The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Private James May

Ancestor Details

Ancestor's Name: James William May

Ancestor's date of birth: 23/04/1871

Ancestor's date of death: 18/02/1928

Cause of Death: Heart Failure and Carcinoma of the intestines

Service and Life Before the Boer War: On enlistment his next of kin was shown at Taylor's Siding, Queensland.

Service Number: 299

Colony or State of enlistment: QLD, Place of Enlistment: Brisbane

Unit: 6th Queensland Imperial Bushmen

Rank attained in Boer War: PTE, Date Effective: 20/03/1901

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

Murray Page: 515

Contingent: Sixth Queensland

Ship: SS Victoria, Date of Sailing: 04/04/1901

Memorial details: Detail not provided.

Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Queen's South Africa Medal with Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902.

Personal Characteristics: Detail not provided.

Reasons to go and fight: Detail not provided.

Details of service in war: On 19 May 1901 the 6th Queensland Imperial Bushmen were posted to Lieutenant Colonel Grey's column consisting of the 7th New Zealand Mounted Rifles, two 15 pounder's, one pom-pom of the Royal Field Artillery, half a battalion of the first East Lancashire Regiment and attachments of Royal Engineers and Army Service Corps etc Lieutenant-Colonel the hon HF White (a Jamison raider) commanded the mounted troops 6QIB served side by side with the 7th New Zealand Mounted Rifles during most of 1901 in the first three months of 1902. It was thus a very early ANZAC operation. Later with 7NZMR 6QIB would form a scouting squadron for the column commanded by Capt Fletcher Quintal, a Norfolk Islander It was decided that the companies of the 6th were too large and the three companies were reorganised into four companies each of three divisions or troops. On 20th May operations began in the Standerton district, light marching order without tents, saddlebags etc protecting a convoy for General Bullock towards Ermelo. The enemy sniped daily at flank, advance and rear guards and there were a few casualties. 15 Boers were captured and much stock. On the return journey to Standerton the cold winds were so bad that some men fainted and fell from the saddle. By early June 338 horses had to be returned to the horse depot at Standerton to be rested and remounts received. Lieutenant-Colonel Garratt took over the column at the end of June which moved from The Springs east to Johannesburg. On 13 July 1901 they surprised and captured a laager at Kopjesfontein on the right of the Vaal and on the 21st captured two Boer convoys. On the 22 July there was fighting near Lindique Drift. In August substantial captures were made at Bultfontein. In September, October and November operations took place in the Wakkerstroon district and east of Transvaal. In December they moved to Newcastle by Botha's Pass through the Drakensberg to cover the construction blockhouses in that corner of the Orange Free State. On 2 February 1902 Col Byng commanding a group of columns (including Garretts) heard of a Boer convoy in the neighbourhood of Liebensberg Vlei and at once pursued. The Queenslanders and New Zealanders charged the enemy's rearguard with much gallantry, whilst the South African Light Horse rushed the centre. Three guns, three wagons laden with ammunition 26 prisoners, 150 horses and mules and 750 cattle were captured. Five Boers were killed and eight wounded. After this all the columns in the district engaged the big drive towards the railway which operation ended on the 8th every with 300 prisoners taken. During March the column took part in further drives in the Orange Free State and in April a concerted movement of many columns from the standard in line to the Delagoa railway and back. The 6th embarked at Durban on 17 May 1900 to on the transport SS Devon arriving in Brisbane on 17 June 1902.

Service and life after the Boer War: Detail not provided.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: John May, Young NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: Grand Son


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields