Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Trove Tuesday ~ Boer War Day

Boer War Day has been designated on the 31 May which is the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging. Between October 1899 until May 1902 the South African War, also known as the Boer War, was fought between the Orange Free State and Boer Republics of the Transvaal.The British quickly requested assistance from the Empire and Australia responded with a large contingent.
Approximately 23,000 Australians participated in the battle. Around 1,000 lives were lost. More information about the Boer War can be obtained from the Australian War Memorial.

Part of Boer War monument, Windsor  
Photo: M. Nichols
The Hawkesbury were quick to answer the call and the following were some of the names included in the Windsor & Richmond Gazette during that time. 

Trooper Pallier, Trooper Hookes, Trooper E. C. Pearce, Col. Cox, Warrant Officer Sullivan, Lt. Simons, Lt. Dight, Lt. Byrne, Major Bennett, Albert Ezzy, Les Ezzy, Fred Ezzy, Walter Smith, Robert Smith, George Smith, D. Hayes, C. Alcorn, E. Day, D. Garland, M. Mitchell, T. Upton, Mr Norris (brother of Fred), Clendon Callaghan, Dr Thomas Fiaschi and his son Trooper Carlo Fiaschi, Dr James Adam Dick, Capt Alfred Joshua Bennett, Trooper "Chum" Holborrow, Lt G. A. H. Holborrow, W. H. Pearce, George Mortimer, Cpl Kilpatrick, Trooper Milverton Ford, T. H. Norris, Lt Heron, George Bush, J. Eggleton and Sgt Major Duke. 

Corp. Pte C. W. H. Coulter wrote a number of very lengthy letters which were published in the local newspapers, including one which mentions a battle in open country near Vredefort. He mentions how the Australians fought bravely and some of the casualties.  Major Moor from Western Australia was shot in the right leg with an explosive bullet, completely smashing the limb at the knee, and died immediately. There were some terrible injuries and mention was made of Sgt. Nicholson, of Albury had his nose blown off by an explosive bullet. A soldier's letter is very detailed and worth checking in the Windsor & Richmond Gazette

Soldier's Letter - Windsor & Richmond Gazette 2 June 1900, p. 7 

Several soldiers connected to the Hawkesbury died whilst serving. They were:

More details can be obtained from the Australian War Memorial and the Oz Boer War site.
Thomas Moore Mitchell is pictured in this image ATCJ 21 April 1900

A number of served in the medical field. Dr Thomas Fiaschi commanded the 1st Field Hospital. In 1900 he led stretcher bearers into Boer territory and accepted 250 Boer soldiers surrender and was awarded the DSO "For conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty"  His son Carlo, also a medical practitioner, served as well. Dr James Adam Dick enlisted with the Army Medical Corps and was mentioned in despatches and awarded the Queen's medal. Julia Bligh Johnston was born in 1861 at Spring Hill, McGraths Hill, daughter of James Bligh and Anne Johnston. She trained as a nurse in Launceston in the mid-1880s and was then employed at Sydney Hospital. Julia enlisted with the Army Nursing Service Reserve attached to the NSW Army Medical Corps in 1899 as Superintendent and was sent to South Africa during the Boer War.

After the war the community in the Hawkesbury district chose to establish a memorial to honour the memory of soldiers from the district that died whilst serving in the Boer War in South Africa during 1899 to 1902.  Local monumental mason, George Robertson was appointed to design the memorial which was paid by public subscription. The monument (pictured above) was unveiled at an official function in November 1902.

The Boer War Day ceremony 31 May 2016 in Windsor.