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QSA 4 bars Imperial Hospital NVAC

Queen’s South Africa Medal, 4 bars, with Relief of Ladysmith, Orderley Robert Bardwell, Imperial Hospital Corps, former Natal Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Likely fought Alongside Gandhi at Colenso and Spion Kop

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Origin: United Kingdom
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Queen’s South Africa Medal, 4 bars, Orange Free State, Relief of Ladysmith, Transvaal, SA 1901, Orderley Richard Bardwell, Imperial Hospital Corps, former Natal Volunteer Ambulance Corps.


Robert Richard Bardwell was born and lived in Poplar, Middlesex, London, during late 1867.


He was the son of John and Ellen Bardwell, and the whole family worked as General Labourers.


He was last seen on the 1891 Census as living with his Stepmother Mary A Bardwell.


Following what appears to have been the death of his parents he came to South Africa.


He first joined the newly formed Natal Volunteer Ambulance Corps on 9th December 1899.


The Natal Volunteer Ambulance Corps, was raised quickly at the start of the war, with a strength of about 1,100 specifically white men, it was supplemented by about 1100 Indians who formed the Natal Indian Ambulance Corps led by Mahatma Gandhi, who had rallied for his fellow Indians to also served and he was allowed to form the Brother Regiment, the Natal Indian Ambulance Corps, with expenses met by the local Indian community.


He had just joined 5 days before they left for the Front, on the 14th December they reached the front and the Field Hospital at Chiveley on the 15th, that day they were engaged in their first test, at the Battle of Colenso. The task of these brave volunteers was to run under fire onto the battlefield and take away the wounded men, who were then taken to a hospital by the Indian Ambulance Corps.


The corps is well remembered for the lives they saved at Spion Kop, as the British took heavy casualties the Volunteers of the N.V.A.C. would run in under fire to save the wounded and the Indian Corps then carried them all the way from Spion Kop to the base hospital at Frere, which was more than 20 miles away.


He left the unit on 3rd January 1900, which would be soon after disbanded in March 1900 following the Battle of Tugela Heights.


He then found himself joining the Imperial Hospital Corps as an Orderly on 14th May 1900 and served with them until 23rd May 1901, following his 1 year term of service expiring.


Following the end of the war, he remained in South Africa, and Married Ethel Lucy Bardwell (Clench) in Beaufort West and lived in East London.


He died aged 75, having worked for many years as a Chef with the South African Railways and Harbours, he lived at 87 Rhodes street, East London.