Article Index

Officers of the Natal Carbineers who served during the siege of Ladysmith:

   
Officers in Ladysmith
Officers in Ladysmith

  

Back row: Sergeant Nourse Varty, Captain Hair, Sergeant Townsend, Sergeant Comrie, Sergeant Sparks, Sergeant Rodwell, Sergeant Smalie.

3rd row: Sergeant Tanner, Captain Buntine, Lyle, Captain Currie, Captain Crompton, Captain Lucas, Sergeant Gage, Sergeant Bartholomew.

2nd row: Captain Shepstone, Major Hyslop, Major McFarlane, Colonel Greene, Major Addison, Captain Weighton.

Front row: Sergeant Currie, Sergeant van der Plank, Captain Tatham, Captain Foxon, Sergeant Burne.

A brief History

The regiment was ordered out for active service on September 29, 1899, and although its members reside in all districts of the Colony, by October 1 every man had mustered in full service order at Ladysmith, with the exception of No. 5 (Estcourt) Squadron, which was ordered to remain at Colenso.

The day after reaching Ladysmith, Nos. 1, 3, and 4 Squadrons, commanded respectively by Major Taunton, Major Addison, and Major Macfarlane, were sent out in different directions towards the Free State border, to watch the passes over the Berg. These squadrons did a great deal of hard patrolling on very scanty rations. The headquarters of the regiment and remaining squadrons, under Col. Greene, left Ladysmith for the foot of the Berg, near De Beer's Pass, about October 8.

On October 18 the first fight took place near Bester's Station, where 600 Free Staters were attacked by Colonel Greene's column, which had been joined by Major Addison. A stiff fight ensued, but the enemy, being largely reinforced by a commando which had come down Van Reenen's Pass, were found to be well posted on kopjes, and, as Colonel Greene had no artillery, he retired, upon instructions received by wire from General White, to Nicholson's Nek, near Ladysmith. Two horses were shot, Tpr. Spencer was wounded, and Lieut. Gallwey captured. Majors Taunton and Macfarlane were also under fire that day. The following day the whole regiment was recalled to Ladysmith. On October 20, the regiment formed part of a column, under Major General French, sent in the direction of Elandslaagte, to make a reconnaissance in force: few foes were seen, but two prisoners were taken.

On October 24, the Natal Carbineers took an active part in the engagement at Rietfontein, better known as Tinta 'Nyoni, under Sir George White. By a skilful flank movement, the N.C., with the other Natal mounted volunteer corps, succeeded in turning the enemy from their main position. Here Sergt Colville and Tpr. Cleaver were killed—the first time the volunteers were under shell fire. Next day the regiment, with other mounted volunteers, met General Yule's force retiring from Dundee, and brought it into Ladysmith on Oct. 26. The regiment was next engaged at the battle of Farquhar's Farm, or Lombard's Kop. Bulwana Hill was held by Colonel Greene and 100 men, and Lombard's Kop by Major Macfarlane and 40 men. On Nov. 2 the regiment formed part of a force under General French, sent out in the direction of Table Hill to attack a Boer laager. Under shell fire the enemy retired.

The defences of Ladysmith were threatened in the west, and on Nov. 3 the Volunteer Brigade, with I.L.H. and artillery, were sent out. The Brigade occupied End Hill, Middle Hill, Mounted Infantry and Wagon Hills. A tremendous cross-fire was concentrated on End Hill, and Major Taunton, whose squadron held the west, was killed; also Sergt. Mapstone. This was the severest engagement in which the regiment took part. Troopers C W. Watts, C. Miller, and D. A. Shaw, of No. 1 Squadron, here carried Tpr. Webber, wounded, from under a heavy rifle fire, and in so doing the first two were wounded; the third escaped with a bullet through his tunic. Their heroic conduct was recommended by Sir George White for recognition.

On Dec. 7, mounted volunteers were offered the opportunity of storming Gun Hill, on which the Boers had planted a "Long Tom" and a couple of smaller guns. Under the leadership of Major-General Sir A. Hunter, they made a night assault, and destroyed all the guns found thereon. The storming party consisted of 100 of the N.C., under Major Addison, and 100 I.L.H., under Lieut.-Colonel Edwards. The force received the thanks of Gen. White.

From this date the Boers were most persistent in shelling the place where the Carbineers were encamped—hearing that that regiment had been instrumental in destroying their big gun. On Dec. 18, Umbulwana "Long Tom" dropped a 100lb shell in the horse lines, when the men were at stables, killing Tprs. Buxton, Milne-Miller, Craighead Smith, and Elliott, and wounding seven, besides killing 11 horses.

At the fight on Jan. 6, at Caesar's Camp and Wagon Hill, the N.C. had one troop under Capt Lucas engaged, two men being wounded. The remainder stood under arms as reserves. Enteric fever and dysentery played sad havoc, and towards the end of the siege, out of 450, barely 120 were available for garrison duty.

On the never-to-be-forgotten day of the relief, Feb. 28, it was an enhancement of the regiment's delight to find that the first men they met galloping in were their comrades of Estcourt Squadron, under Major McKenzie. No. 5 had proved itself a valuable unit in the relief force, receiving unstinted praise from Sir Redvers Butler.

 

Oct. 1.—No. 5 Squadron at Colenso with D.L.I.

31.—Reinforced by Dublin Fusiliers and NFA.

Nov. 2.—Sharp skirmish on the Colenso-Ladysmith Road; one of the Fusilier Mounted men killed; several of the enemy killed and wounded. Patrol retired. In the afternoon came into contact with enemy mounting gun on Grobler's Kloof. Boers shelled the camp; repitched out of range. Major McKenzie arrived from Eng-land and took command. Camp struck again.

3.—Colenso evacuated. Retired on Estcourt.

9.—Reconnaissance along Weenen Road. In touch with enemy near Hodgson's Hill. Ordered to retire. One Boer killed, several wounded.

15.—Armoured train disaster. Ordered out with 60 Imperial Light Horse. Near Ennersdale we met engine returning with wounded; also several survivors who escaped along the line. Boers chasing them now retired. Whilst they were cutting wire fence we opened fire, which was briskly returned. Three of the foe were killed, several wounded. A large force advanced to cut off our retreat, so we retired. I.L.H. wounded.

19.—Left Estcourt for Willow Grange.

20.—Enemy engaged near Highlands all afternoon. One Boer killed, five wounded.

21.—-Ordered to fall back on Estcourt. 22.—Re-advanced. Assisted to mount naval gun on Beacon Hill in terrific hailstorm. The Boers shelled our gun, and their fire was answered. Returned to Estcourt in heavy rain.

23.—Battle of Willow Grange.

27.—Left Estcourt; camped at Frere.

30.—Patrolled to Weenen with I.L.H. Big commando previous day captured Boer horses.

Dec. 11.—Reconnaissance to Colenso by Lord Dundonald's mounted men and Royal Artillery. Unmasked the Boer guns, which fired 36 shells.

13.—Advanced on Chieveley; pitched camp.

15.—Colenso. Moved out at 3 a.m. and discovered Boers in possession of Hlangweni. Sent down, dismounted, with I.L.H., to take it. The enemy, from almost impregnable position, poured in terrible fire at 80 yards range. Retired, leaving Tprs Jenner, Adie, Warren, and Gray dead on the field. Lieut. McKay and five men severely wounded. Brought in our dead.

16.—.Armistice. Burials near railway line.

20.—One troop, under Lieut. Sllburn, surprised Boers at Hussar Hill, and killed two attempting to rob an Hussar, killed there the previous day. News brought in that the troop was surrounded. Major McKenzie and men in camp, accompanied by I.L.H. galloped out to their rescue, but the troop had evaded the enemy. Great reception on return by Hussars.

24. — Reconnaissance at Doornkop, with Bethune's Horse, escorting General Buller.

Jan. 6, 1900.—Lady smith attacked. Demonstration before Colenso trenches. No reply.

10.—Left Chieveley. Seized bridge at Upper Tugela. Took possession of hills beyond.

11.—Pitched camp on Spearman's farm.

16.—With two days' food advanced on drift.

17.—Crossed the Tugela at Trichardt's, with cavalry, under Lord Dundonald. Heavy dragoon horses, losing their footing, were swept down by the current, one man being drowned. Tprs. David Sclanders and Fred T. Wood saved several lives, for which Sclanders received the Royal Humane Society's silver medal.

