Interested Forum members
Herewith is a pic of the QSA bars CC/OFS impressed to: "E.Box. STM: RD:TRNSPT". There are quite a few references of the use of Steam Traction in the ABW - mainly in H.W.Wilson (Flag to P) Vol.2 p238. Wilson implies that traction engines arrived with the 5th Div. He further comments that "...other adjuncts were a dozen powerful traction engines for use with the transport. They performed splendidly, climbing mountain sides and fording spruits with an agility not to be expected from their ponderous nature". He goes on to quote from Mr. Burleigh; "They require few attendants, don't gibe and each can easily haul twelve tons". Wilson goes on to comment that the ox waggon of SA carries only .25 ton so that one TE was equivilant to 40 waggons. Guerilla war page 8,V.1 shows a TE drawing a 5" COW gun up a very steep incline (no date given). Same volume p.224 shows a humorous sketch by one Rudyard Kipling of a TE in futile pursuit of a distant rider.
A bit unkind of dear Rudyard, really. The forte of the Traction Engine would be the unglamorous ability to supply rations, ammuntition, etc to the bulk breaking point. However, I would hate to see one stuck in mud!!
That is a superb text book example of a medal to a civilian of the Steam Road Transport, both the medal and clasps are verified in WO100/155 page 100, can't remember the last time I saw one of these, they are really quite scarce medals.
Kind regards Frank
Yes, I was quite taken with it when I saw it listed. The vendor said that he had only seen one other; he told me that the one named to E.Box came via a non-medal collector in the US. I have the SRT roll on CD and I note that only 17 or so QSAs had the combination of bars CC/OFS. The nominal roll does not reflect the number of SRT medals possibly out there - as a considerable number were returned to the mint. It is also interesting to see that no bars other than CC/OFS/Tv were issued. SRT just did the unglamorous role of hauling the waggons.
Interested forum members
Just this AM, my copy of "Steam Traction in the Royal Engineers" arrived in the mail and - being on pre-retirement leave - I had a preliminary leaf through it. SRT was a much bigger operation in SA than I thought. The book lists all the Traction Engines in use during the ABW and provides some 9-odd pages of text plus a number of pics; together with much in the way of direct background info. For example, I was quite unaware that the first active service use of TEs (not entirely satisfactory) was in the Ashanti campaign of 1873. As I thought, the main use of TEs in ABW was in delivering to what was still called in my service years as the Bulk Breaking Point. However, this little book by Col. J.Nowers tells us that on 24061900, a convoy with three engines got urgent supplies through to Lindley and a correspondent "never knew how fast your engines would go until he saw the Boers after them firing at the drivers". There is more in a similar vein.
Enlistment term for civilians in the SRT appears to have been one year.
Regards to all
I came across some interesting papers on the SRT in the NAM many years ago which might interest you in your retirement! See below.
All best wishes,
1 Report on Steam Road Transport in South Africa. Printed history by Major G P Schofield, Corps of Royal Engineers, published by HMSO, London, 1903. Archives 1996-09-28
2 Papers relating to Col J L B Templer, Instructor in Ballooning and Director of Steam Road Transport in the Boer War, compiled by Brig Gen R B D Blakeney, 1893-1967; includes an account of the Balloon School at Aldershot 1893-1896, the use of Balloons in Suakim in 1885 and the Boer War and the log of a flight made by Templer from Woolwich in 1881. Archives 1974-04-59
3 Bound scrapbook, nd; contains newspaper cuttings relating to the activities of Col J L B Templer as director of Steam and Road transport during the Boer War, 1899-1902; associated with the Boer War (1899-1902). Archives 1974-05-58