Author Topic: 5th Militia Battalion in S Africa. Calling Robert Bonner!  (Read 6611 times)

Offline teddy

  • *
  • Posts: 12
5th Militia Battalion in S Africa. Calling Robert Bonner!
« on: February 14, 2009, 10:14:47 PM »
My first post on this forum. Good evening all!

This is particularly directed to Robert Bonner. Actually I am very happy to accept help from anyone who can provide it! but I suspect he is best placed to assist, so I hope he sees this.

I would be very grateful to learn more about the battalion’s activities in South Africa 1901-1902. I am already aware of the (very) brief summary of their service in Colonel Hay’s “The Constitutional Force”; Robert’s longer summary at http://www.tameside.gov.uk/museumsgalleries/mom/history/militia ; a letter of condolence from the CO to a deceased soldier’s mother in the Manchester Regiment archives (though I don't know the contents); and a photo on p. 880 of “After Pretoria - The Guerilla War” showing men of the battalion outside a blockhouse at Winburg, wearing slouch hats and web bandoliers. I would also like to ask Robert where the information in his summary came from, whether that source contained any additional details, and whether he knows of any other sources, eg. letters, personal accounts, newspaper cuttings, etc. that might give any more details.

I have seen the earlier thread on this subject.

Many thanks,

Edward.
In memory of 12230 L/Cpl. George Walker, 2/9 Manchesters, killed in action 9 Oct. 1917. "His brother saw him fall, but couldn't stop." Commemorated at Tyne Cot. Rest in peace, George.

Offline harribobs

  • Site Monkey
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,189
Re: 5th Militia Battalion in S Africa. Calling Robert Bonner!
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2009, 11:37:54 PM »
hi Edward

and welcome to the group

hopefully Robert will be able around shortly to answer you, i'm afraid the militia battalions are a mystery to me ;D  i'm hoping that Roberts new book on the Volunteer service battalions in south africa will help  ;D

cheers

chris
“It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply
  to serve as a warning to others."

Offline Robert Bonner

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,395
Re: 5th Militia Battalion in S Africa. Calling Robert Bonner!
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2009, 12:14:35 PM »
Edward.

I'm afraid that you will have to be a little patient. My new book 'The Manchester Regiment in the Boer War.  Regular, Militia & Volunteer Batalions' is now at final proof stage and will hopefully be published within the next three months.  It should answer the majority of your questions.  Publication will be announced on the Forum.
Robert

Offline teddy

  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: 5th Militia Battalion in S Africa. Calling Robert Bonner!
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2009, 08:29:41 PM »
Robert

Thank you for replying so quickly. I’d been thinking on the lines of researching the original material myself and putting together my own comprehensive account.

Is this going to be a large and expensive book? Will the section on the 5th Bn reproduce in full all of the available material, or will I still have to go to the primary sources to get the full story?

Regards,

Edward
In memory of 12230 L/Cpl. George Walker, 2/9 Manchesters, killed in action 9 Oct. 1917. "His brother saw him fall, but couldn't stop." Commemorated at Tyne Cot. Rest in peace, George.

Offline John W

  • ****
  • Posts: 107
Re: 5th Militia Battalion in S Africa. Calling Robert Bonner!
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2009, 08:32:16 PM »

I would be very grateful to learn more about the battalion’s activities in South Africa 1901-1902.
Many thanks,

Edward.


Edward - pse see this thread about a good book which covers I think in some detail the 5th Militia Bn. My GGF was in the 6th Militia Bn and I had the book out for this reason.

http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php?topic=2131.0
In memory of my great grandfather: 9671 Pte Joseph Percy Rothwell, Manchester Regiment (Boer War, Mons, Le Cateau, PoW, Home Guard) & his father, 1090 Pte Joseph Rothwell, 12th (The Prince of Wales's) Royal Regiment of Lancers 1871-1882.

Offline teddy

  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: 5th Militia Battalion in S Africa. Calling Robert Bonner!
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2009, 11:55:29 AM »
John

Many thanks, and apologies for the delay in replying - I haven't been checking here regularly. I was aware of this book but did not think it covered the doings of the militia battalions. But if it does, I will check it out. We are currently in the middle of a house move though so it will have to wait a while, and maybe Robert Bonner's book will come out in the meantime.

Are you aware of Hay's "The Constitutional Force"? This summarises the doings of the militia battalions in SA, but it is a bit of a lottery - lots of good info on some units and a v. terse statement on others. My copy is packed away at the moment, but I seem to recall there wasn't much on 6 Bn. If you can't conveniently get hold of a copy, I will type up what there is and post it here or send it you, but again, that will have to wait a while! And I doubt it will tell you much you don't know by now.