18.—Advanced on Acton Homes, with Imperial Light Infantry and King's Royal Rifles. Carbineer Scouts reported enemy advancing to seize kopjes. After an exciting gallop of five miles, led by Major McKenzle, we reached the kopjes three minutes before the Boers; on whom at 100 yards we opened fire—emptying several saddles. They retired, in confusion to strong position among stones at 200 yards. After an hour's continuous firing, the white flag was hoisted. Major McKenzie and others stood up, fire ceasing. The Boers again fired, wounding Tpr. Higgins. The major warned them that if firing was not stopped instantly no surrender would be allowed. Other prisoners then came up, making the total 25. We found nine dead, and three severely wounded. Diggers' News report was 25 prisoners, 14 killed, 40 wounded. The I.L.H. had two wounded, K.R.R. two killed.

21-25.—At Acton Homes during Spion Kop.

26.—Crossed Tugela to Spearman's Camp.

27.—Moved camp to Mount Alice. Feb.

5.—Advanced to Potgieter*s Drift.

6.—Took position under our guns, shelling Boer positions at Vaal Krantz. Heavily shelled.

7 —Retired two days behind Mount Alice.

9.—Returning to Chieveley, as escort to guns.

10.—Pitched camp near Stewart's farm.

12.— Hussar Hill; scouting Cingolo Hills,

14.—Climbed Cingolo as Boer patrol retired. Returned to camp near the Blaauwkrants.

15.—Ordered to re-ascend with I.L.H. Boers surprised amid bush. Charged the hill under heavy fire. Tpr. Goldstein killed. Reinforcements of infantry cleared the rest of ridge. Bivouacked at the foot. Several Boer casualties; eight saddled horses taken. Thus commenced the turning movement which resulted in relief of Ladysmith. Dundonald's Mounted Brigade complimented by General Buller.

16.—Seized extreme right of Monte Cristo, overlooking the Tugela. Two Boers wounded, horses shot under them. Infantry stormed the position, the Boers retreating over Tugela, leaving their laager. Relief now appeared imminent.

17-19.—Returned to Monte Cristo. Picket duty along the ridges: shelled by the Boers.

20-21.—Lay at the foot of HIangweni, protecting right flank. Lieut. McKay rejoined

22-24.—Advanced along the line towards Pieters, and, crossing the pontoon, three days awaited orders - under heavy rain, continuous shelling, and rifle fire night and day—whilst infantry attacked.

25-26.—Returned to Monte Cristo: reported that Boers would attempt to re-take positions.

27.—Excitement: the infantry successful all round; Boers retreating. Queen's chocolate served out amid great enthusiasm. Returned to hills overlooking Pieters Station.

28.—Fifty six prisoners come in. Advanced on Pieters Station; found ammunition and 140 saddles. Dead Boers about. Enemy's rearguard retreating rapidly. Advance on hills round Ladysmith. Boer laager deserted. 5.30 p.m.: On the last kopje, the town beneath us. "We shall go in to-night." Orderly from Captain Bottomley rode up, and asked if Imperial Light Horse might ride in with us. Formed in half sections, with N.M.R. and N.P., and led by Major Gough, Major McKenzie, and Captain Bottomley, made for the town at a gallop, cheering and shouting. The besieged turned out en masse to welcome us, in wild delight. Among those first met was our respected commandant, Colonel Royston. Five weeks later he succumbed—a lost leader hard to replace. Engagements, 5. Killed, 5. Wounded, 7. N.M.R, B.M.R, and members of other squadrons N.C. were attached to Major McKenzie.

Lord Dundonald, in saying good-bye to No. 5 squadron, said: You belong to a regiment whose reputation stands high, and you have done much to cover it with honour. For the time I have commanded you, you have had much hard and dangerous work; but I have never feared that, however difficult the task set you to perform, and however dangerous that task, it would be well accomplished; and were I intending to join any regiment, and were it open for me to choose, I would prefer to join the Natal Carbineers. I wish you all good-bye.

After recuperating for a month at Highlands, the strength of the regiment was raised to 520 men, and at the request of General Buller, the whole of the mounted volunteers returned, and proceeded to Elandslaagte, in the 3rd Mounted Brigade, under the Earl of Dundonald.

Early in May the regiment began to help in the movement to clear the enemy out of Natal. During an affair of outposts at Waschbank, Tpr R A Lindsay was wounded. In all the operations the regiment was able to afford the greatest assistance: not a road, by-road, footpath, or wire fence in the whole of the northern parts was unknown to members. Nos. 6 and 7 Squadrons were especially useful.

After chasing the enemy along the Biggarsberg till they took possession of Lang's Nek, the regiment encamped, with the UMR, at Mount Prospect, and held the position from Inkwelo on the left, to the Buffalo on the right. The flanking movement up Botha's Pass caused the enemy to evacuate Lang's Nek, which was then, with Charlestown and Volksrust, occupied by our forces, whilst at Mount Prospect the volunteer camp was daily shelled by "Long Tom" on the Pogwane. Along the Blggarsberg, No. 4 Squadron (Captain Lucas), attached to General Littleton's Brigade, entered the Transvaal as far as Utrecht.

From Volksrust, the regiment returned to Dundee, and, with the whole Volunteer Brigade, under General Dartnell, guarded lines of communication, from Waschbank to Dannhauser. Portion of the regiment was on continuous outpost duty, or patrolling towards the Berg and the Buffalo. On the river Captain Foxan and eight men had a brush with 40 Boers. The captain was wounded, and two men captured. Tpr Bowman, No 4 Squadron, rode back with a comrade's horse to within 150 yards of the enemy, under heavy direct fire. His plucky action saved his comrade. Whilst scouting towards Wakkerstrom on Aug. 28, Tprs Rundle and Blaikie were taken prisoners, as the result of treachery of Natal natives.

The last operation was the advance on Vryheid under General Hildyard. from the direction of Wakkerstroom and Utrecht. From the Blood River the regiment was sent on patrol toward the Zululand border—resulting in the capture of an important Natal rebel, besides others, with large numbers of stock.

The Volunteer Brigade was now informed it would be released provided 300 of all arms remained in the field. These were easily obtained, the Natal Carbineers, led by Major' McKenzie, providing 125. The rest left Dundee on Oct. 8th. and reached Maritzburg on the 9th, after twelve months and nine days in the field.

Lieut. Gallwey returned from captivity a month before. His squadron had been ordered to attack an unknown force near Bester's, in October, 1899, and found itself in a basin, without cover, commanded on all aides. He was disabled and taken prisoner, although his men fought splendidly, and some endeavoured to effect the rescue which all offered to attempt. Lieut. Gallwey was confined to bed a fortnight at Harrismith, and on route to Bloemfontein saw crowds of burghers riding and driving to the front, beside 16 train-loads. In Pretoria Gaol he was scurvily treated. He witnessed the bombardment of eight miles of hills round the capital on June 4, when Commandant Botha tried to remove, the officers, but the officers arrested him, and were themselves released by Lord Roberts. Having become secretary to General Maxwell, Governor of Pretoria, Mr. Gallwey, at his own request, left to rejoin his regiment, but, as the railway was not open, became adjutant and quartermaster of the Rest Camp, whence he took 200 men to reinforce the Lincolns at the time of the Zilikat Nek disaster.

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(2002 Records)

 Surname   Forename/inits   Regimental no   Rank   Notes 
AbbotETrooperNatal 1906 (1)
Source: Recipients of the Natal 1906 Medal
AbelA H635TrooperServed 29 Sep 99 to 09 Sep 00. To P. of W.L.H.
Source: Nominal roll in WO127
AbelC W411CorplServed 29 Sep 99 to 20 Aug 01. Killed in action
Source: Nominal roll in WO127
Acutt?Source: Medal roll for the SAGS, 1877-79
Adams?Source: Medal roll for the SAGS, 1877-79
AdamsA ETrooperNatal 1906 (1)
Source: Recipients of the Natal 1906 Medal
AdamsE P636TrooperServed 23 Mar 00 to 09 Oct 00. From Colonial Scouts
Source: Nominal roll in WO127
AdamsH A637TrooperServed 23 Mar 00 to 09 Oct 00. From Colonial Scouts
Source: Nominal roll in WO127
AdamsW T638TrooperServed 11 Nov 99 to 31 May 02.
Source: Nominal roll in WO127
AddisS RTrooperNatal 1906 (1)
Source: Recipients of the Natal 1906 Medal
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At the start of the war the Natal Carbineers was commanded by Lt Col E. M. Greene and had three Squadrons in Ladysmith, one Troop in Dundee and one Troop in Colenso.

