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  1. #1
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    Default Second Boer War uniform, and a song

    Hi: my step-grandfather, John Lish Clarke, fought in the Boer War [and WWI], and I have this photograph of him in uniform which I believe he must have worn in Africa. He ran away from home about 1900, went to S. Africa and joined the Cape Police. He afterwards must have enlisted in the Army I imagine. The photo can be seen here:

    He also taught me a song he'd heard himself in S. Africa which may be of interest. It's called The Tricks of Johnny Boer and was probably set to the tune of some popular music hall song of the day:

    Do not trust him gentle soldier,
    When the white flag flies on high,
    As a token of surrender,
    Since he's not prepared to die.
    When you see his shining Mauser,
    In the other hand he's got,
    With the sights fixed at your distance,
    Gentle solder trust him not.

    Do not trust him gentle soldier,
    When his farm you go to see,
    To obtain a little forage,
    If you wear the A.S.C
    When you look inside his stable,
    Bales of something there's a lot,
    And he says it's only sheepswool,
    Gentle soldier trust him not.

    Do not trust him gentle soldier,
    When he hands you in his gun,
    And declares with charming candour,
    That it is the only one.
    When you look inside his garden,
    Full of buried pom-pom shot,
    Nestling close a planted Mauser,
    Gentle soldier trust him not.

  2. #2
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    Default

    In answer to my own posting, I seem to have got the details of John Lish Clarke's military service very confused. The facts of the matter are these: he was in the Volunteer Service Company, Northumberland Fusiliers. #8970. He enlisted 12 Feb. 1901 "aged 20 and a half" and served "1 year 94 days." Got the South Africa Medal with 1901-1902 clasp.

    Rather than returning to the UK after the hostilities, he remained in S. Africa as Trooper #1525, Cape Colonial Forces -- West Province Paid Rifles. Disbanded 16 May 1902.

    He then joined the Colonial Light Horse at Green Point Camp, where his military number was 1037.

    When he left S. Africa I am unable to say, but his next military 'footprint' occurred on 13 December 1914 when he enlisted (as no. 10517) in the 12th Batallion, Royal Fusiliers. He appears to have been a corporal on enlistment, presumably by virtue of his earlier military experience.

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