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Commandant George Ross

Ancestor Details

Name of Ancestor: George Walter (Arthur) Ross

Ancestor's date of birth: 12/11/1867

Ancestor's date of death: 26/01/1949

Cause of Death: Old Age

Service Number: No service number in the Irregulars

Colony or State of enlistment: Not Applicable, Place of Enlistment: Vrede, Orange Free State, South Africa

Unit: Vrede Commando - The unit name for the local defence force for a community.

Rank attained in Boer War: Commandant (approx LTCOL equivalent), Date Effective: Detail not provided

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): Detail not provided

Murray Page: Not applicable, did not serve in an Australian unit

Contingent: Not applicable

Ship: Did not need to travel to south Africa

Memorial details: Detail not provided

Decorations: The South African Republic and Orange Free State War Medal

Personal Characteristics: George ran away from home in Rosscarbery, County Cork on his fifteenth birthday. I found the house he was born in in 1981. George got to South Africa with the Royal Garrison Artillery and assisted in setting up the guns in Simonstown, a British naval base to defend the sea route round the Cape to India. I have no idea how he got out of the army. Note: The full name listed is GEORGE WALTER ARTHUR ROSS. The "Arthur" was an assumed name. When George ran away from home (family tradition has it) he changed his first name to "Arthur" so he could not be traced. He started in business with the name Arthur and became too well know by that to change. A. Ross & Co. (Pty) Ltd always traded under that name. It was only socially that George Walter was called by his baptised names.

Reasons to go and fight: Defended his adopted Country, Orange Free State.

Details of service in war: Was at Sannas Post. In March 1900 Generaal Christiaan de Wet had detached 400 men including the Vrede Commando under his personal leadership to take the Bloemfontein waterworks. At Koornspruit Drift, he became aware of a large British force of 2 horse artillery batteries and 1,700 men under the command of Major General Broadwood nearby. He decided to ambush Broadwood's larger force as it moved on towards Bloemfontein. At dawn on 31 March 1900, Krupp shells from de Wet's force fell behind Broadwood and hastened the British. Broadwood decided to make a dash for the protection of other British forces at Bushman's Kop. He failed to set a vanguard and the convoy was led by civilian wagons. Disappearing from view as they descended into Koornspruit Drift, each successive wagon was quietly captured by the burghers under Christiaan de Wet. The soldiers were disarmed and placed under guard. Only at about 08:00 was the alarm raised and the real battle began. The British suffered heavy losses at first, surprised by the Boer fire. In the course of the action, most of the British guns (7 out of 12) were captured because their crews were fighting within effective rifle range of the enemy. At about noon, threatened by a British mounted brigade to his flank, de Wet decided on a policy of 'judicious disengagement' and withdrew eastwards across the Modder River, taking the captured British guns, ammunition and prisoners with them. They also destroyed the pump installations, though this, as history makes plain, still did not budge the British from Bloemfontein.

Service and life after the Boer War: After the war and signing the peace treaty at Vereeniging, George fully accepted the peace and the new dispensation where Smuts and Botha began to run a united country of two colonies and two republics. To my astonishment, looking at it now, two of his sons, my uncles went to Sandhurst, Claude being killed flying with the Royal Flying Corps in the WW1. My father served the Natal Carbineers (who had fought the Boers), riding into German South West Africa (Namibia) to wrest control from the Germans.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Brian Douglas Ross, Redcliffe WA
Relationship to Ancestor: Grandson

Name of Descendant: Edwina Anne Mackay, Wembley Downs WA
Relationship to Ancestor: Great Grand Daughter

Name of Descendant: Caroline Anne Mackay, Wembley Downs WA
Relationship to Ancestor: Great Great Grand daughter

Name of Descendant: James Ross Mackay, Wembley Downs WA
Relationship to Ancestor: Great Great Grandson

Name of Descendant: Julia Kate Dekenah, Hillarys WA
Relationship to Ancestor: Great-granddaughter

Name of Descendant: Michael Liam Dekenah, Hillarys WA
Relationship to Ancestor: Great-great-grandson

Name of Descendant: Sophie Kate Dekenah, Hillarys WA
Relationship to Ancestor: great-great-granddaughter

 

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