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 2037 Cr Sergt J. Hardwick 2.21st Foot

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John

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PostSubject: 2037 Cr Sergt J. Hardwick 2.21st Foot   Fri May 04, 2018 10:37 pm

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Three – South Africa Medal bar: 1879 VF 20.000 – 35.000
2037 Cr Sergt J. Hardwick 2.21st Foot;
Army LS&GC Medal (2nd type) 2037 Cr Sergt J. Hardwick R.Sco:Fus:;
Army Meritorious Service Medal (Geo.V – 3rd type)
S.Mjr J. Hardwick R.Sc.Fus:; shooting medal (silver) engraved:
“A.Y.R. M.H. Rifle Club, Sergt Major J. Hardwick R.S.F. 1885”.
2037 C/Sgt. Joseph Hardwick was slightly wounded during the capture of a Boer laager at Swart
Kopjes on 6 January 1881. Colour Sergeant Joseph Hardwick is recorded as having served with
his Regiment during the Zulu War qualifying for the clasp “1879”. He is recorded as having been
slightly wounded during the capture of the Boer laager at Swartkoppies on 6 January 1881.
The action at Swartkoppies took place during the Siege of Pretoria. During the last days of December
1880 British forces under Colonel Gildea had attacked a Boer laager some 10 miles south of Pretoria
but their advance, which naively assumed that the Boers had run away, was checked by concealed
Boer marksmen and four of the British attackers were wounded before they hurriedly withdrew.
An article by Rob Jordan (ref: The South African Military History Society Journal) records:
“A week later, on 5 January 1881, a foraging party to a farm nine miles east of the town (Pretoria)
spotted another Boer laager three miles further off amongst the Zwartkoppies in a bend of the
Pienaars river. Bellairs again decided to attack and the following morning 462 men set off under
cover of darkness. The Pretoria Carbineers under Captain Sanctuary and guided by Corporal W.
Struben performed a remarkable feat in riding round the laager undetected and taking up position
behind it to cut off the Boer retreat, but at first light they foolishly betrayed their presence and
drew fire. Gildea pushed ahead hurriedly with the main attack but the forty Boer defenders under
Veldkornet Hans Botha held their ground tenaciously until overwhelmed. Two Boers were killed,
three wounded and fifteen were taken prisoner; the rest had ridden away while a flag of truce was
flying. Gildea wasted no time in withdrawing to camp as more Boers were riding in from other
laagers to investigate. This was the only time during the siege (of Pretoria) that an attack was
pushed to a successful conclusion but the cost to the garrison had been high – six men dead,
twelve wounded – and the Boers had inflicted more than three times their own losses on the
attackers, a grim warning for the future. Assistant Commandant General Erasmus was criticized
after the defeat and replaced by Hendrik Schoeman. It appears that Schoeman inculcated greater
alertness among the besiegers and set up a system for distant laagers to communicate by means of
signal fires but the records of the Boer command are so meagre it is difficult to assess his
contribution accurately. He certainly did nothing to change the essentially defensive tactics.”
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