The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging

Military History Journal
Vol 2 No 3 - June 1972

Bars and Medals

K.R. Gibbs
Medals of the South African War, 1899-1902, and background notes on some of the actions in which the recipients of medals in the author's collection were involved.

Direct contact with Britisher or Boer, having actual knowledge of the War of 1899-1902, is now becoming increasingly difficult, as the number of surviving veterans diminishes. The collection of relics of any war, a shell, a bandolier, a water bottle, even a weapon, although a most absorbing interest and, indeed, the main reason for the founding of clubs and societies, has, unless items are specifically documented, a rather remote personal touch with previous users or owners of the items concerned.

Among the most personal items with military connections is the weapon with a scratched-on name, the water bottle in its canvas sling marked with the owner's number, but generally there is little in the way of personal contact with the original user of such relics.

The most personal of all military items must be the medals issued to those who took part in campaigns ranging literally to all parts of the world, and recording for all time the 'number, rank, name and unit' of the recipient. The two main classes of medals are those which form awards for certain recorded acts of valour, thus falling into the category of 'decorations', and 'campaign' awards, the personal tributes issued for 'just being there'. The campaign awards are a most fascinating aspect of medal collecting, often hiding individual acts of heroism and personal involvement known only to the recipient who, thus, did not qualify for a recognised decoration. The campaign awards cover in detail the personal history of those who participated in the conflicts commemorated by the medals, and the engagements shown by their associated 'bars', the latter being the more detailedrecord of the actual engagements in which the recipient of the 'campaign' medal participated. In this way a more personal contact is made, and a little research will show interesting results as the progress of a particular group is followed through the named bars on a selected medal.

The medals which were granted to those who served against the Boers during the South African War of 1899-1902 were the 'Queen's South Africa Medal' (usually in silver, although some bronze were issued to Indian and native troops), the 'King's South Africa Medal', Queen's Mediterranean Medal' and the 'Transport Medal'. The latter is rare, only about 250 having been issued to the senior officers of the transport vessels involved in shipping troops and supplies for the South African and China conflicts of the period.

The 'Mediterranean' medal was issued to garrisons in that area during the period in question. A number of commemorative medals also exist, but as these are of an 'unofficial' nature, they are excluded from these notes.

The most interesting of the four medals is the Queen's medal, as this was issued with appropriate combinations of the 26 bars, named for the main engagements and areas of the conflict, and recipients included naval personnel from various warships. The silver medal was also issued, without bars, to troops guarding Boer prisoners in the camps on the island of St. Helena. The bronze version of the medal is also without bars.

It is with the Queen's medal, more than with others of the group, that the personal contact can be felt. As an example, the military career of Corporal J. L. Power may be traced from the medals he received for both Boer War and the 1914-1918 conflict, although the man himself would have probably remained unknown, but for the fact of this article, and his medals, now in the collection of the author.

With the 21st Battery, Royal Field Artillery, when it clattered its 15 pounders into action at Elandslaagte on the 21st October, 1899, was Corporal J. L. Power who was also involved, as shown by the bars on his medal, in the Defence of Ladysmith, the Battle of Laings Nek and also the fighting around Belfast.

The Battle of Elandslaagte followed an attempt by Sir G. White, acting on information received, to reopen communications along the Ladysmith-Dundee line. The Boers had occupied a height about a mile from Elandslaagte station, and it was to clear this threat that General French moved out on the morning of the 21st October, with five squadrons of Imperial Light Horse and the 7-pounders of the Natal Volunteer Field Battery. The 7-pounders were easily outranged by the Boer guns on the height. Artillery and reinforcements were called for, and immediately sent, including a squadron of the 5th Lancers, and one of the 15th Dragoon guards, seven companies of the 1st Devons and five companies of the 2nd Gordon Highlanders. The 21st and 42nd Batteries R.F.A. arrived at about 11 a.m., thundering in at the gallop, each battery with double teams.

Following general skirmishing and movements, and with an exchange of maxim and artillery fire, the battle proper began at about 4 p.m. As soon as the leading companies emerged from cover, they were peppered with common shell from the Boer guns, the fire soon being answered by the 21st Battery which came on at the gallop, unlimbered on the left of the Manchesters (the infantry having arrived by train) and opened fire on the Boer artillery at 4 400 yards. The Devons advanced in an extended formation unknown to the official manoeuvre and drill book, but which was a far-sighted and ideal arrangement against such a position. At 800 yards from the Boers, they waited for the Manchesters and Gordons, advancing on the flank. The batteries were ordered to keep up with the advance and now moved in straight front to 3 000 yards, the final moves being accompanied by shrapnel at 2 200 yards. As the lines closed together, the 'charge' was sounded, bayonets glittered in the twilight and the last koppie was taken.

The Boer gunners under Smit and Erasmus deserve praise for staying with, and serving, their guns, until the very last minute, having been outshot, outnumbered and, on several occasions, temporarily silenced by the guns of the 21st and 42nd. A Boer counter attack, pressed with great determination, succeeded in returning the guns to their original owners for a very short period, during which the Boer gunners managed to blast the Devons with several charges of caseshot. Some confusion reigned in the British ranks at this time as, immediately prior to the counter-attack, the 'cease fire' had been sounded, as a separate Boer group moved forward under a white flag. The situation was soon under control, but some sections had been close to panic, and the firing died as the Boers left the field in some haste. The Lancers and Dragoons, held for the purpose, now followed the retreating Boers, several groups of whom were cut down by the lances and sabres of the troopers.

By 3 a.m. the following morning, the 21st Battery, along with the rest of the victorious force, headed back towards Ladysmith at the urgent request of Sir A. Hunter. With the column returned two field pieces, retaken at Elandslaagte. These were originally captured by the Boers from the Jameson raiders.

The King's Medal of the set, incidentally not issued by itself but always with the Queen's Medal, was awarded to 'Sergeant J. L. Power', indicating that he was promoted during the war. His 1914-15 Star is inscribed 'Sergeant Major' and the remaining two of the set, the 1914-18 War and Victory Medals, carry the legend '2nd Lieutenant J. L. Power'. The King's Medal, almost always with two bars, was issued to those who were serving in South Africa on or after 1st January 1902 and would complete 18 months' service before June 1st 1902. The bars are marked simply 'South Africa 1901' and 'South Africa 1902'.

The issue of the two medals was caused by the death of Queen Victoria during the progress of the war, the King's Medal (Edward VII) following the line of succession in the Monarchy. The two bars in question may be found also either singly or in combination, on the Queen's Medal. They were issued with the Queen's Medal to those not eligible for the King's Medal.

During the first year of the war, on the 23rd November 1899, the column attempting to relieve Kimberley came up against fierce resistance at Belmont en route to Modder River. Two battles are commemorated by the bars on the medal issued to Private J. Milligan, Coldstream Guards, 'Belmont' and 'Modder River'. The Coldstream Guards formed part of Lord Methuen's force chosen for the attack on the Boer positions on the heights east of Belmont station. They advanced, under cover of heavy artillery fire at 1 300 yards, to the attack and capture of the Boer positions on Mont Blanc and Gun Hill, two sites from which had come very heavy and annoying fire.

With the departure of the Boers towards Ramdam, the battle ended, and the dispatch of Lord Methuen pointed out that pursuit would have been possible had a fresh cavalry brigade, accompanied by a battery of horse artillery, been available.

Two days later, on the 25th, a further engagement occurred at Enslin (or Graspan), both Belmont and Enslin being a prelude to the coming clash at Modder River. The troops of the two former engagements were now accompanied by the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders for the fighting around the blown bridge to the west of the fork where the Riet and Modder rivers converged (the 'Twee Rivier' of the Boer), forming a 'Y' with its open fork to the east and held by the Boers to the north. The deep set river bed formed a natural trench or defensive position, and guns, 37mm quick firers and Krupps, were carefully positioned under the direction of the German artillerist, Albrecht.

