The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging

Military History Journal
Vol 2 No 6 - December 1973


Notes, Questions and Replies


28. The Guns on Lancaster Hill. Those members who travelled to Vryheid over the Settlers’ Day week-end, will remember visiting Lancaster Hill to hear Mr. Alf Wade’s description of the Boer attack in December 1900. (The subject of an article in this journal under the heading ‘Dingaanstat — Ulundi — Hlobane — Kambula — N’tombi Spruit — Lancaster Hill.’) Mention was made of the two 12 pr guns emplaced on the hill, and the part they played in the action. The writer described both the RHA 12 pr 6 cwt and the naval 12 pr 12 cwt, but the emphasis was on the former as it was thought that two of these were present at the time. Research has since shown that the guns were, in fact, the naval guns.

Ten RHA batteries served in South Africa during the war, but only one, ‘A’ Battery, landed in Durban and served in Natal. This battery came from India, and was equipped with the 15 pr 7 cwt, and not the 12 pr 6 cwt. It returned to England in November 1900, just before the attack on Vryheid.

The Royal Navy landed several guns for service ashore soon after the outbreak of war. After the relief of Ladysmith the naval gunners were returned to their ships, but several of their guns were handed over to the Royal Garrison Artillery, and remained in action in South Africa. The Vryheid garrison included two of these guns.

The RHA gun was mounted lower on its carriage than the naval gun. The trunnions (pivoting point of the barrel) of the former were only 3 ft 4 in above the ground, compared with 4 ft 6 in to 5 ft of the latter. This means that it is most unlikely that a 12 pr 6 cwt could have fired over the wall of the gunpit which the Society visited. The naval 12 pr 12 cwt gun was mounted much higher — the actual height varying from gun to gun, as their carriages were very much individual affairs. Such a gun could have coped with this gunpit wall, and could also have cleared the wall when the trail was raised to engage targets at the foot of the bill, as described by Mr. Wade.

Firing was either by electric means, or by percussion, so no friction tubes will be found in the gunpit. The above photograph reproduced from page 647 of ‘With the Flag to Pretoria’, to which publication acknowledgement is expressed, shows a naval 12 pr in a gunpit at Vryheid. Sandbags have been placed on the top of the gunpit wall to lessen the danger of flying rock splinters. Mr. Wade has been asked to try and identify the gunpit from the photograph. This may be possible with rekrence to the hills in the background.

The telescope is interesting. Naval gunners were issued with large telescopes on tripods such as the one shown in the photograph. Such telescopes were not issued to the Royal Field Artillery, whose gunners had difficulty in observing Boer targets at extreme range. This difficulty sometimes resulted in mistakes which the Royal Navy believed they had been able to avoid, maintaining that thcy had never fired on their own troops. This telescope was for observation only. Control of fire in those days was exercised from the gun position, and the considerable range of the Naval ‘long 12’ made such an aid essential. These Royal Garrison Artillery men will have been glad to have taken over this telescope when the took over the gun from the Royal Navy. It should be mentioned that the guns of the day had telescopic sights, but thet were of lower power than the one illustrated, and photographic evidence seems to show that the tangent sight was not frequently used.
Darrell D. Hall

29. Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst. In die nommer van die Krygshistoriese Tydskrif Deel 1 No. 1, Desember 1967, het ek waardevolle bydrae deur mnr. D. R. Forsyth getitel ,,Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst” gevind. Die name van die gedekoreerdes wat daarin genoem word is egter uitsluitend burgers van die voormalige Boererepublieke, nie buitelanders nie. Dit is egter moontlik om buitelanders op te spoor wat die DTD, ontvang bet. Ek stuur u hierby besonderhede oor twee Nederlanders wat die DTD, ontvang het. Die eerste is C. G. S. Sandberg, sekretaris van generaal Louis Botha; kyk die Goewerments Koerant van 22 September 1939. Die tweede is Julius Douwes Dekker, ,,overleden te Batavia 1940.”

Ek stuur u twee fotokopieé van hul dokumente as bewys en hoop dat dit die begin sal wees van ‘n lys van buitelandse draers van die DTD, wat u in u tydskrif sal afdruk. C. de Jong, Senior Lektor, Universiteit van Suid-Afrika


Onderstaande Goewermentskennisgewings word vir algemene
informasie gepubliseer —
* No. 1448.] [22 September 1939.

Dit het die Minister van Verdediging behaag om, kragtens
die regulasies gepubliseer by Goewermentskenissgewing
no. 2307 van 21 Desember 1920, sy goedkeuring te heg aan
die toehenning van die ,,Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst
(Anglo-Boeroorlog, 1899-1902)" aan Kaptein C. G. S.
Sandberg van die gewese Republikeinse Magte.


The following Government Notices are published for general
* No. 1448.] [22 September 1939.

The Minister of Defence has been pleased, in terms of the
Regulations published under Government Notice No. 2307 of
21st December, 1920, to approve of the award of the
"Dekoratie voor Trouwe Dienst (Anglo-Boeroorlog, 1899.
1902)” to Kaptein C. G. S. Sandberg of the late Republican

Redakteur: Die tweede dokument waarna verwys word is te groot vir weergawe hier. Dis ‘n aansoekvorm oess die DTD, deur J. A. J. Douwes Dekker voltooi. Hy gee te kenne dat hy as korporaal onder kmdt Theron (onder bevel genl Christiaan R. de Wet) en onder kmdt P. Pretorius in die Kimberley en Boshofdistrikte diens gedoen het. Die toekenning is ‘Goedgekeur’ gemerk en deur lt-genl A. J. Brink onderteken.

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