The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra
|Private Belton Halley|
Ancestor's Name: Belton Andrew Halley
Ancestor's date of birth: 12/04/1881
Ancestor's date of death: 01/10/1900
Cause of Death: killed in action Elands Kop
Service Number: 60
Colony or State of enlistment: NSW, Place of Enlistment: On enlistment.
Unit: New South Wales Infantry (E Squadron New South Wales Mounted Rifles).
Rank attained in Boer War: PTE, Date Effective: Detail not available.
Highest Rank attained (if served after war): Did not survive war.
Murray Page: 40 and 203.
Contingent: First New South Wales.
Ship: Aberdeen, Date of Sailing: 04/11/1899.
Memorial details: Heilbron central memorial, Free State, South Africa. Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
Decorations: Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps.
Personal Characteristics: Loving, fun loving, my (Fay's) dad Robert Colin Andrew Henry was the spitting image of him.
Reasons to go and fight: To serve his country.
Details of service in war: December 1899 - October 1900 in northern Cape Colony, Free State and Transvaal. On 1 October 1900 at Elands Kop when he was shot and killed defending his mates and post from one Christian deWet and his commandos.
This letter was written to his sister Ada from South Africa on 26 December 1899. (transcribed by Fay Hill)
I received your welcome letter and was very glad to hear from you, for I was just beginning to long for some news from home, you must excuse me for not writing to you before now but we have been kept busy over here. I hope to hear that you have had a merry Christmas and saved me a bit of cake and I wish you and Susie, mother, father, Arthur, Annie and May and Mrs Simmonds a merry Christmas and a happy new year, also everybody else.
I suppose you felt a bit lonely without the larrikin ,but never mind I hope to be with you all for the next one, I have just heard a rumour that we're going to go home to England for a spell after the war is over. The Queen sent us all a message yesterday, wishing us all a merry Christmas and she is going to give us a box of chocolates each, we ought to have got it yesterday.
Dear Ada I think I have told you all for the present but I will write you a longer letter next time. So I will now conclude with fond love to you all . Hoping you will enjoy yourself today I remain your affectionate brother Belton.
This next letter was written 31 August 1900 in Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa it's a very emotional letter from son to mother breaks your heart to read the plans he had only never to come true. His letter goes like this:
My Dear Mother,
I received you welcome letter dated 16th but I have not received all the other letters yet, they sent them down to Elandsfontein for me, but I have gone on but I expected to get them in a couple of days. I have some good news to tell you, I have joined my contingent at Pretoria, 3 days ago now and I was just in time to get your last mail, but I did not get any letters from Susie or Mrs Simmonds, you might ask Susie, did she write to me it is strange I have only 2 letters from her since I have been out here. I also received a letter from Arthur (his brother) one from father my great grandpa Halley one from Ted Weatherburn and one from Mrs Gorman. Dear mother I was greatly surprised and very sad to hear of the health of poor Mr Weatherburn, he was the last man I thought would die so soon, my word mother I shall miss him now for he was a second father to me. Dear mother I want your advice on an important matter, the officer came round to us a couple of days ago and wanted to know if there were any men wanting employment in the police or on the railway after the war is over, so I went and put my name down for the police, so I want to know if you will agree to it or not and whatever you say I will do. I think it's for the term of 5 years. I would have enough money by that time to start a pretty good business when I got home again.
I understand by the rumours that are going about we would get a pretty good job in Sydney if we come home with the contingent, but you know I had pretty hard times at home before I left and it maddens me when I think how wrong I was living on you when I was at home I do not care who the man is if he has got any conscience at all he feels down right miserable to be out of work and living on his parents, so that is the reason I do not like to stand any chances so mother do not be afraid to say stop out here if you think it would be the best for me, but there is no use saying one thing and meaning another.
I would like very much to see your dear faces as soon as ever I could, but I must look forward to the future. All our first contingents are attached to the second contingent, the mounted rifles that came out in the Aberdeen are A squadron and we are E squadron and … (this is where his letter ends)
Service and life after the Boer War: He never came home to Australia, is buried in South Africa.
Name of Descendant: Fay Alma Hill, Epping NSW.
Relationship to Ancestor: Great niece.
Name of Descendant: Jack Leslie Henry, Caves Beach NSW.
Relationship to Ancestor: Great nephew.