Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

J. Walker

J. Walker :

J. Walker : Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps 'Natal', 'Transvaal'

Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps 'Natal', 'Transvaal'

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

He joined the Manchester Regiment and was given the service number 510. This suggests that he enlisted in late 1882 or early 1883. We don't know whether he joined the Regular Army or the Militia.

This man's service is a mystery until the Boer War of 1899 to 1902. He fought in this conflict with the 1st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This battalion was under siege in Ladysmith until the end of February 1900. This man did not receive the 'Defence of Ladysmith' clasp, which suggests he did not join the battalion until after the siege was over.

From late 1900 onwards the Boers had begun to fight in small groups as guerrillas. This made them harder to find and defeat. To deal with this type of warfare the 1st Battalion took part in long patrols intended to find and pin down the Boers. They also served as guards in the blockhouses and fence lines that restricted the Boer's movements.

This strategy was eventually successful and the war ended in May 1902. By June 1903 this man had left the 1st Battalion. He had been transferred to the Militia Reserve.

This suggests that this man was not a Regular soldier. The Militia lived as civilians for most of the time, and trained as soldiers for a short period every year, unless they were called up by the Army in an emergency.

A member of the Militia could only be called up to serve with the rest of his Militia unit. A member of the Militia Reserve, on the other hand, was willing to be called up as an individual or in a small group and to serve in a unit of the Regular Army. We know that around 220 Militia Reservists joined the 1st Battalion in May 1900.

We don't know anything about this man's life after he returned from South Africa. As well as his Queen's South Africa Medal he was also awarded the King's South Africa Medal with clasps 'South Africa 1901' and 'South Africa 1902'.

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