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South African Soldier


celiatoo

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I posted 2 photos onto the 'identifying uniform' forum and the uniforms have been identifed. 1 was a territorial Gordon of Seaforth highlander. I believe the man concerned was from Bedford would have been about 14 yo at the start of WW1 and continued to live in Bedford during the war. I cannot find any medal card pertaining to his surname from eith seforth or gordon highlander regiment. How would a Bedfordshire lad end up in a Highland Territorial regiment?? The other solider has been identified as from the 4th South African Infantry (SA Scottish) Is it known when this regiment came to England?

Any help gratefully received

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I posted 2 photos onto the 'identifying uniform' forum and the uniforms have been identifed. 1 was a territorial Gordon of Seaforth highlander. I believe the man concerned was from Bedford would have been about 14 yo at the start of WW1 and continued to live in Bedford during the war. I cannot find any medal card pertaining to his surname from eith seforth or gordon highlander regiment. How would a Bedfordshire lad end up in a Highland Territorial regiment?? The other solider has been identified as from the 4th South African Infantry (SA Scottish) Is it known when this regiment came to England?

Any help gratefully received

Can't help with your second question but re Bedford chap in the highlanders it could be

a) He had some Scots ancestory Many men joining units like the Tyneside Scots had scots forebears

or

B) He just fancied the uniform! I had an uncle from Barnsley W Yorkshire who joined a Highland regt in WW2 just because he fancied wearing the kilt!!! ( Also a large proportion of the men who joined units like the Tyneside Scots/Liverpool Irish were of no celtic background whatsoever)

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  • 2 months later...

I have also been trying to find out when the 4th South African Infantry (SA Scottish) went to England.

My Great-Grandfather, Sergeant Richard Samuel Kingwell was in the SA Scottish, yet his daughter was born in England in April 1916. I've found something that explains this- if you look on the Long,Long Trail website under 'South Africa in the Great War" it provides:

"Short-lived move to England

The new force embarked at Cape Town between 28 August and 17 October 1915, and all units were in England by November. The infantry moved to camp at Bordon, the Ambulance to Fleet, and the Artillery to Bexhill.

Some of the officers moved to France for 3 days on 21 November, where they were at first attached to the 16th (Irish) Division for familiarisation.

But there was a change of plan at high level, and on 30 December the South Africans were on their way back to their own continent."

I hope that helps! :)

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Whilst I do not know of their initial posting, the 4th SA Scottish were part of the 9th Div for much of the war. From Long, Long Trail:

South African Brigade

The Brigade reported to 9th (Scottish) Division from 22 April 1916 to 13 September 1918

1st Regiment, South African Infantry (joined April 1916)

2nd Regiment, South African Infantry (joined April 1916)

3rd Regiment, South African Infantry (joined April 1916, disbanded 18 February 1918)

4th Regiment, South African Infantry (joined April 1916)

The 9th Div had crossed to France the year previous, 1915.

Ian

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Hi,

Was n't one of the Scottish Division stationed near Bedford in the early part of the Great War. I think that it may have been the 51st Div. Hence the man in the picture could have enlisted in a kilted regt that way.

Hillgorilla :D

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Extracts from this website:

http://www.worldwar1.com/heritage/delville.htm

The 1st South African Infantry Brigade was recruited at Potchefstroom in August and September 1915 for service overseas. It comprised four battalions (or regiments) of infantry. In order to render these battalions as representative as possible, they were designated as follows:

1st South African Infantry Regiment (Cape of Good Hope Regiment)

2nd South African Infantry Regiment (Natal and Orange Free State Regiment)

3rd South African Infantry Regiment (Transvaal and Rhodesia Regiment)

4th South African Regiment (South African Scottish Regiment)

During December 1915 it was decided to send the South African brigade to Egypt, where the Senussi tribe led by. Gaafer Pasha, was threatening to overrun the country. On 23 January 1916 the 2nd South African Infantry Battalion first saw action at Halaxin.

The brigade sailed to Marseilles, where the 4th South African Infantry Regiment were placed in two weeks quarantine due to a case of spinal meningitis. The remainder of the brigade entrained for Armentieres in Flanders, where they underwent training in trench warfare. They formed part of the 9th (Scottish) Division

++

Ian

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  • 8 years later...

