"Notes for Walter HIGGINSON:
1874 listed as living with Frederick HIGGINSON at c1Burlington Rd, Mespil, Dublin
English Army List 1875
HIGGINSON Walter R, Infantry Militia - Ireland, Royal Dublin City, Queens Own Regiment, 23 June 1875.
Colonial Office List 1888
HIGGINSON Walter Robert - Formerly lieut. in the Dublin City Militia; served through Cape war of 1877-78 in the F.A.M.P.; lieut. and adj. 3rd regiment., Natal native contingent, Nov., 1878; present at the attack on ? kraal, at the battle of
Isandhlana; mentioned in the dispatches having endeavored to save the colours of the 1/24th regiment; appointed capt. 3rd troop, Natal horse; present at Ulundi, and during the siege of Pretoria (medal and clasp for 1877-8-9; assistant
inspector, G C C , Aug 1881; government secretary and superintendent of police, Gambia, Dec 1886.
NNC - Natal Native Contingent
FAMP - Frontier Armed & Mounted Police
Mrs Cloughs Boarding House
Nov 11 1879
Having heard that there is a vacancy for a clerk in the Office of the Colonial Civil Service, I have the honor to offer myself as a candidate for the same. I was for some time a substitute clerk in the General Post Office Dublin, under my
brother-in-law Mr Blackwood Hallowes, and I acted asAdjutant of my late Regt the Dublin City Militia for nearly nine months, I also served throughout the late war asLieutenant, first in the Native Contingent, and then in Bettington's
Horse. Any reference to T Shepstone Esq? Jnr, I am sure will be found satisfactory.
Hoping you will give me this my application your most favorable consideration
I have the honor
To be Sir
your obedient Servant
Walter R Higginson[AGO Vol 1/8/24 Ref: 404A/1882]
August 5th 80
To The Colonial Secretary
I have just heard that a Corps is to be raised in Pretoria on the same plan as the Natal Mounted Police and having had a little experience in such matters I beg to forward you this my application for a commission and hope that you will bring it
to the favorable notice of His Excellency The Governor. I was for some time a Lieutenant in the Dublin City Militia but resigned my commission in the spring of 77 and joined the Old Colony Police I served through the whole war with them as a
Trooper. When the war was over I claimed my discharge and having some interest obtained. I then joined [Comm of] Lonsdale as Lieut and [Adjutant] of the 3rd Natal Native Regiment I was present at (and am sorry to say lost all my certificates]
the Battle of Isandhlana and the enclosed letter is a copy of one received by my mother Mrs Higginson from the Military Secretary acknowledging my services in trying to save the Queens Color of the 1/24 Regt .In March I transferred to No. 3
Troop Natal Horse under Capt Bettington and finished the war with him I recruited the whole of his troop for him, and had the command of it for a month in P.M.Burg. I beg to enclose you a copy of a letter from Capt Bettington and also a
certificate I obtained from Capt Hamilton 90th Regt in lieu of my School of Instruction certificate which I lost with my Commission, riding School and musketry ones. Hoping you will bring this my application to the favorable notice of His
Excellency The Governor
I share the honor to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, Walter Higginson [ Vol. 447, Ref.No.R3371/80]
Oct 2nd 79
Lieut Higginson has served with me for the last six months as Lieutenant of no. # Troop Natal Horse & has always performed his duties most satisfactorily he is an excellent drill in both cavalry and Infantry & while he was in Command of the
Troop in PMBurg always turned them out in good order, he also recruited the Troop. He joined my Troop when Comm Lonsdales Natives were disbanded in March 79. I consider him to be a most useful officer in every way
Capt No 3 Troop Natal Horse [ Vol. 447, Ref.No.R3371/80]
Horse Guards, War Office [S A]
I am desired by the Duke of Cambridge to acknowledge your letter of the 29 ulto regarding your son Lieut Higginson of the Natal Native Contingent who was mentioned in Colonol Glyn's despatches of the 21st Feb last (published in the London
Gazette of 4 April) as having assisted in the endeavours to save the Queens Colour of the 1st [Bt] 24th [For-] after the disaster at Isandhlana.
In compliance with your request. His Royal Highness has had the pleasure in directing me to call Lord Chelmsford's attention to the case of your son in the hope of his Lordship being enabled to advance his interest
I have the honour to be, Madam, Your obed. Servant
A [Horsford] [ Vol. 447, Ref.No.R3371/80]
Pietermaritzburg, Natal S. Africa,
21st October 1879
I certify that Lieut W Higginson of the Dublin City Militia attended the School of Instruction for Officers of the [Aux.ly ] Forces at Richmond Barracks Dublin of which Colonel H.W. palmer 90th Light Infantry was Commandant and of which I was
Adjutant in the Spring of 1874 and that he passed a most satisfactory examination both written and on Parade and received a (1st) First Class Certificate
W D Hamilton Captain, 90th Lt Infantry [ Vol. 447, Ref.No.R3371/80]
Colonial Office, Pretoria
I am directed by His Excellency Sir [W McLaugom ???] to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 5 ultimo applying for a commission in the Transvaal Police Force and to inform you that at present no vacancy exists but that your name has
been noted as a candidate and that your application will be considered whenever a suitable opportunity arises for employing you
I have .., [signed] Col. Secty [ Vol. 447, Ref.No.R3371/80]
16th Oct. 1880
To, The Hon. G Hudson Esq, Col. Sec., Pretoria
I beg to acknowledge receipt of your [favor] of the 14th inst., No. 1748/80, asking me to report upon the qualifications of Mr. W R Higginson, at present employed in my office, and as to whether he speaks or writes Dutch; -and in reply to state
that, employing, Mr. Higginson, as I do, as a copying clerk, I know little or nothing of his "qualifications", but can say that he writes a very fair hand and attends regularly to whatever he as given him to do. He is fast learning the work of
the office, & if he remains with me, will soon be a valuable assistant. He unfortunately, know nothing of Dutch beyond understanding a word here & there during a conversation in that language I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient, [S P
Ford] [Ast. ] [ Vol. 447, Ref.No.R3371/80]
Oct 29th 80
To, The Colonial Secretary
Mr Ford has just informed me of your kind offer of a Clerkship for myself in the Colonial Office, but as he has lately told me he is likely to raise my salary, I think it would be more to my advantage to continue at the Law. I must beg
therefore to refuse your offer, thanking you very much for your kindness in thinking of me
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, Walter Robert Higginson [Vol. 481, Ref.No.R4620/80]
COMMENTS FROM OTHERS
1. Michael Berning, for Cory Librarian, Sally Poole
It seems from your message that Higginson must have come to the Cape about 1876 and left South Africa around 1881 to move to the Gambia.Such a short stay in this country makes it difficult to find any information on him and such as there is
likely to be in the National Archives (more below).
He seems to have moved about present South Africa in a variety of forms of military service:The FAMP (Frontier Armed and Mounted Police) was a paramilitary body operating in the Cape Colony and Higginsn seems to have taken part in the last of
the wars on the Eastern Cape frontier (1877-78), then moved to taking part in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 serving in the Natal Native contingent and the Natal Horse and then serving in what has traditionally been called the First Boer War.It
is a little puzzIing why he changed unit so often - though the Boer War service may also have been with the Natal Horse.
It would seem that Higginson was in search of more permanent employment:in 1879 he applied for a vacancy as a Clerk in the Natal Colonial Service (papers in the Natal Archives), in 1880 offered to raise a corps in the event of a Basuto War
breaking out (papers in Natal Archives) and in 1881 submitted a memorial requesting a commission in the Cape Corps (papers in Cape Archives).I think this probably refers to the Cape Mounted Riflemen, the military unit into which the FAMP was
transformed in 1878, as the term 'Cape Corps' was often used to refer to the CMR. I would guess that it might have been a failure to succeed in this request that lead Higginson to move to the Gambia.
Unless he returned to South Africa later it is unlikely that it will be possible to locate the date of his death from local sources and I would suggest that records in the Gambia or of the British Colonial Service might be the best bet.
It is possible that military records might give clues to his age and parentage.I would suggest approaching local archives for advice on where the service records of the FAMP/CMR, Natal Native Contingent etc can be found - if such exist.
2. Gordon Angus MACKINLAY. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Lt Higginson, Frontier Armed and Mounted Police, 3rd Regiment, Natal Native Contingent. MORRIS Donald R.The Washing of the Spears : A History of the Zulu Nation under Shaka and Its Fall in the Zulu War of 1879.Jonathan Cape, London, 1966.
This mentions Walter on pages, 357, 360, 385-386.He also receives mention in a number of other works. There is quite a few people who have the FAMP and the NNC as their spheres of interest. I'm in Sydney, Tel 9891-1716.Will see about
getting copies for the pages for you.
3. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Valerie was very interested to find you especially as you are researching the same place at the same time. My Walter most probably worked for your Ingram. I think Ingram was not in Gambia in 1886
There is a book "The History of Gambia" by J M Gray it would be worth checking your public library for it.
4. Heather Vallance [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
All imperial military documents are kept in the UK - even when the person has fought or been assigned to SA. I would suggest that Walter's personal details will be housed in his military file at the PRO - or you could try the actual regiment
museum/archive. Our records for the period you are after are really scant, but we have no enrolment files here at all, only registers of drill attendance etc.
5. Dr Adrian Greaves. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
I will make further enquiries and get back to you. I am sorry that there has been a delay - the reason is simply that we have not yet got an answer for you. My researcher has put out a number of enquiries and we are still hoping to get a
6. Gordon, [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Isandhlana was a disaster for the army."