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 James Hamer life after iSandlwana

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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell


Posts : 8283
Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 75
Location : Cape Town South Africa

James Hamer life after iSandlwana Empty
PostSubject: James Hamer life after iSandlwana   James Hamer life after iSandlwana EmptySat Nov 21, 2015 7:19 am

I don't recall where I found this, if I tread on someones toes I apologise in advance.

Also present at Ulundi, Hamer later gained appointment as a Sergeant, afterwards Acting Sub. Inspector, in the Cape Mounted Police, and was also for two years a Deputy-Commissary of Ordnance under the Cape Government. Having then briefly returned to the U.K., he sailed for New Zealand, where he found employment as a Sub. Manager with the Trust & Agency Co. of Australasia and was married in 1888.

And over the coming years he became a prominent local figure, rising to Manager of the Trust & Agency Co. and being elected a fellow of the Royal Colonial Institute, in addition to serving with the Canterbury Yeomanry. Less happily, he was divorced in November 1900, after a much publicised case involving his adultery ‘with a woman in Wellington’.

In the following year, Hamer enlisted in No. 24 Company of the 7th N.Z. Contingent, and briefly saw service as a Lieutenant in the Boer War before being invalided home on account of sickness - as a result of which he received the Queen’s South Africa Medal with clasps for ‘Cape Colony’, ‘Transvaal’, ‘South Africa 1901’ and ‘South Africa 1902’. He also remarried in June 1902 and the couple eventually settled in Kent with her two children. Hamer’s step-daughter later left a colourful account of her new life, from which the following extract has been taken:

‘We only remained at the old home for another three years, because during that time my mother re-married a Captain in the South African War. I remember being decked out in a new green suit and hat, and my brother in a Norfolk suit, so that we could go to meet him. We were rather dubious as to what he would be like as we had heard terrible stories about stepfathers. He looked every inch a military man with his waxed moustache, as he whisked us away in a cab to go to the London Zoo, which was a great event for us. He was very kind, I guess he thought he had better make a good impression, which he did, and all through the years he lived, I must say he was always very kind to me.

When the day came for us to leave London, we were told that we were going to live in a 500 year old country inn, in Kent. Of course, this seemed a great adventure for my brother and I, and we were thrilled but very tired when the moving van arrived at 3.a.m., to take us to our new home. My stepfather had bought us a parrot in Africa so, of course, it had to go along with us.

Eventually we moved into the Chequers Inn, which however, was only to be our home for eight months. We were placed in school there, my brother at the Grammar School, and I was sent to a young ladies school. However, it was not for long, as it appeared my stepfather had a drink problem.

At the back of the Chequers Inn lies the old Castle, hundreds of years old. Our new friends spent many happy times playing there. Playing there soon came to an end, as life was very unhappy for my mother. She tried to stay as long as possible at the Inn, but the environment was not at all good, so one day, we were told that we were moving back to London, that is, my mother, brother and I. I know she was very sad as she had to leave all her furniture and start life afresh to provide for us, as my stepfather's capital had all gone. I can only realize now, in later life, how brave she was. My aunt was still living in London, but mother was independent and wanted to face her troubles alone. Of course, my brother and I were sad at leaving our new friends but knowing nothing could be done otherwise, we tried to help all we could.

We, my mother, brother and I lived a normal life at 29, Tremadoc Road until my step-father arrived and decided he was going to live without alcohol, so my mother took him in and trusted that life would be made easier for her. His endeavours did not materialize. Finally, he decided he would try again, but in another country, and Canada was his choice ... My mother had received many letters from Canada written by my step-father asking her to join him, way far, in land up the coast of British Columbia, where he had obtained a position as supervisor of a Government Salmon Hatchery ... ’

This was in 1906 and his wife duly joined him Canada shortly before the Great War, but she died in British Columbia while Hamer was visiting the U.K. in August 1920, so he decided to remain here and died at Clun, Shropshire, in September 1925."
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