On 2nd October the Natal Carbineers were ordered to patrol the Free State Border and observe the passes, and within the next few days the cyclists of the Durban Light Infantry were patrolling from Colenso to Springfield, covering 80 miles on bad roads in twelve hours.

On 12th October war was declared, the enemy entered Natal, and their movements were reported by the Carbineers. When Major Taunton reported the enemy's movement, the Intelligence Department discredited this, and he had to send a patrol to locate, or rather look into, the hostile laager. On the 17th, No. 1 squadron of the Border M.R., under Captain Royston, was fired on at the foot of the Tintwa Pass; and on the same night Captain Wales, Volunteer Staff, with a troop of Natal M.R., set out to patrol the Waschbank Valley, passing through several parties of Boers and covering 126 miles in forty-eight hours.

On the 18th Sir George White asked the Natal M.R. for a bodyguard of 24 non-commissioned officers and men; Captain F. S. Tatham of the Carbineers was chosen as commander. On this date the enemy advanced in force, and the Border M.R. from Acton Homes and the Carbineers from Van Reenen's and other passes had, according to the GOC's orders, to retire nearer to Ladysmith. On the 20th the Umvoti men reported heavy firing at Dundee. This was, of course, the severe engagement fought by General Penn-Symons in order to drive the enemy off Talana Hill, which commanded his camp. It will be remembered that the general was mortally wounded. His successor, Brigadier-General Yule, finding that he was being threatened by very superior forces, started at 9 pm on the 22nd to withdraw his force to Ladysmith. Colonel Dartnell, chief commissioner of the Natal Police, was on the staff of General Penn-Symons at Talana Hill, and was beside the general when he fell. Two of the police acting as orderlies to Colonel Dartnell were wounded in the engagement. On the 20th No. 4 squadron of the Carbineers captured four Boer scouts.

On the 21st General French and Sir George White fought the battle of Elandslaagte. In his despatch of 2nd November 1899, para. 14, Sir George mentioned that before that battle the Natal Field Battery moved out with General French at 4 am; some of the Natal M.R. and Carbineers were also with him.

On the 23rd Colonel Royston got permission to send out Captain Wales and 24 of the Carbineers (Dundee troop), who had themselves arrived in Ladysmith from Dundee on the 22nd. Captain Wales was to endeavour to come into contact with Yule; he found the column at Van Tonder's Pass, to which place it had been led by Colonel Dartnell.

In his despatch of 2nd December 1899 Sir George White mentions that the Natal Mounted Volunteers were with him at Rietfontein on 24th October (see Imperial Light Horse). After the engagement was well developed "the Natal Mounted Volunteers, who had been with the Cavalry, had been recalled, and as the enemy showed some disposition to work round my left flank as if to cut me off from Ladysmith, I sent this force under Colonel Royston to work round the Boer right and cover my left flank, a movement which was most successfully performed." In a report to the Chief-of-Staff Colonel Royston drew attention to the gallant manner in which Major Taunton, Natal Carbineers, afterwards killed, and Major Sangmeister, Border Mounted Rifles, seized a kopje under heavy fire, and bringing a maxim gun into action speedily cleared out the enemy. Also, on the same date, to the gallant behaviour, and devotion to the wounded, under a heavy fire, of Captains Platt and Buntine of the Volunteer Medical Staff. Colonel Royston also detailed gallant acts on the part of Troopers Seed (Police) and C. E. J. Miller, D. A. Shaw, and Rowland Watts (Carbineers). The gun team alluded to lost 2 killed; the other casualties among the volunteers were - Border M.R. 9 wounded, Carbineers 2 killed, 10 wounded, and Natal M.R. 3 wounded.

When the siege commenced the following were part of the garrison:

 

 

Volunteer Staff, including Medical and Veterinary

11

 

Natal Carbineers

390

 

Border Mounted Rifles

260

 

Natal Mounted Rifles

200

 

Natal Naval Volunteers

65

 

Hotchkiss Detachment

20

 

Natal Police

40

 

 

986

These formed the Volunteer Brigade under Colonel Royston, with Lieutenant Colonel H. T. Bru-de-Wold as Chief Staff Officer. The Naval volunteers were generally split up throughout the siege, part being on Caesar's Camp and part at Gordon Post. Between 1st November and the end of February the Natal Mounted Volunteers were frequently engaged. On 2nd November they were, with other troops, out reconnoitering; on the 3rd they were sent to cover the retirement of another force. On this occasion the Carbineers had Major Taunton and Sergeant Mapston killed, and the Border M.R. lost Captain Arnott and 11 men wounded. Section D of the defences of Ladysmith was placed under Colonel Royston. This included the thorn country north of Caesar's Camp and the Klip River Flats. Colonel Royston lost no time in building sangars and digging trenches, and soon had his section greatly strengthened. On 9th November the enemy attacked, firing 800 shells into the town; but their attack was driven off. On the 14th the Volunteers were out with Major-General Brocklehurst, and, along with the Imperial Light Horse, seized Star Hill; but it was not held permanently. When Sir Archibald Hunter made his deservedly famous sortie on 7th December to destroy the Boer guns on Gun Hill, his force consisted of 500 Natal Mounted Volunteers under Colonel Royston, 100 Imperial Light Horse (see that regiment), and a few Royal Engineers, artillerymen, and guides. The storming-parties were 100 Carbineers, Major Addison, and 100 ILH, Lieutenant Colonel Edwards. Two big guns were destroyed and one maxim brought back. Colonel Royston was among those specially mentioned in the body of the despatch. Sir George White had the ILH and Volunteers paraded on the following day, and, addressing them, said " that he did not wish to use inflated or exaggerated language, but the men of Sir Archibald Hunter's party were a credit, not only to the colony, but to the Empire. There was a lot of severe fighting to do, but it was a gratification to a General to have the help of such men."

The town and camps were during the siege constantly under shell-fire, and on 18th December one 6-inch shell bursting in the camp of the Carbineers killed 4 men, wounded 6 men, and destroyed 10 horses. The times were trying, but hard digging, sangar building, and brigade sports kept the men fairly fit. In the repulse of the great attack of 6th January 1900 the volunteers took a prominent part. The following is the report furnished by Colonel Royston to the Chief of the Staff : "I have to report that on Saturday, 6th inst., at about 4.15 am, I received information by telephone from headquarters that the enemy were making an attack on Wagon Hill. I at once despatched 80 men of the Natal MR, under Major Evans, to strengthen the outposts on the Flats, then held by 1 officer and 40 men Natal Police, attached to Volunteers, and 1 officer and 20 men Natal Carbineers.

Sixty men of the Durban Light Infantry formed part of the personnel of the armoured train which at this time patrolled daily from Estcourt to Colenso. On 15th November a rail was removed or twisted, and the train was attacked; 2 men of the Durban regiment were killed, Captain J. Wyllie and 15 were wounded, and 19 were taken prisoners, of whom 8 were wounded, 1 mortally. A squadron of Carbineers and one of Imperial Light Horse came out to the help of the armoured train. These reinforcements drove back the enemy, killing 3. Some of the Durban Light Infantry, Natal Royal Rifles, a squadron of Carbineers, and some of the Police were present in the action at Willow Grange on 22nd and 23rd November under Colonel Martyr (see General Hildyard's Report of 24th November 1899). Four guns of the Natal Artillery were out on reconnaissance work in the same district about this time. On the 27th the Volunteers moved forward to Frere, but when General Buller arrived he sent most of them back to the lines of communication. On 9th December a detachment of Naval Volunteers, 2 officers and 47 men, joined the Naval Brigade of Captain Jones, RN, and with him worked the big guns throughout the relief operations. It was soon found that the services of the mounted men would be needed at the front, and a composite regiment was made up, including 1 squadron Imperial Light Horse, 1 squadron Carbineers, some regular Mounted Infantry, and some of the Police. This regiment was, on 15th December, in the battle of Colenao with Lord Dundonald, on the right, at Hlangwane Mountain; the Volunteers were heavily engaged, losing 4 men killed, 2 officers, Lieutenants D. W. M'Kay and R. W. Wilson of the Carbineers, and 6 men wounded. The regiment accompanied Dundonald to Potgieter'e Drift, Trichard's Drift, and Acton Homes (see Imperial Light Horse and South African Light Horse). The regiment remained with Dundonald throughout the great struggle to break through the chain of Boer defences. Like the remainder of Dundonald's Brigade they did fine work at Acton Homes on 18th January 1900, where the Carbineer Scouts were the first to discover the enemy; also at the seizure of Cingolo, Monte Cristo, and other important positions (14th to 27th February). In these operations the Volunteers suffered a few casualties.

At the crossing of the Tugela on 17th January Troopers D. Sclanders and F. T. Woods of the Natal Carbineers saved several men from drowning, and Sclanders got the Royal Humane Society's Silver Medal.

When Dundonald rode into Ladysmith on the evening of 28th February, he was accompanied by some Carbineers, Natal Mounted Rifles, Border Mounted Rifles, and Natal Police, the officers being Major D. M'Kenzie, Lieutenants Silburn, M'Kay Verney, Richards, Ashburnham, and Abraham. None of those present will ever forget this ride, probably the most memorable occasion in the lives of any of them.

Sixty men of the Durban Light Infantry formed part of the personnel of the armoured train which at this time patrolled daily from Estcourt to Colenso. On 15th November a rail was removed or twisted, and the train was attacked; 2 men of the Durban regiment were killed, Captain J. Wyllie and 15 were wounded, and 19 were taken prisoners, of whom 8 were wounded, 1 mortally. A squadron of Carbineers and one of Imperial Light Horse came out to the help of the armoured train. These reinforcements drove back the enemy, killing 3. Some of the Durban Light Infantry, Natal Royal Rifles, a squadron of Carbineers, and some of the Police were present in the action at Willow Grange on 22nd and 23rd November under Colonel Martyr (see General Hildyard's Report of 24th November 1899). Four guns of the Natal Artillery were out on reconnaissance work in the same district about this time. On the 27th the Volunteers moved forward to Frere, but when General Buller arrived he sent most of them back to the lines of communication. On 9th December a detachment of Naval Volunteers, 2 officers and 47 men, joined the Naval Brigade of Captain Jones, RN, and with him worked the big guns throughout the relief operations. It was soon found that the services of the mounted men would be needed at the front, and a composite regiment was made up, including 1 squadron Imperial Light Horse, 1 squadron Carbineers, some regular Mounted Infantry, and some of the Police. This regiment was, on 15th December, in the battle of Colenao with Lord Dundonald, on the right, at Hlangwane Mountain; the Volunteers were heavily engaged, losing 4 men killed, 2 officers, Lieutenants D. W. M'Kay and R. W. Wilson of the Carbineers, and 6 men wounded. The regiment accompanied Dundonald to Potgieter'e Drift, Trichard's Drift, and Acton Homes (see Imperial Light Horse and South African Light Horse). The regiment remained with Dundonald throughout the great struggle to break through the chain of Boer defences. Like the remainder of Dundonald's Brigade they did fine work at Acton Homes on 18th January 1900, where the Carbineer Scouts were the first to discover the enemy; also at the seizure of Cingolo, Monte Cristo, and other important positions (14th to 27th February). In these operations the Volunteers suffered a few casualties.

At the crossing of the Tugela on 17th January Troopers D. Sclanders and F. T. Woods of the Natal Carbineers saved several men from drowning, and Sclanders got the Royal Humane Society's Silver Medal.

When Dundonald rode into Ladysmith on the evening of 28th February, he was accompanied by some Carbineers, Natal Mounted Rifles, Border Mounted Rifles, and Natal Police, the officers being Major D. M'Kenzie, Lieutenants Silburn, M'Kay Verney, Richards, Ashburnham, and Abraham. None of those present will ever forget this ride, probably the most memorable occasion in the lives of any of them.

