1st Battalion

The 1st Battalion sailed from Gibraltar and was in Natal when Sir George White arrived on 7th October 1899.

The battalion was moved up to Ladysmith, and was present with General French at the battle of Elandslaagte on 20th October (see 1st Devons). In that battle the battalion did very well. Their losses were 11 men killed, and 5 officers and 26 men wounded.

At the battle outside Ladysmith on 30th October (see 1st Liverpools) the 1st Manchester Regiment was in Ian Hamilton's brigade (see 1st Devons), and had no heavy fighting and few casualties.

Soon after this battle the town was cut off and besieged. The Manchester Regiment was stationed on Caesar's Camp, and on 11th November they had fighting practically the whole day. Four men were killed and 2 officers and 15 men wounded.

In repelling the great assault on 6th January (see 1st Devons) the Manchesters played a very important part. The battalion, under Colonel Curran, along with the 42nd Battery, some of the Naval Brigade, with a 12-pounder and some Natal Volunteers, formed the garrison of Caesar's Camp. Sir George White expressed the opinion that the enemy got into position close to our defences through deceiving the picquets as to their identity; but precise details could not be got, as nearly all the defenders of the south-east portion of Caesar's Camp were killed. The enemy got possession of that portion, but the defenders clung most gallantly to little sangars and bits of cover here and there. Sundry reinforcements were sent to Colonel Curran, and ultimately, about 5.30, after fifteen hours' continuous effort on both sides, the Boers were driven entirely off the hill. The losses of the Manchesters were very severe: 33 men were killed, 4 officers and about 37 men wounded. Four officers and 14 men of the battalion were mentioned in Sir George White's despatch of 23rd March 1900, and Private R Scott and Private J Pitts were subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross for "holding out in their sangar for fifteen hours without food or water, all the time keeping a sharp look-out, although the enemy occupied some sangars on their immediate left rear", and of course all round their front. Three officers and 1 non-commissioned officer had already been mentioned in the despatch of 2nd December 1899 for excellent work prior to the investment.

The battalion formed part of the force which General Buller led to Lydenburg (see 1st Liverpool Regiment).

At Bergendal, the battalion being detached to the right, were directed to intrench themselves on the eastern crests of the ridge, and under cover of the regiment the artillery were brought into action against Bergendal. General Buller mentioned that the fire of the battalion was of great service, preventing reinforcements from reaching the farmhouse and kopje.

Four officers and 2 non-commissioned officers were mentioned in General Buller's despatch of 9th November 1900. Nineteen officers and 35 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned in Lord Roberts' final despatch, but these included both 1st and 2nd Battalions.

In the second phase of the war the battalion was many times engaged, but never had very heavy losses. To the close of the campaign they continued in the Eastern Transvaal, sometimes on garrison duty, at times doing column work under General F W Kitchener, Colonel Park, and other commanders.

For gallant conduct and good work, mainly about Lydenburg and Badfontein, 5 officers, 2 non-commissioned officers, and 1 private of the 1st Battalion were mentioned by Lord Kitchener in his despatches. In the supplementary or final despatch 9 officers and 10 non-commissioned officers were mentioned, but these embraced both battalions.

2nd Battalion

The 2nd Battalion sailed on the Bavarian on 16th March 1900, and arrived at the Cape on 6th April. Along with the 1st Worcestershire, 1st South Staffordshire, and 2nd Royal West Kent, they formed the 17th Brigade under Major General Boyes, and part of the Vl11th Division under Lieutenant General Sir Leslie Rundle. The work of the division has been briefly sketched under the 2nd Grenadier Guards. The battalion was not in any big battle, but did consistently good work.

There follows an extract of the war services of the 2nd Battalion Manchester Regiment. This bears out what is said under the other battalions of the VIIIth Division as to the work done and the hardships suffered by Rundle's people:—

20th to 24th April 1900. Engaged in operations for the relief of Wepener; thereafter marched north. May. Operating between Thabanchu and Senekal. 4tth June. Occupied Ficksburg; held it till 20th. Frequently shelled.

20th June to 29th July, Holding Hammonia and part of line, Ficksburg westwards, to keep in Prinsloo's Boers.

29th July to 4th August. Marched to Harrismith, 115 miles in seven days. Thence by Reitz and Vrede

to Standerton. Arrived there on 30th.

"During these four months the division was on very short rations, their boots and clothing were worn out, many of the men wearing sacks. A hundred men of the battalion were sent back from Reitz to Harrismith as they had no boots. At Standerton the men received fresh boots and clothes, and after that time supplies were more regular".

Marched from Standerton, via Vrede and Bethlehem, to Senekal. Had fighting there, and near that town some waggons, a gun, and 17 prisoners taken. On 30th September reached Reitz again. On 14th October occupied Harrismith. Left on 3rd November as escort to convoy; had fighting daily,—Lieutenant Woodhouse being killed on the 8th.

And so on with these interminable treks and constant skirmishes, sometimes developing into quite fierce actions, as at Reitpan on 6th January 1901. At times the battalion got a spell of garrison work, as at Bethlehem between 30th January and 27th April, during which time no mails got in.

During May and June 1901 half the battalion went out with a column under Lieutenant Colonel Reay of the regiment. This column, working in the Brand water basin, had fighting every day.

During August to November the battalion was always on column work, pursuing Boers or taking out convoys. The enemy got numerous and daring in November, and the skirmishes were frequent and fierce. Captain Noble was killed, and another officer died on the 12th of that month.

From the end of November 1901 till the declaration of peace the battalion was constructing and occupying blockhouses on the line Harrismith-Van Reenens and Harrismith-Oliver's Hoek. That they held them well is proved by the largeness of the captures in the drives to that corner in February and March 1902.

Over three companies of the battalion were mountedx and did excellent work.

Four officers, I non-commissioned officer, and 1 private of the 2nd Battalion were mentioned during the war in despatches by Lord Kitchener.

Reference is made to the note under the 1st Battalion regarding mentions in the final despatches of Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener.

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(1036 Records)

 Surname   Forename   No   Rank   Notes 
AbbottJ 4421Private1st Btn. Slightly wounded at Natal. 18 Dec 1899.
Source: Natal Field Force Casualty Roll, page 152 line 49
AbbottJ4421Private1st Battalion
Demise: Killed in action 18-12-1899
Place: Ladysmith, Caesars Camp
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
AgnewQuintin Graham KinnairdMajorAGNEW, QUINTIN GRAHAM KINNAIRD, Major, was born in London 8 January 1861, son of  Sir Andrew Agnew, 8th Baronet, of Lochnaw, and of the Lady Louisa (who died in 1892), daughter of the 1st Earl of Gainsborough.  He was appointed to the Royal Ayr and Wigtownshire Militia, 1872, and granted a commission in the Royal Scots Fusiliers 28 April, 1886, for services on the Indian Frontier and in Upper Burma.  He served 1 May to 25 July 1886, as ADC to the GOC, Upper Burma.  He was mentioned in Despatches [London Gazette, 22 June, 1886, and 2 September 1887] (Medal with clasp); operations on the North-West Frontier of India; ADC and Persian Interpreter to General Sir George White, Commander-in-Chief in India, 1893-95; Tirah Expeditionary Force, as Orderly Officer to Sir William Lockhart; capture of Sampagha Pass; ADC to General Sir George White, Commander-in-Chief in India, 1898-99 (Medal with two clasps).  He served in the South African War, 1899-1902; operations in Natal; Relief of Ladysmith, including action at Colenso; operations of 17 to 24 January 1900; operations of 6 to 7 February 1900, and action at Vaal Kranz; operations on Tugela Heights 14 to 27 February 1900, and action at Pieter's Hill; operations in Transvaal, west of Pretoria, July to 29 November 1900, including action at Frederickstad 17 to 28 October 1900; operations in Cape Colony, north of Orange River, including action at Ruidam; was afterwards on Staff; operations in the Transvaal 30 November 1900 to December 1901; operations in Cape Colony, December 1901 to 31 May 1902; was mentioned in Despatches [London Gazette, 10 September 1901]; received the Queen's Medal with six clasps, and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order [London Gazette, 26 June, 1902]: "Quintin Graham Kinnaird Agnew, Major, Manchester Regiment.  In recognition of services during the operations in South Africa".  The Insignia, Warrant and Statutes were sent to the GOC, Gibraltar, 3 January 1903, and the Insignia were presented at Gibraltar by Sir G White 8 January 1903.  Captain Agnew was promoted to Major 23 October 1901; was Military Secretary to Sir G White, Governor of Gibraltar, 1903-5; was created a CVO in 1903, and retired 28 April, 1906, when he became a Member of His Majesty's Body Guard (Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms).  He commanded the 3rd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers from 1910.  Lieutenant Colonel Q G K Agnew was on Special Service with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force from June, 1915, to March, 1916, during which time he commanded the 1st King's Own Scottish Borderers; the 1st Inniskilling Fusiliers, the 87th Brigade, the 29th Brigade, and was Commandant of Mudros.  He married (1st) in 1899, Evelyn Mary (who died in 1913), daughter of  Captain H J A Alexander, and they had three sons.  In 1916, he married (secondly) Cicely Anne Churchill, daughter of James Inskip, of Clifton Park House, Bristol.  Lieutenant Colonel Agnew was a JP and DL for Wigtownshire.
Source: DSO recipients (VC and DSO Book)
AlexanderH2054SergeantQSA (3)
Source: List of QSAs with the clasp Elandslaagte
AlmeidaJ 4401Sergeant 1st Btn. Died of disease at Ladysmith. 4 Feb 1900.
Source: Natal Field Force Casualty Roll, page 154 line 19
AlmeidaJ4401Private1st Battalion
Demise: Died of disease - enteric fever 04 Feb 1900
Place: Ladysmith
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
AmpsH4197L CorporalQSA (2)
Source: List of QSAs with the clasp Elandslaagte
AnchorR 4966Private1st Btn. Wounded at Elandslaagte. 21 Oct 1899.
Source: Natal Field Force Casualty Roll, page 152 line 23
AnchorR4966PrivateQSA (3)
Source: List of QSAs with the clasp Elandslaagte
AndrewsH W4333PrivateQSA (2)
Source: List of QSAs with the clasp Elandslaagte
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Comments   

# RE: Manchester Regimentgrove 2015-08-17 23:01
My grandfather, Robert Hughes Turner was an nco with the 2nd Manchester Regiment in the Boer War. He was in the siege of Ladysmith and I have some memorabilia. I do not know how to look him up. He does not appear to be on the lists I have seen.
If you could help me I would be most grateful.

Angela Neal Grove, San Francisco

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