The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

 
 
Private William Abrahams

Ancestor Details

Ancestor's Name: William John Abrahams

Ancestor's date of birth: 1881

Ancestor's date of death: 10/03/1900

Cause of Death: Killed in Action Abrams Kraal, Driefontein

Service and Life Before the Boer War: He was born in the Bega area of NSW. He had previous service in the NSW Mounted Rifles

Service Number: 15

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

Unit: A Squadron , 1st NSW Mounted Rifles

Rank attained in Boer War: PTE, Date Effective: 1899

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): Did not survive the Boer War.

Murray Page: 33 and 203

Contingent: First New South Wales.

Ship: SS Aberdeen, Date of Sailing: 03/11/1899

Memorial details: Bega Boer War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Canberra, private memorial Bloemfontein, buried Bosrand farm, Jacobsdal district (near the confluence of the Modder and Riet Rivers, 20 km south of Kimberley).

Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Queen's South Africa Medal with Paardeburg, Driefontein and Relief of Kimberley clasps.

Personal Characteristics: An excellent, steady, first rate young soldier (his OC Capt Antill). He wrote regularly to his parents and was highly regarded in the district.

Reasons to go and fight: Detail not provided.

Details of service in war: Service - December 1899 - March 1900 in north-west Cape Colony, and Free State. During the action at Abrams Kraal near Driefontein William was part of a group moving to accept a Boer surrender under white flags when the Boers opened fire. Surgeon Captain Marshall travelling with the unit reported that Abrahams was hit only a few metres from him. "The poor boy staggered up to me, the blood welling out of his mouth, he died in a few minutes. There was a letter in his pocket from his mother, only just received that he had not yet opened. His father had brought a package of comforts to the local depot commander Major Bland, only to be told that news had just come through of his son's death."

 
Osfontein Saturday, March 3, 1900

Dear Mother

No doubt you will wonder how I am getting on - we have had a good battle last week called Paardeburg, we captured a lager (as we call camp) of 3400 Boers, and killed many more, we have had several other small battles but not as large as Paardeburg. We were shelling the Boer position for 10 days with Lyddite and shrapnel, they had a great trench all around. We are now marching on 7000 more Boers they are surrounded and will have to surrender as they cannot get away, we have been in the Orange Free State over a month, and are reckoned by Lord Roberts as good a class of men as out here, we are about 80 kilometres from the capital Bloemfontein and hope to be home shortly. I hope you will receive this safely and find you in the best of health as it leaves me at present. I have not had a day sickness since I arrived in Africa. You can tell Ted and Willie where I am, I wrote to them a few weeks ago, the mail is leaving in a few minutes. Tell Dad I wish him a happy birthday also Ted and Arnold. We expect to be home a little a bit after Easter, that is not long so cheer up Mum, remember me to all at Bega. We captured Cronje, the best general the Boers had, in Paardeburg, that big fight we had only three of our men (NSWMR) wounded in the leg and feet. I will draw to a close, hoping to hear from you soon.

Goodbye

from the ever loving son
Private William Abrahams
 


Service and life after the Boer War: Did not survive the Boer War.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Mildred Dowler, Punchbowl NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: Great Niece

 


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