A Fine Collection of Medals Relating to Rhodesia and South Africa

Date of Auction: 10th May 2017

Sold for £4,200

Estimate: £3,000 - £4,000

An important Great War O.B.E. group of eleven awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel Judson, Southern Rhodesia Volunteers, Commander of the first Mazoe Patrol sent to the assistance of the refugees besieged at the Alice Mine, whose eventual rescue by a second party under Inspector R. C. Nesbitt was rewarded with the Victoria Cross - an epic episode in Rhodesian history

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Military) Officer’s 1st type breast badge, hallmarked London 1918; British South Africa Company Medal 1890-97, reverse Rhodesia 1896 (Capt. D. Judson. S.F.F.); Queen's South Africa 1899-1902, 3 clasps, Rhodesia, Relief of Mafeking, Transvaal (Capt. D. Judson. S. Rhod. Vol.); King's South Africa 1901-02, 2 clasps, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (Major D. Judson. S. Rhod: Vols:); 1914-15 Star (Mjr. D. Judson 1st Rhodn. Rgt.); British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaf (Lt. Col. D. Judson); Jubilee 1935; Coronation 1937; Colonial Auxiliary Forces Decoration, G.V.R., the reverse hallmarked London 1913; Colonial Auxiliary Forces L.S. & G.C., G.V.R. (Major Daniel Judson. S. Rhodesia Vols.) mounted court style as worn, first three campaign medals with contact marks, nearly very fine, otherwise nearly extremely fine (11) £3000-4000


‘Perhaps the most brilliant exploit of the whole campaign was a sortie by twenty-two Salisbury Volunteers in two detachments (led respectively by Lieut. D. Judson of the Rhodesia Horse and Inspector R. C. Nesbitt of the Police), who rode out twenty-seven miles to the aid of a party of fourteen white people, three of whom were women, cut off at the Alice Mine in the Mazoe district, where they had managed to improvise a sort of laager on a stony kopje, and were holding out against some hundreds of natives armed with rifles. Five of the beleaguered party had lost their lives before the arrival of the relief, including two telegraph clerks who heroically left the laager in the face of the enemy and made their way to the telegraph office a mile off. They were successful in sending an appeal for help over the wire to Salisbury, but were killed within view of the laager on the return journey. During the retirement of the Mazoe refugees with their rescuers to Salisbury the whole party was exposed for ten miles to a murderous fire, and three of the patrol were shot dead, besides a number wounded. The ladies were placed in a wagonette ingeniously protected by sheets of iron and reached Salisbury unhurt, though in a state of exhaustion.’ (The Making of Rhodesia by Hugh Marshall Hole refers)

Report by Lieutenant D. Judson to His Honour Judge Vincent

June 21, 1896

‘According to instructions from you, I left Salisbury on the evening of the 18th inst. with a patrol of four men, viz., Tprs. Honey, Guyon, King (Godfrey) and Hendricks, the instructions being to meet the refugees from the Mazoe and to generally gain information concerning the native rising.

A short distance beyond Avondale I picked up Paymaster Capt. Stamford Brown, who attached himself to the patrol. About three miles south of the Gwebi my horse gave in, and I despatched Tpr. King to Salisbury on it with a request for reinforcements. About this time I challenged and fired on a native.

I halted at Mount Hampden until 4 o'clock the next morning, by which time six additional men arrived from Salisbury. Proceeding on in the dark, we unfortunately (as it then appeared) took the road to Lo Maghonda's, and did not discover our error until daybreak. We then struck across country toward the head of the Mazoe Valley, but were delayed by a series of mishaps: Tpr. King's horse collapsed; Tpr. Mullaney, who was told off to guard the dismounted men, lagged behind, and an hour was lost in searching for him. By this time Tpr. Finch's horse fagged, and I then decided, having in view the safety of the patrol, to send the weaklings back in charge of Tpr. Finch.

From this point we progressed satisfactorily, and arrived at Salvation Army Farm at 10 a.m., where we off-saddled and gave the horses food and drink. The surrounding kopjes were alive with natives, but I guarded against surprise by posting vedettes. At noon we moved on, and I warned the men of the gravity of the situation and issued instructions to be observed in the event of attack by a superior force. About a mile down the Mazoe Valley we entered a stretch of thick, high grass, terminating in a dense clump. I gave order to gallop, and we went forward in the following order: Myself first, Capt. Brown, Tprs. Hendricks, Niebuhr, Pollett, Honey and Coward, riding in single file. As Niebuhr and Pollet passed the end clump a volley was fired at us. I wheeled my horse round and saw Niebuhr's and Pollett's horses fall, and the riders on the ground. I was only 30 yards off, and, getting a good view of the enemy, fired two charges of slugs into the middle of them and placed two of them "hors de combat," and, I believe, thus prevented them from firing on Honey and Coward, who were then passing the bush. Coward was thrown from his horse, but quickly remounted. Brown and Hendricks engaged the enemy, whilst I got Niebuhr, who was badly wounded in the hand, up behind me. Pollett clambered up behind Hendricks, and we all fired a volley into the enemy and galloped off without further casualty.

We did the next seven miles without mishap, keeping up a running fight, dislodging the enemy from the thick clumps of grass by firing volleys into them as we advanced and then rushing the dangerous spots. Seeing a wrecked cart with a dead white man (Faull) and wounded donkeys lying near the roadside, I believed it possible that all the Mazoe inhabitants had been murdered, and decided that if we saw no signs of them our only course was to reach the telegraph office, inform you of our situation, and then take up a position on one of the kopjes. Turning the corner of the mountain opposite the store, we noticed the rebels attacking the Alice Mine in force. We charged up the road as fast as our tired horses could go, cheering loudly, and opening up a rapid fire on the enemy. We ran the gauntlet of a hot cross-fire for about six minutes, and got safely into the laager of the Alice Mine, and a few minutes' firing caused the enemy to retire.

Mr. J. Salthouse (the manager) was of the opinion that our arrival frustrated a determined attack by the natives. He reported to me the death of Messrs. E. R. Cass, J. Dickenson and Faull, who attempted to get into Salisbury, refusing to await the promised advice from you. He also reported that on the previous day Messrs. Blakiston and Routledge of the telegraph department, had gone back to the office to inform me of the state of affairs, and were both shot down on their return within a few hundred yards of the laager. The rebels kept up a desultory firing the whole day at distances varying from 200 to 1,000 yards. I saw that it was hopeless to attempt to get out of the Mazoe Valley with our present small force, and it was decided to keep the position till further help arrived.

That night we sent a boy, Hendrick, with a despatch for you; he was fortunately intercepted and brought back by Inspector Nesbitt's patrol, which arrived at daybreak the following morning. (The despatch mentioned has since been handed to you.) [see below]. A council was held, and it was decided to return at once. The wagonette was armed with iron plates, six horses were inspanned, and the laager was vacated at 11.30 yesterday morning, there being 12 mounted out of a total of 30. Half a mile from the camp the attack commenced, and from then right through the Mazoe to a point two miles beyond the firing was kept up without intermission, and we lost about eight horses and three men (viz., burghers Van Staaden, McGeer and Jacobs) killed; four wounded (viz., Hendricks and Burton seriously, Ogilvie and Barry slightly). At the time Hendricks was wounded we were in a critical position. Three horses were dead in the traces and four badly wounded, and rebels firing at us from a few yards off in the grass.

Ogilvie, seeing that Hendricks was badly hit and also cut off from the wagonctte, told him to clear, which he did.
I shortly afterwards missed Tpr. Arnott, and was informed by Ogilvie that he had gone on to Salisbury. I took Tprs. Ogilvie, Harbord and Pollett to the tops of a series of small kopjes, and from these we covered the wagonette and dismounted men, allowing them each time to get well ahead before vacating our position. By these means we checked the advance of the rebels, killing a good number of them, including two mounted men, of whom there were about ten. We arrived in Salisbury about 9 p.m.’

Judson’s despatch:

Alice Mine, Mazoe,

Friday, 19th June, 1896. 10 p.m.

I beg to inform you that I arrived here about 1.30 p.m., having literally fought our way through nearly the whole of Mazoe Valley. Lost two horses killed and Tprs. Niebuhr badly wounded and Pollett slightly (both these men's horses were shot, and they consequently rode behind riders of two other horses). In this respect I would mention Tpr. C. Hendricks, who picked Pollett up and carried him nearly five miles. I sent back early in the day Tprs. Finch, Guyon, King and Mullaney with three horses (knocked up). Mr. Salthouse, in charge here, reports Messrs. Blakiston, Routledge, Dickenson, Cass and Faull killed. Since my arrival we have had natives firing on us at distances varying from 200 to 1,500 yards, and there is no doubt we are all in a critical position, as ammunition is rapidly running out. We have also absolutely no shelter for ladies, and they and we have to crouch behind rocks; provisions also running out. It is imperative that a force of at least 40 men with a Maxim should come to our relief at once, as I am afraid all the Mashonas here will rise if present rebels (number estimated about 1,000-mostly Mashonas, and easily licked) are not vigorously dealt with. Mesdames Salthouse, Cass and Dickenson are with us, and bearing up bravely. When relief columns enter Mazoe Valley let them watch closely the dense patches of grass along roadside, as small parties of rebels lie in ambush. Send some Martini ammunition, and we can then give our help. Men in laager, in addition to my patrol, are Darling, Spreckley, Zimmermann, Pascoe, Burton, Fairbairn, Goddard and Salthouse. Mr. Stamford Brown met us on road and accompanied us here. I may mention that we sent most of the rebels - who shot horses and wounded our men - to the happy hunting grounds. Am sending this by despatch rider (Cape boy Hendrick), who has been promised £100 if he delivers it safely. Send out 12 spare horses. We have two mules and wagonette.
(Sgd.) Dan Judson.

Daniel Judson was born at Melrose, South Australia in 1864, and went to South Africa when he was ten years old. He was trained as a telegraphist in Cape Town and became a very skilful one. In 1885 he enlisted into Carrington’s Horse as a bugler, and so accompanied the Warren Expedition to Bechuanaland. He subsequently resumed his telegraphic work, and attended many important conferences in this capacity. He accompanied Cecil J. Rhodes as a telegraphist at the Blignaut Pont Conference in March 1990, between Sir Henry Loch and President Kruger.

Judson went to Rhodesia in 1893 when he was appointed Inspector of Telegraphs, and remained a Civil Servant for 36 years, holding such posts as the Controller of Posts and Telegraphs in Northern Rhodesia, and being Postmaster General in both Northern and Southern Rhodesia.

In 1895 Judson joined the Rhodesia Horse, who were then being prepared for the Jameson Raid. He trained under Dr Jameson and Sir John Willoughby, but he did not participate in the raid, as he was among the party left at the base camp.

On the outbreak of the 1896 uprising Judson was appointed a Lieutenant and Intelligence Officer in the Salisbury Field Force. Although he makes no mention of the fact in his report of the Mazoe Patrol, Judson was one of the men wounded on 20 June 1896, as confirmed in the London Gazette of 5 April 1898. Whilst Judson received no reward for his part in this magnificent affair, Captain R. C. Nesbitt was in due course awarded the Victoria Cross, the citation stating:

‘Randolph Cosby Nesbitt, Capt., Mashonaland Mounted Police. This officer, on the 19th June, 1896, led the Mazoe rescue patrol, consisting of only thirteen men, fought his way through the rebels to get to Salthouse’s party, and succeeded in bringing them back to Salisbury, with heavy fighting, in which three of his small force were killed and five wounded.’

For a full account of Judson’s part in the Mazoe Patrol see Remember Mazoe by Geoffrey Bond.

During the Boer War of 1899-1902, Judson was a Captain in the Rhodesia Contingent, under Colonel Plumer, and was present at the relief of Mafeking. When war again broke out in 1914, Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Burnside became Commanding Officer of the 1st Rhodesia Regiment. Judson was a Company Commander in the same regiment until its disbandment in 1915. In December 1916 he was commissioned into the British Army as a Captain in the 3rd (Reserve) Garrison Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers. He obtained a transfer into the Labour Corps and saw active service in France, Italy, and the Balkans. He received his rank of Lieutenant-Colonel whilst commandant of a prisoner of war camp in 1918.

Judson was awarded the O.B.E. Military (London Gazette 1 January 1919) and the same year returned to Rhodesia, resuming his career in the Civil Service. He also became the Honorary Secretary to the Rhodesian Pioneer Society, National President of the British Empire Service League, and Vice-President of the Boy Scouts Association. He died at Bulawayo on 22 November 1942, aged 78.

Sold with research including a typescript of Dan Judson’s Ride by Edward John Hart, 12pp.

See also Lot 341 for the medals to Trooper Darling, one of the original defenders rescued by Judson and Nesbitt.