The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Sergeant Henry Morrison

Ancestor Details

Ancestor's Name: Henry James Morrison

Ancestor's date of birth: 29/03/1873

Ancestor's date of death: 29/04/1953

Cause of Death: Age related

Service and Life Before the Boer War: He was born at Port Lincoln South Australia and was a farmer there at enlistment in World War 1

Service Number: 2610 (NSWIB)

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

Unit: South African Light Horse (not veriyable by contemporary record - stated on WW1 enlistment), then 3rd NSW Imperial Bushmen (one of the companies raised at Klerksdorp in Nov 1901-Feb 1902)

Rank attained in Boer War: SGT, Date Effective: 10/01/1902

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): PTE, Date Effective: 29/03/1916

Murray Page: 157

Contingent: Fifth New South Wales

Ship: Not known - see notes below

Other Boer War Service: He initially enlisted in the South African Light Horse in May/June 1900 and reached the rank of Sgt before returning to Australia then back to South Africa to join the 3NSWIB.

Memorial details: Buried near Adelaide South Australia.

Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps, King's South Africa Medal with South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902 clasps. British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Personal Characteristics: He was 164 cm tall, Blue Eyes and Brown Hair (71 kg - 1916).

Reasons to go and fight: Detail not provided.

Details of service in war: Service in SALH. On the 6 June 1900 the SALH and other troops seized and occupied Van Wyk Mountain. The regiment lost 6 killed and 4 wounded. General Buller said 'the occupation was well carried out', although a resolute attack was made on the force under cover of a grass fire. On the 7th an advance was made on Yellowboom. On the 8th the regiment occupied another hill, Spitz Kop, near Botha's Pass. On the same day the Pass was carried. "The SALH got up the Berg to the left of Botha's Pass and pursued for some distance, though they were not able to come up with, a party of the enemy who retired to the westward". On the 10th the advance continued. The regiment was in front and "cleared the enemy off a mountain without difficulty". They found the enemy moving in strength from east to north, and the regiment pushed forward three kilometres to some kopjes. Three squadrons were closely engaged with the enemy until dusk. Our casualties were 6 killed and 7 wounded, all of the SALH. Twenty-two of the enemy were found killed. On the 11th the enemy made a stand in a very strong position at Alleman's Nek, but after severe fighting was driven out by the 2nd and 10th Infantry Brigades, Lord Dundonald's men ably assisting against the enemy's left flank. In his despatch General Buller said "the SALH acted as an independent unit, and performed its duties exceedingly well throughout. Lieutenant Colonel Byng proved himself as usual a valuable commander". During the remainder of June and the month of July the Natal Army was employed in occupying and fortifying posts on the Pretoria-Natal railway and the south-east portion of the Transvaal. In his telegram of 13th July, Lord Roberts mentions that on the night of the 11th the SALH by good scouting had pre­vented the Boers from destroying the railway near Vlaklaagte, and that Lord Dundonald had captured a Boer camp. On 7th August General Buller commenced his advance from the railway to meet Lord Roberts' army near Belfast. On several occasions there was sharp fighting, in which the SALH had a most prominent share. On the 23 August Captain Savory was killed. On the 27th General Buller attacked the immensely strong position held by the Boers stretching across the Delagoa Railway. Bergendal was the point selected for the chief attack, and the 2nd Rifle Brigade deservedly earned the highest praise for their advance and final assault under a very heavy fire. The enemy was thoroughly defeated. On the 29th the SALH drove the enemy out of Waterval Boven and captured five waggons. Buller's force now moved north of the railway and after some fighting occupied Lydenburg. Frequently the SALH did particularly good service, as near Lydenburg on the 8th and 9th September, and they were often mentioned in the telegrams, as in Lord Roberts' telegram of 3rd October, when he said: "On the 28th Colonel Byng, by a well-managed night-march up the Groodenonein Berg, seized the top of Pilgrim's Hill with the SALH, forcing the enemy to retire hurriedly". The corps had 3 killed and 6 wounded. In his final despatch of 9th November 1900, General Buller said in his 'mentions': 'Lieutenant Colonel J H G Byng, 10th Hussars, has commanded the SALH from its formation in November last. A cavalry officer of the highest qualifications, he has shown singular ability in the command of irregulars. His regiment has done splendid service, and I attribute this in a great measure to Colonel Byng's personal influence. I strongly recommend him for reward and advancement'. Many other officers were mentioned. In October the SALH were taken to Pretoria, and on the 15th were there inspected and complimented by Lord Roberts. In the second phase of the war the regiment was mainly employed in the Orange River Colony. In his despatch of 8 March 1901, Lord Kitchener said that in the beginning of December 1900 Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry and the SALH were railed from Standerton and Volksrust respectively to Bloemfontein, and were sent to occupy a line of posts between Thabanchu and Ladybrand, east of the capital. De Wet was then trying to get into Cape Colony, but was headed by Charles Knox and driven north again. The bulk of the Boers broke through the line above-mentioned and got away to the Senekal district, but in his telegram of 15 December Lord Kitchener was able to say that the SALH and Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry captured one 15-pounder taken at Dewetsdorp, one pom-pom, several waggons of ammuni­tion, 22 prisoners, and some horses and mules. Soon after this the SALH and Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry were, with other troops, railed to Cape Colony to operate against Kritzinger and other leaders. Both regiments took part in many a memorable pursuit. In January 1901 the SALH was constantly in touch with the enemy, and on the 16th, in the Murraysburg district of Cape Colony, a detachment acting as advance guard became engaged with a strong force of the enemy. Captain Fitzherbert and 5 men were killed, and Lieutenants H C Fleming and Venables and 13 men were wounded. In February De Wet himself with a considerable force got into Cape Colony, but being hotly and constantly pressed by numerous columns, including Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry and the SALH, he was driven out again on the 28 February minus 200 prisoners, all his guns, waggons, and ammunition. The SALH remained in Cape Colony during March and April and did much hard work. Lieutenant E H Barker was killed at Kaliesfontein on 6th March. Both regiments were brought back to the Orange River Colony, and in May four squadrons of the Light Horse, under Major Gogarty, captured 31 armed burghers with their horses at Luckhoff. After his service with the SALH, he returned to Australia on the SS Morayshire 17 Aug 1901 landing at Albany.

It is not clear how he returned to South Africa. It is likely that he left from Albany Western Australia in which case he may have been on either the SS Brittanic or the Harlech Castle. He found himself in Klerksdorp, and inducted into the 3rd NSWIB.

Service with 3NSWIB: Dec 1901 - May 1902 in west then east Transvaal then west Transvaal.

Service and life after the Boer War After the war he was living in Balaklava South Australia where he worked as a farmer. He was married to Evelym Maud, with children Annie, Esther, Una, Allan and Maurice. In World War one he enlisted in the AIF as No 3285 on 29 March 1916 in the 7th Reinforcements of the 32nd Bn travelling on HMAT Malakuta. In Europe he was reassigned to the 70th Bn of the forming 6th Division in England. When plans to raise this Division were abandoned he was posted to the 43rd Bn in France. Ill health forced his return to Australia and discharge as Medically unfit 28-2-1918. He died in Springbank RGH in South Australia.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Ronald Morrison, Tumut NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: Grand son

Name of Descendant: Geraldine Ann Pearce, Maitland SA
Relationship to Ancestor: grand daughter

Name of Descendant: Marjorie Joan Smart, Sevenhill SA
Relationship to Ancestor: Grand daughter

Name of Descendant: Stephen James Pearce, Macclesfield SA
Relationship to Ancestor: Great grandson


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields