With his Woseley pattern helmet resting on the studio table and inscribed "Your's Jack. 12/9/00" this cabinet photograph depicts John Medley Loveband Fulford. It was inscribed by Fulford on the same date of Fulford's railway staff appointment as mentioned in the 19 February 1901 edition of the London Gazette. The photograph may have been taken to commemorate the event.
John Medley Loveband Fulford's military career has been somewhat difficult to track fully due to his being a member of various South African police units during most of his time in uniform. Establishments such as the Transvaal Constabulary to which he was a member do not have records available like regular British units nor were promotions always listed in the London Gazette. His career was certainly an interesting one based on the details I have uncovered so far.
John M. L. Fulford was born on 29 July 1877 at Exeter, Devon, England, one of at least ten children of architect Robert M. Fulford and his wife Maria. Fulford's accepted a midshipman's appointment in the Royal Naval Reserve on 24 February 1896. He next turns up in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War as a sergeant (No. 2063) with Robert's Horse. While with that mounted unit Fulford would be wounded on 9 March 1900 at Abraham's Kraal. During the war, he also served with Steinaecker's Horse being promoted lieutenant while so employed. He was serving with the Provisional Transvaal Constabulary when he received a staff posting with the
Railway Staff on 12 November 1900.
According to one unconfirmed source, Fulford was captured at by the Boers at Colenso and spent some time as Winston Churchill's cellmate.
For his varied services during the Anglo-Boer War Fulford would be entitled to the Queen's South Africa Medal with the clasps "Paardeberg", "Dreifontein", "Relief of Kimberley" and "Transvaal". He was also entitled to the King's South Africa Medal with its
two clasps of "South Africa - 1901" and "South Africa - 1902".
Fulford's post-war career seems to have been limited to service with South African police forces and did not see any active service in the field during World War One. Around 1917 he was active in investigations to root out Bolshevik sympathizers in South Africa. Fulford was an Inspector with the South African Police at Boksburg with the Rank of Captain in 1917 when a strike by white miners took place protesting the hiring of semi-skilled black mineworkers. He was again involved in another mineworker dispute in 1922 when he led an attack on a "commando" of striking Afrikaner's miners near a rail crossing at Boksburg on 27 February which resulted in many injuries and arrests but no deaths. The following day things when even worse when a crowd gathered outside the Boksburg jail to voice support for those taken into custody the day before. Fighting soon broke out between the police and strikers this time the fracas left three of the strikers dead - one of which was killed by a bullet from their own ranks.
Fulford is listed as Captain, Inspector, South African Police, Boksburg in the 1922 edition of the International Police and Detective Directory.
Later in a passenger list from the ship Watusi dated 5 October 1932 Fulford is listed as a Lieutenant-Colonel of South Africa Police (retired). He is listed as traveling with his wife Margaret.
I have seen photographs a 450/455 Webley revolver which now resides in a private collection that was carried by John Medley Loveband Fulford throughout the Anglo-Boer War. What makes this artifact stand out is that Fulford had small dated and engraved metal plaques attached to the revolver's walnut grips that highlight his military career. These include "II S.A.L.H. - R.H. 1899-00" (2nd South African Light Horse/Robert's Horse), "Trans Constb. 1900" (Provisional Transvaal Constabulary), "3H 1901-02-03" (Steinaecker's Horse), and "S.A.C. 1903" (South African Constabulary). A fifth, undated plaque is engraved "J.M.L. Fulford R.N.R." (Royal Naval Reserve).
J. M. L. Fulford apparently retired to England and died there sometime in the 1960s.
R.C.E. Nissen - Photographer
Pretoria, South Africa
12 September 1900