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110th Anniversary, Battle of Boschbult Farm - 2 CMR Memorabilia - Mar. 31, 1902

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flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure
Battle of Boschbult Farm (Hart's/Kleinhart's River) Relics, Mar 31, 1902
Orig. museum collection
Found - Canadian and US sources
Above is a roundup of the usual suspects in militaria collections, when one is souveniring the people, places, and events of a historic happening.

Can you spot the oddball artifact you never expected to find?

These commemorate the Battle of Boschbult Farm (Hart's/Kleinhart's River) in the Western Transvaal, South Africa, only weeks before the end of the Boer War.

It was to be Canada's second worst day of casualties of the two-and-a-half year war.

Militaria collectors value most highly items that are "named" to a specific person, as these all are, mostly to Otto Moody of the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles.

- 1 OM duffle bag - 2 OM personal effects holdall - 3 OM water wagon driver's whip
- 4 OM saddle wallet strap - 5 OM haversack - 6 .303 British battlefield casings
- 7 OM martingale strap - 8 British battlefield pom pom casing
- 9 Boer battlefield Mauser casing - 10 Boer battlefield Martini-Henry casing
- 11 OM letter home from Natal - 12 OM saddle cinch strap - 13 OM bayonet
- 14 OM snake belt - 15 Jack Baird photo - 16 Edwin McCormick bugle
- 17 OM spurs - 18 Battle of Hart's River bystoneder

There is one kind of souvenir, almost universally ignored by collectors which, we believe, merits serious consideration as an equally important relic of a historic event - the bystoneder, a stone that was just a bystander, then suddenly found itself in the thick of things, when all hell was breaking loose around it.

Like the stone on Otto's haversack which came right from the battlefield.

Go to Otto Moody
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Rescued from the trash heap of history, by the Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum is an original photo of a youthful #494 2nd CMR Trooper Jack Baird of Macleod, Alberta, as he was in early 1901. Right his grumpy self late in life in Granum, Alberta.

Jack was born Apr 1, 1875 in Eastwood, Oxford Co, Ontario.

John, known as Jack, was the youngest of the Baird brothers and spent most of his life working the Round-up Ranch south of Granum. He also worked on the O'Keefe Ranch in Vernon.

In 1901, John enlisted in the Oxford Rifles and was sent to the Boer War in South Africa. He enlisted at Macleod, AB in December.

When he returned from the wars, he met and married Rita McDougall, at Granum, Alberta in March 1906. They had five children: Melbourne, Leslie, Roy, Ruth and Doris. They lived on the Round-up ranch until 1919.

Rita contracted influenza and died in Dec 1918 so John had to move to Daly Creek to be closer to school for the children. Finally in 1949, Jack moved to Granum where he died March 9, 1955.

Thanks, Jack, For That - We'd like to think that Jack's grumpiness in old age comes from greater wisdom, rarely found in youth, when he realized the awful things he'd done while young in South Africa. Late in life he probably realized how little he would have liked it, if regiments of Boer cavalry, fighting for Queen Wilhelmina, suddenly showed up, on some trumped up pretext, or other, and started shooting up his neighbourhood in Granum, Alberta. Burning all the homes and barns, as far as you could see or ride, killing all the livestock, and rounding up the women, children, and babies, and putting them in concentration camps, where they would die by the tens of thousands...

Which brings us to Canadians shooting up Muslim women, children, and babies in Afghanistan... Jack was a hidebound man of his time. Modern Canadians have no excuse... And Jack would have been aghast, at the cold-hearted and brutal warfare carried out by modern professional military men, and their airily dismissive attitude that treated women, children, and babies of combatants they have selected to "exterminate" as simply "collateral damage."


Jack Baird #494 2 CMR, South Africa, 1902
Orig. photo - Image Size - 11 x 17 cm
Found - Margaree Forks, NS

Genuine certified photos like this are fabulous for a variety of reasons. Because they are named they can be definitively tied to a specific squadron, a specific unit, and a specific time and place.

Because they are so bang up close, you can see exactly how the men were outfitted in the field, and how they wore their gear.

Jack was, of course, an original Canadian cowboy, when the west was still wild. Of special note: Jack's bandana, that would be a staple of cowboy silent screen stars in the coming years.

Also of note: his double bandoliers, how he wore his puttees, his spurs.

The thick wool pants tied off tight at the waist and by puttees must have been a boiler in the hot South African weather.

With no air flowing in or out the men must have had epidemics of "crotch rotch," blisters, and saddle sores in many unmentionable places.

But, what with lead flying around their ears from the inhabitants whose homeland they were invading and shooting up, hot privates were probably the least of their worries










Many people might have thrown out this old original photo, with its rips, water stains, ink marks, and ripped off corner. Luckily they did not.

With just a minimum of Photoshop work you can take out the worst faults and end up with a perfectly good printing master of a very fine and rare view of a typical 2 CMR trooper.

This is how Jack looked, in the Western Transvaal, when he fought the Battle of Hart's River (Boschbult Farm) on March 31, 1902.

It was to be Canada's heaviest day of fatalities of the war, second only to Paardeberg, two years before.

 

 

 

This is the second original photo of a 2 CMR trooper we have found.

Go to Hubert Duchene 2 CMR

Family scrawlings on the back make these photos fabulously more important than if they were not there, and the men were just anonymous faces peering out of the past.

Of special interest is how Wilfred May kept track of his thousands of negatives, so Jack Baird could order more prints. Jack's neg was on Page 22, Roll # 4031, Regimental # 494, of 2nd CMR, and he lived in Macleod, North West Territories (Canada.)

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure The Bystoneder: It saw, it heard, it felt...

... the "pom... pom... pom" of the Canadian pompom gun, the shouts of young Canuck farm boys yelling as Boer commandoes charged in on them, the spitting of thousands of Mauser bullets, the dull boom of Martini-Henrys, on that awful day at Boschbult Farm...

This is the most primitive level of historic stone relic, the bystoneder, just a random stone lying about somewhere on a historic location, which just "stood by" while all hell was breaking loose around it.

Stoned on History - A totally undocumented memorabilia type we've favoured for over 60 years, is small stones gathered from the centre of important historic sites.

We've run into souvenir hunters who have stolen pistols from museums, archivists who have robbed museum vaults for their personal collections, or have chipped pieces from grave stones, removed chunks from buildings, ripped off signs, dug up battlefields, etc. Probably you've done some of it, yourself...?

All very destructive and often highly illegal.

Which is why we prefer plain stones that are lying about everywhere, by the thousands, at key historic locations.

They are superior to most souvenir items because, hell, they were there... when it happened... They saw; they heard; they felt; through every nook and cranny, they absorbed the history, of people, places, and events.

This bystoneder is millions of years old and lived quietly for all that time. Then for one brief moment, in March 1902, it saw, felt, and heard, all hell break loose around it...

Bystoneder Relic, Battle of Hart's River - March 31, 1902.
Orig. stone relic - Image Size - 7 x 10 x 4 cm
Found - Boschbult Farm battlefield, RSA

A Proposed International Scientific Nomenclature for Stone Relics:
Bystoneder - Shiftstone - Utilistone - Alterstone


Go to Stoned on Rock Relics
flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Alterstone, Indian Type 2 - Celt

A fabulous example of the earliest type of stone axe, actually a "celt," or hand axe, ergonomically shaped to fit the hand, rounded at one end, bevelled, sharpened, and polished at the other.

Since the arm was the haft, a celt was not grooved. It was used to chop skins from a carcass, or gristle and fat from a hide pulled taught over a stretcher.

It was found on the banks of the Sydenham River by old-timer Jack McEwen of Aberfeldy, in southern Ontario, and given to 10 year old Hans in 1951, for cutting his lawn. He already Canadianized the "just off the boat immigrant" Hans by calling him "Jack.".

He would end up becoming an educator, living for many years in remote Aboriginal villages, in Africa and northern Canada, and working for, with, and among, Canadian Aboriginal peoples. His experiences would ultimately inspire him to create Great Canadian heritage TV programs and websites like the following:

Go to Canada's First Peoples
Go to Canada's Fab Five Artists
Go to the Shooting of Dudley George

Hans "Jack" Goldi, as he looked at the time he got the stone celt, in Grade 3.

For over 60 years it has been the founding artifact in his extensive stone relic collection.

In 2012 he proposed the first international scientific nomenclature for classifying all stone relics.

Alterstone Relic, Celt, Neutral Indians - Aberfeldy, ON

Orig. celt - Size - 15 cm
Found - Aberfeldy, ON

In 1995 Hans started filming, behind the barricades of Camp Ipperwash, after the Ontario Provincial Police attacked the Indian occupiers and shot Dudley George, the only Canadian Indian killed by government forces in a First Nations land dispute in the 20th century.

Hans was motivated to shoot the story because he and his family, for years, in the 1950s, swam and picnicked on the exact spot - literally - where Dudley George had been killed.

In 2003, IPPERWASH: A CANADIAN TRAGEDY premiered on CBC TV, as the season opener on THE PASSIONATE EYE.

The one-and-a-half hour program won the PLATINUM AWARD, the top award given by Houston Texas WORLDFEST, the biggest film and television festival in the world, in competition with the top productions from around the globe.

flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure Edward McCormick served two terms in the Boer War, as a bugler in South Africa, and used this Mahillon bugle there in 1902, as a member of the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles.

He blew the Last Post with it when they buried the Canadians after the Battle of Boschbult Farm, on Mar. 31, 1902.

