The John Nicholson Collection of medals to men who fought in the Kaffir Wars of 1834-53

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Date of Auction: 25th September 2019

Sold for £650

Estimate: £550 - £650

Three: Sapper John Jervis, Royal Sappers and Miners

South Africa 1834-53 (J. Jervis. Rl. Saprs. & Minrs.); Crimea 1854-56, 1 clasp, Sebastopol, unnamed; Turkish Crimea, British issue, unnamed, mounted as worn on a triple ribbon brooch bar, contact marks, otherwise nearly very fine £550-£650


John Jervis was born in 1818 in the Parish of St Mary’s, Woolwich, Kent, and attested for the Royal Sappers and Miners at Woolwich on 5 December 1836, aged 18, a miner by trade. He served for a total of 23 years 136 days, of which 20 years 6 months were spent on overseas service: Cape of Good Hope (Eastern Cape Frontier) 15 years 2 months, Crimea 1 year 4 months, and Malta 4 years. When discharged at Chatham on 19 June 1860, he was in possession of the Kaffir War medal for the campaigns of 1846-47 and 1850-53, together with the Crimea medal with Sebastopol clasp and Turkish Crimea medal.

Jervis went with No. 2 Company to the Cape in April 1841 and, on 10 August, he was one of 20 men of No. 2 Coy who were transferred to No. 10 Coy, then at the Cape, and from this time on the musters record him as being on ‘Special Service’. He thus accompanied Captain Smith in April 1842 on his epic 600 mile overland trek from Fort Peddie to Port Natal (Durban) to the relief of the 27th Regiment, besieged at that place after their defeat in action with the Boers. This ultimately led to the forming of the Colony of Natal.

During the 3rd Kaffir War, Jervis was present at the battle of the Koonap Pass on 13 June 1852, when his Company were acting as escort to a supply convoy of 9 ox-drawn wagons to Fort Beaufort. When attacked by a large force of enemy, the lead oxen were killed in their tracks, bringing the convoy to a halt with the pass being too narrow to permit turning the wagons about. They were forced to abandon their wagons to be looted by the enemy. In their fighting retreat out of the pass, the escort lost nine men killed and three wounded whilst safeguarding the soldiers’ wives and children who were travelling with the convoy.

Sold with copied discharge papers and other research.