Born: 1876, Eye, Suffolk.
Died: 8th June 1900; age: 24; Died of Enteric Fever, at No. 3. General Hospital, Kroonstad, Free State, South Africa.
ENTERIC FEVER Enteric Fever (eneterica serotype bacteria) was a rampant bacterial infection during the South Africa Boer War – 1899 – 1902.
This systemic disease, now known as Typhoid Fever, from the bacterium Salmonella typhi, is characterised by fever and abdominal pain. The disease is spread via the lymphatic system and can affect other parts of the body, or even the whole body. The symptoms usually developed a week or two after a person had became infected bringing on a high temperature, headaches, coughs, lethargy, aches and pains, lose of appetite, sickness and diarrhoea. After 2 – 3 weeks intestinal bleeding.
Enteric Fever was originally thought to be spread via dust storms and flies.
Human carriers with acute illness can contaminate the surrounding water supply through their faeces, which contains a high concentration of the bacteria. The polluted water supply can, in turn, taint the food supply. Enteric (Typhoid) Fever is then contracted by drinking, or eating the contaminated food or water. This bacteria can survive for weeks in water or dried sewage.
In 1897, an effective vaccine was developed by Almroth Wright and William Leisman, at the Army Medical School, Netley. At the time of the Boer War, the new inoculation had many side effects, and soldiers refused the voluntary immunisation. The inoculation was still voluntary in August 1914, when Great Britain entered the First World War.
Residence: ‘The Bottle’s Inn’ Cross Street, Eye, Suffolk.
Served his Apprenticeship under Mr. Harry Skuffham, a builder – own account, of Victor’s Buildings, Castle Street, Eye.
Volunteer Date: January 1900; age: 24.
Rank: Private; Service Number: 6522.
Regiment: Suffolk Regiment, 2nd Volunteer Company, South Africa Field Force.
Clasps Awarded: Cape Colony & Orange Free State.
1881 Church Street, Eye, Suffolk.
Thomas was 5 years old and living with his parents & brother.
Edward Tuffs, 43, a Gardener, born Mendlesham, Suffolk.
Matilda Tuffs (nee Battley), 39, born Mellis, Suffolk.
Frederick Tuffs, 18, a Shoemaker, born Eye.
1891 Church Street, Eye, Suffolk.
Thomas was 15 years old, a Carpenter’s Apprentice. He was living with his parents, niece and widowed, maternal grandmother.
Edward, 55, a Gardener.
Maud Mary Tuffs, 4, born Hornsey, London.
Harriett Collins, 73, born Yaxley, Suffolk.
East Anglian Daily Times – 16th June 1900 – The casualty lists recently recorded the death of Prvt. Thomas Tuffs, second son of Mr. Edward Tuffs, of Eye, which took place at Kroonstad on the 8th inst. The deceased was one of the Volunteers of the B Company, 2nd Suffolk Regiment, whose send-off will not soon begotten at Eye, almost the entire population turning out at early morn to wish them God-speed and a safe return. Prvt. Thomas Tuffs was a strong, robust man; he succumbed to enteric fever. The deceased had a good prospect, having served his apprenticeship under Mr. Harry Skuffham, builder. Owing to his kind and genial disposition he was a favourite with his shop mates and the members of his corps. The deepest sympathy is felt for the sorrowing parents in their bereavement.
Thomas is also remembered on a private plaque inside St. Peter and St. Paul Church, Church Street, Eye, Suffolk – erected by his brother volunteers, unveiled 25th June 1903.
Eastern Daily Press – 24th June 1903
VOLUNTEER MEMORIAL AT EYE
On Tuesday afternoon B Company, 2nd V.B., Suffolk Regiment, mustered by the Kerrison Monument, and, headed by the band, marched to church, where a special service was held for the purpose of unveiling a memorial tablet to Thomas Tuffs, late private in the company. The band of the company accompanied the musical portion of the service, which commenced with the processional hymn, “Onward, Christian soldiers.” The address was given by the Rev. A.J. Spencer, chaplain, and the tablet was then unveiled by Colonel Mackenzie, C.B., commanding 1st Suffolk Regiment. After the dedication prayer by the Rev. A.J. Spencer the hymn, “Peace, perfect peace,” was sung and the “Dead March” was played by the band and organ. The tablet is placed in the south side of the church, and is of marble surrounded by alabaster, and bears the following inscription:- “To the glory of God and in memory of Private Thomas Tuffs of B Company, 2nd Volunteer Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, who volunteered for active service in South Africa, January, 1900, and who died from enteric fever at Kroonstad June 8th, 1900, at the age of 24 years. This tablet is erected in Eye Church by brother volunteers.” After the service the band and company marched to the vicarage grounds, where Colonel Mackenzie presented long service medals to the following:- Sergeant-Instructor Merritt, long service and good conduct: Corporal R. Green, Private H. Skuffham, and Private S.H. Hines. Subsequently, the company was entertained to tea by the Rev. A.J. Spencer. The tablet design of Mr. R.F. Perfitt, Diss, the work splendidly done by Sergeant H. Rising, of Eye.
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.