The 1st Battalion sailed on the Cephalonia on 24th October 1899, arrived at the Cape about 18th November, and was sent round to Durban. Along with the 2nd Scottish Rifles, 1st Rifle Brigade, and 3rd King's Royal Rifles, they formed the 4th Brigade under Major General N G Lyttelton. The work of the brigade has been sketched under the 2nd Scottish Rifles, and that of the Natal Army generally under the 2nd Queen's, Royal West Surrey.

At Colenso the battalion was not heavily engaged. After moving to Potgeiter's they took part in various demonstrations and feints, but it was not until 5th February, when called on to storm Vaal Krantz, that the Durhams knew what it was to be under a hail of shells and bullets. Their final charge that day was carried through in a way worthy of the battalion. The words of Sir Redvers Buller are, "The men would not be denied". Their losses were heavy: 2 officers and 12 men killed, 6 officers, including Colonel Fitzgerald, and 76 men wounded.

Six officers and 8 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned by General Buller in his despatch of 8th February 1900 for good work at Vaal Krantz.

The battalion took part in the last and successful attempt to relieve Ladysmith, and was almost constantly engaged between 13th and 27th February. On the 18th the battalion and the 1st Rifle Brigade attacked and carried the ridge between Monte Cristo and Green Hill, and losing no time, captured the Boer laager. The 4th Brigade were on the left in the final assault on the 27th. The battalion's losses during the fourteen days were approximately 2 men killed and 51 wounded.

Six officers and 13 men were mentioned in despatches for good work in the relief operations, 3 men getting the distinguished conduct medal, — another man of the Mounted Infantry got that medal for excellent work at Alleman's Nek,—and in General Buller's final despatch 12 officers were mentioned.

After the entry into the Transvaal the history of the battalion was not very stirring. Like the remainder of the brigade, they were chiefly employed on the Natal - Pretoria Railway, and in column work from the railway line towards the Orange River Colony.

In Lord Roberts' final despatch 9 officers and 16 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned.

The Mounted Infantry company of the Durham Light Infantry was present at Sannah's Post, 30th and 31st March 1900 (see Household Cavalry). When Q Battery found itself forced to come into action at 1200 yards from the spruit where the Boers lay, the Mounted Infantry company, "which was acting as right-flank guard to the retirement, promptly occupied a position on the right and left flank of the battery, thus checking any intention the enemy had of advancing from the spruit". Speaking of the retirement of the battery, Colonel Broadwood said, "The whole of this operation was carried out with perfect steadiness by all concerned, the action of Q Battery, the company of the Durham Light Infantry, and of Lieutenant Colonel Pilcher's regiment of Mounted Infantry being specially worthy of notice".

Three officers and 3 men of the company were mentioned in Colonel Broadwood's report. The Mounted Infantry company of the regiment gained many mentions throughout the campaign.

A party of the battalion was present in Gough's Mounted Infantry force which was ambushed and destroyed on 17th September 1901. On that occasion 1 officer and 1 man were mentioned in Lord Kitchener's despatch for great gallantry. In Lord Kitchener's final despatch 4 officers and 6 non-commissioned officers were mentioned.

Captain De Lisle, DSO, of the Durham Light Infantry, earned great distinction as a leader of mounted infantry and column commander, was mentioned several times, and gained his CB by splendid work.

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 Surname   Forename   No   Rank   Notes 
AinsworthWilliam JohnLieutenantAINSWORTH, WILLIAM JOHN, Lieutenant, was born in Jhansi, India, 11 August 1873, the eldest son of  Captain Ainsworth, late 106th Light Infantry, of Spotland, Rochdale, Lancashire, and Trentham House, Twickenham Park, London.  He was educated at St Paul's School; entered the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in 1892; joined the Durham Light Infantry, as Second Lieutenant, 19 July 1893; became Lieutenant 23 July 1896.  He served in the South African War, 1899-1900, and took part in the operations in the Orange Free State, February to May 1900, including actions at Poplar Grove, Driefontein, Houtnek (Thoba Mountain), Vet River (5 and 6 May) and Zand River.  Operations in the Transvaal, in May and June, 1903, including actions near Johannesburg, Pretoria and Diamond Hill (11 and 12 June).  Operations in Orange River Colony, June to August 1900.  He was mentioned in Despatches [London Gazette, 8 February 1901]; received the Queen's Medal with four clasps, and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order [London Gazette, 19 April, 1901]: "William John Ainsworth, Lieutenant, Durham Light Infantry.  In recognition of services during the recent operations in South Africa".  The decoration was especially awarded for conspicuous gallantry in the affair at Sanna's Post 31 March, 1901.  Lieutenant Ainsworth was Adjutant, Durham Light Infantry, 15 March, 1901, to 31 January 1905; was promoted to Captain 2 July 1901; was attached General Staff, War Office, 1 February 1905, to 30 November 1906; was Garrison Adjutant, Eastern Command, 1 June 1907 to 31 May 1909; Staff Captain, No 5 District, Northern Command, 6 June, 1911 to 4 August 1914.  He was promoted to Major 21 July 1914.  Major Ainsworth served during the European War; as DAAG, Northern Command, 5 August 1914 to 21 February 1915; DAAG, Bass, Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, 22 February to 30 November 1915; AAG, Force in Egypt, 1 December 1915 to 21 March, 1916; AAG, General Headquarters, Egyptian Expeditionary Force, from 1 April 1916.  He was mentioned in Despatches; given the Brevet of Lieutenant Colonel 3 June, 1917, and created a CBE in 1919.
Source: DSO recipients (VC and DSO Book)
AndrewR7092Lance Corporal1st Battalion
Demise: Died of disease 15 Jan 1901
Place: Standerton
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
ApplebyE W2nd Lieutenant 1st Btn. Slightly wounded at Vaal Krantz. 5 Feb 1900.
Source: Natal Field Force Casualty Roll, page 162 line 11
ArklessJ6916Private1st Battalion
Demise: Died of disease 22 Feb 1901
Place: Kroonstad
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
ArmourW 5273Private1st Btn. Died of enteric at Pietermaritzburg. 24 May 1900.
Source: Natal Field Force Casualty Roll, page 165 line 6
ArmourW5273Private1st Battalion
Demise: Died of disease - enteric fever 24 May 1900
Place: Pmburg
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
ArmstrongJ3932Private2nd Battalion
Demise: Killed accidentally on railway 06 Dec 1900
Place: Van Reenen
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
AshdownE W DBuglerDemise: Died of disease 24 Oct 1900
Place: Durban
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
AshmoreW 3706Private1st Btn. Died abdominal Sarcoma at Durban. 17 Mar 1900.
Source: Natal Field Force Casualty Roll, page 164 line 42
AshmoreW3906Private1st Battalion
Demise: Died of disease - ague 17 Mar 1900
Place: Durban
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
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