The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Private (later Warrant Officer) Andrew Duncan

Ancestor Details

Ancestor's Name: Andrew Steward Duncan

Ancestor's date of birth: 15/07/1882

Ancestor's date of death: 20/04/1960

Cause of Death: Myocardial infarction

Service and Life Before the Boer War: Born Ayr, Scotland worked as a labourer in Liverpool c.1899. Attested for 3rd South Lancashire Militia 26 Sep 1899. Enlisted in 3rd South Lancashire Regulars 9 Nov 1899.

Service Number: 5963

Colony or State of enlistment: Not Australia, Place of Enlistment: Warrington, Cheshire, England

Unit: South Lancashire Regiment

Rank attained in Boer War: PTE, Date Effective: 26/09/1899

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): WO2, Date Effective: 01/03/1916

Murray Page: Not applicable did not serve in an Australian Unit.

Contingent: Not applicable

Ship: Canada, Date of Sailing: 01/12/1899 (from the UK)

Memorial details: Soldier's grave at Beaufort, Victoria.

Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Queen's South Africa Medals with clasps. 1914/15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Personal Characteristics: Heihgt 170 cm, weight 56 kg.

Reasons to go and fight: 'Stand up and be counted. Fight for what you believe in'

Details of service in war: At Venter's Spruit, 20 to 22 January 1900, the 11th Brigade were on the right. The Royal Lancaster and South Lancashire Regiments were not so heavily engaged as the Lancashire Fusiliers and York and Lancaster, the casualties in the South Lancashire Regiment from the 19 to the 23 being about 20.

On the night of the 23rd Spion Kop was taken, part of the battalion being in General Woodgate's force, unofficial accounts say two companies, but the despatches take no notice of their existence beyond announcing their casualties, which were severe for the small number engaged. The losses on the Spion were 2 officers and 3 men killed, 22 wounded, and some missing.

After the failure at Vaal Krantz the Royal Lancaster and South Lancashire Regiments went with General Buller to the old position at Chieveley, the other two battalions remaining behind to watch the British left and rear.

The South Lancashire took part in the fighting between the 13 and 27 February, having at times a very prominent part. On the 22, when General Wynne was endeavouring to capture the hills between Onderbrook and Langerwachte Spruits, the South Lancashires led in the chief assault. Many positions were captured, including the 'principal objective'; but the crest could not be held, the fire from other surrounding positions being so severe. The situation must have reminded some of the never-to-be-forgotten 24 of January.

In his telegraphic despatch of 28 February General Buller says, "The enemy's main position was magnificently carried by the South Lancashire Regiment about sunset". Between 13 and 27 February the South Lancashires lost 1 officer and 10 men killed, and 3 officers and 81 men wounded.

Five officers and 11 men were mentioned in despatches for the relief operations, 2 men being recommended for the distinguished conduct medal.

Like the rest of the Vth Division, the South Lancashire Regiment took part in General Hildyard's march from Ladysmith to Newcastle, his operations in the Wakkerstroom district, in the taking of Botha's Pass, and the turning of Laing's Nek.

In General Buller's final despatch of 9th November 1900, 6 officers, 1 non-commissioned officer, and 1 private were mentioned; and in Lord Roberts' final despatch 10 officers and 15 non-commissioned officers and men.

After the battle of Alleman's Nek the division was chiefly employed about the north of Natal and southeast of the Transvaal; and when Major Gough's force of 200 Mounted Infantry was ambushed at Blood River on 17th September the battalion lost 8 wounded and 17 men taken prisoners.

In the splendid defence of Fort Itala (see 2nd Royal Lancaster) the South Lancashire shared the heavy losses and the resultant glory. Out of 21 men killed 7 belonged to the battalion, and in addition they had 9 wounded.

One officer and 1 man were mentioned in despatches for good work at Fort Itala, and 1 private for Blood River. In the final despatch 6 officers and 4 non-commissioned officers were mentioned.

Service and life after the Boer War: Served in India with 3rd South Lancashire Regiment until 1911. Then migrated to Australia. Married Elizabeth. Worked in Broken Hill mines until WW1. One the first to volunteer for the AIF, joining on 24 August 1914 in Adelaide. Served in the 10 bn AIF at Gallipoli, Pozieres, (wounded in Turkey and France) then POW 1918-19. Returned to Australia 1919. Settled in Beaufort, Victoria.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Andrew Palmer, Grovedale VIC
Relationship to Ancestor: Great grandson


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields