one bar, West Africa 1908 (Dr G.Beatty. Medical Dept. S.N.F.F.). Very fine. (1)
This rare clasp- a little over 200 were issued- was awarded to those who served under Lieutenant-Colonel G. F.A. Whitlock, Royal Engineers, the Chief Commissioner of the Anglo-German Boundary Commission, in operations near the Sonkwala Valley in December 1908. Uniquely, too, it was awarded to a number of German servicemen, which, following the award of the German South-West Africa Medal with clasp for 'Kalarari 1908' to some British recipients, is not without interest.
See Magor for a full account of this fascinating example of Anglo-German co-operation, and the official despatches published in The London Gazette on 21 December 1901. In addition, for the German version of events, see the relevant despatch published in the Deutsches Kolonialblatt in 1909, together with further references to personnel in 1910 and 1911.
In the action fought on 24 December 1908, Dr. Beatty was kept busy treating the wounded in Captain E.G. Heathcote's column. Magor takes up the story:
"Captain Heathcote's column marched for two hours South along the river, which they crossed twice, and drew near the enemy who could be heard hooting and calling one another. The roads were blocked with trees and prickly stuff with spikes and pits and two men had been badly spiked through the foot. At length they emerged into some yam fields, the enemy opened fire and killed a carrier. A fire fight developed and the bushmen would not stand but worked round the flanks. The several hundred armed bushmen appeared in the yam fields below and the voice of the Chief, prominent in the fight on the 11th, could be heard urging them on to attack. They offered a splendid target for the maxim which unfortunately again jammed and was out of action for some time.
The German column (under Oberleutnant von Stephani) and their maxim could be heard but no very heavy firing was apparent. In the meantime, Lieutenant Homan had also become engaged and his movements relieved the attack on the main column. He joined up with Heathcote and they drove fresh bodies of the enemy into the hills. Private Belo Ibadan was wounded and the British returned to the camp at 10p.m. at night, where they were surprised to hear of the very heavy fighting the Germans had experienced".
And it was at this juncture that Dr. Beatty won the unusual accolade of a German mention in despatches, for in his official version of events published in the Deutsches Kolonialblatt, Oberleutnant von Stephani states that his assistance with the returning German casualties was deserving of the 'highest praise'. It seems, too, that the gallant Doctor carried out his work without his boots, the latter having been lost during the day's hectic fighting.