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DateOriginal Topic
28th April 2004Cantwell DCM
By Graham Mason
I have had a lot of correspondence recently on John Cantwell DCM , checking my files i find differences that merit adjustment and seek answers if known . It is incorrectly assumed that John Cantwell`s intended place of residence was shown as No 8 LOOP ST P:M:B , not so . Having a set of his papers i checked with the presented facts . It quite clearly shows on the first of his military history sheets that his intended place of residence is No2PhillipaSt Woolwich , London , on his amended sheet it would appear that No 8 Loop is indicated as his address . When Cantwell left the army on July 1887 he worked at the Gunpowder Factory at Waltham Abbey leaving there for South Africa on Nov 5th 1887 , South African records show that he lived at No 8 Picciones Buildings Loop st PMB from 1895 to 1896 , then at 8 Loop St from 1897 to 1899 . After this he was at 2nd Avenue Durban from 1900 till his death on August 14th 1900 in Addington Hospital Durban . On the 12 Dec 1895 his pension was commuted to a payment of 261 :11:4d ( No further payments to be made ) Order No 703399 . Papers sent to LOOP St ? .

Further checking revealed that there are differences in his medal awards . He`s shown as having three medals , the DCM , LSGC and South Africa Medal with clasp 1877 78 79 . The LSGC medal is only indicated on theamended sheet and as he did not get to the Cape of Good Hope till the 9th Jan 1878 how was he entitled to the 1877 bar ? .

Next } Regimental Nos . In their books both Ian Knight and Julian Whybra show his number as 2076 as does the sheet from Kew . However his records show that in the Norfolk Regt it was 1740 , in the Royal Artillery it was 23182 , in 10 Brigade it was3460 and in 9 Brigade it was 3760 . I have checked and cannot find 2076 . His subsequent demise to a toilet cleaner which he left as he indicated the hours were too long and assault by a prisoner in Durban prison and subsequent death in August 1900 are a sad fall from a man who only a few years earlier won a well merited DCM at Rorkes Drift on Jan 22 1879 , thank you .
29th April 2004Martin Everett
Peter Abbotts' book on DCMs (1855-1909) clearly shows 2076 as Cantwell's number - you probably need to check with Royal Artillery Regimental Orders of 29 April 1880. I suspect that 2076 was 5 Bde RA number. You could also try Cantwell's DCM file in the National Archives - although many of these are only on special access which you may not get.

Regarding the Clasp to the South Africa Medal you really need to read the General Order signed by the Duke of Cambridge 1 August 1880. Most of the men of the 2/24 who served in the Eastern Cape received the 1877-78 clasps even though the battalion did not reach East London until March 1878.
30th April 2004Julian whybra
Of course 2076 was his N/5 brigade no.
1st May 2004Graham MASON
Thank you gentlemen , i have Cantwells`s service papers but the number 2076 does not appear there and is as you say is his No 5 Brigade No . I wonder why then is this number not indicated in his papers and why many learned authors still have No 8 Loop St PMB as his intended address when in fact it clearly states No 2 Phillipa St Woolwich . 8 Loop St was where his commuted pension was sent as his first ( as i have it ) address in Loop St was at No 8 Picciones Buildings in PMB , Thank You .
1st May 2004Graham Mason
Dear Martin ,
In my haste to thank you i forgot to tell you that i was allowed to copy the DCM applications at the National Archives regarding Rorkes Drift , in particular Cantwells , the number 2076 does not appear in his submission so therefore i will have to contact the Royal Artillery Museum and request a copy of any paper that shows this number 2076 on it because his service papers certainly do not , thank you once again , Graham .
2nd May 2004Martin Everett
Dear Graham,
I was referring to the DCM submissions to the Queen in WO146. You may have sight of the London Gazette entries and the Military Secretary's files in WO391. WO146 files are restricted to TNA readers.
2nd May 2004Julian Whybra
Much easier to go to the Pay lists and Muster rolls at Kew.
6th May 2004Julian Whybra
Look at the 5th Brigade Nominal Roll book WO69/894 and all your troubles will be over, Graham.