HKPM (PRIVATE J. CLARKE. S. L. I.)
QSA (3) CC Paar Drie (2931 PTE. J. CLARKE. 2ND SHROPSHIRE LT. INFY.)
James Clarke was 19 years old, born Pontesbury, Shropshire, when he attested into the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry in 1888.
His service papers confirm that he served for 13 years and that, as well as serving in Malta, Egypt, India and South Africa he also served in Hong Kong from 2nd December 1891 to 21st December 1894 – a total of 3 years 20 days at Hong Kong.
HK Plague Medal (Private T. Jones, S.L.I.);
QSA (1) Tr (4072 Pte. T. Jones. Shrops: L.I.);
Thomas Jones was born in February 1873 in Knighton, Radnorshire. Having previously worked as an Engine Cleaner, he attested for service with the Shropshire Light Infantry at Manchester on 14 March 1893. He served with them while stationed in Hong Kong during the Plague of 1894 (bubonic plague), where the Shropshire Light Infantry became known as the ‘Whitewash Brigade’ for their efforts in controlling the outbreak. He also served in South Africa, and was later transferred to the Army Reserve at the termination of his period of service at Shrewsbury, on 7 September 1902, aged 29 years. He was discharged from the Army Reserve on 13 August 1909.
Jones re-enlisted into the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry upon the outbreak of hostilities again Germany on 30 September 1914, and served with the B.E.F. in France. Taking part in hard fighting, he was eventually discharged on 8 June 1916 as ‘no longer physically fit for war service’, owing to the effects of Neurasthenia (an outmoded term considered to be a weakness of the nerves, and often associated with what we would now call ‘shell shock’).
Private J. Symonds is not mentioned amongst the medals previously 'known’ to the market, as listed in 'The Whitewash Brigade’ by Jones & Platt. However, the medal is officially named, and a soldier of this same name (No.1149) is known to have served in this regiment during the Boer War just 2 years later, with entitlement to a Q.S.A. with 3 clasps.
HK Plague Medal (Corporal G. Jones, S.L.I.);
QSA (3) CC OFS Tr (2705 Cpl. G. Jones, 2nd Shrop: Lt. Infy.)
George Jones was born at Abergavenny and attested for the Shropshire Light Infantry at Shrewsbury on 5 December 1887, aged 18 years 6 months, a labourer by trade. He was posted to Malta in September 1889, and to Egypt in March 1891, before moving to Hong Kong in December of the same year.
He was present throughout the bubonic plague epidemic in Hong Kong in 1894 and received the medal for his services. He was promoted to Corporal immediately after the end of the epidemic on 31 August 1894, and posted to India in December 1894, where he was promoted to Sergeant in June 1895.
He was posted Home in December 1895 and transferred to the Army Reserves on 8 December 1895.
He was recalled from the Army Reserves on 19 October 1900, for service in South Africa and served there from 7 November 1899 until 6 December 1900. Posted Home, he was once again discharged on 4 December 1900.
Hong Kong Plague 1894, silver (Private W. Evans, S.L.I.);
QSA (1) Cape Colony (3031 Pte. W. Evans 2nd Shropshire Lt. Infy.)
Provenance: Mike Minton Collection, Buckland Dix & Wood, September 1994.
Private W. Evans died of disease at Wynberg on 23 December 1899. He was the first man of the Shropshire Light Infantry to be lost in the War and it is ironic that, having served during the plague in Hong Kong, he himself should die from disease.