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Unit Identification Assistance Needed
peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 865
Location: UK
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I acquired six CDVs with my purchase of the SAGS to James Liddell of the Natal Mounted Police some time ago.

The medal features the 1879 clasp even though he did not cross the border into Zululand. Liddell was one of the draft of 60 men recruited from England to replace the men killed at Isandlwana.

I've never used ImageShack before so I hope the link works:
http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/8306/jamesliddellnatalmounte.jpg


(Added by Alan - hope you don't mind.)


The top middle and bottom left are the post-1881 NMP uniform. The man in the bottom left is older and has a second stripe so there is a logical progression. I think that this is James Liddell who served in the NMP from June 1879-June 1882 and again from March 1883-March 1886.

The top left and top right may be another man. John Young told me:
"Top left although based on the infantry pattern patrol jacket, it has the hint of a local maker, as if it was produced to an earlier pattern, which would not have had the shoulder straps - so he could be one of the local volunteer infantry units. Top right Mounted Infantry, non-Royal Regiment, circa 1885/6, the bandolier and the puttees are the give-away for the date."

On the reverse of the top right image, in fountain pen ink, is written:
J S Sparks
Mounted Company 82 Rgt
Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa
March 25/86

The 82nd (Prince of Wales's Volunteers) became the 2nd Battalion The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) in 1881 so I'm a bit confused by the description. Can any South Africa experts help with the unit and possible medal entitlement?

Also, if anyone cares to match the remaining two pictures to either man, be my guest. The bottom right image is the only one to have been taken in London, England.

Peter
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Galloglas
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The badges may well be Good Conduct Badges, and it would be fairly usual for the braided patrol jacket to be cut quite loose so that extra clothing might be worn under it. It was made out of light but strong cloth and the braiding was an elementary form of protection against the principal cuts from edged weapons - hence its positioning and not just decorative.

The reference to the 82nd could refer to the recipient and not the subject donor. In other words, the person intended to receive the CdeV. So, perhaps no actual 82nd connection to any of the sitters.

Might easily be wrong of course.

G
peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 865
Location: UK
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Thanks for the insight on the patrol jacket.

Interesting theory on the possible recipient of the CDV. I hadn't considered that, but I suspect it's unlikely.

The question remains though - who or what were the 82nd?

Peter
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John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Peter,

Also consider the translation of carte-de-visite, a visiting card. Given that 2nd South Lanc's were in Natal, and stationed at Fort Napier from 1884-1887, I would go with my previous assessment - Top right Mounted Infantry, non-Royal Regiment, circa 1885/6, the bandolier and the puttees are the give-away for the date.

I would go against G.'s suggestion and suggest that the soldier in the photographer is the person who has endorsed the reverse. In my opinion everything fits:

Mounted Company 82 Rgt (Mounted Infantry, non-Royal Regiment...)
Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa
March 25/86 (...circa 1885/6, the bandolier and the puttees are the give-away for the date.)

I know for a fact that officers used cdv.'s as calling cards, as I have a number of them endorsed by the sitters.

John Y.


Last edited by John Young on Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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Thanks John. Looks like a trip to Kew is in the offing to check the musters for the 82nd for that period.

Peter
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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This site details the location of the South Lancashire Regiment whose postings were as follows:

1881 Bengal
1884 Aden
1886 England: Portsmouth
1890 Jersey


http://www.britisharmedforces.org/i_regiments/southLan_index.htm

The picture in question was taken (or printed) by George Ferneyhough in Pietermaritzburg.

Peter
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John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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Peter,

That's the 1st Battalion, now go to the 2nd Battalion.

John Y.
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed

The trouble with computer screens is that one forgets to scroll lower down the page.......

John, you are quite right:

1881 Devonport
1884 Natal
1887 Malaya
1889 Gibraltar


That fits. I suppose we will never know how Sparks and Liddell became friends.

Peter
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John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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Peter,

Maybe he is a relative of Trooper C. M. Sparks, Natal Mounted Police, the Isandlwana survivor?

There's some digging for you.

John Y.
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Galloglas
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peterw,

I forgot to make clear that it was the inverted chevrons that are probably Good Conduct Badges.

After the 1881 infantry reorganisations the line infantry retained blue facings if deemed to be Royal Regiments with the remainder being directed to adopt white facings. This would appear to have been intended to create a sort of neutral corner result given that many of the battalions joining these newly regionalised solutions had previously had different acings.

Unsurprisingly, if you know the British infantry, the effect of that ruling did not last very long and a succession of revisions to facing colours used in earlier times started to be approved or were simply defiantly retained or adopted.

The facing colour would generally be worn at cuffs, colours, and in some cases as a backing colour to the helmet plate. It was sometimes also used on waistcoats for mess dress. Or, for overseas service might feature in other dress items. Generally, it also provided the colour of the field used for the Regimental Colour.

G
peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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Location: UK
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Galloglas

Thanks for that. Considering the images of what I believe to be Liddell (top middle and bottom left), when would he have been eligible for the GC badges? I'm not sure whether the NMP would have followed army rules when I think the awards at the time would have been for two then five years. The single would fit his first period of service (June 1879-June 1882) but I don't know whether the qualifying period would have rolled over into his second (March 1883-March 1886).

Thoughts anyone?

Peter
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Galloglas
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Nor am I, and they might also have been used as 'Long Service Stripes' for unpromoted individuals.
They appear simply to be tacked on with stitches, probably a device enabling them to be removed during field service or transferred to another tunic whilst one was being cleaned.

Colonial Forces very often copied Regular Army practices and you would need to examine how the NMP was established and funded on those dates. The NMP was akin to the early RCMP and could be embodied as if a militia in some circumstances.

G
peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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I thought that I would update this thread with a bit more information about Liddell. According to his gravestone, James T Liddell was born on 2 December 1857. Notes from a previous custodian indicate that his mother lived at 57 Longfield Road, Burdett Row, London. He joined the NMP on 2 June 1879, serving for 3 years until being discharged in 2 June 1882. Information supplied states that he became an employee of Tramways in Durban in June 1882 but civilian life was not to his liking. In September 1882 he applied for the position of Constable of Rural Police County which were about to formed at the Tongaat Victoria County, testifying that he “served three years in the Natal Mounted Police (and) passed two years on station at Umhlali.”He rejoined the NMP on 2 March 1883, serving for another 3 years. His discharge papers note that he was 5 foot 8 inches with red hair and grey eyes. His age is given as 27 (born 1859) which is at odds with the alleged birth date. On 20 February 1886 Liddell starred with members of Greytown NMP's Dramatic Club Minstrel Troupe at the Masonic Hall in aid of the Ladysmith Disaster Fund. He played the flute and also the role of Signor Frangipani.

There is a gap until 2 April 1898 when he is appointed to the Robinson Gold Mine of Johannesburg, serving as a Chlorinator and later as Compound Manager. Various documents accompanied the medal including a permit to purchase itemised supplies for 46 adults and 22 children, his Gold Mine life assurance contract, night passes and a summons to give evidence against a “vagabond”. A letter to Liddell from the Mine dated 19 February 1900 advises that he will receive a sum of £15 "in view of the accident sustained by you, and through which you have been prevented from attending to your work." The accident to his left knee was severe enough to keep him away from his work from 1 December 1899 until 8 January 1900. A testimonial from the Robinson GM dated 11 May 1900 appears to bring his work at the mine to an end, although correspondence at the mine is addressed to him in March 1901.

There is also an interesting letter from Mr Price, the Manager of the Robinson gold Mine, to Liddell dated 11th March 1901.
"We have a great deal of trouble every Saturday night and Sunday and Sunday night through the firemen at the Main Power Station absenting themselves from duty. It is reported to me that drink is mainly responsible for these irregularities and I therefore want you to make it your duty every Saturday night, Sunday and Sunday night to go to the Main Power Station and find out if the staff of boys is short. If it be, then please be good enough to find the cause and get other boys to replace the missing ones. Any case which can be traced to liquor should be brought to the notice of the police and to myself."

The book, The Rand at War (Diana Cammack) notes "The government's mine mangers, like the company men before them, aimed to maximize peace while minimizing cost. As in peace-time, this meant stamping out the illicit liquor trade. Night after night, week after week, compounds turned out 'kafir beer' and received imported 'brandy.' The mine police were kept busy raiding suspected manufacturers and suppliers."

James Liddell did not live much longer and died on 21 June 1902, age 44. A stamp on the back of the photograph of his grave is from Humphreys' Memorial Services, Northcliff, Transvaal. The grave notes that he was the "beloved husband of Mary Jane (O'Toole) and father of Kathleen, Arthur, Molly and Patricia."

It's quite possible that Liddell never fired a shot during the war and his medal should not be of interest. But as it came with various images and such an abundance of extra detail it was hard to resist. Of the various pictures I cannot be sure which are of him. Plus there is a man in a car - I know NOTHING about cars but it looks post 1902 so maybe it's his son. Any thoughts on the images - or confirmation of the grave location - appreciated.

Links to the pictures are here:
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/202/jamesliddellportrait.jpg/
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/688/liddellgrave.jpg/
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/534/liddellcar.jpg/

Peter
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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Until last night I hadn't really considered the implications of the Boer War for Liddell. "The Rand at War" states that 70 permits were required for white men to stay and work at the mine, of which two thirds were British. Many miners considered that the war was unlikely to last long and did not want to lose their livelihoods so stayed.

Peter
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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For any "petrol heads" out there, I am informed that the vehicle is a 1928 Dodge "Victory Six" Phaeton. So it's not James Liddell, but possibly his son.
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/534/liddellcar.jpg/

Peter
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Unit Identification Assistance Needed
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