Wonderful start Frank - now a BMR QSA of any shpae and description has always eluded me!!
I will have to redouble my efforts and will advise once (if at all)I obtain one.
I do have a QSA/KSA pair to the Natal Voluntary Composite Regiment in the name of HF Clifford. This worthy (read below) served with the BMR and the NC BUT his gongs are not to the BMR...
Regards and enjoy Herbert Fraser Clifford!
Herbert Fraser Clifford
Trooper, Border Mounted Rifles and Natal Voluntary Composite Regiment
- Queens South Africa Medal with clasps Orange Free State (missing) and Transvaal.
- Kings South Africa Medal with clasps South Africa 1901 and 1902.
Herbert Clifford was born to Montague Clifford and his wife Marion (Mary) Elizabeth (born Bingham) in the Chorlton area of Lancashire, England on 23 August 1882. Montague Clifford was a Cotton Yarn Agent by profession.
According to the 1881 England census the family were resident at Park Avenue, Chorlton. Together with the parents were Herbert’s soon to be siblings’ 17 year old Alice, William (15) and an Office Boy, Edith (6), Marion (5) and Montague (3).
By the time the 1891 census rolled round the family had already sailed for South Africa to take up a new life settling in the Pietermaritzburg area of Natal. Herbert was enrolled at Maritzburg College where he is recorded on the Admissions Register of 1896.
October 1899 saw the outbreak of the Anglo Boer War, a “skirmish” which was, by all accounts, meant to be of short lived duration. Clifford found himself among the ranks of the Border Mounted Rifles until October 1900 (a year later) when he enlisted with the Natal Voluntary Composite Regiment with no. 97 and the rank of Trooper at the age of 18.
The passage below is an extract from the Short History Of The Volunteer Regiments Of Natal And East Griqualand, Past and Present. Compiled by Colonel Godfrey T Hurst, DSO OBE VD, Honorary Colonel of the Natal Mounted Rifles, and details what this outfit busied themselves with.
Upon the final expulsion of the Boer forces from Natal and the general settling down of the northern districts, which had been occupied by the enemy for about nine months in 1899 and 1900, the Natal Volunteer Brigade was demobilised at the request of the Natal Government, which had borne the cost of keeping its forces in the field for a year and was feeling the financial strain. The Commander-in-Chief of the British forces, Lord Roberts, agreed, provided one mounted regiment was left in the field till the end of the war. This unit was formed from volunteers from all the Natal regiments, and was called the Natal Volunteer Composite Regiment. It came into being in October, 1900, the units furnishing the volunteer personnel being the Natal Carbineers, Natal Mounted Rifles, Umvoti Mounted Rifles, Border Mounted Rifles, Durban Light Infantry, Natal Royal Rifles and Natal Field Artillery, with necessary detachments from the Natal Volunteer Staff, Medical, Veterinary, Transport and Supply Departments. The strength was 505, in four squadrons. Lieut-Colonel Robert Winter Evans, of the Natal Mounted Rifles, was appointed to the command, and the new regiment at once settled down to its work, forming a unit of the Dundee-Ladysmith-Newcastle sub-district Imperial Command.
During its 21 months of existence, the unit, or portions of it, at various times formed part of many different field commands in the southern and eastern Transvaal, Orange River Colony and Zululand, as well as in northern Natal, and took part in much fighting. Other activities were patrolling the Natal borders, holding isolated key points, escorting convoys, patrolling block-house lines, cleaning up the districts of rebels, chasing raiding parties and the like. The work of the regiment was never monotonous, and at times was exciting.
The unit gained an enviable reputation for its work and many were the encomiums received from high Imperial Army commanders, under whom the regiment or detachments served. Scouting was highly developed, and soon the Natal Volunteer Composite Regiment was famed for this type of work. Amongst its personnel were many men hailing from the districts in which it operated, and consequently they possessed valuable local knowledge and many were linguists in Dutch and Zulu, Men and horses were hardened by a year of previous service and training. Every member owned his own horse, saddlery, equipment and uniforms, and quite soon after formation the regiment or detachments were eagerly sought after by commanders of Imperial independent field units for the qualities mentioned above, chiefly as scouts, guides, interpreters, intelligence duties and transport experts. The Compiler once heard General French, the famous cavalry leader of the Anglo-Boer War, say that the N.V.C.R. were the finest scouts be had ever known.
Clifford resigned from the N.V.C.R. on 9 January 1902, some four months before the war was finally over.
For his efforts he was awarded the Queens South Africa Medal with clasp Transvaal (the Supplementary Roll dated 16 February 1905 shows that he also qualified for the Orange Free State clasp) as well as the Kings South Africa Medal with clasps S.A. 1901 and 1902. Both medals were issued from the roll of the Natal Voluntary Composite Regiment.
He now turned his attention to his career and sporting pursuits. The Natal Who’s Who of 1906 provided his address as the Native Affairs Department and Town Hill, Maritzburg. His clubs were Savages F.C; Old Collegians C.C. and Rovers Cycling Club. His hobby was listed, no surprises there, as Sport and it was recorded that he had won no fewer than 24 cycling prizes. He played Inter town junior football (Durban vs. Pietermaritzburg) in 1900 followed by Inter town football as part of the Klip River Division in 1901 and Senior Inter town football in 1905. He represented Maritzburg in Inter town cycling in 1899.
Clifford had remained in the employ of the Colonial Government and in 1903 applied, successfully, for a clerkship in the office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court. He wasn’t a man to stand idle as, in 1905, he approached the Principal Under Secretary for Natal who asked if there would be any objection to Clifford transferring to the Native Affairs Office. This request was granted.
In 1909 Clifford was on the move again, this time on transfer to the Kokstad area of East Griqualand before returning to Pietermaritzburg. The 1919 Natal Directory has him listed as a Civil Servant resident in Roberts Road, Town Hill.
A final transfer, on this occasion to Johannesburg, ensued in 1920 when he “swapped” places with a Mr. Rouch.
Somewhere along the way Herbert Clifford had met and married Gertrude Muriel Botterill. This union produced a daughter, Eileen Muriel Clifford, who was born on 5 July 1915.
On 14 August 1929, in Johannesburg, Clifford drew up his Last Will and Testament.
It was to be many years later, on 1 May 1960 that a retired Herbert Fraser Clifford breathed his last at the Greys Hospital in Pietermaritzburg. He was 78 years and 8 months old at the time and resident at 42 Roberts Road, Pietermaritzburg.
CROUCH, W. J.
REG. NO.: 95
REGT: NATAL CARBINEERS
BARS: DEFENCE OF LADYSMITH, ORANGE FREE STATE, TRANSVAAL, LAING'S NEK, SOUTH AFRICA 1901
REMARKS / HISTORY:
1. NATAL REBELLION MEDAL, 1906 BAR, 95 W. J. CROUCH, NATAL CARBINEERS
Not great though.....
Military Historical Society