On the 5th July, 1900, at Wolve Spruit, about 15 miles north of Standerton, a party of Lord Strathcona’s Corps, only 38 in number, came into contact, and was engaged at close quarters, with a force of 80 of the enemy.
When the order to retire had been given, Sergeant Richardson rode back under a very heavy cross-fire and picked up a trooper whose horse had been shot and who was wounded in two places and rode with him out of fire.
At the time when this act of gallantry was performed, Sergeant Richardson was within 300 yards of the enemy, and was himself riding a wounded horse.”
On the terrain of the Reformed Church’s Theological School, in its South-Easterly corner, stands a modest monument in the form of a three – and half meter high obelisk. The lettering on the white marble is worn as a result of exposure to the elements through the years.
but on closer inspection the following inscription can be read:
“Ter gedachtenis aan de oud studenten en studenten van de Theologiese School der Gereformeerde Kerk in den oorlog 1899-1902, die hun leven gaven voor Vrijheid en voor Recht”
KOMdt. Karel David COETZEE
KOMdt. Calman Efraim LION-CACHET
Jacob Philippus MARÉ
Johannes Abraham VENTER
Jan Christoffel KRUGER
Roughly translated as:
“in honour of students (of the original Theological School at Burgersdorp)
whom all served and died during the Second Anglo-Boer.
They were all of the rank Commandant, in name: –
KOMdt. Karel David COETZEE
KOMdt. Calman Efraim LION-CACHET
Jacob Philippus MARÉ
Johannes Abraham VENTER
Jan Christoffel KRUGER
Known as the “Gloria Victis” memorial, it was originally erected in front of the first Theological School building in Potchefstroom which was founded in 13 February 1905. The memorial was unveiled on 24 March 1906 by Ds. W.J. De Klerk but it was later moved to its current position, presumably after the completion of the third school complex around about 1950. Current position is at GPS Coordinates -26.693507, 27.097163.
The “Teologiese Skool Potchefstroom (TSP)” is where candidate pastors of the Reformed Church in South Africa are trained. It was originally founded In Burgersdorp (In the Free State) in 1869, and then moved to Potchefstroom in 1904, re-opening in 1905.
Once the Anglo Boer War commenced in 1899, the Theological School’s students (hailing from the two Boer Republics, the Transvaal and the Fee State) returned to their homes to take up arms (against the British), with fatal outcome for the five students whose names are inscribed on the memorial. After the war ended in 1902, returning students of the Theological School decided to erect a monument to commemorate their fellow fallen students; and the associated costs for the memorial were funded by the students, and their mutual friends.
At Colenso, on the 15th December, 1899, when the detachments serving the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, had all been killed, wounded, or driven from them by Infantry fire at close range, Captain Schofield went out when the first attempt was made to extricate the guns, and assisted in withdrawing the two that were saved.”
The Citation that was recorded in the London Gazette of Issue:27160, Page: 689, is about the actions of Captain William Congreve and Lieutenant Frederick Roberts. George Nurse is seemingly mention as an afterthought. The Citation reads:
“The Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officer, whose claims have been submitted for Her Majesty’s approval, for their conspicuous bravery at the battle of Colenso, as stated against their names:—
The Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own), Captain W. N. Congreve.
At Colenso on the 15th December, 1899, the detachments serving the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, had all been either killed, wounded, or driven from their guns by Infantry fire at close range, and the guns were deserted.
About 500 yards behind the guns was a donga in which some of the few horses and drivers left alive were sheltered. The intervening space was swept with shell and rifle fire.
Captain Congreve, Rifle Brigade, who was in the donga, assisted to hook a team into a limber, went out; and assisted to limber up a gun. Being wounded, he took shelter; but, seeing Lieutenant Roberts fall, badly wounded, he went out again and brought him in. Captain Congreve was shot tbrough the leg, through the toe of his boot, grazed on the elbow and the shoulder, and his horse shot in three places.
Lieutenant Roberts assisted Captain Congreve. He was wounded in three places.
Corporal Nurse also assisted.”
Captain Congreve served held a series of command posts in Britain and Ireland and was served with distinction during World War I, deployed with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France, and taking part in the Battle of the Aisne. He went on to command the 6th Division from May 1915 and then XIII Corps from November 1915.
From 1924 to 1927, he served as the governor of Malta, where he died. He was buried at sea in the channel between the coast and Filfla Island.
Congreve’s son was Major William La Touche Congreve, VC – they are one of only three father and son pairs to win a VC (Frederick Roberts VC and Lord Roberts VC were also father and son)
“South African Constabulary, Surgeon-Captain A. Martin-Leake.
During the action at Vlakfonteiu, on the 8th February, 1902, Surgeon-Captain Martin-Leake went up to a wounded man, and attended to him under a heavy fire from about 40 Boers at 100 yards range. He then went to the assistance of a wounded Officer, and, whilst trying to place him in a comfortable position, was shot three times, but would not give in till he rolled over thoroughly exhausted. All the eight men at this point were wounded, and while they were lying on the Veldt, Surgeon-Captain Martin-Leake refused water till every one else had been served. “
He returned to service as a lieutenant with the 5th Field Ambulance when the First World War broke out.
“Lieutenant Arthur Martin Leake, Royal Army Medical Corps, who was awarded the Victoria Cross on 13th May, 1902, is granted, a Clasp for conspicuous bravery in the present, campaign: — For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty throughout the campaign, especially during the period 29th October to 8th November 1914, near Zonnebeke, in rescuing, whilst exposed to constant fire, a large number of the wounded who were lying close to the enemy’s trenches.”
He retired from the army after the war and resumed his employment in India until he retired to England in 1937. He died, aged 79, at High Cross, Hertfordshire and was buried in St John’s Church, High Cross.
Commemoration plaque at the National Memorial Arboretum
There is a Memorial to Arthur Martin-Leake VC and Cmdnt Gert Martinus Claassen at the farm Syferfontein.
“The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), Captain Charles FitzCIarence.
On the 14th October, 1899, Captain FitzCIarence went with his squadron of the Protectorate Regiment, consisting of only partially trained men, who had never been in action, to the assistance of an armoured train which had gone out from Mafeking. The enemy were in greatly superior numbers, and the squadron was for a time surrounded, and it looked as if nothing could save them from being shot down. Captain FitzCIarence, however, by his personal coolness and courage inspired the greatest confidence in his men, and, by his bold and efficient handling of them, not only succeeded in relieving the armoured train, but inflicted a heavy defeat on the Boers, who lost 50 killed and a large number wounded, his own losses being 2 killed and 15 wounded. The moral effect of this blow had a very important bearing on subsequent encounters with the Boers.
On the 27th October, 1899, Captain FitzCIarence led his squadron from Mafeking across the open, and made a night attack with the bayonet on one of the enemy’s trenches. A hand-to-hand fight took place in the trench, while a heavy fire was concentrated on it from the rear. The enemy was driven out with heavy loss. Captain’ FitzCIarence was the first man into the position and accounted for four of the enemy with his sword. The British lost & killed and 9 wounded. Captain. FitzCIarence was himself: slightly wounded. With reference to these two actions, Major. General Baden-Powell states that had this Officer not shown an extraordinary spirit and fearlessness the attacks would have been failures, and we should have suffered heavy loss both in men and prestige. On the 26th December, 1899, during the action at Game Tree, near Mafeking, Captain FitzCIarence again distinguished himself by his coolness and courage and was again wounded (severely through both legs).”
“On the 30th October, 1899, 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.”
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. He is buried in Plot 4, Sablonnieres Communal Cemetery, France.
The Memorial to the Men of Worcestershire who lost their lives in the Boer War stands outside Worcester Cathedral.
The Memorial is a bronze depiction of a soldier of the Worcester Regiment kneeling as he prepares to fire his last cartridge. A winged figure said to represent “Immortality” stands above him with a palm branch in one hand, and in the other hand a sheathed sword with laurel wreath on it. It was unveiled on 23 September 1908 by Lt. Gen. the Hon. Sir N. G. Lyttleton. The monument was restored in 2005. The sculptor was William Robert Colton and it is a grade II listed object.
There is an additional inscription on the base of the memorial that is not as legible.
Their bodies were buried in peace
but their name liveth forevermore
Inside the Cathedral there is an additional Roll of Honour.
“On the occasion of the action at Korn Spruit on the 31st March, 1900, a British force, including two batteries of the Royal Horse Artillery, was retiring from Thabanchu towards Bloemfontein. The enemy had formed an ambush at Korn Spruit, and before their presence was discovered by the main body had captured the greater portion of the baggage column and five out of the six guns of the leading battery.
When the alarm was given Q Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, was within 300 yards of the Spruit. Major Phipps-Hornby, who commanded it, at once wheeled about and moved off at a gallop under a very heavy fire. One gun upset when a wheel horse was shot, and had to be abandoned, together with a waggon, the horses of which were killed. The remainder of the battery reached a position close to some unfinished railway buildings and came into action 1,150 yards from the Spruit, remaining in action until ordered to retire. When the order to retire was received Major Phipps-Hornby ordered the guns and their limbers to be run back by hand to where the teams of uninjured horses stood behind the unfinished buildings. The few remaining gunners, assisted by a number of Officers and men of a party of Mounted Infantry, and directed by Major Phipps-Hornby and Captain Humphreys, the only remaining Officers of the battery, succeeded in running back four of the guns under shelter. One or two of the limbers were similarly withdrawn by hand, but the work was most severe and the distance considerable. In consequence all concerned were so exhausted that they were unable to drag in the remaining limbers or the fifth gun. It now became necessary to risk the horses, and volunteers were called for from among the drivers, who readily responded. Several horses were killed and men wounded, but at length only one gun and one limber were left exposed. Four separate attempts were made to rescue these, but when no more hordes were available the attempt had to be given up and the gun and limber were abandoned.
Meanwhile the other guns had been sent on, one at a time, and after passing within 700 or 800 yards of the enemy, in rounding the head of a donga and crossing two spruits they eventually reached a place of safety, where the battery was re-formed.
After full consideration of the circumstances of the case the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-chief in South Africa formed the opinion that the conduct of all ranks of Q Battery, Royal Horse Artillery, was conspicuously gallant and daring, but that all were equally brave and devoted in their behaviour. He therefore decided to treat the case of the battery as one of collective gallantry under Rule 13 of the Victoria Cross Warrant, and directed that one Officer should be selected for the decoration of the Victoria Cross by the Officers, one non-commissioned officer by the non-commissioned officers, and two gunners or drivers by the gunners and drivers. A difficulty arose with regard to the Officer because there were only two unwounded Officers — Major Phipps-Hornby and Captain Humphreys — available for the work of saving the guns, and both of these had been conspicuous by their gallantry and by the fearless manner in which they exposed themselves, and each of them nominated the other for the decoration. It was ultimately decided in favour of Major Phipps-Hornby as having been the senior concerned”