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Thursday, 25 December 2003
The NSW Lancers, South African War, Outline
Topic: BW - NSW - Lancers

New South Wales Lancers

South African War

Outline

New South Wales Lancers, 1885-1903
1st Australian Light Horse Regiment, 1903-1912
7th Australian Light Horse Regiment, 1912-1919
1st Australian Light Horse Regiment, 1919-1929
1/21st Australian Light Horse Regiment, 1929-1935
1st Light Horse Machine Gun Regiment, Royal New South Wales Lancers, 1936-1942
1st Armoured Regiment, Royal New South Wales Lancers, 1942-1948
1st Royal New South Wales Lancers, 1948-1956
1/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers, 1956-

[The elephant's head used on the badges is taken from the family crest of Lord Carrington, Governor of New South Wales from 1885 - 1890 and was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Regiment from 1885 until 1928.] 

Tenax in fide - Steadfast in Trust

 South Africa 1899 - 1900

Allied with: King Edward's Horse (The King's Overseas Dominions Regiment).

 

In 1911, Lieutenant-Colonel P. L. Murray, produced a marvellous Boer War reference detailing all the contingents sent from Australia to South Africa, giving a brief history of the formation and finally, listing all the soldiers who saw service in South Africa with that unit. The book was called, Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa. It is now the standard reference and starting place for any person interested in pursuing information about Australian involvement in the Boer War. This extract is from Murray, pp. 4 - 6.


THE NEW SOUTH WALES LANCERS.

The draft of Lancers which from force of circumstances was the first to go to the front from Australia represented the senior cavalry regiment of New South Wales, now the 1st Australian Light Horse (New South Wales Lancers). It was raised in 1883, first as Light Horse, but in 1885, after the return of the Contingent from the. Saurian, it was converted into Lancers, as a compliment to the 5th Royal Irish Lancers, which were encamped with the New South Wales Artillery at Handoub. The uniform of that regiment was also adopted with slight variations; but a few years later it was relinquished for the distinctive drab with scarlet plastrons. (The Regiment is allied with "King Edward's Horse" the King's Overseas Dominions Regiment.)

A squadron of 100, under Captain C. Cox, had proceeded to England in 1899, to take part in the annual military tournament at Islington, and for training at Aldershot; the expense of which was defrayed entirely by the regiment. Upon the war breaking out, permission to volunteer was cabled for and acceded to. The detail, with their horses, then proceeded to Cape Town, where they were enthusiastically received, equipped with the service uniform and accoutrements, and despatched to the scene of hostilities.

The subsequent drafts were supplied with horses, but in many instances spare chargers were taken,

PAY.

Rates of pay (as sanctioned by GA. 107, 21.10.99) "for members of Partially-paid or Volunteer Forces,” were as follows:-

Buglers and privates - 2s. 3d. per day, with 2s. 3d. deferred pay;

Corporals - 4s. 9d, and 2s. 3d.;

Sergeants - 5s. 9d. and 2s. 3d.;

Company Sergeant-Majors or Colour-Sergeants - 6s. 3d. and 2s. 9d.;

Staff Sergeants - 6s. 6d. and 3s. 6d.;

Warrant Officers - 7s, 6d. and 4s.;

Lieutenants - 16s. and 3s. deferred pay;

Captains - 20s. and 3s. 6d..


N.C, officers and men of the Permanent Farces would receive, from date of landing, Imperial rates of pay in addition to existing rates.

"Separation allowance" was also granted to wives and families of N.C.O.'s and soldiers serving in South Africa, at varying rates according to rank. If in occupation of quarters or drawing lodging allowance, the wife received 4d. per diem; for each girl under 16 years 1½d. per diem; each boy under 14: years, 1½d. per diem. When not in occupation of quarters or receipt of lodging allowance, payment was made at rates varying from warrant officers' wives 2s. 3d. per diem, to privates' wives, 1s. 1d.

Pay was issued by the Imperial Government after the landing of Contingents at Imperial rates. These varied from Lieutenant-Colonel, 28s. per diem and 4s, field allowance, to subaltern, 15s. and, 2s. 6d.; and from 9s., R. sergeant-major. to 5s. privates. Buglers, saddlers, and farriers, 1s. per diem extra.

ESTABLISHMENT.

The following was the establishment authorized for Lancer Contingent, in the first instance:-

1 Major (temporary),

1 Captain,

3 Subalterns,

1 Squadron Sergeant Major,

1 Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant,

2 Staff-Sergeants,

4 Sergeants,

2 Sergeant-Farriers,

2 Shoeing Smiths,

2 Buglers,

8 corporals,

97 Privates, including cooks and batmen, 1 Saddler.

Total, 125.


Men volunteering were required to be from 20 to 40 years of age, preferably single, and good shots. Horses brought in had to be for M.I. work, and pass veterinary examination.


REFERENCES TO ORDERS.

Formation, G.O., N.S.W. 107/99

Pay, G.O., N.S.W. 107/99, 112/99

Conditions of Service, G.O., N.S.W. 107/99

Command, G.O., N.S.W. 113/99

Establishment, G.O., N.S.W. 108/99

Embarkation, G.O., N.S.W. 109/99

Officers, G.O., N.S.W. 110/99



DETACHMENT.

