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Auction: 18002 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 209

(x) The Royal Engineers

The expertise of the Royal Engineers was rarely tested during service in South Africa. The Corps was employed mostly upon routine peacetime operations of surveying, road making, camp construction and bridge building.

However, there were exceptions: The 9th Company went to the Cape from Mauritius in August 1845 and over the following eight years saw more action than most infantry units; on 23 April 1846, 50 men of the 9th Company under Lieutenant Bourchier repulsed a night attack on their encampment near Fort Brown at the Great Fish River and killed 30 of their assailants. A short while later, ten Sappers of the 10th Company under Lieutenant Owen built a bridge across the Fish River to reopen communications with Fort Peddie, whilst Lieutenant Stokes and six men participated in Sir Peregrine Maitland's attack on the Amatolas.

However, the bloodiest single action for the Corps occurred on 12 June 1852. Second Captain Hampden Moody, with 34 N.C.O.s and men of the 9th Company left Grahams Town to escort nine wagons to Fort Beaufort, and on a hill near the Koonap River the convoy was ambushed by rebel Hottentots. Four of the advance guard were killed by the first volley and with women and children to protect, the soldiers fought from wagon to wagon. With seven men, one woman and a youth killed and nine wounded, the survivors withdrew to a nearby ruined house and held their attackers at bay until the sounds of firing eventually attracted assistance.

South Africa 1834-53 (…l. J. Frampton. Rl. Engineers.), suspension claw re-affixed, rank erased, edge bruising and acid cleaned, thus fair to fine

John Frampton served as a 2nd Corporal with the 9th and 10th Companies, Royal Engineers, during the Second and Third Wars.

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