The story of the service of Mansfield is typical of that of the later yeoman. Out of country for less than a year it is doubtful if any
out from a century of obscurity.
Arthur Hayden Mansfield was born at 14 Prospect Buildings, Lyncombe & Widcombe, near Bath, Somerset on the 27th of August
1881. He was the first child of Arthur James Mansfield and Clara Virgo Mansfield (nee Watts) who were both born in the Bath area
and were both in their early 20’s at that time. On his enlistment by Sergeant Major Holwell of the Imperial Yeomanry, at Bath on
New Years day of 1902, he was a clothiers assistant by trade. It is curious that he was in Bath on this day when his wife (he
married Francis Edith Jones on the 19th of September 1898 at Bristol Registry Office) was living at 37 Albert St., St. Pauls, Bristol.
By this time Arthur had also dropped the ‘e’ in his middle name as was calling himself ‘Haydn’.
Arthur’s reasons for enlisting will always be a mystery, however he would have been paid the princely sum of 5 shillings a day for
joining the Yeomanry, quite an amount in those times. He did not forget his wife, as he stated that 2 fifths of his pay should be
sent to her. The Army took no time in processing his request to enlist, he was seen by a civil practitioner (Mr A.A.G. Collins) and
declared fit as well as having his request approved by Major E. Beaumont of the North Somerset Yeomanry, all in that same day.
Having enlisted, Arthur would be sent for training at Aldershot where he would have taken tests in riding and marksmanship, a lot
of recruits in this period proved incapable of passing these basic tests and were discharged as being unlikely to make efficient
soldiers. Life as a soldier must have been hard for Private Mansfield as when joining he was a waif of a man, 5 ft 6 inches tall but
weighing only 116 pounds (8 stone 2 pounds), pale complexion, brown eyes, brown hair.
Having passed all his training at Aldershot, Private Mansfield is numbered 37924 and posted to the 125th Company of the Imperial
Yeomanry, part of the 27th Battalion of the I.Y.. With the second contingent of the I.Y. coming to the end of it’s year in South
Africa, the 27th Battalion is sent out at the end of April 1902 and arrives in country on the 28th of May. It must have been a
strange day for these men who had been trained for months to fight the Boer to learn that less than a week later the peace had
been signed, they must have wondered what they were going to do with themselves.
Arthur’s thoughts must have turned to home on many occasions in the coming months as the boredom of garrison duties and
long patrols across the veldt would have left him with much time for reflection. In the end it would seem that he decided that
enough was enough in September 1902, he arrived back in England on the 20th of October after 172 days out of the country. On
the 26th of October 1902 he was discharged at Aldershot, having decided to end his service after 299 days in the army. His papers
were confirmed by Lt. MacCallum and witnessed by SSM Colman.
Time in the sun in South Africa had changed his appearance somewhat, his pale complexion was now dark, and his hair now dark,
even his eyes had changed to dark grey! For his services in South Africa he was awarded the Queens South Africa Medal with bars
for Cape Colony and 1902. In getting this medal he was quite fortunate as the Battalions of I.Y. that arrived only a few weeks later
(33rd-38th Battalions) were not awarded a QSA as they arrived after the armistice.
|Arthur Hayden Mansfield - 27th Bn. I.Y.