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 John Archer, Border Horse, Hlobane

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steve.333



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Join date : 2018-05-15
Location : New Zealand

PostSubject: John Archer, Border Horse, Hlobane   Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:47 am

Re Cpl J Archer of the Border Horse, Hlobane survivor discussed in this topic: http://www.1879zuluwar.com/t1910p200-isandlwana-surviviors#89390

One thing troubles me ...
My gg uncle John W W Archer is mentioned on the Boer War rolls of 3 units - Ashburners Light Horse, Western Light Horse and Field Intell Dept.
His rank in these units was Tpr, Tpr, Guide respectively.

So ... if he was a corporal in the Border Horse in 1879 and 20 years later joined Ashburner's, would he keep his rank or start from the bottom again?

On the Western Light Horse Boer War rolls there are two John W Archers (on the same page), one a Tpr the other a SSM. Very confusing!
So naturally the question arises - which John Archer took part in Hlobane - my relative or the other John W?

Would appreciate any views on this.

Steve

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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: John Archer, Border Horse, Hlobane   Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:03 am

steve.333 wrote:


So ... if he was a corporal in the Border Horse in 1879 and 20 years later joined Ashburner's, would he keep his rank or start from the bottom again?


I would say given the time that elapsed and the fact he was a non commissioned officer - he would have to start from scratch (unless he was head hunted?)

Much could have happened to his character in the intervening years.......obviously if he still had some ability. his former rank may have sped up promotion.

Had he transferred to Ashburners, I could see him retaining his rank.

Cheers

Sime

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steve.333



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PostSubject: Re: John Archer, Border Horse, Hlobane   Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:42 am

Thanks for that Sime. I think you are right. A lot can happen in 20 years. And these colonial units were created quickly as the situation required. Once the fighting was over, it would have been civilian life as usual for most of the men.
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steve.333



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PostSubject: Re: John Archer, Border Horse, Hlobane   Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:32 pm

I did read somewhere that these colonial units where quite democratically organized and that officers particularly were often voted in by the men, form among the NCOs
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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: John Archer, Border Horse, Hlobane   Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:00 am

Hi,

I too have read that colonial/militia units elected their officers - there was a big yahoo when Chelmsford replaced Dartnell as CO of the mounted elements of the Centre Column (with Russell, maybe?) and the units were not happy (Colonial officers were not allowed to command regulars) and a compromise had to be settled on, because 'Brexit' loomed

I also believe that many of the smaller units or individuals within them, could opt not to campaign outside their own locality - and that they were lured into Zululand by the idea of farmland & bounty.....most of which never came to fruition.

You will probably find that previous military commission and or social standing (magistrates etc) went a long way to securing the mandate for command. If you think about it, the Zulu War would have been a great adventure for these 'weekend warriors' - perhaps the only chance they had to fire their carbines in anger.....

Cheers

Sime
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steve.333



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PostSubject: Re: John Archer, Border Horse, Hlobane   Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:50 pm

There probably would have been some weekend warriors, but I imagine many were pretty serious about protecting their hard won interests in the area.

I like the idea that some of them had the hope that they would get land and bounty in Zululand. Being colonials, the idea of moving to a new place with less rules restrictions was in their blood!

There was another factor that contributed to who was in the unit and with what rank - family connections. There were very few people of European origin in those remote areas, so families inter-married and those bonds were strong - they depended on each other for survival!
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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: John Archer, Border Horse, Hlobane   Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:30 am

Hi Steve,

When I said 'weekend warriors' it was not meant to be derogatory and they would have been very serious about their role.

However that said, I wonder how many 'full musters' the BBG, or Newcastle Mtd Rifles or Natal Hussars etc attended in a year - obviously in times of heightened tension the units may have mustered more - the BBG was formed in 1873 - probably out of concern during Langalibalele's Rebellion.

Cheers

Sime


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steve.333



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PostSubject: Re: John Archer, Border Horse, Hlobane   Tue Aug 07, 2018 10:22 pm

Hi Sime - no explanation needed on your part.

There is an interesting discussion of the Colonial Unit here http://samilitaryhistory.org/vol045sm.html

My synopsis:

Natal units vs Transvaal/Cape units
differences:
- in Natal, commando service was legally applicable but rarely enforced, and was much disliked
- the residents preferred organized, uniformed, mounted units patterned on British Yeomanry regiments
- in Transvaal and Cape, the Commando system was a characteristic of the population
- the loosely organized highly individualistic Boer Commando represented a rurally orientated society
- these Commando units had no identical counterparts in Natal
- the more urbanized communities had stronger group loyalties so prefered an organized military approach
- typical Natal settler, a white man in a mass of natives, never liked the use of non-European levies as in the Cape
- when Britain refused to provide Imperial reinforcements, a native contingent became necessary and the Governor consented

similarities
- democratic character - officers were elected by the regiment, usually from among the NCOs
- all found their own horses, saddlery and uniforms
- neither were amenable to an institution which demanded a rigid hierarchy of command and obedience
- the Colonial volunteers and irregular mounted units were largely mushroom creations in response to the war
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