During the ensuing battle, the reserve (1st Battalion of the Coldstreams under Colonel Codrington) attempted to find a fordable spot at which to cross the river, but they were not successful. The 2nd Coldstreams and the Grenadiers then made a direct push to the Boer positions, reaching to within about 1 000 yards, being supported in the attack on the right by the 1st Coldstreams and the Scots Guards.

Stalemate followed, covered by artillery action by the 18th and 75th Batteries and also by four naval guns which fired shrapnel at 3 000 yards. A river crossing on the left began the turning of the position and by 10 a.m. the Boers were leaving the field.

It is regrettable, but understandable, that only victories are commemorated by the issue of 'bars'. Thus many major engagements, although in themselves most important links in the chain recording the 'fortunes of war', were omitted from the list of 'bars' issued. The defeat at Stormberg and the virtual disaster at Magersfontein, although suffered with great heroism, must remain a bitter memory. With the latter battle ended the march of Lord Methuen to the relief of Kimberley.

To enable the reader to follow the two reverses in this truly depressing week, the Colenso debacle, General Buller's abortive attempt at yet another relief -- that of Ladysmith -- must be recorded. Efforts to relieve the latter continued, and included the engagement at Spioenkop early in the following year. Spioenkop was on the right flank of the Boer line separating the relief column from Ladysmith. Once more disaster followed a blundering attack, succeeded by a further failure at Vaal Krantz.

With the appointment of Lord Roberts as Commander-in-Chief, the fortunes of war altered. French's dramatic cavalry charge opened the way for the relief of Kimberley.

Cavalry which was usually employed to follow a retreating enemy, to take advantage of a diversion, to sweep forward on a flank, to fold a line or to turn a position, was in this instance employed in direct frontal attack on the Boer line.

The charge of the 16th and 9th Lancers, with lance-heads pointed before them, thundering forward in double line with eight-yard intervals between files, the clouds of swirling dust and the rumble of hoof beats proved too much for the Boers holding the front at Klip Drift, and they scattered and ran.

This stirring event was probably observed by Driver J. Fairbrother of 'P' battery, Royal Horse Artillery, whose medal carries the bars for the Relief of Kimberley, Paardeberg and Driefontein. 'G' and 'P' batteries, during the Klip Drift engagement, were brought into position in support of Rochfort's brigade division of 'Q', 'T' and 'U' Batteries, R.H.A. which had suffered early casualties when emerging from cover to move to higher ground to the left of the line.

In this move, Rochfort's Batteries were ably supported by two naval 12-pounders under Lieutenant Deane, R.N., the guns having been stripped down and manhandled into position on a steep koppie. To the left and slightly to the rear of this position, the 76th and 81st Batteries, R.F.A. hammered the rear and right flank of the Boer positions. All-in-all, this was a neat engagement where the right decision at the right time culminated in a spectacularly successful conclusion, opening the way to Kimberley.

With the relief of Kimberley, Cronje's force moved from Magersfontein in the direction of Bloemfontein and after being harassed en route was eventually forced into laager in the area of Paardeberg on 17th February 1900. For the next few days the net tightened around Cronje until he was at last surrounded. During these preparatory moves, De Wet occupied Kitchener's koppie, a rocky hill about 4000 yards south east of the laager, and by the 20th had positioned a pom-pom and a Krupp field piece on top of it. He opened fire on the British early in the morning of the 21st.

Kitchener, whose name had been given to the hill held by De Wet, was located about two miles from De Wet's guns, and an attempt to silence these pieces was made by French whose plan was to approach the position from the south, and drive De Wet into the waiting infantry, rather like a beater in a pheasant shoot. A group under Broadwood, accompanied by 'G' Battery, R.H.A., moved to the south-west of the Hill, whilst French moved in from the south-east to close the jaws of the pincer on Kitchener's koppie. Moving with a squadron of the 9th and 16th Lancers, the Rousehold Cavalry, and 'P' and 'R' Batteries, R.H.A., French closed in on the hill, coming under fire from the Boer gunners who had been directed to move off the hill by De Wet to meet French's column. Finding themselves out-shot, the Boers limbered up and galloped off towards Petrusburg, followed by French for about five miles. In spite of being shelled and harassed, De Wet succeeded in escaping. Cronje, now completely surrounded, was forced to surrender on the 27th February.

At Paardeberg, the guns of the 82nd Battery R.F.A. were posted on Gun Hill along with those of the 76th, 81st and 65th Batteries R.F.A., accompanied by three naval 4.7s and a 12-pounder. The medal issued to Driver H. Parkin of the 82nd Battery has six bars: Cape Colony, Paardeberg, Driefontein, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill and Wittebergen. This medal is of the 'first' issue, originally dated on the reverse 1899-1900, due to over-optimism. Although very rare in its original form with embossed dates, having been issued only to a few members of Lord Strathcona's Horse, which returned via Britain to Canada early in the war (the unit having been raised and equipped solely at Lord Strathcona's expense), the erasing on many subsequent issues of the medal was ineffective, as is the case with the one mentioned, the 'ghost' dates still being clearly visible. On medals of this issue also, the wreath held by the figure of Brittania points to the 'R' in the word 'Africa', whereas, in the subsequent striking, the dates were omitted completely and the wreath points to the letter 'F'.

To return to the fortunes of 'P' Battery and Driver Fairbrother, we find them on the march with Roberts towards Bloemfontein and taking part in the engagement at Poplar Grove on March 7th and the Battle of Driefontein (the third of the bars mentioned) on the 10th. Porter's 'Q', 'U' (R.H.A.) and 82nd (R.F.A.) Batteries were already engaged against the Boers on the Dumvallei Ridge, on the morning of the 10th, when Broadwood arrived to the south of the front in the vicinity of the Driefontein Koppie, after a 20-mile ride from the previous engagement at Poplar Grove. On being repulsed, while attempting to secure a foot-hold on the slopes of the Boschrand, he moved slightly south and occupied a koppie overlooking a valley to the rear of the Boer position. Broadwood appears to have had a rather uneventful day, most action taking place at the centre of the front, to the north of the Boschrand lines which he faced. A move along the valley, late in the afternoon, in an attempt to harass the retreating Boers, was also abortive and he returned to his original position, the Driefontein engagement having ended. In this engagement, the guns of Driver H. Parkin, 82nd Battery, Royal Field Artillery, formed part of the flank guard under General Knox.

The further movements of the 82nd Battery and Driver Parkin continue, according to the 'bars' on his medal, with the fighting at Johannesburg. During the advance to Pretoria, the end of May 1900 saw Lord Roberts tightening the lines around Johannesburg. The overall idea was that French, on the left flank, would circle to the north whilst Hamilton made a direct advance to Florida in the west. On the right, the 3rd Cavalry Brigade would make a circuit similar to that of French, thus cutting the lines to Springs and Pretoria. The centre was meanwhile to close on Germiston, junction for the lines to Pretoria from Natal and the Cape. By 29th May, the lines had closed in on the Boer positions, and it was decided that French should attack the Boers' right on Doornkop whilst Hamilton directed a frontal assault. A tentative proposal to skirt the height of Doornkop was pushed aside, as the flank attack by French's cavalry, coupled with the frontal assault, had the double appeal of retaining the Boers in position until defeated, and inflicting defeat at the place where the surrender of the Jameson raiders had occurred.

The Boer line extended about six miles from Doornkop to Klip Spruit, with rocky ridges facing a smooth natural 'glacis', the grass immediately in front of the line having been burnt off. Facing this line were, on the left, the 21st Brigade and the 76th Battery, and on the right the 19th Brigade with the 74th Battery R.F.A. In reserve the Sussex Regiment, Marshall's Horse and the 82nd Battery backed the centre while the right was supported by the 81st Battery and a couple of 5-inch guns. Farther right again and close to Klip Spruit, the 5th Battalion Mounted Infantry was stationed.

Deploying to the attack at 2.30 p.m., the 21st Brigade moved forward, the City Imperial Volunteers leading, with the Camerons in support and the Derbys covering left flank and rear. The ensuing battle, although the artillery was engaged, was virtually sustained by the infantry. The guns, on this occasion, quite rightly not allowed to fire and thus disclose the position before the infantry moved off, seem to have held back a little too long. However, as the front advanced, the two brigades closed in on each other, retaining a gap between them, and it was into this gap that Hamilton threw his full reserve - Marshall's Horse, the Sussex and the 82nd Battery. The complete line of infantry then moved forward, backed by the artillery, against a stubbornly defended rocky line, the positions being eventually taken, one by one, at the point of the bayonet. The Gordon Highlanders suffered many casualties as they moved over almost open ground.

Pressure on Hamilton's front had been lessened during the attack by the turning movement of French, concluding with a clearance of the Boers from Doornkop at about the time that Hamilton's men were mopping up on the ridge. A final move and attack at Germiston by Roberts' men, at about 4 p.m. on the 29th, forged the last link in the chain which, by the 30th, was tightly wound round Johannesburg. It was occupied the following day.

To follow the fortunes of the 82nd Battery and taking the next bar on Driver Parkins' medal, we jump forward to the period immediately following the capture of Pretoria by Lord Roberts on June 5th, 1900. The Boers had retreated from Pretoria for a distance of about 16 miles, and General Louis Botha had occupied a very advantageous position from which he could strike at the town while adequately protecting his rail communications. His centre rested on the railway at Pienaar's Poort which gave him command of three major ridges, all connected by lateral spurs, and which included the Donkerhoek-Diamond Hill ridge from which the battle takes its name. Preliminary engagements over, Lord Roberts moved out of Pretoria on June 11th, his force totalling effective troops of about 14 000, with 64 field guns and six heavier calibre weapons including two naval 4.7s and a couple of 5-inch. Although this force was almost double that of Botha who had about 6 000 men with 22 field guns and a 'Long Tom', the Boer position was extremely advantageous for purposes of defence.

Brisk action, including infantry, cavalry and artillery, took place along the line in these preliminary movements towards Diamond Hill front, Hamilton being given the job of clearing the Boers from the Kleinfontein ridge which fronted the Diamond Hill-Donderhoek position. The Sussex Regiment, Lovat's Scouts, City Imperial Volunteers, the 82nd Battery, four guns of the 76th Battery and Massie's two 5-inch guns took up position at Boschkop Farm, 2 500 yards away from the Boers on Diamond Hill. Hammered by artillery, the Boers departed from Kleinfontein ridge and took position on the hill itself.

The capture of the Kleinfontein position was the only notable success of the day, two flank attacks having failed, leaving French and Broadwood virtually surrounded. With the realisation that the Boer flanks could not be turned, a frontal attack somewhere along the line seemed the only remaining course; a course confirmed by incoming reports which highlighted a point at the Boer left centre, at Diamond Hill, where a strong assault could succeed. Hamilton's preparations included despatching the City Imperial Volunteer Mounted Infantry, supported by the 82nd battery, with instructions to explore the terrain to the southeast of Kleinfontein. This move was eventually halted by Boer shellfire from the Rhenosterfontein position. The build-up continued with the Guards Brigade, the 83rd Battery, naval 12 pounders and the two 5-inch, all facing the Diamond Hill plateau. From this first position, the Boer artillery fire was kept down by fire from the 5-inch, 82nd, and 76th Batteries R.F.A. to the east of Kleinfontein, and the naval 12-pounders and the 83rd Battery to the west. The artillery support assisted materially in driving the Boers back from the edge of the plateau but, as they formed again farther back, their fire remained intense, and the order went back for the 82nd Battery to move into the firing line.

The 82nd, under the command of Major Connolly, clattered forward up and over the rocky track crossing Diamond Hill and pulled into line for 'Action Front' between the City Imperial Volunteers and the men of the Sussex. With very little cover, their arrival was heralded by a hail of fire from the Boer line, but as soon as they had unlimbered, they returned the fire with interest. The accuracy of this firing was soon effective, pinning the Boers down to such an extent that the C.I.V. were soon doubling forward in a determined push to the crest of the hill, ably assisted by the Sussex and the 2nd Coldstream Guards.

The Boers, on retiring to a very strong position farther back, contemplated a counter-attack to crush Roberts' centre and turn on Hamilton, but the news that the Rhenosterfontein Koppie had been lost scotched their plan. During the night of the 12th, Botha abandoned his positions and removed his supplies and guns by rail from Elands River Station, his commando stealthily dispersing in the usual manner along all available roads in the vicinity. So quietly was this retreat undertaken that Lord Roberts was unaware that his foe had departed and he fully expected a renewed attack on the following day. Although Roberts had scored a victory and had removed the immediate threat to Pretoria, he had not destroyed Botha's army which continued to harass the victors with 'commando' tactics.

Roberts' plan for dealing a decisive blow to the Boer forces, following the battle of Diamond Hill, included a movement to encircle the Brandwater Basin area, and June passed with various assaults, engagements and movements contributing to the main objective.

During early July, the moves included the Battle of Bakenkop and the attack and capture of Bethlehem, the retreating Boers continuing to converge on the defined area. The 'bar' for these engagements is simply titled 'Wittebergen', although this was really only a focal point of the general area of a number of engagements and battles. The area, which the Boers now occupied, is best described as a 'horseshoe', formed by the Wittebergen Range, the 'shoe' having a circumference of about 70 miles with a 40-mile base, formed by the Caledon River, separating the Free State from Basutoland. The range itself, which includes a number of names which were to be applied to associated engagements, reaches from Commando Nek, Moolman's Nek, Nelspoort, to Slabbert's and Retief's Neks on the north, and by the Roodebergen southeast to Naauwpoort Nek, Golden Gate and Generaals' Kop, connecting the main Drakensberg Ridge with the Roodebergen.

Facing the Boers in this encircling movement, General Sir Archibald Hunter and General Sir Hector Macdonald joined forces after the former had crossed the Vaal with 7 728 men, 3 942 horses and 32 guns (including Bruce Hamilton's 21st Brigade, the 76th, 81st and 82nd Field Batteries, 'P', 'Q', and 'R' Batteries R.H.A., half-a-dozen pom-poms and two of Massie's 5-inch guns). On uniting, the two forces totalled 11 736 men, 5 743 horses, and 38 guns, eventually increasing to about 19 battalions totalling 14 000 men The surrounded Boers, with 18 guns totalled about 6 000.

Preliminary moves included threatening sallies by the Boers from the various neks or passes through the horseshoe of the Wittebergen, while the British tried to anticipate through which nek the Boer forces would concentrate their attempts to break out. Due to Paget's failure to seal Slabbert's Nek, a Boer commando under De Wet escaped during the night of July 15th. The nek was then sealed, but too late, and De Wet continued to harass the British whenever he could.

General Sir Bruce Hamilton, with the Camerons, Mounted Infantry and the 82nd Battery, was detailed to take Spitzkranz, a strongly-defended hill about 12 miles from Bethlehem en route to the main objective, Naauwpoort Nek. The square mile of hill, with its main peaks to east and west, was attacked from the latter direction, the western summit falling on the first day. The Boers had prepared a better position at the eastern end, and artillery hammering was required before the position fell to the Camerons on the 21st, the defending Boers falling back to the south for about five miles and occupying Little Spitzkop Hill.

The following day orders were issued for a four-point attack on Retief's Nek, Slabbert's Nek, Commando Nek and Witnek, the first two falling within a couple of days. On the 26th, Macdonald organised a three-pronged attack, to close and capture Naauwpoort Nek. Bainbridge was to come in on the left of Bruce Hamilton with the 7th M.I. Corps and Lovat's Scouts, while Hamilton was to move with the Black Watch, Highland Light Infantry and the 5th Battery over to Little Spitzkop. Macdonald himself was to take the Naude' Koppie with a half company of Lovat's Scouts, Camerons, Seaforths, Burma Mounted Infantry, two 5-inch guns and the 82nd Battery. The koppie was taken by noon and further progress sealed the Nek, the only exit now remaining being the Golden Gate.

