QSA (3) Defence of Kimberley, Orange Free State, Transvaal (Major J. R. Fraser, 1st L.N. Lanc. Regt.)
CMG London Gazette 27 September 1901.
John Randal Fraser was born on 3 March 1858, and was first commissioned as Second Lieutenant into the 47th (Loyal North Lancashire) Regiment on 1 May 1878; Lieutenant, 7 January 1880; Captain, 20 January 1885; Adjutant, 1st Volunteer Battalion, February 1888 to February 1893; Major, 17 July 1895; retired, 3 June 1899; to Reserve, 12 October 1899.
Fraser commanded the Beaconsfield Town Guard throughout the siege of Kimberley. He was mentioned in Kekewich’s despatch of 15 February 1900 (London Gazette 8 May 1900): ‘Beaconsfield Town Guard - Major J. R. Fraser, late Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (retired list), at first as staff officer, and later as commanding officer, did excellent work, and has shown great energy and resource.’
On 14th February 1900, Major Fraser, learning from natives that the enemy had evacuated Alexandersfontein, very pluckily at once rode out on his own initiative, and reconnoitred that position. Finding that the report was true, immediately on his return he ordered out 50 of the Beaconsfield Town Guard to occupy the enemy trenches in that direction. After the arrival of further troops and two field guns, the Boers took up their positions on either side of the small force and tried to eject then from Alexandersfontein. The ensuing fight continued into the next day, 15th February, but abruptly stopped at 11 o’clock and a few hours later the reason became clear when a large group of mounted men was seen advancing towards Dutoitspan from the southeast. These were soon confirmed as being British troops and the news spread quickly so that the streets were soon filled with people trying to catch a glimpse of the relieving force. From Alexandersfontein at about 3 p.m., Fraser reported seeing a heliograph 15 miles southeast of Kimberley. By 4 p.m., Kekewich was in heliotropic communication with French’s column and soon afterwards a patrol of Australian Horse rode into Kimberley, bringing an end to the siege.
Seaby December 1958 £7.
Fraser received a further mention in despatches (London Gazette 10 September 1900) and was awarded the CMG for his services in command of the Beaconsfield Town Guard during the siege of Kimberley. He was given the rank of Hon. Lieutenant-Colonel on 12 April 1917.