The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Corporal (later Sergeant MID) Robert Mansfield

Ancestor Details

Name of Ancestor: Robert Mansfield

Ancestor's date of birth: 09/05/1876

Ancestor's date of death: 03/07/1916

Cause of Death: Killed in Acton Flanders, France

Service and Life Before the Boer War: Employed a a boot finisher Robert, in Bulmer Parish Sudbury, Essex. He joined cadets at an early age, and then, when 18 joined full time. Robert was two centimetres under regulation chest size he requested that he be allowed to enlist in the Essex Regiment and was granted permission at Warley England on 26 May 1893 as he was 'Likely to develop'. Served in India with the Essex Regiment.

Service Number: 3858

Colony or State of enlistment: Not Australia, Place of Enlistment: Warley, England

Unit: 1st Battalion Essex Regiment

Rank attained in Boer War: CPL, Date Effective: 23/06/1900 (second time promoted corporal, had previously been made corporal 29/10/1896.

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): SGT, Date Effective: 15/08/1902

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

Contingent: Not applicable

Ship: Greek, Date of Sailing: 14/11/1899 (from the UK)

Memorial details: Commerated on the Theipval memorial in France

Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Queen's South Africa Medal with Pardenberg, Relief of Kimberley, Dreifontien and Belfast clasps. King's South Africa Medal with SA1901 and SA1902 clasps. 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory medal. He was also mentioned in dispatches twice for 'General Effficiency and Good Work'.

Personal Characteristics: Robert was clearly a career soldier. Based in India and Serving in South Africa as s/n 3858 and after 20 years service he was awarded entry to the Chelsea hospital and a Chelsea pension. In 1914, Robert re enlisted as s/n 18601 and went to WW1, where he was killed in action on 3/7/1916, in the battle of ALbert.

Reasons to go and fight: Career soldier.

Details of service in war: Served in South Africa from November 1899 to August 1902. On arrival his battalion was sent to the Naauwpoort - Colesberg district to assist General French in stemming the Boer invasion, and they remained with him until taken to Modder River. At Paardeberg on 18 February 1900 the Essex took a prominent part, having about 12 men killed, and 2 officers, including the colonel, and 20 men wounded. At Driefontein, or Abraham's Kraal, on 10 March, the Essex took part in a bayonet-charge which elicited a commendation from Lord Roberts. After the occupation of Koomati Poort Essex were retained in the Eastern Transvaal, chiefly to patrol the railway. On 22 October 1900 the battalion was ordered to Frederickstad. On 25 October they attacked the enemy and inflicted a severe defeat on them. The reinforcements did not take part in the action. After this the battalion was sent back to the Delagoa line. In Lord Roberts' final despatch 14 officers and 21 non-commissioned officers (possibly including Corporal Mansfield) and men were mentioned. In January 1901 the Essex, operated from near Wonderfontein towards Carolina. On 5 February 1901 they were fiercely attacked at Bothwell. With the enemy having become aggressive in Cape Colony, the Essex were railed from Wonderfontein to Norval's Pont, and soon thereafter were taken to Orange River Station and Hopetown. The bulk of the invaders having been expelled from the colony, the battalion was once more taken to the Eastern Transvaal, and when peace was declared they were inhabiting the Ermelo blockhouse line. His service ended while in South Africa, Robert re-engaged at Brakfontein on the 25 June 1902.

Service and life after the Boer War: On 23 February 1906, Robert achieved 1st class Sergeant Instructor, Musketry, Field work and stripping arms. After 20 years service he was awarded entry to the Chelsea hospital and a Chelsea pension. In 1914, Robert re enlisted as s/n 18601 and went to WW1, where he was killed in action, on 3 July 1916, in the battle of Albert. Robert and his wife Mary Pilkington, Mary had one daughter from a previous marriage, her name is Noora Pilkington. Robert and Mary had three sons Terence, Denys and Brian. Terence married Jean Ballantyne and they had 8 children Michael, Theresa, Josephine, Judith, Terence, Patrick Dennis and Mark.

CLICK HERE for Sergeant Mansfield's Record of Service.

Descendant Details

ame of Descendant: Mark Anthony Mansfield, Perth WA
Relationship to Ancestor: Grandson

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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields