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TOPIC: Battle of Congella - the very first (and very small) Anglo-Boer War

Battle of Congella - the very first (and very small) Anglo-Boer War 2 years 5 months ago #53712

  • Brett Hendey
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Yesterday, Durban's Saturday newspaper 'The Independent' carried a report on the forthcoming 175th Anniversary on 24 May of an event that had a profound affect on the later history of Natal. Parts of this report have been copied below:



The most significant result of this very small Anglo-Boer War was the proclamation in May 1843 of Natal as a British Colony, and the posting in its capital, Pietermaritzburg, of the first permanent British garrison, the 45th Regiment of Foot. The subsequent garrison regiments, and many others, would fight in three wars in Natal - the Anglo-Zulu War (1879), the 1st and 2nd Anglo-Boer Wars (1880-81 & 1899-1902). They helped to imbue Natal with British culture and traditions, which, with the exception of Rhodesia, was unique in southern Africa, and which, sadly for some of us, is now fading away.

Brett
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Battle of Congella - the very first (and very small) Anglo-Boer War 2 years 5 months ago #53754

  • djb
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That was really interesting to read, Brett. Many thanks for posting. Those casualty ratios seem to be a feature of the later Boer Wars too.
Dr David Biggins

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Battle of Congella - the very first (and very small) Anglo-Boer War 2 years 5 months ago #53757

  • Brett Hendey
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Thank you for commenting, David. Something else that this very small ABW had in common with the two later ones was the use of a siege

I remember reading that the early setbacks suffered by the British in the 2nd ABW were in part due to the fact that this was the first war since Crimea that the British had faced a European enemy. I suspect that the 1st ABW didn't count, since it ended in defeat and, as a result, it was overlooked by the British military history teachers. There was a lot that the British military could have learned to lessen or even avoid the setbacks of 1899.

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Brett

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Battle of Congella - the very first (and very small) Anglo-Boer War 2 years 5 months ago #53766

  • Henk Loots
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Hi
Would the First (1795) and Second (1806) British Occupations of the Cape also qualify as Anglo Boer Wars??
I have a group to a British Officer who is confirmed as being present on both occasions.
Henk

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Battle of Congella - the very first (and very small) Anglo-Boer War 2 years 5 months ago #53767

  • Brett Hendey
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Henk

Thank you for that proposal. You are correct, and my apologies for always being fixated with Natal. There is a precedent for starting the numbering that early. The Frontier Wars in the Eastern Cape are often thought of as the three for which the SA 1853 Medal was awarded, but, as the heading for this section of the forum indicates, they actually spanned the period from 1779 to 1879, and so should be numbered accordingly.

To the Cape Occupations and Congella could also be added the Battle of Boomplaats and its aftermath, since that too was a prelude to the two currently recognised Anglo-Boer Wars. I suppose it could be argued that the preliminaries were battles rather than wars, and Britain's enemies were then called 'Dutch' and not 'Boers'.

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Brett

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Battle of Congella - the very first (and very small) Anglo-Boer War 2 years 5 months ago #53768

  • Rory
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Now for a photo of the group Henk!!

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