Horace Robert Martineau VC

b. 31/10/1874 London. d. 07/04/1916 Dunedin, New Zealand.

Horace Robert Martineau (1874-1916) was born in Bayswater, London, on 31 October 1874, the fifth son of Mr William Martineau, who came from Hornsey. He was educated at University College School, London, and enlisted in the 11th Hussars in 1891 and served with the regiment in Natal and later in India before purchasing his discharge and returning to South Africa in 1895. In 1896 he served under Colonel Sir Robert Baden-Powell in the successful campaign against the Matebele. He then joined the Cape Police and on the outbreak of the Boer War in 1899, joined the Protectorate Regiment (North West Cape Colony ) with which he served in the South African campaign of 1899-1902, taking part in the defence of Mafeking.

Horace R Martineau VC

On 26th December 1899, during the fight at Game Tree, near Mafeking, when the order to retire had been given, Sergeant Martineau stopped and picked up Corporal Le Camp, who had been struck down about ten yards from the Boer trenches, and half dragged, half carried him towards a bush about 150 yards from the trenches. In doing this Sergeant Martineau was wounded in the side, but paid no attention to it, and proceeded to staunch and bandage the wounds of his comrade, whom he afterwards assisted to retire.

The firing while they were retiring was very heavy and Sergeant Martineau was again wounded. When shot the second time he was absolutely exhausted from supporting his comrade and sank down unable to proceed farther. He received three wounds, one of which necessitated the amputation of his arm near the shoulder.

Martineau was gazetted for the award of the Victoria Cross on 6th July 1900, and was presented with his medal by the Commander-in-Chief in South Africa, Lord Frederick Roberts VC, at Cape Town, on 11th December 1900.

Horace Martineau took no further part in the South African war and took up employment with the African Boating Company, a large concern in Durban. Upon the outbreak of the First World War he was living in New Zealand and immediately joined the New Zealand Otago Regiment, serving with the Transport Service of the ANZACS seeing service in Suez and action in the Gallipoli campaign.

It was while he was in Gallipoli that he contracted a fever, fell seriously ill, and was invalided back home to New Zealand. He eventually died from the results of the fever on 8th April 1916, aged 41 years. Horace Martineau is buried in Anderson’s Bay Cemetery, Dunedin. His name also appears on the family grave in Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey, England. His medals are held by the Ashcroft Trust and are displayed in the Imperial War Museum.