In my ongoing research into the contribution the men of Smethwick made to the Boer War I have just added the name CHARLES ALFRED WINFIELD to the Roll Call. At first sight this might have some scratching their heads as Charles was born (1874), raised and married in Stroud in Gloucestershire and never saw South Africa. However, he moved himself and his family to Smethwick just before the start of the Boer War where, according to the Smethwick Telephone (local newspaper) of 13th February 1900, he worked at the Birmingham & Midland Tram Depot in West Smethwick. The article reported he was off to war with the Gloucester Militia accompanied by a cardigan jacket, 1 lb of tobacco , two pipes and five bob donated by his workmates, who had also decided to make sure his wife and family were provided for during his absence. (My note - the community spirit was amazing at this time). His three page partial Service Record is downloadable from Find My Past and shows he was a Reservist called back to the Colours as he originally enlisted in the 4th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment on 28th March 1890. The third sheet shows that, when he re-joined, he attained the rank of “Sergeant” and as a member of the 4th Gloucester’s he embarked for St Helena on 2nd April 1900, returning home on 27th July 1901. He seems to have had magical qualities as he appears on the 31st March 1901 Census return alongside his wife and family in Smethwick. His occupation is given as “Middleman St Helena”. (My note – presumably his wife and the enumerator decided he should be included in his absence which I don’t think was in accordance with the rules.) By 1911 Charles and family had moved to neighbouring Birmingham where he passed away in 1939 aged 65.
The third sheet also says he was awarded the “South African Medal” – I presume this would have been the Queen’s South Africa Medal and it would have been clasp-less as there was not a “St Helena” Clasp. The ABW Forum database indicates he received both the QSA & KSA.
I thought I would post the above as the ABW article on the Boer Prisoner of War Camp on St Helena says nothing about the jailors – anybody any idea what a “Middleman” was? Also the ABW Forum database does not include his rank or his Regimental Number of 2059.
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