South African ('Boer') War 1899 -1902
On the 28th September 1899 the Premier Mr R. J. Seddon asked Parliament to approve the offer to the Imperial Government of a contingent of mounted rifles and the raising of such a force if the offer were accepted. The proposition was overwhelmingly endorsed with only five members voting against it.
On the 6th October 1899 the Imperial authorities accepted the services of a New Zealand contingent for service in South Africa.
On the 6th October 1899 Colonel Penton Commanding Officer of the New Zealand Forces sent the following letter to the Premier Mr R. J. Seddon. —
“It will be necessary to send a Veterinary Surgeon with the troop horses going to the Transvaal. Mr Gilruth Chief Veterinary Officer (Agricultural Department) informs me that he will be able to obtain the services of one of the Veterinary Surgeons who have lately arrived in the Colony and I have discussed terms with him.
The gentleman should be given the rank of Veterinary Lieutenant so as to give him authority with the troops and an allowance of 10/. A day whilst engaged with the contingent in addition to his present pay.
I explained to Mr Gilruth that the Imperial Authorities have laid down the exact number of officers amongst which a Veterinary Surgeon is not mentioned and that on arrival in Africa he would have to take his chance of being allowed to take part in the campaign, but that at any rate the Government would supply him with a free passage back to the Colony.”
The failure of the Imperial Authorities to include a Veterinary Surgeon for service with the New Zealand Contingent was overcome by a ‘Special agreement,’ that was drawn up by the NZ Solicitor General, as follows. —
“It is to be distinctly understood that the appointment of Veterinary Surgeon to the Contingent is for the voyage only and will not necessarily continue for the whole or any part of the period the Contingent is on Active Service in South Africa.
Should you, however, on arrival in South Africa, obtain employment with the Imperial Forces, then your extra pay of 10/- per diem will immediately cease, extra pay according to arrangements you may make being drawn from the Imperial Government, but on conclusion of such Imperial Service a return passage will still be provided.
In this connection you will be allowed a period of 20 days from date of debarkation in South Africa within which to decide whether to remain and take up employment with the Imperial Forces or return to NZ. Such decision to be intimated to the officer commanding the NZ Contingent.”
The Boer ultimatum to the British expired at five o'clock on Wednesday afternoon of the 11th October 1899. Britain and her Colonial allies (New Zealand) were officially at war with the South African Republic.
It is worth mentioning that just prior to the Boer War six Veterinary Surgeons in England had been employed by the New Zealand Government as inspectors as part of the New Zealand Agricultural Department. As the Veterinary Surgeons were drawn from the Agricultural Department to accompany the transports, this left the NZ Agricultural Department short staffed.
As such, another four Veterinary Surgeons were selected in England by the Agent-General for service under the NZ Agricultural Department (Arrived in NZ in January 1900),another seven Veterinary Surgeons arrived in March 1901, and in May 1901, two more Veterinary Surgeons were selected in England by the Agent-General for service under the NZ Agricultural Department. First New Zealand ContingentVeterinary-Lieutenant Charles Raymond Neale
Charles Neale would be the first New Zealand Veterinary Officer to serve outside of New Zealand on Active Service. Charles also enters the New Zealand history books as being the first New Zealand Veterinary Officer to come under fire in both the South African Boer War and the First World War.
Charles Raymond Neale was born in England on the 31st May 1872. His father (Major Charles Neale of the Scots Greys) managed estates in Scotland, with eight large farms in hand, and Charles used to assist him.
Charles graduated Veterinary Surgeon at Edinburgh University having studied meat inspection under Professor Walley in the public abattoir in Edinburgh, and the inspection of live stock at the port of Leith.
Most of Charles work had been amongst pedigree shire horses, Aberdeen cattle, and Shorthorn and Jersey cattle, pedigree Hampshire Down sheep, and Berkshire pigs. He also had considerable experience of most of the contagious diseases, especially tuberculosis, and was thoroughly conversant with the tuberculin test and the use of anthrax vaccine.
Charles had his own private practice at Henleyon-Thames before being accepted as one of the first six veterinary surgeons for the New Zealand Agricultural Department. (110 applications had been received for the 6 positions)
It appears that initially Charles was attached to the head office in Wellington and then appointed Government special inspector at the Christchurch Meat Company's Smithfield Freezing Works in Timaru.
Charles Neale had served three years with the Yeomanry Cavalry in England and had won prizes in sword competitions, which would have been a big factor for his selection as Veterinary Surgeon to the 1st Contingent.
Interestingly, his uncle, Major Raymond Neale, was the head of the Army Veterinary Department in South Africa around that time.
On the 12th October 1899 Charles was temporarily discharged of his duties at Timaru, and appointed Veterinary Surgeon to the New Zealand Contingent as of the 13th October 1899.
The First New Zealand Contingent sailed from Wellington in the SS Waiwera on the 21st October 1899.
New Zealands first War correspondent mentions that Charles Neale took a prominent part in the engagement at Arundel on the 13th December 1899, and goes on to state. —
“I have just had a short interview with Lieutenant Neale, of the New Zealand Contingent.
Lieutenant Neale states that, judging from appearances, every New Zealander remained as firm as a rock, even when the scouts were surprised by a number of Boers taking shelter in one of the kopjes, and had to stand a heavy fire, which they well returned with good effect. From the commencement tho New Zealanders have done splendid work. They have also proved themselves to be raiders, and several bullocks and a very large number of sheep have been secured. They were not the result of a looting expedition. The stock belonged to a renegade Englishman, who, after being brought up under the protection of the British flag, went over to the enemy. The New Zealanders rounded up the stock, consisting of 2500 sheep, and drove them to camp three miles away. We had had bully beef for several days before, but now we have mutton three times per day. The officers were very pleased at the successful results of the New Zealanders expedition, and laughingly said that the Maorilanders were the best boys for that work. To see the colonials driving the sheep along and yelling and shouting as though demented was very funny indeed. The boys secured several mementos of their raid on the camp, and altogether had a very happy time.”
On the 14th December 1899 Lieutenant Neale was ordered to join General Gatacre's column, but appears to have been sent to Capetown to attend to the incoming transports and was attached to the ‘Army Veterinary Department, Field Force, South Africa.”
On the 17th January 1900 Lieutenant Charles Neale sent the following letter to the Commander of the New Zealand Forces. —
“Sir, I beg to report that I remained with the NZ troops up till the 13th December, from which date in accordance with my agreement I was retained for service with the Imperial forces and am now at the Base in Capetown.
I am happy to say that the horses landed in first rate condition and have since done their work better than the Imperial troopers; in fact the horses were reported in the “English Standard” as being the best conditioned and best class horses yet disembarked in South Africa.
I am very sorry you did not see your way to attach me permanently to the force, as for veterinary attendance they have now to depend on the courtesy of Veterinary Surgeons attached to other regiments and I am afraid the horses will have scant attendance if they get badly mauled in a big action.”
Interestingly, the British sent Staff Veterinary Officer Lieutenant Douglas to look after the New Zealand Contingent horses. Lieutenant Douglas just happened to be an ex-New Zealander.
While serving under the command of Colonel Ormelie Campbell Hannay until he was killed at Paardeberg on the 18th February 1900, Charles Neale earned the Queens South Africa war medal clasps – ‘Relief of Kimberly’ and ‘Paardeberg.’
While serving with the Mounted Infantry Brigade, Charles earned the clasp ‘Dreifontein.’
While serving with the 7th Mounted Infantry Corps in General Ian Hamiltons Column, Charles earned the clasps ‘Johannesburg’ and ‘Diamond Hill.’
By the end of October 1900, Charles Neale is recorded by his own admission to have been under fire 54 times.
Charles was discharged from Imperial strength on the 16th November 1900, and returned to New Zealand where he was appointed as Government Inspector of Meat at Gisborne.
On the 6th January 1901,Charles Neale applied to the Commandant of the NZ Defence Forces for a ‘Combatant Commission’ with the Eight Contingent but was declined.
On the 31st March 1902, Mr Gilruth Chief Veterinarian sent the following letter to Major General Babington Commandant of the NZ Defence Forces. —
“Re Tenth Contingent.
I beg as requested by your memorandum of 26th., to recommend as Veterinary Officers Mr C. R. Neale, M.R.C.V.S and Mr J. A. Towers, M.R.C.V.S
It would be most suitable for Mr Towers to leave by the first ship.
As the exigencies of this Department will only permit of one of these gentlemen accompanying the Contingent throughout South Africa, I desire that Mr Tower be permitted to return to the Colony on landing the horses in South Africa.”
On the 16th April 1902, Charles Neale was appointed as Veterinary-Captain to the 10th Contingent with the date of acceptance 14th April 1902.
Veterinary-Surgeon-Captain Charles Neale embarked with the South Island Regiment of the Tenth Contingent and sailed from Lyttelton on the 19th April 1902.
(The Tenth Contingent was disbanded in New Zealand on the 23rd August 1902)
Family member Chris Neale has kindly provided the following photograph of Charles Neale. The picture shows Charles Neale wearing his 10th Contingent uniform
Wellington, 30th March 1908
His Excellency the Governor is respectfully advised to approve of the following appointment: —
New Zealand Veterinary Corps
Charles Raymond Neale, M.R.C.V.S. England, to be Major, and with effect from 3rd April 1908.
