The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Corporal Benjamin Crow

Ancestor Details

Name of Ancestor: Benjamin Elijah Crow

Ancestor's date of birth: 09/09/1868

Ancestor's date of death: 28/10/1938

Cause of Death: Not Stated

Service Number: 2283

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

Unit: South African Light Horse

Rank attained in Boer War: CPL, Date Effective: Detail not provided

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): No record of post Boer War service.

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

Contingent: Not applicable

Ship: Travelled privately to South Africa

Memorial details: Platrand South Africa. Buried at Woronora Cemetery Sutherland Catholic Section 2 Grave 419.

Decorations: Queen's South Africa Medal 1899 and clasps 1901 sighted by NSW BWM Committee. Does not show up on South African SALH Documents.

Personal Characteristics: Born in Launceston Tasmania, he was working at the Princess Royal Mine at Cue Western Australia in 1898.

Reasons to go and fight: He and his great friend 2278 Trooper Sam Hoskin went to South Africa and joined the South African Light Horse.

Details of service in war: The unit was also known as the Imperial Light Horse. Its first engagement was the Battle of Elandslaagte on 21 October 1899. During this battle two Victoria Crosses were awarded (to Captain Charles Herbert Mullins and Lieutenant Robert Johnston) and the commander Colonel Scott-Chisholme was killed, leading from the front. The Regiment subsequently saw service at the Siege of Ladysmith (where another Victoria Cross was awarded - to Trooper Herman Albrecht at Wagon Hill) Colenso, the Battle of Spion Kop and the Relief of Ladysmith. At Spioenkop, the SALH was successful in capturing Commandant Hendrik Frederik Prinsloo, the commander of the Carolina Boer Commando. The SALH was then specially selected to join the Mafeking Relief Column under Colonel Mahon. Eight men under Major Karri Davies of the SALH were the first to enter Mafeking on the night of 16/17 May 1900 to break the siege, followed up by the joint relief columns the following morning. 209 men who had been involved in Relief of Ladysmith and 33 who had been besieged there were in Mahoon's Column as were 420 men who had been in the Defence of Kimberley. In late 1900 a second battalion was formed, under Major Duncan McKenzie. Both units then went on to fight in the South African Republic and the Orange Free State Republic until the end of the war. A fourth Victoria Cross was awarded - to Surgeon Captain Thomas Joseph Crean - due to his actions at Tyger Kloof Spruit near Bethlehem in 1901.

Service and life after the Boer War: On return to Australia he took up carpentry as his occupation. After the war he worked at the Lang Laughly Deep mine in the Transvaal. He received his Winding Engine Drivers Certificate of Competency 18 December 1903. In January he returned to Australia from South Africa on the White Star Line SS Suevic January 1910. His friend Sam Hoskin who was wounded during the South African war shared many adventures together. Ben used to tell the story of their adventures to his son. He married Eda on 12 October 1911 at St Vincents Catholic Church Redfern. He built two houses for his family one at 56 High Street Carlton and one on the Esplanade, Brighton-le-Sands. He and Eda named the houses "Otto" after their son. During the great depression the family must have been in financial difficulties because they moved to Campbell's Creek at Windeyer near Mudgee NSW to fossick for gold. Ben resorted to his mining skills in these hard times. Shooting rabbits provided meat for the table. He passed away in 1938.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Vincent Crow, Haberfield NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: Grandson


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields