Author Topic: Researching Tips  (Read 2495 times)

Offline Gingerfreak

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Researching Tips
« on: November 16, 2021, 11:56:19 PM »
As part of my research I've transcribed the Boer War Medal Rolls for the 1st -4th Volunteer Service Companies.
These are some of the things I've found. Hopefully the information may help others.

1. If you are going to carry out research and intend to use a Geneology site, I'd advise you to use Ancestry. FindMyPast have transcriptions, not the actual document. Ancestry have scanned the documents and you can download them to your computer if you wish.
2. Don't try and search for your ancestor in the Boer War casualty lists, unless you know the exact details. To find individuals & thier units, its been easier and quicker to search through the UK Military Campaign Medal & Award Rolls 1793-1949. Type in 'South Africa' in the country and 'Manchester' not Manchester Regiment into the Regiment. If you type in 'Manchester Regiment' it will miss out the Volunteer Active Service Units.
3. If in doubt, use an Officers surname instead, such as 'Darlington' and if your relative served in a volunteer active service unit, the volunteer active service unit will come up in the search.

4. The Boer War was fought in three phases. This effects what clasps the men would be entitled to wear.

1 - Open Warfare- conventional force v conventional force
1a) Under Gen Buller, a multitude of set backs all before the end of December 1899. There are no Volunteers in this section. You only need to search from Oct 1899 to Dec 1899 if your researching a regular.
1b) The change of Leadership - Field Marshall Lord Roberts and his Chief of Staff Brigadier (or Lt) General Herbert Horatio Kitchener, one of the Lt Col in charge of 7th Brigade was Lt Col Ian Hamilton. This change of leadership brought boatloads of reinforcements with them. If your man is in the  1st Volunteer Battalion he arrived with this group:
1st Vol Batt - Disembarked in Cape Town on 9th March 1900 on the Steam Ship Majestic.
In this phase the volunteers had to force march and engage the Boer forces. The combined British forces pushed the Boers back to Pretoria. The last battle was held there and the Boers lost. The 1st Volunteers returned to the UK on 26th April 1900.

The 1st Volunteers  had 116 men in total. There is a main register that contains all of the men and highlights the clasps. This is the only Volunteer Active Service Unit to then divide the men into thier individual battalions. ie all the Wigan men into one list etc.
All of the service Numbers are four digits and start with 70 or 71.
They are entilted to wear: Queen's South Africa Medal with Belfast, Natal, South Africa 1901 or Transvaal, Natal, South Africa 1901 clasps. Dependant on which regular Battalion they were with.

Phase 2 - Mobile warfare and fighting guerilla tactics
Not all of the Boer forces capitulated. A large group called the Bitteinders, led by capable leaders such as Jan Christiaan Smuts and Kroos De La Ray decided to hold out until the bitter end. In this phase the Service battalions were part of columns that chased the Boers over the Transvaal (now Gauteng). Under Kitchener's orders, the British Army carried out its scorched earth policy, burning farms, crops and driving off livestock. This effectively stopped the Boers from resupplying. The construction of Blockhouses and barbed wire fences resticted the movements of the Boers.
The 2nd Volunteers and 3rd Volunteers were in South Africa during this time, continuing to persue the Boer forces and carrying out Guard duty in the block houses.
2nd Volunteers where 'K' Battalion Manchester Regiment - Thier four digit numbers start with 71etc and end with 82etc. These men are listed in alphabetical order.
They are entilted to wear: Queen's South Africa Medal with Cape Colony,Orange Free State,Transvaal  South Africa 1901 & South Africa 1902

3rd Volunteers  'M' Company - Thier four digit set starts with 82 and end with 83 etc, unless they are a SNCO (Csgt, CSM etc) thier numbers are much lower starting with 2etc.
They are entilted to wear: Queen's South Africa Medal with Cape Colony,Orange Free State,  South Africa 1901 & South Africa 1902 Except for men who trasfered to the Johannesburg Police. They transfered on the 24th August 1901 & were not issued the 'South Africa 1902' clasp.
These men have been put into an order of rank and in alphabetical order. All Officers and NCO's first then Drummers, then the Private Soldiers.

Phase 3: Refugees no longer processed by military units, Boers capitulate - Guard duty.

4th Volunteers - Thier 4 digit set starts with 83etc and ends with 84etc. SNCO's start with 5etc. The HQ element is completed first, in order of rank, the Private soldiers are listed in numerical order, not alphabetical.
They are entilted to wear: Queen's South Africa Medal with Cape Colony, South Africa 1902 clasps

From the service records I've read through (Other ranks only), The Service records are all 'Short Service', not Territorial and the service numbers were issued to the men for the South African campaign only. Once they were returned to the UK they were demobilised and returned to their original  Volunteer Battallion.

I hope this helps people out or at least points them in the right direction.

History for std 6 -10 Joubert & Blitz 1974
Volunteer Infantry of Ashton Under Lynne , Bonner R, 2005

« Last Edit: November 17, 2021, 12:03:09 AM by Gingerfreak »

Offline mack

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Re: Researching Tips
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2021, 03:13:31 PM »
all these officers and men have already been researched by our very knowledgable research team,we have the best manchester researchers around on our forum and they know their stuff
the info inludes name,rank,number,occupation,age,residence and place and date of death of those who died

unfortunately,they are in the research section in the moderators dept


Offline Gingerfreak

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Re: Researching Tips
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2022, 12:46:25 PM »
Please Remove this thread. It no longer serves a purpose.