As a memorial of the campaign, he inscribed it with his Anglicized versions of two Boer words on the bell collar:

MAGELISBURG (sic), for the district, west of Pretoria, through which his unit chased the Boer Commando of Commandant Koos de la Rey, and President Steyn. And BRACKSPRUIT, the name of the stream on which the Battle of Boschbult Farm was fought.

Go to Edwin McCormick

Other Mahillon 1901 military inscribed bugles from the Boer War have been found in Canada, so Edwin's was not unique.

This bugle was found as an anonymous "cast-off" on ebay from a seller who had found it at a low end Toronto auction. Canadian historian John Goldi sleuthed out the history and saved it from the trash heap of history.

An Alterstone Relic: The original tombstone at the battlefield and grave site, with the tents of the occupying army still in the background.

An alterstone is part of a new classification system of stone relics which we propose, to categorize a heretofore undocumented historical resource and place stone relics in their proper place among historical artifacts and memorabilia items.

Go to Fabulous Boer War Bugles
Boer War Bugle of Edward McCormick, 1901
Orig bugle - Size - 11.5"
Found - Toronto, ON
Signed C Mahillon & Co., 1901

C. Mahillon & Co. was a Belgian manufacturer of musical instruments, founded in Brussels (1836-43) by Charles Mahillon, and joined in 1865 by son Victor Mahillon (1841-1924) a renowned musical scholar.


The bugle is signed C. Mahillon & Co, 1901, as well as with the military broad arrow.

Standing on the exact spot where the tombstone above was set up on the Boschbult Farm grave site, is Canadian historian John Goldi, who returned with the bugle to where it had last been 98 years before, as Edwin blew the Last Post.

The bodies lay here for some 70 years till they were exhumed to a nearby Ottosdal cemetery.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure Just a fabulous find is this fine Boer War bandolier, which was used by the Canadian Mounted Rifles in South Africa, during 1902.

Bullets, feverishly plucked from its tubes, were very likely shot off at the Battle of Boschbult Farm (Hart's River) on March 31, 1902.

This was Canada's second most costly action of the two and-a-half year war, resulting in eight Canadian fatalities.

The forerunner for this British bandolier pattern was first issued in 1882, and subsequently altered in minor ways over the years.

This bears no British manufacturing name, only a large stamped W on the tongue. It was probably a Canadian manufacture and is 49 inches long oa.

The bandolier has room for 50 .303 cartridges, contained in four pouches of ten bullet tubes, one of six, and one of four, conforming to L.o.C 8789 (undated) though possibly from 1897.

The backside of the tongue of the belt bears the stamp of "II (indistinctly) CMR 38" that is, the 2nd Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, and Trooper #38.

(It is not I CMR because there was no such regiment on the books - let alone have equipment stamped for it - when the members of the original Canadian Mounted Rifles arrived in South Africa, in early 1900. Only later, when another unit was raised and the bureaucrats started juggling the names of Canadian units in South Africa were the names standardized and renumbered. Very much after the fact. So don't go looking for I CMR stampings, though plenty of II, III, IV, and V CMR imprints exist, all from 1902.)

Trooper #38 was 20 year old Edward Warwick Pownall of Montreal, Quebec. Eddie was a colleague of Otto Moody, Trooper #48, who was 21, also from Montreal, and who signed up a day later.

Once no doubt pals, their militaria has been widely scattered in the last 100 years. This bandolier turned up in California; Otto Moody's effects turned up in Montana.

Go to Eddie Pownall 2 CMR

Bandolier, Pvt. EW Pownall, Trooper #38 II CMR, 1902
Orig. leather - Size - 1.25 m
Found - Moreno Valley, CA


flashing newGreat Canadian Heritage Treasure This is probably the most fabulous bandolier in Canadian military history.

It is in superlative shape but does show that it was extremely well used in its life, before being shoved into a trunk as a war souvenir by its previous soldier owner.

Names and numbers scratched on it are mysterious.

We offer a possible explanation for most of them.

Its most prominent name is F Warren, scratched on the back.

It also came from descendants of F Warren at a house clearance, when immediate family had lost touch and interest, with a distant relative of long ago.

Falkland Fitzmaurice Warren was born in 1868 and signed up as #394 with Strathcona's Horse, in Vancouver, on Feb. 9, 1900. His father was a colonel.

So he was an owner of this bandolier and used it during the year long campaign as the SH accompanied General Buller's drive up into the Boer heartland from Natal.

Falkland returned to Canada at the end of 1900, presumably carrying this bandolier.

But that is not the end of the story.

The bandolier has another identical name scratched on it, twice, in different places, even though they are somewhat faint and very well worn: that of one S Burnett N.299.

Go to "I just have to know the rest..."
Boer War Bandolier, F Warren (Strathcona's Horse) S Burnett (2 CMR) - 1900-1902
Orig. leather - Size - 1.25 m
Found - Hamilton, ON


 
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