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!
That is a superb group of medals. Thank you for showing it.
The mention of Bird's River reminded me of a later action at this location that resulted in several more hard-won single clasp 'Cape Colony' QSA's being awarded. After the action on 6 February 1900 that you described, the Colonials under General Brabant regrouped before pushing forward again. For a second time, contact was made with the Boers at Bird's River. On 15 February, an advance patrol of men from Brabant's Horse and the Cape Mounted Rifles was fired upon by the Boers and several men were killed, including Captain E C H Crallan, Brabant's Horse. Their lonely graves are shown below.
(From the book 'A Guide to the Battlefields, Graves and Monuments of the Anglo-Boer War in the North-Eastern Cape. Published by the War Museum of the Boer Republics.)
I have in my collection the Zulu War medal awarded to Crallan when he was a Sergeant in the Natal Mounted Police. His single clasp QSA (CC) was sent to his widow, but it has since been separated from the Zulu War medal.
Crallan was evidently held in high regard and, after visiting the site of the Bird's River skirmish, General Gatacre wrote a personal letter of condolence to his widow.