Thomas Dafter –14th Hussars - 1887-1902 (Queens South Africa Medal - No bar (entitled to South Africa 1901 only))
Feb 1869 : Thomas Dafter is born in the parish of St. Lukes, London.
17 May 1887 – Thomas Dafter is attested for the 14th Hussars in London for a limited engagement of 7 years in the colours and 5
years in the reserve. He is described as being 18 years and 3 months old, a carman by trade, 5ft 6 in tall, 138lb in weight, fresh
complexion, blue eyes, red hair and a Roman Catholic by denomination. He had plainly tried to join enlist prior to this, as he stated
on his attestation that he had been rejected from the Army as being underage. Dafter had a variety of distinctive marks on
enlistment, including a tattooed line on his left forearm and a dot on his left forearm as well as scars on his right hand, right
eyebrow, the back of his head and his neck. His next of kin at this time was his father, also Thomas, living at7 Dorinda St., Bride
St., Barnsbury, London. After a medical examination in London, which finds him fit for service, he is sent to Shorncliffe to join the
19 May 1887 – Thomas Dafter joins the 14th Hussars at Shorncliffe where he is numbered as No.2676. He joins K Troop under
27 May 1887 – Dafter is re-vaccinated.
09 Jun 1888 – The 14th Hussars arrive in station at Aldershot.
24 Jul 1888 – Dafter arrives at Hilsea.
17 May 1889 – After 2 years service with no problems, Private Dafter is granted a penny a day extra for good conduct.
28 Jun 1889 – Dafter arrives at Aldershot.
12 Aug 1889 – Dafter arrives at Brighton.
01 Sep 1890 – Dafter arrives back at Aldershot.
25 Sep 1890 – Dafter arrives at Hounslow.
15 Oct 1890 – Dafter arrives in London.
20 Nov 1890 – Dafter is reported at Kensington by Sgt. Addison and Sgt. Clarke for improper conduct around 12.30 am, this is
compounded by a report by T.S.M. Grainger that he failed to obey an order around 7 am. This offence was dealt with by Lieut.
Hamilton on the same day, who simply admonishes Dafter.
11 Jan 1891 – Dafter is stationed at Hounslow
16 Jan 1891 – Dafter is admitted to the Hospital at Hounslow suffering from a wound to the lips, he is discharged after 4 days.
14 Jul 1891 – Dafter returns to Aldershot.
11 Aug 1891 – Dafter is stationed in Birmingham.
03 Nov 1891 – Dafter is admitted to the hospital in Birmingham suffering from an ailment caused by a blow to the face (described
as ‘severe’). This is plainly quite bad as he is sick for 49 days.
04 May 1892 – Dafter is admitted to the Hospital suffering from the effects of Primary Syphilis. He spends 50 days on the sick,
during which he is treated with mercury until his release on the 22nd of June.
30 Jun 1892 – Dafter is stationed in Hulme, Manchester.
09 Sep 1892 – Dafter is admitted to Hospital at Hulme suffering from the effects of a gumboil. He is discharged from treatment
after 5 days.
03 Oct 1892 – Dafter is appointed as a Lance Corporal.
10 Nov 1892 – Lance Corporal Dafter passes his Third Class Certificate in Education.
27 Dec 1892 – Dafter is absent off pass at Manchester until 9pm on the 30th of December.
02 Jan 1893 – Dafter is reverted back to Private on orders of Colonel Gough for being AWOL.
17 May 1893 – After 6 years service with no major problems, Private Dafter is granted two pence a day extra for good conduct.
23 Mar 1894 – Private Dafter is reported by L/Sgt. Ashby for neglecting to groom Squadron Horses D35 & D52. He is dealt with by
Captain Richardson, who awards him 3 days confined to barracks.
17 May 1894 – After 7 years in the colours, Private Dafter is transferred to the 1st Class Army Reserve at Manchester. His CO
remarked at the time that his conduct was very good, and that his habits were regular.
10 Jun 1894 – Thomas Dafter marries Ealey Ann Dixon at the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Hulme, Manchester.
04 Sep 1894 – A letter from the Station Paymaster at Canterbury states that Dafter is living with his 26 year old wife at 51 Savill
St., Miles Platting, Manchester.
05 Jan 1899 – A letter from Thomas Dafter is received by the Station Pay Office at Canterbury, it reads as follows:-
I am just about to complete my tirm (sic.) of army reserve, my time is complete in May, that is 7 years in the colour and 5 years in
the reserve. I have just received a paper from Canterbury from the Paymaster and by what I can learn from it I can re-engage for
another term of reserve at the orthorities (sic.) wish and santion (sic.).
I left the Army with two good conduct badges and a very good caracter (sic.) and have never been in trouble or ill since I left the
14th Hussar (sic.). I am now a labour (sic.) and groom at a Gentleman’s house and get plenty of riding, this is my address.
Thomas Dafter, certificate of identity D of Langton Scrubbs, near Wragby, Lincolnshire.”
17 May 1899 – Dafter re-engages for service in the Section ‘D’ Reserve, his 12 years of original engagement having expired.
28 Feb 1901 – Dafter is recalled to Army Service and is posted to the 14th Hussars.
02 Mar 1901 – Dafter departs the UK for service in South Africa.
28 Mar 1901 – Private Dafter arrives in South Africa at the port of Durban, Natal.
03 Jul 1901 – A telegram is sent from the Cavalry Record Office at 41 Pall Mall, London, to Mrs. Dafter at 51 Savill St., Miles
Platting, Manchester. It reads as follows:-
I am directed to inform you that a telegram has been received from the General Officer Commanding in South Africa, reporting the
casualty mentioned below, and I am, at the same time, to express to you the sympathy and regret of the Commander-in-Chief:-
No.2676 Pte. T. Dafter, 14th Hussars, dangerously ill of enteric fever at Newcastle, 29th June.
I am , madam, your obedient servant,
John Pye, Lieut., Cavalry Records.
10 Jul 1901 – Another telegram, identical to the first is sent to Mrs. Dafter reporting that Thomas was still dangerously ill at
Newcastle on the 6th of July.
23 Aug 1901 – Dafter departs South Africa for the UK.
06 Sep 1901 – Arrival in the UK.
14 Apr 1902 – A ‘detailed medical history of an invalid’ is written on Private Dafter. It remarks that ‘Patient states that in May 1901
he was taken in with enteric fever at Newcastle, Natal, South Africa. Was in hospital there and then invalided home. Complains of
general weakness, pain in abdomen, weakness of limbs, shortness of breath, occasional diarrhoea. Present condition: looks fairly
healthy, heart sounds feeble, no other physical signs. The result of service and climate.’ The board further noted that the disability
was due to exposure on duty on active service. The board also stated that the capacity for earning a livelihood had been impaired
by around a quarter.
A statement from Dafter himself (then in Lincoln) states that:-
1. He was treated in Hospital at Newcastle, Natal, S.A. for enteric fever from beginning of May 1901 till about the middle of August.
2. He was transferred home on board Hospital Ship “Olcana” (?) and landed about the middle of October.
3. Not in any hospital at home.
4. Sick furlough two months at Hope Lane, Wragby, Lincoln; not ordered to report to any Station Hospital.
17 May 1902 – The Medical Officer at the Station Hospital, Lincoln, sends a letter to the Principal Medical Officer of the North East
District to inform him that Dafter is fit to travel, and that his intended place of residence was Hope Lane, nr Wragby, Lincolnshire.
05 May 1902 – Dafter appears before a Regimental board at York that recommends his discharge due to debility.
31 May 1902 – No.2676 Private Dafter is discharged at the Curragh having been found medically unfit for further service (Auth.
District orders, N.E. Dist., 09/05/02). His total service at that point having been 15 years and 15 days (8 years & 3 months with
the 14th Hussars, 5 years in 1st Class Reserve and 19 months on Class ‘D’ Reserve). He is 33 years old at this time, and his
intended place of residence was with Bardney Dairies, Bardney, Lincolnshire. The ‘Proceedings on Discharge’ state his conduct as
being very good and his special qualifications as being ‘a good groom, drives well’.
19 Jun 1902 – Dafter is granted at 18d/day pension for 12 months.
30 Mar 1903 – Another medical report on Dafter states that ‘weakness and pains across the abdomen prevent him working more
than 3 or 4 days a week. Healthy looking man, not anaemic, fairly muscular. Probably not permanent, minimum duration of 12
months, prevents ¼, average weekly earnings 10/- per week’. The statement of earning was gained from him employer, Bardney
Dairies, of Bardney, Lincolnshire, who had paid him 10/- the previous week.
07 May 1903 – Permanent pension granted of 10d per day.
04 Jul 1906 – A letter from Dafter to pension office complaining of non-payment of pension. At that time he was living at Torksey,
14 Oct 1940 – Thomas Dafter is killed at Lincoln. The cause of death is listed as being ‘decapitation from being run over by a
railway train due to suicide whilst the balance of his mind was disturbed’. His pension was paid up to the end of 1940, though there
is no detail of a wife or children benefiting from this pension
|Thomas Dafter - 14th Hussars - Served 1887 to 1902