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BurnettA JSource: QSA and KSA medal rollsDuke of Cornwall's Light Infantry
BurnettA SSource: WO100/252Imperial Military Railways
BurnettAlbert EdwardBSACM Mashonaland 1890 (1) Matabeleland 1893. 1893 Salisbury Horse. Albert Edward Burnett was born in East London, Cape Colony, in January 1863 and as a young man moved to Kimberley where he engaged in diamond mining. In 1885, aged 22 years, he was serving in Colonel Gough's regiment, the 3rd Mounted Rifles, and participated in Sir Charles Warren's Expedition to Bechuanaland, which successfully prevented the Transvaal Boers from linking up with the Germans in what is now Namibia. Later in the same year, he joined the Bechuanaland Border Police, where he was a made a Sergeant. A fellow member of the Bechuanaland Field Force and subsequently the Border Police was Frank Johnson. Johnson was three years younger than Burnett, and had arrived in Cape Town at the tender age of 16, fresh from England and with just £5 to his name. He was handsome, aggressive and self-confident, and the two men were destined to become business partners. As Regimental Quarter-Master Sergeant, Johnson was known by everyone in the Border Police and many people 'passing through'. One day he was shown vulture quills full of gold dust, which had been collected from the Mazoe River in Mashonaland. Johnson resigned from the police and formed the Northern Gold Fields Syndicate. Joins Frank Johnson's Northern Gold Fields Syndicate. Burnett resigned from the police in March 1887 and joined Frank Johnson's expedition to obtain gold mining concessions, on the promise of a fifth share in any profits. He set off into Mashona and Zambesi tribal lands, reaching the Mazoe River in August 1887, where the famous explorer and hunter Frederick Courtenay Selous had reported finding gold. Burnett was able to confirm this - ancient gold diggings and shafts were abundant. He and Johnson panned for river gold, finding some flakes and dust every time. Frank Johnson (who, typically, had a double - 40% - shareholding in the expedition) wrote in his famous work Great Days:'Ted Burnett. I shall always think of him as the best specimen of Colonial I ever came across and this is high praise. He was a Sergeant in the Bechuanaland Border Police, certainly the best natural man on a horse and the second-best rifle shot I ever knew.If I had to go into a tight corner and were restricted to one companion, I should have shouted for Ted Burnett.Heany and Burnett, who were heavy smokers, ran out of tobacco. From being cheerful companions they became more and more morose, until relations in our party really became strained and unpleasant. Burnett went back to Zeerust in the Transvaal, some hundreds of miles, to buy twenty-five pounds of tobacco, and on his return they at once resumed their former happy outlook. 'In 1889 Burnett joined another expedition to obtain land concessions for gold mines, this time as Lieutenant to Frederick Courtenay Selous. They explored the eastern Mashona lands and part of Tete in Portuguese Mozambique. Chief Transport and Intelligence Officer - the Pathfinder of the Pioneer CorpsAnnexation of the Shona territories between Transvaal and the Zambesi was a long held ambition of Cecil Rhodes, and at last he received a green light from the British High Commissioner in Cape Town. Rhodes wanted Frank Johnson to create and lead a Pioneer Corps which would invade and conquer Mashonaland. According to Johnson's version of their secret agreement, he said to the tycoon: All right, you win. I'll go. But only under one condition. You give me a cheque for £87,500, supply me with field and machine-guns, rifles and ammunition, and I will undertake to hand Mashonaland over to you fit for civil government within nine months. But I want you to remember that I am not your servant but your contractor. ' For over 100 yards Rhodes walked on in silence, his hands clasped behind him. He never looked at me nor gave any signs of having even heard what I had said. Then he stopped suddenly and said: I will give you that cheque. Now let us go and get some breakfast. Thus was the manner of the occupation of Mashonaland decided!' In May 1890, the 27 year old Ted Burnett was appointed a Captain in the British South Africa Company Pioneer Corps and became its Chief Transport Officer. His brother George Burnett was a Lieutenant and Assistant Transport Officer. Frederick Selous was to be Chief Intelligence Officer and Pathfinder during the invasion of Mashonaland. A natural rebel who preferred to work alone, Selous resigned in August 1890 and Ted Burnett took over his Intelligence/Pathfinding role. Each Pioneer was issued with a Martini-Henry rifle and a Webley revolver. The officers were presented with their military commissions by British High Commissioner Sir Henry Loch. The effectiveness of Burnett in his role as Chief Transport Officer was crucial to the success of the Pioneer Expedition. On the last stretch of its trek into Mashonaland, the column of 103 transport ox-wagons extended for 5 miles, with the oxen pulling them at a pace of 2. 5 miles per hour. The Column was always vulnerable to attack, but the risk was greatest at night and during river crossings. It was essential to laager the wagons every night, and on both banks of each river, using the wagons as a mobile fortified location, capable of laying down all-round defensive fire. Ted Burnett devised a new drill to make laagering a routine, efficient and precise operation, with machine-guns, light field guns, command detonated mines and a searchlight placed in the most effective fire positions. He insisted that his drill be followed rigorously. He grouped the wagons in sections of twenty, with two sections forming a 'division'; nine Conductors reporting to Burnett took charge of the 'fleets'. As the Column progressed on its journey and the laagering drills became a habit, Burnett was able to delegate most of his transport duties to his brother George and to concentrate on filling the 'big shoes' of Selous as Scout and Pathfinder. He rode far ahead of the column, taking only two or three companions with him. On Friday 5 September 1890, the campsite of his three-man scouting patrol was attacked during the night by a lion. Ted shot at it and was sure he had hit it, but it was too dark and too dangerous to follow up. Two horses had been killed, and the third had bolted. Ted told his men to pick up their saddles, riding tack and other equipment, and led them on a two days march to rejoin the Pioneer Column. Shortly before sundown on the second day they staggered into the laager, which was near the kraal of a Mashona headman called Mugabe (the ancestor of the current President of Zimbabwe). All three had their bridles hung around their necks and their saddles balanced on their heads. Although close to exhaustion, none of the patrol had abandoned any of their equipment, which demonstrated how fit and determined they all were. On the following Tuesday, the Column reached the location of Ted's old campsite. Vultures were circling, attracted by the rotting flesh of the dead horses. Three hundred yards away lay the carcass of a huge male lion. Ted had not mistaken his marksmanship skill. By this time, Ted Burnett was once again mounted, riding far ahead of the Column, which soon stopped to rest its oxen. Accompanied by Sir John Willoughby of the British South Africa Police, he was searching an area which had been described to him by Selous as being suitable for the main settlement of Rhodesia. He guided Willoughby to a site close to a river which would supply fresh water, but which was out of field gun range of Harare kopje, the tallest hill in the vicinity. The two men designated it as the location of the future Fort Salisbury, to be garrisoned by the British South Africa Police. Ted Burnett did not attend the ceremonial raising of the Union Jack on September 13 1890. The day before, Rhodes's representative Dr. Jameson had agreed that Frank Johnson had fully met the performance requirements of his contract with Rhodes. Johnson left at once for the ancient gold workings along the Umfuli River, to stake out claims on the gold fields. He left behind orders that the Column would parade for the flag-raising ceremony. Other dignatories would have the honour of officiating. Johnson 'shouted for' his old business partner Ted Burnett to go with him. Ted accepted to miss the flag-raising, and they rode out together on 12 September, heading for fresh adventures. After the Pioneer Corps formally disbanded on 30 September 1890, Ted Burnett teamed up with his brother George and began gold prospecting and mining along the Mazoe River and in the Hartley Hills. They found plenty of gold flakes, but major seams of gold soon petered out. It was laborious and frustrating work. The entrepreneurial and canny Johnson soon abandoned mining and instead started businesses to support and supply the miners. The Matabele WarIn July 1893 the Matabeles under King Lobengula attacked the Mashonas and threatened the British settlers around Victoria. Three separate Columns of volunteer settlers were organized to attack King Lobengula's forces. The 30 year old Burnett returned to active service as Intelligence Officer and Chief of Scouts for the Salisbury Column, commanded by Major Patrick Forbes. Forbes, who had once been a Captain in the Inniskilling Dragoons, was brave but deaf, authoritarian, obstinate and tactless. One of the Salisbury Column troopers wrote in his journal: 'Forbes is detested and despised by everybody in the force and justly so - as a leader of men he is the most pronounced failure. 'Having a first rate scout force was vital, and Burnett had been able quickly to recruit a number of experienced men for this role. However, Forbes stepped in and dismissed most of Burnett's scouts. 'Captain Burnett had an altercation with Major Forbes concerning Forbes's orders to dispense with Burnett's recruited scouts (which included Brown, an American) in favour of a number of Forbes's favourites. Burnett resigned his commission in protest' (On the South African Frontier by W. H. Brown, refers). Along with Burnett, two out of the three Troop Commanders, the Quarter-Master and the Chief Staff Officer stepped down. Dr. Jameson, Cecil Rhodes's right-hand man, badly wanted Ted to stay on as Intelligence Officer and Chief of Scouts, but was unable to bring about a successful mediation between Forbes and Burnett. So the Salisbury Force marched out for Matabeleland without Ted Burnett. Subsequently, Cecil Rhodes himself arrived in Salisbury, and it was his personal pleading that persuaded Burnett to rejoin the Salisbury Column. Rhodes gave Burnett a good horse and he caught up with the Column, which had already been in action with Matabele warriors, at Iron Mine Hill on 15 October 1893. The next day the Victoria Column, under Major Alan Wilson, arrived. The combined force set out towards Lobengula's capital, Bulawayo, closely shadowed by Matabele fighters. Ambush on the Shangani RiverOn 22 October the settlers reached the dense Samabula Forest and the scouts had a skirmish with some Matabele. At dawn the next day, thick fog caused Forbes to order his main force to stay in its laager on a crest near the Shangani River. However, Burnett and five other scouts rode out to reconnoitre the Amatoilene kraals, some ten miles distant. These kraals were inhabited by the Maholi people, who had been enslaved by the Matabele and were thus thought to be potential allies for the settlers. At about 3 p. m. , one of the scouts galloped into the laager on an exhausted horse and reported that Ted Burnett had been shot in the stomach and needed a doctor. Two rescue parties set out at once. One party was led by Dr. Jameson and Sir John Willoughby. Lacking scouts, both rescue parties got lost, and arrived back at the laager well after midnight, to find that the remainder of the scout patrol had returned, bringing Burnett's dead body with them. Burnett and his fellow scouts had located the Mahouli kraals, and were assured by the locals that the huts were empty and that there were no Matabele in the area. The scouts dismounted and began searching the kraals. Burnett and Swinburn approached one hut. A group of Matabele warriors, armed with rifles, were hidden inside. They opened fire as Burnett entered the doorway. He was hit in the stomach; Swinburn was lucky to escape unscathed, despite a bullet hole in his jacket. The other scouts put down rapid fire. Covered by this, they set the huts alight, shooting down the Matabele as they tried to escape from the blaze. Ted Burnett was put onto his horse and the scouts started the long slow ride back to the laager. One man was sent ahead to raise the alarm and fetch help. Burnett died about half an hour after he was shot. He was buried with full military honours on the south bank of the Shangani River, close to the old main road. Almost every member of the Combined Settler Column attended the burial service, which was conducted by the Bishop of Mashonaland. Had he survived until 1926, Burnett would have been eligible to exchange his Medal for a retrospective undated issue with the clasps 'Mashonaland 1890' and Matabeleland 1893'. Next came Ted Burnett. I shall always think of him as the best specimen of Colonial I ever came across; and this is high praise. He was a Sergeant in the Force (Bechuanaland Border Police), certainly the best natural man on a horse and the second-best rifle shot I ever knew.If I had to go into a tight corner and were restricted to one companion, I should have shouted for Ted Burnett.'Fellow pioneer Frank Johnson's Great Days, refers. The rare and emotive British South Africa Company Medal awarded to Captain A. Ted Burnett, a gold prospector, scout, crack shot and Chief Transport Officer and Intelligence Officer of Rhodes's Pioneer Column, in which latter capacity he rode ahead to select the site for Fort Salisbury: a close friend of such figureheads as Frank Johnson and Frederick Selous, and well-known to Dr. Jameson and Cecil Rhodes, he was killed in action while scouting near the Shangani River in October 1893. BSACM Matabeleland 1893, no clasp (Mr. A. E. Burnett, Scout). Spink, November 1999. DNW June 2014 £2700. DNW February 2016 £5000.
Source: BSACM rolls
Pioneer Corps
BurnettAlexander41960TrooperNo known Company. Served in 37th Btn IY
Source: QSA Medal Rolls
Imperial Yeomanry
BurnettAlexander44239TrooperNo known Company. Served in 39th Btn IY
Source: QSA Medal Rolls
Imperial Yeomanry
BurnettAlfred35734TrooperSource: QSA Medal Rolls15th Company, 5th Btn, IY
BurnettAlfred35841TrooperSource: QSA Medal Rolls33rd Company, 11th Btn, IY
BurnettAllan Keith25241TrooperSource: Nominal roll in WO127Commander-in-Chief's Bodyguard
BurnettAllan Keith35943 SergeantSource: Nominal roll in WO127Kimberley Horse
BurnettAndrew1540Lance Corporal2nd RPR
Source: Nominal roll in WO127
Railway Pioneer Regiment
BurnettAndrew1540Source: Attestation papers. See image on this site.Railway Pioneer Regiment
BurnettArthur25236Lieutenantsee Officers
Source: Nominal roll in WO127
Commander-in-Chief's Bodyguard
BurnettArthur BasilLieutenantSource: Nominal roll in WO127SAMIF
BurnettArthur BasilLieutenantSource: Nominal roll in WO127Commander-in-Chief's Bodyguard
BurnettArthur Basil7459PrivateSource: QSA Medal Rolls36th Company, 9th Btn, IY
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