23rd May 1908
Appointed Veterinary Surgeon-Major, Canterbury district, NZ Veterinary Corps.
New Zealand Gazette 6th March 1913: —
Major Charles Raymond Neale, M.R.C.V.S. Eng, is transferred to the Reserve of Officers. Dated 12th February, 1913.World War One Service.
Enlisted: — 23rd December 1914 (5/294)
Reinstated to active list of officers: — 2nd January 1915
Attestation: —Trentham, 12th February 1915, Service No. 17/294 (5/294)
Embarked: —With the 3rd Reinforcements N.Z.E.F. on HMNZT 19 (Aparima) on the 13th February 1915, arriving at Suez, Egypt on the 26th March 1915.
“Major Neale, who went with the A.S.C., was the first New Zealand veterinary officer with the Gallipoli expedition. He was relieved by Major Stafford, D.S.O., who remained on the Peninsula till the evacuation. Events soon proved, however, that horses were of little use on Gallipoli, except for some work at night. The conditions were much more suitable for mules and Egyptian donkeys. Happily the animals were not much troubled by disease, but wounds from shells were plentiful and frequent, and many were killed.”
(Chapter IX. New Zealand Veterinary Corps. By Dr. C. J. Reakes)
In connection with his work on the Gallipoli peninsular, Charle Neale was mentioned in General Ian Hamilton’s (Commander Mediterranean Expeditionary Forces) despatch of 20th May 1915.
Charle Neale returned from ANZAC (Gallipoli) to Egypt (Sidi Bishr) on the 20th August 1915.
Charles joined No. 1 Company at Moascar, Egypt on 27th January 1916, and was appointed Captain-Adjutant of No. 1 Company on 30th January 1916.
Colonel Reakes, Director of Veterinary Services and Remounts sent the following letter to the NZEF Quartermaster-Generals office on the 8th June 1916.
“Major C. R. Neale, NZVC, has returned from service with the Expeditionary Force, owing to the establishment of Veterinary Officers for that Force having been reduced in number. I am recommending him twenty one days leave of absence from tomorrow.”
Owing to surplus of NZ Veterinary officers in Egypt, Charles Neale returned to NZ on the Tahiti, departing Suez on the 5th May 1916, arriving in Dunedin on the 6th June 1916.
New Zealand Gazette No. 78, 20th July 1916: —
Major Charles Raymond Neale is struck off the strength of the NZ Expeditionary Force, and absorbed into the Reserve of Officers. Dated 29th June 1916.Second New Zealand ContingentVeterinary-Lieutenant Charles James Sanderson
Charles James Sanderson was one of the first six British Veterinary Surgeons that had been employed by the New Zealand Government as inspectors as part of the New Zealand Agricultural Department prior to the Boer War.
Charles Sanderson was from Southsea, a seaside resort located in Portsmouth at the southern end of Portsea Island in the county of Hampshire in England, and had practiced as a Veterinarian in Kent, Shropshire, Essex, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon, and London.
Sanderson boarded the steamer Wakanui that left London on the 9th March 1899, and arrived in New Zealand on the 1st May 1899. Shortly after his arrival in New Zealand Sanderson was appointed as a Government Inspector for the Auckland area. (Listed as being single and 28 years of age)
In November 1899 Charles Sanderson was temporarily discharged of his duties at Auckland, and appointed Veterinary Surgeon to the Second New Zealand Contingent, departing with them on the Waiwera on the 20th January 1900.
It appears that Charles Sanderson landed in South Africa in late January 1900, and served with 2nd Contingent in Cape Colony being attached to Colonel Sir C. Parsons Column.
After the occupation of Bloomfontein till the battle of Diamond Hill, Sanderson was attached to Major General Huttons Brigade, also with 2nd N.Z.M.R.
During this period he was in Veterinary charge of horses of the 2/N.Z.S also of animals attached to Colonel Parson’s Column when serving with that Column.
During six weeks in March and April 1900 Sanderson acted as Commandant of Van Wyke Vlei C.C.
In July 1900 when volunteers were called for from Colonial Corps to serve in the Transvaal Constabulary, Sanderson with upwards of 50 men of the 2nd Contingent joined that Force.
Sanderson continued to serve with the S.C. till the 22nd October 1900 when he was offered and accepted a Commission in the S.A.C in which Corps he served in until August 1902. Third New Zealand ContingentVeterinary-Lieutenant Henry Charles Wilkie
Henry Charles Wilkie was another of the first six British Veterinary Surgeons that had been employed by the New Zealand Government prior to the Boer War, and arrived in New Zealand on the 1st May 1899.
Henry Wilkie was from St. Ives (Hunts) and was a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and a Fellow of the Zoological Society, in London. His veterinary experience extended to Wolverhampton, Bodmin Cornwall and Barnet Herts.
At the time of Wilkie’s arrival in New Zealand he was 34 years of age and was unmarried. As Government veterinary surgeon Wilkie was initially attached to the head office of the Agricultural Department. When Charles Neale was despatched with the First Contingent, Wilkie took over his duties at Timaru.
Henry Wilkie was appointed Veterinary Surgeon to the Third New Zealand Contingent, departing with them on the Knight Templar on the 17th February 1900.
Veterinary Leuitenant Henry Charles Wilkie and his farriers on the Knight Templar.Fourth New Zealand ContingentVeterinary-Lieutenant Peter Maxwell Edgar
Peter Maxwell Edgar was one of the second batch of four Veterinary Surgeons that Departed Plymouth aboard the steamer Paparoa on the 11th November 1899, and arrived in New Zealand on the 2nd January 1900. At the time of arrival Edgar was 30 years of age and was unmarried.
Peter Edgar was educated at the Royal Veterinary College, Edinburgh, and after graduating, became assistant to Messrs Baird, at the public slaughterhouses in Edinburgh. Later he went out to South Africa as Government Veterinary Surgeon, and went through the rinderpest epidemic of 1897-98. After which, he returned to England and was engaged as assistant to a Mr Greedge, who was a well-known Dorset veterinarian of the time, with a large farm practice.
Peter Maxwell Edgar was gazetted as ‘Government veterinary surgeon and inspector of stock’ on the 18th January 1900.
Peter Edgar was appointed Veterinary Surgeon to the Fourth New Zealand Contingent, departing with them on the Monowai on the 20th March 1900.
After arriving in Durban, Peter Edgar was ordered by Major Francis to draw rations and proceed North to Beira to minister to the horses landed there, including New Zealand and Hungarian horses. After which Edgar returned to New Zealand.
Interestingly, Edgar made an application for the Queens South Africa war medal, which was rejected on the grounds that his trip to Beira was not connected with his attachment to the Fourth New Zealand Contingent, and that Beira was considered Neutral ground.
Edgar argued the decision on the grounds that an officer had ordered him to Beira.
The decision was overturned and Edgar was awarded the Queens South Africa war medal with clasp ‘Rhodesia.’
On the 3rd April 1908 Peter Maxwell Edgar was appointed Captain in the New Zealand Veterinary Corps.
During the First World War Captain Edgar NZVC was attached to the Wellington Mounted Rifle Regiment Headquarters (Serial No. 11/708) and departed with the Main Body aboard HMNZT No. 6 (Orari) on the 16th October 1914.
On the 10th February 1916 Captain Edgar transferred to take Command of No.1 NZ Veterinary Corps.
In September 1916 Edgar was sent to England.
On the 7th November 1917, Major Edgar NZVC was mentioned in Field Marshall D. Haig’s despatches. —
“For distinguishing and gallant services and devotion to duty during the period February 26th to midnight September 20-21st, 1917.”
While attached to the 4th Veterinary Hospital, Major Edgar was again mentioned in despatches (London Gazette 11th July 1919). —
“For distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty during the period 16th September 1918 to 15th March 1919.”
‘For valuable services rendered in connection with military operations in France.’ Major Edgar NZVC was awarded the ‘Order of British Empire’ (London Gazette 3rd June 1919).
(Only 60 O.B.E.s were awarded to the New Zealand Army during WW1)Veterinary-Lieutenant Alexander Reid Young
Alexander Reid Young was the oldest of the second batch of four Veterinary Surgeons that Departed Plymouth aboard the steamer Paparoa on the 11th November 1899, and arrived in New Zealand on the 2nd January 1900. At the time of arrival Alexander Young was 38 years of age, he was married and had two children.
Alexander Young was born at Perth, Scotland, where he was educated, and studied at the Royal Veterinary College of Edinburgh. He afterwards was in practice at Fordoun and Laurencekirk, and was Veterinary Inspector there from 1886 to 1894.
Alexander Young studied bacteriology and meat inspection under Professor Sir Henry Littlejohn, and for some time fulfilled the duties of Veterinary Inspector to the Kincardinshire County Council, and local inspector for the Imperial Government, and was for over five years veterinary surgeon to the Public Health Department of Edinburgh.
Alexander Young was gazetted as ‘Government veterinary surgeon and inspector of stock’ on the 18th January 1900 (Veterinarian for Taranaki district)
On the 24th March 1900 Alexander Young was appointed Veterinary-Surgeon Lieutenant to the Fourth New Zealand Contingent, departing with them on the Gymeric on the 31st March 1900.
The following extract is taken from the ‘Gymeric Times’ which was printed and published on board H.M. Troopship Gymeric during the voyage from New Zealand to South Africa. (April 1900)
“Veterinary Surgeon Lieut Young is about the busiest man on board, he having a very large family to attend to. All the horses on board - over 400 - are in his charge and they require a lot of attention. He is to be seen at all hours of the day & night, regardless of the weather, running up and down the decks and holds attending to his multifarious duties. And notwithstanding his constant attention, the mortality amongst the horses has been heavy, 16 having already been consigned to the deep. This, however, is not surprising in view of the fact that many of the poor creatures have been suffering from pneumonia etc., as a consequence of the treatment they were subjected to before being shipped, and more particularly at Port Chalmers, where they were kept in the rain for about 24 hours, without food or cover, in most cases, the vessel not being ready to receive them at the hour appointed. Eight were thrown overboard in succession on one occasion - on the 5th day out after very severe weather, pneumonia being the primary cause of death.”
Lieutenant Young served with flying columns on active service, returning to New Zealand on the 1st March 1901. For his service Lieutenant Young was awarded the Queens South Africa war medal with clasps ‘Cape Colony’ ‘Transvaal’ and ‘Rhodesia.’
On the 6th January 1902 Alexander Young was appointed Veterinary-Surgeon Captain to the Eighth New Zealand Contingent, departing with them on the Cornwall on the 8th February 1902.
Captain Young returned to New Zealand on the 2nd August 1902.
For his service with the 8th Contingent Captain Young received the clasp ‘South Africa 1901 – 1902.’
On the 13th September 1902, Alexander Young was placed on the strength of the NZ Militia retaining his rank as Veterinary-Surgeon Captain.
On the 3rd April 1908 Alexander Reid Young was appointed Major in the New Zealand Veterinary Corps.
On the 8th March 1909 Alexander Reid Young was appointed Principal Veterinary Officer for the Wellington Military District.
On the 27th August 1914, Major Alexander Reid Young was appointed as ‘Assistant Director of Veterinary Services’ to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (Attached to the NZEF Headquarters).
Date of attestation- 16th October 1914
Date of Embarkation- 16th October 1914, HMNZT No. 3 (Maunganui)
Serial No. 15/11
Major Young was gazetted Lieutenant-Colonel in January 1915.
Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Young returned to NewZealand on the 6th August 1916.Fifth New Zealand ContingentVeterinary-Lieutenant Edward Teesdale Bramston Worthy
Edward Teesdale Bramston Worthy was the first Veterinary Surgeon who was trained in New Zealand to embark with the NZ Contingents.
Edward Worthy graduated from the School of Agriculture at Lincoln, (Known as Lincoln College, and was a branch of Canterbury College) where he was granted his final certificate in 1895 having passed with great credit.
The 1895 Lincoln College’s annual certificates given to those standing highest in the different subjects of instruction were gained by Edward Worthy and G. H. Stewart. Worthy being equal with Stewart in agriculture, and first in practical chemistry, practical botany, book-keeping, farm books, and veterinary science; Stewart being first in theoretical chemistry, theoretical botany, entomology, applied mechanics, and land surveying and levelling.
After graduating Lincoln College, Edward Worthy was assistant to Mr J. R. Charlton, M.R.C.V.S who was a lecturer on veterinary science at the Lincoln School of Agriculture.
In April 1896 Edward Worthy decided to practice his profession as a veterinary surgeon in Hawera. Initially he operated out of Jury’s Stables, but by the end of August 1896 he had shifted his place of business to Victoria Street. In December 1896 he relocated to a shop at the corner of High and Victoria Street, and in May 1898 he relocated his practice to Nelson Street.
In February 1900 Edward Worthy, veterinary surgeon, of Hawera, received an offer from the New Zealand Government to take charge of a shipment of horses from the South Island for the Cape.
Edward Worthy was appointed Veterinary-Surgeon Lieutenant to the Fifth New Zealand Contingent, departing with them on the Maori on the 31st March 1900.
As Lieutenant Worthy’s service was ‘transport only’ his medal claim was rejected.
Veterinary-Lieutenant Edward Teesdale Bramston WorthyVeterinary-Lieutenant Thomas Gordon Lilico
Thomas Gordon Lilico was born in Northumberland, England, in 1868. His early education was received at Belfast, Ireland, and he afterwards studied at the New Veterinary College, Edinburgh, where he took his diploma in 1888. On graduating, he commenced to practice his profession at Berwick-on-Tweed.
In 1890 Thomas Lilico left England for America, where, after conducting private practice in several centres, he was appointed Inspector for the Massachusetts Board of Cattle Commissioners. He retained this post till 1899.
Thomas Lilico was unable to withstand the intense cold of the American winter (he mentions the temperature had fallen as low as 48deg below zero) and appears to have arrived in New Zealand around April 1899, where he took over the Christchurch veterinary practice of Mr J. R. Charlton.
In July 1899, Thomas Lilico was appointed honorary veterinary surgeon to the Christchurch City Guards in place of Mr J. R. Charlton, who had resigned.
Thomas Lilico was appointed Veterinary-Surgeon Lieutenant to the Fifth New Zealand Contingent, departing with them on the Waimate on the 31st March 1900.
Interestingly, Thomas Lilico spent 10 days ashore at Beira to minister to the horses that had landed there, the interesting part is that Thomas Lilico’s claim for the Queens South Africa war medal was rejected after the award of the same medal had been made to Peter Edgar who had almost identical service.
On the 1st March 1901, Thomas Gordon Lilico was gazetted as being appointed as temporary veterinary surgeon to the Government. In May 1901, as successor to Mr. D. H. Rout, Thomas Lilico was appointed as Government Veterinary Surgeon for South Canterbury, based in Timaru.
On the 5th February 1904, Thomas Gordon Lilico was commissioned as Veterinary Surgeon Captain to the 1st Battalion South Canterbury Mounted Rifle Volunteers.
On the 3rd April 1908 Thomas Gordon Lilico was appointed Captain in the New Zealand Veterinary Corps.
Captain Lilico (Serial No. 17/296) embarked with the 4th Reinforcements on the 17th April 1915.
Captain Lilico was transferred from the NZEF as from the 18th April 1916, due to being unfit for active service, and returned to New Zealand. (Medical report state varicose veins) Sixth New Zealand ContingentVeterinary-Lieutenant John Fraser McEachran
John Fraser McEachran was another of the second batch of four Veterinary Surgeons that arrived in New Zealand on the 2nd January 1900. At the time of arrival John McEachran was 24 years of age and unmarried.
John McEachran graduated with honours at the Glasgow Veterinary College in 1897. He had had considerable experience in farm work, in the Kintyre district, and had made a special study of the methods adopted by the Governments of France, Germany, Denmark and the colonies for the treatment and eradication of diseases in live stock.
John McEachran was appointed Veterinary-Surgeon Lieutenant to the Sixth New Zealand Contingent, departing with them on the Cornwall on the 30th January 1901.
John Fraser McEachran worked as a Government Veterinary Inspector in New South Wales 1902-07 and for the City of Adelaide 1907-09 before taking a position with the South Australian government.Seventh New Zealand ContingentVeterinary-Lieutenant Duncan Fraser
The Seventh Contingent was the only contingent that did not take any horses with it to South Africa, as such there was no provision made for a Veterinary Surgeon to accompany the Seventh Contingent.
Duncan Fraser was originally from Bulls and practised his profession as a veterinary surgeon in Palmerston. Prior to his enlistment for South Africa, Fraser had served three years as a trooper with the Rangitikei Cavalry.
On being accepted for service with the Third Rough Riders Contingent, Duncan Fraser departed Palmerston with the Wanganui troopers on the 10th February 1900.
(Fraser’s troop horse ‘Kawana’ was a well-known racehorse of the time)
Private Duncan Fraser (Regimental No: 729) was attested to the Third Contingent at Wellington on the 12th February 1900. (Fraser’s age was 28 years & 7 months)
Private Fraser was assigned to No. 2 Company (North Island) under the command of Captain Chaytor.
(No. 2 Company was redesignated No. 6 Company in South Africa)
The day previous to embarkation from Lyttelton, Private Fraser received a wire at Addington camp to report to the Transport S.S. Knight Templar.
Aboard the Knight Templar Private Fraser was detailed to act as ‘Veterinary Dispenser’ and ‘Veterinary Assistant’ to Veterinary Surgeon Lieutenant Wilkie, a position that placed Private Fraser in charge of the farrier Sergeants and Farriers on the voyage to South Africa.
The Knight Templar sailed from Lyttelton on the 17th February 1900.
Veterinary Leuitenant Henry Charles Wilkie and his farriers on the Knight Templar. Unfortunately Private Fraser is not identified but is likely to be in this photo, I’m thinking possibly the chap in the centre top row.
On the 16th April 1900 at Kroonstad O.F.S. in South Africa, Private Fraser was placed in charge of the sick and unfit horses and remained in charge until the 20th May 1900.