Embarkation, G.O., N.S.W. 8/00, 22/00

Personnel, G.O., N.S.W. 22/44

Separation allowance, G.O., N.S.W. 88/00

               

CLOTHING, ARMS, ETC.

Uniform consisted of brown F.S. jacket and pants, with puttees and hats.
Arms and equipment:

M.E. carbines,

swords,

shoulder bandoliers,

waistbelt, and

braces.


Fully horsed and provided with saddles. Also provided with regimental transport.


UNITS.

The first draft arrived at Cape Town from England on 2nd November, 1899; it consisted of 2 officers and 69 sergeants and rank and file, with their horses. Of these, 2 were killed or died, 2 were transferred to S.A.C., leaving 2 officers and 65 others, who returned.

The second draft left New South Wales an 28th October, 1899;.it consisted of 5 officers, 36 others, with 160 horses. Three were killed or died; 1 was transferred, 1 was commissioned in Imperial Army; 4 officers and 32 others returned.

The third draft left New South Wales on 17th January, 1900; it consisted of 17 sergeants and rank and file, with 15 horses; 1 man was killed or died, 16 returned.

The fourth draft departed 16th February, 1900; it comprised 1 officer and 40 others. Total: 8 officers, 162 others, with 246 horses.

The squadron arrived home on 6th December, 1904, and 8th January, 1901.

RECORD OF SERVICE.

The detachment of this regiment undergoing a course of training at Aldershot at the outbreak of the war volunteered for active service in South Africa; the offer being accepted, they embarked on 10th October, 1899, and arrived at Cape Town 2nd November, 1899.

In order to complete and maintain the service establishment of the unit, additional detachments included:

Second Draft - embarked at Sydney on transport Kent on 28th October, arriving at Cape Town 1st December;

Third Draft - embarked at Sydney on transport Moravian on 17th January, arriving at Cape Town on 18th February; and

Forth Draft - embarked at Sydney on transport Australian on 16th February, arriving at Cape Town 19th March, 1900.


The Aldershot detachment after its arrival was attached to General French's command, and was employed on patrol duty in the Colesberg district. On the 6th December, the detachment, under Major Lee, with remounts for the whole squadron, arrived at Naauwpoort, Major Lee assuming the command of the squadron.

Present at capture of Arundel on 8th December, and took part in several minor actions in the vicinity.

A detachment of 28 men, under Lieutenant Osborne, temporarily attached to Lord Methuen's command, took part in the battles of Belmont, Grasspan, Modder River, and Magersfontein, and afterwards rejoined the squadron.

On 2nd January, 1900, a supply train was, by some means started from Rensburg Siding, and ran on a down grade close to the Boer position; the squadron was ordered to recover or burn the trucks. As some of them were derailed, it was found impossible to recover them; they were, consequently, burned under a very heavy fire from the enemy.

On the 16th January a troop of Lancers and Australian Horse, under Lieutenant Dowling of the latter regiment, when returning to camp at Slingersfontein, was surrounded; and after a sharp fight, in which Sergeant-Major Griffin of the Australian Horse was killed, Corporal Kilpatrick of the Lancers mortally wounded, and Lieutenant Dowling and Trooper Roberts severely wounded, the patrol surrendered.

On the 7th February the squadron proceeded to Belmont, and on the 13th were attached to Scots Greys, forming part of the 1st Cavalry Brigade.

Present at the relief of Kimberly on 15th February, action at Dronfield on 16th February, and at the operations which led to the surrender of General Cronje at Paardeburg. Took part in the battle of Poplar Grove on 7th March, and assisted to turn the: enemy's left flank.   

Present at Dreifontein on 10th, and at the occupation of Bloemfontein on 12th March.

Captain Nicholson, with a detachment of 40 N.C. officers and men from New South Wales, joined on 5th May.

The squadron was now attached to the Inniskillings, under Major Allamby and took part in the advance on Pretoria. Kroonstadt was occupied on 12th May; the Vaal River crossed on 24th May. Took part in heavy fighting at Klip River on 28th May, when Major Lee was complimented, by General French on the excellent work of the squadron while with the advance guard.

Took part in operations in the vicinity of Johannesburg, including the severe action at Valkheuvel Poort on 3rd June, when the Australians were again thanked by General French for their gallant conduct.

Present at the release of prisoners at Waterval on the 6th June. On the 9th July reinforced General Sutton at Oliphantsfontain, and was engaged with the enemy on 11th and 12th.

Took part in various engagements in the eastern Transvaal, including Lang Kloof and Swartz Kop, also in the operations in the Carolina and Barberton districts.

The squadron embarked at Cape Town on transports Harlech Castle on 11th November, and Orient on 13th December, and arrived in Sydney on 6th December, 1900 and 8th January, 1901, calling at Albany, Adelaide, and Melbourne en route.
 

Further Reading:

New South Wales Lancers

New South Wales Lancers, Roll of Honour 

Boer War, 1899 - 1902

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The NSW Lancers, South African War, Outline

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Saturday, 8 May 2010 7:03 PM EADT

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