The Boer War
THE SOUTH AFRICAN CAMPAIGN
The British Empire had slowly taken Southern Africa, using it as a staging posts for shipping for India and China Sea trade routes.
The first Anglo-Boer War in 1880 created the two Transvaal and Orange Free State Republics, following a short conflict between the British and Dutch land settlers, refusing to submit to foreign colonial rule. Separating themselves from British controlled laws and taxes. The land which at the time was deemed as “very poor” and had no strategic or economic value. In 1886 Gold was found in the republic creating a “gold rush” with a large influx of none Dutch speaking settlers and prospectors. The Boers resented the influx immigrants to the new country and would not allow them to vote or recognise foreign laws including the abolition of slavery. By 1898 the Republic produced 30% of the world gold production, becoming one of the richest countries in the world. In 1895 a coup backed by the British government failed. The Boer armed themselves with the latest and the best weaponry importing German rifles and French artillery. In 1899 peace talks between the Boer republics and the British failed. War was declared on 11th October 1899 with many of the main British held towns Ladysmith, Kimberley, and Mafeking were then besieged by the Boer armies.
10,000 British and commonwealth troops were shipped to South Africa in response. England quickly mobilised through patriotic and the public anger that woman and children were being shelled in besieged British populated towns.
The Boer army although classed by some as a reservist militia rather than an army, was underrated by the British, however the majority of the Boer farmers were good marksman and hunters, using the German built Mouser Rifle, more accurate than the British at long range. French siege guns and light artillery sometimes manned and trained by foreign powers were a match to the British.
The British lost many opening battles of the first War, using outdated tactics against the modern weaponry. The army had up to that time still wore the old fashion “redcoats” jackets, which made easy targets. During the second War, the first use of barbed wire and trenches, used by both sides, held up many advances during attacks. The British found it hard to move large amounts of troops across the inhospitable terrain creating logistical problems. Thousands of troops became sick through poor sanitation and limited access to clean water, suffering from dysentery, typhoid and cholera using the name “enteric fever” as the main cause of death during the conflict.
Poor mapping of the terrain and the slow progress of large bodies of men were hampered by the Commando styled units of the Boer army, acting independently in a Guerrilla styled warfare. Hit and run attacks on the British army continued through to the War, despite the Boer army being out numbered, they managed to hold up thousands of British troops using these tactics. At the height of the war 400,000 British, South African, Indian, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Soldiers were shipped to South Africa against 30,000 – 40,000 Boers.
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 War was notable by the use of “concentration camps” holding Boer families, imprisoned by the British while their men were fighting. Boer farms were destroyed by the British under their “Scorched Earth” policy. The camps were densely populated, living on small rations, the camps became rife with disease. Thousands of families and men were deported, it is estimated out of the 116,000 confined to the camps 28,000, mainly women and children died.
The Boer War was finally concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging in May 1902. It is estimated British losses 7,000+ killed, 13,000+ died of disease. 6,000+ Boer soldiers were killed during the conflict.
The Wars had changed the British army, no longer using “red coats” opting for Khaki green uniforms that blended into the scenery. Block houses and barbed wire were used to protect the supply lines and controlled areas. Weaponry had changed too, to new rifles, machine guns and fire control systems for artillery. More coordination between units and better mapping systems. On the outbreak of WW1 the British army despite its small size was more advanced and experienced following the lessons learnt from the Boer war.
SUFFOLK VOLUNTEERS FOR THE FRONT.
DEPARTURE SCENES AT IPSWICH.
THE MAYOR’S FAREWELL LUNCHEON.
12th January 1900 Suffolk Chronicle & Mercury Newspaper
Follow link for the Suffolk Regiment during the Boer War.
It is a happy coincidence that the Mayor of Ipswich, during a year which is destined to be for ever memorable in the history of the empire in general and the Volunteer movement in particular, should be a gentleman who has long been connected with our defensive force.
Mayor W.A. Churchman represents the citizen-soldier in a most exact sense, and his Worship showed ready appreciation of the fact by inviting to luncheon at the Town Hall, the detachment of the 1st V.B. Suffolk Regiment which has engaged for active service in South Africa. This was the opening feature, therefore, of the demonstration which took place at the county town, on Wednesday, when the Active-Service Company of the 1st V.B. Suffolk Regiment left by the Depot at Bury St. Edmund’s. The men from other parts of East Suffolk proceeded straight to the Drill Hall, on reaching Ipswich; here they were awaited and joined by the representatives of the local half Battalion; and at half-past one o’clock the detachment marched to the Town Hall, from the summit of which the Old Union Jack – which is brand-new in actual presentment – floated bravely in the breeze. There was a fair assembly of townspeople in the streets even then, while the weather, wet and gloomy in the morning, gave signs of breaking out into a fine afternoon – a good omen in respect of the war itself, it may be hoped.
A number of leading townspeople, representative of all classes, had been invited to meet the Volunteers, and were received in the Council Chamber by the Mayor and Mayoress, his Worship wearing the chain of office, and being attended by Town Sergeants Hicks and Scott. Luncheon was laid in the Library, and the head table was adorned with the Regimental plate, including the Challenge Cup won by the 1st V.B.S.R. (given by Colonel Collins) and the loving cup presented to the officers’ mess by Col. J.H. Josselyn. The guests of the day were first shown to their seats, and the fact may here be mentioned that a member of H Company “retired” at the last moment, and that his place was filled at five minutes’ notice by one of the Woodbridge Company, who got a telegram after half-past twelve o’clock, and started for Ipswich at 12:58. The Mayor was supported on the right by Sir Charles Dalrymple, M.P., the Mayoress, Col. Josselyn, and Col. Alderson, and on the left by Mr. D. Ford Goddard, M.P., the Deputy-Mayor (Mr. E.P. Ridley), Dr. J.H. Bartlet, and Col. Fred Turner; the vice-chairs were occupied by Mayor F.G. Bond and Captain W.T. Pretty, and the company also included General Gardiner, Col. H.W. Packard, Lieut.-Col. Ward, Col. Russell, Captain Horsfield and Major Cobbold (1st Suffolk and Essex Artillery Volunteers), Captain Tempest, Captain and Adjutant Prest, Captain F. Turner, Captain Frank Bales, Surgeon-Capt. Hoyland, Surgeon-Lieut. Ward, Lieut. F.J. Cubitt, Liet. Orford, Mr. A. Winch, Mr. F.H. Forsdick, Mr. B.H. Burton, Mr. W.P. Burton, Mr. Cunningham Woods, Mr. Will Bantoft, Mr. J.E. Ransome, Mr. T.R. Elkington, and others.
After luncheon, the Chairman gave “The Queen,” which was drunk with cheers, and the loving cup was passed round. It was a merry scene this, as the gallant Volunteers, all unused to such a ceremony, bowed to one another, and roared with laughter over the fun of the thing. A cheer announced the rising of Lieutenant Orford, one of the Ipswich Company, who has volunteered for service, and is greatly disappointed that he has for the present to remain at home with the waiting Company.
The Mayor said before he proposed the toast with which he had been entrusted, he should like to mention that he had received some very kind letters from Mr. John D. Cobbold, Hon. W. Lowther – who was one of the first subscribers to the Fund which he (the Mayor) had opened the other day – Col. Thompson, Brigade-Surgeon Elliston, and Gen. Abadie, Commanding the Eastern District. General Abadie, in a letter expressing regret that he was unable to be present, owing to the fact that he was engaged at Norwich, heartily wished the Ipswich Volunteers every success, and concluded as follows:- “They have a hard time before them, and a hard nut to crack, but I feel certain they will do their duty to the best of their ability for their Queen, for their country, and for their county.” (Applause.) Continuing, the Major gave the toast of “Her Majesty’s Forces at home and aboard,” and, in doing so, remarked that it would be noticed that he made no distinction between Her Majesty’s force of all kinds – the Navy, and Army, and Reserve Forces. They were all her Majesty’s forces, and all are equally ready to do their duty whenever called upon to do so. (Applause.) Our Navy, they felt sure, was ready, and he thought, perhaps, it was owing to this fact that the country was not involved at the present time in complications outside South Africa. They knew that detachments of the Navy had been fighting side by side with the sister Service at the front, and they were told that the Navy had on more than one occasion saved the situation. He did not think that anyone who had carefully read the papers every morning – and who had not done so? – could possibly think that our Army of to-day was not equal to the Army which had fought for Britain in days gone by. (Applause.) They had read of officers and men vieing with each other in acts of bravery, and in showing that the “soldiers of the Queen” knew, as of old, how to fight and die for their country. (Renewed applause.) There had been defeats, but these had only made our soldiers more determined to succeed in the end. (Hear, hear). Napoleon once said, “These Englishmen never know when they are beaten,” and it was this indomitable spirit of our race which had built up the British Empire, and was bound to triumph over all disasters and difficulties. It had been a trying time to them at home, but he thought the nation had never appeared to greater advantage. There had been no panic; the voice of party politics had been hushed; and the nation had rallied shoulder to shoulder, to the wonder and the envy of half the world. (Loud applause). Out of evil, he felt assured, some good would certainly come. (Hear, hear). They had seen the Colonies holding out their hands to help the Mother land; they had seen such a wave of patriotism rush over the country as had not happened for many years past; and he thought the country had at last realised – what some of them knew all along – that that Volunteer force could be relied upon to do even more than its duty. (Applause). That force was started some 40 years ago by men who loved their country. It was born of patriotism and nurtured on patriotism; it had thriven in spite of snubs and some discouragement; and it must gladden the hearts of some of those who were responsible for its beginning to see that at last their efforts were bearing fruit. (Col. Josselyn: Hear, hear). They had met that day to wish “God speed” to the men of the 1st Volunteer Battalion Suffolk Regiment who had offered themselves for service in South Africa. These men were going out with a full knowledge of what they had to face. They knew well enough that they were going to face a soldier’s risk – possibly a soldier’s death; but they counted themselves proud to be amongst the first to show the country of what stuff the citizen soldiers were made. (Applause). He hoped each one of them would remember that he held in his individual hands the credit of the Volunteer Force – (a voice: “We will, sir,” and renewed applause) – of the 200,000 comrades whom they were leaving behind. Upon their conduct and bearing there depended, in no small degree, the future of the Volunteer Force. He was sure they would come back with honour and credit. “Remember that you carry with you,” the Mayor concluded, “our hearts and our hopes, and the good wishes of all your comrades; we shall watch your doings day by day; and when you return home victorious, as I hope and believe you will, I can promise you such a welcome as will repay you for all the hardships you may have undergone.” (Loud applause).
Sir Charles Dalrymple, M.P., who was received with applause, said in response, that though it was true he was an old Volunteer, and had served 25 years in the Militia, that time had gone by, and he should have thought there were many present who could have more appropriately answered the toast proposed by the Mayor. He well remembered joining the Volunteer forces on their formation, as an undergraduate at Cambridge 40 years ago, and he should have liked to appear in uniform on the present occasion. There were, however, reasons against doing so; one that the uniform would not button – (laughter) – and the other that two or three years ago he gave it to a young kinsman who was entering the regiment. (Applause.) The present gathering was one of extraordinary interest to us all. Our hearts were with the brave men who had gone forth, and were going forth, to do their duty for their Queen, and country, not only from this land, but from other lands, which were under the Queen’s benignant sway. (Applause.) Only on the previous day, he saw a young fellow in Edinburgh whom he knew well, and who had been selected to go forth with the cavalry, and now he (the speaker) was wishing Ipswich Volunteers God-speed on the same mission. (Hear, hear.) It showed to any that may have doubted it what a real thing the Volunteer movement had been, and that when the hour came, so did the men. (Applause.) The older men, whose day for soldiering had gone by, were grateful to the Mayor foe affording them the opportunity of meeting the Ipswich contingent of the Suffolk Volunteers on the present occasion. It was a memorable occasion in Ipswich – an occasion which none of them would miss, if possible (Hear, hear.) In conclusion he again wished the men God-speed.
Colonel Josselyn, who was received with cheers, also replied, and at the outset expressed thanks to the Mayor on behalf of the Volunteers for his hospitality, and equally kind remarks. (Hear, hear.) His heart was almost too full for words. Sixty-five years had passed over his head, and out of that number, 36 years had been spent in learning, in the first place, to do his duty, and afterwards in endeavouring to teach – and be trusted not altogether unsuccessfully – others to do their duty. (Applause). The day, thank God, had not yet come, and please God, it never would come:-
When our maidens rend their tresses,
For our great country’s fall,
And our old men gird on their old swords,
And go to man the wall.
– (Applause). We knew now that our backs were by no means driven to the wall, and he trusted they would not be. (Hear, hear.) The clarion cry to arms had resounded throughout the land, and how well it had been responded to, not only by the youth, energy, and manhood of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, but by Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Queenslanders, and every section of the Empire’s people in our Colonial possession. (Applause.) Our Volunteers were going out to fight a just and righteous war. (Applause.) They of the Ipswich contingent were going to join a regiment of historic fame – the old 12th Regiment, or the present Suffolk Regiment – and they would be under the command of one who was known to most of the men serving in the ranks of the Volunteer Battalions. George MacKenzie was a soldier to the backbone, and under him he (the speaker) would rather go into battle than under any other man in the British Army (Applause.) The direction of the campaign was now in the hands of the darling of the British Army – (Applause) – for he had never yet lost a battle and was one whom they trusted well. (Applause.) It was he whom the British Army styled as “Gallant Old Bobs.” (Cheers.) In conclusion, Colonel Josselyn urged the Volunteers to be worthy of their country, and let “For Queen and country, God defend the right,” be their war-cry. (Cheers.)
Col. Alderson also responded, observing that he was proud to see the gallant response that had been made to the call to arms in the country, not that he was in the least surprised at it. (Hear, hear.) An Englishman was never backward when any fighting was going on. (Applause.) There were no more distinguished regiments in the Army than those from the Eastern Counties – the 9th and 12th Regiments. Few regiments had gained more honours, and no regiment had a better record for good and soldier-like conduct under all conditions. (Hear, hear.) To the Ipswich Volunteers might he say, “God bless you,” and wish them a safe return to their Queen and country and their sweethearts. (Cheers.) If any of them did come across his soldier-boy now fighting in South Africa – (Applause) – he hoped they would make themselves at home with him, and they could not give greater pleasure to the boy’s father than by the knowledge he had shaken hands with an Eastern Counties’ Volunteer. (Applause.) He (the speaker) felt certain that his son would recognise them as most glorious companions in arms. (Loud applause.)
Sergeant Garrard, senior non-commissioned officer of the detachment, also replied, being received with applause. He was sure that all his comrades who were going with him would, if the opportunity arose, give a good account of themselves. (Applause.) On the other hand, they felt they were doing nothing more than hundreds would be glad to do. They were merely the fortunate ones, who had been selected to represent the 1st Suffolk Battalion, and he believed that every man was proud of the fact he had been picked. (Applause.)
Mr. D. Ford Goddard, who was welcomed with applause, said he understood the limits of time were very narrow, and that, consequently, the toast list could not be extended. He was entrusted with the task of proposing the hearty thanks of those present to the Mayor for the excellent hospitality he had shown to them on the present occasion, and for the interesting speech which he had delivered. (Applause.) It might hearten them however, to say that they would not be forgotten during their absence, and he took the opportunity of saying. “You will not be forgotten by us when you are out in South Africa, amidst the perils of war.” (Applause.) Personally, he disliked the war altogether. He knew there were a great many sorrowful hearts, but it was not their business to discuss that question. When England said We want men,” there were men ready to say they would go. (Applause.) Those who had volunteered had shown themselves to be true to their principles and to their country. There was a time, at the beginning of the Volunteer movement, when the Volunteers were laughed at, and said to be playing at war. The play-time had gone by, and now their Volunteers had nothing before them but the earnest reality of war itself. (Applause.) He had no doubt that the Ipswich contingent would show themselves earnest and gallant soldiers, and he wished to assure them that they would not be forgotten by those at home while they were in the midst of their troubles, hardships and dangers. (Cheers.)
The Mayor, in reply, expressed thanks to the Town Clerk and to Major Bond for the assistance they had rendered him in making the arrangements for the luncheon. He had done no more than his duty, or more than any other Mayor would have done. He wished to take the opportunity of thanking those friends, who within three days, provided the necessary money to complete the fund he had opened in connection with the departure of the Volunteers, and he should also like to thank Mr. B.H. Burton, who had offered to insure for £100 any man had anyone dependant on him. He thought that was a very generous offer – (cheers) – and he was sure he might express their gratitude to Mr. Burton.
SCENE ON THE CORNHILL
While the luncheon in progress, there came from the outside the sound of many voices, and the strains of martial music, and the Cornhill presented an extraordinary scene when the company went down to the entrance of the Town Hall. Thousands of the Ipswich people – men, women, and children – had assembled to take part in what was generally regarded as an historical occasion. Almost every inch of standing-room was occupied; spectators thronged the windows of all the buildings around, from the Golden Lion Hotel to the Post Office, and a number of cabs, tram-cars, and busses formed improvised grand stands which were all crowded with onlookers. A space in front of the Hall was kept clear by the Ipswich Volunteers, who had marched up from the Drill Hall at half-past two o’clock, and a strong detachment of the Borough Police, under Superintendent Pearson. The massed bands of the Rifle and Artillery Volunteers were in attendance, conducted by Mr. H. Dunt, and they performed selections of martial music, which were in harmony with the patriotic enthusiasm of the crowd.
As the active-service detachment trooped out of the hall, under the command of Lieut. Orford, with Sergeant-Major Sparkes in attendance, they were greeted with ringing cheers. The men wore the familiar dark-green uniform of the 1st V.B.S.R., all bore the badge which betokened their reputation as first-class shots, and a mere serviceable-looking company would not be seen in a day’s march even at this time. Presently the Mayor appeared wearing his robes and chain of office, accompanied by the Mayoress, the members of Parliament for the borough, and others who were present at the luncheon.
At a signal from his Worship, who stood on the stage of the Hall, with the Sergeants-at-Mace on either side, the massed bands played “God Save the Queen.” The Volunteers saluted, civilians raised their hats, and when the loyal strains ceased, the cheering was tumultuous, while hats and handkerchiefs were waved. The departing Volunteers were then severally called up by name to the front, and the Mayor presented every man with an envelope containing a cheque for £5 (payable on reaching Cape Town), and a very useful knife with lanyard attached, these articles being the gift of officers of the Volunteer Artillery. With each man, too, the Mayor shook hands, wishing him “God-speed.” The crowd around recognised and cheered a good many of the Volunteers, some of whom appeared to be especial favourites.
The Mayor, addressing the vast public assembly, then said: “We are met to-day to do honour to our local Volunteers who have offered themselves for service in South Africa. We are perfectly sure that every one of them intends to do his duty – (loud cheers) – and will do nothing to disgrace the town of Ipswich, the county of Suffolk, the uniform that he wears, or the flag under which he is going to fight. (Renewed cheers.) I now, in the name of the town of Ipswich, wish them all Good Bye. May God bless them and keep them; may they come back again safely; may this war soon be over; and may the Pax Britannica soon reign once more over South Africa. (Loud cheers.)
Major Bond came forward and said: Sergeant Garrard, and members of the Active Service Detachment – in the absence of Colonel Collins, who is unfortunately prevented from being present to-day, I have to bid farewell to you on his behalf, and that of the Battalion. We are very proud to see our men coming forward so patriotically in a time of stress and trouble; we feel that in South Africa you will feel that you have to sustain not only the credit of your own good names, but the honour of the Battalion to which you belong; and we know that, whatever lies before you, you will do your duty. (Loud cheers.)
Col. Josselyn craved permission, as honorary Colonel of the Regiment, to say a few words. It is a proud day for me, he said, the oldest Volunteer in the county of Suffolk, to see a sample of the bulk of our Volunteers starting to fight for the honour of our Regiment, and for Queen and country, in South Africa. I bid you all God speed; I hope to live to see you return to your native shores, covered with glory, and with the proud consciousness of having done your duty like men in a most righteous cause. Old comrades – God bless you all!
With the band playing “Soldiers of the Queen,” an immense concourse accompanied the detachment to the Railway Station, whither they were escorted by their comrades of the 1st V.B.S.R., under the command of the Ipswich Company officers. Some of the populace carried miniature Union Jacks. Messrs. R.D. and J.B. Fraser displayed flags upon their premises, and threw a line of flags across Princes Street. Here the crush was so great that many people were carried off their feet, while one unlucky man who stumbled and fell was nearly smothered, beneath others who tumbled over him, before Superintendent Pearson and the police could effect a rescue. The tram-cars and busses, black with passengers, could only proceed at the slowest pace; at the corner of Commercial Road, vehicles of all kinds were drawn up; and, outside the Railway Station, the scene was one of wild enthusiasm and confusion. Mr. Fitzjohn, the station-master, had made excellent arrangements, but it was only with the utmost difficulty that the Volunteers could be got on to the platform, and the cheering and shouting sightseers kept outside. In the vestibule of the booking-office, one man was knocked down and trampled upon, and had to be rescued by the police, and the large glass panel of an inner door was completely smashed. The entraining of the detachment was effected at last, however, the band meanwhile playing “Auld Lang Syne” and other airs; as the train moved off shortly after four o’clock, cheer after cheer was raised by the Volunteers and those of the public who had been admitted to the platform; and the little band of active-service men cheered lustily in return for their Brigade Major (Col. Ward) and other officers of the Battalion. It was altogether a magnificent send-off, and a demonstration that will be long remembered by all who took part in it.
Friday, 12th January 1900 Suffolk Chronicle & Mercury Newspaper.
COL. WATSON AND THREE OFFICERS KILLED.
Another disaster, in some respects resembling that of Nicholson’s Nek, is reported in connection with the operations in South Africa. In this the 1st Battalion Suffolk Regt. was unhappily involved, with the result that very nearly 180 officers and men were killed, wounded, and taken prisoners by the Boers. The story is told in a despatch from General French, commanding in the Colesberg district, as follows:-
French reports 6th January, “Situation much the same as yesterday,” but I regret to report that serious accident has happened to 1st Suffolk Regiment.
From news just come to hand from them, I gather that, with the authority and with the knowledge, of French, four Companies of 1st Suffolks advanced by night against a low hill one mile from their camp.
Orders to retire were given, it is said, by the enemy.
Three-quarters of the force retreated to the camp. The reminder held their ground till overpowered by greater numbers. They surrendered.
When the casualty list was made up, it was found the disaster was even more serious than was at first apparent. All the despatches from the scene – in the neighbourhood of Rensburg – affirm that the cry of “retire” was raised by the Boers. The importance of the hill is apparent from the fact that it commanded the Boer line of retreat towards the Free State. The abortive attempt is thus described by a correspondent:- Colonel Watson having urged the General to grant him permission, was allowed to attempt to occupy a very important hill commanding the road to Colesberg Bridge. The hill presents a bare face with a gentle ascent towards out position by rugged rocks, and has a steep front towards the east. Four Campanies of the Suffolk Regiment marched on the hill and took up a position. The Boers appeared in force from the east front and opened a hot fire.
A cry of “Retire” was raised, it is said by some of the Bores, and about two-thirds of our men retired.
The remainder held the position for twenty minutes longer, and then being outnumbered and surrounded, they surrendered.
As the sequel to this unfortunate business, the 1st Essex Battalion has been ordered to take the place of the 1st Suffolks; the remainder of the Battalion probably go back to the lines of communication.
More of the battle can be found: The Suffolk Regiment during the Boer War.
DUNSTABLE BOROUGH GAZETTE – Wednesday 4th July 1900 – RIVERSIDE FIGHTING AND ADVENTURES –
Sergt. F. Roe, 44th Battery, R.F.A., writes to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Roe, Church Street, Dunstable, from Rhere’s Drift, Orange River, postal town Drachoender, under date June 6th.
Up to the present time I have had splendid health, always as hungry as a hunter, and that is not a sign of sickness is it? As you see by the heading of this letter we are on the move again. We left Pretoria on the 21st and came on to here, a journey of about one hundred miles, in five days. We arrived here last Saturday week and pitched our camp about 100 yards from the Orange River. We have with us, as escort, 100 Gloucester Mounted Infantry, and 100 Nesbitt’s Horse. Nothing occurred that Saturday, and the next morning our Battery were the first to lead horses down to the river to drink. We filed out with them as we always do, one man taking two horses, riding on one leading the other, the men in their short sleeves and the horses with nothing on them but a bridle bit. The horses had just finished drinking when BANG! WENT A RIFLE straight in front of us. The river at that spot is about 40 yards wide and about 26 yards deep. That first shot was immediately followed by twenty or thirty more. Of course, we knew that they came from the Boers, although we could not see a soul about, and we made our way back to camp with all possible speed, for it was of no use standing there to be shot at, at forty yards range, too! There was only a small gap through the bushes and a very steep incline up the river bank for us to go up. The officer was the first to go through, then we followed; all the men of course made a rush to get through first, and several horses in consequence came down and completely blocked the means of exit. You can draw a picture for yourself what that meant. The only means of escape cut off, and bullets coming
PING! PING! ABOUT OUR EARS
all the time. It seemed the hours before we could get through. When I got to the top of the incline, and comparatively out of range, I began to look about me. I saw a lot of riderless horses and very naturally thought a great many of our men had been shot. But no, the Gloucester Mounted Infantry turned out as soon as they heard the firing and rushed down to the river without any orders. They secreted themselves along the banks of the river and waited, ready to do a bit of sniping in return as soon as the rifles began to speak again from the other side. But their birds had flown, so the General posted strong pickets for the rest of the day and night. Early next morning we set out in search of them. We did not have to look very far, either, for after a march of about six miles we sighted their laager. Our Major was instructed to take up a commanding position AND OPEN FIRE, which we very quickly did. I had the pleasure of laying the first round; it was a very close range for us, only about 1800 yards, and that first shot knocked the end off one of the Boer houses close to the laager. The Major evidently thought the range was good, for after that first shot he at once ordered me to turn my gun on to the laager. And then we commenced in dead earnest; shot after shot kept going in with splendid accuracy, the fuses bursting the shells with lovely precision. We kept this up for about two hours, altering our range and fuses accordingly when our Major received orders to fire four rounds in rapid succession and then stand fast. We all wondered what on earth this could mean, but we were soon to learn. The Yeomanry and Mounted Infantry were going to-
CHARGE THE DRIFT.
This is one of the drifts of the Orange River that is passable. We waited in anxious suspense for news of the onset, and the first we heard was that Major Orr-Ewing was killed (a very nice officer, and liked by all of us) and that five of the Warwickshire Yeomanry were wounded. We were ordered to open fire again on the bush just over the river, as the Boers were there holding the drift, and in considerable numbers. We did not want telling twice, and our third shot found the range. Round after round was then pumped into that position until, about half-an-hour later, we could see the enemy rushing away on their ponies just as hard as they could go. All the guns were turned on them at once and we played a pretty game. All our mounted troops had by this time crossed the river, and they were gradually surrounding the enemy while we kept dropping shells continually amongst them (the Boers). About half-past four, after having been fighting all day,
UP WENT THE WHITE FLAG
and the Boer leader gave in to us, he himself being dangerously wounded. He died that same night. After the fight, the first thing to be done was of course to look after our wounded. That work was very quickly attended to, and then we pitched our camp close to the Boer laager. We tied up our horses and fed them for the night, and then built up some splendid fires. We burned tons of wood that night, for wood abounds at that spot. We then carefully carried our wounded over and laid them close to the fires; our dead we placed in an empty waggon, covering them over for the night with some empty corn sacks. Our casualties were, 5 killed and 23 wounded, and three of the latter died the next day. That fight was fought on May 28th. We stayed up all that night, making up the fire, boiling coffee and helping the doctor, who himself was badly shot in the left foot. All night we cheered the poor fellows up as well as we could, and next morning we sent them down to the hospital at Prieska. Then we
BURIED OUR DEAD,
and the next morning we marched our prisoners down to see their houses burned to the ground. And didn’t some of them cry! But no one had the slightest pity for them, because they were the men who had done such dirty deeds to us. Let me give you two or three instances of that. When the Warwicks first made that attempt to cross the drift, four of them were badly wounded, and one young fellow, a Quarter-master-Sergt., shouted to the Sergt.-Major to bring him a drop of water. The Sergt.-Major managed to reach his wounded comrade, but in doing so he was shot through his helmet twice. Another fellow who was shot through his knee, turned over to ease his position, when he was immediately shot through the shoulder. The Doctor was attending a trooper of Nesbitt’s Horse, who had been hit in two places when he (the doctor) was shot through the foot. These are only a few cases, and I can tell you our men were BOILING WITH RAGE and could they have had their way with the brutes I don’t think we should have sent many of them down to Cape Town for trial. I don’t think there is anything more to write about this time. P.S. Have just heard that Roberts is in Pretoria. Good luck to him! We have all had enough of this.
Yours etc., FRED.
Luton Times and Advertiser – Friday, 15th February 1901 – DEATH AT THE FRONT – With regret we record that F. Roe, of Church Street, has lost his son, Sergeant Frederick Roe, 44th Battery, Royal Field Artillery, who died of ague at Winburg Hospital, on February 4th. Sergt. Roe went out with his battery at the beginning of the war and had seen much service. In September, however, he was thrown from his horse, through the animal suddenly stepping into a rabbit hole, and received serious internal injuries. He underwent two operations in the hospital at Kimberley, whence he wrote home testifying to the excellent treatment and was later removed to Winburg, where he, unhappily, had a relapse. He was a tall, fine fellow and had served 18 years in India and other parts of the Empire. Sergt. Roe was 36 years of age.
1901 Suffolk Chronicle & Mercury Newspaper
Throughout Saturday in Ipswich there was considerable commotion. The scene at the Railway Station in the afternoon was marked by the utmost enthusiasm. Trams, buses, cabs, and other vehicles were closed in by the crowd, and any attempt by the drivers to move being quickly recognised as futile, a large number of persons lost no chance in getting on top, and using the roofs as points of ‘vantage’ from which to see the Volunteers as they marched off the station. The more venturesome secured positions on what looked almost inaccessible places, and the 20-feet hoarding facing the station provided an excellent position for those numerous young urchins who had lined the very top.
As the incoming train steamed into the arcade at the western end of the platform the massed bands of the Rifle and Artillery Volunteers played “Home, sweet home,” and “Auld Lang Syne,” and the returned Volunteers once more set foot in their native town, amidst much cheering and handshaking from those of their friends and comrades who were permitted on the platform. Outside, the Rifles, to the number of about 350, and the Artillery Volunteers, numbering about 100, had formed up in line, the latter forming up nearest the exit doors. The Rifles were under the command of Major F.G. Bond, the other officers with him being the Adjutant (Capt. Murray), Capt. Pretty, Capt. Tempest, Capt. Cubitt, Captain Birt, and Lieuts. Catchpole and Mason. The commanding officer of the Artillerymen was Capt. Horsfield, those in attendance with him being Lieut. H. Miller and Second Lieut. Parmenter. These officers, who were on the platform with several of the non-coms., had no time to take up their proper places in the procession, a general rush being made for the doors as soon as the khaki-clad Volunteers, headed by the bands, appeared outside. Disorder was general, and, the line formations having been completely broken up, it was useless to attempt to re-form. Friends and acquaintance of the Volunteers surged around the men, who were hoisted shoulder high, amidst great cheering. So matters continued for some minutes, and efforts to form anything like a procession seemed useless, for the time being, notwithstanding that assistance was rendered by a small detachment of six of the Suffolk Yeomanry Cavalry, under Acting-Sergt.-Major Bullen. Two of these being recruits, and apparently unaccustomed to the duties they had undertaken, if anything added to the disorder. With a large number of horses and vehicles in the station yard, the drivers of which were all trying to move in different directions, there was sufficient confusion, without the gallant Yeomen riding backwards through the crowd, on rearing steeds beyond control. The line of route between the station and the Cornhill being crowded, progress was necessarily slow, and it was with difficulty that the Volunteers could force their way along Princes Street. Many of the Rifles became hopelessly mixed in the crowd, but the Artillery being kept well to the rear, were able to preserve better order, notwithstanding they had to evade the frequent charges in the first part of the march of a Yeoman’s horse. Behind them followed in procession a number of buses, and being freighted with more than twice their carrying capacity, it was a matter of surprise that one or more of these did not collapse. The procession on reaching the Cornhill, which was already crowded, was the signal for a loud outburst of cheering, which became even more demonstrative when the 20 “gentlemen in khaki,” who had been carried on the shoulders of their friends were taken in that fashion to the Mayor (Mr. W.F. Paul), who in his robes was waiting to receive the Volunteers on the Town Hall steps. His worship cordially shook each by the hand, and having individually expressed his pleasure at meeting them again, addressed the gathering. His Worship, after the cheering had subsided, said in tones which were clearly audible on the other side of the hill, that as Mayor of the Borough it afforded him great pleasure to welcome those good men who had gone out to South Africa, and had honoured their town and country. (Cheers.) He only wished the force had returned in the complete way in which it had started out, and he would ask them all, in the most solemn silence, to express their great regret at the loss of those comrades the returning ones had to drop on the way. He would mention the name of Sergt. Garrard, a man whom they all knew, and whom he was pleased to say he had an interview and shock hands with on the morning of his departure from this country. There was also Prvt. May, and he would mention Sergt. Dykes, another Ipswich man, who was attached to the Ambulance Corps. These men had also lost their lives in the service of their country. His Worship concluded his expression of thanks by saying that he was convinced it was the wish of all fellow-townsmen that he should extend to them a most hearty welcome on their return to Ipswich. (Cheers.) The Mayor then invited the men to enter the Town Hall that he might drink their healths.
After the adjournment to the Town Hall the procession was re-formed, going through the town to the Drill Hall. The home-coming Volunteers were again shouldered, and lustily cheered as they were carried along the streets. At the headquarters the men were entertained by the officers and their comrades until about eight o’clock, when the band played them to the Lyceum, to which place of amusement they had kindly been invited to spend the evening by Mr. W.G. Fisk, the manager, and Mr. T. Maclagan, the manager of the La Poupee Company.
The Ipswich Journal – Saturday, 11th May 1901
THEIR WELCOME HOME.
EXTRAORDINARY SCENES OF ENTHUSIASM.
The members of the first Active Service Company of Suffolk Volunteers slept at the barracks at Bury St. Edmunds’s the night of their arrival from South Africa, and on Saturday they dispersed to their homes. The arrival of the men at the various towns to which they belonged gave the inhabitants an opportunity of showing their appreciation of the splendid services they have rendered, and never before have such scenes of enthusiasm been witnessed. The display, however, of heartfelt feeling was only what could be expected, for was it not the volunteers (i.e., men who were not compelled to serve in South Africa) who have saved us half a continent, and prevented the commencement of a break-up of the British Empire? That contingency, once so near, now happily far off, would have affected both the material and mental comfort of every individual in this country. Both to this fact, and the respect felt for brave men, must be attributed the homage that was everywhere paid them on Saturday.
As both Volunteers and their friends wished it, the fifteen months’ service in Africa has not been a mere parade or garrison duty. It has included seven engagements, long and tiresome marches, and hard living, which to men who a month previously had no anticipation of going on active service, and were not in training for it, was a severe experience. It has left its tale on some, who, however, it is believed will soon recover, but of others it has demanded the greatest penalty that can be paid. Several young and promising lives have been laid down in the service of their country, but who can gainsay that their sacrifice has not been for the good of humanity of the rising generation? – teaching them, as history has taught us, that it is only by such sacrifices that sweet liberty can be preserved and civilisation advanced. The glory of our race lies not in its wealth or the pleasures of its members, but in the bravery, hardiness, and unselfishness of our young men, and to these qualities, therefore, whenever displayed, let us render all honour.
THE RECEPTION AT IPSWICH.
The county town of Suffolk has obtained – justly or unjustly, we won’t state which – a reputation of not doing the right thing at the right time. This feeling on the part of many was accentuated by the fact that at the beginning of the war the Reservists of the regiment were allowed to depart to the accompaniment of only a tin whistle, played by one of themselves; in other words, the town did not wish them “God-speed.” This sad neglect of duty by the then Mayor has been rectified by his successors in dealing with the Volunteers, but Saturday’s arrangements were not altogether what they might have been. It was known for three weeks before the Volunteers arrived that they had started for home, but no provisional arrangements for their reception were announced, not even after it was known that the men had reached Bury St. Edmunds. No request was made to the inhabitants to display bunting, no orders were issued to the local Volunteers to assemble to greet their comrades, and no fund was opened to give the returned warriors a tangible memento of the occasion. In fact, it was not till Saturday morning that anything was done, and had a foreign foe just landed at Harwich, the hurry and scurry could not have been much greater!
However, what those responsible lacked in preparation the townspeople made up in enthusiasm. By means of a small unofficial handbill, the public were informed that the men were expected to reach Ipswich by the 1:10 train, and the Volunteers were hastily summoned to meet them. Flags were displayed at many places, and there would have been more had the time of the Volunteers’ return been generally known. A later telegram altered the time of the men’s arrival to 4:8 p.m., and this delay was fortunate, as it enabled thousands more to be present. Both the Artillery and Infantry Volunteers mustered strongly at their respective headquarters, and headed by their bands, marched to the Railway Station, where they kept a space clear for their returning comrades. The Station Yard, the bridge, and Princes Street were simply packed with people, and it was a pity that the police did not divert the traffic to the Station by way of Burrell for a short time and kept the west side of the Station Yard clear of vehicles. This could have easily been done, as the police had the assistance of eight mounted Yeomen, under Acting-Sergt.-Major H. Bullen, but the latters’ services were utilised in anything but a praiseworthy fashion. Luckily, there were no serious accidents, but two old men were knocked down, and a horse attached to a cart stood on its hind legs for a few minutes just as the procession passed Commercial Road and caused some ugly rushes on the part of the crowd nearest to it.
The Station itself was closed to the general public, but relatives and friends of the Volunteers, the band and the officers were admitted. When the train steamed in the massed bands played “Home Sweet Home” and “Auld Lang Syne,” and there was a general rush for the carriages in which were about 20 of the Volunteers who were despatched in the first Active Service Company of the 1st V.B.S.R. These were all in khaki, with C.I.V. hats, and looked the picture of health. After the greetings had been exchanged and the kit bags hauled out, the men marched from the Station into the yard, where they had a tremendous reception from the assembled multitude. Hats, handkerchiefs, flags, etc., were waved, and a scene of greater enthusiasm has never before been witnessed in the town. Unfortunately, the throng was so great and the vehicles so numerous that it was impossible to preserve ranks, and even some of the bandsmen were separated from their comrades. The bronzed warriors were carried shoulder-high, and flanked by the Yeomanry, they got along Princes Street somehow, the band bravely attempting to give a good account of itself. Every window was occupied by sightseers, and the delight of everyone in welcoming back the citizen soldiers was expressed in an unmistakable manner.
The Mayor (Mr. W.F. Paul), wearing his robes and chain of office, was waiting on the Town Hall steps to receive the Volunteers, who were deposited by their bearers at his feet. He cordially shook hands with them all, but what with the cheering, the booming of the cannon from the rear of buildings on the Cornhill, and the singing of snatches of patriotic songs by a highly-elated section of the crowd, his Worship had great difficulty in addressing a few remarks to the men. He observed that, as Mayor of that borough, he wished to express its thanks to the good men before him for the excellent work they had done for their country. (Loud cheers.) They entered upon a task altogether beyond what they anticipated but they had carried it out nobly, and their heartfelt thanks were due to them. He also wished to express the town’s great sorrow that the men had not come back in the same numbers as they went – that some had fallen victims to disease. One was Sergt. Garrard, who was known to them all. He shook hands with him on the morning of his departure from Ipswich, and he should always be thankful that he did so. There was also Prvt. May, while another Ipswich man had lost his life was Sergt. Dykes, of the Brigade Bearer Company. Everyone in the town had keenly watched the movements of their Volunteers and he knew it was their ardent wish that he should give them a hearty welcome. He invited them to dinner on Thursday evening. At the conclusion of his Worship’s remarks, there was more cheering, and there was a hearty response to a call for “three cheers for the Mayor.”
The Mayor then entertained the men to refreshments in the Town Hall, where their healths were cordially drunk. The procession was re-formed and a triumphal return made to the Drill Hall via St. Matthew’s. In the evening, by invitation of the manager of the Lyceum (Mr. W.G. Fisk), the men witnessed the last performance of “La Poupee.” They were played from the Drill Hall by the band, and again met with an enthusiastic reception, both outside and inside the house.
FREEDOM OF THE BOROUGH FOR IPSWICH VOLUNTEERS.
At a special meeting of the Ipswich Town Council on Wednesday, the Deputy-Mayor (Major W.A. Churchman) moved:- “That this Council do, in pursuance of the Honourary Freedom of Boroughs Act, 1885, confer the honourary freedom of this borough upon those members of the Headquarter Companies of the 1st Volunteer Battalion Suffolk Regiment, who are resident in Ipswich, and who have rendered eminent services to their country and this borough by volunteering for active service in South Africa in time of emergency.” The Deputy-Mayor said that was the first time a resolution of that kind had been proposed, and he would ask the members of the Council to kindly bear with him for a few minutes. He asked them to carry back their thoughts to the events of the autumn of 1899, which found Kimberley, Mafeking, and Ladysmith besieged, with dangerously depleted garrisons. Then cam that black December week, which none of them would ever forget, when they heard of the disasters of Magersfontein, Stormberg, and Colenso, and when they realised suddenly that they were face to face with one of the greatest crises that had occurred for the last 50 years at least. Then the nation rose, as it were, out of its sleep. Calls were made for volunteers, and the call was not made in vain. Men left their peaceable occupations and flocked to enrol them selves under the flag of the Motherland, not only from that country, but from the uttermost parts of the Empire. The men who volunteered from Ipswich had fought in several engagements side by side with their regular comrades, and they had endured great hard ships – hunger, thirst, and sickness – uncomplainingly. Three of them at least they could not welcome back again, because they were at rest under the veldt 6,000 miles away from their homes and friends. Lord Roberts had spoken in the most flattering way of the services of the Volunteers; General French, under whom the Ipswich men served, spoke very highly of them, and they knew that Col. Mackenzie, the commanding officer of the 1st Suffolks, in saying “Good-bye” to them, thanked them for their services and said he had been proud to know the. Those who knew Col. Mackenzie knew that he was not in the habit of saying what he did not mean. It might be said. “Granted these men have done service to their country, how have they served their town?” Well, they were proud to think Ipswich was a corner of the British Empire, and if Ipswich had not supplied its quota of men like other towns, it would have been disgraced, and these men, in coming forward, saved the town from humiliation, and conferred honour upon the borough. The honourary freedom which they were asked to give them conferred no privileges whatever upon the recipients, but he did not think it would be appreciated any the less. The Volunteers of England did what they believed to be their duty, and that belief had its own reward. He should like to include in his resolution that the Volunteers’ names be inscribed upon a suitable tablet and placed in the vestibule of the Town Hall, but if that was out of order, he should feel it a great honour if he was permitted to pay for the tablet himself. (Applause.) They all hoped that many years of peace were in store for this country, but it might not be so, and he could not help thinking that the example of these men in coming forward in the hour of their nation’s need might help others to do their duty – (hear, hear) – because they knew “As one lamp lights another and grows no less, nobleness enkindleth nobleness.” (Applause.)
Capt. W.T. Pretty had great pleasure in seconding the motion, but he did not quite know why it should be left to Volunteers to praise their fellow Volunteers. If the Corporation had seen the anxiety of the men to serve their country, they would have thought more of the Volunteers than they did then. The minds of the public had changed towards the Volunteers forces during the past 12 months. It was recognised that they stood between the country and conscription, and gratitude was due to them. The presentation of the freedom of the borough would be a small expression of that gratitude, and he trusted that employers of labour in the town would do more, and that was to see that every one of the men was found work when he wanted it. He should look after them himself, and see that, as far as possible, they obtained employment, and if any of them came to any other members of the Council, let the latter see that they dad not have to ask for work twice. (Applause.)
The motion was unanimously carried, and the Mayor remarked that he anticipated what the Council’s decision would be, and he took the liberty of having the freedom suitably engrossed for presentation to the men at the dinner to them the next day. The Deputy-Mayor’s suggestion as to the tablet would not be in order.
The following are the names of those who will receive the freedom: – Marshall Duggan, Wm. Jarrold, Chas. Wright, John Thos. Pye, John Percy Rogers, Fredk. Percy God bold, William Lambert, George John Noman, Hugh Amass Bothwell, Ernest Charles Chamberlain, Jeffrey Charles Snelling, Charles Slingsby, Edward Thomas Roper, and William Frost.
MAYOR’S BANQUET AT IPSWICH.
A notable event in the round of festivities consequent upon the Volunteers’ return was the Mayor’s banquet in the Council Chamber on Thursday evening. Invitations were issued to the active service men of the outlying companies as well as to those in Ipswich, and the gathering was almost exclusively military in character so far as the remaining invitations were concerned. The Volunteers, wearing their khaki, were received in the Library by the Mayor, who shook hands with them, and then led the way into the Council Chamber, where a sumptuous repast was in readiness. At his Worship’s suggestion, the “guests from South Africa” took alternate seats, and by this very happily-conceived arrangement officers and men were placed side by side.
The dinner over, the Mayor gave the toast of “The King.” Which was drunk with enthusiasm. In submitting the toast of the evening, “Our Guests,” his Worship said he should like to express, as Chief Magistrate of the borough, how pleased he was to have the opportunity of welcoming to Ipswich those who had served them so well in this dreadful war in South Africa. (Applause.) He could not help expressing a slight feeling of jealously that Cambridge stole a march on Ipswich (laughter) and thus had the honour of first entertaining them after they landed. At the same time, he wished to thank Cambridge for their hearty entertainment. Perhaps the form in which they were being welcomed that night might strike them as somewhat different to that of Cambridge, but it was thought they would appreciate a quieter entertainment after the great public clamour raised in their honour since their return. (Applause.) The trouble had been imposed upon them twice of coming to Ipswich in order that the town might express its gratitude to them for their services. Although not a military man, it was clear to him and every layman that they had acquitted themselves in such a way as to do immense credit, not only to Ipswich, but to the county. (Applause.) Their commanding officer, Col. Mackenzie, had been promoted to the honourable position of C.B., which was quite sufficient to convince him that they had done credit to him, because a Colonel could not receive honours unless he had efficient force under him. (Applause.) He coupled with the toast the names of Sergt. Pitstow and Col. Collins.
The toast was received with the utmost cordiality, and the singing of “For they are jolly good fellows.”
Sergt. Pitstow, in response, said the many kindnesses which had been shown towards them since their return from South Africa was a proof to them that in leaving their homes and undergoing a few hardships their services had been fully appreciated. (Applause.)
Col. Collins, as the officer commanding the Battalion, said he was glad of the opportunity of saying how proud he was, as well as the other officers, of the noble way in which the men under them had volunteers for the front, and also carried out their duties. (Applause.) The previous day Col. Dowse informed him that Major-General Barton at Pretoria spoke most highly of the Volunteer Service Comp-any of the Suffolk Regiment, and before he sat down he should like to propose the toast of “Their Comrades at the Front.”
This toast was also cordially received.
The Mayor then presented the freedom of the borough to the Ipswich men returned from the front, remarking that it would gratify them to learn that the proposal to do so was received at the Town Council with approbation, and without a dissentient voice. The freedom was inscribed on vellum, and handsomely illuminated, the name of the recipient appearing in the centre, and his initials being incorporated in the ornamental border at the foot. At the top left-hand corner were the borough arms.
Col. E.M. Alderson, in a spirited speech, and in eulogistic terms, proposed “The Mayor,” and the toast evoked a hearty response, musical honours being accorded.
The Mayor very suitably responded, remarking that since his eldest son had received a commission in the army (applause) he had taken an interest in his Majesty’s forces which he had never realised before.
SMOKING CONCERT AT THE PUBLIC HALL.
A smoking concert in the Public Hall organised by the officers of the 1st V.B.S.R., followed the above gathering. The balcony and the gallery was thrown open to the public, and was as might be expected, densely crowded. The body of the hall was occupied by Volunteers, of whom there were several hundred present. When the “khaki” Volunteers arrived from the Town Hall they had a tremendous reception, everyone standing and cheering vociferously followed by the singing of “Comrades.” Lieut.-Col. Collins, commanding officer of the 1st V.B.S.R., presided, and was supported by the Mayor (Mr. W.F. Paul), and most of those present at the Town Hall, several officers of the 1st Suffolk and Harwich Volunteer Artillery, and many leading townsmen, including several members of the Town Council, and representatives of the Yeomanry, the gathering being the most influential that has ever attended a Volunteer gathering in Ipswich – at any rate in recent years. Refreshments were liberally supplied, and a most enjoyable time was spent, the utmost enthusiasm prevailing. The arrangements for the concert were undertaken with much success by Q.-M.-S.G. Watson and Sergt.-Major Sparkes. The latter, it should be stated, carried out most of the arrangements for Saturday’s reception.
After the interval, the Chairman proposed the toast of “Our Comrades from and at the Front.” The past year, he said, had been a proud one for the Volunteers, and no more could they be accused of playing at soldiers. The appreciation that the public had shown of the active service Volunteers was a great incentive to them. They were very glad to see so many had returned safe and sound. The toast was drunk with musical honours and much cheering and was responded to by Sergt. Pitstow and Lance-Corpl. Duggan. The Chairman also mentioned that there was present a Canadian Volunteer, Prvt. John Willoughby, of Strathcona’s Horse, a stepson of Q.-M.S. Watson. This announcement was received with much cheering. Both the non-commissioned officers mentioned made brief but suitable responses, both saying they were grateful from the bottom of their hearts for the kind welcome home that had been extended to them. The only toast was proposed by the Mayor, “Our Fallen Comrades.” His Worship expressed regret that he should have to do so, but it would be remiss on their fellow-comrades, Sergt. Garrard, Sergt. Dykes, and Prvt. Ma, who had fallen in South Africa. The most painful duty he had ever to perform in his life he carried out that week, when he took to the widowed mother of Sergt. Garrard the ring taken from the body of her dead son. His Worship said he wished them also to remember that there were 13 sick and wounded Suffolk Volunteers. The toast was drunk in solemn silence, all upstanding.
The musical portion of the programme was contributed to by Bugler Jarrold (Active Service Company), Sergt. H.C. Caird, Mr. Herbert Wright, Sergt. Scott, Sergt. Elliot Hooper, Mr. W. Mappin, Corpl. Mawson, Sergt.-Major Gould, and Mr. A.E. Scales, Mr. H. Anderson being the accompanist.
The Volunteers present at the above gatherings were: Sergt. Pitstow, Saffron Walden, of the 3rd (Cambs) Suffolk Volunteer Battalion; Lance-Corpl. Duggan, Bugler Jarrold, Prvts. Godbold, Chamberlain, Snelling, Norman, Roper, Rogers, Pye, Slingsby and Bothwell, of Ipswich; Lance-Corpl. C. Upson, Prvts. A. Cranmer, G. Burch, S. Press, J. Palmer, G. Piper, W. Bunn, W. Ward, of Woodbridge; Sergt. Oxborrow, Lance-Sergt. Merritt, Prvts. O’Neill, W. Stannard, and Newson, Framlingham; and Lance-Corpl. Parker and Prvt. Hill, of Halesworth. There were also present, as the guests of the Mayor or Col. Collins: Col. H. Abdy Collins (commanding 1st V.B.S.R.), Col. J.H. Josselyn, Col. Alderson, Major Adye (Brigade-Major Harwich Infantry Division), Major F.G. Bond (commanding Ipswich Companies 1st V.B.S.R.), Major W.A. Churchman, Brigade-Surgeon-Lieut.-Col. G.S. Elliston, Major H. St. G. Cobbold (1st Harwich and Suffolk Artillery Volunteers), Major Robinson (Supply and Transport Officer Harwich Volunteer Brigade), Capt. Murray (Adjutant 1st V.B.S.R.), Rev. Ythil A. Barrington, Capts. C.E. Tempest, W.T. Pretty, F.W. Turner, F.J. Cubitt, and A.W. Birt, Capt. And Quarter-Master F.A. Bales, Lieuts. M. Mason, W. Catchpole, and C.E. Bennett, Surgeon-Lieut. Francis Ward, Sergt.-Major Sparkes, Mr. Hugh F. Paul, Mr. S. Paul, Mr. W. Bantoft, Major Sizer, Major Sherwood (Leiston), Capt. G.W. Horsfield, Capt. Harry Jones, Capt. A.C. Churchman, Lieuts. H.W. Miller, J. Pearce Harvey, J.S. Parmenter, A.S. Leighton, of the 1st Suffolk and Harwich Artillery Volunteers; Mr. J.D. Sims, Mr. Fred Bennett, Mr. Geo. Fenn, Mr. W.P. Burton, Mr. H.J.W. Jervis, Mr. W.O. White, Mr. Geo. Butcher, Mr. E.P. Ridley, Mr. Flloyd Peacock, Dr. R.W. Brogden, Mr. Ernest Pretty, Mr. C.T. Packard, Mr. Sydney Brand, Mr. Alan J. Gaze, Mr. H. Ridley, Mr. A.E. Evans, Mr. F. Savory, Mr. G. Aylward, Acting-Sergt.-Major Bullen (Loyal Suffolk), Sergt. Mash, and others.
HONOURS FOR ACTIVE SERVICE
May 17th 1901 Suffolk Chronicle & Mercury newspaper.
At the meeting of the Ipswich Town Council on Wednesday, the Deputy-Mayor proposed the following resolution:- “That this Council do, in pursuance of the Honorary Freedom of Borough Act, 1883, confer the honorary freedom of this borough upon these members of the Headquarter Companies of the 1st Volunteer Battalion Suffolk Regiment, who are resident in Ipswich, and who have rendered eminent services to their country and this borough by volunteering for active service in South Africa in time of emergency; and that a copy of this resolution suitably engrossed, be signed by the Mayor, and presented to each of the Volunteers specified, namely:- Marshall Duggan, William Jarrold, Charles Wright, John Thomas Pye, John Percy Rogers, Frederick Percy Godbold, William Lambert, George John Norman, Hugh Amass Bothwell, Ernest Charles Chamberlain, Jeffrey Charles Snelling, Charles Slingsby, Edward Thomas Roper, William Frost.
The Deputy-Mayor, in moving the resolution, said he was quite sure, it was by a pure accident he was not able to carry this proposal into effect at the previous meeting of the Council, owing to there not being a sufficient number of members present. He asked the Council to now carry back their thoughts to the events of the autumn of 1899, which found Kimberley, Mafeking, and Ladysmith all besieged. Then came the black week, which none of them would ever forget, when the news of the disasters of Magersfontein. Stormberg, Coleneo made them realise suddenly that the country was face to face with one of the greatest crisis which had occurred for the last 50 years at least. Calls were made for Volunteers, and men left their peaceful occupations and flocked to enrol themselves under the flag of the Motherland, not from this country alone, but from uttermost parts of the Empire. What about the men which Ipswich sent out? They had fought in several engagements side by side, and shoulder to shoulder, with their regular comrades; they had endured great hardships, hunger, thirst, and sickness, and they had done so uncomplainingly. Three of the local contingent at least could not be welcomed home again, because they lay under the veldt, 6,000 miles from their homes and friends. Lord Roberts, as was a matter of common knowledge, had spoken in a most flattering way of the service of the Volunteers; and General French, under whom the Suffolk men had served, had also spoken very highly of them. Colonel Mackenzie, too, before the men left South Africa, thanked them for their service; those who knew Colonel Mackenzie were aware he was not in the habit of saying what he did not mean. (Hear, hear.) How had these men served their town? Each county which had a battalion in South Africa, he reminded the Council, was asked to supply an active-service company of 110 men; if Ipswich had not sent its fair share of men, it would have been disgraced. These men, therefore, in coming forward and doing their duty so well, had saved their town from humiliation, and conferred an honour upon it. (Hear, hear.) The hon. freedom which it was proposed to present to the Volunteers conferred no privileges whatever upon the recipients, but he did not think it would be appreciated say the less on that account. He would also like to include in this motion a proposal for the placing of a tablet in the Town Hall, bearing the names of these Volunteers; he should feel it a great honour if he was permitted to bear the cost personally. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. W.T. Pretty, in seconding, remarked that the attitude of the public towards Volunteers had changed a great deal during the last twelve months. The Volunteer forces stood between the public and conscription, and he thought for that reason they were deserving of a certain amount of gratitude. (Hear, hear.) Personally, he intended to look after the returned Volunteers in the matter of employment, should any of them be without work.
The motion was carried.
The Mayor said he had anticipated what would be the decision of the Town Council, and he had taken the liberty to draft and have engrossed a suitable address for presentation to each of these men. (Hear, hear.) He thought the valve of the hon. freedom would be enhanced if the presentation were made promptly and accordingly he had invited these 13 gentleman to dine with him at the Town Hall on Thursday night, and he would take that opportunity of presenting them with the freedoms. (Hear, hear.) As to Mr. Churchman’s suggestion for the placing of a tablet in the Town Hall, no notice had been given of such a proposal, and its consideration might very well be postponed for a month.
Editors note: The Roll of Honour book for Freedom of the Borough has all the names listed but “unsigned” On arrival from train station, the men marched to the Town hall where they received the Freedom. But this was rushed as the full Council had not voted on it. The Council voted it on the 15th but the date is marked as the 8th.
“Freedom of the Borough of Ipswich”
Freedom of the Borough is the highest honour given to an individual. Ipswich had given the honour to Lord Kitchener and Lord Nelson, both High Steward’s of Ipswich.
Recorded in the book on May the 8th 14 Ipswich men were honoured for their service during the South African campaign. The Mayor and Councillors invited the men into the Town hall and inducted them into the Roll of Honour Book, for the Freedom of The Borough. Included in the list was HUGH AMASS BOTHWELL who was later killed in action in the 1914-18 War.
IPSWICH VOLUNTEERS at CHURCH
UNVEILING MEMORIAL TABLET
March 1901 Suffolk Chronicle & Mercury newspaper
A very interesting and attractive service was held at St. Michael’s Church, Ipswich, on Sunday afternoon, the occasion being the unveiling of a memorial tablet to the late Sergt. Garrard, who died whilst serving with the Volunteer Companies in South Africa. Parade formed up at the Drill Hall at three o’clock, there being five Companies of the 1st V.B.S.R., including the cyclists, and the Boys’ Brigade connected with St. Michael’s and other churches of the town. The officers present included Major F.G. Bond (in command), Major W.A. Churchman, Captain and Adjutant F. Murray, Captain F.W. Turner, Captain W. Tertius Pretty, Lieut. W. Catchpole, Lieut. M.F. Mason, and Lieut. G.B. Steward. There were altogether about 230 on parade, including officers, but the muster would have undoubtedly been larger had the recruits, numbering about one hundred, received their equipments and clothing. Leaving the Drill Hall at 3.15, the Volunteers, headed by the band , under Band-Master Dunt, followed by the Cyclists Company, looking very smart and trim, under Capt. Pretty, the rear being brought up by the Boys’ Brigade. Arrived at St. Michael’s Church, the Volunteers occupied the seats reserved for them. A hymn having been sung, the Vicar, the Rev. W.J. Garrould, announced that the tablet on the south wall of the transept would be unveiled, and thereupon Capt. Turner and Segt.-Major Sparkes, and Colr.-Sergt. W. Fenner and Colr.-Sergt. A. Mills formed up and marched to the south transept. The Colr.-Sergeants unveiled the tablet and the Sergt.-Major, at the request of the Vicar, read the inscription aloud, as follows:-
“This Tablet is erected by the non-commissioned Officers of the Ipswich Companies 1st V.B.S.R. as a token of fraternal regard to the memory of Sergeant E.C. Garrard, who died while serving with the Volunteer Company at Germiston, South Africa, July 7th 1900, aged 27 years.”
The service was then resumed, the Vicar delivered an admirable discousre, chosing for his subject “A Good Soldier,” in the course of which he referred to the late Sergt. Garrard, as essentially coming within the category of a good soldier, and said it must be gratifying alike to his friends and conrades to see how highly he was respected, and how greatly his services as Captain of the Boys’ Brigade, and in other capacities as an ardent and efficient Volunteer were appreciated. The offertory was in aid of the Widows and Orphans of the soldiers who had fallen in South Africa.
After church, the Volunteers marched back to the Drill Hall, where the Companies formed up in the outer rink in quarter column, and the Volunteer long-service and good conduct medal was presented to Bandsman C. Butcher by Major F.G. Bond, who, in a brief address, pointed out that the medal was one much coveted amongst Volunteers, and one which they highly prized when it fell to their lot to receive it, as a member had to do twenty years’ service, while his conduct had to be satisfactory to entitle him to be recommended for such an honour. He (Major Bond) might say that he believed that that was the first medal of the kind presented under the new reign. He hoped that the presentation that day would act as an incentive to the recruits present to try and deserve a like acknowledgement of their services.
Note: Sadly the tablet and memorial were lost in a fire in 2011.
Boer War medal presentation 1902.
VISIT TO IPSWICH
PRESENTATION OF THE FREEDOM
In striking contrast with the quietude which usually marks the beginning of business routine in each recurring week, the appearance of Ipswich on Monday morning was indicative of an eager and animated expectancy. More than two months ago, answering a letter in which the Mayor (Mr. A.C. Churchman) happily interpreted the wishes of his fellow-townsmen, General Viscount Kitchener intimated that it would give him pleasure to receive the Freedom of the Borough, and to pay an early visit “to his native county of Suffolk” the promise thus held out was ratified in due course, and the date fixed; and ever since that time, the inhabitants have been looking forward with intense pleasure to an event which was justly regarded in the locality as one of historic interest and importance. In correction with it, of course, the story of Lord Kitchener’s relationship with this part of the country has been told and re-told, while the liberal arrangements made by the Mayor for his welcome and entertainment have also received full notice; and it is only necessary to add here by way of introduction to the many details of a long program that the momentous day dawned under the happiest possible conditions. It was a lovely autumn morning with warm sunshine lighting up the picturesque streets, and bringing into bright relief the festive colouring of flags that floated from every tower, and pinnacle, and business establishment. No set scheme of decoration was attempted in the centre of the town, the finest and most elaborate piece of work being seen in the East Anglian banner, displayed by Messrs. Footman, Pretty & Co., outside Waterloo House, but the general effect was very bright and pleasing. As twelve o’clock drew near, a merry peal was rung upon the bells of St. Mary-le-Tower, crowds of people assembled in the principal thoroughfares, and Ipswich thus stood with open arms, as it were, to receive the distinguished soldier with whom borough and county are proud to claim association. As the day advanced the crowds in the streets increased, while the throng in Christchurch Park when Lord Kitchener rode through on a motor-car recalled the scene on Coronation Day. The multitude gathered alongside the main road, and when the throng began to disperse there certainly appeared to be a larger number of people on the Park than on August 9th.
MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
A special meeting of the Ipswich Town Council was held at 11:15 to formally agree to the resolution conferring the freedom of the Borough, on Viscount Kitchener. There were present – the Mayor (A.C. Churchman, Esq.), the Deputy-Mayor (W.F. Paul, Esq.), Alderman Walton Turner, C.H. Cowell, A. Wrinch, N. Catchpole, Col. J.H. Josselyn, D. Ford Goddard, M.P., and E. Packard; Councillors R.D. Fraser, H.J.W. Jervis, F. Turner, W.A. Churchman, T.R. Elkington, W.J. Catchpole, W.S. Cowell, G. Fenn, T. Alderton, A. Ranson, R.S. Paul, C.E. Tempest, H.W. Raffe, E. Catchpole, W. Grayston, W.C. Page, J.H. Grimwade, J. Pratt, Owen Turner, J.R. Staddon, G. Butcher, E.P. Ridley, W.O. White, W.T. Pretty, S. Brand, W. Pipe, F. Bennett, and F.E. Rands, with the Town Clerk (Mr. Will. Bantoft).
The Mayor, on rising, was greeted with applause. He said: Gentlemen of the Council, I have a resolution to move, which considering what it is, I only need to formally put to you because it must be the wish of everyone in the town that we should confer the freedom of the borough on Viscount Kitchener. (Applause.) I move “That the Council do hereby, in pursuance of the Honorary Freedom of Boroughs Act, 1883, confer upon the Right Hon’ble, Herbert Horatio Viscount Kitchener, G.C.B., K.C.M.G., R.E., the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Ipswich, in recognition of the distinguished services he has rendered to this country, both in the Soudan and in South Africa, and do hereby admit the said Herbert Horatio Viscount Kitchener to be Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Ipswich accordingly.”
The Deputy-Mayor: I have very great pleasure in seconding. The Mayor then put the resolution, which was carried unanimously, and with acclamation.
Mr. W.T. Pretty said he must say a word with regard to the splendid way the Mayor was treating them that day. (Applause.) He had made the very happy suggestion that the proceeds at the Public Hall should go towards the Gordon College at Khartoum. The Mayor had kindly sent them complimentary tickets, but he understood that his Worship had had many applications from outsiders who seemed to think they were entitled to tickets on some ground or another. Therefore there were not so many tickets to sell as had hoped for. To make up for that he should like to make the suggestion that the members of the Council should increase the fund by paying for their tickets.
This met with general approval, and Mr. Pretty established himself as collector.
RECEPTION AT THE STATION.
At noon precisely the Mayor of Ipswich (Councillor A.C. Churchman), and the Deputy-Mayor (Councillor W.F. Paul), accompanied by Mr. D. Ford Goddard, M.P., walked quietly on to the down platform at the Railway Station, and there awaited their guest of the municipality. General Sir William Gatacre, K.C.B., D.S.O., with whom was Colonel Chapman, Chief Staff Officer E.D., arrived immediately afterwards. Exactly to time the train steamed in, and the privileged spectators on the platform formed up in horse-shoe fashion outside a saloon carriage at the end of the train. The green blinds of the carriage were closely drawn, and there was a hush of keen expectancy, but Lord Kitchener did not for the moment appear. After the lapse of about a minute he stepped out, his tall figure being instantly recognised. His breast gleaming with decorations and orders, Lord Kitchener stepped forward and exchanged greetings with General Gatacre, the Mayor, and Mr. Ford Goddard, and a few moments’ conversation ensued. Lord Kitchener looked in high good humour, and his face was bronzed and ruddy, yet one could catch at times a glint in his eyes that seemed to recall the glance that quelled Wildrake when that roystering cavalier encountered Oliver Cromwell – as told by Sir Walter Scott in “Woodstock.” During the brief conversation on the down platform, the knot of spectators maintained a respectful silence, but as Lord Kitchener and his entourage moved to ascend the steps a hearty cheer broke out, and was re-echoed in fuller volume from the up side, where a huge crowd had gathered in and around the Station precincts.
Lord Kitchener, stepping quietly out of the station, at once inspected the smart detachment of Artillery Volunteers which under the command of Capt. Horsfield, was drawn up outside. Their fine physique evidently attracted the lordship’s attention, and Captain Horsfield had the honour of receiving a special compliment on this account. The huge crowd was meanwhile kept at bay by the escort of Suffolk Yeomanry under Lieut. Eley Quilter. At this moment quite a swarm of photographers appeared; some having settled on the station roof, whilst others had boarded buses, although these vehicles were already bearing enough burden.
Having concluded his inspection of the Artillery Volunteers, Lord Kitchener and his party drove towards the Town Hall, preceded by the Yeomanry escort. Accompanying the cortege was Mr. Ian Malcolm M.P.
The band of the 1st Suffolk and Harwich R.G.A. (Volunteers), under Mr. McNiel, enlivened the march towards the Town Hall with appropriate music. There was some congestion on the bridge after the cheering on towards the Hall. The windows all along the route were bright with ladies in summer attire, who waved flags and handkerchiefs, whilst the sterner sex cheered vociferously. Many Ipswich citizens gave evidence of extraordinary agility by the way in which they mounted roofs, window ledges, and other coigns of vantage in order to view the procession.
The route from the station had been bright with flags, triumphal arches, and Venetian masts. The bridge over the Gipping – which could not be effectually decorated unless it were altogether concealed – had the monotony of its corrugated iron relieved by rows of bright little streamers, which carried the eye to a handsome triumphal arch bearing the word “Welcome.”
At the junction of Portman Road with the main thoroughfare was a second arch on which was displayed the appropriate motto “Palmam qui meruit ferat.” Alongside the Cattle Market streamers fluttered gaily between lines of Venetian masts, until the cortege reached a third arch, on which the words, “Ipswich welcomes her new Citizen,” were emblazoned.
Except for the differing mottoes, each arch was practically a replica of the preceding one, being adorned with crimson cloth relieved by evergreens, and festooned with red-and-white roses. The Royal crown formed the keystone of each arch, and many gay bannerettes floated from the structure. This work was carried out under the direction of Mr. D. Taylor, the Borough Surveyor’s chief assistant.
Most of the shops and private houses along the route displayed decorations which, if not lavish, were effective, thanks to the bright sunshine, which enhanced their colouring, and the pleasant breeze which gave them a kaleidoscopic effect. From Messrs. Fraser’s fine facade the words, “Welcome Kitchener,” were boldly lettered in white on a crimson scroll, and as his equipage neared the Town Hall, Lord Kitchener was confronted with a counterfeit presentment of himself, surrounded with a laurel wreath, and flanked with the inscription in blue and red lettering. “Welcome to our greatest General.” This effective device was suspended over the roadway between the premises of Messrs. Stearn and Son and those of Messrs. Victor and Edwards. It should be said that the floral garland decoration used on the arches and Venetian masts was supplied by Messrs. R.D. and J.B. Fraser, this being the first they had been used in Ipswich. Thus through a joyous and enthusiastic crowd Lord Kitchener made triumphal progress to the Town Hall.
PRESENTATION OF THE FREEDOM.
SCENE AT THE PUBLIC HALL
His Worship the Mayor, knowing that a great many would like to witness the presentation of the Freeman of the Borough to Lord Kitchener, thoughtfully arranged that the ceremony should take place in the Public Hall, with a charge for admission, which should go in support of the Gordon College at Khartoum, in which Viscount Kitchener is so much interested.
The company were asked to assemble at 12 o’clock, and accordingly at that hour there were many arrivals; amongst the earliest being Mr. E.G. and Lady Beatrice Pretyman, the Mayor of Aldeburgh, and Col. McKenzie, followed soon after by Mr. Ian Malcolm M.P., who was accompanied by his charming wife; Lord Stradbroke, chairman of the East Suffolk County Council, and Lady Stradbroke; Lord Iveagh, Mr. F.S. Stevenson, M.P., and Mrs. Stevenson, Mr. C.H. Berners – who was attired in the dress of a Deputy-Lieutenant – and Mrs. Berners, Col. Lucas, M.P., Mr. F.W. Wilson, M.P., Sir Cuthbert Quilter, Bart., M.P., Mr. J.B. Chevallier, all of whom, with other influential residents in Suffolk and other parts of East Anglia, occupied seats near the platform. the Hall was packed, and presented a magnificent spectacle, as may be imagined when it is stated that the highest priced seats extended more than three-fourths of the way down the building, and that many military gentlemen were attired in their uniforms. Indeed there was the greatest array of numbered seats ever yet witnessed in the Hall, the largest public building in Ipswich. To efficiently comply with the unwonted demand for tickets required a lot of planning on the part of Mr. Geo. Watson, the lessee of the building, having regard to the number of the visitors, and the necessary facilities for their being able to find the chairs reserved for them. He certainly did wonders in this respect, considering the limited time at his disposal. Up to Saturday night the building was occupied with tons of commercial goods and appliances which had been on view in the Hall during the week in connection with the Trades’ Exhibition. The Hall was arranged in sections with numbers from one – 12, each letter representing seats from one to 32; and beyond this were letters from A to H in rows of 30 seats each, and there were four passages so as to make the approach to each section easy. Ticket-holders to these seats were admitted from Arcade Street. beyond was the space for the half-crown tickets, the seats not being numbered and admission to these and the gallery was from Westgate Street. The platform was limited to 64 seats, and this was approached by the staircase at the back of the platform and from Arcade Street. It must have been gratifying to the Mayor of Ipswich to have witnessed such a large attendance, regarded, as it might well be, as a hearty and generous response on the part of the public to his Worship’s suggested appropriation of the proceeds. Amongst the company, in addition to those named, were:- Mr. Philip Cobbold, Mr. A. Townshend Cobbold, Captain Horsfield, Captain Edward Chevallier, Lieut. read, Captain F.A. Bales, Captain Murray, Mr. O.D. Johnson (Chairman of the West Suffolk County Council), Captain Cubitt, Mr. F.W. Turner, Mr. G.S. Elliston, Mr. Frank Pretty, Major-General Walter Kitchener, Mr. A.M. Wilson, Col. Allenby, Lieut. A. Quilter, Lieut. C.A. Bennett, Lieut. M. Mason, Lieut. W. Catchpole, Major Berry, Col. Ward. Mr. James Ed. Ransome, Mr. Geo. Fisk, Mr. J.W. Rouse, Col. Nalborough, Mr. G. Calver Mason, Mr. E.G. Dale, Rev. E.J. Gilchrist, Rev. Canon Tompson, Mr. R.T. Whiting, Mr. H.R. Eyre, Mr. W.H. Laughlin, Mr. Barton, Mr. J.A. Hempson, Mr. Newbould, Mr. Edward Pretty, Mr. Raymond Bennett, and many others, including members and officials connected with other public bodies in the town. The Council and invited guests, whose names appear in the luncheon proceedings, were on the platform.
After some time of patient waiting, the Macebearers appeared at the back of the platform, followed by the Mayor and the Deputy-Mayor. The appearance in their company of Lord Kitchener, who was at once recognised, was the signal for the uprising of the assembly, and an outburst of enthusiastic cheering. The Mayor took the chair.
The Mayor said: My lords, ladies, and gentlemen. – I believe I am right in saying that upwards of 80 years have gone by since the people of Ipswich have exercised a privilege which can in any way be compared with that which we to-day enjoy. Town Councils and similar public bodies have many duties to perform; their time is very much occupied in such useful and humdrum occupations as making electric light stations, and laying out tramways and maintaining roads and sewers; but now and again, in the course of a hundred years or so, there comes a red letter day in the history of Ipswich – (cheers) – a day when the citizens of the town are enabled to recognise to the best of their ability the distinguished services of men who have upheld the dignity of their sovereign and the glory of the Empire. Such a day occurred in 1709, when the Freedom of this Borough was presented to the Duke of Marlborough. Another such day occurred in the year 1798, when Lord Nelson – (great cheering) – who, as I would like to remind Lord Kitchener and all of you, was for many years High Steward of this Borough – received the same honour at the hands of the town. In the year 1821, the great Duke of Wellington – (renewed cheers) – paid his long-promised visit to Ipswich, and received the freedom; and now again, after the lapse of upwards of 80 years, we welcome to Ipswich a great General – (cheers) – and we ask him to accept at our hands the greatest honour which it lies in our power to confer upon him. I think that of all the duties which fall to the lot of municipal bodies, none can surpass the privilege which we posses of being able in this ay to recognise the distinguished services of our fellow-countrymen – (hear, hear) – and when, as in this case, the recipient is himself a native of Suffolk, then the privilege is doubly great, and the occasion doubly interesting. (Cheers.) We Suffolk people have always held that Suffolk men are able to go anywhere and do anything, and that no office is too high for them to aspire to; and, if we want a fresh example amongst the many examples that the past has afforded us, we can always turn to Lord Kitchener as the man, for he had brought to a successful issue one of the hardest tasks ever given to any General to perform. (Hear, hear.) In conveying to Lord Kitchener the honorary freedom of the borough of Ipswich, we desire to honour him personally, and, through him, to honour the splendid Army which he has command. (Cheers.) It is with the greatest pleasure that I welcome him here to-day – our youngest citizen – (Hear, hear) – who has upheld the glory and the integrity of the Empire, and brought his country to an honourable and lasting peace. (Cheers.) I will ask the Town Clerk to be kind enough to read a resolution which was unanimously passed by the Town Council at the special meeting held this morning.
The Town Clerk then read the following municipal record of the event, which was handsomely endorsed as an address on vellum for presentation to Lord Kitchener:-
At a meeting of the Council of the Borough of Ipswich, specially convened and held in the Library, at the Town Hall, on Monday, the 22nd day of September, 1902.
ARTHUR CHARLES CHURCHMAN, Esquire.
Mayor, in the chair.
It was unanimously resolved.
On the motion of the Mayor, that this Council do hereby, in pursuance of the Honorary Freedom of Boroughs Act, 1885, confer upon the Right Hon’ble, Herbert Horatio Viscount Kitchener G.C.B., K.C.M.G., R.E., the honorary freedom of the borough of Ipswich, in recognition of Ipswich, in recognition of the distinguished services he has rendered to this country, both in the Soudan and in South Africa and do hereby admit the said Herbert Horatio Viscount Kitchener to be an honorary freeman of the Borough of Ipswich accordingly.
A.C. CHURCHMAN, Mayor.
WILL BANTOFT, Town Clerk.
The Mayor, handing the scroll to Viscount Kitchener, as the company cheered again and again, said he had great pleasure in asking him to accept the Freedom of the borough. “I have also,” his Worship added, “to ask you to accept this cup” (indicating a very handsome piece of plate which stood on the table), which is inscribed with a record of the event.
Lord Kitchener, on rising to reply, was received with round after round of cheering, the warmth of the reception giving him evident pleasure. He said: Mr. Mayor, my lords, ladies and gentlemen. – As the junior freeman of Ipswich, I beg to tender you my most cordial thanks for the great honour you have conferred upon me to-day. I feel that by this act you have shown how highly you appreciate the services of those who served with me in South Africa and the Soudan. (Cheers.) I cannot help thinking, however, that I should have hardly been specially selected for this signal mark of your favour had it not been for the connection that has existed for several hundred years between my family and this city. I feel very little doubt that it is as an East Anglian that you welcome me here to-day – (hear, hear, and cheers,) – and I can assure you I am very proud of these family ties that associate me with the people of Suffolk, and also with those gallant soldiers whom East Anglia has sent out to represent her in South Africa. (Cheers.) Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am very glad to be able to tell you that you were very well represented; I can assure you that you have reason to be proud of the men who were sent out from this part of the country. It is true, as you probably remember, that at the first start off, in a pitch-dark night, the Boers were able, by unexpected magazine fire, to somewhat disturb the equanimity of the Suffolk Regiment; but I can assure you that our men very quickly learned the lesson, and on many occasions afterwards, both on dark nights and in the day time, they disturbed in a very much more serious manner the equanimity of the Boers. (Laughter and cheers.) I had the Regiment frequently under my personal orders, and I had the utmost reliance on the sterling grit and determination of all ranks. (Renewed cheers.) I also have to congratulate you very heartily on the excellent Militia, Yeomanry, and Volunteers that you sent out; they all had hard work to do, and did it on all occasions to my complete satisfaction. (Hear, hear.) The Mayor has referred to those great men, in bygone days were my predecessors in the honour I have now received at your hands. It adds greatly to the lustre of the privilege that has been conferred upon me to be associated with names so glorious in the military history of our country as those mentioned by the Mayor. To few is it given in a nation’s history to rival the illustrious deeds and genius of those great men; but I think, or, I hope that the events for the past two years have at least shown that the spirit of devotion to duty and to country burns in all ranks now with as pure and steady a flame as it ever did in the brave days of old. (Enthusiastic cheers.)
At the call of the Mayor, who led with a “Hip! hip! hurrah!” in which his colleagues on the Council joined, the ceremony closed with a renewed outburst of cheering for Lord Kitchener, who bowed his acknowledgements as he left the platform.
The cup presented to Lord Kitchener by the Mayor is a most beautiful and valuable example of the silversmith’s art. Executed in what is called the “Renaissance” style, the cover bears a representation of an outstretched hand, holding a crown of laurel; on the bowl is Lord Kitchener’s coat of arms – showing camels “rampant” and having the happy and significant motto. “Thorough” – together with those of the Borough of Ipswich and the Royal Engineers; and the following inscription:-
General Viscount Kitchener,
By the People of Ipswich,
On the occasion of the grant to him
Honorary Freedom of the Borough.
22nd September, 1902.
– The cup is about 24 inches in height, and was enclosed in for removal and presentation in a handsome oak case.
LUNCHEON AT THE TOWN HALL
SPEECHES BY LORD KITCHENER, THE MAYOR, THE EARL OF STRADBROKE, MR. D. FORD COBBOLD, M.P., SIR CHARLES DALRYMPLE, M.P., AND LORD RENDLESHAM.
At half past one o’clock, the Mayor entertained Lord Kitchener and a distinguished party at luncheon, which was served in the Council Chamber at the Town Hall. His Worship occupied the chair, supported on the right by the guest of the day, and on the left by Lord Stradbroke; with Mr. J.E. Ransome and Mr. G. Calver Mason in the vice chairs. There were also present – Lord Iveagh, Lord Rendlesham, the Bishop of Ipswich, Major-General F. Walter Kitchener, major-General Sir F. Gatarce, Colonel Cameron Downing. Colonel Duthy (commanding R.A. Eastern District), Colonel Dowse (commanding 12th Regimental District), Rear-Admiral Sir F. Bedford, Colonel Baird, Mr. D. Ford Cobbold, M.P., Sir Charles Dalrymple, M.P., Mr. E.G. Pretyman, M.P., Lieut.-Col. F.A. Lucas, M.P., Mr. Ian Malcolm, M.P., Mr. F.S. Stevenson, M.P., Mr. F.W. Wilson, M.P., Sir W. Cuthbert Quilter, M.P., Sir E.E.W. Greene, Bart., M.P., Mr. R.M. Miller, Mr. H.M. Jackaman, Dr. J.H. Bartlet, Mr. William Pretty, Mr. G.F. Josselyn, Mr. F.H. Forsdick, Mr. Geo. Hines, Mr. C.H. Berners, Captain Fegan, Colonel Tracey, Mr. Kerrison, Mr. O.D. Johnson; the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Colchester (Mr. Wilson Marriage and Mr. C.E. Egerton Green), the Mayors of Lowestoft (Alderman W. Youngman), Southwold (Mr. Eaton W. Moore), Sudbury (Mr. F. Wheeler), Eye (Mr. Charles Tacon), Beccles (Major Wilson), and Aldeburgh (Mr. G.H. Garrett), Mr. O.D. Johnson, Mr. J.B. Chevallier, Colonel Alderson, Major Johnson (Officer Commanding R.A., Ipswich), Col. F.G. Bond, The Town Clerk (Mr. W. Bantoft), the Magistrates’ Clerk (Mr. J.W. Rouse), Mr. George Fisk, Captain G.W. Horsfield, Lieut.-Colonel Mackenzie, C.B. (formerly Adjutant of the V.S.B.R.), Brigade Surgeon Lieut.-Colonel D.A. Tollemache, Lieut. Read, Lieut. Arnold Quilter, Captain Edward Chevallier, R.A., Mr. J. Hepburn Hume, the members of the Town Council – The Deputy-Mayor (Mr. W.F. Paul), Alderman Walton Turner, C.H. Cowell, N. Catchpole, A. Wrinch, E. Packard, S.R. Anness, and J.H. Josselyn; Councillors J.H. Grimwade, W.C. Page, Fred Bennett, W. Pipe, george Butcher, H.J.W. Jervis, W. Grayston, F.E. Rands, T.R. Elkington, F. Turner, W.T. Pretty, A. Ranson, T. Alderton, Sydney Brand, C.E. Tempest, Owen Turner, W.J. Catchpole, W.S. Cowell, Edgar Catchpole, E.P. Ridley, W.O. White, H.W. Raffe, J.R. Stadden, W.A. Churchamn, George Fenn, R.D. Fraser, John Pratt, and R.S. Paul; Major McNeill, Mr. F.W. Canham, Mr. Alan Turner, Mr. P.W. Cobbold, Mr. J.K. Gatarce, jun., Lord Kitchener’s A.D.C., Captain Davies, (Adjutant to 12th Regimental District), and others.
The tables were very prettily decorated with flowers and dessert fruits, and several pieces of plate, including the ancient loving cups belonging to the Corporation, and a handsome trophy won by the 1st V.B.S.R. This was the challenge cup “presented by the Corporation of the City of London for Field Competition by Yeomanry and Volunteers.” Mr. J.C. Pipe (Messrs. Limmer and Pipe) served the luncheon in excellent style, the menu being as follows:
Mayonnaise de Saumon
Mayonnaise de Homard
Filet de Sole Joinville
Côtelette de Volaille Princesse
Boudins à la Royale
Chaud-foid de Cailles Lucullus
Poularde à la Devonshire
Piéce de Bœuf Épée L’Anglaise
Langue à L’ Écarlate
Pâte de Gibier
Salade de Tomates
Gelée aux Fruits
Bavarois au Chocolat
The Mayor, in proposing “The King,” remarked that there was a very short toast list, as the medal presentation would take place on the Cornhill at three o’clock.
The toast was loyally honoured, as also was that of “The Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, and other members of the Royal family.”
The High Sheriff of Suffolk, (Col. H.E. Buxton), in proposing “The Houses of Parliament,” said he hoped that in so doing he was not contravening that rule that precluded a High Sheriff from taking part in polities. The Houses of Parliament had throughout the war given to His Majesty’s Government assistance that had enabled them to render full support to the armies in the field. That was the plain duty which the Houses of Parliament had to perform, and they had done it without stint. (Hear, hear, and applause.) He would couple with a toast the names of the Earl of Stradbroke and Mr. D. Ford Goddard, M.P.
The Earl of Stradbroke, responding, said he felt it a great honour to have his name coupled with the toast. from the way in which it had been received, he judged that they all felt the members of both Houses had done their duty satisfactorily. A great many people seemed to draw conclusions from the fact that very few Acts of Parliament had been passed during the Session, but this was, preharps, because all important Acts were of a controversial character. A great many private Bills had been passed, and Parliament certainly deserved credit for the amount of solid work done by the Committee, he believed that important matters would shortly be brought before the Houses of Parliament, and the presence of the distinguished guest reminded them that one of the most important of all questions was the future of the Army. (Hear, hear.) Criticisms were lavished on the War Office, but as that department was managed by human beings only, it was probable that mistakes sometimes occurred. It was only fair that the politicians, both past and present, should take their share of blame, but it must be remembered that the War Office had their hands tied by the public purse-strings being so tightly drawn. The chiefs of the Army recommendations would be received in a proper spirit, and that the members of both Houses would feel it their duty to impress on the people – and especially on the taxpayers – that it was their duty to make sacrifices – and sometimes great sacrifices – for the protection of their country. In conclusion, the noble Earl said that he would like to add a word of congratulation to Lord Kitchener on the honour he had received. It gave him (Lord Stradbroke), and all other Suffolk men present, great pleasure to have witnessed that ceremony by the kind and hospitable invitation of the Mayor. (Hear, hear, and loud applause.)
Mr. D. Ford Goddard, M.P., who was very heartily received, said that to ask a member of Parliament to confine his remarks within a three-minute speech seemed like asking a camel to go through the eye of a needle, or a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven. As the orders that day were short and sharp, preharps the best compliment they could pay to their military guest would be prompt obedience. (Hear, hear.) There was possibly no other assembly so contradictory and controversial as the House of Commons – (laughter, and hear, hear), and it was only on some very happy and exceptional occasions that they found the House unanimous. But there was one subject on which it had shown itself absolutely unanimous, and he believed he was speaking for all members of Parliament present on that occasion when he said that there was a deep sense of thankfulness that the South African war, which had so long occupied public attention, and had cost so much in human life and suffering, as well as in national treasure, had at last come to an end – (applause) – that the gates of the Temple of Janus might be once more shut, and that peace might rest upon their land. (Hear, hear, and applause.) besides this unanimous opinion in the House as to the war, there was a deep sense of appreciation of the gallant soldier to whose indomitable perseverance, personal courage, and good common-sense, such a happy result might largely be attributed. (Loud, applause.)
The Mayor, who was received with loud and prolonged applause, said he had taken upon himself to propose the toast of the day. (Hear, hear). There could be so subject on which it would be possible to speak with greater length than on Lord Kitchener (Hear, hear, and applause). He had done so well for his country, and his country thought so well of him, that one might easily exceed the prescribed three minutes. (Hear, hear, laughter, and applause). But he (the Mayor) thought that in some cases actions spoke very much louder than words, and this was certainly one of them. they were all very grateful to Lord Kitchener for winding up his many good actions – up to date – by accepting the freedom of the Borough of Ipswich, and whilst they could not consider this as they greatest action he had ever accomplished, yet they in Ipswich, at any rate, considered it a very great and notable event. He (the Mayor) now asked Lord Kitchener to accept from him the thanks of the people of Ipswich for the honour he had done their town – (applause) – and he asked all present to join him in drinking Lord Kitchener’s health, and in wishing him long life. (Loud applause).
The toast was enthusiastically received, Mr. Ford Goddard genially leading in the musical honours.
Lord Kitchener, who on rising was received with loud and long-continued applause, said: Mr. Mayor, my lords, and gentlemen, – I have to tender you my most cordial thanks for the very kind way in which you have responded to the toast of my health. As I have been only to-day made a Freeman of the town of Ipswich I feel that I must be absolutely obedient to my chief, the Mayor, who has told us that our speeches must be of the shortest possible duration. I would only ask you to let the people of Ipswich know how highly I appreciate the magnificent reception they have given me to-day, and how very grateful I am for all kindness they have shown me whilst I have been here. (Applause).
Sir Charles Dalrymple, Bart., M.P., remarked that he felt honoured by having to propose the toast of “The County and Borough Councils.” He could speak with freedom about them, for he had not the qualification necessary for serving on any of them – (laughter) – and he believed they commanded the entire confidence of their constituents. The County Councils of Suffolk consisted largely of men who, under former arrangements, had successfully managed the affairs of the County, and associated with them in harmonious combination were men whose interest in local government had been recently enlisted by modern legislation. On that day, when they were met at the hospitable table of the Mayor of Ipswich they were likely to appreciate Borough Councils more than ever. (Hear, hear, laughter, and applause.) He hoped that there might never be a want of the best men to offer themselves for municipal honours, for he was persuaded that at no previous time had the performance of municipal duty been more appreciated, or held in higher regard. (Hear, hear.) He could not doubt that in the future there would be cast upon these Councils more duties than heretofore, but he was convinced that with the high spirit of patriotism that characterised them, they would brace themselves to the performance of any duties that might be cast upon them. He would couple with the toast the name of a nobleman well known in Suffolk, and one who happened to be an old friend of his – Lord Rendlesham – together with the name of Mayor of Lowestoft.
Lord Rendlesham, having thanked Sir Chas. Dalrymple for the kind way in which he had referred to the County Councils, said he felt deeply honoured in having to respond to the toast. he thanked the Mayor for his kind hospitality that day, and he also highly appreciated the honour of meeting an East Anglian who had joined the ranks of the many distinguished men who had had conferred upon them the Freedom of the Borough of Ipswich. He might recall to their recollection the names of some who had been most distinguished in the medical department – and he was sure Lord Kitchener felt that in this department great honour had been won in the recent war. He (Lord Rendlesham) had presided over the East Suffolk County Council with a hammer in his hand, when times were not, preharps, quite so quiet as at present – (laughter) – and in answer to his friend, Sir Chas. Dalrymple, he would say that he would not enter into detail regarding the works done by the County Council, because some might say that they spent too little. He believed, however, that during its existence the East Suffolk County Council had done a great deal of good work, and on its behalf he begged to express his thanks for the way in which the toast had been proposed and received. (Applause.)
The Mayor of Lowestoft said he felt it a great pleasure to reply to the toast, and to attend on that memorable occasion. he felt certain that if a time should unfortunately arise when their country would again be engaged in war, they would look to Suffolk in the full confidence that it would be one of the first to come to the front and to do its duty, whether in defending their own shores, or those of their Colonies beyond the seas.
Sir E. Walter Greene, M.P., raising amidst applause, observed that although the order “Cease fire” had been given, he had special permission to fire one more shot. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) He was sure no one would like to leave without expressing thanks to their most excellent Mayor. When he (Sir Walter) received his invitation, he felt that it was a very friendly action towards the borough which he was proud to represent, and the more he heard of the Mayor of Ipswich, the more good he got to know about him. (Hear, hear, and applause.) His liberality and kindness during the Coronation week would never be forgotten, neither would his generosity in giving the magnificent banquet on the present memorial occasion. he thanked his Worship for having afforded him the honour of sitting at the same table with Lord Kitchener, and he begged to propose the health of the Mayor of Ipswich.
The toast having been most heartily honoured.
The Mayor in responding, said he wished to thank Sir Walter Greene for having added to the list a toast that he (the Mayor) had carefully arranged to omit. (Laughter, and applause.) Nevertheless, he thanked them very heartily for having received it so cordially. During a very pleasant year of office, he did not think anything had given him greater pleasure than had the opportunity of entertaining Lord Kitchener.
DISTRIBUTION OF MEDALS
Whilst the guests were at luncheon, the Cornhill was alive with people, who were kept in good humour by the excellent selections of the band of Harwich and Suffolk Volunteer Artillery, under the baton of Bandmaster McNeil. When the 1st V.B.S.R. marched on to the hill, considerable difficulty was experienced in reaching the reserved square. The officers present were- Colonel Bond, Battalion Commander, Major W.A. Churchman, in command of the Headquarter Companies. Captain Tempest, Captain F.W. Turner, Captain W.T. Pretty (Cyclist Section), Captain Frank Pretty, Brigade Surgeon, Lieut.-Colonel G.S. Elliston, Major Hoyland, of the Brigade Bearer Company, Lieuts. W. Catchpole, M.F. Mason, and Steward, with Sergt. Major Sparkes, Sergt.-Major Davis, and Sergt. Instructor Harrison. There were about 36 sergeants, buglers, and about 112 rank and file. Amongst the officers present were Brigadier-General Lucas, Colonel Downes, commanding 12th Regimental District, Colonel Mackenzie, 1st Suffolk, and Major Johnson, R.A. The “Roll-call” was read by Q.-M.-S. Barlow, of the Recruiting Staff.
Not long after the men had been formed up two deep, General Gatacre appeared on the Town Hall steps, and received a hearty recognition. Other officers appeared, and loud cheering in the vestibule heralded the approach of the gallant Viscount. On making his appearance to the crowd, there was lusty cheering, which was continued for some minutes, and his Lordship raised his hat in response three or four times. When he ascended the platform in the middle of the hill with the Mayor, there was a scene of enthusiasm which has never been equaled before in Ipswich. There being considerably over 100 medals for Lord Kitchener to present, no time was lost in getting through the ceremony. The Reservists of the Suffolk Regiment, to the number of 76, first came up, being followed by members of the 43rd Company of the Suffolk Yeomanry. Then came the members of the 1st V.B.S.R., the Brigade bearer Company bringing up the rear. At the conclusion there was no speechmaking, and the party returned to the Town Hall amidst much cheering. The receivers of medals were-
SUFFOLK REGIMENT RESERVISTS
Prvts. A. Abbott, C. Abbott, E. Abbott, H. Abbott, C. Archer, Lance-Corpl. E. Baldwin, Prvts. W. Bailey, B. Baker, B. Barker, F. Barker, A. Bales, W. Barker, C. Birch, W. Bloomfiled, G. Buckle, A. Chittock, J. Collins, A. Desborough, A. Dewhurst, A. Eldred, G. Elmer, W. Emeny, H. Farthing, W. Finch, F. Flory, G.H. Fitch, R. Giles, Godden, G.F. Goodwin, F. Green, Corpl. L.G. Green, Prvt. W. Griggs, Corpls. C. Gyford and R. Heading, J. Holder, J. Howell, A. Hubbard, H. Hudson, G, Hyem, W. Johnson, L.W. James, Corpl. R. Keeble, Prvt. A. Lambert. Lance-Corpl. R. Last, Prvts. T. Lear, F. Lee, G. Lodge, W. Mallet, A. Moore, J. Moss, G. Parker, R. Parker, J.F. Phillips, F. Quinton, W. J. Rawings, C. Rich, W. Robinson, G. Sayer, H.W. Sayer, G. Smith, J. Smith. Corpls. S. Smith, J. Smith, J. Soar, G. Stevenson, B. Standring, J. Warne, W. Wheeler, W. Whitbread, W. Whiting, W. Willoughby, Drummer E. Woodard, Prvts. W. Woodward and J. Worth.
Lieut. W.E. Wilson, Sergt. Battrum, and Corpl. Collon.
Lieut. C.L. Read, Framlingahm; Sergt.-Instr. W. Reid, Halesworth; Sergt. G. Dawdry, Ipswich; Sergt. A.C. Creasy, Framlingahm; Lance-Corp. H.O. Warne, Ipswich; Lance-Corpl. J.J. Clayton, Halesworth; Prvts. H.J. Easton, J. Hall, J. Howe, G. Jordan, W. Adams, R. Pearse, Woodbridge; H. Pizzy, T. Bawtree, Framlingham; G.E. Pretty, H.B. Stammers, E.A. Turner, C. Amass, and F. Collins, Ipswich; R. Sones, Leiston; J.H. Tomlin, Newmarket.
BRIGADE BEARER COMPANY
Corpls. H.W. Cresswell and H.J. Hearn, Prvts. Battle, Freeman, Gooding and Davis.
The following is a list of those already in possession of war medals:- Sergt. T.J. Pye, Sergt. J.P. Rogers. Corpls. G. Norman, W. Lambert, H.A. Bothwell, Lance-Sergt. E.C. Chamberlain, Lance-Corpl. T. Roger, and Lance-Corpl. W. Jarrold, Ipswich; Corps. C. Upson, G. Piper, W.F. Stannard, W. Ward; Prvts. J. Palmer, and W. Bunn, Woodbridge; Corpl. C. Goodwin, Corpl. J. Parker, and Prvts. J. O’Neill, Halesworth; Prvts. W. Stannard, F.W. Newson, Framlingham; and Prvt. Walton, Saxmundham.
Major J.BRITIAN’S DEFENDERS
MEMORIAL UNVEILED IN IPSWICH
GENERAL FRENCH ON SUFFOLK PROWESS
THE “MORAL EFFECT” IN WAR
SPEECHES BY THE MARQUIS OF BRISTOL AND SIR CUTHBERT QUILTER
1st October 1906 EADT
On Saturday afternoon, in the presence of an immense crowd, which filled the Cornhill at Ipswich, to the outermost corners, General Sir John French, G.C.V.O., K.C.B., K.C.M.G., Commander-in-Chief, Aldershot Army Corps, unveiled the East Suffolk memorial to the soldiers of the Suffolk Regiment, and soldiers from the Eastern half of the county serving with other regiments, who fell in the South Africa War. The weather being fine, and the day being a half holiday, two important elements in the success of a big outdoor function were secured. Not only were the townspeople thoroughly resolved upon taking what part they could in the interesting ceremonial, but inhabitants of the surrounding towns and villages of East Suffolk visited the Borough in large numbers for the purpose of attending the function, many coming from a considerable distance. The result was that, long before the hour fixed for the ceremony, the Cornhill had begun to wear an appearance of considerable animation, and the numerous duties of the police in managing and directing the large crowd began early. Admirable preparations had been made by Captain J. Mayne, Chief Constable of East Suffolk hon. secretary to the committee, in consultation with Colonel Russell, Chief Constable of the Borough, and the Town Clerk (Mr. Will Bantoft), to ensure the best use being made of the available space, so that the ceremony should have a suitable and effective matter, and that the subscribers to the memorial and the general public should be able to see and hear what took place with the minimum of inconvenience. The calculations had been very accurately made, and though it seemed to some that the barriers took rather a wide sweep, there was really very little room to spare within the enclosure while the proceedings were taking place.
The memorial stands about 13ft 6in. high, the statue itself, of which a sketch appears, being about 6ft 3in., whilst the pedestal is a little over 9ft. The pedestal is made of stone, and has panels in bronze on each of its sides. Those at the back and sides bear the names of those who fell in the war, whilst the one in front bears the following dedication:-
SUFFOLK SOLDIERS’ MEMORIAL
Erected by Suffolk people as a monument to Suffolk Soldiers who lost their lives in the South African War, 1899 – 1902.
Surmounting this pedestal is a finely designed and modelled statue of a soldier in khaki uniform. Bare-headed he stands with rifle reversed, as at the graveside of a comrade. The poise of the head, bent low in reverence, and the facial expression are intensely pathetic. The sense of grief and the seriousness of the moment are indicated through the whole attitude of this dignified figure, and whilst the treatment of the work throughout is board and sculpturesque, none of the detail has been left unstudied, the sculptor having given infinite care to this, with the result that great accuracy is the representation of a soldier has been achieved.
The statue has been most successfully cast in bronze by the cire-perdue (lost wax) process.
The pedestal, with its bronze panels, though simple in design, is well fitted to carry the more elaborate statue above. It may be interesting to know that the sculptor choose for his model for this statue one who had served in the South African war, rather than work from an ordinary professional model.
THE SCENE ON THE CORNHILL
The figure of the soldier has its back to the Town Hall, and behind is a stone water trough., harmonising with the pedestal. On the figure’s left hand a small platform, which had been coloured blue instead of the customary red, had been erected, and a few chairs had been placed thereon for the use of those taking actual part in the ceremony. Between this and the Town Hall were about a dozen chairs for the ladies accompanying these distinguished visitors, and the main body of this audience within the enclosure were seated on chairs, arranged in three blocks, between the platform and the pavement on the left side of the Town Hall as seen from that edifice. Members of the 1st Volunteer Battalion Suffolk Regiment, under Colonel W.A. Churchman, lined the enclosure round its whole length, the other officers of the unit present being the Adjutant Captain D’Arcy Smith, Major Hart, Captain W.T. Pretty, and Captain Catchpole, and Lieut. Cubitt. Across the space immediately in front of the Town Hall was drawn up the Guard of Honour, which was composed of about a hundred men of the 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment from Woolwich, who attended with their colours, band, and buglers, under Captain Cooper, Lieuts. Taylor and Walker being also present. The band occupied a position on the right, and for about an hour before the ceremony played selections which were highly appreciated by their large audience. The programme submitted by Bandmaster Varnfield included:-
Grand Military Fantasia – “In Memoriam” Yeabsley.
Valse – “Sympathie” – Mezzocappo.
Grand Military Tattoo – Lieut. Mackenzie Rogan.
Song – “In Sympathy” – Leonf.
“The Death of Nelson” – Brahms.
Dream Pictures – “A Phantom Brigade” – Myddleton.
In lines at right angles with the guard of honour were detachments of the Imperial Yeomanry, under Major Royce Tomkin, and the Harwich Bearer Company, R.A.M.C. (Vols.), under Captain Gibb, while facing the memorial at the far side of the enclosure were detachments of the 2nd V.B. Suffolk Regiment, under Captain Beevor, the Royal Horse Artillery, L Battery, Ipswich, under Lieut. Ramsden, the Harwich Defences R.E. and R.A., under Lieut. Cameron, Suffolk R.G.A. (Militia), under Capt. Kendle, R.M.A.; 1st Suffolk and Harwich R.G.A. (Volunteers), under Lieut. Parmenter. Each of these units consisted of an officer, a sergeant, and 12 men. Major C.F. Lennock, commanding the 12th Regimental District, was present, representing the Depot of the Suffolk Regiment, Bury St. Edmund’s, but there were no men from there. On the Town Hall steps were a considerable number of members of the local Boys’ Brigade and Church Lads’ Brigade, while an avenue of police kept the centre portion of the steps clear. The remaining space close up to the Town Hall was completely filled, and at every window of the building could be seen a crowd of faces, the people for the most part being seated on slightly rising platforms, so that all had a good view of what was going on. The roof of the Town Hall, like that of every building commanding a view of the Cornhill, had a sprinkling of more venturous sightseers, and every one of the scores of windows facing the scene was filled with interested spectators. The crowd on such portions of the Cornhill as were available to the general public was a dense, solid mass of human beings, who were scarcely able to move. Old inhabitants say that they have never previously beheld such a crowd in Ipswich. On the whole, they were orderly, and no untoward incident is reported, but in one part, and, unfortunately, it was the nearest to the platform, there was, more or less, hubbub constantly going on. It was not an occasion for elaborate display of flags and bunting, and very little colour was to be seen above ground, except such as was provided by the hues of ladies attire, but the varied uniforms of the others imparted a certain picturesqueness to the scene, which, above all, was most distinguished for impressiveness.
As the time for the ceremony drew near, the great crowd was everywhere on the alert to catch the first possible glimpse of
Some particulars of the career of this distinguished soldier may be appropriate here. General Sir John Denton Pinkstone French began serving his country as a naval cadet and midshipman in the Royal Navy, but after four years of sea life, he entered the Army in 1874, commencing his military career in the Suffolk Artillery Militia at Ipswich. He afterwards joined the 8th Hussars, in which regiment he served through the Soudan campaign (1884-5), taking part in the actions of Abu Kleea, Gubut, and Metemmeh. He was mentioned in despatches, and was awarded a medal with two clasps and the Khedive star. From 1889 – 1893 he commanded the 19th Hussars, and was then appointed Assistant Adjutant-General of Cavalry on the Staff. A position which he exchanged later for the post of Assistant Adjutant- General at the Headquarters of the Army. His next appointment was that of Brigadier to command the 2nd Cavalry Brigade, from which he was transferred as temporary Major-General to command the Cavalry Divisions in Natal, when the South African war broke out in 1889. He commanded troops at the battle of Elandslaagte, and command cavalry in Sir George White’s forces in the battles of Reitfontein and Lombard’s Kop. His name chiefly came to the front while commanding troops in operations round Colesberg, from November 10th, 1899, to January 31st, 1900, during which period he fought several important engagements. He commanded the cavalry force in the operations culminating in the relief of Kimberley in February, 1900, and subsequently commanded, as Lieutenant-General, the cavalry division in Lord Roberts’ forces throughout the operations ending in the capture of Bloemfontein and Pretoria; and in the battles east of Pretoria, on the 10th and 12th June, 1900, he commanded the left wing. In connection with these engagements he was mentioned in despatches eight times. Later he was in charge of the forces during the operations previous to the capture of Barberton, and also commanded the forces in the Eastern Transvaal during the spring of 1901. He was in active work right up to the end of the war, having before then been promoted to be Major-General, and directed the final operations against the rebels in Cape Colony.
Almost as soon as three o’clock had struck there was a stir amongst the spectators, and many repetitions of the words, “There he is,” from all around, showed how interested the people were in General French. He has been the guest of Sir Cuthbert Quilter at Bawdsey Manor, and motored over from there with his host, and accompanied by his Aide-de-Camp, Major J. Arnold C. Quilter, of the Grenadier Guards (who, as a Lieutenant, rescued several wounded comrades from the burning veldt, while under fire at Biddulphsberg, South Africa. on the 29th May, 1900, and Major Maitland Kersey, D.S.O., of the Herefordshire Yeomanry, Major Quilter, it may be mentioned, is Assistant Military Secretary, Northern Command, and is a son of Sir Cuthbert Quilter. Preceded by the Town Sergeants in livery, bearing the maces,
the Mayor of Ipswich, in official robes and chain, led the way to the centre of the enclosure, accompanied by the Bishop of Ipswich (the Right Rev. H.L. Paget), in his canonicals, and followed by the Lord-Lieutenant of the County (the Marquis of Bristol), in uniform, while there were also of the party General Sir John French and his Aides-de-Camp, the Earl of Stradbroke, as Colonel of the 1st Norfolk R.G.A. (Volunteers); Lord Rendlesham, chairman of the County Council and Quarter Sessions, as Honorary Colonel of the Suffolk Artillery; Sir Cuthbert Quilter, in the uniform of a Deputy-Lieutenant; General C.R. Townley, commanding Harwich Infantry Volunteer Brigade; Lieut. Eley Quilter, Suffolk Imperial Yeomanry; Colonel Sir Howard Whitbread, C.B., who was associated with General French in this district in the early years of his military career; Col. R.J. Carthew, Suffolk R.G.A. Militia; Col. Barnardiston; Col. F.W. Scudamore, 3rd Battalion Suffolk Regiment; Capt. E.G. Pretyman, in the uniform of a Cavalry officer; Capt. Mayne, hon. sec; Mr. Albert Toft, the sculptor; and others. Amongst the ladies who made their appearance about this time were the Marchioness of Bristol, wearing a black gown, black bonnet, and black feather boa; Lady Beatrice Pretyman, who was also in black, but wore a white toque, bespangled with sequins and trimmed with black and white, and a white boa; Lady Evelyn Cobbold, who was entirely in black, with a black picture hat, draped with a long black veil, and wearing a mauve scarf; Mrs. Paget, who wore a black silk gown, a large white mushroom hat, with a black ruche and pale pink roses under the brim, over it being a large black lace veil, which fell down in folds behind; the Hon. Misses Thellusson, who came with Lord Rendlesham; Lady Florence Barnardiston, Mrs. Scudamore, Mrs. Townley, Mrs. Toft, and others. The Mayoress was unable to be present, being aboard.
Soon after his arrival, General French, accompanied by Col. Townley, inspected the 1st Suffolks, and subsequently inspected some of the other units present.
A great deal of interest was taken in,
who was conspicuous not only in the plainness of his dress in comparison with the gorgeous personages around him, but also on account of his youthful appearance. Mr. Albert Toft, who is one of the leaders of the younger generation of sculptors, is a native of Birmingham. His father, Mr. Charles Toft, was for over 20 years chief modeller to Messrs. Elkington, the well-known silversmiths of that city, and for some time modelling master at the Birmingham School of Art. His father transferred his services to the firm of Jonah Wedgewood and Sons, and with them young Albert Toft served a three years’ apprenticeship to modelling for pottery. At the end of that time he gained a national scholarship at the Newcastle-under-Lyme School of Arts, and he entered upon a course of studies in sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London, of which institution he is now an honorary associate. During his three years’ work there he carried off, besides many medals, the first prize in the college for the model of a figure from life. At the expiration of his scholarship he begun his career as a sculptor, and for many years he has been an exhibitor at the Royal Academy and other exhibitions throughout the world.
The work with which he first won fame was his statue of “Lilith,” the weird phantom of Rabbinical mythology, represented in the nude, with a serpent coiling round her; and it was further enhanced by “Fate-Led,” a magnificent work which was exhibited at the Royal Academy, and which has found a permanent home at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. “In the Sere and Yellow Leaf,” a wonderful study of old age, and the marvellous “Spirit of Contemplation,” added further renown to his laurels. Among the more important of his other works may be cited “The Goblet of Life,” “Hager,” “Age and the Angel of Death,” “The Cup of Immortality,” and “Spring”- the original model of which is now in the Birmingham Art Gallery. In the realm of portraiture Mr. Toft occupies a distinguished place, and his busts of W.E. Gladstone and Philip James Bailey are accounted amongst the best examples of their kind. Other important works include the heroic statue of Henry Richard at Tregaron, the Mr. William Pearce memorial near Govan, the Gladstone memorial at Penmaenmawr, the Queen Victoria at Nottingham, the War Memorial in Warwick Church, the King Edward Coronation bust for Leamington, the Rajah Chief of Bamra statue near Calcutta, and other big works, in addition to a number of noteworthy portrait busts.
SOME OF THOSE PRESENT
Amongst others noticed to be present were: Lord Huntingfield and the Hon. Mrs. Vanneck, Mr. E. Beauchamp, M.P., and Mrs. Beauchamp,
Mr. D. Ford Goddard, M.P(Pictured)., Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Berners, Sir Thomas Tacon (Major of Eye) and Lady Tacon, Alderman J.H. Grimwade (Deputy Mayor of Ipswich, pictured) and Mrs. Grimwade, Mr. and Mrs. A.M. Bernard, Col. Sir Joshua Rowley, Bart., V.D. (Hon. Colonel 2nd V.B.S.R.), and the Hon. Lady Rowley, Mr. Nathaniel Catchpole and Miss Dunne, Mr. G. Butcher, Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Tempest, Mr. T. Alderton, Mr. H.W. Raffe, Mr. and Mrs. E.P. Ridley, Mr. and Mrs. George Fenn, Mr. and Mrs. H.M. Jackaman, Mr. A.E. Smith (chairman of Halesworth Urban District Council), Mr. C. Terry (chairman East Stow Rural District Council) and Mrs. Terry, Mr. and Mrs. W. Wade, Mr. and Mrs. W. Hunt (chairman Woodbridge Rural District Council), Mr. and Mrs. G.J. Gosling (Stowmarket), Mr. W. Short and Miss Short, Mr. W. Bantoft (Town Clerk of Ipswich), Mr. E. Buckham (Borough Surveyor), Dr. and Mrs. Bartlet, Mr. G.F. Josselyn, General H.P. Phillipps and Mrs. Phillipps, Admiral Sir Lambton Loraine and Lady Loraine, General and Mrs. Martin, General A. Murray, General Sir Richard Farren, K.C.B., and Lady Farren, Col. H.F. Mercer, C.B., (commanding R.H.A.) and Mrs. Mercer, Major E.R.H. Cloete, R.H.A., and Mrs. Cloete, Colonel W.C. Saville, D.S.O. (commanding Harwich Defences) and Mrs. Saville, Col. S.S. Hoyland, V.D., R.A.M.C., and Mrs. Hoyland, Col. and Mrs. Alderson, Col. Bence Lambert, C.M.G., and Mrs. Bence Lambert, Major A.W. Cobbold, Ven. Archdeacon and Mrs. Lawrence, Canon Tompson, Canon and Mrs. Pigot, Canon Rogers, Rev. W.E. and Mrs. Fletcher, Rev. J. and Mrs. Powell, Rev. T. Holt Wilson and Mrs. Wilson, Mr. E.C. Ransome, Mr. C.H. Lomax, Mr. George Fiske, Mr. H.P. Varley, Mr. Walter Brooke, Mr. and Mrs. G.H. Garrett, Mr. and Mrs. Dudding, Mr. and Mrs. A. Townshend Cobbold and Miss Cobbold, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Miller, and Mr. and Mrs. H.W. Cullum. In response to the request by the Lord Lieutenant and the Committee, a large number of the officers present in the enclosure as visitors donned uniforms.
A long list of acceptances included the following, many of whom were doubtless present:- The Hon. Douglas Tollemache, Hon. A. Mulholland, Sir Frederick Adair, Bart., the Dowager Lady Blois, the Misses Blois, Lady North, Lady Cunninghame, Miss Cunninghame, Lady Constance Barne, Lady Cholmeley, Sir F. Gorell Barnes, Bart., Sir Walter Olivey, Mrs. Eley, Mr. Burness, Colonel F.A. Lucas, Sir Charles Dalrymple, Mr. J.G.S. Anderson, Mayor of Aldeburgh, Dr. H. Bournes Walker (Deputy-Mayor of Lowestoft), Mr. A. McQueen (Deputy-Mayor of Beccles), Rev. F. French, General R. Upcher, Mr. L.F. Orde, and Mr. E.W. Moore. The following Chairmen of Urban and Rural District Councils:- Mr. Frank Mason, Mr. Frank Garrett, jun., Mr. T.P. Borrett, Colonel H. Abdy Collins, Mr. L.W. Hayward, Mr. S.T. Harwood, Mr. C.W. Chaston, Mr. Kerry Rix, Mr. L.T. Clarkson. Members of the Executive Committee:- Mr. R. Eaton White, Mr. Edward Packard, and Colonel A.C. Churchman, Ipswich Town Councillors and Magistrates:- Mr. F. Bennett, Col. F. Turner, V.D., Mr. S.G. Howe, Mr. Raymond Bennett, Mr. P.W. Cobbold, Mr. T.R. Elkington, Mr. Lewis Moir, Mr. F. Bird, Mr. F.E. Rands, Mr. Owen Turner, Mr. W.J. Catchpole, Mr. W.S. Cowell, Mr, Sydney S. Brand, Mr. H. Underwood, Mr. W.F. Paul, Mr. W. O. White, Mr. J.R. Staddon, Mr. J. Pratt, Mr. W.J. Christie, Mr. J.S. Corder, Mr. A. Gibb, Mr. W.P. Burton, Mr. G.W. Horsfield; County Officials, Mr. A.F. Vulliamy, Mr. H.E. Garrod; Naval and Military Officers, Admiral Pelham Aldrich, C.V.O., Colonel and Mrs. Bond, Colonel Huddleston, Colonel and Mrs. Holland, Colonel Thompson, Colonel G.S. Elliston, V.D., Colonel Gall, Colonel Gore, Colonel St. John Fancourt, Colonel Cooper, Colonel Marshall, Colonel Sage, Colonel Dunwich, Colonel Grant, Colonel Boteler, colonel Campbell, Colonel Stokoe, Colonel James, Colonel Downing, Colonel Wilkinson, Colonel Taylor, Colonel Flint, Colonel Lloyd-Anstruther, Captain Hervey, Major Greenley, D.S.O. Major Turner, Brigade Surgeon Oldham, Major Moore, Major Copeman, Captain Sir Vere Isham, Captain Price, Captain Prentice Captain Michael Hughes, Captain Marshall, Capt. Symon, Mr. E.J. Cheney, Mr. Tidswell, Mr. W.A. Tollemache, Mr. R. Duncan Parker, Mrs. R. Holmes White, Mr. Parry Crooke, Mr. Lingwood, Mr. Fison, Mr. H.J. White-Jervis, Mr. Corrance, Mr. Balfour, Mr. Dashwood, Mr. Arthur Dashwwod, Mr. Long, Mr. Hunter-Rodwell, Mr. Millbank, Mr. Ford, Mr. Pearson, Mr. M. G. Hale, Mr. Francis Cobbold, Mr. Moorsom, Mr. Dickson, Mr. H. St. G. Cobbold, Mrs. Wahab, Mr. Harrington, Mr. Fraser, Mr. A. Fraser, Mr. Lindsay Scott, Mrs. Fitzroy Talbot, Miss Rowley, Mrs. Nathaniel Cobbold, Mr. Lucas Cobbold, Mr. A.S. Garrett, Mr. Clement Cobbold, Mr. Rapp, Rev. J. Steward, Mrs. Llewellyn Evans, Captain Showers (Chief Constable of Essex) and Mrs. Showers, Sir Paynton Pigott, M.V.O. (Chief Constable of Norfolk) and Mrs. Pigott, Major E.P. Prest (Chief Constable of West Suffolk).
Before proceeding to give an account of the ceremony which had brought all these people together, it will doubtless, not be regarded as inappropriate if a brief account is here interpolated of the territorial regiment whose ranks have supplied so many of the names inscribed on the bronze panels of the memorial pedestal.
which has for its motto “Mentia Insignia Calpe” (Calpe is the ancient designation of Gibraltar), and a castle and key the armorial bearing of Gibraltar), as its badge, was formally known as the 12th Regiment of Foot. The battle honours borne on its colours were most hardly earned, and begin with the name of “Dettingen” (1743), in which battle – the last battle at which an English king was present in person – the regiment fought under the eye of King George II, against the French, the steady courage of the splendid British infantry turning impending disaster into a great victory over a superior force. General Sir James Wolfe (of Quebec) was Adjutant of the regiment at Dettingen, and also at Fontenay two years later. Perharps the most famous fight in which the Suffolk Regiment has ever taken part was the battle of Minden, a name which stands for the undying glory of British infantry, six regiments of which, with the aid of two battalions of Hanoverians, shattered the cavalry of France, and drove from the field every body of troops which ventured to oppose them. This was in 1759, and during the next few years the regiment took part in several conflicts with the French. In 1779 they were amongst the brave defenders of Gibraltar, the siege of which, by France and Spain, lasted until 1783, during which time a mere handful of men, comparatively, had to withstand the fiercest efforts of numerous and powerful foes. For a long time the gallant defenders were content merely to resist as best they could the assaults of the enemy, but on the night of November 26th, 1781, two regiments, of which one was the Suffolk, and the Grenadiers and Light Infantry of the garrison, made a dash for the Spanish batteries. In a few hours, with the aid of fire, they destroyed utterly works that had cost the Spaniards £2,000,000 to construct. The great effort of the Spaniards and their allies on September 13th, 1782, need not be dwelt on here; it is enough to remind readers that the Suffolk Regiment played its part in one of the greatest war spectacles which Europe has ever witnessed, in which the British garrison of the Rock covered itself with a glory which can never grow dim. Freed from Gibraltar by the success of British arms, the Suffolk Regiment next found itself taking part in the Flanders campaign in 1793-4, when it was hurried off to the West Indies, which it helped to capture for the British. Four years later the regiment assisted in defending our East Indian possessions against Tippoe Saih, the rapacious Sultan of Mysore, who ultimately fell at Seringapatam before a volley of the Suffolk Regiment. The name of this battle was the next after “Minden” to be inscribed on the Suffolk colours. In 1809 the regiment was again fighting with valour in India, supported only by a force of Sepoys, they had to fight the Rajah of Travancore and 30,000 men at Quilon and Cochin, but they scattered the Rajah’s army, and forced him to submit. This gallant service, and subsequent brilliant work at the capture of the islands of Bourbon and the Mauritius gained for them the addition of “India” on their colours. This was followed by “South Africa, 1851-2-3,” which told of hard fighting against the South Africans, and “New Zealand” followed, representing six years of stubborn operations against the Maoris. In 1852, on February 26th, 55 men of the 12th Regiment were drowned at the terrible wreck of the Birkenhead, off Cape Colony. The next inscription on the colours was “Afghanistan,” where in 1878 the regiment went to avenge our murdered envoy. Later they were engaged in the Hazara expedition of 1888, but their next great campaign was in South Africa, for which they embarked on the outbreak of the Boer War, on November 11th, 1889.
The regiment was placed at the disposal of general French, who had the difficult task of stemming the Boer invasion of Cape Colony. On January 6th, 1900, the regiment was ordered to make a night attack on a Boer position on the heights near Colesberg, when four companies, 354 of all ranks, set out at midnight under the command of Col. Watson. The secret had leaked out, and when laboriously climbing up the rough hill side in the dark, the Suffolks were met by a storm of bullets. The Colonel was amongst the first to fall, and the party retired with 11 officers and 150 men killed, wounded or captured. General French adversely criticised two of the companies, but subsequently at Middelburg, when he was in possession of further information from the captured officers, he handsomely withdrew his criticism in a public speech in the Market Square of Middelburg. Much hard work in trekking and fighting was performed by the regiment in various parts of the Transvaal and Orange Free State, including the “advance to Pretoria,” and at Middelburg, Barberton, Piet Retief, Bethel, Rustenberg, etc. The surprise of De Wet’s camp at Bothaville on November 6th, 1900, gave the Mounted Infantry Company of the Suffolks an opportunity for distinction, which they did not fail to take advantage of. During the fight the Boers, who at first largely outnumbered the British, made a desperate effort to seize the English guns, but Lieuts. White and Peebles and the Suffolks, as mentioned in Sir Conan Doyle’s story of the war, “most galantly held them off.” Under General Smith-Dorrien‘s command, the regiment took part in an expedition from Belfast on November 6th, when the column sustained a heavy fire on all sides by a large force of Boers. Their steadiness resulted, however, in a complete repulse of the Boers, who lost General Fowrie and Commandant Henry Prinsloo, while General J. Grobler was amongst the wounded. On February 6th, 1901, the Suffolks, still with General Smith-Dorrien, were the object, with others of a desperate night attack by General Louis Botha, at Lake Chrissie, but although the onslaught was made at 3 a.m., the British were on the alert and the Boers (who had driven loose horses in front of them to disorder the outposts) suffered severe defeat.
The regiment was more than once the subject of complimentary notice from leaders in the war. Lord Roberts commended the Suffolks for gallantry in the action that resulted in driving the Boers from their positions in the Drakensberg Range on September 9th, 1900, under General Mahon, prior to the taking of Barberton, and on February 1st, 1901, the following order was published: “It has given the Major-General commanding much pleasure to bring to the notice of the Commander-in-Chief the excellent and bold work done by the mounted troops, Suffolks, West Yorks, and guns in the recent move to Carolina.”
In connection with the South African campaign mention must not be omitted of the invaluable services rendered by the Volunteers who went out to March and fight side by side with their comrades of the Regular battalion.
The casualties of the regiment during the campaign amounted to eight officers, 146 non-commissioned officers and men killed in action or died of wounds, disease etc., and seven officers, 103 non-commissioned officers and men wounded – a total of 264. The following soldiers of the regiment gained the medal for distinguished conduct on the field of battle:- For gallant conduct at Colesberg, on 6th January, 1900: Sergt. G. Claridge, Privates C. Childs, T.H. Darley (two wounds), W. Hall, and G. Risby. For gallant conduct at Bothaville 6th November, 1900 – Corpl. A. Fuller, Private A. Oliver, who were both wounded. For distinguished conduct throughout the war: Colour Sergt, Godbolt, Sergeants E. Ager, A. Wheaton, and G. Ford. Colonel Mackenzie was awarded a C.B., and four officers the D.S.O., namely, Captains Brett, Peebles, White, and Barnardiston. Captains Prest and Lloyd were awarded “Brevet majorities.”
The Battalion served in Cape Colony (twice), Orange Free State (twice), Eastern Transvaal (twice), and Western Transvaal, under the following Commanders: Generals French, Lord Kitchener, Settle, W. Knox, Maxwell, Hutton, Mahon, Dickson, C. Knox, Smith-Dorrien, Wilson, and Col. George Mackenzie.
TOLL OF THE BRAVE
Appended is a list of the Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and men, belonging to the Suffolk Regiment, and of soldiers belonging to East Suffolk in other corps, who lost their lives in the South African War, 1899 – 1902.
THE SUFFOLK REGIMENT
Lt.-Col. A.J.Watson, Dublin; Major W. De La P. Lloyd, Cork; Capts. A.W. Brown; R.M. Dowie; W.G. Thomson; Capt. and Adjt. F.A.P. Wilkins; Lieuts: S.J. Carey; C.A. White, Woodbridge; Sergt.-Drmr. L. Orbell, Bury St. Edmund’s; Sergts.: J. Baker, London; F. Coleman, Ipswich; E.C. Garrard, Ipswich; A. Housden, Soham; E. Morgan, Claydon; W. Palmer, Alresford; Lce.-Sergt. H. Arrowsmith, Balham; Corpl. E.B. Green, Ashby-de-la-Zouch; Lce.-Corps. W. Andsley, Bermondsey; J.M. Attwell, Newport; E. Dames, Finsbury; W. Day, Dalham; C. Allingham, Luton; A. Goddard, Deal; H. Nixon, Coates; T. Read, Walsham-le-Willows; W. Reynolds, Witnesham; G. Sturgeon, Bury St. Edmund’s; Drmr. J. Walden, Coney Weston; Prvts.: G. Allensby, Walworth; J. Arbon, Stanton; A. Arnull, Newmarket; W. Baltzer, Ipswich; J. Burns, Wilburton; A. Barker, Isleham; S. Barnes, Isleham; G.R.K. Barrett, Hoddersdon; A.H. Bedwell, Lowestoft; J. Bosworth, Lambeth; W. Boyce, Walsoken; A. Bridge, Kirton; F. Broyd, Sudbury; G. Bruty, Clare; A. Hatcher, Coddenham; W.J. Cawley, Norton; H. Chapman, Sudbury; W. Cobbin, Mildenhall; H. Cobbold, Rattlesden; W. Coleman, St. Saviour’s; A. Cooper, Manchester; H. Cooper, Hadleigh; H. Corder, Hadleigh; W. Cuthbert, Hintlesham; C. Davis, Rothwell; A. Daw, Dublin; W. Daynes, Cambridge; W. Deadman, Thurston; J. Dewell, Bury St. Edmund’s; C. Double, Bury St. Edmund’s; T. Dunkling, Ely; W. Dyer, Bermondsey; F. Edgeley, Wickhambrook; E. Finch, London; J. Finter, Great Ashfield; E. Fisk, Combs; F. Forge, Hundon; S. Forsdyke, Otley; W. Fulcher, Ipswich; G. Garrod, Bramford; A. Gill, Bury St. Edmund’s; E. Goddard, Honnington; G. Greenwood, Lawshall; A. Griggs, Semer; C. Hackett, Bury St. Edmund’s; S. Hancock, Fulborne; W. Hearn, Coddenham; W. Heaume, Southampton; S. Hemmings, Royston; A. Hicks, Bury St. Edmund’s; G. Hicks, Colne Engaine; E.G. Holland, Blackenham; B.R. Holland, Blackenham; A. Howe, Burnley; R.C. Howell, Snape; F. Hunt, Rougham; W. Johnson, Framlingham; C. Kidd, Mildenhall; H. Knights, Farnham; J. Lambert, Ipswich; J. Last, Earl Stonham; W. Lewis, Woolverstone; J. Maloney, Bengal; T. Malyon, Bury St. Edmund’s; W. Manchester, Melton Mowbray; A. Martin, Cowlinge; E. Martin, Ipswich; A.H. May, Worthing; C. Mayes, Hundon; A. Meade, Haverhill; T. Murton, Eye; F. Muskett, Badwell Ash; R. Newson, Hadleigh; H. Norman, Laxfield; W.C. Norris, Charsfield; A. Norwood, Berkhampstead; G. Olley, Cockfield; J. Parmenter, Cavendish; J. Pearson, Ely; D. Peters, Trumpington; J. Plumb, Cambridge; H. Podd, Whitton; T. Pollard, Thelbridge; G. Pomeroy, Pimlico; G. Prigg, Soham; S. Pryke, Thorpe Morieux; W. Radley, Bulmer; T. Ransom, Semer; C. Rice, Woolpit; H. Risby, Sudbury; J. Robinson, Combs; G. Rogers, Portsmouth; W. Rogers, Twickenham; J. Rosendale, Bassingbourne; R. Rumsey, Lakenheath; E. Scott, Washbrook; T. Seamans, Leicester; J. Sharman, Ipswich; A. Sillitoe, Sudbury; J.R. Skeet, Claydon; W. Smith, Cambridge; L. Soames, Mildenhall; A. Southgate, Ipswich; H. Steggles, Rattlesden; W. Stock, Cambridge; W. Stollery, Brentwood; E. Stutley, Bury St. Edmund’s; E. Tabor, Cambridge; R. Taylor, Mildenhall; W. Taylor, Rotherhithe; F. Thompson, Morden; E. Thornhill, London; R. Tooke, Long Stratton; T. Tuffs, Eye; J. Vaughan, Ely; H. Wallace, Horringer; J. Ward, Gorefield; W. Watling, Walsham-le-Willows; A. Watson, Ipswich; T. Webb, Culford; C. Wilson, Bury St. Edmund’s; H. Wilson, Cambridge; C. Wood, Epping; A. Woodgate; W. Woollard, Kirtling; P. Wright, Streatham.
EAST SUFFOLK MEN OF OTHER CORPS.
Corpl. S. Andrews, Washbrook, Impl. Yeomanry.
Bomb. F. Allum, Stonham Aspal, R.G.A.
Prvt. J. Barber, Cransford, 7th Dragoon Gds.
Drv. B.H. Barber, Ipswich, R.F.A.
Prvt. F.C. Barker, Otley, 19th Hussars.
Sapper T. Baker, Finningham, R.E.
Prvt. D.C. Baker, Kelsale, Essex Regt.
Drv. A.C. Battle, Somersham, Army Svce Corps.
Sergt. E. Baldry, Halesworth, Impl. Yeomanry.
Prvt. J. Balham, Wetherden, Impl. Yeomanry.
Prvt. F. Barrett, Fressingfield, Scots Guards.
Prvt. W.G. Bedwell, Ipswich, 6th Dragoons.
Drv. J.E. Banyard, Woodbridge, R.F.A.
Prvt. G.A. Blumfield, Ipswich, 12th Lancers.
Prvt. H. Brightwell, Stonham Aspal, Gren. Gds.
Prvt. F. Brown, Ipswich, 19th Hussars.
Gnr. S. Button, Martlesham, R.F.A.
Lieut. R.H. Buxton, Fritton, Norfolk Regt.
Drv. A.R. Cracknell, Monk Soham, R.F.A.
Prvt. A.H. Chambers, Ipswich, 19th Hussars.
Drv. C. Carless, Saxtead, R.H.A.
Gnr. H. Calthorpe, Finningham, R.F.A.
Prvt. C. Chandler, Bungay, Scots Guards.
Gnr. E. Chandler, Fressingfield, R.F.A.
Sapper, W. Charles, Ipswich, R.E.
Cpl. W.A.E. Clarke, Ipswich, York and Lancs. R.
Prvt. F. Clover, Bacton, 19th Hussars.
Trpr. H. Cobb, Kitchener’s Fighting Scouts.
Prvt. E. Cooper, Woodbridge, 1st Dragoon Gds.
Sergt. A. Cooper, Ipswich, R.F.A.
Prvt. A. Cooper, Ufford, Rifle Brigade.
Prvt. W. Dale, E. Bergholt, 5th Dragoon Gds.
Prvt. C.H. Damant, Beccles, Impl. Yeomanry.
Prvt. H.S. Deane, Hintlesham, Impl. Yeomanry.
Prvt. C.H. Derisley, Palgrave, Impl. Yeomanry.
Sergt. H. Dykes, Ipswich, R.A.M.C.
Prvt. G.F. Dyke, Lowestoft, Norfolk Regiment.
Prvt. F.S. Ecclestone, Beccles, 16th Lancers.
Gnr. H.E. Elliston, Washbrook, R.F.A.
Prvt. A. Emery, Stratford St. Mary, 1st Dgn. Gds.
Gnr. F.E. Evans, Ipswich, R.H.A.
Gnr. T. Farey, R.F.A.
Sergt. W.G. Farthing, Holton, King’s R. Rifles.
Gnr. W. Firman, Lowestoft, R.F.A.
Prvt. C.H. Friend, Woodbridge, Impl. Yeomanry.
Prvt. J.W. Fulcher, Ipswich, Coldstream Gds.
Prvt. J.H. Garratt, Badingham, Gren. Gds.
Lce.-cpl. G. Garrod, Ufford, Coldstream Guards.
Corpl. B.T. Garrod, Ipswich, Royal Engineers.
Prvt. B. Garwood, Playford, Northum. Fusiliers.
Drv. C. Gelling, Ipswich, R.H.A.
Prvt. H.W. Green, Hintlesham, Rifle Brigade.
Lt. and Qr.-M. W.W. Girling, Coldstream Guards.
Prvt. W. Girling, Norfolk Regiment.
Gnr. E.O. Gibbs, Eye, R.F.A.
Prvt. F. Gostling, Mendlesham, Northampton R.
Prvt. A. Goddard, Westhall, Coldstream Guards.
Sergt. H. Harrison, Laxfield, Black Watch.
Sergt. W. Hardwicke, Bramford, Durham, L.I.
Prvt. H.H. Hanks, Felixstowe, Johannesbg. M.R.
Sgt. G.F. Hayward, Stowmarket, 1st Dgn. Gds.
Prvt. G.R. Hewitt, Copdock, Cape Mntd. Rifles.
Prvt. H.J. Hunnisett, Ipswich, R.A.M.C.
Prvt. T.G.P. Humphery, Carlton Coville, C.I.V.
Prvt. H.W. Hughes, Stowmarket, 1st Dgn. Gds.
Drv. G. Jordan, Ipswich, R.F.A.
Gnr. F.W. Jordan, Chelmondiston, R.F.A.
Bomb. B.H. Kendall, St. Margaret’s, R.F.A.
Staff-Sergt. J.W. Kettle, Ipswich, A. Ord. Dept.
Gnr. G. King, Walpole, R.G.A.
Prvt. J.G. Kitching, Ipswich, 7th Hussars.
Prvt. G.D. Knights, Lowestoft, Norfolk Regt.
Prvt. A.E. Knights, Bungay, Rifle Brigade.
Gnr. A. Langley, Lowestoft, R.F.A.
Gnr. C. Last, Haughley, R.F.A.
Prvt. W.G. Leach, Ipswich, R.A.M.C.
Prvt. R.W. Leggett, Eye, 11th Hussars.
Drv. J. Lord, Ipswich, R.F.A.
Prvt. E.J. Lowry, Lowestoft, 19th Hussars.
Prvt. A. Luke, Cookley, Argyll and S. Highldrs.
Prvt. T.E. Ludbrook, Kelsale, 12th Lancers.
Drv. F. Minns, Whitton, R.F.A.
Prvt. W. Markley, Ipswich, R.A.M.C.
Battery-S.M. J. Moore, Ipswich, R.F.A.
Prvt. T. Moy, Combs, 19th Hussars.
Prvt. H.J. Mouser, Woodbridge, 14th Hussars.
Cpl. W. Nicholls, Stratford S. Andrew, Bedford R.
Drv. A.H. Peck, Occold, Army Service Corps.
Capt. R.A.H. Peel, E. Bergholt, 2nd Life Gds.
Sergt. A. Owbridge, Ipswich, Impl. Yeomanry.
Prvt. F.W. Owles, Leiston, R.A.M.C.
Prvt. H. Prike, Eye, Royal West Surrey Regt.
Drv. J. Podd, Hoo, R.H.A.
Mr. H. Punchard, Imperial Military Railway.
Prvt. W. Raven, Lowestoft, King’s Ryl. Rifles.
Prvt. A.J. Reed, Ipswich, 19th Hussars.
Prvt. W.W. Reeve, Ipswich, Royal Scots.
Prvt. F.G. Redhead, Ipswich, Norfolk Regt.
Prvt. H. Rendall, Ipswich, York and Lancs. R.
Prvt. E.B. Reynolds, Witnesham, R.A.M.C.
Gnr. R. Riches, Ipswich, R.H.A.
Drv. A. Robinson, Ipswich, R.F.A.
Corpl. F.H. Roe, Ipswich, R.F.A.
Corpl. A.J. Rogers, Ipswich, R.H.A.
Prvt. H. Salter, Shotley, Coldstream Guards.
Trpr. C. Sampson, S.A. Constabulary.
Gnr. W.J. Sell, Lowestoft, Norfolk Artill. Militia.
Prvt. H.B. Scotchmer, Framlingham, Dublin F.
Prvt. A. Smith, Beccles, 16th Lancers.
Drv. T.L. Smith, Ipswich, R.F.A.
Drv. G. Smith, Southwold, R.H.A.
Sapper H.R. Smith, Saxmundham, R.F.
Prvt. S. Snowling, Fressingfield, Norfolk Regt.
