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Researching Trooper John Ernest Burt # 23508 - Imperial Yeomanry 2 months 2 weeks ago #73812

  • Gord Burt
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Hey all,

I'm researching a relative of mine that I have a lot of stuff on but I'm hoping to fill in some gaps and/or expand some knowledge. I'll post what I know so anyone wishing to help doesn't waste their time with stuff I already have.

I have everything available on both Ancestry and FindMyPast from documents to newspaper articles.

John Ernest Louis (also spelled Lewis in some documents) Burt's birth was registered in Q4 of 1876 in Bristol. He was born to parents John Burt Sr. and Margaret (nee King). Between 1891 and 1895 his family moved to Bath where his father wirked as a tailor. John married Wilhelmina Uphill on 3 June 1895 in Bath. John and Wilhelmina had two sons, Edwin, born 1894, and Reginald, born 1897, (both served in World War I) and two daughters, Ethel, born 1900, and Margaret who was born after the Boer War in 1903. They aso had an unnamed infant who died at birth in 1909.

John, working as a tailor (like his father) enlisted in the military. John was in the second contingent 48th (North Somerset) Company which was raised in 1900. He was among the Imperial Yeomanry volunteers who left Bath on Friday morning, 8th February 1901, for Aldershot. He was listed as working as a commercial traveller (maybe selling his tailored wares?) living at Belgrave Terrace in Bath. [Bath Chronicle, 14.2.1901]

At enlistment (and I have his attestation papers from Ancestry) his height was 5' 8", he weighed 142 lbs., had a pale complexion with brown hair and brown eyes. He served in the 48th Company, 7th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry. Regimental # 23508. I believe I read somewhere that he was in A Company.

He survived the war and was the one responsible for a Yeomanry dinner dinner held at Hurding's Restaurant on Cheap Street in Bath on 21 August 1902. He was awarded the QSA with clasps for Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (I'm looking for his medals and have made a post in the appropriate section).

There is nothign on Ancestry or FindMyPast on John after his return in 1902. The next information on him is a nnewsclipping on his death stating John went back to South Africa and died in Cape Town in 1908 (note his unnammed child was born after his death) at the age of 31. I haven't found any documentation on him going to Africa in 1908 or a reason why he went there. As the documents in South Africa aren't available on Ancestry or FindMyPast I don't know if he abandoned his family and moved there or was just visiting when he died nor do I have a cause of death. The notice of his death is attached.

So, I have the paper trail of his service plus some newspaper articles. I'm pretty sure he wasn't mentioned in any dispatches as being wounded (again, that I have found) so I know it will be almost impossible to track his movements EXACTLY but it IS possible to follow the 48th Company, 7th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry and where they were and what they were doing. I know there is no guarantee John was active at that exact moment of an engagement and that's OK. Best guess is what I'm looking at.

Here's what I am hoping people can help with; I would like to know what his service both before he left England and once in Africa was most likely like. Things such as what the base camps they were in were like (sleeping, chores, taking care of their horses, training), what they likely ate, how they likely travelled, what his training was like while in Africa, where he most likely served. Where and when the 48th Company, 7th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry moved from place to place. What would John have done when on leave from the front? Where would he have likely taken leave? What was Africa itself like where they served? Things like the terrain, the heat, the diseases, what the Boer people were like. Would they have worn the blue uniforms (also attached) in combat? (and do I have the right uniforms for the IY?)

I've hit google a bunch and found the 48th Company, 7th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry were involved in conflicts at Vlakfontein and Moedwil (again, I know John wasn't necessarily at either but there's a chance he was) but I haven't found much out after that. I have found Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book on the Boer War online and was able to follow the Yeomanry a bit through that at the two conflicts above and found a few images of graves online. I liked the Doyle book because it was written at the time so a primary document is always good. I haven't found any online journals from the 48th Company, 7th Battalion but I did find comments and memoirs from other Yeomanry such as the Derbyshire's who served along side John at Vlakfontein and who incurred heavy losses.

So, with alllll that, I would like to thank, in advance, anyone who is able to point me in a direction or shed some light on what John's service would have been like. I'm a teacher and this year has been NUTS but with the Christmas break upon us I have a bit of free time to do some research.

Attached are a few newspaper articles mentioning John. I didn't bother attaching his attestation papers but I have them saved too.

Also attached is a picture found on this site and listed as the North Somerset Yeomanry... but it was small. I found a larger one that was taken from a book. I cannot remember nor find the site again (annoying...) but it said that it was the second contingent and taken in 1901. So I'm wondering if John is likely in this image somewhere??

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