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Hitchin at War - Boer War Casualty


Trooper in the Imperial Yeomanry.

He died on the 26th April 1901.

He was in the 41st (Hampshire) Company which fought on the 5th May 1900 at Winberg in the Orange Free State in South Africa. A letter from Walter published in the Herts Express caused “sensation among our readers” as it referred to the looting of Dutch houses by British troops.

Later the unit went to Beira with the intention of moving west to cut off any trek made by the Boers into Rhodesia. It was a picturesque force of mixed Imperial, Colonial and virtual mercenaries. They went through tropical forests and crocodile haunted streams headed by Carrington, a fierce old soldier. In a letter home Walter mentioned that they stayed at 23 mile Creek (probably 23 miles from Beira) on the 23rd May 1900 and nothing of importance happened except that a man near him was taken by a panther which was then shot by an officer. They went next to Bamboo Creek which is “the worst hole in East Africa with dozens tumbling over with fever, dysentery, etc, and the horses are also dying”. Then they went on to Marandellas in Rhodesia about 400 miles up country. For this part of their journey they went by rail and enjoyed the grand scenery and climate.

At Marandellas he found “a monster camp of sharpshooters, rough riders, Australian bushmen, New Zealanders, artillery, two batteries of Maxim machine-guns and about the hottest force of men the Boers will ever run away from”. . .about to leave for the border between Rhodesia and the Transvaal”.

On the 31st January 1901 he was made a prisoner by the Boers at Meiringspoort but was later released.

At the date of his death he was Regimental Number 15400 in the 18th Battalion 71 Company of the Imperial Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) and he died at Naauwpoort (Noupoort in the Cape Province) of enteric (typhoid) fever.

He was initially buried at Noupoort Station but was later exhumed and reburied at Noupoort and is remembered on the War Memorial there in the name of W.J. Bennin under the Imperial Yeomanry section, the grave number mentioned being R.12. The inscription on the Memorial reads “In memory of the following Officers, N.C.O.s and men who fell in this District in the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902”.

Extra Information / Special Notices:


A Second Boer War Casualty

More information may be available at www.hertsatwar.co.uk/hitchin

Memorial on which he appears: