British South Africa Company, reverse Rhodesia 1896, no bar, Queen’s South Africa, 4 bars, Rhodesia, Relief of Mafeking, Transvaal, South Africa 1901, Major Reginald Mainwaring, Commander in Chief’s Body Guard, former Captain in the Bulawalo Field Police who commanded a Troop in the Matabele Rebellion and a well recognised pioneer in Bulawayo, who alongside being Treasurer of the Sanitation Board was an Amateur Fire Fighter for the town of Bulawayo.
BSA Company officially engraved; “MAJOR R. MAINWARING STAFF B.F.F.”
QSA Officially engraved in officer style; “Maj. R. MAINWARING. C in C B’dygrd”
Major Reginald Mainwaring was the third son of General W.G. Mainwaring, CIE, of Lindfield and Haywards Heath. Like his father he gained a commission in the Army, becoming Second Lieutenant from a Gentleman with the 3rd Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry on 7th January 1888.
At some point around 1894 he was seconded for service as a Pioneer Officer in the Bulawayo Field Force and as Bulawayo was taken over by the English, he was there for the formation of the Bulawayo Field Force, served as Treasurer to the Sanitary Board who supervised road construction, recruitment of labour etc as the British developed their newly conquered town. He was an original member of the First Bulawayo Municipal Council consisting of 13 men, him being the only Soldier.
The original formation of the force from One Hundred Years of Industry in Bulawayo (unknown publisher);
“Captains Napier, Heaney, Spreckley, Mainwaring, Verey and Whittaker were appointed as Captains of their Several Troops. Men freely enrolled themselves, each troop averaging from 70 to 10 men strong. Other officers and non commissioned officers were elected by the men.”
“Captain Mainwaring’s parallel fire-fighting duties were carried out with the same praise worth punctilio as those concerned with the sanitation of Bulawayo, but his attempts at practising fire drills were sadly hampered by lack of water. For the towns people who had sunk wells on their properties (water was usually found at thirty or forty feet and some of the wells, especially those near the Umguza, seemed unfathomable,) showed little interest in pumping out their previous water for amateur firemen to splash around.
Things would be better, Mainwaring assured his Board, when the Waterworks Company got their heavy equipment up from Kimberley and provided the town not only with piped water but with electricity too; there were encouraging signs this would not take long since Messrs Parnham and Meikle were already laying cables down the hill after anxious discussion by the Sanitary Board had scouted ‘The dangers of overhead wires’.
Other subjects besides the unpractised state of the Fire Brigade were causing concern in in the town.”
– Bulawayo: Historic Battleground of Rhodesia, Balkema, 1968.
He married his wife out in Bulawayo in August 1895, Mrs Mainwaring and their daughter Aileen Mainwaring are listed in the book “Rhodesia’s Pioneer Women, 1859-1896” by J.M. Lloyd and Constance Parry.
“Mrs R. Mainwaring, formerly Mrs Harrison.
She Married Captain (later Major) Reginald Mainwaring of the B.S.A. Company’s Forces, in August, 1895.
She wore at her wedding “a costume of electric blue crepon with sleeves of flowered silk, and a hat to match”. Mr P.B. Fletcher gave her away. The couple spent their honeymoon at “The Bembezi” – Bulawayo Chronicle, August 1895.
“Aileen Mainwaring 1896, Aileen Frederica Ellen Mainwaring was baptised on 31/10/96. She was the daughter of Major Reginald and Mrs “Murray” Mainwaring of Bulawayo.” Register of Baptisms, 1894, Parish of St. John, Bulawayo..”
During the Matabele Rebellion, the Column sent to Shangani on 11th May 1896 was the largest yet sent out from Bulawayo, despatched with the Object of opening the road to the Tchangani river, where it was hoped that the relief force from Salisbury under Colonel Beal, with which was Mr Cecil Rhodes, would be met, when the future movements of the combined columns would be determined according to circumstances.
The Composition of the force was as follows: Artillery, Four Officers and thirty-four men under Captain Biscoe;
Grey’s Scouts, Four officers and forty men under Captain Grey
Africander Corps, three officers and fifty-nine men under Commandant Van Rensberg and Captain Van Niekers;
A Troop (Gifford’s Horse) Two Officers and nineteen men; B Troop