A unique award to the 3rd N.S.W. Imperial Bushmen.
James William Porter was born at St. Pancras, London, in November 1865, but his family later settled in Australia. Volunteering for active service in South Africa at Sydney, he was embarked with the New South Wales Citizen’s Bushmen Contingent draft of reinforcements as a Sergeant aboard the steamship Ranee in March 1901, but was appointed Regimental Sergeant-Major in the 3rd New South Wales Imperial Bushmen on arrival at Klerksdorp in early May.
Subsequently present at his unit’s many actions in western and eastern Transvaal over the coming months, the exploits that led to the award of his DCM may well have been in connection with the Bushmen’s attacks on Muller’s Commandos at Kaultsfont on 27 October 1901, and Trichart’s Commandos on 20 February 1902, in which latter engagement 164 Boers were taken prisoner.
Porter was commissioned in the Field in early May 1902 and mentioned in Lord Kitchener’s despatch dated at Cape Town, 23 June 1902 (London Gazette 29 July 1902). He returned to Sydney aboard the Drayton Grange in July 1902.
DCM VR (797 SERJT:-MAJ: T.H. HARWOOD. RL: WARWICK: REGT.);
QSA (6) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Belfast, South Africa 1901; (797 S.MAJOR. T. HARWOOD. RL. WARWICK: REGT.);
IGS 1908 (1) North West Frontier 1908; (LIEUT. & QR: MR: J.H. HARWOOD. 1ST: R. WAR. R.);
1914 Star with Clasp - this modified with hinged pin fitting to reverse; (HON: CAPT. & Q.M. T.H. HARWOOD. R.WAR.R.);
British War Medal and Victory Medal with MID (Q.M. & MAJOR T.H. HARWOOD.);
Army LS&GC Ed VII (797 S.MAJ. T.H. HARWOOD. RL: WARWICK: REGT.)
Together with the following:
The Army Rifle Association Queen Victoria’s Cup Winners Prize Medal, silver, reverse engraved: ‘LIEUT & QR.MR. T. HARWOOD 1ST: ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGT.’, housed in its Elkington & Co fitted presentation case, and with an additional paper slip which details the date of the award as being from 1906, and which gives the exact scores achieved by Harwood to win the medal. An impressive piece.
Card mounted studio photograph of the recipient as a Lieutenant and Quartermaster in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, with blue cloth helmet tucked under his arm, and his officer’s sword, and wearing his first four medals, namely: Distinguished Conduct Medal, Queen’s South Africa Medal with six clasps, India General Service Medal with clasp for North West Frontier 1908, and the Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. Taken circa 1909-1910. A superb photo.
Card mounted studio photograph of the recipient, believed taken when either a Major or a Lieutenant Colonel, wearing his full medal ribbons, less the MID Oakleaf, and wearing the badges of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Taken circa 1920.
Card mounted studio photograph of the recipient when a Lieutenant and Quartermaster in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and interesting showing him wearing two medals only, one being the Queen’s South Africa Medal with six clasps, the other being his India General Service Medal with clasp for North West Frontier 1908. Presumably he did not wish to be seen wearing his awards which clearly marked him out as a former ranker, namely his Distinguished Conduct Medal and his Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. Taken circa 1909-1910.
Royal Warwickshire Regiment officers bronze cap badge, one retaining pin missing.
A related personal card, this with printed italic script: ‘Lieut. Col. W. Harwood Hyde, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment’.
Thomas Henry Harwood originally enlisted into the British Army at Devonport on 6th September 1883 when aged 19, joining as a Private (No.797) the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Harwood then saw continuous home service with the 2nd Battalion, and qualified as a Sergeant Instructor of Musketry in 1886, before marrying Mary Green at Warrington on 12th March 1888. His first child, a daughter, Amy Gertrude was born whilst he was stationed on garrison duty in Fermoy, Ireland on 4th July 1889. His second child, a son, Thomas Henry, was born whilst he was stationed at the Tower of London on 30th January 1891, and a third child, another daughter, Edith Louisa, was on 5th December 1892 whilst he was stationed at Aldershot camp.
With the outbreak of the Boer War in South Africa, Harwood was a Sergeant Major with the 2nd Battalion, and was then posted out there on 24th November 1899. Present on operations in the Cape Colony and the Orange Free State, he was also in action at Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, and Belfast.
In November 1899 his battalion sailed for South Africa, and then saw service there as a part of the 6th Division under General Kelly-Kenny. The Mounted Infantry of the regiment took part in the long and exhausting marches which headed off General Cronje in his retreat from Magersfrontein, and in the fight at Paardeberg, but the rest of the battalion, including Harwood, was employed initially guarding the Orange River Station through to 4th March 1900, when it proceeded to Bloemfontein.
On 3rd May, this time in the 11th Division under General Pole-Carew, it started its long march to Pretoria. Often with reduced rations, and each man carrying a weight of some 40 lbs, nothing could be finer than the splendid marching power displayed, or the cheerful endurance under the burning heat of the day and the bitter cold of the nights. At the Zand River the Boers tried in vain to interrupt the march, but on the 31st May, in spite of Boer opposition, Johannesburg was occupied, and on the 4th June, the Warwickshire Regiment took part in the last fight which the Boers made to save Pretoria, when the ridge in front of the town was gallantly carried by them. The following day the regiment with its comrades marched past Lord Roberts in the square of Pretoria, with the British flag flying from the Government buildings in token that Pretoria no longer belonged to the Boers.
In July the regiment again moved against the enemy and took part in the operations which ended with the defeat off the Boer army at Diamond Hill, and in the following month was present at the capture of Belfast, and then following up the retreating Boers through their various fastnesses, captured Lydenberg, when President Kruger fled to Europe. Still advancing, the regiment at last arrived, in defiance of all opposition, at Komati Poort. This was the last place in the east that the Boers could hold, and its occupation made it necessary for the Boers to destroy their artillery, and General Pinaars and 2,000 of his men, leaving their arms behind them, were forced to take refuge in Portuguese territory. The 2nd Battalion was then left to hold Kumati Poort against any return of the Boers, but after some time in this fever-stricken station it was found necessary to give it a change of climate, and it was therefore placed in charge of the Boer prisoners and sent with them to Bermuda, where it remained for the rest of the campaign.
Harwood was one of 10 men of the 2nd Battalion who were awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal ‘for consistent bravery throughout the campaign.’ A further six men received the award for action specific incidents. In addition he was Mentioned in Lord Robert’s Despatch of 4th September 1901, as published in the London Gazette of 10th September 1901. His award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal was published in the London Gazette for 27th September 1901.
Harwood was amongst those men posted to Bermuda to guard Boer prisoner’s of war on 3rd August 1901, and was then posted out to India on 30th November 1902, and having been awarded the Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal whilst still in the rank of Sergeant Major, was then commissioned as a Lieutenant and Quartermaster into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 7th January 1903.
Harwood was posted to join the 1st Battalion out in India from 20th November 1903, and as such as a Lieutenant and Quartermaster he then saw service during the Mohmand Operations on the North West Frontier which lasted from 14th February to 31st May 1908.
With the outbreak of the Great War, Harwood, who was by then a Captain and Quartermaster with the 1st Battalion, was then present out on the Western Front with the British Expeditionary Force from 22nd August 1914, and was Mentioned in Despatches ‘for gallant and distinguished service’ on the Western Front during the fighting in 1914, this being published in the London Gazette for 17th February 1915.
Harwood was promoted to Honorary Major and Quartermaster on 1st July 1917, and then Mentioned in Despatches for a second time in the London Gazette for 18th December 1917, this being for the Third Battle of Ypres. Having attained the age limit, Harwood was placed on the Retired List on 6th September 1919, and the following day was promoted to Honorary Lieutenant Colonel.