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Family Lore - William McCombe - Service With 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars (??) 5 months 1 week ago #80273

I wanted to research my great grandfather William McCombe and prove or disprove family lore that he served in the Boer War, it’s been difficult because of the lack of records and what records remain have little detail.

William was born in June 1880 in Strabane Ireland and worked in Londonderry, he served in the The Great War as a Corporal 15814 with the 10th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers at the Somme and then Sgt before being moved to the Labour Corp. After the war he continued paramilitary service in the UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force) and received a life pension for damage to his hand in the Great War before emigrating to NZ in 1925.

The records for the Boer War have a Pvt 4809 W McCombe who served with the 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars who was awarded a QSA Medal and a Transvaal Clasp. In other records the same person has "OFS,T,SA01" which I take to be a QSA and Transvaal and Orange Free State Clasp. This person was “discharged in ignominy” which I take to be a fairly serious offense, something akin to a court martial which might explain why he never keep anything to confirm service in this war (as a theory).

Other than family oral tradition which is now very second or third hand the only fact I can identify is a photo post enlistment for The Great war (attached) but before he returned where he has a ribbon above his left pocket, it looks like dark, light, dark and the theory is this is a QSA medal ribbon.

The arguments against are age being born in 1880 seems to late and he was back in Ireland in the 1901 census. I also suspect anyone discharged in ignominy would not be accepted for service again.

Maybe someone knows of the movements of the 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars which would not match this timeline or could identify where the records for a court martial might still exist. Anyone have a probability that this is true or false. I have attached the photo with the ribbon and a linked to dropbox folder with other records, any help appreciated.

www.dropbox.com/sh/928pcsarakyqjan/AADrh...jBSBEltijq26rsa?dl=0

Aaron
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Family Lore - William McCombe - Service With 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars (??) 5 months 1 week ago #80281

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Family Lore - William McCombe - Service With 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars (??) 5 months 1 week ago #80282

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Hi Aaron
It is possible that your G Grandfather did serve in the Boer war.
He would have been around 19 years of age. The 8th Hussars
 sailed in February 1900, and arrived in South Africa in the beginning of March. Along with the 7th Dragoon Guards and the 14th Hussars they formed the 4th Cavalry Brigade under Brigadier General Dickson. The work of the brigade has been sketched under the 7th Dragoon Guards.

On 1st May 1900 the Boers made a stand in a strong position at Houtnek, where Ian Hamilton's force had stiff work in turning them out. In his telegram of 2nd May Lord Roberts said, "Hamilton speaks in high terms of the services of the 8th Hussars under Colonel Clowes and a made-up regiment of Lancers, which came into Broadwood's brigade and assisted in making the Boers evacuate their position".

In the march from Machadodorp to Heidelberg the 8th and 14th Hussars and M Battery were under Colonel Mahon, who started on the 12th October. On the 13th Mahon "became heavily engaged near Geluk with a body of 1100 men with four guns. Although hardly pressed Mahon succeeded in holding his own until French came to his assistance, when the Boers were driven back in a south-easterly direction, having sustained some loss". The enemy were on this occasion very daring, and crept up through broken ground to within 100 yards. The 8th Hussars were for a time very hard pressed, but held on well. They lost 2 officers, Lieutenants P A T Jones and F H Wylam, and 7 men killed, and 2 officers and 8 men wounded.

You mentioned he was home again in 1901 reference the family census.  He may have been shipped home due to his discharge in ignominy,  a serious charge in Victoria's army. Basically the soldier is deemed not suitable to remain in the regiment. This could be due to a number of reasons.  However, depending on the outcome, whether he was later imprisoned and served his punishment, I may be wrong? But I believe he could enlist again.

You have an impressive collection of research, and sometimes there is a clue on the WW1 information which leads you back to previous service. However,  like you I found what you already know.
There is one additional document to follow up ,it may not be relevant to your G Grandfather, but I have enclosed it for you.  Along with a couple of WW1 snippets that weren't in your file. I must admit it's a long shot, but your G Grandfather may have been summoned at a later date to stand trial. I'm hoping other forum members may be able substantiate my theory.


I wish you well in your quest.










Dave.....
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards,
Dave
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Family Lore - William McCombe - Service With 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars (??) 5 months 1 week ago #80286

Thank you very much, i only had W McCombe reference for the Boer War, with "Wm McCombe" it moves now towards his full name William McCombe which narrows things somewhat in terms of probabilities for rather than against. I had assumed being discharged from the army in ignominy was the end of that matter rather than thinking there was a trial and possible jail time to follow, the document for a trial (1904) at Aldershot i shall try to track that down. He married in 1910 at age 30 which seems late for that generation, maybe he was occupied for a time between 1904 - 1910 doing a few years of additional service as required by a court. So the timeline seems to work.

I always thought enlisting at the very outset of WW1 at age 35 (+/-) for the great war when you had 3 children at home (putting aside the normal motivators) a risk but maybe there was some motivation to restore his honour in a Victorian sense, i think the Battle of the Somme forfilled that debt.

My position now is that its likely 80% that he did serve in the Boer War, the timeline works and a few documents seems to cross check with each other, i will pass on what you have to other interested members of the family. Thanks Again.

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