Bruce Hamilton's force of the Camerons, 7th Mounted Infantry, one 5-inch gun, four guns of the 82nd Battery (two guns remained to guard Naude's Koppie), proceeded to seal the remaining exit, Golden Gate through which the Boers from Naauwpoort Nek were attempting to escape. The Boer position was now almost hopeless and, coupled with some disorganisation of their command structure within the Basin, resulted in the surrender of some Boers Although a further escape from the Golden Gate was made on the 30th, hostilities at Wittebergen ceased on the 31st with the surrender of Boer Commandants Joubert, Potgieter and Du Plooy.

Although, with 'Wittebergen', we have come to the final bar on Driver Parkin's medal, the war was to continue on a 'guerilla' basis for many months, and one further battle bar was issued for the Battle of Belfast, as shown by the table accompanying these notes.

There is great fascination in tracing the course of events from a recipient's particular medal, the historical data, acquired in this way, being enlivened by personal contact with the recipient named on the medal and knowing that he was actually there and engaged in the actions commemorated by the 'bars.

Most of the bars of the Queen's Medal are quite common, both singly or in combination, the rarest being those for 'Defence of Mafeking., 'Wepener', 'Defence of Kimberley' and 'Rhodesia', in that order. There are, of course, bar combinations which are obviously impossible but which have been faked by the addition of bars from other medals, during the years which have elapsed since the end of hostilities. Such combinations can be unmasked by means of a little research. Although bar combinations of up to six are fairly common, the number of bars possible on one medal is recorded as nine for the army and, strange as it may seem, eight for the navy, the recipient in the latter case being from H. M.S. Monarch, one of Britain's earlier ironclad battleships, still in commission at the time of the Anglo-Boer War.

Medals may be collected in any one of several ways. A representative selection of 'bars' may be the basis, or medals issued to specific units or to members of a particular County Regiment. However, whatever one collects, the fascination of tracing historical facts through medals, with their personal links, cannot be surpassed, while the medals themselves provide permanent memorials to their recipients who participated in the conflict which opened the present century.

(Period 11th October 1099 - 31st May 1902)

26 bars were issued for wear, singly or in an appropriate combination, with the Queen's South Africa Medal.

19 of the bars were for actual engagements or battles, five were named for the States in which many smaller engagements occurred and where selected bars were not possible, and the two remaining bars are named simply 'South Africa 1901', and 'South Africa 1902'. The two latter were also issued with the King's Medal, but individuals, not qualifying for this award, received either or both bars as appropriate, for wear with the Queen's Medal.

'State' Bars:

Cape Colony .. ..  11th October 1899 - 31st May 1902
Natal .. .. ..  11th October 1899 - 17th May 1900
Rhodesia .. ..  11th October 1899 - 17th May 1900
Orange Free State ..  28th February 1900 - 31st May 1902
Transvaal .. .. ..  24th May 1900 - 31st May 1902
Battle Bars:
Defence of Mafeking  13th October 1899 - 17th May 1900
Relief of Mafeking ..  17th May 1900
Defence of Kimberley  15th Oct. 1899 - 15th Feb.1900
Relief of Kimberley  15th February 1900
Defence of Ladysmith  3rd Nov. 1899 - 28th Feb.1900
Relief of Ladysmith  15th Dec. 1899 - 28th Feb.1900
Talana .. .. ..  20th October 1899
Elandslaagte .. ..  21st October 1899
Belmont .. .. ..  23rd November 1899
Modder River ..  28th November 1899
Tugela Heights ..  l4th-27th February 1900
Paardeberg .. ..  17th-26th February 1900
Driefontein .. ..  10th March 1900
Wepener .. .. ..  9th-25th April 1900
Johannesburg .. ..  31st May 1900
Laings Nek .. ..  12th June 1900
Diamond Hill .. ..  11th-l2th June 1900
Wittebergen .. ..  lst-29th July 1900
Belfast .. .. ..  26th-27th August 1900
Other Bars:
South Africa 1901; South Africa 1902.

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