|A Celtic cross makes the grave of No. 2833 Shoeing Smith Corporal Albert Staff of the 1st Battalion, the Grenadier Guards and the Army Veterinary Department. His grave was one
of many at a new military cemetery at Kroonstad in the Orange Free State. The cemetery was so new at the time that many graves in the photograph are still marked only with a
At the time of his death from disease at Kroonstad on 6 December, 1901 Albert Staff help the actual rank of Lance Corporal though his entry in the Record of Deceased Soldier's
Effects states that he was being paid as a Corporal. He seems to have been seconded to the Army Veterinary Department at the time of his death. Staff was entitled to the Queen's
South Africa Medal with the clasps: "Cape Colony", "Orange Free State" and "South Africa - 1901".
Since Albert Staff died while in service his service papers were as in most such cases destroyed so his entry in the above mentioned Record of Deceased Soldier's Effects gives to only
hint as to his origins. The Record mentions his next of kin as Caroline, his mother. With this scant information I believe that Albert Staff appears in the 1881 Census for Darsham,
Suffolk, England as the son of John and Caroline Staff and was born at Darsham, Suffolk, England about 1872 making him around 29 years old when he died. John Staff was employed
as a warrener which implies he farmed rabbits or may have been some other sort of gamekeeper. The 1891 Census for the Guards Depot for Recruits at Caterham Barracks lists a 20
year old Private Albert Staff and the 1901 Census for Chelsea Barracks lists a 29 year old Albert Staff of the 1st Battalion, the Grenadier Guards who was born at Darsham, Suffolk.
The 1901 Census was taken on 31 March 1901 which means that Albert Staff was only in South Africa some eight months before succumbing to what was in all likelihood typhoid or
some similar malady.
Kroonstad, Orange Free State, South Africa
|Right: A detail of Assistant Shoeing Smith Corporal Albert
Staff's grave marker. The small numbered temporary marker is
still in place at lower right. Although it is uncertain, his grave my
be located in the Kroonstad Old Cemetery.