was a third class cruiser which served in the Boer War between October 1899 and July 1901.
QSA (2) Tugela Heights, Relief of Ladysmith (Lieut. H. W. James, R.N., H.M.S. Tartar);
AGS 1902 (1) Somaliland 1908-10 (Commr. H. W. James, R.N. H.M.S. Proserpine)
Herbert James was born on 3 April 1871 in Cransley, Kettering, Northamptonshire, and entered the service aboard the Training Ship BRITANNIA on 15 July 1884. On passing out of BRITANNIA he obtained two 2nd Class and four 3rd Class Certificates, thus gaining 7 month's seniority. He joined H.M.S. IRON DUKE (July 1886) and was promoted to Midshipman 15 December 1886, next serving aboard AUDACIOUS (November 1887), IMPERIEUSE (February 1888), RODNEY (July 1889), MONARCH (November 1889), and IMPREGNABLE (March 1890). Whilst on his Pilotage Course in the latter ship he was promoted to Acting Sub Lieutenant 14 December 1890 and confirmed in this rank six month's later with the same seniority date. He served next aboard SUPERB (July 1891), RUBY (April 1892) being promoted to Lieutenant on 1 April 1893, LATONA (July 1893), CENTURION (February 1894), COLOSSUS (June 1897), INFLEXIBLE (August 1897), TRAFALGAR (October 1897) and TARTAR (May 1898).
Whilst in TARTAR he was appointed 1st Lieutenant and landed with the ship’s Naval Brigade for service in South Africa, where he Commanded a Battery of Guns. He was mentioned in Major General Hildyard’s despatch for Willow Grange, dated 24 November 1899: ‘Lieut James, “Tartar”, commanded the Naval 12-pr. gun and did good service, though a Creusot gun, which the enemy brought into action, had the range of him.’ At the battle of Colenso he had command of two Naval 12 -pounders, and continued with his Battery throughout the operations which culminated in the relief of Ladysmith. He was mentioned by Captain Jones in his despatch to Rear Admiral sir R. Harris, dated 2 March 1900: ‘Lieut James, with two 12-prs., also has proved himself a most gallant officer and full of resource. He has been all the time in the very forefront of the fighting with his guns, no position being too difficult for him to reach and to bring his guns into action with promptitude.’; and again mentioned in Sir R. Buller’s Despatch of 30 March 1900, ‘Commander A. Limpus and Lieutenant F. Ogilvy “Terrible” and Lieutenant H. James “Tartar”; these officers were indefatigable, there never was a moment in the day that they were not working hard and well to advance the work in hand’. James was specially promoted to Commander on 21 October 1900 for services rendered during the war in South Africa.
In the rank of Commander he served aboard VICTORY (February 1901) Signal Course, EXCELLENT and VERNON (March 1901) Gunnery & Torpedo Courses, ALBION (June 1901), and PRESIDENT (November 1902) Senior Officer's Course at Greenwich Naval College. He was next appointed to the Command of SATELLITE (October 1903) and PROSPERINE (August 1906) which ship he commanded during the operations in Somaliland. He Commanded RENOWN (November 1908) and CRESCENT (July 1909) and retired at own request due to failing health on 17 June 1910 with the rank of Captain. He died on 19 April 1911.
It was decided to send out the Armoured Train on another sortie on the 15th. (November 1899). Thus were sent a company of Dublin Fusiliers, Lt. Frankland and 72 men; 45 men of “C” Company of the Durban Light Infantry under Captain J.S. Wylie and Lieut. W. Alexander, and a detachment of 5 men of H.M.S. Tartar with a 7-pdr. under a petty officer. Capt. A. Haldane, D.S.O., of the Gordon Highlanders, recently recovered from wounds at Elandslaagte, was placed in command. Accompanying the train were some platelayers, telegraphists, and linesmen, and Mr. Winston Churchill, War Correspondent to the Morning Post.
At the head of the train was an open flat truck carrying an antiquated 7-pdr. manned by men of H.M.S. Tartar. Then came an armoured truck in which were three sections of the Dublin Fusiliers, Captain Haldane and Winston Churchill. This was followed by the engine and tender, two armoured trucks, and an open bogie. In the truck behind the engine and tender were the fourth section of Fusiliers, Capt. Wylie and half the men of the Durban Light Infantry. The following truck contained Lieut. Alexander, the remainder of the Durban Light Infantry, the telegraphists, platelayers and the like. The bogie carried the stores thought necessary, and the guard.
Source: The Durban Light Infantry 1854 – 1934 by Lt Col A C Martin