Topic: BW - Qld - 1QMI
1st Queensland Mounted Infantry
[From: Chamberlain, M., The Australians in the South African War 1899 - 1902, A Map History, Map 35.]
The following outline was extracted from a book written by Lieutenant Colonel Neil C Smith, AM, called First Queensland Mounted Infantry Contingent: Boer War 1899-1902, which was self published by his own publishing company, Mostly Unsung Military History, Melbourne, 2005, from pp. 1 - 2.
1st Queensland Mounted Infantry
Like the each Contingents in other States, the first despatched to the Boer War in South Africa by Queensland was ordered to be raised from officers and others serving in the local defence forces, namely, 250 of the Queensland Mounted Infantry, and a Machine Gun Section from the Royal Australian Artillery (Queensland). the majority of the Contingent was enlisted on 11th October 1899 which embarked in the transport Cornwall, on 31st October and 1st November 1899, and went to sea next day. The Contingent arrived at Table Bay on 12th December; landed at Cape Town the following day and proceeded to Orange River in two trains. From Orange River the Contingent proceeded to Belmont, whence it took a prominent part in the engagement at Sunnyside 1st January, where the first Australian casualties occurred and the Relief of Douglas on 2nd January 1900, as part of an expeditionary force under Lieutenant Colonel T.D. Pilcher.
In February 1900, the Contingent took part in the Relief of Kimberley under AIderson's Brigade, in General French's Division, and from there proceeded to Koodoosrand and was employed in the operations at Paardeberg between 17th and 26th February. After the surrender of Boer General Cronje, the Contingent formed part of a mounted brigade under Lieutenant Colonel Martyr and look part in the engagements at Poplar Grove on 7th March and Driefontein 10th March, and the occupation of Bloemfontein on the 8th March 1900. At Bloemfontein, the 2nd Queensland Contingent joined by order of the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief: The combined Regiment went into rest camp at Springfontein until the 31st March, when the two companies of the 1st Contingent under Lieutenant Colonel Ricardo Conned hart of the earlier relieving force at the engagement at Sanna's Post on 31st March 1900.
During April 1900, the regiment, then consisting of three companies, with the 3rd Mounted Infantry Regiment (Imperial) and the 1st and 2nd Contingents of New Zealand Mounted Rifles formed the 3rd Mounted Infantry Corps under Lieutenant Colonel T.D, Pilcher, joined the 1st Mounted Infantry Brigade under Major General Hutton of French's Division, and left Bloemfontein on the 1st May, when the general advance on Pretoria commenced. The regiment took part in the engagements at Bandfort on 3rd May, Constantia on 4th May 1900, Vet River on 5th and 6th May, Zand River on 10th May 1900, Kliprivensberg on 28th May, Johannesburg on 29th May, Pretoria on 4th June and Diamond Hill on 11th and 12th June 1900.
After the occupation of Pretoria, strong inducements were offered to Australians and New Zealanders to join elements of the South African Constabulary, which was then being formed, and a considerable number of the members of the 1st and 2nd Contingents were transferred to the Provisional Transvaal Constabulary and though many afterwards rejoined their regiment, the strength of the two Contingents was much reduced.
Reformed into two squadrons, the regiment was engaged in the operations at Reit VIei between 13th and 16th July 1900, and was then transferred to Mahon's Brigade in General Ian Hamilton's Division, with which it took part in the the eastern advance as far as Balmoral on 25th July, the action at Zilikat's Nek on 2nd` August, the operations about Rustenburg during August 1900, and the pursuit of De Wet's force northwards to Warmbad, including engagement at Oliphant's Nek on 17th August 1900. The regiment then returned to the Eastern Transvaal, and with the exception of half a squadron which accompanied Mahon's Brigade to Baberton under Lieutenant Glasgow, formed part of a mounted force consisting of the 3rd Mounted Infantry Regiment (Imperial), Queensland Mounted Infantry. and 3rd Brabant's Horse under Major Chauvel, which was employed in minor operations in the Middleburg District under Brigadier-General Barker, including the action near Pan on 11th October 1900, subsequently joining General Smith-Dorien's command at Belfast.
Early in November, orders having been received for the return of the 1st Contingent, the horses and saddlery were handed over, and the troops sent by train to Cape Town. The men were, however detrained at De Aar, under Captain Pinnock, and proceeded to Worcester remaining there until the meeting of the Afrikander Bond had been held, when the journey to Cape Town was resumed.
On 13th December 1900, the anniversary of the day of disembarkation, the Contingent embarked on the transport Orient, and arrived at Brisbane on 17'h January 1901, after having called at Albany, Melbourne and Sydney en route. The Contingent was disbanded in Brisbane on the 23d January 1901.
Many men of the 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry Contingent went on to serve again in the Boer War with other State and Commonwealth Contingents. Many also served subsequently in World War One where a number paid the supreme sacrifice and generally acquitted themselves well, with many rising to senior ranks and being awarded an array of decorations.
Chamberlain, M., The Australians in the South African War 1899 - 1902, A Map History, Army history Unit, Canberra, 1999.
Smith, NC, First Queensland Mounted Infantry Contingent: Boer War 1899-1902, Melbourne, 2005.
Citation: 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry, General Outline