Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

G. B. Caffrey

G. B. Caffrey :

G. B. Caffrey : (L to R) Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps 'Natal', 'Belfast'; King's South Africa Medal with clasps 'South Africa 1901', 'South Africa 1902'

(L to R) Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps 'Natal', 'Belfast'; King's South Africa Medal with clasps 'South Africa 1901', 'South Africa 1902'

Unfortunately we don't know this man's first name or anything about his early life and family.

He joined the Manchester Regiment in around September 1894 and was given the service number 4305. In 1895 he was a member of A Company of the 1st Battalion.

He saw service in the Boer War, which broke out on the 11th October 1899. We don't know when he arrived in South Africa. He served with the 1st Battalion during the war but was not awarded the 'Defence of Ladysmith' clasp. This small town in Natal was besieged by the Boers between the 30th October 1899 and the 28th February 1900, and the 1st Battalion formed part of the garrison.

He was with the 1st Battalion at the Battle of Belfast, or Bergendal, which lasted from the 21st August 1900 until the 27th and ended with the defeat of Boer forces and the capture of their temporary capital, Machadodorp (today called eNtokozweni). The Boers did not surrender; they fought on as guerrillas in small units, so he stayed in South Africa, seeing service in 1901 and 1902.

The war ended on the 31st May 1902, and the 1st Battalion left South Africa for Singapore on the 11th March 1903. By June of that year he had been transferred to the Army Reserve after the end of his Regular service.

During the First World War he rejoined the Army. He was eligible for the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal. This means he went overseas before the end of 1915, although we don't know where.

He survived the war, but the rest of his life is a mystery. His medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in August 1949.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 343 2878
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council