Boer War Archives - The Caulfield Grammarians' Association

Boer War

The Light Horse – Charles Reginald Handfield

Charles Reginald Handfield was born in South Yarra on 26th August 1878 and was the youngest son of six children of Frederick and Mary Handfield. His father Lieutenant Frederick Oliver Handfield served in the Victorian Volunteer Navy from 1861-1870. The exact years Charles was at Malvern Grammar School are uncertain, but he was certainly a student during the years of 1895 – 96 as he was named Captain of the football and cricket teams as well as the School Champion. In 1896, when he was aged 18, there were 73 boys on the roll at MGS and it was evidently a notable year in the School’s history as in addition to success in study, there was also good success in sport. The football team won all its matches as did the First Eleven which notably had a draw with the Second XI of Scotch College...

Chaplain Major – Ormonde Winstanley Birch

Ormonde Winstanley Birch was born on 14th May 1879 and was enrolled at CGS on 14th July 1896 as student 580, aged 16 years and living at 68 Sutherland Road Armadale.[1] He had previously attended Bendigo High School and his parents were John Edwards Octavius Birch and Clara Mary Cregoe and who had 4 sons and 1 daughter. Although CGS records are not clear as to his year of leaving school, we can assume that at the latest it was 1898, as the 1899 Speech Night program when reporting on the Annual School Athletics Sports stated that in the Old Boys’ Cup in the 1 mile bicycle race, ‘O Birch gained second place.‘ He undertook militia service as a Sergeant (3701) with the 1st Battalion of the Infantry brigade and with a height of 5’6 1/4’’ he enlisted with the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles (VMR) o...

Bushmen Squadron – Walter Laishley Spier

Walter Laishley Spier was born in South Melbourne in 1874 and was enrolled at CGS in 1888 as a 13-year-old boarder, amongst another 30 boarders, as his parents Walter and Charlotte lived in Hunter’s Hill in Sydney. However, in January 1889 as a 14-year-old he was enrolled at Sydney Grammar School and his parents address was given as Alexander Street, Lane Cove. During his time at SGS he appears to have become quite involved with sport and in 1892 was named in the school’s Rugby 1st XV. A station overseer, he enlisted in 13th February 1900 as a Corporal (152) in B Squadron of the New South Wales Citizens’ Bushmen and served from April 1900 – April 1901 in Rhodesia, West Transvaal including the defence of Elands River Post (4-16 August 1900), and in northern Transvaal. He died of enter...

Mounted Infantryman – Bernard Everett Bardwell

Bernard Everett Bardwell, the eldest son of Everett and Fanny Bardwell was born on 8th September 1881 at Emerald Hill in Melbourne. He was first educated privately, then at East Malvern Grammar School, before being enrolled at CGS in 1892 aged eleven and at Speech Night that year gained second place in both the Form II Arts prize and the Mathematic prize. His year of leaving is unknown, but likely to be 1896 as his father, a lawyer, took up a position at Mosman in Perth, West Australia in 1897. On 20th December 1899, the Western Australian Government sanctioned the formation of a second company of Mounted Infantry for service in the Boer War and amongst the eight officers, 97 men and 125 horse that sailed from Fremantle on 3rd February 1900, was Lt Bernard Bardwell. Coincidentally also a m...