The Boer War


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.


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.




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.



1906 EADT

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:-




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 un/////died, 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.

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