The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Lieutenant (later Major) James Maclean

Ancestor Details

Ancestor's Name: James Megaw Maclean

Ancestor's date of birth: 20/08/1877

Ancestor's date of death: 30/09/1932

Cause of Death: Heart failure

Service and Life Before the Boer War: Medicine, University of Melb; Post-grad Surgery, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Service Number: Officer - no number

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

Unit: Medical Officer of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

Rank attained in Boer War: LT (Surgeon), Date Effective: C1900

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): MAJ, Date Effective: C1914

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

Contingent: Not applicable

Ship: Orcana, Date of Sailing: 27/10/1899 (From the UK)

Memorial details: The work of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in the Boer War is commemorated by a magnificent statue at Stirling Castle in Scotland.

Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Not fully known but would have included the Queen's South Africa Medal with a number of clasps and the British War Medal for his service WW1 albiet in Australia.

Personal Characteristics: Detail not provided

Reasons to go and fight: Detail not provided

Details of service in war: He had just finished a post graduate course in surgery University of Edinburgh and volunteered as a surgeon... [Medical Officer of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders]. The Argylls were with Lord Methuen on the advance towart Kimberley up the western rail line, taking part in the Belmont, Grasspan and Modder River, where the losses of the battalion were nearly double those of any other battalion engaged, being about 20 men killed, 2 officers and 93 men wounded. At Magersfontein casualties were about 26, killed and 67 wounded. At Paardeberg 13 non-commissioned officers and men were killed, and 7 officers and 78 men wounded. Surgeon Lieutenant Maclean had plenty to do, he shared a Veld-tent with the Earl of Montrose, and named his son 'Roland Montrose' after him. The Regiment saw service on the advance to Pretoria, then during the guerilla part of the campaign. A number of the Argyll battalions took part as infantry and mounted infantry.

Service and life after the Boer War: When war again broke out in 1914, James Megaw Maclean volunteered for active service but his skills and training were considered more important here in Australia. Family had a medal, which read "Volunteered for Active Service but Wanted at Home". He, a major in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps, and three other medical men served at the Paddington Barracks. Their duty was getting Medical Units together (doctors, nurses, stretcher bearers, etc.) for the troops going abroad. He also attended medically to troops who were stationed at Beauchamp Park near Chatswood twice a day. He paid a Locum to carry on his [medical practice] work during his military duties. So he did a full time job [for the military] from 1914 to 1918

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Alan Maclean, Brookvale NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: Great nephew


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields