Below the Attestation Paper filled out when Eddie Pownall signed up on Dec. 10, 1901.
The recruiting officer repeatedly misspelled his name Pownell even though Eddie was pretty clear when he signed. He said he was 20, a student and was rated a "fair" rider and "fair" shot. "Poor" in both respects, would probably have been a more accurate description of the skills of these urban boys. But good enough qualifications to die for your country.
The papers below, referring to applying for, and receiving the Queen's South Africa medal and bars were typical of those written by or on behalf of, all the men who returned from fighting in the Boer War.
Left is the original description when the British Mark I bandolier was first issued, in 1882, for.577/.450 Martini ammunition. In this version the brass studs above are affixed to the outer side of the tubes.
Note that the tubes, holding the bullets, also run all the way across the belt from the top of the flap hinge to the bottom.
This proved to be a problem, especially under fire, because with too long a tube the entire cartridge was covered in leather and meant too much friction to permit getting the bullet out fast.
A feverish trooper could only use his finger nails on the rim to try and pry it out of the firm grip of the long tube.
How many hapless troopers were run through by a spear on the battlefields in India and Africa, while trying to pull out another round? No doubt more than a few. Probably during the Sudan campaign of 1885.
Below the "Killer" 1882 bandolier with long tubes.
In 1889, to overcome this problem, the tubes were shortened, in L.o.C. 5873, below and the bandolier was reconfigured for .303 rounds and shortened by five inches.
We note that even with the shortened tubes, as in the Pownall bandolier, featured on this page, the rounds are hard enough to pull out, even when you can grab a substantial part of the bullet.
We cannot imagine trying to dislodge a bullet with the finger nails when only the bullet rim was exposed for gripping.
The terror of a cursing Tommy, helplessly scratching at his bandolier pouch, just before he is hacked to death, can only be imagined.
Above another early bandolier with small brass studs fixed to the tubes. They don't show up on the back of the bandolier.
They tended to rip out and so were enlarged and punched through to the backing instead of the tubes, as prescribed in L.o.C. 8789 below.
Left the L.o.C. 8789 amendment applies to the Pownall generation of bandoliers.
In 1882, there were four pouches of 10, and two of five tubes. The studs on the small pouches were punched into the centre tube.
When the larger studs were punched through the backing in the new pattern, probably in 1897, the two smaller five and five pouches were reconfigured into a six and four tube version, to allow a centralized stud in both pouches with an equal number of tubes on each side.
Below a famous 1896 pattern bandolier - the Bradford bandolier in New Zealand, thought to have been worn by Trooper George Bradford left the first Kiwi killed in South Africa in 1899.
In the early months of the war personal effects belonging to British dead were often handed back by the Boers during the Gentleman's War. That is probably how this bandolier survived, since George died in a Boer hospital of his wounds.
It was worn as a badge of office by each President of the New Zealand Boer War Veterans' Association from 1920 to 1980. It holds 38 silver bullets engraved with the names of successive Presidents. Right George's memorial in Paeroa, New Zealand.
The backside of the tongue of the belt bears the stamp of "II (indistinctly) CMR 38" that is, the 2nd Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles, and Trooper #38.
(It is not I CMR because there was no such regiment on the books - let alone have equipment stamped for it - when the members of the original Canadian Mounted Rifles arrived in South Africa, in early 1900. Only later, when another unit was raised and the bureaucrats started juggling the names of Canadian units in South Africa were the names standardized and renumbered. Very much after the fact. So don't go looking for I CMR stampings, though plenty of II, III, IV, and V CMR imprints exist, all from 1902.)
Trooper #38 was 20 year old Edward Warwick Pownall of Montreal, Quebec. Eddie was a colleague of Otto Moody, Trooper #48, who was 21, also from Montreal, and who signed up a day later.
Once no doubt pals, their militaria has been widely scattered in the last 100 years. This bandolier turned up in California; Otto Moody's effects turned up in Montana.
|Go to CMR Trooper Otto Moody|
Above one thing to note is how the brass studs are bolted through the backing - not the tubes as in the earlier 1884 bandolier patterns and held in with a large washer.
The D-ring on the bottom had a strap attached that a trooper would fasten to his regular belt. Otherwise, at the gallop, this ammo belt would bounce up and down on the rider's back and even knock out his teeth on occasion.
Left as Eddy and Otto would have worn this bandolier.
Below for the first time in over 100 years this Canadian Boer War bandolier is stuffed with original live Lee-Metford rounds from a British Army cache captured by Boers in 1900.
The rounds are solidly stuck in the tubes, in order for the flaps to close. It takes quite a tug to pull each one out, as the tubes are tapered towards the bottom for a snugger fit.
The Boers easily outshot the Canadians and British because, once the Lee-Metford's box magazine was shot off, the troopers had to reload their rifles with bullets one at a time.
They had to pull each round out of its individual tube and chamber it in the rifle, shoot, and then grab another.
In the meantime the Boers were loading clips of five Mauser cartridges, with the same motion it took a Canadian to load one round. In any firefight, the Canadians were outgunned five to one.
Not only that, but the Canadians - unlike the Boers - were lousy shots. Eddy and his pal Otto Moody left, both city boys, reported to their recruiting officer that they were "fair" shots. No doubt that was padding their resumes, more than a little.
|Great Canadian Heritage Treasure||
Bullets, feverishly plucked from its tubes, were very likely shot off at the Battle of Boschbult Farm (Hart's River) on March 31, 1902.
This was Canada's second most costly action of the two and-a-half year war, resulting in eight Canadian fatalities.
The forerunner for this British bandolier pattern was first issued in 1882, and subsequently altered in minor ways over the years.
This bears no British manufacturing name, only a large stamped W on the tongue. It was probably a Canadian manufacture and is 49 inches long oa.
The bandolier has room for 50 .303 cartridges, contained in four pouches of ten bullet tubes, one of six, and one of four, conforming to L.o.C 8789 (undated) though possibly from 1897.
|Bandolier, Pvt. EW Pownall, Trooper #38 II CMR, 1902|
|Orig. leather - Size - 1.25 m
Found - Moreno Valley, CA