Author Topic: Pte Joseph James, 2nd Bn.  (Read 6277 times)

Aylesfordlake

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Pte Joseph James, 2nd Bn.
« on: April 22, 2008, 11:57:43 PM »
I have a keen interest in the Boer War: my company logo... www.edwardsrandall.com. The logo...because I have at least two Great Grandfathers who served in the Boer War, but only just today managed to get my hands on the actual discharge papers for my Great Granddad James (The other Great Grandfather served with the Canadians 6th Contingent - saw no action, as the war ended as his ship arrived in Port Natal). I'm anxious then to learn all I can about Joseph James and his time on the Veldt. This board looks to have a lot of depth and a willigness to help people learn more about their ancestors - thanking you all in advance for your contributions!

So...heres what I know: Joseph James was born in the Parish of Bethnal Green (London). His father worked "on the docks" and acidentaly fell from a wharf and was crushed between a ship and the wharf leaving James and his sisters orphans. James grew up in the same orphanage as his sisters but was kept apart from them - allowed only to see his sisters from a distance in a courtyard on Sundays (cruel). As orphanages went, they were eager to unload him to the military. At the tender age of 12 he joined the military (probably lied about his age). Things get a bit fuzzy here; Joseph was recognized to have some musical talent and joined a military band - playing trombone. I'm not sure if the time line is right, but he was known to have gone to Bermuda to practice with a band either before or just after the war (I'm guessing before) and I'm guessing the QSA (Queens Service Army) band? - I have no proof of this affiliation, but he was in a band, and did play trombone for the British early on in his military career.

At any rate, Joseph (according to his papers) was part of the 2nd Manchester Batalion (#4577). Not much if anything is known of his campaigns only that he was discharged in Guernsey by Colonel J. Walkin? (hard to read).
March 17th, 1902 at the ripe old age of 14 having served a total of 4 Years and 300 days (4 years and 91 days "abroad"), whereupon immediately after he reinlisted in the Canadian Regiment Infantry.

Heres a bit of possible filler for you: His family reports that while with the British Army Band he travelled to Canada (presumably to perform). While in Canada he decided he wanted to live there one day - explaining why he reinlisted with the Canadians after the Boer War. He served until he was discharged from World War 1 in August 1917 - medical corps, a streacher bearer, suffering from shell shock. He lived out the rest of his life  as a band master (conductor) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Like many veterans my Great Grandfather didn't talk much about his experiences in the Boer War or WW1. He did relate a story about being in Johannesburg at the end of the war. He retold a story about how you could see gold dust in between the cobblestone in the streets (perhaps embelishment - or not, as he was a stern no nonsense man). Now I have seen old photgraphs of a band playing in the city square of Johannesburg - a celebration for the end of the war or perhaps the Queens/Kings Jubillee? He may have been in the photo playing trombone for the occasion (I have no idea).

His medals are not available to me at the moment. The Queens medal (and clasps) could help me identify where he campaigned but until my relative who has them finds them - I'm left guessing. So, can you please help me out...what was Joseph James up to back then? :-\ :)

Offline harribobs

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Re: Pte Joseph James, 2nd Bn.
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2008, 10:16:28 AM »

By an agreement between the British and Canadian Governments in 1906, volunteers were requested for the Royal Canadian Regiment from the men of the regiment that weren't needed after the Boer War ended 

i suspect that Joseph or rather Joe was part of a draft of Manchester Regiment soldiers that enlisted en mass into the Canadian Army. Did he work for the Post Office at some time, residing in Halifax NS?
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ladysmith

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Re: Pte Joseph James, 2nd Bn.
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2008, 11:34:25 AM »
Ref gold dust between the cobblestones in Johannesburg, I'm sure this will have been gold coloured dust blown from the goldmine spills. These artificial 'hills' of yellow dust can be seen in several places in the Johannesburg area today.

David

Aylesfordlake

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Re: Pte Joseph James, 2nd Bn.
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2008, 05:01:04 PM »
Yes - I have confirmation that he did work for the post office in Halifax.

Offline harribobs

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Re: Pte Joseph James, 2nd Bn.
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2008, 08:27:15 PM »
Yes - I have confirmation that he did work for the post office in Halifax.

now you're wondering how i knew that ;D

http://themanchesters.org/forum/index.php?topic=339.0

http://thercr.ca/history/1900-1914/manchester_draft1.htm
« Last Edit: April 23, 2008, 08:29:06 PM by harribobs »
“It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply
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Aylesfordlake

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Re: Pte Joseph James, 2nd Bn.
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2008, 09:17:13 PM »
Outstanding! Thank you so much...you know your stuff!

I have had a little more time now since joining this board to poke about, and noticed in your photo forum a post for the musical band of the 2nd Batallion. There is a great pic there, with some very young faces among the men in the band - I wonder if one of them is Joe James?

I wonder if you can point me to a website that would identify where in the regiment (Company etc) he was with...that way I maybe can start to track his treck across South Africa. I believe I read somewhere that the 2nd Bn. helped replenish a much weakened 1st Manchester Bn. and was involved in the relief of Ladysmith? and Maefking possibly? I believe I also read that the 2nd peeled off from the 1st at some point and started a controversial farm burning march to the Orange Free State. If I know what company he was in I might be able to confirm what clasps should be on his Queens medal (if we ever discover it). Thats my goal anyway. Any guidance or help would be greatly appreciated....you have already scored a home run in my estimation with that little nuget up top! ;)

Offline harribobs

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Re: Pte Joseph James, 2nd Bn.
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2008, 10:00:45 PM »
thanks for that, a bit of luck perhaps, until captain O'Leary contacted me we had no knowledge of the draft at all

he probably didn't lie about his age, at that time boy soldiers joined up young and usually as bandsman

i have had a look through my 2nd batt muster list and couldn't spot him, however we do have members who specialise in the boer war and hopefully they will be able to identify him in the medal rolls

chris
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Aylesfordlake

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Re: Pte Joseph James, 2nd Bn.
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2008, 07:40:01 PM »
David - Sorry I didn't mean to gloss over your contribution about the so called Gold dust. That is interesting - and certainly more likely. Joe James would have been very young at the time when he was supposed to have been in Johannesburg and so it is likely he was mistaken (if indeed he was ever there).

To anyone out there with a medall roll - do you see him in the 2nd Bn? :-\

Offline harribobs

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Re: Pte Joseph James, 2nd Bn.
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2008, 11:24:22 PM »
david will probably be able to give you a better idea of what the 2nd bttn was doing in SA!  ;)
“It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply
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