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Cape Garrison Artillery vs Cape Field Artillery 9 months 3 weeks ago #67098

  • Rory
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Could someone please enlighten me as to the differences between the above?

Whilst researching a group of medals to a recipient in the CGA I turned to Gunners of the Cape by Neil Orpen only to find that there is nary a mention of the CGA within its voluminous interior.

Aside from the well-used section in Stirling is there any other publication or work that would reveal more about them?



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Cape Garrison Artillery vs Cape Field Artillery 9 months 3 weeks ago #67099

  • Arthur R
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Rory, they were two different units.

Cape Field Artillery, as they were known until their recent renaming as 'Nelson Mandela Artillery Regiment', were formed in 1857. At the time of the ABW, they were called 'Prince Alfred's Own Cape Artillery'.

Cape Garrison Artillery were formed in 1879 as the Cape Town Volunteer Engineers, They added a coast artillery battery in 1889, and changed their name to 'Garrison Artillery & Engineer Volunteer Corps'. When the artillery were reorganised in 1896, the GAEVC gave up engineering and changed their name to 'Cape Garrison Artillery'. They disbanded in 1958 and their name was later given to an anti-aircraft unit.

Unfortunately, there's no single published history of the CGA, but snippets of info about their ABW service can be found in Stirling and in contemporary publications such as the SA Volunteer Gazette, whose 1899 and 1900 issues gave details of the movements of the volunteer units. In the case of the CGA :
- 450 members on active service in December 1899,
- stationed at Fort Wynyard and Simon's Town in Dec 1899,
- 124 members transferred to Kitchener's Horse in Jan 1900 - apparently became E Squadron,
- strength was 566 in Feb 1900 and 700 in May,
- E Sqn KH in a 4-day firefight with De Wet's forces near Riet River, surrendered on 13 Feb and sent to Pretoria as PoWs,
- by March 1900, 50 members were stationed in Walvis Bay,
- combined CGA and CT Highlanders continent sent to O'Okiep in March;
- by May, CGA "gradually getting away from Cape Town in driblets" : 100 escorting Boer PoWs to St Helena, 75 in Walvis Bay,
- by July, CGA detachments in Bethulie and K*ff*r River (OFS),
- the OC, Lt Col Abraham de Villiers, described in October 1900 as "a shepherd without sheep" as his unit was split up - now also had detachments at Christiana, Kraaipan, Belfast and in Ceylon (as interpreters in the PoW camp), some attached to Army Service Corps, RAMC and other British units.
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