Boer War families receive anniversary honour

The Reserve Forces Day Parade at the Shrine of Remembrance marks the 110th anniversary of the end of the Boer War. Wendy Baden-Powell, granddaughter of Lord Baden-Powell, says she is very proud of her grandfather.
Nanjing Night Net

IT WAS 110 years ago when Australian Light Horse Sergeant Ralph McCracken stood in a guard of soldiers to witness the shooting execution of convicted war criminal and folk hero Harry ”Breaker” Morant.

The story of ”The Breaker” lives on in McCracken’s daughter, aged 90, who yesterday withstood rain and cool weather to receive a medallion at the Reserve Forces Day Parade.

”Dad always swore blind that Morant and [Peter] Handcock were innocent,” Ethel Burridge, of Pakenham, said.

”And he always reckoned that Australians were better soldiers than the British.

”There’s not too many of us alive who can say that our fathers fought in the Boer War.”

Ms Burridge cried as she remembered her father, who sailed for South Africa on the SS Medic with the first Victorian contingent of men and horses.

It was the first time a regiment was formed for active service out of the Australian colonies.

She was supported by her daughter Margaret and son Graham, who carried his grandfather’s medals.

They were among 90 descendants presented with Boer War Dependant Medallions at the Shrine of Remembrance to mark the 110th anniversary of the end of the war.

Also among those honoured was the granddaughter of Lord Baden-Powell, a lieutenant-general in the British Army known as the Defender of Mafeking. He went on to found the global Scouts and Guides movement.

Wendy Baden-Powell, of Camberwell, said she moved to Melbourne from England in 1983, with her mother and brother, and was keenly involved with the Guides.

”It was very special for me today and I’m very, very proud of what my grandfather did,” she said.

”He played a very big part in the Boer War, which was really the Gallipoli of its day because thousands died,” she said.

”Many people came up to me today and said I’m very proud of your grandfather, he did a lot for me.”

About 16,000 troops from the Australian colonies fought for the British Empire in the Boer War, mostly in mounted units, according to the Australian War Memorial.

Colonial troops were typically bushmen, who were valued for their ability to “shoot and ride”.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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