Hussar Officers in the Boer War

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Hussar Officers in the Boer War

Postby colenso » 13 Feb 2009 10:13

I have tried with little success to obtain a photograph of either of the following cavalry officers who fought in the Anglo-Boer war. Having obtained officer group photographs of each of the regiments prior to leaving for South Africa, none identify who the officers actually are.

Any help would be much appreciated. The two officers in question are:

Captain John F. Church – 13th Hussars.
Lieutenant G.P Scott – 14th Hussars.

Regards

Colenso
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Re: Hussar Officers in the Boer War

Postby SWB » 18 Feb 2009 19:04

Colenso,

To save anyone going over the same ground can roughly say where you hav been looking?

I have some marvellous pics of 13th Hussars officers taken by Lt FW Jarvis, one may be of Church but none are identified!

Regards
Meurig
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Re: Hussar Officers in the Boer War

Postby colenso » 19 Feb 2009 14:54

Hi Meurig,

Many thanks for valuable feedback.
I too have several photograph’s of the13th including that attached, but to date I have not been able to identify which one is John Fletcher Church. The picture I presume was taken prior to them leaving for active service in SA.

As on the 9/11/99, along with two and half squadrons of the regiment left Aldershot for Liverpool by train to start their journey to South Africa. Embarking on the hired transport No. 61 SS Templemore, their strength, was 22 officers which included the following:

Colonel Blagrove, commanding; Majors W. C. Smithson and F. J. Murphy; Captains E. A. Wiggin, J. H. Tremayne (Adjutant), and A. H. M. Taylor; Lieutenants F. H. Wise, J. F. Church, A. Symons, E. W. Denny, H. J. J. Stern, F. G. Bayley, A. W. B. Spencer, J. T. Wigan, J. D. Lyons, and W. Pepys, and 2nd Lieutenant T. H. S. Marchant; Lieutenant and Quartermaster G. Rupert.

The remainder of the regiment followed on November 10, again embarking at Liverpool on November 11th on the hired transport SS. Montfort. Officers: Major M. A. Close; Captain L. S. Battye; 2nd Lieutenant E. F. Twist;

This would account for 19 names of the officers taken from 2I in the picture. Can anyone identify Lieut John Fletcher Church?

Kind regards

Colenso
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Re: Hussar Officers in the Boer War

Postby williambcooper » 13 Feb 2011 21:12

Colenso/SWB,
Did you ever find the names for the group photo of the 13th Hussar officers??? My interest is in Captain Battye and Lieut Lyons and would love to identify them!
Kind regards,
William
williambcooper@hotmail.co.uk
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Re: Hussar Officers in the Boer War

Postby colenso » 14 Feb 2011 10:05

Hi William,

Unfortunately I never got to the bottom of this puzzle, I even contacted to 13H museum in Yorkshire but they had no luck either. It would seem that when the photograph was taken, the sitters in the museum copy were not identified on the front or back.

The curator suggests that as most of the officers would have picked up a copy, one or two may have penned a name or two on their copy. Other than this I am at a loss, but still open to suggetions.

regards

colenso
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Re: Hussar Officers in the Boer War

Postby fooz » 19 Aug 2011 12:46

Hi
I was very interested to see your image of the Hussar Officers.
I can't identify who you are looking for but I can tell you the officer in the middle row, 3rd from left is my great grandfather, Maxwell Close.
I have a few albums of his photos and also his wife's journals, I know she mentions some of the names listed in the photos so I will look through the photos to check if I can identify anyone else.
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Re: Hussar Officers in the Boer War

Postby colenso » 23 Aug 2011 17:56

Hi fooz,

Maxwells photo albums and his wifes journeys certainly sounds an interesting source of information, it would be great if you could unravel the identify of Major Church. I have done a lot of research into Church over the years, he was quite a charactor. He was the kind man who kept very much in contact with his fellow officers, even up to the time of his death. He lived a gentlemans life residing at the cavalry club in London. He often went riding, hunting and shooting with his old comrades, so I wonder if Maxwell was part of the old boys circle.

I have a copy of Barrets book which gives us some interesting accounts of the X111's involvement in the Boer War. Maxwell's name crops on several occasions. It would appear he left Aldershot on November 10, 1899 and embarked the following day at Liverpool on the hired transport SS " Montford." I will do some digging around for you.


Please feel free to drop me a PM.

colenso
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Re: Hussar Officers in the Boer War

Postby williambcooper » 21 Aug 2013 17:53

Colenso/SWB,
I have found a copy of the 13th Hussars Boer War Officers picture which has the names on it!!!!
Its in the National Army Museum. Unfortunately I didn't have time to get it copied so apologies!
I won't be able to get to the Reading Room at the NAM until October.
Kind regards,
William
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Re: Hussar Officers in the Boer War

Postby colenso » 25 Aug 2013 17:24

William,
Many thanks for your kind offer. Yes that would be wonderful, as I have still not been successful in putting a face to Captain John F. Church – 13th Hussars. Since I first opened this post in 2009, I have done a considerable amount of research on the gentleman. The following is by no means a full account.

