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TOPIC: 6561 Gnr W Stone RFA PoW 23/11/1900 Dewetsdorp

6561 Gnr W Stone RFA PoW 23/11/1900 Dewetsdorp 3 years 6 months ago #46650

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Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps: Orange Free State and Cape Colony officially named to: 6561 GNR. W. STONE 68TH BTY R.F.A.
King's South Africa Medal with clasps South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902 officially named to: 6561 GNR: W. STONE R.F.A.

William Stone was born in Farnham, Surry and attested to the RFA when he was 15 years and 8 months old.  He had no trade.  He was 5'7" and was 116 lbs.  He had brown hair and grey eyes. He was a protestant and his mother was Mary Elizabeth who lived at 41 East St. Farnham, Surry with his three brothers: Charles, Fred and Walter.  He served in S. Africa from 20 Oct. 1899 until 2 December 1902 or for a total of 3 years and 44 days.  He deserted on 1 Oct. 1898 and was tried and convicted on 11 Oct. 1899.  All prior service was forfeited and he was imprisoned from 20 October 1899 to 14 Novermber 1899 when he returned to duty.  He purchesed his discharge on 2 December 1902 for L18.

6561 Gunner William Stone served in the 68th Battery of the Royal Field Artillery in South Africa, seeing service there until 1903. The 68th Battery, RFA arrived in Cape Colony on 17 February 1900. It served in the Orange Free State and later the Transvaal. In 1901 four guns were with Babbington's column in SW Transvaal. On 23 November 1900, Gunner Stone as part of a section of the battery was in the garrison at Dewetsdorp when it surrendered as a result of the attack by De Wet on the town named after his father. 

The 68th Battery RFA arrived at the Cape on 17th February 1900.  Moved north into the Orange River Colony, and afterwards into the Transvaal.  Was about Frederickstad and Krugersdorp, August and September 1900, and was frequently engaged.  In 1901 four guns were with Babington in a column which did excellent work in the South-West Transvaal.  A section was at Dewetsdorp in November 1900 when the disagreeable surrender of the garrison of that town took place.  The section lost 1 officer and 8 men wounded.  A portion of the battery was with the Oxfordshire Light Infantry in the middle of the Orange River Colony about July 1901, and the section was also in Cape Colony that year.  In Lord Kitchener's despatch of 8th March 1901, the first after Dewetsdorp, 4 men were mentioned.

Dewetsdorp was a town and railway station in the Orange Free State (Dewetsdorp district; Free State). Having ordered the occupation of Dewetsdorp on 28 March 1900, Field Marshal Lord Roberts ordered its evacuation three days later after the defeat at Sannah's Post. On 2 April the garrison marched out towards Reddersburg, but they were intercepted near that town by commandos led by Chief-Cmdt C.R. de Wet who forced the surrender of the column. The 3rd Field Force under Maj-Gen J.D.P. French forced the Boers to evacuate Dewetsdorp on 25 April and it was occupied by the 8th division under Lt-Gen Sir H.M.L. Rundle. By November the town had been entrenched and was garrisoned by men from the 2nd The Gloucestershire regiment, the 1st The Highland Light Infantry, mounted infantry and two guns of the 68th battery Royal Field Artillery, all under the command of Maj W.G. Massy, Royal Field Artillery. On 19 November Dewetsdorp was invested by burghers under the command of Chief-Cmdt C.R. de Wet with Asst Veg-Gen P.R. Botha and Cmdts H.W. Lategan and P.W. de Vos. After apparently disappearing, the burghers seized a piquet on Lonely Kop* on the morning of 21 November and from the high ground began to shell the town. More outlying positions were driven in and the firing continued. On the night of 22 November, the garrison was driven back to its main position with its water supply cut off. On the following afternoon Massey was forced to surrender. British losses were 14 killed and 75 wounded, the remainder being taken prisoner. The Boers lost seven killed and 14 wounded. For acts of gallantry on 22 and 23 November, Pte C. Kennedy, 2nd The Highland Light Infantry, was awarded the Victoria Cross. For the Boers, Field Cornet W.J. Wessels of the Harrismith commando distinguished himself and was elected its commandant shortly afterwards. HMG II pp.302, 303 and 306-308 (map no.34), III pp.490-493 (map no.38); IV p.703; Times IV pp.67-71 (map of the Orange Free State in front pocket), IV pp.28-33 and 86 (map facing p.32); Wilson II pp.571-572, III pp.219222 (map on p.218); De Wet pp.95 and 220-226.  A Gazetteer of the Second Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902. HM & MGM Jones (Military Press, Milton Keynes 1999)

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