The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Corporal (later Staff Sergeant) James Donsworth

Ancestor Details

Ancestor's Name: James Henry Donsworth

Ancestor's date of birth: 1873

Ancestor's date of death: 1950

Cause of Death: Age related but exacerbated but war service.

Service and Life Before the Boer War: James was born in Hull, Yorkshire. He served five years in the Volunteer Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment before migrating to South Africa. In South Africa he joined the Uitenhage Volunteer Rifles as he lived in that town and served for four years including the duration of the war. Most if not all of his children were born in Uitenhage.

Service Number: Soldiers not numbered in this unit

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

Unit: Uitenhage Volunteer Rifles

Rank attained in Boer War: CPL, Date Effective: 11/10/1899

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): SSGT, Date Effective: 10/03/1916

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

Contingent: Not applicable

Ship: Did not need to travel to South Africa for war service

Memorial details: Ashes at Rookwood, Sydney, NSW

Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Queen's South Africa Medal with Cape Colony clasp, King's South Africa Medal with South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902 clasps. 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Personal Characteristics: A dedicated and patriotic man.

Reasons to go and fight: His town was in the path of the Boer invaders.

Details of service in war: He served with his unit throughout the war. These units were regarded as local and colonial defence units and the Cape colony Government refused to allow them to be deployed outside the Cape boundaries. They defended vital assets and chased small raiding parties as well as keeping an eye on Boer sympathisers.

Service and life after the Boer War: He and his family migrated to Australia after the war, arriving in Sydney on board the SS Marathon 21 Sept 1907. At the Outbreak of war he enlisted in the AIF 23 Aug 1915 and was posted as no 7568 Cpl 15 Bty 5 Field Artillery brigade. He was promoted Wheeler-Sgt 1 November 1915 and Fitter S/Sgt 10 March 1916 and posted to 5FAB HQ. He was badly wounded on 1 Nov 1917 with a severe gunshot wound to the right thigh He was returned to Australia on 5 April 1918 as being unable to recover for operational service and was discharged medically unfit 30 November 1918

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Harry Donsworth, Iluka NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: Grand Son


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields