduous work in the extreme south-west of the Colony. They were often far from support and in a district much favoured by the enemy, and one almost impossible for regular troops. The corps had endless little engagements, frequently involving sharp casualties, and if they had a good many patrols captured this may be attributed to their being more than usually split up into little detachments at the request of the officer who commanded the district. A part of the corps were for a time in Colonel Capper's column. A patrol on 4th August 1901 made a smart capture of 7 prisoners, 70 horses, and 1000 rounds of ammunition.
But perhaps the most famous action in which the W.P.M.R. participated was the so-called Siege of Tontelboschkolk. For his good service in this action he would be listed in Lord Kitchener’s Mentions:

For good service in the defence of Tontelbosch Kop: November 25 to December 3 1901.” Announced in the London Gazette on 25th April 1902, page 2769



A comtemporary map showing Tontelboschkolk circled in black

The Siege of Tontelboschkolk, took place from the 28th November to the 5th December 1901:

“The farm Tontelboschkolk, some 80km north-east of Calvinia, was used by the British as a remount and grain depot. It was garrisoned by 90 men of the Western Province Mounted Rifles and more than 100 Bushmanland Borderers, dispersed in 6 small forts, with the British Officers quartered in the 4 farmhouses on the property. It was surrounded on 28th November 1901 by Cape Rebels under Malan, Maritz, Van Deventer and Lategan. Vice, the Intelligence Officer at Calvinia, reported to Colonel du Cane at Clanwilliam on 1st December 1901, as follows:

“TBK (Tontelboschkolk) was heavily attacked on morning of 28th at 2am by a force of enemy estimated at 600 strong. They have succeeded in getting possession of the houses and outbuildings and have consequently cut off the water. They kept up a heavy fire all that day and during the night again attempted to take our position, but were easily driven back, and our men succeeded in getting a limited supply of water from the dam. Friday, the firing continued throughout the whole day, but not so heavy as on the previous day, water was also got into the forts that evening. Yesterday ‘Saturday’ continuous fire was heard till about 11am when runner was too far off to hear.”

During the siege, although the Boers managed to capture over 400 horses and mules, the main object of their attack, they could not capture the depot, which was solidly held by the small garrison. The Boers retreated on 5th December and the British withdrew the garrison shortly afterwards.”

Maurice in his History of the War in South Africa, Volume IV, page 363 reported thus:

“Little more was seen or heard of Maritz until in the last week of November it was reported that, in company with Malan, Bouwers, Pypers, Van der Venter and Van Reenan, he was closely investing the post at Tontelbosch Kolk, on the Zak river, fifty miles north-east of Calvinia. All these commandos were now under the orders of Smuts, who had assumed command of all the Boer forces in Cape Colony. The garrison at Tontelbosch Kolk consisted of only four officers and eighty-six forces, men, of the Western Province Mounted Rifles and Bushmanland Borderers, under Captain R. M. Bertram, disposed in six small forts, and was of so little tactical importance that Wynne was in the act of withdrawing it when it was shut up.



The location of Tontelbos (as it is now known) in proximity to Cape Town

A hot attack, which was gallantly repulsed, on November 28th, was the first and last bolt of the investment. Still further discouraged by losing Maritz, who received a severe wound, the Boers for seven days after relapsed into a respectful fusilade of the greatly outnumbered but indomitable garrison. On December 5th they departed after expending vastly more ammunition than they could spare, and four days later W. Doran, who had marched to the relief from Sutherland on the 6th with the greater portion of Callwell's column, withdrew the garrison, whose losses in a most creditable defence had numbered three killed and eight wounded.”

Taffy and David Shearing on pages 136, 137 of their “General Smuts and His Long Ride” provided another version of the events of the siege:
“Van Deventer, Van Reenen, Lategan, the Pyper brothers and Malan, together with Maritz, occupied the farms around Tontelboskolk. The commandants planned to cut off the water supply to the little forts , and were quite certain that they would soon have the guardhouse at their mercy. They would attack the fort from all directions.

Then the old Boer problem reared its ugly head. They couldn’t trust each other enough to elect a Senior Officer, and didn’t use the opportunity to work as a unit. So they only had one half a victory.

Each evening a party of Boers would try their luck at breaking into the kraal where 200 remounts were kept. Each night they would be driven back as the gate was in range of the blockhouse. On the fourth night, 1st December, a tremendous fight took place near the kraal as attackers and defenders battled for control of the horses.

Maritz, fed up with the delay, had taken control. While struggling to open the gate with a wire cutter, he was shot in the right arm and the bullet penetrated his chest. Despite the wound he shot the lock of the gate to pieces and the horses, crazed by thirst, and frightened by the gunfire, streamed out and away, driven on by the impotent rifle fire of their now previous owners.

L/Cpl. Van Breda and Pte. W.R. Keown, W.P.M.R., were killed during the attack, and three others were wounded. On the Boer side J.J. van der Merwe and Jordaan of Van Deventer’s Commando were killed, and Jan Kirsten was also wounded.

After Maritz was wounded the Boers fell back. Manie was taken by cart to a nearby farm for treatment. When he returned he must have smelt a rat, because he checked Cmdt. Pyper’s position. To his fury, he watched a Coloured trooper fetch water from the spring nearby in broad daylight. Too angry to continue his efforts, he went back to his own commando after he recovered.

Woolf took his leave of the W.P.M.R. on 31 December 1901. He was to play no further part in the war. For his efforts he was awarded the Queens Medal with Cape Colony and South Africa 1901 clasps (this last issued in 1908). One assumes that he returned to his pre-war endeavours.

All went quiet on the Woolf front until, on 23rd December 1913 at Pretoria, he wed Margaret Lessels Westwood, from Fifeshire, Scotland. He was 46 at the time whilst Margaret was a 30 year old spinster. They provided their respective addresses as De la Ray, Lichtenburg, Transvaal and Hospital Hill, Johannesburg.

He turned to farming as a livelihood (as a Government Settler), settling on the farm “Twistdraai” near Trichard in the Standerton/Bethal district. It was whilst living there that he passed away on 31 July 1930 at the age of 64 years and 4 months in the Nursing Home in Trichard. He was survived by his wife and two children – Isabol Margaret, born on 27 October 1914 and Eric Norman born on 6 March 1916.


Sources:
- Barkly East map of Tontelboschkolk supplied by Elne Watson
- Memoirs of Commandant Manie Maritz.
- History of the War in South Africa - Maurice
- General Smuts and His Long Ride by Taffy and David Shearing
- Ancestry.co.uk for census data
- Familysearch.org for Marriage and Death Notices







The following user(s) said Thank You: goose

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Lt. Reginald N. Woolf - MiD for Tontelboschkolk with the W.P.M.R. 1 week 3 days ago #84827

  • Clive Stone
  • Clive Stone's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Junior Member
  • Junior Member
  • Posts: 38
  • Thank you received: 13
Hi Rory
thanks for the great detail on Lt Woolf
Particularly interested in the reference to Government Settler. My grandfather Trooper RM Stone 1609 Natal Carbineers in 1906 Rebellion and Public Works Department employee Pietermaritzburg, before and after the Rebellion, was involved in farming afterwards.
My father had told me that there was land promised to people after their service and l have a diary noting visits to his farm and work being done there, but no name or location details or if this was a government land grant
Are there existing records of such awards of farmland, to whom and where ? I know he was in partnership ? on the farm.
Another PWD employee at the time was Edward John Stead, both involved in bridge and road works, including rebuilding Boer war damage, l have some pictures. both returned to GB and became County Surveyors for 30+ years in both Somerset and Devon, both moving between Somerset and Devon and taking up each other’s roles.

Thanks
Clive

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Lt. Reginald N. Woolf - MiD for Tontelboschkolk with the W.P.M.R. 1 week 2 days ago #84840

  • Rory
  • Rory's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Senior Member
  • Senior Member
  • Posts: 2788
  • Thank you received: 1430
There are normally records of grants of what was called Crown Lands Clive, but I don't see one to your grandfather. Have you asked a researcher to get you copies of these references in the Natal Archives in Pietermaritzburg? They all pertain to R.M. Stone:

DEPOT NAB
TYPE Map
REFERENCE M3/624
DESCRIPTION PWD Proposed Road over Normandien Pass, Drakensberg
Longitudinal section, gradient, grades.
STARTING 1907
ENDING 1907
REMARKS Cartographer: RM Stone; 37 cm x 109 cm ; scale: horizontal
1 inch: 800 feet, vertical 1 inch: 100 feet; hand-drawn; old
number D 24.

DEPOT NAB
SOURCE PWD
TYPE LEER
VOLUME_NO 2/174
SYSTEM 02
REFERENCE PWD3059/1907
PART 1
DESCRIPTION CHIEF ACCOUNTANT, PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT, PIETERMARITZBURG: REFERS
TO PAYMENTS OF TRAVELLING EXPENSES TO MR. RM STONE.
STARTING 19070000
ENDING 19070000
REMARKS AO2401/1907 ND864/1907.

DEPOT NAB
SOURCE NT
TYPE LEER
VOLUME_NO 136
SYSTEM 01
REFERENCE T2160/1908
PART 1
DESCRIPTION ACCOUNTING OFFICER, PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT, PIETERMARITZBURG.
RELATES TO COMPENSATION ALLOWANCE PAYABLE TO MR. RM STONE.
STARTING 1908
ENDING 1910
REMARKS CSO3879/1908 PWD1315/1908 JPW1736/1908 AO1603/1908.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Lt. Reginald N. Woolf - MiD for Tontelboschkolk with the W.P.M.R. 1 week 11 hours ago #84876

  • Clive Stone
  • Clive Stone's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Junior Member
  • Junior Member
  • Posts: 38
  • Thank you received: 13
Hi Rory
Many thanks for that detail information on R M Stone.
I have my grandfather’s diary for his last year in Natal (currently in storage due to moving house) and recall two entries, which could well relate to the ones you kindly posted.
One for receiving travelling expenses and one relating to a pension payment - could this be the compensation allowance ?
I would be most interested to see his drawing relating to the road at Normandien Pass- Google Streetview has not yet visited this mountainous road.

I have some of his drawings of bridges he designed and built in Somerset and Devon and his Bristol Channel Pilot cutter and drawing instruments and the copy of John Singletons book The Battlefields of Natal revisited that he sent home to his mother in March 1901

The possibility of having some local research would be very welcome
Are you able to let me have some contact details please

Many thanks again

Clive

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • Page:
  • 1
Moderators: djb
Time to create page: 1.217 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum