Monday, May 27

Forces War Records - a Surprise Package

Checking military history for a number of ancestors on Forces War Records and, although there was no record for George Clarke, I did receive a pleasant surprise when I found that he was listed in his role as war correspondent for "Black and White Budget" in February 1900.

He was assigned to cover the advance of Major General William Forbes Gatacre, Commander of 3rd Divison, South Africa Field Force, with a force of about 3,000 men, who was pushing north toward the railway junction at Stromberg, to secure the Cape Midlands district from Boer raids and rebellions by local inhabitants. However, many of the 3rd Division troops had to be diverted to Natal after major losses there, and Gatacre's reduced force arrived late. By the time they were ready to take the field, Boers from the Orange Free State had already seized the important railway junction and the town of Stormberg.

During the confusion following Gatacre's failed mission, George Clarke Musgrave was reported captured by the Boers. In the event, though, he had been separated from the main force and, travelling by night for some measure of safety, he made his way back across the two hundred miles or so to Bloemfontein, then on a transport to Durban where he picked up a passage back to England and on to New York, arriving on 14th March 1900.

All of this is fairly well documented in George Clarke's own book - In South Africa with Buller - but to my surprise, I also found the story referenced in an introduction to the war coverage of "Black and White Budget" on the historic documents section of the Forces War Records website.

Black and White Budget 3 Feb 1900

Black and White Budget - Introduction

Black and White Budget - Main Story

Black and White Budget - Portraits
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