List of Second Boer War Victoria Cross recipients

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A painting of the Relief of Ladysmith depicting Sir George Stuart White greeting Major Hubert Gough on 28 February 1900, as portrayed in a painting by John Henry Frederick Bacon.

The Victoria Cross (VC) was awarded to 78 members of the British Armed Forces for action during the Second Boer War. The Victoria Cross is a military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of some Commonwealth countries and previous British Empire territories. The VC was introduced in Great Britain on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to reward acts of valour during the Crimean War, and takes precedence over all other orders, decorations and medals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and to civilians under military command. The first ceremony was held on 26 June 1857, when Queen Victoria invested 62 of the 111 Crimean recipients in Hyde Park.[1]

The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 to 31 May 1902, between the British Empire and the two independent Boer republics of the Orange Free State and the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic).[2] After a set of failed negotiations over foreigner land rights in the territories, led by Joseph Chamberlain, both sides issued ultimatums. When the ultimatums were rejected, war was declared. The war had three distinct phases. First, the Boers mounted pre-emptive strikes into British-held territory in Natal and the Cape Colony, besieging the British garrisons of Ladysmith, Mafeking and Kimberley. The Boers then won a series of tactical victories against a failed British counteroffensive to relieve the three sieges. The second phase began after British forces under Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts launched counteroffensives with increased troop numbers. After Natal and the Cape Colony were secure, the British were able to invade the Transvaal and the republic's capital, Pretoria, was captured in June 1900. The third phase began in March 1900, when the Boers engaged a protracted hard-fought guerrilla warfare against the British forces. In an effort to cut off supplies to the raiders, the British, now under the leadership of Lord Kitchener, responded with a scorched earth policy of destroying Boer farms and moving civilians into concentration camps.[3]

The British Government had expected the campaign to be over within months, and the protracted war became increasingly unpopular especially after revelations about the conditions in the concentration camps. Emily Hobhouse, a campaigner, had forced the British Government to set up the Fawcett Commission, led by suffragist Millicent Fawcett, into the conditions at the camps. Hobhouse published reports from the camps which told of thousands of deaths from disease and malnutrition. These reports helped to sway public opinion against the war. The demand for peace led to a settlement of hostilities, and in 1902, the Treaty of Vereeniging was signed.[4] The two republics were absorbed into the British Empire, although the British were forced to make a number of concessions and reparations to the Boers. The granting of limited autonomy for the area ultimately led to the establishment of the Union of South Africa.

The original Royal Warrant, was silent on whether the VC could be awarded posthumously. From 1857 until 1897, 18 recipients were gazetted after their deaths but only 12 of the next of kin received the actual medal. In the other six cases there was a memorandum stating that they would have been recommended for the VC had they survived. By 1899, the precedent had been established that the VC could be awarded posthumously if the recommendation for the award was submitted prior to the recipient’s death from wounds. Two such awards were granted during the Second Boer War, the well known award to Frederick Roberts, the son of Lord Roberts VC and to Francis Parsons. In 1900 and 1901, three memoranda were issued for Herman Albrecht, Robert Digby-Jones and David Younger stating they would have been recommended for the VC had they survived. In a partial reversal of policy restricted to the Second Boer War, it was announced in the London Gazette on 8 August 1902, that the next of kin of the three soldiers mentioned in memoranda would be sent medals. In the same gazette, the first three posthumous awards were gazetted to Alfred Atkinson, John Barry and Gustavus Coulson. In 1907, the posthumous policy was reversed and medals were sent to the next of kin of the remaining six officers and men.[5] Although the Victoria Cross warrant was not amended to specifically include posthumous awards until 1920, one quarter of all awards for the First World War were posthumous.[6][7]

Recipients[edit]

  •   This and the * indicate a posthumous award
Name Unit Date of action Place of action
Herman Albrecht Imperial Light Horse 1900-01-066 January 1900* Ladysmith, South Africa
Alfred Atkinson Yorkshire Regiment 1900-02-1818 February 1900* Battle of Paardeberg, South Africa
William Babtie Royal Army Medical Corps 1899-12-1515 December 1899 Battle of Colenso, South Africa
John Barry Royal Irish Regiment 1901-01-077 January 1901* Monument Hill, South Africa
William Bees Sherwood Foresters 1901-09-3030 September 1901 Moedwil, South Africa
Harry Beet Derbyshire Regiment 1900-04-2222 April 1900 Wakkerstroom, South Africa
Frederick Bell West Australian Mounted Infantry 1901-05-1616 May 1901 Transvaal, South Africa
John Bisdee Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen 1900-09-011 September 1900 Warm Bad, South Africa
Frederick Bradley Royal Field Artillery 1901-09-2626 September 1901 Itala, South Africa
Edward Brown 01414th Hussars 1900-10-1313 October 1900 Geluk, South Africa
John Clements Rimington's Guides 1901-02-2424 February 1901 Strijdenburg, South Africa
Hampden Cockburn Royal Canadian Dragoons 1900-11-077 November 1900 Komati River, South Africa
Walter Congreve Rifle Brigade 1899-12-1515 December 1899 Battle of Colenso, South Africa
Gustavus Coulson King's Own Scottish Borderers 1901-05-1818 May 1901* Lambrechtfontein, South Africa
Harry Crandon 01818th Royal Hussars 1901-07-044 July 1901 Springbok Laagte, South Africa
Thomas Crean Imperial Light Horse 1901-12-1818 December 1901 Tygerkloof Spruit, South Africa
Albert Curtis East Surrey Regiment 1900-02-2323 February 1900 Onderbank Spruit, South Africa
Robert Digby-Jones Royal Engineers 1900-01-066 January 1900* Ladysmith, South Africa
Henry Douglas Royal Army Medical Corps 1899-12-1111 December 1899 Magersfontein, South Africa
Alexis Doxat Imperial Yeomanry 1900-10-2020 October 1900 Zeerust, South Africa
Frederic Dugdale 0055th Lancers 1901-03-033 March 1901 Derby, South Africa
Alfred Durrant Rifle Brigade 1900-08-2727 August 1900 Bergendal, South Africa
Henry Engleheart 01010th Hussars 1900-03-1313 March 1900 Bloemfontein, South Africa
William English Scottish Horse 1901-07-033 July 1901 Vlakfontein, South Africa
Donald Farmer Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders 1900-12-1313 December 1900 Nooitgedacht, South Africa
James Firth Duke of Wellington's Regiment 1900-02-2424 February 1900 Arundel near Colesberg, South Africa
Charles FitzClarence Royal Fusiliers 1899-10-1414 October 1899 Mafeking, South Africa
Horace Glasock Royal Horse Artillery 1900-03-3131 March 1900 Korn Spruit, South Africa
William Gordon Gordon Highlanders 1900-07-1111 July 1900 Krugersdorp, South Africa
Harry Hampton King's (Liverpool) Regiment 1900-08-2121 August 1900 Van Wyk's Vlei, South Africa
William Hardham 0044th New Zealand Contingent 1901-01-2828 January 1901 Naauwpoort, South Africa
William Heaton King's (Liverpool) Regiment 1900-08-2323 August 1900 Geluk, South Africa
Edward Holland Royal Canadian Dragoons 1900-11-077 November 1900 Komati River, South Africa
William House Royal Berkshire Regiment 1900-08-022 August 1900 Mosilikatse Nek, South Africa
Neville Howse New South Wales Army Medical Corps 1900-07-2424 July 1900 Vredefort, South Africa
Alfred Ind Royal Horse Artillery 1901-12-2020 December 1901 Tafelkop, South Africa
Edgar Inkson Royal Army Medical Corps 1900-02-2424 February 1900 Colenso, South Africa
Robert Johnston Imperial Light Horse 1899-10-2121 October 1899 Battle of Elandslaagte, South Africa
Charles Kennedy Highland Light Infantry 1900-11-2222 November 1900 Dewetsdorp, South Africa
Frank Kirby Royal Engineers 1900-06-022 June 1900 Delagoa Bay Railway, South Africa
Henry Knight King's (Liverpool) Regiment 1900-08-2121 August 1900 Van Wyk's Vlei, South Africa
Brian Lawrence 01717th Lancers 1900-08-077 August 1900 Essenbosch Farm, South Africa
Isaac Lodge Royal Horse Artillery 1900-03-3131 March 1900 Korn Spruit, South Africa
John MacKay Gordon Highlanders 1900-05-2020 May 1900 Johannesburg, South Africa
Conwyn Mansel-Jones West Yorkshire Regiment 1900-02-2727 February 1900 Tugela, South Africa
Horace Martineau Protectorate Regiment 1899-12-2626 December 1899 Mafeking, South Africa
Arthur Martin-Leake South African Constabulary 1902-02-088 February 1902 Vlakfontein, South Africa
James Masterson Devonshire Regiment 1900-01-066 January 1900 Ladysmith, South Africa
Francis Maxwell Roberts's Light Horse 1900-03-3131 March 1900 Korn Spruit, South Africa
Leslie Maygar 0055th Victorian Mounted Rifles 1901-11-2323 November 1901 Geelhoutboom, South Africa
Matthew Meiklejohn Gordon Highlanders 1899-10-2121 October 1899 Battle of Elandslaagte, South Africa
John Milbanke 01010th Hussars 1900-01-055 January 1900 Colesberg, South Africa
Charles Mullins Imperial Light Horse 1899-10-2121 October 1899 Battle of Elandslaagte, South Africa
William Nickerson Royal Army Medical Corps 1900-04-2020 April 1900 Wakkerstroom, South Africa
John Norwood 0055th Dragoon Guards 1899-10-3030 October 1899 Ladysmith, South Africa
George Nurse Royal Field Artillery 1899-12-1515 December 1899 Battle of Colenso, South Africa
Charles Parker Royal Horse Artillery 1900-03-3131 March 1900 Korn Spruit, South Africa
Francis Parsons Essex Regiment 1900-02-1818 February 1900* Battle of Paardeberg, South Africa
Edmund Phipps-Hornby Royal Horse Artillery 1900-03-3131 March 1900 Korn Spruit, South Africa
James Pitts Manchester Regiment 1900-01-066 January 1900 Caesar's Camp, South Africa
Llewelyn Price-Davies King's Royal Rifle Corps 1901-09-1717 September 1901 Blood River Poort, South Africa
Horace Ramsden Protectorate Regiment 1899-12-2626 December 1899 Mafeking, South Africa
George Ravenhill Royal Scots Fusiliers 1899-12-1515 December 1899 Battle of Colenso, South Africa
Hamilton Reed Royal Field Artillery 1899-12-1515 December 1899 Battle of Colenso, South Africa
Arthur Richardson Strathcona's Horse 1900-07-055 July 1900 Wolwespruit, South Africa
Frederick Roberts King's Royal Rifle Corps 1899-12-1515 December 1899* Battle of Colenso, South Africa
William Robertson Gordon Highlanders 1899-10-2121 October 1899 Battle of Elandslaagte, South Africa
James Rogers South African Constabulary 1901-06-1515 June 1901 Thaba Nchu, South Africa
Harry Schofield Royal Field Artillery 1899-12-1515 December 1899 Battle of Colenso, South Africa
Robert Scott Manchester Regiment 1900-01-066 January 1900 Caesar's Camp, South Africa
John Shaul Highland Light Infantry 1899-12-1111 December 1899 Magersfontein, South Africa
Ernest Towse Gordon Highlanders 1899-12-1111 December 1899 Magersfontein, South Africa
William Traynor West Yorkshire Regiment 1901-02-066 February 1901 Bothwell Camp, South Africa
Richard Turner Royal Canadian Dragoons 1900-11-077 November 1900 Komati River, South Africa
Charles Ward King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry 1900-06-2626 June 1900 Lindley, South Africa
Guy Wylly Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen 1900-09-011 September 1900 Warm Bad, South Africa
Alexander Young Cape Police 1901-08-1313 August 1901 Ruiterskraal, South Africa
David Younger Gordon Highlanders 1900-07-1111 July 1900* Krugersdorp, South Africa

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ashcroft, Michael; preface; XI–XIII
  2. ^ Thomas Pakenham, The Boer War, p. xxi
  3. ^ Thomas Pakenham, The Boer War, pp. 493–495
  4. ^ Thomas Pakenham, The Boer War, pp. 463–571
  5. ^ "No. 27986". The London Gazette. 15 January 1907. p. 325. 
  6. ^ Crook, MJ, Chapter 8 pp. 68–90
  7. ^ "No. 31946". The London Gazette. 18 June 1920. p. 6702. 

Further reading[edit]