Captain George Chrystie 25th Cavalry.

I posted this picture of the 38th Dogras and the 25th Cavalry (Frontier Force) parade through Lahore, 1909 on Facebook and Twitter this week. Someone on Twitter pointed out that the officer on horseback in the centre of the picture was named but it was difficult to make it out.

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The 38th Dogras and the 25th Cavalry (Frontier Force) parade through Lahore, 1909                NAM. 1969-10-587-1-28 (1)

 

 

I decided to see if I could find out the identity of the unknown officer. First port of call was the Army and Navy Gazette,  I knew he was a captain but wasn’t sure which of the two regiments he belonged to, so I used the search terms Captain, 38th Dogras and 1909. After searching through the first few results, it became apparent that none of the officers named matched the caption.

I next tried to search the terms Captain, 25th Cavalry and 1909. After working through some of the results a name came up that seemed to fit. It was an entry in the Army and Navy Gazette of a Captain George Chrystie of the 25th Cavalry being appointed to the Kurram Militia wing commander. (2)

This surname seemed to fit so I decided to see what else I could find out about the officer.


George Chrystie and his twin brother, John were born on the 9th March 1872 to Colonel George Chrystie and Helen Ann Thomasina Myers. They were baptized on the 6th October  1872 in Masulipatam , Madras. (3)

He was born into a family who had spent generations serving their country and  his great-uncles. Lieut. John Chrystie. R.N., and Capt. Thomas Chrystie, R.N. served under Nelson. The former was in the Victory immediately before Trafalgar, but was transferred on promotion. The latter was at Trafalgar in the Defiance.

Born in India both boys were educated in England, first at Surrey County School and then Craideigh and Portsmouth Grammar School. They then both joined the British Army though in different roles, John joined the Artillery and George was gazetted a 2nd Lieutenant in 1st Royal Dublin Fusillers on the 18th June 1892.

He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 25th June 1895. Chrystie seems to have been an excellent solider and on the 23rd October 1896 transferred to the Indian Staff corps and a year later was appointed to the 5th Punjab Calvary (as 25th Calvary was then designated). In 1901 he was promoted Captain and in 1910 to Major. (4)

He was married to Melver Campbell and they had three daughters, Aileen Margaret, Elizabeth Frances and Alice Helen. (5)

In 1913, Captain Chrystie and his regiment were based in and around Bannu (The town was founded in 1848 by Herbert Benjamin Edwardes) which is in Modern day Pakistan and was used during the Raj as as base for action against Afghan border tribes.

On the 29th April 1913, news came into the town that there had been a raid at Isa Khel, about 35 miles South of Bannu and that the raiders had carried off four Hindu boys and were making off for the passes to the North East.

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Possibly Captain (later Major) George Chrystie?

A brother officer then describes the action.

At 11.30 on Thursday we were in office when news came that the raiders had been seen at Naurang, about 12 miles south, that morning. Immediately two squadrons went out, Major Chrystie with B to Naurang, and Grant with A to Jani Khel, to hold the nullahs to the west in case they should try and break back. Two companies of Coke’s Rifles also went to Naurang. When Major Chrystie got to Naurang on Thursday he found the raiders had been sighted early that morning, but had got away from the police, and had gone off  to teh east followed by the police and villagers. So Major Chrystie went after them and soon caught up and passed the police and halted that night, having done 5 1/2 miles with barely a halt. 

On again at dawn Friday, over a bare waterless country with everything against him, and everything in favour of the raiders, but he stuck to it all that day and by 4pm reached teh edge of the Salt Range, 30 miles to the East of Bannu, having done over 100 miles since noon the day before. Then he lost trace of the raiders among the infernal Salt Hills and was just turning towards home, when he heard firing, and found that the Salt Mine Police had sighted the raiders, so he divided his squadron and sent half to head them off, and at last ran tehm to earth in a nullah. 

You must wonder why, having surrounded these fellows, he did not at once go in and finish them off, but you must remember that though one cannot help admiring these fellows for their guts, to use an expressive if vulgar term, they must have done 60 to 70 miles in 24 hours, carrying rifles and ammunition, yet they are such blackguards, with a list against them of the foulest crimes imaginable long enough to hang a hundred men, that one can only look on them as vermin, and as such to be destroyed in the safest way possible, and to rush them in the dark, quick though it would have been, would have meant certain death for at least four or five of our fellows. 

The Raiders rushed into this nullah, which had almost precipitous sides of shale about ten to twelve feet deep and they were fired at by our party.  Two were killed, the remaining three (there were eight to start with but two were killed before, and one got away) got behind some big shale boulders where they were absolutely under cover. Our people occupied the remaining sides and the forth was held by the police. As they were quite unget-at-able where they were in the dark, the deputy Commissioner, Bill, made big bundles of brushwood and straw and set alight to them and pushed them with a long stick over the edge of the nullah to smoke them out. Major Chrystie from the other side shouted to tell him where to push them, and then they pushed one over another. Those who where with him say that Major Chrystie raised himself on his knees and peered over to see where a bundle would fall, but it stuck on the edge of the slope and flared up, and by its light the raiders saw him and fired at fifty yards and the bullet struck him in the chest and he dropped forward stone dead. And so the dragged him behind the ridge and carried him down to the road two miles away.

Of all the crowd who raided Isa Khel only one escaped, so it has been a fine show as we have had for some time, but it isn’t worth losing a man like Chrystie for all the blackguards in Asia. He was the one man we could least afford to lose, one of the straightest and best men I had ever met, a man you could absolutely rely on, and a jolly good soldier to boot. (6)

As an aside note, the three Hindu boys were recovered and returned to their families. Major Chrystie’s body was carried back to Bannu, were he was buried in his local church. He left all is worldly goods to his wife and Daughters.

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The hand written will of Major George Chrystie. (7)

In a final twist of fate for the Chrystie family, his twin brother was killed in action in the First Battle of Ypres at Zillebeke. near Ypres on 17 Nov. 1914; and was buried in Ypres Cemetery.

His colonel wrote of him: He left behind him the lasting memorial of a shining example, of how we ought to live and die, and we shall not forget it. He came to this brigade at my invitation, stayed in it at my invitation, and so far as we all are concerned he remains in it for ever. We shall not see his like any more. (8)

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Major John Chrystie

So both twin brothers both died in the service of their country, George in an insignificant action in the wilds of the North West Frontier and John in the killing fields of Belgium during the bloodiest conflict man had ever known but both seemed to have been well liked and respected soldiers.

Both are commemorated on a plaque in All Saints Church, Witley.

 

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Memorial Plaque to the Chrystie Twins. All Saints Church

Sources.

  1. NAM. 1969-10-587-1-28
  2. Army Navy Gazette Saturday 05 June 1909 British Newspaper Archive. 
  3. FindMyPast British India Office Births & Baptisms. Record N-2-53 226.
  4. FindMyPast British Army, Army Lists 1839-1946. Image number: 682.
  5. Army Navy Gazette 10th may 1913. British Newspaper Archive.
  6. Army Navy Gazette 21st June 1913. British Newspaper Archive.
  7. FindMyPast British India Office Wills & Probate. Record L-AG-34-40-73
  8. masonicgreatwarproject.org.uk/legend.php?id=548
  9. Surrey in the Great War: A County Remembers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Lions of Empire. Six Winners of the Victoria Cross.

Among the survivors of the Siege of Delhi there are eight winners of the Victoria Cross. Two of these are absent from this group, General Sir Dighton Probyn and Sir E.T Thackeray.

VC

Left to Right:
 
Lt Gen Sir J. Hills-Johnes VC
Date of Act of Bravery, 9 July 1857
For very gallant conduct on the part of Lieutenant Hills before Delhi, in defending the position assigned to him in case of alarm, and for noble behaviour on the part of Lieutenant-Colonel Tombs in twice coming to his subaltern’s rescue, and on each occasion killing his man.


Lord Roberts VC
For actions on 2 January 1858 at Khudaganj

 

On following the retreating enemy on 2 January 1858, at Khodagunge, he saw in the distance two Sepoys going away with a standard. Lieutenant Roberts put spurs to his horse, and overtook them just as they were about to enter a village. They immediately turned round, and presented their muskets at him, and one of the men pulled the trigger, but fortunately the caps snapped, and the standard-bearer was cut down by this gallant young officer, and the standard taken possession of by him. He also, on the same day, cut down another Sepoy who was standing at bay, with musket and bayonet, keeping off a Sowar. Lieutenant Roberts rode to the assistance of the horseman, and, rushing at the Sepoy, with one blow of his sword cut him across the face, killing him on the spot.


General Sir Hugh Gough VC  

Date of Acts of Bravery, 12th November, 1857, and 25th February, 1858

Lieutenant Gough, when in command of a party of Hodson’s Horse, near Alumbagh, on the 12th of November, 1857, particularly distinguished himself by his forward bearing in charging across a swamp, and capturing two guns, although defended by a vastly superior body of the enemy. On this occasion he had his horse wounded in two places, and his turban cut through by sword cuts, whilst engaged in combat with three Sepoys.

Lieutenant Gough also particularly distinguished himself, near Jellalabad, Lucknow, on 25 February 1858, by showing a brilliant example to his Regiment, when ordered to charge the enemy’s guns, and by his gallant and forward conduct, he enabled them to effect their object. On this occasion he engaged himself in a series of single combats, until at length he was disabled by a musketball through the leg, while charging two Sepoys with fixed bayonets. Lieutenant Gough on this day had two horses killed under him, a shot through his helmet, and another through his scabbard, besides being severely wounded.


General Sir Charles Gough. VC

Date of Acts of Bravery, 15th and 18th August, 1857, and 27th January, and 23rd February, 1858

First, for gallantry in an affair at Khurkowdah, near Rhotuck, on the 15 August 1857, while serving with Hodson’s Horse, in which he saved his brother, who was wounded, and killed two of the Enemy.

Secondly, for gallantry on 18 August, when he led a Troop of the Guide Cavalry in a charge, and cut down two of the Enemy’s Sowars, with one of whom he had a desperate hand to hand combat.

Thirdly, for gallantly on 27 January 1858, at Shumshabad, where, in a charge, he attacked one of the Enemy’s leaders and pierced him with his sword, which was carried out of his hand in the melee. He defended, himself with his revolver, and shot two of the Enemy.

Fourthly, for gallantry on 23 February, at Meangunge, where he came to the assistance of Brevet-Major O. H. St. George Anson, and killed his opponent, immediately afterwards cutting down another of the Enemy in the same gallant manner.


Colonel T Cadell VC

For having, on the 12th of June, 1857, at the Flag-staff Picquet at Delhi, when the whole of the Picquet of Her Majesty’s 75th Regiment and 2nd European Bengal Fusiliers were driven in by a large body of the enemy, brought in from amongst the enemy a wounded Bugler of his own regiment, under a most severe fire, who would otherwise have been cut up by the rebels. Also, on the same day, when the Fusiliers were retiring, by order, on Metcalfe’s house, on its being reported that there was a wounded man left behind, Lieutenant Cadell went back of his own accord towards the enemy, accompanied by three men, and brought in a man of the 75th Regiment, who was severely wounded, under a most heavy fire from the advancing enemy.


General Sir James Watson VC

Lieutenant Watson, on the 14th November, with his own squadron, and that under Captain, then Lieutenant, Probyn, came upon a body of the rebel cavalry. The Ressaldar in command of them  a fine specimen of the Hindustani Mussulman  and backed up by some half dozen equally brave men, rode out to the front. Lieutenant Watson singled out this fine-looking fellow and attacked him. The Ressaldar presented his pistol at Lieutenant Watsons breast, at a yards distance, and fired; but, most providentially, without effect; the ball must, by accident, have previously fallen out. Lieutenant Watson ran the man through with his sword, and dismounted him; but the native officer, nothing daunted, drew his tulwar, and with his Sowars renewed his attack upon Lieutenant Watson, who bravely defended himself until his own men joined in the melee, and utterly routed the party.
In this rencontre, Lieutenant Watson received a blow on the head from a tulwar, another on the left arm, which severed his chain gauntlet glove, a tulwar cut on his right arm, which fortunately only divided the sleeve of the jacket, but disabled the arm for some time; a bullet also passed through his coat, and he received a blow on his leg, which lamed him for some days afterwards.


 

The Graphic 8th June 1907.

London Gazette.

2nd Lieutenant John Norwood VC

For Valour

2nd Lieutenant John Norwood (8 September 1876 – 8 September 1914) 5th dragoon Guards was awarded his Victoria Cross for his actions on the 30th October 1900.

His Citation reads:

This Officer went out from Ladysmith in charge of a small patrol of the 5th Dragoon Guards. They came under a heavy fire from the enemy, who were posted on a ridge in great force. The patrol, which had arrived within about 600 yards of the ridge, then retired at full speed. One man dropped, and Second Lieutenant Norwood galloped back about 300 yards through heavy fire, dismounted, and picking up the fallen trooper, carried him out of fire on his back, at the same time leading his horse with one hand. The enemy kept up an incessant fire during the whole time that Second Lieutenant Norwood was carrying the man until he was quite out of range.

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John Norwood VC

He served in Transvaal and the Orange River Colony, and was promoted to lieutenant on 27 June 1900. He stayed with the Guards regiment in South Africa until the war ended in May 1902, and left for Calcutta on the SS Umlazi two months later.

Norwood later achieved the rank of captain. He served in the First World War and was killed in action during the First Battle of the Marne at Sablonnieres, France, on 8 September 1914.

The Sphere 13th April 1900.

Corporal Frank Howard Kirby VC

For Valour.

Corporal Frank Howard Kirby (12 November 1871 – 8 July 1956) Royal Engineers holds not only the Victoria Cross, but also the medal for distinguished Conduct in the field.

He was awarded the Cross for actions on the 2nd June 1900, when he was one of a party  sent to try to cut the Delagoa Bay Railway were retiring, hotly pressed by very superior numbers. During one of the successive retirements of the rearguard, a man, whose horse had been shot, was seen running after his comrades. He was a long way behind the rest of his troop and was under a brisk fire. From among the retiring troop Corporal Kirby turned and rode back to the man’s assistance.

Although by the time he reached him they were under a heavy fire at close range, Corporal Kirby managed to get the dismounted man up behind him and to take him clear off over the next rise held by our rearguard. This is the third occasion on which Corporal Kirby has displayed gallantry in the face of the enemy.

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Frank Howard Kirby VC

Kirby was appointed a regimental sergeant major at Chatham in 1906. Five years later, in April 1911, he was gazetted with an honorary commission as a lieutenant, appointed a quartermaster,and posted to the newly formed Air Battalion of the Royal Engineers. He attended the first course at the Central Flying School in 1912.

Kirby subsequently transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (which had absorbed the Air Battalion) and he was commissioned as an Equipment Officer. Kirby was appointed the Stores Officer at the Central Flying School. Kirby served at No 1 Aircraft Depot at Saint-Omer in early 1916, and with No 3 Army Aircraft Park in July 1916. In December 1916 he became commanding officer of No 1 Stores Depot at Kidbroke.

He went on to achieve the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Kirby remained in the Royal Air Force after the end of the First World War and was granted a permanent commission as a wing commander in 1920. Kirby was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in July 1926. He eventually retired, with permission to retain the rank of group captain, in December 1926.

The Sphere 30 March 1900 Page 319

Wikipedia

The H.M.S Tiger Disaster 2nd April 1908.

Standing on deck of the Destroyer H.M.S Tiger, Lieutenant W Middleton peered into the darkness, intently searching for any sign of Royal Navy’s Home Fleet.

Earlier in the day he had sailed from Portsmouth as part of the Home Fleet destroyer flotilla, which numbered twelve with orders to engage with the larger vessels of the Home Fleet.

The destroyers were working in pairs, so as to cover as much area as possible. Looking to starboard, Middleton could just make out the shape of H.M.S Recruit, both ships were acting under orders, so were running with no lights and adding to the visibility problems there was heavy rain.

Wrapped in his oilskin, Middleton was at his post by the 12 Pounder Gun in the bows of the ship. He had 57 men under his command and every man was on duty this night. Most were in the engine room, working and stoking the engines. Due to the conditions a large number were on look out duty searching for the pride of the Royal Navy.

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HMS Tiger was a Clydebank -built three funnel 30-knot destroyer purchased by the Royal Navy under the 1899 – 1900 Naval Estimates. She was launched on 19 May 1900. The ship was completed and accepted by the Royal Navy in June 1901.

Despite the exceedingly heavy and rainy conditions, it was an ideal night for delivery of a torpedo and evasion and Middleton had been a lieutenant in the Navy since 1901 and a commander since 1905 so the conditions didn’t faze him.

At a little after 8pm and to the shock of both commanders, the enormous shape of the capital ship H.M.S Prince George, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Farquhar suddenly loomed out of the darkness.

Unbeknown to both of them, following the Prince George were the heavy cruisers, Berwick, Essex, Argonaut, Forste and Gladiator.

The shock of seeing a Capital Ship emerging from the darkness soon dissipated, and the crews of both destroyers leapt into action. The Recruit was the lead ship and attacked from the port side, both ships firing torpedoes at Prince George.

As the Prince George passed by,  the Tiger instead of following the Recruit, altered her course to port which brought her across the stern of the Prince George but to the horror of Middleton, it also brought her across the course of the following H.M.S Berwick.

On the Berwick the lookouts bellowed a warning but there was no time for evasive manoeuvres and the ship braced itself for impact. On the Tiger the full horror that was about to unfold must have hit Middleton hard.

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The 9,800 ton H.M.S Berwick.

The 9,800 ton Berwick was travelling at 10 knots and smashed into the 400 ton Tiger between the second and third funnels with such force that the Tiger was torn in two.

The forepart, on which Lieutenant Middleton and most of the deck hands were stationed immediately sank and the afterpart, after floating clear of the cruiser, went down in three minutes. Engineer-Lieutenant Vinning, who was on the afterpart gave orders for every man to come up below and for the boats to be launched, but before this order could be carried out and almost as the last man appeared on deck, the vessel sank.

The Berwick, Gladiator and other vessels in the neighbourhood immediately switched their searchlights on and swept the ocean looking for survivors, they also lowered boats and most of the men who had been stationed on the afterpart of the destroyer, and who were by this time struggling in the water were picked up. Lieutenant Middleton and his men in the Forepart were not so lucky, it sank with all hands.

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Lieutenant W.E. Middleton. He joined the Navy in 1894 and received his Lieutenancy in 1901.

 

Of the crew of 58 only 23 men were picked up and returned to Spithead.

An official inquiry was set up to look into the circumstances of the sinking and all surviving crew members gave their account of the disaster and were then confined to barracks to stop them giving statements before the proceedings were completed.

A former naval officer gave his opinion to the Standard newspaper:

“After firing at the Prince George, which led the big ship line, the Tiger then passed under the stern of that ship, and in doing so was struck by the Berwick, which was next in astern. There is little reason to believe that the steering gear gave out at the crucial moment. Far more probable is that those on the bridge of the ill fated destroyer never saw the Berwick at all.

The distance between the stern of the Prince George and the bow of the Berwick, supposing the fleet to have been in station at two cables, would have been approximately, 270 yards. The fleet is believed to have been travelling at ten knots, which is the equivalent to a speed of 330 yards a minute.

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Lieutenant Middleton and his Crew of H.M.S Tiger.

The gap through which the Tiger attempted to pass would therefore have been open for, approximately three-quarters of a minute only, during which time the Tiger at 21 Knots, could cover 600 yards. All evidence, therefore is that the destroyer would never intentionally have intended to cut through the line, even apart from the knowledge they would alter course to avoid her torpedoes. Hence the strong assumption that she was ignorant of the Berwick’s position.”

The Deputy Judge Advocate during the Court Martial in Portsmouth certainly agreed with this assessment:

The Court finds that no blame is attributable to any of the surviving members of the crew of the Tiger and that there is no evidence to show why she altered course to port instead of following her leader; and as there is no evidence on this point, the court considers that no blame can attributed to any particular deceased crew member.

The Court is of the opinion that the Berwick must have been visible from the Tiger when she altered her course to port. The court further finds that from the evidence it has had before it, no blame is attributed to any other person for this lamentable accident and that there was not sufficient time from the time of the Tiger been sighted from the Berwick for the latter to have avoided or prevented the collision;  and that the court further consider that, when the collision was seen to be inevitable all proper steps were taken on board the Berwick to lessen the shock collision and save lives. 

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The dead being brought ashore.

List of Crewmen killed:

  1. William E Middleton              Lieutenant and Commander
  2. Christopher J Dunaway         Gunner
  3. Ernest Alexander Kingham  Officer’s Steward 2nd Class
  4. Thomas Worrall                      Stoker 1st Class
  5. Frank Manning                       Stoker 1st Class
  6. James French                           P.O 1st Class
  7. Oliver Goldsmith                    P.O 2nd Class
  8. Ralph Tweed Pickett              Signalman
  9. Frederick Bellamy Carter     A.B
  10. Edward John Pipe                  P.O 2nd Class
  11. Thomas King                           A.B
  12. Joseph Albert Helps               A.B
  13. Frederick George Kinch        A.B
  14. Ernest Matthews                     A.B
  15. Frank Holmes                          Chief Stoker
  16. George Walter Chard              Chief Stoker
  17. Albert Edward Hayles            Stoker Petty Officer
  18. William Colley                         Stoker 1st Class
  19. Willaim Beeson                       Leading Stoker
  20. John St Vincent Shaw             Signalman
  21. Joseph Lightfoot                      Stoker 2nd Class
  22. George Fletcher Dearnly       Stoker 1st Class
  23. William Alfred Crawley         Stoker 2nd Class
  24. Harry Smith                             Stoker 1st Class
  25. George Webb                            Stoker 1st Class
  26. Joseph McGarth                        Stoker 1st Class
  27. John Mitchell                            Stoker 1st Class
  28. William Pritchett                     A.B
  29. Edwin Arthur Rich                  A.B
  30. James Hargreaves                    A.B
  31. George William Readings       Stoker 1st Class (Lent from HMS Amethyst)
  32. Frank Troke                               Stoker 1st Class (Lent from HMS Amethyst)
  33. William Hailwood                    Stoker 1st Class (Lent from HMS Amethyst)
  34. George Secker                           Stoker 1st Class (Lent from HMS Amethyst)
  35. William James Newman*       P.O 1st Class (Lent from HMS Amethyst)

* Picked up but since died.

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Stokers of HMS Tiger. Many died at their post.

The Standard 4th April 1908 Page 7

The Sketch 10th April 1908 page 16

The Illustrated London News 7th April Page 4.

 

 

 

 

Death of a famous War dog.

Death of a famous War dog.

From Colchester is announced the death, by poison, of “Drummer” the celebrated dog of the Northumberland Fusiliers.

“Drummer” belonged to Colonel Ray, principal Medical Officer at the Military Hospital, served through the last Egyptian campaign and was in the fire line at Omdurman, where he snapped at bullets thinking they were flies.

At the beginning of the South African War “Drummer” went out with his regiment and served at Magersfontein, the relief of Kimberley and Wynberg, at which last place he was wounded in the shoulder.

