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The Register of the Second Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902

In the years I have been compiling the data for The Register I have used it to great effect in selecting medals to purchase and also while conducting research for clients.

Mostly it is picking up a casualty because the dealer has not looked in the casualty roll. However, here are some more important examples:

- Purchased the QSA to Chaplain CF Tobias - the only minister of religion in the British forces to be a casualty of enemy action. Chaplain Tobias was shot in the thigh on 25 May, 1901 at Mooifontein in the Transvaal. This medal had been on the market at least once before (in 2011), through the hands of a couple of collectors and been discussed on a forum; yet no one (until the recent sale) checked The Register (or the casualty roll). Subsequent research reveals that letters relating to Tobias' war service are held by Witwatersrand University, the Derby Daily Telegraph contains an eye-witness account of the battle and the Chaplain's part in it and there is a pictureof him on Ancestry.

- Purchased the QSA to Cpl 411 CW Abel Natal Carbineers with clasps Transvaal and Defense of Ladysmith. Abel was killed on 20/08/1901 at a farm called Nooitgedacht in the Orange Free State. Abel's death is not recorded in the Official Casualty Rolls - it only appears on the medal roll and in Steve Watt's In Memoriam. The important fact about Abel's death was that he was serving with Loxton's Horse - described in the medal roll as a 'loot corps'. There are only two men on the medal roll - Abel is not one of them. Their role, encouraged by Lord Kitchener himself, was to remove (steal) crops and livestock from Boer farms. It would appear Abel was killed on one of these raids. Loxton's Horse are, not surprisingly, a mysterious unit. They were raised and led by Samuel Loxton one of three brothers from the Corps of Guides who won DCMs in the war. The Loxton family are old settler stock of the Eastern Cape and Natal.

- Purchased the QSA of Lt AH Leith South African Light Horse. Lt Leith is mentioned in The Register because he has a gravestone recording his death in 1903 from the effects of the campaign to relieve Ladysmith following an "adventurous life" in Mexico, USA and Australia. Further research revealed him to be the son of Admiral John Leith, younger brother of Alexander Forbes-Leith, First Baron Fyvie, a successful steel magnate in America and the uncle of Lt PF Forbes-Leith, 1st Dragoons, who died of disease during the Anglo-Boer War.

- Purchased a QSA disc from e-Bay to Gnr 13373 J Newberry 38 Btty RFA who was killed at De Klipdrift March 7, 1902. This battle was one of those nasty actions when the Boers rode down on a column shooting the defenders at close range causing much confusion and many casualties. The 38th had just one section there and the guns were manned to the last man standing. This action is also notable because Lieutenant-General Lord Methuen was wounded.

- Purchased a QSA from FJP Auctions to Pte 262 A Hannah Natal Royal Rifles. Hannah is the only casualty of the ABW for this unit, he is listed in the Natal FF Roll under 'Miscellaneous Natal Casualties'. The medal roll confirms this is the same man.

- Purchased a QSA off e-Bay to a Gunner in the RFA who was mentioned in despatches and for which a brief citation is given in SA Honours and Awards. Citations for any Anglo-Boer War gallantry is not usual and for MIDs is very rare. And a bonus, his WO97 papers exist and indicate that he had a role to play in the 1902 Coronation.

- Verifiying a Wepener clasp QSA to a private of the 10th Hussars. The man in question does not appear in Kevin Asplin's cavalry roll so it would appear this is a suspect medal with a Wepener clasp added.

The Register revealed the soldier to be one of Major-General Brabazon's servants and is shown in the Imperial Yeomanry rolls. Brabazon, commander of the IY in South Africa, led a column to the relief of Wepener and he along with his staff were awarded the Wepener clasp. The roll is later annotated to show some, but not Brabazon or his servant, having the Wepener clasp reclaimed. A humble private's medal to the 10th Hussars now ranks alongside the few medals to HMS Doris issued with Wepener clasps in error. Only one of these to medals to HMS Doris is believed extant - see Dix Noonan Webb Lot 173 sale 07-03-2007. Brabazon's medal in the Royal Hussars Museum does not have the Wepener clasp on it.

- Show other units a colonial soldier served in which has not been noted on the roll for the unit the medal is named to.

- Revealing a casualty in a unit other than which the medal is named to.

- Provide assurance when faced with a re-named nurse's medal, the nurse died during the war but is not in the main nursing rolls. The Register reveals her name on war memorials and points to other sources that provide extra information to allow further research.