South African Soldiers' Association badge : S E A Greentree

Place Africa: South Africa
Accession Number REL41728
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Badge
Physical description Enamel
Maker Amor Pty Ltd
Date made c 1910-1920
Conflict Period 1910-1919
South Africa, 1899-1902 (Boer War)
Period 1900-1909

Bronze lapel badge with the King's crown above a shield with the letters 'S.A.S.A.' and enamelled stripes of red, blue and yellow. These colours represent the ribbon of the Queen's South Africa Medal. The reverse of the badge has a screw fitting from which the retaining plate is missing. The maker's marking 'AMOR SYDNEY' is also impressed into the reverse.

History / Summary

Associated with Septimus Ernest Athol Greentree's service during the Boer War.

Greentree was born on 22 January 1872 at Freeman's Reach, Hawkesbury, New South Wales, to Robert and Hannah Greentree. He travelled to South Africa and in June 1900 enlisted for service in the Boer War, joining 1st Battalion, Brabant's Horse, an irregular British South African unit. This highly mobile Light Horse unit was formed by then Brigadier General Edward Brabant, a South African colonial military commander. It was made up of approximately 600 South African colonials, Australians, British and Canadian soldiers and was heavily involved in fighting irregular Boer commando units, in particular in the Transvaal. Greentree attained the rank of corporal and in March 1901 was discharged from Brabant s Horse to serve as an agent with the South African Field Intelligence Division (FID). The FID conducted a diverse range of field intelligence activities and was considered highly effective at combating the Boers in South Africa.

Greentree was still living in South Africa when the First World War broke out in September 1914. Aged 42 he joined the Cape Garrison Artillery on 17 September 1914 at Cape Town and was assigned the regimental number A/51164. He served in German South West Africa (today known as Namibia) and was discharged on 29 July 1915 after the cessation of hostilities in this area.

Greentree re-joined the South African forces in Cape Town on 22 April 1916, this time as a private in the 11th South African Infantry with the regimental number 11681. The unit saw action against German colonial forces in East Africa. Greentree was discharged in Durban on 13 December 1916. He later returned to Australia and died in 1963 at Sydney, NSW, aged 90.