I well remember sitting in St James's on the morning of Thursday the 21st of October 1999, when the pair sold for a most agreeable £320, it does seem a great shame that this fine pair has been unable to find a long term home.
djb wrote: I was tempted for a bid on this pair until the price rose. The lot hammered at £550. I would have wanted a Rory-esque biography for that price!
As a contribution to this topic, IL would put forward the following well-toned pair; obtained via a well-known on-line auction site more than ten years ago -
(1) QSA with clasps "Transvaal" and "Wittebergen", impressed to "Guide R.F.Mulligan, F.I.D."
(2) KSA with usual date clasps. impressed as above.
The FID came into being as a result of the outbreak of the Guerrilla war and the formation of the new mobile columns to pursue them. A development of the established Intelligence Department, each mobile column was to have an Intelligence Officer; plus Interpreters and Scouts. As much as was possible in a pre-wireless era, each column was co-ordinated from HQ and operated in defined areas of the country. In addition to its fighting role, the Department also gathered information about enemy strengths and intentions and - no less importantly - prepared, issued and updated maps.
Apart from occasional references in Pakenham and entries in the SAFF Casualty lists, IL had found little evidence of actual FID field activities. Upon becoming the custodian of the Mulligan pair, he did find an SAFF entry were the recipient was listed as a "civilian" with the Intelligence, being slightly wounded at Brisindi on 17/8/01. Then your correspondent learned of David Buxton's privately published "Field Intelligence Department, 1899-1902, Honours and Awards" (dated 2004, no ISBN). Rapidly obtained, the Buxton book provided an overview of the FID, plus medal rolls, casualty lists and recommendations for awards - all in a handy format. Perhaps inevitably, the great bulk of names and clasp entries were of the State and Date variety - but the book was no less useful for that.
The entries for Guide R.F.Mulligan were of considerable interest. His QSA/KSA combination was confirmed; apparently being one of 205 such pairs named to the FID. Buxton's tabulation of ranks for non-commissioned FID members shows that the most commonplace was "Guide" (185). Overall, members of the Department were awarded 432 "Transvaal" clasps; however just 40 for "Wittebergen". An FID pair bearing only those two clasps was awarded very seldom. Interestingly, Guide Mulligan was shown as receiving the "Orange Free State" clasp for his QSA; a supplementary roll altering that to "Wittebergen".
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Buxton book, as far as Guide Mulligan is concerned, is his entry under the heading "Recommendations". Drawn from WO108/178, the list is dated 12/6/1902 and alphabetically lists 47 Guides and Scouts deemed worthy of recognition. Guide Mulligan's entry reads as follows -
"As one of my principal Guides and Interpreters, he has served with me since 12th June, 1900, and has always done good and valuable service. Is ready for any duty however disagreeable or dangerous. Since his first recommendation, has subsequently been wounded whilst serving as Chief Guide to General Campbell's Mobile Column. (Recommended twice 11/8/01 and 20/5/02 for an award)".
Some phrases of the above do stand out. Indeed, IL has seen many DCM notifications (i.e., LG details) much less detailed than those put forward by the DAAG, NEORC for submission to Lt.Gen. Sir Leslie Rundle and the DMI on 11/8/01 - and again in expanded form on 20/5/02. Alas, no award for Guide Mulligan, not even an MiD. Shows how hard it was to come to Official attention.
The abovementioned reference to General Campbell (and his Mobile Column) expands things only a little. Maj. Gen. B.B.D. Campbell was initially appointed to command the 16th Infantry Bde. in 1/00 and his Brigade took the unspectacular but necessary role as a blocking force during the operations in the Brandwater Basin, 1-29 July, 1900 (clasp "Wittebergen"). The active service of Guide Mulligan commenced just prior to those qualification dates and clearly included them - but no evidence has been found to link our man with those specific activities of the 16th Bde.
Subsequent to the very large Boer surrenders in August 1900 at Verliesfontein farm and elsewhere, General Campbell's 16th Bde. was formed as the Southern-most Mobile Column in the ORC; based at Harrismith and tasked with patrolling, denying the enemy commandos sustenance and bringing them to battle as often as possible. Indeed, the 16th Bde. saw quite a lot of the ORC over the next eighteen-odd months. The Official History holds many references to the General - and his "Official Service" entries reflect it. Maj. General Campbell appars to have done reasonably well out of his Mobile Column's hard work; being created a C.C. and an M.V.O. at the conclusion of the campaign.
It is highly likely that Guide Mulligan would have earned his pay during those activities; be they gathering intelligence, probing lines of advance, acting as a guide to likely enemy camp sites or simply protecting those constructing and maintaining the blockhouse line. Anonymous work and only coming to our notice due to Guide Mulligan's wounding as Chief Guide at Brisindi on 17/8/01.
All of the above may seem a little dry - and perhaps noteworthy only to a future custodian of the Mulligan medals. Therefore, readers who have reached this point may forgive a little whimsy on IL's part. These days, this writer has time to occasionally leaf through works such as "With the Flag to Pretoria" and "After Pretoria" - and had observed several illustrations featuring tall, bluff and hearty-looking Maj.Gen. Campbell. One such shows the good General in the field; drinking a Loyal Toast to the King in company with Native Chief Mitzani.
Readers might well observe the lad wearing the exceedingly battered slouch hat and hovering in the background with a top-up jug at the ready. Could this have been our Chief Guide and Interpreter Mulligan? After all, would not the General need an Interpreter in such a social encounter? Or is the figure just the General's servant? Alas, we will never know.
Regards to all
The following user(s) said Thank You: djb, Brett Hendey
Many thanks, IL. A very interesting account. I like the FID because many local men found a niche as Guide/Interpreters who were indispensable to Imperial officers during the war. You were fortunate to find out as much as you did about your man.
Thanks for those kind remarks. If any forum member does not have access to the Buxton book, I would be quite happy to assist in looking up a name (s). If FID enlistment papers could be located, it would indeed add another dimension. As it is, it appears that - barring a stroke of luck in finding other service or a "mention" - what we have is it!