Queen’s South Africa Medal, 3 bars, Cape Colony, Wittebergen, Belfast, 23801 Corporal Thomas Edward Downard, Royal Engineers, wounded in action and mentioned in despatches, served in Hong Kong during the Pandemic of 1894.
Thomas Edward Downard was wounded in action and received a mention in despatches for his bravery at Aliwal North on 11th March 1900 in a Skirmish at Frere Bridge, leading to the capture of the bridge, whilst serving with 12th Field Company, Royal Engineers.
The action, from The Anglo-Boer War: a Chronology, by Pieter G. Cloete:
“Major General Sir E. Y. Brabant occupies Aliwal North and enters the Free State. Major Henderson and 150 of Montmorency’s Scouts gallop through the main street and make for the Frere Bridge over the Orange River. Although holes have been drilled in the bridge piers, they are not yet charged with dynamite and the bridge falls into British hands undamaged after a brisk engagement involving artillery on both sides.
The British lose 5 killed, 17 wounded and 4 captured, while the Boers only lost 5 men wounded.”
Corporal Downard was listed among the wounded, the Boer Artillery having struck him, his service papers list him receiving a “Shell wound to right forearm at Aliwal North 11-3-00”
He was later mentioned in despatches by Lord Roberts, announced in the London Gazette of 10th September 1901.
Thomas Edward Downard was born during 1869, the son of Thomas Downard, of 7 Wharf Road, Wandsworth, London.
He first attested for service with the Royal Engineers on 14th June 1889, having worked as a Joiner.
He saw the following overseas service:
Home – 14th June 1889 – 22nd Sept 1890
Egypt – 23rd Sept 1890 – 20th Dec 1893
Hong Kong – 31st Dec 1893 – 23rd Feb 1897
Home – 24th Feb 1897 – 7th Nov 1899
South Africa – 5th Nov 1899 – 10th June 1902
Home 11th June 1902 – 7th July 1902.
He began his career as a Sapper, whilst he was serving in Hong Kong, 1 month before the forming of the Whitewash Brigade to deal with the outbreak of Bubonic Plague, he was appointed as Lance Corporal, on 2nd April 1894.
Again whilst in Hong Kong, promoted to 2nd Corporal on 1st November 1896.
Transferred to the 1st Class Army Reserve after arriving back home on 28th Feb 1897.
Recalled from the reserves to fight in the Boer War on 9th October 1899 as 2nd Corporal.
Promoted to Corporal on 1st February 1900.
Discharged on 7th July 1902, having served 13 years and 24 days.