21 January 2016
Charles Stanley George Ralph - where's the QSA?
3857 Pte Charles Stanley George Ralph, 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards; later 5101 Pte, 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons was born in Wandsworth, London and was a butcher by trade when he enlisted in London on the 15th July 1891. His stated age was 18 years and two months which suggests that he was born around May 1873. His birth though, was registered in the third quarter of 1874 and the 1881 census also records him as a six year old. He was thus probably 17 years old when he enlisted, and not 18.
Charles enlisted for a period of seven years with the colours and five years on the reserve albeit, according to clause 18a, “if, at the termination of such period of Army Service, you are serving beyond the seas, then for the first eight years in the Army Service and for the remaining four years in the 1st Class of the Army Reserve.” He indicated at the time of his attestation that he wished to serve with the 4th Dragoon Guards.
He served with the regiment in India from September 1894 until February 1899, earning the India Medal 1895 with clasps for the Punjab Frontier 1897-98 and Tirah 1897-98 in the process. He was transferred to the Army Reserve in February 1899 but recalled to the colours that same November when he was transferred to the 6th (Inniskilling Dragoons). He subsequently served in South Africa and added two more campaign medals to his collection. He was discharged to the Army Reserve for a second time in August 1902 and finally discharged on the 14th July 1903, exactly twelve years after he had first enlisted.
Charles Ralph's QSA and KSA appeared in a collectors' sale auction at Truro Auction Centre on the 23rd May 2014 (lot 582). However, the KSA had already appeared, on its own as item 651 at the same Truro Auction Centre on 7th March 2014. QC Militaria subsequently had the QSA up for sale in July 2015.
I'm at a loss to understand how the KSA appeared as a single medal two months before both medals were offered, and also, of course, why the medals were split after being together for over a hundred years. There also remains the matter of the missing India Medal 1895-1902. If anyone knows of the whereabouts of the QSA and IM, or can offer an explanation for the sequence of events above, please leave a comment or contact me directly via the research tab. A client in Australia holds the KSA - or at least a KSA with Charles Ralph's details impressed.
The photograph on this page is an edited compilation of images which appear on Dix Noonan Webb's website.