Naming the South African veterans 1899-1902

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Naming the South African veterans 1899-1902

Postby Steve_Butler » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:58 pm


Last year we displayed a number of photographs relating to the men of the Mounted Rifles from files held at the Kauri Museum in Northland. Many photographs came to hand with very little information as to who, where or when - and so it was with this image, the thought was that this group of nameless horse-soldiers was taken post Boer War.
The Association has now been contacted by the McKenzie family who state that they are the owners of the original photograph, and supply some very interesting information.
The photograph is of the Otamatea Mounted Rifles, and the men are pictured here in Northland either prior to the Boer War or during the war itself. Family records show that three men pictured here went to South Africa during the conflict, with only one man returning home. The two brothers (circled in yellow), Roderick La Brosse and Tyrell La Brosse both died of sickness. The units other foreign serving soldier was serial number 5436 Lieutenant Douglas Cromwell Sneling (circled in purple). The fourth person of special interest is a young 2nd Lieutenant J Gordon Coates (circled in red), who went on to become the nation's first New Zealand born Prime Minister.
I have updated the full photgraph with all the men's names that are known to the family - the image is available in the slideshow HERE. Many thanks to Don McKenzie for the information. (contact information held on record).

Updated 25th Jan 08
Again the power of this updates page has proved its worth - the Association very much appreciates the interactivity of the general public in allowing us to further our combined knowledge of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles. Yesterday I received this e-mail from Phil Beattie who is madly at work creating a new site relating solely to the actions and soldiers of New Zealand's involvement in the South African War of 1899-1902 (Boer War).
Phil states he is not quite in the position he wants to "Go Public" with his site until a few more items are completed - However I can assure members they are in for a treat, I have visited the prelimanry pages posted, and a lot of work has already been done - Phil is creating a very professional site that will complement our own pages and greatly enhance the knowledge base relating to our forefathers.
I will post a link to Phils site as soon as he gives me the go ahead (hopefully in the near future).
Phil writes in part:-

I have a couple of points to raise about it -
firstly, I can't find any record of BOTH De Labrosse brothers serving
and dying in South Africa, only one - T L De Labrosse - appears in the
NZ Roll and is there is no other De Labrosse listed in the complete
casualty roll for South Africa (In Memoriam by Steve Watt).

Secondly I would date the photograph as late 1901 possibly early 1902 as
Lt Snelling didn't receive his commission until September 1901 and
obviously T L De Labrosse is still alive!
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Re: Naming the South African veterans 1899-1902

Postby Don McKenzie » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:14 pm

09.04.2012 Some more information on the above photo. To the right facing but cropped off this image is Captain William Henry Colbeck (white beard). Early settler from Batley in the UK, businessman, farmer and Member of Parliament.
He died on 27th June 1901, therefore this pic is earlier than Colbeck's death.
I suggest late 1900, early 1901. Douglas Snelling and Tyrell de LaBrosse do a medical for the 8th Contingent in Dec 1900.
Tyrell de Labrosse dies of pneumonia on the vessel returning to New Zealand.
Correctly there is no service file evidence that de LaBrosse's brother served in the Boer War. My early information was gained from Mrs Kelly Forrest-Brown (nee Snelling) and niece of the de Labrosse brothers. She said that both brothers had died on the return trip to New Zealand. She must have been mistaken, or I mis- heard.
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