It seems that Hibberd's judgements on the relative scarcity of the 'Natal' clasp were faulty. Perhaps because I live in Natal, where such clasps are likely to turn up, I had developed an impression that they are not uncommon.
Shown below is a single clasp 'Natal' QSA from my collection. Murray's Horse was one of the more unusual irregular units raised in South Africa during the Boer War. It was in existence for less than a month, although its descendent, Murray's Scouts, served for much longer. There is an account of Murray's Horse elsewhere on this forum.
The Buchanans are an old Natal family, but I could not relate R Buchanan to any records in the Pietermaritzburg Archives.
Good morning Brett,
I would not have said that this clasp is at all rare, I am sure that if I decided here and now that I needed half a dozen more or so today, I would just be able to go and buy them without any problems, however, as a single clasp, I do feel they are becoming a little more scarce these days.
Kind regards Frank
Brett Hendey wrote: It seems that Hibberd's judgements on the relative scarcity of the 'Natal' clasp were faulty. Perhaps because I live in Natal, where such clasps are likely to turn up, I had developed an impression that they are not uncommon.
I am new to these forums so trust this is relevant. I note that the discussion is about how rare the single clasp might be, but I find even more interesting that a lot of collectors might not look twice at single clasps such as Natal and Cape Colony. I have a single Natal clasp QSA to Private Hunter of the 2nd east Surrey regiment. because he was KIA at Willow Grange, he obviously did not qualify for any other bars, a nice find!
Welcome to this forum. The Willow Grange KiA QSA is indeed a "nice find".
Trooper Fitzpatrick, Imperial Light Horse, who was also killed at Willow Grange has an even rarer single-clasp QSA. It has a mistakenly issued 'Tugela Heights' clasp.
The Willow Grange battlefield is 'off the beaten track' and is not as frequently visited as those in and around Ladysmith. The British graves have been seriously vandalised at least once (in 2004). The Boer dead were reinterred in Ladysmith in 1979.
One of the more unusual casualties in this battle was a local farmer, George Frederick Chapman, who was a guide for the West Yorkshire Regiment. He was shot and killed after having been mistaken for a Boer. He is buried in the cemetery of St Matthews Church in Estcourt.
Although this battle was small by comparison with others that followed, it was notable for several reason. Firstly, it marked the Boers furthest penetration into Natal. Also, it resulted in a very significant change in the Boer command in Natal. Commandant-General Piet Joubert was injured in a fall from his horse and retired to his farm in the Transvaal, where he later died. He left his army under the command of General Louis Botha, who was to become one of the most successful Boer Commanders during the war.