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QSAs with the clasp Wepener 3 weeks 3 days ago #96020

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Picture courtesy of Noonan's

QSA (4) Cape Colony, Wepener, Wittebergen, Belfast (Lieut. V. H. Blumberg, Brabant’s Horse) engraved naming;
KSA (2) (Lieut. V. H. Blumberg, Brabant’s Horse)

Enlisted 2nd BrH. Transferred to 1st BrH and promoted Lieutenant 1 June 1901. Resigned 25 January 1902 on disbandment. KSA rolls says also served RSO Wellington

QSA (4); KSA (2). DNW November 2015 £750
Dr David Biggins
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QSAs with the clasp Wepener 3 weeks 3 days ago #96022

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Picture courtesy of Noonan's

QSA (4) Cape Colony, Wepener, Transvaal, Wittebergen (3296 Pte. W. Lindsay, Royal Scots.);
KSA (2) (3296 Pte. W. Lindsay. Rl: Scots.)

Last seen three years ago: www.angloboerwar.com/forum/5-medals-and-...ener?start=384#75906 when it sold for a hammer price of £1,200. Totals (inc VAT for UK only): £1,546. R29,900. Au$2,690. Can$2,570. US$2,050
Dr David Biggins
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QSAs with the clasp Wepener 3 weeks 2 days ago #96036

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Picture courtesy of Noonan's

QSA (3) Cape Colony, Wepener, Transvaal (3461 J. E. McGown. Cape M.R.);
KSA (2) (3461 J. E. McGown. Cape M.R.)

John Elliot.

Enlisted 14 February 1899. Discharged 31 January 1903.
Dr David Biggins
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QSAs with the clasp Wepener 3 weeks 2 hours ago #96051

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Pictures courtesy of the London medal Co

QSA (5) Cape Colony, Wepener, Transvaal, Wittebergen, South Africa 1901; (810 PTE. G. ISAAC. KAFFRN: RIFLES.)

An article by Shimon Lev in the Jerusalem Report of 10 February 2020 covers Isaac’s life and times:

Isaac was born in Leeds on 6th November 1874 and died at the age of 40, a few months after being released from Pinetown jail during the Satyagraha struggle in South Africa.

His father owned a large jewellery business and Isaac was brought up in the same occupation. As noted in the only ‘In Memoriam’ published in Gandhi’s journal, Indian Opinion, after his death, Isaac decided to move to South Africa ‘feeling the need for greater freedom that he could not get in England’

He arrived in South Africa before the Second Boer War, which started in 1899 and it is not clear what he did for living. During the war he joined the Kaffrarian Rifles and was among the besieged in the town of Wepener in April 1900. Probably as a result of the war, he came in contact with the Theosophical Society in South Africa. The Johannesburg Lodge, Polak recounted his first meeting with Isaac in the lodge in ‘a personal note’ after his death, describing their friendship and his ‘cheery presence, his serenity of mind and character.’

For Polak, Isaac was his first intimate friend in Johannesburg at a time when he ached for the friendship and the understanding of one moved by motives like one’s own.’ The two greeted each other at the Johannesburg Lodge as fellow Jews, theosophists, vegetarians and later fellow workers for the Indian cause. This acquaintance developed into a close friendship and Isaac lived with the Polaks for three years. To Millie Polak, Henry’s wife, he became ‘dearer then her brother’.

Isaac became an ardent theosophist, a staunch vegetarian, and an active member of the South Africa Theosophical Society. He was one of the South African theosophist who asked Annie Besant to become president of the society in 1907, which she refused. He read papers before various theosophical lodges, and conducted conversations in which he emphasised ‘the need to live in accordance with one’s beliefs’

As a vegetarian, Isaac frequented the Johannesburg vegetarian restaurant that Gandhi often visited and through this the two became closely associated. In fact, it was Isaac who helped introduce Polak to Gandhi.

Polak recalled in his book ‘I soon learnt that Gabriel Isaac knew Gandhiji well, and when I became one of the latter’s articled clerks. Gabriel used to join us at lunch-time, when we consumed homemade Kuhne bread spread with peanut butter and whatever fruits in season. He (Isaac) had been for some time importuning me to join the (Theosophical) society, but not wishing to become a member of any religious organisation, having gone away from orthodoxy, I had refused. Learning that Gandhiji was a frequent lecturer at the Lodge, I mentioned this to him, he strongly urged me to become one, for, he said, as a good theosophist I should become a better Jew.

Realising the broadmindedness of this Hindu, I accepted his advice and have never regretted doing so. Except perhaps, in a very general sense I cannot say that I have become a ‘better Jew’ I regard myself as a brother in the deeper sense of a true Jew, Christian, Musulman or Parsi.’

Isaac was never an Orthodox Jew but ‘took the highest pride in calling himself a Jew’ for him to be a Jew was to live the ‘inner spirituality of Jusdaism.’ :Like Ritch, Polak and Kallenbach, he also emphasised that ‘as a Jew, he could not rest while another people was being subjected to persecution of a type with which he was familiar.’ This was Isaac’s reason to devote his energies to overcome popular prejudice against the Indian community by arguments, conversations and lectures.

