The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging

Military History Journal
Vol 2 No 5 - June 1973


Notes, Questions and Replies


5. Who was the youngest person to be awarded a Queen’s South Africa Medal?

6. Refer to article by K. R. Gibbs, ‘Bars and Medals’ in vol. II, no. 3, June 1972 in which it is stated that the Kings Medal "almost always" was issued with two bars. Is this correct? - Brigadier F. W. Cooper.


3. Refer, Question 5: Who was the youngest person to be awarded a QSA Medal?
I know of one who was born in 1890 and was awarded the Queen’s Medal with bar for 1902. He is Lt-Gen. R. G. W. H. Stone, CB, DSO, MC. He was a member of the Aliwal North District Mounted Troops and although he was awarded the medal there was a stipulation in the Army List that his service was not to be regarded as War Service. He was commisioned in the Royal Engineers in 1909 and it must have seemed odd to see a youngster of nineteen wearing the ribbon for the Anglo-Boer War, earned when he was twelve years old. - Brigadier F. W. Cooper.

4. Refer, Question 6: Was the King's South Africa Medal ever issued without the two bars?
Mr. K. R. Gibbs was perfectly correct when he wrote in his interesting article on the medals of the Anglo-Boer War in the June, 1972 Journal: "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.” I have only one small point of amplification. Claims for the medal had to be approved by the Commander-in-Chief and I believe although I have never seen written verification of this that they were only so approved if such service was in the war zone, or what we would have called in Hitler’s war, the combat Zone. The relevant Order, in paragraph 3 (b), requires that they had completed 18 months’ war service.

King’s Medals were in fact sometimes issued without any bars at all and, very occasionally, with only one bar. ‘The special Army Order (as printed in The Times, London, on 30th September 1902) states, in paragraph 6:
“Two clasps will also be granted - (a) a clasp, ‘SOUTH AFRICA 1901’, to all who served in South Africa between January 1, 1901 and December 31, 1901, both dates inclusive; (b) a clasp ‘SOUTH AFRICA 1902’, to all who served in South Africa between January 1, 1902, and May 31, 1902 both dates inclusive."

I know of the following exceptions to the usual practice of issuing this medal with two bars (a) As stated by Gordon in ‘British Battles and Medals”, 4th Edition the King’s Medal was issued without bars to nursing sisters - he states 587 were so awarded. This was in the days before ‘Women’s Lib’, and was in accordance with the then current British practice of not awarding bars to women. Even the sisters who nursed through the siege of Mafeking, though they received the Queen’s Medal, were denied the bar “Defence of Mafeking.”)
(b) I have in my collection a pair, Queen’s and King's Medals, both without any bar, to a conductor in the Army Service Corps. I have seen a similar pair and have heard of others. I am not certain how this came about, but I do know that certain categories of persons who qualified for the Queen’s Medal were precluded from receiving bars even though they had served in war zones between dates which usually qualified for such bars. All Town Guards other than those of the three siege towns, Ladysmith, Kimberley, and Mafeking, and of Dundee, were so precluded.) Certain members of the A.S.C. and some Remount personnel similarly received the Queen’s Medal without bar. I believe that these latter personnel who served after 1st January 1902 and completed 18 months, did not receive any bar to their King’s Medal if they had been precluded from receiving any bar to their Queens.
(c) There are a number of authenticated eases, verified by reference to the medal rolls, where a man served in South Africa prior to 31st December, 1900, returned to the United Kingdom before that date whether following wounds, sickness or for other reason, and returned to serve in the field after 1st January 1902, and completed 18 months total service prior to 1st June 1902. These men received the King’s Medal with one bar “SOUTH AFRICA 1902”. In terms of the order which I have already quoted, such persons could clearly not be regarded as being entitled to the bar “SOUTH AFRICA 1901’.)

I do not know of any authentic medal with the single bar “SOUTH AFRICA 1901” indeed the requirement of the Order that a recipient of the King’s Medal should actually have served in South Africa after 1st January 1902 would seem to preclude such a possibility.
One further point. Mr. Gibbs stated, with regard to the Queen’s South Africa Medal, that “some bronze were issued to Indian and native troops’. In fact, non-white recipients of the Queen’s Medal in bronze could scarcely be described as “troops” they were people like sweepers of the S. & T. Corps or Army Hospital Corps and syces or grooms, of cavalry regiments, who had come from India. In addition, the Queen’s Medal in bronze - always without a bar - was given to a small number of unattested white men, under exactly what conditions I have not yet been able to establish. I have one in my collection named simply “MR. W. KNOTT”. That certainly sounds like a white man!

There were no non-white troops as such officially employed as fighting troops by either side in the Anglo-Boer War. Both sides were at pains to keep it, on the surface at least, “a white man s war , although both sides at times used native and coloured men as scouts, and no doubt as servants and as members of wagon-teams. Some of the Town Guards in the Cape included a considerable number of Coloured men - for instance the Namaqualand Town Guard which defended O’okiep against General Smuts’s commando from 4th April to 4th May, 1902, included a considerable percentage of coloured mine-workers on its fighting strength - but these chaps were officially precluded from receiving any Queen's Medal at all.

Lest I get "shot down" by the experts let me hasten to add that a few names which are obviously of Indian origin, and a few natives, do appear on the medal rolls for the Queen’s Medal in silver — for instance, perusal of the roll for the silver medal and bar “Defence of Mafeking” reveals the following:
(l) Konarasamy, Mafeking T.G.; (2) Peter Naramsammy, servant to capt. Greenfield, Protectorate Regt. F.F. (where I have a note from the roll “Bronze medal recovered 16/7/04. Silver Medal and 3 clasps issued 9/4/l9O4");
(3) Native drivers, Abraham Adams and Simon, Bechuanaland Rifles. There are no doubt others.
It would indeed be a brave man who claimed to know the last word about the Queens South Africa Medal, or the King’s!
Dr. F. K. Mitchell


25. I hope you don’t mind my drawing attention to an inaccuracy in K. R. Gibbs’ article, "Bars and Medals" (vol. 2. no. 3, June 1972). In column 2, 3rd paragraph, line 12 on page 99 it mentions a squadron of l5th Dragoon Guards. There never was such a regiment. The 15th were a Hussar regiment. It should be 5th Dragoon Guards see Times History of the Boer War, vol. 11, page 179.
Brigadier F. W. Cooper

26. Dekoratie Voor Trouwe Dienst (DTD). Further to the two valuable articles on this medal vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 14-12, and no. 2, pp. 31 and 34), it might be remarked that the notification of each award was published in the Union of South Africa Government Gazette as follows:

Date Page No. awarded
24 Dec. 1920 647-648 Regulations
17 June 1921 627 55 (one of which deleted on l5 July 1921)
4 Nov. 1921 170 Regulations
11 Nov. 1921 200 137
4 Aug. 1922 164 119
20 Oct. 1922 94 54
27 Apr. 1923 113 60
9 Nov. 1923 262 56
4 July 1924 8 23
6 Feb. 1925 222 14
18 Sept. 1925 523 17
23 July 1926 154 21
16 Sept. 1927 630 21
18 May 1928 365 15
1929-1937   Nil
27 May 1938 626 19
26 Aug. 1938 667 2
21 Oct. 1938 193 5
25 Nov. 1938 686 2
6 Jan. 1939 6 1
24 Feb. 1939 493 1
17 Mar. 1939 790 5
26 May 1939 466 1
l6 June 1939 644 2
21 July 1939 414 1
25 Aug. 1939 863 2
22 Sept. 1939 1132 1
20 Oct. 1939 188 2
17 Nov. 1939 571 2
2 Feb. 1940 261 3
20 Sept. 1940 922 1
18 Oct. 1940 170 1
25 Oct. 1940 212 2
1 Nov 1940 392 1
4 April 1941 22 1
25 April 1941 209 1
10 Oct. 1941 47 2
14 Nov. 1941 415 1
2 Jan. 1942 3 1
16 Jan. 1942 102 1
1 May 1942 218 1
15 Jan. 1943 42 1
24 Mar. 1944 422 1
28 July 1944 167-8 2
1945   Nil
20 Dec. 1946 976 1

Yearly totals  
1921 192, but 1 subsequently deleted =191
1922 173
1923 116
1924 23
1925 31
1926 21
1927 21
1928 15
1938 28
1939 18
1940 8
1941 5
1942 3
1943 1
1944 3
1945 1
Corrected Total — 658

It will be noticed that this total does not agree with that already quoted by Mr. D. R. Forsyth, where it differs by 3, nor does it agree with the figure given in Military Medals of South African Interest, p. 27, published in 1957 by the City of Johannesburg Africana Museum, where the total is quoted as 656.

A cross-check has been attempted but it is very difficult to reconcile Mr. Forsyth’s list with the Gazette. However, it can be remarked that the names of the following are given in the Gazette but are not on the list published by Mr. Forsyth:
Veldkornet H. J. Wessels . . . . . . Gazette of 17 June 1921.
Kommandant W. F. Van Rooyen .. .. Gazette of 11 November 1921.
It may also be noted that the name which was deleted in the Gazette of 15 July 1921 was that of Assistant Field Cornet W. J. Meyer.

J. M. A. Tamplin, Army Museums Ogilby Trust, London

27. Russians in South Africa A fact perhaps little known to many of us today, is that Russian Officers from the Imperial Army of the Tzar were here in South Africa as Military observers during the S.A. War 1899-1902.

Attached to General Dartnell's staff was Lieut-Col. Jolshin, and he shared the camp with well-known officers such as Major Leuchars and Major Lugg.

On the Boer side another Russian Officer, Capt. Le Boswonsky, and it was he who really made the headlines in this phase of the war. The following is extracted from a copy of "The Harrismith News" of Friday, November 2, 1900:


Maritzburg, Oct. 27 (P.U. Secretary).

The Government have received information that a party of Boers, variously estimated at from 40 to 80, under Capt. Le Boswonsky, a Russian officer consisting chiefly of Swaziland police and Natal rebels, having on the 25th inst, first threatened the Nqutu Magistracy, proceeded to Vant’s Drift, where they cut the telegraph line and removed the telephone equipment.

Thence they proceeded via Beith to Waschbank Station, having on their way destroyed about half a mile of telegraph line between Umsinga and Dundee.

They reached Waschbank at 2.30 am. yesterday and seized a goods train there, captured 11 military remounts, but not taking anything else or doing any damage to the train.

They destroyed the railway station and goods shed at Waschbank and blew up the railway line at several places on both sides of the station. The bridges are intact.

They afterwards, it is stated, proceeded north and were last heard of at Allen's store on the main road over the Biggarsberg.

The only casualty mentioned is that of a platelayer Brannigan who was wounded in the leg at Waschbank.

At 12 p.m. yesterday the General Manager for the Railways reported that the line to Glencoe Junction was clear, and that traffic had been resumed.

Doug Clapham

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