Transcription of the diary of an officer of the 1st Life Guards during the Boer War.
Roll of honours and casualties at end – as in original.
Note : original in private possession; if quoting from this work, please acknowledge this site as source.
Bracketed numbers refer to footnotes at end.
THE AUTHOR :
Walter Waring JP DL (1876 – 1930) was a British soldier and politician, son of Charles Waring, Liberal Member of Parliament for Poole, and Eliza, daughter of Sir George Denys Bt., of Draycott, Yorkshire. Educated at Eton.
Waring was commissioned into the 1st Life Guards in 1897 and served in the Boer War 1899-1900 (for which he was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal and six clasps, and was mentioned in despatches). Promoted to Captain in 1904.
In 1901 he married Lady Clementine Hay CBE, only daughter of William Hay, 10th Marquess of Tweeddale. The couple had two daughters.
He served in the Yeomanry during World War I in France and Macedonia, 1915–1917, and in the Naval Intelligence Division during 1918 (Legion of Honour).
Served as Master of the Horse to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1906-1907 and was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries in 1909-1910.
Waring was unsuccessful Liberal candidate in Wigtonshire in 1906 and sat as Liberal Member of Parliament for Banffshire from 1907–1918, and as Coalition Liberal for Blaydon from 1918–1922, and National Liberal for Berwick and Haddington from 1922–1923, when he lost the seat.
He was the Municipal Reform (Conservative) member of London County Council for East Lewisham from 1925 to 1928 and later contested Wallsend as a Conservative in 1929.
Waring served as and to the Secretary of State for War, 1919-1922. Waring died in 1930.
THE COMPOSITE REGIMENT OF HOUSEHOLD TROOPS
Shortly after the outbreak of the South African War in October 1899, a Composite Regiment was formed from Household troops. It comprised one squadron 1st Life Guards, one squadron 2nd Life Guards and one squadron of the Royal Horse Guards. The regiment sailed on the Maplemore on 30th November 1899 and on the Pinemore on 4th December, the vessels arriving at the Cape on the 24th and 29th December respectively.
After their arrival the regiment was sent to join Lieut. General French’s forces in the central district, after which one squadron or another was constantly involved in French’s numerous minor engagements between 7th January 1900 and the end of that month, when the general was ordered with most of the cavalry to Modder River. In General French’s despatch of 2nd February 1900 Major Carter, 1st Life Guards, was mentioned for skill and resolution in leading and Lieutenant C. C. De Crespigny, 2nd Life Guards, for great gallantry in bringing wounded men out of action.
On 3rd February 1900 Major General MacDonald was ordered to take the Highland Brigade, two squadrons of the 9th Lancers, and the 62nd Battery R.F.A. westward, and to seize Koedoesberg (or Koodoosberg) Drift on the Modder River, 40 miles S.E. of Kimberley. MacDonald built a small fort here on 3rd Feb. but his first contact with the Boers, under Cmdt. F. J. du Plooy barring the route to Kimberley came on 5th Feb. Boer reinforcements under Christian de Wet, A.P.J. Cronje and C.C. Froneman strengthened Boer forces up to over 600 men with one field gun, and a sharp action took place on 7th Feb., which resulted in the Boers falling back to new positions to the north. A cavalry brigade under Major General Babington, consisting of the Household Regiment, 2nd Dragoons, 10th Hussars, and part of the 6th Dragoons, was sent to MacDonald’s assistance and after pursuing the enemy for some distance the whole force returned to Modder River.
A large mounted force was now assembled and placed under General French, with orders to press through to the besieged mining town of Kimberley via Ramdan, De Kiel and Waterval Drifts on the Riet River and Klip Drift on the Modder. Skirting the left flank of Boer forces under General Cronje, they would then relieve Kimberley. French’s cavalry division comprised :
1st Brigade, Brigadier-General T. C. Porter
6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers)
2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys)
Part of the 6th Dragoons (Inniskillings)
2nd Brigade, Brigadier – General R. Broadwood,
Composite Regiment of Household Troops
3rd Brigade, Brigadier General J. R. P. Gordon
R.H.A. – G, O, P, Q, R, T, and U Batteries
Australian mounted forces
Part of Rimington’s Guides
French faced no severe fighting; the speed of his movement enabled him to take the enemy by surprise and the drifts were seized with little loss. Early on the 15th, he came against a strong position, or rather two positions. With the 2nd and 3rd Brigades, he galloped through the defile (Klip Drift) (1) between the two in extended order until he reached some low hills, from which he was able to cover the advance of the rearmost troops. The enemy attempted to make a stand, but few of French’s men managed to get to close quarters before the Boers fell back. On the same day the mounted troops entered Kimberley, ending the siege and “relieving” the garrison.
There was to be little rest or respite. At 3.30 a.m. on the 16th February 1900, French started to drive the Boers from their positions north of Kimberley and part of his force became very heavily engaged. Had the general foreseen the orders coming from headquarters he would have spared his men and horses. After midnight a message was received from Lord Kitchener that Cronje had retreated, and French was asked to head him off.
At 3.30 a.m. on the 17th, Broadwood’s brigade, with the Household element, was ordered to start on this task. The artillery accompanying Broadwood were G and P Batteries RHA. At 12.15 p.m. their first shell hit Cronje’s leading waggon as it stood with its drivers ready to descend into the drifts. The 10th Hussars then galloped for a kopje, just beating some Boers to it. All afternoon the two batteries poured shells among the waggons crowded near the drift. In the late afternoon the dust of Kelly-Kenny’s division was seen in the west, but it was the morning of the 18th before the infantry actually came into contact with Cronje’s force; fortunately he had not slipped away during the night as he might have done. What followed was the battle – or siege – of Paardeberg, which was afterwards largely an infantry affair and saw the surrender of an entire Boer army.
Lord Roberts’ despatch of 28th February 1900 does not mention the heading-off of Cronje on the 17th; indeed one would gather from the despatch that French’s force only came into contact with Cronje on the 18th. General Kelly-Kenny’s despatch of 20th February gives the same impression, but in the commendations attached to his despatch of 31th March Lord Roberts, in mentioning General French, says, “After engaging the enemy on the 16th he made a forced march to Koodoesrand Drift (2) and cut off the line of retreat of the enemy’s force.”
The battle of Osfontein (3) or Poplar Grove (4) was fought on 7th March. In his telegram of that date Lord Roberts said: “We have had a very successful day and completely routed the enemy, who are in full retreat. The position they occupied was extremely strong and cunningly arranged with a second line of entrenchments, which would have caused us heavy loss had a direct attack been made. The turning movement was necessarily wide owing to the nature of the ground, and the cavalry and horse artillery horses are much done up. The fighting was practically confined to the cavalry division, which, as usual, did exceedingly well.” Broadwood’s brigade played a leading role. One officer and 1 man of the 12th Lancers were killed, 1 man of the 2nd Life Guards was killed, and there were several officers and men wounded in these regiments and in the 9th Lancers and 10th Hussars.
The army’s advance continued and on the 10th March Lord Roberts fought the battle of Driefontein (5). The 1st and 2nd Cavalry Brigades tried by a turning movement to force the enemy to evacuate their position, but the long-range guns of the Boers enabled them to hold on until an assault by the infantry of VI Division cleared the kopjes. There was much criticism of the work of the cavalry on the 10th; it was said that French should have pushed on harder. The criticism seems to be ungenerous, especially when one considers what the men and horses had done over the previous five weeks. Attacking trenches and hills held by riflemen is not the role of a cavalry division when the infantry are at hand.
On the 12th March, French with the 1st and 2nd Cavalry Brigades seized positions to the south and south-west of the Orange Free State capital, Bloemfontein, which commanded the town, and on the 13th it was entered by Lord Roberts.
For the operations prior to 13th March 3 officers and 3 non – commissioned officers of the Household Cavalry were mentioned in the despatch of 31st.
Lord Roberts and many others seemed to think that the enemy’s opposition in the Free State was practically over and soon some columns—dangerously small, as it turned out—were sent out from Bloemfontein to issue proclamations and complete the pacification of the Free State. General Broadwood headed towards Ladybrand (6), but, from what he saw of the strength of the enemy, deemed it advisable to return. On 30th March he was camped at Thabanchu (7) with Q and U Batteries RHA, 160 men of the Household Cavalry, 160 of the 10th Hussars, and 800 of Alderson’s Mounted Infantry.
Broadwood decided to retire on Sannah’s Post, having to fight a rear-guard action as he did. The baggage was sent on in advance, arriving at the bivouac at 11 p.m. the rest of the force reaching the camp at 3.30 a.m. At daylight, Boers in force were seen to the north and east, the camp being shelled from the latter direction. As a continuation of the retirement was ordered, a spruit had to be crossed about 2000 yards from the camp. Much of the baggage had already descended into the spruit; U Battery had approached close to the bank and Q Battery was not far behind, when about 600 Boers in the spruit opened fire. Q Battery galloped back so as to come into action about 1000 yards from the spruit. Broadwood ordered the Household Cavalry and 10th Hussars to get into the spruit higher up and this was done. The Mounted Infantry company of the Durham Light Infantry were acting as escort to Q Battery and Alderson with more Mounted Infantry covered their final retirement. Eventually the bulk of the force got across the spruit, where the cavalry had secured a passage; but the whole of the baggage, five guns of U Battery, and two guns of Q Battery were lost. [see Brigadier General Broadwood’s report of 20th April 1900 and Lord Roberts’ covering despatch of 19th June.] It was unfortunate that the baggage and artillery were not preceded by a mounted screen, but the whole circumstances pointed to the attack coming from the north or east and Broadwood was led or driven into a clever ambush. Lord Roberts stated that he was of opinion “that no specific blame can be attributed to the general officer commanding the force.”
Towards the end of April General Ian Hamilton commenced his operations round Thabanchu preparatory to moving north on Winburg. On 26th and 27th April Gordon’s 3rd and Dickson’s 4th Cavalry Brigades had stiff fighting. These brigades soon left with General French to join the main army.
On 4th May Broadwood’s 2nd Brigade joined Ian Hamilton when he was being opposed by about 4000 of the enemy with thirteen guns, while another party was moving up from the west. Broadwood grasped the situation and with two squadrons of the Guards and two of the 10th Hussars seized a ridge between the two Boer forces. This prevented a junction there and the enemy soon fell back.
At the crossing of the Zand River (8) the Boers looked like making a stand, but it was only a feint. The 2nd Cavalry Brigade did some useful work on this occasion. There was little more fighting on the way to Pretoria except in the action at Florida and the more serious resistance at Doornkop (9) on 29th May, where the 1st Gordon Highlanders distinguished themselves. The cavalry on that day had tried to get round the enemy’s right, but had failed to do so.
In the operations at Diamond Hill (10) on 11th and 12th June, French with the 1st and 4th Cavalry Brigades was on the extreme left and Broadwood and Gordon were on the right. On both flanks the cavalry failed to carry out a turning movement and Broadwood was indeed at one time hard pressed, since the enemy came on with great boldness, getting close to Q Battery RHA. To help the guns Broadwood ordered the 12th Lancers and Household Cavalry to charge and both charges were successful. On the 12th the infantry gained the ridge in front and that night the enemy retired.
Towards the end of June 1900 the 2nd and 3rd Cavalry Brigades started with General Hunter from Heidelberg for the north-east of the Orange Free State (or Orange River Colony as it had been renamed), where it was hoped to corner a large Boer force.
On 15th July the 2nd Brigade was detached from Sir Archibald Hunter’s force and next day began a pursuit of Christian de Wet, who was followed to the Vredefort-Reitzburg district. But after a very long chase, de Wet escaped through the Megaliesberg mountains on 15th August.
The brigade thereafter accompanied Lord Kitchener to Elands River in order to relieve Colonel Hore and his 300 Australians, who had been holding out for weeks against a great force of Boers. The brigade marched back to Pretoria via Banks, arriving at the capital on 30th August. In the meantime, Lord Roberts had started on his advance to Koomati Poort, so that the 2nd Brigade missed that part of the campaign. On 23rd September Broadwood’s brigade and some infantry again left Pretoria for the Rustenburg district and operated there for some time.
In his despatch of 15th November 1900 Lord Roberts mentioned that the brigade had marched 1200 miles between 29th April and 28th August. On 7th November 1900 the Composite Household Regiment sailed on the Hawarden Castle for Southampton.
DIARY OF LT. WALTER WARING
1st LIFE GUARDS :
SOUTH AFRICA, 1899-1900
Nov. 29 
Started from Southampton 3.30 p.m. Delayed the night at Cowes owing to Stokers deserting. Calm in Bay, but rough off Madiera. Lost one horse A.10, and Blues one, day before we got to St. Vincent.
Dec. 9 Saturday.
Started from St.Vincent, l0th Hussar remounts lost their first horse. Soon after this influenza set in on top deck, and nearly every horse has caught it. So far it has not extended to Main Deck. Two 18th Hussar horses have died. [The Duke of] Roxburghe’s charger yesterday, Monkey Peel’s charger and Drage’s pony all on upper deck are dead. Mine so far are exempt (unberufen). One Blue troop horse died this afternoon – a colic case. Weather, fine up to now, has become worse, described in Captain’s log book as a fresh gale with a high head sea. The result is we are only doing something over 9 knots. We shall be lucky to get to Cape Town on Christmas Day.
Officers on board S.S. “Maplemore“, Johnstone Line. (under Captain Trenery)
Col. Nield, 2nd L.G.
Col. Fenwick, R.H.G.
Major Carter, 1st L.G.
Major Spurrel, 5th Lrs.
Captain Milner, 1st L.G.
Captain Ellison, 2nd H.
Captain Prince Adolphus of Teck, 1st L.G.
2nd Lt. McClintock, 18 H.
Captain Ricardo, R.H.G. .
Lieut. The Hon. [-] Meade, R.H.G. (Lord Clanwilliam)
Vet. Captain Drage, R.H.G.
Captain Clowes, 1st L.G.
Lt. [-] Philippe, 1st L.G.
Lieut. The Duke of Roxburghe, R.H.G.
Lieut. W. Waring, 1st L.G.
Lieut. [-] Henderson, 1stt L.G.
2nd Lt. The Hon. Gerald Ward, 1st L.G.
2nd Lt. Stubbs, Qm. R.H.G
2nd. Lt.McClintock, 5th Lancers
One horse lost in squadron out of total lost.
Sunday morning. Arrived Cape Town.
Disembarked. Went (led) up to Maitland Camp. Old lady, Mrs. Gantz, gave us plum pudding for lunch. Also lent us old ruined Mill (built 1780, all bricks imported from Java) to mess in. Very comfortable indeed.
Expect to remain here until Roberts arrives, i.e., another week. On outpost duty at Maitland Drift last night. No alarms false or otherwise.
Pinemore arrived on Thursday and disembarked on Friday December 29th, having lost seventeen horses on board.
Field day in morning. Started to Naauwpoort11 from Cape Town, seven horses in each truck. Watered and fed at different stations en route.
Arrived at Arundel (12) via Naauwpoort about 4 p.m. Detrained, my troop started to march at 6.30 p.m. and arrived Rensberg (13) at 10.30. 8 miles. Picketed horses and slept next to them.
Remainder turned up. [Duke of] Teck with wagons. Suffolks on attacking a position last night lost 17 including 12 officers. Pleasant news!
Blues went out reconnoitering with General French. Held a Kopje until attacked on all sides and retired under heavy artillery and rifle fire. Lost 4 men 1 officer (Ricardo) prisoners, and 6 horses.
Left Camp. 1st & 2nd Squadrons, New Zealanders, and Carabiniers marched with baggage to Schlingersfontein (14) where we established a camp.
Out at 3 a.m. as officers’ patrol. Caught one Boer in farm and brought him in. Found dead Remington Scout in a Kloof (henceforth called Dead Man’s Kloof) through which we led on way home. Held Dead Man’s Kloof with my troop all afternoon. C. Fisher and Sensier slightly wounded.
Out at 4.30 a.m. Raced Boers for Kopje and got there. Held it till afternoon when Boers reinforced produced maxim and we retired under heavy fire. No casualties during retreat – I believe we were saved by a swarm of locusts. G. Harrison and Ruscoe (D. Troop) wounded.
Horses 18 hours without water. Ferguson attempted to get to telegraph wire but did not succeed.
Quiet day for us. 2nd [L.G.] out.
Out patrolling Northwards, saw Boers form Laager and throw out outpost line. They shelled our camp (15) in afternoon. No damage done, gun silenced by us after a bit. Self in at 8 o’clock. Camp shifted round next ridges.
Sunday. Quiet day. Taffy’s servant distinguished himself by shooting a Carabineer.
Quiet day for my troop and Gerry’s. Others out patrolling. Yorks did good work on N.Z. Hill (16). New Zealanders splendid. Yorks 4 killed, 5 wounded. N.Z. 2 killed, Boers 30 to 40 killed and wounded.
Out on same Kopje as 15th, Gerry on my right. Saw lots of Boers but did nothing except send two sections to Gerry’s assistance. Unnecessary as Boers retired on seeing Kopje occupied. Back late. N.S.W [New South Wales] Lancers lost 16 men killed & prisoners.
Quiet day for us. Squadrons 10th H[ussars] and Inniskillings were out N.E. patrolling; returned Rensberg.
Shifted camp to a place S. of here 5 miles off called Potzfontein (17). Arrived without event. Baggage stuck in Drift, no food or tents. Pretty place, lake, Kopje and moon, good effect.
Out early to Northwards. Self rearguard with troop. Spent two hours wire cutting. Dull day for us. Rest did nothing. De Crespigny out in advance, charger shot badly, troop horse killed. The 2nd [L.G.] remained with Remington at Kleinfontein Farm (18). We returned to Shlingersfontein. Again no baggage but dined with Worcesters – very good of them. General Clements turned up with Oxley as brigade Major.
Quiet day for my troop. Half Gerry’s guide Infantry to Potfontein, other half escort convoy to Rensberg. Baggage under Taffy’s troop arrives.
Sent N.C.O’s patrol to “Worcester Kopjes” (19) – same old Kopjes thus christened. Quiet day, only usual Cossack posts. Ashmead Bartlett and Danish Captain lunched with us. Had night alarm, a midnight ride to Maddox Hill to find it all rot.
3 a.m, patrol for me and ten men to locate Boers. Found Dead Man’s Kloof unoccupied, met enemy at wire fence ¾ mile beyond, and retired under heavy fire, and Long Tom shelled us.
Left camp 5.30 a.m. Went to Kleinfontein, but on getting there Clements received orders from French to do nothing, so waited till dark and returned. Self flank guard of guns, beastly job. Four men missing.
Four men turned up. Rode “Cockey” yesterday, very well carried. Horses came from Maitland. Also Laycock and 2 men.
Went out towards Kleinfontein, self with troops sent right side of Boer Hill. Found farm unoccupied, got unpleasantly near to our own shells, so retired across river and met rest of squadron returning from their side. Taffy had a sharp fight and a bad fall. Enemy’s shells came well into us, but did not burst. One New Zealander killed, and General Clements’ horse shot under him.
General French came over and inspected horses, was very complimentary on scouting and horses, which is satisfactory. Quiet day.
Out on patrol. Nothing exciting. Nine blacks gave themselves up. Longing for news of Ladysmith. Service in the afternoon.
Doing nothing just now. More blacks come in. News not reassuring, getting very anxious.
Still doing nothing.
The force here now consists of 1 batt. Worcester Regiment, 1 batt. Royal Irish, 1 batt. Yorkshire.
Went to Rensberg and stopped the night.
Entrained 9 a. m. and went via Naauwpoort and De Aar (20) to Modder river (21).
8 a.m. arrived Modder river. Luggage van not to be compared to a Pulman’s car.
Looked around place. Melancholy sight, one huge graveyard.
Frightful dust storm lasting 3 hours, spoiling dinner, temper, and everything.
On patrol N.E. of camp. Not allowed to go beyond outpost line. Great rot in consequence.
Ordered 9 a.m. to turn out whole Cavalry division. 2 batteries R.H.A. went off 20 miles to relieve MacDonald at Koodoosberg. Caught enemy in flank and shelled him out of position. Advanced twice and completely routed him. Veltd set on fire by shell blazed for two days. We were escort to guns. 2nd and Blues lost several horses and men wounded in trying to cut off enemy. Bivouaced by the river.
Out at 4 a.m. to occupy positions. Did nothing all day, heat very trying. All went back to camp at 6 p.m. arriving Modder at 12 p.m. Trying march 20 hours without food.
Quiet day’s rest.
Cavalry division under French, we in Broadwood’s the 2nd Brigade, marched to Ramdam in Orange Free State (22). No incident. Bivouaced.
Marched cut 2 a.m. Fought successful action, and forced Reit river at Drekels Drift. On picket till 8 p.m. when Infantry relieved us.
Another long march without water about 20 miles. Arrived at Modder River. Skirmish with Boers at Farm on way. Captured laager without opposition. Also caught a convoy. Met Alick Houston.
Boers appeared in the vicinity but we held the Kopjes against them. They shelled the camp for a short time but did no damage.
Infantry and naval guns arrive. We went on but met Boers in force. Sharp Artillery dual. Cavalry were ordered by French to dash through their position. A mile and a half gallop under fire brought us through with but little loss (23). The Boers retired in front of us. Watered at a Farm (Abbot’s) and continued our march to Kimberley where we arrived at 5 p.m. We went out as far as Beaconsfield and were met by an enthusiastic population. We returned and bivouaced at a farm seven miles out, called Alexandersfontein.
We had a well earned rest. Pudden with bad laminitis. Horses about done up.
Turned out at 4 a.m., no idea where we were going but turned out in for another 25 mile march. My troop 14 strong! Watered at a small farm on the way and arrived at a farm with a lot of water (Camelfontein) (24) at about 1 p.m. Saw Boer laager at drift of Modder about two miles off. Turned out to be Cronje with 5000 Boers from Magersfontein at river beside enormous laager. Did a little fighting with one of two 10 H[Hussars] killed. Occupied outpost line all night. Guns kept up fire all night. Most of us 24 hours without food.
Kelly-Kenny’s and Colville’s divisions turned up on other side of river and a tremendous battle took place which lasted all day (25). We still remained on the same Kopje on which was General French. Tremendous fire at the Boers they stood most gallantly. I don’t know if the attack was pushed home, as it was hard to make out from the Kopje, but at all events we did not take the laager then. All this time we have been without our transport, and our emergency rations are coming to an end. It is rumoured Teck is captured. Cockey has not come on and Pudden broken down, so am riding D.66.
We bivouaced at Camelfontein farm and are waiting for Gordon’s Brigade. Rest of our Brigade have crossed river. Did nothing. Went out in the afternoon with guns but returned soon, Teck and transport turned up. No servants or second horses.
Moved to Koodoosrand Drift with Batteries.
Went out with guns to take Kopje evacuated by Kenny first day. Came under fire several times. Were attacked in the open by about 100 Boers in line. But we dismounted in time and drove them back and advanced to Kopje. 10th [Hussars] and 12th [Lancers] coming up on our left.
Rest day. Heavy rain.
Crossed to other side of river as rain has been falling heavily and river is rising. My troop 14 strong. Watered at a small farm on the way and arrived at farm with a lot of water (Camelfontein) at about 1 p.m. Saw Boer laager at. Drift of Modder about two miles off. Turned out to be Cronje with 5000 Boers from Lugersfontein at river besides enormous laager. Did a little fighting one or two 10th [Hussars] killed. Occupied outpost line all night. Guns kept up fire all night. Most of us 24 hours without food.
Much rain last night. Went out with Taffy to find potatoes. Let in for six mile walk in enemy’s country.
Heavy rain all night, very uncomfortable. Squadron ordered to occupy advanced farm called Bankdrift – rather nice farm, owner, Jacobs, at present I suppose with Boers. Old mad woman only inhabitant. Two night alarms disturbed our rest but turned out nothing.
Out on early morning patrol went as close as possible to Big Kopje and watched Boers for some time, till they came out and fired at us, when I returned, and later whole squadron, to camp.
Heard of Cronje’s surrender [at Paaredeburg], so we’ve scored off De Wet.
Quiet day for all.
Quiet day. Heard of Ladysmith’s relief (26).
Quiet day. Health of men not improving, only on quarter rations, and horses on 8 lbs. forage. They are looking awful, and although more forage has been issued I doubt their ever being able to pick up now.
Visited laager, a horrid sight, innumerable dead horses and upset wagons. Trenches most interesting. The Boers also dug caves in which they had lived for ten days completely sheltered from rifle and shell fire. A very curious sight.
Sunday. Service at 6.30 a.m. Rain.
Awful night, soaking wet twice, not much sleep, and very uncomfy. Lovely lightening. Rainy season has come on with a vengeance.
Changed camp to Osfontein. Self riding Indian country bred about 14.1 [i.e. hands].
Started at 3 a.m. marched South to outflank left of Boer position. Came under Boer Shell fire, so made wider circle. On seeing us turn their flank the Boers commenced to retire. We remained with guns while 2nd [Life Guards] and Blues went up a Kopje. Came under heavy fire – De Crespigny badly wounded. A very heavy rifle fire was kept up between M.I. [Mounted Infantry] and Boers who eventually retired when our guns came into action. Two Blues Troopers, one killed, one badly wounded. Boer Shells kept falling short though every now and then one burst in the air sending a few spent bullets amongst us. After a bit we continued the advance and halted about 2 miles beyond Poplar Grove on the Modder, The Infantry came up and pushed forward and occupied line of outposts (27).
Quiet day for us. 1st Brigade went on to Abraham’s Kraal (28). It is said on excellent authority, that Stein and Kruger were with the Boers yesterday,
Self bad rheumatism. Did not move.
Went on to Dreifontein (self on Cockey) Fought a long wearisome action in which one Boer gun seriously annoyed 12 of ours, eventually retiring. (29) Advanced six miles beyond Dreifontein and bivouaced with battery.
Started early and advanced without opposition to Aasvogel Kop (30) where we bivouaced. Self sent with troop to Kopje 5 miles in advance. A nigger came in with white flag, otherwise uneventful. Home at night fall. Rheumatism very bad.
Advanced 14 miles to a place called Ventres Volaille (31) where we expected to stop, but found we were to go on another 12 to the railway. Got there in pitch darkness. 1st Brigade exchanging shots with Boer Pom Pom.
Caught Stein’s brother at whose farm we bivouaced, Started at daybreak and crossed railway and much to my surprise saw Bloemfontein in front of us on rounding a Kopje. Boer Pom Pom opened fire but chucked it after a bit and retired. We surrounded the town mighty cautiously only to be hailed by the English Colony to be told it was deserted. It was handed over and the Union Jack hoisted, I believe at 10.30 a.m. (32) We were kept in the blazing sun with no shade until 4 p.m. when we were ordered off to occupy a Kopje 5 miles off. The weather looked very threatening and I began to fear for my rheumatism but in the end was taken into a farm called Springfield (33), given a lovely room and a most comfortable, bed and everything one could want. The owner an Irishman, P. Lynch, an old man, very charming and interesting to talk to. All his family are here. Four sons came in from fighting us this morning, having chucked it as useless, as I believe, have most of the Freestaters. The whole lot do their level best to make me comfortable and succeed.
Spent a wretched night, but Poppet has taken away the worst of the pain. Am much better in fact but still in bed, as my temperature is over 100. I can hardly stand, and walk with the greatest difficulty. In fact this has been so from Poplar Grove, four men having to help me on my horse, a process which Cockey strongly resented. But he has carried me beautifully all the time.
March 15 – 29
All these days I have been practically well again, and have returned on full ration. News from our fellows at Tibanchu is rather disgusting (34).
News worse. Hear they are retreating. In evening wire was cut between us and them. Carried news to Bloemfontein. Are feeling uneasy for far own safety.
Out early and manned Springfield Kopje with 50 10th H [Hussars] and 23 of our own men. Salkeld, 10th H [Hussars] took all available mounted men as escort to Field Battery. Colville with division march out to Bushman’s Kopje (35) and Gordon with 3rd Brigade in afternoon. Colville spoilt the whole thing. Have lost 7 guns and convoy (36). They say Broadwood was splendid, and all troops behaved well especially the M.I. [Mounted Infantry] Our loss is I believe, Meade wounded. Regiment returned to Springfield in evening.
Regt. out again but did nothing. Self into Church & Bloemfontein. Have left Springfield quarters with many regrets.
Manned Kopje again but nothing happened. Regt. returned.
Moved camp towards Bloemspruit37, night alarm false as usual.
Moved again to place selected by Fatheaded Phil. George, Clay and Reg Ward went to Cape Town. Col. Calley and Sudley came out.
Went into Bloernfontein with sick horses. Rain came on very soon. Returned to camp, road turned river and drift very deep; it was dry when we crossed in the morning. Found Jerry in tent (tents arrived last night, first night in tents for eight weeks) standing in 3 inches of water. Shifted things with tent up hill and pitched it with great difficulty in the dark. Still raining.
Pitched tent properly, and dug huge trench round. More rain.
Heard of Villbois’ death and Methuen’s disaster and 500 M.I. captured at Springfontein.
Rode into Bloemfontein for Church. Stayed Communion. Very nice service.
Out on picket. Went to wrong place, and got damned for it. No alarm.
Gave a dinner party as our mess stores have arrived. Could not appreciate Pop and Port, suppose our palates want retraining.
Went in morning to Bloemfontein to bring out remounts. Got 27 awful rotters some in worse condition than our old black’uns.
Flying squadron. Went to Bloemfontein.
On picket. Awful night, rain whole time. Drove into Bloemfontein. Taffy nearly upset in Drift homeward journey.
Heard of poor Monkey Peel’s and Peeking 10th H[ussar]s. deaths. Went to funeral in afternoon. Dead March and Last Post, most melancholy.
Sam Surtees came up with details.
Orderly had bad fall off Pudden.
Went into Service at Bloemfontein.
On picket at Kaffer Kraal. 12th [Lancers] Officers tried to warn me as to near presence of Boers, but they turned out to be Colonials. Rode fat little pony instead of Pudden who must be left behind here, too weak to go on.
Ordered to stand to and turn out for Waterworksway (38). 16th [Lancers?] and 12th [Lancers] have been at Denke Hoek, we go tomorrow. Nothing: happened. Satisfactory accounts of fighting at Waterworks.
Inspected by Lord Roberts.
Started at 4 p.m. and marched about 10 miles to a place N.E. of Bloemfontein.
Started at daybreak to co-operate with General Maxwell’s Infantry. We had to take a position so as to let Infantry come up to it. At first all went swimmingly, and Boers retired; then we came under a long range fire, and Bill Kensington was badly wounded, two of our men, and one of the 2nd [Life Guards]. After this the Boers shelled us with a Pom Pom and Long Tom with great accuracy but little destruction. We had to retire before the shell fire, but the 10th [Hussars] got round, their flank and got into them with a Maxim. We supported them, and on the way caught 10 prisoners and their headquarters wagon. Beef Marjoribanks executed the capture, and is rewarded by being allowed to keep the Transvaal German Commandos flag worked by German ladies in Pretoria and presented to them. Bivouaced on the battle field.
Off before daybreak. Back to pick up our baggage at Kaalfontein (39). Found it all safe, also infantry with 4.7 cow-guns. Turned out almost immediately and made a quick march towards Thebanchu where French had been stopped. Arrived Houtnek and took up position along a ridge whence we saw the Boer Laagar and about 2 or 3 thousand Boers in the middle of the plain. French was shelling them in some Kopjes on the right. We watched each other for some hours, and then the Boers threw out a flank guard towards us and commenced retiring. I was sent round the left with my troop to see if I could poop at them at all. I got within about 1500 yards and let them have it. They hooked it at once, and then George Milner turned up with a section of guns under a somewhat timid subaltern. They were too late, and I am afraid did little good. Bivouaced close to water in rear of position.
Out on picket early, reconnoitred a farm called “Rast und Friede”! (40) Boers are sitting opposite on next ridge.
Started, at 6 a.m.; marched. N., self with troop rearguard of baggage (41). A little sniping from Boers. No harm done. arrived at destination at 3 p.m. Told to return to bivouac and draw forage and rations. Came up behind and caught up the Brigade while under shell fire from Boers on the right. They had taken up a very strong position, Houtnek Farm (42). They had guns and Pom Poms and the shelling was unpleasant. The front of the position was strongly held, and we were ordered to take it. The Blues executed a splendid movement and took the Kopje where they remained under considerable fire. The 12th [Lancers] sent up their Maxims which did first rate execution. Two Blues were wounded, Lieut. Enoch Rose was killed, and Charles Wyndham who was doing duty with the 3rd Squadron was wounded in the head. We all moved up, and after a few more shells the Boers retired. The Infantry came up and occupied our Kopje, and we went on doing advance guard. We came under a lot of fire from the right and the bullets [flew past us?] as we went. We bivouaced two miles further on.
Entered Winburg unopposed.
A rest day.
Started at 7 a.m. and marched without event about 12 miles to Bloemplaats (43) where we bivouacked. Sent or picket with my troop. Saw a lot of Boers shelling on the right. Tuckers division about 7 miles on the left. We are 4 miles from Zand river where the Boers are supposed to be entrenched.
Our cow-guns commenced shelling early and soon silenced the Pom Pom. Infantry attacked the Boers in a very strong position and cleared them out. The M.I and us went over the river, and passed the Infantry coming under shell fire from a Kopje to the right. We went righthanded and turned the Kopje, and then waited till almost dusk when a convoy was seen trekking away E. We tried a fruitless pursuit which did nothing but tire our horses still more. Bivouaced on hillside where we stopped pursuing. The Boers shelled us as we pursued but were evidently jumpy as the shells went everywhere but in the right direction. M.I. took 15 prisoners and people on the left of us took a couple of wagons. 2nd [Life Guards] sent to occupy Ventresburg (44).
Found convoy of last night trekked right away, so whole force have returned to bivouac at Ventresburg, a town about as big as a small English village. At 2.50 marched again about 8 miles winding about considerably as the maps are extremely inaccurate about here, but eventually arrived and bivouaced at Bleuegum Spruit.
Started early, our squadron advance guard. Caught up Tucker’s division as it crossed our road and saw various other columns all converging on Kroonstadt. When we got to the top of Kroonstadt Kopje we found evidences of a battle and precipitate flight. Trenches had been dug all along, and the position was very strong, but our 12-1b. shells were lying all about, and had evidently done considerable damage as shown by the marks on the trees. All the Boer entrenching implements were lying where they had been thrown and we annexed them. It turned out that French had taken them on their left flank and driven them back and taken Kroonstadt (45), so we were saved what would have been a very nasty action. Bivouaced at Kroonstadt and hope to regain a week or so to recruit. Cockey broken down at last.
Church parade for the division; very hot day.
Inspected by Broadwood in morning, later by Roberts. Went into Kroonstadt in afternoon. Not much of a place; all shops closed as everything is commandeered by A.S.C. [Army Service Corps]
Started at 7.30 a.m. and marched East about 6 or 8 miles to Meriba where we bivouaced.
Marched a long way, about 25 miles, to Kalfontein Bridge over the Zud Valsck river. (46) Taffy and I occupied the farm at the Bridge; a very cold night.
Marched on about 17 miles and got to Lindley (47). Boers fired a few shots to cover the retreat of their wagons. Three casualties; one 2nd [Life Guards] man wounded. De Wet is supposed to be somewhere near.
De Wet has not appeared, and we are going to remain here. The Infantry and transport ought to get here today.
Went into Lindley; had a good lunch at the Clarendon Hotel; bought some snuff. Sniping going on all round.
Advanced North. Met Boers about three miles out of Lindley, and came under shell fire. Opened with our Pom Pom and 12 pounders, and Boers retired. They attacked the rear of the column in force, and took a great many prisoners. Advanced again, and bivouaced at Vetchkop Rietfontein (48).
Started at 7 a.m. North. A long halt about 10 a.m. at a farm, and eventually bivouaced about 4 miles South of Heilbron (49).
Advanced towards Heilbron; us advanced regiment. Were soon under shell and rifle fire. Advanced and drove Boers in front of us, helped by two Maxims. Saw convoy as usual pursued it fighting Boers all the way, and eventually caught 14 wagons about 5 miles beyond Heilbron, a most exciting chase, no casualties. Returned and bivouaced close to town.
Marched West towards Prospect. Bivouaced at Uitkijk (50).
Started at 6 a.m. and marched West. We were left flank guard, and soon came in touch with Roberts’ right flank guard crossing our front. We were then drawn in and the columns turned North, and we marched about 8 miles more and stopped at Arcadia (51) where we bivouaced.
God save the Queen.
Marched to Vaal River and bivouaced at Boschbank (52) about ½ mile Free State side.
Started 6 a.m. Had a long wait and then crossed Vaal River into the Transvaal. Halted on banks of river.
Moved about 10 miles North and bivouaced.
Advanced against Klip Rivers Berg (54) position, which consists of several ranges of mountains about 8 miles long just in front of Johannesburg. Taffy and I were sent to a Kopje about 5 miles to the right; we could see Roberts’ farm and the Railway. Heard, a great deal of firing from French on the left. Caught four Boers’ ponies saddled with blankets and bread. Back to bivouac, long ride in the dark.
Started at 6.30 a.m. and moved West. Boers still in Klip Rivers Berg position. Pom Poms and guns have started at French; we have not yet come into action 10 a.m. Came under shell fire late in the evening, but Boers retired. Bivouaced at Dornkop where Jameson chucked it (55).
Started at 6 a.m. Wandered in and out of all the mines till 11 a. m. when we halted and fed. No signs of Boers at present. Bivouaced here, place called Florida (56) a suburb of Johannesburg about 5 miles west amongst the Boodepoort Mines. Johannesburg surrendered to Lord Roberts.
Stood to in the morning. Nothing happened.
Sent out as officers patrol with Hamilton’s staff officer to select camp. All moved to Orange Grove 4 miles North of Johannesburg in afternoon (57).
Went into Johannesburg in morning. Sam Surtees stood us excellent lunch at Frascati’s in honour of anniversary of his wedding day. Some use in married subs after all.
Started at 6.30 a.m. and marched about 15 miles along the Pretoria road and bivouaced at Deep sloop? [sic] (58). As we arrived about three in the afternoon, French to our left was engaged with the Dutch, result at present uncertain.
Marched west to follow French round the position, but were stopped. Turned back and told Pretoria had surrendered. This was hardly the case as a big battle ensued. We however on arriving at the position did not come into action, but bivouaced eventually in a pretty place Mooiplaats (59). E. all surrounded by hills, the Boers having retired.
Started at 6 and advanced through the defile where the tenth [Hussars] were last night, Turned right-handed and marched East towards Pretoria. At 12 a.m. we were told to bivouac about a mile from the town which had given in etc. However, just as we had off-saddled an order came for us to go on, which we are at this moment preparing to do, whither remains to be seen. We made an entry into the town, self with troop advance guard. Passed Market Square just as Union Jack was hoisted (60). We however hurried on still as advance guard, and bivouaced eventually at Derdepoort 8 miles N.E. of Pretoria (61).
On picket on top of high hill. Watched French fighting at Waterfall (62) where most of our prisoners are. Marched at 2 p.m. to Trenes Station on the main line, crossing the Delagoa line east of town, arrived in Bivouac at 9 p.m., a beastly march.
A rest day. Visited Irene Garden (63), lovely violet beds and fir trees. Very pretty, reminded us of home.
Marched to Zwavelpoort (64) about 10 miles, went on patrol to see if ridge opposite was occupied. Had a long way to go, about 8 miles. Found Boers at a Kopje and retired under heavy fire. Hunt was shot through the head.
A rest day (conference fallen through) Old Colonel Kelly (Australians’ doctor attached to us now Fawcett is dead) went to see if anything could be done for Hunt. Found him dead. Boers allowed him to bring him back and we buried him this afternoon.
On picket North of bivouac. Saw a lot of Dutch. Nothing happened.
Started at 6 a.m. marched about 5 miles East. Met the Boers in great strength (65). They shelled us from the left and we came under rifle fire from the right. The 10th [Hussars] dismounted on a Kopje and replied to the Dutch on the right and we all pushed on with the guns who unlimbered and answered the Boers’ guns. The Boers then advanced in great numbers from the front and right, so Broadwood ordered the l2th [Lancers] to charge those in front and us to charge those or the right, we drew swords and galloped at them hurrooshing like the devil, and they soon made off. We pursued them about a mile and turned them out of a Kaffir Kraal, which we then occupied. Blues on some little Kopjes on the right were reinforced by the 2nd [Life Guards] who came up later, and we by 60 M.I. Buffs. The Blues and 2nd [Life Guards] were soon compelled to retire as the Boers were again advancing and their led horses were not under cover, so we remained alone with the M.I. till night under very heavy rifle fire, and a Pom Pom and Long Tom shelling all the time. A section of guns supported us from behind somewhere. We remained all night in the Kraal, M.I.s going away, and moved next morning back to bivouac.
Infantry had a big battle at big position on the left, and as far as we made out were successful. Boers shelled our bivouac on and off all day; upset our teapot. We stood to all day, but did nothing.
Marched about 12 miles to Elandsriver Station (66), Delagoa line and joined rest of Hamilton’s force.
Marched at 12 noon back through pass we watched on 10th and bivouacked close to Kopje (Zwatzkoppies) (67) where Hunt was shot.
Did nothing in morning. At noon received orders to march towards Pretoria. Did so on June 17th. Camped about 1 mile east of Pretoria. Went into town, lunched with Lord Castletown at the Club.
Went into the town, stayed all day, lunched and dined [sic] at Transvaal Hotel.
Hamilton’s, force consisting as usual of Gordon’s brigade joined to us as 2nd Cavalry Division under Broadwood, ourselves under Bobby Fisher, marched through Pretoria and down South West of the line, Infantry keeping along it. Us as advance guard, self no troop, squadron about 20 strong. Bivouaced at Oufanlafontein Station.
Marched S.E. about 10 miles and bivouaced at a mine called Klienfontein ? [sic] (68)
Shortest day! Started out to get to mining town called De Springs. Heavy rain storms.
Started early, marched to mining village called Migel. Boers fired a few shots, cow-guns. Sent a few shells after them. Bivouaced – Brodie’s house.
A few shots wounding several M.I. and Boers retired. We entered Heidelberg June 24 (69).
Went into Heidelberg; a nice town. Club clean, nice; Church, Sunday school going on!
Lunched Williams at Royal Hotel.
Marched 9 a.m. Bivouaced Malan’s Kraal. Marched 16 miles South, bivouaced Kalk Spruit. John tried in vain to get Helio communication with Buller (70). Supposed to be close on our left.
Marched early, very cold. Arrived Villiersdorp OVS (71). Once more crossed Vaal.
Marched a short distance. Bivouaced at Potsdam. B.2 lost in a quicksand – advance guard.
Entered Frankfort unopposed.(72) MacDonald not arrived. 15 of our prisoners in hospital here.
Remounts. Col. Napier Miles arrived; on picket that night.
Left Frankfort, marched S. and bivouaced Aasavogel Kranz. (73)
Bivouaced Valkfontein. (74)
Advance guard arrived Reitz. (75) Found few wounded yeomen. 60 doz. eggs.
Marched and bivouaced, Viljoenshock. Heard firing all morning. Got into communication by Helio with Paget who had occupied Bethlehem (76) at 12 noon.
Arrived Bethlehem about 12.30. Clements and Brabant re-captured one of our 15 pounders and gave Boers the knock.
July 10 – 12
ditto. Picket Kaffir Kraals East of Bivouac.
Out in morning to forage farms E. of town on Harrismith road. At three in afternoon went West for about 6 miles, and bivouaced on Senekal road.
Trekked along Senekal road. Met Boers at Dykefontein, fought them all day. No apparent result on either side. Clements fighting Senekal way.
Marched North to within 6 miles of Lindley. Saw no Boers. Advance guard.
Caught up ox convoy. Took on our mails, bivouacked Bethlehem, Lindley Road.
Marched North. Found Boers towards evening; hard fight for all except us. Found 10 dead Boers and several graves next morning. Our casualties slight.
Marched N.W. and bivouaced same place as on May 20th, on way to Heilbron. Vetch Kop.
Trekked West. Saw Boers in distance. M.I. in action. On picket. Signalling communication with Roodewal, Rhenoster River (77).
Marched on to Roodewal (78) and halted on line.
Horrible night, poured rain, wet through. Marched at 1 p.m., bivouaced at Shepstone.
Marched on advance guard. Arrived Vredefort. (79) Passed through town. M.I. capture five wagons, 14 prisoners brought in. Heavy action, we engaged long time. Dismounted edge of field and used all ammunition, used ammunition wagon for first time. One horse and dog shot. M.I. slight casualties.
Remained in bivouac 5 miles from Vredefort. Blues go to Roodeval with convoy. Rain all day.
Moved camp and marched towards drift on Rhenoster (80). Boers shelled us from Kopjes on right. Shelled all remaining afternoon. Bivouaced.
Moved camp 2 miles nearer Drift. Boers still in same positions.
On picket Kaffir Kraals. Watched Boers – interesting.
Sniping in morning.
Boers shelled bivouac. Cow guns run up by hand silenced Long Tom.
Turned out at 5.30 a.m. to ride to Shepstone and back on a false alarm.
White flag. Nothing.
Escorted 4.7 guns half way to Ridley. Back to lunch. Knox took big hill.
Started at 8.30. Marched to big hill, remained all day, back at night.
Heard De Wet had gone. Advance guard under fire on right. Gibson Officers’ Patrol a prisoner. Picket Kaffir Kraal.
Marched to Groot Island 1½ miles South of Parys. (81) Passed through Vredefort.
Started at 6 a.m. Passed through Parys. Shelling at Vaalwal on Kopje all the time. Bivouaced at Lindeyne Drift on the Vaal. (82) Ripping dinner.
Started early. Crossed. Vaal. Advance guard. Shave.
Stood to at 6. Started 6.30, marched Wolverdine Station. Awful wind and dust (Rifle pits).
Marched at 9. Got to [—?] at 2 p.m.; on look out post. Missed regiment in evening. Bivouaced with my troop alone, and started 2 a.m. to catch up. Caught them up before they started at their bivouac, ten miles from my solitary one.
Marched about 20 miles to Grootbasch. Methuen knocked them yesterday.
Started at 2 a.m. – night march on De Wet’s position. Tumbled into his picket, but secured position without much fighting, about 8 a.m. Bid nothing more all day. Everything very unsatisfactory. Cpl. Jones and Paul taken with Gibson’s patrol now returned, escaped. (83)
Marched West to relieve Hoare. Bivouaced. 20 mile march.
Arrived at Bakfontein.Garrison all right. Splendid work, fort most interesting. Reconnaissance 9 miles on Zurust road. Very pretty country.
Rest day. Wash.
Started back, bivouaced Klienfontein.
Started 6 a.m.. advance guard. No forage, bivouaced Zamfontein.
6 a.m. Sniping both sides Kaalfontein (84). Church door.
5.30 a.m. Arrived Krugersdorp. Bivouaced beyond monument. Veldt fire, bullets, kits, 2 men
Mail. Another veldt fire, General’s kit burnt. On picket long way off.
Dust storm. Officers and men go dismounted to Pretoria.
Started 6 a.m. for Banks Station. (85) Escort train arrived 2 p.m., dust ,cold, fall in an ant-bear hole.
Started back to Krugersdorp. Arrived 2.30.
Went to Church Krugersdorp.
Started for Pretoria. Fight close by, no casualties our side. Bivouaced Deepseuit. (86)
Flank guard, small fight. Arrived Pretoria.
Wind and rain.
Lunched R.G. Phillips.
Went to remounts, back to camp, shifted to Dasspoort. (87)
Went into Pretoria.
Went into town.
Went into town. Did board, returned prisoners of war.
Went, into town.
On picket on hill. (Kaffir lady!)
Went into Pretoria.
Went into Pretoria.
Shifted camp under mountain, baboons, crocodiles, etc.
(Self on picket). Got new remount.
Marched at 7 a.m. West along valley. Bivouaced at Rietfontein.
Marched through [?–] nek and bivouacked Van Houten Kop.
Marched through Buschveldt bivouaced Sterkstroom. Found Boers holding nek into Rustenburg. (88) Easily disposed of. Entered Rustenburg.
Marched to Magatos Nek. Did no good, saw no Boers.
On picket at farm.
Marched at 1 p.m. Bivouaced behind mountains N.W. of Rustenburg. No water at all, one bottle of port saved our lives.
Started 5 a.m. Self advanced troop soon met Boers who fired from Kraal, wounding Barnes advance point. Went into Kraal and they galloped out. Occupied Kopje beyond. Saw Boers leaving Laager hurriedly, abandoning one or two weapons. Opened fire, Boers replying for a short time. Squadron eventually came up and hurried through Bush veldt guns coming up too late to do any good. Captured 12 wagons, 6 prisoners, cattle, and 10,000 rounds of small arms and some gun ammunition. After breakfasting at river formed advance guard again, and marched round to Sterkstroom (25th Sept.), where Clements was encamped. Bother to find bivouac in dark.
Returned to camp Rustenburg.
Started 6 a.m. for Kaffir Kraal.
Started 4.30 a.m. Got to Sand Drift, Crocodile River, most Northerly point.
Started 4.30 along Crocodile to Valhoutens Kop.
Started with ox convoy Reitfontein.
Got to Dasspoort.
Patrol Derde Poort – ½ Regt. to spruit.
½ regt. returned.
Parade for annexation of Transvaal, Saw it well, fine show, We went by after guns, and came back to look on (89).
Lunched Pretoria. Went to Commission in Raadsaal.
[Duke of] Teck went to Cape Town.
Went to Church.
Went with W. de Winton.
Train from Dasspoort to Pretoria Station left at 11. 45. Col. saw Kitchener who said going home on Hawarden Castle with a battery. Got to Klip River (see June 3rd) [sic] and bivouaced.
Got to Kroonstadt. Dined at Rand Hotel.
Left Kroonstadt, left Bloemfontein.
Line blown up in two places. Left soon after 11, got Jaggersfontein, (90) remained night.
Left Jaggersfontein, arrived Norvals Pont,91 breakfast, and left Norvals Pont. Arrived De Aar 11 p.m. Stubbs and John went on –
Remained at De Aar all day.
Left De Aar 3.15 p.m. Arrived Victoria West. Went on 9.30, cold.
Breakfast at Alvert Road. Heard of Loughlin’s death. Had dinner at Worcester. Presentation of flowers.
Arrived Cape Town soon after six, lunched Club. Started with Canadians and a battery on board Hawarden Castle at 4 p.m.
Arrived St. Vincent.
Left St. Vincent.
Arrived Southampton (92).
[for his service in South Africa, Waring received the Queen’s South Africa medal with six clasps: Relief of Kimberley, Paardeburg, Driefontein, Johannesberg, Diamond Hill and Wittebergen.]
1st Life Guards – Awards& Mentions in Dispatches
Mentioned in Dispatches
Maj. G. Carter : Lt. Gen. French’s dispatch Feb. 2nd 1900 re operations around Colesberg : “Has at various times shown considerable skill and resolution as squadron commander in the field and has done valuable service.”
Cpl. Major C. Putnam Lord Roberts’ dispatch of March 31st 1900
Cpl. Major W. Silwood Lord Roberts’ dispatch of March 31st 1900
Lt. Col. H.M. Grenfell Lord Roberts’ dispatch of April 2nd 1901 [with Brabant’s Horse] Lt. Col. C.N. Miles MVO Lord Roberts’ dispatch of April 2nd 1901
Bvt. Lt. Col. T.C.P. Calley Lord Roberts’ dispatch of April 2nd 1901
Capt. E. W. Clowes Lord Roberts’ dispatch of April 2nd 1901
Capt R.V.L. Lloyd-Phillips Lord Roberts’ dispatch of April 2nd 1901
Lieut. W. Waring Lord Roberts’ dispatch of April 2nd 1901
Sq. Cpl. Maj. J. Yeatman Lord Roberts’ dispatch of April 2nd 1901
Sq. Cpl. Maj. J. Quigley Lord Roberts’ dispatch of April 2nd 1901
Cpl. Hse. A. Bomford Lord Roberts’ dispatch of April 2nd 1901
Shg. Smith J. Mason Lord Roberts’ dispatch of April 2nd 1901
Lieut. R. Brooke Lord Roberts’ dispatch of Sept. 4th 1901 [with 11th Imp. Yeo.] Bvt. Major H. M. Grenfell Lord Kitchener’s dispatch June 23rd 1902
Capt. G. F. Milner Lord Kitchener’s dispatch June 23rd 1902
Corpl. E. Kibblewhite Lord Kitchener’s dispatch June 23rd 1902
Corpl. W. Thompson Lord Kitchener’s dispatch June 23rd 1902
Corpl. G. Duffield Lord Kitchener’s dispatch June 23rd 1902
Orders & Decorations
Lt. Col. C. N. Miles MVO Companion of Order of the Bath (CB)
Capt. E. W. Clowes Awarded DSO
Lt. J. S. Cavendish Awarded DSO
Capt. G.F. Milner Awarded DSO
Sq. Cpl. Maj. Chas. Yeatman Awarded DCM – London Gazette 27.9.01. Army Order 15/02
Shg. Smith J. Mason Awarded DCM – London Gazette 27.9.01. Army Order 15/02
Cpl. E. Kibblewhite Awarded DCM – London Gazette 31.10.02. Army Order 10/03
Bvt. Lt. Col. T.C.P. Calley Brevet Colonel
Major G. Carter Brevet Lt. Colonel
Major Hon C. E. Bingham Brevet Lt. Colonel
Bvt. Major H. M. Grenfell Brevet Lt. Colonel
Capt. HSH Duke of Teck Brevet Major
Casualties to 1st Life Guards in South Africa 1900.
1450 Cpl. Horse Charles Fisher Wounded, Slingersfontein, 10th Jan
1929 Tpr. R. Sensier Wounded, Slingersfontein, 10th Jan
1819 Cpl. W. Harrison Wounded, Slingersfontein, 11th Jan
1938 Tpr. T. Roscoe Wounded, Slingersfontein, 11th Jan
1344 Cpl. Horse J. H. Laycock Wounded, Slingersfontein, 11th Jan
1836 Tpr. J. Deaman Drowned, Modder River, 16th Jan.
1473 Tpr. W. McKie Died of enteric, Kimberley, 11th March
1077 S.Cpl.Maj. A. Blair Died typhoid, Kimberley, 16th March.
2031 Tpr. R. McQuid Died of Disease, Kimberley, 21st March
1704 Tpr. A. Gibbons Died of disease, Kimberley, 26th March
1658 Cpl. Horse H. Jackson Wounded, Sannah’s Post, 31st March
1581 Cpl. Horse T. Longthorn Prisoner, Sannah’s Post, 31st March (released)
1939 Tpr. J. Adlam Prisoner, Sannah’s Post, 31st March (released)
1966 Tpr. H. Bonnard Prisoner, Sannah’s Post, 31st March (released)
1556 Tpr. A. Brooks Prisoner, Sannah’s Post, 31st March (released)
1636 Tpr. S. Cara Prisoner, Sannah’s Post, 31st March (released)
1936 Tpr. C. Collett Prisoner, Sannah’s Post, 31st March (released)
2033 Tpr. E. Dibbell Prisoner, Sannah’s Post, 31st March (released)
1882 Tpr. P. Fox Prisoner, Sannah’s Post, 31st March (released)
1596 Tpr. F. Jordan Prisoner, Sannah’s Post, 31st March (released)
1953 Tpr. R. Moon Prisoner, Sannah’s Post, 31st March (released)
1961 Tpr. C. Norman Prisoner, Sannah’s Post, 31st March (released)
2078 Tpr. R. White Prisoner, Sannah’s Post, 31st March (released)
2061 Tpr. C. Holmes Prisoner, Sannah’s Post, 31st March (released)
1990 Tpr. G. Holsgrove Died of disease, Kimberley, 2nd April
1963 Tpr. G. Russell Died of disease, Kimberley, 8th April
1896 Tpr. G. Belcher Wounded Krantz Kraal, 30th April
2087 Tpr. J. Taylor Wounded Krantz Kraal, 30th April
1938 Tpr. H. Cripps Died of disease, Bloemfontein, 12th May
1886 Tpr. W. Humphries Died of disease,Kimnerley, 11th April
1671 Tpr. G. Whitfield Died of disease, Pretoria, 5th June
1202 S.C.Major W. Putman Died of disease, Maraisburg, 6th June
1792 Tpr. H. Hunt Died of wounds, Zwavelpoort, 8th June
1749 Tpr. T. Moss Died of disease, Johannesburg, 16th June
1 The Drift was secured on 13th Feb. by the 12th Lancers under Lord Airlie and became a temporary HQ for Genl. French. Boer forces under Cmdt. Froneman barred the route towards Kimberley across the Drift but French’s cavalry swept at the gallop right between their defensive positions, across a low ridge, and apart from minor casualties from flanking fire as they passed through, suffered very lightly. This was the last major frontal cavalry charge of the war and opened the route for the final relief of Kimberley.
2 On the north bank of the Modder River and forming the eastern limit of the Boer defensive position at Paardeberg. The 12th Lancers and “P” Royal Horse Artillery took the heights commanding the position on 17th Feb. and cavalry reinforcements (Gordon’s 3rd Cavalry Brigade) came up on the 18th. Boer forces were forced into a large-scale laager south of the Modder. The Drift was secured on the 20th by French’s cavalry, which bivouacked close by.
3 Farm eight miles east of Paardeberg. A 4th Mounted Infantry detachment was attacked here on 18th Feb., while the battle of Paardeberg was getting underway. Most were taken prisoner. General French’s cavalry drove off the Boers, under de Wet, on 21st Feb. On 28th Feb., it became the HQ of Lord Roberts and the farm became the camping ground of the main army as Roberts continued his advance towards Bloemfontein. It is sometimes referred to as Stinkfontein.
4 Poplar Grove is the name usually given to the important action fought on 7th March. When de Wet attempted to block the march of Roberts’ army towards Bloemfontein, French’s cavalry was ordered to outflank the Boer positions to the south of Seven Kopjes. This movement was successful in forcing the Boers to move towards Poplar Grove, exposing themselves to attack as they moved. The Transvaal President, Paul Kruger, was actually with the Boer forces, intending to make a speech to them that day, but when he became aware of French’s flank movement, he returned to Bloemfontein. Broadwood’s 2nd cavalry brigade was actually held up by the Winburg Commando for several hours, preventing the completion of the flanking movements, and the main Boer force retired eastwards. The British lost 8 killed and 49 wounded that day and the Boers an estimated 50 casualties.
5 A major action on the route to Bloemfontein – and something of a “last stand” before the British reached the capital of the Orange Free State – fought on 10th March. The Boers held a very long position along a series of heights, including the Driefontein Koppies (or Ridge). Roberts again launched a series of “turning” movements and forced an action on Driefontein Ridge, in which British infantry successfully attacked Boer positions and forced their retreat. This success endangered the entire line of the Boer defences, so the Boers fell back and allowed Roberts to enter Bloemfontein – the first of the two republican capitals to fall – on 13th March.
6 The base of a major Boer commando. The town was raided by the British on 26th March but they were forced to retire by the scale of Boer resistance under Cmdt. J. H. Olivier. It was occupied by the British in May.
7 Or Thaba Nchu, 55 miles east of Bloemfontein. A “flying column” under Broadwood, with cavalry, Mounted Infantry and a brigade of RHA, all under overall command of General French, left Bloemfontein for this area on 15th March, the main target being an important Boer laager eight miles away at Alexandria. French returned to Bloemfontein on the 20th, leaving Broadwood in overall command but he decided that he was too weak to tackle the commando and fell back towards Bloemfontein. Crossing the drift of the Koorn Spruit near Sannah’s Post on 31st March, he ran straight into a carefully-laid Boer ambush which famously saw the loss of some of the guns of “U” and “Q” batteries RHA and the multiple award of the Victoria Cross to men of “Q” Battery RHA for trying to “save the guns”.
8 On 6th May, when a large Boer force (said to have been up to 8,000 men under Cmdt. Genl. L. Botha) intending to block the British advance on Kroonstad, were engaged firstly by cavalry and mounted infantry under Brig. Genl. Porter and then by French’s cavalry division, which outflanked their position. The infantry successfully crossed the Zand (though the main bridge had been blown up by the Boers) and what could have been a major action was avoided by the full-scale retreat of the Boer force.
9 Florida is 12 miles west of the mining centre of Johannesberg and was occupied by the cavalry under French the next day, on 30th May. The action at Doornkop on 29th May was fought over the last ridge defending the city from the British advance. The Boer defenders were commanded by de la Rey. As was so often the case, frontal infantry attacks on the main enemy position, famously by the Gordon Highlanders, City Imperial Volunteers and the Canadians, were supported by turning movements by French’s cavalry, the latter forcing the Boers to abandon their positions in the late afternoon. British forces camped on the road over the ridge and entered Johannesberg on 31st May, a formal agreement having been reached that the Boer defenders could leave before the British entered the city.
10 A peak on the ridge south of Rietfontein farm, 25 miles east of Pretoria, the scene of an inconclusive two-day battle on 11-12th June 1900. The Boers, under Louis Botha, intended to block the British advance along the railway line to Middelburg east of Pretoria. Over the course of two days, British infantry assaults failed to dislodge the Boer defenders until their main position on Diamond Hill itself fell on the 12th, in the face of a powerful British artillery barrage. Boer forces withdrew fearing a complete encirclement if the action continued next day.
11 An important railway junction, 45 miles south of Colesberg, where lines from Port Elizabeth and Cape Town join. It became a major supply depot and transport concentration point.
12 In Cape Colony, on the railway line from Port Elizabeth running towards Johannesburg.
13 Station on the Naauwpoort-Bloemfontein line in Cape Colony; there was considerable Boer activity around here in Feb. 1900.
14 Or Slingersfontein – a farm in Cape Colony 10 miles south east of Coleberg. Occupied on 9th January by a powerful force under Col. T. C. Porter, comprising two squadrons of Household Cavalry and three of the 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers), a company of New Zealand Mounted Rifles, the New South Wales Lancers, 1st Yorks. Regt. and 4 guns of “O” Battery, RHA.
15 i.e. at Slingersfontein
16 A hill north-west of Slingersfontein camp, attacked on 15th January by 300 burghers under de la Rey. Sangars held by the Yorks were captured, but the New Zealanders drove back the Boer attack.
17 Or Potfontein – a railway station on the line from De Aar to Kimberley.
18 A farm 16 miles south-east of Colesberg, held in January by Major M. F. Rimington, with Rimington’s Guides, one squadron of Household Cavalry and one company of New Zealand Mounted Rifles.
19 A group of hills in Colesberg district, 8 miles east of Plewman Sidings, occupied by 2nd Worcesters. Attacked on 11th February by de la Rey.
20 An important railway junction where lines from Port Elizabeth and Cape Town met before continuing on to Kimberley and Mafeking. A major supply and transport hub.
21 i.e. the railway station on the river. It became a major supply base and British forces for the advance on Kimberley were assembled here.
22 Over 6,000 cavalry were concentrated at Ramdam under General French to attempt a “dash” for Kimberley while Roberts’ main infantry force lumbered on behind.
23 The relief”, effected by this cavalry advance, followed one of the last large-scale cavalry charges in British military history.
24 Kameelfontein, a farm 29 miles south-east of Kimberley. French’s cavalry, in attempting to slow the retreat of Cronje’s force from Kimberley on 17th Feb., captured a Boer on this farm. While French went on toe reconnoitre the drifts across the Modder, his HQ and main force remained at Kameelfontein. Shelled by Boer guns which were forced to withdraw by the 12th Lancers. French’s main cavalry force remained here during the action at Paardeberg.
25 Waring is describing in these entries the 1 LG part in the battle of Paardeberg, in which General Piet Cronje and the Boer force of approx. 4000 which had besieged Kimberley (with its women and children in attendance) was besieged in laager on the Modder River. For ten days it was subjected to artillery bombardment and frontal infantry attacks. Cronje surrendered – as Waring relates – on 27th February. It was the first major British success in the war.
26 Finally effected by the Natal Field Force under General Sir Redvers Buller after the humiliating and costly reverses he had sustained since his first attempts December – at Colenso, Spion Kop, Vaal Krantz etc.
27 An account of the battle of Poplar Grove. The Boer President Paul Kruger left Pretoria for exile (eventually in Holland) on this day.
28 Or Abrams kraal. A large farm on the Modder, near prominent kopies, 16 miles north east of Petrusburg. Boer forces under de la Rey, retreating before Roberts’ advance, briefly rallied here and prepared defensive positions. Cavalry forces discovered the Boer lines on 10th March and the action at Driefontein further south turned the Boer flank and led to the abandonment of the defences.
29 The battle of Driefontein – another incident in the advance of Lord Roberts’ South African Field Force on the Orange Free State capital, Bloemfontein.
30 Kopjie near a farm 24 miles west of Bloemfontein. Involved in the action at Driefontein and occupied by Kelly-Kenny with the 6th Infantry Brigade on 11th March; Lord Roberts arrived here on the same day.
