Rifle Brigade locations 1902

For all discussions relating to British military and naval matters of the Edwardian and immediate pre-First World War period, 1901-1914.

Rifle Brigade locations 1902

Postby SWB » 02 Dec 2014 16:43

Hello

I am writing up a short article that touches on the British regiments guarding a Boer POW camp at Kakul, Abbotabad, India (now Pakistan).

Could someone help me with the locations of any Rifle Brigade battalions in 1902 - were they in this region at all?

Many thanks
Meurig
Researcher. Owner: The Register of the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902. Interests: 24th Foot/South Wales Borderers/RRW/RW. South Africa generally. War memorials
User avatar
SWB
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 936
Joined: 20 Dec 2008 12:43

Re: Rifle Brigade locations 1902

Postby Frogsmile » 02 Dec 2014 20:56

At the beginning of July 1902, Meurig, the 1st, 3rd and 4th Battalions of the Rifle Brigade were all in South Africa and only the 3rd Battalion were in India (Bengal).
By the end of 1902 the 1st Battalion RB were at Portsmouth, the 4th Battalion on its way to Chatham, the 2nd Battalion in Egypt, and the 3rd Battalion still in India, at Meerut.
Given that Abbotabad was in the Hazara region of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, and 456.5 miles from Meerut, it seems unlikely (although not wholly impossible) that 3rd RB provided any guarding contingent.

It was common for British battalions in India to provide detached companies for small ongoing tasks (on a rotational basis) and complete Wings (half battalions) for substantial tasks, but travelling such a large distance would be logistically very difficult and it is more likely that nearer battalions (of other regiments) were used.
More likely garrisons for guarding troops to be provided from are Peshawar (93 miles away) and Rawalpindi (81 miles away). The units based at these locations at the end of 1902 were:
Rawalpindi: 2nd Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps. 9th Lancers and F Battery RHA.
Peshawar: 1st Battalion Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regt and 1st Battalion Somerset Light Infantry.

Having looked at the periodical distribution lists for India throughout 1902 the 3rd RB remained in Bengal and the 2nd KRRC remained in Punjab. You now really need to research the tasks and activities of those two battalions to ascertain if they were tasked for PoW guarding at Abbotabad. The 2nd KRRC seems the most likely to get this task.
By 1911, Abbotabad had become a base for no less than four Gurkha battalions and it is quite possible that some such battalions were there also in 1902.
sq
Relic of many a fight and siege and sack, it points a moral and adorns the back.
User avatar
Frogsmile
Forum Fellow
 
Posts: 4970
Joined: 25 Jan 2011 20:17
Location: Wiltshire, England

Re: Rifle Brigade locations 1902

Postby SWB » 02 Dec 2014 21:40

Frogsmile

Brilliant. 2KRRC based at Rawalpindi provided three companies from March to September 1902 supplementing 1-5 Ghurka Rifles who were based at Kakul.

The reference to the RB comes from History of the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force) 1858 to 1928, Gale & Polden, Aldershot, undated (p.161 and illustration facing p.168) quoted in Boer Prisoners of War in India, article in DurbarVol 28, No 1, Spring 2011 (Indian Military History Society):

"In 1902 a new experience came to the Abbottabad garrison with the establishment of a camp at Kakul for the accommodation of Boer prisoners of war. They numbered several hundred, and the duty of guarding them was between the units of the garrison and two companies of the Rifles Brigade from Rawalpindi. "

Based on your answer I think the author of the RGR history got his regiments mixed up.

Thanks & regards
Meurig
Researcher. Owner: The Register of the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902. Interests: 24th Foot/South Wales Borderers/RRW/RW. South Africa generally. War memorials
User avatar
SWB
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 936
Joined: 20 Dec 2008 12:43

Re: Rifle Brigade locations 1902

Postby Frogsmile » 03 Dec 2014 01:04

SWB wrote:Frogsmile

Brilliant. 2KRRC based at Rawalpindi provided three companies from March to September 1902 supplementing 1-5 Ghurka Rifles who were based at Kakul.

The reference to the RB comes from History of the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force) 1858 to 1928, Gale & Polden, Aldershot, undated (p.161 and illustration facing p.168) quoted in Boer Prisoners of War in India, article in DurbarVol 28, No 1, Spring 2011 (Indian Military History Society):

"In 1902 a new experience came to the Abbottabad garrison with the establishment of a camp at Kakul for the accommodation of Boer prisoners of war. They numbered several hundred, and the duty of guarding them was between the units of the garrison and two companies of the Rifles Brigade from Rawalpindi. "

Based on your answer I think the author of the RGR history got his regiments mixed up.

Thanks & regards
Meurig


Yes there is no doubt that he mixed the two regiments up, Meurig, and in khaki, or undress rifle green frocks (which they probably still wore during Winter in India at that time, as the khaki serge was in South Africa), their black-buttoned uniforms (RB and KRRC) would have been very similar. I am glad that it has been possible to pin things down and that the Gurkha clue turned up trumps as well.

