W Woolmore Collection - Singles


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Lot 3551    SESSION 8 (2.00PM THURSDAY 30TH JULY)    W Woolmore Collection - Singles

Estimate $2,000
SOLD $3,600

QUEEN'S SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL 1899, (type 3 reverse), - Clasp - Defence of Ladysmith. 689 Pte G.B.Humphreys. Durban L.I. Impressed. Hairlines, otherwise nearly extremely fine.

Together with Wollongong Civilian Rifle Club prize medal in silver (35mm), suspension loop removed, reverse inscribed, 'Wollongong/C.R.Club/won by/G.Humphreys./Aug.1895'; Transvaal Light Infantry Regimental Rifle Association prize medal in silver (31mm), by Heydenrych, Johannesburg, reverse inscribed, 'Disappearing Targets/Won by/"C" Co/Score 233 Pts/Pt G.B.Humphries (sic)/22.11.03'.

689 Pte George Bolton Humphreys (AKA Humphries) confirmed on nominal roll for Durban Light Infantry; served 29Sep1899 to 31May1902; one of only 5 men of Durban Light Infantry to receive the Defence of Ladysmith clasp. He was shot through both legs and captured during the armoured train engagement near Ladysmith in mid-November. He was among a group, including Winston Churchill, taken as prisoners by the Boers. His wife, Mrs Laura Humphreys, in Wollongong received some support in the form of a bank draft from the Harmsworth Armoured Train Relief Fund at Pietermaritzburg. Mr Humphreys had been working in Johannesburg as a carpenter when the war with the Boers started and he joined the Durban Light Infantry (see below). His two sons were killed in action serving with the AIF during World War I. Lt Robert George Humphreys MM, 1Bn, KIA at Strazeele, Belgium; and 2858 Pte Harry Bolton Humphreys, 1Bn, KIA Pozieres, France. Both recorded their father as G.B.Humphreys, Vogerfontein, Transvaal, South Africa. George Bolton Humphreys died at Johannesburg on 24 March 1941.

The following was reported in the Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW) on Saturday 10 March 1900, p2.

On Monday last Mrs. George Humphreys, of Belmore-street, Wollongong, received a cablegram from Durban from her husband informing her that he was well. The news was joyful to her, as she had not heard direct from him since before the besiegement of Ladysmith. As previously stated in the Mercury, he joined the Durban Light Infantry, on the treatment of the Britishers in the Transvaal by the Boers becoming intolerable to him. He was too true a Briton to take up arms with them against his own country. And, as they would not treat him, as a Boer would be treated in any part of the British Empire, he decided to join the ranks of those who were determined, even at the point of the bayonet, that "Britons never shall be slaves," under Kruger or elsewhere.

He is a good shot, and, as a member of the Wollongong Rifle Club, under the captaincy and 'coaching' of Captain Prott, made 'bull's-eyes' and 'centres' that were worthy of his subsequent military profession. Indeed, it is more than probable that many a misguided Boer has suffered the leaden consequences of Mr. Humphreys' 'practice' and Prottarian training on the Wollongong rifle-range. Doubtless, on account of his expertness with the rifle, he was selected as one of a company of volunteers to man an armoured train, intended for the relief of Ladysmith, within less than a month after the war commenced. The Boers proved more than a match for the train, however, and Humphreys, in the course of a hard fight, was seriously wounded and taken prisoner, among others, by the Boers.

Probably, on account of the serious nature of his injuries, he was subsequently given up by his captors, and convoyed for medical treatment to Ladysmith where he continued to be imprisoned with the rest of the British inhabitants there until Wednesday evening last week, when Lord Dundonald and his gallant "soldiers of the Queen" marched into that town to the inexpressible joy and relief of the brave inhabitants of the four-months besieged garrison.

Mrs. Humphreys learned from Natal newspapers about a month ago that he was returned to Ladysmith, and that was a great relief to her, even dangerously wounded though he was reported to be. The fact that he was being carefully attended to among British people, instead of being a wounded prisoner in the hands of the Boers, was like a joyful ray of light to her amidst what otherwise was dense discomforting darkness. Her feelings on receipt of the cablegram from him on Monday, informing her that he was well and again at liberty, may be imagined, but not described. It would have gladdened his heart also if he could have witnessed the magnificent public rejoicings that took place in Wollongong on Monday evening, in celebration of the relief of Ladysmith, which town nearly cost him his life, and in which he was three months a wounded captive.

Wollongong Civilian Rifle Club
At the close of the annual meeting of the Wollongong Civilian Rifle Club held on Saturday night 5 October 1895 the chairman (also club patron) Mr A.Campbell M.P. distributed quarterly prizes. Mr G.Humphries (sic) was the recipient of a silver medal presented by Mr S.Cutcher.

Estimate / sale price does not include buyer's premium (currently 22% including GST) which is added to hammer price. All bids are executed on the understanding that the Terms & Conditions of sale have been read and accepted. For information on grading and estimates please refer to the Buying at Auction advice.

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