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TOPIC: Boer War Recruitment

Boer War Recruitment 4 weeks 1 day ago #65503

  • JSharples
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Does anyone know if there was active recruitment of men to leave England and go to South Africa to fight. I am trying to find out why my grandfather left Sunderland in around 1901. Many thanks.

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Boer War Recruitment 4 weeks 1 day ago #65504

  • LinneyI
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JSharples
Welcome to the Forum. There seems to be two aspects to your question about Boer War recruitment.
(a) If a male civilian who lived in the UK, was of military age and wished to do active service in South Africa circa 1901, he could apply to enlist in the Imperial Yeomanry. Previous service in the Militia or Volunteers would have been a definite advantage to such an enlistment. At the conclusion of his enlistment period, he could apply for a local discharge in South Africa and look for opportunities there.
(b) If, however, a male civilian who lived in the UK, was of the general age bracket, and wished to join one of the Irregular Corps who were recruiting in South Africa, my understanding is that he would have to find his own way there. And of course, pass the necessary tests before acceptance.
That prospective journey may not have been as difficult as it sounds. At that time, from all over the Empire, potential recruits who missed out on a ballot or were just looking for adventure, could sign on in one or other of the Transport ships as Horse Handlers or travel as "indulgence passengers". Or just pay their own way.
Other Forum members may be able to assist further here; however, I have never heard of - say, Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry - having recruiting drives in the UK.
Earlier in the Boer War, there was some recruiting for civilians with special qualifications for the Lovat Scouts (Special Highland Scouting Corps) and possibly Loch's Horse. Exceptions to the rule, I would say.
If you could give us your GF's full name and any details of service, etc., Forum members may be able to assist further.
Good luck
IL.
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Boer War Recruitment 4 weeks 23 hours ago #65505

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Thank you Linnyl for the comprehensive reply. I don't think my grandfather Private Samuel Morris would have been recruited. It's clear from the small amount of reading I have done so far, that many families were looking at migrating due to poverty and other struggles. The Town Guard sounds very much like the Home Guard over here - maybe he was recruited once they were there. I am at the very start of my family history on my father's side, with very little information about from the census. However, your response has led me to consider a visit to the archives at Kew where he may be listed. I will scan and post the only photograph I have later this week as it may trigger more replies.

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Boer War Recruitment 4 weeks 20 hours ago #65507

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There are certainly some papers for members of the Cape town Guard in WO126/24-27 and 145-163 at Kew, it's members were residents in Cape town, regarding the situation n Great Britain, recruitment was certainly encouraged at the beginning of the war, in particular, after Black Week, the casualties were utterly insignificant, however, the press actually turned matters into a "national" emergency completely out of all proportion.
Notwithstanding, it was a war for volunteers, there was no Military Service Act which actually conscripted men to serve until 1916.


JSharples wrote: Thank you Linnyl for the comprehensive reply. I don't think my grandfather Private Samuel Morris would have been recruited. It's clear from the small amount of reading I have done so far, that many families were looking at migrating due to poverty and other struggles. The Town Guard sounds very much like the Home Guard over here - maybe he was recruited once they were there. I am at the very start of my family history on my father's side, with very little information about from the census. However, your response has led me to consider a visit to the archives at Kew where he may be listed. I will scan and post the only photograph I have later this week as it may trigger more replies.

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