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A Short History of Active Service Company
of Suffolk Regiment Volunteer Battalions

Compiled and Copyright © Cliff Brown 2001

The Suffolk Regiment's Active Service Company of Volunteers included 28 men from each of 1st (East Suffolk) Volunteer Battalion, 2nd (West Suffolk) Volunteer Battalion, 3rd (Cambridgeshire) Volunteer Battalion & 4th (Cambridge University) Volunteer Battalion. Three officers (Captain George Frederick Whitmore, Lieutenant Percy Hudson & the Reverend William Thomas Rupert Crookham) and 43 other ranks of the 3rd (Cambridgeshire) Volunteer Battalion served with the Volunteer Section of the Suffolk RegimentThey left Bury St Edmunds on March 3rd 1900 and returned from Cape Town in April 1901, arriving in Southampton May 3rd, 1901. They saw service at: Action at Six Mile Spruit, Pretoria, 4-6-1900; Witpoort 11-7-1900; Vlakfontein 24-7-1900; occupation of Middelburg 27-7-1900; Witkop 9-9-1900; Nelshoogte 12-9-1900; occupation of Braberton 18-9-1900; Vereeniging 22-1-01.Colonel Dowse, commanding 12th Regimental District presented their Queen's South Africa medals on October 10th 1901 at Cambridge. Captain Whitmore had already received an Honorary MA degree from Cambridge University for services rendered. The men were created Honorary Freeman of Cambridge.

1900

February

Left Bury St Edmunds 11-2-1900, arriving in Southampton at 2pm. Arrived Madiera 16-2-1900.

March

Arrived Table Bay 5-3-1900. Disembarked 7-3-1900 and sent to Green Point Camp. 9-2-1900, climbed Signal Hill. 12-2-1900, left Cape Town & reached Beaufort West on 15-3-1900.

May

1-5-1900 left for Bloemfontein, arrived 3-5-1900. Ten days of fatigues. 12-5-1900 joined battalion at railway station. 13-5-1900, travelled to Vet River. Employed in making a deviation owing to bridge being blown by Boers. 17-5-1900, began march to Kroonstad, arrived 20-5-1900. Then marched for Vereeninging and entrained for Johannesburg, arriving 1-6-1900.

June

Left Johannesburg on 3-6-1900 (Whit Sunday) and in action six hours on 4-6-1900 (Whit Monday) at Six Mile Spruit. 5-6-1900, marched for two days to Pretoria. 8-6-1900, split up for duty on lines of communication. Half company to Zuurfontein and half to Meyerbon. 23-6-1900, first half to Vaal River.

July

6-7-1900, to Irene, arriving 7-7-1900, next day to Tyerpoort. 11-7-1900 in action from 4am to 6pm at Whitpoort. 18-7-1900, march to Ditpoort and joined General Hutton's Brigade (Mounted Infantry). Ordered to Middleburg, which was reached on 27-7-1900. After one week, relieved by Scots Guards. At Pan for 10 days.

August

14-8-1900, started march to Wonderfontein, but ordered back to Middleburg for three weeks.

September

3-9-1900, started for Pan and Wonderfontein, en-route for Carolina, arriving 6-9-1900. 9-9-1900, left for Braberton, engaged with Boers from 11am to 6pm. The volunteers captured various Kopje, including Silver Tip, the highest point on the Transvaal. 12-9-1900, attacking again 16-9-1900, rejoined battalion and marched to Braberton, arriving 17-9-1900. 19-9-1900, by rail to Avoca, employed in making deviation after a bridge had been blown up. Then marched to Machadorp to repair roads for General French's convoy.

October

Arrived at Machadorp in October. After three or four days they were ordered to Pretoria in advance of being sent back to England.

Left Regulars at Machadorp on 11-10-1900, marched to Pretoria with 28 PoWs, arrived 13-10-1900. The different companies of volunteers were made into battalions, the Suffolks were in 2nd Battalion. Left Pretoria for Oliphantfontein in expectation of an attack which did not happen.

November & December

Remained at Oliphantfontein until 17-12-1900. 23-12-1900, ordered to Vereeninging to relieve Northumberland Fusiliers.

1901

January & February

Made various moves and on 23-2-1901 moved to Elandsfontein.

March & April

Good Friday, moved back to Vereeninging station. Next day to Kroonstad, then Elnsgavonden. Then from Springfontein to De Aar, and a day later ordered to proceed to Cape Town in coal trucks. This was a journey of 950 miles, which took eight days. They arrived on 13-4-01 and boarded the Templemore, arriving at Southampton on 3-5-01.

The men went by train to Gunnersbury then via Cambridge to Bury St Edmunds. The Cambridge & district contingent, numbering 47, remained at the depot at Bury St Edmunds for several days.

Sources

Cambridgeshire Times 19-1-1900, 10-5-1901, 17-5-1901 & 28-10-1901.


3rd Battalion Cambridgeshire Volunteers presented with the Queen's South Africa medal (transcribed by Dave Edwards)

This list is from the Cambridgeshire Times 18th October 1901: Men of the 3rd Battalion Cambridgeshire Volunteers presented with the Queen's South Africa medal, after returning from active service, at the Corn Exchange, Cambridge on 15/10/1901:

Captain Whitmore

Cambridge

Chaplin Crookham

Haddenham [later Vicar of Wisbech]

Colour Sgt Loader

March

Sgt Pitstow

Saffron Walden

Sgt Pooley

Cambridge

Cpl Oldfield

Whittlesey

Cpl Wilkinson

Ely

L Cpl Haynes

Whittlesey

L Cpl Lilee/Liles?

Cambridge

L Cpl Rudd

Whittlesey

L Cpl Ryan

(now of Connaught Rangers), Saffron Walden

L Cpl Stafford

March

L Cpl Swann

Cambridge

L Cpl Westley

Cambridge

Pte Andrews

Cambridge

Pte Barnard

Ely

Pte Billing

Cambridge

Pte Bowyer

Cambridge

Pte Chapman

Ely

Pte Collings

Cambridge

Pte Cullum

Ely

Pte Dellan

Cambridge

Pte Elborn

Cambridge

Pte Halls

Cambridge

Pte Hunt

Cambridge

Pte Linsdale

Saffron Walden

Pte Measures

Cambridge

Pte Moore

Cambridge

Pte Richardson

Ely

Pte Stoakley

Cambridge

Pte Warrington

Cambridge

Pte Waters

Cambridge

Pte Bacclus?

Cambridge

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