Queen’s South Africa Medal, 4 bars, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Belfast, SA 1901, Tpr J. Roux, French’s Scouts. Taken prisoner and released at Bethesda on 10/08/1901.
Entitlement confirmed on the roll, an unusual combination with Belfast bar.
Johannes (John) Roux served as a Scout with French’s Scouts. He joined the unit on 3rd May 1900 from the District Mounted Rifles (No. 786; WO127), and was discharged at Fort Peddie on 1 December 1901. During the war he was taken as a prisoner of war and was released near Bethesda Road on 10 August 1901. (Source: South African Field Force Casualty Roll)
His father was P A Roux of Peddie, near King William’s Town
This corps was formed towards the close of 1899. Its greatest strength was about three squadrons, but it afterwards fell much in numbers. The corps was commanded by Captain Bettelheim, and was composed of men selected for knowledge of the country and its ways.
French's Scouts did fine work throughout two years' campaigning, generally in the districts in which the great cavalry leader after whom they were called was operating, but the whole of the corps was not always with General French; as, for example, while he was relieving Kimberley part of the Scouts went with him, but another portion was left in the Colesberg district with General Clements, under whom they fought and suffered some losses in February 1900.
When the advance from Bloemfontein to Pretoria was undertaken French's Scouts accompanied the cavalry, operating on the left flank. They were present at Diamond Hill, 11th to 13th June, where they had several casualties. After that they undertook many very daring reconnaissances north and east of Pretoria. In July 1900 the corps was in the forefront of the advance along the Delagoa line, and afterwards in the movements to Barberton in September and to Heidelberg in October. Having operated for a time in the central district, they took part in the great sweeping movement in the first quarter of 1901 to the eastern border of the Transvaal. During all these months of constant fighting their losses had been wonderfully few when the extremely dangerous nature of their tasks is borne in mine the evil day was to come. The corps had been back to Cape Colony, and near Bethesda, on August 1901, they lost Sergeant Stacey killed, the commander, Captain Bettelheim, Lieutenant C de V Duff, Sergeant Major Chiazzari, and several men wounded.
Mention in Dispatches:
LORD ROBERTS' DISPATCHES: 31st March 1900, for relief of Kimberley and advance to Bloemfontein. Sergeant A K Green and Private W S Penny.
2nd April 1901. Captain Bettelheim; Sergeant (now Lieutenant) A K Green, Private W S Penny.
LORD KITCHENER'S DISPATCH: 8th May 1901. Lieutenant F Maxwell, for coolness and courage with which he extricated a patrol on 16th June. Sergeant Major Chiazzari, at Kalabashfontein, 10th June, rendered most valuable service by holding a ridge with a small party.
Battle of Bethesda:
The Derbyshire Times of Saturday, 14 September 1901 carried an article headed, “A Bolsover man with French’s Scouts – The Encounter with Theron’s Commando which shed light on what they got up to:
“The recent engagement between French’s Scouts, about 50 strong, who were proceeding to join a column near Bethesda, and Theron’s Commando was noticeable for the magnificent defense of the Scouts, although surrounded in the hills and greatly outnumbered, they offered a splendid resistance before they surrendered. Donald Spencer who is on of French’s Scouts wrote as follows:
Graaff Reinet, August 14, 1901 - We have been on the trek for these past three weeks, and being on the veld it is impossible to write. We arrived here day before yesterday. You will be sorry to ere that we were captured by the Boers, 50 miles out of this place. It was a terrible affair but could not be helped. We being only 50 strong were marching from a place called Bethesda Road Station, to the town of Bethesda, a distance of 18 miles.
Having to form a rear-guard and advance-guard, it left very few to do the scouting; however, we managed to scrape up about 20 for scouting, these going ahead by about 1 ½ miles. When we got within three miles of the town, the Boers opened fire upon us, (the advance scouts); we were just going through a nek, and the Boers were on each side of us and in front of us, and later we discovered they had surrounded us.
By this time all hands were blazing away for all they were worth. Mind you we had absolutely no cover, except our horses, being in the nek and on the road. The fight continued three hours and twenty minutes, from 1 p.m. to 4. 20 p.m., and a hot time we had. At last both carbine and revolver ammunition ran out, until the last round was fired, then down came the Boers onto us. There was nothing to do but “hands up”. There were 14 of us severely wounded, including our Commander, Captain Henry Bettelheim, and one man killed.
Seventeen Boers were wounded and 5 killed; this we learned afterwards. However, we took good care they got no ammunition, it having all been used. The Boers being in possession of the town they marched us to it, and there they put us in the gaol, and kept us there for the night. Next morning, they took all our boots, socks, leggings, coats, blankets, money and whatever they fancied and let us go to walk to Graaff Reinet, a distance of 50 miles bare-footed, no coats and no blankets for the nights, which are yet very cold, however we have arrived safely although a little foot-sore.”
Papers for ORs in French's Scouts - WO126/45-46 at Kew.
This is an extract from National Archives Ref WO 126/45 for the Boer War service records for selected names starting between L and R for the FRENCH’S SCOUTS. There were a variety of standard forms and also many sections of the forms were incomplete. As a result, the details included vary.
Johannes ROUX British subject, Previous service: French Scouts Enlisted: Johannesburg 1/V/01 Father: P A Roux, Peddie near King Williams Town
On 10 August 1901 the commandos of Lotter and Cmdt J Theron captured a party (50-60 men) of French’s Scouts near Bethesda Road, stripping them of all their clothing before letting them go. In the bitterly cold month of August in the Sneeuberg these commandos were in desperate need of extra clothing. Theron moved from New Bethesda to the Camdeboo and on south where he joined up with Scheepers(18) while Lotter moved on to Rhenosterberg.
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