Anglo-Boer War, Queen’s South Africa Medal to a Private of the Coldstream Guards, wounded in action at the Battle of Magersfontein, died of wounds.
Queen’s South Africa Medal (Type 2 Ghost Dates), clasps “BELMONT” & “MODDER RIVER”, impressed to: “1665 PTE W. P. FAIRBURN, CLDSTM: GDS:” – incorrectly impressed ‘Fairburn’ instead of ‘Fairbairn’.
Private W. Fairbairn served in the British Army with the 2nd Battalion of the Coldstream Guards during the Second Boer War (11th October 1899 to 31st May 1902).
The 2nd Battalion sailed on the ‘Gascon’ and arrived at the Cape on 12th of November 1899 alongside 3rd Grenadier Guards, 1st Coldstream, and 1st Scots Guards, forming what was known as the 1st or the ‘Guards’ Brigade. The Guards first saw action at Belmont on the 23rd November 1899, fortunately however Fairbairn’s battalion was not heavily engaged and losses were light. This was not the case at Modder River as the 2nd was on the left of the Guards Brigade — that is, opposite the enemy’s centre—and was under extremely heavy fire all day. Both the ‘BELMONT’ and ‘MODDER RIVER’ Clasps can be seen for Fairbairn’s role in these conflicts.
On the 11th of December the Coldstream Guards saw combat at the Battle of Magersfontein and was in the firing line most of the day, losing 1 officer and 2 men, and had 22 men wounded – Private Fairbairn was one of those wounded at Magersfontein, Orange River. He succumbed to his injuries and passed on the 2nd of January 1900, as detailed in the South African Field Force Casualty Roll.
The Coldstream Guards is a part of the Guards Division, the Foot Guards regiments of the British Army. It is the oldest regiment in the British Army in continuous active service, tracing its inception to the time of the English Civil War when Oliver Cromwell gave Colonel George Monck permission to form his own regiment as part of the New Model Army in 1650. The soldiers of this newly formed regiment would see action following the abdication of Richard Cromwell and the restoration of the Monarchy under King Charles II, and then onto present day. A very scarce medal to a casualty of the Battle of Magersfontein; although already a significant piece because of Fairbairn’s service, it is also significant due to the rich history of the division he served with, the oldest regiment of the British Army. Very Fine with some lovely rainbow toning.
Similar Queen’s South Africa medals to other servicemen of the Coldstream Guards have sold: first to J. Lewis KIA at Magersfontein (very comparable to the presented medal here) for 600 GBP or AUD 1316.508 at the time, the second to S. Wyers KIA at Belmont 750 GBP = AUD 1645.635 at the time, and third W. Dyke WIA at Modder River for 280 GBP = AUD 614.3704 at the time.