I posted 2 photos onto the 'identifying uniform' forum and the uniforms have been identifed. 1 was a territorial Gordon of Seaforth highlander. I believe the man concerned was from Bedford would have been about 14 yo at the start of WW1 and continued to live in Bedford during the war. I cannot find any medal card pertaining to his surname from eith seforth or gordon highlander regiment. How would a Bedfordshire lad end up in a Highland Territorial regiment?? The other solider has been identified as from the 4th South African Infantry (SA Scottish) Is it known when this regiment came to England?Any help gratefully received

A considerable number of Scottish soldiers, many thousands if memory serves me right 14000+ were billeted for a number of months in and around Bedford. Thought to be the middle of the country and the soldiers could be taken to the south coast quickly and easily from Bedford. A number of Bedford men and boys joined the Scottish regiments rather than the Bedfordshire regiments, whilst the Scottish were billeted there. A number of Scots are buried in Bedford cemetery, dying of a number of Diseases. A recent ceremony was held at the cemetery with Earl Haigs pipes and drums from passchendeale.

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  • 1 year later...

'The Bedford Highlanders' 
A relatively little known part of Bedford's recent history is the friendly invasion of the town early in the First World War, by thousands of Scottish part time soldiers of the Territorial Force, the forerunner of today’s Territorial Army. 

The "invaders" were the men of the 1/1 (Highland) Division (later to become the 51st (Highland) Division on 11 May 1915, a week after its arrival in France) whose infantry units carried famous and evocative names such as Gordon, Seaforth, Argyll and Sutherland and Queens Own Cameron Highlanders. The Scottish troops became a familiar and welcome sight in the town and surrounding countryside as they trained and prepared for war. 

During the period from August 1914 to May 1915, Bedford’s population doubled with the influx of the Highland Division's infantry battalions, cavalry, artillery, medical and support units. The number of men varies from anywhere between 16,000 and 20,000 depending on which source one refers to. However, it is reasonable to conclude that around 17,000 men arrived in the initial wave with this number rising to 22,000 as a result of recruitment undertaken during the autumn and winter of 1914, followed by the arrival of additional battalions in April 1915, the month before the Division left Bedford for France. 


Bedfordians in the kilted ranks 
A number of local men were recruited by the Highlanders during the Division's time in the town. This was not unusual given that most of the Division's battalions needed to recruit locally in order to reach their wartime complement. Some men were drawn to the Highland Battalions because of their Scottish ancestry, others simply because they liked the uniform and the uniqueness of the kilt. 

The Seaforth Highlanders were particularly successful at recruiting a large number of London men who were unable to join the oversubscribed ranks of the London Scottish, but who wished to serve in a Scottish unit.

The message on the back of the postcard shown in the 'Then and Now' section, below, reads: 


"24 de Parys Avenue 1251 H Coy 4th Seaforth Highlanders Bedford 
12.9.14 
Mr. R. Welsh, 28 Grafton Street, Glasgow Dear Bob, Getting here A1, no word of shifting yet. We are having inoculations against typhoid fever today. Kind of vaccination business. This photo is taken outside the empty house we stayed in. Each Co. (this is some of them) is about 100 strong now. Piles of recruits have joined us from London and Bedford. Bn. is 30 men over strength now. How is Jock getting on? He will be starting shortly. Good luck, Walter."

 

safe_image.php?d=AQCXyZNRm26GEzPR&w=90&h
 
BEDFORDHIGHLANDERS.BLOGSPOT.COM|BY RICHARD GALLEY
 
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Edited by James Gray
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On 4/17/2007 at 07:04, ian turner said:

Extracts from this website:

http://www.worldwar1.com/heritage/delville.htm

The 1st South African Infantry Brigade was recruited at Potchefstroom in August and September 1915 for service overseas. It comprised four battalions (or regiments) of infantry. In order to render these battalions as representative as possible, they were designated as follows:

1st South African Infantry Regiment (Cape of Good Hope Regiment)

2nd South African Infantry Regiment (Natal and Orange Free State Regiment)

3rd South African Infantry Regiment (Transvaal and Rhodesia Regiment)

4th South African Regiment (South African Scottish Regiment)

During December 1915 it was decided to send the South African brigade to Egypt, where the Senussi tribe led by. Gaafer Pasha, was threatening to overrun the country. On 23 January 1916 the 2nd South African Infantry Battalion first saw action at Halaxin.

The brigade sailed to Marseilles, where the 4th South African Infantry Regiment were placed in two weeks quarantine due to a case of spinal meningitis. The remainder of the brigade entrained for Armentieres in Flanders, where they underwent training in trench warfare. They formed part of the 9th (Scottish) Division

++

Ian

 

Arrived in France end April 1916.

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