South African Forces Great War Battle of the Somme Delville Wood Casualty pair and memorial plaque awarded to Private J.W. Mays, 4th South African Infantry, and formerly Botha’s Scouts during the campaign in German South West Africa in 1914 to 1915. With the 4th South African Infantry, he fought in the campaign against the Turkish backed Senussi tribesmen in Egypt’s Western Desert in early 1916, and then on the Western Front during the Battle of the Somme. Mays was killed in action at Delville Wood on 15th July 1916.
Pair and Plaque: British War Medal and South African issue bi-lingual Victory Medal; (PTE. J.W. MAYS. 4TH S.A.I.); Memorial Plaque named to; (JOHN WILLIAM MAYS)
Condition: Good Very Fine.
John William Mays was born at Louws River, Cape Province, South Africa, and having worked as a blacksmith, and with the outbreak of the Great War, originally saw service as a Private with the Botha’s Scouts during the campaign in German South West Africa, serving 292 days with this unit. He is additionally entitled to the 1914-1915 Star.
With the end of the campaign, he was discharged but then attested for service with the South African Overseas Expeditionary Force at Potchefstroom on 27th August 1915, joining as a Private (No.3119) the 4th South African Infantry. After further training in England, he disembarked in Alexandria, Egypt on 13th January 1916, and then saw service during the campaign against the Turkish backed Senussi tribesmen in Egypt’s Western Desert. The campaign over, he then embarked at Alexandria for France on 12th April 1916, and disembarked at Marseilles on 20th April 1916.
Thrown into the Battle of the Somme, Mays is confirmed as having been killed in action at Delville Wood on 15th July 1916, and having no known grave, is commemorated by name on the Thiepval Memorial. Aged 26 at the time of his death, he was the son of John Mays, of 9 Park Street, Kroonstad, Orange Free State.