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A new acquisition and a question - W. Banister-Jones 1 week 2 days ago #85826

  • Rory
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A new group arrived yesterday. An interesting story, dating back from my early boyhood years was the motivating factor behind the purchase.

They feature William Banister - Jones who started out military life as a Trooper with the 21st Company, 2nd Battalion of the Imperial Yeomanry before transferring, along with several dozen of his comrades, to the Cape Mounted Police (Cape Police D2) in August 1900.

Post-amalgamation of the various police forces in 1912, he joined the 3rd South African Mounted Rifles, seeing service with them as a commissioned officer in both the 1914 Rebellion as well as in German South West Africa.

Why did I buy them? Many years ago I used to assist my brother in the annual Sardine Run down the South Coast of Natal. He was trying his hand as a commercial fisherman at the time (oh the impetuosity of youth) and would row his banana boat out into the choppy swells, encircle the massive shoals of sardines as they swam perilously (for them) close to the shoreline, all the while dropping his seine net. Once he had reached shore again - dozens of "willing hands" on the beach would pull the net ashore.

My brother was in fierce competition with - you guessed it - a (Ray) Banister-Jones of Hibberdene who had the distinct advantage of having his own spotter plane - much to the chagrin of my brother and others he would take off, fly along the coastline and radio to his ground crew where the vast shoals of the slippery, little silver fish were. For the rest of us it was "catch him if you can" - often ending up drawing the short straw as he swooped down and netted the main shoal with us hot on his heels.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the name Banister-Jones is an uncommon one and, after doing a bit of digging, I was able to establish that my brother's nemesis Ray, was in fact one of William Banister-Jones' sons - to conclude the story, Ray B-J as he was called... and his trusty Cesna disappeared without trace one day. To my knowledge he was never heard from again. There's a mystery novel there somewhere! I just felt I had to have a piece of him - hence the purchase of the medals.

Now for the question - refer to the highlighted bit above and the newspaper clip attached hereto - was there a mass revolt that occasioned the move of so many men from one IY company to the CP? Was there a crisis of confidence in the O.C. or other structures? Does anyone know of similar scenarios in the Boer War? I ask because I find it odd that so many "jumped ship" at the same time from the same company.



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A new acquisition and a question - W. Banister-Jones 1 week 1 day ago #85832

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That is an excellent tale. How nice to have a family connection too.

I had always though that these transfers from the IY to local unit was caused by the men coming to the end of their period of engagement. I would expect that many men in an IY unit would have very similar or the same end date? Would that explain the transfers in this situation?

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Dr David Biggins
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A new acquisition and a question - W. Banister-Jones 1 week 1 day ago #85834

  • Dave F
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Looking at a few names from your list Rory, it seems that 213 days reacurres quite often before the move to the Cape Police. I thought the 2nd paragraph might explain with reference to boredom. Alas, that was September, your man left in August.

Drachoender, 8 Jun - 6 Sep 1900
At Drachoender the yeomen were given one pound each as a gift from the Lt-Colonel of the regiment Earl Harrington. There was no wood for the fire in the cookhouse so it had to be collected from Reitfontein 9 miles away. By this time four men had died. One of them, Private Bill Lister was one of the best swimmers in England. On 14 Aug a detachment was sent on patrol to Kheis for 6 days. This consisted of 24 men from no.1 section commanded by Captain Daniel, Lieut Massey and Colour Sgt Male. The other three sections were inspected favourably on 17 Aug and congratulated for their good conduct. The patrol, having covered 100 miles, returned on 19 Aug with 2 prisoners, 11 horses and 1,000 sheep and goats. On 30 Aug there was a brief reunion with 21st Company when 39 men from the 21st stopped off on their way to Kimberley where they intended to join the Cape Mounted Police. 22 men of the 22nd Company also joined them and travelled to Kimberley. The remainder of the 22nd left Drachoeder on 6 Sep.

Upington, 11 Sep 1900
The 21st Company travelled 100 miles over 5 days arriving at Upington, Bechuanaland at 1pm on 11 Sep. Their strength was 4 officers, one colour-sergeant, 6 sergeants and 67 rank-and-file. The 21st Company had been posted at Upington since 8 April, and the Cheshire Yeomanry IY were reunited for the first time in 6 months. The weather there was bad; a sandstorm lasted a whole week during September. They spent 7 weeks at Upington which proved to be boring for the men as there was no action. They left for De Aar on 29 Oct and then Colesberg. A few days later they went to Petrusville where they were on patrol. More travelling, back to De Aar, Worcester, then Wellington where they expected to spend Christmas, but had to move on 19 Dec back to De Aar.
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards,
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