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Medals to the Southern Rhodesia Volunteers 2 weeks 2 days ago #70846

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Picture courtesy of DNW

BSA CM reverse Matabeleland 1893, (1) Rhodesia 1896 (Corpl., Raaff’s Column);
QSA (5) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (690 Tpr., S. Rhod. Vols.) last two clasps are tailor’s copies.

Also entitled to the Rhodesia clasp.

DNW September 2014 £490.
Dr David Biggins
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Medals to the Southern Rhodesia Volunteers 2 weeks 2 days ago #70847

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BSACM, reverse undated, (2) Mashonaland 1890, Rhodesia 1896 (Sgt., B.S.A.C.P.);
BSACM, reverse Rhodesia 1896 (Captn., M.R.F.);
QSA (2) Rhodesia, Relief of Mafeking (Captain, S. Rhod. Vols.);
1914-15 STAR (Lieut.);
BWM and VM (Major);
Coronation 1937;
Colonial Auxiliary Forces Decoration GV (Captain, Southern RhodesiaVolunteers).

Major John Charles Jesser-Coope attested on 7/2/1890; he served in D Troop and was not popular as a Troop Sergeant as he was said to put on airs and graces and was not reasonable with his men. No. 527 Tpr. R.C. Smith relates that when he was at Macloustie pracrising mounting and dismounting in full marching order with his troop, his horse was very fresh and played him up. It was plunging about, making it almost impossible to mount, and Jesse-Coope kept taunting him. He says: 'I can remember fighting to keep myself under control, and at the end smiling at him. I suppose I would have got six months if I had given way...’ Jesser-Coope had accompanied D Troop on irs march from Fort Tuli and was notified of his promotion when he reached Fort Victoria on 19/1/1891, but it appears from Lieut. R.JP Codrington's notes that he was posted to another troop, 'much to our regret... as he had proved himself a keen and able NCO ' Officially he was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant in D Troop 1/1/1891. In June of the same year he was said to have been sent with a party of men by Dr. Rutherford Harris, the Company's Cape secretary, to improve and repair the Tuli road after the heavy rains. On the way from Fort Tuli to Fort Salisbury, Lt-Col. E.G. Pennfather met the party at the Narka Pass and turned them back.

The date on which he left the police is not recorded, but he was appointed Forest Officer in the hills above (old) Umtali by the Company and in 1892 Inspector of Roads in the same district. He made what was then known as O'Reilly's road berween Rusape and Odzi, cutting out the Devil's Pass. In 1893 he was a member of The Salisbury Horse, but does not appear to have served in this unit in the Matabele War.

In the Jameson Raid of December, 1895, he was a Lieutenant on the Headquarters Staff, acting as intelligence and transport officer as a member of the Rhodesia Horse Volunteers. He was taken prisoner at Doornkop and repatriated to England in the Harlech Castle in February, 1896, giving as his address as Eversleigh, Staines, Middlesex.

In the Matabele Rebellion of 1896 he served as a Captain in the Matabeleland Relief Force, commanding a unit of Scouts which he raised himself at Mafeking and of which J.L. Crawford (No. 17 Pioneer Corps) was a member. But when his men marched North he put them under the command of J.E. Nicholls (No. 762) as he himself had been authorized to recruit Bamangwato levies from Khama's people. He succeeded in raising about 150 of Raditladi's men on the Ramaquabane River and his scouts met with them at Mangwe. The Mangwe settlers were in laager under Lee and van Rooyen, both well known hunters, and after the camp there had been organized Jesser-Coope went ahead of his men to Bulawayo. Then he was engaged with his Scouts in operations in the Matabos, though it was not long before the Bamangwato were sent home again.

He and his men were also engaged in the attack on Thabas Imamba north of Inyari on the 6/ 7/1896. They lost three men killed and one wounded and Crawford relates: 'I got a skelp of skin knocked off below the knee when I went to assist O'Reilly (killed), and much to Coope's disappointment refused to catalogue it as a casualty;
he loved a long casualty list without a much diminished strength '

He and his scouts also took part on the 20/7/1896 in the storming of Babyaan's stronghold in the Matabos, and were later at Inugu, known as Laings graveyard. Finally they were in action at Sekombo's when the commanding officer, Major F. Kershaw, was killed on the 5/8/1896 (see lot 68).

Shortly afterwards Rhodes began negotiations with the Matabele, and during this period operations were suspended, but Col. H. Plumer, who did nor believe in idleness, kept the men at drill. The Scouts were not included and were in the process of being disbanded. Jesser-Coope however was engaged in building a road from the Matobos across to the Gwanda road on their western fringe and 'completed a nice piece of work over the pass descending into the Tuli River Valley.' He was transport officer to a large patrol that set our from Fort Filabusi early in 1897 for the Mpateni area of Belingwe to search for arms; they established a fort at Mpateni.

In 1898 he commanded the escort to Capt. A. C. Lawley, the Administrator, when he went to North Western Rhodesia to obtain a concession from King Lewanika of Barotseland. He served in the Southern Rhodesia Volunteers in the Boer War of 1899-1902 and was present at the Relief of Mafeking. In June 1902 he joined the Public Works Dept. in Matabeleland, and in 1904 became paymaster for that department. He was the first manager of the B.S.A. Company's Rhodesdale Estate, and was later manager of the Anglo-French Ranch at Belingwe. He continued as a member of the Southern Rhodesia Volunteers and served with the 2nd Rhodesia Regiment in German East Africa in 1915, commanding C Company of his regiment. In November of the same year he was promoted Major, and was presented with the Long Service Medal by the Administrator. He was in temporary command of the 2nd Rhodesia Regt. on 31/8/1916, but relinquished his commission on the grounds of ill health on 4/5/1917. He was afterwards on the Defence Force Reserve of Officers. He was made a Freeman of the City of Salisbury in 1935. During the railway strike of February, 1929, he commanded the special constables at Bulawayo. He was a well-known and much respected citizen of Bulawayo and died on 29/6/1950 at Buenos Aires, Argentina, in his 83rd year. Only 59 Mashonaland 1890 medals were issued with 2 clasps. It is unusual to find it in company with the original issue as the B.S.A. Company went to unusual lengths to ensure that the correct exchange of medals took place.

DNW December 1991 £3,600
Dr David Biggins

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Medals to the Southern Rhodesia Volunteers 2 weeks 2 days ago #70848

  • djb
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BSACM, reverse Rhodesia 1896, 1 clasp, Mashonaland 1897 (Tpr., B.F.F.);
QSA (2) Rhodesia, Relief of Mafeking (226 Serjt., S. Rhod. Vols.);
South African Police LS&GC (No. 649 (F) 1/C. Sergeant) .

Frederick Augustus Thomas Davis was born at St Martins Lane, London, on 5 November 1868. He served as a Trooper with the Bulawayo Field Force in 1896, and with the Rhodesian Horse Volunteers in 1897. He enlisted in the South African police on 22 December 1903 and retired as a First Class Sergeant on 4 November 1923.

DNW September 2002 £580.
Dr David Biggins

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