Isaac and the Indian struggle:

Isaac became a member of the Phoenix settlement near Durban founded by Gandhi in 1905 and later a frequent visitor, though he continued to live in Johannesburg. As a jeweller he travelled all over South Africa collecting subscriptions and advertisements for the Indian Opinion, the newspaper Gandhi founded in 1903. In 1908 Isaac proposed himself as a nominal owner for some of the shops of Satyagrahis, Gandhi’s passive resistance followers, after the government’s policy of auctioning their goods, in order to break the Indian Satyagrahis’ spirit.

Isaac’s name appears in a letter published by The Times in the first week of 1909 by 26 ‘Europeans’ (whites) living Transvaal, emphasising that ‘there is an important body of sympathizers’ in the European section of the community who are grieved and hurt at the treatment being meted out to the ‘Asiatics’ for no apparent purpose at all.’

These Europeans saluted the ‘courage and self-sacrifice of a movement in which all faiths and castes are represented. ‘Morality and the imperial interest mandated that their demands be conceded, since passive resistance deported to India from Transvaal would ‘not be slow to ventilate their grievance’ amidst the sympathetic surroundings of their native land.’

Isaac regularly participated in the farewell and other joint Indian-European banquets, receptions and meals organised by the British Indian Association (BIA), and visited the Satyagrahis in jail.

Gandhi was proud to report that Isaac and Polak, recipients of gifts of money given to them in May 1908 in gratitude for their service to the Indian community, decided to use it for the benefit of the Indian community instead of spending the money on themselves. Isaac used the money to further the cause of Indian education. Gandhi emphasised ‘that this way of usings one’s gifts clearly deserves to be admired and emulated.’

During the height of the 1909 Indian Passive Resistance Struggle, the government was deporting passive resisters to Delgoa Bay (Maputo Bay, Mozambique) in an effort to break down Gandhi’s Satyagraha struggle. When the situation in Delgoa Bay became critical, Isaac was sent there in June 1909 in order to clear up the position and also to collect some funds along the US East Coast for the struggle. During that he suffered a severe illness from which, however, he duly recovered. The Indian opinion reported that ‘Indian friends at Mozambique rendered excellent help to Mr. Isaac.’

Toward the end of 1912, Isaac returned to England in order to pay a visit to his widowed mother.

When the Indian struggle was renewed in 1913, Isaac decided to return to South Africa and at once threw himself into the movement. Apparently, the trial had already taken place when the successful negotiation between he Smuts and Gandhi was already going on full speed. This might explain the silence in Gandhi’s journal. The Indian Opinion, about Isaac’s trial, especially compared to the coverage it gave to Polak’s and Kallenbach’s trial. Their speeches in court were fully reported by the paper.

As a strict vegetarian, Isaac’s diet in prison obviously was very limited ‘A starvation diet’. Isaac was released following a provisional statement on February 13, 1914 after serving three weeks of hard labour. Although according to Gandhi, Isaac was ‘a freelance Jewish friend… (who) cheerfully shared imprisonment with us.’ When he came out from imprisonment he was a broken man, physically and mentally.

Gandhi took charge of him at the Phoenix settlement and apparently according to Gandhi researcher Dinna Patel, Gandhi event took on himself a secret private fast after Isaac could not stick to his own oath regarding the diet Gandhi imposed on him.

A hint of the responsibility Gandhi felt for Isaac can be traced in a letter written to Kallenbach in May 1914, dealing with the arrangements due to be taken before their final departure to India. Gandhi did not know what to do with Isaac, to whom he felt obliged under his tragic situation. Gandhi wrote ‘Isaac, I fancy is going to Johannesburg, He will not be allowed to come to India, He is just now at Phoenix.

When Gandhi, his wife Kasturba and Kallenbach sailed for London on the way to India, Isaac stayed for some more time in Phoenix Farm but then left to Johannesburg. Soon Isaac had a serious breakdown, mentally and physically, from which he never recovered. A month before his death, he fell ill again with a severe attack of malaria fever and died early on November 8, 1914 subsequently being buried in the Jewish section of the Braamfontein Cemetery in Johannesburg.

£1,950.

Dr David Biggins
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QSAs with the clasp Wepener 2 weeks 3 hours ago #96134

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CGHGSM (1) Bechuanaland (2812 Cpl. R. G. Gill. C.M. Rif.), lasp facing slightly bent;
QSA (4) Cape Colony, Wepener, Transvaal, Wittebergen (2821 Cpl. R. G. Gill. Cape M.R.) rank unofficially re-engraved;
KSA (2) (2821 Corpl: R. G. Gill. Cape M.R.),

Robert Giles Gill.

Enlisted 18 February 1896. Served in the Bechuanaland Rebellion 1896-7. Discharged 30 March 1903. CMR ref DD7/64.

CGHGSM (1) Bechuanaland (Cpl CMR); QSA (4); KSA (2). Spink April 1983 £300. Glendining February 2012.
Dr David Biggins
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QSAs with the clasp Wepener 2 days 2 hours ago #96262

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Four Wepener QSA at Noonan's yesterday.

The trio to Corporal Gill, CMR. and the pair to Private McGown, CMR, both sold for hammer prices of GBP 600. Total GBP 773. R 17,560. AUD 1,430. NZD 1,590. CAD 1,320. USD 970. EUR 880

The pair to Private Lindsay, Royal Scots, and the pair to Lieutenant Blumberg, Brabant's Horse, both sold for hammer prices of GBP 850. Total GBP 1,095. R 24,880. AUD 2,030. NZD 2,250. CAD 1,870. USD 1,370. EUR 1,250
Dr David Biggins

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