The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Guardsman William Towe

Ancestor Details

Name of Ancestor: William Towe

Ancestor's date of birth: Not known

Ancestor's date of death: 1954

Cause of Death: Not stated

Service Number: 8190

Colony or State of enlistment: Not Applicable, Place of Enlistment: United Kingdom

Unit: 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards

Rank attained in Boer War: Guardsman, Date Effective: 01/01/19

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): Detail not provided

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

Contingent: Not applicable

Ship: Gascon, Date of Sailing: 12/11/1899

Memorial details: Detail not provided

Awards/Decorations: Queen's South Africa Medal with Modder River, Belmont, Johannesburg, Driefontain, Belfast, Diamond Hill clasps.

Personal Characteristics: Detail not provided

Reasons to go and fight: A serving regular soldier

Details of service in war: The 2nd Battalion the Coldstream Guards sailed on the Gascon, and arrived at the Cape about 12 November 1899. Along with the 3rd Grenadier Guards, 1st Coldstream, and 1st Scots Guards, they formed the 1st or Guards Brigade, the work of which has been sketched under the 3rd Grenadiers. At Belmont, 23 November 1899, the battalion was not very heavily engaged. Lord Methuen in his despatch of 26th November said, "They were well handled, Major the Honourable A Henniker's services proving of great value". Two other officers were mentioned. The battalion's losses were light. At Modder River the battalion was on the left of the Guards Brigade - that is, opposite the enemy's centre-and was all day under an extremely heavy fire. Many non-commissioned officers and men of the Coldstreams exhibited unsurpassable gallantry, and several were mentioned in Lord Methuen's despatch of 1st December, but the number of the battalion was not given. One officer of the 2nd Coldstreams was mentioned. The battalion's losses were 2 officers, including Colonel Stopford, and 10 men killed, and 1 officer and 56 men wounded. At Magersfontein the battalion was in the firing line most of the day, and lost 1 officer and 2 men killed and 22 men wounded. "Major the Marquis of Winchester was killed whilst displaying almost reckless courage". Three non-commissioned officers were also mentioned in Lord Methuen's despatch of 15 February 1900 for great courage. With the remainder of the brigade the battalion took part in the advances to Bloemfontein, Pretoria, and Koomati Poort. At Pan, in the Eastern Transvaal, they had the misfortune to have 5 men killed and 1 officer and 13 men injured in a railway accident on 1 October 1900. After the Guards Brigade returned from Koomati Poort the 2 Coldstreams were ordered to Potchefstroom. In the beginning of 1901 they were sent to Cape Colony. The headquarters were generally about Graaf Reinet down to the close of the campaign, but the battalion was much scattered; for example, two companies occupied Richmond and another was at Britstown. About 70 men of the 2nd Coldstreams along with some local troops formed the garrison of Aberdeen when it was attacked on the night of 18th May 1902, shortly before peace was declared. The attack was driven off, the enemy losing several killed. Judging by the numerous reports of concerts and sports which appeared in the 'Household Brigade Magazine' the stay at Graaf Reinet had some peaceful features, and its memories cannot be exclusively warlike.

Service and life after the Boer War: No details provided.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Colin Towe, Kingswood NSW
Relationship to Ancestor: Grandson


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields