I have on several occasions referred to the mistaken issue of single clasp Tugela Heights QSA's to men of the Imperial Light Horse. I have updated my note on this subject and present it below. It gives the names of the men on the ILH medal roll who were awarded these anomalous medals. Perhaps there are still more that must be added?
The Tugela Heights clasp was awarded to Natal Field Force troops engaged in operations to relieve Ladysmith, who served between 14/2/1900 and 27/2/1900. It should always have been awarded in combination with the Relief of Ladysmith clasp, and ‘British Battles and Medals’ (1998 edition) records that it is “Impossible as a single bar”.
The August 2003 memoirs of Tpr F A Freshney of the Imperial Light Horse, who
was “Dangerously wounded” during the Battle of Colenso on 15/12/1899, records
that through the assistance of Winston Churchill he received his “war medal, with the clasp ‘Tugela Heights’, earlier than I had anticipated.....”
Reference to the QSA roll for the 1st ILH revealed that not only did Freshney
receive a single clasp Tugela Heights QSA, but also the following, all of whom
were Battle of Colenso casualties:
722 Tpr N C Blakeway, KiA.
729 Tpr A R Jackson, KiA.
106 Tpr W H Longden, KiA.
725 Tpr J A Rawstone, Severely wounded.
Other wounded and unhurt members of A Squadron, 1st ILH, were awarded the
Relief of Ladysmith (and other) clasps as they clearly continued on active
This error was compounded with the QSA’s awarded to the ILH’s casualties at the earlier (23/11/1899) Battle of Willow Grange. The QSA roll shows that the Tugela Heights clasp without an accompanying Relief of Ladysmith was issued to:
Cpl Hurst also earned the Cape Colony clasp, which gave his QSA the probably unique clasp combination of Cape Colony and Tugela Heights.
It is possible that Winston Churchill hastened the award of the QSA to
Freshney, who was repatriated to Britain with a permanent disabling wound, believing that Freshney’s death might be imminent. (In fact, he died seven years later.) This led to all the ILH’s serious casualties at both Willow Grange and Colenso having their QSA’s issued early with the incorrect clasp, the error being made by an inexperienced, harassed and/or confused clerk in the War Office.