Lt. Roderick Charles Bigg, Native Military Corps/African Auxiliary Pioneers

The African Auxiliary Pioneer Corps (Later named the African Pioneer Corps) was an auxiliary labour unit raised from Swaziland, Basutoland and Bechuanaland. This unit was formed to replace losses suffered by the loss of Cypriot and Palestinian labour units that were lost during the fall of Greece, and the fact that manpower couldn’t be drawn for such purposes from the Sudan due to unknown reasons. Bigg seems to have joined the unit prior to the unit’s dispatch to the pioneer depot at Qusassin. Most units were attached to the 9th Army in the Nile Delta, Palestine and Syria. Units although initially purely used for labour purposes, due to manpower shortages they took on roles in Costal Artillery Anti-Aircraft Artillery, Fire Services, Salvaging operations and Garrison duties along the Suez Canal.

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Description

 

Bigg seems to have lived Mafeteng, Basutoland, and was born 3rd of August 1908. Prior to the war Bigg was an Assistant Superintendent of the Basutoland Motorcycle Police. He was posted as a Temporary Lieutenant to the Native Military Corps, although he spent some time as a Temporary Captain however, he reverted in rank after spendings more than 21 days in hospital. On the 25th of June 1941, Bigg was released from UDI service, for service with the African Auxiliary Pioneer Corps.

The African Auxiliary Pioneer Corps (Later named the African Pioneer Corps) was an auxiliary labour unit raised from Swaziland, Basutoland and Bechuanaland. This unit was formed to replace losses suffered by the loss of Cypriot and Palestinian labour units that were lost during the fall of Greece, and the fact that manpower couldn’t be drawn for such purposes from the Sudan due to unknown reasons. Bigg seems to have joined the unit prior to the unit’s dispatch to the pioneer depot at Qusassin. Most units were attached to the 9th Army in the Nile Delta, Palestine and Syria. Units although initially purely used for labour purposes, due to manpower shortages they took on roles in Costal Artillery Anti-Aircraft Artillery, Fire Services, Salvaging operations and Garrison duties along the Suez Canal.

Bigg was returned to the NMC on the 11th of September 1943 and was released from service on the 14th of November of the same year.

In 2006, Bigg’s medals were stolen either from him or his descendant David Komane, who then applied to the South African Department of Defence for replacement medals. The medals were replaced excluding an African service medal, which must have been sourced privately. The replacement medals were not issued impressed or engraved, this was done by the descendant himself.

 

This group is accompanied by the letter issued by the South African Department of Defence regarding the new-issue medals & Re-Issue card, In addition to scanned copies of his service cards & re-issue application.