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Trooper John Alfred HANNA - 1489- 3BN AUST CMNWLTH HORSE (NSW) Boer War 1902

At the turn of the century, in 1902, John Alfred HANNA enlisted in the Colonial Army to fight against the Boers in South Africa. He joined the 3rd Battalion Australian Commonwealth Horse (NSW) and had horse riding and shooting skills attained whilst working as a boundary rider in the Australian bush. He was given the rank of Trooper, and his service number was 1489. He enlisted in Sydney on 3rd February 1902, was passed medically fit for service and was 21 years of age. He gave his religion as Presbyterian. His address at time of enlistment was "Crescent Coffee Palace, George Street, Haymarket, Sydney. He had blue eyes, brown hair, was 5′11½″ tall and was of fair complexion. He had no distinguishing marks. He gave his father David HANNA of Jerilderie NSW as his next of kin.

John Alfred HANNA embarked at Sydney for South Africa aboard His Majesty's Troopship "MANHATTAN" on the 1st April, 1902, on the 2nd April the ship departed for Durban, South Africa. His rate of pay, for a single trooper was 5 shillings per week. Of this, his allotment was for 3 shillings and 9 pence to remain in Australia and 1 shilling 3 pence to be paid while in South Africa.

The "MANHATTAN" arrived at Durban on the 30th April 1902. At Durban the troops entrained a few days afterwards for Newcastle, where they proceeded into camp at Kitchener's Kop, in the vicinity of the town, awaiting orders to proceed to the Transvaal. Here the Queensland and Tasmanian Squadrons joined.

When peace was declared, the battalion returned to Durban on 11th July and embarked on the transport ship "DRAYTON GRANGE" the following day. The records state that the vessel called into Albany W.A and John Alfred HANNA disembarked with other troops and was quarantined for several days before returning to Sydney aboard the SS Coolgardie. On the 11 August 1902.

The Drayton Grange was a Troop Ship returning 2000 soldiers back from the Boer War in 1902. Conditions on the ship were unhygienic and 17 soldiers and sailors died of disease. There was an outrage back in Australia and a Royal Commission was set up to find the causes for the disaster. Originally I thought that John Alfred Hanna died at sea and was buried according to the military custom of the day. On looking through the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages I came across his death certificate, I then realised he was in fact buried in Jerilderie Cemetery, in the same grave as his father, David Hanna.



1. Attestation Paper-


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Randwick Camp 1Randwick Camp 2



This is Kensington (Randwick) Camp, Sydney NSW in 1900. Volunteers for Boer War Service trained here and marched down the now Anzac Parade to Circular Quay for embarkation to South Africa. John Alfred Hanna was here in 1902. The site is now The University of New South Wales and Randwick Race Course


2. Confirmation of Service


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3. Boer War Medal similar to that awarded to John Alfred HANNA for his service


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John Alfred HANNA became a victim of The Drayton Grange tragedy. To continue select" Victim of The Drayton Grange" from the Link below and read how his tragic death unfolded


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