Pocket Watch Presented to Cpl F Havers
Pocket watch presented to Cpl F Havers, 2nd Volunteer Battalion by the townspeople of Eye on his return from active service in South Africa in 1902.
The Second South African War broke out in 1899. So many Regular Army units (including the 1st Battalion The Suffolk Regiment) were drawn into the conflict that it became necessary to ask for reinforcements from the Volunteer Battalions (who were not obliged by their conditions of service to serve overseas).
As a result two Volunteer Companies were raised from the men in the various Volunteer Battalions of the Regiment.
The first Volunteer Company arrived in South Africa in May 1900 and joined the 1st Battalion. They did some tough marches, being in action at Six Mile Spruit and entering Pretoria on June 5th. They then joined General Smith-Dorrien’s column and marched to Kaalfontein. They next took part in the capture of Witpoort. In September they formed part of General French’s Division, going into action at Barberton and following up the retreating Boers. From October to April 1901 they held Olifantsfontein and Vereeniging, leaving for home in May.
The second Volunteer Company arrived in South Africa in April 1901, joining the 1st Battalion at Bronkhorst Spruit. They were mainly employed in constructing and garrisoning part of the blockhouse line, which was formed to help in rounding up the remnants of the Boer Army, which they did until May 1902 when they returned to England at the end of the war.
A War Office report said of the Volunteer Companies: ‘The representatives of the Volunteers who marched, and fought, in South Africa, side-by-side with their comrades of the regular battalions, left a very favourable impression of their value on the minds of the generals under whom they served.’
Corporal Frederick Havers was born in 1877, the son of Amos and Amy Havers of Back Lane, Eye. In 1911 he was married to Jane Susan, with a son and daughter, living in Wellington Street, Eye and employed as a house painter.