Private Fraser’s own account is that he acted as Veterinary Surgeon to the Contingent until the time of his accident on the 20th June 1900, when he dislocated his right shoulder at Rhenoster River.
Fraser was sent to Hospital at Bloemfontein, then East London, from there invalided back to New Zealand arriving on the S.S. Wakanui at Wellington on the 9th October 1900.
Duncan Fraser was enrolled as a Private and never promoted as the establishment of Farriers and Farrier Sergeants in the Third Contingent had been selected before Fraser was positioned as ‘Veterinary Assistant’ to Lieutenant Wilkie.
On the return of Veterinary-Lieutenant Henry Wilkie to NZ, Wilkie recommend that. —
“Fraser’s services whilst with the Contingent should be recognised. The responsibility and work preformed may be considered as quite equal to that of Farrier Sergeant.”
Lieutenant Wilkie’s recommendation was sent to Lieutenant Colonel Jowsey, Commanding Officer of the Third Contingent, who supported Wilkie’s recommendation, forwarding the recommendation to the Commandant of the NZ Forces.
Private Duncan Fraser’s back pay as Farrier Sergeant was approved on the 31st January 1902 by the Commandant of the NZ Forces and backdated to the 17th February 1900.
Having been invalided back to NZ, Private Duncan Fraser was granted 3 months sick leave as from 9th October 1900, and was discharged having completed his service on the 8th January 1901.
On the 3rd April 1900 Duncan Fraser was attested at Wellington as Farrier-Sergeant to the Seventh Contingent. Attached to the Regimental Staff, Farrier-Sergeant Fraser sailed from Wellington on the Gulf of Taranto on the 6th April 1901.
The Seventh Contingent arrived at Durban on the 10th May 1901, and was immediately entrained for the remount depot at Mooi River.
At the Mooi River remount depot, the Seventh was supplied with horses and equipment. The horses were principally Hungarian remounts, and were considered “much inferior to the New Zealand horses brought out by former contingents.”
On the 15th May 1901 the Seventh Contingent entrained for Standerton arriving on the morning of the 17th May.
It would seem that the condition of the horses supplied to the Seventh Contingent was of great concern to the Commanding Officer, and having a Veterinary Surgeon attached to the contingent would be of great value.
Farrier-Sergeant Duncan Fraser was promoted Veterinary Lieutenant on the 18th May 1901.
It is recorded that after “a fortnight's hard work on column (The 7th was attached to Colonel Grey’s column) has had the result of rendering about a hundred of them (Hungarian remounts) unfit for further work for some time.”
The Seventh Contingent disbanded in New Zealand on the 30th June 1902.
Lieutenant Fraser returned to New Zealand on the 10th July 1902, and was granted sick leave from 11th July to the 10th September 1902.
Lieutenant Fraser was awarded: —
Queens South Africa war medal with clasps ‘Cape Colony,’ ‘Orange Free State’ and ‘Transvaal.’
Kings South Africa war medal with clasps ‘South Africa 1901’ and ‘South Africa 1902.’
(Fraser’s medals were destroyed by fire in 1910)
Gazetted 12th October 1911.
Lieutenant Fraser transferred from the Reserve of Officers to the Retired List as from 20th September 1911.Eighth New Zealand ContingentVeterinary-Captain John Greenwood Clayton
John Greenwood Clayton was another of the first six British Veterinary Surgeons that had been employed by the New Zealand Government prior to the Boer War, and arrived in New Zealand around the 1st May 1899.
John Greenwood Clayton was from the village of Sampford Peverell, in Devon, at the time of his arrival in NZ he was thirty-one, unmarried, and had altogether nearly seventeen years experience.
John Clayton graduated with honours at the Royal Veterinary College, Edinburgh, obtaining several silver medals and prizes in veterinary competitions during his course of study. After a four years pupilship in a large mixed practice in the Cheshire dairy district, Clayton for six years had entire management of a huge mixed practice in Nottinghamshire, in the centre of the Shire horse and sheep district, and was for the same period one of the four county inspectors under the Contagious Diseases (animals) Act, and inspector of markets (live and dead) and fairs.
After Clayton’s appointment as NZ Government veterinary surgeon and inspector, Clayton was positioned as inspector of the Gear Meat Company and the Wellington Meat Export Company factories.
John Clayton was appointed Veterinary Surgeon Captain to the Eighth New Zealand Contingent on the 15th January 1902, departing with them on the Surrey on the 1st February 1902.
For operations in the Tranvaal, over the period of April to 31st May 1902, Captain Clayton received the Queens South Africa war medal with clasps ‘South Africa 1901 – 1902’ and ‘Transvaal.’ (Clayton received these on the 6th January 1904)
On the 23rd August 1906, Clayton received the clasp ‘Cape Colony.’
Captain Clayton arrived in Wellington aboard the Britannic on the 2nd August 1902, after which he was placed on the strength of the NZ Militia retaining his rank as Veterinary-Surgeon Captain.
John Clayton was appointed Principal Veterinary Officer of the Canterbury Military District with the rank Major on the 2nd April 1908.
Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (P.V.O Canterbury Military District) on the 1st December 1914. (Gazetted on the 7th January 1915)
Lieutenant Colonel Clayton died on the 23rd January 1916. (Captain Herbert Kyle took over the duties of P.V.O., Canterbury Military District as of 24th January 1916)Veterinary-Captain Alexander Reid Young
Veterinary-Surgeon-Captain Alexander Young (4th Contingent) embarked with the Eighth New Zealand Contingent, departing with them on the Cornwall on the 8th February 1902.Ninth New Zealand ContingentVeterinary-Captain James Brand
James Brand was one of two Veterinary Surgeons that were selected in England in May 1901, by the Agent-General for service under the NZ Agricultural Department.
James Brand had experience in England, Scotland, India and Africa.
During Brand’s service in Africa, he was for fifteen months with General French in the Transvaal, and accompanied the General on his march to Kimberley, and subsequently to Pretoria.
Prior to his employment by the NZ Government, Brand was employed in the Army Remount Department, Woolwich.
James Brand arrived aboard the Papanui in Wellington on the 18th June 1901, he was thirty-five, married, with two children.
Initially Brand was stationed in the Wanganui district but shortly afterwards he was sent to the Masterton district.
In February 1902 James Brand was appointed Veterinary Surgeon Captain to the Ninth Contingent.
Captain Brand joined the South Island Battalion of the Ninth Contingent in Dunedin on the 6th March 1902, where he was placed on the Battalion Staff.
Captain James Brand embarked with the Ninth Contingent aboard the Kent on the 12th March 1902.
The troopships Kent and Devon each loaded around 570 horses. The Kent arrived in Durban on the 12th April 1902, where Captain Brand received the following accolade. —
“Thanks to the devoted attention and veterinary knowledge of Captain Brand (the veterinary officer) and his farrier-major and assistants, we have lost only six horses from Dunedin to Durban out of 562.”Veterinary-Lieutenant Frank Carle Matthews
Frank Carle Matthews was Veterinary Surgeon to the Stock Department in Wellington.
In February 1902 Frank Matthews was appointed Veterinary Surgeon Lieutenant to the Ninth Contingent.
Lieutenant Matthews joined the North Island Battalion of the Ninth Contingent in Auckland on the 27th February 1902, where he was placed on the Battalion Staff.
Lieutenant Matthews made the selection (subject to the approval of the officer commanding) of the Ninths North Island Battalion’s Farriers and Farrier-Sergeants.
Lieutenant Matthews embarked with the Ninth Contingent aboard the Devon on the 19th March 1902.Veterinary-Lieutenant William Thorley Franks
William Thorley Franks was appointed Veterinary Lieutenant to the Ninth New Zealand Contingent, departing with them on the Devon on the 19th March 1902.
It is worth mentioning that the Devon was only partially loaded, for a large space had to be reserved for horses and men, and during this particular voyage was considered “light and top heavy.”
The Devon as such was prone to rolling and unfortunately encountered a terrific cyclone with very heavy swells that caused a number of injuries among the horses. —
“The two veterinary lieutenants — Matthews and Franks— have been working like Trojans to save the horses, but they have in many cases toiled in vain — we have dropped them into the cruel waves.”Tenth New Zealand ContingentVeterinary-Captain John Alexander Robinson Towers
John Alexander Robinson Towers was one of the seven Veterinary Surgeons that were selected by Mr. Gilruth in Great Britain for service under the NZ Agricultural Department.
John Towers arrived in Wellington aboard the Wakanui on the 26th March 1901, and was appointed to inspect meat at the Wellington Meat Export Company's works in Ngahauranga.
Veterinary-Surgeon-Captain John Alexander Robinson Towers embarked with the North Island Regiment of the Tenth Contingent and sailed from Lyttelton on the Drayton Grange on the 14th April 1902.
Captain Towers was instructed to return to New Zealand and that Captain Neale was to continue with the Tenth Contingent.Veterinary-Captain Charles Raymond Neale
Veterinary-Surgeon-Captain Charles Neale (1st Contingent) embarked with the South Island Regiment of the Tenth Contingent and sailed from Lyttelton on the Norfolk on the 19th April 1902.