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TOPIC: 90322 J Burton, 78th Battery, RFA

90322 J Burton, 78th Battery, RFA 4 months 3 weeks ago #64929

  • Geoffbr
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Hello all! I’m Geoff and I’m researching my wife’s maternal great-grandfather, Jesse Burton, picture attached.
With help from members of other military/genealogy fora (mostly Facebook groups) I have established that Jesse was a driver with 78th Battery RFA and was wounded on 11/07/1900 at Hekpoort. In September 1902 he married as a civilian; the photo is believed to have been taken in 1904. He is wearing two good conduct stripes in the photo which I believe indicates that he served for between six and eight years.
That’s all I know about his military career. I would be most grateful to receive suggestions as to where I can find out more about his time in the RFA. Thanks in advance!
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90322 J Burton, 78th Battery, RFA 4 months 3 weeks ago #64932

  • djb
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Welcome Geoff,

The medal roll for the 78th RFA lists 90322 Driver J Burton with the clasps for the Relief of Ladysmith, Tugela heights, Cape Colony and Orange Free State. WO100/143p88 refers.

There is a brief summary of the 78th's time in South Africa on this page and confirmation that he was wounded: www.angloboerwar.com/unit-information/im...tillery-78th-battery

It does not look like any service papers survived for him.
Dr David Biggins

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90322 J Burton, 78th Battery, RFA 4 months 3 weeks ago #64933

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He may have changed battery as I cannot see him on the KSA list for the 78th RFA.
Dr David Biggins

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90322 J Burton, 78th Battery, RFA 4 months 3 weeks ago #64935

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Picture...…

Life Member
Past-President Calgary
Military Historical Society
O.M.R.S. 1591
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90322 J Burton, 78th Battery, RFA 4 months 3 weeks ago #64936

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Thank you for the information djb. Would you kindly confirm my recently-acquired (from Google!) understanding of the significance of the medals and clasps he is wearing in the photo?

The medal worn on the left (as the viewer sees it) is the Queen’s SA medal and it appears to have three clasps, yet your source indicates that he was entitled to wear four. Any suggestion as to why one is missing?

That on the right is the King’s SA medal, with two clasps. The two clasps on the KSA ribbon are “South Africa 1901” and “South Africa 1902”; the presence of the latter indicating that Burton was still serving in South Africa potentially to 31 May 1902, but perhaps with a different battery. On his marriage certificate, dated 20 September 1902, his profession is given as Labourer, so he must have been discharged some time between Jan - Aug 1902. Is it possible that he was discharged as unfit for service due to his wound?

The two good conduct stripes show that he served at least 6 years and possibly as long as (nearly) nine years. Would this be his total length of service with RFA, perhaps indicating that he contracted to serve for seven years?

Sorry for all of the questions: I’m learning as I go with this!

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90322 J Burton, 78th Battery, RFA 4 months 3 weeks ago #64944

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Geoff,

You are absolutely correct about the medals. The 3 clasps on his QSA have been troubling me because, given the clasps he earned, his medal should include all 4. There are cases where one or two clasps were sent separately but this is not one of those cases. I have just double checked the roll and confirmed there are 4 clasps listed.

You can read the eligibility criteria for the medals here: www.angloboerwar.com/medals-and-awards/b...s-south-africa-medal

In the book section on the site are many works that describe the fighting in the relief of Ladysmith. A good place to start is chapters 15, 16 and 17 from The Great Boer War: www.angloboerwar.com/books/40-conan-doyl...chapter-15-spion-kop

It is possible that he was discharged due to his wound. Many men were invalided in this way.

The 78th served in South Africa until the end of hostilities so my inability to locate his QSA is unexpected. I will have another look today and see if I can locate his KSA.

Is there any possibility that it is not him in the photograph?
Dr David Biggins

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