Queen’s South Africa Medal, bar Defence of Kimberley, Kimberley Star, a Hallmark with top bar, Private H. Dixon, “A” Company, Cycle Corps, Kimberley Town Guard.
Officially impressed: “Pte H. Dixon. Kimberley Town Gd:”
During the Siege of Kimberley, Private Dixon was one of about 102 men who formed the “Cycle Corps, A Company” of the Kimberley Town Guard.
Some interesting information on the Kimberley Cycle Corps from “How Kimberley was held for England” by Henry Clement Notcutt, who was a local Headmaster of Kimberley Boys High School at the time and served also with the Cycle Corps during the siege:
“No small part of the burden of the defence fell upon the Town Guard. Some 2000 of the citizens, including many of the leading men of the place, enrolled themselves in the force….
The cyclist section numbered about a hundred and had plenty of work in carrying despatches, in escorting the guns and in patrolling at night.
It was a weird experience riding along the deserted roads in the moonlight; not a human being to be seen, until there came the short, sharp challenge of a sentry, ‘Halt! Who goes there?’ ‘A friend’ was the orthodox response. Then came the answer, ‘Advance friend, and give the countersign,’ and this being given we rode on, past other sentries, till we got away on to the open veld, or climbed the debris heaps to look for Boers. “
An interesting part of the Bicycle’s history in warfare, as the popular “Safety Bicycle” was only invented about 1880 and prior to that the best they had available was the Penny-Farthing.
The 1st known use of a Bicycle in action was only 4 years prior to the Boer War in 1895 during the Jameson Raid.
During the Boer War they would see further use, notably the Cycle Corps A Company of the Kimberley Town Guard were one of the first Bicycle Unit to be formed, with the Cape Colony Cyclist Corps coming later in December 1900 and a few town guards and other units having a small number of bicycles available.
On the other side of the war was the Theron se Verkenningskrops led by Scout Daniel Theron, who was the driving force behind the Boer’s own Cyclist Force and would come to be described by Lord Roberts as “The hardest thorn in the flesh of the British Advance.”