The Boer War

The Boer War, or officially “The South African War of 1899-1902” has not previously received a lot of attention from researchers at the Milton Historical Society until a number of references to the men of Milton were observed in the Jim Dill’s collection of “Time Capsules” during the period from April 3, 2003 to May 28, 2004. As a result of this discovery, we have added a new section to the Milton Soldiers of Milton that covers this conflict and highlights those that served. The specific collection of Time Capsules related to Milton and the Boer War are located here in PDF on the Issuu web site:

Milton Time Capsules: The Boer War Collection

January 1900

During the regular meeting of County Council a resolution was approved that the sum of $25 be granted to each resident of the county who has volunteered and has been accepted for active service in South Africa and that the treasurer be authorized to purchase a draft and forward it to Col. Otter to pay the following volunteers the above amounts, viz.: W. J. Williamson and Mr. Johns of Burlington, James Ballentyne of Georgetown, W. J. Moore and W. J. Gould of Acton, also R.J. Cunningham of Milton, all of the County of Halton. (Volunteers were being called for the South African (Boer) War. It was the first war in which Canadians fought outside the country.)

Canadians on the veldt in South Africa

For background information on the Boer War and the involvement of Canada, please visit the site of the Canadian War Museum and the South African War.

Backgrounder Information

You can search for Canadian soldiers who served in this action at the site of Library and Archives Canada: Soldiers of the South African War. Those who served from Milton that are reported in the Time Capsules are as follows:

From the Records of Library and Archives Canada

The South African War, 1899-1902, is a key event in the military history of Canada. It was the first time in its history that Canada dispatched troops to an overseas war. A total of 7,368 Canadians and 12 Nursing Sisters served in South Africa. This research tool brings together three groups of records pertaining to the South African War: the service files, medal registers and land grant applications.

In some instances, details were found in the Library and Archives Canada collections that related to these men who served. Images of documents shown on the soldier’s pages are linked to the original document for full scale viewing. Use the links that follow or the drop-down menu at the top of the page to view the records. Other details are as reported in the Milton Champion.

Soldier’s Pages

In addition to the Men of Milton that served in the war, there were also four local teachers that volunteered to go to South Africa in March of 1902 to educate the young Boers in the concentration camps (Misses Allin, Currie, Howes and Young). It is reported that Miss Young was an ex-Miltonian and that all ladies were currently residing in Acton.

March 1902
Four of the lady teachers of Acton have applied for appointment on the contingent of fifty Canadian teachers who will be sent to South Africa to educate the young Boers in concentration camps. The four are Misses Allin, Currie, Howes and Young. Miss Young is an ex-Miltonian.

Another local man (J. A. Ireland #1494 ) from Burlington, served with the South African Constabulary during this period. There is no reported link to Milton other than the article in the Canadian Champion of March 1903.

March 1903
J. Ireland, of Burlington, has returned from South Africa, where he served until just recently with the South African Constabulary. A number of others came home with him. They say that they are very glad to get back to Canada again. They complain of unjust treatment and discrimination on the part of the British officers and say the Canadian members of the South African Constabulary are generally disgusted with South Africa and anxious to get home.

If anyone has additional information on any of those reported as active in the Boer War, please submit that to miltonsoldiers@gmail.com for inclusion on this page.

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