Staff Sergeant Charles William Bamford of the Army Service Corps is pictured at Woolwich, England wearing his medals for the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 and the Gordon Relief Expedition of 1884-85.
Bamford was born on 30 July 1864 in Lucknow, Bengal, India to Brigade Quarter Master Sergeant Charles Bamford, R.A. and Mary Anne Quigley. He attested with the Army Service Corps sometime before 1879. He was appointed bugler soon after.
During the Zulu campaign, he was probably was attached to General Newdigate’s Second Division during the second invasion of Zululand. For his service, during the war Bugler Bamford was entitled to the 1877-79 South Africa Medal with the clasp “1879”.
Next, we find Bamford attached to Sir Garnet Wolseley's river column during the Gordon Relief Expedition in 1884-85 during which he earned the Egypt Medal with the clasp “The Nile 1884-85” as well as the bronze Khedive’s Star. The Egypt Medal roll shows Bamford having been appointed Lance Sergeant at the time of its publication and having been attached to No. 9 Company.
Bamford had been promoted Staff Sergeant Major by 1895 when he took part in the Ashanti Campaign of 1895-96 and added the bronze Ashanti Star issued for that campaign to his growing collection of campaign medals.
He was promoted Quarter Master and Honorary Lieutenant on 10 October 1899.
With the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899 Bamford – now an old and seasoned African hand – returned the land of his first foreign service. Here he added to his laurels with the Queen’s South Africa Medal with the clasps “Cape Colony”, “Transvaal” and “Relief of Ladysmith”. He also was entitled to the King’s South Africa Medal with its “South Africa – 1901” and “South Africa – 1902” Clasps. Bamford also received two Mention in Despatches with the first appearing in the London Gazette on 8 February 1901 and the next on 10 September.
In 1906 Bamford finds mention in the April edition of The Masonic Illustrated: A Monthly Journal for Freemasons. He is listed among those being elected officers of the Nil Sine Labore Lodge, No. 2736. He was in fact a founding member of the lodge. The lodge was formed in 1898 specifically for members of the Army Service Corps.
By 1914 and the outbreak of the Great War Quarter Master and Honorary Captain Bamford found himself one of “The Old Contemptibles” – members of the small pre-war, professional army that would soon be put to the test and rise to meet it in the growing quagmire of the Western Front. Bamford disembarked in France on 10 August 1914. Bamford seems to have served throughout the war earning the 1914 Star with clasp, the British War, and Victory Medal with MID device. He would also receive two more Mention in Despatches – the first appearing in the London Gazette on 29 May 1917 and the second on 25 May 1918. With the end of the war Bamford at been appointed Honorary Major.
Bamford may have spent time in the West Indies during his time in the service since his wife Annie Isabel Veal whom he married on 2 July 1891 was born on the islands. Honorary Major Charles William Bamford passed away on 11 September 1922 at Brighton, Sussex.
Farlie - Photographer
16 October 1890
Above: A digital recreation of Bamford's impressive medal group as it would have appeared at the end of the Great War. From left: The 1877-79 South Africa Medal with "1879" clasp, the Egypt Medal with "The Nile 1884-85" clasp, the 1896 Ashanti Star, the Queen's South Africa Medal with "Cape Colony". "Transvaal", and "Relief of Ladysmith" clasps, the King's South Africa Medal with "1901" and "1902" clasps, the 1914 Star with "5th Aug.-22nd Nov. 1914" clasp, the British Victory Medal with MID device, and the Khedive's Star.