A Collection of Queen’s South Africa Medals for the Relief of Ladysmith

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Date of Auction: 21st May 2020

Sold for £550

Estimate: £400 - £500

Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 1 clasp, Relief of Ladysmith (71471 Gnr: W. T. Wilson. 14th. Bty: R.F.A.) impressed naming, edge bruising and polished, therefore nearly very fine £400-£500


Provenance: Peter Wardrop Collection, Dix Noonan Webb, December 2000.

William T. Wilson served with the 14th Battery, Royal Field Artillery in South Africa during the Boer War, and was severely wounded in action at Colenso, 15 December 1899, when the Battery lost six guns. 14th and 66th Batteries were galloped too close to the Boers and in advance of the infantry by Colonel Long, the ‘damned gunner’ that Buller subsequently blamed for his defeat at Colenso. In the face of withering fire from the Boers across the river, the officers and men fought their guns to the last. 14th Battery had one officer and seven other ranks killed and two officers and 32 other ranks wounded. Four officers and 23 men were taken prisoner after taking cover in the donga. The gallantry of the artillery can be found mentioned in all the histories of the War. After the Gunners had been shot down, the four guns, together with three from 66th Battery, stood abandoned on the veldt. General Buller asked for volunteers to save the guns and in the ensuing acts of heroism, six Victoria Crosses were won, including that by Lieutenant the Hon. F. H. S. Roberts, the son of Field Marshal the Lord Roberts of Kandahar.

Wilson was invalided home in January 1900.