Best wishes,

Edward
In memory of 12230 L/Cpl. George Walker, 2/9 Manchesters, killed in action 9 Oct. 1917. "His brother saw him fall, but couldn't stop." Commemorated at Tyne Cot. Rest in peace, George.

Offline teddy

  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: 5th Militia Battalion in S Africa. Calling Robert Bonner!
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2016, 08:33:01 PM »
Edward.

I'm afraid that you will have to be a little patient. My new book 'The Manchester Regiment in the Boer War.  Regular, Militia & Volunteer Batalions' is now at final proof stage and will hopefully be published within the next three months.  It should answer the majority of your questions.  Publication will be announced on the Forum.

Apologies for reviving such an old thread. Robert, did your book ever get published? I haven't been able to find any reference to it. If it didn't happen, can I get access to relevant material in the regimental archives? This is not for publication but purely for personal interest. I own a beat-up khaki serge jacket worn by a 5th Manchester man in SA. Unfortunately whilst 5 Man can be made out, the regimental number can't, but I would like to know more about the battalion's activities than the rather bare outline available so far.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give!
In memory of 12230 L/Cpl. George Walker, 2/9 Manchesters, killed in action 9 Oct. 1917. "His brother saw him fall, but couldn't stop." Commemorated at Tyne Cot. Rest in peace, George.

Offline Robert Bonner

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,395
Re: 5th Militia Battalion in S Africa. Calling Robert Bonner!
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2016, 11:44:30 AM »
Edward.
Calamity! Whilst making the final amendments the typesetters premises had a major catastrophe and the entire material for the book was destroyed, including the back-up.  Fortunately I still have everything on my computer so can resurrect it at some time.  However it is not a priority at the moment but hopefully the following extract will be of interest to you.

5th (Militia) Battalion
The battalion was embodied on 3 May 1900 and sent to Aldershot where it remained until 19 October when it returned to Ashton-under-Lyne and was disembodied. However from the commencement of the war drafts of officers and other ranks, totalling about 500, were sent to both the 1st and 2nd Battalions in South Africa.

In May 1901 the battalion, consisting mainly of men from Ashton-under-Lyne and neighbouring towns, and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel H Crosbie, was again mobilised and sent to Aldershot where it was soon under orders to proceed to South Africa. The battalion left from Southampton aboard the SS Bavarian on17 June 1901, strength 26 officers and 780 NCOs and men, arriving at Cape Town on 10 July. On the voyage their scarlet uniforms were replaced by khaki and, after disembarkation, equipment such as the black valise etc was exchanged for webbing. During the voyage everyone had been inoculated against enteric fever, resulting in most people being ill for at least two days.

On arriving at Capetown on 10 July they were ordered to proceed to Winburg in the Orange River Colony to take over the defences of the town and the local railway.  A, B, C, D, G and H Companies were employed in the defence of the town whilst E Company guarded the railway towards Smaldeel. During their time there the Boers made a couple of attempts to break through the defences and the battalion lost one man killed, one died of wounds and four men wounded. By this time in the war fighting had developed into mainly guerrilla warfare and the main object of the defence of the railway was to prevent parties of Boers from breaking through whilst mobile columns tried to round them up.

 On 8 April 1902 the battalion relieved the 4th Cheshire Regiment and took over the defence of the railway line towards Kroonstad with D Company being sent to Brandford. The battalion remained in the Smaldeel area until peace was declared on 31 May 1902. On 9 July 1902 the battalion, strength 27 officers and 795 other ranks, embarked at Capetown on the Briton, arriving Southampton 26 July. Then to the Depot, Ashton-under-Lyne on 31 July 1902 where they were disembodied the same day.

One officer, twenty-one non-commissioned officers and men had been either killed or died of disease.

Robert

Offline teddy

  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: 5th Militia Battalion in S Africa. Calling Robert Bonner!
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2016, 09:22:42 PM »
Thanks Robert. This is more or less what's on the Tameside website, though there are a couple of extras details such as where most of the men were from and of course every bit helps. Hay's "The Constitutional Force" gives the names of MiD, the SAFF casualty list gives killed, wounded and died of disease and there's a little bit about SM James Homneystreet on Ancestry and about Colonel Crosbie in Debrett, but no more detailed accounts appear to have survived. I don't suppose we will find out any more unless Colonel Crosbie's papers turn up.

Sorry to hear about the disaster and I hope you get the book out eventually after such a discouraging setback.
In memory of 12230 L/Cpl. George Walker, 2/9 Manchesters, killed in action 9 Oct. 1917. "His brother saw him fall, but couldn't stop." Commemorated at Tyne Cot. Rest in peace, George.