The RA was active throughout the Boer War. The total strength of the Royal Artillery during the Boer War was 20,590:
RHA - 10 Batteries
RFA - 25 Batteries including 6 Howitzer Batteries
RGA - 2 Mountain Batteries and 15 companies
Militia Artillery (4 companies)
Volunteer Artillery: City Imperial Volunteer Battery; Elswick Battery
A testament to their involvement comes from the 8 VCs they received:
Captain Reed, Captain Schofield, Corporal Nurse
Sannah's Post :
Major Phipps-Hornby, Sergeant Parker, Gunner Lodge, Driver Glasock
Fort Itala :
Ammunition Column. These are representative types of the men who are concerned in the transport and distribution of ammunition. They are the sergeant-major, the gunner, the trumpeter, the sergeant, and the driver, and all are armed with revolvers, and certain of them with swords and rifles. There are two classes of ammunition columns. The first is attached to every division, as well as to the Corps Artillery and to the corps troops attached to the Army Corps, and brings up the ammunition reserve for all arms, the ammunition waggons feeding the batteries, and the small-arm carts supplying the infantry, while there are reserve waggons and carts for both. The other class of ammunition columns forms the ammunition parks, which consist of three sections, and are intended for the supply of the whole Army Corps and the cavalry brigades.
These guns form part of the siege train sent out to South Africa under command of Lieutenant Colonel Perrott, and are engines of enormous destructive power. The howitzer is an old weapon newly introduced with far higher qualities than it ever possessed before. There are several calibres of the siege howitzer, that depicted being the 6-in. breech-loader, weighing 30-cwt., and when limbered up scaling nearly 4.5 tons in draught. The gun fires lyddite shrapnel, the shell complete weighing nearly 70-lb, and having a range of something like 10 miles. The breech mechanism is analogous to that of the field gun, with am interrupted screw, and buffers are provided to take the recoil. A vast amount of material accompanies a siege battery, ammunition being supplied to the extent of 500 rounds per gun, and the work of transport becomes therefore one of great difficulty. But it is in the hands of officers and men who thoroughly competent to undertake it. a siege train is, of course, the artillery formed for the reduction of fortified places. Such a train has nearly always to be organised specially for its particular purpose, and it rarely has any existence in peace-time. Thus when the war broke out the work of organising the siege train began, and the new siege material supplied was soon afloat, and reached South Africa in charge of a highly-trained force of experienced officers and men.
Siege train officers
Siege train officers. In all about 32 officers, and over 1,1oo men, drawn chiefly from Portsmouth, Plymouth, Exeter, and Devonport, are with the siege train in South Africa. They know the work thoroughly, and are all under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Perrott, who is represented in the picture, with Captain and Adjutant Currie, and Captain De Brett, DSO, on his left, and Major Allen, Major Nicholls, and Captain Strange on his right. These are the principal officers to whom the highly-important duties of the siege train are assigned, but the full exercise of their activity and experience will come later on in the war, when the time arrives for crushing the final opposition of the Boers. Meanwhile, however, the officers of the siege train have been very well employed.
Siege train NCOs
Siege train NCOs. These excellent men, who are seen wearing the khaki uniform for South Africa, are among the most experienced gunners in the British Army. They belong to the garrison branch of the Artillery, by which the whole of the siege train is provided, the companies now in South Africa being the 15th, 16th, and 36th of the Southern Division. A siege park consists of what are known as "heavy," "middle," or "light" artillery sections; but the composition of these is varied according to circumstances, and great changes have been introduced through the production of the new siege material, consisting of 4 in., 5-in., and 6-in. breech-loading howitzers of enormous power and range.
Howitzer in the siege park
Howitzer siege park. We have heard so much about the effects of lyddite, pictured sometimes by the vivid pens of correspondents, that full reports upon the operations of the howitzers, and particularly of the siege train when it is carried up to Pretoria, will be regarded with the very greatest interest. Lyddite is a high explosive of great destructive force, with a picric acid base, and is named from Lydd in Kent, the headquarters of our fortress artillery. The nature of siege work calls for a gun of special character, chiefly in regard to construction, and the features of the breech mechanism of the 6-in. are admirably seen, both open and closed, in the picture. The howitzer is designed to fire with a remarkably high elevation, discharging its shell with a comparatively low muzzle velocity through a great curve, and thus giving a descending fire upon the positions attacked. It is therefore able to search out and destroy positions which are invisible, and quite beyond the range of field guns.