"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
The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre aims to present an accurate history as chroniclers of early Australian military developments from 1899 to 1920.
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Wednesday, 13 November 2002
143 Trooper Alfred Ernest Matthews, NSW Citizens' Bushmen Topic: BW - NSW - NSWCBC
143 Trooper Alfred Ernest Matthews, NSW Citizens' Bushmen
On Monday, 29 January 1900, Alfred Ernest Matthews 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.
Alfred Ernest Matthews after attestation and allotment to "B" Squadron
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.
143 Trooper Alfred Ernest Matthews.
Alfred Ernest Matthews was born in 1875 at Wagga Wagga, NSW. to parents John Joseph and Eliza Matthews. He was a miller's hand by employment. In February 1900 he enlisted in the NSW Citizens' Bushmen as 143 Trooper Ernest Matthews, "B" Squadron. Matthews is recorded in Murray, p. 79. Matthews was awarded the Queen's South African Medal with the 1901 bar.
New South Wales Citizens Bushmans Contingent (NSWCBC), Michael Thomas Hurley Topic: BW - NSW - NSWCBC
New South Wales Citizens Bushmans Contingent (NSWCBC)
Michael Thomas Hurley
Michael Thomas Hurley
A brief military biography of 114 Sergeant Michael Thomas Hurley
Church of England
Date of Birth
Age at embarkation
Next of kin
Father, John Hurley, Braidwood, NSW
Mother: Mary Ann Siblings: William A Hurley, born 1860 at Sydney, Certificate No. 330 Anna Hurley, born 1862 at Cooma, Certificate No. 7176 Mary Hurley, born 1867 at Braidwood, Certificate No. 7233 Michael Thomas Hurley, born 1872 at Braidwood, Certificate No. 7712 Edward Hurley, born 1876 at Braidwood, Certificate No. 8777
New South Wales Citizens Bushmans Contingent (NSWCBC), Roll of Honour, James Mitchell Topic: BW - NSW - NSWCBC
New South Wales Citizens Bushmens Contingent (NSWCBC)
Roll of Honour
James Mitchell's name on the Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial
Service number: 508
Rank: Squadron Sergeant Major [Sqn Sgt Maj]
Unit: NSW Citizens Bushmen, "A" Squadron
Service: Colonial Military Forces
Conflict: South Africa, 1899-1902
Date of death: 17 August 1900
Place of death: Elands River
Cause of death: Died of wounds
Source: AWM142 Roll of Honour cards, War in South Africa, 1899-1902.
James Mitchell was born in 1842 at Ayreshire, Scotland. Mitchell was married to Emily and lived at Tenterfield when he enlisted in the NSW Citizens' Bushmen becoming 508 Squadron Sergeant Major James Mitchell and allotted to "A" Squadron. Mitchell is recorded in Murray, p. 75. 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. Mitchell was wounded in action at Elands River and subsequently died of his wounds on 17 August 1900.
Initially Squadron Sergeant Major James Mitchell was buried in a communal grave along with Trooper James Daniel Duff, Trooper John Waddell, and Trooper James Edward Walker. After 1966 Mitchell was reburied in a single grave with his own metal head piece.
Final grave for 508 Squadron Sergeant Major James Mitchell
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 Gunteron 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:
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.
Thomas A. McClelland, Treasured Memories and Gold Pioneers - Memories of a golden era Part Two, Tamworth, 1994.
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.
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