Boer War Page 70n

Trooper Moody's Chums & Papers

Go to Otto Moody's Dufflebag 2


Harry Macdonough (1871-1931): "I'll Be With You ....." c 1902

You are listening to an original recording from c 1902, featuring one of Canada's very first recording artists, Harry Macdonough singing ""I'll Be With You When the Roses Bloom Again," a poignant song popular on Canadian Gramophones as great crowds bade farewell to their boys at train stations across Canada.

You can hear these earliest Canadian recordings on our program's soundtrack. Details on our Music Page.

The Life & Times of Trooper Otto Moody's Companions of the 2 CMR These companions of Otto Moody, troopers of the 2 CMR - sporting a variety of headgear - were photographed aboard the Manhattan just after leaving Halifax, Jan. 14, 1902. Many were Canadian farm boys with no war experience looking for adventure. Almost all of them returned alive. But when, only a dozen years later, they signed up again to fight in World War 1, they would not be so lucky. The number of South African veterans who died on the battlefields of Europe, far outnumbered those who had died in Africa.

After a month at sea, they, and Otto Moody, were soon camped under pup tents and waiting for instructions (below) from their officers.

In the centre is Lt. Col. T.D.B. Evans, the Commanding Officer of the 2 CMR, who would later write out Otto Moody's discharge papers in his own handwriting.

Another trooper back for his second tour was, Edwin McCormick, bugler for the 2 CMR (above). He had served as a 14 year old, as Col. Sam Steele's bugler, with Strathcona's Horse the year before.

Otto Moody and his companions were soon mounted on their large Canadian horses (below left). When these wore out the men got the tough little Basuto ponies who could live off the land and needed minimal care (below right).

Otto Moody took part in one of the last great campaigns of the war, when the men of the 2 CMR (left) rode in pursuit of the largest Boer army still in the field. But they were not the dashing cavalrymen of old. Those had disappeared during the opening months of the war.

The men who were proving to be a match for the Boers, were the Mounted Infantry, basically an infantryman, who used his horse to get to the battlefield, then dismounted and fought on foot.

The men of 2 CMR (right), are here riding to their appointment with destiny, at the Battle of Hart's River, fought on Mar. 31, 1902. The Canadians were part of a British column under General Walter Kitchener, chasing Orange Free State President Steyn, and Generals De Wet, and De la Rey. But, instead of running, as the British made camp, the Boers turned and attacked.

It would prove to be Canada's worst day of casualties since Paardeberg two years before.

Left, historian John Goldi, stands at the spot on Boschbult Farm, where Otto Moody and his companions stood as Col. Evans read the burial service after the Battle of Hart's River, as eight of their comrades were laid to rest in the shaded area in front of the tree. (13 Canadians were killed or would die of wounds.)

John Goldi is holding the same bugle (below left), belonging to 17 year-old bugler Edwin McCormick (below), which he used that evening in this spot, to play the Last Post as the Canadians were laid to rest.

Then within weeks the war was over, and the men of the 2 CMR, carrying knapsacks and duffle bags similar to Otto Moody's (left), entrained for the ships that would take them home.

(below) On July 22, the Winifredian docks at Pier #3 at Halifax with Otto Moody and his companions of the 2 CMR.

Within hours, Lt. Col. Evans would write out Otto Moody's discharge papers and he would be a free man to start a new life as a civilian.

Otto Moody packed up his gear and stored it in a trunk which accompanied him as life led him to far-away Montana.

And perhaps, as the years went by, he would open it up, from time to time, fondle his spurs and bridle, and think back of companions - both men and horses - of long ago....

And give thanks that he came back alive.

Below, a rare woven in silk postcard of the Winifredian which carried Otto Moody and his chums back to Canada.

The Papers of Trooper Otto Moody
Inside Otto Moody's dufflebag was this envelope labelled "Otto's African Discharge" as well as other papers that illuminate the life of a Canadian volunteer before and after the war.

Before leaving for South Africa, Otto Moody took out a life insurance policy (right and below) which notes that he paid a premium of $35 extra for "War Risk."

The life insurance policy begins, "Whereas, Otto Bushnell Moody of Montreal in the Province of Quebec, Soldier........." Otto signed it in Halifax (below), on Dec. 31, 1901, just two weeks before embarking for South Africa on the Manhattan. The beneficiary was his mother Etta Bushnell Moody.
Like most Canadians who went to war, Otto returned safely and received his discharge papers (left) written in the personal handwriting of his commanding officer Lt. Col. T.D.B. Evans (below), who had been second in command of Canada's First CMR (Canada's Second Contingent in 1900), and was Commanding Officer of the Fourth, the 2 CMR, in 1902.

"This is to certify that Regt. No. 48 O.B. Moody served continuously in the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles from 11/12/01 till 22/07/02, and that he is now discharged therefrom, being time expired."

The discharge notes "Character Good" in the top left corner, and is signed by T.D.B. Evans, Lt. Col., Commanding, 2nd CMR, Halifax, 22nd July 1902.

The back of the discharge paper (right) notes that OB Moody lived at 29 Buckingham Ave. Montreal, and received a Special War Gratuity of five pounds on July 21, 1902. It is again signed by Lt. Col. Evans.

Sometime in 1904 Otto must have asked about his medal for his South African service, which, two years after the war was over, he still did not have. Every soldier who served was entitled to his QSA (Queen's South Africa) medal, with clasps for areas of service, like Orange Free State and Cape Colony (below right). The medals were all personalized with the name of each individual soldier being inscribed on the rim.

From Ottawa Otto received the letter below, telling him to send his discharge papers to England, and they would issue him the medal

He must have written because in July, 1904 he received the letter (below right) from the British army, saying "the cheque is in the mail." There must have been many other unhappy veterans because it was a form letter, telling him his medal had already been issued to the "General Officer Commanding, Canadian Military Forces, Ottawa."

He must have finally got his medal because on his discharge papers above, in red ink, is written "Queen's South Africa Medal and three clasps issued 28th July, 1904."

Unhappily, though so much memorabilia from Otto Moody's South African experience has been found, and preserved, his medal, his uniform, his hat, and information about his descendants and later life are sadly missing....

When Otto finally got his medal, he was living in Schenectady, New York, on the way to start a new life in the American west.

The last we hear of Otto is when he receives the letter (left) in February, 1909, returning him his discharge papers which he had sent in to accompany his "application for a land grant under the provisions of the Volunteer Bounty Act 1908."

By then Otto is living in New York City.

We know that later Otto turns up in Montana, where the "old Moody place" is sold in 1960. The new owner puts Otto's trunk into storage where his things remain, lost to the world, for the next forty years.

A new owner, cleaning out the place, discovered these wonderful items belonging to a young Canadian volunteer trooper.

Thanks to a public-spirited American couple, this collection of Canadian memorabilia has been kept together to help illuminate a forgotten part of Canada's early military heritage.

If you have memorabilia, information, or pictures, of Otto Bushnell Moody, we would very much appreciate a call, so we can add them to Otto Moody's page....

Please check back

We promise to reveal more wonderful discoveries from the past life and times of Trooper Otto Moody.

c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 2000