On 15th June General Buller issued an order recording his high appreciation of the services rendered by Brigadier-General Dartnell and the Natal Volunteers, and he asked the brigadier to release those men who required to go to their homes, and with the remainder to protect Dundee and the eastern portion of the Natal frontier. The latter duty involved much hard and responsible work. Captain Foxon and several men of the Natal Carbineers were wounded on patrol duty about the end of July 1900.

On 21st September 1900 authority had been obtained from Lord Roberts to raise among the Natal Volunteers a composite regiment of 300 mounted men to take over the duties hitherto performed by the Volunteer Brigade, and thus facilitate the return of the remainder of the Brigade to their daily avocations. The Volunteer Composite Regiment was made up as follows:

 

 

Officers

Men

 

Natal Carbineers

6

125

 

Natal Mounted Rifles

5

32

 

Umvoti Mounted Rifles

1

13

 

Border Mounted Rifles

3

48

 

Natal Field Artillery

-

19

 

Natal Royal Rifles

-

8

 

Durban Light Infantry

-

39

 

Hotchkiss Gun Detachment

-

6

 

Volunteer Medical Corps

1

4

 

 

16

294

 

The regiment, under Lieutenant Colonel Evans, Natal MR, did much hard and effective work down to the close of the campaign.

Sir R Buller's despatches: 30th March 1900: Carbineers: Trooper F. C. Farmer rescued Lieutenant Mackay, who was wounded, under very heavy fire at Colenso.

Sir G. White's Despatch 23rd March 1900: Lieutenant Colonel E. M. Greene, Carbineers.

Lord Roberts' despatches: 2nd April 1901: Natal Carbineers - Major D. M'Kenzie.

 


 

A Troop
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Troopers
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B Troop with Maxim
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Kit inspection
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Mounted men
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Loading ammunition
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Officers
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During the siege of Ladysmith
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Officers in Ladysmith
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Survivors of Ladysmith
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Badge
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Trooper
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With Maxim
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A Troop, 1899
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B troop with Maxim, 1899
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Kit inspection, 1899
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Squadron
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Officers in Ladysmith
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Trooper
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Maritzburg camp, 1887 (named)
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Camp, 1892 (named)
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Reitspruit camp, 1892 (named)
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Sterk Spruit camp, 1894 (named)
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Camp Balgowan, 1899 (named)
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Taylor's Camp, 1905 (named)
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Warrant Officers abd Sergeants, Colenso Camp, 1909 (named)
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Government Cup Team, 1895 (named)
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Isandlwana memorial
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Officers in the siege, 1899 (named)
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Officers in Ladysmith (named)
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Officers, Umlaas Camp, 1889 (named)
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Addison, C
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Barter, W E
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Bowen, B
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Buntine, R A
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Burkimsher, W
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Crompton, B
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Currie, H B
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Currie, R J
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Farmer, F C
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Foxon, F E
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Gage, W T
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Gray, P
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Greene, E M
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Hair, A
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Herbert, G H
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Hyslop, J
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Knott, W
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Lyle, A
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Macfarlane
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Mackay, D W
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McKenzie
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Miller, C E J
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Molyneaux, R H A
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Montgomery, J
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Owen, T M
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Rodwell, C
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Royston, W L R
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Shaw, D
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Shepstone, W S
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Stride, P W
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Tatham, G F
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Taunton, C E
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Townsend, A C
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Watts, R
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Weighton, J
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Woods, J P S
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Sergeants, 1898 (named)
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St Saviours Church inscription
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Troopers in 1879 (named)
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NCOs, 1882 (named)
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Maritzburg camp, 1887 (named)
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© Crown copyright images reproduced by permission of The National Archives, London, England.   The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.   Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education.  Applications for any other use should be made to The National Archives Image Library, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU, Tel: 020 8392 5225   Fax: 020 8392 5266.   

Officers and OR with surname A
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Surname A - B
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Surname B - C
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Surname C - F
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Surname F - H
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Surname H - K
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Surname K - M
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Surname M - O
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Surname O - S
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Surname S - T
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Surname T - W
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Surname W - Z plus 2 mis-sorts
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