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TOPIC: Sailor to solider?

Sailor to solider? 1 year 2 months ago #62938

  • Kernow
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I am new to researching military history, so forgive me if my questions seem really stupid.

Is it possible for a sailor to become a soldier?

My ancestor Washington Butchard (variously spelt) born circa 1860, London, seems to have been a sailor from the 30th November 1873 (errand boy) 31st December 1883, serving on various vessels Fishguard, Duke of Wellington and Hector to name but a few.

Then he seems to have become a soldier who died in The Battle of Ladysmith on the 24th January 1900. Service number 809.

Is this possible? Would, could there be two people with such a distinct name.

Any help or advice would be gratefully received. Thank you

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Sailor to solider? 1 year 2 months ago #62939

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Yes it is possible to go from sailor to soldier and vice versa, I have one group that went from Army Private to Navy Paymaster Commander...…


P.S. I guess you have this from FMP...….

First name(s) William
Last name Butchart
Service number 809
Rank Private
Regiment Imperial Light Infantry
Rolls WO100/252 page 14
Memorials Imperial Light Infantry memorial, Spion Kop, Natal, South Africa
Literary references The National Archives WO127. Nominal rolls colonial units.
[The National Archives WO100. The QSA and KSA campaign medal rolls.] & [The National Archives WO127. Nominal rolls colonial units.] [Natal Field Force. JB Hayward & Sons] Butchard [Anglo-Boer War Memorials Project] Butchardt QSA Clasps: RoL

Event detail Killed on 24/01/1900 at Spion Kop
Event unit Imperial Light Infantry
Event source NFF

[2828: 2839-2932] a prominent peak, 1,465 m high, in Natal Colony (Bergville district; KwaZulu-Natal) 30 km north-west of Colenso. Variant: Spioenkop (Afrikaans spelling used on the 1: 250,000 map). On the night of 23 January 1900, Maj-Gen E.R.P. Woodgate was in command of a force comprising a detachment of Royal Engineers, Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry, the 2nd The Lancashire Fusiliers, the 2nd The King's Own (Royal Lancaster) regiment and the 1st The Prince of Wales's' Volunteers (South Lancashire) regiment. Guided by Lt-Col A.W. Thorneycroft, the force reached the summit of Spion Kop at 3.30 am on the following day and the small Boer picquet withdrew to report the presence of the British force to Asst Cmdt-Gen S.W. Burger. In the thick mist the British troops entrenched, but failed to see that they had not gained the true crest nor command of adjacent hills such as Aloe Knoll* which commanded their position. Under Gen L. Botha, the Boers regrouped rapidly and from Aloe Knoll the Carolina commando under Cmdt H.F. Prinsloo was particularly effective in enfilading the British positions. In the attempt to secure the true crest, Woodgate was mortally wounded and thereafter the precise focus of command on the British side was unclear. The Imperial Light Horse, the 2nd The Duke of Cambridgeshire's Own (Middlesex) regiment and the 2nd The Dorsetshire regiment were ordered up, but conflicting orders resulted in less than total support. Fierce fighting throughout the day in and around the main British trench saw Boer forces initially driven back from the main crest, but reinforcements from the Utrecht and Pretoria commandos, with Cmdt D.J.E. Opperman and Field Cornet P.F. Zeederberg prominent, pushed the British back. As dusk fell the British trench was subjected to an intense artillery and small arms bombardment and the situation was virtually stationary. With considerable numbers killed and wounded, a shortage of water and inadequate medical facilities, Thorneycroft and the other commanders on the hill considered that they were in no position to continue and ordered a withdrawal. They had not realised that the Boer forces had also withdrawn, primarily because the important position of Twin Peaks* had been taken by the 3rd The King's Royal Rifle Corps during the afternoon, a fact not known by the British commanders on Spion Kop. At 4 am on 25 January, a few burghers again reached the summit and found it deserted except for the dead and dying. British losses were 322 killed or mortally wounded, 563 wounded and some 300 captured; the Boers lost 58 killed, among them Asst Field Cornet B. Badenhorst of Vryheid (the only officer), and some 140 wounded. Used the Natal Field Force casualty roll to include operations in the vicinty of Spion Kop. HMG II cap.XX (maps nos.18 and 19); Times III cap.X (maps facing pp.280 and 300); Breytenbach III cap.VI (maps facing pp.210 and 236); Wilson I cap.XIII (photographs and sketches) (map on p.295); Barnard pp.93-106 (maps on pp.82-83 and 88-89); Griffith pp.257-282 (map on p.251); Warwick p.133.

Country Great Britain
Record set Anglo-Boer War Records 1899-1902
Category Military Service & Conflict
Subcategory Boer Wars
Collections from Great Britain, UK None
Life Member
Past-President Calgary
Military Historical Society
O.M.R.S. 1591
The following user(s) said Thank You: djb, Kernow

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