"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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Friday, 22 August 2003
1st Queensland Mounted Infantry, Roll of Honour Topic: BW - Qld - 1QMI
1st Queensland Mounted Infantry
Roll of Honour
Poppies on the Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
The Roll of Honour contains the names of all the men known to have served at one time with the 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry and gave their lives in service of Australia, whether as part of the 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry or another unit.
Roll of Honour
Edmund St. John Vincent BRODRICK, Died of Disease, 25 June 1900.
George Bertram CONLEY, Killed in Action, 31 March 1900.
Thomas CUMNER, Died of Disease, 20 March 1900.
William Alexander DAMROW, Died of Disease, 19 December 1900.
Supplement to the Queensland Government Gazette Published as General Order 358, 18 October 1899
After the outbreak of hostilities in South Africa, on 14 October 1899, the Queensland Government issued the following proclamation.
By His Excellency the Honourable Sir Samuel Walker Griffith, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George, Chief Justice of the Colony of Queensland, and Administrator of the Government of the said Colony and its Dependencies.
Whereas the Government of the Colony of Queensland lately offered, in the event of hostilities breaking out between Great Britain and the South African Republic, the services of a Contingent of Troops, consisting of 250 Officers, Non Commissioned Officers, and Men of the Queensland Mounted Infantry, together with a Machine Gun Section of the Queensland Regiment of Royal Australian Artillery, for field duty with the Imperial troops employed in South Africa; And whereas on the nineteenth day of October, instant, the Legislative Assembly of the said Colony resolved as follows:-
That this house renews the assurance of its loyalty and devotion to the Throne and Person of Her Most Gracious Majesty The Queen, and as evidence of its sympathy with Her Majesty's subjects in the South African Republic, who have for so long a period suffered burdensome disabilities and grievous injustice, desires to support the determination of Her Majesty's Advisers to secure the immediate recognition of British rights in that Republic. This House therefore views with approbation the proposal of the Government to equip, despatch, and maintain a Military Force volunteering for service with Her Majesty's Army in South Africa, consisting of 250 Officers, Non Commissioned Officers, and Men of the Queensland Mounted Infantry, together with a Machine Gun Section of the Queensland Regiment of Royal Australian Artillery.
And whereas Her Majesty has authorised a Force of Volunteers to be raised in the said Colony for the purposes aforesaid, and has directed that such Force shall, as from the embarkation thereof, be deemed to be serving with Her Majesty's Regular Forces: Now, therefore, I, Sir Samuel Walker Griffith, the Administrator of the Government aforesaid, do hereby proclaim and declare that a Military Force of Volunteers shall be and is hereby authorised to be raised and enrolled for Service with Her Majesty's Army in South Africa, consisting of 250 Officers, Non Commissioned Officers, and Men of the Queensland Mounted Infantry, together with a Machine Gun Section, there detailed establishment whereof is more particularly described in the Schedule hereunder set out.
Given under my Hand and Seal, at Government House, Brisbane, this nineteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine, and in the sixty third year of Her Majesty's reign.
By Command, James R Dickson.
God Save the Queen!
The Schedule referred to in the Proclamation.
Machine Gun Company
No. 1 Coy, MI.
No. 2 Coy, MI.
Company Sergeant Majors
Privates, Gunners, and Drivers
Total NCOs and Men
Horses - Riding
Horses - Draught
Grand Total - All Ranks
Grand Total - Horses
Extracted from: Queensland General Orders, Order 358, 18 October 1899.
[From: The Queenslander, 11 November 1899, p. 956.]
The following description of the departure by the 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry at Pinkenbar Wharf, 4 pm, Wednesday 1 November 1899 was carried by the Brisbane Courier, 2 November 1899, p. 5:
DEPARTURE OF THE TROOPS.
AN IMMENSE ASSEMBLAGE.
A SPLENDID DEMONSTRATION.
TROOPS ADDRESSED BY THE LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR.
MESSAGE FROM HER MAJESTY
TELEGRAMS FROM SIR E NORMAN AND LORD LAMINGTON.
When the history of Queensland comes to be written, the event of yesterday will stand out prominently as one of the most patriotic movements ever made by one of Britannia's colonies. It is unnecessary to outline even briefly the circumstances which led up to the Queensland Government offering the Imperial authorities the services of a volunteer force, nor is it needful to point out how spontaneous was the response on the part of our soldier citizens. It has been proved beyond doubt that not only do we live under one flag, but that we have one destiny and one aim, and when the present struggle in South Africa is finished, and the British flag reigns supreme there, one of the happiest episodes of the whole campaign - the silver lining lighting up the sombre black of the dark war cloud - will be the confidence in and loyalty to the Throne and the noble woman who occupies it shown by not merely one but all the colonies.
It has been said that history, invariably repeats itself, and such most assuredly is the case. Yesterday was a counterpart in every way of that memorable day In 1884 when the Now South Wales troops left Sydney Harbour to go to the assistance of the Mother-country in the Soudan. It was then that Great Britain first recognised that in her colonies she had something more than children to be suckled and spoonfed. She, realised that in her dependencies she had allies ready and willing to step in to her assistance in the time of extremity and need, and, if needs be, sacrifice even life itself in defending the honour of the Empire. The feeling of patriotism which prompted the Now South Wales Government to offer troops during the earlier Soudan War has, however, grown in intensity, and as a result we find at the present time one united cry going up from the whole of Britain's sons, and one can readily imagine that as the other nations of the world stand gazing at the scene, they cannot but be impressed with the fact that Britain's solidarity is something which in the future will carry more weight than even her "first line of defence" - her navy.
Yesterday was a perfect day. A few white clouds were floating about; but otherwise the sky was a brilliant blue, and a soft breeze from the north-east tempered the heat, and made the weather faultless. It was fitting that Nature should wear nothing in the shape of a frown on such an occasion, and if there is anything in omens, either good or bad, the smiling manner in which Nature bade farewell to the contingent should augur well for their career in South Africa.
As early as 11 o'clock in the morning people began to assemble in the vicinity of the wharf, and as each train arrived, the numbers rapidly swelled. By 2 o'clock an immense crowd had congregated, and every point of vantage along the line, and on the river bank, was taxed to the utmost. A number of refreshment booths had been erected on the vacant ground at the side of the railway station, and as in addition to these there were fruit-hawkers almost without number, the wants of the general public were fairly well catered for. The Brisbane agents of the Federal Steamship Navigation Company (Messrs. Birt and Co., Limited), had a special marquee erected on the space between the wharf and the cattle-yards, for the entertainment of the many friends, the managing director (Mr. Hood) and his hospitable wife had invited down to witness the departure of the troops.
Shortly after 3 p.m. the troops arrived, headed by the Headquarters and the Volunteer bands and a number of pipers. Their appearance was the signal for a spontaneous outburst of enthusiasm. The cheering, which commenced on the outer fringe of the crowd - the point where the troops arrived - travelled like wildfire through the vast assemblage, until every voice had joined in the grand chorus of enthusiasm. The scene as viewed from the deck of the Cornwall was a picturesque one, and full of animation.
The troopers' bed bunks on the SS Cornwall
[From: The Queenslander, 11 November 1899, p. 957.]
A NOTABLE PICTURE.
The level ground stretching away on cither side of the wharf and extending back to the line was one huge sea of faces, broken here and there with sunshades as varied in colour as was Joseph's coat. Not a spot was left unoccupied. The youngsters, determined not to be outstripped by their elders, clambered up on to a high pile driving derrick which stood close to the bank some distance from the wharf, on to the loading race, and on to the tops of the railway carriages and the various sheds standing in the railway enclosure. Farther away, on the opposite side of the line, was a heterogenous collection of vehicles, ranging from the shakiest of carts and other ramshackles to the smart Victorias and waggonettes of the elite. Additional colour was lent to the scene by the gay bunting which floated over the wharf, and the bright garlands bearing appropriate mottoes - which had been stretched with artistic carelessness between the poles erected to carry the bunting. The hills stretching away in the distance made an extremely effective background to the picture - a picture which will last long in the memories of those who had the privilege of gazing on it. On the river the same animation existed. Along the bank, both above and below the wharf, were moored numberless boats of all descriptions, whilst steaming about in the stream opposite the Cornwall, profusely decorated with flags, were almost all the small steamers of the port. The larger steamers, including the Otter, Lucinda, Garnet, Pippo, Grazier, Albatross, Minar, und one or two of the Government steam barges were completely packed, whilst many of the smaller craft seemed almost dangerously crowded.
The horse stables on the SS Cornwall
[From: The Queenslander, 11 November 1899, p. 955.]
THE TROOPS ON THE WHARF.
The bands which marched on to the wharf playing a lively patriotic tune were followed closely by the troops, headed by their commander. Colonel Ricardo. The dismounting of this officer was the signal for another display of enthusiasm. Amidst the cheering the men frantically waved their hats, while the fair sex joined in the enthusiasm with the aid of handkerchiefs and sunshades The first of the contingent to march on to the wharf was the detachment of the Queensland Royal Australian Artillery (the machine-gun section), and then came the A and B Companies of the Mounted Infantry, under Captain Chauvel and Captain Pinnock respectively. The men were lined up on the wharf four deep, and in their full uniform they looked a particularly fine lot of men. In front, in the centre of the line, were three officers, the centre one of whom, Lieutenant Adie, held the flag which had been presented to the contingent by some of Queensland's patriotic womenfolk. In forcing their way through the crowd on to the wharf, the troops became rather disorganised, but by "doubling" they quickly resumed their places, a fact which spoke volumes to the training which the men have received since the camp was formed at Meeandah.
ARRIVAL OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR.
About a quarter to 4 his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor (Sir S. W. Griffith) arrived, accompanied by Sir Edward Richardson, Sir H. M. Nelson (President of the Legislative Council), the Hons, J, R, Dickson (Premier), F. T. Brentnall, M.L.C., A. Rutledge (Attorney-General), R. Philp (Treasurer), J. F. G. Foxton (Home Secretary), Mr. H. S. Dutton, and a number of others. His Excellency was received by the Commandant (General Gunter), and was escorted to a position on the wharf just opposite the men. His appearance on the wharf was tho occasion for further cheering, and it was some time before the enthusiasm had sufficiently exhausted itself to allow of his addressing the men.
SIR S. W. GRIFFITH'S ADDRESS.
Sir Samuel Walker Griffith
Comparative quiet having been restored, his Excellency, facing the men, said: "Colonel Ricardo, officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the Queensland contingent for South Africa, It is my privilege to be here as the representative of her Majesty to say a word or two to you before you embark on this ship to take a part in the wars of the Empire to which we all belong. First of all, I have a message from her Majesty herself. After thanking the people of her colonies for the aid they are willing to give her in South Africa, she concludes with a message to you. She wishes you godspeed and a safe return. (Applause.) Next, I have a message from his Excellency Lord Lamington, sent at the moment of his leaving Australian shores at Albany. He asks me to extend to you his best wishes and earnest hope for your success in South Africa. I have also a message from the late Governor, Sir Henry Norman, from London. The message reads: "Please convey to the Queensland troops on embarkation hearty congratulations and good wishes from Lady Norman and myself." (Applause and cheers.) I will now add a few words for myself. You know that as soon as you embark on the Cornwall you will be, in effect, soldiers of her Majesty's regular army. (Applause.) Her Majesty has been pleased to instruct that from embarkation you are to be deemed to be serving with her forces. You will be subject to all the rules and regulations Of her Majesty's army. It is not necessary for me to say anything about courage or duty. Courage is a quality, not a duty, and I am satisfied that, as Queenslander, you all have it but the first duty of the soldier is obedience. It is not yours to reason why, not yours to make reply, but to obey. It is no concern of a soldier what may be the nature of the quarrel for which he is fighting; but for all that it is true that "thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just." You are all volunteers, going of your own free will to take a part in the wars of the Empire, and you have the satisfaction of knowing - and it is great satisfaction - that the war in which you are going to take part is one that is necessary for the preservation and maintenance of the Empire. For reasons that are only too apparent to those familiar with the facts, it has become necessary for the British Government to declare a state of war in South Africa. The alternative would be to have allowed the prestige of the British Empire in that portion of her Majesty's dominion to fall and what the consequence of that would be, no one could tell. You are going to take part in what I believe will be an arduous work. I am satisfied you will do your duty. You know that you represent Queensland. You carry in your hands the honour of Queensland and of Queenslanders, and I am satisfied that Queensland will not suffer at your hands. (Applause.) You will have with you the best wishes of all the people in this colony, and not only of this colony, but of the whole of Australia, and the whole of the British Empire. Remember that you will be supported by all that absent men can do. You will have our prayers and good wishes for your success in the field and your safe return. I conclude. Colonel Ricardo, officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, in the words of her Majesty, in wishing you godspeed and a safe return. (Applause and cheers.)
Cheers were then given for the Lieutenant Governor, the contingent, and Colonel Ricardo.
THE TROOPS GOING ON BOARD.