There are several sources showing the 2nd KRRC in Punjab (at Rawalpindi) and the 3rd RB in Bengal (at Meerut). Of all H.M. Line Regiments the KRRC (late 60th) had by far the strongest relationship with Ghurka troops in general, but specifically so with the Sirmoor Rifles (later 2nd Gurkhas), a relationship that was forged during the siege of Delhi when the two regiments served side-by-side in some extremely tough, often hand-to-hand fighting. I can well imagine that the Punjab Brigade Commander at Rawalpindi, when given the guarding task, would have seen the 2nd KRRC and 5th Gurkhas as ideal partners for the job, sharing as they did the Rifles ethos, drill and general day-to-day military procedure.

It seems that a number of the Boer PoW died at the Kakul camp (including - Jacobus Petrus De Jager - see enclosed image of his grave) and a small cemetery had to be set aside for them. The distinct individual burial mounds and a stone memorial are still visible today in the enclosed photo of the verdantly grassed site. A sad resting place so far from home, but a fate often shared by British soldiers.
Attachments
GJ de Jager_ Jacobus Petrus de Jager by sy pa se graf in Kakul.jpg
GJ de Jager_ Jacobus Petrus de Jager by sy pa se graf in Kakul.jpg (87.26 KiB) Viewed 1538 times
Boer_Cemetery_Kakul_Abbottabad.jpg
Boer_Cemetery_Kakul_Abbottabad.jpg (216.77 KiB) Viewed 1538 times
Last edited by Frogsmile on 03 Dec 2014 17:25, edited 9 times in total.
sq
Relic of many a fight and siege and sack, it points a moral and adorns the back.
User avatar
Frogsmile
Forum Fellow
 
Posts: 4970
Joined: 25 Jan 2011 20:17
Location: Wiltshire, England

Re: Rifle Brigade locations 1902

Postby Maureene » 03 Dec 2014 06:03

The FIBIS Fibiwiki has a page Abbottabad which contains information supplied by Prof Omer SK Tarin. Director, TSI, Abbottabad, and he says "The duty of guarding the Boer POWs [in Abbottabad] fell largely upon the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force) as Abbottabad was their home station"
http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/Abbottabad

Perhaps you could contact Prof Tarin, he may have further information.

The FIBIS Fibiwiki also has a page Rifle Brigade where there are links to online editions of the Rifle Brigade Chronicle for 1901,1902, 1904 and 1905
http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/Rifle_Brigade

Cheers
Maureen
Maureene
Forum Fellow
 
Posts: 800
Joined: 02 Aug 2011 07:33

Re: Rifle Brigade locations 1902

Postby Frogsmile » 03 Dec 2014 16:51

Maureene wrote:The FIBIS Fibiwiki has a page Abbottabad which contains information supplied by Prof Omer SK Tarin. Director, TSI, Abbottabad, and he says "The duty of guarding the Boer POWs [in Abbottabad] fell largely upon the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force) as Abbottabad was their home station"
http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/Abbottabad

Perhaps you could contact Prof Tarin, he may have further information.

The FIBIS Fibiwiki also has a page Rifle Brigade where there are links to online editions of the Rifle Brigade Chronicle for 1901,1902, 1904 and 1905
http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/Rifle_Brigade

Cheers
Maureen


Good stuff Maureen. The KRRC also had a periodical 'Chronical'. Their shared depot with the RB at Winchester led to some commonality in traditions for maintaining historical records, etc. Does FIBIS Fibiwiki have a page for the KRRC Chronicle?
sq
Relic of many a fight and siege and sack, it points a moral and adorns the back.
User avatar
Frogsmile
Forum Fellow
 
Posts: 4970
Joined: 25 Jan 2011 20:17
Location: Wiltshire, England

Re: Rifle Brigade locations 1902

Postby Maureene » 03 Dec 2014 23:28

The FIBIS Fibiwiki has a page 60th Regiment of Foot http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/60th_Regiment_of_Foot, which gives some details for the King’s Royal Rifle Corps Chronicle

Unfortunately, as far as I am aware, the only edition readily available to readers in the UK is 1904. However, if you live in North America, or know of a suitable proxy server, there are many editions available. There is also a pay website The Military Archive where you can get copies.

Cheers
Maureen
Maureene
Forum Fellow
 
Posts: 800
Joined: 02 Aug 2011 07:33

Re: Rifle Brigade locations 1902

Postby Frogsmile » 03 Dec 2014 23:41

Maureene wrote:The FIBIS Fibiwiki has a page 60th Regiment of Foot http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/60th_Regiment_of_Foot, which gives some details for the King’s Royal Rifle Corps Chronicle

Unfortunately, as far as I am aware, the only edition readily available to readers in the UK is 1904. However, if you live in North America, or know of a suitable proxy server, there are many editions available. There is also a pay website The Military Archive where you can get copies.

Cheers
Maureen


Thank you Maureen. Hopefully SWB can access one of those sources, or if not perhaps one of our Canadian colleagues can assist.
sq
Relic of many a fight and siege and sack, it points a moral and adorns the back.
User avatar
Frogsmile
Forum Fellow
 
Posts: 4970
Joined: 25 Jan 2011 20:17
Location: Wiltshire, England

Re: Rifle Brigade locations 1902

Postby SWB » 04 Dec 2014 10:00

Thanks Frogsmile and Maureen for the extras.

I have Steuart Hare's History of the KRRC Vol 4 which covers the period ca.1890-1913 and mentions the 3 companies 2KRRC going on detachment to Kakul.

That picture of the young Boer is Jacobus standing by his father's grave - according to the caption "by sy pa se graf". Jacobus looks to have been a teenage POW - not uncommon.

Checking the database on the Anglo-Boer War Museum website confuses the issue. In the POW Deaths database the dead man was only 20. However on their other database of all POWs Gerhardus Jacobus de Jager was 49, which fits with the caption. The POW Deaths database has the wrong age, confirmed in the printed roll of Boer POW deaths Die Bannelinge.

For those interested the image is at eggsa.

Regards
Meurig
Researcher. Owner: The Register of the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902. Interests: 24th Foot/South Wales Borderers/RRW/RW. South Africa generally. War memorials
User avatar
SWB
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 936
Joined: 20 Dec 2008 12:43

Re: Rifle Brigade locations 1902

Postby Frogsmile » 04 Dec 2014 21:08

SWB wrote:Thanks Frogsmile and Maureen for the extras.

I have Steuart Hare's History of the KRRC Vol 4 which covers the period ca.1890-1913 and mentions the 3 companies 2KRRC going on detachment to Kakul.

That picture of the young Boer is Jacobus standing by his father's grave - according to the caption "by sy pa se graf". Jacobus looks to have been a teenage POW - not uncommon.

Checking the database on the Anglo-Boer War Museum website confuses the issue. In the POW Deaths database the dead man was only 20. However on their other database of all POWs Gerhardus Jacobus de Jager was 49, which fits with the caption. The POW Deaths database has the wrong age, confirmed in the printed roll of Boer POW deaths Die Bannelinge.

For those interested the image is at eggsa.

Regards
Meurig


Thank you for clarifying that Jacobus was the son, SWB. I misunderstood that.

When musing over the task given to the Punjab Brigade Commander I have wondered whether he might have been a Rifleman himself. It would not surprise me if he was.

It has been interesting assisting you to research the subject of this thread. I had been aware of PoW camps on some of the island territories that formed part of the then Empire, but would never have dreamed that such a camp had been set up in a Khyber Province.
sq
Relic of many a fight and siege and sack, it points a moral and adorns the back.
User avatar
Frogsmile
Forum Fellow
 
Posts: 4970
Joined: 25 Jan 2011 20:17
Location: Wiltshire, England

Re: Rifle Brigade locations 1902

Postby SWB » 04 Dec 2014 21:40

No, thank you.

but would never have dreamed that such a camp had been set up in a Khyber Province.


- exactly what the Boers thought too!
Researcher. Owner: The Register of the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902. Interests: 24th Foot/South Wales Borderers/RRW/RW. South Africa generally. War memorials
User avatar
SWB
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 936
Joined: 20 Dec 2008 12:43

Re: Rifle Brigade locations 1902

Postby Maureene » 04 Dec 2014 21:54

Frogsmile wrote:I had been aware of PoW camps on some of the island territories that formed part of the then Empire, but would never have dreamed that such a camp had been set up in a Khyber Province.

There were POW Camps for Boers in a number of different locations all over India, see the FIBIS Fibiwiki page "POW Camps in India". They were located in, or near cantonments.
http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/POW_Camps_in_India

Also in later wars, POWs were brought to India from other countries , including German civilians transferred from East Africa

Cheers
Maureen
Maureene
Forum Fellow
 
Posts: 800
Joined: 02 Aug 2011 07:33

Re: Rifle Brigade locations 1902

Postby Frogsmile » 05 Dec 2014 13:08

Maureene wrote:
Frogsmile wrote:I had been aware of PoW camps on some of the island territories that formed part of the then Empire, but would never have dreamed that such a camp had been set up in a Khyber Province.

There were POW Camps for Boers in a number of different locations all over India, see the FIBIS Fibiwiki page "POW Camps in India". They were located in, or near cantonments.
http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/POW_Camps_in_India

Also in later wars, POWs were brought to India from other countries , including German civilians transferred from East Africa

Cheers
Maureen


Thank you Maureen, that is very interesting. I had only heard of such places as St Helena previously. It gives an even better idea of how Britain was almost bankrupted by that war. Given that it was followed relatively closely by WW1 it is no wonder that the finances of Britain became so depleted.
sq
Relic of many a fight and siege and sack, it points a moral and adorns the back.
User avatar
Frogsmile
Forum Fellow
 
Posts: 4970
Joined: 25 Jan 2011 20:17
Location: Wiltshire, England


Return to The Edwardian & Immediate Pre-First World War Period 1901-14

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest