The ranks of the great old soldiers who went forth to fight in the Boer War, 1899-1902 on Anzac Day, have been continually reduced until today a veteran of the war is rarely seen. With their passing goes the chance of first hand confirmation of their service whilst in South Africa. There have been several books written on the Australians in the Boer War, but these are either limited in detail or inaccurate concerning the medals awarded. This is one reason for attempting a series of small books, aimed at the medal collector and student of Military History, on each of the Contingents to leave Australia.
The basis for the information contained was obtained from the War Office Library and the Public Records Office in London. The medal rolls submitted by Contingent Commanders have been the authority for deletion or Inclusion of all members mentioned. Some rolls were difficult to read and most had supplementary rolls which had to be married to the original roll. There are many interesting remarks shown on the original rolls and, when appropriate, these remarks have been included. Doubt still exists as to why such grand old soldiers as Jim Durham did not wear the clasps awarded for service in later Contingents. Where possible a lot of the veterans and their descendants were contacted to check authoritive records with actual fact.
The modern day collector of medals awarded to Australians in this war, who reject a Queen's Medal with loose or missing clasps, would be well advised to look closer in to the circumstances surrounding the Issue of the medals. There is no doubt that some medals were issued with loose clasps; others had been issued separately from medals, and cases exist where King's Medals were issued without clasps as these had been issued previously with the Queen's Medal.
The author is not foolish enough to think that this book is one hundred per cent accurate, as it is felt that the book on medals without a mistake is yet to be published. If any reader has a querie or can add information or point out error, then please contact the author who will acknowledge all letters. The reader who has any medals for disposal or requires an evaluation on medals would be well advised to contact the author, as some medals awarded during the Boer War are rare and consequently demand high prices.
The non-collector of medals, it is hoped, will pick up some historical background which hopefully will lead to the creation of an interest in this neglected part of Australia's Military History. The collector of course can now select the medal desired from the roll, and then most likely spend the rest of his days looking for it.