Atlantic Transport Company bAmericab


Ernie Luck

Member
Nov 24, 2004
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I apologise for the fact that my first post to ET is in the 'other ships' category but it is Titanic related. As a small-time medal collector, earlier this year I was fortunate enough to acquire a Transport medal similar to that awarded to Captain Smith for transporting troops to the Boer War 1899-1902. Only a relatively small number of medals were issued for the Boer War with the South Africa clasp and the China War, 1900, with the China clasp; a few medals had both clasps. My medal is engraved with the name H. Robinson, Chief Officer of the Atlantic Transport 'America'. Whilst it would be too much to expect anyone would know anything about H. Robinson, I wondered if members knew of any publications, or books, which featured the liners which carried troops to these Wars? Does anyone have an illustration of the 'America'? I suspect there were several ships given this name over the years. I should be grateful for any help.
 

Noel F. Jones

Member
May 14, 2002
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The National Army Museum in Chelsea, London, may have what you are looking for under headings such as 'Military Proceedings -South Africa'. Such documents will identify units shipped, dates and the transport names. You will need to apply for a reader's ticket. If you are at a distance they will photocopy for a price.

I have Cassell's 'History of the Boer War', presumably inherited from my maternal grandfather (he was in it).

Most of the vessels would be of the Union and Castle Lines. Tantallon Castle took out the commander and his staff (Gen. Sir George White). Other vessels mentioned are Braemar Castle and Maine.

Noel
 

Ernie Luck

Member
Nov 24, 2004
643
6
113
Thanks Noel

I will try what you suggest, probably in the new year. I think my first port of call will be the National Archives at Kew, where I hope to get the complete medal roll for the transport medal. You may, or may not know that the medal roll is the issue record and I have page one of the list of ships used and a page of the recipients which includes H. Robinson, whose name is engraved on my medal.

There are 42 ships on page one and this only goes up to the C's i.e. 'City of London'. On this page, three of these ships are Castle Line. I think the transport of troops for the boer war was a bit like Dunkirk in reverse with every available liner called into use. They did not all make it, I see the 'Carinthia was wrecked; shame about the 400 mules on board.

Regards Ernie
 

Ernie Luck

Member
Nov 24, 2004
643
6
113
I have a recent post under 'Smith's Medals', but I think the following is more appropriate under 'other ships'

No one has responded to my original request for details, if known, of any publication relating to the civilian liners used as troopships during the Boer war. In view of the vast collective knowledge of the ET membership, I assume no publication exists? Well there's a niche in the market for any budding authors!!! Put my name down for a copy, a coffee table publication would do - all pictures and minimal text.

Mind you, with 180 different ships on charter from 39 Shipping lines it would be some tome. Ismay, Imrie and Co, provided three ships on time charter to the British government. 'Majestic' (the earlier one)- Captain Smith took it 3 times to South Africa; 'Cymric' - Capt. H St G Lindsay and 'Brittanic' (the earlier one)- Capt. B J Hayes.

Regards Ernie
 

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