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TOPIC: Moedwil

Moedwil 1 month 3 weeks ago #67056

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On 22 September 1901, Colonel R G Kekewich victualled at the Rustenburg Garrison and then marched his column through the Megato's Nek to Moedwil Farm, arriving there on the afternoon of 29 September 1901 after scouting for Boers along the Elands River but finding none. His camp at Moedwil was situated 25km west of Rustenburg, near a drift across the Selons River and on the road to Zeerust. There he made a bivouac site. The column of 930 men was composed of four companies of the 1st Derbyshire Regiment, four and a half squadrons of the Scottish Horse and two companies of the IY, the 27th and 48th Companies, 7th IY. He had three guns from the 28th RFA and a Vickers machine gun.

On the 28th, Kekewich despatched his supply column with an escort of one and a half companies of the 1st Derbyshire’s and come Scottish Horse to Naauwpoort via Megato's Nek for revitualling. This reduced Kekewich’s force at the farm to around 800.

Believing no Boers to be in the vicinity, the camp was not ideally suited and was visible on the skyline.

The Boers were fully aware of the column’s position and size. De la Rey ordered General J Kemp, to attack the site. A patrol of Yeomanry alerted the British troops about a party of burghers advancing towards their camp at 4:30 on the morning of 30th September and ran into so large a number of Boers that none of the patrol returned. With 280 men, General Kemp sent out two outflanking wings to surround the British camp, while the main thrust, in the centre, attacked from Selons River.

With a group of orderlies, cooks and batmen pressed into service, Major C N Watts soon realised that his own flank was not in danger so swung around to attack the Boer left along the banks of the river, with support from the infantry, mounted infantry and the Yeomanry. The Boer line along this flank was enfiladed and the burghers were forced to retire. By 6:15, the Boers were in retreat.

The Boers lost eleven killed, 35 wounded, and 10 taken prisoner.

The British lost 61 killed or mortally wounded and 158 wounded, including Kekewich.

Having lost 327 horses and many of draught animals, Kekewich moved east to Magato's Nek, just over half way between Moedwil and Rustenburg, to be refitted.

Private W Bees, Sherwood Forresters was awarded the VC for this action.

See this post for a view of the military cemetery at Moedwil and DCM gained for this action: www.angloboerwar.com/forum/17-memorials-...ary-cemetery?start=0
Dr David Biggins
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Moedwil 1 month 3 weeks ago #67057

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From the LG, 3 November 1901:

Dr David Biggins
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Moedwil 1 month 3 weeks ago #67059

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Images from APTGW:


The IY patrol


Private Bancroft of the Derbyshires
Dr David Biggins
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Moedwil 1 month 3 weeks ago #67060

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Picture courtesy of DNW

QSA (5) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (6082 Gnr. E. J. Theobald, 28th Bty. R.F.A.)

‘Your son was admitted to our hospital on 15th March [1902] suffering from Enteric Fever. He did very well until about the 31st March when he became worse ... He was always a very quiet boy and made a very good patient. He did not suffer much pain, only great weakness, still we hoped that he would get over it. I tried several times to get the address of his people at home but he was too weak to say more than that they lived in the north of London. He died quietly in the night without any pain and was unconscious so left no messages ... ’ A letter from Nursing Sister H. A. Lawrence to the father of Gunner E. J. Theobald, refers.

Edward John Theobald enlisted in the Royal Artillery, aged 18, on 7 March 1900. He served in South Africa from 1 January 1901 with 28th Battery, R.F.A. According to Stirling’s British Regiments in South Africa, ‘In the second phase of the war the 28th was much employed in the Megaliesberg, the treacherous gulleys of which they have every reason to remember. Two guns of the 28th were with with Dixon when he was attacked at Vlakfontein, 29 May 1901. After the screen was driven it was round these two guns, which were captured and then recaptured, by what was perhaps the finest bayonet charge in the war, that the fight raged with unsurpassed fierceness … Three guns of the battery were with the same column, now under Kekewich, when it was attacked by Delarey and Kemp at Moediwil or Megato, 29 September 1901. The battery again did well. They lost 5 men killed and 9 wounded.’

The action at Moedwil was a dawn attack by 1200 Boers on Kekewich’s camp. It was a fierce, determined and carefully-planned attack which lasted two and half hours. Creswicke wrote that ‘the success of the repulse was mainly due to the amazing gallantry of all ranks’. Gunner Theobald was slightly wounded. Private W. Bees of the Derbyshire Regiment was awarded the Victoria Cross for taking water to wounded men under heavy fire.

Gunner Theobald died of disease on 12 April 1902 and was buried in the Waverley Road Cemetery, Bloemfontein. He is commemorated on the left hand pillar of the Royal Regiment of Artillery Memorial in St James’s Park, London. His next of kin was his father, Harry Theobald, of 38 Pickering Street, Islington, London.

Sold with a quantity of original letters and official communications, comprising R.A. Record Office letter to the recipient’s father, dated 5 October 1901, with confirmation of his son having been slightly wounded at Moedwil; another similar, reporting his death from enteric fever at Bloemfontein, dated 15 April 1902; War Office communication, dated 15 May 1902, regarding his Estate; the above quoted letter from Nursing Sister H. A. Lawrence, No. 9 General Hospital, Bloemfontein; War Office communication confirming final settlement of the recipient’s Estate at £19 4s 5d, dated 2 September 1902; and R.A. Record Office forwarding letter for his Queen’s South Africa Medal, dated 14 May 1903.
Dr David Biggins
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Moedwil 1 month 3 weeks ago #67061

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Picture courtesy of Morton and Eden

QSA (4) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901 (24448 Tpr: A. J. Woods. 69th Coy Imp: Yeo:)

Trooper Alfred James Woods, of Little Brickhill, Buckinghamshire, was killed in action on 30 September 1901 at Moedwil.

QSA (4) Belmont, Modder River, Paardeberg, Johannesburg (23691 Gnr: G. A. Chambers, R.F.A.)

Gunner George Henry Chambers, of St Michael’s Northampton, was slightly wounded in action on 30 September 1901 at Moedwil. He served in ‘G’ Section of the Royal Field Artillery ‘Pom Pom’ unit, and was one of just two casualties in this unit.

QSA (5) Cape Colony, Tugela Heights, Orange Free State, Relief of Ladysmith, Transvaal (71409 Gnr: W. Homer, 28: B, R.F.A)

Gunner William Homer, of Wimborne, Dorset, was killed in action on 30 September 1901 at Moedwil. He had served in 28th Battery, Royal Field Artillery.
Dr David Biggins
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Moedwil 1 month 3 weeks ago #67062

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Picture courtesy of Morton and Eden

QSA (5) Rhodesia, Relief of Mafeking, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901 (Lieut. E. E. White, Imp: Yeo)

Captain Edward Erskine White was born on 3 April 1877 at Hankow, China, the son of Mr and Mrs Erskine White, of Hove, Brighton. Educated at Stonyhurst College, during the Boer War he initially served as a Trooper in ‘B’ Company of the Southern Rhodesian Volunteers, seeing service in Rhodesia and at the Relief of Mafeking. He was then commissioned into the 27th Company, 7th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry. Serving as ADC to Colonel Robert Kekewich between 1 May 1901 and 30 September 1901, he was severely wounded in the groin during the action at Moedwil.

In 1902 he transferred to the Northamptonshire Regiment, and served for a time with the West India Regiment, seeing service in the West Indies, West Africa (1902-4) and in Northern Nigeria (1906-11). He was promoted to Captain in 1909, and returning to the Northamptonshire Regiment, he served with the 1st Battalion early on in the Great War. Taking part in the fighting of the Battle of the Aisne, he was killed in action by a bullet to the head on 14 September 1914.
Dr David Biggins
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