The Barrett J. Carr Collection of Boer War Medals

Date of Auction: 22nd July 2016

Sold for £950

Estimate: £800 - £1,000

‘Sergeant-Major Dewar, who at the last moment was given a commission in the Fifth Contingent, is likely to be one of the best officers of the contingent, and the Government are to be congratulated on this appointment. Lieutenant Dewar has had a somewhat unique experience. He was born to be a soldier, but was unlucky enough to get ‘ploughed’ in his first examination for the army. Nothing daunted by this reverse, he resolved to stick to his guns and promptly became a ranker in the Gordon Highlanders. He served for four years as a soldier, and in the meantime the regulations were altered so that it was impossible for him to get a commission owing to his being over the minimum age. He, however, went out to South Africa, and joined the Rhodesian Horse. he was in the celebrated Jameson Raid, and after that ill-started venture he was taken prisoner by the Boers. Afterward he and his wife came out to Napier, and lived quietly on about 7s a day, leaving some small means they had untouched for a ring day. People who know the Dewars speak in glowing terms of the cheerful manner in which on a very limited income they faced life in a strange country. Mrs. Dewar, now that her husband has gone to war, returns to England in the “Gothic”. She’s a daughter of General Hutchinson. Dewar’s a relation of Lord Roberts, and, as he is evidently a born soldier, the chances are that his opportunity has now come to him. One thing is certain: that he knows his drill better than any other man in the Fifth Contingent and of another, we may be equally sure, he will do his duty bravely and well.’

A New Zealand newspaper report, refers.
The Queen’s South Africa Medal awarded to Major A. R. J. Dewar, 5th New Zealand Mounted Rifles (Imperial Bushmen), late Gordon Highlanders and Mashonaland Mounted Police - and ‘Jameson Raider’: he received his Boer War Medal from the hands of King Edward VII at Marlborough House in the summer of 1901 and afterwards served as a Superintendent in the Colonial Police - he was Commandant of the Sikh Police at the time of the mutiny in Singapore in February 1915

Queen’s South Africa
1899-1902, 5 clasps, Cape Colony, Rhodesia, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901 (Lt. & Adjt. A. R. J. Dewar, N. Zea. Cont.), good very fine £800-1000


Arthur Robert Johnstone Dewar was born in Karachi, India in October 1869 and, as cited above, enlisted in the ranks of the Gordon Highlanders in 1889 after failing his officer’s entrance examination. He did not, however, witness any active service, prior to leaving the Army in 1893 and making his way to Rhodesia. Enlisting in ‘B’ Troop of the Mashonaland Mounted Police, he gained advancement to Corporal and participated in the famous Jameson Raid in 1895-96 - captured by the Boers at Doornkop, he was among those repatriated to England in the Harlech Castle in January of the latter year.

He next made his way to New Zealand, where he settled in Wanganui and, in May 1897, enlisted in the New Zealand Defence Force. He subsequently attested for the 5th N.Z. Contingent for service in South Africa and, having been quickly commissioned as Lieutenant, was embarked in the S.S.
Waimate in March 1900. He was present in the operations in Rhodesia and the Transvaal, including the actions at Malmani on 18 August 1900 and at Kaffir Kraal on 24 October 1900, and was appointed Adjutant of the 5th New Zealand Mounted Rifles (Imperial Bushmen) at the end of the same year. Having then seen further action in Orange Free State and Cape Colony, he was embarked for England, where he received his Queen’s South Africa Medal from King Edward VII at a special ceremony held at Marlborough House in July 1901.

Dewar next set sail for the Far East, where he was appointed a Local Lieutenant in in the Malay States Guides in April 1902. Later in the same year, he became Adjutant of the Selangor Volunteers and, in May 1903, a Superintendent of Prisons. In August of the same year, he was appointed Lieutenant in the 5th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, seconded to the Malay Guides, in which capacity he gained advancement to Captain in May 1906. Having about this time moved to Singapore to take up appointment as a Superintendent of Police, he held the same rank successively in Penang (March, 1910), and Malacca (August, 1911), prior to being appointed Second Superintendent of Police in Singapore in July 1912. During the Great War, he faced many challenges, among them the mutiny of February 1915, when he was serving as Major and Commandant of the Sikh Police. In 1916, he became Superintendent of Police in Penang and his final appointment appears to have been his term in office as Major and Commandant of Police at Labuan in the Malay Straits in the mid-1920s; sold with copied research and roll confirmation.