In preparation for adding the 10,400 names on the rolls for the British South Africa Company Medal. I have created 41 new unit pages. These represent the units that only saw service in the 1890-1897 campaigns.
There is very little information on these units. They are also outside Tylden's scope, sadly.
If anyone has information on these units, please let me know and I will add it to the unit page.
Bechuanaland Border Police
Belingwe Field Force
Bulawayo Field Force
Charter Garrison Corps
Colenbrander's Cape Boys
Mangwe Field Force
Mashonaland Mounted Police
Matabeleland Relief Force
Medical Staff Corps
Military Staff Clerks
Mounted Darwin Volunteers
Natal Troop Volunteer Corps
Native Commissioner's Department
Post and Telegraph
Rhodesia Horse Volunteers
Robertson's Cape Boys
Salisbury Field Force
Swanson's Volunteer Corps
Umtali Volunteer Corps
Victoria Transport Convoy
Volunteer Defence Corps
I'll have a look at my notes David as I have medals to a number of these units. Brett Hendey also did quite a bit of work on the Natal Troop chaps - at one stage, between the two of us - we had 10% of all medals issued to them.
"Mr. A. Darling, formerly of Crewe, who went to the Matabeleland district some years ago, and had settled there in an extensive cattle ranch before the recent uprising of the natives, and who lost 700 head of cattle by the native raids, his partner being killed, writes to his parents at Crewe from Bulawayo: - ….The enemy are still very close to, and are playing a dodging game. My belief is that it will be a long, dragging war, and I think the n.....s will retire into the thick forest, which lies in the Zambesi direction. They evidently mean to fight it out, and I hope they will, for they deserve a tremendous licking, and all who are conversant with the facts of their doings have the same opinion. I did not go with the patrol that went to meet Rhodes, though it was in the direction of what was once my home. They found our place thoroughly wiped out, not a trace of anything remaining. There was a slight skirmish on our farm, and the dead bodies of Langford, his wife, and Lemon were found at what was once our house. We have one good commander here (Colonel Plumer), an Imperial officer who has just lately arrived with the relief force. He got to wok immediately he arrived, and brought up a force of 600 men whom he had recruited in the colony. We knew where a large 'impi' of the enemy were encamped, and on the 24th of May the colonel and his men were sent to go and tackle them. Thirty-six of 'ours' (Gifford's Horse) were attached as scouts, and we left at 11 o'clock on Sunday night. We formed the flankers, which was very nasty work, riding through the thick thorny bush. At about two o'clock we came right on to them, and were received with a very sharp volley. We had one of our men hit, and two or three horses shot. I had a poor horse as regards standing fire. He plunged about, and wanted to go towards the enemy, so I had to dismount and lead him. The column formed square in quick time, and we retired on to them. It was quite an experience to hear the rattle of the maxims and the guns echoing round the hills, and having to shoot where we saw the flashes coming from. The engagement lasted about two hours, and two or three of Plumer's men were killed. We had only one wounded. This was my first night's battle. We rested about an hour, and then our lot were sent out as advance guard. It was a very thick bush, and we had not gone far before we found the n.....s thick all round, and waiting for us. There was a lot of them on a small stony hill, and our captain gave us the order to charge. They let us get right up to them before they fired, and then they hit two of our men, and a lot of the horses. We made very short work of them; one of the men was in my half-section; he was shot through the knee. The whole column then gave chase, and four of us stayed with the wounded, and followed up behind. I managed to find the doctor, and assisted him in amputating the poor chap's leg. He was an Australian, and a fine chap, and bore it like a man. We made stretchers, got the wounded on them, and they went back to town with an escort. The second engagement lasted for four hours, but little damage was done, the n......s running too well. The colonel gave us a little rest, but after watering the horses and getting a bit of food we were on the move again, but didn't catch up with the n.....s till an hour before sundown, when we came on them in a strong position, on very rough ground. We were a long way in front of the column, and we charged them and had to retire. They were beginning to hem us in, when the main body came up, and they got it very bad. They stood their ground for half an hour, and then broke and fled. We couldn't follow, as it was getting dark. We slept that night in their stronghold, and returned to town next morning. In all the engagements we had ten killed, and a good number wounded. It has had the effect of making them keep a further distance from town. We were all well satisfied with Colonel Plumer, and I think his plan of fighting a good one. I can give you no other news but war news, everything else being suspended here. I want to see the business through, and I hope to settle down again in the country, but I'm afraid a long time will elapse before that can be done."
Cheshire Observer, 15/8/1896
"Mr Herbert Garbutt, a son of Mr Edward Garbutt, of Seaton Carew, West Hartlepool, who is just now on a visit to his friends, has had some exciting experiences during a two years' residence in South Africa. As a member of the Bulawayo mounted force he was in at one or two brushes with the Matabele, and gave a good account of himself.
he decided to join the A troop of Gifford's Horse, under Capt. Knapp, whom he had been under previously in the Rhodesia Horse Volunteers. Whilst in Gifford's Horse Mr Garbutt saw the following engagements: ….Monday, 20th April - Under Col. Napier and Capt. Selous on the Umguza River we saw lots of n.....s, but did not come to blows. ….Wednesday, 22nd April - Under Captains Bisset and Meikle we had a better time of it, Captain Selous having a narrow escape. ….Saturday, 25th April - We again met the rebels on the banks of the same river. Our force consisted of 120 whites and 170 colonial boys and friendlies, with Captain R. Macfarlane in charge. The lowest estimate of the rebels was 2,000, and as they surrounded us for three hours we had no cause to "grouse" at not being warmly received. ….This fight drove the Matabele away from the immediate vicinity of Bulawayo, so at 9.30 on Sunday night, 24th May, a force left Government House to go further afield. Gifford's Horse formed the advance guard, and at 2.30 a.m. came suddenly upon the rebel outposts, who kept them busy until the main body and Maxims arrived. The first man shot had a bullet through both thighs, and until the Doctor and daylight arrived Mr Garbutt chewed tobacco to put in his wounds to stop the bleeding. About 7.30 a.m. they again came upon the rebels, and Gifford's small advance guard lost two more men wounded and several horses killed. After a rest for lunch (?) they got amongst the natives again and gave them "what for" until sundown, finishing them up in a very warm corner. Gifford's troopers were fortunate to only lose one man and five horses. After a sleepless night they were glad to get back to Bulawayo about midday, 26th May, those who had lost their horses having to walk. Friday, June 5th, a patrol under Captain R. Macfarlane, having with him C. J. Rhodes and Sir C. Metcalf, left Bulawayo to follow the Khami River to its junction with the River Gwaai. It was a most uneventful patrol, and we were only attacked once, on June 11th. Gifford's Horse, being the advance guard, got all the "fun," and left 22 dead natives in exchange for one dead horse and two men slightly wounded. The main body arrived in time to be too late. Being the middle of winter the nights were frightfully cold. On several mornings there was a thick coat of ice on the water. The troops did not suffer from over-feeding, but as they passed plenty of kraals they got lots of pumpkins, Kaffir corn, and native ground beans. Being the advance guard they were in the saddle every morning by 4 a.m. to 6 p.m., and except for short intervals to off-saddle were kept going until after sundown. Sleeping every night in boots and bandolier did not add to their comfort, and burning kraals was poor satisfaction, so no one was sorry to see Bulawayo again on July 3rd. The next day the B.F.F. were disbanded, but on July 24th Mr Garbutt joined a small force going out West to protect some missionaries who were farming and trading with the friendly Makolakos. They saw plenty of the friendly Chief Gambo, and his Indundo, Marzue, &c., but although the rebels would attack the friendly kraals they did not seem anxious to visit Fort Solusi. Beyond going down to the Khami River with J. Gordon, A.U.C., to guide the 7th Hussars up to the Gwaai, where they managed to find a few rebels, the life in the fort was very monotonous, and after the previous active life it brought on a severe attack of dysentery, which necessitated Mr Garbutt being invalided home."
Hartlepool Mail, 19/1/1897 If you want Garbutt's pre-Gifford's Horse service adding, just say so.
"Captain J. C. Knapp, of the Imperial Service Corps, who was killed in action on Friday, Nov. 3rd, at Ladysmith, was in command f "Gifford's Horse" in Matabeleland, 1896, after Lieut.-Colonel Gifford was wounded. Capt. Knapp served with the Cape Mounted Police in the Kaffir War; he was a fine soldier, and one for whom all in Rhodesia had the greatest respect."
Grantham Journal, 11/11/1899
"At the Globe Hotel, Topsham, on Thursday evening Trooper M Edie, of the Imperial Yeomanry, at a smoking concert was presented with a handsome pair of leggings and a case of silver-mounted pipes, as a token of respect and appreciation on his departure as a Volunteer Yeoman at the war in South Africa. Trooper Edie was wearing the Matabele War medal, he being then serving in Gifford's Horse, and was wounded in the thigh."
Getting a potted history of the various Rhodesian units (as listed) is going to prove difficult. I have consulted my notes and find that I have had to piece together various newspaper articles along with extracts from the BSAC Company Report on the wars, in order to arrive at something worthwhile to write about in respect of my various recipients.