“…on the other flank, Scobell, quitting Graaff Reinet on the 20th, reached Smithvale next day. He had seen little of the enemy, but hearing of a commando, 120 strong, under Lategan, at Tweefontein, twenty-five miles to the east, at the junction of the Sneeuw and Voor Sneeuw Berg mountains, he detached the Cape Mounted Riflemen, only 90 in number, under Lukin, to attempt to surprise them by night. In spite of the length of the march Lukin’s men brilliantly carried out their task. Lategan’s band was completely scattered; many of the Boers fell: eleven, including a Field Cornet, with 105 horses, were captured.”
Official History, Vol IV, p232.
Lord Kitchener in his despatch of 8th September 1901, dealing with operations in the Eastern Transvaal, stated:
“On 17th August a force of the South African Constabulary and Morley’s Scouts which had been patrolling under Captain Wood, SAC, in front of the Constabulary posts to the south of Bronkhorst Spruit Station, unexpectedly came upon and attacked a greatly superior Boer force which was halted at Middelburg, 23 miles south of the railway.
The enemy, who were subsequently reported to have numbered 800, were completely surprised by the sudden rush of our men. Twenty-three Boers were killed, 11 were taken prisoners, a large number were wounded, and all their horses stampeded. Our success, however, was rather short-lived.
Discovering that the force by which they had been attacked was a small one, the enemy rallied, assumed the offensive, and drove our men back after a hand-to-hand fight in the direction of Bronkhorst Spruit. In the retirement the Boers were able to recover the 11 prisoners who had been taken from them and to capture 14 of our men, including Captain Morley of Morley’s Scouts, who was dangerously wounded. Our other casualties were 1 man killed and 5 men wounded.”
QSA (4) CC, Wepener, Tvl, Witt (Lieut W. G. Esmonde. S.A.C.)
Lt Walter Esmonde, son of Sir L H T Esmonde of Co. Wexford, Ireland, initially served as a Private in the Cape Mounted Rifles (Siege of Wepener).
He was commissioned in the SA Constabulary in March 1901 and was MiD with Capt. Wood “For gallantry and good service in action on Wilge River on 16th August 1901”.
London Gazette, 17 January 1902, p384. Date should have been stated as 17th August 1901.
QSA (4) Cape Colony, Wepener, Transvaal, Wittebergen (1094 Tpr: S. J. Smith. Brabant's Horse),
Enlisted 2nd BrH 6 January 1900 in Port Elizabeth. Aged 24. Trade: Mineral water manufacturer. Discharged, medically unfit, 20 September 1900 in Cape Town having suffered a hernia ruption at the end of July 1900 whilst trying to catch another's horse. Address after discharge: Alabama Hotel, Bloem Street, Cape Town | Ref: 237p243
Details of the two Piggin brothers were given
Picture courtesy of Spink
QSA (4) Cape Colony, Wepener, Wittebergen, Belfast (922 R. Qr:-Mr:-Sjt: H. A. Piggin. Brabant's H.);
KSA (2) South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (1296 R. Qr:-Mr:-Sjt: H. A. Piggin. Kitchener's F.S.);
1914-15 Star (2. Lieut. H. A. Piggin. S. Notts. Hrs.);
BWM (2. Lieut. H. A. Piggin.);
[ VM ]
FH Symons was born in King Williams Town (KWT), and educated at KWT Diocesan School, and Dale College. Understood to have served in KWT Vol Rifles, and KWT Artillery (unsubstantiated). He was a Trooper in Rhodes' BSACo Police, one of 200 members, who acted as escort to the Pioneer Column during the occupation of Mashonaland. The S Rhod Govt issued medals in 1927 to commemorate the 1890 column - not all were claimed, and this is a scarce medal. The QSA to Capt Symons of C Squadron, Kaffrarian Rifles includes the scarce Wepener (siege) clasp, as well as the Wittebergen (campaign) clasp. Reportedly Capt Symons also served as Capt in 2nd Royston's Horse (unsubstantiated). Reportedly Symons was in command of the Cape Colonial Contingent during the Natal Native Rebellion of 1906 - this medal and his KSA, both of which he is entitled to, are missing from this group. The rest of the group includes the WW1 Trio to Capt Symons of SA Services Corps, 5th Mounted Brigade (Supply Train), as well as the Colonial Auxiliary Forces Officers Decoration and Long Service (20 years) medals. Accompanying the group is 13 pages of partial research into his WW1 service.
His Natal Medal was sold by City Coins in December 2004 and Liverpool Medals in 2006.
Starting price is R50,000.
Dr David Biggins
The following user(s) said Thank You: Moranthorse1
Here is an interesting find that I picked up recently. I bought this originally without any research as the Wepener clasp always attracts one to a QSA. The medal is named to 532 Pte E. Moss (Queenstown Rifle Volunteers) with three clasps - CC, Wepener and Witt. On closer review (mine alone) it seems Pte Moss actually received the Wepener clasp as he was present at the Relief of Wepener and as part of the Queenstown Rifle Volunteers. It was then decided that only the Defenders of Wepener would receive the clasp. Pte Moss, it seems (my deduction) may have already received this and simply kept it on his medal. He is promoted to Lt and served as part of the Driscolls Scouts (Confirmed on the Dricolls Scouts nominal roll). This is where the story gets more colorful. I found out that there is another QSA medal to Lt E. Moss (Driscolls Scouts) and actually included a OFS and 1901 clasps (renamed, contemporary re-engraved naming, engraved in ornate running script). Lieutenant Moss was severely wounded near Jagersfontein on 4/2/1901, whilst serving with Driscoll's Scouts so the OFS clasp is probably correct - I have not confirmed this as such. This renamed medal was actually auctioned for a starting price of 250 pounds, the date I have not been able to confirm. Lt Moss, probably decided that he needed a "new" medal with a more prestigious unit named on it so made one up. Lt Moss was also mentioned on the manifest of the ship - CANADA which sailed for England with a number of other war wounded.
Irrespective of the Wepener clasp, what an interesting story the medal has unearthed. If any forum member has any other information to add or provide, that would be most helpful.