1st Battalion

The 1st Battalion sailed on the Greek about 14th November 1899, and arrived at the Cape about 2nd December.

As soon as Nicholson's Nek had opened the eyes of Britain the War Office set about sending more than the Army Corps, which all had thought would be sufficient, and among the first three extra battalions ordered out were the 1st Essex. On arrival they were sent to the Naauwpoort - Colesberg district to assist General French in stemming the Boer invasion, and they remained with him until taken to Modder River. To the Essex, as well as to the 1st Yorks and 1st Welsh, their future brigade companions, the few weeks spent under General French were of inestimable value. Officers and men had an opportunity of learning practical warfare under a leader unsurpassed for caution and delicate skill in handling troops. His scheme, a sort of aggressive defence, gave every one a chance of seeing how things could best be done, and when the time for thoroughly pressing home an attack did come no regiments knew better how to do it than the three just named, justifying the choice made by Lord Roberts when he selected them for the 18th Brigade and a place in the Vlth Division under Lieutenant General Kelly-Kenny.

To the commander of the Essex, Colonel T E Stephenson, came the honour of the command of the 18th Brigade, and it would be difficult to point to a leader who has carried out his task with more unvarying success. From the time when General French commended him in his despatch of 2nd February 1900 to the occupation of Koomati Poort and the Barberton command, Major General Stephenson has never been spoken of but with praise.

The work of the Vlth Division has been sketched under the East Kent Regiment and that of the 18th Brigade under the 1st Yorkshire Regiment.

At Paardeberg on 18th February 1900 the Essex took a prominent part, having about 12 men killed, and 2 officers, including the colonel, and 20 men wounded.

At Driefontein, or Abraham's Kraal, on 10th March, the Essex and Welsh took part in a splendid bayonet-charge which elicited the commendations of Lord Roberts. The losses of the battalion were approximately 2 officers and 14 men killed, 2 officers and 70 men wounded. Seven officers and 10 non-commissioned officers and men of the battalion were mentioned in Lord Roberts' despatch of 31st March 1900. Lieutenant F N Parsons was awarded the VC for exceptional gallantry at Paardeberg. Unfortunately he was killed at Driefontein, when he was again displaying conspicuous gallantry. In the advance from Bloemfontein to Pretoria and thence to Koomati Poort the battalion had not any severe losses.

After the occupation of Koomati Poort the 18th Brigade were retained in the Eastern Transvaal, chiefly on the railway.

On 22nd October 1900 the battalion was ordered to Frederickstad to join General Barton, who was being hard pressed. On 25th October he attacked the enemy and inflicted a severe defeat on them. The reinforcements did not take part in the action. After this the battalion was sent back to the Delagoa line.

In Lord Roberts' final despatch 14 officers and 21 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned.

In January 1901 the Essex, along with the Suffolks, West Yorks, and Cameron Highlanders, formed an infantry brigade under Brigadier General Spens, and part of a strong force under Major General Smith-Dorrien which operated from near Wonderfontein towards Carolina. On 31st January the Essex left the brigade for the railway. Five days afterwards Smith-Dorrien was fiercely attacked at Bothwell. In February 1901, the enemy having become aggressive in Cape Colony, the Essex were railed from Wonderfontein to Norval's Pont, and soon thereafter were taken to Orange River Station and Hopetown. The bulk of the invaders having been expelled from the colony, the battalion was once more taken to the Eastern Transvaal, and when peace was declared they were inhabiting the Ermelo blockhouse line.

One officer, 2 non-commissioned officers, and 1 man gained mention in Lord Kitchener's despatches during the war, and in his final despatch he mentioned 7 officers and 9 non-commissioned officers.

2nd Battalion

The 2nd Battalion was brought from India to South Africa in December 1901, and in his despatch of 8th January 1902, para 5, Lord Kitchener remarks that he had placed them "at the disposal of Brigadier General E O Hamilton for duty on the blockhouse line east of Tafel Kop" (in the north-east corner of the Orange River Colony). During January and February 1902 great drives were taking place in that district, which made the holding of the containing lines a most arduous and responsible task.

