The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra
|Private William Grey|
Ancestor's Name: William GREY
Ancestor's date of birth: 11/03/1868
Ancestor's date of death: 01/04/1962
Cause of Death: Prostrate Cancer
Service Number: 10028
Colony or State of enlistment: Not Applicable, Place of Enlistment: Alnwick Northumberland UK
Unit: 55th Coy Imperial Yeomanry (5th and 14th Battalions)
Rank attained in Boer War: PTE, Date Effective: Detail not available
Highest Rank attained (if served after war): No postwar service able to be traced
Murray Page: Not Applicable (did not serve in an Australian unit)
Contingent: First Yeomanry Contingent
Ship: Not able to trace
Memorial details: In the UK
Decorations: Queen and King's South Africa medals with clasps
Personal Characteristics: Not known
Reasons to go and fight: Volunteer
Details of service in war: The Imperial Yeomanry was raised to match the Boers' skill as fast moving, mounted infantry. The Boer War brought unexpected defeats for the British army at the hands of the Boers in "Black Week", December 1899. This was attributed to the skill and determination of the Boer farmers-fast moving, highly skilled horsemen operating in open country. Britain's answer to the Boers was the Imperial Yeomanry, hurriedly dispatched in January 1900. The Imperial Yeomanry's first action was on 5 April 1900, when members of 3rd and 10th battalions fought Boer volunteers led by Frenchman Count de Villebois-Mareuil at Boshof. After a series of tactical errors, the Boers were subsequently surrounded. The Count was killed, and the Imperial Yeomanry was victorious, suffering only three casualties.
The next action took place in Lindley, a Boer held town. On 27 May 1900, due to a miscommunication, the 13th battalion (under Lieutenant Colonel Basil Spragge) arrived at Lindley where they were ambushed by a group of Boers. Rather than retreat, Spragge decided to fight until aid arrived. Although a message for help did arrive, it didn't describe the urgency of the situation, and no help came until it was too late. One officer and 16 men were killed (with another officer and three more men later dying of wounds), and 400 were captured.
Following the disaster at Lindley, the Yeoman rode hundreds of miles over the Veldt, but rarely encountered any Boers. With the rate of disease and death rising, morale was falling. During the later part of 1900 they had a few small victories, but still nothing major. Finally, in September, 1900, the City Imperial Volunteers were returning to England, instead of the Imperial Yeoman. This plummeted the morale, and a high number of Yeoman volunteered to join police forces to escape the monotony of regular duty. Due to this, only one-third of the original force was still serving. Eventually, in June or July 1901, all of the first recruits returned to England, except the ones who re-enlisted.
Service and life after the Boer War: Went back to UK ----- Then back to Johannesberg Cynide Plant till 1908 --- tossed a penny for Canada or Australia ---- arrived Australia about 1908 lived in Queensland till 1919 then NSW for the rest of his life ---- I had fantastic Parent's God Bless Them .
Name of Descendant: William GREY, Dee Why NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: Son