Tuesday, 25 December 2012

A No Christmas Boar War

I wish all the followers of the McIlhagga blog a very Happy Christmas. I've tried to write something every three days during December, and the third day just happens to fall on Christmas Day! I have nothing particularly relevant to Christmas, except perhaps that what I have to pass on has no Christmas in it! I have on several occasions referred to the Boar War. The person who served was John (H) McIlhagga. born 1880 to Nathaniel Owens and Henrietta McIlhagga. John survived his war without injury, but was subsequently killed in the First World War at Passchendale. I have only recently seen his Attestation Papers for the Boar War, which can be found on 'findmypast.co.uk/army-service-records'. The details are as follows:

First name: John. He didn't use his middle name of Huchison.
Last Name: McIlhagga.
Year of birth: 1880. He was in fact born on 8th July.
Parish of birth: Skegonul, Belfast, County Antrim. This is a mistranscription for Skegoneill.
Age 22 years.
Date of Attestation, 6th January 1902, at Curragh Camp.
Corps, Imperial Yeomanry.
National Archives reference: WO128/129/72.

He entered on 'Short Service'. He gave his trade as Dyer. The previous year in the 1901 Census he is described as a Linen Dyer & Finisher. When asked if he received a Notice, presumably about the need for recruits, he said 'Yes, from R. Bently, from a local Corps.' Mr. Bently acted as his witness. He then took an oath of allegiance to His Majesty King Edward VII, signed by Justice James Craig.

John's description includes, Height 5'10"; Chest 35"-37"; Fresh Complexion, Grey eyes, Dark Brown hair; one vaccination mark on his left arm. He was a Presbyterian. A Lt. W.Davis of the RAMC medically examined him and two officers of the Imperial Yeomanry gave him Certificates as 'fit', and 'Approved'.

John's Statement of Service confirms his date of Attestation as 6.1.02 and his Discharge on 25.11.02, so no Christmas involved! During that time he was at 'Home' the first 124 days, presumably being trained, then in South Africa for 193 days and finally again at 'Home' for 7 days. He served in the Campaign known as 'S. Africa 1902'. He was not wounded and he gained the relevant service medal.

He gave his parents as Nathaniel and Henrietta McIlhagga of Loughview Cottage, Old Cavehill Road, Belfast, and he declared that he was single. His certificate of discharge was signed by Capt. James Craig and his discharge witness was a Samuel Telford, on 25th November 1902. He was 38432 Private McIlhagga, J. of the 29th Bn. Imperial Yeomanry, Irish Horse, 134 Company. He was discharged at Aldershot, aged 22 years 10 months, to go to Loughview, Old Cavehill Road, Belfast. He had been discharged at his own request. His conduct and character had been 'Very Good'. He had gained no special qualifications during his time of service. His physical development was said to be good. He was re-vaccinated on 7.2.1902 with a 'perfect' result.

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