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SA3420 Trooper Charles Stuart  –  6th Contingent, New Zealand Mounted Rifles
 
Charles Stuart was the youngest of 14 children born at Pahautanui on the 8th July 1879.[i]
 
Charles father, Charles snr, had arrived in Wellington with his parents on the Birman in 1842. As a young man Charles snr had prospected for gold  in Australia before returning to New Zealand. Charles married Mary Murphy in 1852 and after farming for a number of years in the Rangitiki district the family moved down, about 1860, to Judgeford, Pahautanui.[ii]
 
On the 2nd January 1901 Charles enlisted in the 17th Company of the 6th Contingent raised for service in the 2nd Anglo-Boer War. Trooper Stuart is listed as living at Pahautanui where he worked as a farmer but at that stage he was ‘not employed.’
 
The 6th Contingent had been raised to replace the 1st Contingent who had returned to New Zealand and as it was restricted to men who were in the Volunteer Force or had prior military service it is possible that Charles was serving as
a volunteer with the Heretaunga Mounted Rifles.
 
On the 19th of January 1901 the Evening Post carried the notice:[iii]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
      
The date set was unfortunate as it was the day that Queen Victoria died; possibly as a consequence Trooper Stuart did not appear at the function with the Evening Post reporting on the 28th January 1902:[iv]
 
          ‘The people of Pahautanui were greatly disappointed on
          Tuesday evening that Trooper Chas. Stuart did not put in
          an appearance at the “social” tendered to him by the
          residents. The proceedings though somewhat flatter than
          had been intended, were duly carried out, about 70
          couple enjoying themselves. The music was supplied by
          Misses Boulton, Birch, and George, and Messers, Boulton
          and Gray. The proceeds will be given to the three local
          schools, which will receive about 10s each. The Social
          Committee decided to hand to Trooper Stuart the field-
          glasses which had been purchased for the occasion.’
 
By the 28th January 1901 Trooper Stuart had travelled by train with other Wellington members, including SA3420 Trooper Lawrence Walsh of Tawa,  of the 6th Contingent to Auckland where they sailed, on the 30th January 1901 for South Africa.
 
The 6th New Zealand Contingent and the 5th Queensland Bushmen formed a column under General Plumer. The column operated initially in the Orange River area before being moved to the North East Transvaal where they occupied Pietersburg. The 6th would be in action at Kromdrai, Bethel, Modder and Orange Rivers, Bloemfontein. These drives resulted in the capture of men, equipments and cattle but there were also loses in the 6th due to enemy action and also disease.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6th Contingent, New Zealand Mounted Rifles cross the high Veldt 1901
 
On the 22nd September 1901 there was an engagement at Elansberg with 150 Boers and on the 27th September 1901 ‘stiff fighting; at a drift on the Calendon.’[v] A dispatch written on this action reported that 200 New Zealanders arrived at the drift just in time to prevent 300 – 400 Boers who were trying to cross the river.
The 6th would then move to the northern border of Natal and then Wakkerstroom where on the 3rd January 1902 they were in action and then the following day at Onverwachte. The Onverwachte action was considered the most severely fought engagement of the second phase of the war and while the 6th had lightly wounded the 5th Queensland Bushmen lost 12 men killed with 2 officers and 20 men wounded.
 
SA3420 Trooper Larence Walsh would be a casualty of the campaign dying of enteric fever at Wakkerstroom on the 8th February 1902.
 
Trooper Stuart returned to New Zealand in May 1902 and for his services in South Africa was awarded the King’s South Africa War medal with date clasps 1901 and 1902 and provincial clasps, Cape Colony, Transvaal and Orange Free State.
 
Queen Victoria had died on the 22nd January 1901 and her son Edward VII was to be crowned her successor. Coronation Contingents from the Empire were dispatched to act as bodyguards during the coronation ceremonies. Three detachments of men were sent from those serving in South Africa and those who had returned to New Zealand. There was also a
“native” detachment of Maori representing the various tribes. Charles Stuart was selected and sailed for England with the New Zealand based soldiers; also sailing with him was another Pauatahanui veteran SA2222 Trooper
(Alf) Alfred Cook  who had served with the 1st Contingent. After a delay, due to the future king’s health, the Coronation of Edward VII and his wife Alexandra as King and Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Empire took place at Westminster Abbey, London, on 9 August 1902. The New Zealand Detachments returned to New Zealand in October 1902 and Charles returned to civilian life.

Charles Stuart married Isabell kathleen Boulton in 1904, the couple had six sons with five living to adulthood. Charles
Stuart joined the New Zealand police force and was in 1909 stationed in Lyell remaining at that station to 1912 where on the death of Charles’s father in 1912 he was listed as living in Lyell.

Constable Stuart also served at the Takaka, Nelson station as he was there in 1914 when one of his sons Charles Keith Stuart died after being kicked by a horse. Constable Stuarts final station was the Mount Cook Goal, Wellington where he retired from to go farming  in the Manawatu.

In 1950 a request was made for replacement medals lost in a house fire, Charles Suart was member of the Wanganui
South African Veterans.
 
Charles Stuart died in 1962 aged 83.
 
Notes:
Private and Trooper are used in Military Files and newspaper items for consistancy Trooper has been used in Porirua stories.
 
References:
Papers past Online
NZ Birth, Deaths & Marriages Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: SA3420 Trooper Charles Stuart
NZ Units in South Africa: NZ History Online
 
Photos:
Background and text: 6th Contingent on the High Veldt - Alexander Turnbull: qMS-1676-59f
 
 
[i] 1879/12437 Stuart: BDM NZ Internal Affairs
[ii] Personal Matters (29th July 1912) Evening Post
[iii] Notices (19th January 1901) Evening Post
[iv] Notices (28th January 1901) Evening Post
[v] The Boer War forum
[vi] Stuart family tree - London branch 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6th Contingent, New Zealand Mounted Rifles cross the high Veldt 1901