In the earlier stages of the war this fine force did particularly valuable work. When war was declared their strength was 1,106 of all ranks,—a most useful body of trained horsemen, good shots, and wily to the last degree. The bulk of the regiment was employed on the Rhodesian border and in the relief of Mafeking, while a detachment, 10 officers and 81 men, were in the town when the investment commenced, and formed an important part of the garrison. When Colonel Plumer with the Rhodesian Regiment reached Tuli, near the northern border of the Transvaal, on 11th October, 100 men of the BSA Police were already there with 3 guns and 2 .450 maxims; another detachment being on the railway north of Gaberones under Colonel Nicholson, the Commandant of the Police. Both these bodies took part in endless skirmishes and had to watch a very extended front. In the Boer attack on Plumer at Lobatsi, 14th March, Captain Mowbray and 1 man of the Police were wounded. The work of Colonel Plumer's force generally is dealt with under the Rhodesian Regiment, and that of the Mafeking garrison under the Protectorate Regiment. In his evidence before the War Commission Colonel Plumer said that it was largely due to the initiative and energy of Colonel Nicholson that such an ample supply of stores had been accumulated in Rhodesia before the war broke out and the southern line was cut. He also referred to the work of the Police, and said their shooting was better than that of any other troops he had commanded.
Thanks to the daring of a native runner, Reuter was able to send off a telegram from Magalapye on 19th November which said: "Our third engagement of importance, which will rank perhaps among the most gallant and brilliant of the engagements of this war, was the defence of Cannon Kopje on Tuesday, 31st October, by the officers and men of the BSA Police under Colonel Walford. Upon this isolated position the 96-pr and 4 field-guns were brought to bear, and under cover of their fire the enemy made a most determined attempt to carry the fort by storm. The BSA Police lost 2 officers, 2 NCO's, and 4 men killed, and about 6 wounded".
In Colonel Baden-Powell's despatch on the defence of Mafeking, dated 18th May 1900, he referred at length to the action at Cannon Kopje, mentioning the names of the killed and wounded. The officers killed were Captain the Honourable Douglas Henry Marsham and Captain C A Kerr Pechell. The casualties were not altogether among the Police; some of the Protectorate Regiment were killed and wounded. In his mention of Colonel Walford, BSA Police, at the close of the report, Colonel Baden-Powell said: "Commanded the southern defences with his detachment of BSA Police throughout the siege with conspicuous success. Always cool and quick to see what was wanted, his services were most valuable".
Regarding Major Panzera of the BSA Police Colonel Baden-Powell said: "As commanding artillery, showed himself a smart and practical gunner, endowed with the greatest zeal, coupled with personal gallantry in action. The great success gained by our little guns, even when opposed to the modern armament of the enemy, was largely due to Panzera's handling of them".
When the Australian Bushmen landed at Beira, on Portuguese territory, in May and June 1900, they were met at the Rhodesian border by detachments of BSA Police, some of whom, often mounted on tricycles, accompanied each body of Australians across Rhodesia.
In 1901 and 1902, down to the close of the war, the BSA Police did good work on the Rhodesian border and in the western and northern districts of the Transvaal, and their services were of great value when some native chiefs took their followers into the field. The lesson which the Police gave put an end to all further thoughts of interference on the part of the coloured man. The corps had casualties on many occasions during 1901 and 1902, as at Trenafontein on 21st January 1902, when they had 2 killed and 5 wounded. A detachment were with the escort to a convoy which was captured near Klerksdorp on 25th February 1902. At that time another body under Colonel Walford was employed in keeping open the road to Kuruman, 100 miles west of the Vryburg railway. This detachment, or part of it, was with Lord Methuen when he was defeated by Delarey on 7th March. The BSA Police had several casualties in that action. (See Cape Police).
In addition to those already given the Mentions gained by the corps were: —
COLONEL BADEN-POWELL.— Captains A Williams and Scholfield; Lieutenant Daniells.
LORD ROBERTS' DESPATCHES.— Colonel Walford; Lieutenant Colonels W Bodle, got CMG, and H White; Captains F L Bowden, H Greener, Hoel Llewellyn, A P W Williams, W Ashby; Surgeon Major Holmden; Sergeants G O Delegh, E C Murray; Corporals J H Houite, H Gearey.
LORD KITCHENER'S DESPATCHES: 8th May 1901.— From Colonel Manners Wood's despatch on native attack on patrol from Fort Darwin, Rhodesia, Lieutenant Colonel Flint desires to bring to notice the gallant conduct of Captain C H Gibson, who commanded, and to whom every credit is due for the defeat inflicted on Mapendera's Impis. Sergeant T Barclay, during native rising near Fort Darwin, and force obliged to withdraw, was the last to retire, and by his coolness and good shooting kept the natives off. Captain Gibson says he cannot speak too highly of him, both on this occasion and during rising in 1896.
23rd June 1902.— Major Everett; Captains S W J Scholfield, Drury; Sergeant C L St Hill; Farrier Sergeant Scholes. Sergeant French and Corporal P Darnley also got the DCM.
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