Victoria (1837-1901); ruler; Queen of Great Britain 1837-1901
Saulles, George W. de; artist; British artist and medallist, 1862-1903
Victoria regina et imperatrix; ruler; with the title of
Lester Watson Collection
Queen's South Africa Medal (second striking); denomination
British Army; subsubsubseries
During the 1830s and 1840s several Dutch republics had been established outside the British Cape Colony in South Africa, among which were Transvaal and the Orange Free State, all now in modern South Africa. Transvaal was annexed briefly by the British but its independence re-established in the First Boer War.
In the 1880s however the discovery of vast gold reserves in Transvaal brought large numbers of foreign settlers, largely British, across the border, and an attempted coup at the instigation of Cecil Rhodes in 1895. Military escalation followed, negotiations failed and the two Boer republics, convinced that the British intended annexation, declared war in the Cape Colony in October 1899.
The immediate result was the siege of British troops in Ladysmith, Mafeking and Kimberley, while field forces attempting to come to their relief were defeated in several open battles by Boer contingents. Kimberley, the first town to be relieved, could open its gates only in mid-February; Mafeking, famously, had to hold out until May. Other smaller sieges included the investment of the British garrison at Wepener from 9 April 1900 till 25 April when reinforcements arrived who drove off the besiegers.
This medal was awarded to Lt. D. T. Davies of the Kaffir Rifles, who was therefore presumably among the defenders at Wepener. His subsequent operations included suppressing various Boer forces in the Wittenbergen area in July 1900. By now Boer resistance in the field was effectively crushed, but a dogged and bitter guerilla campaign lasted until May 1902 when the last Boer forces finally surrendered.
The period between mid-1900 and mid-1902 therefore saw numerous small actions in the two home and two occupied provinces, service in which was generally recognised by the issue of bars for those provinces. Lt. Davies was awarded those for the Cape Colony and Transvaal. Lester Watson purchased his medal at some point before 1928.
London, mint, place
weight, 47.43, g
diameter, 36.3, mm
loan; 2005; Cambridge in America
Gift of L. Hoyt Watson; ex Lester Watson Collection, bt before 1928
design; obverse; VICTORIA REGINA ET IMPERATRIX; Bust of Victoria facing left with veil
design; reverse; Britannia in foreground facing right holding standard and waving wreath over army marching along shore, with ships offshore in background
Watson Catalogue; 336
previous object number; LW.0307
Hayward, John (author, C20th). Birch, Diana. Bishop, Richard. 2006. British Battles and Medals 7th edn.London: Spinkp. 430-434, 440, 442, 443-453
British and other Campaign and Gallantry Medals From the Collection of Lester Watson (d. 1959).
Queens South Africa (1899-1902) (Wittebergen, Transvaal, Wepener, Cape Colony): Lieut. D.T. Davies, Kaffrn Rifles.
Object Number: CM.1424-2009
(Coins and Medals)
(record id: 141518; input: 2007-03-27; modified: 2008-12-22)