On 29th December, 1899, Constable Herbert Peacock was recalled to the 2nd Battalion of the South Wales Borderers and went with them to South Africa. On 15th February, 1900, Constable Coombs was recalled to the Royal Field Artillery, Woolwich, but rejoined the Force in October of that year. Constable John Thomas Cooper, who was recalled to the Grenadier Guards, did not return to the Force until 22nd July, 1902.
THE GREAT WAR 1914 -1918.
On the eve of the outbreak of the 1914 – 1918 war, information had been received at Newport that the German steamship “Belgia “, (Hamburg- Amerika line) had been refused permission to enter Newport docks and had returned down channel and anchored ten miles from Newport.
At 2.56 a.m. on 4th August, a message was received that this country was at war with Germany. Immediately on receipt of the message, the Chief Constable, with twelve of his staff, armed with service rifles borrowed from Territorial headquarters, proceeded down channel in a tug, commandeered by Capt. Cutcliffe, the dock master. They boarded the vessel, and brought her back to Newport, making captain, officers and crew prisoners.
Edward Noel Mellish VC MC DL (24 December 1880 – 8 July 1962) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Edward Noel Mellish was born on 24 December 1880 at Oakleigh Park, Barnet, North London. He was the son of Edward and Mary Mellish. He went on to be educated at Saffron Walden Grammar School and from there became a member of the Artists Rifles. In 1900 he began serving with Baden-Powell’s Police during the Second Boer War in South Africa.
He returned to study Theology at King’s College London and took holy orders in 1912.
World War I
On the outbreak of the First World War Mellish was assistant curate at St Paul’s, Deptford. He offered his services to the chaplaincy and served from May 1915 until February 1919. Just a few months after the start of his service, his brother Second Lieutenant Richard Coppin Mellish was killed in action whilst serving with the 1st Middlesex Regiment at the Battle of Loos on 25 September 1915. Reverend Mellish was attached … Read the rest
Major General Sir Neville Reginald Howse, VC, KCB, KCMG, FRCS (26 October 1863 – 19 September 1930) was an Australian Army officer, medical doctor, and politician. He was the first Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest decoration for gallantry “in the face of the enemy” that can be awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces.
Howse was born in Somerset, England, and followed his father into the medical profession. He emigrated to Australia in 1889 and eventually settled in Orange, New South Wales. During the Boer War, Howse served with the Australian medical corps. He was awarded the VC for his rescue of a wounded man at Vredefort in July 1900, while under heavy rifle fire. During the First World War, Howse served in New Guinea, Gallipoli, and on the Western Front. He oversaw the medical services of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and finished the war with the rank of major-general. He was elected to parliament in 1922, and was subsequently appointed to cabinet by Stanley Bruce. He served as Minister for Defence (1925–1927), Health (1925–1927; 1928–1929), and Home and Territories (1928).
Major-General Henry Edward Manning Douglas VC CB CMG DSO (11 July 1875 – 14 February 1939) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Born in Gillingham, Medway, Douglas took the Scottish Triple Qualification (LRCP(Edin), LRCS(Edin), LRCPS(Glas) in 1898. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps on 28 July 1899, and travelled to South Africa following the outbreak of the Second Boer War three months later.
Douglas was 24 years old, and a lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the Second Boer War, when the following deed earned him the Victoria Cross at the Battle of Magersfontein, South Africa, on 11 December 1899:
On the 11th December, 1899, during the action at Magersfontein, Lieutenant Douglas showed great gallantry and devotion under a very severe fire in advancing in the open and attending to Captain Gordon, Gordon Highlanders, who was wounded, and also attending to Major Robinson and other wounded men under a fearful fire. Many similar acts of devotion and gallantry were performed by Lieutenant … Read the rest
Lieutenant General Sir William Babtie, VC, KCB, KCMG (7 May 1859 – 11 September 1920) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth armed forces. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum in Aldershot.
Babtie graduated from the University of Glasgow with an M.B. and also received the LRCP and LRCS from the University of Edinburgh Medical School in 1880.
South Africa and the Victoria Cross
Babtie was 40 years old, and a major in the Royal Army Medical Corps, British Army during the Second Boer War on 15 December 1899 at the Battle of Colenso, South Africa when he won his VC. He exposed himself to heavy fire to tend to the wounded including going with Captain Walter Congreve to bring in Lieutenant Frederick Roberts who was lying wounded on the veldt. The full citation was published in the London Gazette on 20 April 1900 and reads:
At Colenso, on the 10th December, 1899, the wounded of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, were lying in an advanced donga … Read the rest
Colonel Edgar Thomas Inkson VC DSO (5 April 1872 – 19 February 1947) was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Inkson was 27 years old, and a lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps, British Army, attached to The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers during the Second Boer War when the following deed took place on 24 February 1900, at Hart’s Hill, Colenso, South Africa for which he was awarded the VC:
On the 24th February, 1900, Lieutenant Inkson carried Second Lieutenant Devenish (who was severely wounded and unable to walk) for three or four hundred yards under a very heavy fire to a place of safety. The ground over which Lieutenant Inkson had to move was much exposed, there being no cover available.
He was promoted to Captain while still serving in South Africa. Captain Inkson personally received the decoration by King Edward VII during an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 12 May 1902.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Army Medical Services Museum, Mytchett, England.
Major-General William Henry Snyder Nickerson, VC CB CMG (27 March 1875, Dorchester, New Brunswick – 1954), was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Nickerson was a 25 years old lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps, of the British Army, attached to the Mounted Infantry during the Second Boer War when his actions at Wakkerstroom led to the award of the Victoria Cross. His citation reads:
At Wakkerstroom, on the evening of the 20th April, 1900, during the advance of the Infantry to support the Mounted Troops, Lieutenant Nickerson went, in the most gallant manner, under a heavy rifle and shell fire, to attend a wounded man, dressed his wounds, and remained with him till he had him conveyed to a place of safety.
Further military service
Following the end of the war in South Africa in June 1902, Nickerson returned to the United Kingdom on board the SS Soudan, arriving in Southampton in September that year. He was then posted to Egypt.
Major Dr. Thomas Joseph Crean, VC DSO (19 April 1873 – 25 March 1923) was an Irish rugby union player, British Army soldier and doctor. During the Second Boer War, while serving with the Imperial Light Horse, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. In 1902, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. During the First World War he served with the Royal Army Medical Corps and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.
Crean played rugby for Leinster, Ireland and the British Isles. In 1894, he was a member of the first Ireland team to win both a Home Nations Championship and a Triple Crown. Then in 1896 he helped Ireland win their second Home Nations title. He is one of three Ireland rugby union internationals to have been awarded the Victoria Cross. The other two are Robert Johnston, who also served with the Imperial Light Horse in the Second Boer War, and Frederick Harvey who served in the First World War. Crean, Johnston and Harvey all played club rugby for Wanderers. In 1896 Crean and Johnston were also members of the same British Isles squad that toured South Africa.
The Highland Light Infantry (HLI) was a light infantry regiment of the British Army formed in 1881. It took part in the First and Second World Wars, until it was amalgamated with the Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1959 to form the Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret’s Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment) which later merged with the Royal Scots Borderers, the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment), the Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons) and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland, becoming the 2nd Battalion of the new regiment.
The regiment was formed as part of the Childers Reforms on 1 July 1881 by the amalgamation of the 71st (Highland) Light Infantry (as the 1st Battalion) and the 74th (Highland) Regiment of Foot (as the 2nd Battalion) as the city regiment of Glasgow, absorbing local Militia and Rifle Volunteer units. Its exact status was ambiguous: although the regiment insisted on being classified as a non-kilted Highland regiment, it recruited mainly from Glasgow in Lowland Scotland.
The 1st battalion was posted to South Africa in October 1899, after the outbreak of the Second Boer War. They were stationed in Egypt in 1902.
The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) was a line infantry regiment of the British Army in existence for just under 90 years, from 1881 to 1970. In 1970, the regiment was amalgamated with the Worcestershire Regiment to form the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment, which in 2007 was amalgamated with the Cheshire Regiment and the Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s) to form the present Mercian Regiment. The lineage of the Sherwood Foresters is now continued by The Mercian Regiment.
Pre 1914 history
The regiment was formed on 1 July 1881 as part of the Childers Reforms. The 45th (Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot (raised in 1741) and the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot (raised in 1823) were redesignated as the 1st and 2nd battalions of the Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment). The Derbyshire and Royal Sherwood Foresters Militia regiments became the 3rd (Reserve) and 4th (Extra Reserve) battalions respectively. These were joined by the 1st and 2nd (Derbyshire) and the 3rd (Robin Hood) and 4th (Nottinghamshire) Volunteer battalions.
Following the amalgamation, the 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters saw action in Egypt during the Anglo-Egyptian War, and was stationed at Malta from September 1898. Following the outbreak of the Second Boer War … Read the rest