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(251 Records)

 Surname   Forename   No   Rank   Notes 
AldridgeW H3981Private1st Battalion
Demise: Killed in action 18 Feb 1900
Place: Paardeberg
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
AnkerJ T5757Private1st Battalion
Demise: Died of disease - enteric fever 20 May 1900
Place: Bloemfontein
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
AnleyBarnett Dyer Lempriere GrayCaptainANLEY, BARNETT DYER LEMPRIERE GRAY, Captain, was born at Dalhousie, India, 22 August 1873, eldest son of Colonel and Mrs B N Anley.  Ho entered the Army 10 October 1894; became Lieutenant 14 October 1897, and Captain 18 October 1900; served in South Africa, 1899-1900, as Adjutant, 6th Battalion Mounted Infantry, De Lisle's Corps; was present at, the Relief of Kimberley; operations in the Orange Free State, February to May 1900, including operations at Paardeberg (17 to 26 February); actions at Poplar Grove, Karee Siding, Houtnek (Thoba Mountain), Vet River (5 and G May) and Zand River; operations in the Transvaal in May and June, 1900, including actions near Johannesburg, Pretoria and Diamond Hill (11 and 12 June); in the operations in the Transvaal, west of Pretoria; operations in Orange River Colony, including action at Witterbergen (1 to 29 July); operations in Cape Colony, south of Orange River 1899-1900, including actions at Colesberg (1 to 29 January).  He was mentioned in Despatches [London Gazette, 8 February and 10 September 1901], and created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order [London Gazette, 27 September 1901]: "Barnett Dyer Lempriere Gray Anley, Captain, Essex Regiment.  In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa".  The Insignia were presented by the King 29 October 1901.  He passed the Staff College in 1908; GSO, 3rd Grade, Harwich Defences, 1909-12; GSO, 2nd Grade, War Office, 1912 to April, 1914; APM 5th Division, August 1914 to 7 January 1915; DAQMG, 3rd Division, 8 January to 30 January 1915; commanded the 1st Manchester Regiment 31 January to 31 March, 1915, including action of Neuve Chapelle 10-12 March, 1915; was present at all actions with the 5th Division, from Mons to action near La Bassee, October 1915; was GSO, 1st Grade, Ripon Training Centre, June, 1915 to 14 January 1916; GSO, 1st Grade, 41st Division, 14 January 1916 to 3 May 1917; was GSO1, Headquarters, Home Forces, 4 May 1917 to 14 August 1918; commanded the 183rd Infantry Brigade, British Armies in France, 21 September 1918 to 10 March, 1919; was GSO1, Staff College, from 11 March 1919.  He was five times mentioned in Despatches in the Great War, and was  given the Brevet of Lieutenant Colonel 1 June, 1916, and Brevet of Colonel 3 June, 1918; became Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, May 1917; was created a CMG 4 June 1917, and had the 1914 Star.  He married, in 1902, Gwendolyn, eldest daughter of Major Leigh Gwatkin, JP, and they had one daughter. 
Source: DSO recipients (VC and DSO Book)
ArtheyC4930Private1st Battalion
Demise: Died of disease - enteric fever 06 May 1900
Place: Bloemfontein
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
AtteridgeJ2355Private1st Battalion
Demise: Died of disease - enteric fever 25 Apr 1900
Place: Springfield Camp
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
AttwoodE5012Private1st Battalion
Demise: Died of disease - enteric fever 13 Jun 1900
Place: Noupoort
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
AuburyH3894Private2nd Battalion
Demise: Died of disease 22 Apr 1902
Place: Frankfort
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
BaggsH G / J6820Private1st Battalion
Demise: Died of disease - enteric fever 22 Jun 1900
Place: Pretoria
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
BaileyJ5812Private1st Battalion
Demise: Killed in action 09 Sep 1901
Place: P. Aardekraal
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
BaileyW5283Lance Corporal1st Battalion
Demise: Died of disease - enteric fever 17 Jan 1901
Place: Heidelberg
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
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