John Fletcher Church was born the son of a wealthy gentleman on the 8 March 1872; he was raised in the town of St Mary in the castle, Sussex. He was educated at Eton, where his name is entered on the 1889 graduation. On 2 May 1891 he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant to the 13th Hussars and later on 23 January 1892 he was appointed Lieutenant. For the Cavalry purists, an excellent book written in 1911 by C.R.B Barrett - History of the X111 Hussars-, gives an excellent account of the 13ths actions throughout the Boer War. In it, Church is mentioned on numerous occasions. One such account on 21/8/00 and supported by Major Smithson’s report to the OC is worthy of note: This I believe it relates Church’s being mentioned in Lord Roberts’s dispatches. (Gazette- 10/9/01)

Quote:
“Private Cooke, who was hit alongside of me, behaved very well, as also did the others. Our casualties on this day were: One man killed, Major Smithson and one man wounded, Lieutenant Jenkins missing, four horses killed, sixteen horses wounded. Lieutenant Church, who left with two troops of A Squadron to relieve Lieutenant Wise and his two troops at Donga Spruit, was opposed by a considerable number of Boers, who galloped down to the line and blew up a culvert near Wessel's Farm, doing but little damage. Lieutenant Church undoubtedly prevented further damage being done. When the Boers attacking Mathew's Farm retreated, this force retired and Lieutenant Church proceeded to Donga Spruit.”
This was intended by the Boers to have been the main attack, and to have ended in the capture of Newcastle. The enemy under Commandant Opperman numbered 2000, and was so sure of success that they wired that Newcastle had been captured, a message that appeared in some Dutch papers in Europe. That this was so intended was confirmed later, and also after peace had been declared. The Boer excuse for failure was that one commando under Lucas Meyer, the distinguished commandant, arrived too late, and that in consequence they were beaten in detail. The General Officer Commanding on the excellent work done by the regiment during the day complimented Colonel Blagrove.

Over the past few years, I have also followed in the trail of his Life after the service: which has taken me to various interesting places. Here is just a few of many of the accounts I have managed to record:

Major Church connections with Upper Helmsley Hall were purely through arrangement of the Herbert family. The confusion of ownership of the Helmsley hall, (the death certificate stating the place of his death as being there) ownership of the estate however, was very much in the hands of the Herbert family. Mrs Herbert, the present owner of the estate, who kindly agreed to assist me in my research, confirmed that the Major had been a regular guest of her great Auntie, Avery Muriel Herbert. Engaged, but with no mentioning or intentions of any future marriage, it was not until her father had passed away in 1922, did the Major actually become a frequent visitor to the estate. Having retained her fathers viewing box at York racecourse, they pair became regular attendees to the flat season race meetings.

The major was then a living in member of the Cavalry club 127 Piccadilly, County of London, and having signed the family guest book as such (which still exists), his first entry was 12th-18th April 1922. There followed thirty or so such entries, spanning a period of 12 years and forming a distinct pattern. It is interesting to note, that the major spent most Christmas’s with the family, including regular visits in connection with York races, shooting and hunting season meets. Having married Lord Stafford, Avery’s sister along with Major Church’s nephew, Charles John Douglas Church [Captain retired] and his wife Catherine of 10 lower Grovesenor place, were obviously part of York’s elite society. Perhaps it was during one of these occasions or indeed through his family connections, that the pair was first introduced to one another?

It was on the 7/1/34 and during the families Christmas gathering at the estate, that major passed peacefully away. He was 61 years of age. The present Mrs Herbert believes that the major’s funeral may have taken place back in Sussex, as his final resting place is not in Upper Helmsley church cemetery of Saint Peters. The are no obituaries, nor any mentions of his death local York press.

A wealthy gentleman, John Fletcher Church’s latter years, or so it would appear were spent mainly in leisure. His last will and testimony however reflects his generosity and long lasting affiliation with the 13th Hussars leaving behind considerable sums of money to his fellow officers, including an estate and effects including sporting guns, swords, watches, fishing rods and motor cars. These were bequeathed to his brother’s nephew, John Douglas Church and monies to J.H Tremayne (Adjutant) his lifelong friend. His memory at Upper Helmsley hall still lives on to this very day.

Please feel free to PM me, if required
Kind regards
Colenso
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Re: Hussar Officers in the Boer War

Postby Paul Nixon » 19 Sep 2015 23:39

I appreciate that the research may have moved on a tad since this topic was originally posted...

There is a photo of John Fletcher Church which was published in Navy & Army Illustrated, Vol 2, 24, page 254, when he was in the 13th Hussars polo team, about to do battle with the 10th Hussars at Phoenix Park in Dublin. There is also a shot of the two teams in action on page 255. Those who know their polo will immediately twig that there were only four players in a team and whilst the individuals in the photo are not named, I think I can narrow your candidate down to three of the four as I think I have positively identified one of the players. My technical skills being limited, please PM me if you'd like a high res scan of the page. The page is also for sale if you want it.

Edit: The named members of the 13th Hussars polo team are:

Lieutenant Adolphe Symons
Lieutenant Abdy Fellowes Anderson
Lieutenant Francis Hubert Wise
Lieutenant John Fletcher Church

Major Walter Charles Smithson was one of the two umpires. Unfortunately, the 13th Hussars lost the match 5:3.

Their opponents in the 10th Hussars were:

Lieutenant Nathaniel William Curzon
Lieutenant Stanley Leonard Barry
Lieutenant Bertram Charles Christopher Spencer Meeking
Lieutenant Hon Thomas Walter Brand

Captain, Lord William Augustus Cavendish-Bentinck was the other umpire.
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