I believe my great grandfather volunteered for the British army and spent time in South Africa during the second Boer War. But I don't understand what his wife and child did for money whilst he was away for 2 years ? did they get some money from the Army/Government. Similarly how was the Boer army funded ?
Firstly, welcome to the Forum. Regarding British regulars, in the field and addition to their pay, a Separation Allowance (for a Private soldier) of eight pence a day and four pence from her husband's pay was made to wives. There were small additional payments for each child. The book "The Late Victorian Army" (ISBN 0 7190 2659 8 ) gives us a most interesting portrait of the army of the era - and tells us that the basic rate of pay for a Private in 1898 was one shilling and three pence a day. A soldier could earn Good Conduct pay of a penny a day. It must also be said that many soldiers in the field remitted money home, which was saved from their pay, via the Post Office.
Ian, this was nothing like luxury. Indeed, it is hard to see how many families of private or even non-commissioned soldiers made ends meet. Families must have helped or else the wives looked for work.
The Imperial Yeomanry were on a different pay scale to the regulars. The IY were paid five shillings a day for their tour of duty.
Perhaps others on the Forum might be able to assist regarding any payment arrangements which were made by the Boer Republics.
INVESTIGATION OF A RESERVIST'S COMPLAINT. (From the "Essex Herald.")
At the beginning of this month we received a letter from Private G. Herrington, of the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade, a reservist living at Stansted, near Bishop Stortford, bitterly complaining that his wife and two children had not received adequate support while he was on duty, first at Dublin and then at the front in South Africa. His wife, he said, was confined one day before he had to leave home after a furlough, and he was away from that time for a period of six months, when he returned home invalided through dysentery and debility. The point on which Herrington dwelt with special emphasis was that while he was away his wife could get nothing from any public fund, except a shilling a week from the Soldiers and Sailors' Families Association, and 5s. that was handed to her by Dr. Pittway when the two children were ill.
We have investigated the case, and find the facts to be these: Herrington was first called up on the 13th Nov., 1899, and then, after the furlough, on the 10th March, 1900. The Soldiers and Sailors' Families Association was not organised in the Chesterford division, to which Stansted belongs, before January last, but for a period of seven weeks, as Herrington himself stated, his employer allowed his wife 8s. a week. The rule of the Soldiers and Sailors' Families Association is not to let the wife's income fall below two-thirds of what it was with her husband at home. Herrington, before joining the colours, had earned 16s. a week as an under gardener, so that, according to the Association's scale, his wife was entitled to 10s. 8d. a week. On March 28 Mrs. Herrington wrote to Lord Wolseley saying she had never received a penny from any relief fund. This seems to have been so. She was, however, receiving separation allowance for herself and two children amounting to 9s. 11d. weekly. To this the Association, on the 1st of April, added 1s. weekly, making the woman's income 3d. a week over the two-thirds of her husband's former earnings. Besides this, Mrs. Herrington had a compulsory deduction from her husband's pay of 3s. 6d. a week, bringing her income up to 14s. 5d., which was 1s. 7d. a week less than when her husband was at home. As her baby was not three weeks old at the time of her writing to Lord Wolseley, he allowed her 10s. confinement grant. On July 19 Mrs. Herrington appealed for more assistance on the ground that her children were very ill, and 5s. was sent to her through Dr. Pittway, who was asked to explain to her, what she did not seem to have grasped before, that he was giving free attendance to women whose breadwinners were at the front. The shilling a week was paid by the Association until the date of Herrington's return. Herrington states that he worked one week after he came back, and he was then discharged, on the ground that his employer was reducing his staff. Into this incident, of which we have no version except Herrington's, the representatives of the Association do not go. Their case rests on the fact that, between April 1st, when the allowance of 8s. a week had been stopped by the employer, and the date of Herrington's return, his wife's weekly income was only 1s. 7d. less than her husband's wages had been, in addition to which she received special grants amounting to 15s., free medical attendance, and a bottle of beef wine for the children, "whose illness was short and sharp." All the ladies and gentlemen whom we have consulted, or whose letters we have read, concur in the opinion that Mrs. Herrington was fairly dealt by, and that more help was not needed. Dr. Pittway is also said to be of this opinion.
To the Editor.
Chesterford, Saffron Walden, Oct. 17.
SIR, - Will you allow me to correct one or two small errors in your account of the dealings of the Soldiers and Sailors' Families Association with Mrs. Herrington, Stansted? The allowance of 1s. weekly by our Association was not begun till April, because we only then learnt that the 8s. allowance made by Pt. Herrington's former employer had ceased in January. Till April we were without this information. The 10s. confinement grant was made by our Association, not by Lord Wolseley, but the credit of the bottle of beef wine is due to Dr. Pittway, whose private gift it was.
Hon. Sec. S.S.F.A. Saffron Walden Division.
Another victim of red tape in the matter of non-relief to the wife of a soldier, with a large family, is reported from the Isle of Wight. The Chairman of the Isle of Wight Board of Guardians (Mr. George Fellows, C.A.) has in vain appealed to the authorities to assist Mrs. Maby, the wife of a soldier, living at Newchurch, I.W., who is left with a family of seven children, all of whom are under the age of sixteen, whilst her husband is serving his Queen and country at the front. The total amount of her regular income is only 6s. per week, so that it may safely be regarded as a necessitous case. It appears that when the war broke out her husband, who was at Johannesburg, immediately volunteered for active service, joining the Imperial Light Infantry at Estcourt. An appeal has been made both to the War Office and to the Mansion House authorities, but up to the present the only result has been the formal acknowledgement of his letters. Application to the dispensers of local funds has met with no better result. Surely in a case of this kind there ought to be no difficulty in the way of immediate relief. Mr. Maby is an Isle of Wight man. In face of the fact that such large sums have been subscribed by a generous public, it is little short of a scandal that this poor woman's case should still lack relief.