Queen’s South Africa, 5 bars, Cape Colony, Driefontein, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Belfast, 8634 Pte John Pilfold, Scots Guards, mentioned in despatches and specially promoted in the field to Cpl for bravery at Krugersdorp.
John Pilfold was born in Lewes, Sussex. At the age of 18 having worked as a Porter he enlisted for the Scots Guards on 25th June 1890, his only distinguishing mark being that his “Eyebrows Meet”.
He had completed his 7 years of service and transferred to the Army Reserve by 19th June 1897, when he was recalled to Army Service to serve in South Africa on 13th November 1899, being posted back to the Scots Guards.
He served in South Africa for the Boer War from 3rd January 1900 until 21st July 1902.
He was mentioned in Despatches in the London Gazette on 10th September 1901, resulting from an immediate promotion to Corporal in the Army Orders from South Africa, 16th July 1901.
The recommendation reads:
“For good service during the Boer attack on convoy to Krugersdorp, 8th January 1901. In remaining with the Transport when all the drivers had bolted and after when no longer required, he rejoined the firing line.”
Information on the Attack on the Convoy near Breedts Nek:
“Early in January, Lieut Gen French’s columns (under Babington, Paget, Plumer and Clements) were patrolling the Magaliesberg and Hekpoort Valley, Brigadier General Gordon’s Column patrol area was south of Breedts Neck, the Boers chief passage through the mountains.
On the 8th January, Beyers fell in with a convoy for Gordon coming from Krugersdorp, the Boers were repulsed with some losses.”
A 1903 Publication of Beyers and Kemp, notes that the incident took place at a plantation on the farm Rietfontein, and the Boers lost because the “British took position in the trees.”
Having finished off his 12 years of service, he returned home and was discharged after 12 years and 43 days, on 31st JUly 1902.
Obituary, Sussex Agricultural Express, 18th October 1940:
“MR JOHN PILFOLD
At St. John’s Church, on Saturday, the funeral took place of Mr John Pilfold, 6 Spring-gardens, who died the previous Wednesday, aged 67.
A native of Lewes, where he lived all his life, Mr Pilfold was employed as a General Labourer by the Corporation. Retiring from work 2 years ago owing to ill-health.
He was a member of the Tunbridge Wells Equitable Society, and took an active part in Lewes Bonfire Celebrations. For most of his life he lived in Cliffe. A widow is bereaved.”