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Information on Trooper Tobin, SALH? 5 months 3 weeks ago #75659

  • Rob D
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Dear Colleagues,
I'd greatly appreciate some help. The scene is the taking of Bastion Hill on the upper Tugela, on the afternoon of 20 January 1900 - part of the Spion Kop campaign and an attempt to relieve Ladysmith. The heroic Trooper Tobin is mentioned in every account of the taking of the hill.
Under covering fire of 3 machine guns brought into action by Lt Winston Churchill, two squadrons of the SALH... "were climbing Bastion Hill. Owing to its precipitous nature there was a considerable extent of dead ground, which rendered the upward advance easy. Corporal Tobin, of the South African Light Horse, arrived at the summit ten minutes in advance of his comrades or any others. He waved his ostrich-plumed felt hat on the top of his rifle as a signal to the machine-guns in the wood below to divert their fire from the summit It was a grand sight, this khaki-clad trooper, all alone on the summit, waving his ostrich-plumed hat to urge his comrades to follow ; and it is pathetic to record that this man, whose bravery is mentioned in General Buller's despatches, met his death on the following day on this same hill."
I would appreciate any biographical information about Tobin [rank is reported as Private, Corporal, or Trooper].
I'd especially appreciate any information about how he died - as above, reported to be at Bastion Hill on 21 January 1900. His name is not on the list of casualties Meurig Jones very kindly sent me, and his unit were not meant to have been on Bastion Hill on 21 January, having handed over the position on the night of 20th January.
Thanks in anticipation!
Rob
The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.
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Information on Trooper Tobin, SALH? 5 months 3 weeks ago #75661

  • Dave F
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Hi Rob
I found a T Tobin in the London Gazette dated February 8th 1901.
Corporal SALH regiment number 1096... for conspicuous gallantry in the attack on Conical Hill. 20th January.
However, that regimental number also pertains to a Sergeant H Tobin. who is MID by Buller 9th November and again by Robert's 2nd of April.
Cannot find any casualty record for a Trooper / Corporal or Sergeant. All the medal rolls are attributed to H Tobin 1096. Who was entitled to 6 clasps with the SALH. I have checked the SAFF lists and no Tobin's recorded for SALH. Strange that all documents regarding this action state that Tobin was killed the next day.
H Tobin medal roll dated 15 / 7 / 1901 Elandsfontein. Clasps - Belfast, CC, OFS, Tugela Heights , R of Ladysmith and Laings Nek. Remarks column, 68/1333. 23.06.04.
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards
Dave
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Information on Trooper Tobin, SALH? 5 months 3 weeks ago #75668

  • Rob D
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Thanks, Dave

Does anyone have access to the DCM medal roll and citations?
I see that the DCM was awarded to Corporal T Tobin1096 1901 South African Light Horse
I think this must be the hero of Bastion Hill, but I note:

- the DCM was not awarded posthumously till 1979
- Conical Hill and Sugar Loaf Hill were alternative names for Bastion Hill. [At the time of the Spion Kop campaign, the military "blue map" did not name hills or other features, nor give grid references from which names of features could be agreed. A few names were recycled for completely different hills].

So I surmise: Cpl Tobin was either initial H or T, and was not killed. Is that reasonable?

Rob
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Information on Trooper Tobin, SALH? 5 months 3 weeks ago #75670

  • Dave F
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Hi Rob
I think that is a fair assumption, there were many accounts of Trooper Tobin and his gallant scaling of the hill. I do find it strange that there is no further information on his supposed death after that event. And, even more surreal is the lack of a citataton or casualty record of a soldier who was at the forefront of a well recorded military action. I will have a trawl through Ancestry when time permits and see if I can find any more details. I assume that you have exhausted all avenues with the history of the regiment? You would think that Tobin's action would be well recorded beyond the waving of his head gear on his rifle atop of the hill. A first name would be helpful to say the least.
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
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Dave
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Information on Trooper Tobin, SALH? 5 months 3 weeks ago #75676

  • LinneyI
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Rob
Recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal, 1855 - 1909 by Abbott shows "1096 Cpl. T. Tobin of SALH. SK 18/4/01, LG 19/4/01, AO 163/01; Conical Hill 20/1/00;details LG 8/2/01.
BTW, DCM "awarded posthumously in 1979"?????
Regards
IL
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Information on Trooper Tobin, SALH? 5 months 3 weeks ago #75678

  • Rob D
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Dear IL, thanks for that info!
Sorry if what I wrote about posthumous DCMs has discombobulated others: Let me try again...
From wikipedia I read: In 1979 eligibility for a number of British awards, including the DCM, was extended to permit posthumous awards.[17] Until that time, only the Victoria Cross and a mention in dispatches could be awarded posthumously.
Thus, if Tobin was awarded the DCM in 1901, he didn't die at Bastion Hill on 21 Jan 1900!
Rob
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