I am researching my Great Grandad Alexander Colville Smith who was a trooper in the Royston Hore during the Natal Rebellion. I have his medal. No one in the family has any idea when he went to South Africa or when he returned to Scotland, he was back in Scotland by 1919.
Are any records available of those involved in the Natal Rebellion or has anybody else any pointers as to where i might find information.
Quite a few members of Royston's Horse had previous service so it might well be worth your while to look for possible Boer War service. When and where was Alexander Colville Smith born?
Royston raised the Natal Light Horse for service in the German South West Africa campaign 1914-1915. Many of that unit had served with Royston in 1906. The NLH was disbanded in mid 1915 at the end of the GSWA campaign. Royston sailed for England aboard the Saxon (arriving 27 November 1915) hoping to raise another unit. Some former NLH men followed him abroad. I suspect others followed aboard other ships. A unit was never raised and most of the men who followed him abroad enlisted in British units; quite a few went into London units I believe.
Other former NLH men enlisted for further service in South African Imperial units that served in East Africa and Europe. There was a Pte (1SAI) and Sjt Smith (4SAI, SA Scottish) both serving in the SA Infantry on the Delville Wood roll call. The Pte was wounded at Delville Wood. The Sjt was awarded the DCM, Military Medal and the French Croix de Guerre later in the War. It might be worth checking South Africa WWI records. After the War several members of SA forces were demobbed in the UK so they could remain there.
I'm not familiar with Natal 1906 service records. Hopefully another member will be able to provide some advice on those.
There were 11 Trooper Smiths in Royston's Horse who received the Natal Rebellion Medal with clasp, and one who received the medal without a clasp. It is very difficult to research individual Smiths, who are unlikely to be named in the various published histories of the Rebellion, unless the man concerned was a casualty or distinguished himself in some other way.
Perhaps I could shed some light on what can be found in the Archives in Pietermaritzburg.
I have researched a few Natal Police men that were in the Boer War and the 1906 Rebellion and all that has been found to date is entries in the Enrollment Registers. These entries have only very basic info ie: NOK, Previous service, address etc etc.
Actual attestation papers have not to the best of my knowledge, been seen for men joining the NP and who served during the 06 Rebellion.
Part time researcher of the Cape Police and C.P.G Regiment.
Amongst the publications that appeared to coincide with the centenary of the Natal Rebellion were:
'Incident at Trewirgie. First shots of the Zulu Rebellion 1906' by P S Thompson. Privately published. 2005.
'Bambatha at Mpanza. The making of a rebel." by P S Thompson. Privately Published. 2004.
'The Maphumulo Uprising. War Law and Ritual in the Zulu Rebellion.' by Jeff Guy. University of KwaZulu-Natal Press. 2005.
These books deal with the various phases of the Rebellion from beginning to end and are scholarly works that are heavily annotated with references to source material. They may be better defined as social histories, rather than military histories. Neverthelss, they do reveal where one might search for records of the conflict. Disappointingly, there are no military rolls and no detailed accounts of military actions in these books.
Military histories that these authors recommend are:
'The Natal Rebellion of 1906.' by Walter Bosman. London, Longmans Green. 1907.
'The Mounted Police of Natal.' by H P Holt. Lomdon, Murray. 1913.
'The Natal Carbineers: A History of the Regiment from its Foundation.' by J Stalker. Pietermaritzburg & Durban, Davis. 1912.
The diary of Chief Commisioner W J Clarke of the Natal Police, copies of which are in archives in both Pietermaritzburg and Durban, has also been recommended. A descendent of W J Clarke has the original diary and has plans to publish it.