32 British occupation of the capital of the Orange Free State. The Orange Free State was annexed by Britain and re-named the Orange River Colony.
33 A farm 8 miles east of Bloemfontein; occupied by a cavalry force after the fall of Bloemfontein – as related here; a post on the route to the city’s waterworks. It later became the site of an infantry base camp.
34 Presumably of the debacle at Sannah’s Post.
35 Or Boesman’s Kop. A very high kopje 14 miles east of Bloemfontein. A small Mounted Infantry force, from the garrison at Sannah’s Post, maintained an outpost here prior to de Wet’s attack on the Convoy crossing Koorn Spruit, referred to by Waring.
36 A reference to the famous action at Sannah’s Post, where 4 VCs were awarded for bravery in trying to save the RHA guns after the successful Boer ambush of a British convoy.
37 Farm now in the suburbs of Bloemfontein. The 12th Lancers were camped here in March 1900 and after the action at Sannah’s Post, the 2nd Cavalry Brigade was briefly stationed there.
38 Possibly Waterworks Drift near Bloemfontein, near the city waterworks on the Thabanchu-Bloemfontein road.
39 A farm 20 miles west of Lindley. A bridge crossed the Valsch River at this point.
40 Rest and Joy
41 This was the day of Lord Roberts’ grand advance from Bloemfontein towards Pretoria, capital of the South African Republic or Transvaal.
42 Near a pass on the Thaba Nchu-Winburg road. A Boer force was entrenched here at the end of March and was attacked by Smith-Dorrien’s infantry brigade on 30th April, concentrating on the Boer position on Toba Mountain. Fighting continued into the next day, when the Boer force withdrew. The British advanced on Winburg and Jacobsrust as a result.
43 A farm on the 12 miles south-east of Virginia, occupied on 9th May during the advance on Zand River.
44 Ventersburg, A town 16 miles east of Virginia. Occupied by Broadwood’s 2nd cavalry brigade on May 10th, as related.
45 Occupation of Kroonstad by the British.
46 The area occupied by cavalry under French on 11th May and a minor action was fought. The bridge was destroyed by the retreating Boers on 12th. A minor action was fought here
47 An important town, location of a Boer commando. Boer forces retired to Lindley on the fall of Kroonstad on 12th May and the town was very briefly the seat of the OFS government. Occupied after a short skirmish by Broadwood’s 2nd Cavalry brigade on 17th May, as Waring relates. The town was abandoned on 20th May and changed hands several times after that.
48 French’s cavalry concentrated her eon 28thy May.
49 An important town an centre of a commando. From 13-20th May the temporary seat of the OFS government . Mounted Infantry entered the town on 22nd May during the British advance on the Vaal River. British forces were based here from 29th May – 27th June.
50 Uitkyk, a station on the Pretoria-Komatipoort line
51 A farm 13 miles north of Heilbron. British forces were camped around here during the advance on Pretoria in May
52 A farm on the south of the Vaal River. British force sunder Ian Hamilton crossed the Vaal near here on 26th May.
53 Boer republic of the Orange Free State formally annexed by Britain on this day.
54 A prominent ridge 4 miles south of Johannesburg. It was held in force as part of the last defences before Johannesburg. The cavalry were in action here, as related, on 28- 29th May, while the more significant action at Doornkop was taking place.
55 The notorious “Jameson Raid” (26th Dec 1895 – 2nd Jan. 1896) – an attempt to raise the British settlers (Uitlanders) in the Transvaal against the Boer government – ended in fiasco at Doornkop when Dr. Jameson and his force of 500 “raiders” was surrounded by Boer forces and surrendered. It destroyed the political career of Cecil Rhodes and is widely regarded as one of the milestones of the descent into war.
56 Occupied by French’s cavalry, as related, on 30th May
57 Once the site of an hotel 4 miles north east of Johannesburg, used as his HQ by Lord Roberts after the fall of the city on 31st May. A British force left here on 1st June, deputed to destroy the railway culvert at Bronkhorstspruit, was attacked by a Boer group and forced to retreat. A Victoria Cross was won in the rearguard fighting, by Cpl. F. Kirby, RE, who rescued a dismounted man under heavy fire.
58 not identified.
59 A farm 16 miles east of Pretoria. It was the centre of the British line of attack during the action at Diamond Hill on 11-12th June.
60 The British occupation of Pretoria, the Transvaal capital , celebrated by a triumphal victory parade and march-past before the assembled British army. It was widely – and wrongly – assumed that the fall of Pretoria, following on the occupation of Bloemfontein, would herald the end of Boer opposition. However, the loss of the two capitals did not lead to a Boer collapse – Boer resistance continued and for the British the war then entered its difficult two-year “guerrilla war” phase.
61 A pass in the Magaliesberg, north-east of Pretoria. Occupied by the British during the final stages of the battle of Diamond Hill on 12th June. The 1st Mounted Infantry brigade based here until 4th July.
62 On the Pretoria-Pietersburg railway line. 3,000 British prisoners were found and released here on 6th June by the squadron of 2nd Dragoon Guard sunder Capt. F. S. Maude.
63 Irene is on the railway line 8 miles from Pretoria. Hamilton’s M.I. division was based here, protecting the railway line and sending out patrols from 7th June which contacted the Boers on two occasions. The 2nd Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry was based here from 10th June and freed prisoners of the Northumberland Fusiliers.
64 Farm 13 miles south-east of Pretoria. Occupied by Hamilton’s forces during the battle of Diamond Hill, with Broadwood’s cavalry brigade (and others) operating in this area.
65 The two-day battle of Diamond Hill followed.
66 On the Delagoa Bay line. Hamilton’s M.I. division camped here briefly after Diamond Hill.
67 ?Zwartkoppies. Farm and Kopje five miles south of Pretoria. Captured on 4th June by Mounted Infantry.
68 Possibly near Kleinfontein farm, 20 miles east of Pretoria. Part of the Boer defensive positions during the battle of Diamond Hill, captured on 12th June.
69 Major town 32 miles south-east of Johannesburg and the base of several commandos during the war. Occupied on 23rd June by Ian Hamilton’s column (as related). An important centre of operations over the next weeks.
70 i.e. the forces under Sir Redvers Buller, formerly the Natal Field Force.
71 On the south bank of the Vaal River in the OFS, 20 miles north of Frankfort. An important crossing of the Vaal, occupied by the British in June 1900 and an important crossing of the Vaal.
72 A major town and commando centre, 35 miles east of Heilbron. The commando under de Wet was based her ein May 1900 and harassed Brtiish lines. Occupied on 1st July by the column under Sir Archibald Hunter from Heidelberg. Joined here by MacDonald’s command on 3rd July.
73 A farm 16 miles south of Frankfort.
74 Presumably Vlakfontein on the on the Heidelberg-Standerton railway 20 miles south-east of Heidelberg. Here, on 4th July, Buller’s Natal forces joined hands with those of General Hart advancing from Heidelberg. A sizeable garrison was based here.
75 40 miles south of Frankfort and the location of a Boer commando. Entered by Hamilton’s force son 7th July.
76 A major OFS town and centre of a Boer commando. In July, it was held by over 7,000 burghers under de Wet. A two-day fight ensued before British forces under General Clements entered the town.
77 On this day, Lord Roberts began his advance eastwards towards the Portuguese frontier, aiming to mop up remaining Boer forces en route.
78 Station on the Bloemfontein-Vereeniging line. There was considerable action around here in June, as the British advanced northwards from Bloemfontein; a force of the 2nd Derby was forced to surrender here on 7th June. The station later became a British base for operations in the region.
79 Town and commando centre. Broadwood’s cavalry caught up with de Wet’s rearguard near here on 24th July, capturing five wagons, as Waring relates, and pursuing the Boers through and out of the town.
80 Presumably Rhenoster Poort, a farm west of Vredefort, where de Wet’s commando was in laager from 25th July to 6th Aug.
81 Grooteiland on the Vaal, OFS. The British managed to hem in de Wet’s commando in this area in August but he escaped on the 6th. Parys, on the south bank of the Vaal in OFS was another commando centre.
82 Probably Lindeque Drift, on the Vaal in Parys district. In the attempt to trap de Wet’s commando, Major General F. W. Kitchener’s columns crossed the drift here on 10th Aug. to enter the Transvaal. From ocotber, it was on the British blockhouse line.
83 The first “De Wet hunt” : Christiaan de Wet escaped on Aug. 14th.
84 Town and railway station 20 miles north of Johannesburg. Garrisoned from June 1900.
85 Bank town and station, on the Krugersdorp-Potchefstroom railway line. Suffered several serious Boer attacks, one on 19th July.
86 Probably Deepsloot, 20 miles north of Johannesburg. Hamilton’s cavalry had been here in June.
87 Daspoort, a farm eight miles south of Balfour, Transvaal. Involved in the “sweeps” operating against Boer commandos in the OFS.
88 Town and commando centre. Considerable fighting went on here and around the town, but from 1st Oct., it was the base of a column under Col. G. G. Cunningham and the location of a large supply depot.
89 The formal annexation of the Transvaal by Britain was proclaimed and celebrated in Pretoria on this day.
90 Jagersfontein in OFS. A British garrison here in October 1900 was attacked by Boers under Cmdt. P. J. Visser, who was killed in the fighting, along with 27 other Boers.
91 Station on the Naauwpoort -Bloemfontein railway – the last station in Cape Colony before the line crosses into the OFS.
92 General Lord Kitchener “of Khartoum” assumed command of the South African Field Force, in succession to Lord Roberts, on this day.