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TOPIC: DCMs for the First Boer War

DCMs for the First Boer War 1 year 5 months ago #53150

  • djb
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Brett,

These are tremendous groups and it is great to group them together in this thread to allow us to marvel at them which is almost as good as owning them.

I agree with your comments on the quality of DNW's images. They are excellent.

David Biggins

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David Biggins

DCMs for the First Boer War 1 year 5 months ago #53483

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Fascinating to watch the Bush DCM sale. Sold for a hammer of £16,000.

David Biggins
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DCMs for the First Boer War 1 year 5 months ago #53488

  • RobCT
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Yep watched the show! Another DCM pair to Sgt Bradley will also soon hit the market. For those of you who are interested I see that some nice photographs of some of these DCM winners are available on line in the Royal archives.
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DCMs for the First Boer War 2 months 1 week ago #59976

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Picture courtesy of the London Medal Company

DCM VR (AG.CONDTR: C. JURGENSON. 22ND: JAN: 1881.)

Charles Jurgenson, whose name was anglicised from Jørgensen, was originally born in Denmark, but then settled in South Africa, and with the outbreak of the First Anglo-Boer War of 1880 to 1881, which was otherwise known as the Transvaal War, then saw service as a civilian and employed as an Acting Conductor with the Commissariat and Transport Corps, though this unit was not officially known as such till later, and found himself besieged by the Boer forces in Lydenburg for 84 days between 6th January and 30th March 1881, after which the town surrendered to the Boer forces.

Lydenburg was controlled by the full force 94th Regiment. On 5 December 1880, most of the regiment was withdrawn, under Lieutenant-Colonel Anstruther. Less than 100 British forces were left to defend the city, under the command of Second Lieutenant Walter Long son of the British politician with the same name. On 20 December 1880, six officers and 246 men of the 94th Regiment, along with 12 men of the Army Service Corps and 4 men of the Army Hospital Corps, were attacked by 250 Boers at Bronkhorstspruit whilst marching from Lydenburg to Pretoria. They suffered 156 casualties. This begun the First Boer War.

Following the outbreak of the war, Long received orders from Pretoria to defend Lydenburg. Long acted by building a fort and constructing stone walls around it to improve defences. The fort, known as Fort Mary, consisted of eight thatched huts connected by stone walls. Fort Mary provided cover for British forces and would allow Long to successfully fight off the Boers for three months. The British stored 200,000 rounds of ammunition, left behind by the main force of the 94th Regiment under Anstruther, in preparation for a Boer siege. The British had at their disposal three months' supply of meat, eight months' supply flour for bread making, and supplies of groceries and vegetables, in order to survive the siege.

On the 23rd December 1880, Dietrich Muller entered Lydenburg and informed Long that his government had demanded the immediate surrender of Lydenburg. Long refused to capitulate, and the Boers prepared to besiege. Commandos took positions two miles away from the road to Middelburg on 3 January 1881 and then advanced on Lydenburg on the 6th. Over two hundred burghers breached the town and proclaimed their allegiance to the South African Republic, again requesting Long to surrender. Long refused, and the Boer contingent grew to about five hundred men. As the Boers advanced through Lydenburg, they neared Fort Mary, and opened fire at 230 metres. The garrison was not harmed, despite sporadic firing for three hours. Two days later, on 8 December, a cannon was brought to bear, which also failed to impress the fort or inflict any casualties on Long's men. However, a second gun brought later damaged Fort Mary's defences.

On the 23rd January 1881, the garrison discovered that its water supply was running low. Water was temporarily rationed until rainfall on 8 February brought relief. On the 4th March 1881, Boers successfully set fire to the thatched roofs of Fort Mary. British forces managed to put out the fire in twenty minutes, but came under heavy Boer fire whilst doing so. On the 10th March, two Boers entered Lydenburg with a letter from Alfred Aylward, offering favourable terms of surrender to the British. Aylward stated Long should surrender due to the small size of his army and as there were no British troops in South Africa, close to Lydenburg, available to relieve the siege. Long replied that he would not surrender as long as he had men at his disposal or was told otherwise. On the 23rd March, Boers again entered Lydenburg, informing Long of the death of Major-General George Colley at Majuba Hill, and requesting British surrender. Still, the siege continued until 30 March 1881, when Lieutenant Baker, from the 60th Regiment, agreed to peace terms with the Boers. The siege lasted for 84 days. Following the capture of Lydenburg and other British forts in Transvaal, the South African Republic regained independence and control over its territories.

Despite sorties made by the besieged troops of Lydenburg on 4th January and 7th February, the garrison was predominantly involved in defensive operations, exchanging fire with Boer forces and predominantly sniping from concealed positions in the town and surrounding forts. The 94th Foot had a covering party who assisted in the resupplying the various outlying positions, and the resupply of the troops was organised by amongst others, Conductor Charles Jurgenson. It was during one of these resupply operations, on the 22nd January 1881, that Sergeant Cowdy, commanding the covering party of men from the 94th Foot, was shot through the head and body in an exposed position.

Company Sergeant Major Thomas Day, Conductor Charles Jurgenson, Private Morris Whalen, and another man with the surname Allen of the Army Hospital Corps, volunteered to go out and bring him in under a heavy fire, and for this act of gallantry, Day, Whalen and Charles Jurgenson were awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, with Jurgenson being the only civilian so decorated for the First Anglo Boer War. His award was submitted to the Queen on 6th March 1882, along with the other two awards. Jurgenson’s award is the only one to the Commissariat and Transport Corps or its variants, for the First Anglo Boer War. No campaign medal was issued for this campaign, and this is the sole entitlement for Charles Jurgenson.

Charles Jurgenson, appears to have continued to live in South Africa where his family settled and built up a dairy farm.

£12,500

David Biggins
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