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Bronze QSA's for black soldiers in Natal 9 years 6 days ago #6935

  • Brett Hendey
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One of the well-known injustices of the Boer War was the selective award of the Bronze QSA to the dark-skinned soldiers who served with the British forces. For example, in Natal the Indian stretcher-bearers raised by Mahatma Gandhi received the medal, whereas the Zululand Police did not, even though one of their number, Sergeant Gumbi, was Mentioned in Despatches by Kitchener (6/10/1901).

While researching the latest addition to my collection, the QSA of Joseph Ingram, Murray's Scouts and FID, I came across correspondence in the Pietermaritzburg Archives concerning the award of medals to the black men who had served as scouts. A Minute Paper from the Chief Staff Officer, Natal, includes the following handwritten note:

Secretary of Native Affairs
Maritzburg

Passed to you as the supply of 2000 bronze medals were sent to you on 9 April 1903 for distribution.

Maritzburg
15.4.04

Illegible name Major
for C. S. O. Natal

Would there be any record in the UK of this batch of medals and what became of them after they reached the Secretary of Native Affairs in Maritzburg? They certainly did not end up with the men who had earned them.

Brett

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Re: Bronze QSA's for black soldiers in Natal 9 years 4 days ago #6946

  • JustinLDavies
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Brett,

Just for the record not all the Indian volunteers in the Natal Volunteer Indian Ambulance Corps received medals, only the Leaders (including Gandhi).

About 26, if memory serves me right. I wrote an article about it in the OMRS Journal around 1997.

Best,

Justin

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Re: Bronze QSA's for black soldiers in Natal 9 years 4 days ago #6949

  • Brett Hendey
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Justin

Thank you for that information. I wonder how many of the 26 medals are known to exist? I made a note of one on a local auction (to a Leader Royeppen) many years ago. It would have fitted in well with my Natal collection!

Since there are no QSA rolls for the black guides and policemen in Natal, I presume the medals in the bulk delivery to the Chief Staff Officer, Natal, were unnamed, probably because the only reliable records of who might have qualified were kept in Pietermaritzburg. Do you know if there were any other such bulk deliveries, perhaps to the Cape Colony and to India?

I will ask a researcher in Maritzburg to pursue this matter in the New Year. There are all sorts of weird and wonderful records in the local archives, so perhaps more will emerge on the fate of the 2000, evidently unissued, bronze QSA's.

Regards
Brett

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Re: Bronze QSA's for black soldiers in Natal 9 years 2 days ago #6964

  • David Grant
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The rolls at Kew contain names of black soldiers associated with Mafekeng.
At least one has been found (locally named) in Cape Town.
Looking for Salutries, Salootries and Veterinary Duffadars.
I collect primarily QSAs to Indian Recipients.

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Re: Bronze QSA's for black soldiers in Natal 9 years 1 day ago #6971

  • Brett Hendey
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David

Many thanks for that information.

Perhaps some or all of the 2000 bronze QSA's sent to Natal were issued unnamed and they have long since disappeared from their generally remote destinations. As with silver medals, some might have been passed off as coins, but as pennies rather than crowns, while others succumbed to wear and tear.

It is most frustrating to suspect that there may still be some of these medals in remote parts of Zululand waiting to be discovered.

Regards
Brett

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Re: Bronze QSA's for black soldiers in Natal 8 years 11 months ago #6988

  • munroe
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Dear David

I have a Bronze QSA - unnamed. Its been worn so this must have been one of the ones they refer to.

So they do exist but - unnamed

Munroe
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