A clasp inscribed "Cape Colony" will be granted to all troops in Cape Colony at any time between October 11th, 1899, and a date to be hereafter fixed, who received no clasp for an action already specified in the Cape Colony nor Natal clasps.
Years ago, I was always a bit miffed at fellow collectors looking at a QSA single bar "Cape Colony" and sniffing words to the effect of "Oh, only a CC". After all, one had to be on duty to qualify and many a British/Colonial casualty in the early days of the ABW was entitled to nothing else.
Herewith, I would submit, is my belated revenge on the "sniffers"; a long service group featuring a QSA with JUST a CC bar.
(1) SAGS bar 1877-79 to "Pte. A. Craigie No.7 Troop C.M.Rifles"
(2) COGH Bar "Basutoland" to "Serg. A.Craigie C.M.Rifn"
(3) QSA bar CC to "230 Sergt.Maj.A.Craigie Cape M.R,"
(4) COGH LSGC to "230 2/cl: Sgt. A.Craigie C.M.Rif.".
The Craigie group represents service in the attack on Moirosi's Mountain in 1879 (plus certain other so-far unresearched active service), in the Basutoland Gun War of 1880-81 and active service in the ABW from the outbreak of war until his discharge as "physically unfit" after being wounded in the action at Birds River on 07021900. The QSA roll to the CMR indicates CC only.
The action at Birds River proved to be a little obscure and took some finding. THWSA describes it in few words; however, a more complete description is found in "The Anglo Boer War Diary of Herbert Gwynne Howell" edited by Andre Wessels, M.A. Pretoria, 1986. Herbert Howell enlisted in the CMR as a Trooper and was later commissioned.
The action at Birds River appears to have been the cumulation of several weeks of skirmishing and small actions in the CC in the wake of the British defeat at Stormberg. THWSA says that ".. the Boers on Feb.6 made a sudden, simultaneous attack upon the whole British front, concentrating in strength against Dalgety's position at Birds River siding." Howell's diary records the shelling of Birds River siding from 0600 to about 1100 on 07021900; with 43 shells fired and fully 20 falling in the camp. He further records that the enemy was within 1,100 yards of the camp but soon shifted. Upon the arrival of General Gatacre with reinforcements at 1100, the Boers desisted and in that delightful phrase, "cleared off".
Pte.-Sgt.Major A.Craigie appears to have been a bit of a lad in his early days, with several entries in the Defaulters Book - but insufficient to prevent the award of his LSGC in 1897.
Stirling (The Colonials in South Africa) comments of the CMR that "..it was in the Queenstown-Dordrecht area in December 1899 and January 1900 where their services to the Empire were of the greatest, nay, inestimable value". So,here we have "just a QSA with a CC clasp" earned at a time of great danger for the Empire - and earned the hard way.
Regards to all who have read this far
Good morning Ian,
Your group to Cragie is a typically pleasing one to a South African with long service throughout the most interesting years in the history of the country.
Now then, regarding "it's only a Cape Colony" you should remind your friends that this particular clasp covers very many sins, I have a medal to a Private in the 2nd Seaforth's who was killed on the 11th December 1899 at Magersfontein and another to a gentleman who was wounded at Stormberg Junction on the day before, both are just single Cape Colony clasps.
Many men served in class D 1 and D 2 SAMIF units who received only a single Cape Colony clasp, but, it did not mean that they were not being killed and wounded on a daily basis.
You get on with collecting what you want and and tell your friends to do the same.
Kind regards Frank
Thanks chaps for the kind comments. I think that while the bars/ bar/no bar make an item pleasing to the eye, it has to be the story behind the medal which really counts. If only we can find it out! I have another one coming up re the "Transvaal" clasp on a QSA with an EGYPT pair; when he really should have been awarded date clasps - but nobody seemingly bothered!