Lce.-cpl. A. Staff, Darsham, Grenadier Guards.
Prvt. J. Stammers, Peasenhall, Gren. Gds.
Prvt. F.A. Spencer, Needham Market, K.R.R.C.
Prvt. C. Trenter, Ipswich, R.A.M.C.
Corpl. R.H. Tyrrell, Southwold, R.G.A.
Coy.-Q.M.S. J.R. Urch, Ipswich, A. Svce Corps.
Prvt. C.P. Vulliamy, Ipswich, Leicester Regt.
Drv. H. Warwick, Ipswich, R.F.A.
Corpl. W. Webber, Ipswich, R.F.A,
Prvt. F. Winder, Ipswich, Royal Scots Fusiliers.
Prvt. L. Wilden, Stowupland, Rifle Brigade.
Prvt. R. Woollard, Needham Mkt., 5th Dgn. Gds.
Gnr. F.J. Wright, Lowestoft, R.H.A.
Cpl. E.E. Wrightson, Eastern Province Horse.
Drv. G.J. Woolnough, Leiston, R.F.A.
Sergt. F.H. Zissell, Wrentham, Rifle Brigade.
Punctually at 3:15, the time fixed for the unveiling ceremony, a move was made by those who were to be active participators in it for the platform, and General French, on coming into view of the general public outside the enclosure, was received with a round of applause and cheering. He was accompanied on the platform by Sir Cuthbert Quilter, Chairman of the General Committee that has had charge of the arrangements, the Marquise of Bristol, the Mayor of Ipswich, the Bishop of Ipswich, and Mr. Toft. All eyes were now on the platform, and the troops all stood to attention , the colours of the Suffolk Regiment being brought forward in front of the double file of men who all stood to attention with bayonets gleaming in the sun.
Sir Cuthbert Quilter, without delay, commenced the proceedings by asking Sir John French to unveil the memorial. He said:- My Lord Bristol, my Lords, ladies, and gentlemen, before asking the distinguished General, Sir John French – who we are so glad to see with us to-day – to unveil the memorial, the Committee, in whose name I have the honour to speak, think it would be fitting if I gave a few particulars about the 1st Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment, and particularly about its share in the operations of the South African War, during which the corps served under his direct command. I will not attempt to trace the history of the Regiment back to 1660, when it originated in a Company formed to garrison Windsor Castle, in the reign of Charles II., but I will venture to say that of all the “battle honours” borne upon its colours, that of “South Africa, 1899 – 1902” has added nothing but lustre to its previous honourable achievements. (Applause.) The Battalion embarked for South Africa on the 11th November, 1899, and landed in England on the 28th of September, 1902. It served in Cape Colony twice, Orange Free State twice, Eastern Transvaal twice, and the Western Transvaal, under the command of General French, Lord Kitchener, and others. Its casualties in action were: 156 killed and wounded, and the total distance marched was about 2,400 miles. The memorial, however, as you know, is not confined to those who fell whilst actually serving with the Suffolk colours, but comprises also other East Suffolk soldiers, who fell in the service of their country during the South African War. The Committee desire to acknowledge the courtesy of the War Office in permitting the attendance here to-day of the guard of honour, and the band of the regiment, and we wish to offer a most hearty welcome to both officers and men to this the chief town of their territorial district. (Applause.) We have to acknowledge also the sympathy and assistance of the Mayor and Corporation of Ipswich, which have rendered the erection of the memorial possible in the most central position in this important town, and to them thanks are due also for the drinking fountain which they have thoughtfully provided. Further, the Committee wish to publicly express their appreciation of the care and thought which Captain Mayne, as their honorary secretary, has devoted to this movement from its inception to the present time. (Applause.) Differences of opinion about the war there may be, but there can be none about the desirability of this memorial to the gallant officers and men who lost their lives in the performance of their duty. We trust that our high opinion as to the beauty of the work which Mr. Toft, the sculptor, has produced will be endorsed by the public, and that it will be regarded as worthy both of its object and its position. Further, we sincerely hope that not only will it be a source of some solace to the relatives and friends of those whose names it bears, but that it will stimulate and encourage amongst men of Suffolk in the future those patriotic instincts and that sense of national duty which characterised the brave men whose memory we are perpetuating to-day. I now have the honour and pleasure on behalf of the Committee to call upon General Sir John French to unveil the memorial. (Applause.)
GENERAL FRENCH’S SPEECH.
General Sir John French, who was loudly cheered on rising, said: Ladies and Gentlemen. – We are met here to-day for the purpose of unveiling a memorial which is intended to record and hand down to those who come after us the names of Suffolk soldiers who have died for their country. In erecting such a statue, upon which their names are inscribed, a lasting record of their gallantry, of their devotion and self-sacrifice, will be handed down to posterity and, in establishing such a memorial, I think the county of Suffolk worthily recognises their services. I feel very grateful indeed to you for the great honour you have done me in asking me to come here to perform this ceremony to-day, and there are special reasons why I feel so, and why it gives me such pleasure. One is, that I commenced my military career in the Suffolk Artillery Militia in this town; another and more important reason is, that I had the great honour of being associated closely with the Suffolk Regiment, as you heard just now from Sir Cuthbert Quilter, has seen splendid service, and performed magnificent work in all parts of the world. In all these theatres of war, in which they have been engaged, there are certain particular spots which have become sacred and hallowed in the hearts of all English – speaking people by reason of some particularly sanguinary encounter and death-to-death struggle that have taken place upon them. It is not always because those encounters have been absolutely successful; it is not always because the immediate object has been attained. It is because the officers and men engaged have shown that they are true soldiers of their country – because they have fought to the death – fought like men. We all remember such spots as the Cashmere Gate of Delhi and Cathcart’s Hill in the Crimea; and in a remote corner of the South African veldt near the town of Colesberg, such a spot as this exists, which is known as Suffolk Hill. On that spot, in the early dawn of a January morning in 1900, there fell the gallant Colonel, whose name is inscribed on this statue, with nearly all the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men who accompanied him. They fell in a splendid but unsuccessful attempt to take this most important outwork of Colesberg by a night attack. Such incidents as that are called by ignorant critics “disasters” and “unfortunate occurrences.” I can only tell you that it is by the spirit shown in such incidents and such occurrences that the British soldier has become feared by his enemies in all parts of the world, and the British Empire has become what it is to to-day. (Cheers.) As regards the success or non-success of the undertaking, certainly they did not succeed in capturing the hill they attacked; but there is a power in war which we soldiers call moral effort, and, when soldiers are seen and known by their enemies to mean business, and to do or to die, it has a tremendous effect upon that enemy. In this instance it had a particular effect also, because it curtailed the operations of the Boers. The incident happened at a most critical time, when Cape Colony was on the point of rising; and, instead of spreading out as they were doing, and endeavouring everywhere to get on to join their comrades in Cape Colony, the Boers here were afterwards obliged to confine themselves to the defence of Colesberg alone. Well, I think that the existence of such a memorial as this in your midst serves not only the object of commemorating and perpetuating the memory of the dead, but also serves as a reminder to all young men in this country that they must be prepared themselves to follow the example of these gallant men, and do their duty to their country. It is the business of every man in this country to assist in its defence. (Hear, hear, and cheers.) Nor is it necessary to wait for a time of emergency to do that. The opportunity is in everybody’s hands at the present moment. Everyone can help – landowners and occupiers of land can give facilities for the manœuvring and training of troops; employers of labour can not only allow their young men to do their duty in this respect, but can insist upon their doing it; and these young men themselves can and should see to it that their local Volunteer and Yeomanry Corps are filled to overflowing with recruits. (Hear, hear.) I will say no more, ladies and gentlemen, except to thank you again most heartily for the honour you have done me, and to express to you how deeply I feel it, in allowing me to come here to-day to unveil this memorial, which according to Sir Cuthbert Quilter’s request I will now proceed to do.
As the gallant General unveiled the statue, the Guard of Honour presented arms, and the great crowd upon and around the Cornhill cheered again and again. The band then gave a magnificent rendering of Chopin’s Funeral March, the drums being used with wonderful effect. and then, as silence fell upon the vast assembly, save for the murmur of many voices at a distance, the buglers sounded the “Last Post.” At this moment, and while the Bishop of Ipswich offered an appropriate dedicatory prayer, followed by “Our Father which art in Heaven,” the scene was affecting and deeply impressive.
The Marquis of Bristol moved a vote of thanks to General French, and the Mayor of Ipswich, on behalf of the inhabitants, undertook the care of the statue, “ever to guard it jealously, to maintain it in perfect order, and ever to cherish the memory of those names which are inscribed upon it.”
The troops then fired three volleys, the band playing, between each discharge, a verse of the well-known tune to the hymn, “O God our help in ages past,” the Reveille was sounded by the Buglers, and the ceremony closed with “God save the King.”
VOTE OF THANKS.
The Marquis of Bristol, who was warmly welcomed, said: Ladies and gentlemen. – This day witnesses the consummation of the four-fold memorial to the Suffolk Regimental soldiers, including all ranks, and also other Suffolk men, who fell in the late war in obedience to the call of duty and of patriotism. East Suffolk and the Ipswich portion of that four-fold memorial is the last to have been erected, but although it is the last in point of time, I am sure it is not the last in point of importance, whether looked upon for its artistic beauty and its melancholy grandeur, or whether we look upon it as being much in the minds of all those whom I see present, and of innumerable others in the town and country districts around it. This statue – the creation of the genius of Mr. Albert Toft, whom I heartily congratulate upon his work – will remain ever a beacon which shall light and render plain the path of patriotism to future generations, and it will also be, as I hope it may for long ages remain, an adornment to the good old town of Ipswich. (Cheers.) It may have been, it might have been – indeed, some people said, I believe it ought to have been – that all the money provided by the county for these four memorials should have been expended upon one large and magnificent monument, to be erected, prehaps, on some lonely eminence, as I believe they do sometimes in Germany, and I think also in Scotland. But there are obvious advantages, in placing such memorials as these in localities near the busy haunts of men, so that those who pass day by day, from their work or from their play, may behold an evidence of the appreciation and approbation of the British public of the valour and the self-sacrifice of their fellow-countrymen. (Hear, hear.) Then it should not be forgotten, ladies and gentlemen, that those who are living, those who have survived the war, those who have been animated by the same spirit, have undergone the same fatigues and toils of the field and have encountered the same dangers of wounds and of death, can legitimately claim some share in the honour that we are gladly and piously rendering to-day to the fallen and brave dead. (Hear, hear). Amongst the survivors we have fortunately the gallant General who has just unveiled this statue. We are deeply indebted to him for having come amongst us for the purpose of discharging that duty. (Cheers.) We all look upon his military career with great interest, and we thank him for the manly and soldierlike speech to which we have just listened – a speech that will ring in our ears for many a long day. Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to give the gallant General a cordial vote of thanks by acclamation. (Loud cheers.) Now I have to perform another duty, although I think it’s one that is almost unnecessary. It is to ask His Worship the Mayor to take charge of this statue. The fact of his presence here to-day, with so many members of his Council, and the interest they have shown in the enterprise gives us an assurance that that charge will be gladly accepted. (Cheers).
General French briefly acknowledged the vote of thanks, saying again that it gave him great pleasure to be present.
The Mayor of Ipswich, raising amidst an enthusiastic outburst of cheers, said: My Lord Bristol. – On behalf of the county, and on behalf of the inhabitants of Ipswich, I accept the charge which has been offered me by the Lord Lieutenant of the County. In the names of those whom I have the honour to represent, I undertake the care of this statue, ever to guard it jealously, to maintain it in perfect order and ever to cherish the memory of those names which are inscribed upon in. (Cheers.) Ample evidence, I think, of the sympathy of the Council of this town, and I may further of the pride which they feel that this town should have been selected for the erection of this monument – ample evidence of this sympathetic and pride has been given by their selection of the most important site at their disposal as the site upon which it should stand. Sir Cuthbert Quilter referred in his remarks to the fact that all were not united in opinion as to the object of the war in which our comrades fell. With all respect to the opinions of those who were against the war as a war. I would say that we are not here to-day to do honour to the war itself, nor to the policy which occasioned it; we are here to do honour to those who responded so nobly, as I think and as you think, to their country’s call in an hour of their country’s need. (Cheers.) On behalf of my Council and on behalf of the inhabitants, I desire publicly to acknowledge the courtesy of the donor of the fountain, which was formerly placed upon the site now occupied by this monument, in allowing that fountain to be removed and replaced by this memorial, which cannot be said to have anything less than a national interest and a national importance. In conclusion, I would venture to express a hope that this monument may ever be a reminder to those who pass by – be they rich or be they poor, be they high or low, soldier or civilian – that before all of there lies the path of duty, and that those whose names are inscribed upon it not only responded to their call of duty, but carried it out to the death. God preserve their souls! (Loud cheers.)
The troops then fired three volleys, the band playing between each discharge, a verse of the well-known tune to the hymn, “O God, our help in ages past,” the Reveille was sounded by the Buglers, and the ceremony closed with “God save the King.” His Worship the Mayor entertained many visitors at tea in the Town Hall, and as there was a general desire to inspect the statue closely, some time passed before the huge crowd on the Cornhill had dispersed.
Messrs. George Grimwood and Sons constructed the barriers and platform, and carried out the work both expeditiously and well.
SONS OF ENGLAND
While war-clouds hang o’er Egypt’s desert plain
Ere din of battle’s hushed to Peace again
Lo, in the South the threatening clouds appear
And distant thunder trembles in the air
In that fair land where British heroes sleep
In deathless fame beneath Majuba’s steep
And England furled, in that ill-fated hour
Her flag, the proudest emblem of her power
Once more upon South Afric’s blood-stained shore
Republics rise, their Burghers arm for war
And England called her sons to meet the foe
Nor called in vain, for like true patriots, Lo!
From farthest corner of her wide domain
Responsive all, her valiant soldiers came
Eager to free her from Majuba’s stain
That Peace with Honour might return again
O, noble hearts! with valour beating high
Thine, thine to fight, to conquer – and to die
Yet ere thy course, O cruel War, be run
Ere Peace shall reign, when strife and death be done
O’er the red fields, the fragrant breeze shall wave
The grass that grows o’er many a hero’s grave;
Where, at Duty’s call, beneath an alien sky
Glorious in death, the Sons of England lie
And ye that erstwhile must in sorrow mourn
In silent grief, heroically borne;
Ye that the deepest pangs that death can deal
For him that’s dead, inevitably feel
O sorrowing mother! wife, whate’er ye be!
Whose heart now travels o’er that distant sea
Thy hero’s dead! But glories e’en to die
In righteous cause for England, his country
Ye gallant sons that bear Old England’s name!
To thee we trust her proud and spotless fame!
To thee, victorious in a thousand fights!
Loyal defenders of a nation’s rights!
Let Empire murmur, or rebellious rise
And noise of tumult reach unto the skies
While England’s cause is Liberty and Right
Nought can dishonour or withstand her might
Conquerors at last her sons shall over be
All nations bow to her supremacy.
AUGUSTINE P. RYLEY
Augustine Percival Ryley, born 1880, St. Higham, Norwich, Norfolk. Lived at East Dereham, Norfolk, where he was a Merchant & Agent.
SOUTH AFRICAN MEMORIAL TO GO TO PARK.
On the 12th February, 1930, the Council received and adopted the report
presented by the Electric Supply and Transport Committee with regard to the alteration to the traffic arrangements on the Cornhill. It was
suggested in the report that the South African War Memorial be erected
at the junction of Queen Street and Princes Street, in such position as
was most suitable. Experiments had been made with a view to ascertaining the most suitable spot at the junction for the memorial, but the Paving and Lighting Committee was unanimously of the opinion that it would be undesirable that the memorial be erected at that junction, and they therefore recommended that the Council would reconsider the question.
Ald. Pipe said that it had been found that the memorial made too large an obstruction to be placed at the junction of Queen Street and Princes
Col. F.W. Turner had written to him suggesting that the memorial should be restored as nearly as possible to its old position on the
Ald. Dr. J.R. Staddon said that the island certainly helped to regulate
driving at the junction of these streets, but it struck some of them that it was rather too long.
Ald. E.P. Ridley suggested that the Council defer considerations of both matters for three months. This would give them an opportunity of seeing how the new arrangements on the Cornhill worked out in practice.
Mrs. Bird, pointing out that the Cornhill was a bleak and bitter place,
said that a shelter should be built on the largest of the islands in the
centre of the Cornhill.
Mr. Gerald Benjamin proposed that the South African War Memorial be
removed to Christchurch Park, and Mrs. Bird seconded. She thought that a site might be provided near the Cenotaph.
Major Harold Hooper, M.C., supporting the two previous speakers said he thought that something should have been done long ago, thereby avoiding this memorial being humped and bumped about as it had been. (Hear, hear). He did not regard the Cornhill – with its attendant noise and bustle – as an appropriate place for the memorial and thought it
preferable to have it placed in some suitable spot in conjunction with
the Great War memorial in the park.
The Council then agreed that the South African memorial be moved to the park, and the question of a temporary island at Queen Street was
referred back to the Committee.
REMOVAL OF SOUTH AFRICAN WAR MEMORIAL.
14th February 1930 – Suffolk Chronicle & Mercury newspaper.
The Electric Supply and Transport Committee reported that they had considered the question of the traffic arrangements on the Cornhill when Lloyds Avenue is completed, and that a scheme had been agreed upon by all the Committees concerned. It was proposed that the present Cornhill-Station trolley vehicle should be replaced by through services, thus doing away with the present turning circle on the Cornhill. Two islands would be formed on the Cornhill for passengers using the trolley vehicles, one in in the centre opposite the junction of Lloyds Avenue, and one opposite Messrs. Manning’s premises. This would necessitate the removal of the South African War memorial, and it was proposed that this should be re-erected at the junction of Queen Street and Princes Street. This was considered a very suitable spot, as it would break up the traffic at this corner and also provide a much-needed refuge for pedestrians.
PARK SITE FOR SOUTH AFRICAN MEMORIAL.
13th, February 1931 Suffolk chronicle & Mercury newspaper.
Ipswich Town Council, at its meeting on Wednesday, decided that the
South African war memorial – which was recently removed from the
Cornhill to facilitate new traffic arrangements consequent upon
alteration of certain trolley-bus routes – shall be re-erected in
Christchurch Park in the vicinity of the Cenotaph to the memory of
Ipswich men who fell in the Great War.
The removal of the memorial from the Cornhill.
The Corn Hill 1940
The eighth annual reunion luncheon, S.A Suffolk veteran association. (Left to right) Mr C.W. Baskett (branch Chairman) The Mayor Dr. Weiner. Mr J.T. Pye (sec.) Lieutenant General Sir Harold Carrington.(President of the Suffolk branch) and Captain L. Lockwood.
In Ipswich, the Borough Council would annually recognise the Ipswich Boer War veterans. Holding a tea parties and luncheons for them in the Mayors Parlour, in the Town Hall. Many of the men had also served in the Sudan, South Africa and the Great War 1914 – 1918. In 1956 the Mayor, Cllr. Dr, Phineas Weiner entertained the men, 50 years after the unveiling of the Boer War statue was erected.
From 1924 the format of remembrance Sunday had changed. The service was held on the Cornhill at the Statue. Once the Main memorial was built in the Park, the service had two parts. The main body of troops and veterans would march onto the Corn Hill, the Civic party would exit the Town Hall and lay Wreaths at the Boer War Statue, followed by the veteran, troops and families. The Parade would then move off, followed by the Civic party and the towns folk, through the Town centre, for the main service at the Cenotaph Christchurch Park.
The Parade still continue to march through the Town. Starting at Black Horse Lane, up Museum Street, then past the Town Hall and onto the Park. The Civic Party now start from Christchurch Manson.
Every year during the November Remembrance Day service, the veterans while marching to the Cenotaph, halt at the South Africa campaign, Boer War Memorial. Placing a wreath at the foot of the statue. As the civic party pass, the head of the procession gives an “eyes left” and remove their hats as a sign of respect.