"Pte. W. Grarpentein, C.M. Rifles) possible correction to rank and initial; Cape of Good Hope General Service 1880-97, 1 clasp, Basutoland (Pte. W. Grapentin, C.M. Rifn.); Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 4 clasps, Cape Colony, Wepener, Transvaal, Wittebergen (613 Serjt. W. Grapentin, Cape M.R.); King’s South Africa 1901-02, 2 clasps, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (0613 Serjt. W. Grapentin, Cape M.R.)
Wilhelm Grapentin was born in 1860. His parents, Friedrich and Henrietta Grapentin, were from Dammerow, Pommerania, and were one of 445 farming families recruited in Germany in 1858-59 to emigrate to South Africa, as part of Sir George Grey’s scheme to reinforce the discharged British German Legion mercenaries who had been settled in military villages in British Kaffraria. They sailed from Hamburg in the emigrant ship Peter Godeffroy on 30 September 1858, and landed at East London on 19 January 1859, where they settled around the village of Breidbach, near King William’s Town. Wilhelm, or William as he would become known, was born in the following year.
At the outbreak of war in 1877, the farmers moved from their smallholdings into the villages. Their stock was guarded at night in large enclosures, and grazed under an armed guard by day. Nearly all the fit younger men volunteered for active service, and consequently William Grapentin was enrolled in the Cape Mounted Riflemen on 17 October 1877. He served in the Gaika, Galeka and Moirosi campaigns, and was present at the 1st and 3rd and successful assault on Moirosi’s Mountain. He served in the Basutoland campaign of 1880-81, and in the Boer War, including the operations at Wepener. He was discharged at King William’s Town on 31 January 1908 as medically unfit for further service, having served 30 years and 99 days. His discharge certificate confirms all four medals and clasps, and also shows entitlement to the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. William Grapentin died at King William’s Town on 7 February 1917."