George Dundas KER (INNES-KER)

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KER (INNES-KER), George Dundas

Service Numbers: 9136, 229
Enlisted: 2 April 1901, Maitland, New South Wales
Last Rank: Trooper
Last Unit: Bushveldt Carbineers (BVC)
Born: Tilley's Swamp, South Australia, Australia, 14 February 1865
Home Town: Burra, Goyder, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Killed in Action, Warmbaths, South Africa, 22 December 1901, aged 36 years
Cemetery: Pietersburg Garden of Remembrance, South Africa
George Ker's remains were disinterred from their original burial place near Elandsfontein and reinterred at the Pietersburg Garden of Remembrance in the 1960s
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Boer War Service

14 May 1900: Involvement Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion), Trooper, SN 9136
2 Apr 1901: Enlisted Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion), Trooper, SN 229, Bushveldt Carbineers (BVC), Maitland, New South Wales
16 Oct 1901: Involvement Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion), Trooper, SN 229, Bushveldt Carbineers (BVC)

The Register, Adelaide, 16 January 1902 p.4


INNES-KER.- On the 22nd December, killed in Pretoria, South Africa, George Dundas Inncs-Ker, aged 33.
The Advertiser, Adelaide, 17 January 1902 p.4
His Excellency the Governor received a telegram on Wednesday conveying the news of the death of Trooper George Dundas Innes-Ker, who was killed in action in the Transvaal on December 22. The deceased, who was 33 years of age, went over to South Africa in charge of some horses for the Imperial troops just 18 months ago, and was attached to the British Imperial Intelligence Department at Warmbaths. He was a South Australian by birth, and his sister is one of the nurses at the Children's Hospital.

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Biography

Tilleys Swamp, South Australia

Scout, Field Intelligence Department when killed in action.

Served in Orpen’s Horse and in Robert’s Horse from 14 May 1900 to 11 March 1901.

Enlisted in the Bushveld Carbineers (BVC) Maitland on 2 April 1901 –Discharged from the BVC on 16 October 1901. He was reported missing, believed dead, near Warmbad on 22 December 1901.

On 3 January 1902 the South Australian newspapers carried a report of the death of George Dundas Ker being  Killed In Action in the Transvaal on 22 December 1901. The report stated that he and another Intelligence Officer had been foully murdered near Warmbaths.

They went to a lonely spot to parley with some Boers who had pretended that they desired to surrender, and while engaged in conversation were shot dead by some burghers who were in hiding.

Lord Kitchener officially denied that the F.I.D operatives had fallen victim to treachery, but modern scholars of those months in late 1901 and early 1902 would not rush to believe the official denial.

George Ker was buried at Elandsfontein but in the 1960s his remains were moved to the Garden of Remembrance in Pietersburg where his name appears on the Boer War memorial.

He is not memorialised as far as we know in Australia because he was not in ADF service at the time of his death.

Work in progress, more to follow.....

Memorial images courtesy of Paul Naish (Durban, SA) collection 

 

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Biography contributed by Grant Ker

Intelligence Scout George Dundas Ker is commemorated by the Australian Intelligence Corps as the first Australian to die on operations while conducting intelligence duties.

At least 79 men from Australia served in the British-run Field Intelligence Department during the Boer War. Their duties included scouting, recruiting and running agents, surveying and topographical tasks, interpreting, 'political and legal work' with native tribes and interrogation.

George Dundas Ker hailed from Kooringa (Burra) in South Australia and at the time of his service with Imperial units in South Africa was unmarried and gave his next-of-kin as his younger sister May, a nurse at the Adelaide Children's Hospital.

His late father, a Scot, had for many years been the government appointed Inspector of Stock based in Burra, covering a wide area of the colony's north. Undoubtedly as a boy and younger man George  learned much of horsemanship and bushcraft from accompanying his father in these duties.

It is believed George travelled to South Africa with horses shipped for the Imperial troops before enlisting in Roberts Horse (B Squadron), the Bushveldt Carbineers and finally as a Scout with the Field Intelligence Department.

His death notice appeared in the Adelaide Observer, January 18 1902;

Innes Ker: On 22 December, killed in Pretoria, South Africa, George Dundas Innes Ker, aged 36.

The following extract also appeared in The Advertiser, Adelaide, 17 January 1902;

"His excellency the Governor received a telegram last week conveying the news of Trooper G.D. Innes Ker who was killed in action in the Transvaal on 22nd December 1901. The deceased who was 33 went over to South Africa in charge of some horses for the Imperial troops just 18 months ago, was attached to the British Imperial Intelligence Department at Warmbaths. He was a South Australian by birth and his sister is one of the nurses at the Childrens Hospital."

Although unmarried George had several nephews who went on to serve in both the Great War and Second World War, including his nephew Robert Innes Ker, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, who served at Gallipoli.

George Dundas Ker is remembered by his family.

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