The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Sergeant Maurice Witts

Ancestor Details

Ancestor's Name: Maurice (In Record Morice) Miles Witts (in record as Witt)

Ancestor's date of birth: 23/02/1877

Ancestor's date of death: 01/07/1966

Cause of Death: Old Age

Service and Life Before the Boer War: Maurice Myles Witts Was born on the 23 February 1877 The second youngest of 11 brothers and 2 sisters. He went to school locally, and finished his education at The Sydney Grammar School as a boarder. After this he held the position of overseer of the Indian Labourers with the Colonial Sugar Refining Company in Fiji for 14 months, and was held in high regard until he resigned.

Service Number: 450

Colony or State of enlistment: NSW, Place of Enlistment: Randwick

Unit: 2nd New South Wales Mounted Rifles

Rank attained in Boer War: SGT, Date Effective: 01/05/1902

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

Murray Page: 122

Contingent: Fifth New South Wales

Ship: HM Transport Custodian, Date of Sailing: 17/03/1901

Memorial details: Berrima Cemetery NSW

Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps

Personal Characteristics: Maurice stern and dour, almost free from guile He'd tell a joke or family yarn without a laugh or smile (Taken from a verse Written by His brother Walter Witts Xmas 1935)

Reasons to go and fight: Detail not provided

Details of service in war: April 1901 - April 1902 in west then east Transvaal, see Diary.

Service and life after the Boer War: He was discharged with the rank of Quarter Master Sergeant in about June 1902. He headed off to the New Hebrides to join his cousin Theo Thomas on a coconut plantation; and not long after started up in his own right, naming the plantation 'Lelek'. It was during this period he married Mabel, and their first child Helen was born at the local mission station at Santo on 23 October 1907.  He left the New Hebrides at the end of 1911 to return to Australia and reunite with Mabel who had returned some time before due to Malaria, and was living with her parents Lesley and Kate Herring who had a orchard at Beecroft NSW. On the 20 November 1911 Maurice and Mabel bought a Dairy at Wyong NSW, and named it 'Lelek' (the same as the plantation). They lived there for about 7 years. It was during this time that Betty Lesley was born on the 13 July 1912. Nancy Mabel born on the 25 December 1915 and passed away at the Westmead Hospital NSW on the 16 July 2004 shortly after suffering Cerebral Haemorrhage. She was laid to rest at the Pinegrove Cemetery at Minchinbury NSW. The Farm not being a great success, and on the Death of both Mabel's parents within a short time of each other, and with Mabel's share of the inheritance ( which was considerable ) enabled them to sell the farm and Purchase Willow Grange a rambling house with numerous sheds and out buildings, surrounded by a picturesque three hectares of pine trees, pasture and orchard, 1.5 kilometres along the Berrima road out from Moss Vale NSW. After Maurice's wife Mabel died, 25 November 1942 he lived on, and in later years was cared for by his daughter Betty, until at the age of 89 he died on the 1 September 1966, and was laid to rest with his wife in the Berrima Cemetery NSW.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Paul Lesley Jones, Lawson NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: Grandson


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