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"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess

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WARNING: This site contains: names, information and images of deceased people; and, language which may be considered inappropriate today.

Saturday, 9 November 2002
Bully Beef and Biscuits, the story of Jack Gunter
Topic: BW - NSW - NSWIB

 

 

New South Wales Imperial Bushmen

John Cornelius Gunter

 

363 Private John Cornelius Gunter

 

John Cornelius Gunter was born at Scone in 1872, the son of Henry James Gunter and Mary Jane Cundy. His trade was as labourer prior to enlistment. After the ranks of the NSW Citizen's Bushmen Contingent were closed, eager men from the rural areas wanted to enlist. Gunter formed part of a group of 48 men who arrived in Sydney on Saturday, 31 March 1900.

 


363 Private John Cornelius Gunter at embarkation

[From: McClelland, Lone graves and precious memories, p. 94.]

 

After a medical, Gunter and 45 other men were accepted into the NSW Imperial Bushmen as 363 Private John Cornelius Gunter on Monday, 2 April 1900 and allotted to "A" Squadron. The progress of the NSWIB is availble on through the War Diary,  Boer War - NSWIB .

 

Allottment of John Cornelius Gunter to "A" Squadron.

[Sydney Mail, 7 April 1900, p. 796.]

 

After the completion of his service Gunter was awarded the Queen's South African Medal with five bars, they being; Rhodesia, Orange Free State, Cape Colony, Transvaal and the South Africa 1901 bar. After moving to Nundle he married Annie Swan on 24 September 1902.

 

Annie Gunter nee Swan, (b. 3 April 1884, d. 5 June 1920)

[From: McClelland, Treasured Memories and Gold Pioneers, p. 94.]

 

Annie being the third child of William and Sarah Swan (Nee Howarth) who was born on 3 April 1884. While her early life was spent on the family property at Palmers Gully, she received her education at Nundle Public School. Three children were born soon after, they being Mary E, 1903; Vera LE, 1905; and, William E, 1906.

In 1916, while living at Nundle, just south of Tamworth in NSW, Gunter applied to serve with the local Militia but it appears as though he was not accepted. After settling in the Nundle district, John Cornelius Gunter worked as a shearer as well as for Mr james Schofield for many years. John Cornelius was also known in the district as an accomplished horseman. John Cornelius Gunter passed away on 1 August 1956, aged 85 years and his wife Annie at Swamp Oak on 5 June 1920, aged 36 years.

On 12 July 1900, Colonel Mackay, the Commanding Officer of the NSWIB ordered all squadrons to form into four man sections. The four men would live and work together. One was to be allocated the role of cook while the other three men had to maintain the cook's horse. This detail can be seen in the War Diary. The appropriate entry is:

NSWIB 12 July 1900


Transcribed from a copy handwritten by Sara Leora Mavis Whitaker (Graham) Her mother Elizabeth Maude Graham (Dunbar) was the daughter of Samuel Dunbar and Mary Jane Cundy and a half sister to the Jack Gunter named in the poem. [Mary Jane Cundy was the mother of John Cornelius Gunter, ed.] All spelling, punctuation, indentations and spacing have been kept the same as the handwritten copy.

Bully Beef and Biscuits
The Bush Bard’s Effort
(Boer War – Author Unknown)

Bully beef and biscuits
   Are the bushies’ bill of fare
With a little rice and sugar –
   But the latter’s very rare.

Our cook (Jack Gunter) surges
   When the water can’t be had,
He chucks the pots and things about –
   In fact he “gets ‘em bad.”

But that don’t often happen,
   For Jack’s the boy for us,
He does his work quite willingly
   And don’t kick up a fuss.

He can always bake good dampers –
   Good as any I have seen -
Anyhow, they satisfy
   The Soldiers of the Queen

And “brownie” is quite a luxury
   Where pastry can’t  be had:
For nothing else but biscuits
   Would make the “bushie” sad.

Bill Riddle sometimes surges
   When at night the wagons shake;
He says it has tendancy
   To keep a man awake.

And Corporal Mack, our Non Com,
   Thinks it rather hard
That wood and water “Joeys”
   Should  have to go on guard.

For wood is not too plentiful –
   In fact, it’s rather scarce –
And the distance we’ve to carry it
   Would make a parson curse.

Active service is no picnic
   As any soldier knows,
For he has to do his duty,
   Whatever comes and goes

And Soldiers have no tables,
   But have to knock around
And fasten to their bit of tucker
   While sitting on the ground.

We often think of friends at home  
   Across the raging main
And the bushie won’t be sorry
   To see you all again.

 

The other two men mentioned in the poem are:

1. 88 Private William Riddell, "A" Squadron, NSWIB.  Born in 1863, at Allfordshire, England. Apart from service in the NSWIB, he served with the 2nd Scottish Horse in South Africa. At the cessation of hostilities, Riddell was awarded the Queen's South African Medal with four bars, they being; Rhodesia, Orange Free State, Cape Colony, and Transvaal. In addition he was awarded the King's South African Medal with two bars.

2. 64 Lance-Corporal William John McKenny, "A" Squadron, NSWIB.  McKenny was born in 1868, Bathurst, NSW. He was a farrier by trade.  At the conclusion of the Boer War, McKenny was awarded the Queen's South African Medal with the South Africa 1901 bar.

3. The author. Since a section had four men and three are mentioned by name in this poem, the fourth must have been the poet. For whatever reason, the poet has not put his name to this work and so at the moment must remain as unknown. We know he was a bushie, a private and a friend of the other three men as well as a dab hand with the pen. Perhaps some kind soul can identify this man.

 

Acknowledgements: Many thanks go to Joy Whitaker for kindly giving permission to reproduce the poem Bully Beef and Biscuits and Brian Gunter for making it available for publication on the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre blog. 

 

Additional References:

 

Thomas A. McClelland, Treasured Memories and Gold Pioneers - Memories of a golden era Part Two, Tamworth, 1994.

 

Further Reading:

Boer War - NSW 

New South Wales Imperial Bushmen

 


Citation: Bully Beef and Biscuits, the story of Jack Gunter

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Tuesday, 11 May 2010 9:05 PM EADT
Friday, 8 November 2002
214 Trooper William Joseph Booth, NSW Citizens' Bushmen
Topic: BW - NSW - NSWCBC

214 Trooper William Joseph Booth, NSW Citizens' Bushmen

214 Trooper William Joseph Booth

 

William Joseph Booth was born in Brisbane, Queensland, 1880. He was a labourer by employment. In February 1900 he enlisted in the NSW Citizens' Bushmen as 214 Trooper William Joseph Booth. Booth was awarded the  He was awarded the Queen's South African Medal with the 1901 bar.  Booth signed up for further service in South Africa with the Canadian Scouts. His term was from 24 September 1901 to 29 March 1902.


Citation: 214 Trooper William Joseph Booth, NSW Citizens' Bushmen


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Tuesday, 11 May 2010 9:07 PM EADT
Thursday, 7 November 2002
73 Trooper James Edmund Rowland CLARKE, NSW Citizens' Bushmen
Topic: BW - NSW - NSWCBC

73 Trooper James Edmund Rowland CLARKE, NSW Citizens' Bushmen

On Monday, 29 January 1900, James Edmund Rowland CLARKE turned up with his saddle to Randwick Race Track in Sydney and enrolled with the NSW Citizens' Bushmen. After a couple days rigorous testing which involved a medical, a shooting test and a riding test. 

 James Edmund Rowland CLARKE at Randwick undergoing his tests before being accepted into the NSW Citizens' Bushmen

Clarke passed all these tests and was accepted in the first draft of 125 men as a NSW Citizens' Bushman, 73 Trooper James Edmund Rowland CLARKE.

Clarke's acceptance published in the Sydney Mail, 3 February 1900, p. 256.

At the end of the month, on 28 February 1900, the men of the contingent boarded the SS Atlantian from Cowper Wharf where they remained for the next 24 hours. The next day, following Admiralty rules, on 1 March 1900, the ship departed Sydney Heads for South Africa.

73 Trooper James Edmund Rowland CLARKE

James Edmund Rowland CLARKE was born at Coonabarabran, NSW on 8 May 1878. His parents were Thomas Henry Clarke and Phyllis Mary nee Rowland who were married at Murrurundi in 1876. They had 11 children with James being the second born. Clarke was a station hand at the time he enlisted with the NSW Citizens' Bushmen.

Clarke served his full time of 14 months with the NSW Citizens' Bushmen. Following the expiration of his service, Clarke enlisted with the Canadian Scouts and served a further eleven months as the Quartermaster Sergeant. For his service, Clarke was awarded the Queen's South African Medal with the South Africa, 1901 bar.

In 1909, Clarke married Mary Maude Elizabeth Carter at Sydney.

During the Great War, he enlisted as 21717 Pte James Edmund Rowland CLARKE on 19 December 1917 for service with the Engineers. As a Sapper, Clarke embarked from Sydney on the HMAT "A54" Runic, 22 March 1918. He returned to Australia on the Kildonian, 21 March 1919 and discharged in Sydney, 25 May 1919. Clarke marched every year on Anzac Day.

Clarke died on 24 November 1953 and was buried in Sydney. 


Citation: 73 Trooper James Edmund Rowland CLARKE, NSW Citizens' Bushmen


Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Tuesday, 11 May 2010 9:16 PM EADT
Wednesday, 6 November 2002
212 Trooper James Edward Bodkin, NSW Citizens' Bushmen
Topic: BW - NSW - NSWCBC

212 Trooper James Edward Bodkin, NSW Citizens' Bushmen

212 Trooper James Edward Bodkin

James Edward Bodkin was born at Binnaway, a small settlement near Yass in NSW, 1875, the son of George and Mary Bodkin. He enlisted with the NSW Citizens' Bushmen as 212 Trooper James Edward Bodkin. He embarked from Sydney on 28 February 1900 and sailed to South Africa the next day. After seeing out his allotted service in South Africa, Bodkin returned to Australia. He was awarded the Queen's South African Medal with the 1901 bar. Bodkin lived a quiet life, moving to Cobar where he died in 1943.


Citation: 212 Trooper James Edward Bodkin, NSW Citizens' Bushmen

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Tuesday, 11 May 2010 9:26 PM EADT
Monday, 4 November 2002
"Bushie" and Battye
Topic: BW - NSW - NSWCBC

The story of  "Bushie" and Battye.

"Bushie" and Battye.

[Click on picture for larger version.]

The mutual affection that exists between a bushman and his dog is well known. Recognising this, the Animals' Protection Society decided to present to the Bushmen going to South Africa a contingent dog. On the advice of the President of the Kennel Club, a useful and companionable canine belonging to Mr. Chiplin, of Wentworth Falls, was selected. Last week in the Chief Justice Chambers the ceremony of christening the dog was performed by the Lieutenant Governor. Sir Frederick Darley said: "He is a very beautiful dog and I wish him a hearty return from South Africa I name him Bushie." Our picture represents "Bushie" and his custodian, Mr. A. Battye. Mr. F. Montague Bothery, Secretary of the Animal's' Protection Society, has been looking after the dog in Sydney. He informs us that it was intended to present to Her Majesty the Queen a photograph enlarged from that from which our illustration was taken. Photo by Grouzelle, 308 George Street, Sydney.

(Sydney Mail, 3 March 1900, p. 515.) 

Arthur Frederick Battye

Here is what Murray says about Battye:

Arthur Frederick Battye
Number: 342
Rank: Trooper
Unit: NSW CITIZENS' BUSHMEN
State: NSW
Murray page number: 81
Notes: Invalided, Australia, 26/10/1900

Arthur Frederick Battye [b. 1845; d. 1924] married Susan Goodwin [b. 1847; d. 1914] at Forbes, 1869. They had 3 children.

Arthur EM Battye: b. 1869
Charles Herbert Battye: b. 1871
Leslie Norman Battye: b. 1875

He enlisted in the New South Wales Citizens' Bushmen January 1900 in the embarked from Sydney on the SS Atlantian, 1 March 1900. For the near utopian 2/3d per day he was given the task to keeping "Bushie" in good condition. After service in South Africa he was invalided back to Australia on 26 October 1900.

"Bushie" ended up with the King enjoying a rich retirement as a pet of the Royal Kennels. He also made it on a few post cards.


Citation: "Bushie" and Battye

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Tuesday, 11 May 2010 9:20 PM EADT

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