SINGLETON WYNDHAM MUNCY
ROYAL CANADIAN FIELD ARTILLERY
February 4th 1901
While on a patrol with Major Charles Joseph Ross, Sgt. Major John Alexander Paterson, Sgt.'s. Harry Hall Breden, John Thomas Randell, Singleton Wyndham Muncey, Asel B. Craddock, John E. Pemberton, James Creighton, Corporal John Davis and other Scouts came across a group of 15 to 20 Boers. At which time they gave chase and as they passed over a hill and found another group of Boers numbering over 100 at which time a running battle ensued. It seems that they had surprised the Boers as they were not ready for them and a large number of them fled. The patrol ended up in a hand to hand fight with revolvers at which time Sgt. Breden was wounded in the ankle. The Boers were forced to move and eventually ended up in an area where they could not be flanked but could not escape and a number surrendered.
This patrol was looking for the Colt Machine Gun that has been lost with the deaths of Sergeant Dayton Brown Hammond and Sergeant Duncan John McGregor on January 28th, 1901.
When the relief column arrived, the Scouts went back to see if any of their men downed in the initial charge had survived. Sergeant Major Paterson had been shot in the back and the bullet went right through his heart killing him instantly he was buried about half a mile from where he fell. Randell found his friend Sergeant Muncey who had also been shot through the body, and initially thought he was dead. A Boer bullet had entered over his heart and came out his back over his left kidney. Randell gave him some water and rum and it revived him. Muncey was angry, not because he was shot, but because the Boers stripped him of his horse, tunic, his whip-cord breeches, high laced leather boots and his silver spurs. Muncey recalled that when he was shot he was about 25 yards from the Boers but said “I have the satisfaction of saying I killed one before I received mine. There were two of them firing at me, I shot one and fired four or five shots at the other fellow. He had a large ant hill for cover whereas I had nothing, just lying on the ground in plain view.”
Sergeant James Creighton, who was present, recalled the Muncey was seriously wounded. The bullet entered under the clavicle on the left side and, as he was leaning forward, it passed down behind the heart and cane out above the hip bone about 2 or 3 inches from the spine. Creighton's attention to anatomical detail in the heat of battle may be a reflection of his having been a medical student prior to enlistment. Muncey was evacuated to a hospital in Natal and then to England.
Muncey survived and despite of being wounded which ended up with limited use of one arm, but continued to serve in World War One with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and reached the rank of Lieutenant.
Singleton Wyndham Muncey was born 6 November 1879 in Carleton, Prince Edward Island to telegraph operator Townsend Coffin Muncey and Harriet Muttart. He spent some time in Winnipeg before enlisting as a Sergeant with the E. Battery, Royal Field Artillery on 19 January 1900 to fight in the South African Boer War. At the end of formal fighting, Singleton joined Howard's Scouts and continued to fight the Boer soldiers. On 4 February 1901 he was wounded in the left shoulder. The injury resulted in the paralysis of his arm and Singleton spent the following year in England where he partially overcame his disability. Following his release, Singleton returned to P.E.I. where he married Elma Lovnetta Schurman in 1904.
Singleton also served in the First World War as a lieutenant in the 188th Battalion, serving in France with the 5th Battalion and was part of the Army of Occupation in Germany. Following the General Demobilization in 1919 Singleton resided in Vancouver, where he remained until his death in 1945.
Singleton and Harriet had one daughter, Doris, who later married Reginald T. Haslam. Doris is the author of "The Wrights of Bedeque, Prince Edward Island: A Loyalist Family" (1978) and co-author of "An Island Refuge: Loyalists and Disbanded Troops on the Island of St. John" (1983). Singleton also had a son named Wyndham with his second wife, Alma Marion Aylward. Singleton died 23 October 1945 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
NEWSPAPER (TITLE UNKNOWN) CLIPPING – OCTOBER 9th 1928
Colonel W. R. Collins, member of Parliament for the Union of South Africa, who was one of the Empire Parliamentary Association visiting Canada recently. During the Boer War he shot a Prince Edward Islander, S. W. Muncey, now of Vancouver, and took his boots from him.
When speaking at Moncton he told the story of his skirmish with the Canadians. As the result of its publication a few days later, when visiting Windsor, Nova Scotia, he met Mrs. Gordon Stairs, Muncey's sister-in-law, and the following day received a wire from Mr. Muncey's mother, living in Charlottetown, through Mr. T. B. Grady, Superintendent of the National System there, who is also his uncle. Mr. Grady added that the loss of the boots did not stop him, as he was supplied with another pair by the Government with which he went through the late war. Subsequently word came from Mr. Muncey in Vancouver that Colonel Collins not only took his boots but also a package of cigarettes, a horse, a revolver and a riding coat. Which latter he had taken from a Boer.
Colonel Collins who fought against the British in the Boer War, was one of the first to rally to the flag in South Africa when war broke out in 1914, leading a column of cavalry in German West Africa and participating in the conquest of that territory.
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
RAILWAY SERVICE TELEGRAM
Charlottetown, October 4th, 1928
Col. W. R. Collins
Care of C. K. Howard
Empire Parliamentary Party, Extra.
New Glasgow, N.S.
Relative your search S. W. Muncey as mentioned in your remarks Canadian Club, Moncton. Muncey is nephew of mine. He is now living in Vancouver B.C. And in Real Estate business. His mother living at his home on this Island and is hale and hearty. In order to relieve the heavy conscience which you have been carrying for the past twenty seven years she wishes me to ask you to accept this telegram with her blessing as a clear receipt for her son's boots. May also state that the loss of the boots did not stop Muncey. John Bull provided him with another pair of boots with which he passed through the late war.
Signed: T. B. Grady
Of the 11 men named above I have 5 medals in my collection.....
Military Historical Society
I am re typing nearly 400 pages of documents that I have obtained about Muncey and will be asking for assistance every so often..... I have the names of two hospitals he mentions but not where they are located, can anyone help...…
Howick Military Hospital and Nettley Military Hospital
Military Historical Society
In the letters that I have been reading and transcribing the two hospitals are mentioned but the main thing that was bothering me is that the dates of the letters had him in the Netley Hospital in the UK before he was in Howick Hospital which is located in Natal..... Interesting the two letters from Howick are in a different hand that the others and the diary, maybe written by a nurse or hospital aid of some type.....
Thanks again..... Mike
Military Historical Society
Working on transcribing the letters as I mention that I obtained..... Here is one that I found interesting especially the cost of food and at the end the collectables..... Maybe we could have his as a member LOL.....
Letter Number: 38
Dear : Father and Mother
Rec'd yours yesterday and trust you are all well although your letter did not say. So I write nearly every week and hope you have rec'd them OK everything is about the same around here we were to leave here this week but guess we will be here for another week or more we don't get much war news guess you get the news sooner than we do. Oh I am sorry to hear that you think of selling the mare in the spring do you intend to buy another afraid you will miss her very much or perhaps you will buy a bike instead. See we are getting the 75 cts. Day from the Dominion Government now one spends more than he makes here nearly, although I have not broke my $60.00 yet and won't unless I stay we buy bread butter and jam. Butter costing 48 cents lb. Milk 18 cts a can condensed, jam the same for small tin, eggs seven cents each, bread 12 cts small loaf. When we are up country they feed us on Graham bread or hard tack and corned beef and black tea Ha Ha, tell you it is very tough at least we get white bread here, this town is used as a military base.
Well have not much news to write suppose by the time every body will be getting ready for fishing Oh had a letter from Irvin see he is as ever close by will soon be married and take over Aunt Eliza. Say is Carrie Gillespie living at Mr. Cruthers or has he moved up to his own farm. What is Sedie Robertson doing this year. Tell Frank I still have the watch she is keeping fine time and will sell him it after the war as a moments. Have got a few badges from different companies and regiments, have a Black Watch came off a Drummer who was wounded laterly would send some home only afraid they would go astray and as for Boer curios have not come across any yet. Tell Frank Corpl. Crockett is promoted to Sergeant he is from C. Town. Will close with love.
I am Your affec Son
Military Historical Society
Still working on transcribing the over 200 letters and documents that I have on this man and found one that I did last night that was interesting about souvenirs that he has been sending home, shrapnel and cartridges from various battlefields...… Especially the value of the coins..... Have also added so photos of his medal.....
August 20th 1900
As I have not rec'd any word from you for fortnight am still continuing to write to you every week. Still garrison duty here the Boers are reported to be around Mafeking and word has cause in to hold ourselves in readiness to leave any day.
Well dad I went out to Magersfontein Sunday 18 miles from town went out on train. The Boer trenches are a feat of engineering the way they are constructed the main trench stretching 3 miles and there are lots sub trenches. There position you may say was impregnable regular natural fortresses. The way the Kopjes run from the trenches they had range of a velt stretching 8 miles perfectly level the only cover the British had was small Kopjes to lift by.. Trenches picked up lots of pieces of shells and bullets will send you some soon, saw also the barbed wire fence the Black Watch got tangled and were cut up so badly. It cost two bob to go out would not grudge L (that is if I had it) there are pretty scarce when a fellow only gets L 2 per month Ha Ha.
Oh by the by about my daily Canadian pay up 46 Cts. per day, I am drawing home guess if I stay out here I won't be able to get it so will sign it over to you. It is the Govt. Won't pay unless one is in Canada. By the time we are disbanded it will amount to a good little sum, Mother will be able to buy a Gold watch and Diamond Ring Ha Ha.
Kruger money is quite expensive got a tanner the other day for double value, a three pence brings 3/6 and pennies 15/- that is the 1892 issue they claim that other dates not genuine can get a 1898, D (penny) for 4/6 but cannot afford it just yet.
The town is still very dull sent Frank some Orange Free State stamps also Z.A.R., that stands for South African Republic you may see that on their Coins, glad to hear you sent them OK did not think they would ever reach you the next batch will be shells and bullets. Will try and send you a Mauser Cartridge (that I picked up at Magersfontein) in a paper.
Say wish you would send some papers have not rec'd any from you in a long time get occasional Guardian from Frank, again you wrote a spell ago that you sent a watch case in Bundle, it has gone to the happy hunting ground I guess bundles of papers get mislaid very easily. We have still lost 3 weeks of our mails, little came in today after travelling all over the country.
Well so far by the time this reaches you the fruit will be ripe fall will be on my thoughts this year has passed away very quickly. I have been away over a year and it seems like only yesterday that I sailed out of Sd. Harbour.
I don't know weather to stop out here or not some people advise whereas others claim there will be such a rush after peace is declared that wages will run down very low, but again I don't think in my line of work as there is lots of work still even now and for more so after the war still. I would not like to be sent to a country place as there is nothing except the Kaffiers in the country places they have telegraph connecting with all the inland villages have not found out the wages yet was talking to manager other day but forgot to ask him are going again this week.
The weather is becoming warmer every day will soon have our hot days. They say Kimberley is very hot in summer, guess by present appearance that we wont be disbanded before Xmas. Just think here it is last of August have not heard from you since middle of June the island could be all burnt down and I would be none the wiser Ha Ha.
Well must close nothing of interest wrote all the news with Love to Mom and all the kids.
Your affec Son
Military Historical Society