Queen's South Africa Medal 1899-1902 & Colonial Long Service to Royal Canadian Artillery (Wounded at Faber's Put)
Pair: Queen's South Africa Medal 1899, (type 2 reverse),
- three clasps - Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal;
Colonial Auxiliary Forces Long Service Medal (Edwardian issue).
421 Gr: G.F. Fletcher, R. Candn: F.A. on first medal, Sergeant
G.F. Fletcher 1st Regt C.A. on second medal.
Both medals impressed. Hairlines on both and a metal flaw on reverse of
second, otherwise good very fine.
Gunner George Frederick Fletcher, wood turner resident at Halifax, N.S. employed by James Dempster Co., age 25, born at Leicester, England; Enlisted 4th January 1900 at Quebec in Royal Canadian Field Artillery, "E" Battery; WIA 30th June 1900, at Faber's Put; Discharged 8th January 1901. Next of Kin (mother) resident at Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Battle at Faber's Put in part involved "E" Battery of the Royal Canadian
Field Artillery which was waiting at the farm there for supplies. As the main British offensive neared the Transvaal capital of Pretoria, other forces, columns of predominantly 'colonial' and Imperial Yeomanry (British militia mounted infantry) were pursuing Boer forces in the northern and western Cape Colony. In late May, one of these columns, which included four guns of "E" Battery, RCA, halted to wait for supplies at Faber's Put. The choice may have been due to the presence of a comfortable farm house, which the British commander appropriated as his living quarters. The choice was not a good one, as a number of ridges within rifle range overlooked the farm buildings.
That evening, 600 Boers surrounded the position. A party of Boers crept past the British outposts and into the camp under the cover of darkness. Dawn was still a half hour away when a sentry raised the alarm. The Boers poured fire into the mounted infantry lines, killing men and scattering scores of horses. In the Canadian lines, next to the British, the gun detachments ran to their guns, while the drivers harnessed the horses and led them to safety. It was still too dark to aim the guns, so the gunners lay prone beside them.
As the sun rose, a British unit recruited in South Africa counter-attacked, while the Yeomanry engaged the Boers at close range. Two Canadian nine-member gun teams manhandled two guns across a fire-swept field and brought them into action, losing one man killed and seven wounded in the process. The combination of the counter-attack and the artillery fire was too much for the Boers, who abandoned the battle.
Although the British commander claimed victory, down-playing the casualties of 27 killed and 41 wounded and the loss of a large number of horses, the engagement was, in fact, a defeat. Nevertheless, the Canadian battery had fought one of the most desperate actions faced by Canadians while campaigning in South Africa, and gained little recognition for its efforts.