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It was Queen Victoria’s intention to award him a medal, but technical difficulties arose and “Drummer” had to be content with miniature medals and clasp, which though bore no official sanction served to remind his friends of the many battles he had taken part off.

His decorations commemorated the engagements of Diamond Hill, Johannesburg, Paardeberg, Driefontien, Kimberley, Belmont , and Modder River. He had the further distinction of being the only dog which Lord Methuen permitted to accompany his force from Orange River.

The Illustrated London News 1st February 1902.

Forgotten Voices of Empire: Memories of Ladysmith.

“Interview with a Crowborough Man.”

In a interview with a “Courier” reporter, Mr David Buss related how he entered the army in 1895, and was for twelve years in the 2nd Battalion King’s Royal Rifles. He was in South Africa before hostilities broke out and first saw fire on October 15 1899. Incidentally there were three brothers serving during the South African War.

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Mr David Buss a member of the  King’s Royal Rifles during the South African War.

For 118 days the garrison some 10,000 strong, under Sir George White was besieged in Ladysmith. There was also a big civilian population to feed, and horse and mule flesh for the greater part of the period formed a main item in the diet.

Tea leaves and coffee grounds also had their value as “articles” of food, consumable liquids of all kinds were also exceedingly scarce.

“And may I say,” observed Mr Buss at this stage, thirst is worse than starvation, any day!”

Mr Buss kept a diary of the siege, and interesting and revealing extract is given as follows:-

14 lbs oatmeal…………………………………………60/-

Condensed Milk per tin………………………….10/-

1 lb coffee………………………………………………..17/-

Eggs per Dozen………………………………………..48/-

Fowls Each……………………………………………….18/6

1 Doz Tomatoes ……………………………………….18/-

1 Doz Potatoes ………………………………………….19/-

1 Bottle Jam……………………………………………….31/-

1 lb Marmalade…………………………………………31/-

1 Doz matches……………………………………………13/-

1 Pk Cigarettes……………………………………………25/-

50 Cigars………………………………………………………185/-

1/4 lb cake tobacco………………………………………45/-

1/4 lb sailors tobacco…………………………………..43/-

1/4 lb Capstan Naval cut………………………………60/-

(Typical Infantry private’s pay 1/- a day)

“Articles in everyday use such as rice, starch, curry powders etc had vanished long ago. Violet powder was impounded and turned into mysterious blancmanges. Clothing also run short, especially for the feet and men’s stocks were very scarce.

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Trenches around Ladysmith 1899

When a live shell was fired in Ladysmith in honour of the Prince of Wales birthday the whole population were in a ferment of excitement, they had thought it to mark the arrival of relief.

With Mr Buss in Ladysmith was one of his brothers and their numbers were respectively 9196 and 9238. Mr Buss’s brother was servant to Captain Northley now residing at Epsom.

During his Army service Mr Buss was also in India, and was at Delhi when Kind Edward VII was proclaimed and later attended the coronation ceremony.

“Rode in the King’s carriage”  

Mr Buss told the reporter that he was “a 1914 man” in the Great War (Interestingly his Service record states that he didn’t arrive in France until July 1915)  and was wounded in France in 1916 (GSW Left Arm)  and “gassed” in 1917. When in the King George V ward at Charing Cross Hospital he once had the privilege, as Mr Buss put it, of “riding in the King’s carriage.”

He was then transferred to a Bristol Hospital, where King George spoke to him when visiting.

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The Military service of David Buss later of the King’s Royal Rifles 1895-1907

In the later stages of the war he was attached to the Carabineers in Italy and was there when Armistice was signed.

Here, therefore, is a veteran who has been through two major wars. Today Mr Buss is seeking work, and his opinion was given to our representative in these words:

“In times of war it is Tommy this and Tommy that; but afterwards you just aren’t wanted”

However Mr Buss is by no means downhearted, and he meanwhile delights to get hold of an interested listener for his many army reminiscences.

Born is 1875, Mr Buss is a proud Surrey Man.

The Surrey Courier 30th December 1938.