|Company Sergeant Major |
James Wells Hopkins
Anzac Parade holds a prominent place in the recording and commemoration of Australia's military history. It is here, on the approaches to the Australian War Memorial, that an impressive array of memorials have been constructed in honour of Australia's military campaigns and those units and individuals who served in them. Yet, our very first campaign has never had a memorial! This will be corrected on May 31 when a memorial to Australia's involvement in the South African War (or Boer War) will finally be unveiled. This event will be the culmination of many years of dedicated effort by the National Boer War Memorial Association (Australia) and a preview of the memorial may be seen here.
In recognition of this event, it seems appropriate to honour the memory of one of the early participants in that conflict.
James Wells Hopkins was born in Bungendore, NSW, just down the road from Canberra. He is a local lad and also a relative, being the much loved uncle of my paternal grandmother. I had no idea he had served in the Boer War until as recently as 2012. It was while assisting with a country football team that I spotted his name on the Bungendore War Memorial adjacent to the football field.
The Bungendore War Memorial committee commissioned an excellent document describing and honouring those local gentlemen who served in the South African campaign. The full document can be found here and I would recommend it those who would like a greater understanding of the times and the people. I have borrowed from this document to tell Hopkins' story. I do hope they don't mind.
Bungendore & District War Memorial South Africa (Boer)War Roll of Honour