Sergeant J. Gent, 69th Battery, R.F.A. wrote "The Boers, during the night, had occupied a position on Talana Hill, and as we advanced, they poured a heavy artillery fire on us. We took up our position on the right of the town, and got into action, and as our horses and limbers were going to take cover in the rear, a shell from the enemy pitched between my gun and the one on my right, the whole contents of the shell striking my trumpeter, a lad of 15, as he was going to the rear with the Major's horse . . . " Chorley Guardian, 31.3.1900
The only trumpeter on the Royal Artillery memorial in the 69th Battery is W. B. T. Horn, who was killed in action at Talana on the 20th of October 1899. If he was aged 15, he would have been born in 1884 or late 1883, but the only birth registration of a W. B. T. Horn that I could find was for William Benjamin Thomas Horn, born in Haverfordwest, second quarter of 1882. This is the right man as his full name was given in the casualty lists, but no mention of his death at in the Haverfordwest paper. However, there's a death notice for him in the Portsmouth Evening News, of Wednesday, 1st November, 1899.
HORN.—On the 20th ult., at the Battle of Glencoe, William Benjamin Thomas Horn (trumpeter R.A.), son of the late William Henry Wright Horn (native of Weymouth) and late of 34, Russell-street, Gosport, aged 17 years.—Aunt Fanny.
Should he have been on active service at the age of 17, or was there an exemption for buglers and drummers?
"My" 207 Smethwickians include Bugler 3809 George Bryant of the AOC. He enlisted on 15th November 1898 aged 14 years 2 months as a "Boy" but was promoted to "Bugler" during 1900. He embarked for South Africa on 1st January 1901 by when he would have been about 16 years 3 months old. He left S Africa as a recently appointed Lance Corporal (without pay) on 11th November 1903 by when he would have been just over 19. He was awarded the QSA with three clasps - Cape Colony, SA 1901 & SA 1902.
From SA he went to Somaliland for the best part of year, then did 4 years at home before going to Hong Kong and then discharge to the AR. Recalled at start of WW1 and for 4 years served on the Western Front. Received a fortnight's home furlough in August 1918 but returned to see out the last few months of WW1 and more as he did not get home again until 19th December 1919 and finally discharged from the Army in June 1920. His rank on discharge is given as "S/Cdr" - can anybody enlighten me?
From my family related studies of WW1, at the start you had to be 18 to enlist and after the initial carnage they added that you had to be 19 to be sent overseas on active service. One participant who shared a War Memorial with my Great-uncle Jack obviously enlisted under-age and when he was sent overseas was still only 18. He appears to have been sussed when he arrived at the Western Front and was sent home to return again when he was 19 and to his death.
Several of "my" 207 obviously lied about their ages when they attested with the apparent goal of appearing to be 18. Strangely a few went the other way but still presented themselves as 18+
My wife has discovered a website about Pembrokeshire men who died in the Boer War, some how I missed it!!! I will go and consult her and report back on Trumpeter Horn.
Whilst the birth of William Benjamin Thomas Horn was registered in Haverfordwest Registration District he was almost certainly born in Fort Hubberston, Milford Haven (see aerial photo and Wikipedia for more information about the Fort).
His father William Henry Horn was a Gunner in the Royal Artillery and on 11th May 1878 married Elizabeth Banner in Hubberston Parish Church. The marriage record gives William Henry’s age as 28 and his occupation as “Gunner 8th Brigade R.A.”. Elizabeth was 18 and a local lass. The marriage was a necessity as the birth of their first daughter, Martha, was registered in the last quarter of 1878.
The 1881 Census shows the family living in married quarters at Fort Hubberston and Martha now has a younger sister, Francis. Berenice has already reported William Benjamin’s birth was registered in the second quarter of 1882.
The 1891 Census found the family living in married quarters at Fort Rowner, Alverstoke, Hampshire. The differential in age between William Henry and Elizabeth has increased by two years and Martha is not listed because she died in infancy in late 1881. However, there has been an addition to the family, James, 3 years younger than William Benjamin. The birthplaces for Elizabeth, Francis and William Benjamin are all given as “Monmouth – Habberstone”. This latter is a nonsense and should read “Milford Haven – Hubberston”. James was born in Woolwich, Kent – Woolwich being a likely place for a Gunner in the RA to be based.
The Boer War service records of William Benjamin are findable on FMP against Royal Artillery Service Number 23187. They give his place of birth as Milford Haven and age when he attested 12th October 1897 as 15 years 6 months. This would put his date of birth more exactly as April 1882. He enlisted with musical skills as his occupation was given as “musician”. He was 4 ft 11¾ inches tall and weighed only 6 stone 3 lbs.
He enlisted as a “Boy”. Christmas Eve 1898 was a special day for him as he was promoted to “Trumpeter” and set sail for South Africa. On the second anniversary of his enlistment he was awarded Good Conduct Pay but never lived to enjoy it as 8 days later he was killed in action at the Battle of Talana although his service records describe it as the Battle of Glencoe with the Glencoe crossed out and what looks like Dundee written above.
His service record states he was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal with a single clasp – “Talana” – which from the reading I have done on this forum makes it a rare medal. The single clasp QSAM is confirmed by the Medal Roll for the “69th Battery Royal Field Artillery”.
He is not commemorated on the Haverfordwest War Memorial which is perhaps not surprising except that he is allegedly commemorated on the Cathays Park National Welsh Boer War Memorial in Cathays Park, Cardiff (but I cannot find his name on the photos taken recently by Moranthorse 1). He is also allegedly commemorated on the Royal Artillery Boer War Memorial on the south side of The Mall in London, but I cannot find any photos of the 1,032 names listed to confirm this.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Elmarie, BereniceUK
Smethwick wrote: He is also allegedly commemorated on the Royal Artillery Boer War Memorial on the south side of The Mall in London, but I cannot find any photos of the 1,032 names listed to confirm this.
He's definitely named on the RA memorial, although you'll have to take my word for it, unless your eyesight's exceptionally sharp.