Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
  • Page:
  • 1

TOPIC:

Herschel 1 month 3 weeks ago #93491

  • djb
  • djb's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Administrator
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 31410
  • Thank you received: 4468


Herschel is a small town in Cape Colony, east of Aliwal North and north of Lady Grey, on the border with the OFS and Basutoland.

In the Frontier Wars, Tylden says one unit was raised:

Herschel Fingo Levies. As the Herschel Native Contingent received received the SAGS Medal for 1878. In 1879 were present at Morosi's Mountain. Date of acceptance for service in the Basutoland Rebellion, 25th September, 1880. The Commanding Officer was Commandant A. Maclean, and the roll of officers includes Capt. O'Toole, V.C., ex-Frontier Light Horse. The strength was 100 mounted and 300 infantry, and the corps held the south-west border of Basutoland, suffering casualties on 28th January, 1881. The strength at this time was 494 of all ranks.

The proximity to Basutoland meant that a unit served on the Basutoland Rebellion. The Herschel Volunteer Burghers, a Coloured corps, 70 strong, accepted for service on the 25th October, 1880.

During the Boer War, it created the Herschel Mounted Volunteers (WO100/281p188) but no medals appear to have been issued from this roll. The Herschel Native Volunteers was raised by Major D. B. Hook, Resident Magistrate of Herschel. It was a purely local corps and has 25 European officers,

The Herschel Native Police was 200 strong, under Capt. Hall. Raised by Major Hook to keep order in Herschel District during the Boer War. Carried Martini Henry rifles and found their own remounts. The corps had a clash with Smuts' Commando towards the end of August, 1901.

The Times History, Vol V, p250 notes:

'On broad grounds of policy nobody will deny that, in a war between two white races, destined in the future to live side by side in the midst of a vast coloured population, natives should be
armed only in case of the last necessity . This necessity can be clearly shown in the case of the predominantly native districts of Cape Colony, which were continually threatened with invasion and spoliation, and where one or two causeless barbarities were perpetrated by the Boers. In the north western districts, where the white population was very sparse, half-caste Bastards and Cape Boys were enrolled in considerable numbers for local defence. In the native district of Herschel, a favourite point for invasion, and in a few other instances, natives were permitted to form themselves into defensive bands. Basutoland naturally held itself ready to resist invasion.'
Dr David Biggins
Attachments:
The following user(s) said Thank You: Elmarie, Moranthorse1

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Herschel 1 month 3 weeks ago #93492

  • djb
  • djb's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Administrator
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 31410
  • Thank you received: 4468
The engagement in August 1901 is recounted in D B Hook's book 'With sword and statute (on the Cape of Good Hope frontier)', p402-3.

The district was used for British convoys, and for troops passing; and I always believed that the enemy one day would pass over the boundary, which one day happened as Boer General Smuts, with a commando of about 400 Transvaalers, succeeded in crossing the Orange River during the rush of the enemy to enter the Colony, in the night, at a moment when our block-house piquets were being redistributed; but not without encountering two or three companies of the Herschel Native Police in the early morn, who intercepted them near the Witteberg Mission Station, and opened fire on them at 400 or 500 yards from a ridge of rocks with Martini rifles, on which the Transvaalers, who really did not want to fight the natives, and only wanted to get through, retreated across the Aliwal line out of the Herschel district in a most hurried manner, bending down on their saddles to escape the volleys of shots sent after them by companies, leaving several dead and wounded, and many horses, and some arms. As I was present, I must confess that the Boers had executed a very clever crossing of the Orange River in the dark at the cattle-ford of big stones and a wide sheet of water with precipitous hills on either side, and it was a marvel to me how they succeeded in taking us by surprise; but I found that they had by strategy captured our two sentinels, and terrorised these into guides to a certain point. The embarrassment of the surprise in addition was that the guard on the Orange River at other points rushed in stating that two more commandos were coming through at two other drifts of the river, which intelligence arriving, when, as I said before, our redistribution of piquets was en-passant, leaving the Herschel Residency neighbourhood short of men, created a momentary halting in decision what to do, until I saw the Boers flying in a direction right into, as I thought, the jaws of a British column which was believed to be encamped at Tibbet's farm with cannon and mounted men, when lo ! the column had vanished, by having recrossed the Orange River the previous evening; which could be perceived by the Boers mustering out of range of our rifles on top of a rise near the farm unmolested ; I for some time waiting expecting to have a deal with the increase of Boers which had been reported by the piquets.
Dr David Biggins
The following user(s) said Thank You: Moranthorse1

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Herschel 3 weeks 3 days ago #94002

  • Elmarie
  • Elmarie's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Senior Member
  • Senior Member
  • Posts: 946
  • Thank you received: 933
David

My father picked up this medal years ago in the field in the district of Herschel.

Elmarie Malherbe
Attachments:
The following user(s) said Thank You: djb, Rory

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Herschel 3 weeks 3 days ago #94003

  • djb
  • djb's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Administrator
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 31410
  • Thank you received: 4468
That is a fascinating artefact, Elmarie. Many thanks for posting such an interesting item.

Best wishes
David
Dr David Biggins

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • Page:
  • 1
Moderators: djb
Time to create page: 0.490 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum