State: New South Wales, Australia
Issued on: Return
Date of presentation: 10/06/1902
Number issued: 2
Gold medals, to:
1629 Saddler-Sergeant William Abel GRAHAM [William Abell Graham]
Presentation made by Captain Tresidder, in the banqueting Room of the Protestant Hall, Dubbo.
Presented with accompanying letter: "Geurie, Ponto, and Terra Bella public in sympathy with our returned young soldiers, have much pleasure in presenting Sergeant Graham, of 3rd Regiment Mounted Rifles, and Private James Reynolds, of same regiment, with a gold medal in recognition of services rendered to the empire. Trusting that the returned young soldiers will accept the same with the same feelings of pleasure as the above offer the presentation, we all beg to remain, your very sincere friends, H Graham, Hon. Secretary".
SOLDIERS OF THE KING.
ON Tuesday evening the Dubbo soldiers who returned home from South Africa on Monday morning were entertained at a smoke concert by J Company, 3rd Regiment, in the banqueting room of the Protestant Hall. The room was crowded to excess. Captain Tresidder presided, and was supported on the right by Captain Hudson, of the Bathurst company, and on the left by Lieutenant Heane. The re-turned soldiers present were Sergeant G. CROSS, Privates G.A. CROSS, N. GAVIN, and W.A.J. NEILL of the Dubbo Company, 3rd Regiment; Sergeant GRAHAM, Troopers E. MEAD, H.J. McAULIFFE, E. PLUMMER, REYNOLDS, WALLACE, MAXWELL, WILSON, and T.R. BAIRD.
An apology for absence was received from the commanding officer, 3rd regiment, who wrote as follows –
"Lieutenant-Colonel Bartlett regrets that he cannot have the pleasure of accepting the Committee's kind invitation to the social to be tendered to returned soldiers on Tuesday, 10th instant, as he will be at Mudgee on that date. He desires, however, that his congratulations may be conveyed to the soldiers, with his hearty good wishes for a happy evening. -- Windsor, 9th June, 1902".
A tasty repast (supplied by Mr T.S. Green) having been partaken of, Captain Tresidder extended a cordial and hearty welcome to the returned soldiers, congratulating them on having returned home safely after taking an honored part in one of the greatest wars in the history of the empire. They had assisted to uphold the honor of Australia in the eyes of the world, and J Company was proud to acknowledge each brave fellows as comrades. They would have the satisfaction in future years of reflecting that when duty pointed the way they had responded to the call and fought for their country and their King. (Cheers).
Captain Hudson also warmly welcomed the men. He referred to the great bravery displayed by "the lads at the front", and claimed that the British blood had not by any means deteriorated, but both officers and men had proved to be as brave and chivalrous as of yore. As instancing the latter quality he mentioned that while in ancient times the Romans and Grecians had made a practice of dragging their captives taken in war along the streets to be execrated by the populace, the British Government had treated the conquered Boers most humanely and liberally in every respect.
Lieutenant Heane also welcomed the men, congratulating them on their safe return. He referred with regret to the death of Corporal LEGGE, who was the only man going from Dubbo who had died during the campaign.
The toast of "The King " was then drunk with enthusiasm.
The returned soldiers were then marshalled on the left of the chairman, and Captain Tresidder, on behalf of J Company, presented the four members of the company (Sergeant CROSS, and Privates NEILL, CROSS, and GAVIN) with gold medals as mementoes of the occasion, and marks of good will from their comrades in the company. The medals were manufactured by Mr W. Hunt, and were in the form of a Maltese cross surmounted by a scroll.
In making the presentation, Captain Tresidder said the mementoes were of small value intrinsically, but they were from comrades to comrades in recognition of a certain time and of actions per-formed, and he knew they would be valued by the recipients for the good comradeship they represented. He then presented the four medals, with a few graceful words to each recipient.
Captain Tresidder then presented medals to Sergeant GRAHAM and Private James REYNOLDS, on behalf of friends at Geurie, Ponto, and Terrabella. The medals were accompanied by the following letter – "Geurie, Ponto, and Terra Bella public in sympathy with our returned young soldiers, have much pleasure in presenting Sergeant GRAHAM, of 3rd Regiment Mounted Rifles, and Private James REYNOLDS, of same regiment, with a gold medal in recognition of services rendered to the empire. Trusting that the returned young soldiers will accept the same with the same feelings of pleasure as the above offer the presentation, we all beg to remain, your very sincere friends, H. Graham, Hon. Secretary".
The health of the returned soldiers was then enthusiastically drunk, with musical honors.
Sergeant CROSS, who was received with rousing cheers, said he thanked his comrades and friends for their handsome present and welcome on their return from the great Boer War. They had had a splendid reception in Sydney -- if anything it was too kindly, for they had a job to keep square on their feet. He had been a long time in the Dubbo company, and had always tried to do his duty, and he did the same in South Africa. He was in the column from start to finish. He thanked Captain Tresidder for kindness shown to his people while he was away. (Cheers).
Sergeant GRAHAM also responded. He said when they left the veldt, Colonel Remington said he was proud of being British, and proud of having such pals to fight with. He (Sergeant GRAHAM) was also proud to be identified with Dubbo district, and was also glad he had had such pals on active service. He was also glad to be back among his friends. He thanked them from the bottom of his heart for their kindness to him. (Cheers).
Private GAVIN also returned thanks for the present, which he would be proud to wear at any time. He did his duty in South Africa, to the best of his ability. (Cheers).
Private G.A. CROSS expressed his thanks for the memento. They had done their duty as well as they could. (Cheers).
Private NEILL had great pleasure in thanking his comrades for the handsome medal they had given him; he would look on it in the future and think of his friends in Dubbo. He was glad to get back. He thanked Captain Tresidder for kindness to his people during his absence, (Cheers).
Private REYNOLDS also returned thanks for the medal presented to him. He was glad to see that all members of the 3rd Regiment had come back safe. He had had a splendid time -- had had no sickness, and had stopped no lead. What little fighting there was, he had seen it. He had heard J Company was likely to be converted into Mounted Infantry. If so it would be a splendid thing. One was no good in South Africa unless mounted. He thanked them from the bottom of his heart for their kind reception, and was grateful to the Ponto and Geurie district for their action, (Cheers).
Troopers McAULIFFE, WALLACE, MEAD, MAXWELL, WILSON, and PLUMMER also responded, each speaker being vociferously cheered in turn.
In response to repeated calls, Trooper T.B. BAIRD, who was received with quite an ovation, said he must return thanks for such a reception; he had never been in J Company, but if it was turned into Mounted Infantry they could have him, and as many more as he could bring.
Captain Tresidder remarked that the men appeared to be nervous now, but they were not so nervous at meeting a Boer and sticking a bayonet into him. He hoped when their little bugler, SMITH, returned, they would give him a warm reception. He considered Sergeant CROSS one of the best men they had had in J Company. They were all extremely proud to meet these men, who had upheld the honour of the company and had had assisted in binding together the British empire. Trooper BAIRD had had bad luck -- he had been severely wounded, but was now, he was happy to say, almost recovered, and was ready to take his part again when needed. Before the men left South Africa the following general order was issued – "On the departure for Klerkadorp, and the re-organisation of the column consequent on the departure of the N.S.W. contingent for home, Colonel Williams wishes all ranks a hearty goodbye, and a safe voyage home, after their arduous year's work in the field. The command of this, a purely Australian column, has been a great pleasure to him, and he desires to thank everyone in the column for their support, and unfailing loyalty at all times. During the year the column has been in existence it has travelled upwards of 4000 miles in every part of the Transvaal, doing much fighting and hard work, all of which has been most cheerfully carried out. One especially noteworthy feature is that though constantly engaged with the enemy only 18 have been taken prisoners, and of them the larger number were taken on the 1st July, at Kooranffontein fight, and through no fault of their own. This record it is impossible to beat, and it speaks volumes for the spirit and soldierly qualities of the Australian soldier. No column has made more night marches than this column; and one march made on night of March 11, 1902, from Bruy Spruit, over the difficult Wilge River to Doorn Nek, a distance of 46 miles, which, with the return journey, makes a distance of 75 miles for the trek, is worthy of mention. D.D. Section Pom-pom, under command of Captain McNaughton, R.F.A., have been with the column from start to finish, and it is with genuine regret that the O.C. column has now to part with them, as they are ordered to remain in this district, and he wishes all success to this smart section and their gallant commander. Finally, to Lieutenant-Colonel Lassetter, commanding the 2nd Regiment N.S.W. M.R., to Major the Hon. E. Carrington, commanding 3rd Regiment, N.S.W. Bushmen, to Major Lydiard, 2nd Regiment N.S.W. M.R., the O.C. column desires to express his grateful thanks." (Cheers).
Cheers were then given for Trooper BAIRD, for the officers present, for Colonel Lassetter, Colonel Cox, Major Rupert Carrington, and Major Lyddiard.
Captain Tresidder announced that Sergeant W. MAXWELL, who had returned home from South Africa but had gone back again, had received a commission. (Cheers).
Mr T. Maxwell (father of Lieutenant Maxwell and of Trooper MAXWELL) spoke of the career of his eldest son in South Africa and mentioned that one particular act of bravery on his part had elicited three cheers from the Gordon Highlanders - as a rule the most taciturn of men. When the war first broke out, the Australian soldiers had been accepted only as a compliment, but they quickly turned out to be the best and bravest of all. He admired the splendid physique of those soldiers present who had assisted in building up an Empire that would defy the world. (Cheers).
Cheers were given for Mr Maxwell and for Lieutenant Maxwell.
Songs and recitations were given at intervals during the evening, and the company did not separate until a late hour.