The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Corporal Isaac Farrant

Ancestor Details

Ancestor's Name: Isaac Farrant

Ancestor's date of birth: 22/01/1867

Ancestor's date of death: 06/06/1941

Cause of Death: Age related possible Liver failure

Service and Life Before the Boer War: Born in Sussex he worked on the family farm as a boy enlisting in the 1st Royal Dragoons at Colchester in 1887. He married in November 1898 Mary Ann Neal in the parish of Woolwich. At the commencement of the war he was a Cpl/Shoeing Smith.

Service Number: 3959

Colony or State of enlistment: Not Australia, Place of Enlistment: Colchester UK

Unit: 1st Royal Dragoons

Rank attained in Boer War: CPL, Date Effective: 01/11/1898

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): SGT, Date Effective: 01/01/191904

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

Contingent: Not applicable

Ship: Not known

Memorial details: Detail not provided.

Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Queen's South Africa Medal with Orange Free State, Tugela Heights, Relief of Ladysmith, Transvaal and South Africa 1901 clasps.

Personal Characteristics: A hard worker, great sense of humour, Community minded and a bit of a larrikan

Reasons to go and fight: A professional soldier, his four brothers also fought in the war

Details of service in war: The regiment sailed in the beginning of November 1899, and arrived at Durban about the 26th. They performed excellent service during the operations for the relief of Ladysmith. The regiment was present at Colenso, 15th December but was not heavily engaged.

When the turning movement by the west was attempted the regiment was in the Mounted Brigade under Lord Dundonald, along with the 13th Hussars, South African Light Horse, Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry, part of Bethune's Mounted Infantry, some regular Mounted Infantry, one squadron Imperial Light Horse, and one squadron Natal Carabiniers. Much good work was done by the Mounted Brigade, particularly about 19th January 1900, when they captured about 40 Boers and seized important positions near Acton Homes. So far as they were concerned everything was done to command success in the second attempt to relieve Ladysmith, and the seizure of the positions about Acton Homes was entirely in accordance with the scheme of General Buller, a scheme which Lord Roberts said was well devised and should have succeeded.

When General Buller retired after Spion Kop and Vaal Krantz, Colonel Burn-Murdoch of the 1st Royal Dragoons was left in command at Springfield to protect Buller's left flank. His force consisted of the 1st Royal Dragoons, 13th Hussars, two squadrons of the 14th Hussars, two naval 12-pounders, A Battery RHA, and two battalions of infantry. On and after 22nd February most of these troops were brought down to Colenso to take part in the last great effort. In his despatch of 14th March 1900, para 60, General Buller thus refers to the work of the mounted men: "During the whole of the fourteen days the 1st and 2nd Cavalry Brigades had kept our rear and flanks, their patrols extending from Greytown to Hongerspoort and Gourtown".

Seven officers and 2 non-commissioned officers of this regiment were mentioned in General Buller's despatch of 30th March 1900, and 2 officers and 2 privates were mentioned in General Warren's despatch of 1st February 1900.

When General Buller advanced north through the Transvaal Burn-Murdoch's brigade was left to watch the Natal border, and for a considerable time was chiefly employed about the south-east corner of the Transvaal. The brigade at that time was the 1st Royal Dragoons, 5th Dragoon Guards from the Ladysmith garrison, and 13th Hussars.

Seven officers and 6 non-commissioned officers and men of the regiment were mentioned in General Buller's final despatch of 9th November 1900, and 4 officers and 3 non-commissioned officers were mentioned in Lord Roberts' despatch of 4th September 1901.

In May and June 1901 the regiment, along with the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, was in a column commanded by Colonel Pulteney which operated successfully in the Eastern Transvaal. In July Lord Basing, with the Royal Dragoons, two guns, and a pom-pom, was engaged covering the construction of the Frederickstad and Breedtsnek line of blockhouses, and in keeping up communication thence to General Barton's column" west of Krugersdorp.

In consequence of a concentration of Boers in the south of the Orange River Colony, Lord Basing and his men were brought by rail to Springfontein in August 1901, and thence proceeded to operate in the south-east of that colony.

Service and life after the Boer War: After the service in South Africa the Regiment moved to India in 1904. He and his unit saw action on the frontier against dissident tribesmen. Eventually he was promoted to Farrier Sergeant. Isaac took his discharge in 1908 and in 1910 migrated to Australia with his family in 1910 and settled at Erina NSW as the resident Blacksmith. He was a great supporter of the community and a member of the Gosford Sub Branch of the RSL when it was formed

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Jeanne Duncan, Glenning Valley NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: Grand Daughter

Name of Descendant: Christine Janine Duncan, Chittaway Bay NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: Great Grand Daughter

Name of Descendant: Mark Robert Prince-McGrath, Port Adelaide SA
Relationship to Ancestor: Great Grand Son


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields