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

Date of Auction: 25th September 2019

Sold for £280

Estimate: £300 - £360

South Africa 1834-53 (G. Stephens. Rl. Saprs. & Minrs.) suspension claw re-fixed, considerable edge bruising and contact wear, otherwise good fine £300-£360


George Stephens attested for the Royal Sappers and Miners on 17 January 1847, aged 22, a mason by trade. One of six men posted to the 15th Company on 1 December 1847, they embarked at Woolwich on 1 August 1849, bound for the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived at Algoa Bay on 8 November 1849, when Stephens was admitted to Hospital. He was later stationed at Fort Murray and then at Fort Glamorgan, situated on the coast, where he remained until March 1850. He later served at several other forts along the Eastern Cape frontier. He was one of nine Sappers of the 15th Company present on 25 July 1852 at Fort White under Sergeant John Mealy, together with a garrison of 100 men drawn from the 12th Lancers, 2nd Queen’s and Cape Corps, in ‘repulsing an attack on the cattle guard. The Hottentots, about 200 in number, under Uithaalder were on the plain in front of the fort in good skirmish order. After crossing a drift they stood for a time, and kept a smart fire on the garrison. They then retreated with the loss of six men to Slambie Kop, to the foot of which they were pursued. The British casualties only counted two slightly wounded. The sappers turned out with great promptitude, not waiting to cover themselves with their jackets, and conducted themselves as good soldiers. Captain Robertson, R.E., was also present, and two of the sappers were near him in the hottest of the fire.’ (History of the Royal Sappers and Miners refers). Sold with detailed muster research.