Unless otherwise noted all content © 2005-2023 Edward T. Garcia. All other © are property of their respective holders.
A Virtual Museum of Victorian-Era British Military Photographs & Associated Research
Let Fly the Arrows...
Identified on the cabinet card’s reverse side as Kenneth Neal Monro, the subject wears the distinctive regalia of the Royal Company of Archers.
The company was established as early as 1672 an was granted a charter by Queen Anne in 1713. Today the company acts as a ceremonial royal bodyguard to the reigning British monarch during visits to Scotland.
Although this archer is clearly identified as Kenneth Neal Monro, no additional information specifically linking to the company have been found so far.
Our subject may be the Kenneth Neal Monro who was born a Paddington, Middlesex, England on 20 July 1879 to Robert Webber Monro and Frances Mary Davidson. The elder Monro was a onetime cricketeer at Oxford and later the chief clerk to the Parliament Office in the House of Lords (1901–1903).
Educated at Harrow, Kenneth established himself as a civil engineer and contractor. His brother Lieutenant Charles Gordon Monro was killed in action at Elandslaagte in 1899 during the Anglo-Boer War.
During the Great War, Monro would serve with the Royal Engineers. He was promoted temporary captain from a lieutenancy on 27 January 1915, and then acting major on 8 November 1917. He left the service in January 1919 with the permanent rank of major.
Kenneth Neal Monro
Royal Company of Archers
Sergeant Albert Edward Curtis, VC
2/the East Surrey Regiment
Woking, Surrey, England
For Conspicuous Gallantry
No. 4675 Albert Edward Curtis was a 34-year-old private in the 2nd Battalion, the East Surrey Regiment, during the Anglo-Boer War when the following deed took place at Onderbank Spruit for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. Curtis’ VC citation appeared in the 15 January 1901 edition of the London Gazette and reads as follows:
On the 23rd February, 1900, Colonel Harris lay all day long in a perfectly open space under close fire of a Boer breastwork. The Boers fired all day at any man who moved, and Colonel Harris was wounded eight or nine times. Private Curtis, after several attempts succeeded in reaching the Colonel, bound his wounded arm, and gave him his flask — all under heavy fire. He then tried to carry him away, but was unable, on which he called for assistance, and Private Morton came out at once. Fearing that the men would be killed; Colonel Harris told them to leave him, but they declined, and after trying to carry the Colonel on their rifles, they made a chair with their hands, and so carried him out of fire.
Curtis would also be entitled to the Queen’s South Africa Medal with the clasps Orange Free State, Transvaal, Relief of Ladysmith, Tugela Heights, Laing’s Nek and Natal. He was additionally entitled to the King’s South Africa Medal with its South Africa – 1901 and South Africa – 1902 clasps.
Up From the Ranks
Being promoted to officer status from the ranks was almost unheard of during the earlir part of the Victorian-era. With the increasing emphasis on military professionalism and ongoing reforms during the later years of Victoria's reign the practice become more common.
Edgar Vincent Thomas Alexander Spink was one such soldier. Enlisting as a private in the King's Shropshire Light Infantry late in Victoria's reign, he would be commisioned in his regiment during the Great War.
Our subject was born 16 September 1882 on the Ilse of Wight to Thomas Spink and Mary Ann Elizabeth Kelly.
Exactly when Spink enlisted as No. 5641 in the King's Shropshire Light Infantry is not known at this point due to a number of reasons although research is being actively comducted.
ServiNg with the 2nd Battalion, the King's Shropshire Light Infantry during the Anglo-Boer War, Spink was entiled to the Queen's South Africa Medal (rank of corporal) with clasps: "Cape Colony", "Paardeberg", "Driefontein", and "Johannesburg". He also qualified for the King's South Africa Medal
(rank of sergeant) with its usual "1901" and "1902" clasps.
The 2/Shropshire's roll for the Queen's South Africa Medal was complied at Belfast, Transvaal on 26 July 1901 and lists Spink's rank as lance corporal. The battalion's roll for the King's medal, compiled at Rannikket, Brist India on 20 June 1903 shows Spink having been promoted sergeant by then.
Due to him being promoted from the ranks, Spink's enlisted service papers have not been found. His military record between the end of the...
Edgar Vincent Thomas Alexander Spink
2/the King's Shropshire Light Infantry