Born: 1871, Cwmbran, Monmouthshire, Wales.

Baptist: 31st December 1871, Llanfrechfa Upper. Parents: Ann Attwell & Charles Attwell, a foundry labourer, of Nightingale Row.

Died: 6th January 1900; age 28; KiA at Suffolk Hill, Rensburg, near Colesberg, Northern Cape, South Africa.

Residence: 8, Forge Side, Blaenavon, Monmouthshire, Wales.


Rank: Lance Corporal; Service Number: 3369.

Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 1st Battalion, South Africa Field Force.


Clasp Awarded: Cape Colony.




19,   Stafford Row, Llanover, Blaenavon, Monmouthshire, Wales.


James was 9 years old and living with his parents, siblings & widowed, maternal grandmother.

Charles Attwell, 36, a Blast Furnace worker – Pig Iron, born Nailsea, Somerset.

Ann Attwell (nee Harrhy), 27, born Newport, Monmouthshire.

Charles William Attwell, 8, born Cwmbran, Monmouthshire.

Ann Attwell, 7, born Cwmbran, Monmouthshire.

Thomas Attwell, 3, born Cwmbran, Monmouthshire.

Sarah Attwell, 1, born Cwmbran, Monmouthshire.

Ann Harrhy Jones, 60, born Newport, Monmouthshire.

The Western Mail –  Friday 12th January 1900 – BLAENAVON MAN AMONGST THE KILLED AT RENSBURG

Amongst the long list of casualties suffered b y the 2nd Suffolk Regiment in the gallant attack made by them on Saturday last is the name of Lance-corporal J. Attwell, who was killed. Attwell was a native of Blaenavon, his parents living in the town at present, the father being employed as foreman at the blast furnaces. Attwell was a very smart soldier, and was of a quiet disposition. He served his time with his regiment, and returned home about three years ago, but previous to the Soudan campaign he was asked if he would like to rejoin his regiment, which he did, and he took part in the battle of Omdurman. When home Attwell was a playing member of the now extinct Blaenavon Association Club, playing a fine game as centre forward.

South Wales Daily News – Saturday 13th January 1900 – BLAENAVON MAN KILLED

The name of Lance-Corporal James Attwell, 1st Suffolk Regiment, appears in the list of killed at Rensburg on Saturday last. His parents, who reside at Forge Side, Blaenavon, his father being foreman at the Blaenavon Company’s blast furnaces, received a letter on the morning of the fatality stating that their son, had just received the rank of lance-corporal, and at the time of writing was about to proceed to the front. He had served his time some two years ago, but rejoined prior to the Soudan campaign, and was present at Omdurman. Whilst he was at home Attwell was a forward in the local Association team.


Evening Express – Thursday, 8th February 1900 – BOERS AS MARKSMEN

Lance-corporal Atwell, of the 1st Suffolk Regiment, who was killed at Rensburg on January 10, writing home from Naacport Camp to his father, Mr. C. Atwell, of Forge Side, Blaenavon, on December 26, said: – “We are here protecting the lines of communication at present, but we don’t know how long we shall stop, as our general has moved and captured Arundel with his cavalry and horse artillery with the loss of one sergeant killed and five officers and men wounded. They (the Boers) won’t come near so that we can have a go at them with our rifles; if they do they will get it hot, because we have every stone path and road marked and the range taken. You must not believe the Boers are good shots, for they are not. They skulk behind rocks, trees, and hills, and you can’t get them away from them. The next big fight will be at Colesberg. It is only about 30 miles from here, and close to the Orange Free State. We are ready for the advance at any moment. We are right between General Gatacre and Methuen’s armies, so if the Boers are retreating we can strike at them from here. The sun is very hot, and sandstorms keep coming over the camp. I never felt so dirty in my life, and we have nothing with us but one suit of khaki clothing and two pairs of socks. Some of the boots have begun to show signs of wear now, and I don’t know what we shall do in a few months’ time. I am enjoying myself fine, and think this will be a fine country when it is opened up and the war is over. The New Zealand and New South Wales Lancers are here, and a fine lot of fellows they are.


Newspaper articles courtesy of Berenice.


One of the notable Battles with a large loss of Suffolk life was the “Battle of Suffolk hill” at Colesberg, Northern Cape 5th- 6th January 1900. The hill was originally called Red or Grassy Hill. The Suffolk regiment was ordered to make a night attack on a Boer position on the heights, four companies, 354 of all ranks, set out at midnight under the command of Col. Watson. The Suffolks were met by a storm of bullets. The Colonel was amongst the first to fall, and the party later retired with 11 officers and 150+ men killed, wounded or captured.

The Boer War.

Suffolk Regiment 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top