The troops march on board.
[From: The Queenslander, 11 November 1899, p. 956.]
Immediately upon the conclusion of the address. General Gunter reported to his Excellency that the men were ready, and Mr Samuel Griffith having given the orders to proceed, the work of embarkation was commenced. As the first men mounted the gangway leading up to tho vessel the Headquarters Band struck up "Soldiers of tho Queen," and, the men taking up the chorus another wave of enthusiasm passed over the vast crowd of spectators. It was not long before the whole of the men had embarked At about half-past 4, the gangway leading from the wharf to the ship was lowered, and the springs having been let go, and the orders of Pilot Cloherty who had been selected for the responsible work of piloting the vessel to sea, the ship steamed gradually out into the stream, and anchored some little distance below the wharf. When it was seen that the vessel was on the move the crowd were spurred on to make one more and final effort, with the result that the cheering and shouting were almost deafening. When the din, for the cheering could be called by no other name, had subsided somewhat, the band struck up "Auld Lang Syne," and as the transport steamed slowly away from the wharf, not a few eyes were moist, and more than one, no doubt, was reminded of the words of the Irish poet -
Home to your chambers - home, and pray For the bright coming of that day When blessed by Heaven, the Cross shall sweep The Crescent from the Aegean deep, And your brave warriors - hastening home Shall bring such glories in their track As shall, for many an age to come, Shed glory round their name and home.
COLONEL RICARDO'S FAREWELL MESSAGE.
[From: The Queenslander, 28 October 1899, p. 857.]
Just prior to the departure of the Cornwall from the wharf, Colonel Ricardo gave to a representative of the "Courier," who was wishing him godspeed, a message for all the wellwishers of the contingent. "Tell them," he said, "that I regret sincerely that I have not had time to reply to the many communications I have received. I am deeply conscious of the earnestness with which these messages of godspeed have been sent, and I sincerely trust that success will attend us, and that we will achieve all the hopes of our comrades."
Some diversion was caused by a number of the men, five in all, who had been doing guard duty at the camp, turning up when the vessel was some fifty or sixty yards from the wharf. A small boat was secured, however, and it was not long before they had joined their comrades on the Cornwall.
The transport steamer, which, as has already been stated, anchored in the stream some distance below the wharf, remained in the river all night; but it is expected that everything will be in readiness for her to put to sea this morning. The vessel, which left the wharf quite three hours before high water, was drawing 23ft. 2 in. aft, and 22ft. 8 in. forward.
A special marquee erected for the managing director (Mr. Hood) and his hospitable wife.
[From: The Queenslander, 11 November 1899, p. 955.]
Major Browne did not join the vessel yesterday. He leaves by the mail train this morning for Sydney, where he will embark on the Cornwall.
The tents at the camp at Meeandah were left, when the troops marched out yesterday, to be taken down by the men of the Permanent Artillery, and returned to the store.
The members of the contingent have been remarkably well supplied with clothes, boots, &c. In fact, one men was heard to say yesterday that they had received every conceivable article necessary.
The enormous crowd at Pinkenba was well managed by a large squad of police, whose duties were arduous The absence of accident speaks well for their work The police were personally superintended by the Commissioner (Mr Parry-Okeden), who had with him Chief Inspector Stuart, Inspector Urquhart, Sub-Inspectors White and Galbraith
The Commandant was asked last night if he desired to make any statement in connection with the remarks in the House concerning the rifles supplied to the contingent.
"Oh, no," he replied, "the Chief Secretary will have it." It may be stated that it was mentioned at the camp at Meeandah yesterday that, on arrival at South Africa, the men would be supplied with magazine rifles; but the truth of the statement could not be established.
The journey of the 1st QMI in South Africa, 1899 - 1900
[From: Chamberlain, M., The Australians in the South African War 1899 - 1902, A Map History, Map 35.]
The following outline was extracted from a book written by Lieutenant Colonel Neil C Smith, AM, called First Queensland Mounted Infantry Contingent: Boer War 1899-1902, which was self published by his own publishing company, Mostly Unsung Military History, Melbourne, 2005, from pp. 1 - 2.
1st Queensland Mounted Infantry
Like the each Contingents in other States, the first despatched to the Boer War in South Africa by Queensland was ordered to be raised from officers and others serving in the local defence forces, namely, 250 of the Queensland Mounted Infantry, and a Machine Gun Section from the Royal Australian Artillery (Queensland). the majority of the Contingent was enlisted on 11th October 1899 which embarked in the transport Cornwall, on 31st October and 1st November 1899, and went to sea next day. The Contingent arrived at Table Bay on 12th December; landed at Cape Town the following day and proceeded to Orange River in two trains. From Orange River the Contingent proceeded to Belmont, whence it took a prominent part in the engagement at Sunnyside 1st January, where the first Australian casualties occurred and the Relief of Douglas on 2nd January 1900, as part of an expeditionary force under Lieutenant Colonel T.D. Pilcher.
In February 1900, the Contingent took part in the Relief of Kimberley under AIderson's Brigade, in General French's Division, and from there proceeded to Koodoosrand and was employed in the operations at Paardeberg between 17th and 26th February. After the surrender of Boer General Cronje, the Contingent formed part of a mounted brigade under Lieutenant Colonel Martyr and look part in the engagements at Poplar Grove on 7th March and Driefontein 10th March, and the occupation of Bloemfontein on the 8th March 1900. At Bloemfontein, the 2nd Queensland Contingent joined by order of the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief: The combined Regiment went into rest camp at Springfontein until the 31st March, when the two companies of the 1st Contingent under Lieutenant Colonel Ricardo Conned hart of the earlier relieving force at the engagement at Sanna's Post on 31st March 1900.
During April 1900, the regiment, then consisting of three companies, with the 3rd Mounted Infantry Regiment (Imperial) and the 1st and 2nd Contingents of New Zealand Mounted Rifles formed the 3rd Mounted Infantry Corps under Lieutenant Colonel T.D, Pilcher, joined the 1st Mounted Infantry Brigade under Major General Hutton of French's Division, and left Bloemfontein on the 1st May, when the general advance on Pretoria commenced. The regiment took part in the engagements at Bandfort on 3rd May, Constantia on 4th May 1900, Vet River on 5th and 6th May, Zand River on 10th May 1900, Kliprivensberg on 28th May, Johannesburg on 29th May, Pretoria on 4th June and Diamond Hill on 11th and 12th June 1900.
After the occupation of Pretoria, strong inducements were offered to Australians and New Zealanders to join elements of the South African Constabulary, which was then being formed, and a considerable number of the members of the 1st and 2nd Contingents were transferred to the Provisional Transvaal Constabulary and though many afterwards rejoined their regiment, the strength of the two Contingents was much reduced.
Reformed into two squadrons, the regiment was engaged in the operations at Reit VIei between 13th and 16th July 1900, and was then transferred to Mahon's Brigade in General Ian Hamilton's Division, with which it took part in the the eastern advance as far as Balmoral on 25th July, the action at Zilikat's Nek on 2nd` August, the operations about Rustenburg during August 1900, and the pursuit of De Wet's force northwards to Warmbad, including engagement at Oliphant's Nek on 17th August 1900. The regiment then returned to the Eastern Transvaal, and with the exception of half a squadron which accompanied Mahon's Brigade to Baberton under Lieutenant Glasgow, formed part of a mounted force consisting of the 3rd Mounted Infantry Regiment (Imperial), Queensland Mounted Infantry. and 3rd Brabant's Horse under Major Chauvel, which was employed in minor operations in the Middleburg District under Brigadier-General Barker, including the action near Pan on 11th October 1900, subsequently joining General Smith-Dorien's command at Belfast.
Early in November, orders having been received for the return of the 1st Contingent, the horses and saddlery were handed over, and the troops sent by train to Cape Town. The men were, however detrained at De Aar, under Captain Pinnock, and proceeded to Worcester remaining there until the meeting of the Afrikander Bond had been held, when the journey to Cape Town was resumed.
On 13th December 1900, the anniversary of the day of disembarkation, the Contingent embarked on the transport Orient, and arrived at Brisbane on 17'h January 1901, after having called at Albany, Melbourne and Sydney en route. The Contingent was disbanded in Brisbane on the 23d January 1901.
Many men of the 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry Contingent went on to serve again in the Boer War with other State and Commonwealth Contingents. Many also served subsequently in World War One where a number paid the supreme sacrifice and generally acquitted themselves well, with many rising to senior ranks and being awarded an array of decorations.
Chamberlain, M., The Australians in the South African War 1899 - 1902, A Map History, Army history Unit, Canberra, 1999.
Smith, NC, First Queensland Mounted Infantry Contingent: Boer War 1899-1902, Melbourne, 2005.
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