The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Lieutenant Alured Kelly

(James Henry Livingstone) Alured Kelly, Masterful soldier and saboutaged recruiter.

Alured Kelly enlisted in the 2nd Victorian mounted rifles contingent as a trooper with the number 129. He was recorded as a 23-year-old tea merchant from Winchelsea in Victoria. The contingent embarked on the 'Euralyus' on 13 January 1900. After arrival in Cape Colony it joined the Hanover Road Field Force under the command of its commanding officer Col Price and participated in the relief of Colesberg then crossed the Orange River into the Orange Free State and participated in the capture of Bloemfontein, the capital of Orange Free State. They engaged the Boers that Moddersfontein, Karee Kloof and Mooifontein. Later they crossed the Vaal River and advanced on Witwatersrand. The conditions were so arduous that often there were days where there was no food for either soldiers or horses. At Germiston Junction they captured engines and rolling stock intact although 79 horses died here from the privations. They advanced through the Transvaal, past Johannesburg and Pretoria and ended at Kormati Poort on the border of Portuguese territory. On 5 November 1900  they embarked for home on the 'Harlech Castle'.

Kelly then returned to South Africa on his own and enlisted in the 1st Regiment of the Scottish Horse on 9 February 1901 as number 57 with the rank of sergeant. On 20 March 1901 he was granted a commission as a lieutenant in the 2nd Regiment Scottish horse and served with the 2nd until 20 January 1902. The Marquis of Tullibardine dispatched Lieutenant Alured Kelly to Melbourne to recruit further drafts for the Scottish Horse for the time was fast approaching when the early men's enlistment term would expire. By the time Kelly reached Melbourne the Federal government had introduced its bill prohibiting recruiting in Australia for foreign regiments. Lord Hopetoun was powerless to intervene so Kelly had to cool his heels until a return berth could be secured for him on the next available ship the 'Britannic' which would carry time expired veterans back to the war zone as indulgence passengers. This circumvented the Federal government edict as the men were voluntarily returning to the war zone. Once a vessel clear the strident waters Kelly signed up 106 recruits to the Scottish Horse (mainly from NSW and Queensland as there was already a draft for the Scottish Horse from Victoria on the boat). Upon arrival at Cape Town the 'Britannic' was diverted to Durban where the Australian volunteers were formed into the Australian Commonwealth Regiment commanded by Major FG Purcell which was sent to stem the Louis Botha's second expedition into Natal. (This was short lived and Kelly soon returned to the Scottish Horse.) 

Kelly expected a warm welcome upon his return with recruits. This did not happen, he was embarrassed to find that as GHQ had not sanctioned his recruiting duties, he had been officially marked absent without leave stopping him from claiming considerable expenses. This blow led to his disenchantment the system and resulted in him resigning his commission three months later.

Considering that he was too old for war in 1914 Kelly took himself to France and in 1916 joined the French Red Cross with the honorary rank of Lieutenant. He worked with this organisation until the end of the war in 1918. He was awarded the Medaille de la Reconnaissance Francais 2me Classe.

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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields