|Mounted Photograph (Trimmed)
4 3/8 Inches by 6 7/8 Inches
(11cm x 17.5cm)
Leaving the land of the Pharaohs, Williams took part in the occupation if the island of Crete between September 1898 and October 1899. The 2nd Battalion would be presented their
campaign medals for the Sudan while on the island. With turmoil erupting in South Africa with the Boer Republics, the 2/Rifle Brigade departed Crete on board the SS Jelunga on
October 3 1899 for Durban, Natal via Suez and Zanzibar, arriving at their destination on October 26.
Williams would see considerable action in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War as evidenced by the six clasps on his Queen’s South Africa Medal (QSAM). One medal roll for the
QSAM accounts for five of the clasps that Williams was entitled to: “Belmont”, “Belfast”, “Tugela Heights”, “Relief of Ladysmith” and “Laing’s Neck”. A second roll dated March
1903 lists four additional clasps: “Cape Colony”, “Orange Free State”, “South Africa – 1901”, and “South Africa – 1902”. The last two dated clasps were later disallowed when he
became entitled to the King’s South Africa Medal with its two clasps. That still leaves a total of seven clasps listed in the medal roll while Williams wears a total of six in his photo
portrait. One of the minor mysteries of the Anglo-Boer War.
Williams was apparently invalided home on 30 May 1900 but returned to South Africa on 16 December 1901 and remained there until 3 February 1903. He remained at home until
deploying back to Malta from 18 June 1904 to 24 October 1906. While in Malta he completed the mounted infantry course.
Williams was steadily promoted during his career:
Attested Rifleman No. 4463 - 26 February 1896
Appointed Acting Corporal - 3 September 1901
Promoted Corporal – 1 July 1902
Appointed Acting Sergeant – 22 May 1905
Promoted Sergeant – 21 October 1909
Promoted Colour Sergeant – 9 August 1914
Appointed Acting Company Sergeant Major – 28 August 1915
Promoted Company Quarter Master Sergeant – 15 May 1917
Williams would see continuous service through the end World War One. He arrived in France late in the war on 15 May 1917 and was initially posted with 8/Rifle Brigade before being
reposted to his old 2nd Battalion on 21 June 1917. He help his position of company quarter master sergeant throughout the war and was finally discharged on 9 March 1920. He had
some 24 years with the colours under his belt and was entitled to the British War and Victory Medals for service during the Great War. But he could not rest on his hard won laurels
since the Crown was not quite done with this old soldier yet.
On 11 April 1921 Williams attested for 90 days emergency service as was posted to the 4th Hants Defense Corps. By this time he seems to have already settled down to civilian life at
Winchester and was supporting his family as a fishmonger. He was appointed back to his former rank of company quarter master sergeant and although his emergent service attestation
papers are silent to his specific duties, duties may well have been associated with the massive post-war demobilization that was still taking place. His 90-day term of service expired on
31 July 1921
Although no mention is made in his Rifle Brigade service papers, Williams stated in his emergency service papers that he had been gassed near Passchendaele on 17 November 1917
and had been suffering from a chronic cough ever since. His medical sheet describes his condition as chronic bronchitis and mild emphysema.
In his personal life Williams has married Miss Lilian Denton at Holywood on 3 June 1907 while he was posted to Ireland with the 1/Rifle Brigade. The couple would have three
daughters: Violet, born at Southampton in 1905, Flora Victoria (to whom this photo was inscribed) born at Holywood in 1908 and Emily Rosaleen born at Winchester in 1914.
Loftus Williams would soldier on - presumably as a fishmonger (a much decorated fishmonger) – until passing away at Community Hospital, Winchester at the age of 54 on 26 March
1932. He was laid to rest at Magdalen Hill Cemetery, Winchester.
|Below: The reverse side of Loftus Williams' photograph bears several inscriptions/notations. The dedication at the very bottom of the card mount appears to be in Williams' own hand
and reads "Flora from Dada 4 years 1912" Williams' second daughter Flora was indeed four years old in 1912 and the photo was obviously a keepsake from father to daughter. A
pencil notation at the top of the mount reads "Colchester" which is where Williams was posted c. 1912 presumably with the 1st Battalion. In the center of the card in a more modern
ink inscription which gives Williams' name, date and place of attestation and age at the time of enlistment.