This J.C. Wilson patriotic Soldiers of the Queen Type II E-4 variety (with song back No. 15) cover was postally used from Victoria BC on June 23, 1900 to Sdler. Sergt. W. Carter, 5th Dragoon Guard, Natal Field Force, South Africa. It has been franked with a 2¢ Map stamp. There is no indication that Sgt. Carter was a Canadian, as he served in a British regiment during the Boer War, however he was known to the resident of Victoria who sent him the correspondence once contained in this cover, which, like most mail to soldiers during the Boer War, was folded and carried in the soldier’s kit for the balance of the war.
The cover previously sold in the December 2007 Longley Auction for $862, and was most recently part of the Hugh Westgate 1898 Map Stamp Collection.
In his write up of this cover in his Map Stamp Collection, Westgate described the cover thusly: “This cover to Natal, a participating colony, is 1 of 2 known covers and probably the only one used for postal purposes. The other cover was a Latchford Cover mailed December 25, 1898 in a general mailing by Canadian PM Latchford.”
Saddler Sergeant W. Carter, regimental no. 4607, the recipient of this cover, was a member of the 5th (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) Dragoon Guards. According to AngloBoerWar.com, “The regiment arrived in Natal from India before the war broke out.” The 5th Dragoon Guards, under Colonel Baden-Powell, were part of the force that was beseiged at Ladysmith. “The Siege of Ladysmith was a protracted engagement in the Second Boer War, taking place between 30 October 1899 and 28 February 1900 at Ladysmith, Natal”, a total of 118 days.
From the same regiment, Second Lieutenant John Norwood of the 5th Dragoon Guards was awarded the Victoria Cross for his efforts on October 30th, 1899, when he “went out from Ladysmith in charge of a small patrol of the 5th Dragoon Guards. They came under a heavy fire from the enemy, who were posted on a ridge in great force. The patrol, which had arrived within about 600 yards of the ridge, then retired at full speed. One man dropped, and Second Lieut. Norwood galloped back about 300 yards through heavy fire, dismounted, and picking up the fallen trooper, carried him out of fire on his back, at the same time leading his horse with one hand. The enemy kept up an incessant fire during the whole time that Second Lieutenant Norwood was carrying the man until he was quite out of range." Three other VCs were awarded at Ladysmith on 6 January 1900, Herman Albrecht and Robert James Thomas Digby-Jones (who both died), and James Edward Ignatius Masterson.
Below, the reverse of the cover.